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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

MSCC Confronts Curbside Congestion BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) didn’t wait for spring to set their sights on removing a winter’s worth of clutter from local sidewalks. Last week’s March 16 meeting, held four days prior to the calendar’s change of seasons, saw attendees determined MSCC continued on p. 4

Participatory Budgeting Expo Preceded Voting BY SEAN EGAN On Tues., March 23, District 3 residents milled about the Participatory Budgeting (PB) Project Expo at W. 17th St.’s Sixth Avenue Elementary School, taking in facts, snacks, and observing the handiwork of their neighbors. The evening served as prelude to the official voting

Photo by Dennis Lynch

Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Corey Johnson listen as Fulton Houses Tenants’ Association president Miguel Acevedo asks about a lack of M/WBE (minority and women-owned business enterprises) at Hudson Yards.

A TALE OF TWO HOURS AT A TOWN HALL Challenges, Assurances at Mayoral Q&A

PB continued on p. 2

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

See page 15

BY DENNIS LYNCH Mayor Bill de Blasio answered dozens of questions from New Yorkers during a March 15 town hall co-sponsored by N Community Boards 2, 4, 5 and 7, and moderated by City C Councilmember Corey Johnson. Held at the NYC Lab High C School for Collaborative Studies on W. 17th St., the nearly threeS hour event (two of them dedicated to Q&A) saw its capacity crowd press their mayor on topics as local as excessive horn honking (on the corner of W. 23rd St. & Eighth Ave.) and as national as the need to confront President Trump on his immigration policy. De Blasio brought along commissioners and deputy commissioners from city agencies, and often deferred to them when answering questions. At one point, the mayor gave a quick nod to the attending former State Senator Tom Duane, a man he

© CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

called a “legend” in Albany and the local community. Duane’s successor, Brad Hoylman, was among the group of electeds credited with presenting the event (including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who was in attendance). Miguel Acevedo, president of the Fulton Houses Tenants’ Association, kicked off the town hall with a question about a city-community agreement to help minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) open in Hudson Yards. Acevedo said the city has failed to do so. De Blasio spoke broadly about the M/WBE program. “We are constantly pushing the private sector to commit resources to women- and minority-owned businesses,” he said, then deferred to Department of Small Business Services commissioner Gregg TOWN HALL continued on p. 3 VOLUME 09, ISSUE 12 | MARCH 23–29, 2017


PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING BALLOT DISTRICT 03 (COUNCILMEMBER COREY JOHNSON)

Vote for up to 5 projects Item #1: Hudson Park Library Accessible Bathrooms Provide ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility to toilet facilities in the Hudson Park Library (66 Leroy St.). Cost: $300,000. Item #2: PS 111 Air Conditioning for the Library Provide air conditioning for the library, which is used as a summer school site (440 W. 53rd St.) for hundreds of students. Cost: $150,000. Item #3: Filtered Water Fountains at Lab & Museum Schools 12 new water fountains with water filtration systems and environmentally friendly bottle filling stations at these 333 W. 17th St. schools. Cost: $144,000. Item #4: New Electrical Outlets at PS 3 Upgrade electrical panels and add two new quad outlets for 40 rooms in PS 3 (490 Hudson St.), which would minimize overloading the current outlets. Cost: $150,000. Item #5: Tech Upgrade at High School of Fashion Industries Purchase additional computers and printers to support student learning at this school (225 W. 24th St.). Cost: $60,000. Item #6: Grounds Renovation at NYCHA Elliott-Chelsea Houses Provide new playground fencing, renovate walkways, and revitalize garden areas designed with residents of Elliott-Chelsea Houses (btw. W. 25th & 27th Sts. and Ninth & 10th Aves.). Cost: $500,000. Item #7: Renovation of Penn South Playground Renovation/revisioning of Penn South Playground (W. 26th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), designed with residents of Penn South. Cost: $300,000. Item #8: Jefferson Market Garden Upgrades Replace the northern chain-link

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fence to match existing iron fence surrounding the garden (Greenwich Ave. & W. 10th St.), and add new shed to house tools. Cost: $175,000. Item #9: New Park in Hell’s Kitchen Transform an empty lot (10th Ave., btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.) into a new public park for the people of Hell’s Kitchen. Cost: $200,000. Item #10: Bleecker Street Playground Renovation Repair/replace all safety surface, roofs on play equipment, new trees, replant green space, and more at this playground (Hudson St., Bleecker St., & W. 11th St.). Cost: $450,000. Item #11: Real Time Rider Information at Bus Stops Fund electronic boards to display real-time bus arrival information at five key bus stops through Council District 3. Cost: $125,000. Item #12: Historic Street Lighting for Greenwich Village Replace the old street lighting with historic lamp posts on Seventh Ave South (btw. Christopher & Bleecker Sts.) in the Greenwich Village Historic District. Cost: $176,000. Item #13: Basketball Court Renovations at Chelsea Park Repave/repaint the court and install new hoops at W. 27th St., at 10th Ave. Cost: $575,000.

Photo by Sean Egan

High School of Fashion Industries librarian Judith Dahill advocated for funds for a technology upgrade for the school — “So grades can soar.”

Fifteen Vie for Funding in Participatory Budgeting Process PB continued from p. 1

period for the PB process — a program in which community residents propose, and then vote on, capital improvement projects. Funding comes from $1 million set aside by City Councilmember Corey Johnson. With voting happening now through April 2 at six physical locations and online at tinyurl.com/kdkyh26. Chelsea Now took stock of the expo’s 15 presentations — five of which you can vote for, so long as you are 14 years of age or older, and live in NYC Council District 3. School improvements were one of the most popular types of project on the PB ballot. “We’re in an old building, we have very limited outlet usage,” explained Nicole Barth, a PS

3 parent. “We’re scared of overloading the electrical system,” she said — fears that would be curtailed by the new, upgraded electrical panel and quad outlets the project seeks. On the other end of the spectrum, parent Alice Ho was concerned with unsafe drinking water at the Lab and Museum Schools, where some water outlets have tested positive for lead. “We basically weren’t feeling warm and fuzzy when the numbers of parts per million kept going up with each test,” she said, and noted that the 12 water fountains would ensure safe drinking water for staff and students. Repping the efforts to get air conditioning for PS 111 was PTA PB continued on p. 10

Item #14: Humanities Educational Complex Bathroom Renovation Repair a fifth grade bathroom and a library bathroom that serves the six schools in the building (351 W. 18th St.). Cost: $300,000. Item #15: Toddler Sprinkler Resurface at Fulton Houses Excavate /resurface Fulton Houses’ (btw. W. 16th & 19th Sts. and Ninth & 10th Aves.) existing playground surface (which is crumbling and has holes in it) so children can safely play. Cost: $500,000.

Darlene Waters is concerned about the safety of the kids of Elliott-Chelsea Houses.

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TOWN HALL continued from p. 1

Bishop, who said that his agency was working to organize job fairs for jobs at Hudson Yards, and is making sure that Related Companies, which developed Hudson Yards, is “aware of the companies certified with us for future opportunities” there. Both de Blasio and Johnson frequently asked people to do more to help flip the state Senate Democratic, citing the Republican-controlled body as a major roadblock for many of the policies the Democratic-controlled City Council wants to make law. Answering a question about “underfunding” at public schools, de Blasio said “we need to fight harder” for state funding, and as long as current funding remains steady “we will hit 100 percent fair funding for every school by 2021.” Johnson followed him and said that “we have to turn the state Senate Democratic” if the city wants to better secure school funding, among other things. Some may be dismayed to learn Mayor de Blasio “is not there yet” on congestion pricing, a scheme in which drivers are charged more money for being in a certain area, such as on the island of Manhattan. He’s not convinced it’s the way to approach traffic issues and is convinced it wouldn’t pass through the Albany legislatures. When asked broadly about the city “getting out from under the yoke of Albany,” de Blasio said the first thing he would do is “strengthen rent regulation.” A woman later on asked the mayor about helping small businesses stay in operation in the face of skyrocketing rents. Johnson said commercial rent regulation, which has been proposed in the city for years via the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), can’t happen without Albany’s support. “It’s never going to happen, because of Albany. Let’s turn the state Senate Democratic and then talk about all the wonderful things we want to do in the world,” he said. At the beginning of the town hall, the mayor plugged his plan to consolidate homeless shelter beds from hundreds of hotels and apartments into 90 citydesignated shelters, but no one asked him about the plan. Councilmember Johnson is a co-sponsor on legislation that seems at odds with that plan, which seeks to site shelters in communities from which people enter the shelter system. The Council legislation looks to spread them more “equitably” around the city. De Blasio announced that the muchmaligned Aladdin Hotel shelter at 317 W. 45th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), in operation since 2002, would be closed .com

Photo by Dennis Lynch

Some parents asked the mayor about the fate of commercial space at Pier 40. They wanted him to ensure that the public space wouldn’t be overrun with businesses.

as a part of his five-year plan. The mayor said he was “adamant” about closing the shelter, but said it would “take time” to do so. “From time to time, we still may need to go into some new hotels when there is a particular need or crisis, but the goal is to get out of hotels, to get out of cluster apartments, which have not been a decent standard of living for people,” de Blasio said. Education issues came up a few times. A public school teacher asked de Blasio about ensuring immigrant children feel safe in school. The mayor said that he and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña have told parents and students “that they are respected and protected regardless of their origins, regardless of their immigration status, and that when they come to their school they are in someplace safe and that no information will ever be shared with the federal authorities.” A parent asked de Blasio if he was doing anything to decrease school size and to counter the policies that may hurt public schools that many expect out of President Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s department. “We’re never going to go to vouchers,” de Blasio said, speaking of publicly funded grants for students to attend private schools. De Blasio said that budget issues, a growing population, and severe overcrowding elsewhere in the city “does not allow us to do as much as we want to on class size.” School Construction Authority CEO Lorraine Grillo listed some local projects including the new middle school

at 75 Morton St. in the West Village, and two sites “near New York University” and Hudson Square they are “debating.” A West Village Houses co-op owner asked the mayor to help work out a better deal than the city first gave owners to keep the cooperative affordable. The mayor said “I tend to think we can find our way to something good,” and a Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) representative said that her department “would very much like” to work something out. Johnson said that he was willing to broker a meeting and reiterated to the HPD rep that the folks at West Village Houses “were not happy with the HPD offer.” The mayor also answered some questions regarding public housing. ElliottChelsea Houses tenants heard that the city was pushing a new preventative program to exterminate rats at the complex. More broadly, de Blasio said he would fight federal cuts to the Department of

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to hopefully maintain some funding for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Answering a broader question about the city’s sanctuary policies, de Blasio said that the city would provide legal assistance to individuals the city sees as wrongly threatened with deportation. Trump’s proposed budget came up again later in the town hall, although city administrators stressed that the budget was far from final and didn’t get into many specifics. A woman asked how the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would step up to fill the role of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Trump wants to slash the EPA’s funding by $2.4 billion, or more than a quarter of its current $8.1 billion budget. “We cannot do everything the EPA TOWN HALL continued on p. 12

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Donna Lieberman Executive Director New York Civil Liberties Union

Thursday, March 30 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

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MSCC continued from p. 1

to remove derelict bikes, clip off milk crates from signposts, and promote the city’s “Adopt-a-Basket” program. The group is also studying the idea of establishing a modular news rack program similar to the one run in Midtown East by the Grand Central Partnership (GCP), in the hopes of eliminating the scattershot placement of news boxes that currently dot the neighborhood. “What we’ve got around the neighborhood are these plastic magazine holders, and they’re always beaten up and look atrocious,” John A. Mudd, the council’s president said at the last week’s meeting. “Our plan is to get rid of them — put something out there that’s nice.” Eugene Sinigalliano, the council’s beautifi cation director, concurred, saying the “massive amounts” of holders are a problem. “At their best [they] sit there, and half are empty and they’re ugly and they can put them wherever they want,” he said. “At worst, [they’re] dumped over and [used as] tables for the homeless, beds for the homeless, chairs for the homeless.” Recently, Sinigalliano, Mudd, and Kathy Kahng of CityRax walked

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Photo by John A. Mudd

Edgar Yu of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office talked about their upcoming “Watch Your Stuff” campaign, designed to remind people not to leave their property unattended.

Eugene Sinigalliano, MSCC’s beautification director, noted that broken sidewalks are a problem.

around Midtown to see how many boxes there were, and counted 128 individual holders. Kahng manages a modular news rack program for the GGCP, which is a large business improvement district (BID) from Fifth to Second Aves., and E. 35th to 54th Sts. Fifty publishers participate in the program, which she noted was vol-

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March 23–29, 2017

untary. “We provide them with news racks and they put their publications in,” Kahng explained to those gathered at The New Yorker hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). There are five other programs like this in the city, she said, and some have received grants from city councilmembers. The grants have covered capital expenses; however, there is still a need for funding for upkeep, she said. Kahng said, “The reason you don’t see too many of these programs is because it’s expensive. And to turn around and say, ‘Okay, well I’m going to make the publishers pay for that’ — there’s too many First Amendment concerns. So really unless you have a third party like yourselves or one of the BIDs to underwrite the program and manage it, it’s not going to happen.” The council is sponsoring a design contest for the multi-box units with Mudd saying in a March 20 email that details will be released soon. In

addition to the holders, the council has been cleaning up the sidewalks in Midtown. “We’re just going to clear the trash in the streets — the excess trash,” Mudd said. “The derelict bikes, the bikes that have been chained to either the fence or the signposts for a long time. Try to make the neighborhood look a little bit nicer.” At the last cleanup operation on Feb. 24, the council put up signs warning people not to attach things to city property, Mudd said in an email. Sinigalliano said at the meeting that they want to be slightly more aggressive when it comes to things that are chained to city property but has some value. “Some of the stuff has been there a long time but we can’t truly call it derelict. If it has value we can’t just throw it out, it has to be vouchered,” he said. The council is also helping to promote the Department of Sanitation’s “Adopt-a-Basket” proMSCC continued on p. 5

You’re invited to join us in honoring

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Thursday, March 30 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact .com


HUDSON GUILDTHEATRE COMPANY

LA PAZZA VITA Photo by John A. Mudd

The Midtown South Community Council has been removing derelict bikes from the sidewalks. MSCC continued from p. 4

gram, Sinigalliano said. “It’s a very simple program and very ingenious. Basically, Sanitation can’t empty the [trash] baskets as fast as some baskets in very busy areas fi ll up. So rather than overflowing all over our streets and creating a hazard, businesses agree to adopt a basket,” he explained. Sanitation gives bags to the businesses, which have employees close the bag when it’s full, remove and then replace it, he said. Businesses can also sponsor a basket as well. Inspector Russell Green thanked the council for its beautifi cation efforts, and said, “Once it’s brought to your attention, you really realize how cluttered everything can get — it’s an eyesore, it’s a danger, it just really piles up… more chains, hand trucks, and racks. I’ve never even heard of anyone recognizing it, never mind taking the initiative to see how to remove it.” Green said that 85 percent of the crimes that the Midtown South Precinct deal with are grand larcenies and robberies. Theft often occurs

when property is left unattended, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is currently preparing to launch a campaign that will remind people to “Watch Your Stuff.” “The inspector mentioned it earlier in his report that grand larceny is a huge problem and he’s absolutely right,” said Edgar Yu of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office (manhattanda.org). “It’s not a problem just in Midtown South but, in fact, accounts for 70 percent of the indexed crimes south of 59th. [For] all 10 precincts south of 59th St., grand larceny continues to be a huge problem.” Yu said the office has designed a “multi-faceted campaign and social media strategy” to help address the issue. “The reality is, this can be prevented,” he said, referencing the goal of their upcoming “Watch Your Stuff” initiative. Visit midtownsouthcc.org for more information about the Midtown South Community Council. For more information about the “Adopt-a-Basket” program go to www1.nyc.gov/assets/ dsny/contact/programs/adopt-a-basket.shtml.

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March 23–29, 2017

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Not Just a Spring Thing: Creativity Blooms in Chelsea BY MARIA DIAZ New York is a city drawn outside the lines — a city that is alive with bold, genuine personalities driven to express themselves. Their passion and creativity seeks to disrupt the constants of life, and, in doing so, provides us with a vibrant cultural scene. We at the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) have recently ventured into merging the arts world with the business community through our “Village Arts Alive” initiative. In doing so, we have come across some amazing establishments dedicated to the tireless promotion of those with talent and vision — three of which are featured below. We hope you’ll visit them soon, and share with us what you took away from the experience.

THE T. SCHREIBER STUDIO FOR FILM & THEATRE Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and currently celebrating the 48th anniversary of his Studio, Terry Schreiber has been teaching and directing since 1969. In addition to presenting its own productions, audiences can pull back the curtain and take classes that teach the finer points of “show” and “business.” Many performers who have graced the Broadway stage or the silver screen had their humble beginnings at the theatre, and often make a return later down the road — which speaks he studio’s nurturing, welcoming environment. Keelie Sheridan, educator and theatre-maker notes, “We’ve become a family through collaborating together, and there really isn’t anything more valuable than having that kind of workspace.” The studio truly values the importance of growing as a performer and having a professional platform to express your trade. Along with these values, T. Schreiber remains an accessible venue for New Yorkers looking to experience theatre at inclusive and affordable pricing. When the opportunity presents, Schreiber is known to choose programming that highlights local writers, taking into account not only the content of the storyline, but how that story came to life. T. Schreiber’s Mainstage production, Michael Weller’s “Loose Ends” — a 1970s-set play of that same era — runs through April 15. Its plot follows a young woman conflicted between the rights to her body and the approval of those she loves. Looking toward the bright future for the studio, T. Schreiber has crafted a

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Photo by Gilli Getz

T. Schreiber Studio for Film & Theatre founder Terry Schreiber, seen here teaching an acting class. A March 27 gala celebrates Schreiber’s 80th year and benefits the Studio.

two-year conservatory set to begin in the fall. The goal of the program is to develop an artist as a whole, in preparation for adaptability in the changing industry. T. Schreiber is located at 151 W. 26th St., Seventh Fl., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves. Call 212-741-0209 or visit tschreiber. org. Instagram: @tsstudio. Facebook: facebook.com/tschreiberstudio. Twitter: @TSStudio. Tickets are now available for the March 27 Benefit Gala celebrating Terry’s 80th year (auction items and entertainment to be announced soon).

AGORA GALLERY

Courtesy Agora Gallery

“Contemplation” (Oil & acrylic on canvas; 24 x 18 in.) is by Sydnei SmithJordan, one of six artists featured in the “Portals of Perception” exhibition at Agora Gallery through March 30.

What originally stood as a small Soho gallery now represents the pieces and collections of numerous artists looking to broaden their careers on a global scale. Started by the late Israeli-born artist Miki Stiles in 1984, the gallery is now owned by her son, who has made it his work to continue, and build upon, Miki’s commitment to nurturing up-andcoming artists. Agora represents its artists before and after the exhibition’s run. Gallery assistant Anna Lustberg noted that the gallery seeks to provide artists with connections and communication chanGVCCC continued on p. 23 .com


The Mettle for Pedal: Enoch’s Bike Shop is a Wheel Wonder BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC “Wear a helmet” and “don’t go too cheap” are aphorisms Enoch Hooper dishes out like a Zen master doles out koans, when customers enter the doors of his eponymously named Enoch’s Bike Shop. The longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident and business owner may be a fan of short statements, but his knowledge of bicycles is a well that runs deep. Hooper caught the bike bug after he moved to New York City in 1970. Born in Panama, he lived in various places and went to school in Tampa, Florida. He moved to the city because he “just wanted to go someplace exciting.” After a stint as a cab driver, Hooper worked as a bike messenger, on and off, for the next 10 years. He was employed by several services, including what he termed “can carriers.” “They used to deliver a lot of fi lms, which in those days came wrapped in big sardine cans,” Hooper explained. “The good thing was a lot of freedom,” he told Chelsea Now during a recent visit to his shop. “Nobody telling you what to do constantly. The body’s full of endorphins, feeling good most of the time. And I like to look around a lot — what a wonderful place to do that, this city.” To keep his bike in working order, he learned how to do repairs. “Bicycles are fragile things, so you either pay somebody to fi x them for you or you learn how to fi x them,” he said. He then started fi xing other people’s bikes, including those belonging to friends. “I turned that into a small business where I would do the repairs at the messenger office. Little by little, it just grew to where it became pretty clear that my next step should be at a storefront and open a shop,” he recalled. Hooper moved to Hell’s Kitchen — around W. 48th St. and 10th Ave. — in 1976 because of “cheap, cheap rent.” He opened up his bike shop in the neighborhood in 1983 because he lived “right around the corner.” The store’s fi rst location was 699 10th Ave. (btw. W. 47th & 48th Sts.), and business was good. “I catered to messengers mainly,” he recalled. “There weren’t a lot of normal people — I use the word normal — but ‘regular’ people that would ride bicycles. Nothing like it is nowadays. .com

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Enoch Hooper, a former bike messenger, opened the shop after learning how to keep his own wheels in good working order.

Enoch’s Bike Shop has occupied various locations in Hell’s Kitchen since 1983.

Very little competition; not that many bike shops. Whereas now, they’re all over the place.” After 13 years at that location, Hooper had to move. The city owned the building and wanted to do renovations, and he would have had to shutter his business for a long time if he stayed. The store opened at its second spot, 756 10th Ave. (btw. W. 51st & 52nd Sts.) in 1996, and business “was not as good as the fi rst location.” The landscape was starting to change. There was more competition from other stores, and from a number of bicycle parts mail-order houses that

had started up in the early 1990s. In 2009, Enoch’s moved to 10th Ave., on the corner of W. 37th St. About four and a half years ago, the store moved to a different spot in the same building, Hooper said, with its current location between W. 36th and 37th Sts. “It’s a struggle,” he said, saying there are not enough customers. “Middle of the road retail is pretty much dead now days. Places like this… [it’s] very difficult to sell merchandise nowadays ’cause the Internet will sell a bicycle for just about what I have to pay for it wholesale, I guess because of the vol-

ume that they buy in. So we’re mostly focusing now on repairs.” Hooper said the most common thing that people need fi xing is flat tires or replacing a tire, as well as repairing brakes and gears. “We’re very good at repairs, and we’re fair [with] pricing and we’re friendly,” he said. “I’ve got a guy here who people really like, Will — the guy who runs the place when I’m not around. I’m almost semiretired at this point, so he’s here more than I am lately.” William Gillespie, 52, has worked at Enoch’s Bike Shop on and off for about 20 years. “It’s fun. It’s independent. It’s a small business — you don’t have the same obligations as the corporate world,” Gillespie told Chelsea Now by phone. “I get paid to ride a bicycle.” Gillespie was also a bike messenger, and started volunteering at Enoch’s in the winter of 1996 to learn the trade. By the spring, he was working at the shop. Hooper, who had soot on his hands during our visit, also still does repairs, which he enjoys. “It’s like you’re helping people,” he said. Some customers have been coming to the store for 30 years, and Hooper has lived at the same place BIKE SHOP continued on p. 23 March 23–29, 2017

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POLICE BLOTTER THEFT OF SERVICES: Crimes in the ancient Maritime Usually criminals hold to the cardinal rule of never returning to the scene of the crime — but the siren call of the Maritime Hotel caused one man to risk breaking the rules on Thurs., March 16. The man entered the hotel’s bar (88 Ninth Ave., btw. W. 16th & 17th Sts.) at around 11:35pm and began to rack up a $54.44 tab, which he would proceed to refuse to pay. Luckily, concurrently, a manager eating in the area spotted the patron and recognized him from a few days earlier — when he racked up a $93 bill that he ditched. The authorities were called and the 35-year-old man was arrested.

CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A FORGED INSTRUMENT: Limo lockup At around 8pm on Fri., March 17, an officer observed a black 2016 Benz Sprinter Van on the 300 block of Eighth Ave. (btw. W. 25th & 26th Sts.),

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which was brandished with an altered Indiana temporary registration license plate affi xed to its back. Upon further inspection of the van, a gravity knife was found. The vehicle’s driver tried to protest, claiming that he was the coowner of a limo company, as if the title held clout in this particular situation. Nonetheless, the 42-year-old Queens man, who already had a prior conviction in New York state, was arrested.

PETIT LARCENY: Snapshot snatcher On Fri., March 17, a 44-year-old Italian tourist discovered that in New York City, a picture’s worth… about the retail price of a cellphone, apparently. At 4:45pm, the woman stopped to take a picture at the southwest corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 23rd St., and reached into her purse to grab her phone. The thing is, she had a second phone in her bag — a bag she left open while taking her snapshot. When she looked in the purse shortly after getting her picture, she realized the phone (valued at $322) was gone — and likely went missing when she felt an unknown individual bump into her. SAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE

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March 23–29, 2017

On Fri., March 17, as a 22-yearold woman was crossing 10th Ave. at W. 19th St. at 9:45am, a fourdoor gray sedan suddenly whizzed by and struck her. The car just kept on going, making an eastbound turn toward W. 20th St., and then fleeing northbound on 10th Ave. While a canvas was conducted to negative

THE 13th PRECINCT: Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.

results, and the status of cameras at the location is currently unknown, the woman was able to ascertain a partial plate number. Unfortunately, complaining of pain to the left hand, the victim was evaluated at the scene and transported to Lenox Health Greenwich Village.

—SEAN EGAN

THE 10th PRECINCT: Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

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phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

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a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

March 23–29, 2017

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PB continued from p. 2

Co-president Trevor Richardson. Explaining that almost all the school’s AC units are broken, Richardson said, “The library is a key spot in our school that’ll help a lot of people,” noting that public places like this would be targeted in order to help provide relief to students, and the community at large during the summer months. Repairs to the bathrooms at the Humanities Educational Complex (home to six schools) — described by student Nicole Bernardo as being “a mess,” with broken stalls, tiles, and missing sinks — will also be featured on the ballot, as will a technology upgrade to the High School of Fashion Industries. Another major variety of project involved the improvement and upkeep of public spaces like parks and gardens. “The block has been fighting for over 20 years,” said Community Board 4 (CB4) member JD Noland of the efforts to get a new Hell’s Kitchen park off the ground. Now, with the Parks Department approving the use of a location on 10th Ave. (btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.), Noland sees PB funds as a way of officially getting the ball rolling. “We need it for the children of Hell’s Kitchen,” Noland said. Also from CB4 was Liam Buckley, advocating for general repairs for the Penn South playground. “It’s become outdated,” he noted. “Things are breaking, things are dirty.” “We’ve been getting a lot of complaints from parents about how open the yards are,” explained ElliottChelsea Houses resident Darlene Waters, whose project proposed improvements to the Houses’ garden area, including fencing that would prevent kids from easily running out into nearby streets. Protective fenc-

Photos by Sean Egan

JD Noland of CB4 believes that securing a park for the children of Hell’s Kitchen is crucial.

Trevor Richardson, Laura Voss, and their children Julian and Eliza represented the effort to provide air conditioning to crucial areas of PS 111.

ing was also on the mind of historian Jack Intrator, a volunteer with Jefferson Market Garden stumping for funds to replace the garden’s northern chain-link fence that is a “security issue,” as well as “a toolshed that’s past its longevity.” Other ballot items include historic street lighting on Seventh Ave. South, and real-time rider information at bus stops throughout the district. “I think really now, more than ever, given the trauma that we face every day reading the news, how important it is for everyone to be engaged locally,” said Councilmember Johnson, commending the PB volunteers and residents assembled, and encouraging them to vote. “It really is like watching democracy in action.

VOTING LOCATIONS Councilmember Corey Johnson’s District Office 224 W. 30th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) Suite #1206 March 27-31; 10am-6pm

Hudson Guild Elliott Center 441 W. 26th St. (at 10th Ave.) March 25-26 & April 1-2; 11am-6pm

Fountain House 425 W. 47th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) March 25-26 & April 1-2; 11am-6pm

Greenwich House 27 Barrow St. (btw. W. Fourth & Bleecker Sts.) March 25-26 & April 1-2; 11am-6pm

Fulton Houses Tenants Association Office 419A W. 17th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) March 25-26 & April 1-2; 11am-6pm

The LGBT Center 208 W. 13th St. (btw. Seventh & Greenwich Aves.) March 25-26 & April 1-2; 11am-6pm

Vote online via tinyurl.com/kdkyh26. For more info, visit coreyjohnson.nyc/pb.

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March 23–29, 2017

Peter Marino, Alice Ho, and Savannah Jerome-Solbakken pushed for new water fountains for the Lab and Museum Schools.

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Free and Public Event

Poe: Animated Lois Rakoff, Community Director of the Poe Room, and NYU present “Poe: Animated.” Join us for a screening of animated short films based on Poe’s short stories. This event is free and open to the public and an RSVP is required. RSVP by calling 212-998-2400 or by filling out the online form at bit.ly/2nVSQxc. Community members and NYU come together and partner on the Poe Room Event each fall and spring. When: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:00 - 8:00 pm Where: NYU School of Law 245 Sullivan Street Room 216 (between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South)

FRIEND OF POINT

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March 23–29, 2017

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TOWN HALL continued from p. 3

does; I think that’s the sad truth. We can use all our powers and work with the state... if we see there is some gap we can legally act on,” de Blasio said. De Blasio also advocated for his “mansion tax” — a 2.5 percent tax on the sale of homes $2 million or higher. The city’s Office of Management and Budget estimates it could net $336 million in the fiscal years 2018, according to the New York Post. That tax would come on top of a 1 percent tax levied by the state since the late 1980s on home sales of $1 million or more. Many locals pushed de Blasio about land use. Community Board 4 (CB4) Clinton/ Hell’s Kitchen Land Use committee Chairperson Jean-Daniel Noland asked the mayor personally for help bringing affordable housing to the district, and got some good news about two sites in the district. The city has worked out “very close” to 100 percent affordable or completely affordable housing at the Slaughterhouse Site on 11th Ave. (btw. W. 39th & 40th Sts.) and will soon designate a developer for the site. HPD Deputy Commissioner Molly Park also announced that her department would issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for two affordable sites

Photo by Dennis Lynch

Mayor de Blasio gave former State Senator Tom Duane (seated in front of the American flag) a nod at the beginning of the town hall.

at Hudson Yards in the late spring or early summer. Fern Luskin asked de Blasio to create a liaison between the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in order to prevent historic buildings from being “defaced.” Luskin and others have spent years determined to halt further altera-

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status of their buildings to obtain demolition permits to scare off rent-regulated tenants, which in some cases can be a felony. Many people in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen believe the DOB has failed to properly enforce its rules in the neighborhood. Chandler said he would “love nothing more than to get an owner on a felony if I could,” and that he was working to remedy loopholes in DOB permit applications that could allow landlords to misrepresent their buildings. De Blasio added that his administration was hiring more inspectors to help enforce rules. Bad actors came up again at the end of the town hall, in reference to a number of addresses CB4 shared with the city that concern them. Chandler mentioned some Stop Work Orders, although de Blasio pushed for a more straightforward answer. “Let’s be tight — it [work] stays frozen until there is a resolution that we believe is the proper resolution,” de Blasio told Chandler.

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tions (and reverse a fifth floor addition) to the Hopper-Gibbons House, a 339 W. 29th St. structure with well-documented links to the Underground Railroad and the 1863 Draft Riots. “Yes, look, I appreciate the question exactly,” de Blasio said. “When we have come to the determination that something deserves landmark status we have to make sure actions are not taken to undermine that landmark.” There seemed to be a misunderstanding with a DOB Commissioner, Rick Chandler, during the discussion — and Councilmember Johnson had to clear up that the Hopper-Gibbons House was indeed a landmarked building and was illegally altered. De Blasio asked Chandler if there were any enforcement options still available with which to go after the owner, and Chandler said he would have an answer to Johnson by Thursday. Chandler was put back in the hot seat later in the town hall when asked about bad actor landlords who misrepresent the

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

EDITOR Scott Stiffler

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Sean Egan

ART DIRECTOR John Napoli

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cristina Alcine

CONTRIBUTORS Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Bill Egbert Dennis Lynch Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Eileen Stukane Zach Williams

ADVERTISING Amanda Tarley

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gayle Greenberg Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

Published by

NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com scott@chelseanow.com © 2017 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association

Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2017 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR: The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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March 23–29, 2017

MARCH IS BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH

CCBA IS PRIVILEGED TO BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY

To The Editor: Since 1997, I’ve tackled the ongoing daily ups-and-downs of my own wholly life-altering traumatic brain injury, caused by Con Edison’s now so-called stray voltage. Much of the media’s limited focus when they cover the more “sensational” incidents emphasize “remarkable recoveries,” “exceptional care” and “vast support.” The typical brain injury story actually is usually a very complex, erratic, gritty, and lasting one, with no less inspiring or heroic elements than the media models. Each one is also replete with a dire need for a better understanding, support, respect, and covered or affordable services and therapies. Many of the injury’s symptoms are often recognized only by its survivors or the most sensitive care providers, who themselves are likely to be baffled by the overwhelmingly and even contradictory array of systemic challenges. Professionals and the general public need to more carefully educate themselves about these injuries so as to improve prevention and care for this devastating, yet often preventable, menace that, statistics show, hurts more lives than any other health threat, and for which everyone is at risk. Improved awareness and care may begin by obtaining information from organizations like the Brain Injury Association of America (biausa.org), by encouraging more in-depth representation in the media, and by fair and compassionate action by our legislators and health care providers. Phil Vanaria

To The Editor: Re: PeopleWay, Yea and Nay: Debating the Fate of 14th Street (Talking Points, March 9): Creating a PeopleWay and prohibiting vehicles on 14th Street will be terrible for the adjacent side streets. Our March 9 Talking Point opposing the PeopleWay — which was written by members of the 14th Street L-Line Closing Extended Task Force (a group initiated by the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, aka CCBA) — speaks for itself. With regard to the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Talking Point in which Mr. Nadal, writing for TA, stated that he had the impression “that the CCBA is currently acting as a special interest lobbying group defending only the views of the most privileged fraction of the community.” CCBA responds as follows: CCBA is privileged to have formed 59 years ago and now is a coalition of 15 block associations covering 25 blocks in Chelsea with a mission to strive to improve the quality of life of those who live in, work in and visit Chelsea. CCBA is privileged to have formed our Community & Residents Protection Working Group (CRP) that has identified illegal activities by landlords impacting rent-regulated and other tenants; information given to the appropriate persons/agencies. CCBA is privileged to have supported a new bike lane and micro-gardens along Sixth Ave. in conjunction with CHEKPEDS, a coalition for pedestrian safety whose logo reads, “Less Traffic Better Streets.” CCBA is privileged to work with the Fulton and ElliottChelsea Houses Tenants Associations, to help coordinate their receiving film donation money when filming activities take place on blocks by their buildings. The above example activities relate to all segments of our Chelsea community and it is CCBA’s privilege to be involved. Bill Borock President, CCBA

ON THE ORIGIN OF SAVE CHELSEA To The Editor: Re: Letters to The Editor (March 9, 2017; “The struggle to save Chelsea continues”): Gloria Sukenick’s letter states: “Save Chelsea had its beginning with Jane Woods’ Chelsea Coalition on Housing.” Taking nothing away from the monumental accomplishments of Jane’s group, I’d like to clarify. Save Chelsea’s origin was (as with so many other worthy beginnings) with Bob Trentlyon. Its earliest meetings were in Bob’s living room where a group of neighbors gathered to plan opposition to the General Theological Seminary’s sell-out to The Brodsky Organization. Their plan was to build a 17-story block-long glass tower on Ninth Ave. We became “Save Chelsea Historical District.” The battle raged for over two years when the Seminary and Brodsky caved to community pressure. The result is the structure we see now. It is thanks to Ed Kirkland’s achievement, the Chelsea Plan, limiting building heights to 75 feet, that we had a weapon to wield. Victorious, we met to chart our course forward as a local preservation group, broadening our scope to encompass the larger neighborhood. We became “Save Chelsea.” We invited key members from Jane’s group to join us. Their contributions have been invaluable. Save Chelsea has engaged in numerous struggles to preserve our heritage while advocating for preservation of our diminishing besieged stock of rent-regulated housing. I want here to thank Gloria for her lifelong commitment to the struggle to keep people in their homes, and to provide new housing for people in need. Pamela Wolff

FEEDBACK FROM FACEBOOK Re: “West Side Workshop Troubleshoots L Train Shutdown” (posted to chelseanow.com March 1): The article could have used some of the space devoted to trashing Transportation Alternatives to explain the concepts behind the PeopleWay idea. I live on 14th St. and believe it is a perfectly viable way to redesign the street to move the most people along the corridor in a safe, efficient and more pleasant manner, rather than just trying to put more buses on the street. I believe it would reduce vehicular traffic not just on 14th St. but on the surrounding streets as well. Blair Bertaccini E-mail letters to Scott@ChelseaNow.com (not longer than 250 words in length) or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One MetroTech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity, and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters. .com


Away With Escapism The 2017 Whitney Biennial is a dark reflection of challenging times BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Marking its first installment in the museum’s new home in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Biennial is as comprehensive as it is eclectic. Curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, who are both in their mid-30s, it reflects the result of several months’ worth of research and studio visits. There are 63 participants in total and many more works on display, spanning two entire floors and reaching into several others. Although the Whitney Biennials have always aimed to present a cross-section of current American art (and trends), this year’s 78th edition certainly counts among its darkest. You will find little art about art, or purely conceptual positions. We live in a world filled with explosive issues — and falling into a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and extreme politics, this Biennial was not conceived to divert our gaze or offer any sense of escapism. Instead, it aims to address vital issues at hand and, as a result, serves as a stunning reminder that visual art can count among the most poignant reflections of the pulse of our time. In fact, art thrives when times are challenging. A good way to tour the vast assemblage of objects, installations, and thoughts is from the top down. As soon as visitors step off the elevator on the sixth floor, they will be facing Henry Taylor’s almost mural-sized canvas “Ancestors of Genghis Khan with Black Man on horse” (2015-2017). Painting large comfortably, Los Angeles-based Taylor is known for his innovative exploration of portraiture. He is an avid chronicler of the world he observes, primarily his immediate surroundings. His figures, which are set against simplified backgrounds, point at increasingly visible racial tensions, especially between law enforcement and the communities they serve. They are both poetic and tothe-point. Nearby, several more of Taylor’s works can be viewed, counting among the best that this Biennial has to offer. Turning 180 degrees, one will find three small sculptural works by New Mexico-based artist Puppies Puppies. Upon closer inspection, one can recognize each as a gun trigger, albeit stripped of most of their context. These works belong to the artist’s “Triggers” series, which focuses on the mere mechanism that prompts the firing sequence of a gun. In this case, each piece marks the leftover remains of a Glock 22 that was destroyed at the artist’s request. While drawing attention to the ongoing misery of gun violence in the United States at large, these works also come from a personal place; a wall text informs the viewer that the artist’s mother was held at gunpoint in a school parking lot when the artist was 11 years old. Throughout the museum, sculptures by Jessi Reaves can be discovered. Merging found objects such as .com

Courtesy the artists

Postcommodity, still from “A Very Long Line” (2016. Four-channel digital video, color, sound; looped).

Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin; photo by Gert Jan van Rooij

Jo Baer, “Dusk (Bands and End-Points)” (2012. Oil on canvas, 86 x 118 in.).

baskets, electrical wiring, or a vinyl purse with natural materials like driftwood, she creates unusual concoctions that hint at the former functionality of their various ingredients. Her sculptures range from complex to rather simplistic. An example of the latter is

“Herman’s Dress” (2017), for which she sheathed an Eames Herman Miller sofa in a translucent pink silk slipcover. As a result, the modernist piece of furniture 2017 WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued on p. 18 March 23–29, 2017

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Buoyed by Drag, a Silenced Voice Soars Again Stage show spotlights the superhuman sounds of Yma Sumac BY GERALD BUSBY “The Legend of Yma Sumac,” which opened Wed, March 15 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, is as exotic and surprising as its subject. Born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo, Yma Sumac (early 1920s– 2008) was a Peruvian woman with prodigious vocal gifts. Her pinpoint intonation that covered five octaves, along with her frighteningly real imitations of wild jungle animals — accompanied by samba rhythms — made her an international superstar. She was a major Capitol Records artist and made her Broadway debut in 1951 in the musical “Flahooley.” She toured the world and sang for Mikhail Gorbachev in Soviet Russia, and for Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Her fee in Las Vegas exceeded Frank Sinatra’s. Steve Willis, a 23-year resident of the Chelsea Hotel, is the director and producer of “The Legend of Yma Sumac,” which bears the marks of his varied career as a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and music video director for artists including Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Jinkx Monsoon and Sharon Needles. As a young, aspiring performer in 1987, Willis met Sumac at her home in Los Angeles, and quickly became a devoted fan. He began videotaping conversations with her and became a confidant and biographer. She inspired him as no one had before, and telling her story to the world became one of his primary missions. With this current project, Willis has theatrically actualized his goal — and is also making a documentary film about her, which plays a major role in the stage production. Willis’ choice of drag artist Scarlet Envy to personify Yma Sumac ironically captures Sumac’s struggle to defi ne and claim her own identity. Drag performers have similar concerns, since their form of theater is historically based on impersonation. However, this art of becoming aesthetically the other sex is being transformed by gender performance artists who incorporate in their act subtle nuances as well as startling confrontations of being both male and female. They want to bend and reshape our very perception of the difference between men and women. Sumac’s obsession with being taken

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Photo by Steve Willis

Scarlet Envy as Yma Sumac.

Photo by Alan Eichler

Steve Willis befriended Yma Sumac in 1987.

seriously as a singer reflected the same existential anxiety. She was a Peruvian immigrant to the US whose promoters claimed she was a descendant of royalty — an Incan Princess who could make almost supernatural sounds with her voice. She studied singing with opera coaches in Los Angeles and could execute with technical finesse the most demanding coloratura arias, such as “The Queen of the Night” from Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute.” But that accomplishment was of less importance than her natural

ability to vocalize with clarity and precision within a five-octave range. She could pop out a perfectly intoned A above High-C in the middle of a sambainspired arrangement of a Peruvian folk tune. This niche made her famous, but didn’t satisfy her longing to be recognized as an opera singer. Steve Willis has fashioned cabaret tableaux with three riveting performers — Scarlet Envy as Yma Sumac, and Richard Cecilico and Juan Pablo Rahal as dancers and personal attendants.

Their various configurations on stage are juxtaposed with projected clips of live and studio performances from the ’50s and ’60s by Sumac. The high point of the show came when Scarlet, wearing a gown and hairdo that matched a photograph of Yma being projected on the screen, seemed to merge with the images. The audience’s response was spontaneously rousing. The male dancers, with ornate headdresses, loincloths, and leather moccasins, did a groovy mean-Indian-too number round and round the small stage. It was campy and sexy. Scarlet became more and more alive and engaging as the show progressed. She changed into numerous extravagant costumes, all modeled on originals worn by Sumac. Between film clips of Yma’s coloratura flourishes, Scarlet lipsynched Willis’ archival recorded interviews with Sumac. Sumac was world-renowned for making beautiful, superhuman vocal sounds; words were in every sense secondary. Willis’ way of introducing the audience to Yma skillfully combines images with language and without language. His choice of a lip-synching drag performer to depict a vocal virtuoso is perfect. In Scarlet’s performance, spoken words and vocal flourishes are at times reduced to sequences of muscular patterns on a soundless face. Sumac’s first album, 1950’s “Voice of the Xtabay,” captured the world’s attention mainly because of her stratospheric vocal gymnastics. Those astonishing extravagances of the human voice don’t include many words. What we mostly hear are glottal stops (the beginning and end of phrases) and “ah,” the vowel that most completely opens the throat — and the occasional starling cry from a jungle bird. “The Legend of Yma Sumac” could well be a new medium of wordless voices and images used intermittently to tell the story. Steve Willis’ work compellingly points in that direction. Wed., March 29, 9:30pm, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside the West Bank Cafe (407 W. 42nd St., at Ninth Ave). Tickets: $22 in advance ($25 at the door), plus a $20 food/drink minimum ($50 VIP ticket gets you preferred seating and backstage meet and greet). Reservations: 212-352-3101 or spincyclenyc.com. Find the show and Scarlet Envy on Instagram via @thelegendofyma and @scarletenvy. .com


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WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued from p. 15

takes on an unexpected disguise, as well as an air of eroticism and kitsch. Also drawing on found objects, yet with an eye on abstraction, Kaari Upson turns stained paper towel rolls and upholstered furniture into lush sculptures. In the past, for example, she used a weathered sectional sofa that she left exposed in the driveway behind her Los Angeles studio for a year. It is through the reorientation of such objects and the painting of their soft surfaces that Upson succeeds in obscuring her source. In fact, her pigmentcovered sculptures faintly evoke the work of some artists not exhibited here, such as the Glasgow-based Karla Black and the American John Chamberlain. In fact, Chamberlain’s sculptures, which are made of compressed automobile parts, seem like hard-edged and highly saturated counterparts to Upson’s gentler biomorphic forms. Meanwhile, like Black, Upson finds a way to bestow an air of the extraordinary onto the ordinary. One of the largest installations by a single artist — or in this case, artist collective — comes in the form of KAYA’s “Serene” (2017). The sprawling display is made of 13 large works, which are both installed on walls and hanging freely from the ceiling. It is a number sparked by the artists’ muse, collaborator and name-giver Kaya Serene, a friend’s daughter, who was 13 when the collective started working together in 2010. As KAYA, Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers explore the intersection between sculpture, painting, installation, and performance. Involving an array of components such as hardware, synthetic leather, translucent supports, suede, tiles, and cast resin fragments, the works are as faceted as they are theatrical. While there are plenty of paintings to discover, most of them are figurative and some even illustrative in nature.

Photograph by Matthew Carasella

Installation view: Rafa Esparza, “Figure Ground: Beyond the White Field” (2017).

Among these are a group of six unstretched canvases by the formidable American artist Jo Baer, who has been based in Amsterdam for years. Born in 1929, Baer might be looking back at more than six decades of painting, and yet her work couldn’t look more timely. Begun in 2009, her series “In the Land of the Giants” is rooted in her research of the Hurlstone (Holed Stone), a prehistoric megalith in County Louth, Ireland. Baer’s imagery, which spans from human figures, references to paintings, and animals to landscapes, was sourced from the Internet and composed with the help of digital media. The results are strange amalgams of visual information that confuse our traditional perception of space and time. Despite their far-reaching content, Baer’s paintings are far from cluttered;

You’re invited to join us in honoring

Edie Windsor Succesful Plaintiff in lawsuit that struck down Defense of Marriage Act

Thursday, March 30 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact 18

March 23–29, 2017

Collection of the artist; courtesy Company Gallery, NY; photo by Matthew Carasella

Installation view: Raúl De Nieves, “beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end” (2016).

they are sparse, soft in palette, and elegantly conceived. Other examples of resonant paintings are five large abstract canvases by Carrie Moyer and six compositions by Shara Hughes. Both of these individual positions mark a highlight on the overall disjointed fifth floor. Moyer’s compositions are abstract — and since the early 2000s, they have involved the use of small collages as a starting point. Meanwhile, Hughes’ exuberant landscapes stem from the imagination. In contrast to Moyer’s larger paintings, which envelop the viewer, Hughes’

works are of a medium scale and appear as windows or even portals into otherworldly landscapes. Their almost hallucinatory quality evokes the late watercolor landscapes of Charles Burchfield, which the Whitney featured in their old Breuer building in 2010. Hughes frequently begins a composition by altering the canvas’ surface by covering it in a glue-like substance or spray-painting its back. These first steps serve as a self-imposed challenge, establishing a situation to which the artist then has to WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued on p. 19 .com


Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist & DC Moore Gallery, NY

Carrie Moyer, “Swiss Bramble” (2016. Acrylic and glitter on canvas, 84 x 78 in.).

WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued from p. 18

respond. Overall, Hughes’ scenes are far from harmonious. Underneath these saturated colors remains the suggestion of something unhinged, if not postapocalyptic. Hughes’ landscapes in particular make for an interesting segue to “A Very Long Line” (2016), a four-channel digital video installation by Postcommodity. Filling an entire self-contained space, it focuses on the border between the United States and Mexico. It is a site that has been emotionally and politically charged for years, but even more so since the 2016 election. Filmed from a car window, the footage is projected along with an out-of-sync audio component. The result succeeds in disorienting the viewer, reflecting its premise that the border, which was predated by important Indigenous trade and migration routes, is not fully known or truly understood. One of the most brutal experiences is offered by Jordan Wolfson’s “Real Violence” (2017). Employing virtual reality headsets, his high-defi nition video lasts no more than two and a half minutes, and yet one will not leave quite the same. During that brief time period, we witness an act of unexplained and incredible violence as it unfolds on a sunny day in a Western city. A recording .com

of Chanukah blessings, city traffic, and violence form the tangled soundtrack to the visuals. Due to the virtual reality headset, one can easily turn away from the scene and focus on trees or disengaged passersby instead. However, one can never escape the sound, which is as prominent as if one were to stand right in the middle of the event. In Wolfson’s film, we might be able to turn our back on the deadly assault of another human being, but we aren’t permitted to stop listening to it. It is a sickening experience, which leaves a lingering feeling that will get triggered (albeit less overtly) several more times. On the fifth floor, the intimate Dana Schutz painting “Open Casket” (2016) depicts Emmett Till in his coffin (her monumental work “Elevator” from 2017 faces the fifthfloor elevator). In 1955, the 14-year-old African American Till was accused of having flirted with a white woman and beaten to death. When Till’s mother decided to have an open casket at his funeral, traces of the brutal assault were made visible to all, helping to spark the Civil Rights movement. Schutz’s work captures Till in his casket, reinterpreting his mutilations through thick layers of paint and a deep gash. This is hardly a graphic depiction of the subject, and yet Schutz succeeds in finding a form for a layered feeling. Even without read-

Photo by Scott Rudd © 2016

Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, curators of the Whitney Biennial 2017.

ing the title and wall text, we sense that there is something completely wrong, dark, and senseless before us. In this context, the abstract, geometric enamels by Ulrike Müller serve as a reprieve. Müller’s work is concerned with contemporary feminist and genderqueer concerns. A member of the feminist genderqueer collective LTTR, she has used text, sculpture, weaving, video, performance, painting, and drawing in her work. Overall, Müller continuously explores the relationship between abstraction and the body. Employing geometrical figures and color surfaces, the compositions on display here exude an erotic and sexual quality. Certainly, the Biennial is filled with many more works to explore. Raúl De Nieves’ impressive site-specific installation on the fifth floor and John Divola’s photography series are among them. While De Nieves covered no fewer than six floor-to-ceiling windows with 18 “stained glass” panels, which he created with paper, wood, tape, beads, and acetate sheets, Divola captured discarded student paintings on the walls of abandoned buildings in Southern California. If there is a case to make, it is that this particular and most elaborate installment of the Whitney Biennial is impossible to take in during a single visit. Instead, one should plan to return

several times. Meanwhile, the Whitney has given the online presentation of the Biennial much thought. Perhaps, for the first time, its website serves as a valuable resource for both those who have and those who have not seen the works in person. Ultimately, the Whitney Biennial provides less of an overview of what is currently being made in American art than that it represents a compilation of excerpts of voices that deserve to be heard. It is clear that this year, there will be a less lively debate about the exhibition’s overall quality — usually a given fact that is as much anticipated as the event itself. Who will argue against a show that gives a forum to valuable criticisms? However, if you are looking for a feel-good distraction in a time of anguish, contain yourself to the permanent collection on the upper floors. The 2017 Whitney Biennial is on view through June 11 at the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St., btw. 10th Ave. & Washington St.). The sixth floor of the Biennial closes on July 16. Hours: Sun., Mon., Wed., Thurs., 10:30am– 6pm. Fri. & Sat., 10:30am–10pm. Admission: Online, $22 general, $17 for students/seniors. At the door: $25 general, $18 for students/senior. Free for members and those under 18. Call 212-570-3600 or visit whitney.org. March 23–29, 2017

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Russian to Judgment Comey’s not covering for his comb-over commander-in-chief BY MAX BURBANK Everybody hates Mondays, but the first Monday after vacation is the worst. That’s pretty much every Monday for poor old Donald Trump, who couldn’t catch a break if it was chained to his ankle and dead. But this Monday? Yowza. It’s still got to be stinging like a shaving cut sluiced in Old Spice “Sea Salt ’n Vinegar” scent. In five and a half hours of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (oxymoron), FBI Director James Comey upended the “Santa Sack of Crap” he seems to always have with him and directed it toward the Trump administration’s collective fan. In an extraordinary (yet by now signature) move, Comey revealed his agency is investigating whether members of President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. If this doesn’t seem like an earthshattering development to you, I understand. It’s a little like the FBI investigating whether grass is green. It’s the official, under-oath testimony that makes the difference. It’s all a matter of degree. Sure, everyone already knew this was happening — but on-the-record testimony is like Comey threw the administration on the ground, put his knee on its neck, and ground its face into said grass until the administration looked like former Batgirl actress Yvonne Craig on that one “Stark Trek” episode where she played this sexy green homicidal maniac… ’cause in this metaphor, see, the grass stains would turn the administration all... green. Shut up, it’s an awesome analogy. Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, sketched out a lengthy, suspicious, and deeply depressing timeline of contacts between Trump aides and the Russians, and then posed the rhetorical question, “Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible.” He went on to conclude that it was also possible that he was about to grip a rose in his mouth and lead a conga line of pigs for a dance around the room, but that it was highly unlikely and pig dance fetishists should not be holding their breath. Those may not be Representative Schiff’s exact words, but I feel I’ve adequately conveyed their flavor.

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March 23–29, 2017

AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

“Funny story, remember 11 days before the election when I was all, ‘Hey, whoa, new Hillary emails?’ Turns out I was also investigating Trump’s ties to Russia!”

In a sure sign Trump’s handlers are either literally insane or have zero influence over him whatsoever, the president — you guessed it! — live tweeted the hearing, leading to a bizarre sequence of events. The leader of the free world tweeted, “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.” Representative Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut, read the tweet aloud and took the opportunity to ask Comey if that was true. “It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today.” Allow me to translate: “POTUS Dick, the Great Orange Whale, just sprayed a bilious cloud of lies out his inflamed blowhole.” As if to drive home the point that the president and tweeting mix like corn liquor and cotton candy, Comey also testified that there was absolutely no evidence that President Obama had “wires tapped” (sic) Trump Tower. This means it is now the official, on-record opinion of the FBI that our president is a liar, and that he would be well-advised to “stop, drop, and roll” before his golf trousers are reduced to smoldering ash, leaving him unpleasantly exposed from the waist down.

Republican House members fruitlessly toed the White House line, insisting the “real problem” was not the possibility that Trump & Co. had traded the American Presidency to Vladimir Putin for a handful of magic beans, but that unscrupulous Obama holdovers and despicable Deep State bureaucratic creeps were illegally leaking about the deal to the lügenpresse who happily regurgitated it as FAKE NEWS! If only someone had locked Deep Throat up, the Watergate break-in would retroactively never have happened! Check these concurrent headlines: Our nearly empty State Department announced that Trump’s human dry-erase board Rex Tillerson will not be attending the first meeting of NATO since Trump took office. He is going to be tied up hitting the links with Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago and then jetting off for a quick trip… TO RUSSIA! And what’s-his-face, Michael Flynn? Former national security adviser? Yeah, turns out he was supposed to have registered as a foreign agent working for Turkey but he didn’t get around to it until last week. Oh, and Paul Manafort? The guy who ran Trump’s campaign between loose

cannon, New Hampshire backwoods redneck Corey Lewandowski and Stepford serial liar Kellyanne Conway? Less than 24 hours after the Comey hearing wrapped up, The Washington Post reported Manafort allegedly laundered payments from the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, well-known surrogate and stooge for, say it with me now, Russia. But the saddest American betrayal of all? This tweet, dated Mon., March 20, 2017: “I had said Friday was the worst day of Donald Trump’s presidency. I was wrong. It is today.” You know who wrote that? Charles Joseph “Joe” Scarborough. Co-host of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC — once our president’s second-favorite show after “The Apprentice.” I remember when Joe used to look at Donald like a 14-year-old girl all hopped up on soda and PopTarts looking at a Zayn Malik vine. Now it’s all gone. One Direction. Vine. Joe and Don. We were all going to Make America Great Again! But it was never real. Donald’s tiny black heart has always belonged to a shirtless equestrian Russian dictator who shall remain nameless, but rhymes with “Pladimir Vutin.” .com


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March 23–29, 2017

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GVCCC continued from p. 6

nels that will further advance their work. “We want to improve the diversity, professionalism and culture around how a gallery interacts with artists,” she said. “I think we represent that in our own way of collaborating with artists, but also in our history of once being an art collective.” Agora invests in their artists with pride. Each month Agora displays a new exhibition. Through March 30, “Portals of Perception” and “The Saturated Palette” are on view. Agora Gallery is located at 530 W. 25th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves. Hours: Tues.–Sat., 11am–6pm. Call 212-226-4151 or visit agora-gallery. com. Facebook: facebook.com/ agoragalleryny. Twitter: @Agora_ Gallery.

CHAMBERS FINE ART A sensation brought over from mainland China, Chambers Fine Art (CFA) has established a community to bring Chinese contemporary art into United States art culture. Since 2000, CFA has dedicated itself to creating a space for this specific niche of art in New York, and has made Chelsea its home for the past decade. As noted by CFA’s director, Dan Chen, one of the most beneficial aspects of being a small gallery in Chelsea is the authentic community present here. “You’d think, like in a lot of other markets, there would be fierce competition between all the galleries, but that’s really not the case,” he said. “We have such specific market niches in our galleries that

BIKE SHOP continued from p. 7

in the neighborhood since 1976. He said that Hudson Yards — a stone’s throw away from the shop — has helped his business by turning commuters into customers. “Some of these office buildings are encouraging bicycle riding by having showers and bike rooms to store their bikes,” he said. “Most of that’s still in the future though, but there is one that’s already doing that.” Both Hooper and Gillespie said Citi Bike — there is a stand catty-corner from the store — has affected rentals. “The rentals, there’s so much competition in that area that everybody’s .com

Courtesy Chambers Fine Art

“The Morgan Library and Museum (f318)” (2017, Oil on linen, 48 x 82 in.), part of “Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze,” April 6-June 17 at Chambers Fine Art.

it becomes much like a community with the same mission; a sense of camaraderie that can truly be invaluable.” As other small businesses in this series have stated, rising rent costs in the city continue to threaten Chelsea and the art community. Over the years, CFA has seen other galleries forced from their spaces, so it is important to support locally as much as possible. CFA differentiates itself from other galleries in the NYC scene by specializing in Chinese art. The patrons who typically frequent CFA range

from supportive local neighbors to diverse clientele looking for equally diverse art. No matter what the visitor’s purpose is, CFA enjoys and welcomes the diversity that Chelsea has to offer. On April 6, CFA unveils “Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze.” Chambers Fine Art is located at 522 W. 19th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves. Hours: Tues.–Sat. 10am–6pm. Call 212-414-1169 or visit chambersfineart. com. Instagram: @chambersfineartgallery. Facebook: facebook.com/chambersfineart. Twitter: @Chambers_nyc.

dropped their prices to where now it’s a ridiculous rate of $6 an hour,” Hooper said. “Whereas 10 years ago, I was charging $10 an hour.” For his part, Hooper, 73, still rides. “Everywhere I go, I go on a bike if I can — it’s good for you,” he said. Having owned and ran a small business for over three decades, Hooper said the best part was, “You don’t have to take junk from somebody — that’s the main thing.” Enoch’s Bike Shop is located at 480 10th Ave. (btw. W. 36th & 37th Sts.). Hours: Mon.–Sat., 9am–6:30pm and Sun., 9am–6pm. Call 212-582-0620 or visit enochsbikes.com.

Enoch’s is already seeing increased business thanks to the bike-friendly work environment of the emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood.

Maria Diaz is the executive director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. For info, call 646-470-1773 or visit villagechelsea.com. Twitter: @GVCCHAMBER. On Facebook: facebook.com / G VC C H A MB E R .

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

March 23–29, 2017

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