Glick foe: Hey, Cyn can win! BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ynthia Nixon’s campaign is over — that is, at least as far as she’s concerned. Yet, two of Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s Village nemeses plan to campaign for Nixon — who is now on the ballot against Glick in the general election — in hopes that Nixon can unseat the longtime NIXON continued on p. 7
A crusty crisis hits 2nd Ave. BY MARY REINHOLZ
rusty punks, those storied panhandling travelers with pets and musical instruments, have reappeared in the East Village in greater numbers this fall season, stirring fear and loathing among some residents and business owners on Second Ave., according to several locals. They claim the police are CRUSTIES continued on p. 8
The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since e 1933 19 3 3 19
October 11, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 40
The Power of
PINK BY VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS
re you impressed with our beautiful pink cover recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness month? I hope so, and I do hope you stop and read the pages that give you — both men and women — information that can save your life. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I know the critical need for timely mammograms. I was getting my annual gynecology checkup when the doctor said: “I don’t like what I feel here; let’s go upstairs and get you a mammogram right away!” I did and within a week I was at the office of renowned breast surgeon Dr. Karen Kostroff, being tested for breast cancer. I was lucky; after surgery they told me I did have stage-one breast cancer, but that only radiation, and a daily pill, was necessary. I tremble to think about what could have happened if I had not had that annual checkup. No doubt my story would be very different. I urge everyone to be checked annually — yes, even men can have breast cancer. Our writers have valuable information for you, so read it and take action right away! I am proud and privileged to offer the critically important information you will find in the Pink issue — our first to be published under the Schneps Community News Group ownership. Read it, save it and pass it along to a friend. October is Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, a time for us all to redouble our efforts to eradicate the second-leading killer of women in America. Schneps Community News Group’s annual “Pink Paper” is dedicated to our local resources, researchers, support teams and survivors — because we share the struggle, and are mindful of the sobering statistics and excruciating toll of this deadly disease. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2018 are: • About 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States, including 17,890 in New York; • About 40,920 women will die from breast cancer before the year’s end, including 2,390 in New York; • One in eight American women will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime; • Every two minutes, a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer; • Every 13 minutes in the U.S., a woman dies of breast cancer in our country; • About 85 percent of cases occur in women with no family history of breast cancer; • At this time, there are more than 3.1 million people in the U.S. with a history of breast cancer, including women still being treated and those who have completed treatment. Like most people, we have had friends and family battle cancer. Anyone who has
This Week’s Pink Newspaper in Recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Sponsored by www.TheVillager.com
watched the impact of this terrible disease on sufferers and their loved ones understands the urgency for a cure. Some good news: • There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today. • The five-year relative survival rate for female invasive breast cancer patients has jumped from 75 percent in the mid-1970s to 90 percent today. These strides can be attributed in no small measure to ordinary people who rise to the extraordinary occasion, demonstrating time and again the incredible strength and power of unity when affliction strikes. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for our newspapers to share the stories of how local communities come together to battle breast cancer, and herald those suffering for the spirit needed to fight this disease during their difficult journey to good health. We hope you enjoy our “Pink Paper” edition and its inspirational stories. If you are looking for additional details about breast cancer, opportunities to volunteer, or resources for someone fighting the disease, please reach out to the American Cancer Society at cancer.org/about-us/ local/new-york.html. Schneps-Yunis is president and publisher, Schneps Community News Group
Partners in the fight against breast cancer.
Stop smoking + Limit alcohol + Be physically active + Watch your weight Women between 50 and 74 should get regular mammograms. But thereâ€™s more you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
MORE THAN MAMMOGRAMS MKT 16.190
October 11, 2018
‘Scouting’ for breast tumors at Bellevue BY JAMES HARNEY
hese days, to find a potentially cancerous breast tumor, surgeons at Bellevue Hospital Center simply Scout it out. New high-tech equipment is in place in the breast surgery operating room at Bellevue that uses infrared rays to probe breasts for lesions that need to be surgically removed. Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, chief of breast surgery at Bellevue, explained that the new technology is called Savi Scout, and insisted it is the wave of the future in breast cancer surgery. “When the patient has a lesion, you can’t always feel it,” said Joseph. “The surgeon needs to find out where that lesion is; this new technology can do that.” She said that, previously, breast cancer patients needing surgery would have to arrive at the hospital early in the morning on the day of the operation to undergo needle location, a procedure in which a radiologist inserts a needle attached to a guide wire into a breast to find the lesions. “The issue with needle location is, if the lesion is in a difficult location, the procedure can take a lot longer than expected, and the patient could spend more time in the operating room than they need to,” Joseph explained. “That’s inefficient, and leads to delays in surgery for the doctors.” With Savi Scout, she said, a radiologist inserts a small chip, called a reflector, into the breast of a surgical patient. This can be done under local anesthesia at any time — a week before, or even a
RICARDO MONGE / NYC HEALTH+HOSPITALS/BELLEVUE
Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, chief of breast surger y at Bellevue Medical Center, displays Savi Scout, the latest breast mammography technology in use at the hospital.
day before — an operation. “We have a device that we use in the operating room that picks up a signal from the reflector to show the surgeon where [in the breast] the lesion is,” Joseph said. “I like to say it tracks where lesions are much like a GPS system in your car tracks your destination.
“It’s a procedure that’s much more comfortable for the patient — they don’t have that guide wire sticking out of their breast — and they don’t have to come in hours earlier before surgery,” she added. It also improves operating-room efficiency, because surgeons can begin operating more quickly, and see more patients
on any given day. “The main thing we [surgeons] look at is what we call our ‘first start’ case, the first [surgical] case of the day,” Joseph said. “If that [surgery] doesn’t start on time, the rest of the cases will be delayed and our efficiency goes down. That’s been largely eliminated by Savi Scout. It’s safe to say that we’ve knocked down the time it takes to do an average breast surgery procedure from an hour to half that time.” Joseph said that since Bellevue brought the new technology on board, it’s increasingly becoming the go-to approach. “Sixty-five percent of the cases that were previously handled with guide wires are now done with Savi Scout,” he said, “and we expect that number to grow. It’s state-of-the-art. We’re excited about it.” Joseph is also an associate professor of surgery and population health at N.Y.U. Langone Health. She said that, so far, Bellevue is the only city Health + Hospitals facility to use Savi Scout, but she expressed hope that others would follow suit. “It’s going to become the standard of care,” she said. “The major [breast cancer] academic centers are moving toward this type of system. “Cancer patients are going through a stressful experience as it is,” she said. “Anything we can do to make that experience less stressful is a good thing.” Bellevue Hospital Center, at 462 First Ave. at E. 27th St., is observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month by offering free mammograms at a health fair in the hospital lobby on Tues., Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Understanding family cancer syndromes
ew, if any, families have not been affected by cancer. No individual or family is immune to cancer, but some families may be more at risk of developing certain types of cancer than others. In many instances, cancers that run in families can be linked to behaviors that families share. For example, families that smoke tobacco may be more vulnerable to cancer than those that don’t, since the smoke from tobacco is known to contain dozens of carcinogens. Cancer can affect multiple generations, even in families in which only one person smokes, since exposure to secondhand smoke also increases cancer risk. But poor behaviors or the effects of those behaviors are not the only cancer risk factors that can be passed down from generation to generation. According to the American Cancer Society, between 5 and 10 percent of all cancers result directly from gene mutations inherited from a parent. When cancers within a family are strongly linked to such mutations, this is known as family cancer syndrome. Cancer is not necessarily caused by a family cancer syndrome, even if gene mutations are inherited. But the following factors may make it more likely that cancers in a family are caused by a family cancer syndrome: TheVillager.com
Such instances are rare, but an elevated risk for cer tain types of cancer can be passed down from generation to generation.
• Many cases of the same type of cancer, especially if the cancer is considered uncommon or rare; • Cancers that occur at an abnormally young age within a family compared to the median age that such cancers are typically diagnosed among the general population; • More than one type of cancer in a single person; • Cancers that occur in both of a pair of organs,
such as in both kidneys, both breasts or both eyes; • More than one childhood cancer in siblings; • Cancer that occurs in a sex that is not usually affected by that type of cancer, such as a man being diagnosed with breast cancer. Before discussing the potential of a family cancer syndrome with their physicians, men and women can survey their family histories with the disease. Adults can make a list of the people in their families who have been diagnosed with cancer, noting their relationship to each individual and which side of the family each person is on. List the type of cancers each person was diagnosed with, placing an asterisk or note next to types that are considered rare or unusual. In addition, list the age of diagnosis for each family member and whether or not they developed more than one type of cancer. This may be difficult to determine, but try to learn if each relative diagnosed with cancer made any lifestyle choices that might have contributed to their diagnosis. Such choices include smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and activity level. Family cancer syndromes are rare, but understanding them can still help families make the right lifestyle choices. More information about family cancer syndromes is available at www.cancer.org. October 11, 2018
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The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 00426202 Copyright © 2018 by City Media LLC is published weekly by City 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: City 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 City Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR
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October 11, 2018
Fugitive ‘killer’ The New York Post recently reported that two detectives were shot to death in Mexico while trying to detain a suspect in a murder in Union Square in 2012. Two federal agents were trying to serve a warrant for a man named “Orlando” in the state of Puebla. Mexican media ID’d the suspect as Orlando Orea, who is accused of fatally slashing Michael Jones, 25, before fleeing south of the border six years ago. The Post reported that it was not immediately clear who shot the detectives. Jones was a youth soccer coach in Westchester and was originally from the U.K. He was found dead on Oct. 7, 2012, on the sidewalk on W. 14th St. near Fifth Ave., with multiple stab wounds to the head, neck and chest, and one of his ears had been cut off. Orea, who also goes by Orlando Gutierrez, is now around age 38. Police were able to identify the suspect — who was caught on video surveillance leaving the scene of the crime — after a bartender at the since-closed Bunga’s Den on W. 14th St. said he was a regular there, and that he frequented a local tattoo parlor. Bunga’s Den is now a sports bar called the Offside Tavern.
Phony cards A man used fraudulent credit cards to make two purchases at the H & M store at 558 Broadway, near Prince St., on Wed., Oct. 3, according to police. The first purchase was for $100 and made at 4:25 p.m., and the second was for $50 two minutes later. The man was caught by police at Spring St. and Broadway, and after being searched, was found to have multiple fraudulent credit cards in his possession. The card used for the two H & M purchases, along with the merchandise, were all recovered, and video of the transaction was obtained by the police. Savion Brooks, 21, was arrested for felony grand larceny.
Thief gets bagged Inside The Lantern bar and comedy club at 167 Bleecker St., a woman had a bag taken from a chair around 8 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 4, police said. The man who took the bag placed his own one in its place and then brought the stolen satchel outside and stashed it in his friend’s vehicle. But the woman confronted the car owner, and was able to recover her bag, which contained more than $2,500 worth of items, including an Apple laptop computer, $810 cash, a Michael Kors wallet and 15 credit cards. Gabriel Walker, 37, was arrested for felony grand larceny.
Sun., Sept. 14, around 8 a.m., and took an envelope with a Visa card belonging to a 31-year-old complainant. He then reportedly used the pilfered plastic at the new Target, at 500 E. 14th St., near Avenue A to make purchases totaling $327. The suspect is describe as light-skinned, in his 20s, tall, wearing a white ball cap and a black T-shirt with “Thumbs Up” and written on the front. Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
PHOTO COURTESY N.Y.P.D.
Police say this man recently robbed a TD Bank on University Place.
Masked ‘machete’ man A woman, 27, inside the Forever 21 at 40 E. 14th St., at 8 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 5, was approached by a man wearing a clown mask. The masked man pulled out a plastic machete and pointed it at her, frightening her, according to police. The clownish criminal, 24, then followed the woman two blocks into another store, where he again pulled out the plastic machete and again brandished it in her direction. Security escorted the man out of the store, where he waited near the front door for the victim to exit. Police responded to the scene and the man was arrested. A strip search was authorized by a sergeant at the scene, but turned up nothing illegal. Quincy Quartey was arrested for misdemeanor menacing.
Armed robbers Two men entered the A & R News and Candy Corp., at 110 W. Houston St., on Tues., Oct. 2, at 10:34 p.m., approached the male clerk, 60, at the cash register, and one of them pulled out a gun, police said. The other robber then took $1,500 from the till. One robber fled on foot westbound on Houston, while the other fled eastbound. Both suspects are black. One wore a denim jacket and black Nike baseball cap. The other wore a red sweatsuit and blue vest. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter at @NYPDTips or by texting to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.
‘Targets’ credit card Police said a man entered a lobby in the vicinity of E. 13th St. and First Ave. on
A sixtysomething thief swiped a woman’s handbag at the Brazen Fox, at 106 Third Ave., on Sun., Sept. 16, around 10:30 p.m., according to cops. The criminal entered the bar, at the corner of E. 13th St., and took the 26-year-old victim’s bag from a coat rack. The bag contained about $500, plus credit cards. The cards were later used to make several unauthorized transactions in Bushwick’s 83rd Precinct. The suspect is described as black, in his 60s, tall, wearing a dark hat, eyeglasses and carrying a black briefcase. Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
Female duo Police said two women approached a third, age 22, at the corner of Broadway and Spring St. on Mon., Oct. 1, around 1:15 p.m. and asked her to help them buy baby formula. They all walked to 298 Mulberry St., where the pair forced the third woman to withdraw $100 while holding an unidentified object to the victim. The victim complied and the two females fled with the cash in an unknown direction. The perps are described as Hispanic, one with blond hair and wearing dark clothing, the other with dark hair and wearing a black striped shirt and flip-flops. Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
Bank robbery A man entered the TD Bank at 80 University Place, near 11th St., on Tues., Oct. 9, around 5:55 p.m. and passed a teller a note demanding money, police said. The teller complied and gave him an undetermined amount of cash, after which the robber fled north on University Place. Police suspect the same man of similarly robbing a Capital One bank in Astoria, Queens, at 31-17 Broadway on Mon., Oct. 1. The individual is described as white, age 50 to 60, around 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds, wearing dark sunglasses and toting a black backpack. He also sported a black baseball cap with an eagle above an American flag. Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com
How to juggle work and breast cancer treatment
ge is a risk factor for breast cancer, as the organization Susan G. Komen notes that the older a woman is, the more likely she is to get breast cancer. However, data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that breast cancer rates in women begin to increase after age 40, meaning many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both their disease and their careers. The nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org says that breast cancer treatments can produce some cognitive side effects that affect thinking and memory. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating are two such side effects that can make it difficult for working women to do their jobs while being treated for breast cancer. Professional women diagnosed with breast cancer may be able to take advantage of short- and long-term disability programs that provide a percentage of their incomes if they are diagnosed with an illness that prevents them from doing their jobs. In addition, Breastcancer. org notes that, in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to maintain their benefits and keep their jobs while taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to heal from serious health conditions. Despite those options, many women may want to continue working while receiving treatment for breast cancer.
Data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that breast cancer rates in women begin to increase after age 40, meaning many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both their disease and their careers.
Such women can heed the following tips, courtesy of Breastcancer.org, to overcome any cognitive effects of treatment so they can continue to perform their jobs capably:
Start taking notes: Start taking notes during meetings, important work-related conversations, and even doctorâ€™s appointments to counter any issues with memory. Keep such notes on a tablet or
smartphone so they can be quickly and easily accessed throughout the day. Write down deadlines and work schedules: Accomplished professionals may keep lists of deadlines and work schedules in their heads, but that internal list might not be so reliable while women are being treated for breast cancer. Make use of the calendar function on your smartphone or tablet to note deadlines, even setting alerts so you receive routine reminders when important dates are coming up. Make and routinely update a to-do list: Some professional women diagnosed with breast cancer may be juggling work, treatment and their families. Keeping a to-do list and checking items off as theyâ€™re completed can help women effectively manage such juggling acts and save time. Set realistic goals: Breast cancer treatment can produce a host of side effects, including fatigue. So women who plan to continue working during treatment should be sure to set realistic goals that take into account the effects that treatment may have on their energy levels. If need be, delegate more tasks and ask for more help. Many women continue working while being treated for breast cancer. A few simple adjustments can help such women overcome many treatment-related obstacles.
October 11, 2018
The outspoken Downtown actress was wearing a floppy black newsboy hat and toting a black messenger-style bag and moving briskly through the crowd. She paused at the High Line amphitheater overlooking 10th Ave. to take in the sight and sounds of several dozen performers arrayed on the seats there, all sporting glowing white backpacks. Also among the throng enjoying the unique free show was Savitri D, performance-artist preacher Reverend Billy’s partner in life, art and activism.
ROBOTS TO BOOFING BRETTS: SHE WALKS THE LINE: Spotted at the “Mile-long Opera” on the High Line Friday night was Susan Sarandon.
The theme of this year’s 45th Annual Village Halloween Parade has been announced and it’s “I AM a Robot!” “With artificial intelligences emerging
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from every corner of our daily lives, the line distinguishing human from robot becomes increasingly vague,” a parade press release notes. “On Halloween, we can be whoever and whatever we desire, allowing us to celebrate what truly makes us humans by exploring how we remake ourselves.” We don’t know about robots. Our money is on a drunken and stumbling Brett Kavanaugh being among this year’s top costumes. The parade will travel along Sixth Ave. from Spring St. to W. 16th St. on Wed., Oct. 31, from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The lineup is south of Spring St. This year’s grand marshal is Machine Dazzle, costume designer extraordinaire.
PAYING RESPECTS: Viewings will be held for Anna Curreri, 85, at Perrazo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., on Thurs., Oct. 11, and Fri., Oct. 12, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held Sat.,
Oct. 13, at 9:30 a.m., at St. Anthony’s Church, at Sullivan and Houston Sts.
MOVING ON: Noting it was “bittersweet” to leave, Sarah Sanchala, who has worked in Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s office for the past eight years, most recently as chief of staff, has moved on to a new job. She’s now at Planned Parenthood NYC, where she will work in government relations. Glick’s incoming chief of staff is Tracy Jackson. CORRECTION: In last week’s issue, the article on The Village Trip incorrectly referred to Suzanne Vega’s hit song as “Tom’s Restaurant,” when of course it’s “Tom’s Diner.” The actual still-extant eatery, at 112th St. and Broadway, that the tune is based on is called Tom’s Restaurant. It was also the inspiration for Monk’s Cafe in “Seinfeld.”
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October 11, 2018
‘66th and the City’; Glick foe working for a Cyn win NIXON continued from p. 1
incumbent. District Leader Arthur Schwartz was Nixon’s New York State campaign counsel in her run for governor in last month’s Democratic primary election that Andrew Cuomo won handily. Schwartz also happens to be a longtime enemy of Glick, dating back to their opposing views on the creation of the Hudson River Park in the 1990s. Now, Schwartz and his ally veteran gay activist Jim Fouratt plan to push Nixon’s candidacy against Glick. Not wanting to undercut Cuomo in the general election, the Working Families Party last week moved Nixon off its ballot line for governor on Nov. 6 and switched her onto the ballot for the election for the Village’s 66th Assembly District. Cuomo was offered and has agreed to take the W.F.P. line, in addition to the Democratic line, which he won by beating Nixon. Under election law, there were only four ways she could get off the ballot for governor: by moving out of the state, committing a felony, dying or running for another office. Nixon’s campaign previously said that if she made the switch to the Assembly ballot, she would not actively run against Glick — and would, in fact, campaign for her. Although a judicial position is also on the ballot, Nixon could not legally run for it since she is not a lawyer. Meanwhile, Schwartz and Fouratt see an opportunity in voters being able to blacken in the oval for the “Sex and the City” star over Glick . Both Glick and Nixon are openly lesbian, though Nixon also identifies as bisexual. Both are progressive, but Nixon is more left than Glick on many issues. “We’ll be calling on people to vote for Cynthia,” Schwartz said. “She said she’ll support [Glick] — but that doesn’t mean I have to support her.” Two years ago, in fact, Schwartz ran against Glick himself in the Democratic primary. But the pressures of campaigning affected his heart — he previously had open-heart surgery — forcing him to drop out. In turn, his committee on vacancies tapped Fouratt to run in his stead. Glick went on to win the primary easily. Usually, the Democrat has an advantage simply because his or her name is on the ballot’s left-hand side, while the field of candidates on other party lines stretches out to the right — and, of course, we read from left to right. However, in the Assembly election, that won’t be a factor, Schwartz noted, since “there will only be two names,” Glick and Nixon. The district leader thinks Nixon — albeit an unwilling candidate — has a real chance to stun the longtime assemblymember. He noted that Fouratt barely spent any money on his campaign versus Glick, yet did pretty well. TheVillager.com
C ynthia Nixon, right, will be on the ballot for A ssembly on the Working Families Par t y line on Nov. 6 versus incumbent Democrat Deborah Glick, left.
“He got 30 to 35 percent and he spent $500,” Schwartz said. Actually, Fouratt got about 20 percent of the vote to Glick’s 80 percent. Schwartz told the New York Post that two of their campaign slogans urging people to vote for Nixon will be: “Time for a socialist” in Greenwich Village and “28 years is long enough — enough is enough!” Nixon lives in the district on Bleecker St. in Noho. In one glaring difference on the issues, Glick — like almost all the area’s other local politicians — supports saving the Elizabeth St. Garden, but Nixon — who is an ally of Mayor de Blasio — backs the city’s plan to build affordable housing there. Glick shrugged off Schwartz and Fouratt’s scheme as “mischief-making,” plus “insulting” to voters. “We’ve had this potential since June,” she said of the possibility that Nixon might wind up on the ballot against her. “It was confirmed last Friday. And I think that Cynthia clearly is not interested in running for this position. “As far as Schwartz and Fouratt, mischief-making is not a surprise,” Glick added. “They’ve both run against me in the past, so this is not an unexpected activity on their part. “It is insulting to the constituents to be pushing a candidate who clearly has indicated she is not interested in the position — it’s misleading and insulting to their intelligence. And it’s somewhat disrespectful to Cynthia as she has indicated she did not want her campaign to be active in this race. But I will obviously win the race,” Glick stated, confidently, “because there isn’t a race. “Some people will clearly be confused,” she acknowledged of the appearance of a competitive election. “We
will mount a proper campaign that will inform the public appropriately.” Schwartz said his “campaign” will mainly consist of e-mailing using his database of 10,000 names of so-called “prime voters” that he compiled when he ran against Glick.
He said the message will be less of a pitch for Nixon and “more ‘time for Glick to go’ and explain why that’s the case and the way for her to go is to vote for Cynthia Nixon.” Schwartz said he did hear that Nixon plans a press conference with Glick.
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October 11, 2018
Crusty punks take over Second Ave. sidewalk CRUSTIES continued from p. 1
doing little to address the problems posed by the homeless, mostly white vagabonds, which include alleged street crimes and quality-of-life offenses, like public urination outside the site of the 2015 gas explosion. “They’re attracting all kinds of displaced people — I’ve never seen so many before,” said Maryann Marlowe, owner of Enz’s retro fashion boutique, at 125 Second Ave., which is adjacent to the vacant, rubble-strewn lot on Second Ave. and E. Seventh St. “Every day there are new ones. “I’ve come to feel they own Second Ave. and it’s like we don’t belong,” she told The Villager. “Some have been here for 10 years. I’ve lived in the East Village for years and it’s never escalated to this point. It’s like a recurrence of Tent City, with sometimes 10 or 15 of them outside,” she said, referring to the homeless encampment in Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s. “They have trays of food and mattresses and pillows out on Second Ave. They all have cell phones and say they make $50 a day panhandling. They’re here because they know the police will do nothing. Their hands are tied,” she said of the police. Marlowe, who wants the blast site “supervised and cleaned every day,” called police on Saturday after she saw an older man among the younger crusties urinating in front of her tiny shop while a customer was there. She has since reached out to various public officials, ranging from Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, and state Senator Brad Hoylman, to city agencies, like the Department of Health. She contacted the latter agency after, she said, the crusties were given “20 pounds of popcorn, which they threw all over the street,” and previously let loose pet rats at the blast site, “which have multiplied.” Late last month, Marlowe attended a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting at the E. Fifth St. police stationhouse, where she and her neighbors complained about “homeless” invaders to Captain John L. O’Connell, the new commanding officer. Two of them claimed the crusties were prone to violence. “There’s a colony of homeless between St. Mark’s Place and Seventh St. and they’re a public danger,” said an older woman who called herself Yvonne. “There was a stabbing in the beginning of August,” she continued. “One of them stabbed another one. Yesterday, they had a big fight. One or two of them have a car. They use the cell phone [chargers] so much. It might be good to get rid of the cell phone [chargers],” Yvonne suggested to O’Connell, referring to the city’s WiFi kiosks. “It’s a problem we want gone. There’s public urination.”
October 11, 2018
PHOTO BY MARYANN MARLOWE
Crust y punks crashed out on Second Ave. near E. Seventh St., outside the vacant lot where three buildings were destroyed in the gas explosion in 2015. Their numbers have mushroomed compared to past years, according to locals.
She also claimed that some of the crusties’ pets were in danger of abuse by their owners. O’Connell, 44, an immense IrishAmerican third-generation cop, whose mother once served as a uniformed police officer in the Ninth, listened intently to Yvonne before answering. “Certainly, it’s an issue that I’ve heard about,” he told her. “I’ve gone out there. We are doing a lot of things about it. Sergeant Bailey can go into more specifics about what we’re doing” after the meeting, he said, referring to Sergeant Leslie Bailey, who heads the Ninth’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers or N.C.O.’s. At one point in the meeting, Bailey said, “We can’t arrest people just because they’re hanging out.” C.B. 3 District Manager Stetzer offered a similar assessment when contacted by The Villager on Friday. “People are allowed by law to be on the street,” she said in an e-mail. “If they are doing something criminal, that is not allowed. However, police need to see evidence.” Stetzer, who works with all of the involved agencies, said she was “not aware of any violence in the area from this population.” This reporter spoke to three apparent crusties over the weekend, including a 24-year-old goateed man named Jagger Thompson, who has traveled around the country, and boasted of once making “suicide leaps” onto freight trains going 60 miles per hour. He said he now has cancer and is staying with a friend in New York. Thompson displayed a food-stamp card while stroking a pet kitten as he sat with his girlfriend on a Third Ave. sidewalk around the corner from St. Mark’s Place. Kaitlin, a 24-year-old aspiring musician originally from Nashville, Ten-
nessee, sat on a sidewalk next to a cellphone charger not far from Gem Spa on Second Ave. at St. Mark’s Place. In front of her was a plate with coins and a small sign reading, “Anything helps.” Kaitlin, who has been in New York for several years, leaving and then returning, said she sleeps “right now on the street and different places.” She hugged a battered case containing her fiddle. “I had another one but it was stolen,” she said. She was joined on the sidewalk by a bearded self-described crusty, apparently over 30, who identified himself as LeRoy Jenkins. He was smoking a cigarette from a $20 carton he got on the cheap from an Indian reservation in Suffolk County. “I’m here to be with my [street] family,” he said, claiming he had recently reconciled with his parents and now sometimes stays with them on Long Island while working as a contractor. Jenkins bristled and started shouting when told by this reporter that some people in the East Village are afraid of crusties, stating that he and his fellow travelers don’t “give a f—” about what other people think. Asked why he was so upset, Kaitlin said softly, “Some people think we’re not even human.” Indeed, one attendee at the aforementioned precinct council meeting called crusties “animals” several times during an interview with The Villager. He asked to be identified by the pseudonym of Stephen Lipski — because he is terrified of them, claiming he’s been “cursed out, shouted at and insulted by them every day.” He told O’Connell, “I see their hypodermic needles; I see their [hidden] bottles. I see them defecating between cars on E. Seventh St. Put in overhead
lights!” he pleaded. The 64-year-old retiree, who lives in a rent-stabilized Second Ave. apartment, told The Villager that the crusties are in the East Village “by choice because rich people from Tribeca give them money. I’ve seen one perform fellatio in a car, presumably for pay,” he said. “I’ve reported them to the police and the police give me lessons on their rights. They say, if they don’t see a crime, it’s not illegal.” An East Village local who identified herself as Sylvia Klein said problems with the homeless have been an issue in the East Village for years. She said multiple people and city agencies were involved in addressing the problem, including the Department of Sanitation. As for dogs allegedly abused by crusties, she observed, “We have the ASPCA. If the dogs attack someone, the ASPCA can come and take the dogs the same day.” She told the police, “The Department of Homeless [Services] should be helping you guys, so you can understand the layers of the problem.” Another woman at the meeting spoke of a different type of homeless sleeping in the neighborhoods of Alphabet City, with drug dealers allegedly operating in community gardens on E. Fourth and Fifth Sts. “We know there is drug dealing going on the Fifth St. side of the community garden and going into E. Fourth St. There are people there who are actually the runners. We really need some help” from the police, she said. A Noho resident who arrived alone at the meeting told O’Connell about a “big problem with people selling drugs in front of the building [on Broadway and Bleecker] and hanging out in Wendy’s all day long.” He said he talked to a cop who told him he was looking for a “confidential informant.” The man explained he had come to the council to bring the problem to the Ninth’s “attention” in hopes of getting a “coordinated” police response. Shortly before the council meeting ended, the new top cop in the Ninth told locals, “The door is always open. People should feel comfortable walking into a stationhouse.” Meanwhile, Enz’s owner Marlowe hopes the police will help her “fi x” the problem with the homeless crusties and their followers, noting that the hotbutton issue has brought people “to a point of rage and in-house fighting in the neighborhood, with some saying that this wouldn’t be happening if [former Mayor] Giuliani was here. The liberals hate Giuliani, so this is causing unrest.” Asked if police returned her e-mails about the issue, Marlowe noted that an officer from community affairs sent her an e-mail, stating, “We’re working on it.” TheVillager.com
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October 11, 2018
Kid in the Village who wrote ‘Summer in the BY GABE HERMAN
erhaps no song better captures the feel of hot New York days, and the edge of urban life in general, than the Lovin’ Spoonful classic “Summer in the City.” The song remains catchy and — with global warming — certainly relevant 52 years after its release. Mark Sebastian, who grew up as a Village kid, holds a place in music history as co-writer of the iconic song. He recently reflected with The Villager about the tune’s origins and his youthful days in the neighborhood. “Summer in the City” was released in June 1966 and was a hit during what remains one of the hottest New York City summers on record. It reached number one on the charts that August and stayed there for three weeks. The track was edgier than the Lovin’ Spoonful’s previous work. Rolling Stone wrote that it “evoked its subject with urban grit and Gershwin-esque grandeur,” placing it at number 401 on the magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Not only did the song originate from outside the band, but it started with a 14-year-old middle school boy, Mark Sebastian, brother of the group’s lead singer, John Sebastian. The brothers grew up in the heart of the Village, at 29 Washington Square West, at the northwestern corner of the park. Mark had many musical influences that would eventually lead to writing the first draft of “Summer in the City.” The Beatles were, of course, a big one, but even before that, the younger Sebastian was playing folk songs on guitar, sometimes getting the chords and lyrics from the music magazine Sing Out! “Because of the circle there in Washington Square, on Sundays I could go out and hear these phenomenal bluegrass pickers,” he recalled, referring to the park’s central fountain. Mark also recalled “Hispanic or Cuban rhythm sections you’d hear in Central Park. Now they’d be called ‘drum circles.’ Back then, it was a guy with a conga. I’d sit there and listen to that and say, ‘What is this?’” Both their parents were musical, with father, also named John Sebastian, being a classical harmonica player and mother, Jane, writing radio programs and working at Carnegie Hall when Mark was a child. His mom was also involved in the Washington Square Music Festival. Mark recalled meeting his mom at Carnegie Hall after class at Friends Seminary, at 222 E. 16th St., where he attended grade school, and getting to hear rehearsals of many great concerts, including ones conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Mark and brother John would occasionally go to one of their father’s recording sessions, one time meeting blues
October 11, 2018
PHOTOS COURTESY MARK SEBASTIAN
John Sebastian and younger brother Mark Sebastian in Washington Square back when buses still drove through the park. The road’s pavement was the playing of their g field for stickball and manyy other games g youth.
Mark and John Sebastian in the studio during the recording of the enduring hit “Summer in the City.”
legend Lightnin’ Hopkins. “That was a sea change,” Mark said. Mark recalled the great influence of his brother, John, who is seven years his senior. “I was very lucky to have an older brother that would take me out. He’d say to Mom, ‘I want my brother to hear this,’ and then Mom would go, ‘O.K,’” he recalled. They went to the Village Gate and other local clubs, and heard artists like Nina Simone, Herbie Mann and Mississippi John Hurt. One influence, though, was especially important. “The number one thing was listening to your radio,” Mark said. He and his friends would watch the charts and track their favorite songs, listening to disc jockeys like Cousin Brucie, Murray the K and the WMCA Good Guys. In the house, a lot of blues records
‘I was totally surprised it was as big as it was.’ Mark Sebastian
were played, including Josh White and Lightnin’ Hopkins. When Mark said that when was about 12, “I started to look at the form of songs. There’s the verse, there’s the chorus. And so I started to write.” He would play on his dad’s piano when they lived in Huntington, Long Island. The young Sebastian would try to play something a little “rock and roll,” with a cool sound, he said. “I had written a bunch of songs, a lot of not-so-good songs, which is what you do at the beginning,” he said. “As a novice, a kid, you get very prolific because you’re trying to make it through all the rotten stuff and write to get to something good.” Mark doesn’t remember exactly when he began writing “Summer in the City,” but said it was at least the previous summer before its 1966 release. He recalled being home for the first summer in many years, having been kicked out of one camp and getting in trouble at another one. “I was very rebellious,” he said. He would often lie on his bed in their 15th-floor apartment, without air conditioning, looking out at the Empire State Building and the Hudson River, while absorbing all kinds of music from the radio and records. “I was really into soul music,” he said, recalling Chuck Jackson as among his favorites. “My vision for my song was a black soul singer…dreaming they could sing this song about how hard it was working at an everyday job.” One of the original lines was, “I wish I could’ve found a job out in the country, maybe found a little shade,” he recalled, “about this idea of a hardworking black man singing this soul song about summer in the city. I know it sounds nutty. We were already in that idiom because we were listening to blues and Negro spirituals, work songs.” “ ‘Summer in the City’ is not a Negro spiritual,” he explained. “But in my mind, I was trying to be real and trying not to be just a spoiled private school kid. I was trying to get my head around an experience. But really, it was just how hot it was because it was before air conditioning.” Mark wrote the original lyrics in a songbook he still has. He said they were written in pencil, though, and are now quite faded. He recalled the song developing over time. “I kept polishing it,” he said. “Sometimes when you realize a song is good, you don’t let it be. You keep going back and go, ‘I could do better.’” By this time he was in eighth grade at Tuxedo Park School, a pre-prep school in Orange County, about 45 miles north of the city. He went on to Blair Academy, but was kicked out by February of his sophomore year. SEBASTIAN continued on p. 13 TheVillager.com
City,’ 1960s smash pop/rock hit, looks back SEBASTIAN continued from p. 12
“I wasn’t really prep school fodder,” he admitted. Mark recalled not knowing right away that he had written a special song, but noted, “I felt there was a universality because of the seasonal thing.” He added, “Like a lot of things, you don’t know at the time.” Brother John would end up changing some of the lyrics, and after more work on the song, the final writing credits would include Mark, John and Steve Boone, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s bass player. Mark recalled the band’s changes and reworking of the lyrics as feeling new and exciting. “I was kind of in shock,” he said. “I had never been involved in a collaboration before.” By that time, though, the band had already scored several top 10 hits. He didn’t give a lot of pushback on the changes. “At 14, I didn’t have quite that much ego to go, ‘Oh, well, I don’t want you to do that,’” he recalled. “I was so excited that it would be part of the band’s thing.” Mark was surprised at each phase of the band’s use of the song, from recording it to including it on the album to releasing it as a single. “It was once I was at the session and I heard what it was becoming, I thought it was pretty cool,” he noted. “But I guess maybe it’s the insecurity of being a younger brother.” The final stage was the song’s massive success through the summer of 1966 and reaching number one on the charts. “I was totally surprised that it was as big as it was,” said Mark. Mark would go on to be in various bands as a youth and continues performing music to this day. He lives in California now but moved back to the Village for about 12 years starting in 2001 and considers himself bicoastal. Some of the changes to the neighborhood he once knew have been hard for him to accept. Mark fondly recalled being a child and playing touch football or a version of stickball with friends in various local vacant lots — some of the bigger ones owned by N.Y.U. and slated
Mark and John Sebastian together in later years when they played at The Bitter End on Bleecker St. TheVillager.com
A more recent photo of musician Mark Sebastian in California, where he spends most of his time these days.
for development — or at Washington Square Park. “I surely have a Spaldeen tucked up in the fleur-delys on the inside of the Arch,” he said, referring to the classic pink city handball. He and friends would play in Washington Square when buses were still driving through the park and around the fountain. “We often had to let them pass,” he recalled, “then
The songbook that Mark Sebastian used to write the lyric s for “Summer in the Cit y” as a young teenager.
fetch our ball from the other side of the bus.” His mother, Jane Sebastian, was involved in the fight, along with Jane Jacobs and civic leader Ray Rubinow, to ban buses from the park. He recalled being in grade school, about age 11, at the time. “And I was there the day the last bus went through,” he said. “It was an eye-opener for a kid at what could be accomplished if you made enough noise about something in which you believed.” However, Mark found more recent changes to the park to be more upsetting. Although he liked all the plantings that have been added, he was against statues being moved and strongly opposed the fountain being shifted a few feet eastward to align with the Arch and Fifth Ave. He even once confronted the architect of the park’s most recent redesign, George Vellonakis, to voice his displeasure. The six-year-long park renovation project, which cost $30.6 million, wrapped up in 2014. “I’m not happy with the changes at all,” Mark said. “But I’m philosophic that young people are having new experiences, and my feelings are almost irrelevant, because what, I want it to be the way I had it? That’s the disease of people that have been around on the earth for a while.” He said he appreciates that the park still attracts characters and artists, and that people continue to enjoy themselves there. And Mark also appreciates having grown up in the Village, and all of the musical opportunities that brought, from seeing legendary acts to playing clubs like the Gaslight himself as a teenager. “I was so lucky,” he reflected. Friends often had to travel from far away to get here and try to break into the scene, Mark said, “but I just went down the street from my house.” “Did I know that was special?” he pondered of that golden era of the Village music scene. “It was just what was happening in my neighborhood.” October 11, 2018
Holland Tunnel repairs will keep one tube open BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
est Siders can expect a partial closure of the Holland Tunnel six nights a week for four years beginning in 2020. One tube at a time will be closed overnight all nights except Saturday, starting with the eastbound tunnel for two years, followed by the westbound tunnel beginning in 2022. “We suffered extensive damages to our systems and structures at the Holland Tunnel,” Louis Post, the project manager on the Port Authority’s Holland Tunnel repairs project, told Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation committee on Thurs., Oct. 4. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were damaged, along with tiles, walls, roadways and the concrete parts of the tunnel structure itself, he added. Hurricane Sandy flooded the tunnel with 30 million gallons of saltwater in 2012. Since then, the Port Authority has been busy trying to convince the federal government to help fund the repairs, which is partly why the Port Authority is still in the design phase of the project some six years after the storm swamped Downtown Manhattan.
The repairs were originally estimated at $52 million. But the cost has ballooned to more than $364 million due to added plans for resiliency upgrades and plans to keep the tunnel open during the daytime, according to Port Authority representative at the C.B. 2 meeting. The $364 million project is necessary both to repair extensive saltwater damage and make the tunnel more resilient against future storms, according to the authority. Around 84 percent of the cost will be reimbursed by the feds. The New York-bound tube will be repaired first, from 2020 to the end of 2021. It will be closed 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekends. For New Jersey-bound tube closures from 2022 to the end of 2023, the tube will be closed 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. weekdays and midnight to 9 a.m. weekends. Around 83 percent of the Holland Tunnel’s traffic is expected to be diverted to the Lincoln Tunnel, according to the Port Authority, with another 12 percent expected to use the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and 6 percent the George Washington Bridge. Though final designs are still in the works, the authority plans to add flood protections at the tunnel’s entrances;
repair various structural parts of the tunnel; and remove salt residue from the pavement, signs and doors. The plan also includes replacing cables, duct banks, fire-safety systems, communications systems, lighting and elevator components. The Port Authority touted the projects’ economic benefits, including $260 million in wages and $640 million in economic activity. The project is expected to create 4,000 total “job years,” which is a way of calculating construction jobs, which are temporary. One committee member asked if the one tube that is open could be reconfigured as a two-way roadway while the other one is being repaired, but Post said with nearly century-old, 10-footwide lanes, a two-way road would not be safe. Since the plan is preliminary, details about where the construction staging area would be and more specifics on how traffic would be diverted have yet to be determined, authority officials said. A top concern for the two dozen people at the meeting was how the already congested surrounding neighborhood would be impacted by added traffic from the partial closure — particularly
during the possible six-month overlap with the expected L train shutdown in the first half of 2020. “I really think it’s imperative that warning signs be put up from the Williamsburg Bridge all the way to the entry of the Holland Tunnel,” said Lora Tenenbaum, a longtime Soho resident and former C.B. 2 member. That way, she said, “people get choices and alternate routes to go. “It’s kind of the problem that we’ve been thinking a lot about with the L train shutdown,” she said, “because the same area is being impacted severely by that.” Under the M.T.A. and Department of Transportation’s L train shutdown mitigation plan, more than 80 buses per hour would enter Manhattan over the bridge, with the bridge also limited to HOV-3 vehicles from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. The four bus routes would then run through the Downtown area to connect with local subway stations. The Port Authority said they plan to meet with the M.T.A. about the plan. The committee will vote this month on a resolution stating recommendations and concerns about the tunnel project.
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Former Voice photogs remember mentor McDarrah BY BOB KR ASNER
im McDarrah, son of the late renowned photographer and photo editor Fred W. McDarrah, remembers when he started to become aware that his father was doing something special. “I was in high school,” he recalled. “I was embarrassed because my friends’ dads put on a suit and tie and went to work. I wasn’t even sure what my dad’s job was. People like Andy Warhol would call the house, but I didn’t realize that these people were of any consequence.” But then kids began to come up to him and say, “Wow, your dad works for the Village Voice?” Standing in the Howl! Happening gallery on Sunday, he was surrounded by photographers who spent some of their best years working for his father at the Voice. Their pictures, on the walls for just a three-day show, are a testament to the breadth and integrity that the elder McDarrah fostered at the paper, where he worked for more than 50 years. Titled “A McPhoto Family: Photography from the Village Voice,” the exhibit contained none of Fred’s images, though his photo work is quite notable. Instead, the show concentrated on the work he mentored and celebrated. Many of these distinguished photo-
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
At the “McDarrah Family Photo Show,” from left, former Voicers photographer Bill Bernstein; Pegy Goodman, who worked in the newspaper’s ar t depar tment; and photographer Sylvia Plachy, with Tim McDarrah, Fred McDarrah’s son, who organized the three-day photo exhibit at Howl! Happening.
journalists and portrait makers began working for McDarrah as interns while still in college. The position was unpaid, but if they shot a pic that got published, they got paid. Adam Mastoon remembers being in that position in 1984, while still a student. “My first assignment was to shoot Jean-Michel Basquiat — I had no idea who he was!” he said. Harvey Wang was the very first intern, in 1974. “The assignments brought me to places that I would not have been otherwise,” he recalled. Richard Sandler cherished the fact that McDarrah nurtured people’s creativity. “He allowed you the freedom to do whatever you wanted,” he said. “He supported the creative side of you rather than the commercial side.” “He was the only editor I knew that used the word ‘f---’,” recalled Deborah
Feingold. “His language was rough and tough, but he was so kind.” Sylvia Plachy pondered for a minute and said, simply, “It was probably the best time of my life.” Allen Reuben, who contributed to the alternative weekly from 1977 to 1987, was equally succinct. “I miss it all,” he said. Tim McDarrah organized the show. “I was thrilled that so many photographers are here,” he said. His dad would have been equally thrilled, he added, “not for himself, but because everyone else is getting the recognition they deserve.” Lori Grinker, also a Voice veteran, found the show and gathering of alumni “It was very moving and nostalgic,” she said. “It makes me a little sad.” She then put into words what many of her colleagues were probably feeling: “It would be fabulous if Fred were here.”
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High Line raises opera to whole new level
PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
October 11, 2018
For six nights, from Wed., Oct. 3, to Mon., Oct. 8, the High Line was host to the ambitious “Mile-long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock.” One thousand per formers, wearing black caps that illuminated their faces with a glowing white light, many perched on small boxes, variously spoke and sang a ver y New York stor y about a cer tain table and a collection of photos and a marriage proposal and more. “Love is ever y thing,” some of the per formers sang to the audience, making deep eye contact with them as they passed by, before flipping it around and singing, “Love is nothing.” It was definitely something to think about for the thousands of operagoers as they streamed along the route from Gansevoor t St. to 34th St. — much more than one mile! It cer tainly was a good hike, as well. At a few spots along the way, per formers were inside apar tments overlooking the High Line — cleaning the windows. Somehow, it all hung together. The free opera was co-created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Start of a great Trip
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To The Editor: Re “Whoa, what a Trip first fest was!” (news article, Oct. 4): It was a joy as well as an honor to be part of this first Village Trip annual festival of the arts, of which we hope there will be many more to come. It was a whirlwind of creative energy and most important...fun for all ages! The Village has been a magical place and reminds us that writers O. Henry and Edna St. Vincent Millay, as well as composers Duke Ellington and Edgard Varese and playwright Eugene O’Neill, all would be surprised by its ever-changing nature. But that indefi nable spirit is still here and reminds us all of how we must honor the history in order to make the now more luminescent. Looking forward to The Village Trip 2019 and beyond. Thank you, Liz and The Villager, for starting it off in such a wonderful way. David Amram
‘A timeless tribute’ To The Editor: Re “Kid in the Village who wrote ‘Summer in the City’ looks back” (news article, thevillager.com, Oct. 4): “Summer in the City” is a New York anthem for all seasons and a timeless tribute to its muse, Greenwich Village. A cupful of kudos to you, Mark Sebastian, for creating a catchy little pop rock classic, and thanks to The Villager, for another rich profile. Susan M. Silver
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Summer in Sag Harbor? To The Editor: Re “Kid in the Village who wrote ‘Summer in the City’ looks back” (news article, thevillager.com, Oct. 4): Mark is a gem...musically, and as a human being. I learn something new every time we talk, and it’s been a 50-year friendship. I could read this stuff all day! Come back to Long Island, brother! Sag Harbor
misses you. Loved the article. Thank you. Brad Beyer
S.B.J.S.A. suspicions To The Editor: Re “No legal memo needed: Pass the S.B.J.S.A. now” (talking point, by David Eisenbach, Oct. 4): Corey Johnson wouldn’t be occupying the position he’s in if he couldn’t sense shifting political winds. Ask almost anyone walking down a New York street how they feel about this plague of empty stores, and prepare yourself for some heavy cursing. The politicos know this and that they must make a move, getting us to trust that they’re doing something about it. Ergo, a hearing for the Small Business Survival Act. But Johnson owes the real estate billionaires plenty. Check their generous contributions to his campaigns. He’s got to tap dance his way through a serious bind — keeping the huge landlords happy while giving some hope to suffering mom-and-pop store owners. Therefore, we’re getting a hearing for the S.B.J.S.A. But hold on! Jane Jacobs warned us about most such hearings. Practically everything is decided before most of them even begin. And, yes, this one gives us hope. And maybe a bill will pass. But then the lawyers from the Real Estate Board of New York will be at it with a buzz saw and drag it out in court for God knows how long with its constitutionality possibly being decided by a Trump Supreme Court. And is David Eisenbach the right man to be championing this bill? Eisenbach passionately wants the Public Advocate job. So, at risk again of conspiratorial thinking, I wonder how Johnson’s going to reward him at election time for bringing small business activists into intimate meeting with the Council speaker, mollifying them with the illusion of involvement. Bennett Kremen E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words, to email@example.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.
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Deny the dystopia Big Real Estate wants for us TALKING POINTS LYNN ELLSWORTH
t is hard not to grieve the physical blows our city has sustained over the years. The first big losses began with the upheavals of urban renewal that demolished vast working-class neighborhoods, all packed to the gills with small businesses: the Seaport, the Lower West Side, San Juan Hill, the Upper West Side, the Lower East Side and East and Central Harlem. Urban renewal displaced thousands and destroyed more affordable housing than it created. After that, exploitative zoning destroyed more neighborhoods: the Theater District, Yorkville and Times Square are just three examples. Then, Bloomberg’s luxury-city model handed us the corporatized wastelands of Hudson Yards, Greenpoint, Atlantic Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Long Island City. And the team of de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Glen? Their affordable housing scheme is but a Trojan horse for the same old luxury plan. So we are losing even more. Witness: Inwood, East Harlem, “Hudson Square,” the “Tech Hub” and Jerome Ave. to name a few. And more bad plans are coming. Developers want the Garment District and what’s left of the Seaport. It’s all icing on the cake of their existing plan to demolish and rebuild East Midtown even taller. Immense megatowers, many still on the drawing board, are also inching their way through the Upper West Side as close to Central Park as they can get. Developers have even dared to take parks, libraries and public-private plazas. And
VILLAGER FILE PHOTO
Outside a Lower East Side town hall in June 2017 led by Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Margaret Chin, a protester slammed the mayor for his close ties with developers and real estate. Her sign shows a photo of de Blasio posing with Steve Spinola, the former president of the Real Estate Board of New York a.k.a. REBNY.
did I mention the supertalls? Unbelievably, developers are now licking their chops over Governors and Rikers islands. Offering up so much of our city to an unregulated real estate industry is criminal. The cost is shockingly high. We lose small businesses and the vibrant street life they create. We lose our history. We lose beauty. We lose sunlight and air. And as bit by bit of it is sold off to oligarchs, we lose the sky itself. Above all, we lose people — those displaced in the first frenzy of demolitions, and then those who can’t afford the luxury units that arise in their place. We end up as serfs to the lords of real estate. And we end up having to live in a homogenized, globalized, corporate nowhere of a city. But that is exactly what Big Real Estate wants: to rebuild New York City in the model of Dubai or Shanghai. And no neighborhood is safe, even historic districts. The industry’s favorite economist, Edward Glaeser, stated in a published interview that all 10-story buildings in New York City should be torn down and rebuilt as 40-story buildings. We “regular” citizens have to realize that we face a common enemy and a common fight against the dystopia planned for us by the Real Estate Board of New York. Alas, the current crop of politicians will not help us. They might murmur words of sympathy, but they won’t lead, legislate, appoint or vote against REBNY’s power. There are no heroes among our politicians. We will have to save the city ourselves. How to do that is a big question. Start by coming to our rally. Join Human-scale NYC and more than 50 organizations in a Rally for Our Neighborhoods on Sat., Oct. 13, from noon to 1 p.m., on the steps of City Hall. For more information, visit www.humanscale.nyc . Ellsworth is co-founder, Human-scale NYC, and chairperson, Tribeca Trust
Keep the Village small: Stop VCS construction BY AL AN CHAPELL
obert Moses once remarked, “Cities are created by and for traffic. A city without traffic is a ghost town.” Mr. Moses’ spirit is probably looking out on the corner of Greenwich and W. 10th Sts. and smiling right about now. In case you don’t know, there’s a plan under development that will almost double the size of the Village Community School. It’s a plan that will negatively impact the character of the Village. And it’s being fasttracked behind the scenes — perhaps in hopes that none of us will notice until it’s too late. If this project goes through, it would almost certainly increase traffic and congestion for all of us. I’ve lived in the West Village for most of the last 23 years and have lived next door to VCS for the past six years — now with my wife. I’m a musician who pays the bills by helping companies adopt better privacy practices. Among other work assignments, I was appointed as “privacy ombudsman” by the U.S. Trustee’s Office for the St. Vincent’s Hospital bankruptcy. The very hospital where my daughter Keily was born — the very place that today consists mostly of high-rise luxury buildings in the name of progress. Details about VCS’s development TheVillager.com
plan are hard to come by. The plan isn’t published anywhere on its Web site and none of the many locals I’ve spoken with recently had any notion the project was even under consideration. And although I’ve had numerous interactions with VCS’s head of school, Eve Kleger, over the past 18 months, I only just learned of the plan from Kleger this past August. It seems almost as if VCS doesn’t want West Village residents to know about its development plan at all. Here’s what I’ve been told by VCS and its small army of consultants thus far. VCS is seeking to demolish its playground, destroy a historic landmarked building, and cover up the facade of another landmarked building in order to build “a gym and some offices.” The school plans on building beyond our building’s top floor, across the full width and length of the open playground. The VCS team stressed that they are not increasing enrollment as part of this plan. Their primary rationale for the project is to build a second twostory gym. They claim this is necessary because of uncertainty around the availability of Pier 40 for recreational uses. Fair enough. But when we asked, “What are the other three stories for?” they replied they need additional space for “offices” and that they “need room for the kids to make robots.” (No, I’m
not kidding). Perhaps the VCS team is being completely forthright here. On the other hand, perhaps VCS recognizes that discussions about increased enrollment and traffic congestion are best left until after they obtain approval to build. VCS is planning to dig down to the waterline. You may be wondering if it’s a good idea to be digging that deep a mere half block away from a FEMArecognized flood zone. What would happen to the immediate surrounding neighborhood during the next hurricane? Would everyone’s basement be more flooded? Would our foundations be more susceptible to damage and erosion from the next Superstorm Sandy? Has FEMA or anyone else conducted an analysis? I don’t know, but it seems like a good idea to have answers to those questions before greenlighting this project. One reason schools tend to get the benefit of the doubt regarding zoning is that they are recognized as benefiting the community. There are currently 350 students, from kindergarten through eighth grade, enrolled at VCS. What percentage of them live in the West Village? Even if all of them do, that means only 350 families who can afford the $48,000 annual tuition would enjoy the benefit while the rest of the community
loses a landmarked building and even more of our scarce open space. If you’re going to remove one of the West Village’s few remaining open spaces and also destroy a landmarked garage, I hope you would at least solicit the neighborhood’s input through an open, transparent process. It was more than 60 years ago that Jane Jacobs rallied against Robert Moses’ repeated attempts to destroy the character of the West Village. I’m reminded by one of her quotes: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” If there’s one thing West Villagers have consistently demonstrated it is this: The needs of a small minority should not trump those of the rest of the community. VCS will need to get this plan through the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Community Board 2. The plan was discussed at a hearing of the C.B. 2 Land Use and Business Development Committee on Wed., Oct. 10, at the N.Y.U. Center for Data Science, at 60 Fifth Ave., between 12th and 13th Sts. The full board of C.B. 2 will eventually give its advisory recommendations on the plan. You can also indicate your support at https://www.facebook.com/ StopVCS/. October 11, 2018
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
A mother visiting from Chicago and her daughter enjoyed the lamb sausage pasta and vegetable risotto from Porsena.
Tote-ally awesome! The official Taste of the East Village tote bag, complete with the logos of sponsors Cooper Square Committee and The Villager newspaper.
Another tantalizing ‘Taste’ BY BOB KR ASNER
ast Saturday was a perfect fall day, for a change, and the neighborhood celebrated at a Taste of the East Village. The annual event, on E. Seventh St. between Cooper Square and Second Ave., brings together local restaurants and foodies, as well as community activists. Jonah Miller, the executive chef/owner at Huertas, cochaired the affair this year, helping to select some of the restaurants. In addition to his own one, the eateries ranged from Porsena to The Fry Guys, while deserts were dished out from Sweet Generation and Veniero’s, among others. The event is a benefit for the Cooper Square Committee’s housing programs.
October 11, 2018
Alex, 11 months old, contemplated a fried treat from The Eddy. He ate it — and more. TheVillager.com
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Birthday bash becomes a beneﬁt for Breast Cancer Awareness Kim Reaper gets her rock ‘n’ roll party
Courtesy of Kim Reaper
Kim Reaper in a pink sweater created by artist Samoa.
Photo by Alan Rand
BY PUMA PERL This is what can happen when two native New Yorkers run into each other on social media. Call it the “upside” of Facebook. Kim Reaper (who has a history in the fashion industry) and musician Anne Husick knew each other slightly from the Downtown scene. In early 2018, Reaper’s yearly mammogram revealed suspicious calcifications. A followup biopsy tested positive for cancer, which had spread to the lymph nodes. She decided to go public, and, to help educate others, she sent a mass email asking every woman on her Facebook friends list to get a mammogram and to urge others to do the same. Husick was a recipient of the message, and wrote back, wishing her luck. “When I’m done with treatment,” Reaper responded, “I want you to throw a rock ‘n’ roll party.” Husick decided to turn the party into a benefit, which will be held October 26 at the Sidewalk Cafe. The lineup includes several women with personal and/or familial histories of breast cancer. Serendipitously, the date falls on the exact day of Reaper’s fi nal radiation session, and less than two weeks before her birthday. Reaper is looking forward to the event. “Last March, when I began chemotherapy, I threw myself into an art project, which I called ‘Art in Recovery,’ and began collecting work from local artists. Besides art, music plays a very big part in my life. When I’m well enough, I follow a fabulous group of musicians around the Lower East Side.” Reaper added that by going public, “I wanted to share my strength with others. Today, cancer no longer has to be a death sentence!” Husick feels a personal connection to the issue. “My mother had a radical mastectomy in 1969,” she said, “and is still alive today. Early intervention and education are key and National Breast Cancer Month supports that.” Her musical roots began in childhood. “I wrote my fi rst song at age six, to the rhythm of my father’s windshield wipers.” She picked up the guitar at nine, and 25 years later added the bass to her repertoire. Her
Anne Husick fronting Exit 99. L to R: Roger Stoltz, Husick, Mike Reed, Emma Z, Gass Wild.
October 11, 2018
Photo by Lindsey Anderson
Lindsey Anderson, self-portrait.
Photo by Jim Belmont
Photo by Michael Cincotta
Cyndi Dawson sings lead for The Cynz.
Alice Espinosa-Cincotta on the beach.
fi rst New York City gig was with an early band, Ground Control, at CBGB, in 1980. “They thought we were too ‘hippie-ish,’ ” Husick recalled, “but the crowd loved us.” In 1999, she auditioned for Ronnie Spector’s band as a guitarist and back-up singer, and ended up also playing harmonica and percussion. Through that association came other opportunities. She played bass in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Off-Broadway and in Chicago, and, for four months, sang backup with Wilson Pickett. Currently, she is the guitarist and front woman in her band Exit 99, and bassist in four others, led, respectively, by Frank Wood, Ronnie Wheeler, Phil Gammage, and Cid Scantlebury. Since 2012, Husick has been booking a weekly series, AHPresents, at the Sidewalk. “I was so busy giving guitar lessons at night that returning to Sidewalk, where I’d done sound years earlier, was the only way to see my friends play.” Together, Reaper and Husick decided on a program for Oct. 26 that includes both solo acts and bands. Cyndi Dawson, who lost her mother to breast cancer, will perform with her band, The Cynz, which she has fronted for the last eight years. “I’m
doing this benefit to honor my mother, her mother, two of her sisters, and several cousins, all of whom have battled breast cancer,” Dawson said. “Today I know several women who have lived up to 20 years following diagnosis. Treatments have improved, which is why early detection is paramount. I was part of a 10-year study at The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. I learned about amazing gains being made. Women’s issues are always funded well behind those of men. It’s up to us to push research and raise money to keep moving forward.” One long-term survivor who will participate is Alice EspinosaCincotta, who was profi led in 2016 by this writer, in this publication’s annual Pink Paper edition (“After cancer diagnosis, drawing strength from the art of expression”). “Two years ago, you gave me the choice of revealing my identity or staying anonymous,” recalled Espinosa-Cincotta, who described herself as “secretive” up to that point. “Something changed in my thinking. It was time to come out of hiding. I felt free and found a new strength in sharing my experience.” At that time, she’d been
exploring photography and videography. While continuing to develop those interests, she discovered a love of writing after being referred to a workshop for cancer patients and survivors. “Expressing my ideas through writing has allowed me to get in touch with a hidden side of myself,” she said. “We critique and support each other. I found my voice and it has helped clarify my thoughts.” After sharing her work at an open mic reading, Espinosa-Cincotta was encouraged by the poets and writers present to continue; she will read an original prose piece at the benefit. “Performance may be another hidden strength,” she said, adding that she looks forward to sharing her work with other spoken word artists and musicians. Another artist who has been active on the New York scene is Lindsey Anderson. She is a singer, performer, writer, and promoter, and was coowner of Coney Island High. As Kitty Kowalski, she fronted her own band, The Kowalkskis. Like Reaper, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018 and made the decision to go public for similar reasons — encouraging others to get tested and
to carry the message that it’s not a death sentence. Although this will be the fi rst time she is performing since before her surgery, she said she had “no hesitation” when asked to do this benefit. “I also want to show that you can be in treatment and be strong, have energy, and, through diet and exercise, alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy,” she said. All of the performers are donating their time and talent. There’s no cover or admission — and the tip jar proceeds, which usually go to the artists, will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which Husick chose because of their emphasis on research. The show is open to all ages and the roster of talent also includes Christian Dryden, Marlowe B. West, The Hipp Pipps, Exit 99, Sea Monster, and Don BlackCat & Friends. “AHPresents: Kim Reaper Birthday Bash and Breast Cancer Benefi t” takes place at the Sidewalk Cafe (94 Avenue A, at E. Sixth St.) on Fri., Oct. 26, 6pm-1am. Follow Anne Husick’s AHPresents series and learn about more events at sidewalkny. com. Also visit facebook.com/ events/487484338433112. October 11, 2018
Classics in queer context Queer Urban Orchestra’s season set to launch
© 2017 by Bruce-Michael Gelbert
Queer Urban Orchestra’s new season begins on Oct. 14.
BY GERALD BUSBY Queer Urban Orchestra’s 2018-2019 season, “Queer We Are,” begins Sun., Oct. 14, at Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea. The program, which opens with Julius Eastman’s “Stay on It” and closes with Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor,” offers in between the premiere of my “3 Bagatelles for Orchestra.” Michael Sheppard, from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, will be piano soloist for the Brahms concerto. QUO’s history exemplifies its commitment to performing serious music in contexts that advocate gay rights. When I heard QUO for the first time last year, Julie Desbordes, the artistic director, conducted a program that included Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, and a composition by Calenna Garbä, an Argentinian transgender composer. She was chosen because she contacted QUO, in response to a call online for new scores, and submitted examples of her music to Ms. Desbordes for consideration. Garbä was radiantly present for the concert, greeting her admirers afterwards with a broad smile and a tight-fitting gold sequin gown. She personified QUO’s mission of striving to “entertain and educate members and
October 11, 2018
audiences alike through performances of classical and contemporary music, prompting equality, understanding, acceptance, and respect.” QUO came together in 2009 when a few musicians from The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps met to plan the formation of a gay orchestra. Andrew Berman, a percussionist, was among the founding members. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis was where they met weekly, and their number grew rapidly. They chose Queer Urban Orchestra as their name, mainly because the acronym QUO was easy to remember. The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps followed from the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, created in 1978. These gay musical organizations (a movement, Andrew calls them) are meant to perpetuate the spirit of the Stonewall Rebellion in a cultured way, keeping the gay revolution alive auspiciously with classical music performances. Last year, QUO performed at the Queens Museum, and on the High Line in 2015. QUO’s very first concert was under the direction of, and partially conducted by, Brandyn Metzko, the first person to insist that New York needed a gay orchestra. He had been a member of one in San Francisco (the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony) before
coming to New York. QUO grew exponentially in its early stages, though it took a few more years to gain strength and confidence as a performing musical ensemble in New York City. Players of all kinds and abilities came to rehearsals, and there was a steady turnover. Some didn’t like the repertoire or the zealous promotion of gay political themes. That’s still going on, and QUO welcomes it as a practical means of keeping the artistic and social goals as the main reason for its existence. The Church of the Holy Apostles, where The Stonewall Chorale often performs, became early on QUO’s concert hall, and also the place where the orchestra rehearsed. The church is a very resonant space. That’s good for performances, since the audience’s clothes absorb most of the echoes, but less good for rehearsals, because the expansive reverberation in the empty room makes it difficult for the musicians to hear each other clearly. Steven Petrucelli, a French horn player, is straight, and exemplary of QUO’s mission to be open to all adult musicians regardless of sexual orientation. A founding member of QUO, he was somewhat uncertain about belonging to a group that called itself queer and had
only one other straight musician — but changed his mind because of QUO’s affable determination to create a viable community orchestra. If you can play in tune rhythmically with a good sound, you are welcome to play in QUO regardless of your sexual orientation. All of which raises the question: Does QUO’s purpose to be a queer organization and outspoken proponent of gay rights enhance or conflict with its ability to make serious classical music? It certainly works artistically for the orchestra to have a dependable instrumentalist like Steve Petrucelli, and an artistic director (conductor), also straight, who leads the musicians with skill and flair through mainstream classical repertoire as well as new music. As an 82-year-old gay composer, I can attest to QUO’s solid support of artists, regardless of age or sexual orientation. Queer Urban Orchestra’s Sun., Oct. 14 concert takes place at 4pm, at Church of the Holy Apostles (296 Ninth Ave., at W. 28th St.). A 3:15pm preconcert talk features artistic director Julie Desbordes, assistant director Alex Wen, guest soloist Michael Sheppard, and composer Gerald Busby. For tickets ($15-$25), visit queerurbanorches tra.org. TheVillager.com
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER What’s private becomes public when you rub shoulders with the West Chelsea Gallery district’s own. From 12-6pm, Sat., Oct. 13 and Sun., Oct. 14, the High Line Open Studios event is a self-guided tour that gives you access to over 30 studios, where visitors are able to engage the artists in conversation about the creative process — and highly encouraged to purchase art directly from their studio inventory (at deeply discounted prices). To download the map and get more info, visit highlineopenstudios.org. If you exit your Open Studios experience hankering for another self-guided tour guaranteed to provide a window into the lives of others, a stroll through Merchant’s House Museum is a must. This 1832 late-Federal and Greek Revival treasure is a designated landmark on
Courtesy of Tom Cocotos
Get to know the artists behind the art, by taking the High Line Open Studios tour. Seen here, a visitor to the studio of collage artist Tom Cocotos.
the federal, state, and city level — and home to dozens upon dozens of unexplained, and well-documented, paranormal happenings (spectral
Photo by Bob Krasner
Last Call for ‘Kink Haüs’ BY BOB KRASNER Multi-disciplinary artist Gunnar Montana has settled into the basement at La MaMa for a brief run of “Kink Haüs.” The intimate space has been transformed by Montana to house a show that is a visually striking, energetic mix of modern dance, homo-eroticism, ballet, burlesque, Broadway musicals, performance art, and drag shows. The only thing missing is dialogue. Not that it’s needed, as the vignettes easily convey Montana’s vision in the hour-long show. “I’m looking back
at my 20s,” he states, “and I’m criticizing and celebrating the choices I made.” Montana adds, “It’s quintessentially me, but also a commentary on the gay lifestyle.” Now two years sober, he notes that the fi nal scene represents his “closing the door” on that period and “turning the page to the next chapter.” The fi nal performances are Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 11-14, at 8pm (additional 10pm show on Fri.). For tickets and info, visit lamama. org/kink_haus. Artist info at gun narmontana.com.
sightings, phantom sounds, disembodied voices captured on tape). Check out their roster of annual “Spirited” October events at merchantshouse.org. Reservations are highly recommended for one of our favorites: “Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt,” coming to life for one frightful night only, on Thurs., Oct. 18 at 7pm (tickets are $30). It’s a melodic, comedic, quite possibly menacing excavation of ghostthemed and death-obsessed selections from the works of Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, Duparc, Loewe, Mussorgsky, and more, performed with passion, zeal, and world-class skill by the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society. Local in its brick and mortar incarnation, but international so far as the scope of its subject matter is concerned, the Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) screens documentaries, shorts, and features by emerging fi lmmakers
who are anything but risk-averse (a programming choice that has produced gem after gem, year after year). It’s set to unspool Oct. 18-21 at AMC Loews 34th Street — but fi rst, CFF’s Second Annual “Women in Power” event considers the topic, “Women in Leadership Positions: How Did They Make it to the Top?” Julie Menin (Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment) gives the opening remarks, there’s a networking luncheon, and Baruch Shemtov (Entertainment Anchor on “Good Day New York”) moderates a panel whose guests include Danielle Campbell, Gigi Gorgeous, and Simone Missick. Attendance to this Wed., Oct. 17, 11am-3pm event to benefit CFF (a nonprofit) is invitation-only, so send an email inquiry to press@chelseafi lm.org. Visit chelseafi lm.org to learn more about CFF’s year-round mission and this year’s festival selections. The East Side WWI Centennial Commemoration Committee cordially invites you to an event worth saluting — and attending. Held at 6:30pm on Thurs., Oct. 18 at E. 75th St.’s Cultural Center of the Lycée Français de New York, this evening of musical performances and distinguished guest speakers is anchored by a screening of the 1941 fi lm “Sergeant York,” with Gary Cooper in the title role. Why, you ask? Well, as the ESWWICC will tell you, the East Side’s York Avenue is named after Sgt. Alvin York, one of WWI’s most decorated American soldiers. Learn more about the group’s mission, and secure your reserved tickets to this free event, by visiting bit.ly/WWISgtYork, or calling the office of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright at 212-288-4607.
212.254.1109 / www.theaterforthenewcity.net / 155 First Ave bet 9th & 10th St.
The Open Gate
Dir by David Willinger (Books & Lyrics) Arthur Abrams (Composer) Thur - Sat 8PM, Sun 3PM October 14 - 27, 2018
by Anne Marilyn Lucas Dir Stephan Morrow Thur - Sat 8 PM, Sun 3PM October 11 - 28, 2018 October 13 Talkback
Village Halloween Costume Ball Costume Prizes & Live Bands Hot Food & Entertainment Cabaret ALL Evening Tickets: $20 October 31, 2018 October 11, 2018
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October 11, 2018
Chin bills would cut lead-paint exposure To Advertise Here Call: 646-452-2490
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TO ADVERTISE ALL YOUR LEGALS AND NAME CHANGES
BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
he City Council held a hearing on Thurs., Sept. 27, on 25 bills targeting the problem of lead exposure across the city, all part of an approach to reduce lead poisoning instances to zero. But tucked into the hefty package of bills are two from City Councilmember Margaret Chin targeting an issue that the drafters of an existing law, Local Law 1 of 2004, which was intended to eliminate lead poisoning by 2010, didn’t anticipate, especially in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. The source is lead-based paint construction dust in buildings where renovations can fill stairwells and even individual units with lead-filled dust. “The safe work practices in the context of landlords doing gut renovations or gut demos in unoccupied apartments, and how dust affects people in other apartments is a big loophole that Local Law 1 wasn’t really anticipating,” said Rachel Spector, the director of the Environmental Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “It was pre-massive-gentrification in New York.” In one of the most egregious instances, lead exposure in the hallways was found to be as high as 2,750 times above the federal threshold at 102 Norfolk St., according to lead reports. “It’s a new phenomenon that has increased as landlords see a lot of opportunity to kick out longstanding tenants in older buildings and raise the rents,” Spector said. One of Chin’s bills would target interagency coordination between the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Buildings. “For advocates or our office, we have to separately reach out to each agency and try to get them to all work together to alleviate the dangerous situation,” said Chin. Chin’s bill would require H.P.D. and D.O.H. to tell D.O.B. if there is a violation of lead-paint hazard laws. The law would go further, also giving D.O.B. the authority to issue a stop-work order with that information on violations from the other departments. The goal, the councilmember said, is to increase how closely the agencies work together and help them be more proactive on preventing and limiting lead exposure — rather than addressing exposure long after residents have been breathing in lead dust for weeks. One East Village resident, Christine Rucci, spent months with various symptoms while a neighboring unit was undergoing renovation. Her son developed
asthma, too, which Rucci attributes to the dust to which they were exposed. “My son and I spent a year consistently sick with unexplained symptoms,” she said in her testimony. She developed rashes and her pet rabbit died, added Rucci, who has joined a new coalition called Lead Dust Free New York City, which includes the East Village’s Cooper Square Committee. Rucci said H.P.D. and D.O.H. inspected her apartment over a five-month period, and that with the new legislation, she hopes agencies will streamline communication. Other aspects of the bill include allowing lead violations to be considered when weighing whether a landlord should get after-hours construction permits and requiring landlords to disclose any complaints or violations about lead in the past two years when applying for construction permits. The latter would be a part of the already required tenant-protection plan. However, at the Sept. 27 hearing, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson criticized the protection plans as being “self-certified” by landlords anyway, which often leads to misleading filings by bad-acting landlords. Landlords are also supposed to give a pre-notification to the Health Department about any construction that could result in lead paint hazards. But at the City Council hearing, Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot couldn’t say exactly how many pre-notifications landlords file. “D.O.H. has said they just get very, very few of these pre-notifications,” Spector said. “It’s 100 percent on the landlord to do it.” But Spector added, pointing to the coordination that could be possible, D.O.B. does know when construction work is happening because landlords are required to file permits with that department. “D.O.B. is in a better position to know, ‘O.K, work is happening,’” Spector said. Chin echoed this point to city officials from D.O.H., D.O.B. and H.P.D. at the hearing, who said they support the bill’s intent but want to continue working out the details. A second bill by Chin would directly prevent lead violations in the future, requiring building owners to abate all lead-based paint whenever someone moves out of a unit. Currently, when an apartment is vacated, landlords are required to remediate lead-based paint hazards rather than removing the paint entirely in pre-1960 buildings. (New York City banned leadbased paint in 1960). “It’s the first time I think there’s been a proposal that may actually get passed LEAD continued on p. 30 October 11, 2018
October 11, 2018
Payback! Croman has to give tenants $8M for harassment BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
enants of apartments owned by Steve Croman have until Nov. 4 to apply for restitu-
tion. After the New York State Attorney General’s Office secured an $8 million settlement against notorious landlord Croman late last year, A.G. Barbara Underwood is encouraging tenants to file a claim if they lived in a Croman-owned building. Eligible tenants must have been a tenant in a rent-stabilized or rentcontrolled apartment owned by Croman between July 1, 2011, and December 20, 2017. Former tenants who received a buyout for less than $20,000 are also eligible. “Again and again, Steve Croman acted as though he was above the law,” Underwood said in a statement. “My office has secured an unprecedented $8 million settlement for Croman’s illegal tenant harassment, coercion and fraud — the largest-ever settlement with an individual landlord.” Tenants who believe they are eligible for restitution can file a claim by mail with the Croman Tenant Restitution Fund, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91349, Seattle, WA, 98111, or contact the fund at 1-833-898-4009 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . More information is available at www.cromanrestitutionfund.com . The payment will be split evenly between eligible tenants, and checks will be sent out once the A.G.’s of-
PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL
Landlord Steve Croman, left, leaving Manhattan Supreme Cour t with his law yer, Benjamin Brafman, in May 2017, just weeks before Croman would take a plea deal, agreeing to a one-year jail sentence.
fice knows how many claimants there are, according to a spokesperson. Money will be sent to tenants in installments over a period of 38 to 42 months, according to the A.G.’s office. “I encourage eligible tenants to submit a claim by Nov. 4, so they can receive the restitution they deserve,” Underwood said. “We will continue to aggressively pursue predatory landlords to the fullest extent of the law.” In addition to the tenants’ $8 million restitution fund, according to the settlement, more than 100 of
Croman’s properties will be run by new independent management for five years and be expected to report to the A.G.’s office for seven years — which, according to the A.G., is the longest-ever monitoring in a tenant-harassment case. A second criminal case sentenced Croman to a year in jail and a $5 million penalty. Croman ultimately served eight months in Lower Manhattan’s jail, “The Tombs,” for fraudulently refinancing loans and tax fraud. He was released this past June.
Chin bills vs. lead-paint exposure LEAD continued from p. 29
like that,” offered Corey Stern, a law partner with Levy Konigsberg who represents around 175 children with blood lead levels in public housing. “Painting over paint is not a remediation of a lead hazard under any circumstances. “When you paint over paint,” he explained, “all the paint adheres to the layers that were previously there, so as soon as there’s a paint chip that chips off of a wall that’s been freshly painted, it’s not just the fresh paint that chips off or becomes dust — it’s all the layers behind it.” But critics of entirely removing the paint — including the landlord group the Rent Stabilization Association — warn the requirement would negatively impact affordable housing TheVillager.com
because of the costs to remove lead. D.O.H. Commissioner Barbot echoed this concern. “I think the issue here that was raised at the hearing was that they were concerned about the cost factor, whether that will have an effect on affordable housing,” Chin said. “But I think that’s something that we can look into. But it’s really a great safety measure to do it permanently, so you don’t have to be concerned about lead paint and lead chips afterwards.” Barbot highlighted the drastic reduction of lead-poisoning incidents citywide since 2004. However, exposure from lead-based paint, which includes construction dust, still remains the main source of lead poisoning, according to the Department of Health. Other bills target lead in the soil and water, but the city and
some advocates emphasize that the focus should remain on paint since it’s the greatest threat. Since 2005, the city has achieved a 90 percent reduction of elevated blood lead levels in children under age 6. Yet, despite this progress, between 2010 and June 2018, more than 63,000 children under age 18 had blood lead levels above the federal standard of 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. At the hearing, Johnson slammed this persistent problem as a failure by the city. Last year alone, more than 4,200 children under 6 years old had blood lead levels above the federal limit of 5 micrograms per deciliter — which would also be the city’s threshold under legislation sponsored by Johnson. October 11, 2018
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