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Inside: Pier 26 breaks ground – City wants to boot PS 150 – Fighting lead scourge

VOLUME 31, NUMBER 20

OCTOBER 18 – OCTOBER 31, 2018

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1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 18 S C H N E P S C O M M U N I T Y N E W S G R O U P


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VOLUME 31, NUMBER 20

OCTOBER 18 – OCTOBER 31, 2018

A pier without peer

Tribeca’s Pier — which broke ground on Oct. 9 — promises to be a unique, eco-oriented attraction unlike anything else on the water front. Olin Studio

Pier 26 at Hudson River Park is meant to give busy Downtowners a place to make and easy connection to nature just footsteps away from the concrete jungle.

Also in this issue: City wants to boot Pier 26 PS 150 from Tribeca breaks ground Page 2

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Chin to City: ‘Get the lead out!’ Page 15


Student movement But this time it’s parents protesting scheme to displace PS 150 BY SYDNEY PEREIRA The Department of Education is considering moving Tribeca’s PS 150 into a new school building under construction in Fidi that was originally supposed to provide the overcrowded neighborhood with hundreds of dearly needed school seats, according to local parents. PS 150’s lease at 334 Greenwich St. has expired, and building owners Vornado Realty Trust and Stellar Management aren’t planning to renew it, according to the DOE, which is mulling eventually moving the school into the classroom space being built at Trinity Place. But Downtown’s first new school construction in years has already bee delayed for two years, and won’t be ready for students until at least 2022. So as short-term fi x, the city is floating the idea of co-locating the displaced PS 150 in the Peck Slip School building, which parents complain is already pressed for space — especially for recess and extracurricular activities, Youth and education advocates on Community Board 1 are outraged that the DOE would be giving parents such a last-minute notice for an issue that it surely knew was coming for some time. The ending a lease, said one, is “never a surprise.” “The DOE and the [School Construction Authority] have known about this lease ending for quite some time,” said Tricia Joyce, chairwoman of the CB1 Youth and Education Committee. “To tell families in October or September that the school is closing next year is completely unacceptable.” PS 150 is not a large school — the pre-K-through-elementary institution is known for its “one class per grade” model, so it has only 180 students, but the formula seems to work — in 2014, it was just one of six city schools to win the National Blue Ribbon Award. But attempts to move the school date back to the year before that accolade, when the DOE proposed moving the school in 2013 to 17th Street and Sixth Avenue. “I feel as though we are reeling back the clock to 2013 explaining once again why it’s important not to do that to this school,” Joyce said. CB 1 is focusing on pressuring DOE

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

DBOX

The landlords of PS 150 in Tribeca won’t renew the award-winning school’s lease, leaving the city and parents arguing about where the 180 students can go in a neighborhood already lacking classroom space.

The 500-foot Trinity Place condo tower was expected to bring 476 desperately needed school seat to the area, but if the DOE moves PS 150 there, the net gain for Downtown will be a paltry 296, irking local parents.

Board members also say the plan to co-locate PS 150 with the Peck Slip School will only exacerbate existing space issues at that school. “My concern is that Peck Slip doesn’t have the common space to accommodate another 180 kids,” said Paul Hovitz, the youth and education committee co-chair on CB1. Currently, the school with around 493 school seats, uses a cobblestone “Play Street” as an ad-hoc recess area and relies a an much derided combination gymnasium and auditorium — dubbed a “gymnatorium” — to share for sports and arts activities. “There’s a really big different between capacity of people and room to recreate,” said Joyce, noting that it is not necessarily a classroom space issue at Peck Slip. The department, however, insists the both schools will have enough space at Peck Slip. “The DOE is working collaboratively with the entire PS 150 and Peck Slip communities to find a new site for the school after we were informed by the owner of the PS 150 building that we

could not renew our lease,” said department spokesperson Doug Cohen. “We will continue to meet with [Community Education Council] 2, school leadership teams, parents, and community members throughout this process to ensure we are addressing the needs of students and families.” If the proposal moves ahead, the department will publish an Educational Impact Statement and hold public hearings before a vote by the Panel for Educational Policy, according to Cohen. Downtown pols are requesting a meeting with Laurence Gluck of Stellar Management, reps from Vornado Realty Trust, the real estate firm that owns over half the building, and school leadership. “[W]e hope to continue a conversation that will allow PS 150 to stay in a neighborhood in which it has developed strong roots,” wrote Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Borough President Gale Brewer, and other Downtown pols in a letter. Vornado and Stellar did not respond to a request for comment.

Photo by Sydney Pereira

to work with Vornado to extend the PS 150 lease at least until Trinity Place School is open. That way, at least PS 150 wouldn’t have to relocate twice within a five-year period — changes that could add stress to children’s lives, not to mention parents, teachers and administrators. “This does not work well for anybody,” said Hovitz, adding that the committee hopes they can at least achieve a delay on when the school moves. Watching the DOE seemingly sleepwalk into yet another avoidable predicament that leaves only bad options highlights for Joyce the larger issue plaguing Downtown’s school-seat shortfall: a woeful lack of planning by the DOE and SCA that is at the root of the city’s chronic failure to provide adequate classroom space for one of the fastest growing residential neighborhoods in the city. “We are once again in this situation where we are chasing infrastructure after the fact — basic infrastructure,” Joyce said. “These are not amenities that we are asking for. These are school seats.”

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

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Bellevue gear is next gen in breast cancer treatment BY JAMES HARNEY These days, to fi nd 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’s the wave of the future in breast cancer surgery. “When the patient has a lesion, you can’t always feel it,” said Dr. Joseph. “The surgeon needs to fi nd out where that lesion is; this new technology can do that.” She said that previously, breastcancer 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 fi nd 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 said. “That’s

Ricardo Monge / NYC Health+Hospitals/Bellevue

Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, Chief of Breast Surgery at Bellevue Medical Center, displays Savi Scout, the latest breast mammography technology in use at the hospital.

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 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,” Dr. 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 said. 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 ‘fi rst start’ case, the fi rst [surgical] case of the day,” Dr. 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.” Dr. Joseph said that since Bellevue brought the new technology on board,

“65 percent of the cases that were previously handled with guide wires are now done with Savi Scout, and we expect that number to grow. It’s stateof-the-art were excited about it.” 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,” said Dr. Joseph, who is also an Associate Professor of Surgery and Population Health at NYU Langone Health. “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, 462 First Avenue at 27th Street, Manhattan, is observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month by offering free mammograms at a health fair in the hospital lobby from 9 am to 2 pm Tuesday Oct. 30.

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

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Tribeca pier breaks ground at water’s edge BY SYDNEY PEREIRA Hudson River Park “broke ground” at Pier 26 on Tues., Oct. 9, as local politicians and community leaders celebrated the driving of the final pile for the Tribeca pier. The next step will see a platform added atop the piles. The long-awaited pier is expected to open in 2020 with lounge areas, kidsized fields and a “science playground.” Atop the pier platform, a pathway will cut through a forested area and lawn before leading to the two playing fields, with a lounge area on the south side. Tiered seating will lead into a walkway surrounded by a marsh area, designed to attract native birds and some 70 types of fish native to the river. “This will be unlike anything that has been built in New York,” said Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president. “This neighborhood has grown and changed. We are committed to serving everyone.” For Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, the long-planned pier is a prime example of a public/private partnership that worked. “These things are labors of love that take an extraordinary amount of time,”

Photo by Sydney Pereira

Local politicians and offi cials get ready to lower their flags, the symbolic signal for pile driving to start. From left, state Senator Brian Kavanagh; Holly Leicht, chairperson of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; Michael Novogratz, chairperson of Hudson River Park Friends; Assemblymember Deborah Glick; Madelyn Wils, president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust; Congressmember Jerrold Nadler; Diana Taylor, Trust board chairperson; Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen; Citi C.E.O. Mike Corbat, and Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission.

Glen said. “I think it’s the recognition that projects like this have to transcend political administrations.” In 2015, Lower Manhattanites weighed in on possibilities for the pier, including sports facilities and open green space focused on the educational

mission. Earlier this year, Wils presented to Community Board 1 a design for the pier that packed both “asks” — passive and active recreational uses — onto the pier. She also highlighted the pier’s connection to the future estuarium, which will house five classrooms — two

for kindergarten through eighth grade and three for college level — and a technology exhibit. The $30 million pier project was funded equally between the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, CitiGroup and the city. The estuarium’s price tag has previously been reported as $20 million, of which the Trust has raised $10 million so far. For CB 1 Vice Chairperson Paul Hovitz, lack of full funding for the estuarium is a concern. “They really don’t have their funding in place for the estuarium, which seems to be the major part of the educational piece of this effort,” he said. Hovitz called Pier 26 “terrific.” But he anticipates pushback about Pier 25, just to the south, where an agreement is in the works between the Trust and Citi to create a private dock for Citi to shuttle its employees between Jersey City and Pier 25 by water taxi. “On the one hand, we’re grateful,” Hovitz said of Citi’s helping fund the Pier 26 project. “On the other hand, we’re ever-diligent about what’s happening with our open space and public land that has now become public/private.”

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SNACK ATTACK

BRUISED APPLE

Cops busted a 17-year-old kid for allegedly attacking a store clerk while stealing chips, ice cream, and a 20-ounce soda from a Canal Street bodega on Oct. 8. A worker told police he spotted the kid attempting to slip out of the deli between W. Broadway and Sixth Avenue with the ill-gotten snacks at 7:30 am, and claims that, when he tried to stop him, the teen suspect allegedly started swinging, catching him with a stiff blow to the jaw. Police arrested the teenager that day on a felony robbery charge, cops said.

A thief beat and robbed a man on Varick Street on Oct. 4, taking his $1,000 iPhone. The victim told police he was waiting for a Lyft driver to pick him up between W. Houston and King streets at 10:30 pm, when some goon cold cocked him right in the kisser, before grabbing his iPhone X, in addition to a $300 wallet and his credit cards. The crook fled on foot following the assault, cops said.

BAD HAIR DAY A thief looted cash from a Greenwich Street hair salon on Oct. 9, using a key stashed beneath a doormat to gain entrance to the beauty parlor. An employee told police the suspect nabbed $500 from the salon between Carlisle and Rector streets at 12:10 am, in addition to some other odds and ends he stole before slinking off into the night.

LOOT AND SCOOT Some crook puttered off with a woman’s $3,850 scooter she parked on Greenwich Street on Sept. 18. The victim told police she left her low-power bike near Jay Street at 8 pm, and returned the following evening to find that her scooter was stolen. For whatever reason, the lady waited nearly three weeks to report the theft to police, and no arrests have been made in the case, which remains open, cops said.

GOLDEN GUNMEN Two gunmen robbed a man on W. Broadway on Oct. 6, taking his jewelry. The victim told police he was between Prince and W. Houston streets at 5:12 am, when the crooks pulled a gun on him and ripped the gold necklace from his neck, before nabbing his wallet. The thieves fled on foot following the stickup, according to police.

HAVE A BEER! Some jerk clocked a guy in the head with a glass bottle inside a Water Street watering hole on Oct. 5. The victim told police he was inside the bar between Coenties Slip and Broad Street at 9:35 pm, when a glass bottle to the head suddenly ended his night on the town, cops said. The man, who suffered a large knot and nasty gash on his noggin, told New York’s Finest he had no idea who attacked him, or why, and the case remains open, according to police.

BLINGED-OUT BANDITS CASH BAG A pair of thieves nabbed more than $3,500 worth of designer bags from a Broadway fashion boutique on Oct. 9. A worker told police the crooks nabbed two purses, one worth a whopping $2,100, along with a couple wallets from the store between Prince and W. Houston streets at 12:08 pm, before skipping past the register with their poached purses.

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

Burglars ransacked a Thompson Street jewelry store on Oct. 5, netting more than $58,000 worth of bling in their early morning heist. An employee told police the crooks forced their way through a security gate and the front door of the shop between Spring and Prince streets at 4:47 am, before stuffing their bags full of precious stones and then fleeing in a suitably gold-colored Mercedes Benz.

ROUGH TREK

PEDDLING CRIME

A bike-jacker sheared through a woman’s heavy-duty Kryptonite lock to get to her $1,300 Trek bike she parked on Broadway on Oct. 12. The victim told police she left her mid-range mountain bike near Fulton Street at 7 am, and returned that afternoon to discover that her pedal-powered ride had been stolen.

A thief rode off with a woman’s $1,600 bicycle she parked on Wall Street on Oct. 5. The victim told police that she locked her bike to some construction scaffolding between William and Broad streets at 9 am, and returned that evening to find that her pricey Pro Team bike had been stolen. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com


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On a slow roll It’s taking a millennium to make safety changes outside Downtown high school BY COLIN MIXSON The city’s Transportation Department is still studying ways to safeguard kids at Millennium High School nearly two years after a taxi driver slammed into a former student there, and local civic gurus say officials need to streamline the process for improving traffic safety before another scholar gets hit. “A student could die as we wait for these studies to be completed,” said Community Board 1 Education Committee Chairwoman Tricia Joyce. “Clearly we need another way to do this.” The city began exploring ways to shore up safety outside Millennium after a cab driver collided with a 16-year-old girl outside the school’s S. William Street entrance in January 2017, leading members of CB1, along with former state Sen. Daniel Squadron to highlight the lack of appropriate signage around Millennium, and demanded city transit officials join locals on a walkthrough of the site.

It was roughly two months following the crash, before agency reps eventually joined community board members on a tour of the block outside the school between Broad and William streets in March, although it would take until October for DOT even to install a school crossing zone and 20-mph speed limit signs outside the building. Meanwhile, board members insisted that other hazards plagued the street, making the area unsafe for youngsters hitting the streets en masse after classes — namely large trucks that routinely park in no-standing zones due to lax enforcement, blocking students’ view of incoming traffic on the curving street. The community group complained about careless drivers in a 2017 resolution calling on DOT to install a speed bump on the block. But city officials claimed they couldn’t install the bump without first studying the street, and it took another five months before former Manhattan Transit Commissioner Luis

Photo by Colin Mixson

The city’s Transportation Department finally installed signs outside Millennium High School ten months after a student was hit by a cab driver, and local civic gurus claim more is needed to safeguard kids.

Sanchez claimed via email that there were too many curb cuts on the street to permit the requested hump — which was not the answer locals were hoping for after the long wait, according to Joyce. “The city has a criteria and if you can’t check certain things off a box, they just say no, it doesn’t matter if it’s logical or not,” said Joyce.

Undeterred, the board followed up the very next day with a new request, this time asking the city to install a crosswalk outside the school’s mid-block entrance, which would be accompanied by a flashing traffic light. Of course, that appeal required yet another study specifically for the crossSLOW ROLL Continued on page 12

SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS

S

mall businesses are the heart — and stomach — of our Lower Manhattan community. The coffee shop between home and the subway; the dry cleaner around the corner; the pub where everyone knows your name. In anticipation of Small Business Saturday on November 24, the Downtown Alliance is profiling a handful of these Lower Manhattan businesses in a video series titled “Small Business Spotlight” to make the case to “Shop Small”. Here’s a quick recap on the Lower Manhattan businesses featured so far: s¬ YogaCare - This yoga studio is a great place to find your calm — and keep it. Cofounder Candice Miller says instructors strive to both teach and empower students to achieve an inner calm in a noisy, bustling city. Yoga-

10

SHOP SMALL! Care has classes in Bikram, Dharma, meditation and breathwork, and their flagship offering, the Full Circle Lifestyle Program. 121 Fulton Street, Third Floor, (212) 964-6411, yogacare.com

s¬ "ISCUITS¬¬"ATH - It’s “Dogs First” at Biscuits & Bath, where the staff prides itself on putting the needs of your pet above all else. Whether it’s veterinary care, daycare or overnight boarding, this doggie heaven is fully prepared to meet your pooch’s every need. Dogs are grouped by personality, and vets from NY Veterinary Practice keep an eye on the dog’s well-being. Biscuits & Bath offers pick-up/drop-off service. 71 Broadway, (646) 786-0981, biscuitsandbath.com s¬ 4HE¬ -YSTERIOUS¬ "OOKSHOP¬ - It’s whodunits galore at the city’s only bookstore specializing in the mystery

October 18 – October 31, 2018

genre. The walls inside this Lower Manhattan gem are chockablock with books that indulge in all things mystery — from thrillers to espionage to detective yarns. There’s a children’s section brimming with classics like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The shop also has seven subscriptions — or “crime clubs” — that deliver members a new signed, first-edition book every month. 58 Warren Street, (212) 587-1011, mysteriousbookshop.com

s¬ &RESH¬ 3ALT - This long-time neighborhood staple serves up delicious cocktails until 4AM most nights and has been the go-to spot for Lower Manhattanites seeking a night out — or a nightcap — for 14 years. In addition to a kitchen that stays open until midnight, Fresh Salt boasts one of the city’s best Happy Hours. Everyday from 4-8p (yes 4 happy hours!), patrons

can score $6 wines, $5 well drinks, $5 drafts (all craft beers) and discounts on house cocktails. Special cocktails returning to their menu this fall include a spiked eggnog with fresh whipped cream; and hot-mulled apple cider with bourbon that’s served up in a vintage Pyrex-mug. 146 Beekman Street, (212) 962-0053, freshsalt.com

s¬ -ARTIN¬ "USCH¬ *EWELERS This full-service store sells and repairs jewelry and watches, and creates custom designs to fill out every holiday wish-list. Maria and Eva Busch, Martin’s niece and great niece respectively, run the store with love and great customer care. Leading up to the holidays, Martin Busch hosts events to help you buy that special gift for yourself or a loved one. November 16 is “Ladies’ Night” where women can come in and enjoy drinks, snacks, and give-

aways all while filling out their wishlists. On Small Business Saturday (November 24), customers can enjoy free jewelry cleaning in addition to a “sip n shop” with mimosas and 20% off all full priced items. 85 John Street, (212) 349-2230, martinbuschjewelers.com Continue to follow the Downtown Alliance’s Instagram TV series (“downtownny” on that platform) and on our website (www.downtownny.com) as we visit more local businesses leading up to Small Business Saturday. Are you a small business south of Chambers Street? Reach out to Heather Ducharme, the Alliance’s Director of Storefront Business Engagement, at hducharme@downtownny.com, if you need help navigating city agencies or have a concern that you think needs to be heard. DowntownExpress.com


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The Bikes are Coming! Early Sunday morning some of Lower Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major roadways will have partial closures as Bike MS: New York City shuts some of the West Side Highway, FDR Drive, Holland Tunnel, and Battery Park Underpass. Police will use rolling closures for three different routes of 30, 50 and 100 miles. The closures throughout Manhattan are expected to go from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., but Downtown will likely see the last riders by 10 a.m. The southbound West Side Highway will close from 55th St. to Battery Pl. until about 8:30 a.m. followed by the northbound section of the FDR Drive up to the Harlem River Drive. Canal St. between the West Side Highway and the Holland will be closed until about 8 a.m. and one tube of the tunnel will close from 7 to 8 a.m. Inbound traffic exiting the BrooklynBattery Tunnel will be detoured to the northbound West Side Highway or to Trinity Pl. from 6:45 to 9:30 a.m., the same times the Battery Underpass will be closed.

SLOW ROLL Continued from page 10

walk pitch, which remains ongoing to this day â&#x20AC;&#x201D; nearly two years after the collision with the student that started it all. Safety advocates claim this episode highlights a serious flaw in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s process, by which traffic safety improvements are considered piecemeal, potentially over many years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It seems to me they could take action much more quickly rather than going through study after study to find the solution,â&#x20AC;? said Eric McClure, founder and executive director of Streets PAC, a political action committee that supports transit-minded political candidates. McClure pointed out that the city is capable of moving quickly when motivated, noting the rapid installation of concrete barriers along the Hudson River Greenway following last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Halloween terror-truck attack, which

If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re driving in Lower Manhattan Sunday, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d wait until 11 a.m. But, because of the Jet game at Met Life at 1 p.m. you may want to stay away from the Holland Tunnel. Fan traffic will return post-game around 5 p.m. Taste of the Seaport Saturday is on Piers 16 and 17 and there may be traffic turbulence Saturday on South, Water, and Fulton Sts., the FDR, and the Brooklyn Bridge area from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This weekend Downtown 1 and 2 trains are skipping Christopher, Houston, Canal, and Franklin Sts., and the 3 train is running on the 4 track in Lower Manhattan. The 4 and 5 subway stations at Fulton St., Wall St., and Bowling Green will be closed Saturday and Sunday, but nearby R stations are an alternative. Q, L, and 7 trains wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t run in Manhattan this weekend. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be special M weekend service to 96th St. from Delancey-Essex, and W service between Whitehall St. and Ditmars Blvd. to help compensate. Brookfield Placeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Winter Garden is hosting free live performances of David Bowie albums 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday near the West Side Highway and the World Trade Center. did not wait for any exhaustive study. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The day after the terror attack on the Greenway, the city plunked down a bunch of stone barriers without any outreach or anything,â&#x20AC;? said McClure. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been the case in a few instances. Clearly they are feeling a difference between a terror attack and a run of the mill dangerous driving incident.â&#x20AC;? Joyce echoed McClureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sentiment, and suggested officials may not discover their motivation to act fast until yet another tragic accident unfolds outside Millennium High School. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the same reason they said no at a traffic light at Duane and Greenwich streets for 10 years, and then finally installed one after a third person was hit,â&#x20AC;? said Joyce, referring to a 2011 accident that saw a cab driver hit a 3-yearold kid there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Clearly there needs to be a new process in terms of these studies.â&#x20AC;?

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Mission controlled Bank founded to serve minorities grows to become a major player BY BILL EGBERT Carver Federal Savings Bank was founded in 1948 with a mission to serve African Americans who at the time were shut out of mainstream financial services. Over the past seven decades as an historically minority-managed community bank, Carver has experienced firsthand the benefits of diversity throughout all levels of its organization. Today, the bank boast eight branches across New York City, including four in Brooklyn, three in Manhattan and one in Queens, as well as a robust mobile banking platform. The bank is also a member of the Allpoint ATM network that allows customers to make cash withdrawals from ATM’s located in CVS, Costco and Duane Reade stores, among others, with no additional fees. This year Carver is celebrating 70 years of successful growth earned while serving some of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City.

“As the largest Black-managed, publicly traded Minority Depository Institution in the U.S., Carver continues to undergo positive change as we position ourselves to strengthen core profitability, enlarge our depository and lending base, and offer new banking products and services to our customers — all the while leveraging our designation as a Community Development Financial Institution by the U.S. Treasury Department,” said Carver CEO Michael T. Pugh. Central to Carver’s mission — and it’s success — has been to establish branches and points of access in neighborhoods often neglected by more mainstream financial institutions. “We’ve tried to put ourselves where our customers need us most,” Pugh notes. But the cost of doing business in New York remains high the city, and talent costs the same whether you’re a community lender like Carver or a

Photo bt Brad Hamilton

Today Carver has grown to become the largest African American-managed, publicly traded Minority Depository Institution in the country.

Carver Federal Savings Bank

Founded in 1948, Carver Federal Savings Bank had a mission to serve African Americans shut out of mainstream financial services.

major commercial bank. On top of that, many of the costs of compliance with

regulations intended for Wall Street giants weigh even heavier on banks the size of Carver. “When it comes to regulation and associated costs, there isn’t a line drawn between large and small institutions, and it obviously is harder for smaller institutions like us to meet these costs,” adds Pugh. “This is why we need the support of our communities more than ever. If you haven’t been to a Carver branch recently, please do stop by to see all that we have to offer.” Carver certainly has its champions. MISSION Continued on page 12

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

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Getting the lead out Pair of Chin bills would combat lead-paint exposure BY SYDNEY PEREIRA The 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 Councilwoman 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 HPD and DOH to tell DOB if there is a violation of lead-paint hazard laws. The law would go further, also giving DOB the authority to issue a stop-work order with that information on violations from the other departments. The goal, the councilwoman 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. DowntownExpress.com

Photo courtesy Holly Slayton

Holly Slayton and her daughter in a hallway of their East Village building, where lead-exposure readings have measured above the legal limit.

Rucci said HPD and DOH 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 badacting 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. “DOH 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, DOB does know when construction work is happening because landlords are required to file permits with that department.

“DOB is in a better position to know, ‘Okay, work is happening,’” Spector said. Chin echoed this point to city officials from DOH, DOB and HPD 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 lead-based paint in 1960). “It’s the first time I think there’s been a proposal that may actually get passed 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 because of the costs to remove lead. DOH 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-ead levels in children under age six. 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 18 – October 31, 2018

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

BY ANN TOBACK Since 2001, proof of legal immigration status has been required to obtain a driver’s license in New York State. Driving without a license is a misdemeanor during a routine traffic stop, but its enforcement is being used as a heavyhanded tactic to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants and refugees. Every day, New Yorkers who are doing nothing other than traveling to work or school are entrapped by a DMV rule requiring proof of immigration status to get a driver’s license. People are forced to make the terrible choice of driving without a license or not being able to get to work or take their children to the doctor. Making these necessary choices for day-to-day living is giving immigration officials the excuse they need to detain and deport hard-working members of New York’s immigrant community, including parents who are being separated from their families. It is unconscionable that in 2018 immigrant and refugee residents of New York state are being rounded up and held in detention centers as a result of routine traffic stops. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has the executive power to change that with the simple stroke of a pen. In doing so, New York would join California, Nevada, Utah, and nine other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented residents. Gov. Cuomo is committed to holding

MISSION Continued from page 14

Those who witnessed the challenges facing the banking system during the depths of the financial crisis have had considerable praise for the leadership at Carver, stressing the importance of the role Carver plays in the communities where it operates. In addition to expanding banking options and providing financial education for low- to moderate-income communities across New York City, Carver has a strong history of empowering and supporting women in leadership roles going back to its inception. Indeed, approximately two thirds of the bank’s staffers are women. More broadly speaking, the bank’s staff is about 70 percent African American, 20 percent Hispanic, and about 10 percent Caucasian. In addition, 100 percent of its board members are African- or Caribbean-American.

up our state, and his own administration, as exemplars of inclusion in the face a national anti-immigrant tide. “The State of New York has a proud legacy as the progressive capital of the nation,” he has said. “Let me be absolutely clear: if anyone feels that they are under attack, I want them to know that the state of New York — the state that has the Statue of Liberty in its harbor — is their refuge.” And if the governor is truly committed to that ideal, then issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants and refugees is not too much to ask. As an organization with more than a century-old commitment to justice for all — ourselves founded by immigrants who traveled to the United States seek-

ing safety for their families and the freedom to live better lives — the Workmen’s Circle recently coordinated with other Jewish organizations to send a letter to the Governor urging him to put action behind his oft-stated protection of immigrants and refugees and by an executive order to provide driver’s licenses for all residents of New York State regardless of immigration status. Creating a standard driver’s license accessible to all New Yorkers is a matter of public safety. Roads are safer when all drivers can be tested, licensed and insured. Moreover, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute, ensuring access to licenses to all will be a boon to the state’s economy. The Jewish American community has not forgotten our own immigrant and refugee experiences of the past century, when our ancestors were not always welcomed, or indeed even allowed, into the United States. We are committed to making sure that this terrible history is not repeated, and to ensuring that New York State is a sanctuary to the hard-working immigrant and refugee population who call New York home. This is now in the Governor’s hands. We hope you will join us and tell Gov. Cuomo (518-474-8390) that the time is now to issue this critical Executive Order. It’s the practical thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do. Ann Toback is the Executive Director of the Workmen’s Circle.

Diversity and all of the business benefits it creates are ingrained in Carver’s DNA. Many of Carver’s customers appreciate intuitively that where they bank can have a significant impact in their local neighborhoods. In the case of Carver, the bank reinvests 83 cents of each deposit dollar back into the neighborhoods it serves, through competitively priced consumer and small business loans — that’s 83 percent of each deposit dollar the bank takes in. In recent years Carver has developed a laser focus on meeting the needs of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, which play a huge role in creating local jobs in the communities in which Carver operates. To date, Carver has provided approximately $23 million in loans to MWBEs through public and private partnerships like the MTA Small Business Mentorship Program. Promoting financial literacy and eco-

nomic independence is likewise a big part of Carver’s mission. The bank designs all of its products to promote economic independence through their pricing, terms and conditions, and effective marketing to make sure people know about these products. The bank is also proud to have provided financial literacy training to more than 15,000 individuals over the past ten years. Because the bank understands the business models that work in the communities it serves, it sees the potential of these entrepreneurs, giving the bank a chance to serve them and fill-in the gaps left by the blinds pots common to more mainstream institutions. Carver has a strong value proposition for small businesses and consumers who wish to see their deposit dollars reinvested in their local communities — now, and for the next 70 years. To learn more about the bank please visit: www.carverbank.com.

The Workmen’s Circle

Ann Toback is Executive Director of the Workmen’s Circle.

DowntownExpress.com


BY MAX BURBANK Ouch. Tough couple of weeks, folks. Brett “Beer’s Most Passionate Spokesman” Kavanaugh seated on the Supreme Court; Melania “Most Bullied Woman on Earth” Trump jauntily cosplaying Nazi-lite “Raiders of the Lost Ark” villain René Belloq; Kanye “Crazy Motherf----r” West says “Motherf----r” in the Oval Office for the first time since Millard Fillmore stubbed his toe real bad on the leg of the Resolute desk… and so on. I’m not going to write about any of that. I’m sick of whatever topic I pick being swept aside by some new, previously unimaginable bit of barbarity. But if I’m not writing about all that, I guess I’m writing near it. My subject is always orbiting awfulness, an eager participant in whatever repulsive shenanigans and skullduggery tops the news cycle any given week. He’s the wacky neighbor in every sitcom, outrageously overacting in a desperate attempt to get their own spin-off show that tapes six summer replacement episodes but only ever airs two. He’s the shortest pro in a massive tag team mud wrestling match who leers at the camera, shouts, “Y’all WISH it was mud,” and then eats a handful. Yes, I’m talking about Lindsey Graham. What he hell with that dude lately? I mean, it’s not as if I ever liked him, but he had his bi-partisan moments. He’s always been a bit of an oily Machiavellian opportunist, but he’d positioned himself squarely as a sort of junior maverick sidekick to his mentor, John McCain. He was smart, not enslaved to the party line, he never played the moron to appeal to the Republican base, and he was funny. That’s a hell of an accomplishment in the GOP, where Mike Huckabee is considered a laugh riot by a wide swath of elderly, mayonnaise bastards. He grew up hanging around the bar and pool hall his dad owned, a joint hall called (and I’m not making this up, I don’t write that well) the Sanitary Café. That’s a pretty self-deprecating name for an establishment you might eat at. “Is the place any good?” “Well, not really, but it’s… sanitary.” That’s the kind of politician Graham grew up to be. “Does he have any principles?” “Well, no, DowntownExpress.com

Illustration by Max Burbank

Graham Cracks: A Timely Take on Trump’s Lickspittle Surrogate

but he’s… sanitary.” You may not recall, most people don’t, but Graham was one of the 58 or so Republicans who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination. He made no attempt to hide his distaste for the Reality TV star from Queens, calling him a “racebaiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” and “The world’s biggest jackass.” All you needed to do to “Make America Great Again,” said Graham, was, “Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” When the Republican nomination boiled down to Trump vs. Ted Cruz, he compared the choice to picking between “being shot or poisoned,” and said Trump was “The most unprepared person I’ve ever met to be commander-in-chief.” On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. About six and a half months later, Graham was invited to the Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia for a friendly 18 holes with his old nemesis. The next day, Graham tweeted, “Really enjoyed a round of golf with President @realDonaldTrump today. President shot a 73 in windy and wet conditions!” and “How bad did he beat me? I did better in the presidential race than today on the golf course! Great fun. Great host.” Admittedly

odd, but perhaps Graham was just being an uncommonly good sport. In fact, it would soon become clear what he was doing was the most complete 180 degree turn in modern American political history. Remember a whole paragraph ago when Graham called Trump a religious bigot? Well, here’s something he said about Trump more recently: “He’s not, in my view, a racist by any stretch of the imagination. I have never heard him make a single racist statement. Not even close.” It seems hardly a news cycle goes by now without Graham straining to become an ever more obsequious, lickspittle surrogate for Trump, achieving apotheosis at the Kavanaugh hearings. There, his sweat-sheened face a howling bowl of piping hot, aggrieved Cream of Wheat, the man who once fancied himself Robin to John McCain’s Batman became Reek to Donald Trump’s Ramsay Bolton. Why? Why this grossly undignified, self-flagellating performance? To what end Graham’s grand reverse-hero’sjourney? It’s widely speculated that Trump

promised Graham Jeff Sessions’ job. I’ll admit, the Attorney General’s office would be a real plum, far more impressive than being one of 100 senators, but I don’t buy it. The fateful Columbus Day round of golf took place over a year ago, and despite near daily presidential abuse, Sessions still has a job. It’s almost as if Trump enjoys having America’s favorite racist garden gnome to kick around. Besides, the theory that Graham’s behavior can be attributed to a pragmatically amoral lust for increased power and stature doesn’t account for one critical bit of evidence: Graham’s fear. The man is terrified. You can smell it oozing off his lurching body language, his stuttering, shrieking, sneering defense of Trump’s handpicked, terrible choice for the Supreme Court. Graham stank of panic as far back as June when, during an interview on CNN, he said, “If you don’t like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don’t give a shit.” The only thing he’s working on with Donald Trump is whatever it takes to go another 24 hours without the president telling the world what he told Graham on that golf course. Ever since that day, Lindsey’s been playing strictly to an audience of one. Trump knows something, and he must have ironclad proof, because Graham is a lifelong professional weasel and could squirm out of anything that wasn’t absolutely incontrovertible. Whatever it is, it’s jaw-droppingly bad, because today’s Republicans routinely walk away unscathed from openly racist behavior, lies, tax fraud, and credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault. When it comes out (and it will, Lindsay, it will, because no one remains in Trump’s orbit very long without burning up), there will be no hole on earth deep enough to hide the senior senator from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham doesn’t sound so smart these days. And he no longer even tries to be funny. He’s in a perpetual state of panic. Because while no one has ever been exactly enthusiastic about him, he always seemed at least… sanitary. And if Trump takes that away? He won’t just be disgraced. He’ll have nothing left at all. October 18 – October 31, 2018

17


Approaching the Peek Geek Point Expanding New York Comic Con grapples with growing pains

Photo by Carlos A Smith

Meetups are organized ahead of the Con, so cosplayers plan their daily outfits.

BY CHARLES BATTERSBY It was just a few hours into the first day at New York Comic Con (NYCC; Oct. 4-7). A cheerful PR woman at a booth told me that Thursday at this year’s con was a little more crowded than usual. “But it’s not like Saturday,” she added, with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, “Nothing is like Saturday.” Two days later, NYCC was bursting with so many fans that the Javits Center couldn’t hold them all. As the domain of the Con expands culturally beyond print comic books and their traditional fans, this annual event has also expanded physically, sending waves of nerds all over Manhattan’s West Side. For the last few years, NYCC has staged some panels and screenings at Madison Square Garden, and the nearby Hammerstein Ballroom. This year, there were two new satellite venues — most notably, Pier

18

October 18 – October 31, 2018

Photo by Charles Battersby

Conservative protesters mocked attendees, unaware of the inflatable penis behind them.

94, where a dedicated Anime Fest was held in conjunction with Anime Expo, a long-running, Los Angeles-

based event. This Anime Fest comes less than a year after rival convention “Anime

NYC” was held at the Javits. Alas, the attempt to corner the New York anime con market got off to a rocky start for NYCC and Anime Fest. Pier 94 is 16 blocks north of the Javits, and it required a separate ticket from NYCC (discounted tickets were available for people who went to both). Although a shuttle bus was making trips between the two locations, many attendees were unaware of this, and even those who knew there was a bus were uncertain where to find it. We hoofed it up 12th Ave. between the two venues on Saturday, and met many anime fans walking down from Pier 94. We stopped to speak to a cosplayer who goes by the handle Firefrost Cosplay. She complained that the walk was “a bit of a drag, especially in cosplay,” and pointed out that other satellite venues like Madison Square Garden are conveniently next to the subways. DowntownExpress.com


Photo by Carlos A Smith

Legion of Super-Heroes cosplayers show off their Legion Flight Rings.

Aside from Pier 94, there were panels and signings at “The Studios,” a warehouse located a couple of blocks away from the Javits Center, on W. 39th St. Smaller and less glamorous than the other satellite venues, it also had some rough moments: We arrived at a panel that was already underway, and were told that the elevator attendant was unavailable and that we would have to walk up three flights of stairs. A spokesperson from ReedPOP later assured us that, if we had needed the elevator for medical reasons, we would have had access to it. (This was small comfort to able-bodied latecomers, who hiked up the stairs throughout the weekend.) With all this walking and stairclimbing, NYCC attendees will need to be in better shape in the years to come. Luckily, there were several panels dedicated to fitness and wellness. Some were specifically to help cosplayers get a heroic physique — but the creators of Yoga Quest were targeting a broader audience, and trying to make yoga less intimidating for newcomers. They held classes at both the Javits Center and Pier 94 throughout the weekend, and incorporated narrative references to nerdy franchises like “Doctor Who” and Pokemon. As NYCC works to refute the “nonathletic nerd” stereotype, it’s also getting away from the “straight white man” stereotype. A more ethDowntownExpress.com

Photo by Charles Battersby

The desolate venue for the off-site Anime Fest.

nically diverse generation is reading comics now, as are more women. This year’s “Black Panther” movie, a female in the lead role for the recently launched new season of “Doctor Who,” and the upcoming female “Captain Marvel” movie (March 2019) are all signs that creators have been preparing content for this new audience. LGBTQ content is also quite common in panels at the Con, but new to NYCC this year is a “Queer Lounge.” During the first two days, it was run by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and Saturday it was run by The Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St., Greenwich Village). Alas, it was closed on Sunday, which happens to be Kids’

Day. We spoke with Stacy Lentz, coowner of The Stonewall Inn, about this new feature at the Con. “This is the first time we’ve done anything at Comic Con — ever,” she explained. “It’s really growing. It’s one of the most diverse groups of people that you can gather in New York City, so we wanted to be a part of it.” In fact, the comics industry has become so known for its progressive values that this year it was protested by conservative Christians from the Key of David Christian Center, who opposed the LGBT content, feminist views, and non-Christian religions. Ironically, they set up their protest near a booth for the irreverent cartoon “Rick and Morty” and a giant inflatable penis monster from the

booth was flapping around behind the oblivious protesters throughout their rally. The Fantasy Food Truck, by Fandom.com, has been present at NYCC for five years. Their food is based on fictional products in geek media. Because they give out free food on the convention floor, it’s a hot spot for Con attendees and a good insight into how the Con is going. We spoke to Nikki Flynn, head of PR at Fandom. “Every single year, I’ve witnessed more and more people coming to Comic Con,” she told us. Even though the truck brought more food this year than last, they still ran out of tickets within 20 minutes each day. Other hot ticket booths like a “South Park” escape room and a playable demo of the upcoming “Resident Evil” game also filled up early each day. This informally corroborates the convention organizer’s official number of attendees, which continues to grow each year. This year it was 250,000 tickets sold (although some were to individuals who bought multiple tickets to different days and venues), as well as $100 million brought to the local economy. However, it also raises a question: How long can this growth continue before NYCC hits “peak geek” — and fans aren’t willing to pay $20 to walk up 12th Ave. on a rainy Thursday afternoon for a Sailor Moon meetup? October 18 – October 31, 2018

19


Just Do Art

Photo courtesy of Chabad of the North Peninsula

October 25 at NYU Skirball Center: Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss delivers a message of hope, marking 80 years since Kristallnacht.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Keenly aware of history and evermindful of the need to address contemporary acts of hate and anti-Semitism, New York Hebrew, a Chelseabased after-school Jewish education destination, is marking 80 years since Kristallnacht with a message of hope, delivered by Eva Schloss — a Holocaust survivor, and Anne Frank’s stepsister. Schloss will recall her childhood friendship with Frank, tell her story of survival, and talk about the sources of strength she drew upon to rebuild her life and become an internationally respected humanitarian. This talk is suitable for people of all ages and faiths. Patrons for the event include The Avenues World School, Friends Seminary, and Leman Manhattan Preparatory School. Copies of “Eva’s Story: A Survivor’s Tale” (by Schloss) will be available for purchase at the event. Thurs., Oct. 25, 7:30pm at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place). Doors

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October 18 – October 31, 2018

open at 7pm; VIP reception at 6pm. For more info, visit kristallnacht80. org. New York Hebrew info can be found at nyhebrew.org. A little bird (an elephant named Horton, actually) told us he heard that you only have a few more days to take the train, grab a cab, or hop on pop — whatever it takes — to arrive at Pop International Galleries (195 Bowery). That’s where the witty, whimsical, timelessly trippy work of Dr. Seuss is on vivid display, in “The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection – 20th Anniversary Celebration.” Featuring estate-authorized limited editions both known and unknown to the public (available for acquisition), the exhibition spans decades’ worth of the author/ illustrators’ work, from the pages of his children’s books to images he crafted for his own personal pleasure. “Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection,” Horton (aka the gallery’s press release) noted, “are Dr. Seuss’ threedimensional ‘Unorthodox Taxidermy’

TM & © 2018 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All images, all rights reserved

Green eggs and art: Pop International Galleries’ Seussically spectacular exhibition closes Sunday.

sculptures with names like ‘The Carbonic Walrus,’ ‘The Two-Horned Drouberhannis,’ and the ‘Goo-GooEyed Tasmanian Wolghast,’ to name a few.” Free. Through Sun., Oct. 21. Visit popinternational.com. Earlier this week, their Oct. 17 “Women in Power” event served as a prelude to the main event: The Chelsea Film Festival, whose sixth annual edition is set to unspool Oct. 18-21, at AMC Loews 34th Street. See chelseafi lm.org for the entire schedule. Here a title we’re watching

for — and, schedule permitting — will be watching in its entirety on the big screen, having seen an enticing sneak preview: Moody, melancholy, daringly duplicitous, contemplative, and, at times, deeply unselttling, Naghmeh Shirkhan’s feature fi lm “Maki” has its US premiere at 9pm on Oct. 19. Set in a city New Yorkers will be all too familiar with, it’s a “modern love story” whose plot twist puts its coming-of-age character in the crosshairs of competing agendas (and the requisite secrets that come with troubled, but true, love). DowntownExpress.com


Future Present on East Fourth On stage and off, La MaMa knows how to break ground BY TRAV S.D. There’s never a dull moment at La MaMa, the seminal Off-Off-Broadway theatre company founded by the late Ellen Stewart in 1961. We profiled them in this space last year, but much has happened since that time. In June, the company was given a special Regional Theatre Tony Award for over a half-century of excellence, which was accepted by artistic director Mia Yoo. In September, a special groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the official start of renovations on their landmark 1873 building at 74 E. Fourth St. (btw. Bowery & Second Ave.), attended by local dignitaries including NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. Said Yoo of the three-part, $50 million capital plan, “These renovations are about the future of La MaMa, the future of our artistic community, and our neighborhood. The future of our city and the necessity of spaces like La MaMa in the world of the future where there is creativity and experimentation, diverse perspectives, inclusivity and access, and pushing the limits of human potential — all of this is essential.” On October 25, La MaMa honors Tony Award-winning playwright Lisa Kron at their annual gala, with guest performances by Taylor Mac, Erin Markey, Gunnar Montana, and Olympia Dukakis. Next on the horizon is the 2018 edition of the biannual La MaMa Puppet Festival — touted as their biggest yet — running Nov. 1-25. The director and curator of the festival since the beginning has been Denise Greber, a Downtown actress who has been with La MaMa since 1999. “I started working with Ellen [Stewart] on a puppet series in 2004,”Greber noted. “Ellen always loved puppetry. It’s always been at least 20 percent of the programming at La MaMa. It was a small series at first. But it’s continued to grow.” This year’s festival features 11 separate events, some of them full-length puppet works, some bills of shorter pieces or excerpts, and one afternoon panel program. “Each show runs 55-65 minutes, and we try to schedule two to three in an evening so you can come at seven o’clock, have some cocktails, see a couple of very diverse puppet shows, and then be back home by 10:30.” A very special offering this year will DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Klaus Kühn

A marionette work from Germany, “Wunderkammer: Cabinet of Curiosities” (Nov. 1-3) is part of La MaMa’s Puppet Festival.

Photo courtesy of the La MaMa Archives

The late Ellen Stewart with Andrei Serban, who will be the topic of Sept. 29’s Coffeehouse Chronicles series.

be a crossover event between two ongoing La MaMa programs: the Puppet Festival, and Coffeehouse Chronicles, the theatre’s long-running panel series, curated by Michal Gamily, that explores Off-Off Broadway theatre history, usually by paying tribute to notable artists or other arts professionals. On Nov. 10, the invited guest will be Ralph Lee of the Mettawee River Theatre Company, whose credits in NYC stretch back over half a century, ranging from cofounding the annual Village Halloween Parade to large scale pageants at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to

designing the famous “Land Shark” from the first season of “Saturday Night Live.” Said Gerber, “I’ve long wanted to have the opportunity to incorporate puppetry into Coffeehouse Chronicles. I thought Ralph’s long years of community service through his mask work and puppetry deserved to be celebrated and honored.” Aside from this event, however, most of this year’s work showcases females as lead artists. “We made a special effort this year to highlight the perspectives of women,” Greber noted. “That’s not always the case in the puppetry world.” Offerings include “Wunderkammer: Cabinet of Curiosities” (Nov. 1-3), a marionette work from Germany; “Blind” (Nov. 8-11), a collaboration between Duda Paiva and Black Hole Theatre that incorporates Yoruba ritual to tell a true story of illness and healing; “Everything Starts from a Dot” (Nov. 8-10), a work by Sachiyo Takahashi and Nekaa Lab that magnifies minuscule moving shapes and projects them through a live video feed; “Food for the Gods” (Nov. 15-18), a multimedia work by Nehprii Amenii which talks

about the killings of African American men; and a family-oriented work called “Don Quixote Takes New York” (Nov. 10-11), co-directed by Greber herself and Federico Restrepo. And there’s more. “With each festival we tend to add at least one more feature,” Greber said. “This year we’ve added a new program called ‘Jump Start,’ where we present a weekend of sections from late stage works-in-progress.” The Jump Start programs will be Nov. 23-25, each one containing four works of about 20 minutes in length. Another multi-work evening is the Puppet Slam (Nov. 5), curated by Jane Catherine Shaw. At this event, 10-13 artists present self-contained works (not excerpts) of three to seven minutes. These tend to be geared toward mature audiences, i.e., not suitable for young children. As with La MaMa itself, the general trend of the Puppet Festival is in the direction of growth. “We’re still small by comparison to many international puppet festivals,” Greber said. “But we’re getting bigger.” For more information, visit lamama. org. October 18 – October 31, 2018

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Downtown Express - October 18, 2018  

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October 18, 2018