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VOLUME 28, NUMBER 8

SEPTEMBER 24-OCTOBER 7, 2015

OLD TYPE OF FIGHT FOR NEW 9/11 MONEY BY JOSH ROGERS ou can’t say there’s a flood of 9/11 money again, but the faucet is back on. The evidence was clear last week as a few hundred people — some well-connected, others far from the public eye — waited to make their pitch to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for a slice of a new $50 million fund. Madelyn Wils, a former L.M.D.C. board member who now heads the Hudson River Park Trust, stood in line at the Fiterman Hall elevators with large diagrams of her hopes to open up the rest of Tribeca’s Pier 26. The Economic Development Corp., the agency in charge of city-owned land, is usually in the power position, but on Sept. 17, the corporation sent a representative hat in hand to ask for $17 million to make more improvements to the East River waterfront, including a playground on Pier 42. Fifty million is a far cry from the nearly $2.8 billion federal grant the L.M.D.C. received from Congress after 9/11 to help Downtown rebuild. It is not at all clear that the $50 million is the corporation’s “last” to be allocated. As far back as 2006, it appeared that all of the money had been set aside for

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Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Otto Penzler, owner of Manhattan’s last mystery bookstore, has managed to hang on. He said Amazon is “rapacious and evil, but they do in fact do a great job.”

Tribeca whodunit: Battle Amazon & keep a mystery bookstore open BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC ysterious Bookshop’s almost floor-to-ceiling crammed bookshelves — complete with a rolling ladder — would do any library in an Agatha Christie proud. And like Christie’s mysteries featuring bucolic English estates, the Mysterious Bookshop has lasted. For 36 years, the bookstore has withstood Amazon, e-books and competitors to be the last of its kind in Manhattan to exclusively sell mysteries. On a recent sunny Saturday, a steady trickle of customers came into the spacious shop at 58 Warren St. in Tribeca.

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Books crowded tables while a couch and green chair waited patiently in the center of the store to be used. “I like that it is an old-fashioned bookstore — they’re not selling candy, they’re not selling T-shirts. It’s kind of rare these days,” said Bill Hoffmann, a Greenwich Village resident who used to go to Partners & Crime, the mystery bookstore in his neighborhood that closed three years ago. “If this store folds,” he said, “the city is finished.” Otto Penzler, 73, is the owner and force behind the institution. Growing up in the South Bronx, Penzler didn’t read many mysteries, but

the one he did made an impression. “I was in the fourth grade, I remember it vividly,” he said last month during an interview in his 2,400-square-foot store. Seated in the shop’s comfortable brown leather couch across from the children’s nook, Penzler explained how his school had library class, and the first part was devoted to how to properly care for and handle books. In the second half, he said, students were allowed to take any book they wanted off the shelf. He serendipitously took out an anthology that included Sherlock Holmes’ “The Red-Headed League.” (The back wall Continued on page 6

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“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” Well, that may not be true for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which have both expanded in the big city, but could they do so in the same retail space? It sounds unlikely, but Luis Vazquez — 18 years selling real estate, eight years living in the Financial District and four years running the FiDi Fan Page on Facebook — thinks so. For now, just Whole Foods seems like a surer bet. The retail space in question is what once was 1 Chase Manhattan and is now 28 Liberty St. Fosun, the Chinese company that bought it, is looking to revamp the space beneath the landmarked tower and plaza. Vazquez says that ultimately 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be up for grabs. “They are going to need a retailer to drive people to that site,” he told us by phone. Vazquez said Whole Foods is not “confirmed, confirmed” but he hears from sources they are close to inking a deal. But so is, apparently, Trader Joe’s. “I think there is room for both — easily,” he said.

Raise your hand if you call Sixth Ave. by its legal, lawful name Avenue of the Americas. Right, no hands — exactly what we thought. Many New Yorkers have always called it Sixth Ave. despite the best efforts of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the City Council, who in 1945 officially named it Avenue of the Americas. It was supposedly to honor “pan-American ideals and principles” — or at least that’s what Wikipedia says. In the 1980s, even the Dept. of Transportation capitulated and put back Sixth Ave. signs, but letting the “Americas” name languish for tourists, we suppose. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the official and unofficial name of the avenue became important for Tribeca developer DDG. Despite community opposition, DDG will build high-end condos on the irregularly shaped lots at 100 Franklin St. The two buildings — one six, the other eight stories tall whose entrances will be on Sixth Ave. — need addresses and so a trip to the Manhattan borough president’s office of topographical services took place. There, the developer learned that “basically, there’s been this historical oversight where this little one block stretch of Sixth Ave. was never actually renamed into Avenue of the Americas,” Zulekha Inayat, development manager for DDG, told Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee on Sept. 9, seemingly unaware of the decades of rejection the street name has suffered. Hector Rivera, of the topographical bureau, explained to UnderCover by phone that the Avenues omission in Tribeca happened because the city used a map from April 17, 1929, which had the street going to White St. In reality, the city should have used an amended map from Sept. 26, 1929 that had it going to Franklin St.

THANKS, MR. POPIK We here at UnderCover are honored that Barry Popik, the man the Wall Street Journal called “the restless genius of American etymology,” has just credited Downtown Express with coining the phrase “Vesey Squeezey” to describe the pedestrian crush of World Trade Center area commuters and residents on Vesey St. Popik, on his New York City blog noted last week that our 2014 article coined the phrase, which was later used by the Journal and USA Today. As we’ve said before, we’re sure our lexicon fame was helped immensely by Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson who immediately embraced our phrase and used it in her push to open up more space on the street. DowntownExpress.com

Downtown Express photo by Tequila Minksy

Victory Toast Dennis Gault and Terri Cude, right, the new Democratic district leaders of Part B of the 66th Assembly District, toasted their victory Sept. 13 in the LaGuardia Corner gardens. Gault, a Battery Park City resident, and Cude from the Village each got about 68 percent of the vote Sept. 10, defeating incumbents John Scott and Jean Grillo. There’s been a kerfuffle over mailings sent by Downtown Independent Democrats criticizing Scott and Grillo, but for his part Scott, who also criticized the campaign literature, wrote in a letter to Downtown Express (P. 18) that he didn’t think the mailings affected the result.

September 24-October 7, 2015

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TOURIST SCUFFLE AT 9/11 MEMORIAL A Wisconsin tourist was taking photos with his cellphone near the 9/11 Memorial on Fri., Sept. 18 at around 11:20 a.m. when another tourist tried to steal his phone, police say. The Michigan tourist, 41, approached the other man as he took photos and asked him, “Why do you have a red phone?” Police say the suspect then attempted to grab the phone and pushed the man. The Wisconsin man ran away while the Michigan man followed. The Michigan man was arrested, police say, but he screamed, yelled and refused to be handcuffed.

him and then stole his wallet with $60, police say. One of the team was caught. The man, 18 and a Brooklyn resident, was arrested.

CABBIE CARJACKING Last week, four men attacked a yellow cab driver, pulled him out of the cab, stole it and then crashed it, police say. The passengers hit the cabbie in the chest near the corner of South and Wall Sts. at around 2 a.m. on Tues., Sept. 15, police say. They got the driver, 35, out of the cab and then took off in the vehicle until they overturned it. They fled the scene, but police did arrest one — a 25-year-old man.

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A Queens man, 35, was going down the subway stairs in the Financial District Sunday afternoon, when two people attacked him and stole his wallet, police say. The man was going down the stairs to catch an A train at the Chambers St./World Trade Center station on Sun., Sept. 20 at noon when one man and one woman ran up to him, punched

Fries flew and tempers flared early morning last week outside of a Financial District McDonald’s when a World Trade Center security guard slashed and stabbed a 20-year-old man, according to the police and media reports. The verbal dispute started inside of the fast-food joint at 160 Broadway, where reportedly the younger man threw fries at the guard. The Queens

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A Connecticut man fell prey to three con artists on the 4 train on Fri., Sept. 4 at 4:40 p.m., police say. The man, 48, got on the train at the Fulton St. station and told police that the trio followed him into the car. One of the three, a woman — described as around 25, 5ft. 4” and 100 pounds — acted as if her hand was caught in the door. The second of the group — a man described as around 20, 5ft. 10” and 180 pounds — went to help her. While this distraction was going on, a third member — a man also described as 20, 5ft. 10” and 180 pounds — bumped into the man and stole his wallet. The three then fled when the doors reopened. But before they left the station, the victim said the suspects made eye contact with him and smiled. They stole his credit cards, $7, driver’s license and a $150 train ticket.

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PORSCHE STOLEN A Tribeca man parked his car in a neighborhood parking garage last weekend and got his 2013 $120,000 black Porsche stolen in the afternoon, police say. On Sat., Sept. 19 at around 4 p.m., the man, 61, parked his car at the Manhattan Parking Group garage at 143 Reade St., police say. Upon returning about half an hour later, the Porsche was gone. Two male witnesses told police they saw a male suspect drive the luxury car west on Reade St. Police say the owner of the nearby Reade Street Pub & Kitchen has video of the suspect taking the Porsche.

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man, his friend, 22, and the 54-year-old guard stepped outside of the McDonalds on Mon., Sept. 14 at around 3:30 a.m., police say. The two men confronted the guard, who proceeded to pull out a knife, according to police. The younger man punched the guard, who then proceeded to swing the knife and slice the 22-year-old on the left side of his face, police say. The guard also stabbed the victim in the upper left area of his chest, police say. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and was in stable condition. The guard took off and was caught by police near Church St., according to reports. The knife was not found. The suspect, Saul Puente, has been charged with one count of assault with intent to cause injury with a weapon, according to the New York State Unified Court system. He has been released on his own recognizance.

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Reflections on the street, this Sept. 11 B Y YA N N IC R A C K On the morning of Sept. 11, 2015, Lower Manhattan was abuzz in its usual rush, with commuters streaming out of the PATH station at the World Trade Center and office workers taking their first cigarette breaks of the day in the 7 W.T.C. plaza. But the scene was decidedly more sober across the street where, inside the closed-off National September 11 Memorial & Museum, families of victims had begun reading the names of the nearly 3,000 who were killed here 14 years ago. Around the neighborhood, residents and visitors took a moment to reflect on the anniversary. Warren (61) Californian visiting family, originally from Brooklyn “It’s a bit of a difficult day. I was working for one of the major airlines that was involved. As a matter of fact, I was on shift, and I happened to be in maintenance control. We had taken a call from one of the aircraft [that hit the Twin Towers], a flight attendant on the plane. They explained that they had been hijacked, but there was not much we could offer them by way of response. The standard protocol back then was pretty much to just let them have their way. It was just a tough one. Friends of friends were inside the building and they’re no longer here. It was important to me to come back.” Cindy Pound (46) Battery Park City resident who was living in Chelsea on 9/11

“To be honest, yesterday I was reminiscing a lot about it, and this morning I forgot, when I first woke up. But I got a text message from a friend; he was the first person I spoke with on that day. I watched the entire [1 W.T.C.] tower be built, which was meaningful. I’m just glad people remember and I’m really proud of the recovery progress that has been made. I think the city has done a great job in balancing remembrance with moving forward.” Jacqueline Barker (38) Lower Manhattan resident who moved from Florida last year “[My children] are very keenly aware of it. It’s taught in school a lot, and living down here and walking past the memorial each day…they know a lot of people who were here on that day, parents of friends. So it’s always a quiet morning, but we talk about it. I think you need to be aware of the space and the community that you live in.” Arthur Regan (52) Lost his office at 90 West St. on 9/11, Regan this year was leading the annual “New York Will Never Forget” walk-a-thon, a memorial walk from The Battery all the way to Central Park. Although only three people had shown up this year, he was in good spirits “It’s a business day and people have lots of different things they’re doing. Every year is a

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Manhattan’s last mystery bookstore Continued from page 1

of the store is dedicated to Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.) “I started reading and I was about, I don’t know, halfway through the story when the class ended,” he recalled. “I didn’t know what happened and it was driving me insane until I could get back to the library and finish reading that story. I loved it.” After graduating from college and returning to New York, that Sherlock Holmes story stayed in his mind. He had spent university reading James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Russian novelists and Herman Melville. “I couldn’t stop reading ‘cause I loved it, but I wanted to read something that wasn’t going to make my head hurt,” he said. “So I thought mysteries would be a great place to go — it’s simple, it’s easy, it‘ll be fun.” He added, “As I read more and more, I came to realize that there was really serious literature in that field — once I came across people like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and [Edgar Allan] Poe, who I had read before, but mostly I read the horror stories.” In the ‘60s, Penzler started working for

the New York Daily News as a copy boy, earning $37 after taxes a week. He liked collecting books and first editions and earmarked $5 of his pay for them. “I skipped some meals occasionally to buy books,” he said. “It’s a disease.” He worked as a statistician and then as a sports writer for the Daily News for six years. After that, he joined the publicity department of ABC Sports just as “Monday Night Football” began in 1970. He left to write for “The Reasoner Report,” hosted by former “60 Minutes” correspondent Harry Reasoner. Meanwhile, Penzler’s book collection grew. When his friend Chris Steinbrunner was commissioned to write a book, he asked Penzler to collaborate. “Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection” was published in 1976 and won the Edgar, a prestigious mystery award. Steinbrunner wrote the entries on movies, television and radio; Penzler wrote about the authors and books, he said. Working on the encyclopedia encouraged Penzler to start Mysterious Press in 1975. In the beginning, the publishing company’s office was his apartment in the Bronx and Penzler was a one-man show — negotiating contracts, editing, hiring artists

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Mysterious Bookstore at 58 Warren St. also has a small children’s section.

for jacket covers, doing production, typing invoices and sending out review copies, he said. “It was all fine until I had success and I couldn’t keep up,” he recalled. He needed help but didn’t feel he could call a secretarial service to send someone to his apartment, he said. So Penzler started looking for a place in Manhattan. “I couldn’t afford the rents so I wound up — I know this sounds ludicrous in today’s real estate market — but I wound up buying a building on 56th St. with a partner,” he said. The real estate market was different at that time, he said, and the city was going bankrupt and it was being taxed to death by then Mayor John Lindsay. “So from my life savings of $2,000, I put a down payment down on this building, which cost $177,000 — six-story building in Midtown Manhattan,” he said. “It’s hilarious. I didn’t even know. I had no idea that it was — I lived in an apartment my whole life. I wasn’t thinking about it as a real estate venture, I was thinking about it now I can have an extra room, I can have some space.” Now that he had space, he thought it would be fun to open a bookshop. On Friday the 13th in April 1979, the Mysterious Bookshop opened at 129 W. 56th St. The shop could have opened a couple days earlier. “I just really liked the symbolism,” Penzler said. “I am not superstitious, we’re going forward on this date.” For 26 years, the bookshop was in Midtown. When his partner wanted to sell the building, Penzler couldn’t afford to buy his half. “The real estate market had changed dramatically since 1978,” he said with a laugh. After selling the building, Penzler scouted for another location in Midtown,

but it was by then unaffordable for a bookshop. A real estate agent steered him to the bookshop’s current location. Next month will be the store’s tenth anniversary in Tribeca. It hasn’t been easy to keep an independent bookstore afloat — overhead in New York City is “astronomical” and the profit margin for books is modest, said Penzler. Competition has been fierce, first when Barnes & Noble became successful and expanded and now with Amazon. “Of course, when Amazon opened, it was just brutal,” he said. “A lot of people loved the discounts, a lot of people loved the convenience and look, I’m not happy about saying anything good at all about Amazon, who I think are rapacious and evil, but they do in fact do a great job. That really was a big challenge.” Penzler said there used to be six mystery bookstores in Manhattan — including Foul Play, Murder Ink, Black Orchid Bookshop — in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but all have since shuttered. “Now there’s just us,” he said. “I’m just too stubborn to close.” Penzler, who continues to work as a publisher and has edited many anthologies, said, “A lot of that money went into the money pit here.” Penzler credited the store’s staying power to its name recognition due to Mysterious Press and his publishing and editing career, which has led to lots of ink. “I live optimistically thinking that every interview I do, I’m going to find a few new customers,” he said, “and sometimes I do.” He also lauded his staff, calling his manager, Ian Kern, and the rest of the five-person fulltime staff “unbelievable.” “I would have gone out of business if it weren’t for him,” Penzler said of Kern. “He held the store together when things were going really, really badly.” DowntownExpress.com


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healthplus.amerigroup.com Empire BlueCross BlueShield HealthPlus is the trade name of HealthPlus, LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about applying for health insurance including Child Health Plus and Medicaid through NY State of Health, The Official Health Plan Marketplace, visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 1-855-355-5777. DowntownExpress.com

September 24-October 7, 2015

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City requests $500 million for Downtown storm protection BY DUSICA SU E M A L E SE V IC Having made it to the second, and final, round of a national competition where $1 billion is up for grabs for storm protection, the city plans on submitting an application focused on Lower Manhattan — just not all of it. The National Disaster Resilience Competition (N.D.R.C.) is the last of Superstorm Sandy money to be allocated, and is run by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. “We’re going to be putting the full force and backing of the city behind one specific application for Lower Manhattan,” Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, told Community Board 1’s Planning Committee on Mon., Sept. 21. However, the area defined for the application is from Montgomery St. to the Battery. Battery Park City and Tribeca are not included. The city is hoping to win the competition’s maximum amount — $500 million — and Zarrilli said that by including Battery Park City, “we would just be taking it well beyond what was possible in the competition.” Zarrilli emphasized that the city is

starting this month a request for proposals, or R.F.P., that will include the neighborhood. The R.F.P. is for a preliminary design, environmental review and community engagement “for a comprehensive look at Lower Manhattan’s resiliency, including coastal protection, storm water manage-

Downtown. At the end of August, the city announced $100 million more for protecting Lower Manhattan. At an August press conference announcing the Downtown money, Zarrilli said the city would try to include protections for Battery Park City if it won the federal grant.

Protections for Battery Park City would not be included if the city wins the federal grant. ment, the types of risks that we know we face,” said Zarrilli, for an area that stretches from Montgomery St. to the northern end of Battery Park City. This process could take anywhere from 18 months to two years, said Zarrilli. “We know we can’t wait and we need to continue that design process,” he said. Before March this year, Lower Manhattan was shut out of much of the money for resiliency and recovery after Sandy. Out of $4.21 billion the city received, the southern tip had received $1.5 million. In March, $15 million from the city and state was allocated to

This week, Zarrilli said the city money is “not going to be enough for the whole project. But $100 million on the table to demonstrate our commitment to this project… [may] stimulate the federal government to leverage that up and provide even more.” The N.D.R.C. started in September 2014 and was open to any area that had a disaster in 2011, 2012 or 2013. Sixtyseven cities, counties and states applied for the first round. In June, the city found out it made it to the second round, when the field was cut down to 40. The deadline for the application is Oct. 27. The winner will be announced in January.

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HUD has already had one resiliency competition called Rebuild by Design. The city was awarded $335 million for what was then called the “BIG U” for the segment of the E. 23rd St. to Montgomery St. The “U” was to protect the southern half of Manhattan. The city’s application, called “Lower Manhattan Protect and Connect,” includes measures such as berms or deployable flood walls from Montgomery St. to the Battery and investments in nine NYCHA housing complexes to better handle storm water and resiliency, Zarrilli explained. C.B. 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes said that only part of the application that includes Lower Manhattan is the island’s tip, which is roughly around $225 million. “The other three projects that the city’s putting forward are not located in Community Board 1,” she said. The balance is in C.B. 3 on the Lower East Side. The committee asked Zarrilli how the city would prioritize if it didn’t win the $500 million or was awarded less. “We’re not at that place yet,” he said. “Part of it is, if we pull this off in the right way and we advocate correctly to the Feds, we won’t have to make that

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September 24-October 7, 2015

9


Garden & housing supporters square off at hearing B Y LINC O L N A N D E RSO N About 200 supporters of the Elizabeth St. Garden packed the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. hearing last week to protest against funds being allocated to help build affordable housing on the Little Italy site. Notably joining them was Assemblymember Deborah Glick. Far fewer, about 50 people — many of them seniors from Chinatown — came to advocate for the housing. City Councilmember Margaret Chin, the project’s main sponsor, spoke in favor of the project, and then sat up in the front of the main hearing room for the entire hearing. The pro-garden group was so large that the crowd filled two overflow rooms, plus a balcony outside the 13th-floor hearing room at the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Fiterman Hall. There were many applications for money, but only the contentious garden issue saw anyone actually testify in opposition — and that organized opposition was tremendous. Indeed, it’s rare for anyone to testify against an L.M.D.C. funding application, much less in such a massive and impassioned manner. The L.M.D.C.’s funding pot is $50 million. The city is requesting $6 million of this for the project at 21 Spring St., the garden’s address. The agency is expected to make public its decision on the garden’s

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

Elizabeth St. Garden leaders Emily Hellstrom, left, and Jeannine Kiely.

fate as soon as next month, according to Chin’s office. Eric Wilson, associate commissioner of planning and development at the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, briefly presented the housing plan. “New York City is in the middle of a housing crisis,” he said, adding that Mayor de Blasio’s plan calls for 200,000 affordable units to be created over the next 10 years, with 40 percent of them newly constructed units.

The 21 Spring St. development would include 60 to 100 apartments in a seven-story building, with a price tag of $20 million to $24 million, he said. The $6 million L.M.D.C. grant, Wilson explained, would help H.P.D. to “target deeper affordability,” in terms of who could live there. He said H.P.D., within the first three months of next year, would release a competitive request for proposals, or R.F.P., for developers to build the housing. “It’s very early in the process,” he said. Chin spoke of growing up just five

blocks from the future garden when the neighborhood was known only as Little Italy — long before the trendy acronym Nolita was coined by real estate types. The garden was just a vacant site back then. “I grew up in Little Italy, on Mott St. near Hester St., with many Italians,” she said. “For many years, I heard form neighbors about this site, that they wanted to have housing there.” Chin noted that the city designated 21 Spring St. as a site for affordable housing back in 2012. This was done because 100 percent affordable housing — which most would say was never an obtainable goal — could not be achieved in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area development project, which is actually in Community Board 3. The garden, however, is in C.B. 2. “The city surveyed all of the city-owned sites in the district and found this was the best space for affordable housing,” Chin said. Yet, C.B. 2 was never notified of this decision by the city until after the fact, and Glick said this may make it ineligible for L.M.D.C. funds. Chin said she likes parks and gardens, but explained, “As a councilmember, you have to make tough choices and take the long view. Seniors right now are struggling to climb stairs in four-story walk-ups.” Continued on page 11

L.M.D.C. hears pitches to spend $50 million Continued from page 1

specific uses, but in the subsequent years, unused funds were often rediscovered, like in 2010, when $200 million was left over in a fund set up to compensate utilities for 9/11 damage. State Sen. Daniel Squadron, one of many to show up last week, told David Emil, the corporation’s president, that it was good news to see so many community members come. “I’m with you,” Emil replied. “I am very happy to see this kind of turnout.” Many came to support or oppose a $6 million city request to build affordable housing on a community garden at 21 Spring St. [See related article, this page], but there were other requests for parks, museums and other cultural uses. Squadron spoke on behalf of himself and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer in support of the Pier 42 playground

10

September 24-October 7, 2015

and other enhancements, which need a $7 million L.M.D.C. grant. The state senator is also backing more money to construct the long-awaited Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, and a $4.8 million request from the South Street Seaport Museum to open more classroom and community space The Battery Conservancy hopes for a $6 million grant to help construct a large, 1.4-acre playground in the space formerly known as Battery Park. Wils from the Trust said $10 million would be enough to open about 2.5 acres of closed space on Pier 26 and complete a “vision that is over 20 years old” for Hudson River Park. She said she already has $20 million for the $30 million project, $10 million of which is from a private donor. The donor is apparently not a Tribeca celebrity, since Wils told Downtown Express the person does not live in the neighborhood, nor is

it Barry Diller, who has pledged $113 million to Hudson River Park for new open space on Pier 55. The L.M.D.C. had already granted over $200 million for the East River waterfront and the Tribeca section of the Hudson Park. The corporation’s criteria for new grants explicitly allows for money to complete previously funded projects. The applications will be reviewed by a three-member working group, which includes two L.M.D.C. board members — Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, and Peter Wertheim from the mayor’s office — and Alexis Offen, a vice president of the Empire State Development Corp, the L.M.D.C.’s parent agency. The L.M.D.C.’s board is divided equally between appointments of the governor and mayor, and all money spent must benefit Manhattan south of Houston St. Allocations must ulti-

mately be approved by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Other large requests include over $10 million from the Downtown Alliance for tree and other improvements to Water St. and its LMHQ center; $1 million from the 9/11 Memorial to continue the Tribute in Light for three more years; and $2.5 million to complete the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s long-delayed museum on Canal St. Rachel Robinson, widow to the baseball legend who broke the color line, came to the hearing looking a few decades younger than her 93 years. She did not speak, but received hearty applause when her presence was announced. “Thanks for coming,” Emil the L.M.D.C.’s president, told her. “He was truly a great American and we are honored to have you here.” The corporation’s board hopes to vote on the grants this year. DowntownExpress.com


Continued from page 10

The new building would have elevators. “Fourteen years after 9/11, there’s a new housing boom in Lower Manhattan,” the councilmember said, adding, “The vast majority of this new construction is luxury housing.” She added that while affordable housing is achievable at 21 Spring St., H.P.D. needs the L.M.D.C. grant to ensure that the project would be for seniors. Meanwhile, Assemblymember Glick, in her testimony, urged L.M.D.C. to deny the application — at least until the community has been included in the process and discussion, which affects the district’s open space. “I am gravely concerned about the location of this project,” she said. “While there is no denying that we need more affordable housing, there is also no denying that this community has the second-least amount of open space in the city and this project would eliminate a well-used and public community garden.” Glick added that C.B. 2 has identified an alternative city-owned site that is larger and could hold even more units of affordable housing — at Hudson and Clarkson Sts. — “and equally important, it would would do so without the destruction of existing community open space.” As she spoke, Councilmember Chin stared blankly in her direction without making eye contact. Chin folded her arms in apparent displeasure as Glick continued. Also speaking for the garden were Tobi Bergman and Terri Cude, C.B. 2 chairperson and first vice chairperson, respectively. Echoing Glick, Bergman said, the housing project “was sited in our board, but Community Board 2 was not notified until after the fact.” He further told the L.M.D.C. panel, “You may hear today that this affordable housing project will happen anyway and that this is just about whether it will be senior affordable housing — that’s not true.” Bergman urged that the housing could instead be built at the alternative Hudson Square site where “generous height and zoning allowances could allow it to be five times bigger — more units,” he said. Councilmember Corey Johnson, who did not appear, also supports developing affordable housing at the West Side site, which is in his district. Cude said, “Seniors, adults and children love this space and participate in its dozens of free programs each week.” Jeannine Kiely, president of the Friends of Elizabeth St. Garden, and others noted that the Soho / Little Italy area has just a DowntownExpress.com

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

Chinatown seniors came to the hearing by van from Hamilton-Madison House.

paltry .07 acres of open space per 1,000 residents. Speaker after speaker told of how the garden has brought a magical change. One was an 84-year-old woman who said she bought an apartment nearby it as a retirement home. “I had chosen Little Italy because it felt like a neighborhood,” she said. “Now — because of the garden — it’s become a community.” A group of young activists began to protest, “This is not right! This totally not fair!” saying their side wasn’t getting equal time at the microphone. Before the L.M.D.C. officials cut off the pro-garden testifiers for a while, Wenjii Zhou took the mic, then spun around to face the crowd instead of the panel. Speaking in English and then translating into Chinese, while gesturing expressively with her hands, she addressed the Asian seniors. She said that while she understood the need for housing, the neighborhood also had a great need for the open space and community feeling provided by the garden. West Village activist Jim Fouratt said, “I’m 74 years old and I live in a sixth-floor walk-up. There is no senior housing.” He said he was part of the creative class of people who were once drawn to Greenwich Village. “We do not make a lot of money,” he said. “We have no place to go. There is no housing for senior creative people. This is a critical situation for us.” K Webster is co-chairperson of the M’finda Kalunga Garden, at Rivington St. in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, but spoke against preserving the Elizabeth St. Garden. The alternative site in C.B. 2 is not suitable for senior housing, she argued.

“It’s in a high-traffic, high-density area with no grocery stores nearby — not even expensive ones,” she said. Meanwhile, she derided the garden as “a showcase for pricey artifacts.” Housing advocates argue that there are other parks nearby, including Sara D. Roosevelt Park and DeSalvio Playground.

However, Adam Woodward said, “All the other parks they mentioned are concrete, paved...basketball courts.” Soho’s Lora Tenenbaum, her voice trembling with emotion, said the garden is irreplaceable for the open-space-starved area. “I am a senior and I need this garden, on 9/11 my home was filled with dust. I wore a mask inside. I need fresh air, I need green space — and that is something that seniors like me need.” After the hearing, C.B. 2 Chairperson Bergman said that the opinion of people who actually live near the garden should take precedence. “Everyone has a right to speak,” Bergman said, “but it’s always better when people know something about what they are speaking of. People who live a mile away in another community are unlikely to understand the community value of the garden.” Bergman said neither the housing advocacy organizations or H.P.D. had reached out to C.B. 2 to “exchange ideas about how to get the most possible affordable housing built in our district.”

WITH REPORTING BY JOSH ROGERS

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11


BY JANE L B L A D O W

ACQUA FOR BREAKFAST...

September was big for firsts on Peck Slip. The new Peck Slip School, P.S. 343, opened its doors on Sept. 9 to 161 kindergarteners through third graders after a $58-million overhaul of the former U.S. Post Office building. Across Water St., at Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar (21 Peck Slip), managing partner Nicholas Berti stood by the doorway, waving and welcoming parents and neighbors. The Italian bistro, a neighborhood fixture since 1999, had officially opened for the first time that morning (7:30 – 11:30 a.m.) for breakfast — continental style (Sept. 8 was the soft opening). As a breakfast stop, it was an immediate hit. “The response from the community is very good,” said Berti, noting that about two dozen parents stopped in Sept. 9. “The first day of school, everyone is in disarray,” he said. “Good to have a place to come to and relax over a coffee.” From coffee Americano to a zippy Espresso, Acqua uses only the Italian brand Anèri Tricaffe, one of only ten wood-roasted coffees in the world. Ceci Cela Bakery and Patisserie in Brooklyn supplies chocolate and butter croissants and other pastries. They are then baked each morning in the restaurant’s own ovens. House-made biscotti and baguettes also fill the air with the sweet smell of fresh baked bread. On a recent Thursday, neighbors Alicia and Chris Saddock stopped in for coffees and muffins before dropping their two children off for their second day of school. “The school is beautiful and teachers

wonderful,” said Alicia. “And we really like being able to stop for a moment with the kids. We’ll be back.” While some locals took advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the tables, others gathered for coffee and conversation at the bar. Anne Jackley and David Richter, who both live along Water St., gave two thumbs up to the idea of an early morning place to chat and meet with neighbors. “It’s one of the best things that happened to the neighborhood since Sandy,” joked Richler. Berti has big plans in store for mornings at Acqua. He plans to buy chargers so people can not only recharge themselves but also their phones and tablets. Look for eggs and oatmeal additions in the next few weeks. And that bread that is so popular with lunch and dinner customers? He’s selling those too – $2.50 a baguette. Acqua Restaurant & Wine Bar, 21 Peck Slip, Monday-Friday, 7:30-11:30 am, 212 349-4433

DOG PHOTOS!...

Pup parents, if you are like me and I know you are, your cell phone is filled with snaps of your dog — playing in the dog run, sitting on a chair, sleeping on the couch, even begging at the dinner table. But those are fun photos, not proper portraits. Thanks to a local photographer who loves Fishbridge Dog Park and wants to give back to our canine community, we’re having a pup portrait party in the run. Photographer Debra Florez, a Seaport resident for the last two years and mom to golden retriever Arthur, is bringing her camera and expertise to pose your pup and bring out his or her best. The photo session takes place in the run (Pearl & Dover Sts.) on Sat., Oct.

10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. R.S.V.P. for a spot by submitting a friend request on her dog’s Facebook page, Arthur Dugless McMurray Bach. A suggested donation is $20 per pet. Donations benefit the community maintained dog run. “It’s a great park, very communal and I love how all the people participate,” Florez told Seaport Report. “I could never make a cleanup event and I thought I could make more money for the park doing this than just writing a check. This was a no brainer.” Florez primarily photographs dogs these days, “because I love them. “I like photographing dogs because they don’t care about how they look. They all have their own personality.” Arthur — “the most photographed dog in the world” — is the reason she started taking pics of dogs. She adopted him while living in California from the rescue group, Project Taiwan: Bring Them Home, which rescues goldens abandoned there. Before the shoot, Florez suggests that owners have their dogs groomed and their business done. If they are frisky, give them a nice walk to calm them. Bring along a sweater, coat, favorite toy or whatever, if that’s their style. And only one pet parent should be on hand. “I find the hardest part of taking dog photos is the parent who wants the dog to behave. When there’s more than one, it is pandemonium.” Each dog will be prescreened to get an idea of his or her personality. Florez will spend about 10 minutes capturing shots of each dog. She’s still working out the details for signing up and retrieving the photos on a Facebook page. Check out her web site or the Fishbridge Dog Run for details. “Parents will get a high res photo they can have printed,” she said. “I think it’s important to see a beautiful portrait. I’m tired of seeing dog pics on phones.”

SCHOONER PIONEER SAILS...

Photographer Debra Florez and Arthur.

12

September 24-October 7, 2015

The historic schooner Pioneer spent last week (Sept. 14 – 20) up the Hudson River in Haverstraw. The sail was a special mission to bring aboard school children so they could learn about New York’s maritime history and environment. Students hauled lines to raise sails, learned the science, math and technology of sailing, measured water quality, and experienced the river from a new point of view. The 90-minute educational sails were for sixth graders from Willow Grove Elementary, St. Gregory’s and Haverstraw

Acqua Restaurant managing partner Nicholas Berti, left, and Water St.

Elementary. “Everyone was so gracious and made us feel so welcomed,” said Laura Norwitz, director of education at the South Street Seaport Museum, who was busy keeping things running by cell phone while onboard. “And the weather’s been great.” The school groups got hands-on experience and a close-up look at history. “The kids …learned about the early settlers and the river’s history,” Norwitz said. Dockside, they heard about how vessels in N.Y. harbor connected people and cargo from all over the world and made New York grow. They also learned about how Haverstraw was the center of brick-making in the mid-19th century. “All their bricks were brought down to the city by ship on the Hudson,” Norwitz said. “So the town of Haverstraw basically built New York City. The sail upriver took the schooner eight hours against the tide. The Pioneer’s crew — Captain Kristen Johnsrud, a staff mate, two deck hands, three volunteers and another educator — also enjoyed the learning experience. “The crew learned so much from sailing somewhere else,” said Norwitz. “Watching the professional growth of our crew and volunteers from getting to sail new waters was great. “We love New York City but it’s so quiet up here. So peaceful…Going somewhere adds so much to our lives as sailors. “As beautiful as the upper Hudson is, the lower Hudson is our home. This is our waterfront and all New Yorkers should enjoy it.” The Pioneer ends its public sailing season October 4. DowntownExpress.com


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15


Obituary

Adam Purple, Downtown garden icon, dies BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Adam Purple, the godfather of the Lower East Side community gardens who fought a losing battle to save his spectacular Garden of Eden from destruction for a low-income housing project, died last week as he was bicycling over the Williamsburg Bridge. He was 84. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack, according to Time’s Up, the Brooklyn-based cycling and environmental group that had taken in Purple in recent years. Carmine D’Intino, a good friend of Purple’s, said the iconic activist and environmentalist — known for his flowing white beard, purple garb and mirrored sunglasses — had been biking around midday Sept. 14 from the Williamsburg headquarters of Time’s Up to meet him in the East Village. As usual, Purple had called D’Intino beforehand and then hung up — their signal that he was about to head out to meet him. He would have been riding a folding bike that Dintino gave him a few years ago.

“He would call me when he got to living at Time’s Up for the past three Manhattan and tell me what he was years, in a small room located off the bike-shop work area. doing,” he said. “He really had no place else to But this time, no second call go and he liked Time’s Up,” came. he said. “Being around our Police did not immediU N O bike shop and energy really ately have information on AR D energized him.” what may have happened In a statement, Time’s to Purple, whose real Up said, “Yesterday, we name was David Wilkie. lost one of New York’s most A department spokesperson well-known and colorful envisaid they would only have a ronmentalists. … record if there had been a crime. “We all knew and loved Adam. However, Bill Di Paola, executive director of Time’s Up, said from His commitment to a sustainable what he was told, Purple was found lifestyle was unrelenting and all-enin the middle of the bridge. Passersby compassing. The community garreportedly performed CPR on him to den that he created with his own hands was so lush and grandiose try to save him. Di Paola said Purple would take that even NASA saw it — from outer his bike over the bridge and into the space! Appropriately, it was called East Village about twice a month the Garden of Eden.” Purple helped with day-to-day to shop for food at Commodities operations and night management Natural Market. “I think the summer took a toll at the space. Di Paola said Purple on him because it was very hot,” helped sort bicycle parts and assisted during their recycle-a-bike workD’Intino said. Di Paola said Purple had been shops.

In a feature story two years ago about Purple hanging out with the younger cyclists, the Daily News dubbed him the “Original Hipster.” David Wilkie — who would later become Adam Purple during the psychedelic era — was born in 1930 in Missouri. Purple would often say he had been a police reporter for newspapers. According to D’Intino, he was also an English teacher and was drafted during the Korean War, but was given a special noncombat post. As for how Purple got his nickname, he once said it came from “the magic mushroom.” He also went by some other monikers, including General Zen and the Rev-Les Ego. D’Intino met with Purple earlier this month at the Time’s Up space and they spoke about getting in touch with the elderly activist’s family members and putting his papers and archival materials in the right hands. Continued on page 17

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Continued from page 16

According to D’Intino, Purple’s survivors include a son, about age 30, who teaches English in Japan; a grandson who is in publishing in California; and several daughters. The grandson republished Purple’s miniature-size book of koans, “Zentences,” which is included in the New York Public Library’s Rare Books Department. His former wife — who was known as Eve — is probably still alive, according to D’Intino, though he said Purple “didn’t like her because he got locked out of an apartment by her and a lot of his personal possessions got taken away.” Di Paola said he spoke to the police detective on the case, who told him they were having trouble tracking down Purple’s family members to notify them of his death. D’Intino added that Purple was “old-fashioned” and often carried a lot of money on him, and that he could well have had a substantial amount of cash on him when he died. At one point, Purple had a cult

following. His devotees — who were vegetarian, like him, and did not wear any leather garments or leather shoes — were known as the Purple People. As for how D’Intino met Purple, he said he was walking down the street nearly 30 years ago and started talking to the hirsute hippie gardener. Purple, however, told D’Intino he needed to “learn” a few things about how to talk first, and that they would converse again later. Purple’s garden was demolished in 1986. The fight had become so heated that, as The Villager reported back then, future Councilmember Margarita Lopez had fumed she would tear the green oasis down with “my bare hands” if she had to. “He had been knocked out of the garden,” D’Intino recalled. “He was depressed for about a decade. He had a court order saying they couldn’t destroy it — but they destroyed it anyway.” The Garden of Eden covered 15,000 square feet between Forsyth and Eldridge Sts. near Stanton St. With planting beds in Zen-like con-

Photo copyright Harvey Wang

Adam Purple atop his building’s fire escape above the Garden of Eden.

centric circles, it featured corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, raspberries and 45 trees. “It was a work of art — an earthwork, a work of art that was also ecologically based,” Purple told Amy Brost in a 2006 interview. Adam and Eve would bike up to Central Park to collect horse manure and bring it back to fertilize the gar-

den’s soil. Regarding how Purple came to live in his Forsyth St. building, D’Intino said it was because he had first been the super there, but it was then abandoned by the landlord. Purple continued to reside in the old tenement without electricity or Continued on page 23

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September 24-October 7, 2015

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

Sept. 11 selfie A tourist near the World Trade Center PATH station posed for a photo with a flag-carry visitor to the area last week on Sept. 11.

Letters

KARL ROVE TACTICS

To The Editor: I congratulate Terri Cude and Dennis Gault on their election as district leaders in Part B of the 66th Assembly District (news article, posted to downtownexpress.com Sept. 14, “Tribeca district leaders trounced by challengers to the north & south”). They did a good job of meeting voters by knocking on doors and standing outside of supermarkets and I wish them well as they go forward. Jean Grillo and I totally respect the will of the voters. As district leader, I always felt it

was important to conduct our progressive politics in a positive fashion and am certain that Terri and Dennis would have been successful without the negative campaigning from a local Democratic club: Downtown Independent Democrats. I fully understand the rough and tumble of politics, but mailers that stated that Jean and I were personal recipients of city funds is an outrageous attack on our integrity and honesty. There is no other word for these statements other than lies, and it needs to be said so our future local elections don’t look like the national

campaigning that we all think is so dreadful. The public, which we were honored to serve, can make decisions without this mudslinging`. Finally, the suggestion that elected officials automatically support incumbents is not accurate, and a review of recent elections proves that. But the most important takeaway is that all future candidates in our very special corner of the world should commit to running positive campaigns and reject the Karl Rove style tactics that the Downtown Independent Democrats used.

with little connection to the history and who have grown up with social media. When I take pictures of my guests at the Memorial I remind the minority of whom who are grinners that they will be shamed when they share pictures of themselves smiling inside a Memorial.  Perhaps an online culture of shaming them would make an impact

As a licensed tour guide, I also remind guests to be serious when visiting a cemetery or memorial. As for selfie sticks, why not make a new friend and ask a stranger to take the photo?

John R. Scott

Posted To “Smiles & selfies @ #9/11Memorial: Downtown Notebook (POSTED, Sept. 10): I am part of a Tour Guide community of licensed local Guides who are, for the most part, respectful at the National 9/11 Memorial Plaza. I remind my guests to not take ‘happy selfies’ at the Memorial, since it is like a cemetery… Our work of fostering respectful decorum is especially sacred to impart to youthful visitors

Sergey Kadinsky

It is important to remember that there is nothing — by design — to

a local Tour Guide· Continued on page 19

DowntownExpress.com


City returns to glory with Hudson Yards subway stop BY LENORE SKENAZY Do yourself — and your soul — a favor. Hop on the 7 train and go to the last stop in Manhattan, the brand- spanking-new one: 34th Street Hudson Yards. You will emerge into the station and, I guarantee you, grin. Everyone does. Two weeks ago, I spent Sunday, opening day, just watching people get off the train and smile like they’d landed in Disney World. It’s not just that the place is so new and big and bright. It’s not just the amazing “inclinator” — an elevator that glides up and down an incline like something out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It’s not even the fact that there’s no gum on the floor, or trash on the tracks. I didn’t even see a rat — which was kind of disorienting. Like, “Am I still in New York?” But that’s the point: This is very much New York. And maybe the optimism it engenders is the fact that our city (and state) made something this magnificent happen. You see, without exactly articulating it, a troubling notion had taken root in the back of my mind, and possibly yours, that New York’s civic glory days were over. Yes, we could build the Freedom Tower, but look how long it took. Look at how different it ended up from the original design. And yes, we built two baseball stadiums recently, but those were … baseball stadiums. And then suddenly the M.T.A. unveils a transit hub that opens up a whole swath of previously no-man’s land Manhattan, like the Golden Spike opening up the Wild West. And it does this with a station

Continued from page 18

connect visitors to the history of the site. Now, surprise! They act with no connection to what happened here. Return something hallow; something with connection to 9/11 and our actual memory of it. The Sphere sits abandoned and forgotten down in Battery Park. Michael Burke

I personally see nothing wrong with Selfie photos. But I’d like to respond to the criticism that there is nothing at the site to remind someone of the attacks. Every one comes here because it IS a memorial and a phenomenal one at that. There is also the MUSEUM which is right in the center. What more does DowntownExpress.com

as uplifting as a cathedral. “It’s a point for urban equality,” said Alex Restrepo, an academic advisor at LaGuardia Community College, taking an opening day stroll through the newness. “It’s also built on a usable scale,” added Michael Rohdin, an administrator of undergraduate studies at John Jay College. Unlike, say, the 72nd and Broadway Station, an express stop with just enough platform space for a ballerina to slide past a supermodel if neither of them has eaten breakfast, the Hudson Yards stop is vast. The platform is wide, but it almost feels as if the stairways are wider still. “And there are many entrances between the station and the mezzanine, so there won’t be so many choke points,” piped up Leo Wagner, a 14-year-old train buff visiting with his mom from Washington D.C. The train buffs were out in force, of course, all of them ecstatic. “I actually got chills — and not just because of the air conditioning,” said 17-year-old Jovan Griffith, a senior at Northeastern Academy in Inwood, taking photos. (He was right — the A.C. was working on the platform. Amazing!) “I like the design, the walls, the lighting — everything,” said an equally effusive Vincent LaFaro, a CVS customer service rep from Brooklyn. His friend Veniece Campbell had come in from

one need? (NO we do not need the Sphere which should remain in The Battery). I volunteered at the Plaza for 2 years and virtually everyone I interacted with loved the finished product. Memorial Fan

As for the Sphere, it was created for the Plaza of the WTC and was there from 1971 to September 2001 when it was moved in the clean up of the site. Sphere was battered but intact after the collapse of the buildings. It survived and acted as a testament to America’s resilience. It is not readily accessible and cannot stay in Battery Park. It will be homeless. It deserves to brought back to the site. It will only enhance visitors experience and while nothing will stop the silly selfies, it may

Downtown Express photo by Yannic Rack

The new station.

Yonkers to exult in the new station. “It’s historic!” she said, promising she’ll be back soon. Then again, she has to be. She’s a train operator, and on Thursday her run starts at that station. Outside on one of the new benches facing the new grass that looks about as natural as a Starbucks in the Sahara, retired Domino Sugar worker Robert Shelton sat basking in the sun, and pride. “My daughter’s an electrician,” he said. “She helped to construct this.” This is a daughter who went to electricians’ school only after her parents begged the administration to let her in. It was a Downtown Brooklyn trade school that only accepted certain students. “You had to have been on welfare, an ex-offender, or a drug addict to go to the

school,” Shelton explained. His daughter wasn’t any of those, but that’s the school her family had heard about in the Roosevelt Houses, and that’s where she wanted to go. Her parents did too. “So we took off from work and fought for her to go to school there,” recalls Shelton. “We said, ‘We pay taxes. Let her in.’ ” And the school did. Now, 30-something years later, she’s worked on everything from Bloomberg headquarters to the city’s newest gem. “I am so happy to be here today,” said her dad. See? This station is going to make a lot of us happy for a long time.

inspire some to tone it down. Finally, the museum, which is done extremely well, is underground, expensive and thus not visited by all those who come to the Memorial. … Think about this...if someone dropped you there and didn’t tell you what it was, would you know what it was? Would you know why it was important to visit?

than once, respectfully approached some of these groups and reminded them about what happened here. More than once, I have almost had my eye poked out by someone brandishing these potentially dangerous “batons” swinging back and forth.

Janet·

Thank you for this much needed article. We live 1 block from the 9/11 Memorial and often bring friends and relatives over to the reflecting pools and the Museum. It is offensive to see so many people with “selfie” sticks taking these photos with smiles….We have more

Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and the author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

Thomas

I also live in Battery Park City and saw the death and destruction first hand. Now it has become a tourist attraction and a reason to take “selfies”. It is up to the security guards and the police to stop this rude, crass behavior and the Museum Administration should make it a policy and priority that it is carried out. Rosemarie Fredella September 24-October 7, 2015

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Pope Francis is coming Downtown for first U.S. tour B Y SHAVA N A A B RU Z Z O The “slum bishop” won’t be slumming it in the Big Apple. Septuagenarian superstar Pope Francis will receive a rock star’s welcome when he disembarks from “Shepherd One” at J.F.K. Airport Sept. 24 (likely lugging his own bag), as part of a three-city apostolic trek on the East Coast, featuring a 40-hour sprint around Gotham that would leave Batman breathless. Soon after landing, the 78-yearold pontiff — the fourth pope to visit the U.S. — will hold a prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown. The next day he will speak at the United Nations, visit a Harlem school and conduct services at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Then it’s off to meet the adoring masses selected by lottery in a procession through Central Park on his way to Madison Square Garden to lead a Mass using a high-backed chair. Outside the venue spectators can admire a 20-story mural of his holiness commissioned by the Diocese of Brooklyn. Even New Yorkers unable to snag

a freebie ticket are in seventh heaven. “Just to know that the Holy Father is in town and that I am in the same airspace as him is good enough for me,” said Brooklyn resident Lucia Wells, who plans to take the day off and catch all the action on cable television’s “pope channel.” Francis, who drives a 1984 Renault and rails against global warming and consumerism, has gained worldwide fans of all stripes and faiths since his March 2013 inauguration as head of the Catholic Church, bishop of Rome, sovereign of Vatican City and champion of the poor. “I am a sinner,” he told some of his first audiences, in his trademark pastoral style. Francis has baptized the babies of single mothers and installed showers at the Vatican for the homeless, with whom he sometimes sits down to a meal. He commemorated the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper by washing the feet of inmates at the same Roman prison that Pope St. John Paul II visited in 1983 to forgive his attempted mur-

Pope Francis

derer, Mehmet Ali Agca. The Pope will stay at the official residence of the Holy See mission on the Upper East Side. He has requested water and bananas in his room, and spartan meals of fish, chicken and white rice.

Community News Group and New York City Community Media extend their best wishes to Pope Francis, and sincerely hope the Holy Father ventures across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Queens and the Bronx on his next visit!

Official New York schedule:

We’re

Far From the Finish Line for

Racial Equality. Ferguson Baltimore Cleveland Charleston —where do we turn and what shall we do?

Thurs., Sept. 24 • Arrives at J.F.K. Airport, 5 p.m. • Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 6:45 p.m. Fri., Sept. 25 • U.N. General Assembly, 8:30 a.m. • Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial & Museum, World Trade

Center, 11:30 a.m. • Visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, 4 p.m. • Papal motorcade through Central Park, 5 p.m. • Madison Square Garden Mass, 6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 26 • Departs for Philadelphia, 8:40 a.m.

Visit www.Popefrancisvisit.com for updates.

JOIN US WITH KEYNOTE SPEAKER, ELLIS COSE WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 27th at 1:30pm WHERE: St. Luke’s Church (at the corner of Hudson & Grove St.)

EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC for more information call 212.924.0562 or visit stlukeinthefields.org

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September 24-October 7, 2015

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TRANSIT SAM ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED THURSDAY, FRIDAY, MONDAY, AND TUESDAY FOR EID AL-ADHA AND SUCCOTH Holy Pope-lock! Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. means traffic jams of biblical proportions around Manhattan. T he pope arrives Thursday evening, but Friday is the bigger day for road closures and motorcades in Lower Manhattan – Don’t even THINK about driving. He leaves on Saturday through — you guessed it — Lower Manhattan. On Thursday, the Pope’s impact will largely be limited to the Wall St. heliport and F.D.R. Drive.  Expect closures around South St. when he arrives at about 4 p.m.   The F.D.R. will be closed from the Battery to 63rd St. before and during his motorcade. Thursday is also when the Giants play Washington at 8:25 p.m.  The papal motorcade will be shutting down much of Midtown on Thursday so I’m expecting a lot of extra traffic at the Holland Tunnel. On Friday, at around 11:30 a.m., Pope Francis will motorcade down from the United Nations to the 9/11 Memorial for a multi-religious service. That means the F.D.R. Drive will see massive slowdowns as he makes his way south. Liberty and Cedar Sts. from Trinity Place to Greenwich St., and the Northbound road on West St. from Battery Place to Murray St. will be closed 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  There will be periodic closures on southbound road on West

St. from Chambers to Albany Sts. during the same time. I’m expecting Broadway and Church St. to come to standstills. On Friday his Holiness leaves N.Y.C. from the Wall Street Heliport at around 8:30 a.m. Shutdowns of the F.D.R. and South St. are expected. This is the week to follow me on Twitter @ GridlockSam for the most up-to-date news as the Pope motorcades around the city. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run & Festival closes a swath of Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn starting 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Expect closures here: Battery Park Underpass in both directions, West St. between Battery Pl. and Warren St., West Thames St. between West St. and Battery Park Esplanade, South End Ave. between West Thames and Liberty Sts., Liberty St. between West St. and Battery Park Esplanade, Murray St. between North End Ave. and West St., Warren and Vesey Sts. between West St. and River Terrace, North End Ave. between Warren and Vesey Sts. The festival portion of the Tunnel to Towers Run will close Vesey St. between West St. and North End Ave. and North End Ave. to Murray St. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Stone Street Oyster Festival will close Stone St. between Hanover Sq. and Coenties Alley, Hanover Sq. between William and Pearl Sts., and Mill Ln. between South William and Stone Sts. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

WANT MORE

Pope Francis will be visiting the 9/11 Memorial Sept. 25.

The Stone Street Pedestrian Mall will close Stone St. between Hanover Sq. and Broad St., and Mill Ln. between Stone and South William Sts., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day this week.

Email traffic, transit and parking questions to transitsam@downtownexpress.com. Follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam and check GridlockSam.com for the latest traffic news.

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Sign up for our weekly email blasts at downtownexpress.com, follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook. Read the blotter & Transit Sam every week at downtownexpress.com.

W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

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September 24-October 7, 2015

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Activities SEPTEMBER 24-OCTOBER. 7, 2015 LONG-RUNNING PRESCHOOL ART: Nelson A Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City; (212) 267–9700; bpcparks.org; Thursdays, 10:30 am to noon, Now – Thurs, Nov. 19; Free. Very young artists are introduced to paper, clay, wood, and paint with projects planned by an art educator/artist. Dress for a mess!  “IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU’D BE HOME”: Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St. at Hudson Street; (212) 274–0986; cmany.org; Mondays, Noon to 5 pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, closed, Thursdays and Fridays, Noon to 6 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 5 pm, Now – Sun, Jan. 17, 2016; $12 (Free for members and children under 1). 

This exhibition takes cartography and mapping as its starting point and includes contemporary artists whose work references maps and mapping. ART AND GAMES: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City; bpcparks.org/event; Thursdays, 3:30– 5:30 pm, Now – Thurs, Oct. 29; Free.  Create a fun project, make friends and play games. For children 5 years and older.  ARTS ISLAND OUTPOST: Governors Island, Outside Building 14; Nolan Park; (212) 274–0986; cmany.org; Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm to 4 pm, Now – Sun, Sept. 27; Free.  The whole family will enjoy making artwork inspired by Governors Island. Participants create works with natural

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September 24-October 7, 2015

materials found on the island, including rocks, recyclables and more. Hosted by the Children’s Museum of Art. ART AND PLAY: Robert F. Wagner Park, Battery Park City; (212) 267–9700; bpcparks.org; Mondays – Wednesdays, 10 am–noon, Now – Wed, Oct. 28; Free.  Preschoolers drop-in and play with other toddlers, in this interactive play time on the grassy lawn. Sing and hear stories too.  PRESCHOOL PLAY: Rockefeller Park, Warren St. and River Terrace; (212) 267–9700; bpcparks.org; Mondays – Wednesdays, 10 am to noon, Now – Mon, Nov. 23; Free.  Join other toddlers, parents and caregivers on a grassy lawn. Toys, books, water table, and play equipment provided. (no classes 9/7 and 10/12).  BASKETBALL CLINIC: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City; bpcparks.org/event; Mondays, 3:30–5:30 pm, Now – Mon, Oct. 26; Free.  Staffers teach children of all ages the basics of the sport. No classes May 25, September 7 and October 12.  SOCCER CLINIC: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City; bpcparks.org; Tuesdays, 2:30–3:15 pm; 3:30–4:15 pm and 4:30–5:30 pm, Now – Tues, Oct. 27; Free.  Children learn the fundamentals of the game and pre-schoolers have fun kicking, running and being part of a team. Drop in. For ages 3 to 11 years old. 

CELEBRATE FASHION WEEK: Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St. at Hudson Street; (212) 274–0986; cmany.org; Noon–6 pm; $12 (Free for infants and seniors). The city’s iconic week features workshops on fashion and art. 

FRI, SEPT. 25 FAMILY FRIDAYS: National Museum of Mathematics, 11 E. 26th St.; (212) 542–0566; momath. org; 6:30 pm to closing; Free. Use modular origami to create elegant constructions out of multiple pieces of paper, just by folding, overlapping and arranging, and then see how the right pressure can make these seemingly stable shapes flutter apart. The folding is easy; the assembly is the challenge. What folded forms help you craft these space-filling butterfly balls? Join geometric artist Hans Schepker to discover the tricks of these compound paper creations. Registration required. 

SAT, SEPT. 26 MY PLACE IN THE WORLD: Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St. at Hudson Street; (212) 274–0986; cmany.org; 11 am – 5 pm; Free with museum admission. Young artists will create a concentric circle flip book that will show their unique place in the world! Each circle will represent a different place–their home, city, state, country, continent, and planet. The larger the place, the bigger the circle! When finished, young artists will have a little flip book that shows just how they fit into the world! 

YOUNG SPROUTS GARDENING: Nelson A Rockefeller Park (Children’s Garden), Battery Park City; (212) 267– Play, Learn, Make New Friends! 9700; bpcparks.org; Tuesdays, 3:15 – Classes - Indoor Playspace 3:45 pm, Now – Thurs, Oct. 29; Free. Salon - SUN, BirthdaySEPT. Parties -27 Boutique Little ones 3 to 5 years old learn about My Place in the World: 11 am – 5 simple gardening projects. Space limitpm. Children’s Museum of the Arts. Play, See Learn, MakeSept. New26.  Friends! ed first come, first served.  Saturday, Classes - Indoor Playspace

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Obituary

Adam Purple, Downtown garden icon, dies Continued from page 17

any services, before it was ultimately demolished by the city around the turn of the century to make way for housing for the deaf. According to D’Intino, Purple was compensated $10,000 by the city after the building was taken from him. Di Paola recalled how Purple’s bike would have bells on strings hanging down from the handlebars, and that to ring them, he would have to shake the whole bike. The cycling activist also remembered how, back when he was living on Broadway at Astor Place, he stepped out of his building only to find a wiggling path of purple footprints on the sidewalk. These had been made by Purple’s friend George Bliss, who wheeled a drum-barrel contraption with purple paint inside of it to create them. The prints led back to the site of Purple’s destroyed garden. In more recent years, Purple could sometimes be spotted biking around the Lower East Side collecting cans. “His paradigm, it was antithetical to the modern paradigm,” D’Intino

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Downtown Express file photo by Lincoln Anderson

Adam Purple speaking with The Shadow’s Chris Flash in 2012. At the time, Purple blasted former Councilmembers Miriam Friedlander and Margarita Lopez as “psycho-boobies” for supporting the destruction of his famous Garden of Eden so that affordable housing could be built on the site.

said, “which is just to pave over all the green spaces.” Sometimes D’Intino would drive Purple into the city. But his friend said the octogenarian never liked it,

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the legendary environmentalist gave him a very warm embrace — which was unusual for him. “The last time, he was very physical and hugging me,” he said. “Usually, he was austere, intellectual. He said he’s not going to make it to see the water rise up a couple of feet in the neighborhood.” A memorial for Purple is planned for Sat., Sept. 26, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at La Plaza Cultural, at the southwest corner of E. Ninth St. and Avenue C. Di Paola said that when the city was about to demolish Purple’s building, he and others briefly went inside it with the idea of occupying it in a last-ditch effort to save it. “On the first floor, all the beautiful purple tie-dye clothes were hanging up and there were his diaries,” he said. “The diaries were fascinating: On one day he’d be collecting horse manure and the next day he’d be on Regis and Kathy Lee. That was his life. I wish we had taken them. “We didn’t get to preserve his diaries, but Time’s Up played a part in preserving him as a living legend.”

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September 24-October 7, 2015

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Tomorrow’s talk of the town, now at NYFF

53rd New York Film Festival has a vast body and a strong core B Y RANIA RI CH A RD SO N Autumn is upon us, and with it comes the onslaught of fall season arts events that can overwhelm even the most organized New Yorker. Luckily, the New York Film Festival (NYFF) shines as a beacon at this time of year, with a highly curated selection of movies which quickly become the talk of the town, and fuel awards season speculation for months to come. The 53rd New York Film Festival will screen selections from the best of world cinema from Sept. 25–Oct. 11, in Alice Tully Hall and other venues at Lincoln Center. While just 26 films comprise the highly anticipated main slate, the lineup also includes programs of documentaries, shorts, interactive experiences, experimental work, revivals, and director discussions. The festival’s opening night film, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” world premieres one day later than usual — Sat., Sept. 26 — in anticipation of transportation snarls due to the visit by Pope Francis. The film focuses on the true story of a high-wire amble between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, with Joseph GordonLevitt playing the role of acrobat Philippe Petit. With a cadre of co-conspirators, he mounts stakeouts and rehearsals, and weathers close calls and betrayals to execute his audacious plan. Will the film be as riveting as the documentary, “Man on Wire,” that mined the same territory in 2008? The PG-rated drama will be projected using a specially installed RealD system, effectively giving audiences the feeling of being right in the action. Billed as a “technical marvel,” “The Walk” boasts a 3D re-creation of Lower Manhattan in the 1970s that makes this a must-see. Three other films will world premiere at the festival: “Miles Ahead,” the directorial debut of Don Cheadle, who also wrote and stars in the Miles Davis biopic; Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era “Bridge of Spies,” starring

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September 24-October 7, 2015

Courtesy NYFF

“The Walk” focuses on 1974’s high-wire amble between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, with Joseph GordonLevitt as Philippe Petit.

Courtesy NYFF

“The Lobster” envisions a future where single people must pair up or turn into animals. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star.

Tom Hanks as a lawyer who negotiates the exchange of a U-2 pilot for a Soviet agent; and “Don’t Blink - Robert Frank,” a documentary portrait of the seminal photographer/ filmmaker by Laura Israel. For many film festivals, world premieres are essential to build excitement, exhibit industry leadership, and gain attention from the press. Other

festivals use their platform to bring already lauded work from around the globe to local audiences. The NYFF does both, with a tilt towards the latter, significantly culling from major international festivals. The programmers keep a keen eye on award winners from what is considered to be the preeminent film festival in the world — Cannes. Held

in the south of France in May, it is far enough in advance of the fall season to be a key source for the NYFF. Several of these award winners are among the selections that originated at Cannes. Yorgos Lanthimos envisions an absurdist future in “The Lobster,” where single people must pair up or turn into animals. “Carol,” the latest from Todd Haynes, is based on Patricia Highsmith’s semi-autobiographical novel, and stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as lesbian lovers in the 1950s. Hou Hsiaohsien’s “The Assassin” may be a delicately plotted and glacially paced Tang Dynasty royal court drama, but viewers can luxuriate in stunning cinematography, sets, and costumes, and gain a new appreciation for sound design. Slotted in the special events section, “Son of Saul” does not shy away from immersing viewers in disturbing events. The debut feature from Laszlo Nemes tells the harrowing tale of a man in Auschwitz who delivers his fellow Jews to the gas chamber. At Cannes, the film divided critics. The special events section also Continued on page 31

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Buhmann on Art Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed today part of Belize, Guatemala, B Y STEPHA N I E B U H M A NN This bilingual (English/Spanish) Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, exhibition illuminates Central Costa Rica and Panama. Spanning America’s diverse and dynamic ances- the period from 1000 BC to the present, the ceramics featured, tral heritage and aims to shed were selected from the muselight onto some of its vibrant um’s own collection and are civilizations. The ceramics, augmented with significant combined with recent archaeexamples of work in gold, ological discoveries, aid in jade, shell and stone. telling the stories of these This extraordinary show dynamic cultures, each succeeds in reflecting with unique, sophison the complexity and ticated ways of life, dynamic qualities of value systems, achievethe Central American ments and art. civilizations that were More specificalconnected to peoples ly, “Cerámica de los in South America, Ancestros: Central Mesoamerica and America’s Past the Caribbean Revealed” examthrough social and ines seven regions Photo by Ernest Amoroso, courtesy MAI. trade networks representing disPre-Classic period Maya humansharing knowltinct Central monkey figure, 200–300 A.D. edge, technology American culturVilla de Zaragoza, Chimaltenango Department, Guatemala. Pottery. and artworks. al areas that are

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Photo by Joshua Stevens, courtesy MAI.

Each of these human form figures represents a specific culture from one of the seven geographic regions examined in “Cerámica de los Ancestros.” The case greets visitors at the exhibition’s entrance.

Free. Through January, 2017. At the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center (1 Bowling Green, at

Broadway & State St.). Open daily, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (open Thurs. until 8 p.m.). Call 212-514-3700 or visit nmai.si.edu.

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Joe Jackson’s back with what you want ‘Fast Forward’ is brilliant piano pop rock B Y KE I T H VA L CO U R T Looking sharp and sounding reinvigorated, the true prince of the thinking man’s piano pop rock is back with a brilliant new CD and US tour. Okay, to be fair, Joe Jackson has never really gone away. Throughout his five decades of creating captivating music, he has continued to release solid album after solid album, supported by live tours around the world. Also true is that some of those albums have proven too challenging for the general public. Yes, I’m talking about “Will Power,” “Night Music” and 2012’s collection of Ellington covers (“The Duke”). Fans can relax and rejoice — because the upcoming “Fast Forward” finds Jackson returning to his roots, to stunning effect. Jackson’s first disc of original material since 2008’s underrated gem, “Rain,” this collection is structured like a classic double album, and thematically divided into four distinctive “sides,” each of which features four songs recorded in a specific city: New York, New Orleans, Berlin, and Amsterdam (there are 14 originals and 2 covers). For the New York recordings, Jackson enlisted a myriad of top-notch talent, including jazz violinist Regina Carter and guitar guru Bill Frissel. I was able to get an early listen to a handful of the songs, and was beyond pleased at both the writing

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joejackson.com

Joe Jackson, who never went away, returns to classic form with a new 16-track CD and a US tour that plays Town Hall on Oct. 20 & 21.

and scope. The title track is an emotion-drenched mid-tempo ballad that easily recalls the Jackson hits “Real Men” and “Breaking Us In Two,” while the song “A Little Smile” is a rollicking and sly look at dating in the digital age that is sure to draw favorable com-

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Teachers guide. Children lead. Proudly serving families in the TriBeCa and FiDi communities since 2002, we at the Montessori School of Manhattan believe each child is our community’s best chance for a promising future. Our highly experienced team of Montessori educators share the distinct privilege of shaping that future, by instilling our students with respect for self and others, grace and courtesy, and a passion for life-long learning. At MSM it is our joy to welcome your family into ours.

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parisons to his best-known hit, “Steppin’ Out.” And the sublime cover of Tom Verlaine’s “See No Evil” is so perfect it may make you forget the original by Television ever existed. Yes, it is that good. If you’re planning to see him live, get there on time, since there will be no opening act. With a catalog of hits that includes “Hometown,” “Sunday Papers,” “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” and dozens more, there is no need for a warm-up. Jackson will play a full evening packed with old favorites and highlights from his illustrious career as well as new material. Joining Jackson on tour will be his longtime bassist, Graham Maby. The rest of the ensemble is fleshed out by New York stalwarts Teddy Kumpel on guitar and drummer Doug Yowell. Jackson recently remarked, “We’re all strong singers. We’ll sound like a lot more than four singers. This tour is gonna be a lot of fun. Can’t wait.” Neither can we, Joe. Neither can we. “Fast Forward” is released on Oct. 2. The tour kicks off in Seattle, WA on Sept. 29 and continues through early Nov. — with two shows at Town Hall (123 W. 43rd St. btw. Sixth Ave. & Broadway) on Oct. 20 and 21. Get tickets ($60–$110) and info at joejackson.com.

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September 24-October 7, 2015

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She’s playing ‘Possum’ for laughs

Andrea Alton’s Fringe hit extends its run, and her range

Andrea Alton shines as a sunny but dim Civil War bride.

BY SCOTT STIF F L ER Known by comedy, theater, and LGBT benefit audiences from our town to Provincetown for her profane Molly “Equality” Dykeman character, Andrea Alton added another potent creation to her satirical arsenal last month, when “Possum Creek” made its debut at FringeNYC. It was an unexpected and welcome change of pace (literally!) for Alton, whose sunny but dim Beth Ann is every bit as meek as Molly is brash — and just as much a product of her time. Set in Possum Creek, Ohio from the outset of the Civil War to over 30 years later, the eight-character solo show begins as Beth Ann’s husband goes directly from the altar to the Union Army, vowing to return and consummate their marriage.

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What follows is a series of beautifully crafted comedic misunderstandings, as the beyondnaïve virgin bride escapes to the relative privacy of an outhouse, where she composes letters to her absent Joseph (“I hope that you are enjoying the war,” she writes, in an early missive that nails her kind but clueless world view). Joseph’s failure to reply to a single letter doesn’t deter Beth Ann from penning thousands of them, full of wildly misinterpreted observations about the goingson in her small rural town. Through the years, Beth Ann’s chipper disposition insulates her from life’s grim realities — although her inability to grasp the basic concepts of agriculture, reproduction, and the Underground Railroad tests the patience of the entire town. Oddly, the good citizens of Possum Creek never give in to temptation and yell at her, even when she’s playing a decisive role in the devastating waves of disease and starvation (Alton seems to imply that people were just more polite and decent back then, even when it was to their own detriment). Garbed in the same cartoonish, ballooning hoop dress throughout, Alton slips in and Photo by Jeremy Patlen. out of flawed characters (brimstone preacher, closeted neighbor, crackpot doctor) while playing Beth Ann with a level of sincerity that grounds the punchlines and slapstick in a sober, often sad, reality. In a further triumph of tone, the events unfold in a style that mocks the hushed, plodding school of storytelling employed by Ken Burns — making “Possum Creek” a sweet and subversive Civil War satire that creates its own revolutionary blend of sex, race, heart, and hope. Written and performed by Andrea Alton. Directed by Eric Chase. Runtime: 50 minutes. Fri. Sept. 25, Thurs. Oct. 1 & Fri. Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. At The Celebration Of Whimsy (21-A Clinton St. btw. Houston & Stanton). For tickets ($18), visit smarttix.com. Show info at possumcreektheplay.com. Facebook: facebook.com/possumcreekplay. Twitter: @possumcreekplay. DowntownExpress.com


A kaleidoscope of people and places at NYFF Continued from page 24

includes work from performance artist Laurie Anderson, Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Also included is a new work by Athina Rachel Tsangari, a cohort of Yorgos Lanthimos in the quirky style referred to as the “Greek Weird Wave.” Tsangari is currently the filmmaker-in-residence at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the nonprofit organization that hosts the NYFF in the fall, New Directors/New Films (in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art) in the spring, and general programming year-round. During her residency, Tsangari will be shooting footage for her new film in New York.

A city with seemingly limitless stories, New York appears frequently in the NYFF lineup. Besides “The Walk” and “Miles Ahead,” there is “Maggie’s Plan,” a romantic comedy by Rebecca Miller, and John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” about a girl who leaves Ireland in search of a better life. Among New York filmmakers presenting their work are Laura Israel (of the aforementioned “Don’t Blink”) and Michael Almereyda, two Downtown denizens who came of age creatively in Greenwich Village in the 1980s. Israel made music videos for Patti Smith, Lou Reed, John Lurie, and many others before embarking on her first feature about her friend, Robert Frank, for whom she has been

Courtesy NYFF

Jia Zhanke is on both sides of the camera at NYFF, as the filmmaker of “Mountains May Depart” (pictured here) and as the subject of a documentary.

Courtesy NYFF

In John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” a girl leaves Ireland in search of a better life.

archiving video work. During his decades of independent filmmaking, Almereyda’s imaginative undertakings have included shooting with a toy camera and adapting “Hamlet” to the present day while preserving Shakespeare’s dialogue. His new film, “Experimenter” (starring Peter Sarsgaard), follows the social psychologist and researcher Stanley Milgram, whose experiments included instructing participants to administer electric shocks to other subjects. Beyond our borders, countries around the world have berths in the lineup, with a good showing from Asia — Thailand, Taiwan, China, Japan and South Korea are all represented in the main slate. Both Hou Hsiao-hsien and Jia Zhangke will be on hand to discuss their oeuvre with festival director Kent Jones. Jia Zhanke will also be on both

sides of the camera, as director of the then/now epic of loss and progress “Mountains May Depart,” and as the subject of a documentary on his life by Walter Salles. Todd Haynes and Michael Moore will also participate in discussions of their life’s work. Moore continues to kick up controversy — although this time with a lighter touch — with “Where to Invade Next,” in which he travels extensively to examine the policies of other countries. Another provocative film on tap is the latest from Danny Boyle, who takes on a new genre, the biopic, with a revealing if fictionalized story of a genius, in “Steve Jobs.” Make a few selections from the well-curated 53rd NYFF program, and you are guaranteed to hit the bullseye. For the full schedule of events and tickets, visit filmlinc.org.

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