Chelsea VOLUME 11, ISSUE 6
YO U R W E E K LY C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R S E R V I N G C H E L S E A , H U D S O N YA Y A R D S & H E L L’S K I T C H E N
FEBRUARY 7 - 13, 2019
NEW CITY RISING Hudson Yards gets ready for its grand opening Page 5
COURTESY FORBES MASSIE HEATHERWICK STUDIO
A view of the Public Square and Gardens — featuring the Vessel. At right rear is 15 Hudson Yards, which tenants are already moving into.
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Februar y 7, 2019
E\nCXnKf8ccfnM`Zk`dj F]:_`c[J\olXc8Ylj\ KfJl\=fi;XdX^\j A new law passed by the New York State Legislature which Governor Cuomo supports, “The Child Victims Act,” will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to recover damages in a court of law. The bill extends the civil statute of limitations to allow civil actions to be brought until a victim’s 55th birthday for child sexual abuse which occurred before age 18. A one year window has been created for adult survivors to commence civil actions for damages which under current law are barred because of the statute of limitations. This one year window will begin six months after the law takes effect so victims up until their 55th birthday can bring civil lawsuits against individuals or public and private institutions from churches to public school districts for child sexual abuse that they may have suffered many decades ago. The Legislature also removes the current Notice of Claim requirements for public entities in cases involving child sexual abuse so a Notice of Intention to make claim against municipalities within 90 days is not required in order to bring a lawsuit.
JXe]fi[IlY\ejk\`e Sexual abuse against a child is a shameful unforgivable act. It is a traumatizing experience that can take a lifetime to come to terms with. While this new law cannot erase what happened to victims, it will give victims an opportunity to recover damages in a Court of Law for what happened to them. While the one year window to bring a legal action will not begin until 6 months after the law takes effect victims should consult an attorney as soon as possible to begin the painful and arduous task of their gathering medical records and other evidence of their victimization.
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Februar y 7, 2019
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Februar y 7, 2019
Hudson Yards getting set for its grand opening
The obser vation deck at 30 Hudson Yards will feature a glass bottom. Cour tesy Related-Oxford
BY GABE HERMAN
he new Hudson Yards neighborhood might also be called a new city within a city, and much of it is set to open to the public next month. Hudson Yards roughly sits south of the Javits Center at W. 34th St., west of 10th Ave. and north of W. 30th St. and is rising over a rail yard used by the Long Island Railroad. Here is a rundown of the progress and opening dates for various buildings and sections, based on the latest information provided to The Villager by Related Companies, a major developer of the site. The first half of Hudson Yards to be built is known as the Eastern Yard, between 10th and 11th Aves. The next part to be developed, the Western Yard, will be just west of it, between 11th Ave. and the West Side Highway. In May 2016, 10 Hudson Yards opened. It is an office building rising 895 feet that also has retail and residential space. It does not sit atop the large platform that had to be built over the rail yard below, and thus was able to be built earlier than the rest of the Eastern Yard. Last month, commercial office tenants began moving into 55 Hudson Yards, a 780-foot-tall office and retail building. This month, the first residents will move into 15 Hudson Yards, a 900-foot-tall residential tower that will be right next to The Shed, the new cultural center at the Hudson Yards. On March 15, much of the public space at Hudson Yards will open to the public. This includes the Public Square and Gardens, a 5-acre space. Included there is the Vessel, a honeycomb-shaped structure with interSchneps Media
weaving staircases that people can climb to various landings. The Vessel is 150 feet tall. Also on March 15, the Shops and Restaurants building will open to the public. The building will have more than a mile of shopping area and more than 100 stores. Soon after that, on April 5, The Shed will open. A 120-foot-tall structure on city-owned land, it will include a 500-seat theater, exhibition space and a retractable roof. Later this year, commercial office tenants will begin moving into 30 Hudson Yards, a 1,296-foottall tower that will be the cityâ€™s second-tallest office building. It will include an observation deck at the top that juts out 65 feet from the building and will have a glass floor for those daring enough to go out and look straight down. Also later this year, sales will begin for 35 Hudson Yards, which is just over 1,000 feet tall. It will be a mixed-use building, including a hotel, residential units and office and retail space. Late this year or early next year, the observation deck at 30 Hudson Yards is scheduled to open. And in 2022, commercial office tenants are scheduled to start moving into 50 Hudson Yards, a 985foot-tall office building at the northeast corner of the entire complex. As for the Western Rail Yard, work hasnâ€™t begun on building the platform above the train tracks. That section of Hudson Yards is planned to have six residential buildings, a school, a mixed-use office and residential building, and will have the upper reaches of the High Line wind through it. Related Companies said it is expected to be fi nished in the mid to late 2020s. CNW
10 Hudson Yards, left, and 30 Hudson Yards. Cour tesy Related-Oxford Februar y 7, 2019
Police Blotter Bad Dream There was an assault at the Dream Hotel in the early hours on Sat., Feb. 2, according to police. Around 3 a.m., inside a room in the hotel at 355 W. 16th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., one woman pushed another, 20, to the ground. The attacker, who was reportedly a stranger, then pulled the victim’s hair and punched her in the face, causing a minor cut to the victim, with bleeding and substantial pain. The victim refused medical treatment from E.M.S. at the scene. Taryn McCleary, 21, was arrested for misdemeanor assault. Just the facts? A man made several false reports against a nightclub manager in the early hours of Sat., Feb. 2, police said. A guy at “The Lately” nightclub, at 357 W. 16th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., accused the manager of pulling a gun and knife on him. Officers were at the scene, but said none of that happened. The accuser was seen arguing with the manager before making the allegations. The accuser was advised to leave the area, but he refused and kept calling 911 and making false reports, police said. The man eventually left and went to the 10th Precinct stationhouse, at 230 W. 20th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves., to make another report. An officer at the
Mattress mayhem An argument between a mother and daughter turned into a threatening situation inside an apartment at 351 W. 18th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., according to a police report. On Thurs., Jan. 31, around 2 p.m., a woman said she got into an argument with her daughter over returning a bed to a Target store. When the daughter refused to return the bed, the mother asked for her cell phone. When the daughter refused to give it to her, her mom pulled out a kitchen knife and pointed it at her. Valene Maxwell, 33, was arrested Feb. 1 for misdemeanor menacing.
precinct saw the guy recording a phone call he was making, and told him he couldn’t record. The officer asked him to turn off the recording or leave. The man refused. Mark Whyte, 39, was arrested for a false report incident, a misdemeanor.
Charged up There was a shoplifting incident at an AT&T store, on Wed., Jan. 30, around 8 p.m., police said. On that day and at that time, two unknown people allegedly took three chargers from a display at 225 W. 23rd St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves. The items included two Mophie power stations and a Pure Gear portable charger. The total value of all three was $128. The two robbers hid the items and then left the store. No description of the perp pair was given and the items have not been recovered. — Gabe Herman
East Village cyclist, 72, killed in Midtown hit-and-run BY GABE HERMAN
senior cyclist from the East Village died Monday after being struck by a hit-and-run truck driver in Midtown, according to police. The rider was identified as Joseph Chiam, 72, of 127 First Ave., between E. Seventh St. and St. Mark’s Place. At 5:52 a.m., on Feb. 4, police responded to a 911 call and found Chiam lying on the ground at W. 45th St. and Eighth Ave. He was conscious and with trauma reported to his body. He was next to his bike, which was mangled from the collision. Chiam was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Officials said that a 2013 green Western Star truck was headed north on Eighth Ave., then turned left onto W. 45th St. when it hit Chiam. He was reportedly riding his bike in the bicycle lane before the accident. The driver left the scene after the collision. Police have reportedly identified the driver but have not yet released that information. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted later that morning about the fatality, calling it “horrific.” “This is horrific, and this can’t keep happening,” he posted. “We have SO MUCH MORE work to do to protect cyclists and pedestrians in our city. My heart breaks for this man and his loved ones. What a senseless loss.”
Februar y 7, 2019
A police officer taking away the victim’s mangled bike from the scene.
tions. Such intersections guard cyclists against drivers by creating buffer zones and clearly marking waiting areas for bikes and pedestrians. But Midtown intersections like the one at 45th St. and Eighth Ave. have “mixing zones,” where all travelers merge together. “While the city has piloted protected intersections at a handful of sites citywide, and found them remarkably successful, their installation has not continued and the vast majority of intersections remain unprotected,” McDermott said.
Traffic fatalities have dropped in the city for five straight years. Last year, Manhattan had a record-low 27 deaths, compared to 45 the previous year. But Transportation Alternatives noted after this tragedy that there have already been at least four cyclist deaths in the city to date this year in just slightly more than one month. Ellen McDermott, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement that Chiam’s death was preventable, and that Midtown bike lanes should continue into protected intersecCNW
“More and more people are traveling by bike in our city,” the advocate said, “and more than ever, they need safe, protected space.” McDermott called for accelerated installments of protected bike lanes and intersections in the city. “Fixing these problems could have prevented Monday’s fatal hit-and-run,” she said, “but instead the cycling community suffers preventable tragedy.” She repeated the organization’s call for designating a “bike mayor” to represent cyclists’ interests at City Hall. Schneps Media
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Februar y 7, 2019
Activists condemn Smollett alleged MAGA attack BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELLDOMENECH
espite the freezing temperature, L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. community members and allies rallied at Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza last Friday in solidarity with Jussie Smollett, who suffered an alleged hate-crime attack early last week in Chicago. The openly gay black actor is known for his portrayal of Jamal Lyon on the TV series“Empire.” The event, near the southeast corner of Central Park, drew about 100 people and was organized by VOCAL New York. “I am infuriated with what happened to Jussie,” said Angelica Torres, a model and transgender advocate who spoke at the Feb. 1 rally. On Tues., Jan. 29, Smollett told Chicago police that while walking in the Streetsville neighborhood at 2 a.m. that morning he was attacked by two men who punched him in the face while shouting racial and homophobic slurs. The two unknown attackers then allegedly poured an unknown chemical substance on Smollett and tied a rope around his neck. Those rallying in support of Smollett say the attack proves that the rhetoric and policies of President Donald Trump are promoting more violence against groups who are already targeted for and vulnerable to attacks. According to police, Smollett was still wearing the rope when they arrived. The actor then checked himself into Northwestern Hospital and was released in good condition. The two men were also allegedly yelling, “This is MAGA country,” referring to Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” And according to The Chicago Tribune, Smollett had
PHOTO BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
Rick y Rivera holds a sign a rallies nex t to dozens of others at Grand Army Plaza on Feb. 1.
hand corner. Those at the rally said the attack is further proof that MAGA is a racist and homophobic slogan.
previously received a threatening letter in a white envelope with the word “MAGA” written on the upper left-
A pretty girl’s guide to the ugly world BY BRIANA BARTENIEFF
, 2, 3, 4 Those are the number of ridges on my keys that I count as I rub my sweaty fingertip on as I walk home It stings and becomes raw and distracts me from the nightmare 1, 2, 3, 4 Breathe In and out Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4 And release It’s going to be okay You will make it home today You’re only 14 But old enough to be a target Because you’re a pretty girl And ugly things happen to pretty
Februar y 7, 2019
girls like you 1, 2, 3, 4 The amount of steps I have taken on this block The lights seem to blur as my heart rate escalates The pressure builds up as all violent possibilities build up in my head I am alone On this dark and lonely street But the mind and the news tell me different A new victim each day Why not me Who’s to say Whispers tell me to look back because you got a bright future ahead of you I jump as I see a dark figure But, go figure, it’s only my shadow My life choices begin to flash in my
eyes questioning every small detail Wondering what I didn’t do right What am I wearing Do I have my ID, so they can let my mom know Even though I am so close to home Is it my fault that I act this way Or is it my culture’s Taught since the age of three to stay away from creepy men And at the age of 6 to defend with my hands and a set of keys As I approach the building I always chuckle at the irony if I got hurt walking into a place, that should be the one place that should be safe So close, yet not close enough 1, 2, 3, 4 I count as I walk up the stairs CNW
“This is no isolated incident,” Torres declared. “This happens every single day to L.G.B.T.Q.I. people and people of color.” And not all are as lucky as Jussie, they noted. The demonstrators also called for justice Candance Towns and Dana Martin. Towns, a black transgender woman who was killed in Macon, Georgia, was the 23rd transgender person to be murdered in the U.S. in 2017. Martin, a black transgender Alabama woman, was found shot to death in her vehicle in Montgomery in January. Her death is this year’s first known murder of a transgender woman. According to a report from theHuman Rights Campaignsince 2013 the organization has documented at least 128 transgender people who were victims of fatal violence. At least 110 of them were transgender people of color. According to HRC’s Web site, about nine out of 10 of these victims were transgender women with 45 percent of all deaths occurring in the U.S. South. The amount of violence endured by transgender people within the last five years has been labeled an “epidemic” by HRC. “This is bigger than Jussie,” said activist and author James Felton Keith, who is the founder of Slay TV. Keith spoke about his reluctance to hold his husband’s hand in public out of fear of having bottles thrown at them. “I hope you all will join us outside of here, especially those who are not queer people of color,” he said. “We need your support because all of us are risking our lives just coming out of the front door every morning.” Keith then invited all those in attendance to attend the Trans March on Washington, which is scheduled to take place April 1.
1, 2 ,3, 4 4 steps distance between my drunk neighbor and me You never know what can happen in these clothes That I have no choice but to wear, because that is my uniform for school The things I wear to school are deemed “problematic,” because grown men have sexualized an aspect of my childhood education You always hear of the tiny plaid skirts But never of the tight khaki pants What a funny world we live in Eh? As I open my door while putting in my sweaty key I take a pause 1, 2, 3, 4 Before I enter so I can leave the mindset of being prey And assume one that’s part of the pack One that is never left astray Schneps Media
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Joan H. and Preston Robert Tisch Center at Essex Crossing 171 Delancey Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10002
Februar y 7, 2019
Gansevoor t Peninsula, on the Village water front bet ween Gansevoor t and Little W. 12th Sts., is finally set to be redeveloped into a park. Photo by Max Guliani, cour tesy Hudson River Park Trust
Designer picked for park (with beach) at Gansevoort BY GABE HERMAN Updated Sat., Feb. 2, 7 p.m.:The public park will be the biggest green space in the 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park, according to the Trust. Construction is planned to start in 2020, with the park on Gansevoort opening in 2022. It will be a $60 million project. Features of the park will include a “resilient beachfront” along the peninsula’s southern edge, which will serve as a barrier against storm surges and flooding. Unfortunately for summer beachgoers and those in the Polar Bear Club, the beach will probably not include access for swimming. It will, however, be used for educational programs by the Estuary Lab, which holds many classes and events and had 30,000 participants just last year. Madelyn Wils, president and C.E.O. of the Trust, said Gansevoort’s design will be on caliber with that of the rest of the park, which last year celebrated its 20th anniversary. “I’m pleased that the exceptional design firm James Corner Field Operations will join the ranks of the talented teams that have helped make Hudson River Park one of the great waterfront parks in the country,” she said. James Corner, founding partner and C.E.O. of the firm, said, “We are
Februar y 7, 2019
A design rendering of David Hammons’s “Day’s End” project looking toward the west. At right is the existing Gansevoor t Peninsula. The public-ar t project is sponsored by the Whitney Museum of American Ar t.
thrilled to be selected to work with H.R.P.T. and the surrounding community to create a design for Gansevoort Peninsula — an incredible site that will integrate art, nature and recreation to become a signature gathering place for New Yorkers.” Corner’s firm has also worked on other high-profile projects in the city, including the High Line and Domino Park in Brooklyn.
Gansevoort Peninsula’s beach area is also earmarked to include an art piece sponsored by the Whitney that will partially sit in the water. Called “Day’s End,” by local artist David Hammons, the piece “will outline the original Pier 52 shed at its original location and be one of the country’s largest public art installations,” according to the Whitney. The concept has also been likened to a “ghost pier.” CNW
The Trust and the architectural firm plan to get feedback on the designs for Gansevoort from local officials and Community Board 2, along with hosting workshops to hear from community members, before final designs are made. Correction: The original version of this article misstated the cost of developing a park on Gansevoort Peninsula. The correct cost is $60 million. Schneps Media
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Februar y 7, 2019
Trump spurred new V.I.D. prez to join club BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
here’s new blood in the Village Independent Democrats. After Donald Trump’s election in 2016, a wave of newly involved politicos started activist groups, joined Democratic clubs, and began a surge of political involvement during the “off years” between campaigns when attention typically wanes. David Siffert, 34, the new V.I.D. president, was a part of that wave. Just after the presidential election, he and his friends held meetings in his one-bedroom East Village apartment to work on actions, like sending postcards to local politicians. These grassroots meetings had a similar feeling to those of the new Indivisible Project. Though initial involvement faded out, Siffert and others had an idea for creating an activist-oriented app. That, in turn, led him to Ben Yee, a candidate for New York City public advocate and state committeeman for the 66th Assembly District. The app never got off the ground, but soon afterward, in spring 2017, Siffert joined V.I.D. He was elected president of the club last December with the support of 39 of the 42 members who voted. “Like many people, post-Trump’s election, I realized that I needed to be doing more,” Siffert told The Villager.
PHOTO COURTESY V.I.D.
Members of the Village Independent Democrats traveled up to Albany to lobby in the state Legislature on Jan. 15 as par t of the True Blue NY effor t. David Siffer t, V.I.D.’s new president, is third from right. Others include from left, Sara Kimbell and Liv v y Mann, as well as Jonathan Geballe, four th from left, and former V.I.D. President Tony Hoffmann, second from right.
He was speaking while en route to Albany with True Blue NY, a grassroots group that supported candidates running against Independent Democratic Caucus-aligned incumbents in the state Senate. By day, Siffert works as a research coordinator at New York University’s School of Law’s Center on Civil Justice.
“We’re a small center, so a lot of our projects are attempts to make information available to others,” Siffert said. “The idea is to try to figure out what’s not working in the civil justice system and how to make it better. “The way I put it, I’m a lot more interested in what the law should be rather than what the law actually says,” he said.
Siffert grew up Uptown in Morningside Heights and has lived in the Village now for about 12 years. Though the Trump election solidified his political involvement, Siffert has always been engaged in politics in some way or another. When he was 16, he interned for Senator Chuck Schumer, and four years later, worked on John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004. Before working at the Center on Civil Justice, the N.Y.U. School of Law alum previously worked as a civil litigator for Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and clerked for various state and federal judges. Siffert doesn’t have any major new plans for the storied progressive club — he says it’s already an amazing club as is. But he would like to expand specific political actions, like postcard writing or busing up to Albany like the club’s recent effort with True Blue NY. “An important way of keeping traditional Democratic clubs relevant in 2019 and beyond is to take a page from what a lot of activist organizations are doing and actually do the work,” he said. “It’s the way forward for clubs to maintain real relevance,” he added. “I think a lot of the old-fashioned backroom stuff that clubs have done is somewhat unattractive to [newcomers]. … I think we as a club need to look at how best to actually be of help.”
THE DOWNTOWN CONNECTION IS YOUR FREE RIDE AROUND LOWER MANHATTAN!
Februar y 7, 2019
Ben Yee, Obama tech guru, chose to act locally BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
n a packed field for public advocate, Ben Yee, the Democratic state committeeman for the 66th Assembly District, is running on a platform inspired by his passion for civics education. Yee, 34, is also currently the secretary of the Manhattan Democratic Party. He kicked off his political career a decade ago as digital director for Obama’s first campaign in New York State. He said he was subsequently offered a job in the Obama administration in the Treasury Department. But he instead chose to work for the then-Democratic state Senate to build its technology infrastructure, like getting all the lawmakers on Facebook and building better Web sites. His current campaign manager, Al Benninghoff, convinced Yee to join the Manhattan Young Democrats and encourage young people to run for County Committee, plus make that process more digitally accessible. Democratic County Committee members are unpaid and tasked with nominating Democratic judicial candidates and candidates for special elections, among other things. Yee’s experience has resonated with some, even inspiring them to become politically involved through his civics workshops. The Village Independent Democrats and One Queens Indivisible have both endorsed Yee. In an interview with The Villager, Yee, a lifelong New Yorker, described why he believes he’s the only candidate with a real vision for the office of New York City public advocate. VILLAGER: Some folks at V.I.D., including the club’s recently elected president, David Siffert, credited you for getting them involved in the club after attending your civics workshops. Could you tell us about those workshops? YEE: I’ve been doing abbreviated versions of that talk for the last eight years about how the County Committee works. I started holding these workshops in the early days right after January 2017 when Trump was inaugurated. That interest obviously eventually tailed off. But the hundreds of people that I had trained and spoken to, many of them have gone out and joined the groups that I spoke of — such as Democratic clubs and Indivisible groups. That’s easily the most gratifying thing that I’ve done. I guess I did help get Barack Obama elected, which is pretty big. But it could be one of the highlights of my life having activated these hundreds and hundreds of people. How has running those workshops influenced your platformfor public advocate, which includes “civics for all,” a political 311 hotline, building community coalitions, and investigating entities like the Board of Elections?
Ben Yee, the Village’s Democratic state committeeman, is running for the cit y wide office of public advocate.
seen the rate at which people will get engaged — or will at least start contacting their elected officials knowledgeably if you give them the information — has been incredibly impactful in driving me to make this part of what the government does. If we’re going to be living in a democracy, the people responsible for sustaining that democracy — which is our democratically elected government — should have the responsibility of ensuring that everybody understands how this works. These are programs for the public advocate’s office. They don’t require the public advocate to go to anybody else and ask for permission. That is a losing strategy, and to have a platform that is based on somebody else telling you that you can do something is not a program of public advocacy. What makes you stand out in this field? What do you tell voters who haven’t heard of you? I truly am the only candidate that has a vision for how to use the office as it is to improve the way that government
‘I truly am the only candidate with a vision for how to use the ofﬁce.’ Ben Yee
Civics education is obviously one of the core tenets. Having taught the workshops and TVG
works for New Yorkers. I’ll walk them through the three programs and how an office like this, which is not the most powerful, could be used to improve the lives of New Yorkers. People find that very compelling honestly. It’s more than just, “I think this is a problem and this is a problem and this is a problem and I’m going to fight for it.” I have an explanation to get from where we are to where I think most New Yorkers agree we need to be. In this race, you’ve been considered an activist candidate. But you’re also very much a part of the Democratic Party institution in your role as state committeeman and the secretary of the Manhattan Democratic Party. Where do you see yourself in that bigger picture among progressives? I oftentimes like to describe myself as an outsider on the inside. But ultimately what it really comes down to is the new folks who are getting involved in politics — the Ocasio-Cortezes who have won the seats in Congress and what have you. I’m essentially like them, except I started doing it 10 years ago. My campaign manager [Benninghoff] is actually the guy who got me involved in local politics. It was after the Obama campaign, and he said, “Oh, come join Manhattan Young Democrats and be my vice president.” And I said, “No way, that sounds really boring and hackey.” I said I was just on a national campaign. I was the digital director for the entire state. I did all the data, all the tech — I could do something bigger probably. And eventually, and I’ll never forget this conversation, he said, “Don’t you want to keep the change that Obama promised going?” So, in that regard…there was no fanfare in this work. It’s not running for Congress and beating Joe Crowley. But, for what it was, it was the exact sort of impetus and energy and spirit. And I maintain that spirit to this day. I continue to be an independent voice in the party for my voters, and really for the idea of democracy as a whole. I’m really into democracy. I don’t know if that comes across, but I am. Yes, it definitely comes across. What made local politics so appealing, particularly assuming you could have gone to work in Washington, D.C.? I was offered a job in D.C. in Treasury. I didn’t go to Washington to join the administration because, even though that is important work, there’s only so many people who will stay and do the local thing. And I don’t know what my life would’ve been like if I had gone to Washington. But I can certainly say that I’m happy with what I’ve done and what I’ve been able to accomplish here. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Februar y 7, 2019
Letters to the Editor
Only way Johnson wins
makers out there who care about facts.
To The Editor: Re “Johnson mulls ‘people-powered mayoral run’” (news article, Jan. 31): What would be a game changer for Johnson to win the mayor’s race? Do what every past City Council speaker refused to do —stand up to the Real Estate Board of New York and pass legislation to save the city’s small businesses and jobs. Every past Council speaker has joined in the rigging of the system to stop any legislation that would give rights to small business owners when their leases expire. Every speaker lost big running for mayor because they could not get the city’s immigrant community votes. Why? Because ethnic immigrant families own the majority of small businesses and create the vast majority of jobs for resident New Yorkers. Without the ethnic vote, the young white gay guy from the Village and Chelsea follows past speakers and can’t win. Pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.
Rob Buchanan Buchanan is coordinator, Citizens Water Quality Testing Program
Steve Barrison Barrison is executive vice president and spokesperson, Small Business Congress of New York City
Gansevoort’s good to swim
Covering Manhattan in more ways than one
To The Editor: Last Friday’s New York Post article on the beach at Gansevoort that the Hudson River Park Trust now says it is going to build (no swimming, though!) claims that the Citizens Water Quality Testing Program “routinely finds unacceptable levels of fecal bacteria in the waters off Manhattan’s West Side.” I just want to assure everyone that, in fact, we routinely find the exact opposite — that the water in the park meets Department of Health bathing-beach swim standards the vast majority of the time, and certainly more often than many of the “official” beaches listed on the D.O.H. Web site. Please familiarize yourself with our seven years of data. Because, hey, there may still be a few decision
SOUND OFF! PRINT DIGITAL EVENTS 14
Februar y 7, 2019
PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS
CONTRIBUTORS IRA BLUTREICH BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY MARY REINHOLZ PAUL SCHINDLER ART DIRECTORS JOHN NAPOLI MARCOS RAMOS
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EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON
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To The Editor: Re “Just don’t hit me!” (letter, by Sylvia Rackow, Jan. 24): Don’t hit you, Sylvia Rackow? O.K., I won’t. But nearly 200 people were killed by cars in New York City last year, and precisely zero by bicycles. Bill Weinberg
Clean up your act, M.T.A.! To The Editor: Re “Subway death highlights need for more elevators” (thevillager.com, news article, Feb. 1): Why does someone always have to die before New York City takes responsibility for its citizens? The M.T.A. has been in deep financial trouble way too long. The governor is right to insist that it clean up its act. Charging cab riders an extra $2.50 per ride to pay for safe elevators is not the answer. Don’t make the public pay for your mismanagement, M.T.A.! Kathleen McGee Treat 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.
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REPORTER GABE HERMAN
Publisher of The Villager, Villager Express, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express and Manhattan Express
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2019 Schneps Media
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Performance was reality at an L.E.S. wedding BY BOB KR ASNER
erformance art, as defined by Google: “An art form that combines visual art with dramatic performance.” How perfect, then, that Scooter LaForge’s closing party for his solo show at Empirical Nonsense featured an actual wedding in front of his painting “Genesis, Day 6.” After performance-art pieces — arranged by LaForge — by Jorge Clar and Helixx C.Armageddon, it was announced that Stanley Love and his dance troupe would not be performing as scheduled. Instead, the surprised crowd got the newly ordained Tracy Mendez uniting Emily Maple and Steven Freed in holy matrimony. Vows were exchanged, the bouquet was tossed and cake was had by all. Art lovers turned to each other and asked,“Was that for real?” The bride and groom, wearing limited-edition “I Just Came Here Looking For a Husband/Wife” T-shirts created by their artist friend Ayana Evans, assured everyone that it was. The pair — who are clinical psychologists — are looking forward to a more traditional family affair in Grand Cayman. But it will be hard to beat the uniqueness of getting hitched in a Lower East Side storefront art gallery on Rivington St. Despite the fact that Maple and Freed did not know most of the nuptial witnesses, they knew it was an exceptional event. “It was a really special day,” said the bride.“We felt very loved.”
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
Emily Maple and Steve Freed kiss at their wedding at Empirical Nonsense Galler y on the Lower East Side last month. At right, officiant Trac y Mendez applauds. Crouching on floor in black cap with beard is ar tist Scooter LaForge.
From left, officiant Tracy Mendez, Emily Maple and Steve Freed after Maple and Freed’s wedding at Empirical Nonsense gallery on Rivington St. Schneps Media
Emily Maple throws the bouquet after her wedding at Empirical Nonsense galler y. Her T-shir t is by per formance ar tist Ayana Evans. CNW
Februar y 7, 2019
Subway death highlights need for more elevators BY GABE HERMAN
young mother’s death in a Midtown subway station while carrying her baby’s stroller down stairs has once again tragically spotlighted the lack of elevators and access in many stations citywide. On the evening of Mon., Jan. 28, Malaysia Goodson, 22, died after falling in the Seventh Ave. “B/D/E” station, at W. 53rd St., which does not have elevator access. Police responded to the scene at 8 p.m. and found Goodson, who was from Stamford, CT, unconscious and unresponsive on the platform. Her 1-year-old daughter was found conscious and without serious injuries, and was treated by E.M.S. at the scene. Goodson was taken to Mt. Sinai West, where she was pronounced dead. Officials said an investigation is ongoing into the incident and cause of death. Two days later, on Wednesday evening, the city medical examiner said the woman’s cause of death was still uncertain but there were initial signs that a preexisting medical condition may have caused the fall. A GoFundMe online fundraiser has been set up for the infant girl, Rhylee, which will go toward an education fund for her. In the first three days, more than $20,000 had been raised from 632 donors. The tragic incident has started a new round of coverage and outrage over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s lack of elevators in its stations. Currently, about only one-quarter of the city’s 472 stations have elevators. After the incident, Mayor de Blasio tweeted, “This is a heartbreaking tragedy that never should have hap-
Malaysia Goodson and her 1-year-old daughter Rhylee in a photo on Rhylee’s GoFundMe fundraiser page. Goodson died in a Midtown Manhattan subway station on Jan. 28 when she fell down the stairs while carr ying Ryhlee’s stroller.
pened. The subway system is not accessible for everyone and that’s an environment the M.T.A. should not allow.” In a statement, the M.T.A. said, in part, “This is an
absolutely heartbreaking incident. While the ultimate cause of the event is being investigated by the M.T.A., medical examiner and the N.Y.P.D., we know how important it is to improve accessibility in our system.” The M.T.A. went on to say that accessibility is a priority in its Fast Forward Plan, and plans to add “up to 50 elevators over the next five years.” “We believe this is an important issue of practicality and equality, and once accomplished, riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator,” the authority said. The advocacy group Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York rallied on Wednesday outside the Seventh Ave. subway station. CIDNY said on Twitter that it has called for greater accessibility in the transit system since 1979. CIDNY tweeted, “We’re holding a moment of silence in honor of Malaysia Goodson, then calling on Governor Cuomo to make NYC transit accessible for all.” After a Wed., Jan. 30 Senate Transportation Committee hearing in Albany, state Senator Brad Holyman expressed outrage that the station lacked an elevator in the first place. “At my urging, the M.T.A. has committed to looking into making accessibility improvements at the station where Malaysia Goodson died in my district,” Hoylman said in a statement. “As a parent who navigates our city’s subways with a stroller, I understand the urgency firsthand. It is unacceptable that a heavily trafficked station in Midtown Manhattan would lack a functioning elevator, and I’ll be counting the days until this project is completed. We can’t afford to wait.”
28th St. station blooms back open with mosaics BY GABE HERMAN
he 28th St. subway station on the 6 line reopened on Jan. 14 with new colorful artwork and several updated amenities. The station closed last July and was originally scheduled to reopen in December, but that was pushed back a month. The station, which is on Park Ave. South, now features mosaic tilework by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios, made from art by Nancy Blum, a Brooklyn-based artist. The art is called “Roaming Underfoot” and features seven different flowers and plants based on the perennial collection of the nearby Madison Square Park Conservancy, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts and Design. The foliage types include magnolias, daffodils, witch hazel, hydrangea, camellia, red buds and hellebores. “Each is suited to the changing climate conditions of the city,” said a Jan. 15 Instagram post by M.T.A. Arts and Design. “Similar to a glorious garden,
Februar y 7, 2019
PHOTO BY MTA ARTS AND DESIGN
New tile mosaic ar twork adorns the No. 6 subway station at E. 28th St. and Park Ave. South.
permanently installed at the beautifully renovated 28th St. station.” Blum’s art is also featured at the Dobbs Ferry Metro North station, which has several flower mosaics that were also done by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios. The M.T.A. said the E. 28th St. sta-
the larger-than-life underground flowers create a delightful space in every season,” continued the flowery description. Artist Nancy Blum shared her excitement about the station’s new art, writing in a Jan. 15 Facebook post, “So happy that mosaics of my work are TVG
tion, which is one of the system’s oldest going back to the early 20th century, was in disrepair and that fully closing it would be faster for finishing the needed work. “We have had great success with these projects in terms of how much work can be done in a short span of time when construction crews have total round-the-clock access,” Andy Byford, president of NYC Transit, said last year about the station and two others in Manhattan that were also temporarily closed for work. “We thank customers for their patience as we make these repairs and improvements, which will bring practical benefits to our customers for many decades.” The newly opened station now includes countdown clocks, digital signage with real-time information, brighter and more energy-efficient lights, and new seating. The turnstile areas have new glass barriers and security cameras. And the bright and colorful flower mosaics make the station more cheery and serve as a hopeful reminder that spring will be here eventually. Schneps Media
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Februar y 7, 2019
A.G. James sues Trump E.P.A. over smog power plants are needed for upwind states to meet their Good Neighbor Provision obligations. However, James’s office, in a statement, said, in part, “Smog’s serious, ongoing health threat in New York is largely due to the interstate transport of smog pollution.” The lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit to vacate the rule. The A.G. is challenging the “close-out” decision as “unlawful, arbitrary and capricious.” Joining James on the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey. New York City is also a plaintiff on the litigation. Last year, New York and Connecticut sued to require the E.P.A. to implement plans to cut smog from upwind states impacting their air quality, including Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. According to an E.P.A. spokesperson, the agency is declining comment due to the litigation.
BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
tate Attorney General Letitia James announced she had filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency to continue combating air pollution. “Over two-thirds of New Yorkers regularly breathe unhealthy air due to smog pollution,” James said. “Yet, Trump’s E.P.A. is ignoring the Clean Air Act and refuses to require reductions in the pollution largely responsible for this serious public health risk.” The part of the Clean Air Act that is being ignored, according to James, is the “Good Neighbor” provision. This requires the E.P.A. to step in and reduce the flow of interstate air pollution from “upwind” states to their “downwind” neighbors, so that the latter can maintain federal air-quality standards. Last year, Trump’s E.P.A. decided on a “close-out” on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, claiming that no further emissions reductions from
Letitia James, the New York State attorney general. SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS
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 ﬁnancial 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
Februar y 7, 2019
J_fne`ek_\g_fkf]ifdc\]kkfi`^_k 18cXeC`#Af_eJk\nXik#B\eep?lf#Af_e9liXe#Gi`jZ`ccX=l#Af_eJ`l#<cX`e\?f#<cc`jCXd#D`b\9`e^fc[ branches with employees who reﬂect and understand the culture and speak the language of its residents. Our employees speak over 20 languages with Cantonese and Mandarin being prevalent in
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New M.S.B.I. program helps opioid OD survivors BY GABE HERMAN
he city announced in late December that it would expand a counseling program that combats opioid abuse to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel. The hospital, currently located at 281 First Ave., between 16th and 17th Sts., across from Stuyvesant Town, is the programâ€™s first location in Downtown Manhattan. Called Relay, the program provides a trained counselor to opioid overdose survivors while they are still in the hospital. The individual is given training and counseling about reducing the risk of future overdoses, along with an overdose prevention kit that includes naloxone, a drug that treats emergency overdoses. Relay is now available at seven hospitals in the city. The program is available 24/7 to participating hospitals, and counselors stay in touch with survivors for up to 90 days. Opioid overdose survivors are two to three times more likely to die from another overdose than a drug user who has never overdosed, the city said. A Wellness Advocate in Relayâ€™s program, Kimberly Howard, said at the time of the Dec. 18 announcement, â€œBeing there when someone wakes up from a nonfatal overdose to provide not just a naloxone kit â€” the same thing that saved their life â€” but also support and acceptance, is why Relay is so impactful.â€? Dr. Ethan Cowan, director of research and community engagement and associate professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinaiâ€™s Icahn School of Medicine, said the program is a welcome addition. â€œThe emergency department staff at Mount Sinai Beth Israel is excited to be participating in this important program,â€? Cowan said. â€œWe look forward to including the wellness advocates as a part of our team and hope to be part of the solution to the ever-increasing number of opioid overdose deaths in New York City.â€? Relay is part of Healing NYC, a program launched in 2017 by Mayor de Blasio and Chirlane McCray to reduce fatal opioid overdoses, which account for 80 percent of total fatal ODâ€™s citywide. There were 1,487 overdose deaths in the city in 2017, according to city data, a record high and a 2 percent increase from 2016. Overdose deaths skyrocketed by 50 percent from 2015 to 2016 citywide. In 2017, 225 â€” or 15 percent â€” of the cityâ€™s fatal overdose cases were Manhattan residents. In October, the city announced there were 694 fatal overdoses in the first half of 2018, a slower pace than 2017â€™s total but still considered to be at an epidemic level. During the cityâ€™s opioid epidemic in recent years, drug overdoses have killed more New Yorkers than homicides, suicides and vehicle crashes combined, acSchneps Media
Par ticipants in the Relay program are given naloxone-injection kits, like the one above, that can save a life in the event of an opioid overdose.
VILL AGE APOTHECARY
cording to the Department of Health. The Relay program also recently expanded to Jamaica Hospital in Queens and, as of last month, to the BronxCare Health System. And naloxone is now widely available throughout the city, including at big-chain pharmacies and more than 600 independent pharmacies. Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the new program gives patients targeted help for their needs. â€œWhen an overdose survivor meets a Relay Wellness Advocate who has lived experience with substance use, it often makes the survivor more receptive to engaging in services,â€? Barbot said. â€œWhether itâ€™s a naloxone training or support connecting to treatment for opioid use, we are committed to meeting our patients where they are at. We are thrilled to expand Relay to Queens for the first time at Jamaica Hospital and to Mount Sinai Beth Israel in Manhattan, which has an impressive history of substance-use treatment.â€? The Relay program started in June 2017, and from then until November 2018, it has worked with 620 overdose survivors and distributed 913 naloxone kits. The city said it plans to expand the program to 15 hospitals by 2020.
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Scoopy’s Notebook HELLO FROM ATLANTIC CITY: Jessica Berk may have given up on us — but, no, we haven’t forgotten about her. She gave us the first report after she left her longtime Christopher St. home a couple of months ago. But we’re here to say that she sounds like she’s happy in Atlantic City, where she has bought a place, thanks to the buyout she and her late mom Ruth got after years of battling their landlord. Berk said that, before she vacated their coveted penthouse apartment and the Village, she gave a lot of her mother’s stuff to Housing Works on W. 10th St., including numerous sets of tableware. Her mom had tons of things left over from when she was the cabaret singer at the Hotel Earle and her husband ran
Februar y 7, 2019
the club. So, if you recently bought plates at Housing Works, they may well be part of the signature “Christopher St. Vigilante Collection.” When we spoke to Berk a while back, she said she was enjoying the well-policed boardwalk out in A.C., but that, never fear, she would be back in the Village from time to time, especially whenever she has to do something on her lawsuit against the Sixth Precinct. And, of course, she would be doing a volunteer civilian patrol of the streets to make sure no homeless people are getting too comfortable out there — in the subfreezing weather. LEAKED ‘L’ MEMO: More than a month has passed
since Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Jan. 3 that the L train would only need a partial shutdown for repairs, but there still has been no official word on the fate of the so-called alternative service plans from either the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or the city’s Department of Transportation. Despite that, a draft M.T.A. memo titled “Potential L Tunnel Weekend and Late Night Service Plan With One-Track Closure” published in part by Streetsblog on Jan. 23 could possibly give some insight into what the updated “A.S.P.” might look like. One of the most notable proposals would be the elimination of the 14th St. “busway” from the plans. In fact, under the plans outlined by the memo, the only new change in bus service on 14th St. would be additional M14 buses on weekends to reduce wait times from 12 to 10 minutes. However, this should not be seen as a done deal in any way. The M.T.A. later said in a statement to Streetsblog that it still is working on the alternative service plan and slammed Streetsblog as “irresponsible” for publishing “drafts and outdated reports.” As for the community lawsuit filed against the original alternative service plan, Village attorney Arthur Schwartz said the litigation is continuing after unsuccessful talks with the M.T.A. and D.O.T. “I made a proposal to drop the case if they would agree to not take any further action until they produced data supporting their proposal and did appropriate consultation with the community,” Schwartz said in an interview shortly after a phone call with representatives from both agencies on Jan. 31. “And they said, ‘No.’ ” As a result, a court date has been set for Feb. 21 in the ongoing litigation. Schwartz feels it’s necessary to keep the suit active right now or else the busway would be implemented immediately without further community feedback. When asked about Schwartz’s claims, a D.O.T. representative said, “Modifications to the alternate service plan are underway with the same objectives as before — to provide good transportation alternatives for every affected customer and to reflect the public input we’ve received and will continue to seek before and after the tunnel construction is underway. We are meeting with elected officials and advocates very soon and will have more to share at that time.” The M.T.A. could not immediately be reached for comment. WATCH OUT, ‘ROCKY’: Almost a month ago, community activist Christopher Marte, the male State Democratic Committee member from the 65th Assembly District(Lower East Side and tip of Manhattan) decided to start training for the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid, which will occur in July. The triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles of biking and a full 26-mile marathon. Athletes from around the world test their mettle at this popular Ironman, the second oldest in North America. Swimmers begin stroking across Mirror Lake at 6:30 a.m., followed by a demanding bike ride through the Adirondack Mountains, and ending with a full marathon through the mountains and Lake Placid’s downtown, ending at the Olympic skating oval. Marte registered at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, at Varick and Clarkson Sts., a couple of Sundays ago, in order to start using its pool. Membership is just $75 per half-year, seniors pay $25. His training also includes running three times a week from his Lower East Side home across the Williamsburg Bridge, and back over the Brooklyn Bridge, a 5-mile run. Good luck with your training, Chris!
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
Scooter LaForge in his East Village studio working with an unusual brush.
Scooter LaForge paid his dues, kept on painting BY BOB KR ASNER
rtist Scooter LaForge moved to New York from San Francisco in 2001, one month after 9/11. Much of the evolution of his art is the result of two things: art critic/educator Peter Schjedahl and New York City itself. After college in Tucson, LaForge spent 10 years making art — and working various odd jobs — in San Francisco. He then made the move to New York City, where he was accepted at The Cooper Union. It was there that he studied with Schjedahl, who gave him the marching orders that freed him from his self-imposed limitations. “In San Francisco I was painting very small, with tiny brushes,” LaForge explained. “Schjedahl made me throw away those brushes and paint big.” It wasn’t easy for him at first, but he soon realized it was the right move. “Now I paint what I feel, rather than what I see,” he said. Meanwhile, he immediately fell in love with the city. “There is nothing like it anywhere,” he said. “The variety of people here, the personalities, the languages, the buildings! My scope of vision opened immensely.” He absorbed, among other things, what he called the “certain style of New York’s Abstract Expressionism,” as well as the pop art aesthetic of Claes Oldenburg. The result was a style that combined aggressive adult energy with naive, childlike subject matter and forays into sculpture and homoerotica. While getting his bearings in a new city where he knew no one, LaForge painted steadily while working a series of retail jobs. Starting at Earl Jean, he moved on to a successful stint at Marc Jacobs and then to Jimmy Choo, where he was their top salesperson. He worked on a number of Barney’s windows, as well, while slowly building momentum in
Ar tist Scooter LaForge in his studio with works in progress.
the art world. After being shown in various group shows, bars and “anything that came along,” LaForge was given his first show, by the late, very lamented Hattie Hathaway (Brian Butterick), at the former Rapture Cafe, on Avenue A between 12th and 13th Sts. His first solo show at a gallery was at the Munch Gallery, formerly on Broome St., where he met Jane Friedman, the current executive director of the Howl! Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., the location of his upcoming show. “We clicked immediately,” LaForge recalled. “I didn’t know anything about her, except that she loved my work. She is a huge champion of my work.” The artist is quick to recall others who have helped him along the way, such as Stephanie Theodore of the Theodore:Art gallery, on Bogart St. in Brooklyn, TVG
who has been selling his work for 10 years now. “I connected with him because he wasn’t trying to be anything but what he was,” Theodore said. “Candor is not the most fashionable thing to encounter in contemporary art.” LaForge noted that one of his biggest breaks came in 2006 when a blog called East Village Boys wrote him up, putting him “on the map.”It was around that time that he began selling silkscreened T-shirts at Patricia Field — for $10 each — when the eponymous store’s owner took notice. Field commissioned him to paint on hats, dresses and coats, beginning a partnership that continues to the present. He has collaborated with Field regularly for events that extend around the world. “We became close friends — like family,” LaForge said. His hand-painted garments have been seen on the likes of Madonna, Beyonce and Debbie Harry, butField’s shop is still the only place where one can buy them. His newest work— influenced by his travels to Tel Aviv, Greece and Italy — uses classical Greek motifs for the first time. The mural-sized pieces feel like a big leap for LaForge. But don’t expect the artist to spell it all out for you. “I want people to look at the paintings and take away what they see, not what I tell them to see,” he explained. Standing in his studio — surrounded by the largest canvases he has produced to date — LaForge mused on the nature of being an artist in New York City. “You don’t have overnight success in New York,” he said. “You have to pay your dues. You have to wait in a very long line, and no one gets to cut the line. He paused, then added, “After almost 20 years, I still feel new here.” Scooter LaForge unveils“Homo Eruptus” at the Howl! Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., on Thurs., Feb. 14, Opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Februar y 7, 2019
Arnold Schulman: Theater’s oldest comeback kid BY CL AUDE SOLNIK
n the world of screenwriting, you might call Arnold Schulman a reallife Walter Mitty. The difference is he didn’t imagine his accomplishments. Schulman worked with Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, Alan Pakula, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Sir Richard Attenborough. And that’s just a start. Along the way, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Love With the Proper Stranger” and Best Adapted Screenplay for “Goodbye, Columbus.” He also wrote the screenplay for the movie of “A Chorus Line” and “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” as well as the teleplay for “And The Band Played On,” an early depiction of AIDS. Now Schulman, who also wrote for Broadway and live TV, is back, this time with a play opening in March. At age 93, Schulman may become the oldest (or among them) comeback kid in New York City theater when his “Sign in the Six O’Clock Sky” opens at Theater for the New City on March 14. It will run through March 31. “A screenplay is much easier. You can go from place to place and see it,” he said. “In theater, you have to talk about having gone to such a place. It’s harder to make the background not sound like exposition.” In that it’s a stage piece, “Sign in the Six O’Clock Sky” is a homecoming of sorts for Schulman. It’s a show about sideshow performers set in a kind of timeless twilight. “He’s 93 and he’s still writing plays,” said Shela Xoregos, who is directing. “It’s very different. That’s the interesting thing.” In a career that spanned 50 years, Schulman worked with actors such as Steve McQueen, Mary Martin, Anna Magnani and Frank Sinatra, as well as directors who have stars — more like supernovas — on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “Each one was completely different,” he said of the directors, before
mentioning one encounter on the set. “With ‘A Hole in the Head,’ my second picture, Frank Sinatra was notorious for improvising. Out of his respect for Capra, he said, ‘Can I say this line that way?’ Capra turned to me and said, ‘Is it O.K., Arnold?’ I said, ‘Of course.’” Schulman started writing — and finding success with words — when he was young. “I sold my first story when I was 9 to a boys’ magazine,” he said. “I sent it in, got published and got a Mickey Mouse watch. I thought I’d sit down and write things and get Mickey Mouse watches.” He studied writing at the University of North Carolina and enlisted in the Navy. “I was an aerial photographer at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan,” he said. “I see pictures taken of the war. Some of them could have been my shots.” When asked why he wanted to be-
Arnold Schulman on set with Anna Magnani and Anthony Quinn during the filming of “ Wild Is the Wind.” Schulman adapted the screenplay from the Italian film “Fur y.”
Arnold Schulman on set with Anna Magnani and Anthony Quinn during the filming of “ Wild Is the Wind.” Schulman adapted the screenplay from the Italian film “Fur y.”
come a playwright, Schulman couldn’t pinpoint an event or reason. “I was going through some old papers not long ago. I ran across my discharge papers from the Navy,” he recalled. “They said, ‘What do you plan to do?’ To my surprise, it said ‘playwright.’” After the war, he took a course at the American Theatre Wing with Robert Anderson, the author of “Tea and Sympathy,” “I Never Sang for My Father” and other plays. “I was so lucky,” he said. “I wrote for radio before television. Then I wrote for TV and wrote a new play and had an audience every week.” He went from radio to TV to Broadway, writing the book for “Jennie,” a
212 - 254 - 1109 | www.theaterforthenewcity.net | 155 First Ave. NY, NY 10003
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musical starring Mary Martin. He wrote “Wild is the Wind,” directed by George Kukor and produced by Hal Wallace, who produced “Casablanca.” Schulman remembers Frank Capra as almost out of a Frank Capra movie. “Frank Capra was what you’d expect him to be. Warm. The sweetest, lovely man,” Schulman said. “I expected him to have a mansion. I went to spend the weekend way down South with avocado trees. He had a small ranch house with a woman who was a cook. We sat down to dinner. She sat down with us. He lived a Frank Capra life.” Schulman got hired to do adaptations, including Philip Roth’s classic “Goodbye, Columbus.” Despite his successes, he found by the late 1990s, many people thought of him as part of the past. “The whole multinational corporation business,” Schulman said. “They have certain ideas that we can’t write for young people.” In his 90s, he seems to experience the joy of writing the way he always has. “What comes out of their mouth surprises me,” Schulman said of characters. “I write every day.” His latest work will see the light of stage at Theater for the New City, as he writes the next. “I would prefer if they get done. If they don’t, I’m having fun with the process of doing it,” he said. “I love writing.” “Sign in the Six O’Clock Sky,” March 14-31 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets $15 to $18. For more information, call 212254-1109 or visit theaterforthenewcity. net . For a 2011 interview of Arnold Schulman, click here . Schneps Media
Religious groups â€˜soundâ€™ each other out, connect BY LESLEY SUSSMAN
tâ€™s not every day that you walk into a synagogue and hear an imam reciting the Koran, a Tibetan Buddhist lama praying from a sacred text, and various Christian and other groups singing, chanting and performing other styles of spiritual music But that was exactly the case on the evening of Sun., Jan. 27, at the 10th Annual Spiritual Sounds concert at Town and Village Synagogue, at 334 E. 14th St. The annual event, which is held at different locations throughout the East Village, sees religious groups and their leaders gather to exhibit the sounds of their faiths and express love and respect for their neighbors and all people. Two hours fled by filled with tears, laughter and great music, along with expressions of awe and gratitude to the one creator and appreciation of each othersâ€™ faiths and ways of worship. Members and leaders from mainstream Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Episcopal, Eastern Orthodox and Latino Evangelical churches were present to participate in the program. But there were also spiritual divergents, including members of the East Village-based Catholic Worker movement. A nationwide community, the Catholic Workerâ€™s goal is to make people aware of church teachings on social justice; the movement also provides a wide variety of social-service programs for disadvantaged people both locally and elsewhere. The program opened with a peaceful Sufi incantation and closed with gospel music fireworks from the choir of Middle Collegiate Church, at 112 Second Ave., that had the audience standing on its feet. In between, choirs from the Shul of New York, which holds shabbat services at Middle Collegiate, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, at 59 E. Second St., and the Town and Village Synagogue performed, along with an imam from the nearby Medina Masjid mosque, at 401 E. 11th St., and Lama Pema Dorje of the locally based Nechung Foundation, at 110 First Ave. Mixed in among the large turnout of locals and guests, there were some who came from as far away as Iran and Morocco.
PHOTOS BY LESLEY SUSSMAN
The Catholic Worker Chorus was working it at Spiritual Sounds.
of the Holy Virgin Protection, said the concert brings â€œunderstanding, unity and brotherhood to the East Village.â€? Imam Mohammad Yousuf, of the Medina Masjid Mosque, said, â€œItâ€™s a great feeling being here. I feel very comfortable inside this synagogue among peo-
The event was adver tised on one of the cit yâ€™s LinkNYC WiFi kiosks.
The popular event is the creation of Anthony Donovan, who modestly passed the credit to Father Richard Walsh, a retired Catholic priest from Most Holy Redeemer Church. It was Donovan who, more than a decade ago, organized the Local Faiths Community, an ecumenical consortium of East Village religious leaders, all serving within a few blocks of each other. They came together to stand up to hate, prejudice and manipulations made in the name of religion, and to help and support each other in this effort. Donovan, who has no formal religious training, said ultimately the event is about building a feeling of â€œfamily.â€? â€œThis to me is not about interfaith as much as itâ€™s about getting to know your neighbors,â€? he said. â€œNot the ones you wish you had, but the ones you have â€” much like family.Each year we need this shining example more than ever.â€? This year Town and Village Synagogue hosted the event, and Rabbi Larry Sebert was its emcee. â€œThis is a spectacular evening for all of us,â€? he said. â€œFor different faith communities to come together under one roof and one God is truly a blessing.â€? The Right Reverend Father Christopher Calin, of the Orthodox Cathedral
ple of all religions.â€? Lama Dorje told the gathering, â€œIâ€™m here to show kindness to others. Letâ€™s live together and not build a wall for other people. I hope the spirit of this concert will carry us all through the year.â€?
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Februar y 7, 2019
Manhattan Happenings BY RICO BURNEY
COMMUNITY “Building the Garden”: Calling all gardeners! Join members of the New York Parks Department’s Parks Greenthumb program for a session to learn how to build connections with elected officials so they will allocate capital funding for your community garden. Tues., Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Arsenal, the Parks Department headquarters, third-floor gallery, at 830 Fifth Ave. Free.
HISTORY Jewish Women’s Arrival on the Lower East Side: Lucy Shahar, a retired intercultural facilitator and consultant, explores the lives of Jewish women settling on the Lower East Side between 1870 and 1914 and the challenges they faced. She’ll use memoirs, letters and other historical documents to shed light on the women and their experiences. The session is part of a larger series titled, “Ambition, Activism and Adaptation,” that explores different aspects of these women’s lives each Wednesday between Feb. 6 and Feb. 27 at the Museum at Eldridge St., at 12 Eldridge St.
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The “Arrival” session will be on Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $20 for one session and $65 for a four-session bundle. “When Paris Sizzled”: Author and historian Mary McAuliffe discusses her book “When Paris Sizzled,” which details the experiences of public figures, such as Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway and Josephine Baker, in 1920s Paris. Wed., Feb 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Yorkville Library’s children’s room, at 222 E. 79th St. Free.
MOVIES “Loving Vincent:” The innovative animated film “Loving Vincent” tells the story of Vincent van Gogh’s last days. The film pays tribute to the artist not only through its narrative but also through the fact that it is animated entirely by oil paintings. Screening at the 58th St. Library’s community meeting room, at 127 E. 58th St., on Fri., Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. Running time is 95 minutes. Free. “Traces of the Trade:” Documentarian Katrina Browne explores the North’s involvement in the American slave trade. She was inspired to make the film after discovering her New England ancestors were the largest slavetrading family in American history. Screening at Judson Memorial Church, SAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
SUSS per forming, from left, Bob Holmes, Gar y Leib, Jonathan Gregg, William Garrett and Pat Ir win.
at 55 Washington Square South, Sun., Feb. 10, at 12 p.m. Running time is two hours. Free.
MUSIC “Remembering Jonas”: The life of Jonas Mekas —filmmaker, film critic and early champion of American experimental cinema —who died Jan. 23 at age 96, will be celebrated Thurs., Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. at City Winery, at 155 Varick St. Performers honoring the legacy of the late co-founder of the Anthology Film Archives and former Village Voice critic will include John Zorn, Richard Barone, Lee Ronaldo of Sonic Youth fame, David Amram and Glenn Mercer of The Feelies, among others. Ticket prices range from $20 to 50. All proceeds will be donated to the Anthology Film Archives. Tickets are available at https://t.co/KiSpUqhpAB. Suss, plus Drums & Drones: Suss, the self-described “ambient country” super-group that includes former members of Rubber Rodeo and the B-52’s, will be performing on Fri., Feb. 15, at the Mercury Lounge, at 217 E. Houston St., at 6:30 p.m. Drums & Drones —Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase’s solo project —will be opening. Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased at https://www.ticketfly. com/purchase/event/1809414?utm_ medium=api.
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“Be My Valentine Dance Night”: A free dance class by the Strictly Tango NYC Dance School will be held Fri, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Chelsea Recreation Center, at 430 W. 25th St. At-
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Februar y 7, 2019
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tendees can come with a partner or be paired with one at the class. Additional free classes will also be offered every Wednesday between Feb. 13 and May 12. Must RSVP by 4 p.m. the day of each class due to limited space. To RSVP or find out more information, call 212-048-0243.
THEATER “beep boop” is a dark, comedic take on being lonely in the age of social media. The show, starring physical comedian Richard Saudek (“Balls”), composed by Jesse Novak (“BoJack Horseman”) and directed by Wes Gantom (“Eager to Lose”), bills itself as a multimedia clown show so meaningless, it’s meaningful. Playing at the 14th St. Y, at 344 E. 14th St., at 7:30. p.m., Feb. 6-9 and Feb. 12-16 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 and Feb. 17. Tickets are $35. The show runs 65 minutes. Tickets are available at https://14streety.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S1R000008xDGGUA2.
COMMUNITY BOARDS Community Board 5 meets at 6 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 14, in Xavier High School, 30 W. 16th St., second-floor library. Community Board 6 meets at 7 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 13, at N.Y.U. School of Dentistry, 433 First Ave., Room 220.
PRECINCT COUNCIL MEETING Seventh Precinct Community Council meets at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 13, at 19½ Pitt St. Schneps Media
Thanks to the carefully controlled nature of the firecracker explosions, kids — and their balloons — were safe from any stray firecrackers.
Year of the Pig might go hog wild with success Celebrating the Lunar New Year, the firecracker ceremony was held at Grand St. in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Tues., Feb. 5. In addition to lots of fun explosions, there were live per formances, including singing and dancing, and vendors. This is the Year of the Pig, and it sounds like ever yone will really be shakin’ and bakin’…but hopefully eating a bit less bacon, out of respect for the Chinese zodiac animal of honor. According to thechinesezodiac. org,“2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life.” Schneps Media
PHOTOS BY MILO HESS
Blowing a fuse — or a few dozen — in Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
Februar y 7, 2019
Februar y 7, 2019
N.Y.U. opens ﬁrst fully halal dining hall BY GABE HERMAN
ew York University has opened its first dining hall that is completely halal, meaning in accordance with Islamic dietary rules. On Jan. 27, Lipton Dining Hall, at 33 Washington Square West, at Washington Place, became the “first fully dedicated residential dining location at a major university in North America certified at the highest level of Halal through Halal Food Standards Alliance of America (HFSAA),” according to an announcement by the Islamic Center at N.Y.U. The same halal certification group, HFSAA, also monitors two other N.Y.U. dining halls at their halal sections. One is Kimmel Market Place, at 60 Washington Square South, and the other is Jasper Kane Café, at 6 MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. HFSAA monitors all foods and ingredients to make sure there are no prohibited foods or ingredients, such as alcohol or pork. The organization also does ritual cleansing of food sites, provides training for staff and regular audits of facilities, and has on-site supervisors. The Lipton Dining Hall serves buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also has a small convenience store that only sells items that are halalcertified. “The Lipton Dining Hall is a milestone for our community,” said the imam of ICNYU, Khalid Latif, in the announce-
PHOTO COURTESY ISLAMIC CENTER AT N.Y.U.
N.Y.U.’s Lipton Dining Hall is now 100 percent halal.
ment. “I personally had the privilege of attending a soft launch of the hall…and aside from amazing food, the space itself is set up beautifully.” Latif added, “Our hope at the IC is to continue to grow and build accommodations such as these so that we can better meet the diverse needs our com-
munity.” Along with more halal dining options at N.Y.U., there are a growing number of halal food options in neighboring Greenwich Village. Of course there are halal food carts: Fifty-seven percent of the city’s food vendors are Muslim, according to Mus-
lims for American Progress. And just on MacDougal St. between Bleecker and W. Third Sts., there is Kati Roll Company, Mint Masala and Burgers by Honest Chops. The burger place was cofounded by Imam Latif, along with its sister shop Honest Chops Butchery in the East Village.
Dine The Boroughs highlights BK, BX, QNS cuisine BY ANNA SPIVAK
at your heart out, Manhattan! A dazzling new dining experience will promote the unique cuisines found in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx next month! Dine The Boroughs, a two-week culinary tour of some of the outer boroughs’ best bites, will feature some 200 restaurants offering pre-fi xe menu options for just $28, from March 18 to March 31. The expansive munch marathon fills a gaping hole in New York City’s beloved Restaurant Week lineup, which features hundreds of Manhattan eateries while spotlighting only a forkful of outer-borough options, according to one of the creators of Dine the Boroughs. “This is really an opportunity to promote the diverse food offerings found in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx,”
PHOTO BY FESTIVAL MEDIA
Dine the Boroughs, a two-week culinar y tour of varied cuisines found in the outer boroughs, kicks off March 18.
said Joshua Schneps, the chief executive officer of Schneps Media. “We want to drive traffic to each of the boroughs be-
cause, as we all know, great food is a destination.” Joining the roster of the ultimate outTVG
er-borough feast will have no cost for participating restaurants, said Schneps. “It’s completely free for restaurants to participate,” he said. “They have to offer a pre-fi xe menu, at least for dinner, during the period of time that we’ll be holding Dine the Boroughs, and they have to be based in Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. There is no other charge, and we’re very fortunate to have such a large reach in those three areas, through our different newspapers, Web sites, newsletters and social channels, that we can really promote these restaurants.” Restaurants and sponsors interested in signing up can visitwww.dinetheboroughs.com, which in the coming weeks will be updated with a detailed list of participating eateries and their offerings. Join the Dine the Boroughs journey, presented by the Whitmore Group, by following along on social media using the hashtag: #dinetheboros Februar y 7, 2019
Chi-whiz: Feng shui in the Year of the Pig BY MARTHA WILKIE
icture this: a photo of a skyscraper groundbreaking ceremony featuring a confident-looking petite Chinese woman flanked by architect Philip Johnson and a young(ish) Donald Trump, all smiling. The woman is feng shui master Pun-Yin and these powerful men listened to her. In 1995, Trump consulted Pun-Yin and her renowned father feng shui master Tin-Sun to improve the redesign of the Trump International Hotel & Tower at Columbus Circle. Pun-Yin demanded major changes, such as moving the entrance to Central Park, away from the traffic circle (because of all the streets converging) and adding the globe sculpture (to counteract sharp angles). Feng shui was invented thousands of years ago in China. It’s many things, but when it comes to New York real estate, it’s used to assess the viability of a space, and improve it if the energy flow — the chi — is bad or unbalanced. In feng shui, everything is
A renovation pumped up the feng shui of this Morningside Heights apar tment.
This Tribeca pool could be prett y cool, as far as feng shui is concerned.
composed of five elements (some literal, some metaphorical): wood, fire, earth, metal and water. How these elements balance and interact with each other is crucially important. The orientation of a building (or apartment or room) is key and, in fact, the magnetic compass was first invented in China during the ancient Han Dynasty for use by feng shui masters. Pun-Yin, writes on her Web site, “Authentic feng shui utilizes profound insights beyond just the visual and goes far beyond the conscious levels. Feng shui is comprised of a universal wisdom that affects an individual’s health, relationships and career. Positive and negative energy flows all around and through us. In feng shui tradition, positive energy is the dragon’s breath, as the dragon is the most powerful creature in Chinese mythology.” Feng shui comes up frequently for realtor Rachel Wang of Kian Realty. “Around 50 percent of my overall client base take feng shui into consideration while buying or renting an apartment,” she said. “Among Chinese-origin clients, this percentage jumps to almost 100 percent.”
Februar y 7, 2019
Wang has clients who won’t buy a place without an expert’s approval. “The famous feng shui master is very busy and has an expensive hourly rate,” she explained. “Clients usually see many apartments first, focus on a few they like, and then invite the master to get the final say.” Once bad feng shui sunk a deal for Wang. “No matter how much the buyer likes an apartment, if feng shui master says it’s not a good fit to this client, it will be passed,” she said. “Several times that has happened. Once I showed a penthouse with panoramic view to a client who loved it. Then she invited a feng shui master to come have a look. The master pointed out that the apartment has too many windows in all four directions. Too much light is not a good fit for her ‘five elements combination’ and may cause the couple to fight. So she gave it up immediately.” There you have it, folks, perhaps the first time in Manhattan history that an apartment was passed up because of too good light and views. When questioned about how she uses it, Wang explained, “It depends. I know some basic feng shui rules CNW
and it helps when clients need advice. For instance, the most frequently asked question about an apartment is its exposure. Southern and eastern exposures are always preferred. What you see out of the window is also very important. If you see several roads pointing to your bedroom it is not good to owner’s health. Feng shui is a balance between human and environment. Everyone can feel it, even if you don’t know the complicated theory behind it.” Have you ever walked into someone’s home for the first time and instantly felt relaxed and happy for no particular reason? Good feng shui. When I walked into my now-husband’s gracious Edwardian home on our second date, I thought, I could marry this man. The nighttime view of red taillights endlessly streaming away was mesmerizing. If you’re planning to move this year, here are a few apartments that might have good feng shui to make the Year of the Pig a happy, healthy and prosperous one for you. In Morningside Heights, I saw a two-bedroom with two full baths. Pre-renovation, it was a depressing warren of oddly sized, dark, ugly rooms, I felt uncomfortable in it. But happily, a talented architect transformed it into a lovely and well-laid-out home that feels 10 times larger than it did before. (https://kwnyc.com/west-111th-street-10025/ morningside-heights/coop/220402/?source=modal) Meanwhile, in Tribeca, an alcove studio has views to the south, tall ceilings and a glorious pool. I imagine the orientation and water elements make this ideal, feng shui-wise. (https://kianrealtynyc.com/tribeca/condo/111murray-street-12d/483075) In Hamilton Heights, a light and airy studio faces south (check) and has a decorative fireplace and dramatic gleaming dark-wood floors. (http://w w w.warburgrealty.com/listing/ W R746647/hamilton-heights-ny-10031/) Over in Tudor City there’s a tastefully renovated one-bedroom sponsor unit (no board approval) in a doorman building with striking windows and a gorgeous roof deck. Looks west, but I’d hope the chi from that amazing roof deck counteracts that? (https://www.elliman.com/new-york-city/prospect-towers-45-tudor-city-place-507-manhattangbqqmjt) Schneps Media
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Februar y 7, 2019
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February 7, 2019