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Chelsea VOLUME 10, ISSUE 45

YO U R W E E K LY C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R S E R V I N G C H E L S E A , H U D S O N YA R D S & H E L L’S K I T C H E N

NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2018

BALLOT BETTERMENT From campaign funds to community boards, voters backed change Page 3

Dems bus it to ‘drive’ votes in swing districts Page 8


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It’s a clean sweep for mayor’s ballot proposals BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

M

anhattan voters had an opportunity to modify the city’s democracy in small, but critical, ways on Tuesday — and the majority opted for “Yes” on all three proposals. Three ballot proposals issued by the mayor’s commission to consider revisions to the City Charter were on the back side of New Yorkers’ ballots. One proposed to reduce the maximum allowable amount for campaign financial contributions, plus increase the amount of public funding available for city candidates. A second called for the creation of a citywide Civic Engagement Commission. A third proposed to add term limits for community boards. The first proposal, on campaign finances, won with 80 percent of the vote, according to New York City Board of Elections results. Some 65 percent of New Yorkers voted for the Civic Engagement Commission, and 72 percent voted for community board term limits. Despite the citywide “Yes” votes, many who went to the polls in Chelsea and Greenwich Village were concerned about handing over more power to the mayor, and feared community boards would be stripped of their seeming institutional power against developers in land-use decisions. However, most development is built “as of right” without formal community board recommendation. “I personally kind of despise Mayor de Blasio,” said Suchi Mathur, an immigration attorney working in the Bronx who has lived in the Village for four years. Mathur voted against the Civic Engagement Commission for that reason, as well as “No” on community board term limits. But she blackened the oval for “Yes” on the campaign finance proposal. The second ballot proposal establishes a Civic Engagement Commission to create a citywide participatory budgeting program, like what exists in the City Council currently. The commission will also provide added language interpreters at election polling sites, which will be in place for the general election by 2020. The plan is for the commission to have 15 members, with eight appointed by the mayor, two by the City Council speaker and one by each borough president. Mathur said she would rather keep the power in the borough, and though she thinks more interpreters at polling sites is a great idea, she would rather the City Council take the lead. Like some other voters, Mathur was conflicted over the idea of community board term limits. Community board members are volunteer and the boards’ recommendations on a range of city issues are advisory only. They are appointed by the

City Media, LLC

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Voters leaving St. Anthony’s Church, at W. Houston and Sullivan Sts., Tuesday after casting their ballots.

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

“Capping off” a big Election Day, Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson cast his votes on Tuesday.

the boards more representative of the people in the districts they cover. “I was pretty torn on the second two [proposals],” Mathur said. “It’s tough because I want there to be more diversity in community boards, too.” If the term limits were longer — say, 12 years — she might have voted “Yes,” she said. For many, lowering the permissable dollar amount for campaign contributions was a given. Limiting contributions is a small step to “even the playing field,” and balance income inequality among candidates, said Peter Steinglass, a psychiatrist who

borough president — with half of them recommended to the borough president by local city councilmembers — and make recommendations to elected officials and city agencies about land-use matters, transportation and other issues. The ballot proposal will limit board members to four consecutive two-year terms and require borough presidents to seek out more diverse members. Members who serve the maximum of eight years could be reappointed later on, as long as they take a two-year break from being on the board. The mayor’s commission said term limits would make TVG

lives on W. 15th St. After discussing the proposals with a close friend and reading The New York Times editorial, Steinglass opted to vote for the lower campaign contribution caps but against the Civic Engagement Commission and community board term limits. Under the campaign contributions proposal approved by voters on Tuesday, contribution limits for candidates will be lowered from the current amounts, between $2,850 to $5,100, to between $1,000 and $3,500, depending on which elected position a candidate is seeking and whether or not he or she opts into the city’s public matching-funds program. The public matching-funds program will allow candidates running for all offices to receive $8 in public funds for every $1 they raise for up to $250 for citywide positions and $175 for borough president or City Council. For instance, a $500 contribution would be matched with $2,000 for citywide offices and $1,400 for borough president or City Council. “I think we have a lot of the same class and type of people that are running for office, and especially young people don’t see that it’s possible [for them to run for office],” said Chelsea Earlewine, a Chelsea resident who works in event marketing, who voted “Yes” on all three ballot proposals. November 8, 2018

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Police Blotter Chelsea DOA Publisher of The Villager, Villager Express, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express and Manhattan Express PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS CEO & CO-PUBLISHER JOSHUA SCHNEPS EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON REPORTER SYDNEY PEREIRA CONTRIBUTORS IRA BLUTREICH BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY MARY REINHOLZ PAUL SCHINDLER ART DIRECTOR MARCOS RAMOS GRAPHIC DESIGNER JOHN NAPOLI ADVERTISING CLIFFORD LUSTER (P): (718) 260-2504 (E): CLUSTER@CNGLOCAL.COM ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES GAYLE GREENBURG JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO ELIZABETH POLLY CIRCULATION SALES MNGR. MARVIN ROCK

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Police are reportedly investigating the ex-boyfriend of a woman who was found dead in her Chelsea apartment building on Thurs., Nov. 1 According to police, officers responded to a call for a “wellness check” at The Eugene, at 435 W. 31st St., at 2:26 p.m. that day. They gained entry to Apartment 54A, where they discovered an unconscious and unresponsive female in the bathroom. EMS also responded to the location and pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the manner and cause of death. The investigation remains ongoing. The New York Post identified the woman as Ying Huang, 22, and described her as a recent college graduate from China. According to the Post, she and her former boyfriend had been partying the night before, then went back to her place — and she may have died while having sex, the ex reportedly told a friend.

Sudsy shoplifter There was a shoplifting incident at the Rite Aid at 501 Sixth Ave., on Tues., Oct. 16, at 5 p.m., according to police. A man entered the store and began putting items in his own plastic bag, including 13 containers of Dove shower foam, four Dove body washes and six Olay face creams, totaling $165. When he tried to leave, a female employee confronted him, demanding he return the items, and informed him the police had been called. The man then pulled out a needle and threatened the employee, after which he left and fled west along W. 13 St. There were no injuries, and camera and video surveillance were provided to police. Alan Betances, 41, was arrested on Oct. 29 for felony robbery. None of the items were recovered.

Slash attack A 25-year-old man was slashed on the back of his head “with a bladed instrument” in front of 51 First Ave. on Sun., Nov. 4, at 3:30 a.m., police said. The victim sustained cuts to his head and was removed by EMS to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he received stitches. The suspect is described as a male black, wearing a black jacket and backwards baseball cap. 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.

PHOTO BY NYPD

Police say this man is a suspect in a slashing on First Ave. in the East Village where the victim was cut on the back of his head.

Food felony At the D’Agostino supermarket at 790 Greenwich St., a man and a woman tried to steal two food items on Mon., Oct. 29, around 9:30 p.m., police said. The two perps took a Smart Ones frozen dinner and a Hormet snack tray. When a male employee confronted them, the woman hit him in the jaw and the robbers left. Police conducted a canvass with positive results, and Shiniqua Pearson, 29, and Moussa Camara, 26, were arrested for felony robbery.

In a mess at CVS A dishonest CVS employee at 158 Bleecker St. put $1,500 on a RushCard Visa debit card without paying for it on Thurs., Oct. 25, at 3:50 p.m., according TVG

to a police report. The female employee, 24, did this while on the job. Video was recovered, and the employee made a statement that she did take the money. Oneisha Thomas was arrested Oct. 30 for felony grand larceny.

On edge Inside Wogie’s restaurant at 39 Greenwich Ave. on Sat., Nov. 3, at 10:20 a.m., a man was delivering beer when he got into an argument with another man. The stranger brandished a knife in an aggressive manner toward the deliveryman, according to police. Video footage was retrieved, and the same day, Lionel Baten, 23, was arrested for misdemeanor menacing.

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PHOTOS BY ERIK BOTTCHER

Campaigning for Democratic candidate Perr y Gershon for Congress in Suffolk County.

Another one rides the bus: Dems were on a roll BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

D

owntowners didn’t have competitive races on the ballot in their districts this election cycle. So local politicos went to where the action was — whether elsewhere in the state or out of state. Starting on Sept. 15, members of an effort called Blue Wave 2018 chartered Greyhound buses on weekends and, leaving from Union Square, they went to campaign for Democrats in key races in the metro area. They targeted Districts 1, 2 and 19 in New York State. G.O.P. Congressmembers Lee Zeldin and Peter King ultimately hung onto the first two districts, which are both on Long Island. But in the Hudson Valley’s District 19,

Antonio Delgado toppled incumbent Republican Representative John Faso. The activists also bused it out to two districts in New Jersey and even one in Pennsylvania. They targeted competitive races within 200 miles of New York City. All told, close to 250 volunteers forayed out in from 15 to 20 buses during the effort. The goal of the door-knocking drive was to make sure that Democrats got out to the polls. Key organizers were Erik Bottcher, Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s chief of staff; Tony Hoffmann, former president of Village Independent Democrats; Greater New York City for Change, and Hell’s Kitchen Democrats.

Corey Johnson, New York’s Cit y Council speaker, was up in District 19 in the Hudson Valley this past weekend door-knocking for Antonio Delgado.

To read more about Blue Wave 2018, see thevillager.com.

Local Democratic club members logged a lot of miles during the bus effor t, but enthusiasm remained high.

All aboard the Blue Wave express!

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Vance forum focuses on cutting opioid ODs BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

B

etween 2010 and 2016, drug overdoses in New York City more than doubled. The culprit behind the surge was opioids — the drugs that have sparked an addiction crisis plaguing nearly every corner of the country, killing tens of thousands nationwide. But the city’s recent statistics were the silver lining at a discussion led by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on Oct. 25 on the Lower East Side at the Grand St. Settlement at the Essex Crossing Community Center. Last year, overdoses in the city remained relatively flat, increasing by only around 2 percent, rather than the 51 percent spike between 2015 and 2016. “It’s a prairie fire that’s taken off,” Vance told this paper. “First of all, you gotta get it controlled so that it stops expanding.” Only then can you “turn the tide,” he said. The latest apparent plateau in citywide overdoses appears to indicate that so-called “prairie fire” is under control, so that the city should now ultimately be able to lower the overdose death rates, Vance said. “We’ve done it with other crime trends,” he said, pointing to gun violence in the 1990s. “I think we can do it with opioid addiction. But addiction is a very subjective, individual thing. Drugs are easily accessible.” Experts with extensive knowledge of the opioid crisis in the city shared insights into curbing the deadly scourge, such as distributing overdose-reversal naloxone kits and eliminating the negative stigma surrounding methadone treatment. They also highlighted the increase of deaths from fentanyl, an opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Of nearly 1,500 overdoses in the city last year, 57 percent involved fentanyl, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Over all, eight in 10 overdose deaths involved an opioid. “This is a beast of a different kind,” said Lorenzo Register, of the Lower East Side Service Center. Cocaine and fake pills are increasingly laced with fentanyl, which can catch users unaware if they are accustomed to using cocaine or pills without the dangerous additive. Last year in the city, 146 deaths involved cocaine and fentanyl without any heroin — up from 122 in 2016, according to the Health Department. Another panelist, Reilly Glasgow, a harm-reduction specialist at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, said naloxone and safe-injection sites are critical for saving lives. He said he has saved some 50 lives with naloxone. “I have the privilege of hearing someone breathe for the first time again,” Glasgow said. At the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, his goal is to educate people on how to use these potential lethal substances safely. “We understand that people are going to do drugs,” Glasgow said. Teaching people how not to collapse their veins or how to use clean needles can help intravenous drug users be as safe as possible, “so when they are ready to stop, they are healthy enough to stop,” he said. Though illegal at the federal level, in May, Mayor Bill de Blasio greenlighted a plan to open four safeinjection sites — dubbed “overdose prevention centers” — after advocates urged him to release a city Health Department report commissioned to study the matter. The sites would provide hygienic spaces for people to use drugs under medical supervision. Drugs would be obtained off site — the centers would

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November 8, 2018

PHOTO BY SYDNEY PEREIRA

At the opioid form, panelist Angela Frazier spoke about the need for substance users to build net works of sober friends.

not provide them. But the sites would help people inject drugs safely while simultaneously offering other health and social services that would be co-located with them. The city has slated the safe-injection sites for Washington Heights and Midtown West in Manhattan, Park Slope in Brooklyn, and Longwood in the Bronx — although the mayor will need approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state Health Department, Gothamist reported in May.

‘You have to find something to fill that void.’ Angela Frazier D.A. Vance, whose approval the mayor also needs for the plan, has signaled support for the initiative. He said in May that those “suffering and dying from opioids need bold public health interventions — not the heavy hand of the criminal justice system. “I understand there is political disagreement and principle disagreement around whether or not safeinjection sites should exist, but you have to make a decision,” Vance told this paper. “We know they are going to shoot up in the McDonald’s restroom or under a subway track on an elevated train and die. So, to me, the choice is to save lives and to save lives through safe-injection site facilities.” Unofficial safe-injection sites are already a reality around Manhattan, regardless of the mayor’s plan, TVG

Glasgow said at the October panel. The Health Department’s report that sparked the mayor’s action estimated four supervised injection facilities could prevent 130 overdose deaths and save $7 million in public healthcare costs, if located in the most severely affected neighborhoods. The city ultimately did not choose to site all the locations in the most severely impacted neighborhoods — including no site in Staten Island, the borough with the second-highest rate of overdose deaths in 2017. The Bronx currently has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the city. In Manhattan, East Harlem has the third-highest opioid overdose rate, exceeding the city’s 2017 average. Central Harlem and Washington Heights also have opioid overdose death rates above the city’s average. For the first time in the last 11 years, black New Yorkers had the highest rate of overdose deaths in comparison to white and Latino New Yorkers last year. For people fighting the opioid crisis on the ground, it is critical to build a support system, the panelists stressed. “A lot of people are spiritually broken in active use,” said Angela Frazier, a peer navigator at the Educational Alliance’s Center for Recovery and Wellness. “You have to find something to fill that void.” Frazier works with recovering addicts to build a network of sober friends through “recovery clubs” — basically, weekend hangouts for people staying sober. She said “recovery clubs” are a space for everyone, addicts or not. “You have to redefine what fun means,” she said. “That’s how you start your sober network.” City Media, LLC


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A leafletter hired by District Leader Ar thur Schwar tz handing out palm cards for C ynthia Nixon on Election Day.

Voters stick with Glick, nix D.L.’s bid for Nixon BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

D

istrict Leader Arthur Schwartz made a last-ditch effort to campaign against 27-year incumbent Assemblymember Deborah Glick on Tuesday, but to no avail. Glick won in a landslide with nearly 82 percent of the vote as of 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday, despite Schwartz’s efforts to rally support for Cynthia Nixon. Nixon ran for governor in the Democratic primary, and then wound up on the 66th Assembly District ballot under an election laws technicality. Tuesday morning, The Villager spotted a hired leafletter at P.S. 41, the Greenwich Village School, handing out fliers saying to vote for Nixon on the Working Families Party line. He declined to provide his name, but said he responded to a Craigslist ad. He said he was simply doing the job he was asked to do, and was unaware of the confusing situation that landed Nixon on the ballot. Schwartz, a longtime Glick opponent who ran against her in 2016, said he spent $1,500 to tell voters to vote for the former “Sex and the City� actress on the 66th A.D. ballot; he paid about 17 workers $17 an hour, plus shelled out another few hundred bucks to print the fliers. He also sent an email to around 10,000 voters to vote for Nixon, he said. Despite Schwartz’s efforts, Nixon herself endorsed Glick, who represents Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca. The Working Families Party also endorsed Glick. In a statement to The Villager in late October, Nixon urged voters to vote City Media, LLC

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for the incumbent, adding that Glick’s “consistent work on progressive issues is needed in Albany.� Schwartz said his campaigning for Nixon was an effort to make people question why they would vote for Glick in the first place. “It is time for new, young blood to come forward,� Schwartz said. “If I was seriously trying to beat [Glick] with a candidate, I would have committed a lot more money and a lot more time and a lot more effort.� A technicality in the election laws resulted in Nixon ending up on the ballot against Glick. Though Nixon lost to Cuomo in September, she was still on the Working Families Party line for the general election. To avoid drawing votes from Cuomo in his election against Republican candidate Marc Molinaro, the party opted to put Nixon on the Assembly ballot since she lives in the district. Under the election laws, she could only remove her name from the ballot entirely if she left the state, died or was convicted of a felony. But for some on Tuesday, the technicality was an oddity that could have confused voters. “It’s unfortunate,� Peter Alson, a research analyst for a private investigation firm, said of the election technicality. But, he predicted, “I don’t think it will have much of an impact [on Glick].� Leo Blaze, a West Village dentist, got a mailer informing him Nixon endorsed Glick. He would have probably voted for Glick regardless, but said “I’m happy I was able to get informed.�

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Letters to the Editor Speaking truth to liar To The Editor: Re “We all know who’s fueling the hate; So say it” (The Villager, talking point, by Warren Goldstein, Nov. 1): Thank you, distinguished colleague, for literally speaking truth to power. I share this with heavy heart, as some of my friends are — or have been — Trump supporters. Let’s face the truth squarely: That he who, pathetically, claims to “tell the truth when I can” has used our White House as a bully pulpit from which he has spewed lies about an “invasion” and thinly veiled white nationalist rhetoric to get his supporters to the polls — never mind the “collateral damage” of deranged followers mailing pipe bombs aimed at political opponents and committing mass murder of Jews allegedly supporting the alleged “invasion.” A classic case of “Après moi, le déluge.” I don’t know the Kaddish, but it will be figuratively on my lips as I enter the voting booth tomorrow. Harald M. Sandström Sandström is emeritus associate professor, politics

and government, University of Hartford

Newbies for development To The Editor: Re “Vote ‘No’ on 3” (The Villager, editorial, Nov. 1): Most of the arguments that I’ve seen against term limits — unfortunately, including this editorial — seem to take it as a given that community boards should naturally be opposed to new development. But what if that’s not what many (and especially newer) New Yorkers want? Further entrenching anti-construction attitudes would work well for homeowners, who materially benefit from housing scarcity. But younger renters, such as myself, can — and do — disagree. I think term limits would serve the city well by allowing new voices to be heard. Will Thomas Thomas is a board member, Open New York, an independent, pro-housing advocacy group

Empty bookstore blues To The Editor: Regarding empty storefronts in the Village, I just passed Sixth Ave. and Eighth St. again today. There, at the southeast corner, the former home of Barnes & Noble still sits empty, nearly six years after it closed on Dec. 31, 2012. Maybe it’s time to tear down that (ugly) building and create a vest-pocket park there for the neighborhood? It couldn’t be worse than an empty storefront for years and years. Think about it. Maura Tobias E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

EVAN FORSCH

Sound off! Write a letter to the editor news@thevillager.com 12

November 8, 2018

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Talking Point

Democracy close to home; Why we backed Prop. 3 BY LISA BLUM In a time of fear that our democracy is slipping away, we comfort ourselves thinking that, in this corner of the country, at least, our voices will be heard. Yet all too often, New Yorkers instead face a demoralizing system that serves up a healthy dose of cynicism. That is what dozens of Chinatown and Lower East Side residents got last month from Community Board 3. Despite overwhelming opposition to a luxury hotel’s liquor-license application for nine nightlife venues (a mix of both public and private) with a capacity of more than 800 people, the board has recommended the 9 Orchard St. Hotel’s application to the State Liquor Authority. It was a harsh reality check for the many newcomers to the community board process who expected their voices to be heard and procedures to be transparent. The 9 Orchard project illustrates why we need more accountable, representative community boards. On Election Day, voters took a first step by voting “Yes” on ballot Proposal 3, which will impose term limits on com-

munity board members. In October, the private-equity real estate firm DLJ Capital Partners brought an application for 9 Orchard to C.B. 3 that called for several full-liquor, latenight venues and for live music and DJs in the double-height lobby lounge. Despite heartfelt pleas from hundreds of neighbors who either attended the board meetings or signed a petition calling for more modest plans, the committee members pushed the proposal through to the State Liquor Authority. Why would community board members ignore the very people they are appointed to represent? One reason was that a small group purporting to represent the neighborhood had cut a behind-closed-doors deal with the developers regarding stipulations, leaving the community out of the conversation. That group then went before the community board with a valuable advantage: representing them was someone who is a longtime member of C.B. 3. In addition to the inside dealing among longtime board members, the board seemed to be tacitly accepting the developers’ ignorance of the community they hope to join. About two-

thirds of residents around the hotel are Chinese-language speakers, nearly half of them first-generation immigrants. Yet in the developers’ community outreach, they did little to engage the Chinese community. When the Orchard St. Block Association presented maps to the community board showing a Buddhist temple within 200 feet of the hotel, which would trigger a state law prohibiting liquor licenses next to places of worship, hotel representatives didn’t even appear aware of the temple’s existence. The community board’s usual procedure is to table a hotel’s application when there is a question of a 200-foot case. In this instance, for some reason, the development group went right ahead with its proposal. Now that the developers have been notified about the temple directly across the street, if it is found to be a 200-foot case, they will do everything they can to lobby the state for an exemption to the law so that the S.L.A. can grant their liquor licenses. The community has been vocal on this point, calling on state Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou to

uphold the law and require the developers to come back to the community to reach a reasonable agreement, not create a nightlife nuisance on the backs of working residents. But it should not have come to this. The 9 Orchard case teaches us that, despite massive public opposition to a particular venue, all the nightlife industry needs is the approval of long-serving board members who aren’t accountable to the community they represent. Meanwhile, we can’t afford lobbyists, lawyers or technical experts to make our case with community powerbrokers. And we can’t just pick up and move when the neighborhood becomes a nightlife destination — as the hotel developer suggested to one of our members. At a time when our federal government has been hijacked, we need to bring community boards back to the community, and we need our local representatives to represent us. Voting “Yes” on Proposal 3 is just the beginning. Blum is a member, Orchard St. Block Association

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

At last week’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, a trio costumed as the Notorious R.G.B. a.k.a. Ruth Ginsburg, complete with the Supreme Cour t justice’s signature collar and glasses, urged ever yone to vote.

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People

Hendrix and Havens to Van, playing with greats BY GABE HERMAN

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ric Oxendine, a Villager since the early 1960s, fondly recalls those times decades ago when Downtown was full of music and poetry, and the hippies were taking over from the Beatniks. He especially remembers all the interesting people he befriended and worked with back then. In his case, the people he remembers have names like Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison and Richie Havens, to name a few. Oxendine, now 74, grew up in North Carolina and was a 19-year-old guitarist and bass player when he moved to New York City in 1963. He immediately came to the Village and immersed himself in the music scene. That, of course, included jamming in Washington Square Park, which was full of all kinds of guitar and banjo players. “I played there all the time,” Oxendine recalled of the park. “You had to play there, it was a rite of passage. That’s where you met everybody. People need a place to crash, or meet a musician, or whatever it was — you connected at Washington Square Park.” Oxendine met Richie Havens in ’63 when they were working the same club. Oxendine was a solo guitar act playing many styles, including classical and country/Western, and Havens was in a trio. Afterward, Havens and his group approached Oxendine. “He said, ‘Wow, I love the way you play guitar,’” Oxendine recalled. “I said, ‘I love the way you guys sing.’ We became friends and formed a group in ’66.” Oxendine played bass in Havens’s group and traveled all over, including Europe and South America. Several of their BBC performances are on YouTube. It was at a 1966 gig with Havens at the Cheetah nightclub in Midtown where Oxendine first saw and met Jimi Hendrix, then known as Jimmy James. Oxendine remembers Hendrix having a haircut “like Prince Valiant” and playing with plenty of swagger. “I saw this guy playing behind his back, under his legs. I said, ‘Wow what is going on?’ ” he recalled. “Being from the South, that’s kind of a Southern thing. He played the Chitlin’ Circuit and I knew a lot of people that did that. He picked up all the tricks.” Oxendine knew he was seeing something special. He talked with Hendrix afterward and suggested he come down to Greenwich Village from Harlem, where Hendrix was living. “And he came down to the Village, and after that it was history,” said Oxendine, who didn’t see Hendrix much when he came down and played at spots like Café Au Go Go. He would hook up with Hendrix later on, after the “Purple Haze” guitarist shot to stardom, and had multiple opportunities to play with him. There was a memorable jam at a hot Midtown club called The Scene, frequented by stars like Jayne Mansfield and Sammy Davis Jr. Oxendine jammed there one night with Havens and others, including guitarist Rick Derringer of the McCoys; Hendrix was in the audience and they asked him to join in. Hendrix started playing, but he broke three of his guitar strings and asked Oxendine if he could play his bass. “Now I don’t let my bass go for anybody,” Oxendine said, adding it was in the middle of a great jam, so he was reluctant. But after some pause, he agreed. Oxendine didn’t want to get off the stage, and immediately recalled his first guitar as a child, which had just one string he would use to pick out melodies. “So I grabbed his guitar and kept playing,” he recalled. Three strings might have seemed a half-empty cup to Hendrix, but “it was half-full to me,” he said. “I

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VILLAGER FILE PHOTO BY ROBERT STOLARIK

Eric Oxendine playing in the Jefferson Market Garden in 2005. For 11 years, he played in the Village garden ever y Wednesday and Saturday — and any nice day that he felt like it — during the summer.

was not going to give up the jam and that energy.” Oxendine jammed with the guitar great another time Downtown when Hendrix called him up onstage to play “Like a Rolling Stone” with B.B. King, drummer Mitch Mitchell and Paul Butterfield on harmonica. “I was really thrilled,” he said. “We played all night.” “Jimi was one of the nicest people,” he said, “a very giving person, very open. But he was also very protective. He was very shy.” Late one night at a place called Nobody’s on Bleecker St., Oxendine saw Hendrix sitting by himself. “People were afraid to approach him, so I go over and say hello,” Oxendine remembered. “I told him, ‘It sounds corny, but I wish I could play like you.’ He said, ‘Wow, I wish I had sideburns like you.’ And we laughed. I said, ‘Everybody wants what someone else has.’ ” Oxendine saw Hendrix again at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970, a legendary performance just a month before the guitarist’s death. Hendrix looked gaunt, Oxendine recalled, but seemed happy to be out following a drug bust in Canada that had restricted his travel. Oxendine was looking for a record deal. He played original music for Hendrix, and it went over well. That led to plans to collaborate, he said. “I knew he played the blues. You know you can’t TVG

outplay Jimi, so I wanted to play something he couldn’t play,” Oxendine recalled. “He was impressed. He said, ‘Oh I want to do a record with you.’” Unfortunately, Hendrix died at just age 27 before that could happen. Oxendine said he had one final encounter with Hendrix — after he died. He was recording with Havens in Electric Lady Studios on Eighth St. “I’m playing piano, and all of a sudden this ball of white light goes whoosh behind my back,” remembered Oxendine, who felt that it was Hendrix’s presence in his old studio. “I’m like, Wow. And I go, ‘How you doing, Jimi?’” Touring with Van Morrison was another highlight from that seminal musical era for Oxendine. He was there during the making of “Brown Eyed Girl” and played bass on some of the recording sessions. He recalled Van Morrison originally calling it “Brown Skinned Girl,” but producer/songwriter Bert Berns insisted it be “Brown Eyed Girl” to make it more universal. “One word can change everything,” Oxendine noted. He said during a jam session at Van Morrison’s place at Eighth and MacDougal Sts., he played the bass line for what would eventually be part of “Moondance.” But Oxendine never got credit, which he said was common in the industry and happened to him more than once. It upset him for a long time. “But now I’m over it,” he said. After the 1960s and ’70s, Oxendine shifted his musical focus toward becoming what he calls an “ecomusician.” He played for environmental causes, such as the 1990 Earth Day concert in Midtown in front of 10,000 people, and at a World Peace Day concert. “I could’ve been rich if I did the other thing,” he said of commercial music, but he felt drawn to promoting the environment. That included playing a weekly concert at Jefferson Market Garden for 11 years during the summers, starting in 2003. The Villager covered one of his performances there in 2005. That article inspired Oxendine to pen an autobiography, “Jammin’ With Jimi,” published in 2016. Oxendine said its title was inspired by the article’s headline, “Jammed with Jimi, he now plays at Jefferson Market.” From 1992 to ’94, Oxendine, who is a Lumbee tribe member, worked as a cultural interpreter at the American Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan. The Lumbees are 90 percent of the population in his hometown, Pembroke, North Carolina. Oxendine still lives in Greenwich Village on W. 12th St. with his wife, Josephine, in the same rentstabilized apartment they moved into in 1974 with their then-2-year-old son. He is currently working on an album of popular songs, and would like to do seminars for kids interested in music. He said he would tell them punctuality is a key to success, no matter the field. “But the main thing,” he said, “is to love your music.” City Media, LLC


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CITY BUSINESS REBNY chief: Biz bill would kill city’s economy BY JOHN BANKS

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he Real Estate Board of New York, Inc. (REBNY) is a broadly based trade association representing owners, developers, brokers, managers and real estate professionals active throughout New York City. We are vehemently opposed to this legislation, which will do nothing to solve the underlying issues behind storefront vacancies, and instead would have a catastrophic impact on our local economy. There are some who are not aware of how far-reaching this bill is in attempting to stifle the commercial lease market. The bill would require that all commercial tenants — so the CVS, as well as the flower shop, the architect’s office and the international banking institution — be offered a 10-year lease renewal that can only be changed with the tenant’s approval. Rents would be set by binding arbitration if the tenant does not agree to the owner’s offer. If the tenant refuses the arbitration offer and the landlord makes a deal with someone else, that same tenant gets to say yay or nay first. You have heard and will continue to hear from homeowners, business leaders, affordable housing advocates and others who are strongly opposed to this bill. The bill would severely limit all New York City property owners from making independent decisions about their properties and would adversely impact the finances of the 100,000 New York City households located in co-op buildings. These homeowners rely on revenue generated by their buildings’ retail spaces to help offset maintenance costs and make crucial energy efficiency upgrades to their properties. This bill says they cannot be trusted to make their own business and quality-of-life decisions. We know that job growth in this city is fueled by new ideas. Yet, this bill will take away the rights of new entrepreneurs in two ways. First, by requiring that existing businesses have the right to remain in place — regardless of business idea or financial viability or neighborhood need — it takes spaces off-line for other users. Second, the bill increases the risk in signing a new tenant. The misperception that our members hold out for the chain tenant will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If our members know that they will be locked into a lease agreement in perpetuity, they will wait for someone whose idea is proven, and can pay, and will not be a nuisance to their residential tenants. In the interim, more storefronts will remain or become vacant. Even if the bill was more limited in scope to target the small neighborhood businesses proponents say they want to City Media, LLC

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

The Native Leather shop was on Bleecker St. for nearly 50 years, but closed last year after the landlord would not renew its lease. The landlord wanted to double the rent they were paying.

help, the bill would not address some of the greatest challenges facing these proprietors in the city today. Since a hearing was last held on this bill, the minimum wage has gone up 31 percent and the water and sewer rate has gone up 89 percent. In the last 10 years the actual assessed value on retail stores citywide has increased 77 percent. New York has taxed commercial properties at eight times the rate it applies to homeowners, in contrast to other big cities, where the average is 1.7 times. Assessed value of retail properties has only increased over time and has increased at a higher rate than properties without retail square footage. And that’s why there is NO incentive to property owners to keep these spaces vacant. The assessed value is not adjusted downward every time a store leaves. New York state Senator Brad Hoylman’s 2017 report “Bleaker on Bleecker” even cites this blatant falsehood as “pervasive misinformation.” In addition, small independent store owners absorb the cost of paid sick leave and of the bureaucracy in getting approvals. For instance, storefront approvals in historic districts take, on average, six months for necessary business changes as mundane as new signage. The Health Department has increased fine revenues 40 percent, and the city’s latest budget

projects collecting nearly $900 million in fines and fees this year — a $110 million increase from the previous year. Rising business costs and regulatory requirements impede occupancy. Older, outdated space impedes occupancy. This bill will not impact either root cause of storefront vacancies. The New York City Bar Association recently reported that the City Council has no legal authority to pass this bill. If we put that issue aside, though, this measure still would not address some of the greatest challenges facing small businesses in New York City. Our own research shows that restrictive zoning and other regulatory requirements lead to higher retail vacancy rates. Commercial rent control ignores market conditions and would hurt the economy. We hope any legislation put forward by the City Council will be legal — based upon data and not anecdotes. There is no silver bullet to solving local, long-serving neighborhood businesses’ woes. Flexibility is the greatest help we can give small businesses. Failure rates have been consistent for decades — the average retail business survives less than 14 years — because there is always a new challenge. This decade, the big disruptor is e-commerce, with a 50 percent increase in the online share of the retail sales market since 2013. TVG

The last decade it was big-box. Nearly 20 years ago, it was 9/11, and before that, suburban flight and urban blight. We remember what real blight is, and what we see today — while disconcerting — is not it. This bill will kill jobs, kill ingenuity and ensure the homogenization of retail in New York City. This bill was deeply flawed 30 years ago, and it is deeply flawed today. The only survival the bill ensures is of continued vacancies. The City Council should focus on initiatives that allow businesses to adapt to the pressures of e-commerce and the challenges of tomorrow. We should spend more time discussing the myriad permits one needs to open a business in the city instead of talking about a 30year-old bad piece of legislation. The city should pursue a collection of financial and technical assistance programs and seek to ease government regulation, based on standardized data. We need to get the policy right. So let’s start by taking the time to do a citywide vacancy survey. The above is slightly excerpted testimony of John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, at the City Council Small Business Committee’s Oct. 22 hearing on Intro 0737-A, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act a.k.a. the S.B.J.S.A. November 8, 2018

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Who really won the hearing on the S.B.J.S.A.? BY SUNG SOO KIM It was strange for me sitting at home watching the hearing that I had fought hard to have for the past nine years. I helped draft the original version of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (the Jobs Survival Act), and all seven changes made to it over the years. I organized 11 hearings on the bill and dozens of forums and rallies in support of it. So I can view a hearing with an insight that allows me to see which statements are really â&#x20AC;&#x153;codesâ&#x20AC;? for the hidden message they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the public to know. Listening to the testimony three times, I constantly heard a Real Estate Board of New York talking point â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the phrase â&#x20AC;&#x153;unintended consequences.â&#x20AC;? REBNY allies use this phrase as a fear tactic against the bill. But the truth is the entire hearing is really about â&#x20AC;&#x153;unintended consequences.â&#x20AC;? The empty storefronts on every block are the unintended consequences of REBNY stopping a vote on the Jobs Survival Act after the last hearing in 2009, when the bill would have easily passed. The sky-high rents that everyone is angry about are another unintended consequence created by REBNY and the City Council Speakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office. The court issuing 54,151 warrants to vacate commercial property and put 108,000 workers out of a job after the Jobs Survival Act was denied a hearing for nine years are unintended consequences. In fact, REBNY easily won the hearing due only to the tactics of two lawmakers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mark Gjonaj, the chairperson

of the Small Business Jobs Committee â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who interceded on their behalf by controlling the hearingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entire narrative. The first tactic was to change the purpose of the hearing and thus open the floor for hours of useless REBNY talking points only meant to distract, delay, destroy and cover up the truth. I personally requested of Gjonaj that the long-awaited (nine years) hearing should have the same goal as the last hearing, in 2009: to fi nd the best solution to stop the closings of small businesses, primarily happening when a businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lease expires. The hearing was on a specific bill, the Jobs Survival Act, with a specific purpose, a statute for guidelines for a commercial lease renewal process in New York City. Chairperson Gjonaj instead followed the lobbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s direction and made the hearing about store vacancies, more studies, why businesses close, gentrification and more useless initiatives, etc. The hearing should have focused on a simple single process â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the commercial lease renewal, which is what this act specifically deals with. Advocates did not want a hearing to discuss empty storefronts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but a hearing to prevent empty storefronts. In other words, to stop the closings in the first place. Neither did we want Gregg Bishop, the commissioner of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Small Business Services, to keep throwing more and more data on store closings at us. Why isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t S.B.S. outraged that there are a record number of stores closing in the first place? The fact is that just talking about useless studies of empty stores, tax incentives for landlords, failed zoning efforts,

worthless initiatives to help merchants, describing the arbitration process as â&#x20AC;&#x153;cumbersome,â&#x20AC;? etc., constituted a win for REBNY. Our bill is actually very simple and straightforward.

Johnson will either be a hero or a sellout. The second and major tactic change was REBNYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest win at the hearing. This was led by Speaker Johnson. What the speaker did was a shock to me. In my experience of having seen 11 hearings on this bill over the last three decades, not once did a Council speaker indicate or make a statement for or against it. But this speaker not only appeared but stayed almost to the end and took center stage to repeat dozens of times a major REBNY talking point: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Jobs Survival Act is not a silver bullet; we will need other measures for the complex problems facing small businesses. The bill must be changed because we do not want to protect white-shoe law firms, Goldman Sachs, big-box stores and Fortune 500 companies.â&#x20AC;? This is code for â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are changing the bill to retail storefronts onlyâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; what REBNY has always wanted. Most have heard of â&#x20AC;&#x153;good cop, bad cop.â&#x20AC;? This always involves two people to succeed. But the speaker did something I have never seen: He played â&#x20AC;&#x153;good politician, bad politicianâ&#x20AC;? all by himself. First, he was the good politi-

cian, lamenting popular small businesses that were long established, successful and well liked by customers, but forced to close due only to high rents. But this populist declaration was always followed with the â&#x20AC;&#x153;bad politicianâ&#x20AC;? statement: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bill is not a silver bullet...and must be changed because it protects big chains, box stores etc.â&#x20AC;? This was REBNYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s goal for the hearing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to change the tenantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bill to a landlordsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bill. At one point, Johnson passionately stated for the umpteenth time, â&#x20AC;&#x153;For those who say they will not change the bill, every bill is changed. That is how the process works.â&#x20AC;? However, this is not a new bill with its first hearing. Former Councilmember Ruth Messinger would not even recognize todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legislation with her original 1986 version. The billâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new prime sponsor is Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez. I personally trust and believe in his integrity and commitment to immigrant families because he knows from personal experience how vital the role of small businesses is to every immigrant community. I predict he will end up being the most courageous prime sponsor our bill has ever had. I propose a meeting with Speaker Johnson, Councilmember Rodriguez and myself (or a representative, if I am ill), REBNY President John Banks (or a representative) and a mediator to oversee the group. The mediator will represent every New Yorker who loves our city and neighborhoods and seeks only justice and fair play for those in need. Kim is founder, Small Business Congress



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Some kinda love A super-cool Velvets deep dive BY PUMA PERL

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here aren’t many people around who saw the original Velvet Underground lineup. I did, once. I was 16, and had no idea where I was going or why. (Decades later, I figured out that it was the “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” show at the Balloon Farm, formerly the Dom.) Some older guys had invited me to go to “a place” on St Mark’s —it was 1967, so I went. I remember feeling too entranced to be self-conscious. Riding the subway and the B5 bus back to deepest Brooklyn, I envisioned shiny boots of leather, and resolved to learn to apply eyeliner the way Lou did. The looks, sounds and vibe of this band were like nothing I’d ever encountered, or even imagined. Sometimes you can pinpoint the moment music and its message change your life. My moment was with the Velvet Underground, and it’s remained my soundtrack, resonating in my poems, stories and photographs. If there is such a thing as VU Tinnitus, I might have it — the clamorous opening of “Venus in Furs” lives in my head. I can close my eyes and recall their shadows onstage. Naturally, I’d been looking forward to “The Velvet Underground Experience,” which opened Oct. 10 at 718 Broadway. Like the banana on the cover of “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” you peel slowly and see. Six sections track the band from preformation to dissolution. Christian Fevret, the founder of French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles, and Carole Mirabello, an independent film producer, co-curated the exhibit, which originated in Paris, 2016. Matali Crasset is the exhibition designer. Fevret recalled that his 25-year fascination with the band began when he attended the 1993 European tour where the Velvets reunited to perform “Heroin.” “It was like an old band sounding new, a brandnew record coming from the past,” he said of what struck him most deeply about the show. His methodology was “to dive into the period.” At the current Noho show’s entrance is Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America.” It accompanies Jonathan Caouette’s multimedia video and sound installation, “America/America,” which was inspired by Ginsberg’s poem. That’s followed by a row of Fred McDarrah photographs, capturing images of street life, protests, jazz musicians and familiar faces and locations from the era. We then proceed through two floors of multimedia experience tracing the band’s career and its influences. The films include six produced exclusively for the exhibit. Fully utilizing the 12,000-square-foot space, the exhibit retraces the New York band’s trip from the streets to the worlds of film, painting and literature. More than 1,000 objects are on display, including posters, albums, rare photographs and biographical material created for the show. The lives of people with whom the band connected are not simply footnoted but explored, including Jonas Mekas, Edie Sedgwick, Barbara Rubin, Andy Warhol and many more. Music surrounds us, and headphones are available to listen to interviews. Additionally, there is a studio created by BandsinCity Media, LLC

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

“Velvet Underground Experience” co-curators Christian Fevret and Carole Mirabello illuminated by a shor t film about Nico, produced by Mirabello, that was projected on a wall at the show.

town where weekly events take place, including a Thursday night residency by emerging singer/songwriter Adrian Jean. Through interactive content, the exhibit offers an immersive experience reflecting the symmetry of the band, its art and a city on the edge of explosion. Following a preopening press tour, I returned for a “live” experience, including an interview with original Velvets member John Cale. It was conducted by Jim Kerr, of Q104.3 radio, who noted that the crowd was “so cool” that it felt like 1968 again. Cale wryly responded that in 1968 the audiences usually hated them, and recounted Warhol’s influence in moving them from venues like the Village’s Café Bizarre into art galleries and museums. Many attendees were young, and seeing them lying down on silver mats below a beam housed in the center of the main floor, gazing at rare footage, filled me with crazy hope that art will, ultimately, prevail. It’s impossible to reproduce the avant-garde sense of danger and decay in today’s New York City; we are living in a very different type of macro-darkness now. Charles and Nicole Struensee are a married couple, who Charles describes as “an old rock-androll married couple,” albeit a bit too young to have caught the Velvet Underground live. They visited the exhibit the fi rst week it opened. Their friend, cartoonist John Holmstrom, the founding editor of PUNK magazine, happened to also attend that afternoon. Holmstrom called the show “amazing when describing how the Velvet Underground came together,” particularly the videos and clips of the band, and the descriptions of band members’ childTVG

hoods and teen years, as well as Nico’s pre-New York City fi lm and modeling career. “But I have to admit that I was disappointed that the show ignores the band after they break with Warhol,” he added. “I always thought their best music was produced after the break.” Holmstrom opined that exhibits should have included Max’s Kansas City and Mickey Ruskin and the solo projects and collaborations that took place in later years. Yet, he does consider it, as he put it, an “interesting and overdue homage to the most important band in the history of New York City.” Charles Struensee felt he got what the curators were trying to do. “I sensed that the narrow focus was intended to examine the initial creative spark that allowed the Velvets to seamlessly integrate their raw, gritty music into the arts scene,” he said. Nicole Struensee said, “The exhibit was about the Velvet Underground, not later collaborations. It captured the essence of the band. I loved it.” I loved it, too. Those who did not evolve with the Velvet Underground, or walk the same dark streets, get an opportunity to inhale the flavor of the band and the late ’60s New York City scene that they still define. To me, nothing is cooler than the Velvet Underground. Like Lou wrote, and Nico sang, “I’ll be your mirror…reflect what you are in case you don’t know… .” “Velvet Underground Experience,” 718 Broadway at Washington Place, through Dec. 30. For tickets and more information, visit velvetunderground-experience.com/ . November 8, 2018

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Prof. Finley’s poetic take on Trump and #MeToo BY STEPHANIE GL AVOCICH

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t 62 years old, artistic provocateur Karen Finley has worn many outfits over her storied lifetime. Most recently she’s donned a red Make America Great Again baseball cap, as well as a frumpy, untailored blue suit, a billowy blue cotton dress with a headscarf, and a white power suit topped with a blond wig, variously impersonating Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. As she sat down to speak about her latest literary foray, Finley wore only a fashionable black striped pantsuit and a relaxed air of confidence, indicative of a woman who has been in the public eye for decades. “I make visual art,” she said, leaning back in a New York University conference room. These notable outfits directly inspired her new book, “Grabbing Pussy” (OR Books, Oct. 23), as integral parts in her solo performance piece “The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” Performed last year at the Village’s renowned theater club La MaMa, the show delved into the gender-biased atmosphere of the 2016 presidential election, as well as the sexually charged politics that surrounded Bill Clinton’s administration. The idea for the show — and subsequently the book — began when Finley wrote down questions she hoped to answer. “Many times my art projects have different entry points for different versions or divinations,” she said. “I wanted to do a response towards politics now, [and] I started with a list of all my questions that I wanted to look into.” Finley has transitioned over the past decades from full-time performance artist to professor at N.Y.U. Tisch’s Art and Public Policy School, as well as a writer and musician, while continuing her work as a shock-inducing performer. “Grabbing Pussy” is inspired by cultural trends induced by the Trump ad-

PHOTO BY DONA ANN MCADAM

Karen Finley, the iconic Downtown per formance ar tist, now also teaches at N.Y.U. and has branched into writing.

ministration, including the rise of the #MeToo movement in response to the rash of sexual-harassment scandals, from Harvey Weinstein to the president’s self-confessed penchant to “grab ’em by the pussy.” The book, which was first titled “Genital Election,” consists of threedozen poems commenting on the American political landscape and its cast of characters, focusing on the ac-

tions of President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Among others who make appearances are Anthony Scaramucci, Ivanka Trump and Bill Clinton. What began as Finley’s way of understanding the current political climate was also a form of protest. The “assault of language and communication,” as she put it, drove her to write this book. “Poetry is an elevated language,” she said, “and it is using language in an elevated, heightened content and format in order to get you to look at things in a different way. To be contributing to writing, contributing to language — I consider those to be political acts.” Finley’s long history of artistic and political activism goes back to her Chicago public school days, when she fomented an uprising against the “skirts only” dress code by wearing “the worst” thrifted, misshapen dresses to class. The school relented and girls were allowed to wear pants. Growing up in the suburb of Evanston, Illinois, with her mother taking her to antiwar protests as a child also instilled in her the importance of dissent against political injustice. “I lived near Northwestern, and I

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think that’s why I love being at the university,” she said, referring to N.Y.U. “I was really, really privileged to be around a cosmopolitan, urban area where people resisted and protested.” Finley’s professional career was also built on defiance, most notably as one of four artists who joined a landmark lawsuit eventually decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, the high court ruled that the N.E.A.’s “decency and respect” criteria did not violate the artists’ First Amendment rights by withholding project grants from them due to subject matter. Although it was a loss for the plaintiffs, the case brought awareness to how government funding limited freedom of expression in the arts. The topic of sexual assault often mentioned in “Grabbing Pussy” — some poems cite the “Access Hollywood” tapes from which the book gets its name — hits particularly close to home for Finley. As a 21-year-old, she said she was assaulted on the streets of Chicago by two policemen. “I didn’t tell my mother. I didn’t tell anyone,” she said. “I just felt that I was so lucky I got out of that. You know, you have to understand that when things like this happen, all you feel like is ‘I’m out of it now.’ ” Although she experienced her personal hardships through physical assault, Finley looks to workplace harassment and nonphysical contact, such as catcalling, as foundations for poems in “Grabbing Pussy.” Among the instances she drew on for the book, she refers to the second 2016 presidential debate, when Trump, at points, paced around behind Clinton, calling it a form of intimidation and “stalking.” In portraying abuse of women through poetry, Finley believes readers of both sexes can relate. “We think about the poetic space of our campus, you know, what draws us,” she said. “It’s New York, but also even Washington Square Park, right? Isn’t there kind of this feeling that, within this urban life, they add that arch and it has some type of symbolism that reaches to us — that we have a humanity that’s bigger than us?” she said. “I think that any attempt of poetry can suggest, or remind people, of that potential.” Finley performed excerpts from “Grabbing Pussy” at La MaMa at the end of last month as a “call to action” to the public.

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Zombies, monsters, Trumps tromp up

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6th Ave. in Village Halloween Parade

PHOTOS BY MILO HESS

The 45th Annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was ghoulishly good fun for the thousands of revelers who marched in it and watched it along Sixth Ave. last Wednesday night. The theme of this year’s parade was “I AM a Robot.” There were hundreds of puppets, 35 bands playing different types of music, countless zombies, a bunch of Trumps, others carrying “ARREST TRUMP” signs, and many marchers urging people to get out and vote on Nov. 6.

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Manhattan Happenings ART The Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark exhibition “Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again” opens Mon., Nov. 12. It will be on view at the Meatpacking art mecca through March 31, after which it will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. In typical Whitney style, there are a lot of meaty “extras” to savor here. For example, in connection with the exhibition, the museum is also releasing a new three-part Warhol video series it produced, which answers the question: “Why Warhol now?” The short videos, each under five minutes, take a fresh look at the iconic creator, with appearances by notable artists, cultural producers and influencers. The first video was released Nov. 5 on the Whitney’s YouTube channel. The various speakers, several of whom knew the artist, reflect upon a number of Warhol’s most radical and visionary ideas; the ways in which he influenced not only the trajectory of contemporary art, but contemporary culture more broadly; and his prescience with regard to our digital age. The series’ first episode focuses on the ways that Warhol anticipated the omnipresence of images and information in our culture: the 24-hour news cycle, info-addiction, how the gatekeepers of information and fame have changed, and how we’ve all become “influencers” and voyeurs. Episodes 2 and 3 will focus on Warhol’s modes of art-making and the multiplicity of mediums he worked in, as well as his love of new technologies and experimentation. Warhol’s persona and identity are also pondered, with an eye toward gender and sexuality. The series will be viewable on the Whitney’s YouTube channel and on whitney.org, with additional shorter content posted on the Whitney’s social channels. In addition to the videos, the Museum’s Warhol Web feature takes a deep dive into 19 moments of Warhol’s career, looking at his work through the lens of archival materials and related media, contextualizing Warhol’s era and influences. Spotify playlists will also feature music related to Warhol’s art and life. Yet another feature during the exhibition’s run will be “Andy Warhol’s NYC,” a map of key Warholian locations around the city, including his studio spaces, apartments and favorite hangouts. “The Feminine Mystique,” by artist Pamela Goldman, will open at Cornelia St. Cafe, 29 Cornelia St., on Tues., Nov. 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and show for two months. Goldman, who hails from Uptown, is inspired by Renaissance masters, like da Vinci and Raphael, as well as medieval icons. “At this time in history with the future of humanity in question, the world is aching for a different approach toward life,” Goldman said. “This may be found in the embodied feminine instinctual knowledge and nurturing of the mother in both the wisdom of ‘Gaia,’ Mother Earth and the divine feminine as the birther of life and regeneration of human existence.” Amen, that says it all! But for more information, visit www.pamelagoldmanfineart.com .

COMMUNITY As part of the Police Department’s new Neighborhood Coordinating Officers (N.C.O.) initiative, the Sixth Precinct will hold a “Build The Block” meeting for the precinct’s N.C.O. “Sector B” on Thurs., Nov. 8, to discuss and identify policing and public-safety needs in Greenwich Village. The meeting’s location is Lenox Health Greenwich Village, at 30 Seventh Ave. (Use W. 13th St. entrance.) Doors open at 6 p.m. for

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COURTESY WHITNEY MUSEUM

“Self-por trait,” 1964, by Andy Warhol.

refreshments, and the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Police Officers Maureen Carey and Deniz Saglam will be on hand to address the meeting and respond to questions. Word has it that residential members of the 14th St. Coalition — as well as local merchants — plan to turn out in force to ask about the qualityof-life impacts and disruption that the planned L train shutdown, slated to start in late April, would cause to the neighborhood on and around 14th St. Specifically, they plan to query the cops about enforcement on traffic during the expected subway shutdown.

omist who fears what the imbalance in the economy bodes for our future. Activist Sharon Woolums tours the empty storefronts along Bleecker St. Historian Anthony Gronowicz draws connections to ancient Rome and its decline. James Drougas is shown in his Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books store, a part of the surviving DNA of the “Old Village.” This film’s heart is in the right place, and the panel discussions are surely bound to be interesting. Tickets can be purchased online at cinemavillage.com/NowPlaying/the-lost-village.html .

FILM

FOOD

“The Lost Village,” the documentary film by Roger Paradiso about how the Village is being transformed by “hyper-gentrification,” as well as by New York University, is back for another local engagement. It will be playing at Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., from Fri., Nov. 9, to Thurs., Nov. 15, with one screening per day, at 11 a.m. A panel discussion will follow the Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 showings. At a preview screening at Greenwich House’s senior day center on Washington Square North last year, several viewers pointedly told Paradiso he devoted too much of the film to the subject of N.Y.U. students — both male and female — being “forced” to turn to sex work, such as dominatrixes or “sugar babies,” to pay their pricey tuition. Word has it that the film still contains just as much, if not more, on that issue as before. (Umm...editing!) However, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t something to like here. The doc features Michael Hudson, a classical econTVG

Smorgasburg and the Port Authority are hosting a three-day food festival and block party at the World Trade Center, from Thurs., Nov. 8, to Sat., Nov. 10, from noon to 7 p.m. each day. Located on the Oculus Plaza, the community event will kick off on Nov. 8 at noon with music, a beer garden and multiple familyfriendly children’s activities. On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, Smorgasburg will operate a curated version of its world-class food market, with about 20 vendors each day, including Bona Bona Ice Cream; Burger Supreme; Ca’pisci; Chef Katsu; Chickpea & Olive; The Choripan; D’Abruzzo; Dan & John’s Wings; Dough; Home Frite; Jianbing; Mutz; Rai Rai Ken; Ramen Burger; Red Hook Lobster Pound; Ring Ding Bar; Sons of Thunder; Wood Fired Edibles, and Yakitori Tatsu. For info, visit smorgasburg.com. Send your information about events to news@ thevillager.com . City Media, LLC


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