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

MOYNIHAN TRAIN HALL ON TRACK FOR 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s has a bold $1.6 Billion plan to redevelop the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub.” See page 10.

NO NEW JERSEY TRANSFER FOR BUS TERMINAL

Photo by Naeisha Rose

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Message received: Binod Bhattarai, of Landmark Wine & Spirits — a stop on Sept. 24’s Chelsea Small Business Crawl.

Five scenarios put forth by Port Authority call for its bus terminal to stay in the Hell’s Kitchen area, as opposed to a New Jersey relocation. That’s prompting CB4 to explore the protective measures afforded by a Hell’s Kitchen South Historic District. See page 9.

WEB CAPABILITY CUT FROM KIOSKS

Residents and community groups say people were pulling magazine and newspaper boxes to sit on while using the Internet, a service no longer available at LinkNYC’s Wi-Fi kiosks. See page 12.

‘Crawl’ Customers Give Leg Up To Shops Affected After Chelsea Bombing BY NAEISHA ROSE On a sunny and slightly crisp fall afternoon, just hours before a full week had passed since the Sept. 17 bombing, foot traffic was back to normal along W. 23rd St. — but visible signs of the explosion lingered between Sixth and Seventh Aves., from boarded windows above to shards of glass on the sidewalk below. Inside the stores, damage manifested itself in the form of lost revenue. To support small businesses and send the message that it was safe to be back in the area, Councilmember Corey Johnson organized a Chelsea Small Business Crawl for the afternoon of Sat., Sept. 24. While Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NY State Senator Brad Hoylman, and other city officials were in attendance, Johnson himself was sick, according to David Moss, his Director of

© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Communications, who helped guide the tour as it stopped at various locations along the crosstown thoroughfare. On the block of the bombing, over 80 businesses were affected by the closure to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, which lasted from 8:30 p.m. on the night of the explosion through the early evening of Mon., Sept. 19. Maria Diaz, Executive Director at the Greenwich VillageChelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC), recalled that when her organization reached out to over two dozen businesses the Monday after the bombing, it found that many were still closed. “As soon as the opportunity came to do something like this crawl,” Diaz said, “we jumped on it. We know that CRAWL continued on p. 4 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 39 | SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 05, 2016


One Week Later/Bring It Home One week later, dog walkers steer their packs around baby strollers and pavement cracks. Seven days flew by unless you were the one behind shattered glass, watching the movie at the Chelsea Cinema, making a U-turn on twenty-third, calling hospitals looking for your loved one, remembering the posters on brick walls, in Union Square, the photos. Missing. Have you seen her? Have you seen him? When you are locked in fear, time moves slowly, recall explodes as you try to sleep or cook, shut your eyes and you are right back in the car, the club, the building, the marathon, the tower.

I needed to lose a lot of teeth and shoot a lot of dope before the police began to notice me, before my neighbors wanted me gone. All Jamal needs is a prayer rug. All Juanito needs is a roll in his r’s and some Salsa in his steps. All Teresa needs to do is linger too long on the corner. All Margeaux needs is five inch heels and an Adam’s apple. What about you? What do you need?

Lives ending like poems, in the middle. We recap. A bumbling terrorist. Asleep in a doorway. A pressure cooker. A suitcase. Five family members. A suspicious father. A wife in Pakistan. A mother in Turkey. A clown candidate pointing his finger. See! I told you so!, he crows. I was right!

All our lives matter, yes. To God or Allah or Buddha, depending on your beliefs. Or to the air or clouds or ocean, We are particles of the universe.

The Three-Card Monte game has returned in near-human form. There are no winners.

But here on earth, history and eyes, ear and sound tell a different story. Still.

Don’t be manipulated, we are told. Do not live in fear, do not give in. We’re New Yorkers, we’re a tribe, we’re resilient, can’t keep us down. But still…

The week flew by, routines returned, stores opened, free coffee for the first responders, small business crawls.

Eric overhears a young black man tell his friend, I’m late for work, but I’m afraid to run for the bus.

We made music, we made art.

As usual, except for some. Still. Bring it close, bring it home, back to the beginning, where we live, where we love. Last year, Yom Kippur approaching, Ali, the counterman at my favorite bodega, held my hand, wished me an easy fast, You and me, he said, smiling, we’re the same. No difference. The religious men of my heritage don’t touch my hand, but they invite my son to hold the Torah, even though he was never Bar Mitzvahed. They dance in the Stanton Street Synagogue. Where is home? Ali is gone. Three kids cracked his head open when he caught them stealing beer. After the hospital stay, he moved to the Bronx. How do we get home? We start where we stand. looking into eyes instead of away, asking how instead of why. I remember Ali’s eyes that day he held my hand. No different, he said. You and me. We are the same. Bringing it home.

Hassan worries about his mother, riding the subway alone, head down. She’s never been attacked. But still… Beth sees a backpack in the corner of a club. She and her friend joke about seeing something, saying something, surely it’s harmless. Their eyes keep returning to it. But still… In the late ’80s, Rick and I were always out, on the run, uptown and down. Footloose and fancy free, we called ourselves. Footloose and fancy free. Any trouble we got into was of our own making.

Photo by Scott Stiffler

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Chelsea Bombing Aftermath: A Timeline BY SEAN EGAN While Chelsea has, in large part, rebounded from last week’s bombing of W. 23rd St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) — taking things in stride as vehicular and pedestrian traffic reopened alongside local businesses — the story continues to develop. Over the past week, more information on the bomber has come to light, and elected officials have been dealing with the aftermath the attack — which was but one part of a larger terror plan that included explosives placed in two different New Jersey towns. The Chelsea bomb detonated at around 8:30 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 17, from a dumpster near the King David Gallery (131 W. 23rd St.) and Selis Manor (135 W. 23rd St.), an affordable housing center for the blind and visually impaired. The blast shook surrounding buildings, shattered windows, and injured 31 people — though none seriously, as all were released from the hospital within days. Another bomb (constructed of a pressure cooker, wires, and a cellphone) was found on W. 27th St., though this device did not detonate, after two men removed the bomb from the travel bag it was housed in, took the bag, and left. On Wed., Sept. 28., after a weeklong search instigated by the police and FBI, authorities were able to identify and locate these two men who encountered the W. 27th St. bomb. They were visitors from Egypt, and since returned to that country after the explosion. There’s no evidence that these two had any connection to the bombing, but the FBI is seeking to speak to them as witnesses in the case. Also on Sept. 17, a bomb went off at the starting line of a 5K run in Seaside, NJ (no deaths or injuries), and the next day undetonated pipe bombs were found at a NJ Transit station in Elizabeth, NJ. By Mon., Sept. 19, authorities identified 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami — an American citizen of Afghan descent, who settled in New Jersey as a child — as the prime suspect in the bombings. He was taken into custody shortly thereafter by police, following a chase and shootout in Linden, NJ, which left the alleged bomber wounded and two police officers injured. He was charged on multiple counts in New York and New Jersey, as well as federally. Following the arrest, more information on Rahami was discovered, including his troubling online history/pur.com

chases, and a handwritten journal containing jihadist messages. Since 2011, he made multiple trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Rahami, who had previously embraced American culture, began to be drawn into the allure of Islamic extremism and jihad. Tensions escalated so far that, in a 2014 incident, Rahami stabbed his brothers and mother in New Jersey, and his father reported to the FBI that he was worried his son may be a terrorist. After a few weeks, the FBI’s review of the situation drew to a close. Elected officials continued to deal with fallout in the week after blast, after aiding in immediate recovery efforts. On Sept. 20, US Congressmember Nydia Velázquez called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to aid the small businesses affected by the bombing. He vowed to do just that, via emergency grants, during a press conference the very next day — flanked by electeds such as State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, and City Councilmember Corey Johnson (all of whom were active following the explosion, including taking a trip to Selis Manor). “We are making state emergency assistance available immediately to those who have suffered economically during the explosion,” Cuomo said, noting that small businesses, homeowners and renters could contact the state’s Department of Financial Services to get help dealing with uninsured losses. By Sun., Sept. 25, New York Senator Charles Schumer was involved, as the bombing brought the shortcomings of the Wireless Emergency Alert System to the fore. The system, which is limited to 90 characters, was used shortly after Rahami was identified to send a message reading “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen” to millions of area phones. The messaging system drew criticism for essentially requiring recipients to independently search for the suspect’s photo online in order to be useful, in addition to stoking worries that the text-only alert could contribute to the increased stereotyping/harassment of Muslims and/or people of Middle Eastern descent while in the throes of the manhunt. “We are in an age where sending a photo or video via text is commonplace, yet when it comes to the nation’s Wireless Emergency Alert System our texting capabilities are limited.

Photo by Scott Stiffler

West 23rd St., in the aftermath of the bombing. As per Gov. Cuomo, businesses on the block will be able to access emergency grants to help get back on track.

Last week’s terror threat here in New York highlighted a major weakness,” said Schumer, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to quickly update the 90s-era system to be more effective. Meanwhile, the investigation into the investigation is still ongoing. Authorities believe Rahami worked

alone, and that there is no evidence to suggest foreign support or a local cell was involved. Reportedly, he has not spoken to the police since being taken into custody, and has been in and out of consciousness. The ACLU, who is defending Rahami, has criticized the lack of access to their client.

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

September 29 - October 05, 2016

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Chelsea Small Business Crawl CRAWL continued from p. 1

whenever a business is closed that hurts its bottom line, and whatever we can do to increase the number of patrons that comes to a business, that is what we try to do.” Brewer further emphasized the importance of the business crawl. “When the press goes out that says, ‘There was an explosion on 23rd Street,’ you and I know that the stores will reopen, because you and I live here — but the world does not,” Brewer said. “The issue is to tell everybody that these stores are open.” Hoylman held the same sentiments during a stop at Papaya Dog (W. 23rd St., corner of Seventh Ave.). “Businesses lost a week’s worth of customers,” Hoylman noted. “That is a lot for a small business to handle in such a short amount of time. So we are here to show them support and we are going to let the entire city know that 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh Avenue is open for business.” While the confectionary shop La Maison du Macaron didn’t suffer much physical damage, the two baristas working the night shift were shaken by the experience. “I was very scared,” said Zina Kirko, 27. “I didn’t know what was happening, so I called my boss Pascal [Goupil]. He said, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ He did calm me down, and I’m grateful for him.” “We thought it was a big crash,” said Natalie Heras, 22. “We saw a car in the street and glass everywhere, but then we realized it was more than that because a crash wouldn’t make that drastic [a] sound,” she recalled. “It wouldn’t have caused our place to shake and the lights to flicker,” added Heras, who lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. “It was just a very loud, huge explosion; and I could even see the dust in the air,” Kirko said. “It’s something that you can’t really describe, it was just terrifying,” Heras added. After the explosion, the family of three that was in the car ran into the shop. “The people that were in the car came inside. It was a husband and wife and their kid. They were both crying, and the husband was outside recording what had happened, so I tried to calm them down, the wife and the kid, and

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Photos by Naeisha Rose

L to R: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Malibu Diner co-owner Alex Grimpas, NY State Senator Brad Hoylman (with daughter).

I gave them both water, and told them to sit down, and try to relax,” Heras recalled. “I tried my best to relax them, but I was also scared.” “We were scared so we went to the back door [which leads to 24th St.], we hid for a couple of minutes and once we realized nothing was going on we opened the door and saw broken glass everywhere, we didn’t know what to do,” Kirko said. “Then the police came and evacuated us in 10 minutes,” added Kirko, who lives in Coney Island. After trekking to three different stops to find a train that was working, Heras and Kirko made it home around midnight. Heras went back to work Wednesday, and Kirko came in the following day. “I was shocked, and luckily nobody died, but I came back on Thursday... by that time I felt okay,” said Kirko. “I thought I was fine, but once I got out of the train station — and it was 6:40, I open at 6:45 a.m. — it was still very dark… I got shaky in my hand, I felt this weird feeling,” Heras recalled. “A customer said, ‘The tension needs to come out,’ and when I wasn’t looking, she threw cold water in my face,” Heras said. “I was like, ‘Huh?’ It came out, and she said to take cold showers, and weirdly enough, I’ve started to do

that and I feel better.” “We are very grateful that [customers] keep coming after what happened,” Kirko added. Another person in the immediate area during the Sept. 17 explosion was street vendor Joseph Gamal. “I heard a boom,” Gamal said, “and I thought it was a tire.” When the police showed up 10 minutes later, he headed back to New Jersey. “You leave your house to go and make a living and now you don’t know

if you are going home to your wife or not,” said Gamal, who just started selling Egyptian food outside the Home Depot on 40 W. 23rd (btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.) two weeks ago. While he is not afraid of another possible terror attack, thanks to the police presence, he is upset about the affect this will have on Muslim Americans like himself. “Islam doesn’t say’ I kill people,’ ” Gamal said. “Islam is peace; but we as CRAWL continued on p. 5

L to R: Zina Kirko and Natalie Heras comforted a family that ran into La Maison du Macaron after the explosion. .com


Helps Bombing Block Sprint Back CRAWL continued from p. 4

a human, we make mistakes. There is no difference from someone that goes on the road drunk and kills people… so different Islam and people, it’s two different stories. A person can do good things or choose to do bad things,” said the father of three. A second street vendor, who was on the corner of W. 23rd and Sixth Ave. during the Small Business Crawl, was reminded of 9/11. “It’s a bad memory,” said Tony Fisher, 57, looking at the skyline where the Twin Towers used to be. “I think that they are trying to blow up New York… and pretty soon there might be a suicide bomber,” said Fisher while selling bubble-makers. While he refuses to move from his spot of 33 years, he is disgusted by how it impacted his disabled customers. “It was right in front of the [Selis Manor] blind residence, oh man,” Fisher said. “I wondered how frightened they must feel, because they can’t even come out of the building,” he added. Although his wife of 20 years, Lisa, wants him to stick to selling toys near their home in Coney Island, he prefers to stay near his favorite food joint. “I have spots out there, but I like Manhattan and I like eating at Flavors [on the corner of W. 23rd & Sixth Ave.],” said Fisher with a smile. “I love them.” One business crawler who decided it was time to spend time near the scene of the bombing was Nancy Spannbauer, 76, who lives a few blocks away, and didn’t make much of the sirens or the

Photos by Naeisha Rose

Street vendor Tony Fisher, a fixture on Sixth Ave., has often thought of the Twin Towers since Sept. 17’s bombing.

helicopter whizzing by that night. The following day, when she heard what happened, she wasn’t rushing to leave her home anytime soon. “Terrorism was not the first thing I thought of,” Spannbauer said. “Maybe if I lived some place else, but we have so many fires and accidents,” she added. Before she finally left her home to join the business crawl, Spannbauer, who runs a social service program for senior citizens, gave her self a pep talk. “The first couple days I was a little bit leery about coming down the street, but I eventually said, ‘Don’t be silly. Life has to go on.’ I have to keep living my life. I live in Chelsea, I work in Chelsea, and I spend all my time here,” she added. Amadou Cisse, 26, a server at Papaya

Dog, was touched by the turnout of politicians and city officials coming out on Saturday to show their support. “When she [Brewer] came, I felt very special,” said Cisse, who is from Burkina Faso in western Africa.

Nancy Spannbauer, who lives nearby, showed up to support businesses on W. 23rd St., between Sixth & Seventh Aves.

“I never met a politician before in this country — and it shows that they really care about us, it really meant a lot,” Cisse said. “I hope we can go back to our regular life and that it never happens again,” he added.

How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever.

City and Country School Keeping the progress in progressive education. Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade

Open House: Thursday, November 17, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802 Amadou Cisse was greeted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, when the Sept. 24 Small Business Crawl made a stop at Papaya Dog. .com

www.cityandcountry.org September 29 - October 05, 2016

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Photog Who Found Bomb Heeded ‘See Something’ Saying BY TEQUILA MINSKY It was that familiar mantra — if you see something, say something — that nagged at Jane Schreibman after she made her way back from the police barricades on Sixth Ave. and W. 25th St. on Sat., Sept. 17. At 10 p.m. that night, Schreibman, a photographer and longtime Chelsea resident, was oblivious to the drama that was occurring just blocks south — after a bomb had exploded on W. 23rd St. an hour and a half earlier — until a friend called to ask if she all right. Schreibman went out to check out the scene. On her way back home, however, she realized that she had passed something odd on the sidewalk just doors from her building. “It was a pot with many wires coming out of the top, sitting in front of a postal storage box,” she recounted. When she first saw it, she thought it looked like “a kid’s science project they had thrown away.” Upon a second look, though, the phrase “If you see something suspicious, call 911” flashed in her mind. She also remembered hearing about pressure cooker bombs — like the ones that had been used in the Boston Marathon bombing — and went upstairs to her apartment and called the authorities. “I gave the dispatcher the info and she told me, ‘This is high priority,’ ” Schreibman said, retelling the story earlier this week. When Schreibman went back downstairs, there was a man in an olive-green state trooper uniform attending to the device. “Run!” he told her — and she did. Later, Schreibman found out that a neighbor a few doors down had also spotted the device and called 911. West 27th St. is very different from W. 23rd St., with comparatively little foot traffic. Thinking about it later, Schreibman felt it was an odd location to place a device like this. She went around the corner to hang out with friends, checking every hour or so, until police let her back into her building around 3 a.m. On Sunday, she posted on her Facebook page: “Found a pressure cooker bomb in front of my house last night, 27th between 6th and 7th. When the bomb squad came they said ‘run off the street,’ so i did. Played Scrabble with my friend Cynthia around the corner till a

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Photos by Tequila Minsky

Jane Schreibman shows the spot where she saw the bomb.

detective escorted me home at 3am.” On Monday, the calls from the media poured in — NBC, ABC national, CBS, the New York Post, the Daily News, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fox News. “Inside Edition” interviewed her by Skype, and Curtis Sliwa did a phone interview with her. “Were you frightened?” many asked her. “It looked so silly, I didn’t think it was a bomb,” she said. Another question she got a lot: “How do you feel being a hero?” Her response: “I’m not a hero, I’m a New Yorker. Anyone would have done this.” But, of course, that’s not entirely true. There is so much trash dotting the streets at any time that it’s hard to determine what should be reported. “It was those wires, coming out of the top,” she recalled, of what ultimately compelled her to make the call. The pressure cooker had duct tape on it, and was connected to an object, which Schreibman couldn’t see because it was taped-over. A video posted online shows a robot nudging the device along the street and into a containment van. There’s no question, however, that

Schreibman with her photograph of a woman in Pakistan.

she and the other observant citizen who called in a report should be recognized for what they did. State Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents the area, personally called to thank her for her quick-thinking action. Schreibman is a documentary photographer. She has taken photographs in Pakistan and pre-Taliban Afghanistan — where she had bodyguards — and has traveled many times to India. Captured on surveillance video, two men — referred to as scavengers by some media outlets and thieves by

another — were spotted picking up a suitcase on the street believed to have held the device. They ultimately left the bomb on W. 27th St. but took the rolling suitcase with them. Robert Boyce, chief of detectives of the New York Police Department, said it was unclear if the pair had unknowingly deactivated the bomb when they removed it from the suitcase. One quipster commented on Twitter: “Seriously, the only way this story could be more NYC is if the bombs were discovered by a pizza rat.” .com


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September 29 - October 05, 2016

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POLICE BLOTTER THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant Sean Egan

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designer Cristina Alcine

Contributors

Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Dennis Lynch Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley

Account Executives Jack Agliata Lauren Blair Allison Greaker Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

Published by

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Furious fare On Sat., Sept. 24, a 51-year-old driver experienced some very literal pushback from a passenger unhappy with the cost of their cab. At 10:30pm on that night, the two pulled up outside of 80 Eighth Ave. (btw. W. 14th & W. 15th Sts.), and proceeded to get into a verbal altercation over the fare and the location of the dropoff. Things escalated when the man exited the vehicle and kicked the driver’s door, causing a dent. Not satisfied with simply damaging his property, the rage-filled rider then reached back inside the vehicle, and started a physical altercation with the driver — causing him to shift gears and reverse into another vehicle, damaging it, as well as his own vehicle’s left bumper. No injuries were sustained, and the two motorists exchanged information — though somehow, in the kerfuffle, the troublesome traveler got away.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: I threw a brick through a windshield At about 3am on Sun., Sept. 25, on the 400 block of W. 27th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), a man witnessed a 24-year-old New Jersey man break the windshield of a vehicle by throwing a brick through it. He then proceeded, in a Hulk-like fashion, to continue to smash it using his own bare hands. Reportedly, the man had asked a question, or offered assistance to the 34-year-old owner of the car (also from Jersey) before his vehicular vandalism. The onlooker reported the incident to an officer on patrol. The man sustained injuries to his hands, caused damages totaling over $250, and was promptly arrested.

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PETIT LARCENY: Smoking car On Sat., Sept. 17, an 81-year-old New Jersey man learned that he probably should solve his auto issues with the Pep Boys rather than random passersby. The man was driving westbound on the 400 block of W. 25th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) at 2:20pm, when he found a parking spot. After pulling in, two men approached his car and told him that his vehicle was smoking, and then proceeded to “fix it.” When they were done with their “repairs,” they informed their elderly target that he should pay them the princely sum of $400 for their “labor.” The man obliged, going to an ATM and fetching them the cash. At some point after, he realized the car wasn’t smoking at all, the men were only pretending to fix his vehicle, and he’d just been thoroughly scammed. He filed a police report to that effect on Fri., Sept. 23.

DWI: Landed in his lap Any seasoned NYPD officer is likely tired of the familiar song-and-dance number delivered by drunk drivers in the hot seat — so cases like the one on Thurs., Sept. 22, involving an undeniably inebriated motorist, must come as a welcome open-and-shut change of pace. An officer’s interest was first piqued that night when he saw a vehicle enter

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.

a restricted area meant only for buses (at the southeast corner of Dyer Ave. & W. 41st St.), a little before 8pm. Upon further investigation, he observed that the driver had slurred speech, and, more damningly, an open alcoholic beverage sitting in plain view on his lap. The 33-year-old New Jersey resident was arrested then and there, and brought to the Seventh Precinct, where he blew a .129 BAC during a breath test a while later.

—SEAN EGAN

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-4777411. Community Affairs: 212-4777427. Crime Prevention: 212-4777427. Domestic Violence: 212-4773863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.

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

Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media

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

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‘Hell’s Kitchen South’ District Could Stall Bus Terminal Relocation Drive BY EILEEN STUKANE At the moment there may be détente between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA), elected officials, and community leaders, over the PA’s plans to reinvent its timeworn bus terminal — but it is yet to be determined just how far the PA’s commitment to heeding the community will go. There is a promise to hold future public meetings, and there will be plenty to discuss about five new plans unveiled by the PA last week. The five designs, each from a different architectural firm, range between $3.7 billion and $15.3 billion, with one scenario including underground passageways and tunnels, one utilizing the Javits Center, another connecting to Times Square, and another with a rooftop park which requires demolishing neighborhood buildings by invoking eminent domain (the right of a government or government agency to take possession of private property for public use). The PA’s initial 2015 concepts for creating a new bus terminal strongly relied on eminent domain, which “would tear out the heart of the Hell’s Kitchen [HK] area directly across the street,” said Community Board 4 (CB4) member Betty Mackintosh at a recent CB4 Clinton/HK Land Use Committee meeting. Those plans, which she cited as “flawed and secretive,” would have obliterated homes, local small businesses, and community institutions. Mackintosh now heads CB4’s HK Working Group, which has been collecting a broad range of information about the Hell’s Kitchen

Courtesy CB4

The outlined area tentatively maps a Hell’s Kitchen South Historic District under study by CB4’s Landmark District Working Group.

South area (i.e. air quality, number of residences) in order to “battle with the Port Authority,” as Mackintosh said at the meeting. Another weapon in CB4’s fight for the community is the possible creation of a Hell’s Kitchen South Historic District, proposed to be an area from Eighth Ave. to just west

Courtesy Port Authority /Archilier Architecture Consortium

The honeycomb wave plan goes beyond PA-owned land, using eminent domain to seize property on the north side of W. 40th St., west of Ninth Ave. Inside a public elevator goes to a rooftop park and a passage-way links W. 42nd St. to Hudson Boulevard Park. .com

of Ninth Ave., between W. 40th and W. 41st Sts. to W. 34th St. A landmarked section of the city cannot be easily altered, and the use of eminent domain cannot be employed. The idea for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate this section of Hell’s Kitchen as a historic district actually first surfaced within CB4 during 2010. “A body of research was done in 2010, but the work was tabled [by CB4] in deference to other more urgent matters at the time,” explained Dale Corvino, a CB4 member who, along with CB4 public member Brian Weber, is spearheading the CB4’s Landmark District Working Group. “The work was reactivated when we saw the continued loss of significant buildings and the plans of Port Authority,” he said. “The historic district has been in the minds of some neighborhood people for some time,” said Rev. Scott Stearman, pastor at Metro Baptist Church (which, at 410 W. 40th St., would be within the proposed historic district). “I think this [the PA’s plan] has added a bit of energy to the fire,” he added. “I do see it as a tool in the

toolkit. I’ve been appreciative of all the elected officials. If they [PA officers] are going to make this kind of transformative change, then it really needs to be thoroughly vetted, and all stakeholders engaged.” Corvino explains that what’s gained by a historic district designation is that “the buildings that are within a historic district, and of historic significance, can’t be demolished. Being within a historic district saves them, and that’s the goal, to prevent further demolition.” He notes that the PA’s outlines of its building plans included Hell’s Kitchen South areas where streets are lined with early 20th century industrial buildings of 10 to 20 stories, with setbacks that bring light and air into the streets. “Some of the buildings are more significant than others,” says Corvino, “but it’s not so much about an individual building that we want to save, it’s about an area of buildings of a certain character that we’d like to prevent from being lost forever.” JD Noland, chair of CB4’s Clinton/ HK Land Use Committee, however, DISTRICT continued on p. 17 September 29 - October 05, 2016

9


Snail Rail: Cuomo Announces $1.6 Billion To Turn Post Office

Courtesy Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill

The Moynihan Train Hall will host Long Island Railroad and Amtrak services, easing congestion at the underground facilities at Penn Station.

BY DENNIS LYNCH Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday a $1.6 billion plan to redevelop the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a “worldclass 21st century transportation hub,” by 2020. The 250,000 square foot Moynihan Train Hall — larger than four football fields — will house both Amtrak and Long Island Railroad (LIRR) ticketing and waiting facilities. Riders will be able to access nine platforms and 17 tracks at the Hall, which will increase floor space by 50 percent from Penn Station — welcome breathing room for 650,000 Penn Station regulars used to the “dirty, dingy, and dark” station beneath Madison Square Garden, Cuomo said. “With more than twice the passengers of all JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined, the current Penn Station is overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic,” Cuomo said. “The Moynihan Train Hall will have more space than Grand Central’s main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options.” The Hall will feature a one-acre, open-floor concourse under a dramatic glass ceiling reminiscent of the original Penn Station that once sat across Eighth Ave. The city’s flagship post office is roughly eight acres large

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September 29 - October 05, 2016

Courtesy Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill

A ground-floor view of the dramatic skylight above the one-acre open concourse of the Moynihan Train Hall at the James A. Farley Post Office.

in all, and was designed by McKim, Mead, and White — the same firm that designed the masterpiece Penn Station, which was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden. Developers Vornado Realty LP, Related Companies, and Skanska Ab

will create 588,000 square feet of office space, and 112,000 square feet of retail and “state-of-the-art security measures,” throughout the rest of the 103-year-old Beaux-Arts post office building, Cuomo said. The trio of developers will pay the

state roughly $600 million “in recognition to the value of the development opportunity within the Farley Building.” Empire State Development Corporation will toss in $570 million for the project, PENN continued on p. 11 .com


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Governor Andrew Cuomo said the new train hall will also feature 112,000 square feet of retail and dining space, along with 588,000 square feet of office space. PENN continued from p. 10

while Amtrak, LIRR, Port Authority, and the federal government will chip in the remaining $425 million. The first phase of construction at the post office, consisting of building a concourse and expanding the underground corridor between it and Penn Station, is “nearing completion,” according to the governor’s office. The post office isn’t the only building getting a new look either. Separately, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will triple the width and raise the ceiling of the LIRR’s 33rd Street Corridor at Penn Station at a cost of $170 million. The authority will also redesign the subway stations serving the 1, 2, 3, and A, C, E trains at Seventh and Eighth Aves., respectively. The subway station improvements are “expected as early as 2018,” and will cost roughly $50 million, according to the Cuomo’s office. The Empire State Development Corporation and Amtrak will independently rebuild the latter’s space at Penn Station.

The state has named the station after longtime US Senator for New York and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who first proposed turning the post office into a transit station in the early 1990s. Moynihan championed the project as a way to ease congestion at Penn Station, where he shined shoes as a kid long before his illustrious political career. Numerous design firms laid out their proposals over the years, but there was little concrete action. Moynihan died in 2003, and two years later, then-Governor George Pataki tapped Related Properties and Vornado to head the redevelopment of the post office. The firms wanted to move Madison Square Garden off from atop Penn Station and over into the Farley Post Office Building to make room for a tower or mall, but that proposal fell through, along with many of their subsequent development plans. Cuomo booted them from the project earlier this year after a decade of inactivity, but ultimately invited them back.

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11


Loss of Kiosk Web Browsing Buoys Quali

Photo by John A. Mudd

John A. Mudd of the Midtown South Community Council said people were stacking up USPS crates to use them as chairs, as seen here at W. 40th St. & Eighth Ave.

Photo by John A. Mudd

“The hottest spot was 40th and Eighth Ave. — it was a daily thing,” said John A. Mudd, president of the Midtown South Community Council, who took this photo when web browsing was still in service. 

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BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC LinkNYC’s disabling of web browsing capabilities on its Wi-Fi kiosks this month points to an age-old tug of war in the city: balancing quality of life concerns with the implementing a new program. In this case, what was touted as a plank to the building of a bridge over the city’s digital divide got marred by inappropriate use and the monopolization of kiosks. It is unclear whether the web browsing function will be reinstated. If not, a source of Internet accessibility for those of lower incomes and the homeless has been cut off. Pamela Wolff, a longtime W. 21st St. resident, said she has seen several “performances” before the web browsing was disabled: a person dragging a newspaper distribution box from nearby, turning it sidewise, and setting up shop in front of a kiosk. During the summer, one man did just — spending hours at a terminal on Eighth Ave. between. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts. “He’s just there in the middle of the sidewalk,” she said in a phone interview. “He had a nice long snooze [while wearing earphones that were hooked up to the kiosk]. He was there for the afternoon.” Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, said in a phone interview that people staying for a long time at the kiosks had been a problem and that “they blocked the sidewalk.” Carol Ott, of the 300 W. 20th Street Block Association, said there was a tower between W. 20th and W. 21st Sts. on Eighth Ave. that people were gathering where there seemed to be drug use. “It was making some people on the block uncomfortable who were walking by the kiosk,” Ott said in a phone interview. Wolff, who has Internet access in her home, said she is of two minds when it comes to the kiosks. “I can see it as a serious deterioration of the quality of life for people who live and work around them,” she noted, adding, “I like the idea that anyone can access information. I’m loathe to take away those capabilities.” Wolff said she has sympathy for people who have never had their own entertainment center, and suddenly had access to one. Richard Trifiro, social services man-

ager at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (296 Ninth Ave., at 28th St.) said the kiosks have opened up a conversation about what people on the street need when it comes to Internet service and access to communication. “There is some need that is not being met,” he said in a phone interview. He called the kiosks a step up from the old phone booths; Wolff was also glad those were gone as well. “I was happy to see them go up throughout the city,” Trifiro said. “I hope they don’t abandon it because of the kinks. It serves an important purpose.” The Internet has become like a necessity, and there is some technology that is simply out of reach for people in a certain income bracket, Trifiro said. “You almost need it to live,” he said. “Many of the things our people are looking to improve their lives [with], they need the Internet [for].” For instance, any sort of employment search or applying for a job requires access to a computer and the Internet, Trifiro said. In New York City, 26% of households lack broadband Internet at home, and 16% do not have a computer at the home, according to “Internet Inequality: Broadband Access in NYC.” For the report, released in September 2015, Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. According to the report, 40% of those with less than a high school education, lack broadband at home compared to 11% of those with a bachelors degree or more. “Internet access has truly become the fourth utility, almost as critical to modern life as water, gas and electricity — but there is still unequal access across our city,” Stringer said in an email statement. At Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, Trifiro said they opened a computer lab about two and a half years ago. Initially, it had five computer stations — though over time, that amount doubled. “It grew quite a bit,” Trifiro said. “We realized the need is great. The bulk of the people are using them for their own purposes — they need access.” He said the reason the soup kitchen started the lab is because other places that offer Internet access, such as the .com


ity of Life While Widening Digital Divide library, sometimes turn away people who have the markers of being homeless or if they have poor hygiene. Beyond the employment search, people who are homeless still need the Internet for connecting to people, mostly done now through social media, he explained. LinkNYC started rolling out earlier this year, and thus far 400 kiosks have been installed. The city awarded the bid to CityBridge — a consortium of companies that includes Intersection, Qualcomm, and CIVIQ Smartscapes — in November 2014, according to a Feb. 18 press release announcing the launch. Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, said in an email that LinkNYC’s purpose was always to bring free Wi-Fi to the city’s streets and sidewalks, and she pointed out that the tablets still provide access to city services through 311 online. She said there are other places in the city, such as libraries and New York City Housing Authority’s digital vans, where computers are available for public use. “There were concerns about loitering and extended use of LinkNYC kiosks, so the mayor is addressing these quality-of-life complaints head on,” she said in an email. “Removing the Internet browser from LinkNYC tablets will not affect the other great services LinkNYC provides — superfast Wi-Fi, free phone calls, or access to key City services — but will address concerns we’ve heard from our fellow New Yorkers.” BerlinRosen, the public relations firm representing LinkNYC, and the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) declined to answer questions concerning a timeframe for bringing back web browsing or if it is permanently or temporarily disabled. The New York Times reported on Sept. 14 — the day it was announced that the web browsing would be disabled — that “they would switch off the browsing functions on the computer tablets built into the kiosks as a temporary solution while they consider permanent changes.” Chelsea Now spoke with block associations, community groups, and residents, and it seems that the problem kiosks were largely on Eighth Ave. However, the full scope of the issue is unclear, as both BerlinRosen and .com

DoITT declined to answer questions concerning the number and nature of the complaints they received about the kiosks. A BerlinRosen rep pointed to a Sept. 14 statement on LinkNYC’s website (link.nyc/service-update). John A. Mudd, president of the Midtown South Community Council, said the problem “started blossoming in June.” “They would play chess,” Mudd said in a phone interview. “They would watch porn. Music videos were big.” Crowded around the kiosks, people would stay there all night and use overturned magazine/newspaper boxes and United States Postal Service crates as couches and chairs, he said. People were selling drugs at the kiosks, according to Mudd. “The hottest spot was 40th and Eighth Ave. — it was a daily thing,” he said. Business owners, hotel managers and residents came to Council meetings with complaints, he said. Since the web browsing has been disabled, “it’s like night and day from what it was and now. It’s a tremendous change,” Mudd said. President of the Garment District Alliance, Barbara Blair said, “The complaints started the minute the Links went into service.” Blair said that was in April and that the Garment District Alliance, a business improvement district (BID) that spans 35th to 41st Sts. from Fifth to Ninth Aves., got complaints immediately and daily. The homeless gathered around the kiosks and would use thrown-out furniture to sit, she said. “It can’t be used as an entertainment tool,” Blair said. It exacerbated quality of life concerns in the area, which is unique due to its two transportation hubs, a parole board and social services located within it as well as a high number of pedestrians and panhandling, according to Blair. Since the web browsing has been disconnected, Blair said they have received zero complaints. “As soon as the thing was up and running … the homeless made it their encampment,” David Achelis, president of the West 50s Neighborhood Association, said in a phone interview. “Certain homeless take over certain KIOSKS continued on p. 14

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Veronica Elliott was dismayed to learn that the web browsing was disabled. “I don’t think they should discontinue the service,” she said at a kiosk at W. 39th St. & Eighth Ave.

Photo by Pamela Wolff

Chelsea resident Pamela Wolff took this photo of a man who spent hours at a kiosk on Eighth Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts. September 29 - October 05, 2016

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KIOSKS continued from p. 13

towers and make them their own.” Achelis, who is also a member of Community Board 5, said a kiosk in front of where he bartends (Matt’s Grill, 932 Eighth Ave. near W. 55th St.) has been a problem since around four months ago. “No one knew what they would look like and how they would encroach on the neighborhood,” he said. “There are some places that the towers are so inappropriate; some they’re fine.” He said the problem persists at the kiosk at 932 Eighth Ave. despite the web browsing being disabled, and he thinks that some of the towers need to be removed. “These things are large,” Achelis said. “They are more useless advertising that communities don’t need.” The Midtown South Community Council, the Garment District Alliance, the West 50s Neighborhood Association, the 300 W. 20th Street Block Association and others went to City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office with complaints. Johnson said in an email that his office got calls from constituents, and that he personally noticed some

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instances of abuse. “It was clear from early on that this was a real problem for many constituents,” he wrote in an email to Chelsea Now. “When all of these various block associations and community councils and BIDs are reaching out at the same time about the same thing, you know that the issue is affecting a lot of people. It was really a resounding response.” According to Johnson, constituents have been calling in and writing, expressing their appreciation since the web browsing has been disabled — but that his office is “not taking our eye off this yet.” Currently, there is a moratorium on LinkNYC installing more kiosks on Eighth Ave. and Johnson said it will continue “until we’re confident that the big issues have been resolved. Things are looking better, but it’s too soon to install more kiosks. We’re in ‘wait and see’ mode right now.” Along Eighth Ave., there are several orange boxes — that look like chopped off pyramids — announcing a LinkNYC is coming soon. In response to questions concerning whether there is any NIMBY-ism involved with the complaints regardSame day Service available

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KIOSKS continued from p. 14

New Yorkers is something we should absolutely pursue, but that’s a separate issue from resolving the problems that were at hand with LinkNYC.” To connect to a kiosk’s Wi-Fi, a device is required (such as a smartphone). According to a Department of Consumer Affairs research brief titled “New York City Mobile Services Study from November 2015, 79% of those surveyed had a smartphone. In total, there were 935 respondents over a four-month data collection period, according to the study. When Chelsea Now walked the stretch of Eighth Ave. from W. 14th St. to W. 40th St. during the late afternoon on Thurs., Sept. 22, no one was huddled around the kiosks — and no street furniture, such as newspaper boxes, had been pulled up to facilitate watching the monitor. Some kiosks were not in use, while others were being used to make calls or to charge phones. Ian Defibaugh, 45, a Hell’s Kitchen resident was charging his phone at a kiosk at W. 26th St. and Eighth Ave. “When they first put them up, I thought it was the dumbest idea,” he said.

Now, Defibaugh says he has been using them quite frequently. “It’s been charging really, really fast,” Defibaugh said. “I’ve been very happy with it.” James Gambardella, 24, agreed. “It’s super convenient,” he said at a kiosk at W. 35th St. and Eighth Ave. “If you’re in a pinch, you can charge your phone.” Gambardella, a Chelsea resident, was charging his phone while Damon Callaway, a Bronx resident, was also at the station. Callaway, 52, said, “It’s a good thing for the public.” He said he uses the kiosk to charge his phone so he can listen to music on it. “I’ve got to put gas in the car,” he said with a smile, referring to charging his phone. Three blocks up, on W. 39th St., Veronica Elliott, 50, was dismayed to learn that the web browsing had been disconnected. She had been using it look up information. “Oh no, is it coming back?” she asked. “The Internet is very useful — especially if you don’t have a laptop.” She added, “I think more people need the Internet than not. I don’tT:8.75” Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic think they should discontinue the A placeholder for a kiosk at W. 18th St. & Eighth Ave. There is currently a service.” moratorium on installing more on the avenue.

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15


PB Preps for Year Three of Cool Mil Cap Funds Dispersal BY SEAN EGAN An atmosphere of creativity along the High Line made for picture-perfect brainstorming on the afternoon of Sat., Sept. 17. That’s when, and where, District 3 City Councilmember Corey Johnson held the kickoff event for the third year of Participatory Budgeting (PB) — an initiative which gives residents more control over how their tax dollars are spent, by setting aside about $1 million in capital funds for projects proposed, developed, and voted for by community members. Johnson began the event by noting that with around 2 million people living and working in the area on a weekly basis, “there’s a lot of wear and tear on the things we hold near and dear.” PB therefore, he noted, offers an opportunity for the community to improve these facilities. “This is real grassroots democracy in action,” Johnson proclaimed, as he listed off winning projects from years past (highlights included real-time rider information at bus stops, new trees district-wide, and the creation of a new “pocket park” on W. 20th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). “PB is also bringing the community together; it’s really about you,” Johnson furthered. “You get to come together, meet your neighbors, and make your community a better place.” After watching a short video explaining PB in broad strokes, those assembled (several dozen strong) broke down into five groups that rotated between informational tables, in order learn about different aspects of the process. At one station, Johnson’s Chief of Staff, Matt Green, showed off a model for raised pedestrian crosswalks that helped the project get funded in PB’s first year; at others, people learned of the voting process, project proposals,

Photos by Sean Egan

Councilmember Johnson kicked Sept. 17’s event by name-dropping past winners and praising Participatory Budgeting as “grassroots democracy in action.”

and the Youth Participatory Budgeting Council (people ages 14 and up are able to engage in the process). Attendees were encouraged to develop proposals and volunteer to be “budget delegates” — individuals who would help facilitate the PB process, and take leadership roles at events like project expos. As the afternoon wore on, other local political figures showed up to praise Johnson and the PB process, including State Senator Brad Hoylman and Public Advocate Letitia James. “Participatory Budgeting is about real money, real power, and real democracy,” James told Chelsea Now as she surveyed the gathering, noting that she’s been able to see the benefits of PB in her own district. “It works,” she added. “It allows all voices to be on the same footing.” PB continued on p. 17

Oscar Pagoda came armed with suggestions to improve a pair of schools he has personal connections to.

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DISTRICT continued from p. 9

noted that CB4 is only in the early stages of its drive to create a new historic district. “The process has just started,” Noland said. “We’ll discuss it, get some ideas, fill out the LPC form. Once we do that, we’ll talk about it in committee, take it to the full board, [and] say, ‘Here are some of our ideas.’ It takes time to figure out.” Meanwhile, the PA is moving along as New Yorkers wonder why a new bus terminal has to be established in an increasingly densely packed New York City. On its website, CB4 reports that on one weekday, the PA bus terminal accommodates approximately 220,000 passenger trips and more than 7,000 bus movements. Estimates are that by 2040, peakhour passenger traffic will increase between 35 to 51%, and bus traffic will jump up 25 to 39%. Yet there is no hope of constructing a terminal in New Jersey; the PA is adamant about staying on Manhattan’s West Side. “They want to take over Hell’s

Courtesy Port Authority / Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative

This completely underground terminal stays within PA-owned land. Although renderings show sunlight pouring into the glass-arched main entrance, one wonders whether descending New Yorkers and commuters might be subject to a mole-like mood similar to the one cast by the current Penn Station.

Kitchen and make it part of New Jersey,” says Noland. “The New York side is pushing back and saying, ‘Wait a minute, you should have something in New Jersey and not destroy the neighborhood here.’”

Rev. Stearman summed it up like this: “Clearly the New Jersey side does not want it over there. I think everybody in Manhattan has to think, ‘Why in the world do we want to bring all those buses

in?’ With transportation technology today, there seem to be a thousand reasons to have it [the bus terminal] across the river.”

PB continued from p. 16

All ideas, indeed, were on the same footing during the brainstorming session — where everyone was encouraged to write their suggestions out on large poster paper, and then vote on their favorites using stickers. Popular suggestions would be considered for potential development/ballot inclusion in the future. Oscar Pagoda, a local resident and member of Community Board 4, was one of the first in attendance to eagerly write his down. He proposed new locker rooms for New York City Lab & Museum High School (333 W. 17th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), his old school, whose gym was recently improved through PB. “If you’re going to renovate the gym, why not the locker rooms too?” he asked, noting that the current locker rooms are outdated, take away from gym classes, and “promote truancy.” Pagoda also advocated replacing the old overhead projectors at Manhattan Village Academy (a school he taught at; 43 W. 22nd St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.) with more modern SmartBoards. School improvement was also on Ilene Budin’s mind. Inspired by her conversations with the school-age teens at the event that lamented their schools’ lack of funds for extracurricular activities, she suggested providing New York City Lab & Museum School with film and video equipment. An alum of NYU’s film school, she thought, “It’d be cool for money to be set aside for film cameras,” so students could explore the art form. The environment and green space was also an issue for those in attendance. Pagoda suggested fixing the sprinkler system at the green play area at Fulton Houses. Soho resident Shino Tanikawa, who works with the Soil .com

Photo by Sean Egan

Johnson’s Chief of Staff, Matt Green, with a model of a raised pedestrian crosswalk, one of the winning projects from District 3’s first year of Participatory Budgeting.

and Water Conservation District, suggested installing green roofs on buildings throughout the district, which would help combat issues such as sewer overflow and pollution of the Hudson River. The planting of more trees was suggested multiple times, and for a variety of areas. In the end, members of Johnson’s staff presented all the suggestions culled from the brainstorming session, and wrapped the event off with a raffle, giving away

prizes, including PB T-shirts and “Coffee with Corey.” “One thing you see by looking around the room is that more people are engaging with PB every year,” Johnson wrote Chelsea Now after the kickoff. “It makes sense that the more people know about PB, the more they want to get involved. We’ve funded some important community projects over the last two years, and I look forward to seeing what ideas people have this year as we kick things off.” September 29 - October 05, 2016

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September 29 - October 05, 2016

.com


He Sniffles, She Smiles, We Suffer Monday’s debate set the bar for a nation in limbo

AP PHOTO BY DAVID GOLDMAN

This would be funny if not for the collective terrified squealing of the entire nation.

BY MAX BURBANK Gliding onto the hushed stage, Trump’s entrance was regal. In a lovely, custom-tailored suit that masked his jiggly mid-region, the errant strands of his trademark come-from-behind pompadour tamed and coiffed, his make-up professionally subdued, an almost human glowing peach. The white circles around his eye sockets less glaring than the shocking bone china look he’d favored for the primaries were skillfully blended into his foundation. If only he’d smiled more, He could be a 7, even a 7.5. Clinton wore…something red, I don’t know, are we really talking about this? Shame on you, she’s running for president, not “America’s Next Top Model.” The first presidential debate of 2016 was the most watched event of any kind ever in television history, except for that time the winning video on “America’s Funniest Home Videos of Traumatic Groin Injuries” was that super-old guy getting hit in the nuts with a football. If the debates were an Olympic event, they would be the uneven parallel bars, except with two competitors, one on each bar, kind of taking turns .com

but also sometimes swinging around at the same time while a desperate Lester Holt told them to “quit it now, I’m serious.” “Uneven” ’cause the bars are set differently, see? Clinton had to show that voters’ baseless gut-level assumption that she’s dishonest is wrong, and the fact that she makes them slightly uncomfortable isn’t a great reason to give nuclear weapons to a madman. Trump had to keep his trousers on, not defecate into his hands, and not hurl his loose orange poops into the audience. If that requirement had been literal, Trump might have stood a chance. This was a rout. By now you’ve seen a lot of polls where uni-toothed idiots, who could no more manage registering to vote than read a whole entire book, say Trump won. You’ve watched Kellyanne Conway do that thing where she says a boatload of impossibly ludicrous crap while out-stonefacing Buster Keaton. It doesn’t matter. Trump got his flabby tangerine ass handed to him on a platter and everybody knows it. Giuliani knows it, and his head is literally an old bowling ball bag stuffed with a geriatric, incontinent, rabid badger. America’s Mayor Who’s Gone Bugshit

said the event was “not Trump’s best performance” and that he should skip the rest of the debates! That’s Giuliani speak for, “Holy crap, it’s like she turned him upside down and now everybody knows he was an empty sack of rotting garbage the whole time! Who’s gonna clean up this mess?” It was rope-a-dope, except that’s uncharitable to dopes. Clinton grabbed the Blue Collar Billionaire by his made-in-China lapels, pressed his Daddy Issues button, gave him a shove, and let him spin like a rusty top. She said Pappa Trump gave his baby boy fourteen million simoleons. Trump called it “a very small loan,” ’cause he’s what, a man of the people? Clinton said Trump rooted for the housing crisis; Trump responded, “That’s called business, by the way.” No, that’s called shooting yourself in the foot and trying to cauterize the wound by shooting the stump, by the way! Clinton said Trump thinks global warming is a Chinese hoax, Trump said he never said that. He’s right. HE TWEETED IT, ’cause the man is hooked on the Twitter the way Sketchy Steve STUMP SPEECH continued on p. 23 September 29 - October 05, 2016

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Everything is a Disaster! Bad times for Rev. Jen, but at least the cat came back BY REV. JEN MILLER As my columns grow increasingly more depressing, I’ve decided to go one step further and entitle this one “Everything is a Disaster!” If you read my last column, you are aware that I was evicted and am writing this as a homeless person, staying with friends and trying to remain relatively sane while desperately missing my boyfriend, Joe, who is being treated for cancer. My life is like a combination of “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Midnight Cowboy.” At least I’m not Sir Thomas Hanks. He’s been captured by Somali pirates, been stranded on a desert island, once got AIDS, had to dress as a woman in order to find affordable housing, and now he has to land a crashing plane safely! My life is a breeze in comparison. Still, let’s focus on the many ways my life has recently been a disaster.

MY ART SHOW WAS A DISATER! When a gallery called Chinatown Soup (16 Orchard St.) offered me a chance to resurrect my Troll Museum and show my art, I was ecstatic. I threw 600 troll dolls and several paintings in my roommate’s car and headed from Brooklyn back to the street I’d just been evicted from. However, the gallerist didn’t show up for the installation. Someone there let us in and a group of Art Stars began to paint the walls psychedelically (like the original Troll Museum), while hanging shelves in 100-degree weather, with no AC. As with the entire account of this particular debacle (and the general narrative of my life), I maintain that I had already established, with the gallerist, that I could paint the walls however I liked; but when she arrived 10 hours later, she flipped out. I then flipped out. There was no laminated price list, no bio, no CV. I’ve been working in art galleries since I was 20 and she didn’t seem to understand: An art gallery works for the artist, not the other way around. Exhausted, I .com

headed home, only to return the next day to find my beloved two-headed troll on the floor. “Where is the psychedelic pillar that held my Double-Nik?” I asked, to which the gentleman “working” there replied, “Oh. She painted it white.” Are you kidding me?!! Who censors a f**king pillar? Despite the ugly white pillar, the opening was packed. City Council Speaker Melissa MarkViverito even showed up — but there was still no price list, only a donation box (that I made). Memo to Chinatown Soup: Artists need to make money so they can eat. The exhibition stayed up for a little over a week, until they randomly started taking it down. When I arrived to discover this, I also found that my handmade Troll Coloring Books (that go for 20 bucks) were missing. “What happened to my coloring books?” I asked the dude there. “Oh. I just gave them away.” WHAT? After the debacle, I found out that Chinatown Soup is largely funded by NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts; nyfa.org) — who now owe me not only a long overdue grant, but, also, money for the cost of 10 “Jumbo Troll Coloring Books.”

MY CAT, TENNEY, IS A DISASTER! One day about four years ago, when I was working at The Tenement Museum, it was my day off. They called and said, “We have a situation.” Apparently, this demonic little stray panther had found a way to get its noggin stuck between a pillar (another pillar!) and the front door. They “unstuck” his head and brought him inside, where he proceeded to piss on everything in the store (nice work, pal). I put up 50 posters and no one responded. I carried him everywhere, looking for his human, an adventure that led to me being chased out of a Chinatown gambling den by a woman wielding a frying pan. So he became my cat, Tenney. He didn’t purr for the first

Photo by John Foster

John Foster made this donation to the Chinatown Soup art show, which brought Rev. Jen back to the street where she used to live.

year I had him…and then I met Joe. Tenney started purring, and I started purring. Yet Tenney remained a wild young thing. Whilst staying here in Brooklyn and in the midst of my art show, he went missing. I was beside myself. A massive cat hunt was soon underway. I’d just lost my job, my home, and almost lost my boyfriend, Joe — and I was not about to lose my goddamn cat. And then something magical happened. Joe came to visit. He could only stay for less than 48 hours. At one point, I was sleeping and Joe got up to pack his things and go, when guess who waltzed up the stairs to say hello and goodbye? My little juvie of a feline. My roommate, Jen, knocked on my door. Joe and her were beaming with joy. “Look what we found,” Jen said. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt happier. But I also knew that, like Tenney, I wanted to say hello — but I never wanted to say goodbye.

SEA-MONKEYS ARE A DISASTER! OK, this isn’t “recent” — but since we’re on the topic of pets, how

COURTESY REV. JEN

Perhaps it was this well-made poster that inspired Tenney to suddenly, and without explanation, return to Rev. Jen.

is it that, as children, we were all duped into believing they wore little crowns and Doris Day hairdos? My Sea-Monkeys didn’t wave to me; they just died almost immediately upon hatching. Sea-Monkeys are crustaceans designed to teach children about death. DISASTER! continued on p. 23 September 29 - October 05, 2016

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Photo by John Foster

Rev. Jen (right) and friends at the opening night of her Chinatown Soup art show, also attended by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

DISASTER! continued from p. 21

MR. LOWER EAST SIDE (THE LAST ONE WAS A DISASTER!) For the past 17 years, I have hosted an annual male beauty pageant known as “The Mr. Lower East Side Pageant.” Last year, both venues I had previously booked cancelled for various reasons. So, on the day of the pageant, I was forced to find a new venue. I ran around Downtown and found a bar located in Chinatown, above a bus station — and told them I was

having a “birthday party.” They were down with it, and, at first, everything went swimmingly. Super Bad Brad kicked off the night with an amazing rendition of “Kung Fu Fighting” — but then, noted Art Star Master Lee took the stage. For some reason (that I will never discern), two women took off their clothes, revealing themselves to be painted in wild body paint and accosted Master Lee, actually trying to beat up the black-belt comedian. In the fracas, a cabinet was broken and all 87 members of the audience were thrown out. To their credit, as the manager screamed, “All of you get out now!” he asked me, “Do

STUMP SPEECH continued from p. 19

behind the 7-Eleven is hooked on methamphetamines! You can’t take a tweet back, Donald! Tweets go away less than herpes! Reince Priebus wanted Hillary to smile more? I’ve been watching Hillary Clinton for almost 30 years, and I never saw her smile so much. A genuine, sunny, “My Lord, I am having such a good time” smile, the kind she’s always had difficulty with, and there it was, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud, all courtesy of a mean-spirited, bitter Orange Troll. She smiled through Trump saying Barrack Obama ought to thank him for ending that whole nasty, racist birther thing she started. She beamed through Trump saying it was perfectly all right to call a woman a fat pig as long as she was Rosie O’Donnell. She lit up like the White House Christmas Tree as Trump insisted he was always against the Iraq War; how if only people would call his very lonely boyfriend Sean Hannity, they could go back to painting each other’s toenails and smooching their Putin posters! Did no one tell Trump what a split screen was? That every time he lurched at the mic like a cretinous rube .com

you want a beer?” I replied in the affirmative. So Claude Debris, who won well over a year ago (after, for the talent portion, lifting computers that were tied to his wenis while calling his mother), has remained the Monarch. But the pageant is coming back on October 22nd, 8 p.m. at Footlight Bar (465 Seneca Ave.) Years ago, someone predicted that the pageant would eventually end up in Queens. They were right. Why? Because the Lower East Side is a disaster. But, while everything is a disaster, I still have my cat, my dog, and Joe. I just hope we don’t ever have “President Trump.”

defendant on “Judge Judy,” we could see him? That he was visible as he drank a 90-gallon aquarium’s worth of water? And the sniffing! Donald wants us to believe his mic was defective — but somehow, we could hear every sniff; like he was the passed-out grease bag we brought home for a self-loathing-fueled one-nighter that we deeply regretted WHILE IT WAS HAPPENING?! A lot of very smart people are saying it was cocaine. I just think he’s a little sick. You tell me. Something degenerative, contagious, possibly fatal — believe me. Trump got thumped. Or maybe I’m wrong. I’ll tell you what, though. This nation comes with a “You Break It, You Bought It” sticker. If we elect him, we deserve him. I have some measure of compassion for folks who get suckered by a con man. But when that con man is doing a song-and-dance routine about being a snake oil salesman next to a movie screen showing clips of him at church emptying the collection plate into his pants and using the money to have “Rip-Off Artist” tattooed across his forehead? I don’t know. Like Ted Cruz said before he revealed himself to be every bit as unspeakably repellent as you’d been pretty sure he always was, “Vote your conscience.” September 29 - October 05, 2016

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September 29, 2016

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