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Photo by Donna Aceto

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

MOURNING THE DEAD AND MINDFUL OF THOSE IN DANGER NYC Gathers for Victims of Orlando’s Pulse and Chechnya’s Purge (see pages 7, 12)

Photo by Christian Miles

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

VOLUME 09, ISSUE 16 | JUNE 15-21, 2017


Much Afoot: Baryshnikov Center Hosts HY/HK Alliance Annual Meeting BY WINNIE McCROY The new kids on the block took care of business like old hats, when the Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance recapped a successful third year at June 6’s Annual Meeting. Held in the heart of its burgeoning Business Improvement District (BID), about 100 people gathered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (450 W. 37th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), where they enjoyed a lavish spread of hors d’oeuvres from Better Being 940 and complimentary wine and soft drinks before heading into the theater. Among the orders of business were electing new board directors, handing out the Community MVP Award to Detective Mike Petrillo of the 10th Precinct, and announcing the winners of the Hell’s Kitchen Foundation’s 2017 grant cycle. Established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in response to the creative community’s quest to pursue their art in the face of ever-increasing rents and cost of living expenses, the Foundation “awards grants to visual artists living in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to assist them in pursuing their arts.” Visual artists living in Hell’s Kitchen who would like to be considered for the 2018 cycle can visit annexmarkets.com/hells-kitchen-foundation to download the grant application form or fill out the application online. Courtesy Down to Earth Farmers Market “It’s the Annual Meeting, so we have to vote on Area BID forms healthy alliance: Down to Earth Farmers Market is half of the Board of Directors. Half are renewing present at Hudson Yards, Thursdays through Nov. 16. their posts, but we have two new members, Tony

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Simone and Barbara Eastman,” said Alliance president Robert J. Benfatto, Jr., at the start of the meeting. Members voted on slates of board directors, and all nominees were ratified. Alliance Chair Kevin Singleton took to the podium to champion some of the achievements this group of “interesting and vibrant folks” had made over the past three years. He touted a streetscape study of the BID (W. 30th to 42nd Sts. from Ninth to 11th Aves.) that outlined their plans for improvements in the next three years. “We are really going to make this a fabulous district,” said Singleton. “We recently got a second grant for street furniture and plantings from City Councilmember Corey Johnson, and we want to make sure we give him a shout-out for that. Someone tell him I thanked him publicly, because I’m looking for that third grant!” He also championed the recent partnership with Down to Earth Farmers Market to bring them to Hudson Yards — Thurs., 12 p.m.–6 p.m., through Nov. 16, in Hudson Boulevard Park (outside the entrance of the No. 7 subway line). Visit downtoearthmarkets.com/markets, where you will find information on Market vendors as well as Down to Earth’s weekly presence in Chelsea (Sat., 9 a.m.–4p.m., W. 23rd St. & Ninth Ave. through Nov. 18). Singleton noted that as the neighborhood changHY/HK ALLIANCE continued on p. 14

NYC Community Media


Rooftop Garden Grows on Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project Volunteers BY REBECCA FIORE When Jennifer Shotts moved to New York City from Kansas, she knew she wanted to be a part of the community. As a self-professed environmentalist, Shotts was shocked at how much trouble she had finding a community garden. New York Cares, which guides volunteers to places where they can work to improve education, revitalize public spaces, and meet the immediate needs of those living in poverty, placed her at Metro Baptist Church (410 W. 40th St., btw. Ninth & Dyer Aves.). At first, she helped out in the food pantry. “Then someone said to me, ‘Have you seen the rooftop?’ I thought, what’s up there? I trekked all the steps and just fell in love with it,� Shotts recalled, of that moment over three years ago. Four flights of stairs above the food pantry is the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project (HKFP), a 4,000-square-foot volunteerrun rooftop garden containing 52 kiddie pools, 38 pots, and 20 rail hanging planters tasked with growing fresh, organic fruits, and vegetables. HKFP was created in 2010 as a response to the rapid gentrification happening in the neighborhood. Clinton Housing Development Company,

Photo by Rebecca Fiore

How does their garden grow? Kiddie pools, pots, and hanging planters play host to good green things on the roof of Metro Baptist Church.

Metro Baptist Church, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, and the Metropolitan Community Church created HKFP as a way to provide fresh produce for all. “There aren’t a lot of affordable grocery stores in this area and there was a concern that low-income people, espe-

cially the food pantry clients who weren’t really able to eat fresh, healthy vegetables,� Debbie Mullens, a third-year volunteer, said. Lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss chard, kale, collared greens, radishes, scallions, mustard greens, bok choy, apples, blueber-

ries, and raspberries grow in the kiddie pools and pots, while herbs are grown in the rail-hanging planters. Kiddie pools are used because they are light-weight and don’t put too much pressure on the 20th century building’s structure, Rev. Tiffany Triplett Henkel said. Henkel is a pastor at Metro Baptist Church and executive director of Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries. “We farm from April to about mid-December,� Henkel explained, though they have experimented in the winter months, growing cover crops to keep the soil rich. Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the farm is open to the public for gardening. Shovels, trowels, sunscreen, gloves, and clippers are provided. “Everything that we grow here goes down to the food pantry on the first floor,� Mullens noted. “Everything is donated. None of it is sold and the volunteers don’t take any food home with them.� She said on a good day there can be between 10 to 30 people on the roof. Currently, there are over 20 plants growing, with half a dozen more on the way as the summer months approach. GARDEN continued on p. 15

 

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POLICE BLOTTER LOST PROPERTY: Leaving a paper trail is key A 56-year-old resident of 23rd St.’s W. 400 block found herself up the creek without a paddle — or at least its urban equivalent, which would be on the sidewalk without a key — when she returned to her place of residence, only to realize that her means of entering was nowhere to be found. The Mon., May 1 incident came to the attention of the NYPD on Fri., June 9, when the woman filed a report. She noted that she was unsure what happened to the key, and doesn’t feel she was the victim of a crime — but was putting it all down on paper to prove her point, and, more importantly, provide the building owners with documented justification for “a free key.”

LEAVING THE SCENE / PROPERTY DAMAGE: BMW leaves PDQ A driver reported to police that around 4:11pm on Fri., June 9, his bus was heading southbound onto 12th Ave. (near W. 34th St.), when a car cut him off “and stopped short.” The abrupt stop

caused the 44-year-old bus driver to rear-end the offending vehicle — which, for reasons unknown, fled southbound on 12th Ave. without so much as “Hey, sorry I cut you off.” The quick exchange of metal and paint left no significant damage to people or property, but the bus driver could not provide police with a license number, or what state the plate was from (and there were no cameras visible in the area to provide a visual record). The driver was, however, sure of three things: The car in question was a BMW, it was black, and it wasn’t coming back.

PETIT LARCENY: Gone bikey gone Buyer be warned: Next time, splurge for the novelty bell or fancy banana seat, so the bill comes to under, or slightly more than, seven crisp Benjamins. A spate of bike-related thefts in our area all have one thing in common: The monetary value claimed by the owner was $700. The first such incident occurred on Thurs., June 8 at around 8pm, when the 28-year-old owner of a black Trek 7.3 FX bike returned to the 500 block of W. 37th St. to discover the pricey collection of metal and pedals was no

longer where he left it, despite having locked it. The second sad story unfolded on 10th Ave. (near W. 16th St.) during a 10-minute period between 12:45pm and 12:55pm on Fri., June 9. That’s when a 45-year-old male returned from a brief shopping excursion to find his “specialized” black and yellow bike no longer tethered to the bike rack. The lock had been cut. Finally, a Golden Cycles bike worth, yes, $700, was locked to a bike rack in front of 259 10th Ave. (near W. 26th St.) at around 7pm on Mon., June 5. The 45-year-old father of the victim (his daughter) told police that when they returned to the scene, “only the front tire was locked to the rack.” The report was filed, he noted, to ensure the only type of justice one is guaranteed in this sort of situation: insurance money! —Scott Stiffler

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

Extra! Extra! Local News Read all about it!

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY

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EDITOR Scott Stiffler ART DIRECTOR John Napoli GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cristina Alcine

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THE 10th PRECINCT: Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-9243377. Detective Squad: 212-7418245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT: Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.

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: 212477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-4777444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.

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First Citi Bike Fatality Happened on Congested Chelsea Side Street BY JACKSON CHEN A Brooklyn resident was killed on Mon., June 12 when the Citi Bike he was riding collided with a bus on W. 26th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves., police said. Dan Hanegby, a 36-year-old investment banker, was on his way to work at Credit Suisse when he was struck by a charter bus at around 8:15 a.m., according to police. Police said the cyclist swerved to get around a parked van, fell off the bike, collided with a bus that was travelling the same direction, and was run over by the rear tires. Hanegby is the first fatality since Citi Bike’s start four years ago, according to a Citi Bike spokesperson. Police said Hanegby was brought to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after. Police said the bus driver stayed on the scene and was not charged. The Daily News identified the Coach USA operator, who passed sobriety tests following the incident, as 52-year-old Dave Lewis from Poughkeepsie. Christine Berthet, Transportation Planning Committee co-chair of Community Board 4 (CB4), said that W. 26th St. between Seventh and Eighth

Photo via Facebook

Dan Hanegby, 36, of Brooklyn Heights was hit by a charter bus while riding a Citi Bike on June 12 and died that day, making him the transit system’s first fatality.

CB4’s Christine Berthet says the bus involved in June 12’s fatality “should have never been on that street” (seen here, W. 26th St. near Eighth Ave., looking toward Seventh).

Aves. (which does not have a bike lane) is often congested with vehicles, adding that buses shouldn’t be allowed down that street. “This bus should have never been on

that street because this is not a truck route,” Berthet said. “Buses go everywhere and trying to control them and get them on the right track is very difficult.” According to CB4, the city inadver-

Photo by Rebecca Fiore

tently funneled large tour buses onto W. 26th St. after banning left turns for eastbound traffic on W. 23rd trying to get FATALITY continued on p. 23

De Blasio Affordable Housing Myth #3 “Keeping New Yorkers in their homes has been a top priority… and our rent freeze program is designed to do just that.” –Mayor Bill de Blasio (Source: City of New York Website)

The Facts: • Here’s the result of de Blasio’s rent freeze program: 61,935 New Yorkers, including 23,445 children, are in the city’s shelter system – the highest homeless levels in NYC since the Great Depression. (Source: Coalition for the Homeless Website) • “At a time of record homelessness … de Blasio’s self-congratulatory victory lap on affordable housing is offensive and wrong.”–Katie Goldstein, Real Affordability for All (Source: Newsday, 1/12/17)

De Blasio’s Housing Policies: Politics & Hypocrisy Next Week: de Blasio Myth #4 NYC Community Media

June 15, 2017

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Mixed Reviews for de Blasio, Fariña School ‘Diversity’ Plan BY JACKSON CHEN Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, on June 6, released what had been anticipated as an ambitious vision for encouraging student diversity among the city’s public schools. The 13-page plan introduces city initiatives aimed at tackling racial and socioeconomic disparities in classrooms across New York, but it was rolled out online with little fanfare. Neither de Blasio nor Fariña held any type of public event announcing it, and education advocates who have examined the scope of the plan, including several on the Upper West Side, are responding with varying degrees of satisfaction. According to the administration’s “Equity and Excellence for All: Diversity in New York City Public Schools” document, the Department of Education will prioritize policies that reinforce school diversity. In terms of short-term goals, the plan spells out the need to increase the number of students in schools that have 50 to 90 percent black and Hispanic populations — which most closely match the overall student body make-up citywide — to rebalance schools that serve either majority low-income or majority high-income student bodies, and to increase the number of schools serving English Language Learners and students with disabilities. A School Diversity Advisory Group established under the plan is expected to

JACKSON CHEN

Community Education Council 3 last fall deliberating over a school rezoning plan for the Upper West Side that struggled to address racial and socioeconomic disparities in its schools.

submit recommendations to the Mayor and Chancellor by June 2018. The plan also details changes to school admission policies aimed at ensuring student access so its overall goals can be met. Lastly, access to the DOE’s efforts at diversity will be organized through a dedicated webpage that will go live by this fall. But while the city attempts to tackle diversity and disparity problems on a citywide scale, the Upper West Side has years of experience in wrestling with a rezoning process that attempted to address overcrowding and segregation throughout School District 3. Kim Watkins, Community Education Council 3’s Zoning Committee chair,

said the mayor’s plan was a good first step forward and could serve as a useful tool for other CECs. But, she added, CECs and the districts they represent can be vastly different and make it hard to find a citywide solution. “The districts are so different, that’s the tricky part of it,” Watkins said. “It’s supposed to be a citywide plan and work for all... districts, [but] the districts have different challenges as the boroughs have different challenges.” Watkins added the plan could have been more ambitious in increasing the number of students in racially representative schools –– those that have a 50 to 90-percent black and Hispanic student population.

Noah Gotbaum, the CEC3 member who voted against the Upper West Side schools rezoning plan that was eventually adopted because it did not go far enough, was stronger in his criticism of the mayor’s plan. “It’s not really a plan, it’s a series of voluntary initiatives which don’t seem to get to the underlying issue [of segregation], which is so widespread and so pervasive,” Gotbaum said. The CEC3 member noted that the mayor and chancellor’s plan failed to even mention the word “segregation” and was too mild in addressing the problems head on. But Gotbaum did commend the city for even starting the conversation and talking about different types of diversity — including racial, economic, language, and special needs. Watkins was more optimistic about the plan as a first step in addressing the situation citywide. But she added there was still work to be done, as there is no cure-all for the segregation present in certain school districts. “This one document provides an anchor for the CEC and the district leadership to continue to move in that direction,” said Watkins who added, “We won’t see a magic wand waved in our lifetimes with something as complex as an education structure that attempts to teach one million kids. It’s just too big of a monster to tackle in some sort of uniform way.”

Childhood Abuse Survivor Justice Alive in Albany’s Waning Days BY PAUL SCHINDLER Legislators aiming to relax New York’s unusually stringent statute of limitations on sexual abuse of minors remain hopeful that, with the State Assembly already having taken action, the State Senate could yet follow suit before the session ends next week. According to West Side Senator Brad Hoylman, “The Governor’s office is still talking about” a program bill could eliminate time limitations on child abuse survivors filing criminal actions and ease such limitations on civil action. Currently, childhood sexual abuse survivors must either make a criminal complaint or file a civil lawsuit by age 23. Experts agree it can often take decades for a survivor to be ready to come forward. Last week, the Democratic Assembly, by a vote of 139-7, adopted Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal’s Child Victims Act, which would allow victims to bring criminal cases up to the

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age of 28, file civil suits up to age 50, and allow what essentially is an 18-month look-back window for abuse survivors whose cases couldn’t be brought under current law to step forward. Hoylman’s companion bill in the Senate — which would eliminate any statute of limitations on criminal or civil action — was denied a hearing in the Judiciary Committee earlier this year by the Republican Majority and diverted to the Rules Committee, where Hoylman said “it will never see the light of day.” Hoylman’s hope for overcoming the GOP’s resistance has been for Cuomo to follow through on a January commitment to eliminate all limits on the time a victim can come forward with a criminal complaint, allow civil suits to be filed for up to 50 years after any abuse, and create the look-back the Assembly approved. The Governor has not yet introduced the anticipated program bill, but Hoylman said he remains confident, say-

ing Cuomo’s office is weighing issues like the specifics of any look-back allowance for past victims. “If the Governor wants to make it a priority, and I think he does, this issue could still be on track,” Hoylman told NYC Community Media. The West Side Democrat also said his understanding is that the majority Republicans are planning to consider some version of statute of limitations relief in their conference. Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, leader of the rump Independent Democratic Conference that works in cooperation with the majority GOP, last week offered a compromise establishing a commission to weed out civil abuse claims that are without merit. Hoylman said he’s heard no Republican reaction to Klein’s proposal and noted it might have been an example of a supporter of reform, such as Klein is, negotiating against himself. The proposal is also likely to spur opposition by victims’ advo-

cates, Hoylman warned, a point echoed by Rosenthal, who called it a “distraction that simply imposes a new hurdle on victims.” Klein’s idea, she said, would also do nothing to draw Republican votes or lessen the opposition of groups including the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and insurance companies. The West Side Senator predicted the Child Victims Act would be one of several issues resolved in the final days of the legislative session, along with controversial measures like mayoral control of the schools. While Hoylman said, “Obviously I think the better route would be for the Senate to take a vote on the bill voted out by the Assembly,” Rosenthal, acknowledging the resistance of Senate Republicans, said, “I think the Governor needs to step forward a reaffirm his statement from January with a program bill.” For several weeks, the Governor’s office has declined to respond to a request for comment. NYC Community Media


At Stonewall Site, Thousands Remember Pulse Victims BY DUNCAN OSBORNE Thousands gathered near the Stonewall National Monument in the West Village on the early evening of Monday, June 12 to remember the 49 LGBTQ people who were shot and killed by a gunman in a Florida nightclub one year earlier. “It’s been a mission this year to get some independence back,” said Keinon Carter, who was shot twice in Pulse, an Orlando club, by Omar Mateen. Now confined to a wheelchair, Carter was flown to New York City by Gays Against Guns (GAG), the group that organized the two-hour long vigil. One of 53 people who were injured during the shooting, he was greeted with cheers and applause by the Manhattan crowd. “Thank you everyone for coming out and showing support for the survivors of Pulse and the victims,” Carter said. The anti-gun violence group was formed immediately following the Pulse massacre

and debuted in the 2016 New York City Pride Parade with a contingent of roughly 1,000 people. GAG has since gone on to mount protests aimed at the NRA, politicians who are backed by the NRA, Wall Street firms that fund the gun industry, and a host of other targets. In last year’s Pride Parade, GAG was joined by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson who organized 49 Human Beings, who were veiled, dressed in white, with each one carrying a sign with a picture and short biography of a Pulse victim. GAG has memorialized victims from other shootings as Human Beings, who remain silent, at its protests. The 49 Human Beings from the 2016 pride parade were reprised at this year’s vigil. They entered as the vigil began. As the names of the Pulse victims were read in four separate segments, the Human Beings who were named in each segment came on the rally stage

and remained there. At the rally’s close, all 49 Human Beings were on stage. The vigil featured songs by Broadway performers, poetry readings, a dance performance, and music by the Lavender Light Gospel Choir and the Queer Urban Orchestra. In addition to the thousands who attended in person, 32,000 people watched it live on Facebook and the Facebook stream had 100,000 impressions. The gunman struck on Latinx night at the club and the dead and wounded were overwhelmingly Latinx and AfricanAmerican. Carter, who is AfricanAmerican, has a harrowing story. He was in the bathroom at Pulse when the shooting began. He first heard shots and then smelled gunpowder. He exited the bathroom and was shot in the leg by Mateen, who used an assault rifle. PULSE continued on p. 8

Photo by Donna Aceto

Forty-nine Human Beings representing the Pulse nightclub victims, a concept developed last year by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson, enter the vigil.

June 20 Chelsea’s FIRST Celebration of

National Bald Eagle Day Join friends and neighbors for “A Musical Celebration of America” In Memory of Rick Carrier Sing “This Is Your Land” and other folk song classics with guitarist Peter Pasco of the NYC Friends of Clearwater. Enjoy “Those Girls,” 2017 MAC Award-winning group, and other entertainers. Learn about the history of National Bald Eagle Day

Celebrate with us Tuesday, June 20, at 6:30pm. All are welcome, including children. There is no charge. Chelsea Community Church at historic St. Peter’s (346 West 20th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues) 212-886-5463 t info@chelseachurch.org t www.chelseachurch.org NYC Community Media

June 15, 2017

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Keinon Carter, who was severely injured in the Pulse attack, spoke to the crowd. PULSE continued from p. 7

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I crawled to an area where my friend was,â&#x20AC;? Carter, who lost a brother to gun violence when he was 15, told NYC Community Media publication Gay City News following his speech. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I called the police.â&#x20AC;? He lay in one spot for roughly three hours and continued to hear gun shots the entire time. Mateen was wandering the club and randomly shooting people who were lying on the ground. His was shot a second time in the pelvis by Mateen as he lay

on the floor. That second shot caused serious damage to major organs and bones, though he should eventually be able to walk again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been like a roller coaster of emotions,â&#x20AC;? he said as he made up and down motions with his hands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just the thought that I could have been number 50.â&#x20AC;? Though his physical recovery is slow, emotionally he is more resilient. As some dance music could be heard behind the rally stage, Carter was there in his wheelchair dancing with some friends.

          

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Gays Against Guns formed in the wake of last Juneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pulse tragedy.

NYC Community Media


Elder Care

SAGE Launches Self-Care App BY PAUL SCHINDLER Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) has partnered with Self Care Catalysts, a cloud-based provider of solution analytics for health care patients, in launching a Health Storylines digital app that allows individuals to create and maintain an accurate record — or “story” — of their health for their own use, as well as that of their health care team and of researchers. The SAGE Health Storylines app was designed with the specific needs of LGBTQ seniors in mind and was launched on June 5, HIV Long-Term Survivors Day, a day that acknowledges the success but also the challenges of people les iesving full lives while also living with the HIV virus. It was on June 5, 1981 that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fi rst publicly disclosed its fi ndings about a mysterious new illness that was killing gay men. Today, 59 percent of all Americans living with HIV are 50 and older, and by 2020 that number is expected to climb to 70 percent. To date, more than 360,000 people in the US have died of AIDS — with a staggering 6.4 million deaths worldwide — but in 2017, “aging is the new face of HIV,” as Long-Term Survivors Day organizers have said. The new app that Self Care Catalysts created for SAGE is intended to encourage LGBTQ seniors to get into the habit of staying on top of their health. The app allows for medication reminders, the monitoring of daily symptoms, and the tracking of both vital signs and moods. The technology allows users to share that information and their story with health care professionals as well as loved ones they designate as part of their Circle of Support network. “We are very excited to launch a new app called SAGE Health Storylines, focusing on the needs of our community by helping HIV

Courtesy sageusa.org

The new SAGE Health Storylines app, developed by Self Care Catalysts, is available free at the Apple and Google app stores or at sageusa.org.

older adults to engage in their selfcare and make better daily health decisions,” said Diosdado Gica, SAGE’s chief program officer. “It’s incredibly user-friendly and can enhance conversations between app users, their health care providers, and care managers.” Gica added that the digital tool dovetails well with the group’s strategic plan to scale up its impact by sharing its expertise and services with affi liates outside the New York area. Grace Castillo-Soyao, Self Care Catalysts’ CEO, said, “We are proud to partner with SAGE to support resources for older adults within the LGBT community. Our belief is that when patients are informed, respected, and engaged, they make better choices, resulting in better health outcomes.” The free SAGE Health Storylines app is available for download at the Apple and Google Play app stores or for desktop usage at sage.healthstorylines.com/app/#/login.

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June 15, 2017

9


In Times Square, Volunteers Pitch In to Feed Hungry Kids BY JACKSON CHEN Hundreds of volunteers from Food Bank For New York City and Morgan Stanley converged at Times Square on June 1 to pack a variety of canned foods that will be distributed to the city’s food pantries, soup kitchens, and schools. Out of the office on a sunny and warm Thursday, a large crowd of Morgan Stanley employees lined up at Times Square’s pedestrian plaza on Broadway and West 47th Streets. Though the beautiful weather offered a promising peek forward to the coming summer season, this time of year can be devastating for students who rely on the their schools for breakfast and lunch. According to the Food Bank, one in five school-aged children in the city — 339,000 in total — already rely on soup kitchens or food pantries for meals, but the situation is exacerbated during summer vacation when 700,000 public school students who receive free meals five days a week during the academic year face the possibility of going without. That’s why organizations like Food Bank and its parent organization, Feeding America, scramble to ensure there are healthy meals for families by calling on their volunteer networks. Feeding up to a million kids, however, is a tall order for non-profit groups, so Food Bank enlists the help of Morgan Stanley, according to Francisco Tezén, the organization’s vice president of fundraising. “We have a mighty team, but it’s a relatively small team,” Tezén said of the resources Food Bank has directly at its own disposal. “The number of hands

I

we have available to repack, sort, and then get that food to the people who need it most in a timely way can only be powered by and supercharged by volunteers.” In Times Square, volunteers donning Morgan Stanley-branded T-shirts formed an assembly line that created shipping boxes, filled them with an assortment of canned goods — peaches, peas, peanut butter, and tuna, among them — alongside brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, and sent them along labeled with a Food Bank sticker. The packages were then ready to ship off to the thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, and other facilities that

AM FASHION

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JACKSON CHEN

Morgan Stanley volunteers (in blue T’s) join those from Food Bank for New York City (in orange) in packing up canned foods for distribution across the city in the middle of Times Square –– a location chosen to draw attention to the need for greater volunteerism on the issue of hunger in New York.

are part of Food Bank’s network, according to Carol Schneider, the organization’s associate director of media relations. While the Morgan Stanley volunteers came in waves, the organizers of the day’s efforts were also hoping to attract the attention of passersby and get them to participate, as well. According to Joan Steinberg, the global head of philanthropy at Morgan Stanley, Times Square was an ideal location for snaring the interest of the hundreds of thousands of pedestrians who throng the Crossroads of the World every day. “I think a lot of New Yorkers think of summer as sneaking away to beaches and ice cream and hotdogs,” Steinberg said. “You don’t think about the fact that so many of our kids in our communities are actually not knowing where their next meal is going to come from.” For Morgan Stanley, June 1 was the first day kick-off of its annual Global Volunteer Month. The financial services firm continued its support of Food Bank the following day by volunteering at its 90,000square-foot warehouse in the Bronx. “There really isn’t a public source that really makes up for what the schools are doing during the course of the year,” Steinberg said. “This is one of those moments when you really have to look at private sources, both corporate and charitable, to try to fill that gap. I think that’s why it’s so imperative that people understand it. Otherwise this just really slips through the cracks.”

June 15, 2017

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NYC Community Media

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June 15, 2017

11


The treatment of gay men in Chechnya should remind the world of its indifference as the Nazis began their reign of terror on Europe’s Jews, gays, and other minorities 80 years ago.

Jim Fouratt, an LGBTQ activist going back to the Gay Liberation Front formed in 1969 during the Stonewall Rebellion.

Branden Hayward, from Rise and Resist, was the onstration’s lead organizer.

Rise and Resist, RUSA-LGBT Lead March From Christop BY ANDY HUMM Fifty demonstrators drawn from the ranks of Rise and Resist — a group largely focused on protesting right-wing assaults by the Trump administration on American democratic institutions and ideals – and their allies took to the sunny streets of Greenwich Village and Chelsea on Sun., June 11 to call attention to the plight of gay people in Chechnya who are being interned in concentration camps and murdered by their government or their families. The marchers gathered on the Christopher Street pier at noon on Sunday and marched through the West Village and Chelsea — past lots of sympathetic Sunday brunchers, among others — before rallying in Union Square. “Stop the Torture! Stop the Murder!” their signs read. The group was under no illusions that it could have much impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who enacted anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” laws in the run-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, or his anti-gay puppet — not Trump, in this case, but rather President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, a federal republic within Russia — both of whom deny the murderous crackdown on gay people is taking place, though it has been documented by Human Rights Watch. When French President Emmanuel Macron publicly confronted Putin about the Chechen crisis during their first meeting two weeks ago in Paris, all the Russian strong man would pledge to do was to look into it. Rise and Resist’s lead organizer on the demonstration, Branden Hayward, who said he is new to this kind of street protest, explained, “My sights are set in the immediate future on getting chief level executives at BP, Exxon, Shell, and Chevron that have enormous investments in Russia and claim to support LGBT rights to take action.”

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Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of RUSA-LGBT.

OutRight Action International has an online petition addressed to oil executives demanding they speak up about the detention, torture, and killing of gay men in Chechnya. “If Russia will not listen to other governments or even the United Nations, it is time to see if we can get money to talk in a language that they will listen to,” reads the OutRight petition at iglhrc.

nonprofitsoapbox.com/demand-stop-todetentions-in-chechnya. Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of RUSA-LGBT, a group for Russianspeaking LGBTQ émigrés, told the crowd, “We’re trying to save lives. More than 300 have been detained and more than 20 killed by the government. We cannot do anything with Putin and Kadyrov, but we can pressure the government here in

the US to issue special visas” so that the crackdown’s victims can find refuge here. However, “Even here and in Europe,” Gorshkov added, “they are not safe from the brutal and violent Chechen diaspora,” noting the dangers gay men may face even if they manage to escape Chechnya — and Russia altogether. On May 23, US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, NYC Community Media


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introduced House Resolution 351 to condemn the violence and persecution, but the activists hope to pressure Congress to go further and offer emergency visas to the fleeing Chechen gays — which, so far, the US has not. They urge New Yorkers to focus on co-sponsors of Ros-Lehtinen’s resolution from the Empire State, including Democrats Jerry Nadler, Sean Patrick Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Joe Crowley, NYC Community Media

Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, and Brian Higgins and Republicans Dan Donovan, Claudia Tenney, and John Katko. Rise and Resist’s Ken Kidd, a veteran of the Queer Nation anti-Putin protests in 2013 and 2014, said, “Not enough people know about this. This is genocide, and our country is not doing enough.” Veteran gay activist Rick Landman — a son of Holocaust survivors who noted that even amidst the dire climate in Nazi Germany prior to World War II his grandfather “kicked Julius Streicher in the ass” while Streicher was still the regime’s leading anti-Semitic propagandist — talked about how the treatment of gay people in Chechnya is based in the classic political tool of “scapegoating.” “When they need someone to pick on and dehumanize, they pick on us now,” Landman said. Faye Kilburn, 29, of Rise and Resist said, “The biggest injustice in the world is being persecuted for who you are. While we were marching, someone yelled at us, ‘There are bigger problems at home!’ Because this is happening in a different country, it is easy to feel helpless.” The activists, however, believe their efforts could help bring the plight of the Chechen gay men to the fore in global politics. Hayward said that their demonstration “was an amazing combination of gay rights movement vets from groups like ACT UP and people in their 20s and 30s. It was history and the future.” Among those marching were Jim Fouratt, a veteran of the Gay Liberation Front formed in 1969 during the Stonewall Rebellion, and Mark Milano who has been with ACT UP since the 1980s. The activists encouraged donations to Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian group working to get victimized gay men out of Chechnya with emergency visas. That effort can be supported at RainbowRailroad.ca/donate.

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HY/HK ALLIANCE continued from p. 2

es, they have had challenges like other BIDs throughout the city, but were working together to deal with them, joking that they “hadn’t had to call Detective Petrillo in to break up any board meetings.” Singleton took time to thank the officers at Chelsea’s 10th Precinct for their continued service and assistance as the BID grows, then introduced the Keynote Speaker — Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance is a relatively young BID, but you’ve done a lot,” Bishop said. “We look at BIDs as a partnership, because we can’t do it alone. It’s our job to encourage and help small businesses, but we could not have done this without you.” Speaking about the new Farmers Market, he added, “[These] are things that bring people to the district to discover new stores, be them large businesses or mom and pop stores, and that is very helpful.” Bishop noted that in our city of 8.5 million people, a third are foreign-born., and half of small businesses are owned by foreign-born people. Having services to connect immigrant and women entrepreneurs to celebrate the urban landscape was important. He also praised the work the BID had

Photo by Winnie McCroy

Winners of the Hell’s Kitchen Foundation’s 2017 cycle (most of whom are seen here, along with Alliance and Foundation reps) were given grants to help them pursue creative endeavors.

done to maintain and program Hudson Boulevard Park, and to remove graffiti in the area. He mentioned the city’s Love Your Local campaign, designed to help residents show their appreciation for independent, non-franchised small businesses that anchor their neighborhoods. Visit loveyourlocal.cityofnewyork.us to add a business (interested, eligible ones will be considered for grants and expert advice). “You’ve also taken a lead on streetscape planting, open spaces, and the connectivity of people in this emerging neighbor-

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hood,” Bishop said of the Alliance. “As the neighborhoods change, this is what makes New York City great.” Finally, he took time to thank the 10th Precinct for “reducing crime, because when you look at economic development, if there isn’t a lively mix of businesses, New York City doesn’t become a destination. It’s a collaborative experience and we appreciate what they’ve done to work with the BID.” Benfatto then presented 10th Precinct Det. Petrillo with the Alliance’s Community MVP Award, saying, “Every neighborhood has that indispensable man, and that’s Detective Michael Petrillo. Whenever I have a problem, he makes it go away. We had got him a wonderful etched-glass award from Tiffany, but it got into a wreck in a UPS truck on the way here.” As a temporary substitute for the Tiffany version, Petrillo accepted a laminated certificate of appreciation in good spirits, and with a few humble remarks. Finally, the Alliance called to the front the 10 local artists to whom they were awarding grants, funded wholly by the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, via their Hell’s Kitchen Foundation. “This is our second year awarding grants to Hell’s Kitchen artists, and we

couldn’t be more thrilled to meet them. I hope this money will help them continue their creativity,” said Foundation Chair Inge Ivchenko. “This year’s winners are so diverse and talented. We met with young and older artists, and our goal is to support their work in New York City, especially given the high cost of living. We can all make a difference in supporting the arts by going to a gallery opening or becoming a patron of an artist whose work you admire. Talented artists, your work brings joy and sometimes despair into our lives, and helps us understand the complex world we live in. Whatever your medium is, we thank you for your art.” Foundation Treasurer Scott Isebrand then presented checks to the 10 grant recipients, all of whom are residents of Hell’s Kitchen: Jordan Baker-Caldwell, Frank Graham, Mahmoud Hamadani, Christian Miles, Guy Pierce, Janet Restino, Jill Slaymaker, Nick Stavrides, Shawn Wickens, and Tristen Wolksi (who was not present). For more information on the Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, visit hudsonyardshellskitchenalliance.org, call 212-239-1619, or send an email to info@hyhkalliance.org.

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NYC Community Media


GARDEN continued from p. 3

“In the course of the year we will probably have between two hundred to three hundred people gardening with us,” Mullens said. A regular volunteer could vary from a young adult learning about crops to a retired folk trying a new hobby out, she said. Groups often come up, corporate volunteers such as Morgan Stanley, Zipcar, and Hermes, as well as educational groups from local schools. “Urban agriculture appeals to a wide variety. We have folks of all walks of life,” Henkel said. The volunteers harvest the crops, weigh them, and upload their records to Farming Concrete, which is (according to their website) “an open, community-based research project to measure how much food is grown in community gardens and urban farms.” It is supported by the New York City Community Garden Coalition. They provide scales all over the city. The pantry at Metro Baptist Church, which is open Saturdays at 11 a.m., is described as a client’s choicestyle, according to Mullens, where community members can come pick out the foods they prefer. “As the folks come through they can select what they want, rather than just walking in and somebody handing them a bag of who knows what,” she said, and noted that the food pantry currently has about 750 clients. Additionally, this will be the farm’s second year with high school interns working on the garden and learning about how to make a difference in their communities. All local high schoolers, experienced with farming or not, are welcome. The Urban Farm Intern Program selected 10 students to work 15-20 hours a week for six weeks from July 5 to Aug. 12. A modest stipend will be given to them. “Last year, we had eight students for four weeks and this year we will have ten students for six weeks,” Henkel said. These interns will not only have a hands-on experience to planting and harvesting, but also have classroom time where they will learn from professors of agriculture and other professionals. “Interns will be learning about urban and non-urban agriculture techniques, how to care for and grow food,” Henkel said. “But more than that even learning about food systems and when they are compromised, nutrition, and how communities can address food needs.” Also, the farm is gaining its first college intern from Berea College in Kentucky for June and July. Mullens said she is excited for the new interns to come in after the success of last summer. “I think these kids came away with a much better idea of what food justice is and how you can impact hunger issues through urban agriculture,” she said. In further addition to the interns, the rooftop, and the pantry, HKFP also has a program in connection with a local farmer. The Community Support Agriculture, or CSA, program provides people living in the neighborhood to purchase fresh and locally grown food from Nolasco Farm in Andover, NJ. There are weekly, and bi-weekly shares. “The concept of the CSA is you support the farmer upfront. That way the farmer can buy what he needs. It’s a form of supporting local farmers,” Henkel said. A full share for 22 weeks costs $550, while a half share, every other week, is $275. Three hours of volunteer work is required, “that’s the spirit of it,” Henkel said. People can also sponsor shares that will provide fresh NYC Community Media

Photo by Christian Miles

The Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project’s table, at May 20 & 21’s Ninth Avenue International Food Festival.

food to other local pantries. “While we are proud of the food we are able to grow and give to the food pantries, getting education around food is more important,” Henkel said. “If we can work with a younger generation then they can learn to advocate for themselves and their

community. We are growing more than food.” For more information, visit hkfp.org, mbcnyc.org, clintonhousing.org, rmmnyc.org, mccchurch.org, farmingconcrete.org, and nyccgc.org.

June 15, 2017

15


Do It Again A bright book and solid arc give ‘Groundhog’ loopy appeal

Photos by Joan Marcus

Andy Karl, center, and the cast of “Groundhog Day.”

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE It seems like I never see the movies inspiring musicals these days, so I upon “Groundhog Day: The Musical” as a complete tabula rasa. With a book by Danny Rubin and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin (of “Matilda”), the result is one of the most delightfully diverting shows to hit Broadway in a while. Phil Connors, a disgruntled local weatherman has been assigned to go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the groundhog. He’d rather chew glass and makes no bones about it. Stranded by a blizzard, he has to spend the night with his crew and wakes up to February 2 again and again. You can see the plot coming from as far away as Philadelphia, and Connors can’t get out of this incessant loop until he learns his lesson and becomes a nice guy. While that might sound like a nightmare for the audience as well as Connors, the bright book has a solid arc that sparkles with heart and hilarity. It’s so much fun to watch the loathsome Connors turn into a romantic leading man, even though you know that’s where it’s going. Andy Karl’s phenomenal performance as Connors, even with his leg in a brace after an injury that forced some early performances to be canceled, is the centerpiece of this show. Since his days in

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June 15, 2017

“Altar Boyz,” Karl has had an unmistakable magnetism on stage, and he channels all that talent into this role. Great as he is, he’s also got terrific material to work with. Minchin’s music and lyrics are delightfully mordant, revealing a dark worldview even when they’re bouncy, and make this a decidedly sophisticated and grown-up show. Matthew Warchus’ direction is masterfully comic without avoiding the human side of the characters, and Peter Darling’s choreography is perfect for the tone of the show, as it was in “Matilda.” The rest of the tireless company is top-notch, especially Barrett Doss as the fledgling producer who has to deal with Connors throughout the day’s innumerable iterations. Doss manages to be jejune and tough at the same time, and her voice is outstanding. This is easily the happiest, most tightly crafted large-scale musical on the boards right now. I’d be happy to see it — wait for it — again and again. At The August Wilson Theatre (245 W. 52nd St., btw. Broadway & Eighth Ave.). Tues., Thurs. at 7pm; Wed., Fri.– Sat. at 8pm; Wed., Sat. at 2pm; Sun. at 3pm. For tickets ($79–$249), visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-653-8000. Runtime: 2 hrs., 30 mins., with intermission.

L to R: Andy Karl and Barrett Doss in Danny Rubin and Tim Minchin’s “Groundhog Day,” directed by Matthew Warchus. NYC Community Media


Buhmann on Art Florine Stettheimer at the Jewish Museum BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Marking the first major solo exhibition for the artist in over 20 years, “Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry” promises to help re-evaluate this great modernist’s importance. No less than 50 paintings, drawings, costume and theater designs, photographs, and ephemera will offer thorough insight into Stettheimer’s impressively eclectic output, which she delivered with an unusual mélange of whimsy and sharp satirical wit. Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Rochester, New York, Stettheimer (18711944) studied at the Art Students League in New York City before heading to Europe. While there, she encountered perhaps her most significant influences: the Symbolist painters and poets, as well as the Ballets Russes. When Stettheimer returned to New York at the beginning of World War I in 1914, she was already in her mid-40s. Though Stettheimer regularly accepted invitations to show her paintings at Whitney Annuals and Courtesy MoMA/SCALA/Art Resource, NY Carnegie Internationals, she only agreed Florine Stettheimer: “Euridice and her Snake,” a costume deCourtesy Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven to one commercial solo show at Knoedler sign for the artist’s ballet “Orphée of the Quat-z-arts ” (1912. Oil, Florine Stettheimer: “Christmas” (1930-1940. Oil on canvas, 60 1/16 x 40 in.). beads, metal lace on canvas. 18 5/8 x 15 1⁄8 in.). Gallery in 1916. When the latter proved unsuccessful, her sisters and mother offered an alternative by establishing an elite salon that attracted many of the leading avant-garde artists of the time, including Marcel Duchamp and Georgia O’Keeffe. In the following years, Stettheimer would continue to depict aspects of her social and intellectual environment but refused any other gallery shows. Instead, she preferred to unveil new paintings to select friends in her studio overlooking Bryant Park. Painting life between the Gilded Age and the Jazz Age, Stettheimer’s work reflects a fastchanging world, in which the emancipation of women was one major achievement. Luckily, her family ignored Stettheimer’s final wish, which stipulated that her art should be destroyed after her death. Through Sept. 24 at the Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave., at 92nd St.). Gallery Hours: Sun.–Tues. and Fri.– Sat., 11am–5:45pm; Thurs., 11am– 8pm. Admission: Adults, $15; seniors 65+, $12; students, $7.50; free for ages 18 and under. Thurs., 5–8pm, pay-whatCourtesy collection of Halley K. Harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York you-wish. Call 212-423-3271 or visit thejewishmuseum.org. Florine Stettheimer: “Asbury Park South” (1920. Oil on canvas. 50 x 60 in.). NYC Community Media

June 15, 2017

17


Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

R2R: RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL As reliable as the tide but considerably less predictable, a deep dive into the sheer volume of events scheduled for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival will leave your head swimming with ways to soak in this annual genre-blurring, boundary-bursting celebration of dance, music, theater, and visual art. Offering 100+ performances and events at 31 indoor and outdoor sites spread across Lower Manhattan and Governors Island, this year’s R2R artists have a hunger for exploring uncharted waters that befits the festival’s waterfront setting. Here’s a modest sampling of what the schedule boasts. Choreographing events that meld the “social nature of dance, the charge of a party, and the sharpness of a music video” to create a “fresh dance vocabulary that any Joe can get down with” is the promising premise of immersive events hosted by The Dance Cartel. With guest DJs in tow and audience participation on tap, they’ll take over Pier A’s Harbor House twice, on June 21 and 25. The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place is the site-specific setting for “Harbored” (June 22-25). Dramatizing the ups and downs of the American dream as experienced by immigrants during a two-century span, En Garde Arts’ return to “civic spectacle” is an epic mix of oral histories, dance, poetry, and music. Brooklyn-based visual artist Kamau Ware’s “Black Gotham Experience” has the Seaport District’s 192 Front Street as its central hub throughout the festival, with satellite programs and projects featuring art, music, performance, walking tours, and a graphic novel. From 4-8pm on June 20, Night at the Museums happens at 15 of Downtown’s most culturally significant destinations. You’ll get

Photo courtesy the artists

In a smooth move groove: The Dance Cartel floors it at Harbor House, June 21 and 25, as part of the River to River Festival.

Photo by Darial Sneed

As with this performance from 2016 (Saya Woolfalk’s ChimaTEK: ChimaCloud Control Center at Fulton Center), public spaces are suitable stages for River to River events.

access to special programming, tours, and all of the stunning stuff you normally find by visiting the likes of Poets House, China Institute, The Skyscraper Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and more (nine more, in fact).

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June 15, 2017

All events are free. Through June 25 at sites across Lower Manhattan and Governors Island. Visit rivertorivernyc.com.

“POWER TO THE MULLET!” Her love of the ladies matched only by

her capacity for cluelessness, compassion, and anything-goes substance abuse, we last saw Molly “Equality” Dykeman in the 2016 FringeNYC show “A Microwaved Burrito Filled With E. coli” — in which she and an equally irrepressible trans waitress commiserated when Molly was booted out of a lesbian wedding reception for rowdy behavior. Now, the ballsy and occasionally bitter bestie of underdogs everywhere (seven hours sober and counting!) returns for one hell of a night only, on a triple bill that’s part of the QueerCom festival. “Power to the Mullet!” finds Molly (an improv-curious sketch comedy creation of the voraciously versatile Andrea Alton) tackling abominations like our “big orange Cheeto head” president and $14 organic smoothies, while occasionally favoring us with her earnest if not exactly chapbook-worthy poetry. Like the nachos Molly consumes with reckless abandon, you’ll soon find yourself acquiring a taste for that poetry, and going all bullish on this daffy and defiant dyke. “Mullet” shares the evening with the improv troupe “It’s A Good Thing You’re Pretty” and solo comedy from double minority (gay, Mohawk) T. Leclaire. Sat., June 17, 7pm at the Peoples Improv Theater (aka PIT; 123 E. 24 St., btw. Park & Lexington Aves.). Tickets ($10) at the door or via thepit-nyc.com. Contact the PIT at 212-563-7488.

WEST CHELSEA ARTISTS OPEN STUDIOS Step into their minds by walking through their doors, by taking this selfguided tour that gives you access to over 30 artists located in buildings throughout the West Chelsea area. More than just an opportunity to browse, this annual event provides a rare chance to engage artists in conversation and, as a result, learn about what sets their chosen medium

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE O F F E R I NG TA B L E S H O W E R S & BODY SCRU BS 11 SK I L L E D T H E R A PISTS W I T H A DI V ERSE R A NGE OF BAC KGROU N DS & SK I L L S

O PE N E V E RY DAY F RO M 10 A M –2 A M 300 WEST 56TH STREET (AT 8TH AVE) BUZZER 2F VISIT US ONLINE AT: MANTASPA.COM

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT CALL 212-757-3688 NYC Community Media


Courtesy Barbara Rachko Studio

Get the inside scoop on their creative process, and scoop up some of their work, during your June 17 and 18 West Chelsea Artists Open Studios self-guided tour.

apart, and why they chose that particular style of expression. Haggling might even be part of that dialogue â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but be gentle, kind patron of the arts, because the very fact youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on their home turf means the price you pay to walk away with a one-of-aPhoto by Jenny Rubin kind creation wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t No bull: Molly â&#x20AC;&#x153;Equalityâ&#x20AC;? Dykeinclude a gallery man brings her brand of mulletmarkup fee (which powered comedy to the Queercan be 50 percent or Com fest on June 17. more). Free. 12-6pm Sat., June 17 and Sun., June 18. The self-guided tour starts at the West Chelsea Arts building lobbies (508-526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.), where visitors can pick up tour maps. Maps are also available at co-sponsor Blick Art Materials locations (among them, 237 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) and 650 Sixth Ave., at W. 20th St.). Visit westchelseaartists.com for a list of participating artists.

MAX

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Desperately Seeking a Definitive Trump Doctrine What the world needs now, we just don’t have BY MAX BURBANK I’ve been trying to write a column about America’s foreign policy and our place in the world for months. I’d be almost done and then, just before deadline, there’d be a massive explosion of inanity and I’d have no choice but to trash everything I’d written and cover it: President Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey; Trump blabs classified intelligence to the Russians; Trump tweets a pic of his tragically malformed wiener. Okay, I mean, not literally. I’m saying a lot of Trump’s tweets are the metaphorical equivalent of a tragically malformed wiener pic. And just last week, we had the national Rorschach test of the Comey testimony, where everyone saw what they wanted to see, even though the ink blot clearly read “Obstruction of Justice” in Times New Roman 24-point font. You get what I’m saying. As a pundit (shh, I told my mom I’m a pundit), I’ve made a sincere effort to look at the global picture — but Trump’s shenanigans keep pulling me off focus. It happens so often I’d say it was deliberate, but in a previous column I already committed to the theory that Trump lacks the mental capacity to do anything more deliberate than golf. While it’s true Trump’s homeland buffoonery will likely cause a great deal of suffering and perhaps damage our democracy in incalculable ways, it probably won’t result in a post-apocalyptic-Syfy-channeltype scenario where a plucky gang of misfit survivors watch each other slowly die of radiation poisoning. So let’s examine our role on the world stage — while we still can. In some ways it’s very easy to write about our foreign policy, as we have none. The Trump Doctrine is basically, “If lucid, check with Russia, otherwise obey immediate random impulses.” For evidence, look no further than Trump’s bizarre, unasked-for self-insertion (supply your own rude joke here) into the latest Middle East dustup. Long-simmering tensions in the gulf exploded as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. Trump basically took credit, tweeting: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding…” and “...extremism, and all

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June 15, 2017

reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” Grammatical butchery aside, Trump saw global instability and, as he once assured Billy Bush, “moved” on it “like a bitch.”

Illustration by Max Burbank

One has to assume that he didn’t know the Al Udeid Air Base — home to thousands of US troops — is located IN QATAR, which means he tweeted without bothering to find out which Middle Eastern country Qatar IS! If pissing off a country critical to our military presence in the region surprises you, I gotta say that you haven’t been paying attention. It’s just the latest embarrassing, dangerous screwup from the leader who decided to drop the largest non-nuclear weapon we have

on Syria while eating the most beautiful slice of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen, leaked classified Israeli intelligence to the Russians, told Philippine president and extrajudicial serial killer Rodrigo Duterte the location of two of our nuclear submarines, refused to shake hands with a longtime ally (Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany) but offered personal congratulations to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for solidifying dictatorial powers in a highly suspect referendum, shoved Dusko Markovic (the prime minister of Montenegro) aside so he could preen Mussolinistyle at the front of a photo op, and singlehandedly c r e a ted a

worldwide climate of hysteria in which terrible runon sentences like this one get written on a regular basis! Determined to show that “America First” means “America Totally Alone,” Trump has now pulled us out of the Paris agreement. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris” said our president of the climate accord, revealing his belief the accord has “Paris” in its name because it’s French — as opposed to, you know, having simply BEEN SIGNED THERE by France, yes, and also almost EVERY

NATION ON EARTH except Syria and Nicaragua! As of press time, we still don’t know if Trump has canceled his state visit to the UK over fears everyone there hates his guts. The Guardian says it’s off, Sean Spicer says it’s SO on, and CNN weighed in with, “God, our heads hurts real bad, leave us alone.” I’m paraphrasing, but only a little. Trump’s revised travel “ban” got kicked to the curb by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, because no matter how hard Justice Department lawyers work to assure judges that the “ban” isn’t a “ban,” Trump can’t go three tweets without saying it sure as hell is a “ban.” In Sworn testimony on June 13, America’s top racist garden gnome, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, admitted he now accepts Russia interfered with our elections, but doesn’t recall ever getting briefed on the subject or Trump ever mentioning it. Imagine the rest of the world trying to decide if that’s perjury or just criminal dereliction of duty. The President of the United States has long been recognized as the leader of the free world. That’s not the case anymore. Worse yet, the great dealmaker gave the title away for nothing. Is America first? Trump will do anything shirtless equestrian enthusiast Vladimir Putin requires. All King Salman of Saudi Arabia had to do was give Trump a gold necklace and let him touch a little ball, and he’s swoony enough to destabilize the entire region on their behalf. Leadership of the free world is now shared by a Frenchman who married his high school teacher; a buff, outdoorsy Canadian; and a German grandmother with a degree in physics. It’s like the start of a locker room joke Trump would tell Billy Bush to impress him, but a lot funnier and kind of hopeful instead of smelling faintly of desperation and sweatstained tube socks. We stand on the world stage, exposed beneath a flickering spotlight, pants around our ankles — and the free world laughs at us. It’s not a comfortable laugh. It’s high-pitched through clenched teeth, the kind of laugh you surrender to when you realize the TV show you stumbled on in the middle of the night isn’t “The Man in the High Castle” or “Red Dawn” or even some dark, edgy reboot of “Hee Haw.” It’s the news. NYC Community Media


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FATALITY continued from p. 5

onto Eighth Ave. (see chelseanow.com for the Feb. 8, 2017 article â&#x20AC;&#x153;Turn Restriction Shifts Tour Buses to Side Streetsâ&#x20AC;?). While W. 26th St. currently doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t allow trucks, CB4 penned a letter to the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Transportation in February requesting the Photo by Rebecca Fiore truck restriction to include The Citi Bike station located on W. 26th St., bebuses due to safety concerns tween Eighth and Ninth Aves. The June 12 fatality and community complaints. happened on that same street, between Eighth and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Commercial bus traffic on Seventh Aves. such a busy residential street is putting all these parents, children and the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s number 1 ranked tennis player by 16, according to a report by seniors in danger,â&#x20AC;? the letter read. According to NYPDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Motor Vehicle Brown Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus newspaper. Collision stats, W. 26th St. between The Brown Daily Herald also reported Seventh and Eighth Aves. has seen more that he moved to the US in 2003 to study than 100 incidents â&#x20AC;&#x201D; two of which at Binghamton University before transferinvolved injured cyclists â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in the last five ring to Brown. Hanegby also served in years. Following the incident, police offi- the Israel Defense Forces from December cers near where Hanegby was struck were 1999 to December 2002, according to seen ticketing Citi Bike riders going the his LinkedIn page. Citi Bike currently has 10,000 bikes wrong direction and double-parked cars. When asked multiple times about any throughout the city and has been used for statistics Citi Bike keeps of injuries or 43 million rides. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Together with the City of New York, collisions, the company reps could not we wish to express our heartfelt condoprovide any information. Hanegby lived in Brooklyn Heights and lences to the riderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family and loved ones is survived by his wife and two children. on this terrible tragedy,â&#x20AC;? Citi Bike spokesHe was born in Israel where he became person Dani Simons said in a statement.

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De Blasio Housing Affordability Political Gimmicks Failing Tenants Most in Need 9PAFJ<G?JKI8J9LI> Mayor Bill de Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housing policies have been more about politics than substance. When you separate the myths from the facts, Mayor Bill de Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s affordable housing plan is ďŹ lled with politically driven, re-election gimmicks that are failing tenants most in need. Consider that 168,000 wealthy tenants with annual incomes of $100,000-plus occupy nearly 20% of all rent-regulated apartments â&#x20AC;&#x201C; while 172,000 poor households with annual incomes of less than $25,000 canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get the affordable housing they need. So who are de Blasio and the so-called tenant advocates really protecting? Even the Metropolitan Council on Housing says that de Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housing program will yield a grossly inadequate amount of housing for the people who need it most. The Mayor claims that keeping New Yorkers in their homes

NYC Community Media

has been his top priority, and that his rent freeze program accomplishes that. The numbers tell a very different story. De Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rent freeze program and policies have produced the highest homeless levels in New York City since The Great Depression â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with 61,935 New Yorkers, of which 23,445 are children, currently in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shelter system. Affordability for All, a coalition of tenant groups, says at a time of record homelessness, de

Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s self-congratulatory victory lap on affordable housing is offensive and wrong. De Blasio and other politicians like State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie say that rents need to be kept affordable or families will be pushed out of their homes. Some in government recognize the issue is low income, not high rents. The subsidy program, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Home Stability Support,â&#x20AC;? proposed by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Senator Jeffrey Klein, would address the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s record homelessness by providing a Federal and state-funded rent subsidy for tenants who are facing homelessness or eviction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a real rent relief program that would keep the poorest, income-challenged families in their homes. Another proposal, the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tenant Rent Increase Exemptionâ&#x20AC;? (TRIE) program, which has passed unanimously twice in the State Senate, would provide a permanent rent subsidy to all tenants (not just

senior citizens and the disabled) with annual incomes of $50,000 or less who pay half their income toward rent. Why isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t de Blasio, Heastie and the City Council supporting these sound Albany proposals that would keep poor and income-challenged tenants in their homes, and provide rent relief as well as real solutions to the homeless crisis? Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy of all is the de Blasio mantra of affordable housing and income equality for all New Yorkers. The caveat: as long as it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t affect his bank account. As Mayor, de Blasio directed (he has admitted as much) the Rent Guidelines Board â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which is supposed to operate independently of City Hall inďŹ&#x201A;uence â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to vote for rent freezes in 2015 and 2016. But landlord de Blasio has continued to raise rents of his tenants in two homes he owns in Park Slope to cover operating and repair costs. Denying fair rent increases

to the landlords of 1 million rentstabilized apartments prevents the largest providers of affordable housing in the ďŹ ve boroughs from repairing, improving and maintaining their buildings. Besides re-investing in their buildings, nearly 40% of rent revenue goes directly to the city for property taxes and water rates (which de Blasio has raised 17% and 12%, respectively, over the past three years) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and that revenue, in turn, pays for education, ďŹ re, police and other city services. This recurring theme of de Blasioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housing affordability plan being trumped by politics and hypocrisy will push more tenants out of their homes, destroy the largest segment of affordable housing, and negatively impact city services. Joseph Strasburg is president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 owners of 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, the largest providers of affordable housing in the ďŹ ve boroughs.

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June 15, 2017

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