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V i s i t u s o n l i n e a t w w w .T h e V i l l a g e r. c o m

THE January January 31, 31, 2019 2019 Volume Volume 89 89 •• Number Number 55

Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933 •

We are very happy to announce that

Bethpage Federal Credit Union is the proud sponsor of Best of the City!


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V i s i t u s o n l i n e a t w w w .T h e V i l l a g e r. c o m

THE January 31, 2019 Volume 89 • Number 5

Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933 •



How to recognize and prevent heart disease in women BY SCHNEPS MEDIA


all it a “red alert” for women! New Yorkers will “Wear Red and Give” today to spread the message that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. The American Heart Association is uniting with communities across the city to “Go Red and Give” on this special day to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke, which cause one in every three deaths among women each year. Association statistics also show that despite an abundance of public-awareness

campaigns, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. It’s especially important for women to recognize possible signs of heart disease because it can present itself differently than it does in men, according to a doctor at Coney Island Hospital. “Women are a special population that have to be watched closely. Just because you don’t have chest pain doesn’t mean something is wrong,” said Dr. Nicholas Brodyn, chief of cardiology at the medical center. “Take my own mother. I was away with my family and called home, and my father told me my mother had gone to bed at 8 p.m., when she usually went to bed at midnight. She was pre-

senting with fatigue, tiredness, and she ended up having severe multi-coronary disease.” Symptoms can be different, but typically include chest pain, exhaustion, weakness, vomiting and indigestion. “Women typically don’t complain medically, and they might downplay their indigestion or fatigue as something else,” Brodyn added, noting that it’s important women are cautious when they do have symptoms. “If there’s exhaustion, you used to walk five blocks to the grocery store to get your newspaper, and now you drive the five blocks, there’s probably a reason. Be suspicious.” The most important thing a woman can do to manage her heart health is see her doctor for an annual checkup, and if something doesn’t seem right, be proactive and get it checked out, Bro-

dyn said. “If you’re not feeling yourself, you’re exhausted for no reason...get checked out by a cardiologist,” he said. It is possible to live a long and healthy life, the doctor said, as long as women stay vigilant and remember that their symptoms can be unique. “We’re seeing more women living to 100 and over, but living into the 90s is still unusual for men. Women have the benefit as far as longevity, as long they are conscious that they may present differently than men,” he said. Join thousands of New Yorkers and participate in National Wear Red Day Fri., Feb. 1, by donating to the Go Red For Women campaign and taking steps to better understand your heart health. Spread the word by sharing #WearRedandGive on social media.

Bethpage Best of City nominations now open! Welcome to the inaugural year of the Bethpage Best of the City Program! Modeled after Schneps Media’s wildly successful Best of the Boro and Best of Long Island competitions, the Bethpage Best of the City program gives you the power to choose the best businesses in Manhattan — “East Side, West Side, all around the town!” Bethpage Federal Credit Union is the sponsor of these programs, and you can visit their Chelsea branch at 111 W. 26th St.

Through the Best of the City campaign, you’ll nominate (and later vote for) Manhattan businesses for a wide variety of categories. There will be only one first-place winner in each category crowned BETHPAGE BEST OF THE CITY. Schneps Media, publisher of The Villager, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express and Gay City News, utilizes all of its media assets to promote the Program. Each business that wins gets the right

to utilize the “Best Of” logo/mark that is promoted in a tremendous amount of marketing, including plaques, banners, print advertising, digital marketing, social-media marketing, outdoor advertising, e-mail signatures, business cards and so much more. Recognition means the world to the winners, and along with that distinction comes a great deal of pride. The Bethpage Best of the City’s impact is undeniable — it touches hearts and

changes lives with these unique and distinguished marks of excellence. Make your nominations today at www.bestofnewyorkcity.com. Categories range from arts and nightlife to education, restaurants, shopping, services, candy stores and more. Nominations are open Feb. 1 to May 1. You can nominate in one or many categories. Top 10 nominees will advance to the official ballot. Voting begins May 22. Let the nominating begin!

NEW YORK FAMILY Register Today at NewYorkFamily.com/Camps Sat., Feb. 2, 2019, 12-3pm TRIBECA/BATTERY PARK Asphalt Green 212 North End Avenue

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Januar y 31, 2019



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WEAR RED DAY Talking out about women’s ‘silent killer’ BY VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS


e are proud to present a unique way to call attention to what is known as the “silent killer.” One in three deaths among women in the United States each year is a direct result of heart disease. This killer delivers a fatal blow to more women in this country than all cancers combined, according to the American Heart Association. The situation calls for everyone to be alert, which is why the American Heart Association designated the first Friday of February as “Go Red For Women Day.” It’s also why we’re “going red” — as we seek to make everyone aware of the dangers of heart disease, and the importance of paying attention to our bodies. Why red? It’s not just because our blood is red. The color is often associated with power, passion, determination, strength, love — all qualities that we need in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the “silent killer.” Heart disease should be a personal issue for us all. We all know someone in our lives who lives with the complications day in and day out. But many others have the symptoms of heart disease and do not know it. Last year, Jennifer Goodstein, former publisher of this paper, wrote about her diagnosis with hypertrophic

cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease that causes the thickening and scarring of heart muscle. She had to undergo open heart surgery to have it treated. Like so many others, Jennifer lived a very healthy life before her diagnosis — exercised regularly, never smoked, no major illnesses.

Jennifer sought help from a cardiologist at N.Y.U. Langone, Dr. Mark Sherrid, who reassured her that the condition is “highly treatable” as long as it’s “recognized and treated appropriately.” Awareness is so critical toward stopping the “silent killer” from striking you or someone you love. Heart disease has many symptoms — shortness of breath, sudden fatigue, dizziness upon standing, even indigestion. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms frequently, seek medical help immediately! Make sure you visit your doctor at least once a year for a physical. If your doctor refers you to a cardiologist for additional tests, follow through and get checked out. If you’re prescribed medication to treat your ailments, take your doses as required. Above all, take care of yourself. Eat right. Exercise regularly. Don’t sit at your desk or on your couch all day; every so often, get up and move your legs and feet. Avoid smoking — and if you’re a smoker, fi nd a way to kick the habit. You only have one life —live it to the fullest and the healthiest!

Schneps-Yunis is president and publisher, Schneps Media

Heart of a champion At 2 years old, New Yorker Tabitha Ellis was required to wear a face mask over her nose and mouth for 15 to 20 minutes — three times a day — in order for medicine and water vapor to flow through her compromised body. The treatment often required her to plug medical equipment into an outlet wherever her family was when it was time to put the mask back on, according to her dad, who said he had little choice but to force his daughter to stick with the schedule. “It’s amazing the strength of a kid who doesn’t want that,” said Todd Ellis. Eight in 1,000 babies are born with a heart defect. Some of those conditions heal on their own, or aren’t problematic. Ellis was not among those lucky kids whose issues resolve naturally. A hole between her two main heart chambers never closed, causing myriad health problems — and logistical issues. Her family lived on a military base and moved every 10 months to three years. They couldn’t find a childcare center that would take their daughter and her breathing machine, so her mother quit working to care for the girl full time. Cardiologists monitored her frequently, as she struggled to grow. At around age 2, doctors noticed a problem in a V-shaped part of the aorta known as the aortic arch. There was an aneurysm, a weakening in her artery that caused it to bulge, likely due to her heart working harder than usual. Doctors in Texas eventually performed a surgery that patched the hole, and they also replaced a heart valve leading to her lungs that had been leaking. Ellis came out of that operation a new person. The quiet girl, who once had little energy, couldn’t stop Schneps Media

talking. She was active and playful. But as great as she felt, her life after the surgery presented new challenges. Doctors said she was still fragile, she tired more easily than other kids, and she had to be careful not to get hit in the chest. “I wasn’t allowed to play outside,” she recalled. Still, freed from the shackles of their daughter’s breathing machine, the Ellis family began living a more normal life, including hiking and camping. Sometimes, though, their girl tired and her dad had to carry her on his shoulders. Doctors finally loosened the reins in high school, clearing Ellis for normal activities unless she experienced problems. And that clearance was all it took for her to make drastic changes in her life. She swam competitively for four years, and ran track for two years, before realizing her decreased stamina held her back. Still, all was well — until her senior year. While watching a movie in psychology class, Ellis noticed tingling in her arm. She suddenly felt she couldn’t move, like a boulder weighed her down, and she couldn’t talk. The sensation was only a few minutes, she recalled. When Ellis sought treatment at the hospital, all indications were that she probably had a mini-stroke. But tests showed no evidence of one. A decade later, Ellis — now 27 and an actress in New York City — is grateful she hasn’t had a recurrence, according to her dad. “I’m not sure she would have done half the things she’s done if not for her heart problem. It made her fearless,” Todd Ellis said. Ellis’s heart condition taught her every day is a gift, and everybody has their own problems. She’s volunteered for American Heart Association since age 10. TVG


Tabitha Ellis had surger y to correct an aneur ysm and leak y hear t valve at 2 years old.

Ellis, who now works as an actress and advocates for hear t health, has not had a cardiac episode in roughly a decade.

“A lot of people are affected by cardiac issues like mine,” Ellis said. “It’s nice to meet others who have similar stories.”

— American Heart Association Januar y 31, 2019


Johnson mulls ‘people-powered mayoral run’ BY MATT TR ACY


e’s running! Or at least he’s considering it. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced in an email to his supporters on Monday morning that he is “thinking about running for mayor of New York City” in 2021— and he’s taking a page out of the progressive playbook to make his case. Johnson, who is the first H.I.V.-positive person and first gay man to be speaker, acknowledged that it is “a big decision, I know, but I love this city and am committed to making it a better place for all.” The 36-year-old said he will accept a maximum of $250 in contributions per individual and is refusing to take money from lobbyists, corporate PACs or real estate developers and their employees, signaling an early intention to steer clear of the big-money controversies that have dogged politicians in recent years. “As much as I love New York, we are capable of so much more,” said Johnson, who is serving his second term representing Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. “And New Yorkers are fed up with our pay-to-play political system. They know that real estate developers and lobbyists have had too much sway for too long.” He also sent out a tweet Monday morning announcing, “It’s a big decision, but I am thinking about a potential people-powered mayoral run,” and reiterating that he would take “zero $” from the abovementioned groups and cap all contributions at $250. Johnson spoke to reporters near the Brooklyn Bridge Monday afternoon, where he explained that he opted to implement his strict campaignfinance limitations in order to demonstrate transparency. “The whole point of this is to show that no one is going to have influence,” he said in his first public comments since announcing a potential 2021 bid. “We have such a good public matching system in New York City that $250 is going to get an eight-to-one public match. I think I can do this on small dollars.” Candidates are legally allowed to accept individual


Januar y 31, 2019

Council Speaker Corey Johnson chats with the press near the Brooklyn Bridge Monday afternoon about his exploration of a mayoral campaign. Photo by Matt Trac y

contributions of up to $2,000. Johnson pointed to income inequality, the crumbling subway system and the serious issues surrounding the New York City Housing Authority among the main problems the city must address, but said he did not want to get too deep into the issues this early. For now, he cited his own life experience and his existing body of work as a city councilmember and speaker to illustrate why he would be a serious contender in the race. “I grew up in public housing, my family had no money, and I came to New York at 19 years old with two bags,” Johnson said. “I never thought being speaker was possible. I never thought about standing here in front of you all.”

‘The maximum I’m taking from individuals is $250.’ Corey Johnson The New York Times reported Monday morning that Johnson would start hosting fundraising house parties beginning in March. One of his potential opponents in the 2021 race, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, is also planning to host similar parties, the Times said. “It’s just going to be close friends that have always supTVG

ported me,” Johnson said of the house parties. “These are going to be low-dollar events. The maximum I’m taking from individuals is $250, so I’m going to try to pack as many people into the room as possible.” Johnson could face a crowded field of contenders in the race to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is one year into his second and final term. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., has declared his candidacy for mayor and has an estimated $803,208 in his war chest for 2021, according to city Campaign Finance Board records. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, who has made his ambitions clear, has piled up an estimated balance of $1.8 million. Adams trails only Stringer, who has an estimated $2.3 million on hand. Johnson showed $88,481 on hand as of

last Friday, though he told reporters that his contributions have increased by “a lot” following his announcement. Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn has often been mentioned as a potential mayoral candidate, but he ruled himself out of the last race and is now consumed by increased responsibilities in Washington as chairperson of the House Democratic Caucus, following the defeat of Queens/Bronx Congressmember Joe Crowley in last June’s primary by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, whoQueens County Politics reported is also exploring a mayoral run, has a balance of $308,656, which is fifth on the list of candidates with 2021 citywide election accounts. Johnson pointed to the “huge stockpiles of money” amassed by other candidates and said he needs to be prepared to keep up with them. “I think it’s going to be very, very hard,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy to get thousands of contributions at $250. It’s going to take a lot of hustle and a lot of legwork.” Should he decide to run, Johnson is confident that he can pull it off because he believes his transparent approach will resonate with New Yorkers who have lost trust in the political process. Veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said Johnson’s announcement that he won’t take contributions greater than $250 immediately sets him apart from the rest of the field. “It continues to add to the excitement that is only his, and to [his] stylistic differences that are very unique,” Sheinkopf said. “People want a populist with brains. In real life, he’s very fresh. Most politicians seem pretty tired. And he’s not tired — he’s not a used car. “I think it’s exciting, it’s interesting. It’s going to add a new dimension if he runs. [Scott] Stringer is the progressive establishment candidate, and Corey is the progressive anti-establishment candidate. Stringer comes from a much more traditional path to power. Corey’s is a much faster ascent, greater intensity.” — With reporting by Lincoln Anderson Schneps Media






PRESENTING THE JOAN H. AND PRESTON ROBERT TISCH CENTER AT ESSEX CROSSING Just like you, we think of downtown as our home, too. After all, we’ve been part of the scene for almost 190 years. Now, we’ve opened the Joan H. and Preston Robert Tisch Center at Essex Crossing. Here, you can receive world-class care in specialties that include internal medicine, cardiology, orthopedics, foot and ankle care, sports health, and physical therapy. At this location, we even provide a state-of-the-art operating room dedicated to orthopedic procedures. To see an NYU Langone specialist, call 929-455-2600, or make an appointment online at nyulangone.org/essexcrossing.

Joan H. and Preston Robert Tisch Center at Essex Crossing 171 Delancey Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10002

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Januar y 31, 2019


Police Blotter Ninth Precinct

Sixth Precinct


Plastic un-fantastic

Police said that on Sat., Dec. 29, around 8 p.m., inside of the McDonald’s at 404 E. 14th St., three individuals were harassing an elderly couple. When a 44-year-old man intervened, the trio punched and kicked him in the face and body. The thugs fled the scene on foot eastbound on E. 14th St. The victim suffered cuts on his face, along with pain and bruising to his face and body. He was treated and released from Beth Israel Hospital. The suspects are black, ages 14 to 17, between 5-feet-5-inches and 5-feet8-inches tall. One of them, a male, was last seen wearing a pink hooded sweater, black sweatpants and blackand-white sneakers. The female of the bunch had red or light brown hair and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweater, a black jacket, red-and-yellow pants and gray-and-white sneakers. The third perp, a male, wore eyeglasses and was last seen wearing a red hooded sweater, a beige jacket and blue jeans. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers Web site at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS. COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.


Two alleged members of the troublemaking E. 14th St. McDonald’s trio.

Police arrested Alexander Haney, 33, on Tues., Jan. 22 for allegedly stealing a wallet he found in a restroom inside New York University’s Bobst Library, at 70 Washington Square South, and making purchases with a credit card inside it. The 24-year-old victim claims she accidentally left her wallet in a restroom stall the morning of Sat., Sept. 22. By the time she returned to retrieve it, the wallet was already missing. The stolen credit card was used for multiple purchases roughly between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. that day, including twice at the 7-Eleven at 135 W. Third St., as well as online and in New Jersey, before the victim canceled her credit card.

Teen team Two teenage boys, ages 17 and 15, were arrested for allegedly jumping a 16-year-old and stealing his wallet outside 63 Bank St. on Jan. 9 around 3 p.m. Police said the two boys followed the victim along the street before tackling him and stealing his wallet. The 17-year-old was arrested the same day. The 15-year-old was arrested Jan. 23. The two boys had no prior connections with victim.

First Precinct

Cash cad

Soho slugging A man in his 20s was arrested on Jan. 26 for repeatedly punching a 65-year-old man in the face near the intersection of Greene and Spring Sts., police said. The pair, who reportedly have no previous connection to each other, were said to have been engaged in a verbal argument before the younger man allegedly began throwing punches. The victim suffered facial bleeding and a swollen face as a result of attack. Sebastian Benjamin, 24, was arrested.

Soho fell victim to a phone scheme that led her to purchasing nearly $75,000 worth of Apple gift cards, police said. The victim received a call from the same phone number as the New York Police Department’s 25th Precinct. Two men, who identified themselves as Alan Parish and William Turner, told her over the phone that her Social Security number was compromised, and she needed to drain her bank account and purchase the gift cards. She was then instructed on where to send the receipts. Police are still searching for the two men running the scam.


Coach poach

A 29-year-old employee at the Warby Parker eyeglass company’s headquarters and showroom at 233 Spring St. in

Police are searching for three men who allegedly stole 10 items valued at

$2,340 from the Coach store at 143 Prince St. on Tues., Jan. 22. The trio of robbers are all described as being white, 5-feet-7-inches tall, 170 pounds and around 20 years old.

Fragrant filchers Police are looking for three girls around 17 years old who collectively stole 15 bottles of perfume valued at $1,000 from a Soho Victoria’s Secret at 591 Broadway, between Prince and W. Houston Sts. The perfume-purloining perps walked straight to the perfume section of the store and put the bottles in their bags before leaving the scene.

Kevin Jerome, 28, was arrested at the Sixth Precinct at 233 W. 10th St. on Jan. 25 after his 33-year-old girlfriend reported him for allegedly stealing her wallet a few days prior in the Rockaways. The incident is said to have occurred on Jan. 23 when she refused to lend Jerome some money and he responded by going into her purse and taking her wallet, which contained $400. When she tried to get the cash back, he allegedly pushed her to the ground and said, “Bitch, this is what you get for not answering me.” Immediately afterward, he reportedly fled to the Beach 67th St. subway station.

Rico Burney and Lincoln Anderson

The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2019 by Schneps Media is published weekly by Schneps Media, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Offices: One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Offices: Schneps Media, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2019 Schneps Media.


Januar y 31, 2019


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Flushing Bank Hosts Grand Opening Reception for New Chinatown Location Flushing Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: FFIC), the parent holding company for Flushing Bank opened a new branch in Chinatown on January 23rd and hosted a Grand Opening Reception at the Canton Lounge in Chinatown to celebrate its newest location at 183 Canal Street, New York, NY. John R. Buran, President and CEO of Flushing Bank, stated: “Our Grand Opening reception was well attended by community leaders, real estate developers, business owners, and professionals from the Chinatown market. We have a long-standing relationship with the Asian community and this Chinatown location is a natural extension of our business footprint. Over the years, we have supported numerous local community, cultural, and charitable organizations through ďŹ nancial sponsorships and employee participation. To demonstrate our commitment to this community, we presented a check to the Chinatown Partnership at our reception. As a community bank, we believe it is important to staff our

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the Chinese markets we serve. This full-service branch features our customer-centric Universal Banker model with Assisted Service Kiosk (ASK) and Video Banker services. This highly-ef-

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Januar y 31, 2019




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Januar y 31, 2019


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Anger at resiliency plan overflows at City Hall


Ayo Harrington, an organizer with the new East River Alliance, said the cit y bypassed the communit y when it changed the East Side Coastal Resilienc y Project.



recently revised city plan on how to keep East River floodwaters at bay in the event of another Hurricane Sandy produced a storm of anger and dismay at City Hall last week. Before a hearing on the matter on Wed., Jan. 23, the East River Alliance, a new community-based group, held a press conference on the City Hall steps to decry what they slammed as the lastminute changes. Lower East Side and East Village advocacy and community groups, along with local politicians who attended the press conference, said they were not consulted at all about the surprise proposal and want the city to put a hold on it until the community’s view is considered. The city’s new higher-priced $1.458 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan would replace the original one that was five years in the making and involved much community input. The new scheme calls for burying the entire East River Park from Montgomery St. to E. 13th St. under 10 feet of landfill and building a new one from scratch. The original proposal called for large earthen berms — or possibly just floodwalls — to be built near the east side of the F.D.R Drive. This would have shielded the highway and large swaths of the East Village and Lower East Side from floodwaters. This was to be only the first link in a series of barriers around Lower Manhattan known as “The Big U.” Last Wednesday’s press conference preceded a specially called 1 p.m. joint City Council hearing, at which officials from the city’s Parks Department and Environmental Protection Agency were Schneps Media

Cit y Councilmember Carlina Rivera spoke at the East River Alliance’s press conference before the Cit y Council special hearing on the East Side Coastal Resilienc y Project on Jan. 23.

ly $3 million, would be buried beneath the added 10 feet of soil. What would happen to the park’s historic amphitheater remains unknown. In defense of the new revised plan, city officials noted that, for one, it would

present. Speaking at the press conference, Councilmember Carlina Rivera said the new proposal “lacks a sense of collaboration between city agencies and local residents.” Rivera, who called for the special hearing, stressed that the new proposal “needs to meet the expectations of residents and the neighborhood.” Meanwhile, at the special hearing on the new East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan, Councilmember Margaret Chin said she was “thrilled” that the dialogue between City Hall and residents had begun with this meeting. “But I want to make sure community groups who were influential in five years of developing the original plan participate in this one, as well,” she added. Ayo Harrington, organizer of the East River Alliance, told the City Hall officials, “The changes proposed depart from a plan stakeholders believed were settled. I urge the City Council to do everything to prevent this plan that overrides years of community input from a broad range of stakeholders, and which would restrict access to a critical source of recreation and open space for Lower East Side residents.” This past September, with no community input and to the dismay of local residents, the city announced that the entire former East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan was being rejected in favor of the new version. The new $1.458 billion proposal is not only significantly more expensive than its $760 million predecessor, but it would also destroy all trees, plant life and infrastructure that currently exists within East River Park. Both the park’s field house and running track, which was recently revamped at a cost of near-

not obstruct views to the river with a big berm or floodwalls. Also, they said, unlike the original plan, it would not require one lane of the F.D.R. to be shut down at certain times of the day for construction on the project.

Chelsea • Greenwich Village • Soho • Clinton

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Januar y 31, 2019


Rezone Soho/Noho, or just enforce current laws? BY GABE HERMAN


he first meeting in the publicengagement process being held to explore possible rezoning efforts in Soho and Noho will be held on Wed., Feb. 6. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 130, at 143 Baxter St., between Hester and Grand Sts. The process was launched by the Department of City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin. The six-month effort will include a number of â&#x20AC;&#x153;public sessions to hear from the local community on topics including housing, jobs, retail and creative industries,â&#x20AC;? according to a statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The unique nature and vital role which the Soho/Noho neighborhoods play in our cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy and daily life necessitate a close examination,â&#x20AC;? Chin said in a statement to The Villager. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In particular, my office will want to look at the complex interplay between retail and housing interests in Soho and Noho. I look forward to engaging with community activists, business leaders and residents as we build a bold vision.â&#x20AC;? Zoning was specifically mentioned in statements by Brewer and City Planning Director Marisa Lago. Lago said, in part, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Like all neighborhoods, Soho and Noho face unique challenges, not the least of which is outdated zoning.â&#x20AC;? Brewer said the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s zoning definitely is in need of a â&#x20AC;&#x153;fi x.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Soho/Noho area has a rich, vibrant history, but we need to fi x its zoning to lay the foundation for its fu-

Local politicians and residents demonstrated outside the Depar tment of Buildings in 2016, calling on D.O.B. and the mayor to enforce Soho and Nohoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retail restrictions under their manufacturing zoning.

ture,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As the old rules have stopped working, the area has seen a steady march of special exemptions, one-off variances and inappropriately large retail uses.â&#x20AC;? But Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a matter of the old rules not working â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but the city failing to enforce the existing laws. He cited the Bloomingdaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at 504 Broadway, which opened in 2004 with

six floors. When Sweeney contacted City Planning about the store exceeding the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 10,000-squarefoot maximum for retail, he said he was told, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Forget about it. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fight Bloomingdaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.â&#x20AC;? Sweeney said local zoning infractions over the years have included two developers being allowed by the Board of Standards and Appeals to overbuild on parking lots by 50 percent. He said the developers were each granted a â&#x20AC;&#x153;hardship variance,â&#x20AC;? after claiming they had made a bad real estate deal in buying the lots. And he said Soho was designated for wholesale uses in the 1970s and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;80s before the Department of Buildings allowed retail stores to be grandfathered in based on businesses submitting â&#x20AC;&#x153;bogus evidenceâ&#x20AC;? of past retail existing at those locations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When they say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broken, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because the city broke it purposely by design and by negligence over the last 30 years,â&#x20AC;? said Sweeney, who has lived in Soho since 1977.






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The Soho Alliance is one of the local groups consulting on the project, which will culminate in a report expected this summer. Sweeney said there is concern that the current way in which big retail stores are allowed to slip in will be formalized and legalized by the current process. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the zoning to change, we want enforcement,â&#x20AC;? Sweeney said. There is also worry that artist-resident protections enacted in 1971 may be removed. Sweeney said that City Planning in 1983 tried to remove the joint living-working quarters for artists (J.L.W.Q.A.) law that requires every unit to have at least one resident who has been certified as an artist by the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Cultural Affairs. Community pushback defeated that 1983 effort, yet the law is not enforced. However, Sweeney said he is O.K. with that situation because, with the regulation on the books, it legally prevents artists from being kicked out of the neighborhood. Yukie Ohta, of the Soho Memory Project, said she is not part of the advisory group on the rezoning initiative but has spoken with many locals and heard conflicting opinions of whether rezoning is needed or just some smaller tweaks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to create a more workable mixed-use neighborhood with fewer conflicting uses,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From a residentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, this means reasonable restrictions for retail establishments. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This also means enforcement of protections to ensure current residents are not priced out of their homes through rising maintenance costs and taxes.â&#x20AC;? Ohta said longtime Soho residents need to be considered, including those who were involved in helping create the 1971 artist protections. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have the long view of the evolution of Soho and should have a place at the table in this go-around,â&#x20AC;? she said of the neighborhood veterans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In short, the needs of all stakeholders need to be equally considered and protected.â&#x20AC;?

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Anthony Macagnone, 79; Mixed food and fitness BY GABE HERMAN


nthony Macagnone Sr., a fi xture in Gramercy who owned Sal Anthony’s restaurant and founded the nearby Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon, died Jan. 23. He was 79. A lifelong New Yorker, Macagnone was born on Sept. 13, 1939. He was born and raised on Thompson St., in Little Italy, according to his wife, Cynthia Graham. He had been living in Gramercy for many years, first moving to E. 18th St. between Second and Third Aves. with his first wife and young children. He first opened his restaurant on Irving Place in 1966. When he met his second wife, Graham, they ran it together from 1976 to 2006. Macagnone reopened the Italian restaurant in 2016 with his son Anthony Jr. at its current location at 226 Third Ave., between E. 19th and E. 20th Sts. Her husband wasn’t content just being a restauranteur, however, noted Graham. “He was always a real seeker and a very spiritual guy,” she said. He began to believe, she said, “that movement in combination with spiritual practice was a real path to becoming a more enlightened human being.” Macagnone explored different practices, including yoga, judo and jujitsu, and for a while pursued karate, becoming a black belt. While taking gymnastics classes at a gym, he befriended a group of dancers also working out there. Graham noted that his instincts as a businessperson inspired him to find them a studio space where they could practice and explore movement. “Next thing I know, he’s dragging me around the corner to this building that’s been empty for two years at 190 Third Ave.,” Graham said. “A little space to privately explore movement with a small group of friends became this really extraordinary enterprise that’s been going on for the past 20 years.” The Movement Salon remains at the same Third Ave. location between E. 17th and E. 18th Sts. Graham noted that Macagnone was a complicated person, combining spirituality with a rougher working-class background. At a recent celebration of his life, on Sat., Jan. 26, at the Movement Salon, Graham said, a Pilates instructor who eulogized him recalled first meeting him. “He was going through a session with her,” Graham said, “and she said her mind was boggled because she was getting this very intense movementand-spiritual advice from someone who Schneps Media


Anthony Macagnone in the kitchen of his restaurant.

Anthony Macagnone working with a fitness client in his movement studio. TVG

sounded like Robert De Niro.” She said the celebration was an amazing experience where she saw people from different parts of his life together, including family and old-timers from the neighborhood, older restaurant customers, and “fey yogis and mentors who had come to pay him homage.” Macagnone died from complications from esophageal cancer, which he was able to fight off in 2016 but eventually returned. “Like everything, he fought until the end,” his wife said. Macagnone is survived by three sons, three daughters and two grandchildren. Graham said the plan is for the family to continue running the businesses. “For now,” she said, “we’re trying to carry on with everything.” Januar y 31, 2019


Letters to the Editor Politicians on open space

Schneps Media

Covering Manhattan in more ways than one

To The Editor: In an age where science proves the necessity to humans of regular exposure to the natural world, we are about to lose the last of our ground-level open spaces in the latest land grab of the real estate frenzy of the past 20 years. Proponents of the Elizabeth St. Garden want to sacrifice the water-tunnel site at Hudson at Clarkson Sts. to save their Little Italy garden. But on the West Side, we are also starved for open space and park space. Well, as of now, both East and West Sides have lost since, behind closed doors, deals have already been made to develop both sites. This was stated by Steve Simon, the Parks Department’s Manhattan chief of staff, at the August 2018 Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting. Under this plan, at the water-tunnel site, a new building would be developed on the lot’s northern portion, while the site’s southern portion, which cannot be developed to ensure access to the water tunnel, would be a park. But this “park” would never have anything that grows since — hemmed in by buildings — it would be in a deep well, so might get an hour of sunlight a day. The public pitch will say it will be good for us since it includes senior affordable housing (that will revert to market value after the builders are through getting their tax breaks from the city). Everybody wins except the people who actually live here. Common sense would be to add the water-tunnel site, at least the north segment, to J.J. Walker Park. There are other ways to create affordable and senior housing. Jumaane Williams, running for public advocate, stated in the Jan 10 edition of The Villager, “There are landlords who need to be in jail and their buildings taken from them.” Yes, since this policy could produce lower- and middle-income housing by creating co-ops/ Mitchell Lama, etc., from properties forfeited by chronically delinquent landlords. I don’t understand how anyone, Habitat for Humanity included (I have lost all respect for this organization), could believe that the loss of open space Downtown — where we have the least amount of open space per capita of any city district —isn’t a crime against the people who live here now and those who will live here in the future. Our politicians, who we elected and pay to represent us, should be fi nding us more open space, not facilitating the selling off of what little is left. We need a moratorium on building on city-owned open space, and especially any space that has already successfully been developed into a community garden.


Januar y 31, 2019


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






Any public servant who advocates the destruction of a beautiful, already created park such as the Elizabeth St. Garden, a gift to the people, is suspect. Our green spaces help us live in all this concrete and brick. Going forward, do not vote for anyone currently in office unless they stand up now and stop this from happening. Lynn Pacifico Pacifico is president, Dog Owners Action Committee (DOAC)

Pesin, Stein don’t get it To The Editor: Re “Marcus doesn’t speak for us” (letter, by Elissa Stein and Julie Pesin, Jan. 24): I was more than a bit surprised to see the Pesin/ Stein letter pointing out that I was no longer a member of the Steering Committee of the 14th St. Coalition in response to my “Open Letter to Council Speaker Corey Johnson” (talking point, Jan. 14). Nothing in my talking point suggested otherwise and their observation was misguided and gratuitous. I am, however, a founder of the 14th St. Coalition and, contrary to their assertion, am still one of the coalition’s many members. I am entitled to speak my mind — which, of course, I will continue to do. This focus on meaningless minutiae and the lack of concerted efforts by this self-indulged “leadership” group to strenuously and vocally advocate for changes to the L train traffic-mitigation plan (and under current circumstances, its entire elimination) left me no choice but to step down from the Steering Committee of the group that I was instrumental in founding, so I could speak out on my own. What part of my letter do they disavow? My expression of disappointment or my request for advocacy to undo all of these mitigation changes that have been rendered moot by the sensible decision not to shut down the L train? Why don’t they use their writing skills to push for the needed changes? David Marcus 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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In Memoriam

Jonas Mekas never stopped being an inspiration BY CARY ABR AMS


s the red state, blue state gulf widens, certain factors only serve to highlight this phenomenon. Jonas Mekas’s death on Wed., Jan. 23, might be one such event. The New York Times printed a lengthy obituary in the paper the following day, which was expected, as Jonas was certainly deserving. At 96, Jonas’s death was not unexpected. He had been blessed by a lengthy life marked by myriad artistic accomplishments, active until his passing. While his death looms large for many New Yorkers, especially film buffs, such as myself, I dare say, to most Americans, Jonas’s name and his face would draw a blank stare. I heard Jonas had been ill of late. Yet, a friend reported seeing him energetically bounding up to the stage to speak at a recent event. Surely, the Times had his obit already written and awaiting his eventual death for publication. Unlike some of the relatively obscure figures the paper chooses to dredge up from the New York City underground scene, elevate with an obit, often a considerable time after their death, Jonas was a cultural force, a shaper of the city’s creative scene operating on several fronts. His physical legacy is writ large in the Anthology Film Archives, located in the low-rise, red-brick, former city courthouse and jail on the corner of E. Second St. and Second Ave. The building houses the vast underground film collection he amassed, much of which he is responsible for preserving, restoring. Mekas was prescient enough to salvage the building in 1979, after the city had closed the courthouse down. I remember attending parties there back in the early ’80s, when partygoers sat on the uncomfortable, hard-surfaced former prisoner beds still occupying the steel-barred cells. As I ponder Jonas’s passing, the loss of his creative energy to the New York scene is immense. I am reminded of Allen Ginsberg’s passing in 1997, as the two, who were friends, both operated on a similarly high energy level. Each was a man about town, who might surprisingly appear at any event, whether Uptown or Downtown, high or low culture, know many in the room, mix easily, freely sharing their wit, candor, their genius. I was fortunate enough to hear Jonas speak twice this past year, each appearance indicative of some aspect of his broad influence on New York culture. The first meeting was at a book publication event at 192 Books, a small Schneps Media


Jonas Mekas at Lucien’s restaurant, at 14 First Ave., where he was a regular customer.

bookshop over in the far west Chelsea gallery district in May. I was unfamiliar with the poet, Florbela Espanca, a Portuguese woman who had tragically died at 36 in 1930. I was drawn by the opportunity to hear work from a “new” voice.

moved, accepted the challenge. For Jonas had proclaimed, “Only poets are free!” soon after his arrival as a displaced person in New York City soon after World War II. I was moved, as well, as were many in the room, by the passion of the poems, and the fado dancer who performed. I purchased three copies of the book and had Jonas autograph them. I’ve given two of the copies to friends I believe worthy recipients. I hoped it would similarly impact them. They later related that it has. In addition to learning of a forgotten poet, I was made aware of another aspect of Jonas’s being, his generosity, his dogged pursuit of his goals, his support of other artists. My second recent Jonas encounter came at another book publication party, this one at Printed Matter, also in Chelsea, in September, for the publication of “Film Culture 80,” devoted to Barbara Rubin, a fairly obscure filmmaker who Jonas had befriended and mentored back in the early ’60s. Film Culture, a journal that dealt primarily with underground cinema, was begun by Jonas and his brother, Adolfas, in 1954, and continued through 1996, producing 79 issues. Chuck Smith, a film director who had completed an award-winning documentary, “Barbara Rubin and the Exploding New York Underground,” last year, had approached Jonas with the idea of reviving the magazine for a volume on Barbara. Of course, Jonas accepted the

The loss of his creative energy is immense. The small store was overflowing with people, many chatting in Portuguese. I was surprised to see Jonas in attendance. I learned that he had been instrumental in the publication of the book. Manuela Bairos, the consul general of Portugal, was one of several readers reciting Florbela’s poems, both in Portuguese and English. She described how Jonas had stressed to her the importance of publishing the book, which the New York Portuguese Consul eventually provided support for. With each poem, I was drawn into the tragedy of this woman’s life, her suffering, her outpouring of emotion, the depth of her soul. Jonas spoke eloquently, emotionally of how Sara Trindade had come to him with a translation of Florbela’s poems, and her need to have the book published. Jonas read the poems, was TVG

challenge, graciously offered up letters, his memories, other items from his archive for the magazine. Jonas figures prominently in the film. Again, Jonas spoke passionately, describing Barbara’s importance to the ’60s New York scene, and his influence on her in the production of her unheralded masterpiece “Christmas on Earth.” When she left New York City in the early 1970s, abandoning her bohemian lifestyle, reinventing herself as an Orthodox Jew, she gave her film to Jonas, instructing him “to destroy it, or do whatever you see fit.” Of course, master archivist that he was, Jonas chose to preserve the film, so that we owe its continued existence to him. In addition, some of Barbara’s writings that are in “Film Culture 80” were preserved by Jonas. Sections of Barbara’s film were recently shown as part of the Velvet Underground tribute exhibition that recently closed. I viewed Chuck’s film at the Documentary Film Festival held this fall at IFC, and would highly recommend it for a rare glimpse of Barbara, a truly unique individual, along with the ’60s New York scene of The Velvet Underground, Warhol, The Fugs, Dylan and Allen Ginsberg. Jonas’s insights were always pithy, to the point. He brought clarity to a subject. When Jonas spoke at Printed Matter, he remembered Barbara, her filmmaking skills, the groundbreaking aspects of her work as a female cinematographer, her impact on the ’60s arts scene in the city. Jonas was passionate about Barbara, a woman he mentored, as he was about Florbela, a poet whom he had never met, but only knew through her poetry. Jonas’s passion filled a room, as he spoke in his still heavily accented voice. A friend, an N.Y.U. English professor, Bryan Waterman, commented, “What I admire most about him is that he stayed on the scene and he never stopped working.” He described having bought three newly published books by Jonas in the past year. At 96, long after many of his demographic had faded, Jonas was still high energy, inspiring others, young and old. His spirit was a palpable force at any event he attended. He was always gracious, open, accommodating, offering up inspiration, encouragement to other artists’ projects. Jonas was a presence. He will be missed. Januar y 31, 2019


As Stone spews, Credico and canine lie low BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


.B.I. agents dramatically stormed Roger Stone’s Florida home early last Friday morning, arresting him on federal charges, in connection with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s “Russiagate” investigation. But that hasn’t stopped Stone, who was freed mere hours later on $250,000 bond, from since making the rounds of the TV news shows and proclaiming his innocence. The arrest came after Stone was indicted by Mueller’s grand jury on seven charges. The self-described G.O.P. “dirty trickster” is accused of testifying falsely and misleadingly before the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about his possible communications with WikiLeaks, plus his documented communications with persons he called “go-betweens” to WikiLeaks, in regards to anti-Hillary Clinton e-mail “dumps” by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. He is also accused of telling a Trump campaign official about some of these conversations. Stone is further accused — in a “witness tampering” charge — of trying to influence one of the purported “gobetweens,” namely, comedian-turnedradio host Randy Credico, not to testify before the committee, or to testify falsely. For his part, Credico has maintained that he was not a “go-between” or so-called “backchannel” for Stone to WikiLeaks. Credico is not named in the indictment, which refers to him only as “Person 2.” In a part of the indictment that the media have played up, Stone is accused of threatening, in an e-mail on April 9, 2018, to kidnap Credico’s beloved little therapy dog, Bianca. “You are a rat. A stoolie you backstab your friends — run your mouth…,” Stone wrote, adding, he was going to “take that dog away from you.” Soon after, Stone e-mailed Credico again, “Prepare to die [expletive].” The Villager previously reported on these and other e-mails that Credico called threatening. For his part, since Stone’s arrest, Credico has been lying low and shunning the press. However, breaking his silence, he did communicate with The Villager on Sunday night via Facebook messages. Following Stone’s arrest, Credico had been sporadically posting photos of Bianca on Facebook and Twitter. Asked by this newspaper how he and his canine sidekick were holding up, he initially sent two big thumbs-up emojis. Kristin Davis, the so-called “Manhattan Madam,” was on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show Friday night and said Stone’s comment about wanting to take Bianca from Credico actually referred to Cred-


Januar y 31, 2019


A photo Randy Credico recently posted of himself and his dog, Bianca, on his Instagram page.

he said, “Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, Erin Burnett and Ari Melber. I may do Melber and Burnett on Wednesday if I feel better.” Stone, meanwhile — who has been all over the TV — did not respond to requests for an interview. Also speaking on Cuomo’s show last Friday, he stated, “I don’t expect to be convicted… I know I am innocent. My intention is to plead not guilty and fight the charges. And I have had no discussion about…a pardon [from President Trump].” Stone was an early Trump campaign adviser, but left the campaign in 2015, though remains a staunch supporter. As for the predawn raid on his home — in which two-dozen G-men in bulletproof vests and toting rifles swarmed his property — he shrugged, “When you don’t have evidence you use theatrics.” Stone maintains Mueller’s investigation has not found any evidence of Russian collusion into the 2016 election, and scoffed that what the special prosecutor has on him is a “nothing burger.” Mueller’s 24-page indictment of Stone also refers to an attorney, possibly Margaret Ratner, widow of the late Bill Kunstler, the famed radical attorney. Credico was friends with the couple and lived in their Gay St. townhouse in Greenwich Village off and on over the years. Again, “Person 2” in the indictment refers to Credico. “Organization 1” refers to WikiLeaks. The indictment states, “On or about September 19, 2016, STONE texted Person 2 again, writing, ‘Pass my message…to [the head of Organization 1].’ Person 2 responded, ‘I did.’ On or about September 20, 2016, Person 2 forwarded the request to a friend who was an attorney with the ability to contact the head of Organization 1. …” The “head of Organization 1” is pre-

ico’s poor care of his pet. She claimed Stone said this “because Randy doesn’t treat his dog well and Stone’s an animal advocate.” Stone managed Davis’s 2010 campaign for governor, and the two have remained friends. Davis told Cuomo that Stone and Credico are “frenemies — they’ve had a horrible, off-and-on relationship for 20-plus years. They threaten each other all the time, and then the next month, they’re going out to dinner.” Asked about Davis’s trashing of his care of Bianca, Credico sent The Villager a photo of the fur ball eating a bowl of what resembled some tasty Chinese stir-fry. “Yeah! It’s broiled chicken on mixed green salad,” Credico said. “I spend more in [sic] her than I do on myself. She’s never had dog food.” As for Davis, he scoffed, “You think she has any credibility? She hangs with Roger Stone.” Continuing via Facebook messages, Credico told The Villager, “I’m in a remote area [in] the outer boroughs. … I don’t want anyone to know where the location is. “I never go out,” he said. “I haven’t left this room. I’m doing voice-overs.” Credico, who does political impressions, said he’s sending files of his voiceover work to producers, “so I don’t need to go out. … I don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “It’s for some pilot.” Meanwhile, he said he’s been getting ominous phone calls and online messages from Stone supporters. He sent screenshots of some of these e-mails to The Villager. “The phone calls are worse,” he said, adding, “I had to disable my Web site.” Ironically, now that he’s in self-imposed seclusion, all the TV news shows are desperate to have him come on them. Asked who has been asking him, TVG

sumably Julian Assange. Martin Stolar is Credico’s primary attorney. Last month, The Villager first reported that Stolar confirmed Credico was being — or would be — prepared, or “prepped,” to be a witness in the case, presumably against Stone. “Randy is clearly a featured player,” Stolar told The Villager last Friday. “He’s known as ‘Person 2.’ … He’s available to testify. I assume that Randy would be a witness that they would like to call.” In the meantime, Stolar has counseled Credico not to talk to the press. While Stone pegged Credico as his WikiLeaks “backchannel,” Credico has denied he was. The grand jury’s indictment notes Stone also described Credico as his “intermediary” with WikiLeaks, and also as a “mutual friend” with “the head of Organization 1,” Assange. Credico, who formerly had a radio show on WBAI, had Assange on the show before the ’16 presidential election, and does consider the WikiLeaks leader a friend. However, Stolar reiterated last week, “Randy has consistently said he wasn’t the backchannel.” The indictment notes Stone’s timeline of when he claims Credico was in communication with WikiLeaks for him doesn’t always stack up. And, in fact, over this past weekend, Stone admitted he may have forgotten certain communications he had — presumably with persons other than Credico — regarding the dumps of e-mails by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager. Stolar added he predicts the indictment of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairperson, will prove more significant than Stone’s. “Stone was more of a peripheral player,” he noted. Former East Village activist John Penley was following the Stone-Credico-Assange story early on and encouraged The Villager to delve into it, leading to an ongoing series of articles, plus Scoopy’s Notebook items, over the past two years. “I think it would be fair to say that The Villager was one of the first publications in the country to get quotes from both Credico and Stolar, his lawyer, and Roger Stone himself about this whole thing,” Penley said. “The crack and the rift between Stone and Credico was definitely contributed to by the quotes you had in the early reporting on this. You can see the rift develop in your reporting.” Told of Penley’s saying The Villager’s coverage started the falling-out between Stone and Credico, attorney Stolar bristled, “I don’t give a s—. I don’t really care where it began or where it led.” On second thought, he fumed, “Where it begins is Donald Trump — the moron that currently occupies the White House!” Schneps Media


What to know about heart disease M illions of women around the country live with cardiovascular disease and may not know it. The consequences of being uninformed can

be fatal. According to the National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease, heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women. More women die from heart disease than breast cancer in any given year, and the Public Health Agency of Canada says that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Canadian women over the age of 55. That’s a frightening reality that might surprise some.

What puts women at risk? There are a number of factors that can put a woman at risk for heart disease: Hypertension: High blood pressure can exert extra stress on blood vessel walls and make them more likely to get clogged. Cholesterol levels: Cholesterol in the blood can build up on the inside of blood vessels and lead to blockages that can cause a number of different problems. Smoking: Women who smoke have a higher risk of heart attacks than nonsmoking women. Those who smoke and take birth control pills are at an even higher risk. Obesity: The chance for heart disease increases with a woman’s weight. Even losing a little bit of weight can Schneps Media

help diminish the chance. Diabetes: High blood sugar can damage the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Family history: A woman with blood relatives who were diagnosed with heart disease is at a heightened risk of developing heart disease. Lack of physical exercise: Inactivity can promote heart disease. Daily physical activity can go a long way to help the heart and prevent heart disease.

Preventing heart disease Recognizing the risk factors for heart disease is just the beginning when it comes to prevention. Once those risk factors are known, it’s up to women to take steps to live a more healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many ways women can do just that. Exercise daily. Thirty minutes of exercise per day is recommended. This can improve cardiovascular health by getting the blood moving through the body. It can also help women lose weight, decreasing risk for other ailments as a result. Quit smoking. Do not use tobacco products. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease. Smoking narrows the arteries in your heart and can also contribute to the hardening of arteries, called atherosclerosis. This condition can ultimately lead to a heart attack. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in the TVG

blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can raise blood pressure and force your heart to work harder. Eat healthy. Eating foods that are low in cholesterol and sodium can help with heart disease risk. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and other sources of whole fiber can help. Consumption of fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, is also beneficial. Maintain a healthy weight. A doctor or nutritionist can help you determine a healthy weight for your body type and height. Most use calculations to determine a body mass index, or BMI, which considers certain factors, including height and weight, to determine if you have a proper amount of body fat. Waist circumference is also a tool used to measure how much abdominal fat a person has. Go to the doctor regularly. A doctor can run certain tests to discover any red flags for potential heart problems. He will check blood pressure, cholesterol levels, conduct screenings for diabetes, and discuss family history. With all of this information, the doctor will be able to make certain assumptions about heart disease risk and guide you on the path to finding a program that will be effective for you. Although heart disease is the foremost killer of women in North America, it can largely be prevented and risk factors managed with adequate health care. Women living with any of the aforementioned risk factors should make an appointment with their doctor to determine a course of action. Januar y 31, 2019



Maimonides makes top-10 list Report puts medical center among nation's best hospitals The federal government recently recognized Maimonides Medical Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outstanding work in saving Brooklynitesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lives â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ranking it one of the Top 10 health systems in the country for superior survival rates. Kenneth D. Gibbs, president and chief executive officer at the hospital, on Jan. 16 announced that Maimonides had received the honor â&#x20AC;&#x201D; placing it among the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best hospitals, including: Massachusetts General, Cleveland Clinic, Cedars Sinai, and New York-Presbyterian. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the very fi rst year that the federal government has measured mortality rates, Maimonides has been a top performer,â&#x20AC;? said Gibbs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At fi rst there were only two cardiac conditions evaluated â&#x20AC;&#x201D; heart attack and heart failure. So it seemed natural that a renowned heart hospital like Maimonides would do well. But as additional diagnoses were added to the mix â&#x20AC;&#x201D; like pneumonia and stroke â&#x20AC;&#x201D; our medical center has continued to

achieve outstanding results for Brooklynâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s families across multiple specialty areas.â&#x20AC;? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services annually compares mortality rates at every hospital in the nation. The most recent report shows that only a handful of hospitals nationwide rise above the rest in maintaining better-than-expected results for their patients. There are seven diagnoses reviewed for mortality. Maimonides is above average in two categories â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and significantly above average in the other five: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a validation of the many teams who work day and night to deliver outstanding care to patients at Maimonides,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Samuel Kopel, Medical Director of Maimonides Medical Center. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our doctors and clinicians never stop building on their successesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they continually try to exceed the standard of care to bring the best pos-

Maimonides Medical Center ranked significantly above average in five of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Ser vicesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; seven categories for superior sur vival rates.

sible results to every patient.â&#x20AC;? Maimonides Medical Center has a long history of providing exceptional patient care through a culture of teamwork in its interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence and its commitment to

continuous innovation. For more information about the clinical services and many innovations achieved at Maimonides Medical Center, visit www.maimonidesmed.org/ about-us/quality-safety.



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Per formance ar tist Darke Attoms, left, getting made up by Sur Rodney Sur.

Send in the ‘Klowns’; Howl’ing about workshops Load of Klowns,’ ” she explained. It made sense to carry the clown theme into this workshop, she said, because she wanted a free and open atmosphere and “clowns don’t necessarily have a gender.” She noted that lately she has heard people who don’t want to be classified one way or the other refer to their gender as “clown.” Performance artist Darke Attoms, who brought a bag of his own garments, wasted no time getting into a pink tutu. “I fell in love with Gail’s photos at the opening,” he said, adding he signed up as soon as the workshop was announced. Although he was wearingcostumes from his own collection, the makeup — courtesy of Sur Rodney Sur — was a whole new experience for him. “It’s so different from my stage persona,” he said. “It was so nice seeing other people in my clothes,” he added. It was an equally enlightening experience for Professor Clifford. “I had never been a clown before,” she noted. She based her look on an image in the show by Thacker of actor Agosto



hristen Clifford — writer, performance artist and professor — may have just needed a break from teaching her course at The New School entitled “What is Rape Culture?” She certainly found it at the“Klown Portrait Polaroid Workshop” at the Howl! Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., last week. Set up by Katherine Cheairs, the gallery’s director of education, the event was the first in a projected series of free workshops to be run by an artist whose work is showing in the space. At the moment, the show is “Fugitive Moments,” featuring Polaroid-based imagery by Gail Thacker that draws on four decades of her work. Thacker, surrounded by her photos and an eager group of participants, let everyone introduce themselves before giving a brief introduction to the Polaroid camera and the idea behind the workshop. She then randomly chose who would dress up and who would shoot their portraits, then let them loose with makeup, props and film. While the participants jumped into

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Writer, teacher and per formance ar tist Christen Clifford, left, gets her subject ready for the por trait.

the makeup kits and out of their street clothes, Thacker took a minute to explain the concept behind the evening. “I met Hapi Phace while working at the Gene Frankel Theatre,” where Thacker is the artistic director, “and we put together a clown troupe, the ‘Kar TVG

Machado. “I loved it!” Clifford exclaimed. “It was so freeing to let someone else do the makeup and costume me.” VeteranEast Village performer Hapi Phace was on hand to assist. “It went swimmingly,” he said. “It was structured chaos! It was nice because there was room to make mistakes, and that made everyone comfortable.” The night ended with everyone’s favorite Polaroids being scanned and projected, and a big “thank you” to everyone from Thacker, who made a point of letting the group know how well it went. “You all stepped up to the plate!” she declared. Later, Thacker made a point of expressing what the event meant to her personally — especially about the way that everyone worked together. “I was kind of amazed,” she mused. “As a visual artist, I am used to working alone. But there is so much talk now of collaboration. That word was not in my vocabulary 15 years ago.” Thacker’s show at Howl! Happening runs through Feb. 6. For more information on the gallery’s upcoming shows and events, visit www.howlarts.org/ . Januar y 31, 2019


Immigrants, refugees and life-and-death issues BY GABE HERMAN


new play is coming to La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the East Village that explores issues around immigration, refugees and borders. The piece, “City of No Illusions,” is from the theater company Talking Band, an avant-garde organization that has been based in New York City since 1974. The play will run at the theater, at 66 E. Fourth St., including previews, from Feb. 8 through Feb. 24, with opening night set for Feb. 13. The work is centered around a funeral home run by two sisters in Buffalo, N.Y., near the Canadian border. The mortuary accidentally becomes a sanctuary for two immigrants, a man from Syria and a woman from El Salvador. The play includes ICE agents pursuing the immigrants, and ends up with the sisters’ lives intertwined with the immigrants in various ways, according to Talking Band’s description. Paul Zimet, a co-founder of Talking Band, who wrote and directed the work, said he met two real women who are funeral directors in Buffalo, and blended that in with a sanctuary in Buffalo called Vive that he read about in The New Yorker.


Ar t work for the new play “Cit y of Illusions” at La Mama.

“I became very interested in this idea of borders, between countries and also between the living and the dead,” he said. “The piece became not only about borders but the passageway through those borders.” The work draws further real-life

influence from the opioid epidemic, as increasing deaths cause the funeral home sisters to be overwhelmed and in need of help from the two immigrants. Zimet, a native New Yorker who has lived in Soho since 1973, said he wanted to explore immigration and refugees through the characters’ lives, but not beat the audience over the head with the issues. “People aren’t interested in more polemicizing about it,” he said. The play shows the ICE agents, for example, as people with various sides. “I didn’t want to demonize the ICE agents,” Zimet said, noting that one of them is into art and painting. “They’re not just one thing, they’re not just forces of policy. They have other sides.” There are also more lighthearted moments, like farcical situations and mix-ups, and quirky characters, Zimet added. “I felt that with a serious subject like this, you need a lot of humor,” he said, “otherwise you get weighed down by it.” “City of No Illusions” also features a live “shadow band” with songs about the journeys and plights of immigrants. The show’s original music is by Talking Band co-founder Ellen Maddow. Zimet said the band seems to live in a sanctuary, though it is unclear if they are refugees or even if they’re living or dead. They “seem to span across these borders,” he explained. The playwright also noted the diversity of the cast members, whose backgrounds are from Syria, Iran and Serbia, among others, and who range in age from their 20s to 70s.

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Paul Zimet, author of the new play “Cit y of Illusions.”

That diversity helped keep the play authentic, said Zimet. He also noted that actors would point out when something didn’t seem right, or would even say when certain lines might endanger their families back home. “It sort of brings it home to you that, ‘Wow, this is real, it’s affecting real people,’ ” he said of the connection between actors and the characters they portray. “It’s been very valuable and necessary to have that kind of input from people whose experience is close to them.” Schneps Media

C.B. 3: Picture on homeless outreach is bleak BY GABE HERMAN


s the city’s homeless crisis worsens, more people, some with mental illness and in need of help, are out on the streets and in the subways. The issue of outreach efforts was discussed at last week’s Community Board 3 meeting. At the Jan. 22 meeting at P.S. 20, at 166 Essex St. on the Lower East Side, C.B. 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer gave a report from a district service cabinet meeting she had attended at which the issue was discussed. She said that M.T.A. police and BRC, a homeless outreach organization, along with other groups, were coordinating efforts to try to get homeless people to accept help and services, and were doing case management for all homeless people in the East Village board’s area. “Everyone’s in agreement, including outreach, that there are a lot more homeless people in the subways this year and last year,” Stetzer stated. Efforts to get homeless people to leave the subways include removing benches from stations and frequent check-ins throughout the night, even if it disturbs the homeless persons’ sleep. She said these methods have proven successful in getting people to accept beds and services, and that in December six people in the district accepted help. “So it is worthwhile to call 311, that they know that there are homeless there,” she said. “I was actually kind of upset when I heard they’re removing benches, because that affects everybody, but they are saying that it has been successful.” There are no specific numbers for how many homeless people are on the streets every day in the city, but the number is in the thousands, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. This past November, more than 63,600 homeless people citywide spent each night in a shelter, according to the city’s Department of Homeless Services, Human Resources Administration and NYCStat shelter


A homeless outreach worker interacting with a homeless man in Washington Square Park — par t of a group that had been encamped on the grass in the park — in 2015, Mayor de Blasio’s second year in office.

census reports. That was a 72 percent increase from 10 years ago. C.B. 3 member Lee Berman, a local Democratic district leader, pushed back on the outreach efforts and said there are many homeless people outside every day, and especially around a homeless outreach unit at Madison and Grand Sts. “Some of the community think that a lot of this is just lip service,” he said. Berman added that even on cold-weather emergency days, there is a persistent problem of homeless people outside and especially in a three-block radius of the outreach unit, having lived there for four or five years.




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“Some of whom are unfortunately in need of mental services, medical services and support,” he said. When Stetzer asked what he would like to be done, Berman replied, “Enact the policy that for cold-weather emergencies, people who are incapable of taking care of themselves need to be forced into shelters and given services, at a bare minimum. That is not occurring.” Stetzer replied, “What you’re talking about is a situation with the law. The law says if you want to live on the street, you may live on the street.” She added that if a homeless person is mentally ill, he or she can only be deemed so by a specific medical person, not just any outreach worker. In addition, homeless persons are not required to accept help or services unless such a qualified professional deems they are at risk of potentially harming themselves or others. Stetzer said the outreach workers know about every homeless person on the streets and each one’s specific case, and they do care, but can only check on them, and keep checking, if they’re not seen to be in danger from the cold. “It is not that they’re not doing their job,” she said. “We have a crisis in our city with homelessness, and right now there are limited ways to deal with it.”


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Log On: New York Family’s Top 5 Stories of the Month!


Alex Zagami Ng and her son in her Downtown children’s toy store, PiccoliNY.

Shop sparks kids’, adults’ creativity BY MIA WEBER


he word “piccolini” means “small ones” in Italian. So it’s fitting that the word inspired the name of Downtown’s most adorable toy store for New York City’s littlest shoppers,PiccoliNY, which sits right on the invisible line between Little Italy and Chinatown. “We spell it ‘P-i-c-c-o-l-i-N-Y,’ versus with an ‘i’ at the end,” explains the store’s founder and creative director, Alex Zagami Ng, a new mom with a 17-month-old son. “It’s a play on words —we think of it as ‘a little New York.’” Zagami Ng’s definition is apt. In addition to being a treasure trove of delights for pintsized New Yorkers (from baby through elementary school age), the store, at 167 Mott St., between Broome and Grand Sts., also serves as a flagship for Zagami Ng’s own PiccoliNY line. The line includes onesies, tees, hats and totes emblazoned with playful takes on the I Heart NY graphic (think hot dogs or lo mein for the “I,” and pretzels or pizza slices for the heart) that Zagami Ng had drawn by her cousin-in-law, a cartoonist for Adult Swim. Zagami Ng started her own line after being in business only a few months: The Feast of San Gennaro was coming up and she was in search of a city-centric hook to attract customers during the street fair. It was a big hit, and soon after, Zagami Ng started working with the Tory Burch Foundation to take the line to the next level. “Once we saw that [the PiccoliNY items] were selling out and people were re-

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acting to it, that’s when I knew I was onto something. And that’s when my mentors at the Tory Burch Foundation came in,” she recalled. “They upped the quality for me so much, and here we are eight years later — we’re wholesaling it to other shops, and it’s made my store a global destination.” The made-in-NYC ethos of Zagami Ng’s own brand, coupled with the small neighborhood feel of the store — which originally opened in 2011 on Mulberry St. — has made it a must for both native New Yorkers and tourists alike. “I really, really take my time picking each [item in the store]. When I opened the store in 2011, I wasn’t a mom —I was gifting as if I was the cool aunt. But now, after having my own child, I’m seeing the store through a whole new lens,” Zagami Ng said. “The store is a little bit of New York old-soul, a little bit of nostalgia. We like to give gifts that tell a story: A little bit about yourself and a little bit about who you’re giving the gift to as well.” She added, “We want to really spark children’s creativity in here.” Zagami Ng is a native New Yorker herself, with both a retail background and family connections to both the neighborhood and the industry. She’s also a mother trying to make conscious choices as to the items her child has in his life. All of this is reflected by the choices she makes in her store. In addition to the NYC-inspired PiccoliNY brand picks on display, there are also toy versions of the Staten Island Ferry and NYC Sanitation trucks (the truck, in particular, Zagami Ng said, most frequently inspires youngsters to melt down in-store) mixed in with toys from local artists (like Hazel Village dolls) and throwback picks TVG

like Spyrographs. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My grandfather had a bakery in this neighborhood for over 60 years, and my aunt had a store similar to this one when I was growing up,” Zagami Ng said. “After working both in women’s and children’s retail, children’s was the most rewarding for me. I knew I wanted to get back into that.” In an age where buying online is such a prevalent habit and children’s gifts are increasingly tech-heavy, Zagami Ng encourages people to support the small businesses in their communities and take note of the difference in experience and value. “When you shop small, one, you’re supporting someone’s dream; and two, you can touch and feel the product,” she said. “We’re giving you the customer service of walking you through the gift. If you’re coming here, I’m giving you the curation and the customer service. I’m asking: ‘Who are you shopping for?’ And: ‘What’s your budget?’ That’s why I started this business —I wanted to be a part of a neighborhood.” Zagami Ng loves being in between iconic Little Italy (for her own Italian heritage) and Chinatown (her husband is AsianAmerican). But at the end of the day, her favorite thing is getting feedback from her most important customer: her son. “It’s really about enjoying the fruit of my labor when I get to watch my son run in here and destroy the store,” she said, laughing. “He comes in here and he’s totally like a bull in a china shop, but it’s so fun seeing what he does gravitate to, how he does light up.” For more information, visitpiccolinyshop.com .

Raising kids in New York City? Be sure to visit NewYorkFamily.com to check out these top stories that savvy city parents are loving! NYF’s homepage and social channels (@ NewYorkFamily) are updated daily, so be sure to like, follow and subscribe to make sure you stay in the know. 1. Best Sleepaway Camps: Looking for a great sleep-away camp this summer? Check out the slideshow below for our big, comprehensive guide to the best sleepaway camps in the Northeast! 2. The 15 Best Ski Resorts Near NYC: It’s the time of the year again when the weather drops down to freezing and the city becomes covered in snow. Use the snow to your advantage and head up to one of the many family-friendly ski resorts near NYC. 3. A Comprehensive Guide to New York City’s Best Private Schools: If there’s a “secret” to applying to private school, it’s chiefly this: Do your research with the goal of identifying the schools that you think would truly be the best fit for your child and family. When you’re ready to do your homework, there are many great schools to discover! 4. Best Day Camps in the City: Looking for a great day camp program close to home? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best day camps in New York City! 5. Rock & Stroll: The Best Strollers of 2019: Shopping for a stroller can be daunting for a new parent. New York Family’s annual guide to the 50 best strollers on the market for the New Year — from doubles to joggers to luxury models — has you covered as you make your big decision.

Januar y 31, 2019


Manhattan Happenings BY RICO BURNEY

COMMUNITY Ecological City Design Planning Meeting: Earth Celebrations and more than 50 other community groups are currently in the planning stages for May’s Ecological City: Procession for Climate Solutions. This year’s Procession promises to be a creative response to recent changes to the East Side Coastal Resiliency and East River Park redevelopment plans, and will feature live performances and extravagant puppets and costumes on display. The group will be holding a meeting on Wed., Feb. 6, where members of the public are invited to share and develop their designs and ideas that future workshops will then develop into reality ahead of the May 11 event. The Design Planning meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Loisaida Inc. Center, at 710 E. Ninth St., between Avenues C and D.

HISTORY “Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community,” the 1985 documentary about the history of the L.G.B.T. community prior to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, will be shown on 16-millimeter film at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center at 6 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 7. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Greta Schiller. Registration is available at https : //w w w.ny pl.org /events /pro grams/2019/02/07/stonewall. Free.

FOOD N.Y.C. Restaurant Week is back and with it, $26 two-course lunches and $42 three-course dinners on prix-fi xe menus at more than 380 restaurants all over the city. The list of participating restaurants, menus and reservations can be found at https://www.nycgo. com/restaurant-week. Restaurant Week ends Fri., Feb. 8.

KIDS Mapping the Outside: Families can take advantage of free admission to the New Museum at 235 Bowery, on Sat., Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. Children will have the opportunity get creative while viewing Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball’s new exhibition “Finding Oneself Outside.” Recommended ages are 4 to 12 years old. All children free; Two adults free per family. More information can be


Januar y 31, 2019


The Water front Closing Tableaux at last year’s Ecological City Procession.

found at https://bit.ly/2FYiG0p.

TALKS When Did We Become So Polarized? Authors and historians Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer will be joined in conversation with journalist Soledad O’Brien to discuss their new book, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974,” which aims to chronicle how our country became so divided. The program is sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice and will take place at N.Y.U. School of Law’s Greenberg Lounge, at 40 Washington Sq. South, on Mon., Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. The authors will also be signing books starting at 7:40 p.m. Registration is available at https://bit.ly/2FaptmI. Free.

CHINESE NEW YEAR Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival: Ring in the Year of the Pig with firecrackers, followed by lion, unicorn and dragon dances, in addition to human dancers on Sat., Feb 5, at 11 a.m. in Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Grand St. Presented by Better Chinatown U.S.A. Free.

MUSIC The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the septet made up of jazz musician Phil Cohran’s sons, whose music tears down the walls between jazz, funk and hip-hop and who have played every stage from Carnegie Hall to Coachella, will be returning this weekend to the Blue Note, at 131 W. Third St., between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St. Showtimes are Thurs., Jan. 31, to Sun., Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 31 and Feb. 2-3 at 10:30 p.m. Bar seating $20; Table seating $35. More information about admission policies can be found at http://www.bluenotejazz.com/newyork.

THEATER “Sea Wall / A Life” begins previews Fri., Feb. 1 at the Public Theatre’s Newman Theater, at 425 Lafayette St., south of Astor Place, and will star Tony nominee Tom Sturridge (“Orphans,” “1984”) and Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Sunday in the Park With George”) in a double bill of two respective one-man shows. “Sea Wall,” written by Simon Stephen (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”), features Sturridge giving a monologue on TVG

love and human curiosity. Gyllenhaal then meditates on dealing with losing loved ones in “A Life,” by Nick Payne (“Constellations”). Tickets are $110 plus fees for general public; $80 for members. Free tickets are available for Friday’s show via the TodayTix app and in person lottery at theater. Additional lotteries and discounted student and rush tickets available throughout run. Visit publictheater.org for more information. Closes March 31.

COMMUNITY BOARD MEETINGS Community Board 4 meets at Mount Sinai West, 1000 10th Ave., at W. 59th St., Second Floor, Conference Room B, on Wed., Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Community Board 7 meets at Mount Sinai West, 1000 10th Ave.,at W. 59th St., Tues., Feb. 5, at 8:30 p.m.

PRECINCT COUNCIL MEETINGS 19th Precinct Community Council meets at 153 E. 67th St., on Mon., Feb. 4, at 7 p.m.

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Catmint Wheel Cake pastries are worth a spin BY GABE HERMAN


new pastry shop has opened in the Village with delicious Japanese/Taiwanese desserts and the curious name Catmint Wheel Cake. The small shop opened less than two months ago at 124 MacDougal St., between Bleecker and MacDougal Sts. It’s located up a flight of stairs from the street. A wheel cake is similar in size and shape to a macaroon, but originated in Japan and was brought to Taiwan during Japanese colonial rule more than a century ago. Also known as “Imagawayaki,” it features an exterior of batter that is traditionally filled with a sweet bean paste, though it can also have different types of sweets, like chocolates, or sometimes savory options. As for the name “Catmint,” the shop’s Web site explains that the word is another name for catnip, and was chosen for the owners’ love of cats. The company playfully emphasizes that the wheel cakes should not actually be fed to felines. “We wanted to ensure customers are savoring for the wheel cakes as much as cats meow for catmint,” the site reads.

After trying the banana chocolate wheel cake, the catnip metaphor isn’t far off. All wheel cakes are baked on site and take about eight to 10 minutes. Mine came out warm, rich and gooey, with chocolate and banana on the inside and almonds baked into the chocolate batter outside. I took a bite in the small shop on a recent Sunday and planned to save the rest for later since it was crowded in the small place. But it was so good that I ate the rest as soon as I stepped outside. I didn’t feel the urge to chase a ball of yarn, but I did have an extra hop in my step afterward. Other flavors include vanilla custard; matcha chocolate; custard & bubble; matcha red bean; and tuna, corn & cheese. Each wheel cake costs $3.90, and the shop also offers a tea menu. Combo offers include three wheel cakes for $10.50, and two wheel cakes and a tea for $11.50. Come for the interesting name, stay for the tasty desserts. More information is available at catmintwheelcake. com.


Making different-flavored versions of the signature snack at Catmint Wheel Cake.

Restaurant Week offers good deals on great food BY GABE HERMAN


he city’s Winter Restaurant Week has arrived, just in time for foodies and those perhaps less fanatical who still enjoy food, plus a good deal, and perhaps the occasional Instagram food post. The twice-a-year city event recently kicked off on Jan. 21 and runs until Feb. 8. It includes more than 380 restaurants offering special prix-fi xe menus. The program, which started in 1992 for the Democratic National Convention but quickly caught on with locals, offers a two-course lunch for $26 and a three-course dinner for $42. Of course, Restaurant Week has plenty of participants in Downtown Manhattan, including 17 spots in Greenwich Village, 14 in Soho, 14 in Tribeca and six in Chelsea.


Food from Fig & Olive, at 420 W. 13th St. in the Meatpacking District, one of the par ticipating restaurants in Winter Restaurant Week. Schneps Media


First-time participants include Café Clover at 10 Downing St., Woo Soho at 206 Spring St., Tarallucci e Vino East Village at First Ave. and E. 10 St., and Petite Boucherie at 14 Christopher St. in the West Village. You can search for restaurants by neighborhood, type of cuisine, or just alphabetically at www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week . It can be competitive to get the desired meal at the desired restaurant. Some Restaurant Week tips include checking back after the first five days, which is when there is the biggest rush for deals, and going for lunch deals, which can be easier to get. Sunday nights tend to be less busy but still have prix-fi xe menus offered at many places. Januar y 31, 2019


Virtual reality is alive at Orchard ‘playlab’

Just hangin’ at Jump Into The Light, enjoying a VR trip.


Max Li with an old-school tintype of L .E.S. documentarian Clay ton Patterson.



y part of the Lower East Side has changed so much I almost get disoriented wandering around in my own ’hood. And I had lost much interest in the new because our politicians sold us out to the concept of an “entertainment zone,” which basically translates into bars, bars and more bars, which did much to destroy the local small independents. However, I did make a fortunate discovery, when my friend Roman Primitivo Luna pushed me hard enough to get me to enter into a new establishment called Jump Into The Light, at 180 Orchard St., between Stanton and E. Houston Sts. I was soon very intrigued with what I found. A friendly, welcoming environment, with a whole new form of leading-edge, mentally and visually interactive computer-generated virtual reality. Put on these special goggles, and you feel you are outside the moment and present place, surrounded in a complete visual-3D environment. You lose all sense of where you are. The experience can be enhanced if there is an audio component. Jump Into The Light is America’s first “virtual reality cinema and playlab.” They worked with a documentary photographer who was the first to use the 3D camera to capture the Baltimore protests. They are artists working on 3D books. There are VR games and photo studios. To counterbalance all this new


Januar y 31, 2019

From left, Mehow Skalski, a director at Jump Into The Light, with Kur tis Ofori, Keith Patchel, Palmer Foote and Philip Baldwin, looking at Patchel’s concept for Plinkout, which teaches people how to play music.

description of the tintype process, and in 1856 Hamilton Smith secured the first American patent.They’re bringing together both ends of the history of photography.

technology, Max Li, an artist in residence, is a photography historian who makes tintype photographs.In 1853, French scientist Adolphe-Alexandre Martin wrote thefirst recorded TVG

They also have an iPod recording studio for interviews and other programs.And as one would expect, it is mostly a young-person environment, to the point of kids parties. Schneps Media

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Januar y 31, 2019


Real Estate

Waterside Plaza affordable housing is saved BY GABE HERMAN


he City Council has approved long-term affordable housing for many residents of Waterside Plaza, the Kips Bay apartment complex on the East River. Legislation was approved Jan. 24 that will keep 325 units as affordable housing through 2098, and give rent protections for “settling” residents who lived in the complex when it was part of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program, which the complex exited in 2001. There are 1,470 total residential units in the building complex, located east of the F.D.R. Drive from E. 26th to 28th Sts. In the years since the exit from Mitchell-Lama, settling residents had annual rent increases of up to 7.25 percent. Those residents will now have rent freezes or lower increases, based on income levels. “Settling residents” are defined as having entered Waterside when it was a Mitchell-Lama, and then reached a separate agreement with the landlord on their annual rent increase amount. The City Council deal, which will go to the mayor for signing, also extends Waterside Plaza’s lease with the city from 2069 all the way to 2118. The complex includes four residential towers, the first of which opened in 1973. The legislation was praised by many politicians, including Councilmember Keith Powers, whose District 4

Waterside Plaza sits on landfill east of the F.D.R. Drive in the E. 20s.

tor Brad Hoylman, and Comptroller Scott Stringer. “After a year of negotiation,” Powers

includes Waterside Plaza; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Council Speaker Corey Johnson; state Sena-

said, “we have come to a deal that will address the rent burden of existing tenants and preserve affordable housing for 75 years. This is a meaningful deal to the hundreds of families that have and will continue to call Waterside Plaza their home.” The deal was also welcomed by the owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, and by Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association. Handal thanked Mayor de Blasio, Powers and other local officials and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as Ravitch. “H.P.D. engaged with our community, while shaping a 75-year affordability deal, to learn the needs of our seniors and craft an innovative plan that provides for lasting housing security,” Handal said. “I am grateful to my fellow tenants, who were unswerving in their support and dedication as we worked through the details of this groundbreaking deal,” she added. Speaker Johnson praised the outcome. “The Waterside Plaza deal is a shining example of how to meet the challenges of our city’s affordable housing crisis head on,” he said. “This Council will always fight to protect tenants and this deal is a big win in that fight.”

New building law takes aim at asthma triggers And there is a high correlation between high rates of mold and pest violations, and high asthma rates, according to a recent analysis by Localize.city. The site examined New York City housing violations over the last five years and adult asthma rates from 2015-16 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Lower Manhattan generally has low rates for pest and mold violations. But the East Village and Lower East Side have moderately high asthma rates, each with 9.5 cases per 100 adults. Similarly, in Chelsea the rate is 9.4. Brooklyn and the Bronx generally had neighborhoods with the highest asthma rates, in the range of 12 or 13 people affected per 100 adults. Of course, a specific building even in a neighborhood with lower violation rates could have issues, and may



ith the City Council passing the Asthma-Free Housing Act on Jan. 19, landlords will now be required to have their buildings inspected every year for asthma triggers, such as mold, pests and rodents. They will also have to address any conditions that could lead to infestation, and have to tell tenants about any such building issues that arise. A Web site, Localize.city, which analyzes New York City data by neighborhood, is giving tenants power to check building violations for themselves, instead of relying on landlord notifications, by looking up any city building address to see its history of violations. The site also provides data about neighborhood rates for asthma, mold and pests. Evidence has shown that


Januar y 31, 2019


The Villager profiled a mold problem in an East Village building that actually had mushrooms growing in the place due to poor maintenance.

cockroaches are actually the leading asthma trigger in New Yorkers’ homes, according to the Coalition for Asthma-Free Homes, which advocated for the new city legislation.


be hard to spot. “A fresh coat of paint often covers up serious maintenance problems which New Yorkers only uncover after moving in,” according to Steve Kalifowitz, president of Localize.city. “Having done one of the most extensive studies on housing violations, we’re enabling all New Yorkers to know if the building and apartment they’re considering moving into have been well-maintained.” Of course, the site benefits existing residents, as well. “This capability isn’t just valuable for people who are planning to move,” Kalifowitz said. “We’ve heard from many residents who didn’t realize the extent of the problems in their building until they searched their address.” In 2017, The Villager profi led an apartment that was mold-infested due to new landlords’ negligence.

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Yanks double-Haller as ‘Mo,’ ‘Moose’ voted in


From left, Edgar Mar tinez, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera at their induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame at the St. Regis Hotel.

Two Yankee greats, one of whom started out as a Yankee foe, and another major leaguer who was a perennial rival of the Bronx Bombers were sworn into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tues., Jan. 22. Lower East Side lensman Damien Acevedo was on hand at the St. Regis Hotel on E. 55th St. and Fifth Ave. to capture shots of ace closer Mariano Rivera as the pitcher became the firstever unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame. Fellow Yankees hurler Mike Mussina, who started his career with the Orioles, and Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez made the cut, as did the late pitcher Roy Halladay.

Mike Mussina. Schneps Media


Mariano Rivera Januar y 31, 2019




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The Villager - January 31, 2019  

January 31, 2019

The Villager - January 31, 2019  

January 31, 2019