V i s i t u s o n l i n e a t w w w.t h e v i l l a g e r . c o m
November 1, 2018
Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower wer East Ea asst Side, Side Si de, Soho, So S oh ho o, Union o, Un U niio on Square, S qu Sq ua arre e, Chinatown Ch C hiin nat a to ow w n and and Noho, an No N oho oho o, Since Siinc S n e 1933
Faith leaders, U.N.’s Guterres call for end to hate and violence BY LESLEY SUSSMAN
who’s who of some of the city’s top-ranking faith leaders, statespersons and civic and political leaders attended a gathering Wednesday morning at Park East Synagogue, on the Upper East Side, to remember the
massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue last weekend, and denounce all acts of violence and hate that have occurred throughout the nation. Among those who attended the gathering, at 163 E. 67th St., were Cardinal Timothy HATE continued on p. 2
A flood of concerns over resiliency plans six years after Sandy BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
n the days following Superstorm Sandy, Tanya Acevedo, a mother of two, remembers that it “felt like we were living in the end of the world.” While waiting for the power to return, her apartment in the
Lillian Wald Houses on Avenue D was dark and cold. “It felt so surreal,” she said. She recalled that her son, then 3 years old, would cry from how cold it was in the late October, early November days after the storm hit New York. RESILIENCY continue continued on p. 10
PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL
What are they so scared of? Doris Diether, 89, of C.B. 2, possibly the cit y’s longestser ving community board member, wore a Halloween mask and earrings in Washington Square. She opposes board term limits. “It’s silly,” she said.
Board term limits will be ballot battle BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ommunity board members and local politicians are up in arms over the Nov. 6 ballot proposal for term limits for board members. Yet the influential organization Transportation Alternatives is among the groups backing the issue, feeling that
Biggie Paws ’n’ the Parade......p. 8
capping board members’ tenure at eight years is a good idea. Other supporters include the Working Families Party and the SEIU Local 32BJ and UNITE-HERE Local 100 unions, among others. Meanwhile, for its part, the powerful Real Estate Board of New York, though not supporting term limits outright, is notably urging that the com-
munity boards be overhauled — with fewer members per board, longer terms, and for the mayor to be able to make community board appointments, too. Critics of the proposal blast it as a blatant effort to weaken the — albeit advisory — oversight role of community BOARDS continued on p. 6
Rivera bill targets park birdnappers................ p. 13 Trump’s venom is poisoning us; So say it.........p. 15 Volume 88 • Number 43
Faith leaders, U.N.’s Guterres call for end to hate HATE continued from p. 1
Dolan, archbishop of New York; Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America; United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill; and Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Other important personages who attended the meeting to speak out against religious intolerance and bigotry were Reverend Clifton Daniel III, dean of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine; Sheikh Musa Drammeh, chairperson of the Islamic Cultural Center of North America; and Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York. More than 200 people attended the memorial, which was co-organized by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and spiritual leaders. Since 1965, the foundation has worked on behalf of religious freedom and human rights throughout the world. The event’s other co-organizer was United Against Hate, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan organization composed of people seeking to blot out hateful speech and actions. On Wednesday, meanwhile, New Yorkers continued to beat the drum
PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Children from the Day School came in to Park East Synagogue to sing songs of peace on Tuesday.
against anti-Semitism and religious and racial bigotry at a noontime rally on the steps of City Hall attended by a coalition of city councilmembers, faithbased leaders and advocacy groups. Speakers expressed solidarity with the city’s Jewish community. At Park East Synagogue, Senior Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, told the audience that he was a Holocaust survivor who had seen his synagogue in Germany burned to the
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November 1, 2018
Antonio Guterres, U.N. secretar y-general, said the world must come together and move past bigotr y.
ground by the Nazis while police and firemen stood by and did nothing. “I thank our police forces for the protection against harm they are providing us,” he said. “How good it is that they and everyone else — including members of Congress — are together as one and here, today, to promote peace in the world and remember the people who were killed in Pittsburgh.” Cardinal Dolan told the audience, “We are not afraid.” “The wounds of Pittsburgh are still oozing but we are not afraid,” he said. “We know that God changes darkness to light and we praise God for his mercy and endurance forever.” U.N. Secretary-General Guterres told the audience that he fears the rise of neo-Nazism throughout the world. “Anti-Semitism is the oldest and most persistent form of hatred in the world,” he said. “Jews are being persecuted and attacked just for being who they are. I see the roots of neo-Nazism growing.” Archbishop Demetrios said he had “no proper words to express my sorrow
and condemnation for the event that happened in Pittsburgh. “We must continue God’s dream for the world to put an end to division and hatred,” he said. “We must help create God’s dream of unity and peace for this world.” Saturday evening, an interfaith vigil was held in the Village at Judson Memorial Church. Faith leaders from Lab/ Shul and Judson came together for a service, which was followed by talking circles and a candlelight memorial in Washington Square Park. During the service’s first part, an African-American reverend led the group in singing “Amazing Grace” and “We Shall Overcome.” A woman from Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood where the Pittsburgh shooting occurred, spoke. An African-American played the piano and sang a Yiddish song, “It Is Burning,” based on a poem about the burning of shtetl written in 1936 by Mordecai Gebirtig. The poem was written in response to the pogrom of Przytyk, which occurred on March 9, 1936. TheVillager.com
Scoopy’s Notebook EVERYBODY MUST GET STONE: With the midterm elections looming, we’ve suddenly been getting text messages again from Roger Stone lately. It was reported that the G.O.P. “dirty trickster” recently took a couple of polygraph tests that purportedly showed he, in fact, did not speak with Julian Assange before WikiLeaks’ dumps of sensitive Hillary Clinton campaignrelated e-mails during last year’s presidential election. Stone, in turn, asked us when his frenemy Randy Credico — the Downtown comic-turned-muckrakingradio journalist — will now take his own lie-detector tests. Credico, who, unlike Stone, has already testified before a D.C. grand jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into so-called “Russiagate,” declined comment. It’s believed Stone is a major target of Mueller’s probe into election collusion. Credico is just one of several Stone associates to have been grilled by the feds.
COUNTY COMEUPPANCE: A year ago, then-Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh was anointed by Democratic bosses, in what was derided as a “backroom deal,” to be the party’s nominee to fill the vacant Lower Manhattan/ Brooklyn state Senate seat formerly held by Daniel Squadron. District Leader Paul Newell had the strongest support among County Committee members, but a regulations quirk for districts spanning two boroughs allowed the bosses to pick Kavanagh. Newell and his supporters, including the Downtown Independent Democrats, were livid. That won’t happen again, however. After a year working on reform measures, this past Monday night, 500 members of the Democratic Committee of New York County passed 25 rule changes. Among these were “eliminating county leaders’ ability to unilaterally fill intercounty district vacancies and instead placing the decision-making power directly with the County Committee members.” Other approved reforms include creating an independent ethics committee with the power to hear complaints against county officials; increasing the amount of notice given for all County Committee meetings; and letting voters know who represents them on the County Committee by publishing its full membership online. However, the reformers were disappointed they could not pass a rule change to prohibit county leaders — ahem, Manhattan’s Keith Wright — from acting as paid lobbyists while in office. Reformers opted to support a compromise amendment, exempting current leaders from the lobbying ban. County Committee leadership reportedly “used parliamentarian roadblocks to prevent the proposal from even coming to a vote.” Among the Reform leaders on the Rules Committee was Jeanne Kazel Wilcke, former D.I.D. president. TheVillager.com
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Fall foliage and urban fowl in Father Demo Square, at Sixth Ave. and Bleecker and Carmine Sts.
The new rules go into effect immediately. We asked Newell about the changes — specifically, the one nixing county leaders’ power to pick the party nominee in interborough districts. “With no disrespect to Senator Kavanagh, who is doing a good job for us, last year’s process was frankly a disgrace,” Newell said. “I’m proud that we were able to use that event to meaningfully reform how the Democratic Party operates at this vital hour for our party.”
MENDEZ ON ‘BREW CREW’: Sometimes it takes a while to get to know a spokesperson, but that’s not the case with Rosie Mendez, who Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has appointed to lead her community affairs division. In her new post, the former East Village councilmember will be responsible for administering the community board appointment process, tracking neighborhood and constituency issues, and interfacing with community groups and city agencies. “For three terms, Lower East Side and East Village residents had the benefit of Rosie’s savvy, independence, and fearlessness,” said Brewer, who formerly served with Mendez on the Council. “Now, I’m thrilled that she’ll be putting them to use for all Manhattanites in a leadership role with my team...over the next three years.” Said Mendez, “I am looking forward to working closely with the 12 Manhattan community boards, as well as residents throughout the entire borough where I will continue the work of ensuring that Gale’s vision for community-based planning is supported in every community and in each community board.” After serving three four-year terms in office, Mendez was term-limited out of the Council at the end of last year. November 1, 2018
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Pier 40 ‘punch’
White Horse ﬁght
A woman got into an argument with her boyfriend at Pier 40, at W. Houston and West Sts., on Sat., Oct. 27, at 1:30 a.m., and the man punched her in the face, police said. The victim, 35, suffered minor bruising and pain to her chin, and refused medical assistance at the scene. The man reportedly told responding police officers, “I didn’t do anything.” Oscar Vazquez, 40, was arrested for misdemeanor assault.
On Feb. 27, 2017, The Groove, the live funk, soul and R&B club, at 125 MacDougal St., at W. Third St., had three payroll checks forged in the business’s name, totaling $1,463, according to police. The checks were deposited and cleared by an unknown person, and cash was withdrawn. This month, on Oct. 22, police arrested Alexander Parker, 21, for felony grand larceny.
An arrest has been made in an assault at the White Horse Tavern, at 567 Hudson St., at W. 11th St., earlier this year that left a man with a cut face. Two men argued at the pub on Fri., May 18, at 8 p.m., and it escalated, with one striking the other in the face with a glass, causing cuts requiring stitches, police said. The attacker fled in an unknown direction. The manager said the famed watering hole’s surveillance cameras weren’t working at the time. The victim, 55, was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center. Police canvassed the area but didn’t find the suspect. On Oct. 22, Brian Ferran, 58, was arrested for felony assault.
Pushy perp A 63-year-old man was asked at W. Fourth St. and Seventh Ave. South for money by a younger man on Mon., Oct. 22, around 3:30 a.m., and he gave him some, police said. The generous man then walked a block east from Sheridan Square to W. 10th St. and Waverly Place, where the same guy hit him up for more money again. He tried to get away but the perp pushed him to the ground, jumped on top of him, and stole his wallet, containing $20 cash, credit cards and other items. The mugger fled north on Waverly and dropped the wallet in front of 191 Waverly Place, just a few doors down. All the stolen items were recovered except for the $20. Possible video surveillance was reportedly available at several nearby locations. Two days later, Gary Laclair, 52, was arrested for felony robbery.
Kith and run A thief brought a pricey Omea Gore-Tex jacket into a changing room at the Kith boutique, at 337 Lafayette St., on Oct. 22 at 2:40 p.m., and placed it in a bag before leaving the place, police said. The garment was valued at more than $2,300. The suspect was described as a black male, last seen wearing a gray sweat suit, black hat and glasses. 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.
Rite-Aid rough-up On Tues., Oct. 23, around 4:45 a.m., a man approached a 54-year-old victim inside of Rite-Aid, at 534 Hudson St., at Charles St., and grabbed his wallet from his hand and pushed him to the ground. The wallet, which had contained $40, was recovered nearby. The suspect is described as white, slim and wearing glasses. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers.
Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson
G.V.C. Chamber tours Ninth Precinct BY TEQUILA MINSKY
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November 1, 2018
n open-house tour of the Ninth Precinct organized by the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce gave merchants a chance to meet their local police. After opening remarks by Maria Diaz, the chamber’s executive director, John L. O’Connell, the Ninth’s commander, introduced himself. He’s a third-generation police officer. His father is a retired N.Y.P.D. detective, his mother was one of the force’s first female cops, and his wife is a detective, too. O’Connell, 44, then introduced Sergeant Lesley Bailey, the Ninth’s N.C.O. supervisor. N.C.O. stands for “neighborhood coordination officers,” a new initiative that brings back the “beat cop.” Two-officer teams patrol specific precinct sectors, getting to know the community and working hours when they’re really needed. One of the main concerns voiced at the Oct. 17 tour was homeless people camping out, particularly on Crosby St. just north of Houston St. Others said they have seen individuals from nearby drug-treatment programs on the street taking drugs. Two community affairs officers were also on hand, and there was a tour of the two holding cells — one for women, the other for men.
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Sergeant Lesley Bailey, the Ninth’s N.C.O. super visor, addressed the visitors, along with Captain John L . O’Connell, right. TheVillager.com
Health & Wellness
New Sinai center focuses on thyroid treatment BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
ount Sinai has opened a new comprehensive thyroid center in Union Square that gathers specialists in both diagnosing and treating thyroid disease and thyroid cancer all under the same roof. This multidisciplinary facility at 10 Union Square East — which Mount Sinai says is the first of its kind in Manhattan and the Northeast — streamlines the process for patients when they are first diagnosed with thyroid disease or cancer. With endocrinologists, radiologists, surgeons and pathologists all in the same center, patients can see every doctor they need to in one place. Biopsy results come back quicker as well, thanks to in-house testing. “It basically eliminates ‘fragmented care,’” said Maria Brito, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Fragmented care, she said, is a problem that arises when “you’re seeing doctors of different specialties for a condition in which perhaps they don’t communicate with each other, or there are delays in information between one to the other.”
MOUNT SINAI HEALTH SYSTEM
Dr. Maria Brito, co-director of the Mount Sinai Thyroid Center, speaking at the ribbon-cutting of the new comprehensive thyroid-care facilit y at Union Square.
In addition to hampering treatment, “that also creates a degree of uncertainty for the patient,” she said. Brito will co-direct the center with Terry Davies, professor of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease at the Icahn school.
At Mount Sinai’s Union Square thyroid center, most of the doctors patients need to see all work together in one place. “There are some patients who will never have to leave the building for their thyroid care completely,” Brito said.
In addition to providing better treatment, the center’s doctors will also be able to focus on research of thyroid conditions in both clinical and lab settings. The center aims to maintain a 72hour new-patient appointment policy, in which a patient will see a doctor no more than three days from when he or she first calls. Because of the rise in diabetes nationwide, endocrinology appointments fill up quickly, said Brito, but so far, they’ve been able to meet that 72-hour policy goal. Three surgeons from the Icahn medical school, Mark Urken, William Inabnet and Eugene Friedman, will also be based at the center, but the doctors make a point to offer effective nonsurgical alternatives, as well. A procedure known as “ethanol ablation,” for example, uses an injection of alcohol to destroy a tumor, rather than radiation, chemotherapy or removing it surgically, and can also treat benign cysts without surgery. It’s a treatment option that could have particular appeal to busy Manhattanites, according to Brito. “You’re out the door, and you’re back to work,” she said.
November 1, 2018
Board term-limits issue will be ballot battle; BOARDS continued from p. 1
boards, particularly as a watchdog on real estate development issues. Their fear is that term limits, in general, namely the “throw the bums out” sentiment, automatically appeal to most voters on a kneejerk level. However, unlike elected politicians, the 50 members on all 12 of Manhattan community boards are all volunteers. They are appointed by the borough president, with half of the appointments first being recommended to the B.P. by local councilmembers. In September, the Mayor’s Charter Commission approved three ballot questions, including reducing the contribution limits for candidates for office who participate in the city’s publicfinancing program, and also increasing the amount of public matching funds awarded for small donations from $6 for every $1 raised up to $8 for every $1 raised; creating a Civic Engagement Commission to expand participatory budgeting, among other things; and, finally, establishing community board term limits of four consecutive twoyear terms, with the goal of making the boards “more representative” of their communities. Term-limited board members would be allowed to reapply to the board after a two-year hiatus. Adding to opponents’ discomfort, all the commission’s members were appointed by the mayor. A second charter commission — with members appointed by the public advocate, city councilmembers and borough presidents — only recently began its own deliberations, with an eye toward making its recommendations next year. Downtown Manhattan’s Community Boards 2 and 3 are both on record against term limits for board members, and local politicians, including Assemblymember Deborah Glick and state Senator Brad Hoylman, have also been vocal critics of the proposal. Interestingly, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson hasn’t publicly taken a stance on the issue yet. Both Hoylman and Johnson were previously community board chairpersons — Hoylman at the Village’s C.B. 2 and Johnson at Chelsea/Clinton’s C.B. 4 — and community boards are famously a launching pad for political careers. Not surprisingly, four of the city’s five borough presidents have also penned a joint letter against the proposal. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, however, is for term-limiting board members. Critics of the proposal all cite the “loss of institutional memory” they say removing longtime members would cause. Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, said it would lead to a “brain drain” on the boards. Brewer has noted that, during her tenure, well more than 300 of Manhattan’s 600 community board seats
November 1, 2018
PHOTO BY SYDNEY PEREIRA
At a C.B. 2 meeting in April, residents protested a hotel project nex t to the historic Merchant’s House Museum on E. Four th St.
have turned over. She also has pushed for greater youth representation on the boards, appointing members as young as 16 and 17.
‘I think it’s a disastrous proposal.’ State Senator Brad Hoylman
“We match appointments to the demographics of the neighborhood, and in my five years as borough president, we have had a 60 percent change in membership through robust outreach, natural turnover and attention to [board members’] attendance,” Brewer
said in a statement. “Community boards are our first line of offense in promoting neighborhood planning and our first line of defense in protecting neighborhoods from developers who seek only maximum profit from their work in our communities,” Brewer added. “Longtime members build up the knowledge and expertise that enable boards to negotiate effectively with very seasoned developers and lobbyists.” Addressing C.B. 2 recently, Glick slammed the term-limits proposal as “totally and completely annoying and stupid. I’m not in favor of term limits, in general, for elected officials — it’s called ‘elections,’ ” she noted. “Limiting board members’ service is a giveaway to developers. Whether it’s about zoning, on landmarking or traffic issues — it’s a giveaway. It’s shocking and the nerve of the mayor,” she fumed. “People see term limits and see it as a good thing, when they don’t realize it’s really an attempt to minimize and limit the power of community boards,” said Glick, who is a 28-year incumbent on the state Legislature. In her written statement on the issue, Glick added, in part, “Land use procedures that community boards weigh in on at committee and full board meetings help our beloved historic neighborhoods in Greenwich Village and Tribeca stay alive. Losing informed and knowledgeable members to term limits could allow more megatowers and overdevel-
oping to bulldoze through communities without detailed questions being asked. This is at a time when small businesses are struggling and vacant storefronts abound at an alarming rate. As the cost of living escalates and community members are increasingly priced out of their homes, losing institutional knowledge on community boards to new members less familiar with the beat of the neighborhood could change the very nature of the city, on a block-by-block basis.” For his part, Hoylman said of the ballot initiative, “I think it’s a disastrous proposal. As a former [board] chairperson, I really rely on the community boards, now more than ever. Doris Diether, David Gruber, Tobi Bergman, Shirley Secunda — none of these mainstays of C.B. 2 would be serving under this new regime. And it really puts the board at a disadvantage versus developers. I don’t know — maybe that’s the intention,” Hoylman added, skeptically. Veteran board members, Hoylman said, “have their fingers on the pulse — they have the institutional knowledge. “I’m sad that the proposal is on the ballot,” he reflected. “Term limits are very popular with voters.” The state senator added that, in his view, term limits have not been effective on the City Council. “At the very least, they’re too short,” he said. “It has made [the Council] staff more powerful.” The Mayor’s Charter Commission did hold a series of outreach meetings during the summer on the ballot proposals, but they were not well publicized. In an interview, Matt Gewolb, the executive director of the commission, and Jorge Montalvo, a staffer on it, laid out the arguments for community board term limits. For starters, they noted, term-limited board members would still be able to continue serving on board committees as public members, contributing their expertise and knowledge. Gewolb said Manhattan’s boards actually are pretty representative of their neighborhoods and are not really a problem. “It doesn’t work the same in each borough,” he said. “I think Manhattan is a good example. I think there were things put in place by [former B.P.] Scott Stringer — and then Gale Brewer — with a blue-ribbon panel.” Gewolb was referring to a screening process Stringer instituted to raise the caliber of board appointees. At the time, Stringer credited The Villager for leading the call for community board reform back when the membership of C.B. 2 was deeply divided between residents and business owners. Stringer “cleaned up” the board, so to speak, and the rancor between members is long gone. However, C.B. 2 now is being slammed as “anti-nightlife” by the BOARDS continued on p. 7 TheVillager.com
Fear over loss of clout, ‘institutional memory’ BOARDS from p. 6
likes of Allen Roskoff, head of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; Carter Booth, an anti-bar watchdog and longtime co-chairperson of the board’s State Liquor Authority Committee, appears poised to be elected the board’s next chairperson. Gewolb and Montalvo said, at outreach meetings over the summer, they heard the most complaints about Queens community boards, in terms of the members being unrepresentative of their communities, demographically speaking. Both said they would like to see community board hopefuls state their “race, ethnicity and age” on application forms. “It would be voluntary,” Gewolb noted, adding, “There’s currently a mandate in the charter for borough presidents to provide geographic diversity.” As for institutional knowledge on boards, Montalvo said it could easily be passed down from veteran members to newer ones. “It won’t be gathered all in one person, but shared by a board — sort of a ‘hive mind,’” he explained. Meanwhile, rather than being the poster child for the need for community board reform, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been doing
exactly what the commission wants, a spokesperson said. “Borough President Katz has deliberately and successfully moved the borough’s 14 community boards toward a healthier balance between the expertise and experience of long-standing members (which is precisely why we should not have term limits for the boards), the fresh ideas and perspectives of brand new members, and more proportional representation among and within the boards,” said Sharon Lee. “Three hundred and 11 individuals have had the opportunity to serve on a community board for the first time, ever, under Borough President Katz’s administration.” Transportation Alternatives, the high-profile group seemingly driving much of the city’s policy on the use of its streets, is a strong supporter of community board term limits. Erwin Figueroa, TransAlt’s senior organizer, said the group feels that the transportation committees of too many of the city’s community boards are dominated by car owners. One City Hall source told The Villager that TransAlt specifically wants to purge the boards of older members, feeling they tend to be the most opposed to bike lanes. But Figueroa denied that’s the case. “It’s not an age issue,” he said. “It’s all across the board.”
However, he added, “Without term limits, we have people that have been on the community boards for decades.” As for the Real Estate Board of New York, it seems to have a more nuanced position, calling for a broader overhaul and reform of the community boards, plus for increasing the mayor’s power on them. “First, we reject term limits for community board members,” REBNY said in a statement. “The land use process can be complicated, and proper planning takes time. Removing institutional knowledge is not the answer to inertia or to entrenchment. Instead, community boards should reflect the communities they represent. Appointments should not be given out as de facto renewals; instead appointments should be made to correspond to the diversity of their communities’ population. Onequarter of those appointments should be reserved for representation of local business. The mayor should have the ability to appoint members as well who demonstrate an understanding of the city’s needs. Consideration should also be given to reducing the number of members per board and to increasing the length of terms.” A group called the Democracy Yes Coalition, which supports all three ballot proposals, will hold a rally on Thurs., Nov. 1, at 11 a.m. at 32BJ, at
25 W. 18th St. In addition to TransAlt, other members of the coalition include Korean Americans for Political Advancement, NY Immigration Coalition, Participatory Budgeting Project, Patriotic Millionaires, Reinvent Albany, SEIU Local 32BJ, UNITE-HERE Local 100 and the Working Families Party. Former City Councilmember Carol Greitzer opposes term limits for community board members. “It’s not easy to be on the board,” she said. “I know — I was an old-time member. It’s a pain in the neck. It’s volunteer.” Doris Diether, with 52 years on C.B. 2, is one of the longest serving board members in the city, and perhaps the longest. She’s known as the Village board’s “zoning maven.” “I understand what they’re trying to do,” Diether said. “But it seems silly to put people off the board who are doing a good job. It seems silly to put someone off the board if they’re energetic and they’re interested in it — and they know the area better because they’ve been there longer.” Diether, 89, said she makes a point of always showing up for meetings, even if she has recently just gotten out of the hospital after a fall, for example. “They look kind of surprised to see me sometimes showing up!” she said, with a laugh.
Deborah Glick s Sponsor of Reproductive Health Act s Championed 75 Morton Street Middle School s Committed to Preserving Open Space s Dedicated to our Environment & Waterfront s Fighting for Neighborhood Preservation s Protecting Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
Go with Deborah Glick! www.deborahglick.com
November 6 th Polls open 6 AM to 9 PM Paid for by Friends of Deborah Glick
November 1, 2018
‘Amp’ed’-up dog parade is a big hit, fur sure BY BOB KR ASNER
xcept for a new venue for the annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade this year, not much else changed. The hotly anticipated event was held at the East River Park amphitheater for the first time. Hundreds of contestants lined up with their costumed canines to compete for trophies for the amusement of everyone in the tiered seating, which was jam-packed. While some attendees missed Tompkins Square, others, like Caroline Lieberman, liked the new location. “It’s easier here,” she said. “The audience can sit.” Many were just delighted with the happy distraction of the whole thing. “With all the ugliness going on in the world, we need something like this,” said one. The extremely well-behaved pets impersonated everyone from Steve Jobs to Kanye, with costumes that went from simple to extravagant. The “Best In Show” winners, Katie Renfroe and Diego Guanzon, presented their dachshund Longboy Lincoln as a “Barking Mad Hatter” in a float that resembled stacked teacups. “I worked on it for two months,” Renfroe said. “I had already begun when they canceled the parade, so we were very happy it was back on!” Not content to give trophies to just the prize winners, organizer Ada Nieves made sure that the judges got little commemorative statues, as well. Co-host Katie Nolan, of the ESPN show “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” received her own engraved plaque. “I’m here because I just love dogs so much!” she gushed. Garrett Rosso stepped back from organizing duties this year but was still onstage helping out in his usual Mad Hatter’s outfit.
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
Biggie Paws (real name) is a rescue bulldog.
“It’s the only costume I have,” he admitted. “It was awesome!” he exclaimed, at the end of the day. “It’s awesome every year.”
ESPN host Katie Nolan, center, who helped make the dog parade happen this year after it had been canceled, received a plaque from Ada Nieves, the event’s organizer, left, and Cit y Councilmember Carlina Rivera.
November 1, 2018
Canine cuteness was on display in a major way.
Allison Chase as Melania Trump, held Lulu as The Donald, while Sara Chase, left, provided securit y. Chase’s jacket back spor ted the same slogan, “I really don’t care, do you?” that Melania’s did when she visited detained immigrant kids near the border. TheVillager.com
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November 1, 2018
A ﬂood of concerns persist over resiliency plans RESILIENCY continued from p. 1
Sandy killed 43 in the city, knocked out power for 2 million people, and caused $19 billion in damage in the city alone. Parts of Downtown Manhattan were inundated with more than 10 feet of water. Today, Acevedo stocks extra blankets, nonperishable food and batteries in her apartment in case of another storm. But just east of her apartment is East River Park, where the city’s major resiliency infrastructure project, intended to protect her and 110,000 others from storm surges and sea-level rise, has been long delayed — and, in fact, recently overhauled entirely. After years of plans to build a system of berms between the F.D.R. Drive and East River Park, plus a floodwall along the F.D.R. Drive, city honchos announced in late September that some 70 percent of the plan would be redesigned, entirely different from what the city presented in its March update to Community Board 3. The new plan, which city officials presented to C.B. 3 in mid-October, would bury East River Park — which was recently renovated at a cost of millions of dollars — in 8 to 10 feet of added soil to raise the park’s elevation, as well as add a floodwall near the river’s edge,
PHOTO BY SYDNEY PEREIRA
State Senator Brian Kavanagh, at podium, along with Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin, to the left and right of him, respectively, and other local leaders and storm-surge exper ts spoke at the South St. Seapor t about the East Side and Lower Manhattan coastal resilienc y projects.
west of the existing esplanade. North of E. 13th St. and to the south between Montgomery and Cherry Sts., the East Side plan would stay the same. The city says construction on the East Side resiliency project would begin next spring with flood protections in place by summer 2023 — sooner than under the previous plan. East River Park would be closed for three years
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during the work, according to Phil Ortiz, mayoral spokesperson. Michael Claudio, a general contractor who has lived on Avenue D for 35 years, echoed how many in the community and Downtown politicians feel. “They’re still at a talking stage,” he said of the East River Park plans. “Nothing has started or been done.” Claudio rode out the storm in 2012 in the neighborhood. He remembers having to go to Harlem to buy groceries, and powering his phone at charging stations brought into the East Village. The city has allocated $760 million for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which includes $338 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new plan is expected to cost a total of $1.45 billion. Ortiz said city capital funds would cover the additional cost. “We were taken completely by surprise,” said Trever Holland, C.B. 3 Parks Committee chairperson and founder of Tenants United Fighting for the Lower East Side, or TUFF-LES. Holland, who lives in the Two Bridges neighborhood, which has a separate Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, is now nervous the city will return to the community with an entirely new plan for his neighborhood, too, just four months after a community engagement meeting about flip-up storm barriers along the F.D.R. South of Two Bridges, the portion of the city’s resiliency plans for Manhattan’s southern tip is underfunded, with roughly $108 million allocated for a plan with no preliminary design. Short-term protections for Downtown and Lower Manhatan are trickling in — including giant sandbag walls and deployable barriers that are expected to be in place next year. Downtown politicians and community leaders blasted the lack of concrete
action on the larger infrastructure plans last week at a press conference at Pier 16 — at the high-water mark where Sandy flooded the South St. Seaport. Six years after the epic storm, the city is “still talking about the same issues,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. “It’s the same discussion, right here, today in 2018.” The “Big U” — a 10-mile conceptual plan to protect much of the lower East and West Sides of Manhattan — “is a line on the paper,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, former C.B.1 chairperson and a part of the Metropolitan NYNJ Storm Surge Working Group. “The ‘Big U’ at year six — I don’t see anything in the ground,” she said. “Nothing has changed at the waterfront.” Another major aspect of the larger plan to “save” the city — as Malcolm Bowman, Stonybrook University professor and chairperson of the Storm Surge Working Group, put it — is the regional plan to protect more than 2,100 miles of New York and New Jersey shorelines. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently studying the feasibility of five different alternatives of offshore storm-surge barriers and shoreline protections for the New York and New Jersey region. By 2022, the corps is expected to file recommendations to Congress for a plan that would account for storm-surge risk — though not necessarily sea-level rise. However, sea-level rise and stormsurge flooding are two distinct problems that need to be dealt with, Bowman said last week. “We need to split that problem into two pieces,” he said. The massive storm-surge barrier his working group supports could protect the city from storm-surge flooding for 100 years, he said. It calls for a 5-mile barrier between Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Breezy Point, Queens, plus a smaller barrier at Throgs Neck between Queens and the Bronx. It’s one of five plans the corps is studying. But critics of the largest barrier plan say it would destroy the Hudson River’s ecology. “I’m as green as anybody,” said Bowman. “If we’re going to come up with an engineering solution, it must not impact the ecology of this treasure, of this mighty Hudson River.” Brewer supports the working group’s alternative plan. “The main obstacle, even if there has been funding allocated, we’re not sure if it’s going to be enough,” Brewer said of the “Big U.” She also raised concerns about the possible regional storm barrier’s operational funding to manage it decades into the future, if it’s chosen. “I support what [Bowman] stated,” she said. “Maybe we’re right, maybe we’re wrong, but let’s get going and do it.” TheVillager.com
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November 1, 2018
Rivera conﬁdent anti-birdnapping bill will ﬂy BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
igeon thieves known for netting birds in New York City could face jail time under new legislation floated by City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. For several years, animal-rights advocates have lamented an apparent scheme to snatch hundreds of wild birds, often illegally, and later shoot them for sport in Pennsylvania, where such events are legal. Rivera’s new bill would explicitly prohibit capturing all wild birds, not just pigeons, “with the intent to take the bird by shooting or to use it for anyy unlawful purpose.” The penalty for capturing wild birds would ould be a misdemeanor, with fi nes up to $1,000 or jail time of up to one year. “I think that regardless of whether or nott you like pigeons, it’s illegal and dangerouss to remove them from New York City streets ts and parks, and we need to punish the people le that are committing this illegal behavior as a serious us crime,” said Rivera. The New York City Bar Association wrote ote to the Pennsylvania state Legislature in support of a law to ban pigeon shooting back in 2010, but the Keystone State has yet to ban the events. Moree recently, in 2015, an apparent 300-pigeon heist in Washington Square Park occurred, according to advocates, though later police said only some 100 pigeons eons were missing. Some arrests have been made in the he past for birdnapping in other instances under a different law. The councilmember — who represents the East Village, part of the Lower East Side and Kips Bay — plans to introduce the bill in the City Council on
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Larr y, the “Pigeon Man,” in Washington Square Park with three of his favorite members of the park’s flock.
Wed., Oct. 31. “This would be a big step in our city to stop this and protect our wildlife,” said Joyce Friedman, of Voters for Animals Rights, an animal-rights organization fighting for legislation to protect animals, who assisted Rivera with drafting the bill. “We feel that this is important, so that it would protect hundreds of birds. It’s not only the fact that they’re netted, but it’s very violent,” she said. Friedman, a longtime vocal advocate for animal rights, said when wild birds — often pigeons — are netted, their legs and wings are broken. Then, she explained explained, they are kept in small boxes without food and water, water becoming disoriented and weak. When released for shooting contests, they are shot and left to starve with wi gunshot wounds, according to Friedman. “It’s inhumane in from beginning to end,” she said. Curren Currently, the law prohibits capturing pigeons without a permit. The state Department of Environmental C Conservation issues permits to capture pif curbing nuisance or if they are destroying geons for proper property. Vot Voters for Animal Rights says the current laws are hardly a deterrent. “It’s sort of just doing the cost of business ffor them,” said Allie Feldman Taylor, founder and president of the VFAR. After working with her predecessor, former Councilmember Rosie Mendez, to pass a law to ban wild animals in entertainment, R Rivera is confident that other councilmembers will support her legislation, as well. “I know that people have a lot of different opinions about pigeons,” Rivera said, “but at the end of the day, they’re core to the character of New York.”
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November 1, 2018
EDITORIAL Vote ‘No’ on 3
he Mayor’s Charter Commission has been criticized for failing to take on larger issues and ultimately focusing on smaller matters. Nevertheless, the issues that will be on the ballot on Tues., Nov. 6, do have a very real potential to impact the city in a big way. Ballot proposal No. 3, for example, would impose term limits on community boards. Board members would only be allowed to serve four twoyear terms in a row. They could, however, return to the board after a two-year break, and they could continue serving as public members on board committees, and continue contributing their expertise in that way. There would, of course, be no guarantee that they would ever be reappointed, though. Yes, there are admittedly some veteran board members who appear to wield excessive power in their particular bailiwicks, whether it be development, parks, the waterfront or liquor licenses and nightlife. In some cases, board members have been reined in by rulings by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board — though to this day, some continue to stubbornly insist the rulings were wrong. Be that as it may, on balance, the veteran members of our community boards really should be admired and valued for the dedication they have invested in our communities over the years. These are volunteer positions. The meetings are usually at night, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done outside of the meetings, writing up resolutions and conferring on the issues, doing site visits to piers or parks and so forth. Above all, the boards, and we mean ones with experienced members — as our local politicians point out in this week’s issue of the Villager — are a very real check on the power of developers and their lawyers, who could easily steamroll lessexperienced members. Manhattan is ground zero for capital and development — both domestic and foreign — and as Borough President Gale Brewer says, the boards are both our offense and defense against our neighborhoods being bulldozed right under our feet. The Villager supports voting “No” on ballot proposal No. 3 on Nov. 6. On ballot issue No. 1, we support voting “Yes.” The proposal would lower the maximum dollar amount for campaign contributions for citywide races, while also increasing the amount the city pays out in matching funds. On ballot issue No. 2, the creation of a Civic Engagement Commission, we also back voting “Yes.” This commission would promote citywide participatory budgeting — where constituents get to vote on which important neighborhood projects receive funding — and also would make more land-use and planning resources available to community boards. Local boards and Brewer object on this last point, saying these resources would be “duplicative” of existing ones at the boards, but we’re not exactly sure how or why more would be worse.
November 1, 2018
Letters to the Editor Time for talk is over To The Editor: Re “Small Biz Survival Bill fi nally gets its hearing” (news article, Oct. 25): I commend Lincoln Anderson for his concise, objective reporting on the exhausting, often confusing hearing concerning the passage of the Small Business Survival Act. But please, let’s cut to the chase here. The stores are closing nonstop every day, approaching truly frightening proportions. It’s a kind of social/political/economic disease, which is metastasizing rapidly. Talk, talk, talk! When you get a diagnosis of cancer, you act at once and don’t get into sophistic debates with your doctors. Whomever’s ox is being gored here doesn’t matter: legality, nonlegality, expensive arbitration, silver bullets, big companies getting advantages, etc, etc. All this is just dangerous temporizing. God help us if we don’t stop the stores closing immediately. Any healthy outcome from all this jabbering about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin can only come if we accept the danger we’re in and act decisively to stop the bleeding. Bennett Kremen
Retail crisis is clear To The Editor: Re “Small Biz Survival Bill fi nally gets its hearing” (news article, Oct. 25): Mayor de Blasio unfortunately is drinking the KoolAid by supporting the position of the Real Estate Board of New York in opposing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which it falsely claims is a commercial rent control bill. REBNY President John Banks and other REBNY minions continue to parrot that message to confuse legislators and the public about the real focus and intent of the proposed legislation. Walking down New York City’s streets shows conclusively that the city is in its worst small-business
crisis ever. Some 1,000 small businesses close each month, including about 500 lease-holdover evictions, with a loss of an estimated 8,000 local jobs that constitute the backbone of our local economy. The S.B.J.S.A. is not a rent-control bill. It is a jobs, neighborhood and immigrant survival bill since many small businesses are owned by immigrants and provide a safety net and character to our neighborhoods. The S.B.J.S.A. passed intact would provide commercial tenants rights during lease renewal, so they can’t be price-gouged out of existence by property speculators and unscrupulous landlords. The bill provides rights to renew leases for up to 10 years, mediation and binding arbitration if landlord and tenant can’t agree on a fair rent, and an end to inflating rents through made-up costs landlords can’t justify. The legislation would also end the practice of extorting tens of thousands of dollars from small business owners, especially immigrants, just to secure a lease. Ray Rogers Rogers is director, Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies
Wolff howls for Fox To The Editor: Re “Park Trust cut public out of private Citi dock plan” (talking point, by Tom Fox, Oct. 25): Tom Fox nails it every time. I guess foxes make good watchdogs. This Wolff is appreciative. Thanks, Tom. Pamela Wolff
E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The independents might decide the midterm elections’ outcome. TheVillager.com r
We all know who’s fueling the hate; So say it
TALKING POINT BY WARREN GOLDSTEIN
am a Jew married to a Christian minister — the Reverend Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church, the progressive United Church of Christ/American Baptist arts-and-social justice church on Washington Square, where this photo was taken. That fact alone ought to indicate that I don’t feel particularly tribal about being Jewish. But there’s nothing like a massacre of people you resemble to focus the attention on tribal identity. What to do when people like me get shot for being Jews on a Shabbat morning? And I’m a straight, 67-yearold white guy whose mother grew up in Pittsburgh, whose parents met and married there, and who has relatives who attended Tree of Life Synagogue. Well, we gather, we pray and we recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, the powerful prayer that concludes all Jewish services. We can say it anywhere, even in the middle of a church service. Remarkably, the Kaddish does not even mention death. Instead it begins by praising the name of God, then asks that the divine name be further praised, blessed, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored, lifted up and honored beyond all possible blessings. Finally, it asks for peace, in one of the most beautiful passages in Judaism, the Oseh Shalom. (You can find many musical versions online, from the peppy to the profoundly poignant.) More precisely, it asks that the divine source of all peace inspire us to make peace for ourselves and for all others — in other words, to organize. Sunday, Ann and Beth (in the photo) and I, and many congregants who opened their phones, were reciting together, and as much as I wanted the words to feel inspiring, they felt heavy, mournful, somber. Because in order to make peace, we need first to talk truth, and say who provided the soil, the nour-
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
During Sunday’s sermon at Judson Memorial Church, the names of the slain at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue were read. Toward the ser vice’s end, Warren Eisenstein, center, husband of Judson Senior Minister Donna Shaper, read the Mourner’s Kaddish in English and Hebrew, with Anne Eisenstein, left, the granddaughter of Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionism Judaism; and community minister Beth Hermelin.
ishment, the encouragement and the spark to these homegrown terrorists and killers: the would-be pipe bomber of Democrats; the racist Kentucky Kroger murderer; the Pittsburgh killer. Not, alas, according to Sunday’s New York Times: “The anguish of Saturday’s massacre heightened a sense of national unease over increasingly hostile political rhetoric.” Really? I don’t feel unease — I feel rage at the Trumpian big lies. Seriously, who on the right is expressing unease? Congressional Republicans? Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Franklin Graham? Lou Dobbs? Sean Hannity? I’ll give you David Brooks. Maybe Jonah Goldberg. And whose “hostile rhetoric?” Who’s running racist campaign ads? Enough squeamishness from the MSM. The violent, hateful rhetoric comes overwhelmingly from one side
only and from its padron, Donald Trump. Period. Who have their rhetorical targets been? Immigrants, Democrats, black people and George Soros. And who were actual targets last week? Democrats, blacks and immigrant- and refugee-supporting Jews. This isn’t a “correlation.” It’s cause and effect. Rhetoric from the top prepares, nourishes and sparks actions in the field. That’s the truth we need to declare, print, shout — and take into the voting booth. Then maybe we can start making peace. Here’s how the Kaddish ends: “v’imru amen” (“and let us say, Amen”). Goldstein teaches U.S. history at University of Hartford and chairs its History Department. He is the author of “William Sloane Coffin, Jr., A Holy Impatience.”
Crowds, blankets, SJP: Tortilla Flats’ ﬁnal days BY MICHELE HERMAN
hurs., Oct. 18: At 10:30 in the evening Jean Bambury, co-owner of Tortilla Flats, hits “send” on the press release she’s just written to announce the 35-year-old restaurant’s closing on Oct. 27. She’s a great writer and it’s the first press release I’ve ever read that moves me deeply. Later the same night a storm knocks down one of the street trees in front of the restaurant. Monday morning it lies at an awkward angle, half on the sidewalk, half on the street, dead leaves and a pitiful root ball still attached. I e-mail Bambury and her co-owner Andy Secular to ask if they’ve seen it, and Jean shoots back: “It couldn’t pay its rent.” I recall something Secular told me recently: “Jean and I are two incredibly sarcastic people and that’s probably one reason we get along all these years.” Sun., Oct. 21: I call my younger son to break the news. He and his big brother co-designed the restaurant’s children’s menu many years ago and both were corn-fed as children on Tortilla Flats chips. He now lives in Massachusetts and works crazy long hours, but he gives serious thought to making the four-hour TheVillager.com
trip for one last ceremonial quesadilla. Tues., Oct. 24: Word goes out on social media that Sarah Jessica Parker and Andy Cohen have come by to pay their respects. (Parker lives in the neighborhood, and the restaurant appeared in season four of “Sex and the City.”) Parker writes on Instagram: “The corner of 12th and Washington Street will never be the same.” Wed., Oct. 25: In a plan hatched by our older, Brooklyn-based son well before Parker’s Instagram posting gathered 72,000 likes, we meet him and his girlfriend, along with an old Bleecker St. playground friend of his and the friend’s cousin, for our last supper. We think we’re clever for not waiting until closing day. The friend, who arrives first, puts his name down and is told there will be an hour-and-a-half wait. I reluctantly push my way in to the solid mass of bodies inside. Unfortunately, I don’t know the waiter on duty, who is good-naturedly tackling what I’m guessing is the hardest shift of his career. Only because I have a big party of people counting on me, I call in my chit and tell him of my long history with the place. He says the wait has now grown to at least two hours, but a table may be opening up outside soon. We’ll take it, I say, though it’s in the 40s out there. I run home
and grab every wool blanket and scarf we own. The table frees up, and we drape wool over everyone. We order from the menu that’s so familiar we hardly have to look at it. We debate which is less cold: margaritas on the rocks or frozen? I order camarones with salsa verde. Service is understandably slow. The shrimp are chewy, as usual, but the tortillas, green sauce and cheese are fresh and delicious. Sun., Oct. 28: After the final wee-hours closing, plastic Santa and Rudolph are still flying above the door and the saint in sequins is still beatific inside her vestibule, but there is black plastic covering the front windows and the awning is rolled up tight. Even the wealthy new arrivals understand how big a loss this is. Trivial, maybe, compared with a horrible week in our nation that began with pipe bombs and ended with a deadly shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Or maybe one more sign of a culture out of whack. Mon., Oct. 29: I leave a second message for Neil Bender, of the Gottlieb company, the restaurant’s landlord. The same woman answers the phone. She assures me that she delivered my first message over a week ago and makes it quite clear I shouldn’t hold my breath for a callback. Thurs., Nov. 1: The Mexican Day of the Dead. November 1, 2018
From the Bench
Frank Nervo: Judges need legal smarts, empathy BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
rank Nervo was raised in Queens, and moved to Greenwich Village in 1995. He graduated from Queens College in 1983 and St. John’s University School of Law in 1987, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1988. Nervo was first elected to Civil Court in 2009, serving in Criminal Court and Civil Court before being appointed an acting Supreme Court justice (Civil branch) in January 2014. Nervo’s family was originally from the Village. His grandparents’ family bakery was at 44 MacDougal St., at King St., from the turn of the last century until the mid-1960s. Before his election to Civil Court, Nervo served as coordinator of the Village Independent Democrats’ free legal housing clinic; volunteer attorney with the Lesbian and Gay Law Association’s free legal clinic from 2004 through 2008; Small Claims Court arbitrator 1994 through 2008, and for the past six years has been the mock-trial coach for the Stuyvesant High School trial team. VILLAGER: What are a Civil Court judge’s and Supreme Court justice’s primary duties? NERVO: Civil Court judges make rulings about the admissibility in court of evidence — such as documents, photos and who may be called as a witness in a particular case. Basically, what evidence the judge or jury can consider.
November 1, 2018
PHOTO BY STEVEN DECASTRO
Frank Ner vo.
Civil Court judges also often make the final determination in matters involving disputes of up to $25,000. Of-
ten these cases address financial or employment contracts, as well as accidents and other matters known as “torts,” such as defamation claims and physical injuries resulting from assaults and battery. Civil Court judges also handle residential and commercial landlord/ tenant disputes. At a jury trial, it is the judge’s responsibility to preside impartially, make rulings only as to the evidence a jury may hear or see, and provide the jury with the law that applies to the case. Civil Court judges also preside over Small Claims Court, which has jurisdiction over claims of up to $5,000. In Supreme Court — New York’s highest-level trial court — the judges do much the same thing, but involving claims with no limit to the amount of money. Supreme Court also handles matrimonial (divorce) cases; mentalhygiene law matters, involving patients that are involuntarily hospitalized; cases involving real estate taxes and other property-related and real estate issues; allegations of discrimination in housing or employment; guardianship of incapacitated people, and other constitutional and administrative law matters. What made you want to be a judge? I have always had a concern for people’s civil and other legal rights. I
spent more than 20 years trying cases in court on a nearly daily basis, representing people in the prosecution or defense of civil claims. What is a good background for being a judge? Before becoming judges, some had a long tenure within the courts’ law departments or as an attorney assigned to a particular judge; some with government agencies or the Legislature; some were associates or partners of law firms (large and small); a few, like myself, had been immersed for many years in civil, criminal and family law or corporate and business litigation representing parties in trial and appellate courts. The study of law and solid professional experience in any discipline of law will, in combination, provide a judge with a very valuable and useful background. The maxim is that law school teaches its students how to “think like a lawyer.” This is very true, and “thinking like a lawyer” is an indispensable skill for any judge. What are other skills needed to be a good judge? The most important skills for judges, particularly in our trial courts, are the ability to have empathy with people’s problems, to discern the true areas of disagreement between the parties, and to be able to effectively address those disputes, whether by working out a settlement or conducting a trial. What is your favorite part about being a judge? Getting to a resolution of the parties’ dispute, whether by a settlement or a decision of the court or a jury’s verdict. At a case’s conclusion there is often, in a very real sense, closure to an issue that had been a major part of people’s lives for some period of time. A significant part of this is providing the parties with an opportunity to be heard, and with the confidence that they have in fact been heard fairly and completely, and have had their day in court. In family law matters, there is also the satisfaction of knowing your decision will provide some order or structure to the parties’ often tumultuous personal lives, putting them on a path to moving forward, hopefully more peacefully. What is your least favorite thing about being a judge? It is difficult to tell an indisputably seriously injured person that they missed a legal deadline for filing a claim and, therefore, the law will not permit their case to go forward. Such deadlines, known as “statutes of limitations,” are hard and fast. This is why it is important for people to consult a qualified attorney as soon as they think they may have a legal right that they should pursue. TheVillager.com
Another small business turns a page Community rallies so rent spike won’t write Drama Book Shop’s ﬁnal act BY WINNIE McCROY After learning that rent hikes are likely to shutter their beloved Drama Book Shop in early 2019, longtime customers are rallying to support the 100-year-old independent store, which stocks thousands of plays, serves as a go-to gathering place for passionate patrons of the arts, and even plays host to a black box theater in its basement — and has been doing so from its 5,000-squarefoot location since 2001 (250 W. 40th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves; visit dramabookshop.com). “Space is very expensive in New York right now. There are a lot of expensive vacant shops. Just on this stretch of 40th Street, three major businesses closed in the past few weeks: the wonderful falafel shop, Maoz; Elegant Fabrics, which has been there my whole life; and Guy & Gallard, a lunch place that had lines out the door all day long. Their leases came up, and they’re gone,” said vice-president Allen Hubby, who first began working at Drama Book Shop as a clerk/cashier in 1977. His aunt Rozanne Seelen has owned it since his uncle died; the uncle got a third ownership in 1957, when the previous owner retired. Since they’ve been on W. 40th St., said Hubby, the monthly rent on the Drama Book Shop rose from $4,000 to $18,500. And when their lease runs out on Jan. 31, 2019, the landlord’s proposed 50 percent rent hike will prohibit them from staying. But local elected officials have vowed to help. “Another drama is unfolding with our small business industry in the city. The script repeats itself. A thriving small shop forced to close its curtains or to relocate because of skyrocketing rent,” said NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “My office has spoken with Allen Hubby with the Drama Book Shop, an institution in the Theater District and for all theater and Broadway aficionados, and we have committed our help to keep their doors open in this community. When a small business shuts down, we lose a part of New York City, and this is why the City Council is currently working on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act in an effort to protect mom-and-pop shops TheVillager.com
Photos by Winnie McCroy
L to R: Book buyer Eleanore Speert, author David Finkle, and Drama Book Shop vice president Allen Hubby.
The Drama Book Shop, at 250 W. 40th St., will close shop at the end of January.
across the five boroughs.” When this publication visited during their Save the Shop Event on Mon., Oct. 29, author David Finkle was at the counter, signing copies of his book, “Humpty Trumpty Hit a Brick Wall: Donald J. Trump’s First White House Year in Verse.” Finkle said it’s a collection of poems: one per day from Jan. 20, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2018, written as a way to deal with his despair. Finkle was there to help. “We are hoping to do panels or symposia with some prominent theatre people about how much this shop means to them,” Finkle noted. When asked when these panels would happen, he said, “The sooner the better.” In the back, Hubby was welcoming playwrights — including Dan Goggin, Alex Dinelaris, Eric Ulloa and Eric Bogosian — to sign copies of their plays. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage was rumored to be planning a visit later that evening. Said Bogosian, “When you fi rst moved to New York, this was the hangout where everyone went to find out what was up, who had dibs on what, and to look in the booklets to see what was coming up and what was cancelled. This was the only place that existed to buy some of these plays. That’s why we came then, and why we’re all out here today trying to save Drama Book Shop.” As the conversation moved to money, Goggin reminisced about his early days as a singer in the Broadway production of “Luther,” starring Albert Finney, saying, “Back in 1963, the tickets for that show were $10. And I remember when we had to move the show to the LuntFontaine because ‘Hello, Dolly!’ was promised our space, the director told us they’d be raising the price to $11, and we all said the show would close immediately. Then years later, when the tickets for ‘Nunsense’ were raised from $35 to $37, they all said the same thing. But people kept coming. I guess that’s just how things go.” In the wings, aspiring playwright Hayley St. James, a student at Marymount Manhattan College, waited DRAMA continued on p. 18 November 1, 2018
DRAMA continued from p. 17
patiently to speak to Bogosian and other idols. She told us, “I’ve been coming to Drama Book Shop since I started seeing shows here because there are no other stores like it. A world without Drama Book Shop just doesn’t seem right.” The event was planned to help loyal customers donate to the bookstore’s relocation fund — hopefully, to another location nearby that likely won’t offer nearly as much space. “We have some possibilities that are looking interesting, but it’s all about finding out if the finances will work and getting a deal,” Hubby said. “We’re looking at some interesting things, and we’ll probably know more by next week. There’s one possibility we’re looking at, but we might need to get an extension on our lease” to make it work. In addition, on Oct. 24, patron Nina Kauffman created a GoFundMe campaign, which has already reached more than $6,899 of its $20,000 goal. The store, which celebrated its 100th birthday last October, has moved a halfdozen times before, but the 40th St. location has been its longest home. Said Hubby, “It’s amazing! The outpouring of support we’ve gotten from the theatre community is overwhelming. But we don’t like to have to ask for help, because we’re here to help others — it’s our reason for existing. So it feels awkward for things to be in the reverse.” In 2016, when a pipe burst and wiped out 30 percent of the store’s inventory, Lin-Manuel Miranda — who reportedly wrote part of “In the Heights” in the bookstore’s downstairs offices — launched a fundraising effort to help. “And this is even more outpouring than for the flood,” added former general manager Nancy Reardon. “Back when the water main broke a few years ago, the store was closed for a few months. It was like hell froze over! I love this store, and my dream is to have my plays published and sold here,” said
L to R: Playwrights Dan Goggin, Alex Dinelaris, Eric Ulloa, and Eric Bogosian signed their work and spoke with customers, at the Oct. 29 event.
student St. James, who said she would spend her hours until curtain rose at “The Prom” hanging out at the shop. But patrons will not let the Drama Book Shop go gentle into that good night. As arts writer David Noh said, “It was a haven for both book and theater lovers, where I never left without purchasing something… I got everything from an essential bio of Eva Le Gallienne there to a rare copy of the joint memoir by Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, to Kohle Yohannan’s magnificent coffee table tome about that greatest of designers, Valentina. All for a song.” “On top of which there was usually
212.254.1109 / www.theaterforthenewcity.net / 155 First Ave bet 9th & 10th St.
Photos by Winnie McCroy
The Enchanted Revolution by Charlotte Lily Gaspard Dir Charlotte Lily Gaspard & Malik Work Thur - Sat 8 PM, Sun 3PM November 08 - 18
November 1, 2018
Citizens of the Gray
Customers came out in droves to support the Drama Book Shop.
by Frank J. Avella Directed Frank J. Avella & Carlotta Brentan Thur - Sat 8 PM, Sun 3PM November 08 - 25
Theatro Drama Production
a box of freebies at the front, which contained the real kinds of goodies no one was supposed to want enough to buy,” he continued. “Hello?! ZaSu Pitts’
by Elia K. Schneider Dir by Elia K. Schneider Thur - Sat 8 PM, Sun 3PM
cookbook? Yes! And then there was that lovely dog to pet. New York is once more all the poorer for the passing of someplace special.”
November 09 - 25
Don’t let these illusions elude you
Science museum meets funhouse, for Instagram-friendly fun
Photo by Kenroy Lumsden
Sure beats solitaire: The Clone Table features an arrangement of mirrors that replicate you such that you comprise all the players at a poker table.
BY TRAV S.D. If you have been wondering about those long lines outside the old Bank Building on the southwest corner of 14th St. and Eighth Ave., we have solved the mystery. As of Sept. 20, the historic structure (built 1907) has been home to an interactive permanent exhibition called the Museum of Illusions. If the name sounds ambiguous (is it an exhibit of famous magic tricks? Of dashed pipe dreams?), the recesses of this new emporium contain still trickier puzzles. It is a showcase for optical, photo, and holographic illusions — over 70 of them in several galleries spread out over two floors. New York’s Museum of Illusions is the latest in a chain of 19 around the world founded by a Croatian marketing professional named Roko Zivkovic. He opened the first one in Zagreb in 2015; now there are locations in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Athens, and several countries of the Balkans and the Middle East, with plans for new ones in Toronto and Amsterdam. Croatian-American actor Renne Gjoni is the CEO of the New York branch, a hands-on guy who met me at the door and, on a recent and very busy Saturday, launched this correspondent into the museum’s world of wonders. TheVillager.com
The Museum of Illusions is equal parts science museum and funhouse, the sort of place that would be right at home in the revitalized Coney Island or Times Square. But a visit to “MOI” (as signs encourage us to call it) and the surrounding neighborhood is a rapid lesson in the interesting fact that Chelsea is now a tourist destination unto itself, with Chelsea Piers, Chelsea Market, the High Line, the Whitney Museum, the Rubin Museum, and lots of shops, art galleries, and restaurants all in the immediate vicinity. The neighborhood suits its latest addition, for the museum is less an educational institution (though it is full of genuine science) than a tourist attraction, as befits an institution founded by a marketing professional. It is aggressively being touted as an “Instagram-worthy” destination. To that end, it seems a perfect place to bring children (even rowdy ones) or parties of high-spirited young adults, fresh from the local drinking establishments. While there is plenty of thought-provoking content on view to entertain the pensive and sedate and the old folks, they may find it hard to concentrate amidst the hustle and bustle of this already popular museum. Which is not to disparage the experi-
ence by any means. I for one was glad to battle the throngs in order to partake of its head-scratching novelties. Some of the highlights include the Ames Room, where forced-perspective causes people and objects to appear larger or smaller than they are, depending on where they are placed. There is a Beuchet Chair, an illusion invented by psychologist Jean Beuchet in the 1960s, where, if the viewer is standing in the right place, a person sitting on a chair looks as small as a doll. There is a room that is completely on its side so that in a photo, it will look like you are standing on the wall. And a tilted room, which simply made me feel dizzy and want to fall down. The Clone Table features an arrangement of mirrors that replicate you such that you comprise all the players at a poker table. The line was longest at the Infinity Room, and once you’re inside, you’ll learn why: You’ll find yourself in a Hall of Mirrors like the one in Orson Welles’ “The Lady from Shanghai.” Once you close the door behind you, you’ll find it difficult to find your way out again. Other fun things include a True Mirror (which shows us as we actually look to others rather than the reverse image we see in conventional-looking glasses), a
room of colored shadows, and a wall that alternates window glass with strips of mirror so you can exchange noses with the person on the other side. Everywhere you turn there are holograms, kaleidoscopes, stereograms, magic prisms, hypnotic spirals, still images that seem to move or vibrate, and hidden pictures that emerge when looked at in just the right way. As in all such places there is a certain amount of filler, such as wall text featuring angle illusions or Escher-like imagery that could easily be found online or in a book. All of the wall text is excellent, but to spend much time reading it would block someone else’s way. As it happens, the Museum of Illusions opened at just the right time. It’s the perfect place to go when hosting friends and family for the holidays — or looking for a little bizarre diversion if you want to escape them. The Museum of Illusions is located at 77 Eighth Ave. (at W. 14th St.). Hours: Daily, 9am-10pm. Adult ticket, $19; ages 6-13, $15; student, seniors, military, $17; Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children), $53; children under 6 admitted free. For more info, visit newyork.museumofillusions.us or call 212-645-3230 and 212645-3945. November 1, 2018
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Two Bridges seniors relocate plan submitted BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
he Department of Housing and Urban Development has told The Villager that a relocation plan has been submitted for residents at a senior housing complex in the Two Bridges neighborhood. A number of seniors at 80 Rutgers Slip are expected to require relocation as a result of a proposed 80-story tower by JDS Development, which is one of four new towers that are planned in the neighborhood. Opponents of the four-building megaproject have often criticized the lack of information about how seniors at 80 Rutgers Slip would be relocated as a result of the construction. Early last year, The Lo-Down revealed that HUD had been in contact with the nonprofits that are required to submit a plan — Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund. At the time, HUD had expressed preliminary support for the relocation scheme, though it was not formally submitted at the time. Now, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council has formally submitted the relocation plan, which is pending final approval, according to HUD spokesperson Olga Alvarez. Victor Papa, the president of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, confirmed the organization has submitted a relocation plan, as well. Papa contended that discussions with the seniors and their families have been positive. “Our method here is to try to keep every family in the building,” he said. “They are people who are vulnerable and who we have to be very, very careful with. Which is why we have met with them several times and their families, and each time we meet with them, we gave them choices.” Two social workers who work in the building, plus a relocation specialist, attend these individual meetings, Papa said. The relocation specialist is from SAV Enterprises, a relocation firm that touts itself as having relocated 19,000 families in the U.S. and has been recognized with a “best practices” award by HUD. As it stands, tenants in up to 19 apartments at 80 Rutgers Slip could be impacted, pending City Planning approval of the projects and a finalized building design from JDS. Under the plan, tenants from 10 of those apartments would be relocated into JDS Development’s new building at 247 Cherry St., which would be run by Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund.
Nine units in 80 Rutgers Slip currently remain vacant in order to accommodate some of the relocated seniors during construction, Papa added. He said they are working with JDS to alter the building design to decrease impacted apartments. A source with direct knowledge of the development at 247 Cherry St. told The Villager back in August that design changes have already lowered the number of apartments that will have to go offline from 19 to 10. Expected additional vacancies between now and the construction start date, residents choosing to leave the building, and possible design changes will allow the nonprofits to relocate all impacted residents within the building, according to Papa. In February 2017, Councilmember Margaret Chin, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and former state Senator Daniel Squadron wrote a letter expressing concern over the lack of details regarding the relocation plan. “We have extreme concerns regarding the current level of information shared with elected officials, the public and the residents themselves regarding communications with HUD and planning for this project,” the politicians wrote. “Our offices have attended and hosted several meetings with residents at 80 Rutgers Slip and little, if any, information appears to have been circulated with regard to the provision of plans for seniors who are located in apartments that will be taken off-line (either temporarily or permanently) and relocated.” The pols requested a meeting to discuss HUD’s oversight of the plan. However, HUD spokesperson Alvarez told The Villager that the New York City Housing Development Corporation will have regulatory oversight. A month after their request, the politicians were told that HUD had not yet approved a relocation plan. The owners of the building, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, will be required to comply with HUD’s “uniform relocation assistance” regulations, according to the HUD spokesperson. Both HUD and H.D.C. have to approve the final plan before tenants would receive formal notices, according to HDC spokesperson Stephanie Mavronicolas, who said that HUD is expecting a proposed plan soon.
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