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Chelsea VOLUME 10, ISSUE 50


DECEMBER 13 - 19, 2018

Trying to stop hate before it happens BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


n the wake of rising hate crimes, City Council members are ramping up hate crime prevention efforts in two recent bills. Councilmember Mark Levine is spearheading legislation to create an Office to Prevent Hate Crimes, which would coordinate myriad government agencies to improve the city’s response

to hate crimes and inrease outreach before they happen. “The hatred that we’re here to denounce is a poison from which none of us are immune,” Levine, who represents parts of the Upper West Side and northern Manhattan, said at a press conference Dec. 4. Under Levine’s bill, the Office of Hate Crime Prevention HATE continued on p. 8

Chelsea’s all wet... based on puddle study statistics BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


ew Yorkers are familiar with flooding subway stations, leaping over puddles on street corners, and biking through flooded bike lanes during heavy rainfall. But to see where 311 complaints about street flooding

are worst, Localize, a neighborhood-insights platform, compiled more than 3,000 complaints in 12 months. Localize found that Manhattan’s Marble Hill, Midtown South, Chelsea and the Upper West Side made the city’s top PUDDLES continued on p. 7

From left, Alex Mustonen, Daniel Arsham and Ben Por to, all par tners in Snarkitecture, have created a new exhibit space in Hudson Yards. See Page 10.

Google it? Tech giant eyes D’town BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Amazon’s megadeal to create a headquarters in Long Island City — and the fact that it was greased with more than $1.5 billion in incentives from New York State — has dominated headlines over the past month. Under the plan,

Cabaret lives at Pyramid....... p. 19

the Internet commerce giant would employ up to 25,000 people at the L.I.C. location. However, another deal also involving an enormous Internet-based corporation — though notably without benefiting from any financial incentives — hasn’t generated nearly as much buzz.

In short, the “Googling” of Manhattan’s Lower West Side looks like it will continue, with the tech colossus seemingly set to add yet another massive former industrial property — part of the St. John’s Building, in Hudson GOOGLE continued on p. 3

90th b’day bash for Village activist Diether ..... p. 13


Russian stars perform new staging of ‘Carmina Burana’ A consolidated troupe of 300 artists of famous creative teams of Russia will present “Carmina Burana,” a cantata by Carl Orff, under the vaults of the famous Stern Hall of Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 29. The evening promises to be a grand spectacle, attended by 300 Russian artists of the country’s most famous and oldest arts and cultural groups: soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre — Anna Aglatova (soprano), Stanislav Mostovoi (tenor), and Vasily Laduk (baritone) — sing with Yurlov Capella Choir and Bolshoi Symphonic Orchestra of Moscow Conservatory. The staging includes enchanting lighting effects, as well as paintings from great artists of the Middle Ages and the =ifdc\]k JfgiXeff]k_\9fcj_f`K_\Xki\8eeX8^cXkfmXXe[<e^c`j_Zfe[lZkfiAXeCXk_Xd$Bf\e`^% early Renaissance. “Carmina Burana” is an ancient manuscript of the collection of medieval poetry, the original manuscript of which was found in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery Bayern (Beuern, lat. Buranum), now Benediktbeuern, Bavaria. The German composer Carl Orff first encountered these texts in John Eddington Simon’s publication “Wine, Women and Songs of 1884,” which contained English translations of 46 poems from a collection found in the monastery. Michael Hoffman, a law stu- =ifdc\]k K_\Z_`c[i\eËjZ_f`iXe[YXi`kfe\MXj`c`pCX[lb% dent and enthusiast of Greek and Latin, helped Orff choose 24 poems about the impermanence of luck and wealth, the transience of life, the joy of the return of spring, and the pleasure of drunkenness, gluttony, gambling, and carnality. The manuscript, hidden in the monastery in the 13th century, was found many centuries later. During the European Middle Ages, it was a “forbidden” text written, first, by “renegades vagrants” — people who had the most ironic, and even satirical =ifdc\]k :fe[lZkfi>\eeX[`p;d\kipXb#k\efiJkXe`jcXmDfjkfmfp#Xe[k_\9fcj_f`Jpdg_fe`ZFiZ_\jkiX% views on the life, society, and its mores. There is no religion food, carnal love, warm com- about the power and beauty Ushakov, who invited Eng- kovsky Conservatory Yurin these songs — even close pany and cheerful songs, here of human life sounded more lish conductor Jan Latham- lov Capella Choir Soloists of relevant than ever. But even Koenig for the director’s Bolshoi Theater present “Carto no words — but almost on and now! Orff wrote the libretto the composer himself could console. Music producer is mina Burana” at Carnegie every page, it communicates about the removal of taboos with the texts of the poems not assume that his creation Vladimir Davydenko. Gen- Hall [881 Seventh Ave. between and all sorts of prohibitions. in the old German and Latin would become a bestseller nadiy Dmetryak, people’s art- W. 56th and W. 57th streets in Yes, life is fleeting, fortune is languages. The first perfor- of the 20th century. Now, the ist of Russia, is the chief con- Manhattan, (212) 247–7800, blind and ruthless, there is no mance of “Carmina Burana” most famous orchestras and ductor and artistic director of https://www.carnegiehall. doubt. But, stop praying, fear- took place on June 8, 1937, choral chapels have in their the Yurlov Russian State Aca- org/Cart/Seat-Selection-Performance/Syos?eventid=37213 demic Choir. ing, and waiting for the end conducted by Bertil Wetzels- repertoire Orff’s work. Bolshoi Symphonic Orches- ] Dec. 29, 8 pm. Tickets from “Carmina Burana” is of the world — let’s rejoice: berger. In Europe, on the eve spring, sun, drink, delicious World War II, the cantata staged by director Igor tra of the Moscow State Tchai- $22.50 to $210


December 13, 2018


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Google it? Tech giant eyes Hudson Square home GOOGLE continued from p. 1

Square — to its portfolio. Yet, there are concerns among locals about Google’s sites being too “selfcontained,” traffic impact, whether it would ratchet up development pressure in the surrounding area, the fear of “Downtown becoming Midtown,” and also whether the building would include a publicly accessible recreation center. About a month ago, news broke that Google was eyeing the southern two blocks of the St. John’s Building site, at 550 Washington St. Oxford Properties Group plans to create a 1.3-millionsquare-foot, 12-story commercial building at the location, which is the former terminus of the High Line. The design, by COOKFOX Architects, would retain most of the existing structure as a base, then add additional floors on top. The Wall Street Journal reported Oxford and Google are close to inking a deal. The project, which is set to be completed by 2022, could bring up to 8,500 Google employees into the neighborhood. Add those to the 7,000 workers Google already has in Chelsea, plus the 3,500 more it plans to add at Pier 57, and it would total 21,000 Google employees in the city — just a few thousand shy of what Amazon would have. However, the parties are playing it close to the vest so far. A Google spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment about the potential deal. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the property’s developer replied, “Oxford has no comment.” Similarly, Ellen Baer, president and C.E.O. of the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District, had nothing to say on the big news. “I don’t know anything [about it],” she said. “I only know what I read in the papers. ... I don’t really like to comment on hypotheticals.” An aide for a local politician told The Villager that all the area’s elected officials are currently also in the dark about what’s going on with Google and 550 Washington St. He added that local pols want Google to include a rec center that would be open to the public during some hours. (An earlier version of the St. John’s project was required to have a rec center, but not this one.) Google already has a massive presence along the Lower West Side — namely, in Chelsea. In 2010, the tech behemoth purchased 111 Eighth Ave., covering the full square block between 15th and 16th Sts. and Eighth and Ninth Aves., for $1.9 billion. Constructed by the Port Authority as an “inland terminal” for rail freight and a trucking depot, at 2.9 million square feet, it ranks among the city’s largest buildings. Fast-forward eight years to this March, and Google closed a $2.4 billion deal with Jamestown to buy the entire Chelsea Market building, at 75

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A rendering of the redesign of the 550 Washington St. project, between Houston and Charlton Sts. It includes nine new stories added atop the existing three-stor y base of the historic St. John’s Terminal building. Google is repor tedly interested in the proper t y.

Ninth Ave., which occupies the full square block just west of 111 Eighth Ave. Another former industrial building, this was where Nabisco once made Oreos. Google is also reportedly planning to expand this property by 300,000 square feet. Moving along to the next huge building directly to the west, 85 Tenth Ave. — also once a Nabisco property — the tech giant occupies an additional 240,000 square feet. Continuing the “Googling” of this

of its playing fields. Currently, the W. Houston St. pier’s corroded steel support piles are being fi xed up with $100 million that was paid to the Hudson River Park Trust by the St. John’s Partners development group, in exchange for 200,000 square feet of development rights from the pier. This past January, Oxford bought the southern half of the St. John’s site from St. John’s Partners. Because the southern part of the site is being developed commercially, all the “air rights” will now go to the project site’s northern part, which St. John’s Partners still owns, and which will be developed with a mix of market-rate and affordable housing. The Trust, which is building and operating the 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park, has expressed interest in redeveloping Pier 40 with commercial office space, to increase the park’s revenue. The fields would remain, in some form. But Miller has previously voiced concern to The Villager about corporate employees taking over the playing fields for company events, cutting into youth sports leagues’ use of the pier. “I’m more concerned about infrastructure issues, like public and private transportation, the clogging of narrow Washington St., and overcrowding of the C and 1 trains,” he said. “It’s likely Pier 40 will be considered in plans as an additional drop-off zone for employees, whether it be via ferry — not yet discussed, as far as I know — or vehicles using its circular lot. “The fields are for public, not private use,” Miller stressed. “I’m hopeful Oxford and Alphabet recognize Pier 40’s importance to our community.” David Gruber, a former chairperson of C.B. 2, expressed concern that Google employees don’t patronize local eateries because of what could be dubbed the “salmon factor” — they get free food on the Google “campus.” “If it becomes Google, the restaurants are not going to get the business from

‘Midtown has moved Downtown.’ Martin Sheridan

Chelsea corridor as far west as it can go, Google is also leasing 320,000 square feet as the soon-to-be anchor tenant at Pier 57 in Hudson River Park. Dan Miller, a Community Board 2 member, is a past president of the Greenwich Village Little League. He and a bloc of others on the board are deeply emotionally invested in the future of Pier 40, the 14.5-acre pier right across the West Side Highway from the St. John’s Building, specifically because CNW

their thousands of employees because Google provides all the food for them,” Gruber said. Describing Google’s flagship Chelsea building, he said, “There’s food every 100 feet — and it’s all free. Guys are making poached salmon with steamed vegetables. They don’t want people to leave.” Like Miller, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said his group is concerned about the impact Google would have on the area. “As a commercial development, regardless of who it is, it’s going to generate a lot of traffic,” he said. “And there’s not a lot of public transportation there. Residential use at that site would have led to less traffic.” In addition, Berman, citing the development pressure the tech industry has been putting on the West and East Villages. “The concern I have about Google is it further identifies this part of town as the beachhead for technology,” he said. “ ‘Google’ says, this is the best new spot for the industry; this is where tech is.” Phil Mouquinho, a longtime Hudson Square restaurateur, closed down his place, P.J. Charlton, at Greenwich and Charlton Sts., last July because a developer was constructing two 30-story high-rise towers, one on each side of it. Mouquinho is also on the Hudson Square Connection BID’s board. He noted that the goal of rezoning the area about five years ago was to push it from being 96 percent commercial and 4 percent residential to 75 percent commercial and 25 percent residential. But that’s not happening rapidly, as seen in the possible Google deal. “There’s a glut of residential,” Mouquinho explained. He added that Disney plans to commercially redevelop the entire nearby Trinity Real Estate-owned block currently home to City Winery. Disney will pay Trinity $650 million for a 99-year lease for the block. “It’s good because it’s going to populate an area that’s been dead for years,” he said of Google. “It’s bad because of the traffic it’s going to bring and because it’s self-contained,” he added, referring to the company’s gratis grub. Martin Sheridan has owned the Ear Inn bar on Spring St. for 40 years. “It’s not just Google,” he said. “Midtown has moved Downtown. I can’t believe the amount of f---ing building going on. Actually, we’re one of the last ones left.” Recalling the area when he took over the Ear Inn, Sheridan said, “It was the end of the working waterfront. It was desolate. It was garbage trucks on the street. It was a total f---ing mess.” Of the rapid changes on the West Side that now stretch all the way up to Hudson Yards, he reflected, “I’m so surprised. I knew this would happen — but not this fast.” December 13, 2018


Blotter Harass complaint


Google worker DOA

A harassment report was filed for an incident in the lobby of a residential building at 400 W. 43rd St., police said. A man, 45, said that his ex, with whom he has a child, has been sending threatening letters to his home. He also said that his ex, 44, showed up at his residence on Wed., Oct. 31, around 6:30 p.m., and she spoke to the doorman and requested child support. The man also stated that she is calling him and hanging up.

A 22-year-old Google software engineer was found dead at his desk at 111 Eighth Ave. on Fri., Dec. 7, around 9 p.m., police said. Responding officers found the man, identified as Scott Krulcik, of 249 W. 11th St. in the West Village, unconscious and unresponsive, with no obvious signs of trauma, on the sixth floor of the location. E.M.S. responded and pronounced him dead at the scene. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death. The investigation remains ongoing. The New York Post reported a janitor found Krulcik unconscious at his work terminal in Google’s flagship building in Chelsea at W. 16th St., and that E.M.S. medics tried to perform CPR, but could not revive him. Police said there did not appear to be any criminality involved. Krulcik was from Saratoga, Springs, N.Y., and a Carnegie Mellon University graduate, the tabloid reported. He reportedly did not have any medical conditions.

Scratchy robber Inside the 7-Eleven at 246 W. 23rd St., there was a theft on Fri., Dec. 7, at 2:30 a.m., according to police. A man reportedly reached over the counter and took $110 in scratch-off lottery tickets, then fled in an unknown direction. Video footage is available. There is no description of the man, and the case remains open.

Packages perp Police say that a 41-year-old man “known to the Police Department” has been stealing delivery packages around Manhattan, from Soho to Chelsea and beyond, since at least late September. Police identified the suspect as Evaristo Melendez, 41, 6 feet tall, weighing 165 pounds, with a slim build, a medium complexion, short black hair and brown eyes. In the first incident, Melendez reportedly unlawfully entered a residential building in Chelsea at 262 W. 24th St. around 3:35 p.m. and swiped numerous packages from the lobby. On Thurs., Nov. 8, just before 5 a.m., he reportedly used a cobblestone to smash the front-door window of residential building in Soho at 529 Broome St., then made of with numerous packages from the lobby. On Wed., Nov. 7, just before 4 p.m., he allegedly followed a tenant inside a residential building at 207 E. 37th St., found what he was looking for — more delivery packages — and fled. On Nov. 12, he returned to the same building around 3:30 a.m., forcibly pulled open the lobby door and took numerous packages. He struck on the Upper West Side on Sun., Nov. 11, at a residential abode at 175 W. 72nd St., following in a resident, then grabbing, as usual, delivery packages and fleeing. Returning to the First Precinct on Sun., Nov. 1, he targeted 165 Duane St., following in behind a tenant and then absconding with a load of packages from the lobby. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577TIPS, 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.

Loves Dove Several items were stolen from the Duane Reade at 131 Eighth Ave. on Sat., Dec. 8, police said. Around 10:30 p.m., an employee saw a man enter the store, place several items into a black garbage bag, and then leave. The stolen goods included 24 items of Dove men’s body wash and 12 gift sets. The total value


December 13, 2018


Rough Rudy’s moment COURTESY N.Y.P.D.

Police say this man argued with an older employee at Rudy’s Bar and then, according to the employee, showed a gun in his waistband.

was $489. A canvass was conducted with no results. Video footage is available.

Child saw it all There was a domestic dispute at 427 W. 26th St. on Sat., Dec. 8, at 5:30 a.m., according to a police report. A woman said that her ex-boyfriend, her child’s father, started arguing with her after she refused to have sex with him. The woman, 32, said the man punched her in the face, head and back, causing substantial pain, redness and swelling. She further said their son, a young child, witnessed the assault. She stated there were also past unreported assaults by the man. Justin Dent-Beckett, 32, was arrested the same day for endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

Police said a senior employee at Rudy’s Bar was menaced by a patron on Mon., Nov. 12, at 1:35 a.m. The worker, 72, reportedly got into a verbal dispute with the patron, who was around 30, at the 627 Ninth Ave. watering hole. The younger man exited the place, then lifted his sweatshirt to display what the other man believed to be a gun in his waistband before leaving. The suspect is described as black and last seen wearing a black baseball hat, a black hooded sweatshirt with the “I LOVE NY” logo on it, dark jeans and black sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577TIPS, 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.


Sneaker sneak Surprise attack A man was attacked and robbed while walking at the corner of 10th Ave. and W. 17th St. early Saturday morning, police said. The man, 22, was walking while looking at his phone on Dec. 8 at 2 a.m., when he was punched in his head by an unknown attacker. The victim said he fell unconscious, and when he came to, he noticed that missing were his iPhone XS Gold, two credit cards, an ID card and a health insurance card, with a total value of $3,200. None of the stolen property has been recovered, and a police report said there are possible cameras in the area. There is no current description of the wanted person. CNW

There was an attempted shoplifting incident at the DSW at 40 E. 14 St., on the evening of Tues., Dec. 4, police said. Around 8 p.m., a man reportedly walked into the shoe store, took a pair of Mark Nason sneakers off the rack, put them on, and left. This was all witnessed by a store detective, who stopped the guy outside of the store and was able to recover the stolen shoes, valued at $99. Markisic Rifat, 43, was arrested for misdemeanor petit larceny.

Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson Schneps Community News Group

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December 13, 2018


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Chelsea’s all wet based on puddle study statistics

This puddle in Lower Manhattan may be a contender for the borough’s largest. But Chelsea actually ranks higher for puddle complaints, according to new statistic s. PUDDLES continued from p. 1

20 neighborhoods with the most 311 street-flooding complaints. Marble Hill, Manhattan’s northernmost enclave, had an average of 143 complaints per square mile. But in Marble Hill, the borough’s only neighborhood not actually on the island, is just .11 square miles. Localize says that district’s small size skewed the rate, and the entire neighborhood had 16 complaints since last year. Midtown South, Chelsea and the Upper West Side had 40, 38 and 27 complaints per square mile, respectively, according to the report. Some may speculate why lower-lying areas Downtown and in Lower Manhattan did not top the list — such as the Lower East Side or Battery Park City. Localize urban planner Olivia Jovine speculates it could be because of Schneps Community News Group

Battery Park City’s having more open space along the Hudson River or even the Lower East Side’s community gardens. When it rains, Jovine said, the city’s streets either act like a plate or a sponge. “The reality is the city is not designed to absorb stormwater runoff,” said Jovine. “It’s something that I don’t think is really prioritized when we are talking about development.” Plus, the report is based on 311 complaints, and some neighborhoods may be calling in more than others. Heavy rainfall is more than just wet socks and broken umbrellas. Since 1958, heavy downpours have increased in the Northeast by 55 percent, according to an analysis by Climate Central, a climate change research nonprofit. A recent federal climate report found extreme rain and floods are CNW

already becoming widespread, according to NPR. Localize found that five of the top 10 wettest years in the city have been since 2000. Jovine said initiatives for stormwater absorption like installing “bioswales” — a sidewalk pit designed to absorb stormwater — could mitigate street flooding, especially amid climatechange impacts. The city has installed 3,000 bioswales in the outer boroughs, though not without “Not In My Backyard” pushback, The New York Times reported in 2017. For Jovine, bioswales are a “fantastic” initiative. “That’s thinking about hyperlocal approaches to systemwide issues,” she said. Here is the full list of Localize’s top 20 neighborhoods for street flooding complaints per square mile:

Marble Hill, Manhattan: 143 Midland Beach, Staten Island: 56.1 Stapleton, Staten Island: 44.3 Arrochar, Staten Island: 43 Midtown South, Manhattan: 40.3 Chelsea, Manhattan: 38.2 Rosedale, Queens: 34.4 Coney Island, Brooklyn: 33.7 Far Rockaway, Queens: 33.6 Borough Park, Brooklyn: 30.4 Eltingville, Staten Island: 28.4 Upper West Side, Manhattan: 27.4 Oakwood Heights, Staten Island: 24.8 Gowanus, Brooklyn: 23.6 Laurelton, Queens: 23.1 New Springville, Staten Island: 22.8 Flatbush, Brooklyn: 22.5 St. Albans, Queens: 22.3 Dongan Hills, Staten Island: 21.3 Pelham Gardens, Bronx: 21.2 December 13, 2018


Council, Brewer sue over Two Bridges project BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


ust two days after the City Planning Commission voted 10 to 3 to approve the Two Bridges developments, the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer sued the city. In addition, community groups are readying to sue and a locally based waterfront rezoning effort has been renewed. In court proceedings on Friday — rather than a judge issuing a temporary restraining order blocking the developers from moving ahead — City Planning agreed not to issue approval letters to the Department of Buildings for the project until at least the next court date in February. “As a result of court proceedings Friday, all development is paused until we return to court,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted Sunday afternoon. “We are happy our efforts in court were successful in ensuring development will not proceed until the court has an opportunity to hear our case on the merits.” The city’s Law Department, however, said the developers can move ahead with pre-construction work despite the decision. “The recent court ruling enables [the] developers to move forward with obtaining the preliminary approvals that are necessary before development of the sites,” Law Department spokesperson Nicholas Paolucci said in a statement. For months, locals have protested the towers, which include an 80-story building by JDS Development Group; 62- and 69-story towers by L+M Development Partners and the CIM Group; and a 63story tower by Starrett Group. The Council’s suit hinges on a technicality that considers the projects “minor modifications,” exempting them from having to go through the public-review process known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP. In a statement, Brewer said, “I don’t

The Two Bridges area is slated for development with four new megatowers, above. An 80-stor y tower, by Extell, dubbed One Manhattan Square, has already “topped out” and is being readied for occupanc y.

benefits, including the fact that nearly 700 of the 2,775 units would be affordable, there would be improvements to green spaces, new elevators added at the East Broadway station, and — announced Dec. 5, the day of the vote — $12.5 million in improvements to a New York City Housing Authority development at 286 South St. City Planning is also working with the developers to improve waterfront access to bike lanes and ferry services. “This represents the largest privately financed affordable housing development in the city’s history,” Marisa Lago, chair-

like suing the mayor or his agencies, but if that’s what it takes to get the residents of Two Bridges the full review and real negotiation they’re entitled to under the law, then I’m all in.” Councilmember Margaret Chin said in a statement, “My colleagues and I could not stand by as an entire neighborhood’s worth of rezoning was categorized as a ‘minor modification.’ The residents of Two Bridges deserve a full public review process and I will not rest until they receive it.” City Planning emphasized the projects’

person of City Planning, said in a statement. She added that building “significant amounts of new housing in Lower Manhattan is a truly rare opportunity.” The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side and the Lower East Side Organized Neighbors are expected to sue the city on the grounds that the towers themselves violate zoning — which differs from the Council’s effort to push for a longer public review under ULURP. Tenants United Fighting for the Lower East Side (TUFF-LES), Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), CAAAV and the Lands End 1 Tenants’ Association are expected to sue, as well. Neither community lawsuit had been filed as of press time. In addition, TUFF-LES, GOLES and CAAAV, as well as Community Board 3, announced their renewed effort to rezone the Lower East Side and Chinatown waterfront, based on years of community-led discussions. The special district they’re proposing would require half of all new units to be permanently affordable for income levels similar to those of current Two Bridges residents. The special district would include tenant anti-harassment measures, limit ground-floor uses to “neighborhoodoriented” retail or “community-supportive” uses, limit banks and drugstores to 40-foot-wide storefronts, restrict retail to less than 5,000 square feet, and cap construction at 350 feet tall. “As residents, we applaud the City Council for taking the bold step of filing a lawsuit today,” said Grace Mak, TUFFLES board member. “We hope they will continue to move strongly in favor of just, equitable and community-led development by supporting our rezoning of the Two Bridges waterfront.”

New bills focusing on hate-crime prevention HATE continued from p. 1

would coordinate efforts between the Human Rights Commission’s bias response teams and the Police Department and other entities, such as the Department of Education and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit to address communities experiencing trauma. Rather than create additional bureaucracy with an additional mayoral office, Levine argues that the office would further streamline response because of increased coordination through unified budget requests and avoidance of interagency turf wars. A second proposal, led by Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, would re-


December 13, 2018

has seen a slew of hate incidents. A Bedford-Stuyvesant man vandalized a Prospect Heights synagogue and set fires at two Williamsburg Jewish sites. A Columbia University professor’s office space was found painted with swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur, the New York Times reported. And in a separate incident, a Columbia student went off on a racist tirade at people of color about how much he loves white men in a video that has since gone viral on Twitter. Racist vandalism at Lower Manhattan’s African Burial Ground Monument led to an arrest last month, Gothamist reported. In Queens, a man fractured a woman’s spine in a homophobic incident in which she was reportedly called a “dyke.”

quire Levine’s proposed Office of Hate Crime Prevention to work with D.O.E. to create a K-12 curriculum addressing issues related to hate crimes. “People don’t realize what the Jewish people went through during World War II,” Deutsch said, adding his parents are Holocaust survivors. “We need to make sure that our future generations are educated about such hate crimes.” “We need to take preventive measures to educate the public on crime prevention tips,” said Deutsch, who represents parts of Brooklyn, including Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay. “We need to understand what the motives are here in New York City of those hate crimes.” In the past few weeks alone, the city


These types of incidents have increased, according to Deutsch. There have been 331 hate crimes so far in 2018 — 17 more than in 2017, Deutsch said Dec. 4. Over half of these targeted Jewish people. There have also been 15 hate crimes involving assault, up from four last year, Deutsch said. “This is very disturbing,” Deutsch said. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez emphasized the problem is a nationwide issue, and she will be re-introducing legislation to fund $50 million for hate crime prevention when the House reconvenes. “We also need a change of tone in this nation,” Velásquez said. “Our leaders need to know that words have consequences.”

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A rendering of the new ar ts incubator space in Hudson Yards.

‘Snarky’ new arts incubator at Hudson Square BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


new art exhibit — dubbed “Snark Park” — is expected to open in mid-March in Hudson

Yards. The design studio Snarkitecture is partnering with developers of Manhattan’s new West Side neighborhood Hudson Yards for an immersive installation on 20 Hudson Yards’ second floor.

“Our aim has always been to create architecture that performs unexpectedly, to explore the edges of art and architecture,” Snarkitecture’s Daniel Arsham said. “With Snark Park we hope to encourage visitors to reconsider their built environment with childlike wonder.” Snarkitecture has previously collaborated with the National Building Museum on installations called “THE

“Snark Park will act as an incubator for a host of bold new concepts — a catalyst for our imagination of the future of cultural spaces,” Snarkitecture’s Ben Porto said. Snark Park is expected to include “museum-quality” installations that incorporate everyday objects and housing design into works for all ages to explore. Snark Park will host three exhibitions each year.


BEACH” and “FUN HOUSE,” as well as with Calvin Klein and the New Museum on previous works. The latest exhibition comes just after Snarkitecture’s tenth anniversary. With thousands of new residents expected to move into the new developments, Hudson Yards will also be home to The Shed, a new art center, as well as a new 750-seat public school, shops, restaurants, a hotel, and 5 acres of open space.

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Schneps Community News Group


McReynolds memorial was a sentimental journey BY MARY REINHOLZ


two-hour memorial on the afternoon of Sat., Dec. 1, for pacifist and democratic socialist leader David McReynolds began and ended just as he had carefully planned it. It started with blues by jazz great Bessie Smith and concluded with Beethoven’s Ninth. The powerful choral symphony seemed to swell into hosannas from heaven descending on Judson Memorial Church, at 55 Washington Square South. “David was an atheist but he was very spiritual and believed in something bigger than himself,” Bruce Cronin, chairperson and professor of political science at City College of New York, told The Villager. Cronin was one of several organizers of the event who had been regulars at Friday night get-togethers that the high-minded McReynolds hosted at his modest East Village co-op apartment. An overflow crowd of at least 275 souls packed the second floor of the famously liberal house of worship. After taking their seats, they later rose to salute a man who had dedicated his life to noble causes, and was the first openly gay candidate for president on the Socialist Party U.S.A. ticket in 1980 and 2000. McReynolds died of multiple organ failure on Aug. 17 at age 88 after a fall in his first-floor railroad flat for low-income residents. “So many of our colleagues have died,” mused Janet Gerson, 70, a former executive director of the now-defunct Brecht Forum in Brooklyn who arrived at Judson from the Upper West Side shortly before the program began. She called the memorial “a historic moment, because the people who came here have so many stories to tell,” as well as an opportunity to reconnect. She gestured toward graying activists in the room who remain affiliated with the War Resisters League, the Quakers and the Catholic Worker movement. At the entrance of the hall were political pamphlets and copies of the Catholic Worker newspaper, plus political buttons with peace and antinuke slogans like, “You Can’t Hug Your enemies with nuclear arms!” One button showed an image of McReynolds with no words. “He survived so much in his life,” Gerson said of McReynolds, who had been to meetings at Brecht, the now defunct Marxist educational center. She didn’t know him personally but said her daughter was an intern for the War Resisters League, the pacifist group in Noho where McReynolds served as field secretary for nearly 40 years. During his tenure at W.R.L., McReynolds Schneps Community News Group


The crowd at Judson Church during David McReynolds’s Dec. 1 memorial as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” played.

middle-class WASP family” in Los Angeles and had remained in touch with relatives throughout his life. He noted that McReynolds, like most teenagers, rebelled against his “Republican Baptist” father, a journalist and adman who had served in the military reserves. David had “long, loud” debates with his father, Martin said, noting that their parents lovingly accepted David’s homosexuality. Marcia Berman, a longtime friend of McReynolds from Los Angeles, told the audience that she remembered meeting David when she was 16 and in high school and later encountering him at a party when he was at U.C.L.A., studying political science. “I had a couple [drinks],” she recounted, noting that David was “so handsome that I wanted him to kiss me” but to no avail, she said, drawing laughter from the crowd. Among the peacenik speakers were Ruth Benn, a former W.R.L. colleague of McReynolds who helped organize

burned his draft card in 1965 with four other activists in Union Square — when it was a federal crime to do so — and traveled around the world to organize anti-war demonstrations. Lilly Rivlin, an 82-year-old filmmaker who lives at Westbeth in the West Village, said McReynolds stood out among other militants, in part, because “he was always there. He was a friend of Grace Paley and that’s how I got to know him,” she went on, referring to the Pulitzer Prize-winning short story writer. Rivlin handed a flier to this reporter that announced the Dec. 4 premiere on WNET New York of her film on Heather Booth, an advocate for civil rights and feminism. Speakers at the event addressed the crowd at a podium near a photo of McReynolds, who was also a prolific writer, photographer and amateur magician. His younger brother, Martin, who traveled to the memorial from Santa Rosa, California, said his outspoken sibling grew up in a “conventional TVG

his massive collection of photography; attorney Matt Daloisio, an associate editor at the Catholic Worker; Joanne Sheehan, former chairperson of War Resisters International; and poet/actor Chris Brandt. All of McReynolds’s cousins were said to be in the audience. Several speakers served up humorous anecdotes about McReynolds, who himself was a witty man, one with a deeply sentimental side and “occasional authoritarian tendencies,” observed Cronin in his remarks. “Every year, always on the Friday before Christmas, he would light candles for people who had died,” he said. “He didn’t necessarily like all the people, only that they lived in New York and had touched his life in some way.” McReynolds was also a good cook, and when the program ended, attendees were invited to sample snacks in the back of the room. The goodies included hummus, which he used to make himself with plenty of garlic, along with cheese and wine. December 13, 2018


Letters to the Editor

Schneps Community News Group

Don’t move/remove Scoopy! To The Editor: A belated welcome to the new owners of The Villager, Schneps Community News Group. Reading The Villager is a treasured part of the life of this community. We understand that every new administration brings about change and a new signature. This new organization has done this well and with thoughtful dignity. We appreciate identity changes you made, even though our community newspaper “looks” a bit different! We count on Lincoln Anderson for all the important stuff we need to know — he never lets us down. We are grateful to have Tequila Minsky photos and all the fine reporting in our weekly paper, as well. However, you have gone too far with changes! Our habits are by now ingrained. When the new current copy is in our hands, we read the headlines on the front page and then immediately turn to and read the second page first — but it’s gone? Please! Please! Please! Bring back Scoopy! I ask for backup on this — please write in if you agree! Mary Johnson

Covering Manhattan in more ways than one

Queens loves Scoopy! To The Editor: Is Scoopy’s Notebook still running? The last column was Nov. 1. I reside in Queens, but love to keep up with what is happening in the Village. First Rev. Jen is gone. Thank you for “listening.” Maxine Simpson Editor’s note: Yes, Scoopy has had to take a brief hiatus — make that a “hi-cat-us” — but will be back in next week’s issue. But not on Page 2.

To The Editor: Re “Tea & Sympathy needs cash TLC amid rising costs” (news article, Dec. 6): Hey, you can’t continue a business depending on charity. The taxes and rents in New York City will only go higher. GoFundMe for now might help you this year. How about next year, and the years after?


December 13, 2018

Angela Lee

Does C.B. 2 vote matter? To The Editor: Re “Board 2 nixes Village school’s expansion plan” (news article, Nov. 29): I fail to see how the plan respects the community at all. Or why the imagined needs of a private school, however venerable, should take precedence over the character of a historically residential neighborhood. Will the board’s vote mean anything? Michael Lassell

Not fooled by Chin To The Editor: Re “ ‘Tombs’ turnaround: City shifts jail site 3 blocks north” (news article, Nov. 29): Councilmember Margaret Chin is taking credit for this? Gimme a break. Chin was nowhere to be seen at the huge community-organized meeting in October that more than 200 Chinatown residents attended to protest this plan. Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and state Senator Brian Kavanagh attended that meeting and are willing to help us. Chin was too fearful to attend and face her Chinatown constituents, who all know that she is de Blasio’s lapdog. Now de Blasio withdraws the plan for practical reasons and Chin wants us to believe she is responsible? Yet another sellout by Chin. Chris Yu

Carry on…in Jersey City?


I read that there is a large concentration of British expats in Jersey City. They got pushed out of New York City by the same factors making it hard for Nicky Perry to continue her business in the Village. Rent and property tax there is amazingly cheap.


Publisher of The Villager, Villager Express, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express and Manhattan Express PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS






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 Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES GAYLE GREENBURG JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO ELIZABETH POLLY PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by City Media LLC One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2018 City Media, LLC

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Schneps Community News Group


Doris Diether’s friends are organizing a bir thday par ty for the legendar y activist, who is one of the city’s longest-ser ving communit y board members, to mark her hitting the big “9-0.”

90th birthday bash for iconic activist Doris BY GARY SHAPIRO


oon after arriving in Greenwich Village in 1950, Doris Diether crossed the doorstep of Judson Memorial Church. This was 69 years ago, more than half the entire history of Judson, whose construction was initiated in 1890. Her 90th birthday will be celebrated at the church on Thurs., Jan. 10. Over the decades, Diether has fought for a vision of Greenwich Village in which urban life on a human scale is championed. She participated in one of the most consequential Village preservationist fights in the 20th century, namely, the campaign to stop Robert Moses from plowing through Washington Square Park. “Moses wanted people on the south side of the park to have Fifth Ave. South addresses,” she said. Diether well recalls that campaign’s most prominent activist, Jane Jacobs. “She was very strong-minded,” she said, “knew what she wanted to do, and wasn’t afraid to fight for it.” This aptly describes Diether herself. Diether once convinced a reticent poet

A few years ago, she heard that musicians in Washington Square might be banned.

E. E. Cummings to speak to the press to save a Patchin Place apartment of his. “He originally hid upstairs when I went over,” she said. Her most amusing activist moment came in 1960. It was at a protest outside then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s office, opposing the demolition of older buildings to put up for luxury apartments. A woman arrived with a pig rented from New Jersey. When no one else would take the rope strung around the pig’s neck, Diether volunteered. “I’ll be back in an hour,” the woman told her. In a black dress and high heels, Diether picketed while holding the porker. A newspaper account reported, “Pig Pickets to Save Village.” One of the longest-serving Manhattan community board members in history, Diether also helped Eighth St. fight development. “That’s why little stores and buildings are still there,” she stated. Regarding the Landmarks Preservation Commission protecting only facades on some buildings in the Village that are worthy of saving, she said, “This is a historic district and not a movie set.”

‘I wish Jane were still here.’ Doris Diether

“I found out by sleuthing around that the Parks Department was having a meeting,” she said. “I told all the musicians. Twenty-five of them showed up.”

She still recalls the look that the meeting organizer gave when she herself showed up. Diether and the musicians prevailed. By the 1960s, Diether had taught herself zoning so thoroughly and was already instructing others, that the City University of New York asked her to teach a course under its auspices. “I was surprised,” she said. “I never graduated from college.” She explained that, to become a zoning expert, one needs to learn a jumble of numbers and letters, such as “C7B,” for example. (For the layperson, that describes a commercial district with certain height restrictions.) Sharon Woolums, chairperson of the Doris Diether Birthday Bash (“DDBB”), said that Deither has been a mentor, a friend and great neighbor to many. “For so many reasons, we all celebrate and love ‘The Queen of Washington Square Park,’” Woolums said. Asked about becoming a nonagenarian, Diether said, “I don’t even think about it. I’m too busy.” Reflecting on all the development in the West Village in recent years, she said, “I wish Jane were still here.”

For more news & events happening now visit www.TheVillager.com Schneps Community News Group


December 13, 2018


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December 13, 2018


Schneps Community News Group


Brompton C.F.O. Lorne Var y flew in from U.K. for the grand opening of the company’s Greenwich Village store this spring. It’s Brompton’s first retail location in the U.S.

Bike shop wants to bring you into the fold BY TEQUILA MINSKY AND LINCOLN ANDERSON


ired of lugging around a heavy bike when you need to take it indoors and maybe up a flight or more of stairs, too? Or maybe your workplace doesn’t allow bikes inside? Or you like having a bike, but just don’t have a lot of space to keep one? Brompton Junction bike shop on Bleecker St. could have your answer. The shop, which opened earlier this year in April at 287 Bleecker St., features folding bikes that are extremely light. Their entry-level model weighs just 28 pounds, while a “superlight” tips the scales at a mere 24 pounds. The bikes can even fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. And since they fold up and fit inside an inconspicuous-looking sack that resembles a gym bag, getting them into office buildings shouldn’t be a problem. Prices range from $1,200 to $4,000, with the average price being around $1,700. Brompton bikes have been made in England since 1975. All the models’ wheel and frame sizes are the same, and there are four styles of handlebars. A bit reminiscent of Vespa scooter fans, Brompton touts a global community, which can connect

Schneps Community News Group

Peter Yuskauskas, Brompton’s vice president of marketing and retail, demonstrated how a folding bike can double as a pushcar t with an attached bag. Behind him on the shelves are arrayed various models of the company’s light weight folding bikes.

through its Facebook page. When the Bleecker store opened, there were 600 Brompton bike owners in TVG

New York City. It’s a commuter bike, but also exercise, a pastime, transportation and a social experience, explained “Bromptonite” Peter Yuskauskas, the company’s vice president of marketing and retail. “It’s about getting people together,” he said of social events for owners. “Our motto is ‘Take Back Transit.’” However, these are not necessarily road bikes, per se, for extended trips. For the most part, people ride them from 5 to 25 miles. As for the cycles’ smaller (and thus, lighter) wheels, they’re actually said to be better for accelerating and maneuvering at lower speeds compared to bigger-wheeled rides. Bigger wheels only start to have an edge when going faster than around 30 miles per hour. And at speeds in the middle range, wheel radius doesn’t really make a difference. The Village store also features high-tech helmets selling for $200 that are Bluetooth-enabled with microphones and speakers and a range of a half-mile. They also rent the bikes — their rental bikes have a high-visibility orange paint job — for $40 a day. Brompton Junction bike store, 287 Bleecker St., between Seventh Ave. South and Jones St. For more information, call 917-965-2856 or visit brompton. com. December 13, 2018



Jingle beers: SantaCon was another swill time Whether you liked it or not, SantaCon revelers invaded large swaths of the cit y last Saturday. They ranged from disco Santas, reindeer and elfs to penguins and Hanukkah Harr ys, and there was even at least one baby Jesus who was looking to pound brews all day long. The booz y kind-of-Christmas-themed bar crawl star ted out at Seventh Ave. and 33rd St. (where all of these photos were taken), and then ever yone went their separate ways in search of alcohol. While many drinking establishments happily welcome the soused St. Nicks, in recent years other places have taken to putting out â&#x20AC;&#x153;No SantaConâ&#x20AC;? signs.


December 13, 2018


Schneps Community News Group

From the Bench

The verdict: Another great V.I.D. holiday party


Judge-elected Alexander Tisch elected to hit the V.I.D. holiday par t y. Judges were definitely in the house at the Village Independent Democratsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; annual holiday par t y this past Sunday at Frieda Bradlowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Charlton St. townhouse. Along with the many magistrates in attendance were judge-elects Wendy Li and Alexander Tisch. Last month, Li won election to the Second District Civil Cour t and Tisch won election to the First District New York State Supreme Cour t. A s usual, there was a judicious number of local politicians, too, including Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, state Senator Brad Hoylman, Cit y Council Speaker Corey Johnson and his chief of staff, Erik Bottcher.

Wendy Li is set to star t in Civil Cour t in the new year â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but first comes the annual V.I.D. holiday par t y at Frieda Bradlowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place.


They might not be judges, but in the holiday spirit, they are cer tainly three wise men, from left, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, his chief of staff Erik Bottcher and state Senator Brad Hoylman.



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Advent & Christmastide at St. Luke’s







CHRISTMAS EVE | MONDAY, DECEMBER 24TH 5:00 pm — Christmas Pageant & Eucharist Our annual Christmas Pageant with the children of St. Luke’s

9:30 pm — Prelude of Christmas Music Seasonal choral music and congregational carol singing

10:00 pm — Festive Choral Eucharist Choir of St. Luke in the Fields with an Ensemble of period instruments

CHRISTMAS DAY | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25TH 10:30 am — Choral Eucharist

NEW YEARS DAY | MONDAY, JANUARY 1ST, 2019 Feast of the Holy Name 12:00 pm — Said Eucharist

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December 13, 2018


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Heather Litteer took her final bows with a flourish of caution tape at the “Low Life 8,” with Chi Chi Valenti behind her on the mike.

All-star lineup evokes Pyramid’s cabaret heyday BY BOB KR ASNER


abaret revues can be hit or miss, and a onenumber-per-act format is sometimes a blessing. This was nowhere near the case, however, at Jackie Factory’s “Low Life 8: Fairytale of New York,” as every act was a crowd pleaser. Produced by Chi Chi Valenti and Johnny Dynell with Howl Arts, the legendary Pyramid stage on Avenue A was host to a mix of talent that ran from seminal performance artist John Kelly to rising star Bobbie, with healthy doses of burlesque, spoken word and dance in between. Dirty Martini closed the first set with a classic striptease that would have been right at home at one of the classic East Village dives that inspired the “Low Life” series — its name taken from Luc Sante’s study of Downtown’s less-than-savory past. Also performing in the first set were Danielle Marie Fusco, Frederico Garcia, Cassandra Rosebeetle and Sherry Vine. Original Pyramid DJ Johnny Dynell went to work spinning classic ’80s jams — Grace Jones, Talking Heads, Sylvester — while the bar sold drinks at ’80s prices. Dancers who filled the floor included April Palmieri, an East Village musician who had performed on this stage back in the day. Impressed by the show, she was hopeful that there would be more to come. “This was an opportunity to see the creative spir-

Schneps Community News Group

Renowned DJ Johnny Dynell kept things spinning. TVG

it that lifted New York out of the run-down, bad old days in the 1980s. Cabaret with stylish abandon!” she exclaimed. “It was especially great to see these acts in the Pyramid.” Emcees Paul Alexander and Chi Chi Valenti took over once again, presenting an over-the-top Poison Eve, who imagined Tanya Ransom as Nina Hagen. The aforementioned Bobbie preceded actress/writer/performance artist Heather Litteer, who entered covered in a trash bag and left wrapped in caution tape. Litteer read an untitled piece she called her “valentine to my beloved Lower East Side,” as Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed and the Ramones sang about New York City in the background. “Being there took me back in time,” Litteer told this reporter later. “Johnny was playing such great music, and I walked to and from the gig, like the old days.” Performing in this venue also brought John Kelly back to his roots. He wrapped up the evening with a poignant rumination on gender, Charles Aznavour’s “What Make a Man a Man?” Valenti was more than pleased with the evening. “It was all eras of legends in a legendary venue,” she said. “We made money for the Howl Emergency Life Project, and it felt like a family night out. We were thrilled.” December 13, 2018


Tums, panini and body parts: Gagner’s world glasses, twiggish arms, huge hands and a gigantic head, sitting bleary-eyed in front of his MacBook with a shot of liquor and a bottle of Tums to calm his nerves. The glow of his laptop harshly illuminates his face like an interrogation lamp or bright headlights, and the way he is hemmed in between the ’70s-style cushion behind his back and the red diner-style table he’s seated at makes him look somewhat trapped. Other paintings, such as “The Artist Rearranged with Pickle,” take a still darker turn. In an apparent nod to Picasso, Gagner paints a still-life-like self-portrait. While it is not entirely clear what is happening in this piece, the artist seems to have depicted himself as if he had been hanged, drawn, quartered and beheaded — as in a medieval punishment for high treason. Surprisingly, though, the painting doesn’t seem overly grim because it is so carefully composed. In his rearranged — and dismembered — state, the flush-cheeked, indefatigable artist still manages to look resolutely ahead with his beheaded head, balance a beer can on his knee with his dismembered leg, and hold up a paintbrush with his amputated arm.



aul Gagner’s paintings have the right mix of self- deprecating humor and swagger. He deftly conveys an anxious, tense state of awkwardness in his paintings through an uncanny arrangement of bodies, body parts and objects. He paints eyeballs, blobs of ketchup, severed feet, boulders, brains, darts, newspapers, hot dogs, French fries, light bulbs, beer cans, mirrors, empty liquor bottles, billiard balls, cigars, ashtrays, outdated VHS tapes, bongs, axes, clocks, yellow legal pads, brick walls, berets, cups of coffee, pencils, mascara, pickles, lipstick, flannel shirts, tubes of paint, laptops, scissors, discarded old canvases, Kleenex boxes, prosthetic arms, ears, noses, candles, college diplomas, gravestones, mismatched socks, snow globes, electrical outlets, concrete blocks, glasses of iced tea and ramekins filled with guacamole. In his paintings, now on view at Freight + Volume on the Lower East Side, there is something at once strange and anxiety-inducing but also comical about the seemingly confessional accumulation of seemingly random objects. It’s as if the artist is one step away from a breakdown that could set him down a path to becoming a hoarder, and so he is constantly careful to order the potential chaos in his environment. In “Stoop Sale,” for example, the surprisingly personal, unwanted junk of the household is spread out on the steps for neighbors and strangers to peruse. Used dildos, the ugly sweater painting, underwear, mismatched socks, a fax machine and an old construction boot are all offered up for bargain prices. Gagner’s paint handling, the way that texture is built up on the surface of his canvases, the memory of the paint surface and his strategic use of impasto and sgraffito allow him to render familiar objects in a surprisingly particular and specific way. This is true in “Stoop Sale,” but especially so in a work like “Panini, with Kelley, Baldessari, and Dix,” a depiction of an enormous toasted sandwich on a stack of art books.

Paul Gagner’s exhibit “Holding Out for a Hero” will be on view at Freight + Volume, at 97 Allen St., between Delancey and Broome Sts., through Jan. 6, 2019. “24 Hour News C ycle” (2016), by Paul Gagner, oil on canvas, 48 inches by 4 4 inches.

Similarly, “The Ambassador,” a wonderfully awkward painting in which a pipe smoker with a stubbly beard, and wearing a bright hipster ugly sweater, has half his head cut off. In the painting “24 Hour News Cycle,” the tone turns a little darker. In this piece, Gagner paints a comically unflattering portrait of himself looking a bit like a hunchbacked troll with thick

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December 13, 2018

The Bohemians

Dream within a Dream

by Claude Solnik

Written & Directed by

Directed by Hamza Zaman

Bina Sharif

Thur - Sat 8PM, Sun 3PM

Thur - Sat 8PM, Sun 3PM

December 06 - 22

December 13 - 30

“The Ar tist Rearranged With Pickle” (2016), by Paul Gagner, oil on canvas, 48 inches by 4 4 inches. TVG

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Fast-casual Afro-fusion at Berber St. Food BY GABE HERMAN


erber Street Food, a small, fast-casual restaurant serving Afro-fusion food, has been an instant hit in the Village since opening in August at 35 Carmine St. With dishes and flavors from countries all over the world, and prepared on location in a homemade style, Berber has gained a loyal following. About 80 percent of its business comes from regulars who work and live in the neighborhood, according to owner and chef Diana Tandia. “I am very surprised with the warm welcome I got from the neighborhood,” Tandia said. She added that lunch is always packed during the week, and that even though she isn’t adept at social media, word of mouth keeps bringing in more customers. “I was really scared opening this place, because I didn’t know how people would approach Afro-fusion cuisine,” she admitted. “But I think it’s amazing. I am surprised myself.” She said of all the regulars that come in, “It’s like my second family here.” Tandia worked in fine dining for 10 years before deciding to start her own place, both to spend more time with her son and to allow her to travel more. “I wanted to expand my knowledge in cooking, and lean more toward Asian cooking.” She has recently been to Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia, and spent most of the past summer cooking in Bali. Tandia is from Mauritania in West Africa, and said she speaks French and multiple African dialects.


Berber Street Food’s Diana Tandia, left, and her sous-chef, Guillermina Solis.

There is a big West African influence on the menu, she noted, including Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegalese empanadas. Tandia said her grandmother on her father’s side is Senegalese. There are also Caribbean influences. In the custom bowl, the fried rice option is Indonesian and the veggie options change daily. On a recent day it was roasted squash with thyme, but Tandia said it could be broccoli, or she may wok vegetables with sesame oil.



“It just depends what my mood is today, it changes all the time,” she said of what’s on the menu. There are also French influences, including a “Colonial Quiche Lorraine,” and French options for the custom bowls. Other menu options include Moorish kebab, Senegalese Djolof Fried Rice, Calypso Jerk Wings and an African Street Burger, which is marinated and served with piri-piri, an African hot sauce. “Everything is homemade,” Tandia said, adding that she and the staff come in at 8 a.m. to start preparing the food, and don’t open until noon. The jerk chicken, for example, is marinated for up to 48 hours before being grilled, cut and finished in the oven. Tandia said she focused on street food because it’s the most authentic. “All around the world, I try only street food,” she said. “I’m a big believer if you really want to get a taste of a country, you should start with the street food.” Berber Street Food is closed on weekends, which Tandia said lets her spend time with her son after she works long hours during the week. And she said she’s not worried about losing business because of all the regulars she gets during weekdays. She rents the place for private events on weekends and does some catering work, as well. Berber Street Food, at 35 Carmine St., 646-8700495, berberstreetfood.com, does not take reservations but offers delivery via Seamless.



BY CARL ORFF Bolshoi Symphonic Orchestra of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Yurlov Capella Choir, Soloists of Bolshoi Theater, Conductor Jan Latham-Koenig (UK), Director Igor Ushakov (Bolshoi Theatre Russia)

December 29 TH s 8 PM

Bolshoi Theater soloists Anna Aglatova, Stanislav Mostovoy, and Vasiliy Laduk sing with Yurlov Capella Choir and Bolshoi Symphonic Orchestra of Moscow Conservatory. Inspired by Medieval poetry, Carl Orff wrote his cantata Carmina Burana. To emphasize the power of this work and its philosophical and emotional meaning, the music will be accompanied by visual effects, including laser projections of art masterpieces housed in Russian museums from the Middle Ages.

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December 13, 2018


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December 13, 2018


Manhattan Happenings COMMUNITY Angel Alliance Cookie Bake-Off and Holiday Sweets Sale at the Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community, 402 E. 8th St. near Ave. D, Sat., Dec. 15, noon to 3 p.m. Comedian and actress Amy Sedaris will join leader of the SheChef Movement Elle Simone, owner of Flour Shop Amirah Kassem, model and stylist Connie Girl Fleming, director of the Girls Club Culinary Education Programs Valerie Calindo for a bake-off contest and sweets sale to benefit culinary training programs at the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Fill empty cookie tins priced between $20 and $50 with homemade sweets. Event organized by the Lower Eastside Girls Club Angel Alliance Junior Board. For more information, visit www.girlsclub. org/event/angel-alliance-cookie-bakeoff. Town Hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio in Council District 4. Councilmember Keith Powers, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger, and Assemblymember Dan Quart join the mayor for a town hall at Hunter College, West Building, 904 Lexington Ave. on the corner of 68th St. on Wed., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. and close at 7 p.m. Space is limited, and the city encourages the public to RSVP by Tues., Dec. 18. To RSVP, visit www.nyc.gov/cd4townhall, email manhattantownhall@cityhall.nyc.gov, or call 212-788-2781.

SHOWS Harlem Stage presents Jazz Rhythms from Around the Globe at Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Ave. at W. 135th St. West African drummer Weedie Braimah, Grammy nominated trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Cuban conguero (a musician who plays the conga drum) will play at Harlem Stage Gatehouse for an evening of global music on Sat., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $25. For more information, visit www.HarlemStage.org or call 212-281-9240, ext. 19. Judy Frank’s solo-show “Notes to Wherever” through Sat., Dec. 22 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St. Actor and playwright Judy Frank has been a member of the Actors Fund since 1969. Frank’s show is a funny, heartfelt story about letting go, particularly about getting through the holidays when you’ve lost your life partner. Proceeds go towards The Actors Fund. Tickets, $40. For more information, visit www.cherrylanetheatre.org/


December 13, 2018

Judy Frank’s solo-show “Notes to Wherever” runs through Sat., Dec. 22, at the Cherr y Lane Theatre.


U.S. and Europe. Tickets, $28, includes admission and signed book. For more information, visit www.strandbooks. com/event/congo-stories-john-prendergast-fidel-bafilemba-ryan-gosling-chouchou-namegabe.

A Holiday Celebration and Concert for Peace: The office of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and the East Side World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee hosts a remembrance concert featuring chorus Cantori New York and Mark Shapiro, artistic director and conductor on Tues., Dec. 18. A holiday celebration will be held at 5 p.m. and concert at 7 p.m at the Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Ave. between 74th and 75th Sts. Refreshments couresty of the Mansion Restaurant. RSVP at seawrightr@nyassembly.gov or call 212-288-4607. FREE

HOLIDAY East Village Stand Holiday Market, through Mon., Dec. 24: At the corner of E. Seventh St. and Avenue C. The market features various vendors selling glassware, picture frames, smoked sea salt, chocolates and cookies, jewelry and ornaments and more. Food and refreshments provided. For more information, contact eastvillagemarket@juno.com. FREE

BOOKS “Congo Stories,” signing with John Prendergast, Fidel Bafilemba, Ryan Gosling and Chouchou Namegabe at the Strand Bookstore’s Rare Book Room on the third floor, 828 Broadway on Fri., Dec. 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m. “Congo Stories: Battling Five Centuries of Exploitation and Greed” highlights how the Democratic Republic of Congo has been impacted for helping to build, develop, advance and safeguard the

Holiday Market at the Oculus, through Mon., Dec. 31: Westfield World Trade Center features the Holiday Market at the Oculus, turning Lower Manhattan into a “winter wonderland.” The market will feature specialty shops, live performances through Dec. 9, and happy-hour specials and eateries. For more information on the full holiday proTVG

gram, visit www.westfield.com/wtc/ holiday. FREE Union Square Holiday Market, through Mon., Dec. 24, at the South Plaza in Union Square Park. Hours Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.urbanspacenyc.com/ union-square-holiday-market. FREE

PRECINCT COUNCIL Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting at 321 E. 5th St., Tues., Dec. 18, 7 p.m. 13th Precinct Community Council meeting at 230 E. 21st St., Tues., Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m. Midtown North Precinct Community Council meeting at 306 W. 54th St., Tues., Dec. 18, 7 p.m. Midtown South Precinct CommuHAPPENINGS continued on p. 25 Schneps Community News Group

Manhattan Happenings

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Mayor Bill de Blasio will headline a town hall meeting on communit y issues on the Upper East Side on Wed., Dec. 19. HAPPENINGS continued from p. 24

nity Council meeting in the lobby of the New Yorker Hotel at 481 Eighth Ave., Thurs., Dec. 20, 7 p.m. 24th Precinct Community Council meeting at 151 W 100th St., Wed., Dec. 19, 7 p.m. 25th Precinct Community Council meeting at 120 E 119th St., Thurs., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. 30th Precinct Community Council meeting at 451 W. 151st. St., Thurs., Dec. 20, 7 p.m. 32nd Precinct Community Council meeting at the community center at 34 W. 134th St., Thurs., Dec. 20, 7 p.m.

COMMUNITY BOARD Community Board 1 monthly full board meeting at Spruce Street School, P.S. 397, 12 Spruce St., Wed., Dec. 19, 6 p.m.

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Community Board 2 monthly full board meeting at Greenwich Village Elementary School, P.S. 41, 116 W. 11th St., Thurs., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. Community Board 3 monthly full board meeting at P.S. 20, 116 Essex St. between E. Houston and Stanton Sts., Thurs., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. Community Board 5 monthly full board meeting at Xavier High School, second-floor library, 30 W. 16th St., Thurs., Dec. 13, 6 p.m. Community Board 8 monthly full board and land use meeting at New York Blood Center’s auditorium, 310 E. 67th St., Tues., Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m. Community Board 9 monthly full board meeting at Castle Gardens, 625 W. 140th St., Thurs., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. Community Board 11 monthly full board meeting at Terence Cardinal Cooke Medical Center, 1249 Fifth Ave., Tues., Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m.


December 13, 2018



Alber t Fabozzi, far right, gave kids raffle tickets at the Tompkins tree lighting, as looking on, from left, were Jimmy Carbone, of the East Village Independent Merchants A ssociation; Charles Branstool, of Exit9 gift shop on Avenue A; and Councilmember Carlina Rivera.

Carols, cocoa, community at Tompkins lighting BY BOB KR ASNER


he annual tree-lighting ceremony in Tompkins Square Park had plenty of things to make people smile — free hot chocolate and coffee, prizes for the kids, seasonal tunes and, of course, the illuminated tree. No one seemed happier than Albert Fabozzi, whose eyes gleamed as he handed out raffle tickets to every child he could find. Fabozzi, the president of the Tompkins Square Park Neighborhood Coalition, planted the tree in 1992 as a tribute to his departed partner, Glenn Barnett, a victim of AIDS. “It’s hard for me,” Fabozzi said, “because I miss the people who enriched my life. But I’m so happy to be able to do this.” Familiar faces contributed once again to the festive occasion. As in previous years, the musical talents of the Mandel/Lydon trio and a chorus of singers fronted by Crystal Field, who runs the Theater for the New City, led the sizable crowd in singing everything from “Silent Night” to “Jingle Bell Rock.” Also returning was a group of costume-making enthusiasts who refer to themselves as the “AntiCon.” They love getting dressed up for the holiday, but they hate “SantaCon.” So they show up in the park the day after that event in their completely handmade outfits. After the tree-lighting ceremony, they headed over to Lucky, a bar on Avenue B owned by Abby Ehmann, one of the members of their group. Debra Scotti, one of the revelers, explained, “We’re the civilized version of SantaCon.”


December 13, 2018

Cr ystal Field, of Theater for the New Cit y, doing her dramatic recitation of “The Night Before Christmas.”

Caroling at the tree-lighting event.


Hot Chocolate (with marshmallows), once again provided by Veselka, was handed out by Jason Birchard, one of the famed East Village eatery’s owners. “It’s important to give back to the community,” Birchard explained. “And, personally, I love to see the excited kids’ faces!” Jimmy Carbone, of the East Village Independent Merchants Association a.k.a. EVIMA, was in charge of handing out coffee donated by Mud and Three Seat Espresso. He estimated around 500 people — about 100 of them children — showed up this year. Fabozzi continued to beam as he watched the children chasing each other around the shining tree. “I’m just amazed,” he said. “This all started with a memorial.” Schneps Community News Group








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December 13, 2018


Real Estate

Families in small spaces: How do they do it? BY MARTHA WILKIE


ost everyone knows a family crammed into a tiny New York City apartment. Children of different genders can share a room when they’re little, but what happens when they hit adolescence? What’s it like sharing one bathroom? In many families, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that one person may pee while another is in the shower. In researching this article, I heard about unconventional apartment setups and more than one person said, “Oh, don’t write that, people will think we’re weird.” I’m here to tell you nothing is weird when it comes to Manhattan real estate. Whole family shares a bedroom? Rent two apartments in the same building? Kid still sleeps with parent(s) way, way past babyhood? Teen’s bedroom carved out of closets? If it works for you, you know it’s fine. (Technically, the aforementioned closet isn’t up to code since it doesn’t have a window, so don’t tell the building inspector.) On the Upper West Side, the Thompsons (mom, dad, new baby) have a 500-square-foot one-bedroom fifth-story walk-up. Everything is well-edited and multipurpose. For example, their dresser lives in the living room and doubles as a TV stand. “We got rid of our very loved dining table and replaced it with a large desk unit with lots of cubbies and installed floating shelves with hanging bars for clothes,” Amanda Thompson said. “Changing table is in the living room. We had no idea baby girls could shoot pee and poop so far — we end up being human shields for our living space!” They now eat at their coffee table, snuggly seated on the couch. The Barton-Zagoria family of four lives in a smallish two-bedroom, onebath near Stuyvesant Square; James, 10, and Grace, 13, share a room. The common room serves as home office, dining and living space. “We renovated, maximized built-ins, and the dining room table is the everything table,” Jennifer Barton explained. Daughter Grace added, “Sharing a bedroom and bath can be frustrating at times, but it’s worth it to live in the city.” Jennifer gets up at 5 a.m. every day so she can have proper bathroom time. They’ve looked for a bigger space, but they love their home — especially their terrace with a dramatic view. “We’re happily stuck,” Jennifer said. “We’d never be able to find anything like this if we moved.” Frances Harrison on the Upper West Side said the right kind of bed can be a boon in close quarters.


December 13, 2018


A one-bedroom on Delancey St., with a Murphy bed in the bedroom and room for a pull-out couch in the living room is going for $450,000. But there’s a prett y low income cap.


A rental duplex one-bedroom in Harlem spor ts original details like decorative fireplaces and a huge mantle mirror for $1,995 per month.

“Post-divorce, I couldn’t afford a twobedroom in a great neighborhood,” she said. “So I compromised, so that my daughter and I could live close to her

school, two glorious parks, good transportation and great grocery stores. I splurged on a good-quality Murphy bed for the living room and gave my daughter TVG

the bedroom. I suspect once she hits her teens and can commute on her own, we might be looking at two-bedroom apartments further Uptown.” Schneps Community News Group

Peter Slavin using a grinder with custom cutting heads to add the details that turned the wall of ice into the menorah.

Holiday on ice: 5th Ave. sports frozen menorah BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


t took a ton-and-a-half of ice — 10 300-pound blocks — to create a super-chill menorah on Fifth Ave. just north of 42nd St. For 15 years running, Chabad of Midtown has sponsored this public menorah. The permit allowed them to go up to 15 feet tall. “Every year, Rabbi Metzger wants us to go higher,” said ice sculptor Peter Slavin. At his studio/warehouse in Philadelphia, Slavin makes his own ice for the project. He uses machines that each take three days to make two blocks. He has a total of 10 machines that freeze 40 blocks a week. He drives up all his materials to the city. This is the fifth year that he and his team have sculpted this Fifth Ave. tribute to Hanukkah. The finished menorah glows at night when colorful lights shine through the translucent ice. Working on Hanukkah’s fourth night, Slavin used a chainsaw to carve out the basic shape. Then, grinders and custom spinning heads are used to create the detailing that turns a mammoth ice block into a menorah. Then the whole thing is splashed with water for a finishing touch. Finally, a blowtorch burns off all the fine ice dust from the grinding, melting

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the impurities and leaving a completely transparent glass-like sculpture. On Wednesday, it took about a toenumbing hour and half for completion, witnessed by a growing crowd of locals and tourists braving the 38-degree weather. On one of the top rungs of a ladder, Rabbi Metzger held a small blowtorch, recited the two blessings and lit the propane lamps situated at the top. Rewards for the cold and patient fans were latkes and sufganyot —round donuts filled with jam or custard. Slavin carved his first ice when he was 20. He attended art school, but it was after a career as a chef at the Manhattan Grand Hyatt that he parlayed his love of ice into his profession for the last 15 years. Slavin says that he comes from a dual-religion household and the experience of sculpting these monumental menorahs has brought him closer to his heritage. Ice menorahs aren’t the only creative public menorahs in the U.S. sponsored by Chabad. This year, in California there was a surfboard menorah, a Lego menorah and one made from bowling pins. In Vail, Colorado there was a menorah made from skis, and in Oxford, Ohio, one was made from canned foods, to be distributed after the holiday. This Fifth Ave. menorah will stay up until it melts.


Ten 300-pound blocks of ice were piled high to make the menorah.


December 13, 2018




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December 13, 2018