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Chelsea VOLUME 11, ISSUE 3

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

JANUARY 17 - 23, 2019

‘DISCOVERING’ NEW HUDSON YARDS SHOPPING HUB Page 8

GOV: WE’LL FINISH HUDSON RIVER PARK Page 5

NEW YORK FAMILY Register Today at NewYorkFamily.com/Camps Sat., Jan. 26, 2019, 12-3pm UPPER EAST SIDE St. Jean Baptiste High School 167 East 75th Street

Sun., January 27, 2019, 12-3pm UPPER WEST SIDE Congregation Rodeph Sholom 7 West 83rd Street

Sat., Feb. 2, 2019, 12-3pm TRIBECA/BATTERY PARK Asphalt Green 212 North End Avenue


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M.T.A. meeting on L train had ‘tunnel vision’ BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

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etails of a new alternative plan to repair the L train’s East River tubes were presented at a hastily called emergency board meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday afternoon. However, speaking afterward, Downtown Manhattan residents said they had hoped to hear about more than just the minutiae of the tunnel-repair work. What they really wanted to know was more about the “aboveground” aspects of the former plan — such as bike lanes and the 14th St. “busway,” for example — specifically, whether these would now be kept or scrapped. Similarly, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also said she had hoped for a wider-ranging discussion. The 11th-hour emergency board meeting, announced only last Sunday by Acting M.T.A. Chairperson Fernando Ferrer, came as somewhat of a surprise to many board members. The discussion centered on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s last-minute proposal —announced less than two weeks before — that would derail the proposed 15-month complete shutdown of Ltrain services between Manhattan and Brooklyn that had been in the works for nearly three years. Instead of the so-called “L-pocalypse,” the modified plan would only require an unspecified amount of weekend and nighttime shutdowns of one of the two Canarsie tunnels at a time, allowing the L train to run while repairs are being made. The emergency meeting was held at the agency’s 2 Broadway headquarters. Acting M.T.A. Chairperson Ferrer kicked off the session’s nonpublic portion by telling the packed room of concerned residents that he asked for this meeting “because I want the board to have extra time to consider the plan.” He added he feels that the new alternative plan is a sound one, but wants to ensure the final scheme is the best one possible. “If we’re going to undertake a major project and spend millions of dollars in the process, let’s build something better,” he said. Ferrer also told board members that a third-party consultant would review any safety and environmental considerations and then make a report back to the M.T.A. board. Ferrer was followed by Jerry Jannetti, the senior vice president of WSP, the main engineering consulting firm that helped devise the original shutdown plan, and is now also involved in Cuomo’s alternative proposal. Jannetti presented a lengthy technical description of what type of reconstruction work the new plan would entail. Instead of a complete replacement of all the East River tunnels’ concrete Schneps Media

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Judy Pesin of the 14th St. Coalition told the M.T. A . board that Village and Chelsea locals never wanted the 14th St. “busway” and the already-installed new bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. that were par t of the “mitigation plan” for the full L-train shutdown.

Andy By ford, president of the New York City Transit Authority, far right, and Janno Lieber, chief development officer at the Metropolitan Transpor tation Authorit y, to the left of him, listened intently to the testimony at the M.T. A . emergenc y board meeting.

District Leader Ar thur Schwar tz, who was the attorney on the 14th St. Coalition’s lawsuit against the L-shutdown plan, took in the M.T. A . meeting. Even though Governor Cuomo has called off a fullshutdown plan, the coalition’s lawsuit remains active.

“bench walls” — which encase power and communications cables — Jannetti said the wiring would be “racked” high on the tunnel walls. He also explained that badly damaged sections of the tunnel wall would be removed and the M.T.A. would use a fiberglass polymer to coat and fortify the remaining sections — a technique currently used on bridges and buildings but never before in subway tunnels. Comments about the meeting from local residents ranged from support to disappointment. Judy Pesin, a member of the 14th St. Coalition — the Village/ Chelsea group that fought the original full L-shutdown plan — said she was

district leader in Greenwich Village and counsel to the 14th St. Coalition, agreed. “If there’s no need for alternative services under the revised plan, then we’re not going to need the expanded Select Bus Service,” he declared. Most critical of all was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “I’d like to see a real discussion,” she told this newspaper. “I don’t think the community’s hard questions have been answered. I haven’t heard answers to questions that I have. I don’t have confidence in the WSP consultant. We need an independent evaluation of this plan.”

somewhat satisfied by what she heard. “But we expect that promises from the M.T.A. to keep the community informed will be kept,” she said. “We also want a full review of plans regarding increased bus and bike services along 14th St. and nearby streets.” Betty Grossman, an E. 12th St. resident, called it “a nuts-and-bolts meeting” that did not address local concerns about the impact of increased bicycle and bus services. “We don’t want 14th St. open only to expanded Select Bus Services and more bike lanes that are a danger to pedestrians,” she stressed. Arthur Schwartz, a Democratic CNW

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Police Blotter TENTH PRECINCT Cashed out A thief managed to successfully write 11 fake checks to steal more than $5,200 from a Mediterranean restaurant’s business account on Fri., Jan. 4, according to police. A 36-year-old employee reported to police that the fraudulent checks were addressed to two unknown names. The alleged thief failed to fact-check, however, and misspelled the name of the business, FLÉ-FLÉ Grill, which is located at 254 Eighth Ave., on all of the checks. The restaurateur’s bank refunded him the cash and closed the account. Police have marked the incident as identity theft, but have not yet tracked down the suspect.

Credit check A 39-year-old woman living on W. 23rd St. was checking her credit score the week of New Year’s when she discovered she had $2,099 of debt from “Wow Internet Cable and Phone” from July 2015. The woman told police she didn’t open an account with the cable service, which police say is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado. The woman contacted a collection agency about the unknown debts she had. Police have marked the incident as identity theft, but have not made an arrest.

Gun at D.E.A. Authorities reportedly found a .40-caliber Taurus firearm in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s arrestprocessing area at the federal agency’s Chelsea location, at 99 Tenth Ave., at W. 17th St., on Sat., Jan. 12. The D.E.A. is investigating the case.

Nightclub groping Police arrested a man for allegedly grabbing a woman, 32, by her vaginal area and butt at PHD Dream Downtown on Sun., Jan. 13, at 2 a.m. The man allegedly tried to dance with the woman at the hot spot, at 355 W. 16th St., but then forcibly rubbed his hand over her private areas and grabbed her behind, according to the police report. The woman’s friend also said she witnessed the perv’s unlawful pawing. Itzhak Dana, 42, was arrested. Police referred the case to the department’s Special Victims Division.

COURTESY N.Y.P.D.

An image from a store sur veillance camera shows an employee gesturing with her hand for the pants-dropping perp to get out of the place, but the video clip, provided by police, shows him slapping her hand away.

The window-smasher was described as white, wearing all black.

MIDTOWN SOUTH

Shattering incident A man alleged to police that, while he was driving in Chelsea, a cyclist kicked his driver’s-side mirror purposefully, shattering the glass on Wed., Jan. 2, just after 4:30 p.m. The man, 48, was heading eastbound on W. 18th St. While his car was stopped at a traffic light, the cyclist allegedly shattered his mirror. The man said there was room for the cyclist to pass, and when he yelled for the cyclist to stop, he kept going.

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Pants-drop perp Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man wanted for questioning in connection to a criminal sexual act inside a store in the vicinity of W. 42nd St. and Fifth Ave. at the end of last month. On Sun., Dec. 30, around 1:10 p.m., the suspect entered a store at the location and, while exposing himself to her, demanded the female employee perform a sexual CNW

act on him. A video of the incident shows the employee gesturing with her hand for him to leave the store, but he slaps her hand away. According to police, the man also proceeded to place his bare midsection on another female customer inside the location before fleeing. The individual is described as black, in his mid-20s, around 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. 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.

Sydney Pereira Schneps Media


Cuomo kicks in big cash for Hudson River Park

PHOTO BY DARREN MCGEE

Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking at his annual State of the State address, vowed to finish a major parks project that his father Mario star ted: the Hudson River Park.

BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

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overnor Andrew Cuomo is kicking in $23 million to help finish Hudson River Park, he announced Tuesday in his annual State of the State address. The “magnificent” park on Manhattan’s West Side was started by former Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor David Dinkins, the current governor noted, and now he and Mayor Bill de Blasio will “finally finish that park,” Cuomo said Tuesday. At least year’s State of the State, Cuomo allocated $50 million in funds for the waterfront park, which has been under segment-by-segment construction for more than two decades. “We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership and support and Schneps Media

thank him on behalf of the millions who enjoy and rely on the park,” James Yolles, a spokesperson for the Hudson River Park Trust, said in a statement. “With approximately $900 million in design or under construction through public and private partnerships, the finish line is now within reach.”

mo’s latest pledge, an additional $23 million is still needed for capital projects for portions of the park’s esplanade between 29th and 35th Sts., as well as between 39th and 44th Sts. That figure does not include the open space portion of Pier 40, the commercial redevelopment of Pier 76, and Pier 26’s estuarium and capital maintenance projects, according to Yolles. The Trust has been making headway on a variety of portions of the park in the past year. In November, a $100 million project to repair Pier 40’s dilapidated piles was about one-fi fth of the way completed, funded through a sale of “air rights” from the W. Houston St. pier to the St. John’s Building, where Google plans to expand its offices.

‘The finish line is now within reach.’ James Yolles The Trust says that, even with CuoCNW

The Trust began its construction at Tribeca’s Pier 26 in October with a project to build a “science playground,” two playing fields, a lounge area, tiered seating, and a marsh area designed to attract birds and fi sh native to the Hudson River. Pier 26 is expected to open in 2020, and an estuarium with classrooms and a technology exhibit is planned for the future once the Trust secures more funds. In Hell’s Kitchen’s, Pier 97, at W. 57th St., is also in the design development phase for a $38 million redo. That pier has been rebuilt, but is currently just a concrete slab and still needs to be landscaped and have park amenities added. Januar y 17, 2019

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Letters to the Editor At least there’s Reggio

MEDIA PRINT Digital Events

To The Editor: Re “Caffe Reggio fi nds a formula for survival” (City Business, Jan. 10): A heartening piece to read while mourning the passing of the Cornelia St. Cafe. Kathleen McGee Treat

Tommy Johnson

No retreat on bike lanes!

Sharing Rivington House

Covering Manhattan in more ways than one

Oh, please, bike lanes are the future. Why remove bike lanes to satisfy a few very wealthy people that have cars to park on the street? I’m sorry but these rich people don’t own the street. The bike lanes serve hundreds of people each day.

To The Editor: Re “Push for nursing-home beds at Rivington House” (news article, Jan. 10): Thank you for clear reporting here. This is the neighborhood that welcomed Rivington House for people with AIDS/H.I.V. We won’t be pitted against people who desperately need a home and/or services. Never have. Never will. We share. That is, in fact, one issue with this sudden announcement: Potentially, people in crisis would be pitted against each other, which is unacceptable. So was not vetting this plan through our local elected officials before any “letter of intent” was signed. We are asking to share space with Mt. Sinai/ Beth Israel. The community fought for three-anda-half years to “preserve” this tremendous resource. Rivington House represents 219 “homes” (beds). This was always housing for the disabled, for those stricken with illness requiring 24/7 long-term care, or for those who were dying. We want to build a model of “nursing home” care that would be integrated into our neighborhood for people with Alzheimer’s, other dementias and debilitating diseases, and to return the former evicted tenants who are living with AIDS/H.I.V. We want to share this building, which could be an activated community hub for many real needs in this community. We’ll continue to fight for people whose minds are being slowly taken by yet another disease with no cure and that people ultimately die from.

To The Editor: Re “Broken glass and sharp words over L-shutdown bike lanes” (news article, thevillager.com, Jan. 12): Just to hell with every anti-bicyclist idiot in this goddamn city. If I thought maybe you had some point worth considering against the new bike lanes in the ’hood, you just totally blew it with me with this evil stunt. Now I say: NOT ONE STEP BACK! The bike lanes must stay, despite the canceling of the “Lpocalypse.” Every damn one of them. Happy, jerks? Bill Weinberg

Connecting with e-bikes To The Editor: Re “Sparks fly in debate over electric bicycles” (news article, thevillager.com and Manhattan Express, Jan. 10): Electric-assist, pedal-activated bikes are ideal. You get exercise and decide how much energy to contribute. Throttle electric bikes should be speed-limited. Tens of pounds — not tons, like cars — means fewer and less-severe injuries and almost no deaths. There’s no excuse for riding on sidewalks, although being there is required to get into buildings. Quietness is not so bad but bells and whistles and birdsongs and friendly shout-outs are good, too. Caution and respect for others is best. Steve Stollman

Kathleen Webster

Bike to the future!

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Januar y 17, 2019

To The Editor: Re “Broken glass and sharp words over L-shutdown bike lanes” (news article, thevillager.com, Jan. 12):

REPORTER SYDNEY PEREIRA

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

CONTRIBUTORS IRA BLUTREICH BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY MARY REINHOLZ PAUL SCHINDLER ART DIRECTORS JOHN NAPOLI MARCOS RAMOS

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E-mail letters, maximum 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. 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 Schneps Media 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 © 2019 Schneps Media

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Viewpoint

What is Margaret Chin thinking? Save the garden! BY DONNA SCHAPER

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t pains me to write this op-ed. The stakes are too high not to. We could lose the Elizabeth St. Garden unless Councilwoman Margaret Chin returns to her old self, when she listened to people and fought for human needs. Instead, it seems she ignores the many people who want the garden as it is, and who also want affordable housing. Could it be that Margaret Chin wants housing only in her district, because then she gets credit for those units, instead of considering the wider picture and advocating for more affordable housing nearby — but over the border of her turf? I just joined the committee called 21 in 21 — to elect women Council representatives to the New York City Council. Yes, 21 by 2021. The number of women on the Council is declining, and we will lose another one when Margaret is termlimited out.

Many people have given up on Margaret. I have not. But we want more women because we think they listen better to everyone, which is why we are happy with the new majority leader of the New York State Senate. But what happened to Margaret? She doesn’t meet with people. She didn’t tell Community Board 2 she was taking the garden and partnering with Habitat for Humanity’s proposal. She is not returning our calls. We have invited her to speak at Judson Memorial Church on several occasions about the garden. She agreed to meet with us at her office, but instead she sent her aide. As the pastor of a large institution in the Village, this seems unwise. Of course, our political representatives do not have to agree with me or my constituency. But they should sometimes listen. I have stories she should hear. I would tell her about the 10-year-old in my congregation and in Margaret’s district who caught a firefly on a movie night at the garden. Or the 80-year-old constituent whose only outdoor time is in the garden. Or all the people at Judson this past Sunday, the 13th, wondering about the garden and praying for a little peace to our south. The councilwoman was invited — neither she nor anyone from her office showed up. Unfortunately, many people have given up on Margaret. I have not. Schneps Media

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Reverend Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Church, left, with bir thday girl Doris Diether at Diether’s 90th bir thday bash at the church last Thursday. Three days later, as Schaper writes in this column, there was a concerned discussion among Judson congregants about the dire situation at the Elizabeth St. Garden in Little Italy.

housing on Hudson St. — we found the site, we need an advocate. We are glad that Chin and Mayor de Blasio seek low-cost housing. But scrapping a community garden and gathering place when there are better sites available is impossible to understand. People need housing AND air, sun, trees and each other. To kill that for tiny housing units makes no sense. A delegation from Judson visited with Habit for Humanity to express our concerns. We were well received and hope to remain friends with people

So, I am sending this op-ed over to her before I submit it to the newspapers. The reasons are obvious. We want to keep the garden and we hope her political imagination will show us how. We want more housing, as well, but we have heard that she is not interested in the bigger “alternative site” — at Hudson and Clarkson Sts. — because it is not in her Council district. She talks only about a “compromise” within the tiny green space, in a neighborhood starved for gardens. A better win-win would be to fight for affordable TVG

whose organization many congregations, including ours, have supported for decades. Yet I worry about Habitat’s brand. They look selfish to destroy a garden in order to get a good low rent. As I said, writing this piece is painful. Yet, given my mission, I must speak out loud and plainly. I can’t ignore representatives who ignore my people. I can’t let a garden go easily. Once gone, it won’t come back. Schaper is senior minister, Judson Memorial Church Januar y 17, 2019

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IMAGES COURTESY OXFORD-RELATED

A rendering of The Great Room at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

Lots of new shops to ‘discover’ soon in Yards BY GABE HERMAN

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s the new “mini city” of Hudson Yards keeps coming into being, details were announced on Jan. 15 for the second-floor offerings in the complex’s Shops and Restaurants building, which is shaping up to be quite the luxury upscale retail and dining destination. The “Floor of Discovery,” as the second floor has been dubbed, will seemingly be more experimental and hip, based on the newer and more Internetbased brands that will have stores there and offer experience-based shopping. The Shops and Restaurants building opens on March 15 and will have more than a mile of shopping over all, including more than 100 stores. For retail on the second floor, men’s clothing company Mack Weldon will have its first-ever location; women’s apparel company Heidi Klein will have its first American shop; L’Oreal will offer a “concept store;” and Japanese retailer MUJI’s space will include on-site coffee service and a custom embroidery station. Brian Berger, founder and CEO of Mack Weldon, said in a statement that he was attracted to the Hudson Yards space because of the focus on an “innovative approach to retail.” No details were given about what the store will offer, but he added, “We share the vision that high-touch, immersive and unique customer experiences will continually shape the future of retail. We’re eager to interact face to face with the thousands

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A rendering of the Nor th Galler y at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Square. CNW

of Mack Weldon customers who will be at Hudson Yards daily, providing them with the same convenient shopping experience they’ve had with our brand online for years.” Food and drink shops will include Momofuku’s chicken restaurant Fuku, seafood market Citarella with dine-in and takeout services, and The Drug Store, an experimental beverage shop that tests new products before they’re launched nationally, and which will include a bar and cashierless vending store. Zak Normandin, Founder and C.E.O. of The Drug Store’s parent company Iris Nova, said, “We’re investing in experiential retail to test new concepts and connect with consumers outside of the digital space. The Drug Store at Hudson Yards is a place where customers can enjoy handcrafted versions of new beverage products.” If all of the shops and restaurants won’t be enough to satisfy the senses, the “Floor of Discovery” will also include an art exhibition space called Snark Park, which this paper reported on in December. The space from design studio Snarkitecture will change its featured work three times a year, with each piece “accompanied by a unique retail experience,” according to Hudson Yards. Other floors of the Shops and Restaurants building will include big-name brands like Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Lululemon and Sephora, along with many restaurants from notable chefs including Michael Lomonaco, Costas Spiliadis, and Thomas Keller. Schneps Media


PERSON OF THE YEAR

KEITH WRIGHT: Advocate for justice Pages 9 to 13

PHOTO BT TEQUILA MINSKY

Schneps Media

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A judicious advocate for a diverse bench BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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nyone who knows New York City politics knows Keith Wright well. He’s a veteran of politics in both the city and Albany, who remains a force even more than two years after leaving office. A native son of Harlem, Wright, 64, was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992, going on to win reelection 11 times, serving 24 years, before retiring from Albany in 2016. His tenure in the Assembly saw him champion an array of progressive causes as he chaired various committees over the years, such as Housing, Election Law, Social Services and Labor. He has fought for the rights of domestic workers, boosted benefits for seniors and gone to bat for public housing residents, among others. In a wide-ranging interview, Wright recently talked with Schneps Media about growing up in Harlem — where he still lives — his political career, the critically important task of electing good judges...and, oh yeah, that special election in 2017 when Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh got the nod over District Leader Paul Newell to run to fill the state Senate seat formerly held by Daniel Squadron. Before the Assembly, in what he admits was probably his favorite job

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Keith Wright in his East Midtown office. He currently specializes in government relations.

ever, Wright was the director of thenManhattan Borough President David Dinkins’ s Uptown Office. He loved being on the ground in his own neighborhood, engaging with constituents about their concerns and helping them out. “I got to know and serve my own neighborhood,” he said. “It was a privilege.” He has a political pedigree of sorts. His father, Bruce Wright, was a lawyer

who became a New York State Supreme Court justice. His mother was a principal at a Harlem public school — though Wright himself attended the Ethical Culture School on the Upper West Side and then Fieldston High School in the Bronx, getting an education infused a “humanist” perspective. “They emphasized public service and helping your fellow humans,” Wright said. But what Wright has also been known for since 2009 is perhaps something a little more arcane for the average New Yorker. During that period, he’s been the chairperson of the New York County Committee, and as such, he’s played a very important role. The County Committee, under Wright’s supervision, is responsible for the Democratic judicial candidates that Manhattan voters see on their ballots when they go to the polls. Under a process that has been hailed for creating greater diversity and quality on the bench, Manhattan judicial candidates go through a screening process before panels composed of lawyers and members of community groups. The panels then present up to three candidates for each seat that they deem qualified. “As the chairperson of the New York County Democratic Committee, one of my primary interests is to make sure we have good judges on the bench,” he explained. “Notwithstanding the registration of more voters, our primary function is to have good Democratic judges on the bench and make sure we have good diversity on the bench.” Wright’s predecessor as county leader, the late Herman “Denny” Farrell, who died last May, started the process. “Denny Farrell certainly left a useful blueprint on how to proceed,” Wright said. “In Manhattan, certainly we have one of the most diverse benches in the United States.”

Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick

congratulates her friend and former colleague, the wonderful

Keith Wright 10

Januar y 17, 2019

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On the other hand, New York City’s mayor appoints judges for Criminal Court and Family Court. But the County Committee is the body responsible for the candidates for Civil Court and state Supreme Court that are on the ballot. “They have to go through a very rigorous screening process” to be “reported out” — as in, recommended, by the panels — Wright explained. As County Committee, he’s in charge or organizing these screening panels. Although the New York County Committee did endorse Letitia James for state attorney general in her recent victory, Wright said it won’t be endorsing in next month’s free-for-all special election for public advocate. “You have like 20 candidates,” he said. “I don’t think it makes sense for the County Committee to endorse.” Although Jumaane Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito are the likely frontrunners, it’s anyone’s guess who might win, he said. Wright was also co-chairperson of the New York State Democratic Party for two years from 2012 to 2014. Harlem is a central — and cherished —part of Wright’s identity. He still lives in the same rent-regulated apartment in the Riverton Houses that he grew up in as a kid, at 135th St. and Fifth Ave. When Wright’s father returned from fighting in World War II, the family tried to get into Stuyvesant Town but was rejected. “They said, ‘No blacks allowed,’” Wright recalled, matter of factly. “Listen, that’s part of our history,” he shrugged. “We don’t run away from it.” The Riverton Houses were built for the black middle class, he noted. It was the same concept as Stuy Town, but it was an era when racism was blatant. Nevertheless, Wright loved growing up there, and made great friends there, with the likes of Dinkins, Harry Belafonte, Jr., and others. The Stuy Town rejection wasn’t the first time prejudice would strike his family. His father got into Princeton — with a full scholarship. But when he arrived on campus to check in, he was promptly told he was not welcome, according to Wright. His mother was politically active and took him to the March on Washington when he was 7. Wright has been married for 31 years. His wife isn’t political, but works at Studio Museum of Harlem — another connection to the famed neighborhood. “I tell you, I’m Harlem, brother, stone cold,” he quipped. At the same time, he can’t help but recognize changes to the area. “Every neighborhood changes,” he reflected. “I always say, the white folks WRIGHT continued on p. 12 Schneps Media


 $   #!"  $  #!" $ $! ! #$   $ 

         !"   % ! !   Father of Keith Wright

Under Keith Wright’s leadership, New York County (a/k/a Manhattan) has established the most diverse, progressive and independent-minded judicial benches of any county in the United States.

And, at the same time, no one would ever call Keith Wright, NY County Democratic Leader, a Boss.

Arthur Z. Schwartz Law Chair, Manhattan Democratic Party Democratic Party District Leader of Greenwich Village Political Director – NY Progressive Action Network Principal Attorney, Advocates for Justice, Chartered Attorneys Attorney for the 14th Street Coalition and The Committee to Save Beth Israel Hospital

Schneps Media

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Keith Wright: Judicious advocate for diversity WRIGHT continued from p. 10

aren’t coming to Harlem because they like black folks so much. They’re getting priced out of their neighborhoods. There are places up in the South Bronx where I wouldn’t have picked up a stray dog� that are now trendy, he noted. During his tenure in the Assembly, Wright worked to end vacancy control for rent-regulated apartments and the practice known as “preferential rent.� “It’s pure bait and switch,� he said of the latter, which lures in tenants at lower rents, then seeks to gouge them later. “Especially in Manhattan, the price of every condo is $1 million. Where are people supposed to live?� he said. Wright now works for Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron as the director of its government relations group. “For the first time in my life, I’m making a few dollars,� he mused. “I was making $79,500 for 25 years. That’s all I made – put two kids through college.� As for leaving the Assembly, he quoted Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.� At the firm, he’s been working closely with the group Just Leadership U.S.A., which is working to close down Rikers Island.

“It’s just a cesspool,� he said of Rikers. “I think community jails work better rather than throwing people down the snake pit. I think it’s going to be like [legalizing] marijuana. It’s gonna take time, but it’s going to be closed.� Although the firm’s Sid Davidoff is a lobbyist, Wright noted he himself is not a registered lobbyist. Which brings us to the epic Kavanagh-Newell showdown of September 2017. “It was a mess,� Wright admitted. “I never asked for it.� But, he said, “due to the way that the law was written,� he and Frank Seddio, the Brooklyn party chairperson, had to pick the Democratic nominee for the special election. This was because of a quirky rule applying to “intraborough� seats — for districts spanning two districts. The state Senate seat stretched from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. Seddio chose not even to let his County Committee members vote, and instead just gave all the votes to Kavanagh. In Manhattan, Wright did let his members vote, and Newell got the lion’s share. But when the Manhattan and Brooklyn votes were combined, Kavanagh came out ahead. “I went through a process,� Wright maintained, adding that, in Manhattan, at least, the County Committee does get to vote on such matters. Wright took flak for how it went

down, but he’s unapologetic. “And I haven’t heard from Kavanagh since,� he noted. “He hasn’t called to say, ‘Thank you,’ nothing.� At another point, he actually called Kavanagh “an ingrate.� And Wright said he actually really likes Newell. “Paul Newell’s my guy!� he said. “To be honest — hell yeah! Newell would have been great — no doubt about it. Paul is cool. He’s going to law school and he’s going to be brilliant.� Tony Hoffmann, a former district leader and president of the Village Independent Democrats, hailed Wright for upholding the rigorous screening process for judicial candidates. “New York County, Manhattan, has extremely diverse, quality judges,� he said. “And a lot of it, Keith Wright can take credit for. A large number of women and a large number of minorities, and they’re mainly good. It’s a good judiciary. It started under Denny, and Keith continued it. Before Denny, there were a lot of hacks in the judiciary.� On the Kavanagh-Newell flap, on the other hand, Hoffmann said Wright simply could have said all his County Committee votes were for Newell — essentially overriding the votes for Kavanagh. “Since Newell got two-thirds in Manhattan, we felt he could have put

100 percent behind Newell,� Hoffmann said of Wright, adding, “The votes of the County Committee are not binding.� Told of Hoffmann’s comments, Wright responded, “This was all very much uncharted territory. I could have snapped my fingers and said, ‘It’s Paul Newell.’ But we don’t do that in Manhattan. Others do.� He noted that these intraborough special-election situations “come up every 40 years.� Village Democratic District Leader Arthur Schwartz is a big fan of Wright — and predicts a return to public office for him. “Keith is one of the least arrogant and most personable people in politics,� he said. “And compared to other Democratic County leaders, he does not lead with a heavy hand. “That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t pissed a few people off,� Schwartz added. “But he genuinely wants reformers and party stalwarts to like him. “When I told him I was working with Bernie in 2016, he said, ‘I would have expected nothing less,’ and then allowed an open countywide debate and straw poll to be scheduled — which Bernie won. I cannot imagine that he will not return to elected office — higher than district leader — one day.�

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2Wab`WQb:SORS`aAgZdWO32W>WSb`] AbSdS\AYgZSa;cZZWUO\ AbObS1][[WbbSS;S[PS`a 4`O\QW\S6OaSZY]`\8]V\AVO`^ 1VSZaSO@ST]`[2S[]Q`ObWQ1ZcP Additional Executive Committee Members David Warren, President; Judy Richheimer, Executive Vice President; Mark Gottlieb, Treasurer; Brian Mangan, Vice President; Evelyn Suarez, Vice President; Linda Longstreet, Secretary-Correspondence; Mindy Rosier, SecretaryRecording;David Silverstone, Secretary-Communications; CRDC members at large: Miguel Acevedo, R. Brent English, Wyatt Frank, Arnav Guleria, Tom Hogan, Lisa Nearier, Joanne Sinovoi, Michael Schreiber; former President

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Locals float ideas for even more ferry routes BY GABE HERMAN

M

ayor de Blasio’s State of the City speech on Jan. 10 included an announcement of expanded NYC Ferry service, which received mostly positive feedback — but also some calls for expanded service to other parts of Manhattan that were not mentioned. The 2020-21 expansion plan includes a Staten Island route that will connect to Battery Park City at Vesey St. and Midtown West at Pier 79, at W. 39 St., and a stop in Coney Island that will connect to Bay Ridge and then Pier 11 in the Wall St. area. In announcing ferry expansions in his State of the City, de Blasio remarked, “Every day, millions of us lose minutes — sometimes hours — just getting to work or to school or wherever we have to be. It shouldn’t be this hard to get around in the greatest city in the world. And so we’re giving people more and better options.” Along with new and expanded routes, the plan will see the city invest $100 million in the system, including for new boats, construction of new landings and investment in existing landings. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement about the expansion, “Our city’s ferries have proven to be a great alternate mode of transportation and a useful utilization of our waterfronts. I’m thrilled that ferry service is being expanded across the city, and that residents on the West Side will now have a direct link to Lower Manhattan and Staten Island. I want to thank the Economic Development Corporation and the administration for their commitment to expanding ferry service in the city.” There have been some calls in Manhattan for NYC Ferry to expand more to the West Side, which is less represented in the system even as the service expands to all five boroughs. “What about West Siders that want a watery commute — why no connection to Wall St.?” tweeted Jeffrey LeFrancois, the Meatpacking District Business Improvement District’s director of operations and community affairs. LeFrancois, who was Johnson’s former chief of staff, recalled his joy when the ferry system was first announced six years ago. “Have been pushing since that day for lateral west side service in Manhattan,” he added. “Today we learned that fight will continue on behalf of neighborhoods that are undergoing tremendous development (Hudson Yards, 11th Ave. in Hell’s Kitchen, Hudson Square) with next to ZERO support coming via increased public transit. A connection from Pier 79 to Wall St. is a start, but not the real solution the west side needs to make transit more equitable for even more New Yorkers.” Also on Twitter, local Patrick Alba added about the ferry expansions, “Any plans to use the piers on west 125th in the future? There’s no westside love here.”

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The East Side has seen increased ferry service, like at E. 34th St., above, and now the West Side will be getting some added stops, Mayor de Blasio has announced. But West Siders say they want even more.

Pier 57 in Chelsea is being renovated, and along with outdoor public space and office space leased by Google, there will be a marina there. But the city was not specific in its plans for which existing landings citywide it might invest in going forward. With the city proposing to close East River Park to protect it from flooding,

local Naomi Schiller wrote on Twitter, “If the East River Park is shut down for 3 years or more to create coastal protection, NYC Ferry should run free trips from Corlears Hook and Stuy Cove to Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park. People need parks!” District Leader Daisy Paez, who represents the Lower East Side, replied, “I TVG

made that suggestion! I stand firm on having families from the LES taken to Governors Island. I will continue to press the issue.” NYC Ferry ridership has generally increased since its May 2017 launch, with the third quarter of 2018, the most recent period for which there is data, having the highest ridership numbers yet, with more than 2 million total riders from July to September. The city just increased annual ridership projections for 2023 from 9 million to 11 million. From the ferry system’s mid-2017 launch through September 2018, there have been 6.7 million total riders. An average weekday sees ridership around 21,000. For comparison, 5.5 million people rode the subways in 2017 on an average weekday, and the daily number for the same span is 1.9 million for buses. While ferry admission is the same $2.75 as for subways and buses, the city heavily subsidizes the ferry system and each ride has cost the city $8.96, according to Crain’s New York. The ferry system operates with about a 90 percent on-time performance, according to city data, compared with the subway’s on-time rate being around 68 percent in 2018. Schneps Media


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Broken glass, sharp words on L-plan bike lanes BY RICO BURNEY

T

he L-train shutdown may no longer be happening, but the flap surrounding the Department of Transportation’s plans to mitigate the effects of the repair work continues. Cyclists posted photos on Twitter on Thursday night and Friday morning of glass shards in multiple locations in the new 12th and 13th Sts. bike lanes and anti-bike-lane graffiti and signs next to the lanes. “12/13TH St Bike Lane CANCELED. West Village Parking Only: Bike Lanes Benefit Only OTHER People,” said one sign taped to a white plastic delineator. “Bring Back OUR Parking!” read a graffiti message in the buffer zone. “We are very disturbed about the reports from the Village, where new protected bicycle lanes were recently defaced and rendered dangerous by broken glass,” said Chief Thomas Chan, of the Police Department’s Transportation Division, and D.O.T. Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a joint statement. The New York Police Department said it will “vigorously investigate” and “hold the perpetrator(s) accountable for these disturbing acts to the community.” Council Speaker Corey Johnson, whose district includes 14th St., tweeted his outrage at the action: “This is unacceptable,” he wrote. “In my district. Shame on whoever did this. All New Yorkers are entitled to safe spaces, on two wheels or on foot.” Some cyclists believe that groups, such as the 14th St. Coalition and Advocates for Justice — two of the most prominent opponents to the 12th and 13th Street bike lanes and the larger D.O.T. plans for 14th St. — and their supporters bear some responsibility for the hostile act against the bike lanes.

PHOTO BY DRIVERSOFNYC

Small piles of broken glass were left in the new bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. on Thursday night and Friday morning. The photographer swept this glass out of the lane before taking the photo.

“Advocates for Justice knows that their supporters are prime suspects to do such a thing,” said Jonathan Warner, who works along the 14th St. corridor and was the first to photograph the glass and anti-bikelane signs on Twitter. “This group has no respect for orderly process, and I would not be surprised if someone affiliated with them did this, as it is exactly in line with their members’ disrespectful and aggressive behavior in the past.” Members of the 14th St. Coalition, for their part, dismissed any assertions that anyone directly involved with their cause would do such a thing. “While the 14th St. Coalition has rejected the need

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for dedicated bike lanes on 12th and 13th Sts., the Coalition has had no involvement in, nor condoned, the defacing of the bike lanes,” they wrote in a statement. “It’s absolutely appalling that people would do something like that,” said Judy Pesin, the co-chairperson of the 14th St. Coalition. Arthur Schwartz, an attorney with Advocates for Justice, also condemned the attack, but argued that Transportation Alternatives — the pro-cycling group that also supports the 14th St. “busway” plan — is also guilty of using “guerilla tactics.” “What I don’t like about T.A. is that, first, they link me with the graffiti and the glass in the bike lanes,” he said, speaking on Friday afternoon. “Then, they gave out my address and phone number… . Somebody rang my doorbell and yelled at my wife 10 minutes ago.” Last year, Schwartz, representing the Coalition and others, filed two lawsuits against the L-shutdown plan, charging that it required a full environmental impact study. One of the lawsuits is still active. On Thursday, Schwartz wrote to Phil Karmel, an attorney with the Brian Cave law firm, which is defending D.O.T. against the Coalition’s lawsuit. “[D.O.T.] should know,” Schwartz wrote in the letter, “that those bike lanes and buffer zones have simply become truck parking and construction zones. When there is traffic on 12th or 13th Sts., emergency vehicles cannot use the bike lanes or buffer zones.” He went on to write that he and the Coalition will continue to fight D.O.T. until it enters “genuine negotiations” with neighborhood stakeholders. A D.O.T. spokesperson said the agency plans to keep all aspects of its initial Manhattan L-train shutdown “alternative service plan” in place as it continues to review the new proposal put forth by Governor Cuomo.

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Winter JazzFest was cooking at Poisson Rouge

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Marc Ribot per formed during Winter JazzFest the evening of â&#x20AC;&#x153; We Resistâ&#x20AC;? at Poisson Rouge on Bleecker St. Winter JazzFest began 15 years ago at The Knitting Factor y. It as held on nine nights on 12 stages around Downtown Manhattan. A s par t of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fest, a concer t series â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which began t wo years ago as an homage to Max Roachâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153; We Insist! Freedom Now Suiteâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; was held at Poisson Rouge. Musicians Ar turo Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Farrill, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Marc Ribot and others highlighted critical current-day issues, such as immigration, gender equalit y, lax gun laws, mass incarceration and other forms of social justice through music and spoken word.

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New York City Department of Education Notice of Disclosure of Directory Information Dear Parent/Guardian, Current or Former Student: Dear Parent/Guardian, Current or Former Student: The NY C Department of Education (DOE) is helping the NY C Department of Health The YorkHygiene City Department Education (DOE) helping the NewisYork City Department of Health and Mental and New Mental begin a of research study. Theis research study about health and educational impacts of Hygiene (Health Department) begin a research study. The research study is about health and educational impacts the the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster on students. The study will include students in school during and after of 9/11. 9/11 disasterabout on students. Theguardians, study will include school duringstudents and after to 9/11. DOE will DOEWorld will Trade give Center information parents, former students studentsin and current    give information about parents, guardians, former students and current student to the Health Department.  . The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy and confidentiality of students. The law allows DOE to share student directory information, which includes the information listed below. You have a chance to say you do not want DOE to share your directory information. Whose information will DOE be sharing? DOE will share information about students in certain areas that were enrolled in school at the time of September 11, 2001 or those first enrolled by 2006-2007. The areas are: x Lower Manhattan x Northwest Brooklyn x Flushing, Queens x Upper West Side, Manhattan x Sunset Park, Brooklyn What directory information will be shared? DOE will share: x x x x

Student, parent and guardian names Parent/guardian relationship to student Phone number, email & home address history Studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sex and date of birth

x x x x

Whether student was born inside NYC or NY State Spoken and written language(s) Any schools/educational institutions of enrollment Enrollment time periods

Who will receive the directory information and how will it be used?      will receive the information. Contractors will be hired to help      conduct the research study, and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) may receive the information. No one else will have access to the information. Contractors will help get updated contact information by searching various records available to them. NSC may help get updated school information on students after high school.     will use the information to reach out to individuals to learn if they want to be a part of the research study. How will your information be protected? DOE and the Health Department will have written agreements to require those who get the information to protect and secure it. Individuals will not be allowed to sell, use, or share the information for any advertising, marketing, commercial purposes, or for any purpose besides for the research study. What do you need to do?  Do nothing: you or your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s directory information will be shared with    .  Fill out this form if you do not want your directory information or your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s directory information to #"&$$)*$!"$$"$%"$'("%"' $ be shared with     and return it by February 1, 2019 to:

$$  !$%$#  & " $'!"$$ %$  "#$& " , I DO NOT WANT Directory Information to be shared with      . Studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s First Name: Studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Last Name: School (current or last school attended):

Student Date of Birth & Student ID Number (if known)

Parent/Guardian Printed Name:

Signatureâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;students age 18 and over must sign for themselves:

Date:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Return by February 15, 2019 if you do not want to share your or your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s directory informationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Schneps Media

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Januar y 17, 2019

23


HEALTH

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Par ticipants in the Movement Speaks class at the Dapolito Center, many of them seniors, get loose while getting toned.

Movement class builds muscles and confidence BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y “I smile from the minute I come in until the minute I leave,” said Joyce Steinglass, 80. Steinglass is one among more than 25 weekly participants in Naomi Goldberg Hass’s movement class at the Dapolito Recreation Center, at Varick and Clarkson Sts. The majority of students come from the Village area, as well as its environs, including the Lower East Side, Tribeca and Chelsea, with some traveling from Brooklyn and the Upper West Side. The winter session began Jan. 16, and the class runs Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Classes are open to all ages and are free with a Parks Department Recreation Center membership — just $25 a year for seniors. Haas’s Movement Speaks is a core program for older adults of her Dances For a Variable Population. A classically trained ballet dancer, Haas has been working with older adults for 10 years and explains that she offers a multi-technique method. The students ring Dapolito’s gym with the walls serving for balance as Haas and her two assistant teachers take the class through a series of exercises.

24

Januar y 17, 2019

Naomi Haas leads the Movement Speaks class, getting the positive energy flowing.

To stretch, lunge, rotate, twist, bend, roll up, extend, brush and squat become the actions of the morning. Fingers to shoulders and elbows to ankles get a workout. Her music playlist — disco, big band, rock and roll, rap, blues, classical, some Michael Jackson and Aretha, which she curates with much thought and passion, provides the audio component of rhythm TVG

and melodies that make participants just want to move. Following routines to the varied rhythms, sometimes individually and sometimes in groups, the kaleidoscope of approaches keeps the morning interesting while exercising. Among her “students” are those with no dance class backgrounds to a few former dancers and some seniors with dance companies, all moving in their own ways that are comfortable. Welcomed newcomers are given added attention through the cycle of exercises. Movement Speaks’ Web site conveys that the program is based on core values of appreciating one’s own body and moving with other people, with the intention to promote greater mobility, selfconfidence, physical awareness, social interaction, expressiveness in movement, and a greater sense of meaning. The Dapolitto classes get some support from City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Office. “We could get more,” Haas said, hopefully. Hass also holds one other Downtown class (among the 10 in Manhattan) at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays at 334 Madison St. at the Henry Street Settlement. Schneps Media


 

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25


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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

PHOTO BY SYDNEY PEREIRA

The Upright Citizens Brigade is poised to leave its home of the past eight years on Avenue A , but will continue doing shows at another Downtown venue, SubCulture.

Costs make U.C. Brigade decamp to SubCulture BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

T

he Upright Citizens Brigade announced last week that it is set to close its East Village location next month. The venue for improv, stand-up and sketch theater, at E. Third St. on Avenue A, opened in 2011. In an e-mail to the U.C.B. team, Michael Hartney, the group’s artistic director, wrote the “cost of operating two venues in Manhattan has become too high,” according to the e-mail, which was tweeted out by Sopan Deb, a New York Times culture reporter. The last day of regular programming at the theater will be Sat., Feb. 9, according to a U.C.B. spokesperson. Extreme costs are forcing the U.C.B. to close its East Village location at 153 E. Third St., according to a spokesperson for the theater. The news comes around a month after employees were laid off at U.C.B.’s Hell’s Kitchen venue, the Times reported at the time. The theater also announced a new collaboration with the Noho venue SubCulture, at 45 Bleecker St. “Due to the long-term cost of rent, property taxes and other expenses associated with operating a second venue in N.Y.C., U.C.B. has created this new experience at SubCulture to reduce the fi nancial impact,” the so-called U.C.B. 4 — founders Amy

Schneps Media

The U.C.B. 4, from left, Matt Walsh, Amy Poehler, Matt Bresser and Ian Rober ts.

Poehler, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Matt Besser — said in a statement. “This move allows us to continue to offer a second venue to our performers and audience. We are forever grateful to the incredible staff, performers and countless dedicated U.C.B.ers who have committed so much time and effort into making it possible for us to perform and view alternative comedy in N.Y.C.” SubCulture will host “U.C.B. at SubCulture” for performances Friday through Sunday, beginning Feb. 15. “SubCulture was created as an intimate home for artists to explore and take risks, and I have long TVG

dreamed of a comedy residency at SubCulture,” Marc Kaplan, the Noho venue’s founder, said in a statement. “From the start, we have welcomed New York’s top talent to our stage to create unforgettable performances that are the stuff of New York legend. Our new collaboration with U.C.B. will ensure that we are bringing the best talent in comedy to our stage three times every week.” A spokesperson declined to answer why the theater chose to close the East Village venue over its Hell’s Kitchen location, as well as if future staff layoffs could be expected. The U.C.B. 4 said the new Downtown collaboration will help the team return to their “underground roots.” “We are thrilled to work with Marc Kaplan at SubCulture in their incredible space, and we can’t wait to perform there!” they said. The U.C.B. East Village theater used to be home to The Pioneer theater, which was run by Two Boots Pizza’s Phil Hartman. Hartman said his group does not hold a master lease on the theater space. “Yes, that was our space, and The Pioneer is almost intact,” Hartman said. “And, yes, we’re sad that they’re leaving!” Asked if he was worried on the impact on sales of slices at his next-door pizzeria, Hartman responded, “Little bit, but more concerned because they were good for the ’hood. Hope it remains a theater space!” Januar y 17, 2019

27


‘Activist estates’: A tale of three buildings BY BILL WEINBERG

I

t gives a sense of passing time to see much of your life reflected in a work of recent history. This I experienced while reading “Counter Institution: Activist Estates of the Lower East Side,” by Nandini Bagchee, new from Empire State Editions. In her review of oppositional spaces in the neighborhood over the past generations, architect and CCNY history professor Bagchee focuses on three buildings: the “Peace Pentagon” on Lafayette St., CHARAS community center on E. Ninth St., and ABC NO RIO artists collective on Rivington St. All these counter-institutions have impacted the lives of us longtime denizens of the alternative Lower East Side. Bagchee begins with deeper historical background. She notes the Depression-era Catholic Worker movement, still surviving on E. Third St., and its shorter-lived Presbyterian counterpart, the Labor Temple, on Second Ave. and 14th. After World War II, glimmers of the counterculture emerge, with outfits such as the Living Theater and Fluxus art collective, which attracted future luminaries Yoko Ono, La Monte Young and Nam June Paik. The Peace Pentagon, home of the pacifist War Resisters League and affiliated AJ Muste Institute, was bought in 1969, after the F.B.I. raided W.R.L.’s old office, Downtown on Beekman St.. A sobering photo shows the ransacked Beekman offices. The Lafayette address was only on the Lower East Side by broadest definition. Late W.R.L. graybeard David McReynolds, interviewed by Bagchee, describes a declining post-industrial “non-neighborhood” back in ’69. Over the following decades, the building hosted numerous activist groups — anti-nuclear campaigners, housing advocates, media collectives, international solidarity organizations. Bagchee surveys the campaigns W.R.L. and allied organizations waged during these years — protests against

FROM “COUNTER INSTITUTION: ACTIVIST ESTATES OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE”

The cover of Nandini Bagchee’s new book on the “counter-institutions” of the East Villager and Lower East Side features the old P.S. 64 — formerly home to the CHAR A S / El Bohio Cultural and Communit y Center.

munitarian estates of Loisaida,” the Puerto Rican heart of the Lower East Side east of Avenue A, where visionary residents reclaimed spaces from urban blight. This begins with the 1967 establishment of the Real Great Society, an activist group whose name played on President Johnson’s Great Society antipoverty program. This developed into CHARAS — an acronym for its founders, the first of whom, Chino García, remains a grandfather figure for the neighborhood. CHARAS interacted not only with the Young Lords (Puerto Rican equivalent of the Black Panthers) but broader movements for ecological sustainability. A homestead building on 11th St. was fitted with solar panels and windpowered generator. Futurist architect Buckminster Fuller helped erect geodesic domes in vacant lots. And Vermont’s Institute for Social Ecology, founded by anarchist thinker Murray Bookchin, looked to CHARAS as an organic application of community selfempowerment. In 1978, CHARAS established El Bohio community center in the abandoned Public School 64 on E. Ninth St.

the Vietnam War, the nuclear disarmament mobilization that brought a million to Central Park on June 12, 1982, demonstrations against the post-911 paroxysms of militarism. A line is drawn from the pre-war counter-institutions to the Peace Pentagon. W.R.L.’s foundation was named for Abraham Johannes Muste, a stalwart of the organization who had been a preacher at the Labor Temple. Bagchee next turns to the “com-

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Januar y 17, 2019

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This would become a point of crossfertilization for Puerto Rican activists and the white punks and squatters who moved into the area. La Plaza Cultural community garden down the block still thrives today. Color photos show the old murals on the walls above La Plaza (since painted over), depicting international revolutionary struggle with scenes of neighborhood renewal-frombelow. Linking CHARAS and the Peace Pentagon, a 1979 issue of the W.R.L. magazine Workshop In Nonviolence was dedicated to the community-building in Loisaida. Finally, Bagchee turns to ABC NO RIO — which also began with reclaiming an abandoned property. The decrepit tenement at 156 Rivington St. became an underground art gallery in 1980. The eccentric name came from an old Spanish sign on the storefront, reading “Abogado, Notario” (“lawyer, notary”), with some letters missing. A decade later, ABC NO RIO became a focus of the city’s hardcore punk scene. After legendary CBGB rock club on Bowery suspended punk matinees due to sporadic violence, the Rivington location took them up — barring “racist, sexist or homophobic bands,” to head off fisticuffs. It would also host a zine library and computer room in addition to gallery and performance space. All these institutions have had to vacate. The Muste Institute sold the decaying Lafayette building in 2016. The Institute and W.R.L. are in new offices on Canal St. — but as renters, not owners. The city evicted CHARAS in 2001 from the old P.S. 64 building — which remains vacant. Bagchee notes activist efforts to prevent the developer who bought the building from destroying it for luxury housing —and to pressure the city to return it to the community, envisioning a rebirth of El Bohio. ABC NO RIO abandoned the Rivington building because of structural problems, and in 2016 it was demolished. ABC has raised money to rebuild on the site. Meanwhile, it is exiled at the nearby Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center. Bagchee closes by noting the “need to build more relevant space for insurgent action” — a pressing mandate at this moment of deep reaction. But the gentrification of the Lower East Side, and the high premium on real estate, make this far more challenging. As the murals above La Plaza Cultural sloganize, “La lucha continua.” The struggle continues. Schneps Media


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Manhattan Happenings pass for white, learns her husband Bill will be sold, she dresses as a planter to pretend to be Billâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s master and they flee for Pennsylvania. Tickets $25. For more information, visit https://www. eventbrite.com/e/all-about-bubblesa-champagne-sparkling-class-tickets52157574710 .

BY SYDNEY PEREIRA

COMMUNITY City Council Oversight Hearing on Status of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project held on Wed., Jan. 23, at 1 p.m., in the committee room at City Hall, with the Committees on Parks and Recreation and Environmental Protection to hear from the Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office about the plan, which was drastically changed last September. East Village Councilmember Carlina Rivera, who represents the area where the East Side flood-protection project is proposed, said in a statement on Jan. 8: â&#x20AC;&#x153;This hearing will fi nally give the Council and our community the chance to hear directly from the mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team and relevant agency commissioners regarding the recent changes to this monumental coastal-protection project. â&#x20AC;Ś This new plan represents a fundamental departure from anything the city has previously discussed and would reportedly bring the projected cost of the project to $1.45 billion. The Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office has failed to provide detailed analyses for explaining why this $700 million increase is necessary. In addition, this new plan would require the closure of East River Park, the only real green space for tens of thousands of New York City Housing Authority residents and community members on the Lower East Side, for three years. Officials have not explained in any way how they will provide alternate outdoor space for this community, which has one of the highest asthma

COMEDY

Generation NY Z returns to LaMaMa Theatre in the East Village.

rates in the city.â&#x20AC;? For more information, visit https://legistar.council.nyc. gov/Calendar.aspx .

www.fortgansevoort.com/. FREE Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept: The Lexus LF-1 Limitless vehicle is on display, flaunting its â&#x20AC;&#x153;unrestrained luxury,â&#x20AC;? at INTERSECT BY LEXUS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; NYC Gallery, at 412 W. 14th St., through Sun., Jan 20. For more information, visit https://www.meatpacking-district.com/events/lexus-lf-1-limitless-concept/ . FREE

ARTS Keith Duncan: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Big Easyâ&#x20AC;?: Fort Gansevoort, at 5 Ninth Ave. in the Meatpacking District, features works by Keith Duncan in his latest collection, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Big Easy.â&#x20AC;? The New Orleans-based artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s show opens Thurs., Jan. 10, and runs through Sat., Feb. 23. Duncanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s paintings are inspired by Southern influences, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and African-American history. For more information, visit http://

Generation NYZ returns to East Village theater La MaMa on Thurs., Jan. 24, through Feb. 3 for performances from seven New Yorkers aged 19 to 23. The storytelling septet share their personal tales on pressing topics about growing up in New York City, as well as growing up in Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s America. The show was directed and written by Sara Zatz and Kirya Traber, and conceived by Ping Chong. Shows will be held at La MaMaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E. Fourth St. Tickets $20-$25, plus $1 fee. Ages 12 and up. For more information, visit http://lamama.org/ or call 212-352-3101.

Saving a Life EVERY 11 MINUTES

The American Tradition by the New Light Theater Project begins performances Fri., Jan. 25, and runs through Sat., Feb. 16, at the 13th St. Repertory Company, 50 W. 13th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. In the performance, when Eleanor, a slave who can

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CLASSES â&#x20AC;&#x153;All About Bubblesâ&#x20AC;?: A Champagne & Sparkling Class: Le District holds wine classes taught by wine director and sommelier Jacob Daugherty, which includes a fl ight of three champagnes and sparkling white wines at the Beaubourg Brasserie â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Le District, 225 Liberty St., on Sat., Jan. 19, at 5 p.m. Tickets $95. Fore more information, click here. Creative Aging: Jewelry Making held on Tues., Jan. 22, and Jan. 29, at 2 p.m., at the Seward Park Library, 192 E. Broadway. The jewelry-making class will focus on ornamental earrings and

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why Your Train is F*cked: The L Trainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sabbaticalâ&#x20AC;?: Caveat features a â&#x20AC;&#x153;mysterious M.T.A. employeeâ&#x20AC;? with hosts and comedians Meg Pierson and Justin Williams at 21 A Clinton St. on Thurs., Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. Doors 6:30 p.m. Show starts 7 p.m. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Ages 21 and over. For more information, visit https://www.caveat.nyc/event/ why-your-train-is-f*cked-the-l-trainssabbatical-1-24-2019 .

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Reductress Presents: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hahaâ&#x20AC;Ś Wow!â&#x20AC;? at the Lower East Side venue Caveat, 21A Clinton St., on Tues., Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. Satirical Web site Reductress writers and hosts Eva Victor and Taylor Garron will perform a stand-up/variety show. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Show begins 7 p.m. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Ages 21 and over. For more information, visit https://www.caveat.nyc/event/ reductress-presents-hahawow-1-222019 .

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Manhattan Happenings Indian glass bead necklaces, geared toward adults 50 and older. For more information, visit https://www.nypl. org/events/programs/2019/01/22/ creative-agingjewelry-making . FREE

HISTORY Classical New York: Discovering Greece & Rome in Lower Manhattan: The Skyscraper Museum holds a panel discussion on “Classical New York,” a collection of essays on GrecoRoman influence on the city on Tues., Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m. at 39 Battery Place. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, liberal studies professor at City University of New York; Matthew McGowan, chairperson of classics at Fordham University; and Jon Ritter, clinical associate professor of architecture at New York University, will discuss the classical world’s influence on modern New York. RSVP required at programs@ skyscraper.org. Priority given to members and corporate member firms and their employees. For more information, visit https://www.skyscraper. org/ . FREE

MOVIES “Ocean’s 8” at Harry Belafonte 115th St. Library, Alvin Ailey Community Room, 203 W. 115th St., on Tues., Jan. 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. An all-female crew attempts to rob the annual Met Gala in New York City in an action/comedy/drama film featuring Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and others. For more information, visit https://www.nypl.org/events/ pr og r a m s / 2 019 / 01/ 2 2 /t ue s d ay s film-series. FREE

BOOKS Seventh Annual Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th St., on Fri., Jan. 18, from 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration is recommended to secure a place. For more information, visit https://www.nypl.org/events/ programs/2019/01/19/clone-schomburg-centers-7th-annual-black-comicbook-festival . FREE Gotham Pulp Collectors Club held at the Muhlenberg Library, 209 W. 23rd St., Community Room, on Sat., Jan. 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pulp readers and collectors talk about fiction magazines from the fi rst half of the 20th century. For more information, https://www.nypl.org/events/ programs/2019/01/19/gotham-pulpSchneps Media

Bam! Wham! Pow! The Black Comic Book Festival invades the Schomburg Center.

collectors-club . FREE

KIDS Postcards and New York: The Skyscraper Museum is organizing an event at which kids will learn the history of picture postcards and how they relate to the history of the New York skyline on Sat., Jan. 19, 10:30 a.m., at 39 Battery Place. Ages 6 and over. Kids will design and write their own skyscraper postcards too. RSVP required. Tickets $5. For more information, visit https:// www.skyscraper.org/ .

SUGARY DRINKS CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASING RATES OF HEART DISEASE AND TYPE 2 DIABETES IN CHILDREN, TEENS AND ADULTS.

COMMUNITY BOARD

Restaurants can help reverse this trend by

Community Board 1 holds its monthly full board meeting at the Manhattan Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., mezzanine, north entrance, on Tues., Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. Community Board 2 holds its monthly full board meeting at The New School, 66 W. 12th St., auditorium, on Thurs., Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. Community Board 3 holds its monthly full board meeting at P.S. 20, 166 Essex St. between E. Houston and Stanton Sts., Tues., Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m. Community Board 8 holds its monthly full board meeting at New York Blood Center, auditorium, 310 E. 67th St., Wed., Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m.

making healthy drinks like milk and water the default drink option on children’s menus. #servekidsbetternyc

97% of kids’ restaurant meals are unhealthy. With families eating out more often, it’s time

for restaurants to serve kids better. TVG

Januar y 17, 2019

31


People

Village doyenne Doris turns 90! Feted at Judson BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y

I

t was the party of the year — and we’re only 10 days in! Decked out in a red velvet frock with a “Happy Birthday” sash, Doris Diether held court like a queen, her glittery birthday hat festooned with paper flowers. Diether turned 90 on Jan. 10. She helped save Shakespeare in the Park, fought Robert Moses, is a zoning specialist and has been an active member of Community Board 2 for almost six decades. The Washington Square Park Superstars musicians, who jam regularly in the park, set the mood in Judson Memorial Church’s main hall. Park pianist Andrew’s “Johnny B. Goode” got the septuagenarians (boomers) onto the dance floor. Colin Huggins a.k.a. “That Crazy Piano Guy” performed a Beethoven sonata on the grand piano. Other park denizens joined in the fun, including Elisa; Joe, the sand mandala artist; Larry, the “Pigeon Man”; and Ricky Syers, the marionettist, who, along with Diether and a mini-Doris marionette, is featured in AARP’s “An Unconventional Friendship” video. Wearing sparkly black, Sharon Woolums, in her opening greeting, remarked, “How do we love thee Doris? Let us count the ways tonight!” A bevy of local politicians were on hand, and wouldn’t have thought of missing the occasion. In a personal, charming address and a commendation, City Comptroller Scott Stringer thanked Diether for an education in zoning. Preservationists, friends and fans listened as citations and proclamations gushed forth from City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, state Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and former Councilmember Rosie Mendez. Mendez stood in for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. All the assembled pols noted Diether’s public and community accomplishments. Naturally, Judson congregants were there in abundance. Senior Minister Donna Schaper paid glowing tribute to Diether while Minister Micha Bucey wrapped the C.B. 2 veteran in a red feather boa as a symbolic gesture of ordination. The wine flowed. Staff from The Lantern, on Bleecker St., mixed endless margaritas as guests gobbled burgers and mozzarella/basil sliders. Community board members, including Keen Berger and David Gruber, toggled between the bash and C.B. 2 meetings. The jamsters’ rock-and-roll played

32

Januar y 17, 2019

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Doris Diether blows out the candles on her bir thday cake — chocolate, of course — for her 90th bir thday, at Judson Church.

Cit y Council Speaker Corey Johnson pays tribute to the Village’s legendar y zoning maven, Doris Diether — with “Little Doris,” the marionette made by Washington Square Park per former Rick y Syers, in the background.

with another original, “Every Day Is Doris Day in Washington Square Park!” And along with ongoing schmoozing, Diether’s friends individually wished her the best. Much later, Le Souk set up a hotfood table at the Judson Diether lovein, featuring Middle Eastern fare like couscous and vegetables. Meanwhile, guests added their tributes in writing at a table featuring a blow-up pig, a throwback to 1960 when Diether appeared at a protest

on. Musician Richie Weintraub adapted “Run Around Sue” with customized Diether lyrics. “I should’ve known it from the very start,” he sang. “That woman must be the queen of the park. Once you know her for a while, her example makes you smile.” At another point, he sang, “Doris may be 90 today, but she is always ready to play!” Diether loved every moment of it. Marionette master Syers rocked out CNW

with a live rented pig at Governor Nelson Rockeller’s office to oppose demolition of older buildings. And, specifically for Judson, a donation box manned by two friends greeting guests at the top of Judson’s classic wooden staircase raised $2,800. The funds will go toward replacing the elevator, which Diether, along many others, use to access Judson’s multiuse sanctuary. Then, they brought out Diether’s favorite — chocolate cake — for her to blow out the candles on top, and wind up the party. There were five more delicious cakes — chocolate and white — for everyone to enjoy. Ten years ago, Sharon Woolums and Suzanne Schropp organized Diether’s 80th birthday blowout extravaganza, also at Judson. It was hard to imagine that they could have topped that for Diether’s 90th but — this time working with Erin Rogers and Hellen Osgood — they somehow did. They juggled the myriad details of this special night for a special community member, with Judson volunteers’ assistance throughout the evening. Obviously, a great time was had by all! Reflecting about Diether’s celebration, Woolums said, “There was so much love, sweetness and joy in the room and a true feeling of community.” Schneps Media


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TVG

Januar y 17, 2019

33


Eats

FOODYHOPPER / INSTAGRAM

Some of the tasty fare at Panorama Middle Eastern Grill.

Panorama offers an array of Middle Eastern food BY GABE HERMAN

P

WHY PAY MORE? CALL NOW

718.260.8302 TO ADVERTISE ALL YOUR LEGALS AND NAME CHANGES

34

Januar y 17, 2019

anorama Middle Eastern Grill has been a welcome addition to the Village’s food options since opening this past June. The fast-casual restaurant, at 820 Broadway, near E. 12 St., has a slightly sleeker environment than nearby mainstays for Middle Eastern fare like Mamoun’s. But Panorama’s delicious and fresh food, and generous serving sizes, defi nitely make it a worthwhile experience. Panorama says its name comes from the restaurant’s goal to represent foods across many cuisines of the Middle East, including from Lebanon, Turkey and Israel. Different menu areas include pita and box options, including for Mediterranean, greens, shawarma, Turkish doner kebab, and grilled shish kebab. All box and pita options go for $10. I recently tried a Mediterranean box, and chose a base of the super grain freekeh, chicken shish for the protein, sides of tomato-cucumber, pickles, shredded carrots and baba ghanoush, with tahini sauce. It was a bright colorful mixture and delicious, and enough food for two meals. All foods and sauces are made daily TVG

at the location, which comes through in the rich tastes of the dishes. The meats are charcoal-barbequed, according to the restaurant, and come from grass-fed, freerange and antibiotic-free animals. The eatery comes from culinary director Julien Iaconelli, who was previously kitchen manager at the popular Village vegan spot by Chloe, at Bleecker and MacDougal Sts. There are plans to expand Panorama in New York to several more locations over the next five years, according to fi nancial backer LJM Developments, a Canadian real estate company. Other menu items include Middle Eastern sliders — with falafel or roasted cauliflower, chicken shawarma, or a meatball, with pickled vegetables, mixed greens and mint yogurt — for $11; Halloumi fries, which are halloumi cheese curds fried and with tzatziki sauce, for $8; and French fries, topped with chicken shawarma, garlic sauce and tahini, for $7. For sweets, Panorama offers baklava for $5. More information can be found at pnanyc.com. Schneps Media


Eats

FOODYHOPPER / INSTAGRAM

Some of the tasty fare at Panorama Middle Eastern Grill.

Panorama offers an array of Middle Eastern food BY GABE HERMAN

P

anorama Middle Eastern Grill has been a welcome addition to the Village’s food options since opening this past June. The fast-casual restaurant, at 820 Broadway, near E. 12 St., has a slightly sleeker environment than nearby mainstays for Middle Eastern fare like Mamoun’s. But Panorama’s delicious and fresh food, and generous serving sizes, definitely make it a worthwhile experience. Panorama says its name comes from

Schneps Media

food for two meals. All foods and sauces are made daily at the location, which comes through in the rich tastes of the dishes. The meats are charcoal-barbequed, according to the restaurant, and come from grassfed, free-range and antibiotic-free animals. The eatery comes from culinary director Julien Iaconelli, who was previously kitchen manager at the popular Village vegan spot by Chloe, at Bleecker and MacDougal Sts. There are plans to expand Panorama in New York to several more locations over the next five years, according to

the restaurant’s goal to represent foods across many cuisines of the Middle East, including from Lebanon, Turkey and Israel. Different menu areas include pita and box options, including for Mediterranean, greens, shawarma, Turkish doner kebab, and grilled shish kebab. All box and pita options go for $10. I recently tried a Mediterranean box, and chose a base of the super grain freekeh, chicken shish for the protein, sides of tomato-cucumber, pickles, shredded carrots and baba ghanoush, with tahini sauce. It was a bright colorful mixture and delicious, and enough CNW

financial backer LJM Developments, a Canadian real estate company. Other menu items include Middle Eastern sliders — with falafel or roasted cauliflower, chicken shawarma, or a meatball, with pickled vegetables, mixed greens and mint yogurt — for $11; Halloumi fries, which are halloumi cheese curds fried and with tzatziki sauce, for $8; and French fries, topped with chicken shawarma, garlic sauce and tahini, for $7. For sweets, Panorama offers baklava for $5. More information can be found at pnanyc.com. Januar y 17, 2019

35


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Chelsea Now - January 17, 2019  

January 17, 2019

Chelsea Now - January 17, 2019  

January 17, 2019