The e Paperr of o f Record d for f o Greenwich fo Greenw nw n w ic i c h Village, Vii lllllag a e, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown Since 1933 S o ho, Un n io i o n Squa u a rre ua e, C hinatow ow w n and Noho, No
July 26, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 29
Study: Four new Two Bridges towers won’t impact displacement BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
evelopers of four proposed residential towers in the Two Bridges area faced a tough crowd at Monday night’s Community Board 3 Land Use Committee meeting. With nearly 2,800 new apartments between the quartet of towers, a series of mitiga-
tions have been proposed based on findings from a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was abruptly released in late June. Several mitigations for transportation, open space and resiliency were presented, including adding an elevator at the East TOWERS continued on p. 4
N.Y.U. buys 7-story residential building on Wash. Sq. Park BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ew York University has acquired another property right on Washington Square. The building is located at the northwest corner of the park, at MacDougal St., directly east of the Washington Square Hotel. “New York University has
reached agreement to acquire the property at 27 Washington Square North,” university spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement. The university acquired the building from Vornado in a direct transaction. It did not disclose the sale price or the N.Y.U. contin continued on p. 21
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
Red-tail hawks Christo and Dora “went to church” atop St. Brigid’s on Avenue B overlooking Tompkins Square Park.
Glick Miranda warning: Will Nixon be on ballot? BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ould Cynthia Nixon be running against Assemblymember Deborah Glick in November? It’s being reported that if she loses the Democratic primary to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the “Sex and the City” actress-turned-politico
Les Lieber: He blew long.........p. 8
doesn’t want to be a “spoiler” in the general election by helping Republican candidate Marc Molinaro. Yet, as of now, she still has the Working Families Party line for governor in the general election. The New York Post first reported that, as a backup plan, the W.F.P. got Doug Seidman
onto the Nov. 6 ballot as a “placeholder” in the Village’s 66th Assembly District, which would give Nixon an out: To get off the ballot for governor, she could switch to the Assembly race — she lives in the district — and take Seidman’s place. Seidman, meanwhile, ASSEMBLY continued on p. 2
Pols, activists blast Blaz on old P.S. 64 stall...p. 10 Illustrator sketches out the old Daily News.....p. 13 www.TheVillager.com
BITTER TWITTER BATTLE: In other Deborah Glick news (though, we’re sure she would hardly consider it “news”), she recently unblocked Arthur Schwartz on her Twitter account — but it took a little hardball by Schwartz first. On June 12, the Village district leader e-mailed the veteran assemblymember, citing the recent ruling for Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute and several individuals against Donald Trump, his former communications director Hope Hicks, his current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Trump’s social-media director, Daniel Scavino, charging Trump illegally barred the individuals from his Twitter account. Following suit, so to speak, Schwartz, who is also an attorney, warned Glick, “I demand that you unblock me from your Twitter account. If not I will bring suit.” Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote the May 23 decision in the federal case in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York. “This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, ‘block’ a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the president of the United States. The answer to both questions is no,” Buchwald stated. She added the “interactive space” of @realDonaldTrump
— where Twitter users can “directly engage” with the president’s tweets — falls under the “public forum” doctrines set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court, “and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.” As for blocking and then unblocking Schwartz, Glick told us, “People who are pathological liars and are apt to promote misinformation, I don’t think I should have him on my Twitter. But he referenced a court case — fine.” Among other locals Glick blocked is Patrick Shields, an actor, former window washer and the West Side’s most fanatical advocate for a soccer stadium at Pier 40 at W. Houston St. It wasn’t immediately clear if the former Villager, who now lives in Manhattan Plaza, on W. 42nd St., had been unblocked. The assemblymember noted her Twitter page does have “blocking criteria” clearly posted, asserting that, on the advice of her lawyer, “We legally can block them.” (Her blocking criteria include anyone misstating facts, or connected with child or revenge porn or sexual assault, among others.) She said, however, that most of the people she excluded were actually Mixed Martial Arts supporters angry at her opposition to legalizing the sport here. “They were vulgar and threatening in their remarks,” she said. Told of Glick’s comment, Schwartz said, “I’m a pathological liar? I don’t think I ever responded to one of her tweets.” On second thought, he mused, “It was probably something I said about football. ... She posts about sports, pets and politics.” As for her calling him a liar, Schwartz responded, “I won’t lower myself to her level of political discourse.”
COHEN ‘BEARING’ UP: Radical attorney Stanley Cohen has been reinstated to practice law in New York State, which also means he can resume his legal work abroad. Cohen is known locally for representing East Village squatters in their struggles against eviction in the 1980s, and internationally, for representing Israel’s mortal enemy Hamas, among others. He was convicted of “impeding the I.R.S.” and sentenced to 18 months, serving 10, at a “prison camp” in Pennsylvania. He was camp librarian. His offense was originally created to protect “revenuers who go up in the mountains” to collect taxes, he explained. “No one has been charged with impeding the I.R.S. in the last 40 years in the United States,” he added, in exasperation. “The theory was I made it difficult for them to find the
money I made.” The feds never found the alleged hidden cash anyway. Although Cohen hasn’t been allowed to practice law or give legal counsel the last three years, he has been able to lecture and “answer very broadbased questions.” Yet, he has still stayed in touch with his clients. “I’ve spoken to Hamas leadership,” he said. “I’ve had discussions with various liberation groups. ... I’m already involved in several cases overseas I’m not at liberty to discuss. I expect one of the Middle East cases will explode; if it does, I’ll be back at center stage.” Currently, he’s up in the Catskill Mountains, doing a lot of writing, accompanied by his loyal pooch Emma, who recently sadly had a hind leg amputated due to illness. Cohen misses the stimulation of the city. In the fall, he plans to get a new place, hopefully back in the East Village — which to him will always be the Lower East Side — where a friend has an apartment available near Cohen’s former one at Avenue D and E. Eighth St. “Still in Loisaida,” he said of the hoped-for pad. “I have no interest in living anywhere else. But,” he conceded of the old ’hood, “it’s an N.Y.U. dorm [now].” As for getting his license back, Cohen said he never doubted he would, but received some extra assurance, in the form of an impressive guest three days beforehand. “I was listening to some music in my backyard at 11 o’clock one morning, sitting in a chair,” he recalled. “I opened my eyes and saw a 6-foot-tall bear coming around the woodpile,” he said. “I looked at it and was like, ‘Whoa!’ It looked at me and was like, ‘Whoa!’ It ran into the woods.” A Native American friend told Cohen — who is an official member of the Bear Clan and whose partner is Native American — “You had a visit. It was a vision.” ... Meanwhile, the vision of Donald Trump is an unpleasant one for Cohen. “I did three Russian mafia cases in ’89, ’90, ’92,” he recalled. “His name would pop up in discussion, debriefing. The guy is dirty.”
SHE GOT SQUAT: After 16 years of futility, renovations at the former squat at 544 E. 13th St. finally wrapped up at the end of last year, and the former residents were able to move back into affordable apartments, buying them for $2,500 each. However, one of the building’s original squatters, Annie Wilson, isn’t returning. That’s because, somehow, Isabel Celeste, actress Rosario Dawson’s mother, was able to move SCOOPY continued on p. 22
Glick Miranda warning: Will Nixon be on ballot? ASSEMBLY continued from p. 1
could run for judge. But Nixon’s campaign has been reported saying the celebrity progressive candidate would endorse Glick, who, like her, is openly lesbian — and even use her star power to campaign for her — if Nixon winds up on the ballot against her. “That’s what I’ve been told by others,” Glick told The Villager last week, though adding, “I haven’t been told by her.” Yet Glick confidently stated that, come November, whoever is up against her, whether Seidman or Nixon, she’ll win. Unlike a few years ago, when she was challenged by Alexander Meadows running on his own third-party line, Glick doesn’t even have a campaign manager this time since she wasn’t expecting any serious opposition. Polls show Cuomo comfortably ahead of Nixon in the September primary, and recently having extended his lead. However, polls also had powerful Congressmember Joe Crowley cruising to victory versus Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary in
July 26, 2018
Deborah Glick says she is confident her record in the community will win her re-election against any candidate.
his Queens-Bronx district. The humbled Crowley is still running on the W.F.P. line against the Democratic nominee in November, having refused Ocasio-Cortez’s pleas to vacate the ballot line by doing a maneuver similar to the one Nixon potentially would do. Ironically, “Sex and the City” was always one of Glick’s favorite TV shows.
FILE PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
C ynthia Nixon, speaking at P.S. 41 in May, apparently will reluctantly wind up on the ballot against Deborah Glick if Nixon doesn’t win the Democratic primar y against Andrew Cuomo. TheVillager.com
July 26, 2018
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July 26, 2018
TOWERS continued from p. 1
Broadway F train station. A contingent from the 32BJ SEIU service workers union attended to voice support of the project, since developers have made a deal to hire service employees at the new towers from that union. But the audience was unimpressed. Many called the mitigations the “bare minimum” for their neighborhood. Many residents were left shocked at the D.E.I.S. findings of minimal impact to specific intersections, bus routes and school seats, among others. For one, the analyses found school capacity would be minimally impacted. Developers would only have to increase school capacity by 16 elementary school seats and 19 childcare school seats, according to the D.E.I.S. findings. “[That’s] hard for me to comprehend,” said Lisa Kaplan, a member of the Land Use Committee. “These [school] buildings have been crammed to the fullest.” Janitors’ closets are often used as the school nurse’s office and art supplies are cleaned in bathroom sinks because art rooms aren’t equipped with proper sinks, committee members told the developers. A breakdown of the towers’ units to determine what types of residents will live in them has not yet been determined, according to a spokesperson for the developers. The developers, however, are considering including 200 units for senior housing, which they say would eliminate the expected impacts on school capacity. The projects include an 80-story building at 247 Cherry St. by JDS Development Group; 63- and 70-story towers at 260 South St. by L+M Development Partners and the CIM Group; and a 63-story tower at 259 Clinton St. by the Starrett Group. Roughly 25 percent of the units will be permanently affordable under 421a, according to the developers’ spokesperson, and are expected to be a mix of 40, 60 and 120 percent of the area median income, or A.M.I. The towers are currently being reviewed by the City Planning Commission, which will hold a public hearing Oct. 17. Mitigations for open spaces include enhancing and expanding open spaces at Rutgers Slip, the courtyard between 265 and 275 Cherry St., and new private open spaces at 259 Clinton St. and 247 Cherry St. The developers will also pay for upgrades at Coleman Playground, Captain Jacob Joseph Playground and Little Flower Playground. Shadows from the new buildings are expected to significantly affect Cherry Clinton and Lillian D. Wald playgrounds, so the developers will pay a total of $50,000 over the next 10 years for improvements, such as better lighting and landscaping. “Given the scarcity of vacant land in this area, the D.E.I.S. focuses on the improvement and renovation of existing spaces,” said David Karnovsky, the developers’ lawyer, of the law firm Fried Frank. “It’s also important to note that the focus is on creating new open-space enhancements — meaning ones that are not already in development or funded. The idea is not to have the developers’
Based on a Draft Enviornmental Impact Statement’s findings, the three new projects — with a total of four towers — in the Two Bridges area, which are slated to be constructed in the area in the red box, above, would significantly impact public open spaces. A s a result, upgrades will be made to three local playgrounds, show in dark green on the map, above.
funding [be] a substitute for city funding.” The developers will also pay $40 million for upgrades at the East Broadway F subway station, including new elevators at the intersection of East Broadway and Rutgers St., a new entrance at Rutgers and Madison Sts., and new stairs at the Madison St. entrance. Up to 10 intersections with expected increases in foot and vehicle traffic will be mitigated by signal timing, restriping lanes and widening crosswalks for pedestrians. Karnovsky explained that just two traffic locations will not get mitigation improvements — Montgomery and South Sts. and Chatham Square — since estimates only show around 30 seconds of added travel time for pedestrians. Trever Holland, a member of Board 3 and a Two Bridges Tower resident, detailed extensive concerns about the findings, including the lack of traffic mitigations at South St. and Rutgers Slip. That intersection, Holland said, is the at center of the new towers, a passageway to the East River esplanade, and where one 82-year-old woman was killed and two were injured while crossing the street to the esplanade in 2014, as The Lo-Down reported at the time. Even so, the analyses in the D.E.I.S. found no impacts at South St. and Rutgers Slip. Construction is expected to last between 30 and 36 months. Developers said they are committed to addressing noise, air-quality and traffic concerns by various measures, and a hotline, e-mail address, and Web site for questions and updates will be created. Developers are funding some resiliency measures for existing sites, mostly at 80 Rutgers Slip. The 247 Cherry St. developers will raise mechanical systems, add deployable storm barriers (that would be employed against a storm), upgrade fire-protection systems and install emergency generators for 80 Rutgers Slip. New construction and existing landscaped areas will be elevated to 1 foot above
the base 100-year-flood elevation between South and Cherry Sts. and Rutgers Slip and Jefferson Sts., and deployable barriers will be added for spaces that cannot be elevated, according to the developers’ spokesperson. One example of deployable barriers is the Tiger Dams, which are installed in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The developers’ spokesperson said exactly what kind of barriers would be installed has not been determined. The hundreds of market-rate units, per the D.E.I.S., will not have an effect on displacement of current residents, largely because many in the neighborhood are in rentregulated or supported housing. But Melanie Wang, the Chinatown Tenants Union lead organizer, slammed that finding. The definition of “impacts on displacement” under the environmental review, Wang said, clearly states that rent-regulated tenants are not at risk of displacement because their units are regulated. “I think we feel, and many land-use experts feel that kind of standard of analysis is fundamentally flawed,” Wang said. She said towers at 350 feet tall with 50 percent affordable units would be preferrable, and urged that guidelines of established community zoning proposals, such as the Chinatown Working Group’s, be followed. She said she fears the increased marketrate units would only increase displacement and unaffordability in the neighborhood. The way that this change is now happening, Wang said, “is oftentimes violent and traumatic for families.” Based on precedent of the risks of harassment and displacement that rent-regulated tenants face on the Lower East Side, Wang said she simply cannot take the D.E.I.S. findings seriously. “It’s ludicrous,” she said, “from my perspective, that this type of environmental analysis concludes that 2,700 units will have no adverse secondary residential displacement impact on the neighborhood.” TheVillager.com
POLICE B L O T T E R Sixth Ave. attack On Wed., July 18, around 5:30 p.m., a group of five men attacked a 19-yearold man on the sidewalk in front of 473 Sixth Ave., between W. 11th and W. 12th Sts., police said. The victim was punched several times, causing a minor nosebleed. He also dropped his debit card, which was picked up by one of the attackers, who fled on foot south along Sixth Ave. The victim refused medical assistance at the scene. A 14-year-old from Jersey City was arrested the same day for felony robbery and processed as a juvenile, according to police. The four other attackers have not been caught and there is little description of them except that they are black and two had dreadlocks and two had Caesar hairstyles. The debit card was not recovered, but it was canceled by the victim with no unauthorized usage reported.
‘Methy’ situation On the sidewalk at 7 E. Ninth St., between Fifth Ave. and University Place, around 1 a.m. on Wed., July 18, officers tried to restrain a man, 41, at the request of his mother, who told responding officers that he was on methamphetamine, according to police. The man refused to go into an ambulance voluntarily. As two officers tried to restrain him, all three fell to the ground and the man fell onto and injured the left shoulder of one of the officers. Police said that Alexander Gulla, 41, was arrested for felony assault.
Burglar got nailed On Tues., July 17, around 3 p.m., a man entered the basement at 260 Sixth Ave., between W. Houston and Bleecker Sts., and took several items of hardware and left, police said. Items included cable wires, drill bits, a screwdriver, a small saw and a tape measure. The total value of the property taken was $200. After a police canvass of the area, Abdelhady Elsehetry, 27, was arrested the same day for attempted felony burglary and all the items were recovered.
Fishy cop On the sidewalk at 183 W. 10th St., between W. Fourth St. and Seventh Ave. South, on Mon., July 16, at 3:15 a.m., a food vendor was approached by a man who claimed to be a cop, according to police. She said he showed her a six-pointed yellow shield and asked TheVillager.com
what she was selling. The woman, 49, told him she was selling shrimp and lobster rolls. The man then said he wanted shrimp, lobster rolls — and some money. After a brief dispute, no property was taken and the man fled west on W. 10th St. Video was obtained of the incident, and police said that Josef Myska, 24, was arrested that day for attempted felony robbery.
Subway struggle Police said that on Fri., July 13, around 10 p.m., inside the 14th St. / Union Square subway station, a 23-year-old straphanger realized he no longer had his wallet. When he asked passersby if they had seen it, he was told another man had picked it up from the floor. When the victim confronted the individual, he saw his wallet in the other guy’s hand. A struggle over the billfold ensued, during which the thief struck the victim in the head, then flung the wallet onto the train tracks. The individual fled on foot in an unknown direction. The victim subsequently retrieved his wallet from the track bed without injury. The suspect is described as white, in his 30s, 5-feet-6-inches tall, weighing 165 pounds, with glasses, and last seen wearing a gray shirt, black-and-white shorts and a black backpack. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.
Not-so-great escape On Fri., July 20, around 7:20 p.m., police were investigating a report of an individual wanted for a past crime (petit larceny) around Spring St. and Broadway. Pursuant to an investigation, they arrested a 21-year-old woman and 39-year-old man. However, the man broke loose and fled north on Mercer St., and the officers lost sight of him. But he was arrested two days later. Alize Scruggs of Cameron, North Carolina, was arrested for possession of burglar tools, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. Derek Robinson, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, was charged with petit larceny and escape.
Jefferson Market Garden
Free Summer Music 2018 on the Garden Lawn
August Sundays, 5-7pm
World Music Festival August 5th, 5-7 pm The Blue Dahlia Quintet
August 12th, 5-7 pm Cocomama Quartet
August 19th, 5-7 pm Regional de NY Quintet
August 26th, 5-7 pm Anbessa Septet
Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson July 26, 2018
Open-air Mex hot spot reopens after violations BY GABE HERMAN
he newly opened outdoor Mexican restaurant and bar Gitano, at Varick and Canal Sts., is attracting large crowds but also causing some headaches locally. The seasonal venue filled with palm trees, which will run from summer to fall this year and next year, was temporarily closed down for two days during its preview earlier this month by the Department of Health. There were several violations, including inadequate sewage disposal, poor refrigeration and bathrooms not being properly maintained. Gitano has since reopened and expanded its offerings to include morning meditation classes and a reflecting pool lounge area in the back. Yet there have been ongoing complaints by neighbors about Gitano, including smoky air from cooking at the place and excessive nighttime noise, including past the stipulated 11 p.m. closing time from Mondays to Fridays. Darlene Lutz, who lives across the street from the open-air hot spot, told The Villager, “It’s not a restaurant, it’s a bar. This is like Meatpacking District brought down [to here]. All the young people are saying it’s so great for pictures... . We live in an Instagram world,” she sighed. Bob Gormley, district manager of Community Board 2, told The Villager there were complaints about Gitano at a recent board meeting from two neighbors, and that police have been notified. “We’ve talked to the precinct about it and the precinct has been there several
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
A woman walks by Gitano on Grand St. during the day time, when the place is quiet. At night, the palm tree-filled bar / restaurant, which has a capacit y of around 500 people, is often packed.
times,” he said. Gormley added there have not been any sit-downs with Gitano since the place’s opening, only e-mail exchanges. “Right now, from the community board’s perspective, we’re trying to get more information, and we’ll see what’s going on,” the district manager said. Of the recent Health violations, Gormley said, “They wouldn’t have been allowed to reopen if they hadn’t straightened out the violations. The Department of Health will probably end up going there again as a kind of standard operating procedure within the next two or three weeks.”
Gitano spokesperson Henry Lyon told The Villager, “Gitano NYC is aware of a complainant and has addressed them directly as well as through the proper authorities. Having developed a strong understanding with the community board, local government offices, service departments and the community at large over the last few months, Gitano NYC is proudly operating fully within the scope set forth by such groups; including the allotted hours of operation.” Part of the resolution passed by C.B. 2 on Gitano included a separate “community garden-style area” called Gitano
Farm that would host students and provide educational programs for the public. Lyon confirmed that this was still in the works, saying on July 24, “Gitano will be opening Gitano Farm in the next few weeks with a group of local students.” However, Lutz told The Villager that “The only acceptable outdoor use of this space would be a public park, because there’s a residential building across the street.” According to Gormley, the full-block open lot at 76 Varick St. was rezoned a few years ago based on the stated plan from owner Trinity Real Estate to construct a residential building with a school in its lower levels. “I think everyone is a little surprised that hasn’t happened yet,” Gormley noted. “We kind of thought that was going to be on the fast track.” Gormley said he didn’t think the board had heard from Trinity recently and didn’t know if there had been any changes in Trinity’s plans. Contacted for comment about its future plans for the site, Trinity Real Estate declined to comment. The Villager also reached out to the Hudson Square Business Improvement District about the site’s future, but was referred back to Trinity. The lot was most recently home to Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea for a brief stint, but that combo never quite took off. The empty space has also previously been used for large-scale events, like Nike’s Zoom City Arena in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Game in 2015, and has been used as a sort of food court with multiple food trucks.
Parks supervisor sued for sexual harassment BY GABE HERMAN
local Parks Department employee who was promoted — even after a conviction for sexual abuse while on the job in 2009 — has been named in a lawsuit by a former seasonal worker who claims he sexually and racially harassed her. As first reported by the New York Post, in the lawsuit, which was filed July 11, Pilar Taylor, a seasonal Parks worker from 2015 to 2017, alleges that supervisor Michael Palamar, 53, responded to her questions about her job orientation and training with requests for sex and by groping her. The Parks Department and New York City are also named as plaintiffs. Taylor says in the suit that she heard of Palamar paying Job Training Program workers for sex, and that in September 2015 she walked in on him having sex with an employee. Taylor says that when she told a Parks manager, the response was that Palamar had been having sex
July 26, 2018
with multiple other female workers. The suit says that in spring 2016, when Taylor told a union representative about Palamar groping and harassing her, she was told she could lose her job if she complained too much. Taylor also says that Palamar made ongoing racial remarks, which worsened after the 2016 election. Palamar is white and Taylor is black. The lawsuit alleges that Palamar told Taylor, “Y’all should be worried about hanging from trees soon.” Days after the lawsuit was filed, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio said the allegations were being investigated, according to the Post. A Parks spokesperson told The Villager on July 23, regarding Palamar, “He has been temporarily reassigned to a nonsupervisory role while this matter is being investigated. The role is designed so that Mr. Palamar is not required to supervise or work with Parks’ seasonal workers.” A Parks employee at Tompkins Square seemed to confirm the department’s
statement, telling The Villager on July 23 that Palamar had been at Tompkins for two days the previous week but had since been moved away. The Parks spokesperson also told the Villager in an earlier statement, on July 18, “NYC Parks does not tolerate sexual harassment. We thoroughly investigate all complaints, and actively encourage all employees to come forward / report. “The allegations against this employee are being investigated, and if they are true, the Parks Department will move to fire him.” Palamar has worked locally in Tompkins Square Park and in the Village. He has been promoted in recent years and his salary has nearly doubled since 2013, recently rising to $105,266, according to the Post. In 2009 Palamar was convicted for sexually abusing a woman on the job in Cooper Square. Before being hired by Parks, Palamar served 16 years in prison for a 1982 manslaughter conviction, and then returned
to prison for another stint in 2001 for petit larceny and possession of stolen property. In the manslaughter incident, Palamar was convicted of fatally bashing a man with a baseball bat after the victim found Palamar trying to rob his house. He was hired by Parks in 2006, the same year he was released from prison, according to the Post. A 2013 Post article on Palamar caught up with him at Tompkins Square Park, where he said, “Whether I deserve [the job] or not is irrelevant… . I took the [civil service] test, and I passed it just like anybody else.” Locals in Tompkins Square Park were unaware of the charges against Palamar. One older man, speaking generally about harassment, said, “It’s totally wrong, it’s a crime… . But it does happen a lot, and people get hurt.” He was glad that attention was being paid to harassment allegations, and added, “People who do those things need to pay for it.” TheVillager.com
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July 26, 2018
Les Lieber, longtime Villager, sax player who OBITUARY BY GABE HERMAN
es Lieber, a longtime Village resident and founder and organizer of weekly Jazz at Noon shows in the city, died July 10 on Fire Island. He was 106. Lieber loved to play jazz, including alto sax and pennywhistle, and performed throughout the years in Jazz at Noon, which, over the span of 47 years, was the longest-running jazz show in New York history, according to his son Jon. Jazz at Noon featured skilled amateur players mixing with professional guests. The event would draw around 250 people every Friday. “He had a passion for music. He was a natural musician,” recalled jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel, a friend who played Jazz at Noon shows for many years. “I played with him up until he was 105.” Lieber was born in St. Louis but lived his adult life in New York City. “He was a quintessential New Yorker,” said his son. Les and his wife, Edith, 94, had been living in the Village since 1984, on Broadway near Astor Place. Lieber served in the military during World War II, and was involved on the intelligence end as cities were being liberated, first in Paris and then going east. He helped to open Armed Forces Network radio studios, putting together bands and musicians, which was a natural talent of his, according to Jon, along with speaking five languages fluently. Lieber was a Francophile, and that along with his love of jazz led him in Paris to seek out then-obscure jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, now considered one of the greats, who Lieber put on AFN radio, Jon said. Reinhardt would eventually go on to play Carnegie Hall. After the war, Lieber put jazz aside and became a journalist. He was a writer and editor for This Week, a Sunday syndicated magazine. He interviewed iconic athletes like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra and golfer Sam Snead. Lieber wrote an article about how he beat Snead in a round of golf. He noted toward the end of the piece, though, that he really won because of the pro’s love of doing wood carvings, and that at the first tee, Snead took a nearby tree branch, carved it into a golf club, and then played the whole round with that carving. Despite all of the famous people Lieber interviewed, which also included Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow and many rock stars, he never bragged or felt impressed by big names, according to his son, who said his father was “extremely humble, in everything that he did.”
July 26, 2018
PHOTO BY JON LIEBER
Les and Edith Lieber with their good friend newsstand operator David Eia.
Les Lieber playing saxophone at Jazz at Noon in 1983 when he was 71.
Lieber also did freelance work in public relations for many years, according to Jon. During WWII, he was involved in the publicity effort to recycle scrap metal and paper for the war effort. In 1965, Les Lieber felt that he was living a good, successful life, but yearned to play music again. Living in the city, he didn’t have a garage to jam in with friends, so he sought a restaurant to host them; it turned into
Jazz at Noon, a weekly show for professionals, including lawyers, doctors and people in advertising to play jazz. Professional guest spots would include Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Paquito D’Rivera. The first venue was Chuck’s Composite, a restaurant on E. 53rd St. The event would move around over the years, including to the Rough Rider Room at the Roosevelt Hotel in the 1970s. It ended
up at the Players Club, in Gramercy, where Lieber celebrated his 100th birthday as Jazz at Noon ended in 2012 after 47 years. Les Lieber played jazz until the end of his life, including summer shows at Fire Island, where he and wife Edith owned a home in Ocean Beach. The “day job” of a drummer in the Jazz at Noon shows, Robert Litwak, was chief thoracic surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital, recalled Bill Wurtzel, who played in the shows for years when he was in advertising. Wurtzel is now a professional jazz guitarist, and credits Jazz at Noon as a good training ground for his musical career. “When a patient who was my advertising client awoke from bypass surgery, Bob told him that he was my drummer,” Wurtzel recalled. “The patient would have preferred to hear that his surgeon was a full-time surgeon. “Les played swing and the American Songbook,” Wurtzel said, “toe-tapping jazz.” Les Lieber was serious when it came to ensuring the shows’ quality. “He was very fussy about who would play and what they would play,” Wurtzel recalled. “He was a taskmaster. It wasn’t like, just come on and do whatever you want to do. You had to be good. And if you were good, he would recognize it.” While Lieber kept high standards for the shows, Wurtzel said it was Lieber himself that drew in the big guest stars. “All the great jazz musicians came to play Jazz at Noon because of Les’s personality,” Wurtzel said. “He was like a bon vivant. He was really very confident, and people gravitated toward him.” He described his relationship with Lieber as particularly close and centered around the music. Playing with Lieber in those shows was more than another gig for renowned professional vibraphonist Warren Chiasson, who went back to the earliest days of Les Lieber’s shows. “Jazz at Noon became like a special family to me, a second family,” Chiasson recalled. “I find that I really like these people, I really like Les’s family.” Chiasson has also played during his career with Chet Baker, B.B. King and Roberta Flack. “I was there when they celebrated his birthdays,” he said, “and I’m happy to report that Les’s family has always been a cherished part of my life.” Wurtzel noted that Lieber “had a great sense of humor, an acerbic sense of humor...very sharp, not silly, but caustic almost,” and that “off the stand, he was very cordial, very sophisticated.” “He was a true gentleman, in every sense,” said Jon Lieber. “Truly humble. He was extremely intelligent. Travel was LIEBER continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com
founded Jazz at Noon and writer, dies at 106 LIEBER continued from p. 8
a very big part of his life and became a big part of our life.” Also a talented athlete, Les Lieber was an accomplished college pitcher, Jon said. The St. Louis Browns briefly showed interest in him in the early 1930s. “He was a great golfer,” remembered Jon. Even into his later years, Lieber was able to shoot under his age. “I think he shot an 80 when he was 90,” Jon recalled. Jon Lieber noted that in his father’s later years, he “walked 80, 90 blocks, every day, without even thinking. That’s what kept him going, and he never thought of himself as being old.” When Les Lieber was 105, he was asked to play his sax in front of a group of seniors, and leaned over to Jon and said, “I don’t really want to play for these people, they’re really old.” Lieber and his wife Edith were good friends with a nearby Village newsstand vendor, David Eia, whose kiosk is on Broadway near Eighth St. “He kept an eye on my dad and my mom,” said Jon, which included helping Edith carry groceries back to their apartment, located a few doors down from there. When Les and Edith were hosting a party, Eia would close down his stand
Les Lieber, left, golfing with Sam Snead, who car ved his own golf club while they were on the links.
to attend. Whenever Lieber came by, Eia would give him special attention. “He would stop what he’s doing,” Jon recalled. “He would hand my dad a chocolate bar every day.” Eia, who is from Senegal and has manned the newsstand since 1994, called Lieber a “very good friend.” He noted that Hershey bars were the centenarian sax man’s favorite. Eia reflected that Lieber’s death was sad, but “he lived a very good life.” In Les Lieber’s final days, it was getting hard for him to shave. When Eia noticed this, he ended up going back to Lieber’s apartment with him to give him a clean shave. Jon Lieber remembered that seeing the familiar news vendor “became a source of inspiration for my dad in the later years. You get to be 106, it’s pretty simple things that keep you going.” Les Lieber is survived by his wife Edith (nee Shapiro), a lifelong New Yorker; sons Jon, 56, and David, 59; two stepsons that he raised, Jeffrey Katz, 70, and Jamie Katz, 67; seven grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. There will be a tribute show for Les Lieber on Sat., July 28, at the Community Center in Ocean Beach, Fire Island, on Long Island. It will feature a quartet including his longtime playing partners and friends guitarist Bill Wurtzel and vibraphonist Warren Chiasson.
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July 26, 2018
Pols blast de Blasio for silence on old P.S. 64 BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
t’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the old P.S. 64 was auctioned by the city and bought by developer Gregg Singer at a bargainbasement price of just $3.2 million. Even harder to believe is that the old school still sits vacant today. Yet, last October, while running for re-election, Mayor Bill de Blasio, addressing hundreds of locals at a Lower East Side town hall, announced that the city was interested in “reacquiring” the turn-of-the-century building. “Decisions made a long time ago were a mistake,” de Blasio declared then. “To place that building in the hands of a private owner was a failed mistake. So I’m announcing tonight, the city’s interest in reacquiring that building. We are ready to right the wrongs of the past and will work with Councilmember [Rosie] Mendez and her successor to get that done.” In the nearly nine months since that stunning announcement, however, there has been no further word from City Hall on plans to wrest back the building from Singer. Last Friday, local politicians and community activists gathered in front of the fenced-off building at 605 E. Ninth St., at Avenue B, to mark the 20-year anniversary of the sale, and also to call on Mayor de Blasio to follow through on his pledge. They were about 100 in all, and spilled into the street in front of the old school. Among them was Chino Garcia, the executive director of CHARAS / El Bohio, the Puerto Rican-led group that ran a community and cultural center in the building from 1978 to 2001, when they were evicted by Singer. Also present, though at a distance, on the sidewalk near the corner of Avenue B, was a contingent of around 25 police, quietly keep an eye on things. They paled in comparison to the huge force of riot-helmet-wearing cops who massed on the street 17 years ago for the eviction. In 2006, at the end of a march for slain squatter activist Brad Will, people broke into the building with a bolt cutter and rode bikes around inside of it. But the most aggressive thing about last week’s rally was when a red-tail hawk from the park perched on a fire escape across the street from the old school and hungrily eyed the pigeons. Addressing the crowd, former Councilmember Mendez said, “I think the mayor is a little reticent because of this lawsuit. But you don’t ‘right the wrongs of the past’ by staying silent.” Regarding the lawsuit, in January, Singer and his associates sued those who they hold responsible for blocking his ever-changing schemes of creating a university dorm; early on, Singer wanted to build a high-rise tower at the site, with one version 27 stories and a
July 26, 2018
PHOTO BY ROBERTO J. MERCADO
At the rally outside the old P.S. 64, from left, CHAR A S’s Chino Garcia, G.V.S.H.P.’s Andrew Berman (hidden from view), Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Ayo Harrington, A ssemblymember Har vey Epstein, Borough President Gale Brewer, former Councilmember Rosie Mendez and District Leader Anthony Feliciano. At right is a puppet head of Armando Perez, CHAR A S’s late cultural director.
later version 19 stories. However, since 2006, when the building was landmarked right under him, he has been trying to renovate the existing structure as a dorm. But after Mendez badgered the Department of Buildings, charging that Singer’s latest dorm plans — from his hoped-for tenants to how the space would be allocated — didn’t conform with the law, D.O.B. slapped a stopwork order on the project in the fall of 2017, which remains in effect to this day. “Singer get out!” one sign at the rally said simply, expressing the hope of everyone there. Among those named in the developer’s lawsuit are Mendez, D.O.B., Mayor de Blasio, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, as well as its director, Andrew Berman, and Mendez’s successor in the City Council, Carlina Rivera. CHARAS / El Bohio was always about nurturing the local arts scene, and, in that spirit, community activist Ayo Harrington sang a song at the rally, “Stop, No Lease, No Dorm,” to the tune of “Stop in the Name of Love.” As she crooned, Mendez and District Leader Anthony Feliciano did a Supremes-like shuffle behind her. In the final verse, she sang: Billy, Billy, at a town hall, said you’d buy back CHARAS in front of us all. Several calls by The Villager this Monday and Tuesday to the City Hall Press Office seeking comment from the Mayor’s Office were repeatedly an-
swered by a recorded greeting, telling reporters to e-mail their questions. Emailed requests for comment on why the administration has not held any follow-up meetings with stakeholders about a strategy to regain the building — and its future use — were not responded to by press time. The assumption is the building could be taken back through eminent domain, which would require the city to pay Singer fair market value for it; previously, Mendez has cited a figure of $40 million. Looking around at the representatives of various community groups at the rally, and calling out the names of their groups, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein said, “This is what the community’s about. De Blasio has a responsibility to follow through on his pledge and get this building back.” He noted the recent news that Boys Club of New York plans to sell its Harriman Clubhouse at E. 10th St. and Avenue A. “We need community spaces,” he stressed. “We need spaces like CHARAS.” Added Feliciano, “We are a neighborhood that’s like a family. When anything’s taken away, we fight.” Councilmember Rivera had some of the toughest criticism of de Blasio. “I talk to the mayor...occasionally,” she said, adding pointedly, “He hasn’t always been a partner on community projects. “I promise I will get what we deserve,” Rivera said, concluding with, “and que viva CHARAS!” (“long live CHARAS!”) Asked afterward what exactly she meant by the mayor not being an ally
on community projects, she elaborated, “We haven’t had good negotiations on the Tech Hub project. I haven’t heard about CHARAS. And I haven’t had a substantial conversation on the coastal resiliency project.” On the Tech Hub tower, planned at the P.C. Richard & Son site on E. 14th St., Rivera wants an extra floor to be earmarked for the community-based digital-skills training program, and also wants zoning protections put in place to mitigate the project’s impact on development in the surrounding area. As for coastal resiliency, Rivera said federal money has been allocated, but it can be lost if not used by a certain date. Meanwhile, Mendez and CHARAS’s Garcia noted the many ideas and programs that were incubated and nurtured in the building, from the city’s first recycling operation and first effort to use solar power to the Lower East Side Mutual Housing Association, the Danspace Project and Picture the Homeless. As Susan Howard, a leading member of the Save CHARAS effort put it, “Anybody could come in with an idea or project, and if they didn’t have the money for it, Armando and Chino would help them and support it.” Armando Perez, CHARAS / El Bohio’s cultural director — who had vowed he would rather die than see the building sold away from them — was tragically murdered in Queens in April 1999. “Armando, we miss him very, very much,” Garcia said, sadly. “I’m hoping that this time next year, we will be celebrating inside [the building] instead of outside.” TheVillager.com
Loft legalization was issue in summer of ’82 FLASHBACK BY GABE HERMAN
age One of the July 29, 1982, issue of The Villager featured coverage of a meeting of 300 loft tenants at the first public gathering of the Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants, following the passage of a law the previous month allowing loft tenants to gain legal status for the first time in the city’s history. Tenants would have to fill out the necessary paperwork by July 31. At the meeting, at P.S. 41, it was explained that the law also required industrial loft buildings to be fixed up to meet residential codes. The new law called for tenants, not landlords, to pay these costs. The new law presented a conflict for loft residents used to living illegally in their spaces. “We’ve all been hiding for so long that we’re more comfortable in that role than coming forward,” said Adrienne Leban, a member of the Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants Steering Committee. “People have to make the decision for themselves. If you apply, you may not be allowed to stay because you’re not in compliance with zoning. On the other hand, if you don’t take the oppor-
PHOTO BY JOHN P. MCCABE
The photo that ran with The Villager’s ar ticle on the first Loft Tenants A ssociation meeting following the new law legalizing the former manufacturing buildings as residences.
tunity to square yourself with the law, you leave yourself at the mercy of your landlord.” In the same issue of The Villager, a public notice appeared about the loft issue, reading, in part: “Do you own or live in a loft building south of 60th Street in Manhattan which does not have a residential certificate of occupancy? You may be required to file a grandfathering
cuation an eva e v a h I “ ke sure will ma plan. I s too.” ily doe my fam
application by July 31, 1982.” An editorial by The Villager joined the call by other local groups to extend the July 31 deadline. The paper argued that passage of the law took longer than initially expected, and while applauding a big city effort to spread word about the measure, noted, “The matter, which can mean the difference between eviction or security for tenants in strictly-zoned
areas, is too important to end only five weeks after the final passage of the state loft law — especially when that time falls in the summer.” Other stories covered in that issue included overall crime rates in the Village staying about the same, though burglaries were down and car thefts were up; delays for renovations at Washington Square Park because of a Teamsters union strike; and an archaeological dig at Sheridan Square, hoping to find Native American and Dutch artifacts from the 17th and 18th centuries, from before the area was paved over in 1825. Some locals complained the project was just creating more congestion, while others were hopeful that Village history would be uncovered. Advertisements in the issue included two for Bleecker St. staples, Matt Umanov Guitars and Natural Leather (later known at Native Leather), both of which — coming back to the present — recently closed. Another ad promoted an upcoming show at the Village Gate, at Bleecker at Thompson Sts., from the New York Folk Festival, which presented “A celebration of women artists in a night of Latin Jazz and Afro Caribbean music, song and dance.” It was a benefit for Impact on Hunger, and admission was $6. The Village Gate would close 12 years later.
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July 26, 2018
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Bagel was a dream
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To The Editor: Re “Filomena Vitrano, 96, the owner of The Bagel” (obituary, July 19): I started going there in the mid-’70s and always had the same breakfast of scrambled eggs with cream cheese, sausage, bagel and a glass of OJ made by Casey. I don’t know how he did it but the whole place ran very smoothly and everyone that worked there was a dream. It was such a tiny place that you could barely move since it was just a narrow short counter with a few tiny tables thrown in, but everyone was so laid back, so it worked. It also had the tiniest bathroom I ever had been in, which you could barely turn around in, and I was just a little over 100 pounds. I remember the table they put outside when the weather was nice and would see Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel out there laughing it up. It was the old-time funky West Village of your dreams and you felt so welcomed. So sad when it closed. Great, precious memories. Thanks to all who waited on us. Just great humans all around. Maggie Allen
Active at O.L.P. center To The Editor: Re “Filomena Vitrano, 96, the owner of The Bagel” (obituary, July 19): Very sorry to hear this. Filomena and her sister Christine were active members of the Our Lady of Pompeii senior center. Very good family.
Sam Schwartz (particularly on his support for the “congestion pricing” tax scam), I believe his analysis of the effect of the one-way Verrazano Bridge toll on Lower Manhattan is spot on. The one-way toll has burdened those of us living in Lower Manhattan with horrendous traffic since it began in 1986. Unfortunately, as your recent article pointed out, it was put in place by federal law that tolls can only be collected going from Brooklyn to Staten Island. Unfortunately, our elected representatives — Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand — did not step up to the plate to change this horrible situation when the Democrats were in the majority in Congress. They will now have to make nice with the Republicans and the president to bring us relief. John Ost
Two-way fees not enough To The Editor: Re “Verrazano study verifies: 2-way toll would slash traffic” (news article, July 19): Current solutions, like initiating two-way tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, will only partially help. As long as there is a free one-way toll to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel, trucks and motorists will still be inclined to choose that cheapest, toll-free route to avoid any tolls whatsoever. After all, vehicles are tolled per axle, so large trucks would still have an incentive to travel into Manhattan. Sean Sweeney
Laura Fosco Marceca
Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Mario’s bad bridge scenario Dems didn’t act on toll To The Editor: Re “Verrazano study verifies: 2-way toll would slash traffic” (news article, July 19): While I don’t always agree with traffic consultant
We cover “The Cube”!
To The Editor: Re “Verrazano study verifies: 2-way toll would slash traffic” (news article, July 19): Thank you for sharing the results of this study. The 1986 toll change was, if memory serves, championed by then-Governor Mario Cuomo, who seemed more sensitive to complaints from Staten Islanders LETTERS continued on p. 22
Cuomo kicks all his convicted friends and associates under the bus. 12
July 26, 2018
Trump, and Tronc, to the Daily News: Drop Dead
NOTEBOOK BY HARRY PINCUS
id I just miss something? Has there just been, within the daily gyre of bad news swirling around our “favorite president” a death notice posted for the New York Daily News? What a coincidence it is, that our president, who regards the free press as an enemy of the people, should preside over the loss of a beloved institution that is so crucial to the collective understanding of our era. A faraway entity with the menacing name of Tronc has dealt us a blow that will stain our city like the ghost of the missing towers upon our skyline. Whether it was something sinister, like the Justice Department’s opposition to the AT&T-Time Warner merger, or simply the price of ink and newsprint, the deed appears to be done. Trump or Tronc, what’s the difference? Long before Trump told a rally, “Don’t believe what you’re reading or seeing,” there was another greatly admired figure who fought for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” out of an edifice that greatly resembled the old Daily News building on 42nd St. His name was Clark Kent, and he worked there. It was also my good fortune to find work as a freelance illustrator at the New York Daily News, in the latter decades of the 20th century, just before the dawn of the digital age, and long past the great paper’s heyday. It was thrilling to enter the imposing lobby of the Daily News for the first time, beneath the granite bas-relief of the workers of the world, and the inscription from Abraham Lincoln, “God must love the common people, because...HE MADE SO MANY OF THEM.” Here was a vehicle of expression that reached out to millions. At its postwar peak, 2.4 million readers daily, and 4.7 million on Sunday. It took a cast of thousands to produce and distribute such a thing, and the newsroom was as jam-packed as a World War I troopship. This week’s announcement, that half of the editorial staff, a total of around 40 newsroom employees, was just laid off may delight our favorite president, but what a puny death trickle it was compared to the might of our old Daily News. My Daily News was always fending off disaster. Strikes and rumors, and even an owner who ended up jumping off his yacht. Due to Robert Maxwell’s tragedy, I realized 11 cents on the dollar for my illustrations in bankruptcy court, and the paper barely survived. As an artist, I tried to bring realism directly to the people, even if they were TheVillager.com
Harr y Pincus with a blowup of his “Ronaway!” front-page illustration that was displayed in the lobby of the old Daily News building on E. 42nd St.
only buying the paper for the Lucky Bucks promotions.
My Daily News was always fending off disaster.
The height of my own career might have occurred when the Daily News lured me away from the New York Times Week In Review, where I was busily engaged in depicting the American electorate for the 1984 presidential election. When I checked in on my Answerphone, (remember those?), a familiar voice was barking, “Pincus get over here!” It could only be the Daily News, directly across town, and I excitedly asked for photos of “all your Mondales, and all your Reagans.” “It’s for the day after the election,”
said the art director, “Reagan Bush.” He assured me that the election was all but over, but that I was welcome to come by for drinks and sandwiches on election night. But it was Reagan Bush. The resultant “Ronaway! Fritz gets Blitzed” front page was everywhere. After a nap of shame, I took a bus up to the Limelight that night, and everyone on the bus had my front page. Dave Winfield of the Yankees was standing outside the front door of the club, holding it. It was even blown up in the Daily News lobby, and hung in the newsroom. I used to take girls on dates to the lobby to look at that miserable front page. When the News had a party for a new section it launched, former Mayor Lindsay, now a forgotten man, was lost in a corner. I’d worked for Lindsay, as a 16-year-old in Coney Island, and I brought the fallen mayor over to look at my Page One cover image. John Lindsay glared at my drawing of the jubilant Reagan, and shook his head, “What a schmuck!” he said. Still, the Daily News retained a redolence of past glories. The old wooden clock, seen over Humphrey Bogart’s shoulder in “Deadline, U.S.A.,” kept watch over the newsroom, and celebrities often came by to kibitz, and plant stories in the gossip column. One sleepless morning, following an all-night deadline, I was asked if I’d like to meet Bob Hope. The art director thought I ought to present Bob Hope holding a copy of “Ronaway.”
In this same lobby, where Clark Kent had emerged as Superman, bronze markers emanated from the gigantic globe to indicate the precise distance of every world capital from the Daily News. On this particular morning, a white Christmas tree was set up on a platform, beside a frosty, gilded throne. There sat Bob Hope, with a Santa hat, and a young beauty contestant sitting on his lap, wearing a sash that said “Miss Florida.” “How ya feelin’, Bob?” called out someone from the crowd. “Quiet. I’m working,” said Bob Hope. When he extricated himself from “Miss Florida” and came down off his throne, the ageless star was escorted to a photo exhibition, which featured a blowup of an exhausted looking Bing Crosby riding, unrecognized, in a New York City subway car. The ancient vaudevillian was shocked and saddened at the sight of his old friend, the late Bing, and a tear came to his eyes. An old retouch artist named Jimmy Delehanty told me that he used to write a travel column for William Randolph Hearst, down on Printers Row in the ’20s. “Mr. Hearst was always very kind to me,” he said. And when I asked him how old he was, Jimmy Delehanty said he was 64. “So you were 4 years old when you wrote the column, Jimmy?” I asked. “Oh no. I’m 68.” Back then, Jimmy used to run with his friend, the cartoonist Segar, who dressed him as his greatest creation, Popeye, and introduced him at the bar as “my son.” He spoke of Damon Runyon in the present tense, as if the creator of “Guys and Dolls” was still with us. “That was his desk, right over there,” said Jimmy Delehanty, with genuine reverence. Some of the wags at the News didn’t appreciate the significance of Jimmy Delehanty, and they often hid his airbrush and tried to ridicule him into taking “the buyout.” “The buyout” was tabloid heaven, retirement money that most Daily News workers could only dream of. Jimmy, however, was a widower, with no children. His life was the newspaper, and he confided to me that after so many decades of service, he could cash in on a tidy sum, nearly $200,000. So Jimmy finally took the buyout, and before long, word came that he had married his housekeeper, and that she had absconded with all of his buyout money! In a small office unto himself, was Bill Gallo, the sports cartoonist who invented Basement Bertha as a symbol of the last-place Mets, and Steingrabber, the imperious owner of the Yankees. I NEWS continued on p. 21 July 26, 2018
Gottfried and O’Donnell: Combat opioids with pot BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
anhattan assemblymembers hope medical marijuana can help curb the state’s opioid crisis. Two recent bills aim to increase access to medical pot to reduce the abuse of the potentially deadly painkillers. One bill, from Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, has passed both the state Senate and Assembly; it would add substance use disorder to the list of conditions legally treatable by medical marijuana, plus would allow the use of medical pot in place of opioids for pain management. Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell’s legislation would add opioid use disorder as a condition treatable by medical marijuana. O’Donnell’s bill passed the Assembly in early June. “We need to change our worldview about cannabis and marijuana and what it is and how it works,” said O’Donnell, who represents Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side in the 69th Assembly District. He added that such legislation “is a step in the right direction.” In New York State, opioid deaths increased by 180 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to a July report by the Department of Health on the potential impact of regulated marijuana. However, some studies suggest that legalizing cannabis in some capacity could reduce opioid deaths. A 2014 study revealed there were 25 percent fewer opioid deaths in states with medical cannabis laws, STAT News reported. Studies published earlier this year showed evidence that opioid prescriptions decreased where marijuana was legal, and that the reductions were greater in states with both recreational and medical marijuana, according to STAT. O’Donnell sponsored legislation that specifically adds opioid use disorder to the list of conditions for medical marijuana use. The hope is that recovering opioid addicts could use pot as a way to curb withdrawal symptoms and anxiety. Plus, the law could help people get off opioids entirely rather than replacing one opioid with another, specifically methadone, which is a current common treatment for heroin addiction. “This is just a tool in a toolbox, but it’s a tool we should not be prohibiting a doctor from using,” O’Donnell said. “We need to do a better job of finding solutions for people who are addicts in the opioid crisis and get them the treatment that they need. “Obviously, under the care of a doctor, but still, it’s a very necessary first step,” he said. But research — though promising — often varies. The data showing
July 26, 2018
opioid death reductions in states with legal weed doesn’t prove causation. And another study shows the opposite: that marijuana users have an increased likelihood of developing an opioid addiction or using opioid prescriptions for nonmedical purposes. “This is a hot topic right now,” said Timothy Brennan, the director of the Addiction Institute at Mt. Sinai West and St. Luke’s medical centers. But, he added, “You’ll see conflicting data out there.” At the root of the conflicting data, Brennan said, is how difficult it is to study cannabis at all. Federally, marijuana is listed as a “Schedule 1” drug, alongside drugs including heroin and LSD. Even fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous opioid, is considered “Schedule 2” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Controlled clinical trials, where one group of individuals takes a drug and another takes a placebo, are the “gold standard” of research trials. That kind of validation is extremely difficult to determine when, at the federal level, marijuana is illegal and considered unsafe. The studies that do exist are easy to “poke holes” in, Brennan added. “Until we change the schedule of cannabis, that’s not likely to change at all,” he said. Using medical marijuana for chronic pain as a substitute for opioid prescriptions is another route that some believe could mitigate the opioid crisis. Gottfried’s legislation, which passed the state Senate and the Assembly but has not been signed by Governor Cuomo yet, would make it legal to use medical marijuana as a replacement for prescription opioids for pain management. A recent study by Northwell Health — which operates the Comprehensive Care Center in the Village at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. —illuminates some of the anecdotal, life-changing experiences people have had with managing their pain with medicinal marijuana. Northwell Health researchers surveyed 138 medical marijuana users ages 61 to 70 suffering with chronic pain from osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, hip and knee pain, and pain that could not be relieved with steroid injections. Between 18 and 27 percent of patients said they were able to reduce their use of other painkillers one month after beginning medical pot. “We did get overwhelmingly positive results — even more than we anticipated, I would say,” said Diana Martins-Welch, a physician at Northwell Health’s Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine Department. She preMARIJUANA continued on p. 22 TheVillager.com
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 TheVillager.com
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. 16 July 26, 2018
FILM FORUM continued from p. 15
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 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 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.
July 26, 2018
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.
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 programmer 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. TheVillager.com
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 TheVillager.com
Courtesy of Mason Vincent
Boston-based reggae/arena rock fusion band The Happy Campers, circa 1988.
choices in picking out his clothes and getting 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 light-hearted, 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.
Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net
TNC’s Street Theater Co.
Shame! or the Doomsday Machine book and Lyrics by Crystal Field Music By Joseph Vernon Banks
all performances are FREE! FREE! FREE! Opens Sat. August 4th Right here on 10th Street July 26, 2018
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N.Y.U buys another
Combat opioids with pot
N.Y.U. continued from p. 1
MARIJUANA continued from p. 14
intended use. Martin Dorph, N.Y.U. executive vice president, said, “With a location so near our academic core, this property represented an important opportunity for the university. Our first step will be to reach out to the existing tenants and begin building a relationship. We want to let them know that we will promptly be evaluating the building’s systems and structures. Our goal is to maintain the building in first-class condition.” According to StreetEasy, the “midrise” seven-story residential building was constructed in 1900 and has 27 apartments, most of which are newly renovated. Among its tenants are a number who are in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments, including Maggie Condon, daughter of the late jazz guitar great Eddie Condon. “N.Y.U. — which has rent-regulated tenants in a number of its other residential buildings — is committed to acting in line with all rules, regulations and laws regarding the rent-regulated tenants in 27 Washington Square North,” Beckman said.
sented the study at the American Geriatrics Society conference in May and plans to submit the paper to be formally published in the coming months. “Some [participants] found this to be life-changing for them,” she said, “which really drove the point home that this is not by any means an illicit drug that should be brushed aside.” Even so, Martins-Welch recognizes that research is limited as long as marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug. Just weeks after her research was announced, another study with more than 1,500 participants and a longer timeframe found no evidence that cannabis decreased chronic pain or opioid use. Accessibility and cost is another concern. In Martins-Welch’s research, negative comments from patients about medical marijuana mostly focused on the out-ofpocket costs and insurance coverage. A one-month supply of medical pot costs, on average, $300, according to Martins-Welch. Medical marijuana accessibility, not necessarily recreational legalization, is critical for her work as a physician. “I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to recreational legalization,” she said. “I think alcohol and tobacco are much more harmful substances and they’re legal. … However, it will definitely complicate matters if
N.Y.U. has purchased this handsome residential building at 27 Washington Square Nor th.
The property is also located in the Greenwich Village Historic District, so is landmarked and protected from demolition. Other N.Y.U. buildings encircling Washington Square Park include its main Bobst Library, its Kimmel Center for University Life, the N.Y.U. School of Law’s Vanderbilt Hall, classroom buildings, faculty and academic offices, art galleries, student housing and faculty housing.
we’re talking about medicinal cannabis use. We have to make medical programs more accessible.” Mt. Sinai’s Brennan added that “human beings have been using cannabis for millennia.” People use it for depression, anxiety or increasing their appetite, and he speculated that those marijuana users may never use a pill form that they can pick up from Duane Reade. “The struggle for physicians is when someone tells me they really benefit from the pot that they buy from their pot dealer,” Brennan said. “That’s wonderful, but I have no idea what they’re ingesting.” A few bong hits that help relieve a headache, he explained, doesn’t tell him the weed’s potency or strain or if it could have been sprayed with something else. Martins-Welch echoed that sentiment, explaining her patients aren’t trying to get high. And though she tells her patients that cannabis is not the “panacea” that the Internet says it is, she added her patients often tell her, “I don’t want to feel like a criminal trying to treat myself.” For her elderly, “snowbird” patients, for instance, they cannot take their medical marijuana prescriptions to Florida during the wintertime. “I consider [that] to be asinine,” she said. “This is not something they should be scared to do. So what do we do — just give them opiates for the time being?”
Trump, and Tronc, to the Daily News: Drop Dead NEWS continued from p. 13
grew up with Gallo’s work, which defined the world of sports, whether it gravitated toward realism or off into the ethos of fancy. Now I was working just outside of his office, asking him about his friend Joe DiMaggio (“Don’t ever talk about Marilyn” to him, he said) or what it was like to hang out with Babe Ruth. I once told Bill Gallo about how my mother had forestalled the eviction of her immigrant parents from their Brownsville apartment, by walking into Jack Dempsey’s Broadway restaurant and selling the Champ not one, but two Collier’s Encyclopedias, one for each daughter. This diamond of family lore had landed me an illustration gig at a fancy Madison Ave. clothier, but barely impressed Bill Gallo, who simply said that Dempsey was an easy touch, and a sucker for anyone who asked for a handout. On Jan. 12, 1928, a Daily News photographer hid a tiny camera under his pants leg, and photographed the electric chair execution of Ruth Snyder, a Queens woman who had murdered her husband, in order to have an affair with a married corset salesman. The next day’s one-word, screaming front-page headline, “Murder!” marked the birth TheVillager.com
of what we now call tabloid journalism. Imagine how much fun it was to draw wife beaters, prisoners, rock stars, cops snorting coke, racist umpires glaring at black home run hitters and presidents for the Daily News! I stayed up for a week drawing “New York’s Lost Teenagers,” which included Times Square runaways and a drawing of a kid behind the bars of welfare office chairs called, “Locked Out by the System.” When I was nearly finished, Jimmy Breslin himself walked up to my table in the windowless room with food machines, where Chock Full o’Nuts instant coffee and Entenmann’s donuts were served, kicked my chair and grunted. I felt like I had just won the Pulitzer Prize. Whenever I brought in a pen-and-ink illustration, a photostat had to be made in the Coloroto Magazine studio, which had captured almost every midcentury celebrity in glowing color, reproduced on the finest photogravure presses. The Coloroto Studio had since fallen on hard times, and was presided over by a balding red-haired gentleman, with a short-sleeved polyester shirt, plastic horn-rimmed glasses that were clear on the bottom, and very hairy arms. He wore a wristwatch from the 1950s, with a gold expansion band, and sat impassively beneath a laminated Coloroto
photograph of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, which had, by now, faded to the color of sardines in the can. This man was not the least bit sympathetic to my pursuit of perfection. He made the photostats and he made so many of them! He could kill me in a second or two of over- or underexposure. The poorly registered image was then sent on to the compositing room, where a union rep with a whistle might threaten to shut down the entire paper if “you don’t get yer ass outta here!” By the ’80s, the paper was printed with plastic plates on something comparable to toilet paper. Nothing looked as good as it had back in the day of Speed Graphics, zinc plates and newsprint paper with rag content. Every congressman was in focus when F.D.R. declared war on Japan, and millions depended on the veracity of the image. Now things were blurry, but I was hired to make sharp illustrations that could be printed without the crude grid used for photographs. I once naively asked an old editor why the recent photos were so inferior to the vintage prints of the ’40s and ’50s. “That’s because in my day, professionals used professional equipment,” he said, gesturing with shaky, nicotinestained fingers. “We didn’t use tourist cameras!”
I assumed he was referring to 35-millimeter photography, and its small negatives. Before the dailies invested hundreds of millions of dollars in offset lithography and color presses, retouch artists and pen-and-ink was all they had. Indeed, for a publication that prided itself on being “New York’s Picture Newspaper,” the News didn’t take very good care of its pictures. When I needed a photo of General Omar Bradley, I was told the photo morgue had lost World War II. Someone else said it had recently been transported to a dumpster. An editor deposited me in a locked office where I might find reference material for World War II. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found an enormous pile of negatives that had been left out on a table, and when I picked up one of the loose negatives, I was truly amazed. It was Marilyn Monroe, with her skirt blowing up over the subway grate! I quickly handed it over to my boss, and fled. The other day, one of the bummedout reporters who had just been canned was interviewed outside of the current Daily News building. “What are they going to do now,” he lamented, “hire freelancers?” Doesn’t he know yet? We’re all just freelancers. July 26, 2018
Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 12
about lines of traffic than he was after the reversal, when Tribeca and Soho streets became inundated with massive traffic jams around the Holland Tunnel entry. All crossing tolls should be equivalent in all directions. Hal Bromm
All about Dershowitz To The Editor: Re “Dershowitz dishes on not impeaching Trump” (news article, July 19): Alan Dershowitz is taking the extreme line of argument in defense of Trump. It seems more a play for Dershowitz’s own celebrity spotlight than a serious discussion of the law. He is an advocate for Trump, apparently not paid by Trump, but it does not hurt Alan’s book sales or his notoriety. Perhaps he is a paid consultant for Fox, considering all the times he is on there. Donnie Moder
Gay convert debate To The Editor: Re “Soho group is still preaching, quietly, the principles of Eli” (news article, July 19): In 1971, “The David Susskind Show” did a segment featuring formerly gay men who said Aesthetic Realism had “cured” them of homosexuality and
Gay Liberation Front members who challenged their claims. Mike Conway
‘Pedaling’ untruths To The Editor: Re “D.O.T. backpedals on two-way bike lane for 13th St.” (news article, July 12): “Residents and businesses are entitled to curbside access to their homes and workplaces, as are patrons, students, emergency personnel and delivery persons,” David Marcus says. What about residents who don’t own a car — the vast majority of people in Manhattan? And how can anybody have access through an endless row of parked cars? The safe space that will be created on 12th and 13th Sts. for residents, community members, patrons, students, emergency personnel and delivery persons to safely bike on will repurpose space now used to store private motor vehicles for free. Choresh Wald E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
Scoopy’s Notebook SCOOPY continued from p. 2
up from her first floor-basement duplex to a unit on the fifth floor, right next to Wilson’s, and the two do not get along at all. In fact, Wilson said, basically, she’s afraid of Celeste, whom the tabloids have described as “Amazonian.” In June 2013, The Villager reported how Celeste had illegally jackhammered a hole through the floor of her first-floor apartment and installed a spiral staircase in it to create the duplex. Ending the building’s neverending saga of dysfunction, under a deal with the city, Donald Capoccia, of BFC Partners, has now renovated the building, in exchange for “development credits,” some of which he sold to Ben Shaoul, accounting for the penthouse portion of Shaoul’s new Steiner luxury building, at Avenue A and E. Seventh St. Wilson said somehow Celeste even finagled a jacuzzi as an alleged “therapy tub” for her back in her renovated affordable unit. “Her daughter is Rosario Dawson, she’s worth millions,” Wilson fumed. “They all applied for Section 8,” she said of the Dawson clan, who now control five full units in the building. In 2008, according to the New York Post, only one Dawson was listed as legally having a unit in the building, Gregory Dawson, Rosario’s dad. Wilson also sleuthed out the fact that Celeste apparently demolished a property she had Upstate in Livingston Manor, since having another residence within 100 miles apparently disqualifies one from owning a Housing Development Fund Corporation-type unit. Cynthia Theodore, the Rockland town assessor, told us that the property had indeed been cleared of its former structure. “It would have been a trailer with extensions,” she noted. This past April, Wilson recorded a telephone conference call of a meeting that occurred at UHAB (Urban Homesteading Assistance Board), the organization charged with ensuring that the 11 former East Village squats that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration sold to the squatters for $1 apiece in 2002 were brought up to
the legal safety code. Celeste did not respond to requests for comment from The Villager — but, early in the meeting, she was reportedly openly annoyed at our having asked about her special hot tub, for one. Toward the end of the tape, Celeste can be heard stressing that Forbes is going to do an article on the building. “I’m executive producing a film on homeless youth in America,” Celeste says. “I’m having optics come into that building. I’m having an article done on me — in Forbes! Forbes! — not The Villager!” Celeste can also be heard saying, “I’m tired of being held hostage by Annie!” Wilson was angry that Damaris Reyes, executive director of GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), attended Celeste’s birthday party after the building reopened. (Wilson spotted a photo on Celeste’s Facebook page of her and Reyes at the party.) But longtime tenant advocate Reyes told us, “Isabel had a birthday. It was hundreds of people dropping by throughout the day, and I swung by for a bit. I think I was there for an hour, and I left.” Reyes said GOLES “did not have a role” in the building, which was under UHAB’s control. That said, she agreed that Wilson should not be forced to live next to Celeste. “Annie should not have to live next to her archnemesis,” she said. “That’s not right. Unfortunately, they don’t get along. If she had come to me, I would have tried to help her. But the people to speak to are UHAB,” Reyes noted. “They know the trajectory of this building. Maybe there could have been a swap of some kind.” Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey, who has represented the Dawsons on 544 E. 13th St., told us, “I got the building legalized and made sure everyone in residence legally has a right to their unit. I have worked and worked for many years to be able to get these former squatters the American Dream — a home that they own. I do not get involved in what goes on behind closed doors. I did make sure that all residents followed the rules and, working with UHAB, I can confidently say that the right people got the correct units based on the rules.”
SHERIFF’S SALE BY VIRTUE OF AN EXECUTION ISSUED OUT OF THE SUPREME COURT, NEW YORK COUNTY, in favor of THE CITY OF NEW YORK, and against ERROL RAINESS, to me directed and delivered, I WILL SELL AT PUBLIC AUCTION, by Dennis Alestra DCA# 0840217., auctioneer, as the law directs, FOR CASH ONLY, on the 12TH day of SEPTEMBER, 2018, at 11 O’CLOCK IN THE FORENOON, at: NEW YORK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, 66 JOHN STREET, 13TH FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10038 in the county of NEW YORK all the right, title and interest which ERROL RAINESS, the judgment debtor(s), had on the 31 ST day of OCTOBER, 2015, or at anytime thereafter, of, in and to the following properties: 212 7TH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10011 BLOCK: 772 LOT: 44 ALL that certain plot, piece or parcel of land, with the buildings and improvements thereon erected, situate, lying and being in the County of New York, City and State of New York, bounded and described as follows: BEGNINING at a point of the intersection of the Northerly Side of 22nd Street, with the Westerly Side of Seventh Avenue RUNNING THENCE westerly along the Northerly side of 22nd Street, 17 Feet 3-1/2 inches; THENCE northerly parallel with said Seventh Avenue, and part of the distance through a Party Wall, 49 feet 5 inches; THENCE easterly parallel with said 22nd Street 17 feet 3-1/2 inches to said Westerly side of Seventh Avenue; and THENCE southerly along the westerly side of Seventh Avenue, 49 feet 5 inches to the point or place of BEGINNING FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY: 212 7th Avenue, New York, NY a/k/a Block 772 Lot 44 on the New York County Tax Map. For conveyancing only: TOGETHER with all the right, title and interest of the party of the first part, of in and to the land lying in the street in front of an adjoining said premises. JOSEPH FUCITO Sheriff of the City of New York
July 26, 2018
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
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
Volume 2 | Issue 1
The Pulse of
Lenox Health Greenwich Village
Make no bones about it – prevention is key: 5 tips for maintaining strong and healthy bones Osteoporosis makes bones more susceptible to fractures and breaks. Bones naturally lose density with age, but you can still help keep them strong. May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, so it’s a great time to take action. 1. Boost calcium consumption. Calcium helps give bones their strength. Maintain the recommended daily intake of 1,0001,200 mg with good sources of calcium including low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and soy products such as tofu. 2. Don’t forget about vitamin D. For best absorption, pair calciumrich foods with those high in vitamin D, such as salmon, milk and orange juice. Adequate sunlight also provides your body with vitamin D. 3. Pump up the protein. Protein is one of the essential building blocks of bones. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, lean chicken, beans and nuts. 4. Cut back on the alcohol and avoid smoking. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption restrict your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, which can decrease bone density and increase the chance of fractures.
Did you know…
52 million Americans are aﬀected by osteoporosis and low bone density. If you think you may be at risk, see our specialists, who oﬀer bone density tests to assess and diagnose this condition. Did you know…
Only 35 percent of American adults consume the recommended daily intake of calcium. If you find it diﬃcult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking a calcium supplement.
5. Make exercise a priority. People who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Combine strength training, weight bearing and balance exercises (such as walking, running, skipping rope and stair climbing) to benefit bones.
Our advanced Imaging Center is dedicated to meeting the radiology needs of the entire Greenwich Village community. Learn more at Northwell.edu/LenoxHealthImaging or call (646) 846-1452.
July 26, 2018
July 26, 2018