VOLUME 26, NUMBER 26
JUNE 5-JUNE 18 2014
Watch out for the boom, sailors
AGREEING TO AGREE ON SEAPORT GUIDELINES, BUT DISAGREE ON THE PLAN
Danny Chen’s 22nd birthday. The young Army private who died at 19 was found dead on his Army watch post in Afghanistan after enduring relentless, racist hazing by his fellow soldiers and superiors. Family, friends, neighbors and activists gathered on the corner of
BY JOSH ROGERS hat happens next? That was the question on the minds of many in the crowd of a few hundred Monday night at the first public meeting of the Seaport Working Group. Regardless of whether they were committee members on the inside, or they were viewing the group’s development “Guidelines and Principles” for the first time, few were clear on what it would all mean once Howard Hughes Corp. formally submits its plan that includes, at least for now, a 600-foot tower adjacent to the South Street Seaport Historic District. The carefully-worded, draft guidelines were painstakingly constructed after 11 Thursday meetings of two hours or more, and were generally well-received by people who either support or oppose big development at the Seaport. “I think if you look at all the guidelines, I would say the project that we’re envisioning is consistent with those guidelines,” Chris Curry, Howard Hughes Corp.’s senior executive vice president of development, told Downtown Express. He did acknowledge “I might have an issue” with Guideline 6, which calls for alternatives to a 50-story tower.
Continued on page 8
Continued on page 11
Downtown Express photo by Scot Surbeck
Start of the New York to Barcelona sailboat race at Battery Park City’s North Cove, Sunday June 1, which was organized by Downtown’s Manhattan Yacht Club.
Chinatown’s week of memories B Y KAT J A H E I N E MA N N The week leading up to Memorial Day weekend saw a series of politically symbolic memorials and vigils in the neighborhood, beginning with the unveiling of Private Danny Chen Way, which had been a couple of years in the making, followed by an impromptu vigil for a local grandfather, Wen Hui Ruan, who had
been viciously attacked and beaten on an East Village street. And finally, two days of memorials for Sister Ping honored the life of a woman who was hailed as saintly community benefactor by her Fujianese compatriots, while wanted, and eventually sentenced, as a ruthless “snakehead” and profiteer by the authorities. Memorial Day would have been
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KELLY TO MAKE A SPLASH
NO TIME TO RECLINE Here’s one interpretation: Give Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Hudson River Park Trust officials credit for making Manhattan Beep Gail Brewer feel like a kid again. Brewer told us Tuesday the search for a copy of the six-monthold memorandum of understanding between the state and the Trust regarding a development deal intended to save the Pier 40 playing fields, makes her feel like she’s at a Passover Seder. She meant it was like searching for the afikomen, the hidden matzah that the adults hide from children to keep them occupied during the festivities. That got us thinking about another Seder task for children — asking the Four Questions. One that she
Former police commissioner Ray Kelly will be honored by his fellow Gateway Plaza neighbors June 26 on the Arabella yacht docked near the Battery Park City complex in North Cove Marina. Glenn Plaskin, the tenants association president, tells us it was the perfect time to pay tribute to the commish for “averting 16 [terrorist] attacks over 12 years.” Plaskin, as UnderCover readers may recall, helped make news earlier this year with his politically-sexy interview of Kelly in Playboy.
WE HAVE SPOKONY TO KICK AROUND Reporter Sam Spokony has just left Downtown Express to become Councilmember Margaret Chin’s new communications director. Chin, who apparently knows how we feel, recently lost Spokony’s predecessor, Amy Varghese to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Chin is also
losing her land use advisor, Matt Viggiano, to the speaker, although he assured Community Board 1 he’d stay involved in issues like the Howard Hughes Corporation’s Seaport development plans — careful what you wish for, Matt. In announcing the hiring, Yume Kitasei, another Chin aide, thanked Downtown Express. You’re welcome, and best wishes Sam.
PROSTITUTION ON THE STREET One pending opening in Lower Manhattan we’re certain will not be publicly celebrated is the Bliss Bistro brothel/strip club. In case you never got to the end (or of course the beginning) of the Sunday New York Times profile of the pricey club, currently located near Times Square, the manager Tony said when he thinks the police are honing in on him, he plans to move down to FiDi. The Times apparently got the scoop because the club’s attorney provided the access. We never realized prostitutes were attracted to Gray Ladies.
COLOR US HAPPY We can say without a doubt that this by far is the most colorful issue we’ve ever published. We’ve just switched printers and now have the ability to run color on every page. We also hope to be able to get the hard copy editions out to you earlier in the day every other Thursday.
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Downtown’s ‘living barrier’ to protect the East Side BY L I N CO L N A ND E R S O N In a united front, Mayor de Blasio was joined by Governor Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at the Riis Houses on Monday to announce a massive allocation of federal funding to protect the East Village and Lower East Side from flooding in an age of dramatic climate change. The scene Monday was beautiful, as a dazzling, hot sun shone down, as a crowed of Riis residents and press clustered near to hear the high-powered officials. It was a far cry from Oct. 29, 2012, when Superstorm Sandy slammed the city, swamping the East Side, with the waters rising waist-high on Avenue C. The city’s overall plan to protect vulnerable neighborhoods in all five boroughs has a $3.7 billion price tag. On Monday, the officials announced that $335 million has been allocated for the “Big U” plan, specifically to allow construction of its Lower East Side and East Village sections, covering the stretch from Montgomery St. to E. 23rd St. From a design team led by Danish firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), the project was the grand-prize winner in the federal government’s Rebuild by Design contest. Running parallel to East River Park, a “bridging berm” will be created on the F.D.R. Drive access road, which is currently used by joggers, bikers and other parkgoers. (A bike path is included in the design.) “Both berms and bridges are wide and planted with a diverse selection of salt-tolerant trees, shrubs and perennials, providing a resilient urban habitat,” according to the “Big U” plan’s description. “The berm will offer accessible routes into the park, with many unprogrammed spots for resting, socializing and enjoying views of the park and river.” Wharfs and swimming pools would also be added on the waterfront at E. 10th St. as part of the plan. The berms, from 10- to 20-feet tall, reportedly could be completed in as soon as four years. Addressing the crowd, de Blasio said, “We’re here in a part of Manhattan that was hit very hard by Sandy…. It was a time of incredible uncertainty, a lot of suffering, and it was a reminder of how people felt left without the help they needed, and facing an uncertain future…. “Let’s put this in very human terms,” the mayor said, as he introduced Melba Torres, a resident of the nearby Wald Houses. DowntownExpress.com
Rendering of the “living breakwater” that would be created on the edge of East River Park.
A lifelong Lower East Sider, Torres has cerebral palsy and uses a heavy, motorized wheelchair. When Sandy hit and the power went down, knocking out the elevators, Torres was stranded in her eighth-floor apartment for six days. Luckily, residents, along with Torres’s health aides, came to her assistance, including one who walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to reach her. “That’s one story, one of thousands and thousands of stories, that it’s all of our job to make sure don’t happen again,” the mayor said. “The beauty of this project is, we are working to ensure that we fight against the floodwaters before they happen, with real protections for people on the East Side of Manhattan, tens of thousands of people, in public housing and private building alike.” Four hundred thousand New York City residents live in the floodplain, more than in any major city in America, the mayor pointed out. “We are who we are because we’re the ultimate coastal city,” the mayor said. “But it requires of us a new level of preparation.” In his remarks, Donovan noted, “We’re standing here, near the Con Ed substation, which flooded [during Sandy] and caused the whole area to lose power.” When he announced that the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development will allocate the funding, to allow the creation of the bridging berm, which will protect 150,000 residents, cheers rose from the crowd. The planted berm will be “a living breakwater,” he said.
The money will be well spent, Donovan assured, since every $1 put toward protection will save $4 in potential damages in future storms. In that vein, Schumer said, “We know
there will be other storms like Sandy that hit New York. But the goal is to make sure, when a storm hits, that the Continued on page 9
June 5-June 18, 2014
BATTERY PARK ROBBERY An opportunistic thief targeted a female Australian tourist in Battery Park on May 25, police said. The tourist, 31, who was staying at a hostel in Chelsea, told cops she was sitting on a bench in the park around 9 p.m. Sunday night, and had placed her Nikon camera beside her. Police say the robber snuck up from behind and pushed the victim off the bench and onto the ground, snatched the $2,000 camera — along with its accompanying $2,500 lens — and fled the scene. In her statement to police the tourist added that, fortunately, she had traveler’s insurance on the pricey photography equipment.
B-BALL COURT THEFT Here’s a steal that won’t count
on the score sheet — an unknown thief dug through the bag of a recreational basketball player while he was hooping it up at a Hudson River Park court on May 25, police said. The man, 30, told cops he started shooting around at the Canal St. court at 1 p.m., and placed the bag — containing his cell phone, credit card, debit card, MetroCard and $20 in cash — off to the side. When he took a break a half hour later, he realized that, although the bag remained, all of the items he’d left inside were gone. There were no witnesses, police said.
always have to lock up your stuff, when his unprotected belongings were snatched by a locker room bandit on May 22. The man, 36, told cops he was working out at New York Health & Racquet Club from around 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., and had left all of his property unlocked during that time. When he returned to the locker room, he found that his Audi A6 car keys and his credit and debit cards were gone. The theft victim cancelled all his cards, according to police, but not before thief made two unauthorized charges, totaling around $350.
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at work on May 24, when their property was stolen from a storage area by a sneaky burglar, police said. According to police, someone got into the employees-only area of the Westville restaurant at 333 Hudson St. through a side entrance on Charlton St., around 6 p.m. Among the belongings stolen from the two employees were a bicycle and a bag containing $230 and a credit card. Video surveillance footage recovered from inside the building revealed a grainy image of the suspect, showing him to be male, but cops said they haven’t identified him yet.
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Jessica Lappin Jessica Lappin, 39, the former Upper East Side City Councilmember and candidate for Manhattan borough president, was hired as president of the Alliance for Downtown New York in February. She now runs the city’s largest business improvement district. It’s a busy time for the Alliance with the recent and pending openings around the World Trade Center, and the start of the summer season with Lower Manhattan Tuesdays, a new program aimed to drive more people Downtown. We sat down with Lappin on May 28, the same day the Port Authority once again delayed a vote to guarantee financing to build 3 W.T.C. Interview has been condensed and edited. — JO S H RO G E RS What’s your reaction to the Port’s decision not to vote on 3 World Trade Center? We’re disappointed. Not getting into the nitty-gritty of the deal, but from at least what I’ve read in he papers, it’s a much better deal for the Port Authority. This
concept that you are somehow diverting money from doing the Port Authority Bus Terminal is myth. They’re not putting money into the deal at 3. There’s nothing that prohibits them yesterday, today or tomorrow from putting money into the Port Authority Bus Terminal if they think that’s the right things to do. What’s been the effect of the opening of the 9/11 Museum and the full opening of the memorial? Certainly when you walk down Liberty St. or if you stroll through the memorial site, you can see the impact just in terms of the people who are there embracing and using it. It really has changed your sense of place and of feeling, I think in a very positive way. It’s been really nice to see the public using the space. Yo u
don’t have to think about it — you can just walk across — I think I made a point almost every day last week of doing the same. Are you aware of the community concern about the Liberty St. crowds? Two of our urban planners participated in the walk around [with community leaders to look at the problem] and I’ve spoken to Catherine [McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson] about it just yesterday. We had a little brainstorming session internally here today. There’s got to be a better way to direct the pedestrian flow. This isn’t going to be the way it is long-term — there will be other access points. In the short-term we’re open to the idea of expanding the sidewalk, opening other points of entry…working with the community board to come up with a good short- and medium-term solution.
How will Downtown be a different place in a year? We talk about this literally every day because every six months, every month, there is some kind of big opening, happening, something pretty monumental. The scale is incredible. To have this $30 billion of public and private investment coming online over the next 19 months — it’s already started but it will continue. Last week it’s the museum, but in a few weeks we’ll have the Fulton transit hub, you’ve got Pier A in July, you’ve got the 250 retail shops next year and Calatrava [W.T.C. train center.] Is the Alliance’s role is to get the information out there? That’s the biggest thing, for us to continue to trumpet and shout from the rooftops — now that there are beautiful restaurants on rooftops. People are starting to say “oh wow what’s happening?’ That’s really game changing. Part of our job is helping to manage the growth. There is always a little bit of growing pains. Part of our job is to be an advocate and a conduit to bring people together. To try and be the neutral party who can bring people together to address Continued on page 17
TELL THE CITY NEW YORKERS DESERVE MORE FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES
June 5-June 18, 2014
Talk’s not cheap, but valuable, says B.P.C. Committee BY ZACH W IL L IAMS For members of Community Board 1, talking with the Battery Park City Authority is itself success. Authority President Shari Hyman spoke at the June 3 meeting of C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee, saying she was committed to neighborhood outreach. While she offered few specifics on how the authority may help C.B. 1 in addressing outstanding issues of affordable housing, infrastructure and quality of life issues within B.P.C., committee members expressed optimism that the hiring of community liaison Robin Forst for example would help reverse a relationship which has deteriorated in recent years. “We argued lots of times, disagreed many but at the end this was developed into a wonderful community. And we observed that in very recent times the Battery Park City Authority had literally exited the public arena and there was no dialogue, no understanding of what was going on there,” Anthony Notaro, committee co-chairperson, said at the beginning of the meeting. Hyman outlined her experience during her first appearance ever before the committee. Appointed in January to her current post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she has served in recent years as commissioner of the New York City Business Integrity Commission, city director of business acceleration and other municipal positions. She attended the meeting ostensibly to respond to a report, released late last year, detailing committee grievances with the authority. “I wanna start the dialogue, answer some of your questions tonight and just let you know that we are interested in having a dialogue,” she said at the end of her opening statement to the committee. Questions about what the authority can do to retain local affordable housing units, promote disaster readiness, quell excessive ferry noise and divert more neighborhood funds back into the local community all elicited responses from Hyman that discussion had or would commence with relevant stakeholders. “As much as we have stopped doing the development per se, the mission is still the same right? Our programs and the maintenance of infrastructure, so our focus is the same: to maintain world class community parks, to increase our programming
June 5-June 18, 2014
Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams
Battery Park City Authority president Shari Hyman
where we can where there’s opportunity. I know we already have a great series but there is always more we could do,” she said. Legal parameters limit the authority’s control over funding for community groups as well as its ability to pressure neighborhood landlords to better accomodate rent-stabilized residents. Hyman said that the authority must wait on the findings of the state attorney general before negotiating a response to reported evictions at 41 and 42 River Terrace. Several board members said that while they understood such limitations, the authority should become a partner in directing residents’ concerns through the proper official processes. Efforts to get New York Waterway to better control noise from its Hudson River ferries must continue to go through elected representatives such as State Senator Daniel Squadron, though the company has yet to respond to them, according to Hyman. “It’s not our jurisdiction but we are happy to help facilitate,” she said. Asked what her specific priorities have been as president this year of an organization overseeing more than $344 million in revenues, Hyman told the Downtown Express that she has not been on the job long. However, she has not deviated from her predecessors, she added. Committee member Tom Goodkind said the presence of an authority president at the meeting was “a good first step,” and he encouraged her to take a more active role on affordable housing issues, likening the River Terrace buildings to the “Grapes of Wrath.” The authority, he said has “their eyes on the street. It’s their job more than anyone else to inform their bosses about the horrendous things that are going on in this community.” DowntownExpress.com
Closed to new windows, Gateway says yes to heaters B Y SA M SPO K O NY WI T H J O SH ROG E R S It’s starting to look like Gateway Plaza residents won’t be left out in the cold again next winter. After months of negotiations with elected officials, the Battery Park City Authority and the development’s tenant association, Gateway Plaza’s management announced May 23 that it will install new heating and cooling units throughout the six-building, 1,700-unit complex over the next four months. The management company, Gateway Residential Management L.L.C. — led by the LeFrak Organization, Gateway’s primary leaseholder under the B.P.C.A. — also committed to installing new electrical meters within every unit in the complex. Those plans will require the installation of about 3,000 Frigidaire heating and cooling units (also known as packaged terminal air conditioners, or PTACs), on top of the several hundred that have already been installed. Many Gateway residents have been demanding the new units to replace their often shoddy, 13-year-old PTACs ever since management failed to keep last year’s promise to have them all installed by the end of 2013. The city’s Dept. of Housing, Preservation and Development had sued LeFrak over the issue, and as a result, the firm was under orders to provide heat this winter, but it’s unclear how large a role that played in the landlord’s decision to replace the heating units. In its announcement, which was sent in a letter to all tenants, Gateway’s management said it expects to begin installing the units in June, and that the process will take “approximately 16 weeks” to complete. “Upon completion, all PTACs and electrical sub meters in residents’ apartments at Gateway Plaza will have been replaced,” the letter stated. Downtown Express previously reported that thousands of Gateway residents have suffered with frigid temperatures and absurdly high electric bills, especially this past winter, partially due to their poorly functioning PTACs and 33-yearold electrical meters. The current push for repairs came after a town hall meeting held by State Sen. Daniel Squadron and the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association early in 2013. However, aside from the new PTACs and electrical meters, an important third element of that push for repairs — new windows throughout the complex — was not a part of Friday’s commitment from Gateway’s management. As this newspaDowntownExpress.com
per has also reported, many residents have complained of leaky, unsealed windows that greatly contributed to the shockingly cold temperatures inside their apartments this past winter. A spokesperson for Gateway’s management did not respond to a request for comment about the window replacements. In a joint announcement May 23, the G.P.T.A., Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Councilmember Margaret Chin celebrated the management company’s new commitment, while acknowledging that there’s still work to be done. “This is one very important step for the quality of life and comfort of Gateway residents, and we believe it’s the followup to the town hall we hosted last year,” Squadron told Downtown Express in a phone interview that same day. “We also know that windows remain an important piece of this, so we’re going to continue pushing on that front.” In a statement released with the joint announcement, Silver also stressed that he is still “committed to ensuring that the windows at the complex are replaced.” And when asked about his level of faith in this new commitment from Gateway’s management — considering last year’s broken promise — Squadron professed confidence. “This is a clear definitive announcement, and I don’t see any caveats within it,” said the senator. In a phone interview also on Friday, May 23, G.P.T.A. President Glenn Plaskin applauded the “collaborative result” reached through the long negotiations with management. “This initiative is fantastic news for tenants, and we’re hopeful that new PTACs and new submeters will improve living conditions at Gateway,” Plaskin said. “As we know, tenants have suffered, both physically and financially, particularly this past winter, due to conditions that needed improvement. So we’re thankful to the management and to all of our elected representatives for working together on this.” Meanwhile, the three law firms who are currently engaged in a $100 million class action lawsuit against LeFrak and the B.P.C.A., which seeks damages for the complaints of frigid living conditions and high electric bills at Gateway, did not respond to a request for comment. One of the lead attorneys on that suit — which was filed in April — is Jenifer Rajkumar, Lower Manhattan’s Democratic district leader and a Gateway resident. Rajkumar also declined to comment.
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Chinatown memorials leading to Memorial Day Continued from page 1
Elizabeth and Canal Sts. to observe the co-naming of the street in honor of the son of Toishanese immigrants, a seamstress and a restaurant worker, who used to take their only child to his favorite dim sum place just down the block. Community activists have fought for the past three years to shed light on Chen’s death, bring his superiors to justice, and change a culture of hazing in the country’s military institutions. Just two days later, an East Village community gathering commemorated Wen Hui Ruan, a 68-year-old retired garment worker who had immigrated to New York from Toishan, China two decades ago. Ruan had been returning home after dropping off his grandchildren when he was attacked by a younger man on Sixth St. near Avenue D; the shocking brutality of the beating was caught on security camera and a 20-year-old man from the East Village has been charged with murder, robbery and assault. The victim’s family is pursuing hate crime charges. The video footage does not show the attacker taking any valuables from his victim, and it is easy to speculate that Ruan was picked out as an easy mark not just because of his age, but also because of his ethnicity. Chinatown’s insularity can convey a feeling of safety, especially to older immigrants who do not speak English, and this violent crime feeds into perceptions of a community surrounded by a threatening, alien culture. Neighborhood activists and local public officials organized a public vigil to come together across this divide, to condemn the attack, and to put it into the perspective of youth violence that has claimed too many victims from people of all backgrounds, featuring as one speaker
the mother of a young Latino man who was killed just blocks away the year before. Neighbors have set up a fund to help Ruan’s family with the costs of the funeral. The memorial services and funeral of Chui Ping Cheng were attended by hundreds of overseas Fujianese, with hometown and regional associations as well as individual well wishers sending flowers and paying their respects. Known in the community as Sister Ping, the 65-yearold businesswoman had grown successful during the height of the immigration boom from the southern Chinese province to New York City in the 1980s. Cheng’s underground banking and human smuggling enterprise put her on the F.B.I.’s wanted list as the “mother of all snakeheads” but in the eyes of many of her fellow Fujianese she was a “living Buddha” — a mixture of Robin Hood and Mother Theresa rolled into one – who made the American Dream come true for her compatriots trying to flee their impoverished lives in ‘80s China. Sister Ping’s eventual downfall was as an investor in the doomed Golden Venture smuggling ship; she was sentenced to 35 years in 2006 but died of cancer in a Texas prison April 26. The relationship of freelance opportunists — similar to that of the organized crime syndicates affiliated with the traditional benevolent associations (tongs) that ruled Chinatown during the later part of the last century — and the local community is a complicated one. They provide services and opportunities otherwise unavailable to new arrivals who are not proficient in English and may not have proper documentation. They both nurture and prey on the community. Or, as someone intimately familiar with the Golden Venture saga put it, in the fish bowl of this insular community, people suffer from a collective type of Stockholm Syndrome.
Downtown Express photos by Katja Heinemann
The funeral cortege for Sister Ping, who died in Prison, above and below
Mourners place incense on an impromptu shrine outside of the building, left, where Wen Hui Ruan, a retired garment worker, was attacked. Su Zhen Chen, Private Danny Chen’s mother, and Yan Tao Chen, his father, with the ceremonial street sign honoring their son, right.
June 5-June 18, 2014
Hungry customers crowd Brookfield’s Hudson Eats It has 14 eateries including cupcake bakery Sprinkles, Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Skinny Pizza, and Black Seed Bagels. “Lines were crazy, but the options are great. You can’t beat this,” said Suneet Bhatt, 39. The spot has marble floors, high ceilings, vivid lighting, and tables and marble countertops for seating. The large windows provide a view of the Hudson River so customers can watch the sailboats. The seats were filled with people eating meals such as pizza, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and desserts.
The outdoor brick patio, with closer views of the river, and the Winter Garden Atrium, decorated with bright lights and artificial palm trees, provide additional seating. In total, it can seat up to 600 people. “Very nice. Everything’s clean. Service is good,” said Mike Chin, 43. Hudson Eats also plans to open five sit-down restaurants in March 2015. The food court is located on the second floor of Brookfield Place at 200 Vesey St. in Battery Park City.
— NICOLAS FERNANDES
Downtown Express photo by Nicolas Fernandes
Customers crammed into Brookfield Place’s new 300-square-foot gourmet food court Hudson Eats on its official opening day, Tuesday, June 3.
Over $300 million to protect Downtown’s East Side Continued from page 3
damage will be greatly reduced. … Sandy taught us that climate change is real and devastating.” Cuomo, a former HUD secretary, said the federal money was part of $60 billion for New York and New Jersey, which he called “a tremendous supplemental from HUD.” He praised Schumer and Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, noting, “They literally brought home the bacon.” “Nothing is the same after Hurricane Sandy,” Cuomo said, “and nothing should be the same after Hurricane Sandy.” Cuomo noted that in his three and a half years as governor, there have been nine major weather-related disasters, while there were just handful during his
father’s 12 years as governor. “There is something that has changed with the weather pattern,” he said. Speaking afterward, Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, noted she was an early “Big U” supporter. “I think it’s very exciting,” she said. “You’ll have an outside berm and an inside sponge — and then all the upland things that go with that.” The “sponge,” including planted areas, will help soak up the floodwaters, she noted. The overall “Big U” scheme, to be built in phases, would protect 10 miles of Manhattan shoreline, from W. 57th St., south to the Battery, and up to E. 42nd St. Between the Manhattan Bridge and Montgomery St., deployable walls would be attached under the F.D.R. Drive, ready to be flipped down if there are flood events.
Councilmember Margaret Chin also gave a big thumbs to the “Big U.” “It’s heartening to know that this project is no longer just an idea,” Chin said. “I’m looking forward to working with the BIG team and our neighborhood partners to move it forward.” Elijah Parks, 19, a Riis Houses resident
who was sitting on a bench afterward, said the berms are worth a shot. “It could be aa-ight,” he said. “It could work. It should work. Because the last time, the water was like 6 feet high. I had to go to my grandmother’s house in Brooklyn. … I just hope it’s ready for the next storm.”
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For Estimates Contact: Liam Murray
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Two hospitals work together in disaster drill B Y LINC O L N A N D E RSO N The full extent of what had happened wasn’t immediately clear — medical staff were told only that a chemical explosion of unknown nature had hit Lower Manhattan. Whatever it was, they were ready. They wore protective equipment — hoods, respirators, full-body plastic suits, gloves and booties — to safeguard them from exposure. A decontamination tent had been set up and stood at the ready. Suddenly, a surge of patients arrived from the disaster scene. Some were clutching injured limbs, or had their hands clamped over their ears — deafened by an explosion — some wailing in pain. Clinicians quickly triaged them, putting tags around necks stating their various conditions, and directing them to a decontamination room with showers. They were told to bag their clothes, with ID numbers, then don hospital gowns after showering, then go inside the facility for assessment and treatment. Others, in more serious condition, were wheeled up on lightweight, disposable plastic stretchers. Tags on their wrists labeled their status, such as, “severe pain,” “confused” or “unconscious.” These latter individuals were put through the tent. Once inside the blue tubular enclosure, their clothes were immediately cut off their bodies by a team of about eight medics, and the individuals were then sprayed with water and (a bit like a carwash) scrubbed down with brushes, to decontaminate them. They were then placed on a clean stretcher and sent inside to the resuscitation room for medical care. However, in truth, these nonambulatory patients were lifeless mannequins. And the ambulatory victims were playacting 14- and 15-year-old students from the Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights, Queens — and they didn’t actually take showers or change out of the dark-blue scrubs they were wearing. The medical staff, though, was real. What it was, in fact, was a real-time disaster drill early Friday afternoon, May 23. The location was the new Lenox Hill HealthPlex, at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. Manhattan’s first freestanding emergency center, it’s expected to open sometime in July. It’s anticipated that 90 to 92 percent of the predicted 45,000 patients
June 5-June 18, 2014
the emergency center sees annually will be treated and released, with the rest needing to be transported to hospitals for a higher level of care. But in the event of a disaster, the HealthPlex will be here also to help out. Although the simulation was for a chemical explosion, the facility would also be able to help respond to biological and radiological incidents. The center received 20 patients during the drill, 10 each ambulatory and nonambulatory. Ambulatory patients who were treated and cleared to leave, were allowed to walk out the complex’s W. 13th St. doors. Nonambulatory patients needing further care were sent by ambulance down to New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital (formerly New York Downtown Hospital) — the borough’s only acute-care hospital south of 16th St. — at 83 Gold St. While Lenox Hill and New York Presbyterian are competing health systems, they cooperated for the drill. Ambulances from both North ShoreLIJ and Presbyterian participated in the simulation. The mannequins needing to be transported were loaded into the vehicles on W. 13th St. near the entrance to the L.G.B.T. Community Center. However, before the simulated patients were transported to “Presby,” as it’s often called, their wrists were banded with an e-FINDS bracelet, which has a barcode with their name and date of birth. A new tracking system, touted as secure and confidential, the scannable bracelets identify the location of patients in real time, as they are treated and transferred between locations. The e-FINDS system grew out of problems during Superstorm Sandy, when some patients were lost in the shuffle during the chaos. The emergency-preparedness drill in Lower Manhattan and the Village was overseen by top officials from Presbyterian and NS-LIJ, the major New York-area health system that has renovated the former St. Vincent’s O’Toole Building as a stand-alone emergency center, complete with an emergency room. The facility also has backup rooftop generators that would kick in during a blackout. (The generators are on the rooftop, again, because of lessons learned from Sandy.) “They put a tremendous amount of money into this place,” said Scott Strauss, the health system’s director of protective services, before the drill began. “It’s not a Level 1 trauma center, unfortunately,
Downtown Express photo by Tequila Minsky
Medical staff wash off a contaminated “patient” during a joint disaster drill between New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital and Lenox Hill HealthPlex.
with the closing of St. Vincent’s. But I think the neighborhood residents will be very happy having an emergency room.” In fact, NS-LIJ spent $150 million to create the new facility. Strauss was formerly a member of the Police Department’s elite Emergency Service Unit — the heavily armed “SWAT” officers — assigned to E.S.U. Truck 1, a.k.a. “Hollywood,” which covered Manhattan south of 59th St. “I’m a retired cop,” he said. “I used to work down here. We were at St. Vinny’s a lot. This is going to be a busy place,” he predicted of the HealthPlex. After 45 minutes, the drill was winding down. Inside the heart of the 30,000-square-foot HealthPlex emergency center, as other personnel clustered around him, Dr. Eric Cruzen, the facility’s medical director, held a walkie-talkie, as Tony Egan, NS-LIJ’s manager of security and emergency training, held a telephone to his ear. Nearby, a man was jotting notes on a whiteboard, tracking patients’ whereabouts. A “mobile risk center,” with “situational awareness software,” had also been set up, basically, several computer screens that were tracking any crises in the surrounding area, plus a device that could take diverse radio systems and make them communicate with each other — which had been a problem on 9/11. Weather software was charting wind direction, important to know if there is a chemical incident.
“This is Entity Command,” Cruzen spoke into the walkie-talkie. “We have no further information at this time. So far, we haven’t lost anybody.” “We just got a call from New York City O.E.M. [Office of Emergency Management],” Egan relayed to Cruzen. “All victims have been removed from the scene. We will be receiving no more patients.” “At this time,” Cruzen announced, “everyone in [protective] suits will receive instructions for dropping of suits.” There was scattered applause. The group untensed, began to break up. The “emergency” was over. Afterward, Cruzen explained that, even though the emergency center has a decontamination room, the outdoor tent was set up so that many patients could be decontaminated at once. Although some community members have derided the new stand-alone Seventh Ave. emergency center as an “urgent-care center on steroids,” NS-LIJ officials assure there is no comparison. Urgent-care centers don’t have disaster-preparedness or specially emergency-trained doctors and nurses. The HealthPlex is also capable of caring for psychiatric patients. And the center will operate 24/7, 365 days a year, and will be a receiver for the city’s 911 system. “While the HealthPlex wasn’t designed to be a trauma center,” Cruzen said, “it does have the ability to provide a high level of response should a natural — or manmade — disaster strike.” DowntownExpress.com
What’s next after the Seaport guidelines? Continued from page 1
Curry of course was on the inside even before the Seaport Working Group formed in February as a reaction to his firm’s proposal, but he was hardly an outsider at the June 2nd meeting packed mostly with people who were standing in the Southbridge Towers community room. He is a member of the working group, although he resisted acknowledging that when a reporter pointed that out to him. “Not really, I was there but I was not...” he said before his voice trailed off inaudibly. He did not want to repeat the full sentence. He did say that he supported the working group process. David Sheldon of Save Our Seaport, which opposes the Hughes plan, said personally he was impressed with the time the group spent drafting the guidelines but “none of it is binding on the developer. The developer is going to present his plans to this private group and a little piece of it will come out at the community board. It’s a way of putting off the ULURP. There’s not a lot that’s
very different.” Once a formal Uniform Land Use Review Procedure plan is submitted, perhaps this fall, it will undergo review on an advisory basis by Community Board 1 and Gail Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, before it goes to the City Council for an up or down vote. It’s still unclear what the current administration thinks of the proposal, although the city’s Economic Development Corp., which manages the city-owned land in question, was supportive of Hughes’ efforts under Mayor Bloomberg, and Mayor de Blasio retained Kyle Kimball as corporation president in January. E.D.C. also supported the working group, hiring facilitators to help members develop the guidelines. Agency officials attended the public meeting but did not speak. Many community leaders have longstanding criticisms of E.D.C. actions at the Seaport, and this time, the corporation says it does not want to drive the process. Kate Blumm, an E.D.C. spokesper-
Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers
Construction work on the approved plan for Pier 17, with the South Street Seaport Museum’s tall ships in the background.
son, said the agency sees itself as taking a backseat, and would wait for clear consensus between the developer and the community before it did anything to help get a plan approved.
The Seaport Working Group includes local legislators, Community Board 1 leaders, business groups as well as Continued on page 12
Trinity Youth Chorus & Neighborhood Outreach Choirs
Comin’ Up Shoutin’ Sunday, June 8, 2pm Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street Songs celebrating community, connection, and freedom. Special Guest
Songwriter, Composer & Choral Conductor
Free and open to all. DowntownExpress.com
June 5-June 18, 2014
Close to agreement in principle, not in actuality SOUTH STREET SEAPORT // THE SITE
Continued from page 11
neighborhood residents, small business owners and preservation advocates. Pratt Institute’s Jonathan Martin, who led the meetings, said support for each of the eight guidelines ranged from 80 to 100 percent, but the group is refusing to release the percentages on any in particular, or to disclose who opposed what. In total, the document boils down to “a recommendation to E.D.C. and to Howard Hughes,” said Brewer. She said the thrust is to “keep the Seaport authentic.” Among other things, it outlines the need to preserve historic buildings “to the greatest extent that’s practicable,” to protect the cash-strapped South Street Seaport Museum financially, and to increase open space. The tower site, current home of the decaying New Market Building, is outside the historic district although some members of the working group have tried in vain for years to get city Landmarks protection for the old
Fulton Fish Market building. Brewer, in a phone interview, said one alternative to the tower that would not be acceptable is a building built to the 350-foot zoning limit. “A squat, as-of-right building clearly isn’t what these guidelines are calling for,” Brewer said. Such a building would block a much larger portion of the Brooklyn Bridge than the proposed slender tower. The lead designer, Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, maintains that his current design would not obstruct any resident’s view of the bridge. Brewer voted against the zoning change last year when she was sill in the City Council, but another active leader of the working group, Councilmember Margaret Chin, voted for the zoning as part of Hughes’ approved plan to redevelop the Pier 17 Seaport mall. Chin would not say this week if she would support a 350-foot building. “We have to see what it is,” she said. “We have to see how tall it is, how big it is.” Last year, facing community criti-
PIER 17 NEW MARKET BUILDING
BOUNDARY Image courtesy of the HowardPROJECT Hughes Corp.
HISTORIC DISTRICT BUILDINGS
Schematic of the projects areas including the New Market Building, pictured at bottom, and the Tin Building.
cism for supporting the Pier 17 without getting concessions on Hughes’ New Market plans, Chin cited the new zoning as an important way to limit development. Her spokesperson at the time said the new zoning would likely limit the building to six to ten stories, but did not mention the 350-foot limit, which is typically about 35 stories. Pasquarelli’s 600-foot tower is actually less than the 3.4 floor to area ratio that Chin championed, although it does exceed the height limit. The architect told Downtown Express this week that the tower “is the only way to get enough revenue to get all of the goodies they want.” Hughes estimates it will invest about $125 million to open up the waterfront, improve the esplanade, restore the historic Tin Building and build a marina.
The firm’s executives believe they are meeting the preservation plank of the guidelines because they think it’s impractical to preserve the New Market Building. Demolishing it would also help meet another guideline to open the waterfront more since the building blocks access. Preservationists counter that the building was used by the old fish market and is an important contributor to the historic district regardless of its exclusion. Last week before the guidelines were made public, Pasquarelli told the Express that he and his team have been busy working on revisions to the plan based on the draft document. The revisions will be presented first to the Seaport Working Group in a private meeting, but no date has been Continued on page 14
Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers
June 5-June 18, 2014
BY JANEL BLADOW Summer’s here... Let the fun begin!
PIANO SAND BAR...
Could it have accompanied former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in her swan song when she lost her run for mayor last year? Or, is this what we get for the $7 million she committed when she was running hot and heavy and ahead in the race for the city’s top post to vastly improve our block-long stretch of sand? A waterlogged and weathered Mason and Hamlin grand piano washed up on the low-tide beach under the Brooklyn Bridge at Dover St. last week to the delight of many Seaport and city residents and tourists alike, sporting sticky keys, broken strings and barnacle growth. Salts in the neighborhood say it probably washed ashore on the neap tide just before the New Moon. Others say it’s an artist’s stunt to draw attention to the 11,000-squarefoot derelict stretch of sand. But it would take a skyhook hoist to vault the steel fencing and the F.D.R. Drive to get the instrument on the beach, looking straight over the East River and the Brooklyn shoreline. The tattered ebony and ivory keys managed to garner lots of attention from the media with both print and TV coverage and wacky photo stunts by almost everyone else. Some enthusiasts have even hopped the low fence for make-believe concert photo ops. Unless Big Brother interrupts the instrument’s début, look for it to go cruising on its own again on the Full Moon high tide next week. (June 12). Its own swan song symphony perhaps?
BYE BYE PIER 17...
By next week, folks at Howard Hughes Corporation reckon the building on Pier 17 will no longer be standing and work should begin immediately on deconstruction the pier itself. That, they estimate, will take four months. All plans for the new pier and shopping center were approved a year ago, so the new steel friction pier and structure should be on target for at 2016 opening. Last week H.H.C. took a water taxi load of journos and photogs out to see and photograph the demo while getting an update of the progress. DowntownExpress.com
As the boat cruised close to the end of the pier, Gregg Pasquarelli, principal at SHoP Architects, which has worked closely with H.H.C. since 2010, said, “We’re excited to see the demolition happening. New York is a whole different city from the time when the first festival marketplace was designed. We had to rethink the concept. There are not a lot of places to get on the water and this is as close to the water as you can get. It will be a combination of retail, food and culture, a mix that makes the city so wonderful.” He pointed out that the Seaport pier will be the third largest waterfront area in the city, jutting 300 feet into the East River. “It will be one of the iconic places — vibrant, different — that you can’t find anywhere else in the city.” Then he gleefully added, “Oh, and a really cool building as well.” Of course the media pressed on the controversy over the New Market Building. He pointed out that it stands on a separate platform that is literally rotting into the water.
The meals on wheels descended on Fulton and Water Sts. Memorial Day weekend and not without cooking up a little controversy along with chili, ice cream and Philly Cheesesteaks. Howard Hughes Corp. had some parked in front of museum shop doors and other retail venues, blocking visitors from seeing their establishments. But the trucks were quickly corralled in a camp circle on Fulton, atop the lovely green AstroTurf. Some food shopkeepers in the area bemoaned the modern day chuck wagons, fearing loss of customers but none has felt the financial stabbing as hard as Maria (she feared sharing her last name with us). The hard-working woman has her hot dog cart — The Main Fare — on the southwest corner of Fulton and Water Sts. since 1985, where she told Seaport Report, she has always done a good business. “All these trucks were a big surprise. They didn’t even ask local vendors if we wanted to be a part of it. I waited out Sandy and hung in here but since the hurricane my business has been hurt. Now that the nice weather is finally here, I started
What’s left of Pier 17.
doing better. Now this. My family has been in the area since 1952, with garages on Front and on Fulton and John. I will hang in there. I like dealing with people and the neighborhood. I’m like a big ambassador to the area,” she laughed. Support her — she sells fresh Sabrett dogs — two for $5 with a soda!
Reports surfaced last week that the Brooklynbased Fortis Property Group has filed permits to build a 140,041-square foot, 51-story luxury residential tower at 39 Fletcher St. (bordered by Maiden Lane and South St.). Architects Goldstein Hill & West envision 74 units — floors 5 to 10 with four apartments each, floors 11 to 24 will have two on each. There’s a
pool on 26 then all floors from 27 and up will have only one pad on the 18,000-square foot footprint. They haven’t announced a move-in date yet so you still have time to save your pennies!
BURN OFF STEAM OR COOL YOUR JETS... Join the free exercise classes daily Monday through Friday, 7 to 8 am, with the experts from Crunch Gym. Workouts on the “lawn” started this week and run through August 29. Monday kick off the week with Yoga, Sunrise Salutations; on Tuesdays, it’s Breakfast Boot camp with personal trainers; Wellness Wednesday includes a Yoga/Pilate’s fusion, Throwback Thursdays feature Retro-Robics and Zumba or Dance classes on Fridays. By summer’s end we’ll all be body beautiful!
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June 5-June 18, 2014
Seaport guidelines Continued from page 12
set yet for that. Chin hopes the firm will come up with a plan that will generate community support. “Hopefully with Howard Hughes participating in this whole process, they will see what the community feels they want,” she said, “and hopefully… they will come forward with something people will be happy about…. “I’m really just hopeful about this process — we have put in so much time and effort.” At the public presentation, attendees were invited to put Post-it comments on each of the guidelines. Perhaps the biggest surprise, was that the tower did not receive the overwhelming opposition that it usually generates at Seaport meetings. A large minority of the posts supported the tower including one which said, “I live at 8 Spruce St. and in C.B. 1 and I want the tall tower.” Another person wrote, “I under-
stand that the height of the building will allow for additional amenities that ultimately benefit the community.” “Like what,” was a posted reply. “Not worth the sacrifice — no tradeoff to destroy history.” John Fratta, a working group member who is also chairperson of C.B. 1’s Seaport Committee, said he and other group members made it clear to Hughes that the intent was not to engage in negotiations over amenities which typically fuel the ULURP discussions. He said the firm reps never explicitly said how they felt about any of the guidelines, but it was clear they favored most of them, and the tower discussion was by far “the toughest.” The draft guidelines are posted on Community Board 1’s website (search “Manhattan CB1”), and the public has until Friday, June 6 to comment. The Seaport Working Group plans to revise its Guidelines and Principles based on the public comments.
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers
Architect Gregg Pasquarelli last week with the Pier 17 demolition in the background.
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June 5-June 18, 2014
“Quirky and fun!”-Erica S.
LET US MIX YOU A VIDEO FOR BARTENDER’S CORNER! Contact Colin for a feature at: colin@thevillagercom
TRANSIT SAM Thurs., June 5 – Wed., June 11 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED THURSDAY FOR SHAVUOT
and the curb lane on South St. between Beekman and John Sts. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
R iver-lock str ikes L ower Manhattan once again with closures at the Hudson and East River crossings. In the Battery Tunnel, one tube will close 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. One lane of traffic will remain open in each direction in the other tube. Expect delays at the neighboring bridges – the Brooklyn and Manhattan namel Another T hursday night of Hudson River tunnel trouble : in the Lincoln Tunnel, the New York-bound tube will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, as will one New York-bound lane in the Holland Tunnel. The Lincoln Tunnel closure will send drivers down to the Holland, which will be slow because of its own closure. Public schools are out on Thursday for Anniversary Day, which will make for lighter a.m. commutes. Take note that they’ll be back on Friday, as the summer break doesn’t start until June 26. M.T.A. service changes on the Broadway line: there will be no trains at N, Q, or R stations 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. N trains run only in Queens and Brooklyn. Q trains run via the D line to and from the 57th St. F station. R service ends early in Manhattan and Queens. Make transfers at Queensboro Plaza, 5th Ave/42nd St.-Bryant Park, Jay St.-MetroTech, and Atlantic Ave. The Little Italy Pedestrian Mall will close Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome Sts. and Hester St. between Mott and Baxter Sts. 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly through September. The Gumball 3000 Rally will close the pedestrian plaza at Fulton St. between Front and South Sts.
FROM THE MAILBAG: Dear Transit Sam, I’m one of the early Citi Bike adopters and signed up for an annual membership last May. I received an email from Citi Bike Thursday, May 29 notifying me that “[My] Membership Expires This Week!” I figured I had a few more days before it actually expired. Later that day, I tried to take out a bike from a station on Grand St. at West Broadway, and got a red light. I tried three other bikes – all red lights. What gives?
Marie, Lower East Side Dear Marie, I had the same problem! I got that email on Thursday as well, and tried to take a bike out from the Petrosino Square station. Red lights for me too. I called Citi Bike, and they told me my membership expired on Wed., May 28. I told them their notification email came too late, and they agreed that they should’ve sent it out earlier – for example, “Transit Sam, your membership expires next Wed., May 28.” Get this – they also told me I should have called them when I had the trouble getting the bike out and they would’ve allowed me to take one! So an F for lousy notification, but a better grade once you get someone on the phone. Stay tuned for my full Citi Bike review, one year later, online next week at downtownexpress.com! Transit Sam Email your parking and traffic questions to transitsam @ downtownexpress.com
Do you remember when ______________ happened downtown?...We do. Visit Our Archives At Downtownexpress.com IN PRINT OR ONLINE
2014 MARKET SEASON Saturday May 31 11am - 5pm Saturday June 21 11am - 5pm Thursday June 26 7pm-10pm (fisheries night market & fundraiser) with April Bloomfield, Peter Hoffman, Caroline Fidanza, Kerry Heffernan & more Saturday, July 26 11am - 5pm Sunday, August 24 11am - 5pm (Kermis) Sunday, September 28 11am - 5pm Sunday, October 26 11am - 5pm Sunday, November 23 11am - 5pm Saturday, December 20 6pm - 10pm (Solstice Eve night market)
NEWMARKET SQUARE | SOUTH STREET & PECK SLIP newamsterdammarket.org
W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M
June 5-June 18, 2014
Jennifer Goodstein EDITOR
Josh Rogers ARTS EDITOR
Scott Stiffler REPORTER
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Francesco Regini RETAIL AD MANAGER
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Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
Another kind of tug
The steamship Lilac was pulled back to its spot on Pier 25 last week after a short move up the pier to make way for some pier repairs. The 1933 ship, now a museum, once tended lighthouses and was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1972.
Michael Shirey GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Andrew Gooss PHOTOGRAPHERS
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John W. Sutter
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June 5-June 18, 2014
Posted To LOCAL POLS PRESSING TO SEE SECRET PIER 40 AGREEMENT (POSTED, MAY 30):
If Gail Brewer hasn’t seen the agreement, that means her reps on the HRP Trust Board haven’t seen it and you’ve got to wonder how the staff has authority to sign such an agreement without consulting the Board. The agreement was not on any of the Trust Board public agendas before or since the agreement was said to be signed. FYI, THE Mayor also has reps on the Board, as does the Governor. (The current Trust Board members for the NYC Mayor and Manhattan Borough President are holdovers from the previous administration, but should still be accountable to the current office holders and the citizens). Nicole Vianna
BIGGER PARK THIS YEAR, BUT NO FREE RIDE ON GOVERNORS ISLAND (POSTED, MAY 22): That’s too bad. You don’t have to pay to get to any other park in the city. A fee and no dogs allowed? Governor’s Island never even got started.
The park itself is free as are many of the events held on the island. @sprout5 $2!! That’s less than Starbucks and it’s healthier. Why do folks want everything for free? Grow up and pay your way Arlene Cohen
NEW HEATERS COMING TO GATEWAY, BUT DOOR IS SHUT ON WINDOWS FOR NOW (POSTED MAY 27):
How nice....but it seems you’ve overlooked one of the precipitating factors for this sudden decision (after years of negotiations) to finally provide heat to the tenants of Gateway. On April 7, 2014, the city sued Gateway (DHPD vs Marina Towers Associates NYS Housing Court Index No. O646) as a result of violations for no heat which were issued in February and March of 2014. Based upon those violations, the City decided to sue and on the return court date of May 22, 2014( last Wednesday), a settlement was made, together with a fine implemented. Two days later, they were “pleased to announce” the decision to change all the heating units and electric meters for the 1,700 apartments.
Rajkumar’s law firm that brought a lawsuit against the landlord. We owe thanks to Lurie, Rajkumar, and the citizens who live in Gateway for putting the pressure on LeFrak to get the job done. Hopefully window repairs and electric meter changes to come. . . Gateway Neighbor
‘MAD AS HELL’ ABOUT TOLLS DESIGNED TO BRING MORE TRAFFIC DOWNTOWN (TALKING POINT, POSTED, MAY 27)
Thanks for calling attention to this ongoing debacle! Broome St. dwellers
AT LAST, THE PUBLIC GETS TO VISIT THE 9/11 MUSEUM (POSTED MAY 22): I have not visited, experience too raw. But a number of people I know visited and were generally impressed. But yes, the gift shop and the parties for corporate allies are crass, in the way our society has become. We should complain. PAC
ABATE, FORMER DOWNTOWN SENATOR & HEALTH ADVOCATE, DIES (POSTED MAY 22)
Dr. Kim Lurie @aishku It is less than the Metrocard fare one might need to get to many parks in the city.
Thank you to Dr. Lurie and also to Maureen Koetz, District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar (who lies in Gateway) and
she was a very kind public servant. Really nice . So sad to see her pass. bob T. DowntownExpress.com
‘Mad as hell’ about Downtown tolls B Y SA M SCH WA R T Z Lower Manhattanites are getting “railroaded” (or should I say “trucked”) and have been for a quarter century ever since an act of Congress dictated that tolls on the Verrazano Bridge should be collected only in the Staten Islandbound direction. This meant that drivers leaving the island would not stop but drivers entering would pay double. It was the brainchild of then Staten Island congressman Guy Molinari. The theory was to back traffic up on the bridge, but not within Staten Island. In actuality, the Staten Island backup on a highway away from homes and pedestrians was transferred to the streets of Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. I opposed the plan at the time as a city Dept. of Transportation official, predicting more traffic jams and casualties on Canal St., Chambers St., Centre St. etc., and in Brooklyn, but the city was ignored and the one-way tolls went into effect March 20, 1986. My fears have been realized and continue today. Here’s why: A car driver in Brooklyn heading to say Newark Airport can take I-278 to the Verrazano Bridge to the Staten Island Expressway to the Goethals Bridge. He or she would pay $10.66 with E-ZPass or $15 cash in tolls at the Verrazano. If the driver takes Downtown Brooklyn streets and goes over the Brooklyn Bridge onto Chambers to Hudson and out the Holland Tunnel to Rt. 1 & 9 she or he would pay nothing, nada, zilch. A truck driver would save even more money. For example, a five-axle truck would pay over $50 E-ZPass, and $80 cash to make the same trip over the Verrazano Bridge, but would shell out nothing to go over the Manhattan Bridge onto Canal St. and out the Holland Tunnel (the biggest trucks would go out the Lincoln). Essentially the bigger you
On The Spot
Jessica Lappin Continued from page 5
some of the issues that inevitably come up — whether it’s changes in foot traffic or tour buses or whatever the issues are that you hear at DowntownExpress.com
Downtown Express file photo by Sam Spokony
Looking east on Canal St., from the Sixth Ave. intersection.
are the more money you save. I’d like to tell you this is an isolated example but, in fact, our toll structure within the City of New York is so screwed up that many neighborhoods suffer immensely while lots of drivers pay too much at some bridges and others pay nothing. This causes “bridge shopping” where motorists drive out of their way to save toll money. Nowhere is this more pronounced than at the 105-year-old Ed KochQueensboro Bridge. It is the only bridge I know of in the world that is “sandwiched” between two toll crossings so close together. To get into Manhattan through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel or over the RFK-Triborough Bridge costs a driver $5.33 each-way E-ZPass with truckers paying $40 or more. But, that driver or trucker using the Queensboro pays nothing. But, not only does that driver take an indirect route adding miles to a trip, he/she also typically leaves a high-
way to use city streets to get to the bridge (all the toll facilities have long highways leading to them, the “free” bridges are mostly accessed by city streets). More miles + switching from highways to streets = more crashes, injuries, and fatalities. No wonder that both ends of the Queensboro Bridge rank as crash hot spots. (Downtowners already know Canal St. is one of the most treacherous roads anywhere in the city). So what’s the answer? In short, let’s do a “Tabula Rasa” (i.e. start all over again) on all our bridges and tunnels and figure out how to be fair, how to reduce vehicle miles travelled, and how to save lives. With a team of transportation and policy experts we have come up with the MOVE NY plan. Bridge shopping comes to an end; we return tolls to the four East River bridges (they were all built with tolls when they opened until 1911). Do the same for people entering
from the north across 60th St. Not a toll booth would be built; money would be collected via E-ZPass (80% of drivers have them), license plate photography and via apps. Lower the tolls at all the outer bridges that don’t go into Manhattan’s business district. This will reduce the pressure to drive through Manhattan to New Jersey. Charge a little more for taxis in Manhattan (although those cabs will move faster offsetting some of the increase). For a full description of the plan please visit: move-ny.org. So as a Lower Manhattanite myself I am asking my neighbors to join with me and shout “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” Implement the MOVE NY plan.
the community board or talking to landlords or others. We’re all facing the same wonderful issues that come with this kind of great growth.
hadn’t been in ever, like Pier A, or spaces like the New York Stock Exchange I just hadn’t been in in a long time and to kind of rediscover the gems that are here — that’s been a really wonderful part of the first three months.
ming that we hope that will appeal to both the population that is here working during the day, but also to the neighborhood. To really enliven places that are kind of dead pockets [like Water St.] where there could be great activity. We’re still formulating it, although it’s going to start pretty soon. We are coalescing around a theme. We want to demonstrate how Water St. in particular really could be a much grander boulevard.
Any surprises in the new job? One of the really pleasant surprises was how many good places there are to eat. I am a little bit of a foodie. It’s been fun to kind of explore. I’m not sure this is a surprise but there are a lot of spaces that I either
What does the Alliance have planned for the summer? Water St. Lower Manhattan Tuesdays. We are going to be doing some engaging, lively, fun program-
Sam Schwartz, a.k.a. “Gridlock Sam,” is the president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, and the author of Downtown Express’s Transit Sam column.
June 5-June 18, 2014
Activities FRIDAY, JUNE 6
BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY North of Battery Park, off Battery Place, 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Sunset Singing Circle: Sing together! Share rounds and folk songs. Led by folk singer Terre Roche. Ages: all Free 7-8:30pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 7 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Toddler Story Time: Ages 18-36 months Free 10:30 a.m. BARNES & NOBLE 97 Warren Street, 212-587-5389 Children’s Storytime: Free 2 p.m.
SUNDAY, JUNE 8 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, 212-2679700, bpcparks.org Almost Summer Celebration: Enjoy a multicultural celebration featuring an exciting pop-rock concert by Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could. Enjoy Hoop of Life Native American dances by Ty Defoe, and a storytelling performance of The Hatseller and the Monkeys by Play Me A Story. Art activities All ages Free 11:00am-2:00pm
MONDAY, JUNE 9 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; firstcome first-served. Ages 0-18 months
June 5-June 18, 2014
Free 9:30 a.m.
BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under Free. Drop in. Wagner Park 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Children’s Basketball: Adjustable height hoops and fun drills to improve skills. Close-toed shoes required. Ages 5 – 6 Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park Mon. until Oct. 27, 3:30 to 4:30 PM, 5-6 year olds, 4:30 to 5:30 PM, 7 & older HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST 212-627-2020, http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/events/series/story-pirates Story Pirates: The Story Pirates sing, dance and improv their way through never-before (and never-again) seen adventures. Ages: All ages Free Hudson River Park – Pier 25 6:15pm
TUESDAY, JUNE 10 Soccer for Preschoolers and Elementary Schoolers: Have fun passing, shooting & dribbling! Parks programming leaders facilitate the fun. Everybody plays! Closed-toe shoes required. Every Tuesday, from May 6 to October 28 Free. Drop in. Nelson A. Rockefeller Park 2:30 – 3:15 PM, 3-4 year olds 3:30 – 4:15 PM, 5 to 7 year olds 4:30 – 5:30 PM, 8 to 11 year olds Young Sprouts Gardening: An introduction to organic gardening for children 3-5 years old with accompanying adults. Learn to plant and do nature projects. Space is limited. Ages: 3-5 years old Free Nelson A. Rockefeller Park 3:15pm-3:45pm
Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers
Artists and very young assistant were putting the finishing touches Sunday on the artistic mini golf course that opens Sat., June 7 on Governors Island (govisland.nyc.gov) as part of the Figment art fest. The golf and popular TreeHouse will be open all summer.
THE FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON MARKET PARK Chambers Street at West Street, in tennis courts, email@example.com, http://www.washingtonmarketpark.org/events/childrens-tennis-clinic Children’s Tennis Clinics: The Friends of Washington Market Park organizes free tennis clinics for children. Grouped by age, children receive instruction from the tennis pros — this year from Super Duper Tennis. No reservations are necessary — the first 20 children to arrive at the courts for each time slot will be able to participate. 3-4pm is for children aged 7-8 year olds 4-5pm is for children aged 9-10 year olds Free 3-5pm NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY CHATHAM SQUARE BRANCH 33 East Broadway, 212-964-6598, nypl. org/locations/chatham-square After-School Science Club at Chatham Square Library: Build a Bristle Bot Robot. Limited to 15 children. Ages 5 – 12 Free. Jun. 10 – Investigate Pillbugs 3:30 – 5 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Wagner Park, 212-267-9700, bpcparks. org Wednesdays at Teardrop: Come enjoy lawn games and art projects. Art supplies provided. Ages 5 and up. Free. Drop in. Wed. until Oct. 29 Teardrop Park 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Drop-in Chess: Play chess and get pointers from an expert. Ages 5 – 15 Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park Wed. until Oct. 24, 3:30 – 5 p.m. SEE CHANGE Front/Row Stage, http://www.southstreetseaport.com/events/# Wednesdays with Bilingual Birdies: Every Wednesday this summer, join Bilingual Birdies at the Seaport. Bilingual Birdies is a foreign language program for kids that will teach Spanish (June), French (July), and Mandarin (August) through live music, movement, dance, puppetry, and theatre-based games. Free 1:30pm and 2:30pm NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 18-36 months Free Jun. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Gross Biology: Discover what is inside you, how the body works hard to keep you healthy, and why it is important to make healthy choices. Ages 5 and up Free 4 p.m.
THURSDAY, JUNE 12 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, 212-2679700, bpcparks.org DowntownExpress.com
Preschool Art: Come learn art with paper, clay, wood, and paint. Ages 4 and under Free. Drop in Thursdays until Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Art + Games: After school art activities and games. Ages 5 and up Free Nelson A. Rockefeller Park 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY North of Battery Park, off Battery Place, 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Sunset Singing Circle Sing together! Share rounds and folk songs. Led by folk singer Terre Roche. Ages: all Free 7-8:30pm
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave (at Murray Street), 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; firstcome first-served. Ages 0-18 months 11:30 a.m. Slumber Party at the Library: Bedtime story session and show-and-tell. Bring your pajamas. All ages Free 6 p.m.
TRIBECA TRUST Varick St. between Franklin and Leonard Sts., 646-450-6774, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday Stroll & Plaza Event: Enjoy children’s art programs, a dancing workshop, musical performances (bring your own instrument), and coffee and treats provided by the Square Diner. All ages Free 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
FRIDAY, JUNE 13
SATURDAY, JUNE 14
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Father’s Day Party: Bring your dad or favorite grown up to the library to
listen to a story, enjoy coffee and juice, and make a special Father’s Day craft to take home. All ages Free 11 – 11:30 a.m.
MONDAY, JUNE 16 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Wagner Park, 212-267-9700, bpcparks. org Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under Free. Drop in. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Children’s Basketball: Adjustable height hoops and fun drills to improve skills. Close-toed shoes required. Ages 5 – 6 Free. Drop in. Rockefeller Park Mon. until Oct. 27, 3:30 to 4:30 PM, 5-6 year olds, 4:30 to 5:30 PM, 7 & older
TUESDAY, JUNE 17 BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, 212-2679700, bpcparks.org Young Sprouts Gardening: An introduction to organic gardening for children 3-5 years old with accompanying adults. Learn to plant and do nature projects. Space is limited. Ages: 3-5 years old Free 3:15pm-3:45pm
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18 THE FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON MARKET PARK Chambers Street, email@example.com, http://www.washingtonmarketpark.org/events/summer-concert-series/ The Friends of the Washington Market Park Concert Series: The Friends of Washington Market Park produce a series of family friendly concerts. Wednesday, June 18th at 5pm… DJ Kai Song – www.facebook.com/DJKaiSong Ages: All Free 3-5:30pm
June & Summer Day Camps For boys and girls, ages 5-14 • A new camp starts each week!
Our professional coaches have fun teaching and your child will love learning and playing the game. Multiple turf fields and great indoor facility at West Houston Street in Greenwich Village.
Come for one week or the whole summer!
SUMMER SAILING CAMPS &ŽƌũƵŶŝŽƌƐΘƚĞĞŶƐ͘^ƚĂƌƟŶŐĂƚΨϯϵϬƉĞƌǁĞĞŬ͘ All info at www.nyharborsailing.com DowntownExpress.com
Pier 40 Baseball Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Enroll online at www.pier40.org
OUR 12TH YEAR
June 5-June 18, 2014
What’s up for sale in Harlem BY LAU RE N PRI CE If the hum of street life, ample parks, and an eclectic array of artistic offerings, restaurants, and small shops make for a compelling urban neighborhood, Harlem certainly fits the bill. With ever-evolving notions of chic and dramatic visuals in its century-old blocks, the neighborhood north of 110th St. from river to river — though the boundaries often have some elasticity depending on whom you speak to — has always been about renaissance. And buyers and renters today have plenty to draw them to Greater Harlem. The housing stock is chock-ablock with upgraded mid-rise buildings, spiffed-up tenements, restored brownstones with ornate Victorian details and backyards, converted family-sized pre-wars — and plenty of new developments. In the popular imagination, of course, historic enclaves still reign supreme — particularly Sugar Hill, Strivers’ Row, and Astor Row’s collection of 28 houses with front porches and gardens. Halstead Property has a listing for a 20-foot wide, 3,900-squarefoot townhouse with a private garage along Strivers’ Row at 221 West 138th St. Known as the Will Marion Cook House — named for the famous African-American composer, violinist, and Broadway impresario who lived there — it was built in 1891. Its interiors have been handsomely preserved, including the four rare stained glass windows designed by Frank J. Dillon, the large oak stairwell that rises a few steps up to a platform under a Palladianstyle window, chevron-detailed oak floors, overhanging cornices, and six wood-burning fireplaces with carved mantels. Zoned for multiple uses, this National Historic Landmark is perfect for a single-family residence, a multi-unit, income-producing investment, or perhaps an art gallery. Other features include a 2,000-square-foot gated garden, Delivered empty, it’s priced at $2.445 million. For buyers seeking something a bit more modern along the same stretch, why not consider One Strivers’ Row? Located at 2605 Frederick Douglas Blvd at 139th St. , this condominium was first built as a five-story building in 1894 and then redeveloped in 2007, now with
June 5-June 18, 2014
Photo courtesy of Corcoran Group Real Estate
A garden-level, two-bedroom duplex at 32 Mount Morris Park West offered by Corcoran.
seven floors. Finishes and fixtures include wide-plank American white oak stain floors, 10-foot-high ceilings, large windows, imported Italian faucets, recessed lighting, a walkin closet, and a Miele washer and dryer. The open kitchen offers appliances by SubZero and Bosch, and the American walnut cabinetry has CaeserStone countertops. Bathrooms are outfitted with Kohler and Toto fixtures. There’s a wonderful rooftop deck for residents and a state-of-theart cyber doorman system. Douglas Elliman is selling this 700-square-foot, one-bedroom unit for just $450,000, with low monthly common charges and taxes and a 25-year 421a tax abatement. Only blocks from Astor Row, a three-bedroom triplex penthouse condominium is for sale at 380 Lenox Avenue at West 129th St. . Coming in at about 2,100 square feet, with spectacular city views from nearly every room, the home offers a large rooftop terrace. The triplex features 11-foot-high ceilings, a washer and dryer, custom closets, a gas-igniting wood-burning fireplace, and an open kitchen with solid cherry cabinets and granite countertops and
floors. Communal amenities include a rooftop deck, a 24/ 7 gym, on-site parking, and full-time doormen services. It’s priced at $1.7 million, with a 25-year 421a tax abatement, low common charges, and no sponsor closing cost. A garden-level, two-bedroom duplex facing the park at 32 Mount Morris Park West at 123rd St. is for rent. Newly renovated, this 1,100-square-foot unit has a private entrance and its original details include high ceilings, exposed brick, hardwood floors, moldings, and a marble-mantled ethanol-burning fireplace. The well-equipped kitchen opens onto the living room and the master bedroom has an en suite marble bathroom with teak cabinetry, a whirlpool tub, and a separate shower stall. The second bedroom can easily convert to a media room, and there is an equipped laundry room. Other features include a lighting system, keyless entry, and a video intercom. The monthly rent is $3,600. Not quite new — developed eight years ago — the Walden at 69 East 139th St. has a south-facing, fourroom apartment (currently, the second bedroom is a den) on the market. Offering about 850 square feet, it has
maple floors and oversized windows — and the kitchen is outfitted with walnut cabinetry, granite countertops, and appliances by Frigidaire. Common extras include a lounge with a kitchen, a no-cost laundry room, a spa, basement-level storage closets — as well as part-time doormen and a video intercom system. Priced at $487,500, with a 421a tax abatement through 2031. “Until now, East Harlem housing has been viewed as a rental market, but as this neighborhood enjoys a new evolution of well-known retail establishments, property values will rise, but in most cases, remain below the values seen in Central Harlem, south of 125th St. ,” said Jeff Krantz, a managing director at Halstead Property Development Marketing. “Buyers will now begin seeing at least a dozen new developments come to market, but they will be more boutique-style projects with an average of 20 units each.” The 83-unit Adeline at 23 West 116th St. is now 70 percent sold, but units are still available in all categories, which range from oneContinued on page 22
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June 5-June 18, 2014
Harlem real estate Continued from page 20
to four-bedrooms (1,046 to 1,912 square feet). Completion is set for late fall. Units feature wide-plank oak floors with hand-laid herringbone tiles, large windows, and washers and dryers. Kitchens come with custom matte lacquer cabinetry, CaesarStone countertops, and appliances by KitchenAid and Bosch. Master baths sport smoked walnut vanities (some have dual sinks) and custom soaking tubs with Grohe showerheads and hand-held shower wands. Topping the list of common amenities is a fitness room, a playroom, a lounge with a workspace, a screening room and kitchenette, a courtyard garden, a roof deck — and round-the-clock doormen. Priced from $1.125 million, with a 25-year 421a tax abatement. Across from Riverside Park, 710 Riverside Drive at West 148th St. is selling renovated apartments that run from one- to three-bedrooms (687 to 1,319 square feet) with washers and
dryers. Luxury finishes include solid oak flooring and high ceilings with intricate crown moldings. Kitchens are outfitted with white thermofoil cabinetry, white celador countertops, and appliances by LG. Bathrooms feature d’oriente palmira tile, Carrera marble, and Kohler soaking tubs. Exclusively marketed by Warburg Marketing Group, prices start at $425,940. One Morningside Park at 321 West 110th St. is selling one- to three-bedroom condominiums, including a penthouse (1,265 to 1,410 square feet). All feature brushed oak hardwood floors and extra large windows, and most have outdoor space. Open kitchens come with custom cabinetry, natural stone countertops, and appliances by Sub-Zero, KitchenAid, and — or Miele. Most bathrooms are windowed and feature floor-to-ceiling porcelain tiles of varying textures, soaking tubs, and marble-topped vanities. Amenities include a rooftop terrace with an outdoor kitchen, a fitness center, and round-the-clock
Image courtesy of Halstead Property Developent Marketing
The 83-unit Adeline at 23 West 116th Street offered by Halstead.
doormen. Marketed by Brown Harris Stevens Select, prices start from $2.125 million, with a 20-year 421a tax abatement. Uptown 58 at 58 W. 129th St. is selling mostly one- and two-bedroom condominiums, though a few studios are available. The 19-unit building will feature a roof deck, a
fitness center, and a state-of-the-art virtual doorman system. Coming to market this summer, occupancy is expected during the first quarter of 2015. Marketed by Halstead Property Development Marketing, prices for one-bedroom apartments will start at $500,000, with a 15-year 421a tax abatement.
MANHATTAN SAILING SCHOOL Adult courses begin at $390. Summer camps for juniors. ǁǁǁ͘ƐĂŝůŵĂŶŚĂƩĂŶ͘ĐŽŵ;ϮϭϮͿϳϴϲ-0400 22
June 5-June 18, 2014
A smooth operator with horns to balance that halo Doris Payne keeps us guessing what’s real and what’s an enticing lie FILM THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE Produced & Directed by Matthew Pond & Kirk Marcolina Through June 10 At Film Forum 209 West Houston St. (West of Sixth Ave.) Screenings daily at 12:45, 2:40, 4:30, 6:20, 8:10 & 10:00 p.m. Visit filmforum.org
Courtesy of Films Transit International
BY SEAN EGAN Even Doris Payne’s closest friends understand that she is nowhere near the charming, innocent old woman she appears to be on the surface. “Doris is no saint,” says her lifelong friend, Jean. “Her horns are holding her halo up. But she’s 80 years old — come on, give her a break!” Jean says this as she’s waiting in court to hear a jury’s verdict on whether or not Doris goes to jail. You see, Doris Payne is not only a charismatic, elderly mother of two — she’s also a notorious international jewel thief. Payne is a woman of contradictions, equal parts legend and liar, hero and criminal. In the new documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” directors Matthew Pond and Kirk Marcolina find tension in their attempts to pin down exactly who Doris Payne is, and what she stands for. It’s something of a Sisyphean task — an exercise in scrutinizing the inscrutable. As the film begins, Doris is facing some serious jail time for allegedly stealing an expensive ring from a Macy’s. She claims that she never stole anything from the store, despite the fact that the description of the thief’s DowntownExpress.com
Filmmakers Matthew Pond (left) and Kirk Marcolina, with Doris Payne.
methods fit her M.O., and the fact that the store possesses (admittedly blurry) footage of the thief who may or may not be Doris. By centering the film around the trial, the filmmakers present an engaging “Did she or didn’t she?” narrative, which also is able to highlight the differences between the Doris of her heyday, and present-day Doris — who struggles to outwit modern technology and the law. The movie spends a lot of time recounting the decades Doris spent building a name for herself amongst jewel thieves. Using her considerable charms and beauty, and adopting an air of upper class sophistication that belied her roots as a poor southern child from a home with an abusive father, Doris was able to lull jewelry store owners into a false sense of security — which allowed her to rob them blind, repeatedly, and still (according to her) never get caught by authorities walking out of the stores. When all was said and done, she’d stolen over $2 million, hopped across continents and outsmarted all her accomplices and law enforcement agents along
the way. Periodically a host of interviewees crop up to play armchair psychologist, theorizing what motivated Doris to steal, by taking into consideration all of her life story. While she was ruthless in order to get ahead, she also had to deal with growing up in the segregated south as a woman of color. Doris herself said she saw her stealing as some kind of revenge for the prejudice that she faced as a black woman in the 1950s-70s. She also used her ill-gotten gains to support her children, and help her mother escape an abusive relationship. On the other hand, the money funded her expensive tastes and trips abroad (to steal more). There’s also the undeniable rush she felt when stealing that indicates something more selfish at play underneath her claims of righteous criminality. The film is at its most intellectually interesting during these sections — but it fails to dig deeper into the psychology of its subject, to see what makes her tick. Spending more time with Doris’ family would certainly
be more enlightening. And the film could definitely have had more cutting insight, by conducting a thorough examination of how racial inequality and sexism shaped the young Doris, as well as the larger effects these factors had on society as a whole. But then one can’t complain too much, as Payne herself is a fascinating and lively subject. The doc comes to life whenever she’s on screen. She’s everything her critics and admirers say she is: sweet, whip smart, classy, funny — and never to be completely trusted. She is, after all, a criminal who spent years fooling people into believing she something she’s not. This makes Doris tremendous fun to watch, because you’re constantly trying to figure out whether she’s being candid, fudging the truth or telling outright lies in order to build up her legacy or get out of trouble. While most of these present-day interviews and day-to-day footage are shot in a manner similar to a standard History Channel program, the film nonetheless is able to inject a distinct sense of style into the proceedings. Doris’ anecdotes about past capers are augmented by re-enactments which are all soft-focus and supersaturated color — reminiscent of glamorous Technicolor films of yore, like 1955’s “To Catch a Thief” (amusingly, one of Payne’s favorite films and an inspiration for a particularly daring theft/ escape). Combined with the playful, jazzy score that accompanies most of these tales, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne” capture a vibrant, nostalgic atmosphere that stands in stark contrast to the more clinical filmmaking. Overall, this is an entertaining, if slight, documentary about a largerthan-life figure. At its best, the documentary asks audiences to consider what circumstances shaped Doris into the unique individual she is, and challenges them to discern what is real and what’s an enticing lie. That Doris Payne is such a fun, memorable subject is just the cherry on top. June 5-June 18, 2014
Buhmann on Art BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com)
LIU CHANG: “LOVE STORY” The first U.S. solo exhibition of the conceptual Chinese artist reflects on the social, economic, and political realities of contemporary China. Chang’s practice is rooted in quiet interventions and he often gathers personal details of others. This installation presents 500 used pulp fiction novels that were rented or borrowed by migrant workers in boomtown Shenzen. These “Love Stories,” which now mark some of the most popular romantic fiction of proletariat China, were illegal during the Cultural Revolution. Rarely translated into other languages, they are primarily consumed by female teenagers, students, and young workers. What makes this project noteworthy is the large selection of anonymous notes that Chang found between the books’ pages. Culled, translated and painted onto the gallery walls, the notes of the readers tensely shift from the very personal to the public context. Through June 21, at Salon 94 Freemans (1 Freeman Alley, btw. Bowery & Chrystie Sts.). Hours: Wed. - Sat., 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Call 212-529-7400 or visit salon94.com.
Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York
Anonymous notes found among pulp fiction novels give voice to the migrant workers of Shenzen, in Liu Continued on page 24 Chang’s “Love Story.” At Salon 94 Freemans, through June 21.
summer Starting June 23rd n
Programs for students of ALL AGES! Music & Art Camps Private & Group Instrumental Birthday Parties & Space Rentals
74 Warren Street www.churchstreetschool.org 24
June 5-June 18, 2014
Buhmann on Art Continued from page 25
SYBIL GIBSON: “ART FROM WITHIN” Considered one of the leading female folk artists from Alabama, the late Sybil Gibson (1908-1995) is best known for her naive portraits, gentle landscapes, and colorful floral arrangements. Though having enjoyed a prosperous upbringing as the daughter of a wealthy coal mine operator and farm owner, Gibson spent most of her adult life in poverty. Employing watercolor, gouache and tempera on brown bags, scraps of paper, newsprint, and cardboard, Gibson found most of her subjects in childhood memories. What seems idyllic in paint marked a harsh reality for the artist. Over time, she grew out of touch from family and friends, finding art to be her sole escape from everyday hardships. Through June 21, at Woodward Gallery (133 Eldridge St., btw. Broome & Delancey Sts.). Hours: Tues. - Sat., 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. & Sun., 12 - 5 p.m. (also by appointment). Call 212-966-3411 or visit woodwardgallerynet.
Courtesy of Woodward Gallery, NYC and the Estate of Sybil Gibson
An installation view of Sybil Gibson’s “Art From Within.” At Woodward Gallery, through June 21.
Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary “Bravisimo!” sing supporters of this “over-the-top” “old-fshioned” TriBeCa Northern Italian, where “superb” eats arrive via tuxedoed waiter who’ll “pamper” you “like a don” (”no wonder” they filmed a Sopranos scene here); post-meal the “gratis grappa” eases the pain of “shelling out lots” for the tab.
~ Zagat 2013 A tremendous dining experience. Tim at the lead with
Frankie and Dino covering your every need is a formidable team. Johnny at the bar makes it feel like you just walked into your very living room. The people make the experience.
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June 5-June 18, 2014
Needles, knives, past and present lives ‘Retrograde’ is a true rush
Photo by Len DeLessio (delessio.com)
‘Retrograde’ author Puma Perl hosts her quarterly “Pandemonium” event on June 27, at The Bowery Electric’s Map Room.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Clean and sharply focused when it really should be scratched and cloudy, considering everything it’s been through, Puma Perl’s mirror has two equally unforgiving settings: rear view, and front and center. “20 years since I shot my last speedball & I’m still losing teeth,” she says, in the first line of “& I’m Still Losing.” That wry observation comes early and hits hard, in “Retrograde.” Released last week, it’s the first single author poetry release from great weather for MEDIA. Perl’s 76-item collection of poetry and short prose finds her no longer using heroin, but still in firm possession of a temperament that makes the take-no-crap author an extremely light touch, nonetheless, for the temptation to get lost in contemplating old haunts, Your Global Partner Your Reliable Bank
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habits and patterns. That sort of sobriety’s not an easy road to travel — but it makes for an extremely authentic and unsentimental look at the gritty and dangerous New York that has since been glamourized, mourned and burnt beyond recognition into the realm of cultural mythology. Brooklyn native and longtime Lower East Side resident Puma Perl was there, though — apparently keeping at least one eye open for keen observation, even when nodding off. “Retrograde” takes you on past and present trips to Brooklyn, Coney Island and all points below Delancey. Both deeply connected and uncomfortably detached, it’s a world of nicotine patches, faked orgasms, thwarted hook-up text messages, comparative lists of arrests and addictions, creature comforts stolen from rehab stints, and the knowledge that Perl’s ill-advised lean out the window to get that perfect photo would surely be mistaken for a suicide attempt if she were to fall. No matter. The chance to greet each new day with an “Oh shit” is, in its own way, a victory of sorts — even if each turn of the corner comes with a reminder of the hellish lows and high times of an addict’s life. “Every step is a memory, imprinted, unseen,” she writes in “Imprinted,” unable to stop thinking about the woman who exits a
Seventh St. boutique and performs what may or may not be a flirtatious maneuver for her waiting husband. As she “dances in my space, in my sidewalk square,” Perl notes how her old self might have “danced back, flirted with her man just cause I could. Today smoky spirits surround me, invisible to tap dancing women wearing newsboy caps.” Hear some of the author’s own words, in her actual voice, when you attend the June 27 edition of “Puma Perl’s Pandemonium.” This quarterly music and spoken word event will feature work from “Retrograde” as well as performances from Tony Brown and the Duende Project, Rew Starr, Joff Wilson, Jeff Sztabnik, Jeff Ward, and others. “Over the last few years,” says Perl, “performing with musicians has shaped my work, providing new rhythms and keeping it fresh each time. Many of the poems in this book are a result of these collaborations.” “Puma Perl’s Pandemonium” happens at 7 p.m. on Fri., June 27, at The Bowery Electric’s Map Room (327 Bowery, btw. Second & Third Sts.). Free. Drink specials, 21+. “Retrograde” was released on June 1, by great weather for MEDIA. Visit greatweatherformedia.com and pumaperl.blogspot.com.
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JUNE 4, 2014 DOWNTOWN EXPRESS