Chelsea VOLUME 11, ISSUE ISS S UE U E 27 27
JULY 11 - 18, 2019
YO Y O U R W E E K LLY Y 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 Y YA A R D S & H E L LL’ L’S ’S K ITC H E N
PRIDE STRIDES BACK TO ITS ROOTS Page 11
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
The Queer Liberation March had no corporate sponsorship.
CHIEF OF TRIBES Poet Steve Cannon dies at 84 Page 20 PHOTO BY SARAH FERGUSON
Steve Cannon at the finale of A Gathering of the Tribes in its former E. Third St. space in 2014.
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July 11, 2019
Bones reburial set for Wash. Sq. BY GABE HERMAN
lans are moving forward for the reinterment of bone fragments that were found in Washington Square Park during recent construction proj-
ects. For 30 years during the late 1700s and early 1800s, two-thirds of what is now Washington Square Park was a potter’s field, according to the Parks Department. It’s believed that during that period, about 20,000 people were buried there. During three phases of park reconstruction, between 2008 and 2017, human remains were found. While intact burials were left alone, according to protocols of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, several hundred bone fragments were removed, with plans to reinter them in the park at a later time. At the June meeting of the Community Board 2 Parks and Waterfront Committee, Sybil Young, the historic preservation officer at the Department of Parks and Recreation, presented the department’s reinterment plans. Basically, the remains would be buried together in one box, in an existing planting bed near the park entrance at Sullivan St. and Washington Square South. The box would be buried 5 feet down, in accordance with New York City Board of Health rules. The site would be marked with an engraved granite paver next to the planting bed. The C.B. 2 committee gave input about what the marker should say. The proposed text now reads: “From 1797 until 1825, what is now Washington
COURTESY NYC DEPARTMENT OF DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
This burial vault was one of two uncovered beneath Washington Square East during work on a water main a few years ago. This vault’s contents — including coffins with metal nameplates — were in better shape than the other one, which contained scattered skeletal remains previously disturbed by a 1960s Con Ed project.
Square Park was the City’s Potter’s Field, where thousands of people including the unidentified, the indigent and those who died of yellow fever were buried. In addition, several church burial grounds were locat-
ed in the northeast portion of the park. Fragmentary remains of some of the early New Yorkers buried in this Potter’s Field were found by archaeologists during construction in and adjacent to Washington Square Park between 2008 and 2017. The City reinterred the remains on this site in 2019.” Andrew Berman, executive director of Village Preservation, said his group has not been involved in the reinterment plans. “There are literally thousands of people buried under Washington Square,” he noted, “as there are under a surprising number of parks, playgrounds, and even schools and residences in our neighborhood. “Though these individuals may have been forgotten over time, and were in some cases forsaken at the time of their burial, we should treat their remains with respect and care,” he added. “Occasions like this remind us of the layers of history — literal and figurative — that can be found in a neighborhood like this. It’s important to remember that rich history and honor it, and make sure it is not erased from our collective memories.” Parks spokesperson Crystal Howard said the reinterment would happen this summer. She said that, appropriately, the box to be buried is expected to be coffin-size, to hold the several hundred bone fragments. At last month’s C.B. 2 Parks and Waterfront Committee meeting, members unanimously passed a resolution supporting the reinterment plan. The resolution noted that the community board “looks forward to consideration of additional narrative markers which might elaborate on the rich history of the park.”
14th St. bus-plan rollout rejected, again BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
t was an extended holiday weekend for many, but the city’s Department of Transportation kept pushing in court on Friday morning to lift a judge’s order blocking the start of a novel no-cars “busway” on 14th St. But D.O.T.’s efforts fell flat, as an Appellate Division judge refused to lift the temporary restraining order, or T.R.O., issued last Friday by state Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower. Rakower had ordered the parties to submit additional paperwork this month, and then return to court on Aug. 6. Arthur Schwartz, the Village activist attorney representing Village and Chelsea block associations and co-op residents in a lawsuit against the 14th St. scheme, said D.O.T. basically tried to pull an endaround. “Rather than wait until the Aug. 6 return date in front of Judge Rakower, D.O.T. went into court…and asked to vacate the T.R.O. barring D.O.T. from proceeding with its 14th St. plan,” he said. On Friday, Judge Gishe, of the Appellate Division, “wouldn’t take argument” after having carefully read the paperwork submitted by both sides, Schwartz said. “She said that granting the relief D.O.T. requested opened up the possibility of a ping-pong effect at great expense to the city and confusion to the public — meaning T.R.O. on, T.R.O. off… . “She had read the papers carefully and noted that D.O.T. had identified 14th St. as a street needing Select Bus Service way back in 2011, so that their assertions this week of an emergency need to move for-
ward seemed out of place.” Schwartz said the city attorney representing D.O.T. has tried to argue that the car-ban plan must be in effect to allow S.B.S. to operate at top speed. But Schwartz noted that, for example, 23rd St. has S.B.S. but doesn’t ban cars from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, as the first-of-its-kind “Transit/Truck Priority” lanes plan for 14th St. would do. The anti-cars plan has never been tried before anywhere else in the city, according to agency officials. The Village attorney said he is also skeptical that D.O.T. would submit data and studies to justify its 14th St. plan, even though that is what Rakower specifically asked to be provided with by July 12. Village and Chelsea opponents fear that banishing cars from 14th St., among other things, would merely push them onto their narrow side streets, causing congestion and also endangering their historic buildings due to the vehicles’ vibrations. S.B.S. on the M14 route did start on Mon., July 1 — despite the court-ordered T.R.O. currently blocking the city from implementing its plan to prioritize 14th St. for buses and through trucks while banning cars. The community lawsuit did not seek to block S.B.S. from starting. David Marcus is an individual plaintiff in the lawsuit against the 14th St. plan, as well as a founding member and former steering committee member of the 14th St. Coalition. “Once again,” Marcus said on Friday, “the court has sided with the Downtown community in barring D.O.T. from implementing its ill-advised and unjustifiable traffic plan until such time as it proves its need versus the impact it would have on the community. CNW
“It is not lost upon us that the D.O.T. plan is Polly Trottenberg’s disingenuous attempt to substitute new reasons to justify her attempts to reconfigure 14th St., now that the excuse of the L-train shutdown is no longer available to her,” he added, referring to the D.O.T. commissioner. “We are grateful to the courts and to attorney Arthur Schwartz,” Marcus continued, “for helping us preserve the sanctity of our communities and neighborhoods, by considering the needs of tens of thousands of Downtown residents and businesses that would be harmed 24/7 by the plan, and not blindly accepting the claims of improved service to questionable numbers of transient commuters and the unsubstantiated claims of marginally improved bus schedules.” Schwartz noted that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been absent in court on the issue, which would seem to indicate D.O.T. really being the lead agency that is spearheading the 14th St. scheme. In a statement after the T.R.O. was first issued on Fri., June 28, an M.T.A. spokesperson issued a statement, saying, “This ruling will undoubtedly hinder our goal of speeding up buses on one of the busiest and most congested arteries, and make traveling around the city harder for our customers. Transit prioritization, such as the city’s Transit and Truck Priority busway, would help speed up Select Bus Service.” The statement added that, in the meantime, with the launch of the M14 S.B.S. on July 1, the M.T.A. would be “working with D.O.T. and N.Y.P.D. to enforce existing rules to ensure our buses won’t be blocked by vehicles double-parking and blocking bus stops.” July 11, 2019
Police Blotter First Precinct
mid-50s and wearing glasses.
A man approached a 73-year-old woman in front of 11 Greenwich St., near Bowling Green, on Sun., July 7, around 12:45 a.m., and demanded sex from her, police said. The senior refused and the man then proceeded to punch her repeatedly in the face, seriously injuring her and knocking out some of her teeth. The goon then took her bag containing $20 before fleeing. The victim was removed in serious but stable condition to an area hospital to be treated for a broken eye socket, plus multiple cuts and bruising. The suspect is described as black, between age 25 and 35, 6 feet tall, with a slim build, and last seen wearing a red track suit and gray-and-white Nike sneakers.
Another subway groping
This man is a suspect in an attempted rape and brutal assault near Bowling Green, according to police.
Police say this woman, captured on elevator sur veillance video, is a suspect in a watch theft in Batter y Park Cit y.
Police are looking for a man in connection with a groping incident on the subway at the 42nd St. and Fifth Ave. subway station, police said. On Mon., May 27, at 3:15 a.m., the suspect followed a 52-year-old woman off the 7 train, and forcibly touched her genital area under her clothing. The man then fled on foot in an unknown direction. Police released a surveillance image of the man, who was last seen wearing a gray hooded zipper sweatshirt and black pants. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers Hotline. All tips are strictly confidential.
Dispute got physical
According to police, on Sat., June 1, around 5 a.m., a 29-year-old man was inside his apartment on South End Ave. with an unidentified woman he had met at 1Oak nightclub, at 453 W. 17th St. He awoke around 10 a.m. and discovered his $20,000 Rolex watch was missing. The woman wanted for questioning is described as Hispanic in her 30s and around 5 feet 8 inches tall.
There was a reported assault in front of the Muscle Maker Grill, at 70 Seventh Ave., between W. 14th and W. 15th Sts., according to police. A 25-year-old woman said that on Sun., June 30, around 5 p.m., she got into an argument with a woman she knows. Things escalated when the other woman began fighting her, including punching and scratching, leaving the victim with multiple cuts and bruising to her legs, breast, right eye and right elbow. The victim refused medical treatment after the fracas. Police identified the suspect as Beatrice Delos Santos, 26, who stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 125 pounds and sports short blonde hair.
Fifth Precinct Trouble trio On Wed., July 3, around 1:30 p.m., inside 70 Walker St., just east of Broadway, in Tribeca, a man in his 20s approached a 63-year-old man from behind and tried to remove his wallet from his back pocket, police said. When the victim resisted, the thug slammed him against a wall. Two sidekicks with the mugger stood nearby and acted as lookouts. The trio fled the scene when a passerby approached the location. The victim suffered a laceration to his right hand and right elbow, and was treated at the scene by E.M.S. All three suspects are described as black males, around 25 to 30 years old, between 140 and 160 pounds, and around 5 feet 10 inches tall.
Sixth Precinct Sensory experience Police said that on Tues., July 2,
Police say these t wo young suspects used stolen credit cards to rack up big purchases at the Grand St. Rite Aid on the Lower East Side.
to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the CrimeStoppers Web site at www.nypdcrimestoppers. com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.
around 10:50 p.m., a man entered Burlington Coat Factory, at 40 E. 14th St., and tried to remove merchandise worth $400. As the shoplifter attempted to exit the store, a security guard approached him. The thief threw a security sensor at the guard, cutting him on his left arm, before fleeing emptyhanded. The guard refused medical attention at the scene. The suspect, who was in his 30s, wore a gray-and-white Yankees baseball cap and carried a medium-sized shoulder bag.
Whiskey wallet removal A 24-year-old woman was inside Whiskey Town bar, at 29 E. Third St., on Sat., May 11, around 1:30 a.m., when she discovered her wallet was removed, according to police. Subsequent investigation found that an unidentified man was captured on surveillance video using the victim’s credit card at the Macy’s Herald Square store, on Sun., May 12. The man made about $128 worth of charges.
Ninth Precinct Rite-Aid $1K ‘buy’ Police said that on Sun., May 19, around 3:45 p.m., a 39-year-old man reported that he lost his wallet in the East Village. The wallet contained his driver’s license, MetroCard and several credit cards. A subsequent investigation determined that two unidentified young people, a male and female, were caught on surveillance video making about $1,000 worth of unauthorized charges on the victim’s credit cards at the Rite Aid store at 408 Grand St., at Clinton St., on the Lower East Side. Anyone with information is asked
Laptop larceny On Sun., June 30, around 2 p.m., a man removed a 23-year-old man’s black backpack from the rear of a tent belonging to H&M clothing company near 1 Union Square during the World Pride Festival. The backpack contained a laptop and multiple credit cards. The individual is described as white, in his
Surprise attack There was an assault in front of 558 11th Ave., between W. 42nd and 43rd Sts., on July 5, according to a police report. Last Friday, around noon, a 33-year-old man was reportedly cleaning, when he said a woman punched him on the right side of the head, causing swelling and bruising. The man’s ear buds were also broken during the incident. There was no reason given for the attack by the woman, who was a stranger to the victim. Olivia Morphis, 19, was arrested the same day for misdemeanor assault.
Lincoln Anderson and Gabe Herman
For more news & events happening now visit www.TheVillager.com 4
July 11, 2019
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July 11, 2019
A new mural was created on a scaffolding at Google’s Chelsea headquar ters under the City Canvas program.
Google helps artists goose Web sites BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
oogle helped promote the work of more than 50 local New York artists by teaching them how to enhance their personal Web sites. On June 21, the Grow with Google Learning Center in Chelsea held a workshop called Make Your Website Work for You, which was designed to help artists build their online presence by improving an existing Web site or creating one. “New York City is home to some of the most talented artists in the world,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Google’s head of external affairs in New York City. “With this workshop we hope to give artists the tools they need to promote their work online and reach new audiences, helping to support our city’s
— and this neighborhood’s — long legacy as a home to the world’s most impactful artists.” A second workshop is currently in the works and will take place some time in mid-August, according to Google. A large portion of the workshop was dedicated to teaching artists how to create search-friendly Web sites in order to reach the highest number of Internet users possible. The workshop took place on the same day that the Grow with Google NYC Learning Center unveiled a new mural. In order to create the piece, Google partnered with ArtBridge, an organization that works with local artists to reinvent scaffolding and parts of construction sites to transform them into artwork. Currently, the city has 310 miles of construction fencing, according to Stephen Pierson, executive
Body in Amtrak train yard BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
olice responded to a 911 call on Mon., July 9, just before 10 a.m., for an unconscious man found at 537 W. 38th St., between 10th and 11th Aves. The police report additionally listed the location as “Amtrak Yard,” indicating the man may have been found below the street level, possibly along a train right of way or on other Amtrak
July 11, 2019
property. Officers found an unidentified male unconscious and unresponsive with apparent head trauma. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. Police still did not have an identification for the man as of Tuesday morning. Once he is identified, the man’s family members will be notified first before his name is released publicly.
COURTESY GROW WITH GOOGLE NYC LEARNING CENTER
One of the more than 50 par ticipants at a June 21 Grow with Google NYC Learning Center event called Make Your Website Work for You, which taught par ticipants how to improve a Web site.
director of ArtBridge. According to a statement from Google, the mural was the first to be installed under the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ new City Canvas pilot program. The mural was designed and painted CNW
by seven prominent female street artists based in the city, including BKFoxx, Danielle Mastrion, Indie184, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Gera Lozano, Natasha Platt and Jess X Snow. The art piece will continue to decorate Google’s Chelsea location until the end of October. Schneps Media
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July 11, 2019
Groper ‘poster boy’ in 70th arrest BY GABE HERMAN
serial subway creep has been busted and indicted in yet another alleged incident — and the city’s top cop has had enough. According to the New York Post, it’s the man’s 70th arrest, and Police Commissioner James O’Neill is now calling for the revolting recidivist to be banned from the subway system. Police said that on Wed., June 26, around 8:50 a.m., a 37-year-old woman — an offduty traffic officer — was on a Manhattan-bound L train, heading from Bedford Ave. to First Ave., when Giovanni Verdelli, 67, placed his hand under her dress and rubbed her genital area. Verdelli, who is homeless and goes by “Gian,” stands 6 feet tall, weighs about 200 pounds and has long saltand-pepper hair. The woman and the abus-
Giovanni “Gian” Verdelli was recently arrested for an alleged subway groping incident. He has a long record of such offenses.
er both left the train at First Ave. and E. 14th St., where the victim took a photo of the man on the platform. The offender then fled the location. The off-duty cop was reportedly not injured during the incident. On Fri., June 28, police arrested Verdelli. He was charged with persistent sexual abuse, forcible touching and sexual abuse. This Tuesday, a grand jury indicted him in the latest incident. According to the Post, it was only six months ago that Verdelli was sprung from prison for a similar crime, after serving nine months. In that case, in August 2017, he reportedly rubbed his erect penis up against a woman’s buttocks on the B train at the Broadway/ Lafayette St. station. The tabloid said he is a Level 2 sex offender and that most of his dozens of past arrests were for sexual abuse.
Soho/Noho: Non-artists, retail remain focus BY GABE HERMAN
t the June 13 presentation of recommendations in the Envision Soho Noho process, it was emphasized that the evaluation of zoning options was just beginning, and would continue throughout this year. As the process continues, local groups and advocates are pushing their agendas, including on whether to legalize non-artist residency and enforcement of retail size limits in Soho. One such group is the Fix Soho/ Noho Coalition, comprised largely of landlords and several big propertyowning firms in the city. One member of the group, Margaret Baisley, a Soho loft owner who has been a real estate lawyer in the neighborhood since the 1970s, recently told this paper she and the coalition were concerned that a pathway for non-artists to live in Soho was not laid out at the presentation. Fix Soho/Noho believes more than “95 percent” of Soho residents are not artists — which local artists dispute. “The vast majority of people who live here want to be able to live here legally,” she said. The preliminary recommendations only included temporary amnesty for current non-artists in Soho. “I think, frankly, that would kill the community in Soho as we know it,” she said. “There aren’t enough artists to
July 11, 2019
buy or rent these spaces.” Baisley, who lives in Brooklyn, pointed to recent construction and maintenance work done on her building, and was skeptical any artists could write checks for the high costs that it required. “We can’t turn the clock back,” she said. “I know it’s romantic to talk about the 1980s when there were galleries and many artists everywhere.” Baisley supports grandfathering in the neighborhood’s current artists. “No one wants to throw artists out,” she said. But she added the majority of residents should also have protections. “We’re the ones who keep this place going economically, and we’re who should receive some recognition from the advisory committee,” she stressed. She argued that zoning based on peoples’ occupations is discriminatory. Baisley also opposes restricting retail stores to 10,000 square feet, which the preliminary recommendations outlined, albeit with some exceptions. “Because this is a mixed-use district,” she said, “we need many kinds of retail, not just small retail.” She said there are good, responsible retailers that are larger than 10,000 square feet, and that the taxes paid by retail help property owners to pay their “outrageous” taxes and to maintain their buildings.
Baisley said there is still room for negotiation on these issues, and that the Fix Soho/Noho Coalition is continuing to meet with local politicians and officials and advocate for its views. Meanwhile, Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said he was fine with non-artists living in the area. “We just want the artists protected,” he said. “We don’t care if non-artists move in.” Based on advisory meetings so far, Sweeney believes non-artists, in fact, will be allowed to live legally in Soho. He wants the area to be kept as a manufacturing-zoned district, though, protecting artists by not letting neighbors complain about noise or odor issues coming from artists doing their work. “The best way to preserve artists and yet have non-artists move in, is to maintain the manufacturing zone...and yet allow non-artists to move in. But they just can’t complain,” he said. Sweeney also predicts the definition of a certified “artist” will be broadened beyond fine artists — to include “makers” or “creative people” and Web designers, for example. Sweeney said he’s O.K. with that, and with including others — like dress designers, architects and writers — and letting all other professions into Soho, but with a preference to creative people to keep the area’s creative vibe. “People still come here from Europe CNW
and they still think it’s kind of creative,” he said, “and if it becomes doctors and lawyers and bankers, it’ll lose that. So we want to maintain that as a creative neighborhood, in which doctors, lawyers and dentists are allowed to live.” Sweeney said he is also fine with the current retail zoning, but is willing to extend ground-floor retail through the entire neighborhood, since 95 percent of Soho stores are now retail. “So we’re not going to turn the clock back,” he said. “Fine, so we’re giving them that concession.” At meetings, Sweeney said, Real Estate Board of New York members said they wanted unlimited retail sizes. Asked if that meant 100,000 square feet, the REBNY reps nodded, he said. “I said a can of worms is going to open up,” Sweeney said he predicted. “We were happy the way it is,” he said of the existing zoning. “It’s very successful, it’s the second-highest retail neighborhood in the city. “But we’re willing to be realistic,” he said, referring to non-artist residency and expanding ground-floor retail. “But they’re getting greedy,” he added. Recommendations will be issued by consultant Jonathan Martin in late August, Sweeney said. That report will go for review to Community Board 2 in October. Zoning changes would then likely undergo the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP. Schneps Media
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Union Square Community Coalition presents:
Drawing in Union Square
T H E C O M M U N I T Y P H A R M AC Y T H AT C A R E S
with Jon Rettich, local artist
FREE WELCOME KIT! COME IN
Second Sunday of each month, July through September, 1â€“4 pm
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July 11, 2019
52 Duane Street, 7th Floor New York, NY 10007
2 1 2 . 8 0 7. 7 5 6 6 TVG
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
Alterna March reboots to Pride roots BY BOB KR ASNER
t’s said that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it — but the Reclaim Pride Coalition, organizers of the Queer Liberation March, planned to do exactly that. Fed up with what they call the corporate takeover of the Heritage of Pride March (the big one), they put together an alternative. “It’s a march, not a parade,” explained photographer Dustin Pittman, who attended the first New York City gay-rights march in 1970. “This brings it back to its roots.” With no floats or corporate sponsorship, Sunday’s alternative march took the same route as the first, from Sheridan Square to Central Park. Enthusiasm and handmade signs were the hallmark of pretty much every group involved, from the artists with the Howl! Happening gallery to the Revolting Lesbians. Songs were sung (“Which Side Are You On?”) and chants were heard (“Off the sidewalk! Into the streets!”) all the way along the route, from what activist lawyer Norman Siegel estimated were 40,000 participants by the time they reached the park. “There are 15 times more people here than I expected!” exclaimed activist Gene Fedorko, who was also there in 1970. “The energy is magnificent,” he enthused. “I’ve been crying all morning.” Gay rights were just part of the agenda, as placards proclaimed the fight against all forms of injustice, including subjects such as abortion, ICE, sex workers, the N.R.A., white supremacy, Black Lives Matter, the rights of the incarcerated and even hairstyle appropriation. “Stop stealing our haircuts,” read one lesbian’s sign. The day culminated with a rally on the Great Lawn, a mix of comedy, political messaging and music. Organizer Leslie Cagan explained that the alternative march’s $200,000 budget was raised from foundation grants, fundraisers and personal donations. “We were committed to making it a community event,” Cagan said. Volunteers were also part of the equation, including the many who stayed behind to help clean up, as a
result of a request from the stage. Entertainment provided by BETTY, Justin Vivian Bond, John Cameron Mitchell and Kevin Aviance was balanced by the impassioned speeches of Cecilia Gentili and Larry Kramer, among others. Kramer, the legendary playwright and AIDS activist, had a sobering message for the crowd. “I’m approaching my end, but I still have a few years of fight in me,” he said. These days, he noted, he is fighting against those who are spending their time looking for drugs and sex, rather than fighting to “make our world a better place.” “I love being gay, I love my people,” he said. “Please give me something to be proud of again, in these dark and dangerous days.”
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
Performance ar tist Brent Ray Fraser spread the love around at the firehouse on W. 10th St. TVG
Larr y Kramer, seated in wheelchair, with, from left, organizer/stage manager Jackie Rudin, David Webster, Kramer’s husband, and Rollerena, the legendar y roller-skating drag queen. July 11, 2019
We pledged ‘Never Forget’ BY CAROLYN B. MALONEY
ast week, we lost an incredible New Yorker — an American hero — N.Y.P.D. Detective Luis Alvarez. I vowed that we would finish his last mission — to take care of the 9/11 community. On Friday, the House scheduled to finally vote to fully fund and make permanent the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund to take care of every first responder, construction worker, volunteer and survivor who is now sick, plus the spouses left alone and the children left without parents because of illnesses caused by 9/11. In honor of N.Y.P.D. Detective James Zadroga — the first person to die from 9/11 illness — F.D.N.Y. Firefighter Ray Pfeifer and N.Y.P.D. Detective Luis Alvarez, who dedicated their last breaths to fighting for the 9/11 community, and for all the heroes who are still dealing with the effects of 9/11 each and every day, we will get this done and send this bill to the president’s desk. We have a double moral obligation to these heroic men and women. Not only were they there for us in one of our nation’s darkest hours. But our government told all those who worked on the pile and lived, worked and went to school near Ground Zero that the air was safe to breathe, and the water was safe to drink when it wasn’t. They are
sick because of us. Last month, Congress heard from Anesta St. Rose Henry as she testified in front of the House Committee on the Judiciary, sitting in front of two of her children that she is now raising alone. She lost her husband Candidus Henry less than a month earlier to glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer, connected to his time working on the pile at Ground Zero. She told us and the American people about Candidus, and the hole he left behind — a hole only made larger by the fact that, because her husband died this May instead of two years ago, she and her family will not receive a full award from the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund because the fund is currently facing a budget shortfall. But we will fi x that by passing this bill. Not only does the Never Forget the Heroes Act fully fund and make permanent the V.C.F. for the future, but it also directs the special master to revisit all the reduced awards paid out to the 9/11 community because of the shortfall. After 9/11, we vowed to “Never Forget” and with that, we made a commitment to make sure every 9/11 first responder, survivor and their families never have to go without the support they need or deserve. It is the very least we can do as a grateful nation.
FILE PHOTO BY RENA COHEN
Creating the LaGuardia Gardens in 1982.
n article in The Villager’s May 20, 1982, issue reported that many LaGuardia Place residents were continuing to oppose a new community garden near the corner of Bleecker St. running down the block toward W. Houston St., even as gardeners were beginning to prepare the plot for planting all types of vegetables. The issue was not the veggies, but the new 8-foot-high, 170-foot-long and 42-foot-wide chain-link fence
around the garden. Many residents felt the narrow sidewalk strip left between the garden and the Grand Union supermarket would become a “muggers alley,” and would “make it easy” for ne’er-do-wells to hide. There was also concern about the police having access to the supermarket if something went wrong there. The garden remains there to this day, and was able to survive a threat of development by New York University.
Maloney is congressmember, 12th District.
SUBJECT: “The problem with Pride” (guest editorial, by Elissa Stein, 7/4/19) SUMMARY: Village activist Elissa Stein expresses her frustration with the Pride March, arguing it’s dominated by corporate sponsors and product giveaways. Swelled by Stonewall 50 and WorldPride, the March’s size tripled and it lasted 12½ hours. Writes Stein: “Someone needs to be the grown-up in the room and cap the number of par ticipants [and] set a time limit... . Local residents and streets should not be subjected to this level of noise pollution, barricading and destruction.”
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Just say No to East Side ﬂood plan; I did BY PAUL DERIENZO
n Tues., June 25, Community Board 3 voted 33 to 3 with 1 abstention to approve, with conditions, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. An “October surprise” dropped on the community last autumn, the E.S.C.R.P. would close East River Park for at least three-and-a-half years. It would raise the 57-acre park by 8 to 9 feet above its current level and place the lip of the park nearly 17 feet above the East River. The result would be, for many, a riverside park in name only. Those are some reasons I decided to vote No on the project. A few days earlier, though, I had voted for it at a C.B. 3 Parks Committee meeting, at which board members did a phenomenal job of crafting a last-minute alternative. But, in the end, I could not approve a city project that made a mockery of transparency and community involvement. E.S.C.R.P. includes moveable metal walls, supposedly to block water from flanking the project and flooding the park from the west. Gouverneur Gardens would have to cede land along Montgomery St. for a wall that the Mitchell-Lama coop building would then apparently have to care for and insure. The wall’s ability to protect the E.S.C.R.P. from nature’s flanking maneuver isn’t a sure thing. Questionable fi xes and the complete closing of a popular park for many years are not my only concerns. One glaring omission from the E.S.C.R.P. is the chance to separate combined sanitary- and storm-water sewers that allow sewage to spill into the river during heavy rains. That missed opportunity is evidence that the city was more concerned with costs than environment. I attended many public hearings on the new plan and saw resistance everywhere. Even New York City Housing Authority residents, who felt they had the most to lose from another flood, harbored doubts about the city’s true intentions. After the breathtaking shift by the Department of Design and Construction — suddenly scrapping the previous, community-approved resiliency plan — why wouldn’t the public have doubts about the city’s long-term commitments? The community plan envisioned the park as a wetland absorbing the rising sea, while using the F.D.R. Drive as a backstop for a flood wall that would have been created. It’s basically an approach that is being successfully implemented around the world. On the other hand, the city’s project uses tons of dirt from who knows where, which, during the construction phase, will raise dust clouds and pollute the air in a neighborhood with some of the highest asthma rates in the country. E.S.C.R.P. continues the traditions of Robert Moses, who built the highway 80 years ago. Moses’ vision of a car-centric city still haunts New York. Consider the death of a young bike messenger hit by a truck two weeks ago, only to be followed by a young artist fatally struck by a cement truck as she was cycling just last week. City representatives admit one more big storm might take down the elevated portions of the F.D.R. Why wait for another disaster? Removing the current structure and replacing it with an engineered buffer to protect against rising seas is a small price to pay to save New York from human-caused climate change. DeRienzo, besides being a member of C.B. 3, is news director at listener-sponsored radio station WBAI in New York City. Schneps Media
Letters to the Editor D.O.T.: The new Robert Moses To The Editor: Re “Judge blocks 14th St. busway” (news article, July 4): We are absolutely delighted with Judge Rackower’s fair and reasonable decision to grant our request for a temporary restraining order and to compel Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and her Department of Transportation to support their claims of essential need for vehicular restrictions on 14th St. by providing the required hard data prescribed under the law. We are also deeply appreciative of Attorney Arthur Schwartz’s tireless efforts on our behalf. For those that thought mere dialogue with Trottenberg and D.O.T. would produce a reasonable result, we hope that the lesson was learned. It is indeed unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to compel the city and D.O.T. to balance the needs of tens of thousands of local residents and businesses with those of a limited number of transient commuters in the name of unsubstantiated minimal improvement to crosstown bus service. Anyone who would suggest that to demand an equitable balance of accommodation between locals and commuters is elitist, hypocritical and uncaring is clearly continuing the disingenuous agenda of dictating to our neighborhoods and communities how we should live in our homes. It is quite evident that the 14th St. busway is Trottenberg’s Robert Moses-type assault on our neighborhood in the improve name of questionable improveice. When ment to bus service. utdown the L-train shutdown uickly was averted, she quickly changed gears w ith
substitute reasons for continuing with the 14th St. plan; something she publicly advocated at each and every alleged community outreach. It is also clearly apparent that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could care less about the busway, otherwise it would have submitted a legal brief objecting to the T.R.O. and/or appeared in court to make its case. The fact that the M.T.A. is remaining silent speaks volumes about D.O.T.’s misrepresentations that this would disrupt the M.T.A.’s careful Select Bus Service route planning. This is Mayor de Blasio’s and Commissioner Trottenberg’s agenda 100 percent, as Andy Byford, president of the New York City Transit Authority, clearly could care less about banning certain vehicles from 14th St. Julianne Bond and David R. Marcus Bond and Marcus are plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the 14th St. busway and founding members, 14th St. Coalition; Bond is the coalition’s former co-chairperson; Marcus is a former steering committee member.
Hands off University Place To The Editor: Re “Baldwin gets serious at Judson” (news article, June 27): I have lived on University Place for 40 years. No, Reverend Donna Schaper, closing all of University Place to cars would not be “fun and different.” It ferent. would be hor-
Rober t Moses, the city’s former Planning czar, saw several of his highway and redevelopment megaprojects defeated by determined Village residents. Now, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the 14th St. busway plan are calling the current Depar tment of Transpor tation’s actions heav y-handed, dismissive of the local communit y and, well, Moses-like.
rendous. The residents of University Place have been opposed to this troublesome idea for many, many years and yet New York University keeps pushing it. The local businesses want to take over our beloved University Place by putting their cafe tables in the street. We already have enough noise issues from N.Y.U. students now. If Community Board 2 wants to make University Place better, bring back the M1 bus! Deb Friedman
Right on, Richard! To The Editor: Contrary to a letter in your June 27 issue (“Vax vote outrage,” by Carolynn R. Meinhardt), I applaud Assemblyman Richard Gottfried’s principled stand against the unconstitutional repeal of the religious exemption for vaccinations. I know many people who have sought a religious exemption because their children experienced serious reactions following a vaccination series. These parents initially tried to obtain a medical exemption, but that’s nearly impossible because of the intimidation of doctors, who fear losing their licenses if they don’t adhere to the idea that vaccines are “safe and effective,” as we are constantly told by pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Centers for Disease and Control. These parents now face either risking further harm to their kids by resuming the vaccines (50 shots by age 6, roughly 72 by age 18 — something my generation never had to contend with) — or losing the right to attend school. Gottfried is on the right side of democracy. Consuelo Reyes E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. July 11, 2019
Census query blocked, Trump ﬁghts on BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
utside of City Hall Park, a buzzing crowd recently celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. At the June 27 rally, sign-waving members and allies of the coalition group New York Counts 2020, listened to local politicians, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, nonprofit leaders like Stephen Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, and city leaders, like Julie Menin, the Census director for New York City, speak to how the decision was a victory for democracy and the rule of law. “Today the Supreme Court upheld what each and every single one of us here knows, that every single person in this country, in this state, in this city, deserves to be counted, deserves to be represented and not silenced,” said Murad Awadeh, vice president of advocacy of the New York Immigration Coalition. An eruption of cheers followed his remarks. Critics of the citizenship question say that it will deter noncitizens from filling out the form and thus skew Census results in favor of Republicans. According to Menin, what is at stake for New York by adding the question is $700 million worth of federal funding for state programs, like public education, public housing and Medicaid. Menin also stressed that an undercount in New York could mean the loss of two congressional seats. In March 2018, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross approved plans to add the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” to the 2020 Census against the recommendation of the Census Bureau. The question has not been asked on a U.S. Census since 1950. In April of last year, New York State led a group of 18 states, 10 cities and four counties and the U.S Conference of Mayors in a lawsuit against the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau to try to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. Later that month, several other states filed similar lawsuits. The Supreme Court’s June 27 decision stated that the Trump administration’s Department of Commerce could not add the citizenship question to the Census form because the reason it later gave for doing so was a lie, according to Vox. The ruling, however, allowed for the Trump administration to present a more legitimate reason for including the question. Trump, though, was under a time crunch since the the Census Bureau only had until June 30 to finalize the Census form. On July 2, Ross announced that the Commerce Department would print the Census form without the
July 11, 2019
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Julie Menin, the Census director for New York, spoke at the rally outside of Cit y Hall Park.
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
A group of young activists attended the Census 2020 rally outside of City Hall Park.
citizenship question. But the next day, Trump tweeted otherwise and considered using an executive order arguing a constitutional need to add the question, according to the Washington Post. Although speakers at the rally expressed confidence that the citizenship question would remain off of the Census form, they worried about another hurdle: response rate.
According to Menin, New York State had a 61.9 percent self-response rate to the Census questionnaire while the national response rate was 74 percent. According to Menin, part of the reason New York’s response rate was so low was because a lack of community education about the importance of the census. This time around, that will not be the case, according to Menin. Her TVG
office plans on going to community board meetings, neighborhood meetings and houses of worship and “every pocket of the city” to speak about what is at stake with an undercount. “Every neighborhood can and must do better,” said Menin. ” It is the single most important step one can take to ensure that their respected community gets the funding it deserves.” Schneps Media
July 11, 2019
Give us a break! Mom-and-pops to city BY MICAEL A MACAGNONE
ouncilmembers, merchants, restaurateurs and small business advocates recently rallied on the City Hall steps to slam the crushing fees and regulations that they say are making it ever harder for mom-and-pop shops to survive. Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Small Business, led the Wed., June 26, rally, which was swelled by more than 100 business owners. The event was punctuated by bilingual chants, including “Wake up, City Hall!” “Salve Nuestra Bodega!” (save our bodegas), “Our Jobs Matter!” and “También Somos Inmigrantes!” (we are also immigrants). Gjonaj mostly addressed the burdensome regulations, taxes, fines and fees put on small business by local government. “Since the arrival of the retail chains and online shopping, small businesses have shut their doors after years of providing services to their
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Bronx Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, left, led the rally against burdensome regulations and fees for small businesses.
local communities,” he said. “Furthermore, it has become harder for startups to survive: Approximately 50 percent of small businesses and 80 percent of restaurants never make it past year five. The local small business industry has changed and small businesses are in danger. Owners are struggling to keep their dream and livelihood alive.” The protesters specifically expressed their opposition to a paidvacation measure that the mayor an-
nounced in January. The legislation has not gone anywhere in the face of strong opposition, would apply to businesses five employees or more. However, according to a June survey of more than 1,470 New York City small business owners across all five boroughs, 79 percent of them said they can’t afford to provide employees with two-weeks paid vacation; 80 percent are concerned they would have to lay off employees, reduce hours or scale back operations if their business
is required to provide the benefit; and 93 percent of small business owners are opposed to an unfunded mandate for two-weeks paid vacation. There were also — as at previous Gjonaj-led rallies about small business — mention of the long-stymied Small Business Jobs Survival Act. Activist Marni Halasa, an S.B.J.S.A. advocate, held up a sign slamming Council Speaker Corey Johnson, claiming he was “anti-immigrant,” “pro-developer” and “anti-jobs.” While Johnson, in 2017, did claim to support the S.B.J.S.A. in a Twitter post, since becoming speaker he has removed his name as a co-sponsor of the legislation. A spokesperson previously told this paper that, as speaker, Johnson is more discriminating about which bills he attaches his names to. Other speakers included Andrew Rigie, of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, who emcee’d the event; William Rodriguez, president of the National Supermarket Association; Frank Garcia, chairperson of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
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July 11, 2019
New building for New Museum BY GABE HERMAN
he New Museum will be adding a new building. The Lower East Side art museum — which focuses on contemporary art — announced details of its plan for a second building, which will rise next to its current location. The new addition will be at 231 Bowery, at Prince St. Sporting seven floors, it will enclose 60,000 square feet, including 11,000 square feet of exhibition space across three floors of galleries. It will double the museum’s overall exhibition space. The galleries will be on the second, third and fourth floors, and be able to connect with existing galleries in the original building. Ceiling heights will be aligned, to allow for bigger exhibition spaces, though the galleries will also be able to be used separately. The new building’s ground floor will include an 80seat restaurant, an expanded lobby, a bookstore and a public plaza. The fifth floor will house NEW INC, an arts organization that the museum calls a cultural incubator and includes people in such fields as the arts, business and urban design. The sixth floor will have a studio for an artist-inresidence and a forum space for events. Events will also be on the seventh floor, as well as educational
tions; studio space for artist residencies; and international partnerships and collaborations with peer institutions around the world.” The New Museum opened 12 years ago. It bought the current building next door, which has 50,000 square feet, for additional space for various programs. The new building at that site is to be designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), a Dutch firm, along with Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas, and in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. “Since the New Museum opened on the Bowery in December 2007, the museum has become an international cultural destination welcoming millions of visitors,” said Lisa Phillips, the New Museum’s director. “We are thrilled to work with OMA to adCOURTESY OMA A rendering of the New Museum’s planned new dress our current and future needs, and selected them building, at center right, which will be just to for their exceptional response to our brief, their civic passion and future thinking. The OMA design will the right of the museum’s original location. provide seamless connectivity and horizontal flow between the two buildings, expanded space for our world-renowned exhibitions, and access to some of programming. “The building gives us the opportunity to continue our most innovative programs that the public curto experiment with new formats and models around rently cannot see.” The new building will be named after Toby Devan various areas of programmatic focus,” said Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s artistic director. Lewis, a longtime trustee of the museum, following a “These areas include new productions and ambitious lead gift of $20 million, which is the largest donation new commissions; contextual exhibition presenta- in the museum’s history.
Finger-lickin’ Ethiopian at Queen of Sheba BY GABE HERMAN
ueen of Sheba has been serving Ethiopian food in Hell’s Kitchen for nearly two decades, and is still going strong with a wide array of tasty dishes from owner and chef Philipos Mengistu. Before Mengistu moved to America in 1990 with dreams of opening an Ethiopian restaurant in New York City, he learned the craft in a restaurant that his parents ran in Addis Ababa. He even imported his mother’s berbere hot sauce from Ethiopia when he opened his own restaurant here in February 2001. The small restaurant, at 650 Tenth Ave., at W. 46 St., has an intimate atmosphere, with a few tables in the front and a bar, and a slightly bigger area in back with more seating. The chicken, beef, lamb, fish and vegetarian dishes are all served with injera, a sourdough flatbread with a spongelike texture. All dishes are served over a rolled-out piece of injera, and several more rolled-up pieces of the bread are brought, as well. The injera is filling and the dish portions
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
Two big pieces of tilapia over injera bread.
July 11, 2019
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
A beef sambousa appetizer at Queen of Sheba.
are generous, so skip a meal beforehand to maximize the experience. It’s encouraged to eat with your hands — picking up portions of the foods by using pieces of injera — so the tables are not set with any utensils. A fork, knife and spoon will be provided if asked for, but you might get a disappointed look from the server. Appetizers, ranging from about $5 to $9, include sambousa, which are dough pockets with some spiciness and filled with either beef or lentils; avocado salad; tomato salad; and azifa, which has lentils, onions and chili peppers mashed in a mustard vinaigrette. Main dishes range from about $14 to $20, and there are also lunch specials, and 20 percent off the first online order. The restaurant is open seven days a week. More information can be found at shebanyc. com. Schneps Media
Manitoba’s punk bar closes after 20 years BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
ne of the last punk rock bars in the East Village has closed. Manitoba’s, first opened by The Dictators frontman Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba in 1999, shut its doors for good on Tues., June 25. For the past 20 years, visitors to 99 Avenue B, between E. Sixth and E. Sevenths Sts., found a rock ’n’ roll dive bar in New York City plastered with iconic photographs of The Ramones, Blondie, The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop and beyond from punk’s stratosphere. The bar’s photo booth captured many a drunken, loving moment. Meanwhile, the place’s cushioned, sunken seats conformed to your bottom and kept you in place, as at any moment you might catch Manitoba himself pop in — most likely barking about his beloved Yankees. On the two screens, the odd ’60s sexploitation or music films and concerts played beneath the music from the bar’s jukebox, filled with punk classics and even some Motown, doo-wop and Elvis, in between. Anyone could create their own punk rock “mixtape” while downing the beer-and-shot special. “The bar, in the 20 years, was a rollercoaster,” Manitoba told this paper. “At times, it rode high. At times, it went straight down at 180 degrees. Toward the end, there were nights when there was very little money coming in and no one watching the bar enough.” Manitoba admitted the bar had financial difficulties for a while, which ultimately led to its closure last month. The lack of a proper manager didn’t help. “I took a salary in order to survive,” said Manitoba, who lost his DJ job on E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt’s SiriusXM channel, the Underground Garage. “I came by more often and watched the door on the weekend, but I couldn’t always be there,” he said. “What we needed was a trustworthy and hard-working manager. As the bar got smaller, we couldn’t pay for this.” It’s another loss of a piece of the New York punk era. Manitoba said losing the bar has been a blow, along with the double whammy of what feels like the end of a longtime friendship with the guitarist. “With the bar closing, there’s a sadness,” he said. “It was my clubhouse, and the clubhouse isn’t there. And it’s the real end of my relationship with Little Steven after 40 years. He lost so much money, and he was getting madder and madder at me.” Van Zandt was a majority owner of the bar, according to Manitoba. When the place originally opened, Laura McCarthy was a partner with Manitoba and covered more of the bar’s behind-the-scenes business. McCarthy is part owner — along with Jesse Malin, Tom Baker and Don DiLego — of Coney Island Baby, a bar and live-music venue that opened last April in the former Hi-Fi space on Avenue A. Schneps Media
PHOTO BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
Manitoba’s bar was a mainstay on Avenue B for t wo decades, and a favorite of punk-music fans.
Dick Manitoba gave it his best shot, but couldn’t keep his eponymous Avenue B bar open.
album, inspired by a photo his son took of the couple when he was 10 years old. Manitoba’s bar may be gone, but Handsome Dick is going strong. He’s a few weeks away from signing his first solo
“In a nutshell, my bartender called me and said ‘Richard there’s no money in the bag,’’’ Manitoba said of the bar’s final day. “And I just said, ‘I guess the bar is closed.’” The Bronx-born Manitoba, 65, is focusing on raising his 16-year-old son, his child with ex-girlfriend Zoe Hansen, Manitoba’s former manager and bartender. In February 2018, there was an alleged physical altercation between the couple. The case was later resolved in court and Manitoba pled guilty to disorderly conduct. The two have since parted ways after an 18-year relationship. Manitoba is now living with their son in the East Village, and Hansen lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend. Manitoba says that his relationship with Hansen today is nonexistent, with the exception of his son’s communication and visits with his mother. Manitoba even wrote a song, “8th Avenue Serenade,” for his upcoming TVG
album, the 13-track “Born in the Bronx.” He has a book deal, and wants to grow his “You Don’t Know Dick” podcast. And he has a one-man show he wants to take “Off-Off-Off” Broadway. Manitoba’s spirit will also live on through its Web site, which he’ll keep updated with posts about personalities, events and news and stories behind the iconic photos that lined the bar’s sticky walls. Perhaps the bar may eventually even get a second life. Manitoba said he’s been floating an idea to McCarthy. “I have been talking to her about giving me a spot in the worst bar, where I can have a Manitoba corner,” the veteran punk rocker said. “People who don’t have the Manitoba’s Bar anymore could go there. If I can make that work, that’s great.”
July 11, 2019
Poet Steve Cannon, 84, of Gathering of Tribes BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
oet Steve Cannon, the legendary founder of the East Village’s A Gathering of the Tribes, died at 2 a.m. on Sun., July 7. He was 84. Cannon was rehabbing from a broken hip at the VillageCare Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, at 214 W. Houston St., across from the Film Forum. He had fallen and broken his hip in his East Village home on June 12, after which he had surgery at the Veterans Affairs Hospital on E. 23rd St. and First Ave. He transferred to VillageCare on Sat., June 29, according to poet and friend Melanie Maria Goodreaux. Goodreaux said Cannon went to the V.A. for surgery because he was a former paratrooper. She had seen him the Tuesday before he died. “He said he was bored in the hospital and he was really looking forward to going home,” she said. “He was still talking, still laughing, and we were still talking about art. “He was there to rehab his hip,” she said. “He had to learn to stand and walk around. He was going to be in rehab about a month.” But three days before he died, his condition took a turn for the worse. Cannon was sent to the intensive-care unit at the V.A. Hospital Saturday night. Among those at his bedside in his last hours were his daughter Melanie Best and poets Bob Holman and Chavisa Woods. Also there during the final week were poet Steve Dalachinsky and artist/writer Yuko Otomo. According to those with him in his final days, Cannon apparently had an abscess that burst. Indeed, Woods, who was with Cannon in the ambulance to the I.C.U., said she believes the cause of death was septic shock. East Village performance artist David Leslie said Cannon had been suffering from a bed sore when he recently visited. “He had a cyst or some sort of abscess,” he said. “He said he had gotten like a bed sore on his ass, which needed to be cleaned up.” Leslie said that he had, by coincidence, been visiting Cannon with some friends just about 40 hours before his death. Cannon had been sleeping, and so he woke him up. “Steve seemed perfectly fine. He was joking and in good spirits,” he said, “and the next thing I heard, he had died.” But Goodreaux said, although people are saying sepsis, she thinks it was simply Cannon’s age combined with the serious hip injury. “If he wasn’t blind, they probably would have let him out by now,” Leslie added. “People get out with a broken hip. But you wouldn’t want a blind person stumbling around with a broken hip.”
July 11, 2019
younger PHOTO BY SARAH FERGUSON
Steve Cannon at the finale of A Gathering of the Tribes in its former space on E. Third St. in 2014.
Cannon went blind from glaucoma in the late 1980s. He was born in New Orleans, the youngest of 12 or 13 children, and raised by his grandparents. He moved to New York City in the early 1960s. Early on, he collaborated with black artistic luminaries novelist Ishmael Reed and artist David Hammons. In 1990, Cannon created the East Village/Lower East Side literary magazine A Gathering of the Tribes, and soon afterward turned his East Village home into the Tribes literary salon and art gallery. In 2014, Cannon was forced to vacate the space, though he had thought he had an agreement to live there until he died. “It’s the end of an era,” said Holman, the founder of the Bowery Poetry Club. “The Gathering of the Tribes was just that, where all artists were welcomed under one roof. He embodied the generosity of art. Artists who were doing it, or artists who didn’t know they were artists. There was an ever-welcome mat at Steve’s doorstep. His was the ‘In’ that always had room. The loss is incalculable. “And now we’re in the new New York, which seems to be looking everywhere — technology, globally — but is missing the human contact, which is what Steve saw everywhere. He was the ‘Great Connector’ — the person at the center of the tribes.” Holman said that even in his final years, in his Habitat for Humanity apartment on Avenue D, Cannon’s place remained a gathering spot. “There was a constant stream of visitors,” he said. “The door was unlocked, as it had been on Third St. There was always someone there.” It was East Village journalist Sarah Ferguson who found Cannon that apartment after he lost Tribes, Holman noted. Similarly, Woods said, “He was magnetic, magnanimous. He created the most open space I’ve ever participated in — for better and for worse. He was expansive, warm, explosive, energetic, eccentric and strange. He really believed in the mis-
sion of bringing people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives together for the purpose of creating art and community. And sometimes it was really messy and sometimes it was spectacular.” Cannon was known for his tough love toward young poets. Poet/playwright Liza Jessie Peterson posted a fond recollection on Facebook of Cannon at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe shouting at young poets to dispense with the introductions and explanations of their work and “Just read the damn poem!” “He was definitely a guide. He gave counsel,” Peterson said. “He was just on the surface like that — really mean, a strict teacher. But he brought out the best in you. He was tough, he wasn’t mean. He just raised the standard. He gave us, like backbone, courage, to get up there and just, ‘Read the goddamn poem!’ … He would just scream it.” Sitting at the corner of the bar, Cannon was the toughest critic in the place. “It was like Steve’s sacred spot at the bar,” she recalled. “This was in the ’90s, you could still smoke inside. He was just this Lower East Side cat. He just had a keen ear. When you’re blind, it heightens the other senses. He didn’t want no bull crap: Just get up on that microphone.” Today a playwright and actress, Peterson has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for her acting in her play “The Peculiar Patriot.” Goodreaux noted she knew Cannon for 27 years, ever since arriving in the city. “When I moved to New York in the late ’90s, I would read the newspaper to him in the morning, and his e-mails and books,” she recalled. “Not just me — many, many people read to him.” This January, Cannon published a book of Goodreaux’s poems, “Black Jelly,” and Goodreaux said his impact as an independent publisher must be acknowlTVG
edged. “I think he’s one of the most important publishers in the history of the city,” she stated. On top of that, Cannon was always simply encouraging people to write and hone their chops. “If we went to a movie, he’d say, ‘Write a review of it, put it up on a Web site,'” she said. “He was constantly pushing people to write. He wanted to educate people and he wanted them to understand the importance of being an artist. But he was also down to earth. “He went to every play I ever had,” she recalled. “He was constantly hungry for art.” Woods, who worked for Cannon for seven years and said he was her longtime mentor, is the author of four books, including “Things To Do When You’re a Goth in the Country.” She said she would often read entire books for him in one sitting, sometimes lasting up to eight hours. Afterward, they would discuss them, and he would talk about the authors’ writing and share anecdotes if he knew them personally. Holman noted that one thing Cannon regularly had read to him was The Villager newspaper, of which he was a fan. “It was his newspaper,” he said. “The Villager was a regular part of his literary diet, for sure. That and The New York Times, the London Review of Books. He was a true intellectual, an intellectual of the people.” Cannon was married twice. His son from his first marriage died in his teens from hemophilia. Cannon was the adoptive father of five daughters from his second marriage to the late poet Zoe Angelsey. He has at least two sisters living in New Orleans. Details were not immediately available about a memorial, but friends said there might be something this week, and that they are working with the family to plan a memorial later, possibly in the fall. Schneps Media
Manhattan Happenings “SUMMER SENIOR SPACE” “Exploring the Original West Village”: Join the W. 13th St. Alliance for a lecture by Alfred Pommer, West Village author and historian. A native New Yorker, Pommer has been a selfemployed licensed New York City guide since 1990. He has created more than 20 Manhattan neighborhood walking tours, focusing on architecture and history, with several tours also featuring gargoyles. Pommer is the author of four Big Apple neighborhood guide books published by The History Press (Arcadia) that explore local districts’ history and architecture. Wed., July 17, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m, at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, 200 W. 13th St., sixth-floor conference center. For more information, visit www.nycwalk.com. Free. Bird Bingo: In collaboration with the Church of the Village, the W. 13th St. Alliance will offer bird-themed bingo. The winner gets a Neapolitan dinner for two at Rossopomodoro, at 118 Greenwich Ave. Tues., July 15, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 201 W. 13th St. Free. “Spend Less and Live Abundantly!” Eating Healthy on a Budget: In collaboration with Integral Yoga Institute, the W. 13th St. Alliance offers a lecture by Karen Ranzi, a health coach and educator, about plant-based and raw food. Ranzi is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, natural-foods chef and feeding therapist, providing support for individuals and groups in creating happier, healthier lives through a whole-foods lifestyle. She has studied nutrition and health for more than 30 years. Thurs., July 11, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Integral Yoga Institute, 227 W. 13th St. Free.
MOXY HOTEL HEALTH Moxy Hotel: Soulga Yoga: Soulga Yoga incorporates Vinyasa Yoga flow and barre classes with creative music to give an overall sensory experience for both the mind and body. DJ class themes change frequently, so make sure to check @soulganycyoga to fi nd your favorite music. Classes are first come, first serve. To reserve a free spot, visit https://www.gosesh.co/c/soulgayoga. Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., at Moxy Times Square, 485 Seventh Ave., at W. 36th St. Free. Get MNDFL at Moxy Chelsea: SweatAtMoxy presents MNDFL for a morning meditation practice all the way up to The Fleur Room rooftop lounge at Moxy Chelsea. “Come for the morning sit, skyline views, and new medi-friends,” as the promo says. Each class will feature one MNDFL meditation type: breath, emotion, intention or heart. Daily Dose, a healthy-meal deSchneps Media
“Aya of Yop Cit y,” a 2013 French animated movie, tells the stor y of a young African girl who gets into a tough situation after she gets pregnant.
Pier 45 (Christopher St. Pier). Batchelor’s music is influenced by Jamaican ska, reggae and rocksteady. Fri., July 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free.
livery service, will provide complimentary breakfast. Wed., July 17; Wed., July 24; Wed., July 31, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., at Moxy Chelsea, 105 W. 28th St., at Sixth Ave. Spots are confirmed on a first come, first basis. Reserve on Eventbrite through the Moxy Web site. Free.
SALSA ON THE PIER Sunset Salsa with Talia: Every Tuesday in July and August, learn and/or dance salsa in the Hudson River Park with Talia Castro-Pozo. Beginner lessons are from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and open dance is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Pier 45, at Christopher St. Free.
PERFORMANCES Broadway in Bryant Park: The most popular shows on and Off Broadway perform their biggest hits each summer in the Midtown park. Join hundreds of fans on the lawn and enjoy favorite Broadway tunes. Arrive early and you can catch rehearsals. Every Thursday until Aug. 15, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m on the Bryant Park lawn, W. 41st St. and Sixth Ave. Free. River rocksteady: Courtesy of the Hudson River Park Trust, Kevin Batchelor will give a sunset performance at
VIVE LE FRENCH FOOD! French Restaurant Week is July 8 to 21. Visit https://www.frenchrestaurantweek.com/ for prix fi xe deals at a wide range of restaurants. TVG
MOVIES “Aya of Yop City,” Fri., July 12, 8:30 p.m., at Tompkins Square Park “Finding Nemo,” Mon., July 15, doors 6:30 p.m. Movie starts at sundown. Rooftop at Pier 17, 89 South St. “When Harry Met Sally,” Wed., July 17, 8:30 p.m., on the Pier 63 lawn, in Hudson River Park, at W. 23rd St.
COMMUNITY BOARD Community Board 2 full board meets Thurs., July 18, public session starts at 6:30 p.m., at P.S. 41, 116 W. 11th St., auditorium. Speakers’ cards will not be accepted after 7 p.m. Community Board 8 full board meets Wed., July 17, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the New York Blood Center, 310 E. 67th St., auditorium.
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Dept. for the Aging fights loneliness with robotic pets, friendly visiting and more After serving as a senior adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio, I am honored to serve as the new commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging and to serve the city’s 1.6 million diverse older adults. I plan to highlight and address critical priorities for older New Yorkers, like social isolation. In a city of nearly 9 million people, many will endure loneliness – especially as they age. In fact, 1 in 5 older adults is socially isolated, which can lead to depression and a decline in physical health. Carrolyn Minggia, 64, is among them. She battles a syndrome that causes her immune system to attack her nerves. Since the death of her aunt, whom she moved to New York to care for, she also battles loneliness. We recently gave Minggia a robotic dog to ease that loneliness. The dog has sensors, responds to touch, barks and nuzzles and provides comfort. But technology isn’t the only way to fight the widespread problem of
exchange in which strong bonds are formed between visitors and program participants. Older adults who wish to explore options outside of the home can visit more than 200 senior centers across the city, many representing the languages and cultures that make New York City strong. The centers are safe places to socialize, have a meal with friends, take fitness and wellness classes, enjoy art classes, and attend cultural activities. Senior center membership is free to anyone age 60 or older. The Department for the Aging also plans to launch a campaign that highlights the problem of social isolation in order to encourage more people to explore resources that are available to them through the City of New York. If you are isolated, call 311 for more information about available services. The Department for the Aging is here to help.
Image courtesy of Ageless Innovation social isolation. Low-tech approaches, like acknowledging and greeting people or checking on older neighbors, go a long way. In 2017, we launched our ThriveNYC Friendly Visiting Program, which pairs trusted and trained volunteers with isolated older adults. In just a few years, we have provided more than 50,000 hours of in-home visits. Beyond those visits, the program allows for intergenerational
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served in executive leadership roles with AARP, EmblemHealth and other organizations. She also served as New York’s first Latina Secretary of State.
July 11, 2019
July 11, 2019
July 11, 2019
You can’t help but feel you’re one of the 1 percent in this pad in the former JP Morgan building.
A two-bedroom apar tment currently on the market at The Beekman.
Living in FiDi, surrounded by history BY MARTHA WILKIE
best retail and gastronomical experiences in Manhattan.” The Beekman Hotel and Residences, originally Temple Court, was built in the 1880s as offices, and was recently converted to a hotel and condos. Go have a drink there and check out the incredible nine-story atrium.
ou would think the Financial District is all about money, but historically, it’s all about the Revolutionary War — Federal Hall, Trinity Church, Fraunces Tavern. Amy Kennard works at Fraunces Tavern and is a fan of the neighborhood. “Amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan, it’s rare to find early American history and the historic atmosphere preserved as well as it is here at Fraunces Tavern,” Kennard said. “You can share a meal in the same place where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton ate just a week before their duel, and have a drink in one of Washington’s favorite restaurants before heading upstairs to see the very room where he gave his farewell toast to his officers.” Until fairly recently, few people actually lived in FiDi, but today thousands call it home. If you walk around in the morning, you’ll see businesspeople in suits rushing to work alongside dog walkers in sweatpants. Not much residential architectural fabric remains from the 1700s. But conversions of historic buildings and new construction offer intriguing opportunities. Eleonora Srugo is an agent with Elliman, representing the amazing Beekman Residences. “With history and architecture rooted in the Gilded Age and Art Deco era, the Financial District is the bustling essence of all that is New York City,” Srugo said. “With narrow cobblestone streets and Wall St., the area has been revitalized with the
July 11, 2019
Beekman Residences currently has on the market a two-bedroom, twoand-a-half-bath with amazing views. “As one of top places to live, the condo features hotel amenities and two world-renowned restaurants,” Srugo noted. $3.85 million. (Elliman.com/new-york-city/thebeek man-residences-5 -beek manstreet-manhattan) In the former JP Morgan building, directly across from the New York Stock Exchange, is a one-bedroom, two-bath with gorgeous views and all the modern amenities. For sale or rent. $1.3 million or $5,500 per month. (Brownstoner.com/listing/RUTE161698/financial-district-ny-10005/) A one-bedroom, one-bath in a 1903 former office building on Greenwich St. has a 24-hour doorman. $745,000. (Brownstoner.com/listing/TERR A HOL DI NG S -19 4 67878 /120 greenwich-st-apt-4h-financial-district-ny-10006/)
Ver y apro-Poe: The bottom of The Beekman’s nine-stor y atrium. TVG
A one-bedroom, one-bath in a 1920s building on South William St. has elegant windows. (Brownstoner.com/listing/CITIHABITATS-7001218/21-s-williamst-4e-financial-district-ny-10004/) Schneps Media
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