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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Villag Village, g e,, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown Chinatt o ow w n and a n d Noho,, Since 1933 an

September 6, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number er 35

A better bus plan: Locals offer their ‘L-ternative’ option BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y

T

o mix metaphors — and why not, since everything about this plan is “unprecedented”? — Little Italy and Soho activists say they are being railroaded by the bus part of the L shutdown mitigation scenario. “They haven’t done an im-

pact study on n the Lafayette / Kenmare area,” charged Georgette Fleischer, president of Friends of Petrosino Square. That’s one of the rallying points of the ad hoc KenmareLittle Italy Loop Coalition, BUSES continued on p. 6

Also on the ballot: Civil court primary is another hot race BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

P

rimary elections are just around the corner on Thurs., Sept. 13. The race between Cynthia Nixon and Governor Andrew Cuomo, of course, and those for attorney general and lieutenant governor are the most high-profile ones. But there’s also a more

local judicial race that’s being followed with interest that will be on the ballot for Downtown voters. Robert Rosenthal and Wendy Li will face off in the first primary election since 2006 for the city’s Second District Civil Court seat. The district JUDGE continued on p. 8

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

Their ship has come in! Lady Bunny, left, and Bianca Del Rio shared the stage at the relaunch of Wigstock on Sat., Sept. 1, at the Seapor t. See Ar ts, on Page 17.

Bowery tenants finally back — 8 months later BY BILL WEINBERG

T

he traditional lion dance is seen on the streets of Chinatown every Lunar New Year, and on other festive occasions, such as weddings and business openings. The one held Fri., Aug. 31, was very short — from the Wyndham Garden Chinatown Hotel at the corner of Bowery and Hester

Voice signs off — for good.......p. 4

St., just halfway down the block to 85 Bowery. But it was particularly poignant. Leading the procession, just ahead of the dancer in the lion costume and an accompanying drummer, the marchers held a big banner reading — in both Chinese and English — “We Are Going Home.” When they arrived at the door of No. 85, a brief rally was held on the sidewalk. Then, they symboli-

cally tore the word “Going” from the banner so that it simply read, “We Are Home.” And as onlookers cheered and the cameras of the assembled press corps flashed, they triumphantly crossed the threshold into the building. It was a hard-won victory. The 85 Bowery tenants were rousted from their homes on BOWERY continued on p. 23

New Village festival will be a real Trip.............p. 12 Habitat to gardeners: We’re coming home.......p. 15 www.TheVillager.com


PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Andrew Cuomo walked with his contingent.

Ya, mon! Cuo and Blaz march on Caribbean Day Making the scene on Eastern Park way on Monday at the West Indian Day Parade were political rivals Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cuomo marched with a contingent including Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Reverend Al Sharpton and Sanford Rubenstein, the civil-rights and divorce attorney, who was a parade grand marshal this year. De Blasio was joined by his wife, the cit y’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray.

Bill de Blasio marched with his wife, Chirlane McCray, who was also a grand marshal of the parade.

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September 6, 2018

TheVillager.com


POSSIBLE COUNCIL CONTENDERS: We’re already hearing some names who might be interested in running for City Council in District 3 in a few years. Corey Johnson will be term-limited at the end of 2021. District Leader Arthur Schwartz said he’s among them. He’s a little concerned about his health, especially after having a heart scare a couple of years ago when he campaigned against Assemblymember Deborah Glick. “Three years is far away, but I will probably file a committee soon,” Schwartz told us. “I’ll wait until after November elections.” Schwartz said he assumes Terri Cude would seek the Village / Chelsea seat, as would Erik Coler, current president of the Village Independent Democrats club. However, Cude told us, “At this time, I am 100 percent focused on serving the community in my current roles as chairperson of Community Board No. 2, and female Democratic district leader in the 66th Assembly District, Part B.” As for Coler, he told us, “I’ve heard people tell me Arthur says that. I’m not sure why, though, considering we don’t even live in the same City Council district.” It sounds like Coler may live in District 1, which is currently represented by Margaret Chin and also includes part of the Village. Another name, of course, is Erik Bottcher, Johnson’s affable and capable chief of staff. Bottcher didn’t respond when we asked him if he’s interested in succeeding his boss.

WILL SNUB HEARING: The word now is that the City Council’s Small Business Committee plans to hold its hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act in late October or early November. Meanwhile, members of the Small Business Congress — a group of leading advocates who have been pushing for the S.B.J.S.A.’s passage for years — are actually planning to boycott the long-sought hearing because they are certain the “fix is in” to water down the legislation. The S.B.C. wants Speaker Johnson to have the Council’s legal department issue a statement beforehand, once and for all, on whether it thinks the bill passes muster or not. However, we’re told, in so many words, “That just isn’t how it’s done.” Regardless, everyone knows that, were the full City Council to approve the bill, there’s no question the Real Estate Board of New York would immediately sue. Some say that it would partly be through the court process that any legal issues with the bill would actuTheVillager.com

ally eventually get resolved. At any rate, for now, the S.B.C. does intend to shun the hearing. “That’s their plan — if the legal issue is not resolved prior to the hearing!” reported Villager contributor Sharon Woolums, who writes about the S.B.J.S.A. issue. “I may go to explain their rationale, for the record — will decide when the time comes.” Or, as the group put it, “The S.B.C. will not participate in any way addressing any bogus claims against the S.B.J.S.A. We will only respond to any recommended amendments to the bill made by the speaker’s legal counsel. They are rigging things and plan to change the bill. Just resolve the legal issues and there will be no problem.” The S.B.J.S.A. would give all commercial tenants — yes, all...from ground-floor bodegas up to huge financial firms on the 50th floor — a chance to renew their leases for 10 years, by means of mediation and, if necessary, binding arbitration, with their landlords. The rent would have to be at least market rate.

SUPERFAST SHUTDOWN: The Noho Gristedes supermarket, at Mercer and W. Third Sts., across from Washington Square Village, suddenly closed without notice and “zero fanfare,” we’re told, around last Thursday. “There has been a market on that corner for as long as 50 years. Previously, it was Sloan’s,” a Villager reader told us, requesting anonymity. “Gristedes customer service gave only nebulous responses about the reasons for the shutdown and possible resuscitation.” It’s not clear what might be coming into that empty space now. As for where locals will shop, there’s always the Morton Williams supermarket, just one long superblock away, at LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St. … Meanwhile, as for the former Associated supermarket space on W. 14th St. near Eighth Ave., last time we checked it was something called SLT, where folks can do “strengthening and lengthening” exercises on things that look like racks. But you need affordable food or you can’t strengthen and lengthen! CLOTHING STORE CLOSING: In another retail ending, a bit sadder one, Star Struck, the longtime vintage clothing shop on Greenwich Ave., shuttered on Fri. Aug. 31. After a 38-year run at the spot, the owners said they are looking forward to kicking back and just enjoying life a bit more now. “We will be forever grateful to all of our customers, for you have shown us the true meaning of loyalty,” they wrote on Facebook. “Many of you have become part of our family over the years; and although we will miss you all very much, we are looking forward to retirement.” CLOSE, BUT NOPE: Penny Mintz will not be on the primary ballot for Democratic state committee woman versus incumbent Rachel Lavine on Sept. 13. Arthur Schwartz, who is also an attorney, represented her in her SCOOPY’S continued on p. 21

JUMP continued on p. 3 September 6, 2018

3


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A classic Fred McDarrah photo of Bob Dylan that was on Page One of The Voice’s final print edition one year ago. McDarrah was a top photographer for The Voice in its early years. The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2018 by the NYC Community Media LLC is published weekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Offices: One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Offices: NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2018 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR

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4

September 6, 2018

The Village Voice goes silent BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

A

fter 63 years, The Village Voice ceased publication last Friday. Owner Peter Barbey made the announcement to his staff, saying that “business realities” had forced the closure. Barbey bought the iconic paper, founded in 1955, three years ago, and ended its print edition one year ago, after which it only appeared online. But with Friday’s news, the Voice has ended publishing any new material. A skeleton staff is being retained to handle archiving of the paper’s past issues online. Gothamist reported that Barbey had been in discussions about selling the alter-

native tabloid. In statement, Barbey said, “The Voice has been a key element of New York City journalism and is read around the world. As the first modern alternative newspaper, it literally defined a new genre of publishing… . In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realties facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet.” Barbey’s family owns the Reading Eagle newspaper and fashion brands like The NorthFace and Vans.

Ed Fancher, The Voice’s founding publisher, said he met Barbey twice. “Evidently, he felt he was losing too much money and it wasn’t turned around the way he wanted it to,” he said. “We almost collapsed every week,” he said of the paper’s early years. Fancher, 95, said he’s glad that The Villager is still around. “When we started The Voice, we were oriented to compete with The Villager. Absolutely,” he said. “The Villager was this established, successful, family-oriented paper. Here we are 63 years later, I read it every week. The Villager is healthy. It has a good readership. There are enough people that are interested in community news. I mean, The Villager still has ads.” TheVillager.com


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.

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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.

TheVillager.com

September 6, 2018

5


Locals offer their ‘L-ternative’ option for buses BUSES continued from p. 1

whose members met under a blazing sun Wednesday morning to highlight their concerns about the bus route, a transportation replacement to Manhattan for the L train, which will significantly impact their neighborhood. The city hopes to shut down the L train tunnel between Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan for 15 months starting in April 2019, to allow for repairs to the tubes under the East River, which were damaged by salt water flooding during Superstorm Sandy six years ago. “All the attention has gone to 14th St.,” Fleischer said. “We just learned in January that they would be using our area for these diesel buses coming through with all those riders who would have been using the L train.” Under the city’s plan, 14th St. would be turned into a car-free “busway” for most of the day, a measure that Village and Chelsea residents have been fighting, fearing it would flood their side streets with all the traffic diverted from the major crosstown thoroughfare. At Wednesday’s press conference on the southern end of Petrosino Square on Kenmare St., Fleischer noted that the intersection at Lafayette St., Cleveland Place and Kenmare St. was found to be one of the 12 most dangerous intersections in all of New York. “How wise is it for this area to be the hub for all this transportation to be coming through?” she asked. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and city Department of Transportation are teaming up on the mitigation plan, also known as the “Alternative Service Plan,” which would also increase ferry service across the East River and add new bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. Under the scheme, a constant convoy of extra buses would come shuttling across the Williamsburg Bridge to Delancey St., which becomes Kenmare St., and then make a right on Cleveland Place to head up to Houston St. The coalition is pushing for a restoration of a two-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge since the current one-way toll has been proven to increase congestion along Kenmare and the surrounding streets. In addition, they charge, all the trucks have no business in Manhattan but are merely looking for cheap passage — via the Holland Tunnel — to New Jersey. Fleischer pointed out how adding 48 diesel buses per hour on this narrow street, under the city’s L shutdown mitigation plan, is untenable, since the street is already bottlenecked during rush hour. Since all those diesel buses would be emitting toxic particulate matter, contributing, especially, to asthma for area children, the coalition is calling for using electric buses instead of diesel on this route. The city’s plan would see four bus

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September 6, 2018

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Members of the Kenmare-Little Italy Loop Coalition, including Georgette Fleischer, at center holding large sign, were joined by local politicians in chanting, “Air quality matters! Protect our local businesses! No diesel buses! In front row, from left, are A ssemblymembers Yuh-Line Niou and Deborah Glick, C.B. 2 Chairperson Terri Cude and Jeanne Wilkie of the Downtown Independent Democrats. At right, second from right is state Senator Brian Kavanagh.

The communit y’s alternative bus plan does not have any routes that go down Kenmare St. to Cleveland Place, but instead has them all turn up Allen St.

routes added in Brooklyn, which would cross the bridge and then have two endpoints in Manhattan, at Houston St. and 14th St. At the peak, 80 buses per hour would be coming over the bridge into the neighborhood: Fifty of these would take the Kenmare St. / Cleveland Place route, while 30 would go up Allen St. Michele Campo, of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, or BAN, repeated that at all the public meetings regarding the L train, this area of Soho / Little Italy area has gotten scant attention.

On behalf of the coalition, Campo has offered an alternative bus route, using the wider Allen St. for all the routes to go uptown to Houston St., hitting every subway entrance in the city’s plans — except for the Spring St. 6 train stop — and connecting to the 6 train at Broadway / Lafayette St., a much larger station than Spring St., which can handle more people, with more subway lines and an elevator. “The streets are wider, less residents — it works,” Campo said of the commu-

nity’s alternative bus plan. Holding a sign that read, “Protect our Businesses,” Yunis Lee, of the Downtown Independent Business Alliance, spoke of the merchants’ struggle simply to pay their rent. “Any disruption is not good for small businesses. Do the studies and think about what this will do to small businesses,” she urged the city. Robin Goldberg, a member of Community Board 2, spoke about the planned bus holding area on Lafayette St. between Prince and Houston Sts. that will decrease the number of lanes for traffic on Lafayette Sts. It was also emphasized how the firehouses on Lafayette and Broome Sts. need access to the streets so that they can quickly respond to emergencies. Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said the city’s process has lacked transparency and that residents near these routes have had no voice in the planning, while the community’s option makes sense. “This alternative plan is logical and seamless,” she said. Assemblymember Deborah Glick, state Senator Brian Kavanagh and Councilmember Margaret Chin also endorsed the community’s plan for an alternative route. All the politicians stressed that the city must share its traffic data for the Kenmare St. area, so that an informed decision can be made. As longtime Soho activist Pete Davies put it, “We all just want them to share the information.” TheVillager.com


POLICE B L O T T E R E.V. rape arrest

Bag subway thief

Police on Tuesday reported that they had arrested a suspect in a sex attack that occurred on the morning of Sat., Sept. 1, at 620 E. 13th St. It was 11:15 a.m., according to police, when the suspect approached the victim, 46, in the laundry room and tried to talk to her. He persuaded her to follow him outside the room, where he grabbed her by the arm and neck. The victim resisted and fell to the ground, and the attacker then covered her mouth and attempted to remove her clothing. The man sexually assaulted the woman as she continued to struggle with him, but fled when she screamed. The victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital by E.M.S., where she was treated and released. Police ID’d the alleged attacker as Julio Mendez, 43, and released his name and photo. Pursuant to an investigation, Mendez, also of 620 E. 13th St., was charged with first-degree rape, sexual abuse, criminal obstruction of breathing, assault and menacing. It’s possible the victim knew the attacker since they apparently live in the same building.

While onboard a crowded northbound 4 train on Tues., Aug. 28, around 6 p.m., a man, 58, started to get bumped repeatedly by a younger man standing next to him, according to police. The younger man “was wearing a black messenger-type bag,” which he then put over the victim’s pants pocket that held his wallet, according to the report. The victim got off the train at E. 59th St. and realized that his wallet and money clip had been taken. Missing items included credit cards and $100 cash. The victim reported the incident the next day, when Victor Diaz Jimenez, 33, was arrested for felony grand larceny. The cash was not recovered.

Food fight Inside Bar 13, at 35 E. 13th St. near University Place, on Sun., June 16, around 7 p.m., an argument over food broke out between two female patrons, according to police. One woman, 25, thought that the other, 29, had taken her mother’s food. The dispute turned physical when the 25-year-old began choking the other woman and then threw her to the floor. The attacker was not caught at the scene and a canvass yielded no results. Video was available afterward, however, and on Aug. 27, Raven Belem was arrested for felony assault for strangulation.

Hairy incident A shoplifting attempt last week turned physical inside the Rite Aid at 501 Sixth Ave., between W. 12th and W. 13th Sts., police said. On Tues., Aug., 28 at 8:30 a.m., a man tried to hide several hair-care items, totaling $183 in value, in paper bags before trying to leave the store. At that point, there was a struggle with the store manager that involved pushing, before another store worker tried to intervene and was threatened by the man with an open syringe. According to the police report, the man stated, “I have AIDS.” Peter Pietri, 24, was eventually arrested at the scene and charged with attempted felony robbery. All of the hair-care items, which included blades and haircut kits, were recovered. TheVillager.com

Non, merci! There was an incident between coworkers at the Merci Market, at 59 Fifth Ave., near W. 13th St., police said. A 74-year-old woman told police that on Sat., Sept. 1, around 7 a.m., a male co-worker at the grocery store hit her with a closed fist on the back of her head, knocking her unconscious. The senior’s next memory was waking up at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave., around 1 p.m. Bryan Choi, 64, was arrested the same day for misdemeanor assault. The attack’s motive was not given.

Teen team A young male-and-female duo has made three attempts to rob stores in the Sixth and Fifth Precincts, succeeding once, police said. The incidents occurred Tues., Aug. 21, between 11 a.m. and noon. In each case, the male stands in front as a lookout while the female enters the location and simulates a gun, demanding cash. The woman first entered 232 Mulberry St., between Spring and Prince Sts., and then 284 Mulberry Sts., between Prince and Houston Sts., but each time fled without taking any money. However, on their third try, at 305 Sixth Ave., between Carmine and W. Third Sts., they made off with $200. Both are described as black and between 15 and 20 years old. The male has a thin build, wore a black track suit and had a black backpack. The female is heavyset and wore a dark-colored wig, a Nike T-shirt, black glasses, sweatpants and sneakers.

Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson September 6, 2018

7


Court primary is another hot race this summer JUDGE continued from p. 1

stretches south from E. 14th St. and roughly includes the East Village, most of the Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, the South Village and part of Chinatown. Voters will have the opportunity to choose between two lawyers with distinct differences. Li is a firstgeneration immigrant from China who has built a career in corporate law, with degrees from Harvard and Oxford universities. Rosenthal is a New York-raised criminal defense lawyer who has taken on cases that he says nobody else would touch. Rosenthal has secured endorsements from 11 Downtown Democratic political clubs and all Downtown’s local politicians — except for state Senator Brian Kavanagh, who endorsed neither candidate. Rosenthal told The Villager he has spent the past year speaking individually with clubs and local politicians. He noted that Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou’s was a particularly tough endorsement to gain. “If there was a [political] machine for me, I would’ve gotten a county seat with no primary,” he said. “If there was a machine, this would be easy. If there was a machine, I wouldn’t be sitting in a primary.” Li’s camp counters that her focus is on the voters’ endorsement, not that of political clubs. “I’m very proud of myself running this race as a woman, as an immigrant and as a lawyer,” Li said. “I’m free from any political connections.” She later added in a written statement: “I feel like my time is [best] spent getting to connect with my voters, and hear what they are looking for when they go to Civil Court.” Li hopes to diversify the bench, and she’s riding the wave of a surge of women across the country running for elected office. “When I first started my campaign, people in the circle told me that people like me — [an] immigrant and speaking English with an accent — ‘you’re not supposed to run, and you shouldn’t run,’” Li said. “But I wouldn’t let anybody stop me. It’s about time for women to run for offices.” Li spent 18 years as a corporate lawyer — currently she is a partner at Zeichner, Ellman & Krause — focusing on banking, administrative proceedings, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, litigation and international arbitration, private-equity funds and real estate. She’s also a member of Manhattan’s Community Board 9 (Morningside Heights, Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights), where she serves on the Landmarks Preservation and Parks committees. “I have seen both sides of the coin,” she said, noting she has represented both landlords and tenants. “I have the experiences [in] complex civil law matters and also the personal experiences of understanding how difficult it is to bring food [to] the table.” In her own neighborhood, she was an attorney on a case that reversed the illegal sale of a Harlem church worth $2 million after the pastor sold it for $175,000. “As a judge, you face challenges every day,” Li said. “My commitment is to work hard and to be fair and treat everyone with respect.” Though she now lives in West Harlem, Li immigrated from the Sichuan province in China to the Lower East Side when she was 28 years old after obtaining a law degree at Peking University. She would later graduate with degrees from Southern Methodist University, Oxford and Harvard. Li wants to bring in more court interpreters for more languages, create evening court hours to help those who work during the day, and create appointment times for cases, rather than morning and after-

8

September 6, 2018

Rober t Rosenthal.

Wendy Li.

noon block periods for when everyone arrives. To accomplish all of this, she said that, if elected, she would have to work with the court administra-

tion. “I think that’s very important, to have easier access to the court for the people and the residents in our district,” she said. Rosenthal, who grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in Stuyvesant Town, has worked as an attorney for 27 years. Being a lawyer has “been a public service, but it’s been a public service on my own, one client at a time,” Rosenthal said, explaining why he’s running. “I have been kicking open doors and screaming for people on behalf of people for all this time,” he said. “I’d like to have a courtroom of my own where I can open the door from the inside and nobody has to kick it open and where I can listen, so nobody has to scream. “It should never be a part of a lawyer’s job to persuade a court that they have a real human being as a client with a real problem,” he added. After graduating from Cardozo School of Law in 1991, he quickly found himself in the middle of a controversial case involving a woman named Margaret Kelly Michaels convicted of molesting 21 children at a New Jersey preschool. Rosenthal was part of a defense team of lawyers under Morton Stavis, who died shortly before the trial, that helped free Michaels, revealing the egregious interrogation methods prosecutors used to probe children into saying that Michaels had abused them. (Journalists from the Village Voice first pointed out the issues with the interrogations. Last Friday, the Voice ceased publishing.) The Michaels case was the start of his career defending cases that were seemingly “hopeless” — cases nobody else would take, he said. “My goal has not been to earn money or really to make people rich,” he said. “My goal has been to enhance and enrich the lives of others — of people who are pushed to the margins and who have voices that are not heard.” He has freed people from prison who were found to be wrongfully convicted. In two notable cases Rosenthal cited, he overturned convictions in which men were wrongfully locked up in a robbery case and a “buy and bust” case with no evidence besides faulty identification. “My clients,” he said, “are people who are not seen and are not heard because of where they’re from, what they look like, what they have or don’t have, what they’re accused of, [or] what they’re convicted of.” Rosenthal also nabbed approvals from various screening panels, including the New York County Democratic Committee Independent Screening Panel, the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, the New York State Unified Court System Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission, and the New York City Bar Association. “This is the perfect public-service job for me,” Rosenthal said. “My entire career has been about serving the public.” The primary has Li and Rosenthal door-knocking and canvassing in the dead of summer, and the judicial race is unusual for a typically nonpolitical position. “It’s rare that people have a choice,” Rosenthal noted. Li said that while out on the streets this summer introducing herself to voters, several people told her that they have never had a judicial candidate come up and talk to them while campaigning. “I realize that although I am thrilled to be the first to speak to some of these residents, I hope I am not the last,” Li said. “After all, the Civil Court is the people’s court.” TheVillager.com


‘Soul train’ station: Aretha is paid respect

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

The Franklin St. subway station in Tribeca has gotten some “Respect,” in honor of the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The new sign spor ts an official-looking M.T. A . / New York City Transit logo in its corner — which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s official. If it is legit, then, hey, the M.T. A . is finally getting something right for once! And the sign might also just get straphangers some better ser vice: A s Franklin sang, “I’m about to give you all of my money / And all I’m askin’ in return, honey / Is to give me my propers.”

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TheVillager.com

September 6, 2018

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Mike Pence look-alike Glen Pannell raising money for the ACLU in Washington Square.

Using his Pence ‘power’ for good causes, not evil

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earing a striking resemblance to Vice President Mike Pence — although without pants, perhaps as only his wife a.k.a. “Mother” sees him — Glenn Pannell was collecting contributions for the American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday near the Washington Square Arch. Usually, he can be found soliciting donations in Times Square or Union Square. A part-time actor and full-time graphic designer, he

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September 6, 2018

has been doing this since Dec. 3, 2016 — after Donald Trump won the election but before his inauguration. Pannell realized he was an eerily perfect Pence doppelganger. He collects for various causes in addition to the ACLU, including Planned Parenthood and the Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention among L.G.B.T.Q. youth. “I’ve raised $37,000 so far,” he noted, referring to contributions he

has gathered for the various organizations. “Looking like Mike Pence is my superpower and I try to use it for goodnot evil,” he told The Villager. His Web site as well as a sign taped on his back state his policy on what he does with the contributions. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter and CrowdRise, a fundraising Web site.

Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

Police responded to a repor t of a dead body in a car on E. 12th St. on Friday.

End of the road on E. 12th; Body found in car Police received a call about a corpse in a car last Friday on E. 12th St. bet ween Avenues A and B. The man — who apparently had been in the vehicle “for two days,” according to first responders — was declared dead at the scene. The city’s Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. Captain John L . O’Connell, the Ninth Precinct’s commanding officer, who responded to the scene, told The Villager there was “nothing criminal, nothing weird” to the man’s stor y. “He died of natural causes — not drugs or any thing,” the captain said. A sked the man’s age, roughly speaking, he said, “I think he was an older man.”

TheVillager.com

September 6, 2018

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Festival to Trip through music, words, photos BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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new annual festival celebrating the “history and heritage” of Greenwich Village will hold its inaugural edition later this month. The brainchild of Liz Thomson, a British former journalist with an abiding love for the famed Downtown enclave, The Village Trip will take place over four days, from Thurs., Sept. 27, to Sun., Sept. 30. Plans are for live music, readings, guided walks, talks and a rousing concert in Washington Square Park. Legendary musician David Amram is enthusiastic to be the festival’s “artist in residence” and will be participating in every event. The Village Trip will feature the world premiere of Amram’s “Greenwich Village Portraits,” a piece for saxophone and piano. Thomson, formerly an editor for, as she put it, “the British equivalent of Publishers Weekly,” is friendly with the Pauls, the owners of the Washington Square Hotel, where she has stayed over the years whenever visiting New York to do author interviews and the like. The hotel is a sponsor of the festival. A Village history aficionado, Thomson noted that the ’60s anthem “California Dreamin’” was written in the place. Thomson — who said the festival is what she wants to focus on now at this stage of her life —is surprised there really never has been an event for the Village quite like this before. “You could say I’m a very arrogant outsider, coming into New York and doing this,” she reflected of her festival ambition. In the future, she hopes to grow it into even a month-long affair, if possible. Although, so far, the event has more than a halfdozen sponsors, she said, “It’s cost me nothing but money. It’s got that “ ‘Field of Dreams’ feeling — if we build it, people will come.” Back in 2010, she first had the idea of a concert in the park. By 2015, as she explained, “I sort of rolled it into this other idea of an all-embracing festival.” Thurs., Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m., will see the festival’s opening reception at the Washington Square Hotel, with live music and an exhibition featuring works by music photographer David Gahr and Dylan collector extraordinaire Mitch Blank. The exhibit will stay up for the duration of the festival. On Fri., Sept. 28, from noon to 3 p.m., Cecilia Rubino, director of The New School’s theater program, will lead a tour of Village sites that inspired playwright Eugene O’Neill’s dramas. That same evening, at 7:30 p.m., The New School’s Stiefel Hall will host a jazz symposium with Grammy winners, jazz legends and contemporary superstars, followed by drinks, hors d’oeuvres and live jazz back at “The Village Trip Bar” at the Washington Square Hotel. The Jefferson Market Library on Sat., Sept. 29, will be the setting for a talk about writers Edna St. Vincent Millay and Jack Kerouac. Amram, who was friends with the famous Beat, will perform “Jack Kerouac Blues in the Afternoon.” The concert in the park will also be that Saturday, starting at 5:30 p.m. Things will wrap up on Sun., Sept. 30. At 2:30 p.m., there will be an event at the Washington Square Hotel on “The Beat Scene in San Francisco and New York,” with Magnum Photos’ Michael Shulman. And at 7 p.m., “Stories and Songs From the New York Folk Revival,” at The Bitter End, on Bleecker St., will feature appearances by Happy Traum, a Village folk fi xture in the 1950s and ’60s, and singer-songwriter David Massengill. All events are free except for the jazz symposium

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September 6, 2018

Liz Thomson is the creator and organizer of The Village Trip, a new annual festival.

and “Folk Revival” event. For more information about the events, see www. thevillagetrip.com/ . Other sponsors onboard for The Village Trip include the Washington Square Association, the Washington Square Park Conservancy — which will sponsor the park concert — the Cornelia St. Cafe, the LREI school, the Jefferson Market Library, the Village Alliance business improvement district, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the Greenwich Village – Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. “The salons and saloons on so many crooked Village streets drew men and women whose names now read as a roll call of shape shifters and history makers in so many different spheres of life — art, literature, drama, music and social politics,” Thomson said. “Greenwich Village was the forge in which 20thcentury culture was hammered out. To walk its fabled streets is to walk through history — a history that must be treasured and celebrated, which is what The Village Trip is all about. “Much has flowered in Greenwich Village. Now is the time to celebrate the infinite variety of it all.” The multitalented Amram, 87, is a direct connection to the Village’s Beatnik heyday. Like the Zelig of the Village music and arts scene, he hung out, collaborated and / or jammed with everyone from Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to Bob Dylan. “I’ll be coming in right from a whole big thing in Denver. They’ll be meeting me at the airport — like a political refugee with a lot of money,” he quipped, “and they’ll take me to the opening.” He’s especially excited about the premiere of his “Greenwich Village Portraits.” The work features a se-

ries of musical interludes about friends Amram knew, with each one pegged to a different Village street he associates with that particular artist: For example, for writer Frank McCourt, who Amram used to hang out with at the Lion’s Head bar, it’s Christopher St.; for the great singer Odetta, it’s Bleecker St.; for Arthur Miller’s part of the piece, the theme is MacDougal St. Amram sincerely hopes The Village Trip will become an annual event. “We’ll be talking about the community of the Village — not the branding,” he stressed. The iconic singer today lives in Beacon, N.Y., after getting the bum-rush from his Village landlord years ago. “I was thrown out of the Village,” he noted, “about 100 feet from where E.E. Cummings lived.” All that’s left today of that former bohemian era, he shrugged, is “people protesting the yuppification of the city — and that’s happening all over the world.” What made the Village so inspiring, he said, was its community feeling. Young people are still creating that same sense of artistic community today, Amram said — only it’s in Brooklyn, for example. But his treasured Village memories will never fade. “I sleep elsewhere,” he reflected, “but that was the place of 40 of the best years of my life.” It’s the culture of those heady times and artistic luminaries that Thomson is hoping to highlight through the festival. “I didn’t conceive of it to make personal money,” she said. “I’m deadly serious about it.” She quickly added, “I want to try to preserve the history before 21st-century life blots it out.” TheVillager.com


NYC WORKS ★

CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE


Meet the Real Power of the Labor Movement;

The Rank and File

Latonya Crisp Recording Sec’y

Earl Phillips Sec’y Treasurer

Tony Utano President

Nelson Rivera Administrative VP

TWU Local 100 | Union Headquarters | 195 Montague Street | Brooklyn, NY 11201 | Tony Utano, President

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COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018


NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Grand marshal is the head of the class Michael Mulgrew, chief of United Federation of Teachers, to lead festivities BY JAMES HARNEY Michael Mulgrew is no stranger to being up front. He spent a decade in front of classrooms teaching English at William E. Grady High School in Brooklyn, but at 10 am on Saturday, Sept. 8, Mulgrew will be in front of a different, much larger gathering, as grand marshal of the 2018 New York City Labor Day Parade. Since taking the helm of the 189,000-member United Federation of Teachers, the city’s teachers’ union, in 2009, the Staten Island native has used his leadership position to advocate for smaller class sizes, more city and state funding for public schools, increased parental involvement in their children’s education, and less reliance on standardized testing. Under Mulgrew’s leadership, in 2014 the UFT won a

GRAND MARSHAL: Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, is this year’s grand marshal of the 2018 New York City Labor Day Parade and March. United Federation of Teachers teachers’ contract with the city that included an 18 percent pay raise.

He serves as a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers; an executive board member of New York State United Teachers, executive vice chairman of the city’s Municipal Labor Committee, and on the executive board of the New York City Central Labor Council. His UFT bio mentions that the veteran union leader “actively promotes issues that include economic fairness, immigration reform, equality and social justice.” When the Central Labor Council tapped Mulgrew to lead this year’s parade, he joined such local labor union luminaries as Thomas VanArsdale of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, John J. Sweeney and Denis Hughes of the AFLCIO, Peter Ward of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, Lillian Roberts of DC 37, and Mulgrew’s pre-

decessor as UFT president, Randi Weingarten, who have led New York’s signature labor union march. “I’m proud and honored I was chosen this year to be the grand marshal of the parade,” the veteran union leader told Community News Group. “The Central Labor Council said to me, ‘your union is out front on labor issues, especially lately since unions have been under attack; we wanted you to be at the head of our march.’ But this is not just about spreading the message on the day of the parade; it’s also about the week leading up to the parade, spreading the message about workers’ rights. Having those rights is the only way we’re going to be able to fi x the income disparities in this country.” Mulgrew said he sensed “a new wave of energy inside the labor movement in

New York,” and pointed to his own union as a prime example. “The UFT is at the lowest number of people who are non-union, about 400 out of a union of nearly 200,000. That’s phenomenal,” he said proudly. “More than ever, [workers] are embracing the value of unions.” He warned, however, that labor unions “should never, ever, stop moving forward at all times,” and continue to fight to protect workers’ rights to fair wages, adequate healthcare coverage, and retirement benefits against forces that would try to strip those away. “If someone had said 15 years ago that Wisconsin would be the most unfriendly state in the country for labor unions, I would have said ‘no way in hell,’ ” Mulgrew said. “But now that’s the case.”

NYC IS A

UNION T WN COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Once again, Fifth Avenue the place for the parade BY PHOEBE VAN BUREN Roughly 50,000 labor union members and supporters will take their fight down Manhattan’s storied Fifth Avenue for the annual New York City Labor Day Parade on Sept. 8. Since its inception in 1882, the parade has become a banner event for the labor movement not only in the city, but across America. “It’s really viewed throughout the country, even outside the city, as the signature kind of event for the Labor Movement,” said Vincent Alvarez, who is the president of the New York City Labor Council, which puts on the parade. “Even though it’s a parade, it’s a march — it’s a march for rights.” The architects of the parade, Matthew MacGuire, who was a machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union, and Peter MacGuire, who was a carpenter, secre-

tary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters, and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, had come up with an idea to introduce a labor holiday. On a Tuesday in 1882, they brought together 30,000 people in Union Square, meaning that workers had to forfeit the day’s wages to attend. The march was so popular that it was held again one year later, sparking a campaign for a Labor Day across the country. Congress named the fi rst Monday of September as Labor Day in 1894. Masses of union members and their supporters have marched across the city most years, barring periods that it didn’t happen due to several reasons, such as poor attendance as people began viewing the holiday as the fi nal weekend of summer and leaving the city. The parade has its own fl air, however, differing from

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COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

all of the other parades in the city because it is 100 percent participatory, meaning that anyone can join, Alvarez said. “If you are part of the labor movement, a family member, neighbor, friend of the movement, we say march. If you’re a worker in the city whose industry is under attack, we say march,” he said. In the 1800s, participants marched down Broadway, but that changed in 1959 when it moved to Fifth Avenue. A permit for the stretch is almost impossible to secure these days but an existing agreement between the Labor Council and the city allows it to continue on that route. This year, it will be led by Grand Marshal Michael Mulgrew, who is the president of United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, while the chair is Lester Crockett, Regional President, CSEA-AF-

AMERICAN VALUES: Local 764 Wardrobe union member Andrae Gonzalo Associated Press / Bryan R. Smith marches. SCME Local 1000, Region 11. And with each year comes different campaigns. In 2018, revelers can expect to see many “Count Me In” signs and banners from construction workers, referring to a campaign against including non-unionized construction workers in big developments across the city. Doing so puts workers at risk since not everyone has proper safety training, Alvarez said. Since the parade is the

Saturday before the primaries, the New York City Labor Council also puts resources into advocating for candidates it supports for office. Beyond being a time-honored New York City tradition, the parade is a way for workers to come together and show the public just how many people are fighting for them. “We show our strength and show our solidarity by marching together,” Alvarez said.


NYC WORKS – ADVERTISEMENT

32BJ SEIU and Airport Workers on Historic Quest for Economic and Social Justice Change often comes after years and years of hard work. No one knows this better than low wage workers. On Labor Day, they are taking a step back to look at their progress towards the ongoing fight still ahead of them. Six years ago, Andrea Bundy was struggling to survive on just $7.25 an hour while working as a cabin cleaner for a subcontractor at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. She struggled to make ends meet and take care of her daughter. Many of Andrea’s co-workers talk about similar, everyday struggles. Their stories are now well known. In 2012, subcontracted airport workers at LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and the John F. Kennedy International Airport started organizing for a union, higher wages and benefits with 32BJ

SEIU. The historic campaign has been wildly successful, as 9,000 low-wage workers organized themselves into 32BJ SEIU and nearly doubled the minimum wage at New York’s airports. But it didn’t come without a struggle. In the airports campaign, the broad aim was not to organize workers at a few subcontracting companies here and there, but to organize the entire airport industry. 32BJ SEIU successfully organized thousands of workers in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and won a commitment from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners to a $19 minimum wage for 40,000 employees at Newark, JFK and LaGuardia working for multiple employers. This sectoral approach has helped 32BJ SEIU in the past 20 years organize nearly 100,000

new members up and down the East Coast in the airport, security, cleaning, residential building and food service industries, and 90% of those members are covered under industry-wide “master” contracts that multiple employers sign onto. Organizing the majority of workers in an industry actually reduces the incentive for employers to fight unionization because companies are no longer competing against

each other in a race to the bottom for the lowest labor costs. Unions can create a floor for wages and benefits in the market, which raises job standards throughout the industry, thereby reducing employee turnover and improving the quality of services. It’s not easy but it can be done and in fact, it’s already making life better for thousands of workers. And another remarkable thing that

has come out of these efforts is the realization that raising standards for wages and benefits is not only an antidote for poverty for these workers of color but an economic stimulus for the communities in which they live. Unions remain the best vehicle workers have to fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions and by actively participating in our democratic process we can still speak to the aspirations, direct interests and core values of all working people. It’s been unions that are pushing a bold vision for issues beyond the workplace, including expanded social security, progressive taxation, affordable health care and prescription drugs, extended sick time and family leave, childcare benefits, pre-K for all children, no-cost college and reduction of student loan debt.

In 32BJ,

We Win!

Airport workers won a wage increase to $19 an hour —one of the highest in the nation—because we came together in union with 32BJ to demand the good jobs we deserve. Thanks to our fight, the Port Authority has voted to increase wages over the next five years that will get all 40,000 airport service workers at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports to $19 an hour. Find out more: www.seiu32bj.org/airports 32BJ SEIU 32BJSEIU

32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country. 25 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011 • www.seiu32bj.org

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Labor pains, and labor gains

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STATE OF THE UNION: (Above) Union activists and supporters rally against the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, case, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan on June 27. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that public employee unions cannot require nonmembers to pay fees. (Left) The New York State Nurses Association called for more staffing to better care for New Yorkers at 14 of the city’s private hospitals in 2015. (Below) Crown Heights Tenant Union tenants and activists protested outside the Bedford Union Armory building in Crown Heights in 2016, demanding the city reverse the RFP given to Slate Property Group to convert the armory building into 330 apartments.

File photo by Paul Martinka

Associated Press / Richard Drew

Associated Press / Karla Ann Cote

BY PHOEBE VAN BUREN Since the Labor Movement took hold of New York City in the 1800s, its workers have fought for fair wages, reasonable hours, and important benefits. With every new government comes new fights, and with new fights, come opportunities to improve workers’ lives, its leaders say. Whether it be against developers behind some of the biggest building ventures in the city or media employees working for the chance to unionize, New York workers are now facing a myriad of issues. The larger movement is at a crossroads right now, as it will need to start using its money and members to keep members while coming to an agreement politically, according to one expert. “It’s going to fi nd itself spending resources to keep members they are already have,” said Ed Ott, who has spent 40 years in the Labor Movement and is a lecturer at the City University of New York’s Murphy Institute Worker Education and Labor Studies. “We have to fi nd out how to keep what we have and what our political situation is at this point.” Perhaps the biggest labor issue of the 2018 came when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, that people who are represented by a public unions but aren’t members don’t have to pay fees. As a result, unions expect that they will lose 10 to 30 percent of their members and the money that comes with them. To help unions suffering from the ruling, the New York City Central Labor Council has been working to stabilize unions and prepare them with the support they need to keep operating effectively, Vincent Alvarez, the president of the Council, said. While it struggles to recover from the Supreme Court decision, the movement is also experiencing a political divide. “There are many workers split in the Labor Movement who supported and continue to support Trump. We have other unions who are adamantly opposed,” Ott said. Trump supporters can be found in trade unions, while those who oppose the president include the teachers and nurses unions. As workers across the country fight to keep their unions alive, New York workers, nearly a quarter of those who are unionized, have been involved in several campaigns for their rights this year. The “Count me In” campaign launched in response to the developer behind Hudson Yards on the city’s west side using a mix of union and non-union labor. This can create safety hazards, as the nonunion workers may not be properly

trained, Alvarez said. “It’s an issue that’s extraordinarily dangerous and a tremendous amount of danger that exists in construction.” In July, workers at retail store H&M urged the company to negotiate with them for a fair contract that would include the elimination of making workers take back-to-back closing and opening shifts without at least 10.5 hours rest, ensuring a minimum number of hours per week, and the right to time off after five consecutive days worked. Members of the New York City Council got behind the workers and urged the company to

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

come to the table. And people working in digital media, an increasingly volatile industry, are battling to unionize and strike deals with their employers that would ensure job security, fair wages, and benefits. In August, workers at culture blog Thrillist went on strike after their company refused to reach an agreement with the union. Graduate school unions have been hard at work too — Columbia University employees urged officials to meet their demands to put an end to issues with late paychecks, rent increases, and inadequate medical coverage they

say interferes with their ability to provide the best education possible. Even as they face these new challenges, the problems that come from the government are still the same, Alvarez said. “There’s always the broader attacks on working people from the government.” In 2018 and beyond, workers will have to continue to come up with innovative ideas in order to effectively keep their unions and their livelihoods strong, according to Ott. “Old forms may not work in new capitalism and new forms are gonna be have to be created,” he said.


NYC WORKS – ADVERTISEMENT

Buy America This Labor Day 9PJ:FKKG8LC Let’s try an experiment. It’s Labor Day weekend, when we take a moment to appreciate the contributions made to America by its working men and women. It’s also a weekend when we barbecue. So while you’re at one, ask a friend this question: Do you think New York’s public projects, paid for with your tax dollars, should be spent on American-made goods whenever possible? I bet you know the answer you’d get: “Of course!” That response is in line with statewide and national polling that finds majorities of voters think American-made spending plans for public projects are a good idea. And they are. By guaranteeing that domestic manufacturers are given the first shot when our government repairs a highway or builds a bridge, Buy America laws promote domestic economic growth. They create an incentive for companies to set

up shop in America, and that means more jobs in New York. And more jobs in New York means an expanded tax base and a smaller burden on the social safety net. And they don’t soak taxpayers. Buy America laws always include waivers if domestic material is prohibitively expensive or only available in limited quantities. Here’s an example of domestic preferences applied: A

few years ago, when the Metropolitan Transit Authority went looking for 15,000 tons of steel to replace the upper deck on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, it ended up buying it on the cheap from stateowned companies in China. That’s a lot of business for government-subsidized steelmakers on the other side of the planet, which instead could have put American workers on the job.

By comparison, the recent Tappan Zee Bridge construction project was partially funded by federal money, and was therefore stuck to Buy America rules. And it just so happened that New York officials found it cost-competitive to purchase all the steel required for the new span from U.S. manufacturers. The results? Making it in America saved more than $1.5 billion and years of construction time. It also nearly 8,000 American jobs in the production of its construction material. While you’re at that barbecue, ask your friend which deal made more sense. New York last winter moved to bring its state-level procurement policies into line with federal ones. It now requires the use of American-made iron and domestically melted and poured steel for any and all work on road and bridge projects over $1 million. It also requires the use of domestic iron and do-

mestically melted and poured steel for all contracts over $1 million awarded by the Dormitory Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Bridge Authority or the Thruway Authority. It would be good to see all New York agencies implement such rules in their procurement policies. But this is a good start, because when correctly applied, buying American supports American jobs. New York’s tax dollars should remain in the state and national economy – and not be used to promote jobs overseas, especially when costcompetitive and quality goods are available here at home. They’re a good idea, and they’re good for our economy. So, next time you find yourself using a piece of public infrastructure, ask yourself a question: Do I know where this bridge or road was this made, and by whom? With strong Buy America rules, you’ll know the answer.

American workers built our past.

American workers can build our future, too. www.americanmanufacturing.org

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Labor in New York BY PHOEBE VAN BUREN The New York City Labor Movement has spanned more than four centuries, dating back to the 1600s. Over time, the key players have changed but the problems remain very much the same. It would be nearly impossible to put together an exhaustive list of all of movement’s events in The City That Never Sleeps, but we’ve compiled a brief history showing how workers have fought for their rights time and time again:

1882 Approximately 30,000 Knights of Labor convene at City Hall for an unofficial march that would become the city’s fi rst Labor Day Parade. The event was held on a Tuesday, meaning that workers had to give up a day of wages to attend. Matthew and Peter MacGuire proposed the day be named Labor Day to celebrate workers. The parade was held the following year, inspiring a campaign for the holiday across the country.

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1894 Congress names the fi rst Monday of September Labor Day.

1909 Roughly 20,000 women, primarily Jewish, working in shirtwaist factories, walked out of the job in protest of unfair wages, working conditions, and hours, marking the fi rst mass strike by women in United States history. The following year, the women’s demands were met.

1911 A fi re broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village, killing 146 garment workers after they became trapped in the building due to locked exits and only one fi re escape. The tragedy was one of the deadliest industrial disasters in American history.

1930s Folk singer Woody Guthrie performs at Webster Hall in support of union workers.

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1954-1968 One million black workers enter the Congress of Industrial Organizations, sparking a new campaign from black workers to use labor issues to win the fight for racial justice. During that time, tensions rise as some unions refuse to make any changes to their traditions.

1959 In a milestone event for the Labor Movement, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to create the AFLCIO, the largest federation of unions in the country. That same year, the Labor Day Parade moves to Fifth Avenue, where 115,000 union workers and their supporters celebrated the day. Also in 1959, city fi refi ghters decide to unionize in a bid to win a pay increase.

1960 Union leaders urge the city to set a minimum wage of $1.25 per hour, asking that the state or Congress raise the rate.

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COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

1. Steven Wallaert, head of Patco’s local 291 in Norfolk, Va., center, shakes hands with Patco President Robert Poli, left, during the parade in 1981. At right is Wallaert’s wife Connie. Wallaert, whose picture was published nationwide when he was taken away in chains by federal authorities, said: “They put me in chains symbolically and this is a symbol that they can keep Patco in chains.”2. Horse-drawn carriage drivers supported by the Teamsters Union march. 3. Local 361 iron worker and Brooklynite Robert Farula carries an American flag during the 2012 parade. 4. Former mayor Ed Koch marches in the parade on Fifth Avenue on Sept. 7, 1981. 5. Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, center, vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, and New York’s Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo wave to New Yorkers as they march in 1984. 7. Members of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union wave from a float in 1961. 7. Union members march up Fifth Avenue. 8. Stagehands Local 1 Union member Al Cittadino rides a motorcycle up Fifth Avenue. 9. Members of 1199 Service Employees International Union march up Fifth Avenue in 2015’s Labor Day Parade and March.

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

through the years 1961 The Brotherhood Labor Party demands a $1.50 minimum wage, and six-hour, five day a week work schedule. In December, city labor leaders announce they will support a New Year’s Day strike for a 20-hour work week. The city labor commissioner jump-starts negotiations to avoid a strike that may affect streetlights.

1964

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City Council passes a bill that raises minimum wage to $1.50 an hour, boosting the paychecks of approximately 400,000 workers. In return, business owners sue, alleging that the pay raise is unconstitutional.

1965 Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoes the $1.50 an hour wage, arguing that the raise would force businesses owners to take their work elsewhere.

1967 More than 6,000 handymen, elevator operators, porters, and custodians strike to protest building owners’ assertion that complying with union contracts would mean that they would have to raise rents. The strike affected 1,000 apartment buildings across the city.

1970 Letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan walk out on the job, beginning the fi rst mass work stoppage in the history of the United States Post Office Department. The strike grew to 210,000 employees, causing President Richard Nixon to declare a state of emergency and deploy the military to New York City post offices.

1971

5

Approximately 20,000 New York City police officers refuse to report for duty during the fiveday NYPD work stoppage after a lawsuit that would have increased pay for police and fi refi ghters is struck down. Officers said they would still respond to serious crimes, but would not participate in regular patrolling duties. As a result, the city was patrolled by as few as 200 officers at some times.

1985 Roughly 14,000 workers from 45 hotels walk off the job to protest unfair wages in the fi rst walkout in the history of the Hotel and Motel Trade Council of the AFL-CIO.

2005 Starting on Dec. 20, during the busiest shopping week of the year, New York City transit workers went on strike for two days, stopping most bus and subway service. This was a result of a breakdown in negotiations for a new contract over retirement, pension, and wage increases.

2016

7

6

Supporters of the “Fight for $15” campaign win big when a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is signed into law along with a 12week paid family leave policy. COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

They love a parade! More than 150 unions, locals and organizations will march this year SECTOR 5 March Time: 12 pm

BY JAMES HARNEY Some 150 unions and union local members of the New York City Central Labor Council are set to step off from Fifth Avenue and 44th Street in the 2018 Labor Day Parade and March on Saturday, Sept. 8. Here is a list of the line of march:

New York City District Council Of Carpenters and local unions Elevator Constructors Local 1 International Union Of Operating Engineers and local unions Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1

LEAD-OFF SECTOR: March time: 10 am

Tile, Marble And Terrazzo Local 7

NYPD Color Guard LEAD-OFF BAND: The Tottenville High School Marching Band GRAND MARSHAL: Michael Mulgrew, president, United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2 PARADE CHAIR: Lester Crocket, regional president, CSEA-AFSCME Local 1000, Region 11 NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO: Officers and executive board

SECTOR 6 March time: 12:15 pm

UNION PROUD: Union activists and supporters rally against the Supreme Court’s ruling International Brotherhood of Elecin the Janus v. AFSCME case, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, on June 27. trical Workers (IBEW) Associated Press / Karla Ann Cote

International Alliance Of Theatrical Stage Employees and local unions New York Council Of Motion Picture

New York State AFL-CIO

SECTOR 1 March time: 10:15 am

New York State Department Of Labor

United Federation Of Teachers and AFT local unions

Pride at Work

New York State United Teachers and local unions

A. Philip Randolph Institute

Civil Service Merit Council American Federation Of Government Employees and local unions

IBEW Local 3 IBEW local unions New York State Allied Printing Trades Council Allied Printing Trades Council Graphic Communications Conference

SECTOR 3 March time: 11 am Building and Construction Trades Council BCTC officers and staff Helmets To Hardhats

SECTOR 7 March time: 12:45 pm United Auto Workers Region 9A & local unions Utility Workers Union Of America Local 1–2

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

United University ProfessionsDownstate Medical Chapter

Coalition Of Black Trade Unionists

Professional Staff Congress

The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills

Coalition Of Labor Union Women

Council Of Supervisors and Administrators

Non-Traditional Employment for Women

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

Labor Council For Latin American Advancement

United Food & Commercial Workers

CSEA-AFSCME

Plumbers Local 1

UFCW-RWDSU Local unions

New York City Alliance Of Retired Americans

AFSCME District Council 37 and local unions

Steamfitters Local 638

Union Veterans Council

AFSCME District Council 1707 & local unions

Laborers’ Local 731, 147 and National Postal Mailhandlers Union Local 300

International Longshoremen Association and local unions 920, 1814

Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 94

Cement & Concrete Workers Dc 16, Locals 6A, 18A & 20

Uniformed Fire Officers Association Local 854

Pavers And Road Builders District Council, Local 1010

SECTOR 8 March time: 1:15 pm

Public Employees Federation

Cement Masons Local 780

Teamsters Joint Council 16 and IBT local unions

Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition New York Branch NAACP Jewish Labor Committee New York Labor History Association James Connelly Irish American Labor Coalition Italian American Labor Council New York Committee For Occupational Safety & Health Mount Sinai Selikoff Cornell Worker Institute

SECTOR 2 March time: 10:45 am Communication Workers Of America and local unions The Association Of Flight Attendants

Plasterers’ Local 262 Mason Tenders District Council & Locals 66, 78, 79, 108, 279 & 1261

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco & Grain Millers and local unions

SEIU Local 1199 SEIU Local 246 SEIU Local UNIONS

SECTOR 4 March time: 11:30 am

Workers United

Roofers And Waterproofers Local 8

Transport Workers Union Of America and local unions

CUNY Murphy Institute

Amalgamated Transit Union & local unions

Empire State College-SUNY

American Postal Workers Union

Sheet metal Workers Locals 28 & 137

Seafarers’ International Union Of North America

New York City Labor Chorus

National Association Of Letter Carriers

Ironworkers District Council and Locals 40, 46, 197, 361, 580

Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, District 1

American Federation Of Musicians Local 802

New York State Nurses Association

Heat and Frost Insulators Locals 12 & 12A

New York Taxi Workers Alliance

SAG-AFTRA

Boilermakers Local Lodge 5

Unite Here! Local unions

American Guild Of Musical Artists

Office and Professional Employees International Union & local unions

Writers Guild Of America East

Organization Of Staff Analysts

International Union Of Painters & Allied Trades DC 9 & Locals

International Association Of Machinists & Aerospace Workers

Actors’ Equity Association

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Air Line Pilots Association

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

NY Hotel & Motel Trades Council


New York City Brags About the Expansion of UPK, But… New York City Must Provide Wage Parity for The City’s Public Center-Based Day Care and Head Start Employees Employees working for public center-based early education centers are being cheated out of thousands of dollars of income over their careers by the City of New York. And the City is doing nothing about it. For years these dedicated public day care and Head Start employees have made exceptional sacrifices to work in their profession. The City’s response has been to pay them tens of thousands of dollars less than their public school counterparts, even though they are mandated to hold the same education and state education credentials. These employees have provided high quality early childhood education services to New York City’s children and toddlers for nearly two generations. The City has created a multi-tier wage disparity program with Early Learn, Head Start and UPK teachers and other staff earning disparate and lower wages, it seems, because the majority of employees are women and women of color – and many are heads of households. This not happening in Alabama or Mississippi. This is happening in progressive New York City. In fact, a retention crisis has developed in many centers caused by the lack of wage parity. Early childhood education staff earn their credentials and often leave for the public schools. Across the city many centers experience inordinate turnover rates when staff leave the jobs they love for better paying jobs in public schools or other career opportunities. It is the children who suffer because staff retention is necessary for young minds to flourish. The toll on staff and families in these communities-in-need is also particularly painful. It is discrimination at its lowest form. The City of New York cannot pretend to ignore it anymore. New York City must act now to end this thoughtless crisis in child care by providing necessary funding for salary/benefit increases to the staff at the unionized nonprofit early childhood education centers across the city. The time for change is now! Name (print): _____________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________ Date: ____________________ District Council 1707 AFSCME | 420 West 45th Street New York, New York, 10036 | 212-219-0022 COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Lights! Camera! Unions! BY JAMES HARNEY Labor — who does it, for whom, and what, if any, is acceptable compensation for it — is a never-ending story. Through the decades, the employeremployee relationship has spawned its own vernacular: walkouts, work stoppages, slowdowns, demonstrations, layoffs, strikes, riots, unions. From time to time, clashes between labor unions and management — and sometimes, the individuals who have emerged at the forefront of those clashes — have drawn the attention of Hollywood’s spotlight. Here are a few noteworthy movies that have crossed the silver screen in recent years:

gling colleagues to go on strike after Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, tries to one-up business rival William Randolph Hearst by raising the prices that the “newsies” have to pay to buy newspapers from Pulitzer’s distribution centers.

‘On the Waterfront’ “On the Waterfront” was a 1954 movie directed by famed Hollywood director Elia Kazan that depicted union violence and corruption and racketeering on the Hoboken, N.J. waterfront. It featured a star-studded cast that included Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Rod

‘Hoffa’ “Hoffa” was a 1992 fi lm biography of the notorious union boss Jimmy Hoffa, chronicling 40 years of his life, his rise to the top spot in the rough-and-tumble International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to his leadership of a violent strike, to his sinister involvement with organized crime, to his well-publicized clashes with U.S. Attorney General Robert

jealous of her closeness with the labor activist, as well as fierce opposition from her employers. The movie climaxes with the workers voting to form a union. In addition to Fields’s Best Actress Oscar win, the 1979 fi lm also won an Oscar for Best Original Song for the theme song, “It Goes Like It Goes.” And in 2011, “Norma Rae” was chosen to be preserved in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, because it is “culturally, aesthetically or historically significant.”

‘Harlan County, USA’ “Harlan County, USA” was a 1976 documentary about labor tension in the coal-mining industry, in which director and workers’ rights advocate Barbara Kopple fi lmed a 1972 strike by miners at the Brookside Mine in rural Kentucky. After the miners join a union, the mine’s owners refuse the labor contract. Once the miners walk off their jobs, the owners bring in “scabs” top replace them. The strike dragged on

High points in “Newsies” include a confrontation between Jack, his compatriot Les Jacobs and Pulitzer in the publisher’s office, a refusal by Brooklyn-based newsies to join the Manhattan newsboys’ strike, and a climactic ambush of the distribution center and destruction of all its newspapers.

‘Norma Rae’ Starring Oscar-winner Sally Field, “Norma Rae” was based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton, a worker in a textile mill in a small North Carolina town where the pay is low and the hours long. Inspired by a rousing speech from a visiting labor activist — and af-

F. Kennedy during a federal investigation into Hoffa’s infamous mob dealings, to his unsuccessful bid to re-take control of the Teamsters, to his violent death in a hail of gunshots, presumably fi red by a mob hitman. It ends with Hoffa’s body being taken away in the back of a truck, to an undisclosed location. Exactly where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried remains the stuff of organized crime lore.

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Steiger, Pat Henning and Eva Marie Saint, with a soundtrack composed by the legendary Leonard Bernstein. It told the story of the conflict between a cold-blooded union leader and a disenchanted dockworker. The dockworker had been a talented boxer on the rise until a powerful mob boss persuaded him to throw a fi ght. But when a longshoreman is murdered before he can testify in an investigation into the mob boss’s violent control of the waterfront, the dockworker courageously decides to testify himself.

‘Silkwood’

‘Newsies!’ “Newsies!” was a Disney musical based on the real-life New York City newsboy strike of 1899. Starring Christian Bale, and featuring Ann-Margret, Robert Duvall and Bill Pullman, the 1992 movie centers around the story of struggling newsboy Jack “Cowboy” Kelly, who spurs his equally young, equally strug-

gests that the “accident” may have been murder, but the case has never been solved. In real life, Silkwood’s death gave rise to a 1979 lawsuit, Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee. The jury rendered a verdict of $10 million in damages to be paid to Silkwood’s estate, at the time the largest amount in damages ever awarded for that kind of case. Eventually, the estate settled for a $1.3 payout.

ter poor working conditions at the mill start becoming hazardous to workers’ health, including her own — Norma Rae is moved to rally her beleaguered colleagues to unionize. She encounters anger from a fi ancé

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

Released in 1983, “Silkwood” starred Meryl Streep in a role inspired by the life of Karen Silkwood, a whistle-blowing worker and labor union shop steward who died in a mysterious car accident while on her way to meet with a news reporter investigating alleged wrongdoing and serious safety defects at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she worked. The movie sug-

for nearly a year, and confrontations between strikers and scabs often became violent, with even Kopple and her cameraman beaten in one incident. Clashes were often punctuated by gunfi re, and in one, a miner was killed. Kopple and her crew spent years with the families depicted in the fi lm, documenting how they suffered while striking for decent wages and safer working conditions, and how some miners contracted Black Lung Disease. “Harlan County, USA” won Kopple an Oscar for Best Documentary.


NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Ratting out the scabs! The story of Scabby the Rat, the inflatable star of many a picket line BY JAMES HARNEY It was early September, 2016. Labor Day had come and gone, and a new semester at the Downtown Brooklyn campus of Long Island University was supposed to have begun. But instead of standing at the front of their classrooms, faculty members — embroiled in a salary dispute with the university’s administration in which replacement educators had been brought in — were marching on the sidewalk outside the school’s main building on Flatbush Avenue, waving placards and chanting slogans. And Scabby was there. For more than 40 years at labor unions’ picket lines around New York, Scabby the Rat — an inflatable charcoalgray rodent with a bubbly pink underbelly, pointed claws, reddish eyes and protruding buck teeth, has often loomed silently nearby, a six, 15, 20, or even 25-foot-tall snarling sym-

bol of protest against real or perceived mistreatment of employees by management. “New York is still a labor union town,” says Senior Professor of Journalism Dr. Ralph Engelman, a former vice president of the LIU Faculty Federation. “Bringing out the rat to embarrass the university and call attention to its attack on labor was something we felt was very important.” Workers who have crossed picket lines to replace union workers have historically been vilified as “scabs,” or “rats,” but “Scabby” didn’t begin appearing at picket lines, demonstrations, or marches until 1990, in Chicago. That’s when the Chicago branch of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers union approached Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights, based in suburban Plainfield, Ill., and asked owners Mike and Peggy O’Connor to design and produce a larger than life inflatable rat that

would send a menacing message alongside a union demonstration. “He [the union official] turned down Mike’s first design, saying, ‘No I want it to look meaner,’ ” Peggy O’Connor remembers. “So Mike tweaked it to give it more snarl, with meaner-looking nails and teeth and that nasty pink belly. That’s what they wanted.” As it turns out, that’s what a lot of striking or demonstrating labor unions wanted. “Scabby” is now in such demand that Big Sky now produces seven sizes of the inflatable vermin, ranging from 6-feet-tall models priced at nearly $2,600 to 25-footers that cost almost $10,000. The price includes a blower, with an extension cord, to inflate the balloon, and stakes to hold it in place on the ground. O’Connor estimated the firm makes “about 50 in a year,” and has expanded their line of inflatable protest bal-

RATS!: Union activists hoisted the giant, inflatable rat outside a residential development in Gowanus in 2015, alleging worker exploitation by the File photo by Jason Speakman contracted construction company. loons to include a “corporate fat cat [a pompous-looking, feline wearing a suit and grabbing a construction worker by the neck in one hand, and a money bag in the other], a “greedy pig,” a cockroach, and a Border Patrol agent. “We once even designed an inflatable bedbug for a group protesting a New York hotel that had bedbugs,” she said. “We’re in the balloon business; they asked for it, so we made it.” In the past, victims of “Scabby the Rat” have chal-

lenged its legality — and lost. In 2011 that National Labor Relations Board ruled that the inflatable rodent was a symbolic form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. And in 2014, a Brooklyn federal judge upheld the right of a laborers’ union to use “Scabby” in its demonstration. “In an era in which attacks on labor are taking place on multiple fronts, it’s particularly important for unions to fight back,” Engelman said. “The use of the rat at our lockout was part of that fight.”

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NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE

Gladly riding the Local

union rate put those workers at risk. In the end, it’s those workers who suffer. He thinks Saturday’s parade “shows that unity brings strength, that we’re the working class people who build and move everything around the city.”

Four workers tell why they value union membership BY JAMES HARNEY

Dave McIntosh Journeyman, Plumbers Union Local 1

“My boys rely on me, I needed to work in a place that’s unionized, where I don’t have to worry about layoffs the way people do working in the private sector,” Diaz said. “I feel a lot more secure knowing I’ve got the protection provided by Local 100.” That’s why she feels union workers should “go out there [and march] in force,” in New York City Labor Day Parade and March on Saturday, Sept. 8, “to show that union presence.”

There are more than one million unionized workers in the New York metropolitan area — policemen, firefighters, schoolteachers, letter carriers, longshoremen, hospital workers, construction laborers, electricians, hotel and motel employees to name just a few — toiling for some 300 union locals, some with predictable names, like the American Postal Workers Union, or the New York State Nurses Association; others with such unique identities as Tile, Marble and Terrazzo Local 7, or the Heat & Frost Insulators Locals 12 & 12A. Many have interesting personal stories about their paths to union membership, and why they value that membership. Here, Community News Group profiles four such workers:

Barrington Anderson Professional mover, Local 814, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Gloria Diaz

Photo by Caleb Caldwell

Photo by Zoe Freilich

Photo by Caroline Ourso

Train operator, New York City Transit, Transport Workers Union Local 100

Diaz is a single mother who lives in Bensonhurst with her three sons, ages 21, 16 and 11. For a while, she worked as an operations assistant for a marketing fi rm based in East New York, then later went into business for herself, running a small home improvement company. Neither, she says, provided the fi nancial security and healthcare benefits she wanted for her family. “The marketing company didn’t really offer benefits, and with my own company, if no customers came in, I didn’t make any money. I was out there fending for myself,” Diaz said. In 2009, Diaz took the exam to become a New York City Transit train operator. She passed, but then waited six long years before she got the call in 2015 to come in for training. “They put me in a training program that lasted eight months, and it was rigorous,” she said. “NYC Transit holds trainees to a high standard of perfection, which I understand, since as a train operator you’ve got thousands of lives in your hands at any given time.” But Diaz was up to the challenge, and in October she’ll mark her third year as a train operator. She says she’s grateful for the opportunity, and for the security she gets as a member of Transport Workers Union Local 100.

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COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

Anderson has been a member of the Teamsters local representing professional movers in the city since 2005. The work takes him to jobs all over the city, and at times even as far as towns in New Jersey. The work can be tough at times, and he says he wouldn’t even think of doing it without the wage and healthcare protections his union local provides. “I live with my wife and six children in Yonkers,” Anderson, 40, said one day last week during a break from a job at a large hotel in midtown Manhattan. “Being in this union helps me maintain a fair wage and get the coverages I need for my family.” Anderson is so convinced of the value of union membership that he spends some of his down time doing union outreach work. “I represent the freelance movers who aren’t affi liated with one company or another,” he explained. “When they look for jobs and are looking for information within the union, I’m one of the guys to go to.” Anderson says the moving industry in New York is often infi ltrated by non-union workers, a practice he thinks is a bad idea. “There are some ‘fake unions’ out there that aren’t really unions,’ he said. “Their members aren’t certified, they can’t OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] cards to do jobs on some of the newer developments being constructed these days. Unions are important because they protect us in the event of injuries on the job. Companies that try to get by with non union labor to save money and pay their workers less than the

McIntosh, a 13-year member of Plumbers Union Local 1, likes to stay busy. “I wear a couple of hats for Local 1,” McIntosh, 43, readily admits. “Out in the field, I’m a full-time plumber. I was recently elected for my second term on the Local 1 fi nance committee. And I also teach an orientation class — we call it the Heritage Class — for new union members.” The class, which McIntosh teaches two nights a week at the Trade Education Center in Long Island City, is intended to give new members “an idea about unions, what they’re about, and a taste of labor history.” He says the Heritage Class particularly resonates with him because of his own, sometimes rocky, path to union membership. “I was working as a non-union plumber, and did some work as an apprentice, but it was a farce,” McIntosh recalls. “I knew union members made higher rates of pay and had benefits, but this was before the Internet and smartphones, and I didn’t know anything about how to get into a union. I fi gured you had to be a friend of a friend, I thought it was a closed situation.” That changed, he says, when a friend gave him the phone number to the local Plumbers Union hall. On a whim, he called it, left his phone number with a secretary and, to his surprise, got a return call asking for resume. The conversation led to McIntosh signing on with the union “at the absolute lowest entry level, plumbers helper.” In the years that followed, he worked his way up the union ladder from a helper in the service division, to a journeyman in the higher-paying new construction division, attending training classes at night to become more skilled at his trade. He excelled so well in those classes that he was eventually asked to teach them. “I’ve been doing it now for about four years, working as a plumber by day and teaching incoming union members by night,” McIntosh says. “I feel like it’s me giving back to the organization that’s provided such a great opportunity for me.” The married father of three, who lives with his family in Teaneck, N.J., says joining the Plumbers Union


NYC WORKS CELEBRATING LABOR IN THE BIG APPLE changed his life, and he’s a firm believer in its value. “I’m convinced that labor unions are the only viable vehicle for upward mobility. We are the middle class. If an employer is not paying a decent rate of pay, how are workers supposed to get medical coverage for their families, and to have enough money to live on when they retire? Asked why the parade is important, McIntosh said: “I hate to sound jaded, but what are the two things that matter to politicians? Money, and votes. So by turning out in force for the Labor Day Parade, and putting our boots on the ground, so to speak, we’re showing what kind of a force we can be in the political arena.”

Construction engineer, Local 14, Crane & Heavy Equipment Operators Union When Stephens stood before a meeting of Local 14 of the Crane & Heavy Equipment Operators Union in Flushing, Queens in June, 1987, she broke the union’s glass ceiling, becoming the union’s first woman member. The milestone didn’t surprise her; becoming a construction engineer for Local 14 — the union her father, Monroe, had belonged to as a laborer for many years — was a goal she had pursued for several years. What did surprise her was the applause. “About 300 men at the meeting applauded me for fi nishing the training,” Stephens remembers. “It was overwhelming. Then I was told that I was officially in the local. A couple of days later, I went to work as a full-fledged unionized construction engineer.” That moment was the culmination of a road that had begun when she was a young woman who was disenchanted with fi nance classes at Pace Univer-

Photo by Trey Pentecost

Evet Stephens

sity, and with law enforcement courses at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and decided she wanted nothing as much as a career as a construction engineer. “My dad was old fashioned, he didn’t want his daughter working with men who used bad words all day, but when he saw I was undeterred, he relented and drove me to the Local 14 offices,” she said. After trips between union offices in Manhattan and Queens, Stephens completed and submitted the necessary paperwork.

“The man at the union hall looked at me and said, ‘Don’t waste my time. Are you sure you want to do this?’ I said yes, I’m sure.’ Somehow I convinced him,” she said. She was accepted for training in November of 1982, and four years later was inducted into the union as its fi rst woman member. “I went through the same learning and training as any man would do,” Stephens recalls. “When I fi rst started working on jobs, the men would look at me as if to say, ‘What are you doing here?’ It took some time for them to get used to it, but they fi nally realized that I was serious, and that I was going to show up to class every single time, they came around.” After 31 years as a construction engineer at various job sites in the metropolitan area, Stephens says she is “as satisfied now as I was then,” and notes that now, there are “25 to 30” women members of Local 14. “It is a long time coming,” she says of other women joining the union. “It didn’t happen for the fi rst few years. It wasn’t like [women] were pushing in the door to [become construction engineers].” But Stephens has never regretted her career choice, and insists that “unions are what made this country. You have job security when you’re with a union; you’re able to make a decent living and take care of your family. Hiring non-union workers is dangerous; they have no training whatsoever. We’re constantly doing training, doing refresher courses for everything we’ve learned, the industry is changing and we’re studying to change with it.” The parade “shows solidarity for the workingclass man and woman, and it shows that as union members they’re safer, more efficient, and qualified to get the job done.”

COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018

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COMMUNITY NEWS GROUP • NYC WORKS • SEPT. 6, 2018


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13


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Hopes they see the light

Subscribe to The Villager

To The Editor: Re “A united fight to preserve a beloved green oasis” (Elizabeth St. Garden special section, Aug. 30): Many times in our city, political leaders have thought they were doing the right and brave thing, but they later realized they had tunnel vision instead of considering the needs and health of the community. Yes, senior housing is important, critical, in fact. So is an oasis and a community gathering spot. The word “compromise” sounds good. But instead of cutting the baby in half, why not compromise by taking the other site, on Hudson St., for housing — a site that had been promised as a park but not yet developed as such. I have not given up hope that the Elizabeth St. Garden can be saved, and that even de Blasio, Brewer and Habitat will all be among the saviors, because they will be able to leave the tunnel and see the light.

ism. I would really hate to see that. So, I look forward to upcoming articles presenting all points of view and exploring the diversity of the neighborhood beyond the tiny, but beautiful Elizabeth St. Garden. Keep up the good work! Alec Pruchnicki

‘Penn Station’ of gardens? To The Editor: Re “A golden garden nurtured by community’s love” (Elizabeth St. Garden special section, Aug. 30): A city development agency and a city councilperson, Margaret Chin, despite the mounting outcry of many thousands, are about to tear down the Elizabeth St. Garden — just like their predecessors’ totally misguided affront to humanity in tearing down Penn Station.

Keen Berger Bill Rabinovitch

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Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail pbeatrice@cnglocal.com

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Special section one-sided To The Editor: Congratulations on your special section last week on the Elizabeth St. Garden! I can hardly wait for your follow-up articles on the numerous other parks in the surrounding neighborhood, such as the Liz Christy and M’finda Kalunga gardens, the First Park, massive Sara D. Roosevelt Park, and the soon-to-be-renovated DeSalvio Playground, along with interviews with the volunteers who have been working there for decades. The special section’s headline, “How a Garden CHANGED a Neighborhood,” was also an eye-opener and explained why Little Italy is flourishing while no other neighborhood in Manhattan is being gentrified or upscaled. Obviously, the area benefits from the garden like no other community in Manhattan. As a dedicated Villager reader, my only worry is that other Villager readers, more cynical than myself, might criticize you for a possibly one-sided puff piece pandering to a small, politically well-connected group, maybe including advertisers, and thus besmirch your stellar reputation for objective, professional journal-

Give crowdfunding a try To The Editor: Re “De Blasio: Old P.S. 64 owner ‘exceedingly uncooperative’ on sale” (news article, Aug. 30): It bothers me that whoever owns the building has set it to ruin by leaving it exposed to the weather. Is it right to destroy a building — demolition by neglect? Eminent domain is difficult. There was supposed to be a definition of “community use.” Adelphi University, which had planned to take space in the old P.S. 64 under Singer’s dorm plan, is not community. Community is people who live nearby like neighbors. Some of the college students who live here temporarily have been extremely unkind. They get loud at night. They pile up raw food in the garbage collection areas. They dump tremendous amounts of food garbage, furniture and cardboard packing every day. Is there enough interest and enough wealth to establish a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money to purchase the building from Singer? Forget this government. This government is not being honest. Anne Mitcheltree

IRA BLUTREICH

LETTERS continued on p. 21

Every day, cartoonists in America bless Trump.

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IMAGE COURTESY NYC H.P.D.

A design rendering of par t of the embattled Haven Green project that the cit y hopes to build on the Elizabeth St. Garden. The image shows people in a tunnel-like outdoor walk way through the building that would connect Elizabeth St. to the remnant of the garden that would be preser ved on Mott St. Under the cit y’s plan, Habitat NYC would also get more than 11,000 square feet of space in the new building — not for affordable housing, but for use for its own offices.

Habitat is coming home with Haven Green project

TALKING POINT BY K AREN HAYCOX

be our desire to serve the most vulnerable of our neighbors. This is at the very core of our mission. Haven Green represents an opportunity for Habitat NYC to serve a sector of the community in genuine need, at an income level that we have been historically unable to reach.

A

t a public Community Board 2 meeting in July, which The Villager covered, Habitat for Humanity New York City, alongside our development partners, Pennrose Properties and RiseBoro Community Partnership, formally presented Haven Green to the community. We are thrilled to be co-developers on this innovative and impactful project that will result in 123 units of deeply affordable, L.G.B.T.Q.-friendly, senior housing and more than 8,000 square feet of public and open space in Little Italy — a neighborhood that may soon be completely void of 100 percent affordable projects due to lack of land and otherworldly property values. Habitat NYC will also be the building’s anchor tenant. Some attendees of that C.B. 2 meeting and a small number of respondents to our extensive community outreach efforts have expressed curiosity or even mistrust of Habitat NYC’s involvement in the project — some going as far as to believe that we have somehow been duped by our development partners or that we are part of the project in order to create a “halo effect.” The truth of the matter and the strategy behind Habitat NYC’s decision to pursue this project is and will always TheVillager.com

Habitat got its start in New York City on E. Sixth St.

Additionally, relocating our operations to this location at a favorable lease rate provides our organization with a stable foundation where we will be uniquely positioned to provide enhanced direct-service opportunities for our expanded preservation and revitalization work aimed at stabilizing critical affordable housing stock at the heart of Lower Manhattan’s diverse community fabric — limited-equity

Housing Development Fund Corporation (H.D.F.C.) cooperatives. There are about 155 H.D.F.C. co-op buildings with more than 2,800 units in Manhattan’s C.B. 2 and C.B. 3. Many of these buildings are at risk of becoming unsafe, unhealthy and unaffordable for the thousands of low-income individuals and families that call them home. Habitat NYC’s space within Haven Green will also be a home for the community itself. The current design envisions a portion of the first floor functioning as flexible conference room space accessible to local nonprofit and community-based groups. This space will of course also be accessible to the garden groups to meet, plan and steward the garden, their blocks and their missions. Habitat’s presence on site does not take away any community garden space, nor does it impact the number of residential units built. In other words, if Habitat NYC was not located in the project’s community-facility space, neither more garden space nor more rental units would be included. Our presence positions Habitat for Humanity New York City as a missiondriven tenant, with a stable and convenient location for a dedicated team of experienced professionals to partner in engaging activities and programming in the community and open space. The project, of course, could go forward with another main-floor tenant within the same footprint, but the development team believes that Habitat NYC’s presence provides the neighborhood with an accessible, collaborative partner located within the building and invested in long-term stewardship of both

the building and community space. This move is also, in part, a homecoming. Habitat NYC got its start in New York City in the East Village through the renovation of Mascot Flats, an abandoned 19-unit tenement turned limited-equity cooperative. This E. Sixth St. building, whose residents are poised to pay off their mortgage later this summer, was followed directly by a second building on the same block. Habitat NYC has historically brought people of all walks of life together to bridge our differences in pursuit of the common good. We have reached out with an open hand, and continue to do so, to the community to seek partnership and collaboration on this compromise project on Elizabeth St. that provides both housing and open green space. We invite all interested individuals and community groups to participate in the design and stewardship of the project’s open and public space by submitting input through our open survey on www.havengreencommunity.org and joining us in our series of participatory design charrettes, the next one on Sat., Sept. 15, at 1:30 p.m. at University Settlement in the neighborhood. Habitat NYC is coming home and we plan to stay home for a long time. We are committed to working with the community to ensure our home continues to reflect the values of all our neighbors. Haycox is C.E.O., Habitat for Humanity New York City September 6, 2018

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ENTERTAINMENT

HARRY’S HABANA HUT 214-09 41st Ave., Bayside, NY 11361 (718) 423-5049 www.harryshabanahut.com ND CIGARS INC. AKA LA CASA GRANDE CIGARS 2344 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10458 (718) 364-4657, lcgcigars.com

FAVORS & INVITATIONS

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FLORISTS

FLORAL FANTASY 3031 Quentin Road in Brooklyn, (718) 998-7060 or (800) 566–8380 www.floralfantasyny.com FLOWERS BY MASSENET Jamaica, Queens, NY (347) 724-7044, (718) 526-3725 HENRY’S FLORIST 8103 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn (800) 543-6797 or (718) 238–3838 www.henrysfloristweddingevents.com MARINE FLORIST AND DECORATORS 1995 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (800) 447-6730 or (718) 338-3600 www.marineflorists.com

JEWELERS

BUONO JEWELERS 1250 Hylan Blvd., #6a Staten Island, NY 10305 (718) 448-4900, www.buonojewelers.com

LIMOUSINE SERVICES

MILA LIMOUSINE CORPORATION (718) 232-8973, www.milalimo.com M&V LIMOUSINES LTD. 1-800-498-5788 1117 Jericho Tpke, Commack, NY (631) 543-0908 151 Denton Ave., New Hyde Park, NY (516) 921-6845 535 8th Ave., 3rd Flr., NY, NY (646) 757-9101 www.mvlimo.com

ROMANTIQUE/DOUBLE DIAMOND LIMOUSINES 1421-86 Street, Brooklyn, NY, (718) 351-7273 2041-Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island (718) 351-7273, www.rddlimos.com SOPHISTICATED LIMOUSINES Servicing the Tri- State Area, (718) 816-9475 www.sophisticatedlimousines.com

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

FANTASY PHOTOGRAPHY 3031 Quentin Rd., Brooklyn NY, (718) 998-0949 www.fantasyphotographyandvideo.com NY PHOTO VIDEO GROUP 1040 Hempstead Tpke Franklin Sq., NY 11010 11 Michael Avenue Farmingdale, NY 11735 Office: 516-352-3188 Joe Cell: 516-445-8054 Peter Cell: 516-343-6662 www.nyphotovideogroup.com info@nyphotovideogroup.com ONE FINE DAY PHOTOGRAPHERS 459 Pacific St., Massapequa Park (516) 690–1320 www.onefinedayphotographers.com ZAKAS PHOTOGRAPHY info@zakasphotography.com www.zakasphotography.com

REAL ESTATE

DREAM HOUSE REALTY 7505 15th Avenue Brookyn, NY 11228 (718) 837–2121, carolynctrp@aol.com Carolyn Trippe, Lic. RE Broker

SALONS

PILO ARTS SALON 8412 3 Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209 (718) 748–7411, www.piloarts.com

SERVICES

COSMETIC & LASER CENTER OF BAY RIDGE 9921 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209 (718) 833-2793 or (718) 833-7616 www.BayRidgeDerm.com ELITE WEIGHT LOSS 1316 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11229 (917) 444-3043, EliteWeightLossNY.com KHROM DERMATOLOGY & AESTHETICS 2797 Ocean Parkway, 1st Fl. Brooklyn, NY 11235 (718) 866-3616, www.josephlichterdds.com JOSEPH LICHTER, D.D.S. 1420 Avenue P in Brooklyn (718) 339-7878, www.khromMD.com OMNI DENTAL CARE 313 Kings Highway in Brooklyn (718) 376-8656, www.omnidentalcare.com THE VEIN CENTER OF THE VASCULAR INSTITUTE OF NY Dr. Natalie Marks 960 - 50 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 438-0067, www.vascularnyc.com

TRAVEL

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TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS DIRECTORY CALL (718) 260–8302 16

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Old wigs and new attitudes Drag, trans, next gen artists share the stage at Wigstock 2.HO

Photo by Bob Krasner

Candis Cayne (left) told Charles Battersby (right), “When I perform on stage in a lot of makeup, I’m a trans drag performer. One is your identity and the other is fun.”

BY CHARLES BATTERSBY There’s nothing worse than middleaged New Yorkers complaining about how the city has changed since the “good old days” — but it’s wonderful when cranky old coots get up and actually do something to recreate the lost wonders of the city. That’s exactly what drag queen Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris have done with Wigstock. The long-running outdoor festival of drag performances was held in NYC for nearly twenty years in the ’80s and ’90, but fizzled out back in the early 2000s. The event was resurrected as “Wigstock 2.HO” at Pier 17 on Sept. 1, as a daylong festival with scores of performers, wig cannons, the world’s oldest drag TheVillager.com

queen, and several close contenders for that title (SNAP). Aside from being a fun show, it also showed how cultural attitudes towards gender identity and drag have changed since the ’90s. There was no shortage of middle-aged queens talking about how the city used to be cooler in the Back When times; back when Frankie Knuckles was DJing, when Union Square was still a “needle park,” and when the Club Kids roamed the streets from the Limelight to Pyramid. Naturally, these cultural references were lost on half the audience. Among the longtime Lypsinka fans were some drag enthusiasts who weren’t even born when Divine still walked the Earth. To these younger attendees, drag means

RuPaul’s reality TV series, and Wigstock is something from the history books. We spoke to Dany Johnson, who not only directed Fogo Azul, a Brazilian drum corps that opened the show, but she was also the stage manager of Wigstock from 1989 through the early 2000s. She told us that the younger members of the band “...had no idea what [Wigstock] was. I sent them a link to Tom Rubnitz’s movie and the other movie from 1995.” According to Johnson, even the “Woodstock” reference is lost on some of the youngsters. This younger generation might also have trouble remembering social attitudes about gender expression and gender identity in the 20th century. Some of the

performers at Wigstock 2.HO straddle the line between drag queen and trans performer who happens to do drag. Actress Candis Cayne, who performed at Wigstock in the ’90s and also has worked in contemporary film and TV, told us, “To me, drag is what you do, and trans is who I am. “I take trans roles, but I also I take cis [nontransgender] roles. When I perform on stage in a lot of makeup, I’m a trans drag performer. One is your identity and the other is fun.” About Wigstock in the ’90s, Ms. Cayne told us, “Back when I started drag, it was still a very fringe thing on NEW ATTITUDES continued on p. 19 September 6, 2018

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Flipping our lid for Wigstock Scenes from Sept. 1â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relaunch at Pier 17 PHOTO ESSAY BY BOB KRASNER

FLIP LID continued on p. 19

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Photos by Bob Krasner

FLIP LID continued from p.18

NEW ATTITUDES continued from p. 17

the edge of society. We were doing it then for an outlet to be creative, glamorous, and to perform. Because for a lot of us that was our only outlet.â&#x20AC;? Also on hand was Peppermint, who audiences might know from â&#x20AC;&#x153;RuPaulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drag Race,â&#x20AC;? and her current work on Broadway, in the musical â&#x20AC;&#x153;Head Over Heels.â&#x20AC;? We asked her about being openly transgender before achieving fame as a drag performer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to make the distinction that many trans women may not want to be considered drag queens,â&#x20AC;? she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because it promotes the idea that being trans and being a woman and feminine is a put on. Something that is fake, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not serious... The idea of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a man in a wigâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a man in a dressâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is attached to drag â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also attached to negative stereotypes about transness.â&#x20AC;? We also asked Peppermint about trans performers taking on roles in mainstream entertainment, such as in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Head Over Heelsâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; where her character is of non-binary gender. With the entertainment industry trying to feature trans characters, there isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessarily a trans actor ready to take on all of these roles, or to write and direct them. According to Peppermint, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everyone wants an authentic performance and an authentic conTheVillager.com

nection to the art. The best way to do that is to have trans people telling their own stories, or participate in telling their own stories,â&#x20AC;? she explained. But, she clarified, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not necessarily that cisgender people canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be involved in that. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about creating space that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exclude trans people.â&#x20AC;? Backstage at Wigstock, we spoke to trans icon Amanda Lepore and drag artist Sharron Needles, a pair of performers who perfectly sum up the influence of the trans community on the drag community, and vice versa. Readers may know Ms. Needles from â&#x20AC;&#x153;RuPaulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drag Race.â&#x20AC;? Lepore is a model who describes herself as â&#x20AC;&#x153;the most expensive body on Earth,â&#x20AC;? due to her exquisitely sculpted doll-like features. Needles calls herself Leporeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest fan (she even has a tattoo of Lepore on her shoulder, and recorded a single titled â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Wish I Were Amanda Leporeâ&#x20AC;?). Ms. Needles was too young to be in the original run of Wigstock, but recounted the tale of how she discovered a VHS copy of 1995â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wigstock: The Movieâ&#x20AC;? documentary and says she â&#x20AC;&#x153;hid it under my mattress the way most teenage boys hid porn. I used it almost as a bible and a manual to become who I am.â&#x20AC;? She went on to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I gives me goose pimple to think that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m [At Wigstock] today being able to partici-

pate in something that meant so much to me cinematically as a kid.â&#x20AC;? About the club and drag scene near the end of the original run of Wigstock, Ms. Lepore told us, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Drag was sort of dying in the club scene, and it was sad. There were people holding onto it, but it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like it was in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;90s where everyone did drag. When â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;RuPaulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drag Raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; came, you would see superyoung queens doing drag, and it was amazing. And Lady Gaga helped too, for the freak factor.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have to agree,â&#x20AC;? Needles chimed in. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The post-â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;RuPaulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drag Raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; world are people that want to do drag. But before, we needed to do drag. In a post-

!!"! 

## $ Saturday 09/15 2PM, Tompkins Square Park Sunday 09/16 2PM, St. Marks Church, 10th St, 2nd Avenue www.theaterforthenewcity.net (212) 254 - 1109 @ 155 First Avenue, East Between 9th &10th Street

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Drag Raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; world, drag queens become the celebrities of their communities â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but before, we were considered the freaks of beauty, and glamour, and fashion. Being shocking and extreme was a necessity to us girls who came before â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Drag Race.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; It softened the blow of how people approach drag queens, and I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good thing.â&#x20AC;? Needles also impishly added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I also understand when people say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;RuPaulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Drag Raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; done f@cked up drag.â&#x20AC;? In an optimistic sign of the potential influence of Wigstock 2.HO, we saw Amanda Lepore greeting Desmond is Amazing, an 11-year-old fan, â&#x20AC;&#x153;drag kid,â&#x20AC;? and fellow performer at the show.

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Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 14

Not wealthy, but concerned To The Editor: Re “Inclusive growth, not political horsetrading” (talking point, by William Thomas, Aug. 30): I am not a “wealthy nearby resident” of the Tech Hub; I am not a “homeowner who ha[s] profited off Greenwich Village’s property boom”; I am not a “housing-secure millionaire.” I came into this world in a walk-up tenement on the Lower East Side and I have lived my entire adult life in a walk-up tenement in Little Italy. Like the natural beauty of our national, state and city forests and parks, which belong to every member of the public — regardless of class, race, citizenship status, gender, sexuality, age or bodily ability — architecture belongs to us all. You do not have to own a building or part of a building to enjoy its beauty and to appreciate the way history imprints itself in that building’s character. That beauty and history is available to all who view the building from publicly owned city streets. All New Yorkers and all who visit our city are robbed by this terribly shortsighted and self-serving giveaway to de Blasio, his campaign donors and the real estate Industry. Georgette Fleischer

Cynthia’s Trump similarities To The Editor: Re “Why I’m backing Nixon and Williams on Sept. 13” (talking point, by Arthur Schwartz, Aug. 30): Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has his faults as do most folks on this planet. But he is hardly a “mirror image” of Donald Trump, the profligate G.O.P. white nationalist who, among other autocratic goals, wants to “punish” women for having had abortions. Cuomo has defended women’s reproductive rights in his state and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood in New York and also by New York NOW. He has lots of union support. It seems to me that Cuomo’s opponent, Cynthia Nixon, shares more similarities to Trump than Cuomo does. Both the actress and the president are from show business and had zero experience as elected public officials before seeking top jobs in government. Talk about yuuge egos and very little substance. Mary Reinholz 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’S continued from p. 1

case that went to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, but they lost 5 to 2. “Great dissent,” Schwartz noted of the two justices who felt she should be allowed to

run. Basically, Mintz’s campaign was canned on a technicality because she failed to note anywhere on her ballot petitions that she was running for “female” state committeeperson. There is also a Village male Democratic state committee person.

Sound off! Write a letter to the editor news@thevillager.com TheVillager.com

September 6, 2018

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Eight months later, Bowery tenants finally return BOWERY continued from p. 1

no notice following emergency vacate orders issued by the Department of Buildings, way back on Jan. 18 — on grounds that the building’s interior staircase was in urgent need of repair. Return dates set by D.O.B. were repeatedly postponed at the landlord’s request. In February, eight of the tenants held a five-day hunger strike outside the offices of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, demanding that H.P.D. take over the renovation work at the building. A second hunger strike was held briefly at the end of May in front of City Hall. The displaced families were initially dispatched to a hotel in distant East New York in Brooklyn. Later, as public pressure mounted in the case, the landlord moved them to the Wyndham Garden — on the same block as their home. But there was deep skepticism that the landlord and city officials were acting in good faith. Some of the building’s tenants, even

before the vacate order, had filed complaints with state authorities, charging that landlord Joseph Betesh was seeking to illegally revoke their apartments’ rent-stabilized status and have them evicted. Betesh had already converted other properties of his around the city to luxury condos. The displaced tenants and their activist allies feared that was the same agenda for 85 Bowery. But victory was declared on July 6, when Betesh — operating through his company Bowery 8385 LLC — and the 83-85 Bowery Tenants Association reached a legal agreement, formally settling the litigation that had been playing out in New York State Supreme Court. The deal set the date for the tenants’ return home for no later than Aug. 31. Longtime Chinatown neighborhood activist Don Lee was among the speakers at the brief sidewalk rally before the tenants entered the building. “I am humbled,” he said. “It’s not every day you have the little guys win. This fight is not just about 85 Bowery,” he added, “but all of us living in New York City and our rights.”

Yanin Pena of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side struck a similar note in her remarks. “This is still a crisis,” she said. “Around the city, there are vacate orders being carried out in an atmosphere of harassment. We have to keep on organizing against displacement.” The Coalition and the group Youth Against Displacement, the co-organizers of the rally, issued a statement noting that under the legal agreement, the tenants are returning to a safe building and repaired apartments at their original rents, and with their rent-stabilized leases intact. The tenants will not be charged for the repairs, nor face rent hikes for future repairs over the next years, they said. Under the deal with Betesh, the tenants will also receive $25,000 per apartment, as well as a lump sum of $200,000 split between them, as compensation for their personal belongings that were found in a garbage bin outside the building in April. They were able to recover only some of the belongings. By hitting the Aug. 31 deadline, Be-

tesh avoided having to pay the tenants $150 per day per apartment — with the sum rising to $250 after two weeks. The organizers’ statement also stressed the emblematic nature of the case of 85 Bowery: “Despite city agencies extending the deadline of their return numerous times and the enormous pressures to compromise and ultimately leave their homes and communities, the tenants remained steadfast and determined,” they said. “They recognize that it is only through everyone’s effort that they were able to break through the city’s corruption and win such an agreement... . Tenants, supporters and the Coalition encourage others who are facing displacement and eviction to fight back and not give in to the pressure to compromise... . The tenants wish to become an example that such victories are possible even when families are being kicked out left and right.” Their statement called for “community-led rezoning,” like that advocated by the Chinatown Working Group, as a long-term measure “to protect the entire community from displacement.”

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