VOLUME 6, NUMBER 22 SEPTEMBER 11, 2014
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL'S KITCHEN
At Penn South, Lively Debate on a Weekly Basis BY RAANAN GEBERER In one of Penn South’s ground-floor community rooms, a group of about 10 seniors meets, with a few home health aides accompanying them. The youngest are in their sixties. The oldest, Ruth Levy, is 101. They are all women, although men have joined this weekly group from time to time. Anywhere else, women of this age would be exchanging photos of their grandchildren — but this is Penn South, one of the most politically engaged communities in Manhattan, and this is a meeting of the Penn South Program for Seniors’ Current Events and Ethics Group. Penn South, also known as Mutual Redevelopment Houses, has the distinction of having established the first official NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) program in the country. Penn South Program for Seniors, administered by Jewish Association Serving the Aging Continued on page 6
Photo by Joshua Cruse
People’s Climate March Will Turn Up The Heat on Global Summit The NYC Light Brigade uses their signature method of illuminating social justice issues to promote the People’s Climate March, which takes place on Sept. 21 — two days before world leaders attend the United Nations Climate Summit 2014. See page 2.
CB4’s Benfatto Tapped to Head Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen BID
Photo by Eileen Stukane
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Business Improvement District (hudsonyardsnyc.org) is moving forward with its main mission: to open, fund, maintain and operate Hudson Park and Boulevard, according to its new executive director. Robert J. Benfatto, Jr. spoke with Chelsea Now on Tues., Sept. 2 — his first day at the helm. His background as district manager for Community Board 4 (CB4) has prepared him for the challenges that
await the business improvement district (BID). “The boundaries of the BID were within the district I worked for the last eight years so I know the area very well — the people in it,” said Benfatto. “The development that’s been going on, it’s not new to me. So I think I can use what I’ve learned going forward.” The BID is tasked with many responsibilities, but Benfatto says its primary concern is Hudson Park and
© CHELSEA NOW 2014 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Boulevard, which will be situated between W. 33rd St. and W. 39th St. between 10th and 11th Aves. Construction has been split into two phases. Within those two phases are blocks. Blocks one, two and three comprise phase one. Blocks four, five and six make up the second phase. The first phase is slated to be mostly complete by January of next year, Benfatto said. “When the park is ready to be
Continued on page 4
Photo by Andy Humm
© Frances M. Roberts
Twenty-two years, and still plenty of treasure up for grabs: London Terrace’s annual street fair happens on Sat., Sept. 27.
At The Penn South Ceramics Studio, Hanne Kjeldgaard prepares a slab of porcelain clay to hand-build bowls. Classes begin the week of Sept. 15.
Board games with all of the pieces! Paintings you’d actually want to put on your wall! Clothes that are in style! The 22nd Annual London Terrace Street Fair has all of this, and more, culled largely from the stuffed closets and overflowing storage lockers of London Terrace residents. No tube socks, no funnel cakes, no attitude — just friendly vendors and reasonably priced treasures. Rain or shine on Sat., Sept. 27, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on 25th St., btw. Ninth & Tenth Aves. For a vendor application: LTTAstreetfair@aol.com.
Ceramics or prior wheel experience). All classes last for 10 weeks. Tuition per class is $200 for Penn South residents, $260 for non-residents ($150 for Studio members, regardless of residency). A basic pottery tool set is required. Bring your own or purchase at the studio on your first day for $20. Clay ($25 for the first 25 lbs.) is purchased directly from the studio. Applications can be found in the Ceramics Studio & the Management (321 Eighth Ave.). For the fall schedule visit pennsouthceramics.com. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ceramics Studio is located in Bldg. 6B, at the corner of 26th St. & Ninth Ave.
THE FLATIRON BID HOSTS MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT GALE A. BREWER
THE 100 W. 16TH ST. BLOCK ASSOCIATION’S BLOCK PARTY
The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District’s fall Speaker Series welcomes former New York City Councilmember and current Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. The event will give local business owners and residents an opportunity to voice their own concerns, and hear about how Brewer is advising the Mayor and City Council on borough concerns, land use matters and the municipal budget process. RSVP required: 212-741-2323 or flatironfallspeakerseries.eventbrite.com. Tues., Sept. 16, 8:30–10 a.m. At TD Bank (260 Park Ave. S, at E. 21st St.). For BID info: FlatironDistrict.nyc & FlatironDistrict.nyc/facebook. Twitter & Instagram: @FlatironNY. For info on BP Brewer, visit manhattanbp.nyc.gov.
It’s the third time around for this charming side street’s family-friendly block party, which offers stoop sales, baked goods, kids’ activities, a raffle, badminton and music. Sat., Sept. 20, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. On W. 16th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
THE LONDON TERRACE STREET FAIR
FREE FLU SHOTS In partnership with Visiting Nurse Service of New York, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman’s office will be providing free flu shots to adults and kids nine years and older with parental consent. Thurs., Oct. 2, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at 322 Eighth Ave., Suite 1700. Space is limited and appointments are recommended. Call 212-633-8052 or email hoylman@ nysenate.gov.
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Poster design by Shepard Fairey
Shout it so loud they can hear it at the UN: The People’s Climate March happens on Sun., Sept. 21.
PENN SOUTH CERAMICS STUDIO FALL CLASSES Adam may have been molded from a lump of clay by someone who was a natural at it, but the rest of us need instruction. That’s where the Penn South Ceramics Studio comes into play — by offering all of the tools, tricks and techniques you’ll need. Beginning on Sept. 15, Intermediate Handbuilding explores Asian ceramics (prerequisite: Beginning Ceramics or prior handbuilding). Beginning Ceramics starts on Sept. 16, and teaches clay skills through handbuilding and wheel (no experience necessary). On Sept. 17, Intermediate/ Advanced Wheel begins (prerequisite: Beginning
THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH Vowing to “peacefully flood the streets in historic numbers,” an unprecedented coalition of businesses, unions, schools and social justice, faith and environmental groups will participate in what’s expected to be the largest march on climate change in history. With simultaneous events all over the world, New York City’s Sept. 21 headline demonstration is meant demand action from the delegates who will gather two days later, for the United Nations Climate Summit 2014. Add your voice to those demanding the adoption of an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution, protect natural resources and secure environmental justice. The march begins at Columbus Circle, 11:30 a.m. on Sun., Sept. 21, then proceeds on 59th to Sixth Ave., right on 42nd St. to 11th Ave., concluding in the streets btw. 34th & 38th. For more info, visit peoplesclimate.org. .com
September 11, 2014
BID’s Work Will Serve Hudson Yards, Hell’s Kitchen
Image courtesy of Hudson Yards Development Corporation | Jan. 2014
A 2011 rendering depicts the 34th St. No. 7 subway canopy.
Continued from page 1 opened, we’re going to be in a maintenance agreement with the City of New York where the BID will take care of it,” he said. “We’ll do the whole thing: we’d maintain it, we’d operate it, we’d put a concession there to raise
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revenue. And we would continue to advocate — only half of it has been built so far.” Thus far, the BID has funding for the first four blocks of the park, explained Benfatto. “There’s a lot that has been done for block five,” he said. “There will probably have to be some rezoning in
Photo by Scott Stiffler
The canopy, as it appears today. Located on 34th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). It’s part of Hudson Park and Boulevard — whose Phase I completion date is Jan. 2015.
the area and further development too to raise money.” The BID worked with CB4 on block four, and one of the goals of the BID will be raising money for blocks five and six. Another major issue for the BID is the amount of buses in the district, especially along 10th Ave. One of the reasons for the backup of buses, said Benfatto, is the overflow from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which during its busy times can hold only so many buses. If you go to 10th Ave., he says, you’ll sometimes see the buses go all the way down to W. 30th St. in a line, waiting to get into the terminal. “The Port’s looking at building a second garage, which will hopefully alleviate some of the problems,” Benfatto said. Another idea being bandied about is the expansion of the 7 train to Secaucus, New Jersey. Instead of buses coming from Jersey to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the buses would stop in Secaucus, and then a commuter would take the 7 train into Manhattan. This would free up more space, said Benfatto, and the extension is an issue that the BID is considering. Once the 7 train stations on the West Side are open, Benfatto said that the neighborhood should be able to handle the influx of riders. Transportation has been an important issue for the community. “The community likes the 7 train. In fact, they wanted an extra station. They wanted one at 40th and 10th,” he said. An additional station was in the plan, but there was no money for it.
Both the community and CB4 have expressed concern about how Hell’s Kitchen will be “merged in seamlessly within the new portion,” said Benfatto, who emphasized that the alliance’s name includes both Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a new neighborhood, he said, and the BID will keep the two parts working together. “I think that parts that are today known as Hell’s Kitchen will stay as Hell’s Kitchen at least for the foreseeable future,” he said when asked about whether the neighborhood can retain its markers with all the changes and growth that is occurring. “Hell’s Kitchen has a little more cache now. People used to view it as a very bad neighborhood,” said Benfatto. “But actually now some people want to live in Hell’s Kitchen.” “The BID is definitely in place to preserve the neighborhood the way it is so all projects moving forward will definitely take in consideration not only people who moved in 30 days ago in the neighborhood, but people who’ve been living there 30 years or more,” said Andrea Bernard, interim board member of Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen BID, in a phone interview. Right now, the new neighborhood that is Hudson Yards has yet to form. There are plans for large development, Benfatto says, and not only the rail yards. “Hudson Yards includes more than just the rail yards — it’s the entire area around the park,” he said. “There’s going to be buildings all around the park at some point.”
Continued on page 16 .com
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Penn South Senior Group Dissects Ukraine, Hamas, Obama Continued from page 1 (JASA), is part of this effort, and sponsors an extensive variety of classes, social services and events. The weekly discussion group is headed by Myra Ackerman, 86, an articulate, no-nonsense former medical technologist. When an earlier group leader left, Myra, who had been coming to meetings for quite some time, was asked to lead it, and does so on a volunteer basis. She’s well-versed in both national and international affairs — and doesn’t even own a computer. Ackerman comes to each session with articles from the New York Times as well as printouts of web articles sent to her by her son, a professor of molecular biology in Boston with a keen interest in history and politics. She also watches CNN and MSNBC. “My son wants me to watch Fox News [for balance], but I don’t want to give myself a heart attack,” she says. Most of the members share the same political orientation, which might be called mainstream liberal Democratic. In several weeks’ worth
September 11, 2014
Photo by Raanan Geberer
Members of the Penn South Program for Seniors’ Current Events and Ethics Group, which meets on Thursdays.
of discussions, they revealed themselves to be pro-Obama and, in the recent Gaza conflict, basically pro-Israel. There’s little evidence of any
Republicans, or of the legendary oldtime leftists of Penn South. Ackerman names one of the older members as being part of the latter group, but says they’re “dying out. I can count them on one hand.” One reason why there are so few men might be that women usually outlive men. Another might be that Penn South Program for Seniors runs its own Men’s Discussion Group. One who used to come to the group on a regular basis, but who now has another event at the same time is Herb Dienstag, a retired computer programmer and technical writer. “The group is well-run, and she [Ackerman] researches all questions very well. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on the Obama administration” says Dienstag, who describes the group’s orientation as “a little more liberal than me.” Most of the time, Ackerman chooses the topics and starts the discussion by reading from the articles she’s brought. Many of the writers she quotes are nationally known: David Brooks of the Times and E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. In the three weeks that this writer attended the class, several topics understandably came up over and over again: President Obama’s struggles with the Congressional Republicans, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the fighting in Gaza. Talking about Speaker John
Boehner’s recent moves to sue President Obama, Ackerman said she had talked to several “top lawyers,” and they “all laughed” and said the suit had “no legal basis.” Speaking about Tea Party-type Republicans in general, another senior interjected: “They know from bupkis [Yiddish for “nothing”]!” On several occasions, Ackerman gave this interpretation of Obama: That he’s low-key, non-confrontational and prefers to work behind the scenes. “He’s not a wheeler-dealer in Congress: He doesn’t schmooze, he doesn’t take them [his enemies] out for drinks or for golf.” She compares Obama’s style with George H.W. Bush — but not with George W. Bush, who is not very popular in Penn South. One subject that gets the mostly-Jewish group’s attention is that of Israel. Several times, Ackerman talked about the tunnels that Hamas had built, making the point that the concrete used to make them could have been used to build schools, hospitals, roads and more. She read an article by Brooks, whom she describes as a “moderate Republican,” that suggests that the Gaza conflict was really a proxy war between Turkey and Qatar, which were supporting Hamas, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which were secretly rooting for Israel because they wanted to weaken Hamas. The group
Continued on page 16 .com
Homes and Rights Highlighted at CB4 Meeting BANKRUPTCY COURT & RENTREGULATED LEASES
BY EILEEN STUKANE After a brief summer hiatus, much of the news at last Wednesday’s full board meeting of Community Board 4 (CB4) revolved around housing issues, tenants’ rights and illegal hotels in apartment buildings — in other words, the many ways New Yorkers have to stand up for their rights to live peacefully in their own homes. Before elected officials and community residents zeroed in on these causes dear to their hearts however, there was an interlude for levity.
CHANGING FACES AT CB4 Bob Benfatto, CB4’s departing district manager, now the newly-installed executive director of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Business Improvement District (BID), was honored by two proclamations — one from City Councilmember Corey Johnson, and another from State Senator Brad Hoylman with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. An amused Benfatto looked on as Johnson read the Proclamation’s words that Benfatto’s “distinct New York City accent was exotic music to the ears of West Siders.” Hoylman’s proclamation was equally witty, stating that “Next to the definition of ‘inscrutable’ in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Bob Benfatto.” Elected officials gave Benfatto well wishes throughout the meeting. The search for a new district manager for CB4 is underway. Information can be found by clicking on “Job Opportunities” on the CB4 website: nyc.gov/html/mancb4/html/home/ home.shtml. Applications must be received by Sept. 15. This full-time job requires good managerial, organizational and communication skills, as the district manager works with elected officials, governmental agencies, residents and service providers. The website states that salary is “commensurate with experience.” In answer to an email inquiry to CB4 chair Christine Berthet about whether a district manager had to reside in the CB4 district, she replied: “We would prefer the most qualified candidate. If that person comes from the community, even better.” CB4’s search committee, headed by Berthet, will go through a process of reviewing the resumes and conducting interviews with candidates. The final candidate will be presented to the executive committee two months from now. .com
Photo by Eileen Stukane
Presentation of City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s Council Proclamation honoring the exit of “inscrutable” CB4 District Manager Bob Benfatto. Foreground, L to R: Benfatto, Johnson, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, NY State Senator Brad Hoylman.
Andrea Bernard, a new board member, was introduced by Berthet. Bernard, a resident of the CB4 district for almost five years, has been a member of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, which has worked to create the BID for that area. Berthet also announced that CB4 was at the beginning of the election process for CB4’s 2015 slate of officers, and a nominating committee headed by CB4’s Betty Mackintosh was in place. During her report from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office, Diane Howard noted that beginning Nov. 3, new community board applications will be available online at manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/ community-boards/community-boards. shtml — and this year, 16- and-17-yearolds will be able to apply to become board members.
must remain in the public eye. She also noted that the same situation is taking place at 216-218 W. 22nd, in a slightly larger building where a developer is beginning to renovate around existing tenants, disregarding the fact that the building is occupied.
Touching on a different aspect of tenancy, Hoylman and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal have partnered in filing an amicus curiae brief with the New York State Court of Appeals to end what Rosenthal called “a pernicious trend going on in bankruptcy court.” When filing for bankruptcy, trustees have been selling their rent-regulated leases to their landlords as an asset, to help pay debtors. The brief states that the lease is not the tenant’s to sell, and Rosenthal explained that when the landlord buys the lease, the tenant is homeless and the landlord can take the apartment out of rent regulation. “Hopefully, we will be successful in having the bill declare that a rent-regulated lease is not an asset of the tenant,” said Rosenthal.
NEW COALITION’S RALLY TAKES ON AIRBNB Then there is the issue of Airbnb. Apartments are rented online as if
Continued on page 15
TENANT HARASSMENT DURING RENOVATION This summer, Chelsea Now has brought extensive coverage of how elected officials Hoylman, Johnson, and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried worked together with help from Housing Conservation Coordinators to protect the remaining seven (out of 23) tenants at 222-224 W. 21st St. from being pushed out of their home, as Slate Property Group demolishes interior floors and walls and cuts off utilities to develop new apartments around them. Hoylman spoke of continuing the legal battle against tenant harassment. During the public session, Pamela Wolff of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association reiterated that the W. 21st building “is under a blitz” and September 11, 2014
Participatory Budgeting: Involvement is Easy and Important TALKING POINT BY COREY JOHNSON COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT 3 How would you spend $1 million dollars in your community? Would you build a new playground? Would you invest in new technology equipment for your local library or school? Maybe there’s a notoriously bad intersection in the neighborhood and you have a great idea to make it safer for pedestrians. Think about it. Beginning this fall, my office will be asking hundreds of residents what is needed most in their communities through a new democratic process that engages residents by giving them a say in how a portion of the city’s capital budget is spent. My office will be holding several Neighborhood Assemblies through October, where residents will come together and brainstorm. Participatory Budgeting began in 2011 with just four councilmembers, but today has expanded to over 20 Council Districts. I am proud to be a part of this growing coalition of Council Members who are launching Participatory Budgeting in their districts. Residents of my Council District, which includes Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, and parts of SoHo and the Upper West Side, will decide how to spend $1 million in capital dollars across the entire district. These funds can be used for improvements to streets, parks, public housing, schools, and other community spaces. But none of this can happen without your voice at the table. Getting involved is easy and important — and there are a lot of ways you can do that in the coming months. The first step is to attend one of the
upcoming Neighborhood Assemblies that my office is hosting in our district, at which residents will share ideas about what’s needed most in their neighborhoods, and suggest ways to address them. Residents then volunteer to become “Budget Delegates,” a very important role in this process during which they will research ideas further, and develop them into proposals the community will vote on in the spring. The projects with the most votes will receive funding and be implemented by the appropriate city agency. Spending decisions are more equitable when residents get to decide how money is allocated, because resources are directed at a grassroots level. I believe residents know best when it comes to understanding local needs. By giving residents the power to decide how public dollars are spent in their community, the spending of tax dollars is done in a more equitable fashion. Participatory Budgeting engages people in government, builds new leaders and inspires greater transparency (thus helping to curb abuses of power). It also levels the playing field by ensuring that every person has equal power over public spending. Anyone who lives in the 3rd Council District and is at least 16 years old can vote. This endows residents, especially young people, people of color, immigrants, low-income people and other marginalized groups to enter civic life, and become stakeholders in their community. These are all important reasons why I believe Participatory Budgeting can help reshape the democratic landscape in New York City. But its success depends on the collective action of residents coming together and identifying solutions to everyday issues.
It is important that you attend one of our Neighborhood Assemblies this fall and make sure your ideas are heard. By working together with your neighbors, maybe you’ll find a solution to improve your local park, school, or library. Maybe you’ll be inspired to cast your vote to fix that dangerous intersection. I am excited to bring Participatory Budgeting to our community, and I
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Teach those tyrants
To The Editor: Re: Tenants’ Rights Trashed Amidst Market-Rate Conversion (news, Aug. 14) Terrible! This should not be happening to the tenants. As some of the above posters said: Do not move period. Let this drag out to court, it will take years. I am well aware of how such slumlords like Zampetti and Nussbaum operate. Kudos to Hoylman, Johnson and Gottfried for standing with the tenants. The tenants should now take an offensive stance, it seem they have just been on the defense till now. Take action and teach these tyrants a lesson they will never forget. Ari Cohen
Reader Comments From ChelseaNow.com Re “Tenants’ Rights Trashed Amidst Market-Rate Conversion” (news, Aug. 14):
Potential newbies need to know Start to picket. Picket in front of the building when potential new tenants are shown the building. Picket in front of the owners’ home and places where they dine. Make their loved ones and community aware of what they are doing. This works.
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hope you will join the movement to reinvent how local government works. If you would like to get involved or learn more, please contact Matt Green at my office, at email@example.com. gov. The next 3rd Council District Neighborhood Assembly is on Sat., Sept. 27, at 3 p.m. on the High Line (14th St. passage). All others will be at 6:30 p.m. at locations to be announced, on Oct. 7, 15, 16, 21, 23 & 29.
You need to take this to them, and turn it up several notches. Good luck. Rachel Miller
The 411 on 311 I live down the block from this building. Why aren’t the tenants shouting more? They should canvas the neighborhood with fliers, and petition their cause to community boards over and over. Do you have a tenant organizer? You must be on the attack. Call 311. Call the police EVERY time there is even a small violation observed. I have called 311 a couple of times, as I can’t even walk my dog on that part of the block because of the construction debris on the street. And do not budge from your apartments. Charles E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to Scott@ ChelseaNow.com or fax to 212-2292790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, Once Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.
Community Contacts To be listed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMUNITY BOARD 4 (CB4) CB4 serves Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. Its boundaries are 14th St. on the south, 59/60th St. on the north, the Hudson River on the west, 6th Ave. on the east (south of 26th St.) and 8th Ave. on the east (north of 26th St.). The monthly full board meeting, open to the public, takes place on the last Wed. of the month. The next meeting is Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m., at Fulton Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). Call 212-736-4536, visit nyc. gov/mcb4 or email them at info@ manhattancb4.org. COMMUNITY BOARD 5 (CB5) CB5 represents the central business district of New York City. It includes midtown Manhattan, the Fashion, Flower, Flatiron and Diamond districts, as well as Bryant Park and Union Square Park. The district is at the center of New York’s tourism industry. The Theatre District, Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building and two of the region’s transportation hubs (Grand Central Station and Penn Station) fall within CB5. The board meeting, open to the public, happens on the second Thursday of the month. The next meeting is Oct. 9, 6 p.m., at Xavier High School (30 W. 16th St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves., 2nd fl.). Call 212-465-0907, visit cb5.org or email them at office@ cb5.org. THE 300 WEST 23RD, 22ND & 21ST STREETS BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at email@example.com. THE WEST 400 BLOCK ASSOCIATION Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHELSEA GARDEN CLUB Chelsea Garden Club cares for the bike lane tree pits in Chelsea. If you want to adopt a tree pit or join the group, please contact them at email@example.com or like them on Facebook. Also visit chelseagardenclub.blogspot.com. LOWER CHELSEA ALLIANCE (LoCal) This group is committed to protecting the residential blocks of Chelsea from overscale development. Contact them at LowerChelseaAlliance@gmail.com. THE GREENWICH VILLAGE-CHELSEA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Call 212-337-5912 or visit villagechelsea.com. THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT INITIATIVE Visit meatpacking-district.com or call 212-633-0185. PENN SOUTH The Penn South Program for Seniors provides recreation, education and social services — and welcomes volunteers. For info, call 212-243-3670 or visit pennsouthlive.org. THE BOWERY RESIDENTS’ COMMITTEE: HOMELESS HELPLINE If you know of anyone who is in need of their services, call the Homeless Helpline at 212-533-5151, and the BRC will send someone to make contact. This number is staffed by outreach team leaders 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous. For more info, visit brc.org. THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL & TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY CENTER At 208 W. 13th St. (btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Visit gaycenter.org or call 212620-7310. GAY MEN’S HEALTH CRISIS (GMHC) At 446 W. 33rd St. btw. 9th & 10th Aves. Visit gmhc.org. Call 212-367-1000.
Publisher Jennifer Goodstein THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.chelseanow.com | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2014 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association
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HUDSON GUILD Founded in 1895, Hudson Guild is a multi-service, multi-generational community serving approximately 14,000 people annually with daycare, hot meals for senior citizens, low-cost professional counseling, community arts programs and recreational programming for teens. Visit them at hudsonguild.org. Email them at info@ hudsonguild.org. For the John Lovejoy Elliott Center (441 W. 26th St.), call 212-760-9800. For the Children’s Center (459 W. 26th St.), call 212-7609830. For the Education Center (447 W. 25th St.), call 212-760-9843. For the Fulton Center for Adult Services (119 9th Ave.), call 212-924-6710. THE CARTER BURDEN CENTER FOR THE AGING This organization promotes the well-being of individuals 60 and older through direct social services and volunteer programs oriented to individual, family and community needs. Call 212-879-7400 or visit burdencenter.org. FULTON YOUTH OF THE FUTURE Email them at fultonyouth@gmail. com or contact Miguel Acevedo, 646-671-0310. WEST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE Visit westsidenyc.org or call 212-9562573. Email them at email@example.com. CHELSEA COALITION ON HOUSING Tenant assistance every Thursday night at 7pm, at Hudson Guild (119 9th Ave.). Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK Visit fohrp.org or call 212-757-0981. HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST Visit hudsonriverpark.org or call 212627-2020. SAVE CHELSEA Contact them at savechelseanyc@ gmail.com.
Executive Vice President Sales/Marketing Amanda Tarley
Sr. V.P. of Sales and Marketing Francesco Regini Account Executives Jack Agliata Bill Fink Allison Greaker Jennifer Holland
John W. Sutter
Scott Stiffler Editorial Assistant
DISTRICT 3 CITY COUNCILMEMBER COREY JOHNSON Call 212-564-7757 or visit council.nyc. gov/d3/html/members/home.shtml. STATE SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN Call 212-633-8052 or visit bradhoylman.com. CHELSEA REFORM DEMOCRATIC CLUB The CRDC (the home club of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried) meets monthly to exchange political ideas on protecting the rights and improving the lives of those residing in Chelsea. Visit crdcnyc.org or email them at email@example.com. THE SAGE CENTER New York City’s first LGBT senior center offers hot meals, counseling and a cyber-center — as well as programs on arts and culture, fitness, nutrition, health and wellness. At 305 Seventh Ave. (15th floor, btw. 27th & 28th Sts.). Call 646-576-8669 or visit sageusa.org/ thesagecenter for menus and a calendar of programs. AT 147 W. 24TH ST. (BTW. 6TH & 7TH AVES.) THE SYLVIA RIVERA LAW PROJECT works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression without facing harassment, discrimination or violence. Visit srlp.org. FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) builds the leadership and power of bisexual, transgender and queer youth of color in NYC. Visit fiercenyc.org. THE AUDRE LORDE PROJECT is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color center for community organizing. Visit alp.org.
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September 11, 2014
POLICE BLOTTER Petty Larceny: She steals shrimp, by the straw sack Plenty of cocktail sauce at home and nothing to put it on might provide at least a partial explanation as to why a 47-year-old woman attempted to walk out of Whole Foods (250 Seventh Ave., at W. 24th St.) with $80 worth of shrimp. The lowly thief with high-end tastes was arrested by responding officers, after she was caught exiting the store with her day’s catch tucked away inside a straw handbag. This fishy situation surfaced just before 8:30 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 6. Earlier, at around 2:40 p.m., a 27-yearold man found himself in cuffs and physically incapable of using a spoon to further corrupt the integrity of some ice cream (valued at $5), which he was observed taking from the shelf and placing into a bag, then attempting to remove from a 7-Eleven on the 500 block of W. 42nd St.
Resisting Arrest: A tumultuous time on Tenth Save those moves for the dance floor, buddy. A 23-year-old man was arrested just before midnight, on Thurs., Sept.
September 11, 2014
4, after police observed him standing in the middle of the street, opposite the Marquee nightclub (289 10th Ave., btw. 26th & 27th Sts.). Acting in a “violent and tumultuous manner,” the man was approached, then asked to provide ID. He refused and became uncooperative — at which time the arresting officer attempted to place him in handcuffs. His technique of resisting arrest (flailing his arms) was ultimately ineffective.
Petty Larceny: Stolen from scaffolding, despite the steel Strong binding material had a weak effect on preventing thieves from making off with two bikes, on Fri., Sept. 5. The first incident took place some time between noon and 5 p.m. The latter time is when a 54-year-old victim told police she first noticed that her Gazelle brand bike, a Dutch piece of work valued at $800, was no longer at Seventh Ave. & 28th St. — where she had chained it to scaffolding, using a sturdy chain. Steel cable also proved no match just a
few blocks away — when, at 3:45 p.m., a 49-year-old male locked his Schwinn (valued at $250) onto scaffolding at the northwest corner of Ninth Ave. & W. 15th St. When he returned almost five hours later, the bike was gone. Canvassing the area, a stranger told him that a man in a suit cut the lock and took the bike.
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawedoff shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
CRIME STOPPERS If you have info regarding a crime committed or a wanted person, call Crime Stoppers at 800577-TIPS, text “TIP577” (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637) or submit a tip online at nypdcrimestoppers.com.
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-741-8210. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct. The next meeting is Sept. 24.
THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.). Deputy Inspector: David Ehrenberg. Call 212-4777411. Community Affairs: 212477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct. The next meeting is Sept. 16.
September 11, 2014
From T.R.’s Townhouse to Soaring New Tower, Fl
Photo by David Sundberg/Esto
One Madison as seen from Madison Square Park.
September 11, 2014
BY LAUREN PRICE Given the multiplicity of ways Manhattanites identify their neighborhoods geographically, when some people mention the Flatiron and Madison Square Park neighborhoods, others have in mind sections of Gramercy Park, Chelsea, Murray Hill and Union Square. The Flatiron neighborhood is widely thought of as the blocks bordered by 20th St. and Union Square, running from Sixth or Seventh Aves. on the west to Lexington Ave. or Irving Place on the east. The Madison Square Park neighborhood surrounds the park’s historic district and, broadly speaking, is bounded by 25th and 20th Sts. and by Sixth and Lexington Aves. Notable historic landmarks throughout the bustling Flatiron District include the New York Life Insurance Building, at 51 Madison Ave. at 26th St., the MetLife Tower, on Madison Ave. near 23rd St., the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State, on Madison between 25th and 26th Sts., and, of course, the iconic triangle-shaped Flatiron Building, at 175 Fifth Ave. and 23rd St. When built in 1902, the Flatiron Building became one of the city’s first skyscrapers north of Union Square. The 1909 Hecla Iron Works clock outside the front entrance of 200 Fifth Ave., at 25th St. –– formally known as the Toy Building –– won Landmarks Preservation Commission designation in 1981. The neighborhood boasts two national historic districts: the Ladies’ Mile Historic District (preserve2.org/ ladiesmile), which was a shopper’s paradise from the
The garden feel of Birreria atop Eataly on Fifth Ave. at E. 2
mid-19th to the early-20th century. Running between 15th and 24th Sts. from Sixth Ave. to Park Ave. South, early former locales for department stores such as Lord & Taylor (Broadway and 20th St.), B. Altman’s (Sixth Ave. between 18th and 19th Sts.), and R.H. Macy’s (14th St. and Sixth Ave.) reigned supreme there. When it opened in 1896 on Sixth Ave. at 18th St., Siegel-Cooper was thought to be the largest department store in the world. For its opening day, the store hired some 9,000 employees (clerks, packers and drivers)
latiron is at Crossroads of History and the Hot
Photo by Raanan Geberer
because they expected their debut to attract nearly 200,000 shoppers. The most noteworthy historic site in the neighborhood is at 28 E. 20th St., where Theodore Roosevelt was born in 1858 (nps.gov/thrb/historyculture/places.htm). Fun facts about the area surround the history of Danceteria, a disco-era club formerly at 30 W. 21st St., where Madonna, who worked as a coat-check girl there in the early ’80s, had her debut performance. The club also served as the disco setting in her first film, 1985’s
“Desperately Seeking Susan.” By the mid-19th century, mansions framed Madison Square Park. The well-to-do families who inhabited the area included the grandparents of Winston Churchill, who owned 41 E. 26th St. Across the street was the Jerome Mansion, which by 1867 had morphed into the Union League Club. Over time, the building changed hands to the University Club and finally the Manhattan Club, where members such as Grover Cleveland, Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt dropped by for cocktails and bonhomie. Next door was the Madison Square Hotel, where up-and-coming Hollywood actors such as Henry Fonda and James Stewart roomed in the 1930s. Though the Jerome Mansion obtained landmark status in 1965, two years later the city permitted its owner to demolish the 1859 mansion, along with the Madison Square Hotel, to build the New York Merchandise Mart, which opened in 1974. Delmonico’s restaurant was located at Fifth Ave. and 26th St. between 1876 and 1899 and attracted the Gilded Age elite. Said to be the birthplace of Lobster Newberg, it claimed bold-faced diners the likes of Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, J.P. Morgan, France’s Napoleon III and Britain’s King Edward VII while he was prince of Wales.
ON THE MARKET Trulia (trulia.com) reports that the Flatiron District’s median sales price between May 14 and Aug. 14 –– based on 16 sales –– was $2.167 million. Compared to
the same period a year ago, that represents an increase of 81.1 percent –– or $970,556 –– though the number of sales decreased from 21. Average price per square foot was $1,967, an increase of 39.7 percent compared to the same period last year. For the week ending Aug. 6, the average listing price for homes was $3.86 million, a decrease of 1.2 percent, or $45,918, compared to the prior week. Streeteasy (streeteasy.com) recently reported that the median annual rent per square foot for NOMad (North of Madison Square Park) is $69. Thus, an 800-square-foot unit would be about $4,600 a month. For the Flatiron neighborhood, they report that the median rent per square foot is $78, translating to $5,200 per month for an 800-square-foot unit. Developed by Related Companies and HFZ Capital Group in partnership with CIM Group, the CetraRuddydesigned One Madison, overlooking Madison Square Park at 23 E. 22nd St., is now selling condominiums (onemadison.com). A slender 53-unit, 60-story bronzeand-glass tower, it sports gorgeous views from a mix of studios to four-bedroom homes with keyed elevator access. The building also includes two townhome residences in a contiguous five-story building. The main entrance to One Madison, on 22nd St., was designed BKSK Architects. A select number of units have private outdoor space and eat-in kitchens, and all the full-floor units showcase
Continued on page 14
September 11, 2014
Flatiron District Expands its Residential Reach Continued from page 13 panoramic views from both inside and the terraces. Rupert Murdoch recently bought a one-of-a-kind five-bedroom penthouse triplex, along with one additional unit (more than 7,000 square feet) for $57 million. Loft-like interiors were created by both Yabu Pushelberg and CetraRuddy, providing buyers with two design options. Yabu Pushelberg offers wide-plank quarter-sawn herringbone-style solid oak flooring and kitchens with custom gray-stained veneered African ayous wood cabinetry, honed Calacatta Ondulato marble countertops, and integrated Miele appliances. Spa-like master baths are dressed in a Blue Cipollino marble throughout, including the tops of the gray-stained European oak cabintry. CetraRuddy features include nineinch-wide quarter-sawn solid white oak floors, Indian laurel-veneered kitchen cabinetry, honed Calacatta Borghini marble worktops, and integrated Gaggenau appliances. Master baths feature a selection of dimensional
September 11, 2014
Courtesy of Town Residential
A condo for sale at 108 Fifth Ave., at 16th St.
Italian travertine marble surfaces and bleached maple vanities topped with honed Crema Delicato marble. The building’s One Club includes a lounge, a parlor and screening room, along with a dining room with a catering kitchen and butler service for private parties. Other top-notch extras include a fitness center, an indoor pool, a playroom, and round-the-clock doorman and concierge services (onemadison.com). At 16th St., 108 Fifth Ave. is now
listed with Town Residential. Measuring about 825 square feet, this completely renovated, one-bedroom condominium with new hardwood floors, custom built-ins, and a washer/dryer features floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors in the living room, leading to a private balcony with views over Fifth Ave. The master suite has a walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom done up in marble. The kitchen is outfitted with frosted glass-fronted cabinetry and stainless steel applianc-
es. Doorman services are around-theclock. Priced at $1.35 million, this residence includes private storage within the building. Currently, a tenant is occupying the unit through February 2015 (townrealestate.com/listing.html?webID=712130). Warburg Realty is selling a three-bedroom duplex at 50 W. 15th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. Coming in at about 2,440 square feet of indoor space with 12-foot-high ceilings, hardwood floors, and double-pane windows, the unit has a private garden of more than 1,000 square feet, as well. On the upper level, the living room’s floor-to-ceiling window and doors provide access to the south-facing outdoor space. An open kitchen overlooks the living room. This floor also contains the master bedroom, with a walk-in closet and en-suite bath with a soaking tub and glass-enclosed steam shower, as well as the other bedrooms, both garden-facing. On the lower level, there’s a spacious home theater, a powder room, and a laundry room. A full-service building with doorman services, this residence is priced at $4.295 million (warburgrealty.com/ property/132772620140620).
CB4 Hears Housing, HealthPlex, High Line News At that same venue, on Sept. 20, “A Global Climate Treaty: Why the United States Must Lead” is a panel discussion featuring 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Earth Policy Institute founder Lester Brown. Tickets are $10, via climate-treaty-event.eventbrite.com. City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal provides the opening remarks.
Continued from page 7 they were hotels, and tourists disrupt residential buildings. Johnson and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried asked for participation at a rally on the steps of City Hall on Fri., Sept. 12, 11 a.m., to launch the Coalition to Combat Illegal Hotels. Lily Pollack, a resident at W. 52nd St. and 11th Ave., spoke at the public session about new buildings turning into illegal hotels, “including Archstone in my neighborhood that have at least 30 percent of apartments rented to tourists,” she said and added, “instead of chasing Airbnb individuals who might need money, we should chase the big guys who develop these buildings with the purpose of renting to tourists.”
HEALTHPLEX TOURS In the area of new openings, Wayne Kawadler, public relations manager for the new Lenox Hill HealthPlex, which opened in July at 30 Seventh Ave. in the former St. Vincent’s O’Toole Building, offered a tour. If interested, call Kawadler at 646665-6000. The HealthPlex is a free-standing emergency center that welcomes all who come, whether or not they have insurance. If hospital care is needed, an ambulance is standing by for transport.
SENIORS SAVED FROM RENT HIKES Good news has arrived for those who are eligible for Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE). New legislation has raised the income eligibility limits to $50,000, an increase of $20,000 (for SCRIE) and $30,000 (for DRIE). More rent-regulated tenants will now be freed from rent hikes, but many who are eligible for these programs are unaware. To learn more about applying, Hoylman and Gottfried encouraged attendance at the SCRIE /DRIE Clinic, Wed,, Sept, 17, 6-8 p.m., at Hudson Guild (441 W. 26th St., 2nd Flr.).
VACATE ORDER VINDICATES TENANT COMPLAINTS During the public comment session, what appears to be another tenant victory was described by David Glasser. The resident of 194 11th Ave. reported that after two years of complaining to CB4 about overcrowding within his building — and getting no satisfaction from writing letters to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Clinton Housing Development Company (CHDC), which oversees the building — the DOB finally came to the premises. Feeling vindicated, Glasser said that a partial vacate order was issued by the DOB. Apartments intended for one resident were being illegally occupied by four or more people. Joe Restuccia, executive director of CHDC and co-chair of CB4’s Housing, Health and Human Services Committee, was not in attendance at the meeting, and due to a family health issue, was unavailable for comment.
CLIMATE WEEK EVENTS & THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH The Climate Group and Carbon Disclosure Project are sponsoring Climate Week in NYC, Sept. 22-28. There will be many events promoting the need to take a stand in saving the planet. Speakers announced events kicking off the week. Angela Fox, founder of The Mothers Project, invited all to attend the educational forum, “Today’s Fossil Fuels and The Future of Our Children’s Health,” on Fri., Sep. 19, 6-8:45 p.m. at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Aud. L63), 524 W. 59th St. Three panels will focus on science, .com
HIGH LINE EXEC EXITS, SECTION III OPENS SEPT. 21
Photo by Eileen Stukane
Jenny Gersten will depart as executive director of the High Line, after overseeing Sept. 21’s opening of Section III.
Marilyn Vasta, working with the environmental group 350NYC, called for everyone to join the People’s Climate March on Sun., Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m., at Columbus Circle.
mothers from various chemically-impacted areas, and policy (this panel includes Assemblymember Rosenthal, who has a deep interest in protecting residents from the elevated radon levels found in hydrofracked natural gas). Register at childhealthforum.brownpapertickets.com. Marilyn Vasta, working with the environmental group 350NYC, called for everyone to join the People’s Climate March on Sun., Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m., at Columbus Circle. Many environmental organizations are participating. A group of about 50 people is walking cross-country to join in, and a request was made for floor space in a community center or church for them. “We can have a serious impact on the course of our lives and our children’s lives. This is a historic March,” said Vasta. For info: peoplesclimatemarch.org. Also leading up to the Climate March: On Sept. 16, the film “The Future of Energy: Lateral Power to the People” will be shown, with opening remarks by Assemblymember Rosenthal ($10 suggested donation; 7 p.m. at the NY Society for Ethical Culture; 2 W. 64 St., btw. Broadway & Central Park W.).
Jenny Gersten, departing executive director of Friends of the High Line, reported that all elevators to the High Line are now fully operational. Although announced the day after the meeting, the last segment of the High Line will open on Sept. 21, allowing an uninterrupted walk from Gansevoort St. to W. 34th St. Gersten, who will have resigned as of Oct. 1, introduced Jerome Barth, the new COO of Friends of the High Line, who will now be working with CB4.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS Kristen Lasky, executive director of paid sick leave division, NY Department of Consumer Affairs, was a guest speaker aiming to spread awareness of the new paid sick leave law. All types of employees (part time, undocumented, per diem, etc.) must have access to sick leave from their employers. Sick leave can be not only for the employee, but for care of a family member, a child or a spouse, sibling, or grandchild. It’s estimated that one million workers will now have the right to sick leave who did not have it before. Councilmember Johnson announced that the
Continued on page 17
September 11, 2014
Benfatto and BID Ponder ‘A New Neighborhood’ Continued from page 4 According to the zoning of the area, one side of the park is commercial, but the other side may include residential buildings. It will be a mixed-use district. Benfatto said that seems to be the wave of the future throughout the city and that for the most part it has been working. He cited as an example Long Island City, a manufacturing area that has become residential but still has commercial aspects to it. “People like that mix to a certain extent,” he says, referring to those who live and work within the same area. There are a number of new residential buildings in the thirties, which abuts the boundary of Hudson Yards and there are early planning stages for new buildings on W. 41st and 11th Ave. and W. 40th and 10th Ave. The residential buildings that have been built are full, said Benfatto, as people have the drive and motivation to move into the neighborhood. When asked what will be the challenges for the BID while a new neighborhood is being created, Benfatto said construction, which brings with it noise and disruption. “Construction sites sometimes are
not the most pleasant thing to look at,” he said, and the alliance will try to ameliorate this. “A huge amount of this one district is under construction so we are trying to take on projects like beautifying the construction site by adding special fencing or allowing the community to take part in telling us what art inspires them,” said Bernard. The BID may tap local artists to provide their work to place throughout the district to draw eyes away from the construction and direct it toward the beautification of the neighborhood, she said. The BID will hire a maintenance group to clean and maintain the trees and plants. It will deal with any horticulture issues and find a place to store the equipment. Money willing, Benfatto said, the BID would help upkeep the area around the park as well. The budget is currently $1.2 million for the first two years and can then go up to $3 million depending on need. The BID’s budget is dependent on new taxes levied on commercial, residential and mixed-use properties. “We have to keep it small at first because we need the buildings to be built, the development to happen,” he said. Despite larger corporations and
‘Most of the residential housing that’s going to be built is going to have a strong affordable housing component,’ said Benfatto. ‘That’s coming out of city hall.’
businesses moving into the neighborhood, Benfatto does not think that small businesses will be crowded out of the area. L’Oreal USA among others have already signed on as Hudson Yards tenants and Related Companies recently announced it has snagged retailer Neiman Marcus. With the influx of people into the neighborhood, the need for small business will remain. “Small businesses, I think, will thrive as with more people. I mean Ninth Ave. is full of small businesses, not just restaurants, but other stores,” he said. Nor will affordable housing be displaced by all the new construction. “Most of the residential housing that’s going to be built is going to have
a strong affordable housing component,” said Benfatto. “That’s coming out of city hall.” Bernard said CB4 has taken charge of the affordable housing issue and has invited major developers to speak. The community has also raised concerns about pedestrian issues and safety. There have been several meetings with the Department of Transportation and NYPD about public safety and enforcement. Another community interest has been public space, said Bernard. “When we find public space and utilize it, people start going there,” she said. “The Canoe at the corner at of 36th and Ninth, which was not used at all, now has benches and trees. If you build it, they will come.” When the Hudson Yards was rezoned and a special district was created, said Benfatto, there was a desire for greenery because there were not a lot of parks in the area. Out of several proposals and ideas, and the original environmental study, Hudson Park and Boulevard emerged. The open space would also be inviting to businesses and commercial entities. While he does not have an office quite yet, Benfatto does have a workspace. When asked how his first day was going, he said, “So far, so good.”
Senior Discussion Group on Same Page, Sans Hillary Continued from page 6 members made approving comments: “Israel is being used as the monkey in the middle!” On the subject of Ukraine, Ackerman brought up a point that isn’t usually heard on TV sound bites — that the U.S. has accused Russia of violating a 1987 agreement between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that said that neither country can possess, produce or test-fly a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. “Putin is in a pickle,” she said the next week. “His problem is that the economy in Russia is not good.” But it was the topic of feminism that perhaps got the most audible reaction from the group. Ackerman described the event in Washington where Laura Bush and
September 11, 2014
Photo by Raanan Geberer
Rhea Lewin Geberer, left, responds to the topic of the Middle East crisis at the seniors’ current events group. Next to her are Millie (center) and Phyllis.
Michelle Obama addressed the wives of African leaders. The most important thing to come out of the meeting, Ackerman said, was the two first ladies’ encouragement of women
taking leadership roles in public life. She approvingly quoted Michelle Obama’s comment that “women are smarter than men.” “We know it,” said Phyllis, one of
the younger members of the group, approvingly. “But the world doesn’t know it!” Many of the other women also agreed. Commenting on the importance of the group to its members, Nancy Spanbauer, executive director of Penn South Program for Seniors, said, “I think that people who are interested in current events are alert and are interested in the world. And we added the word ‘ethics’ to the group, so they often discuss ethics as well.” Although the members seem to basically agree with each other, Ackerman remembers one occasion where this wasn’t the case. During the 2008 Democratic primary contest season, the group took a poll on which presidential candidate they preferred, Obama or Hillary Clinton. They chose Obama. “One woman who supported Hillary got very angry, stormed out the door and never came back again!” .com
MOU Sign-Off Begins Meatpacking BID Continued from page 15 summertime fresh fruits and vegetables program in District 3 would be expanded into the fall. Anyone who pays $8 per bag in advance, every two weeks will be able to pick up from a local senior center, a fivepound bag of assorted organic fruits and vegetables (such as corn, blueberries, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes). To participate, visit Johnson’s office, at 224 W. 30th St, Suite 1206, and place your order ($8 cash only) on Mon, or Tues., for the following Wed. delivery. For more information, call 212-564-7757. The full Sept., reports from elected officials are available online on the home page of CB4’s website: nyc.gov/ html/mancb4/html/home/home.shtml.
NOTABLE AGENDA ITEMS As part of Berthet’s chair report, she called on CB4 member Eric Lasky to update everyone on the work the Communication and Outreach Working Group has done this year. Lasky reported on three essential
areas where ideas had been brainstormed: direct communications, visibility of CB4, and social media. The expansion of CB4’s database is the top priority. Efforts are being made to have direct links with people connected to housing organizations, businesses in the district, and elected officials. It was even suggested that if every board member, with approval, submit the names of five district residents for the database, with 50 members the base would already increase by 250. Among other ideas, for more visibility, it was thought that a CB4 badge directly linking to a CB4 signup might be offered on websites of local businesses and individuals.
CB4 IN MEATPACKING BID ‘IMPACT AREA’ After votes to approve eight letters to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) in regard to eating and drinking establishments, the board tackled the last agenda item: The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin the formation of the Meatpacking District Business Improvement District (BID). The MOU, which was on deadline
to be sent to the NYC Department of Small Business Services, had already been shaped by Councilmember Johnson and CB2. However, primarily due to CB2 residents’ concerns, two impact areas outside the BID — the southern area bounded by Horatio, West St., W. 12th Sts., Eighth Ave., and the northern area affecting CB4, bounded by W. 17th, West St., W. 18th Sts., Eighth Ave. — had created a need for an Impact Area Advisory Committee. This Advisory Committee would have two representatives on the BID Board of Directors. CB4 was asked to sign off on the MOU. Board members were taken aback by the need for speed in signing something they had not examined carefully. After much discussion, a resolution was passed to sign the MOU with the inclusion of the resolution’s terms: that Advisory representatives to the BID’s board include one from each impact area. And so, this post-summer full board meeting adjourned. The next full board meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 1, at Fulton Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.).
Photo by Eileen Stukane
Pamela Wolff, of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association, calls attention to situations in which tenants’ rights are violated during the renovation process.
September 11, 2014
ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT A High Volume of Poetic Greatness
‘Best American’ anthology has brilliance, innovation, surprises ANTHOLOGY THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2014 Guest Editor, Terrance Hayes Series Editor, David Lehman 240 pages Scribner Hardcover: $35.00 Paperback: $18.99 E-book: $11.99 Visit thebestamericanpoetry.typepad.com
BY PUMA PERL Last November, while on a West Coast poetry reading tour, I stayed for a few days at my friend Beverly’s San Francisco home. Beverly loves books more than anyone I know. Floor to ceiling shelves line every inch of available wall space, and there are additional cartons in the garage and in storage. Serendipitously, the guest room doubles as the Poetry Room, everything alphabetized and divided into categories and sub-categories. It was there that I discovered the Best American Poetry series in its entirety. I had come across a volume or two and was already an admirer of the work of the Senior Editor, David Lehman, but never before had I had access to all twenty-five volumes. Jet lagged and bleary eyed, I stayed up as long as possible, devouring volume after volume. The next afternoon I was still at it, vaguely annoyed when I had to stop and attend my own reading. As a poet, my knee-jerk reaction to anything labeled “best” is “How do you know?” or “By whose standards?” David Lehman’s 2011 introduction provided some insight into the editorial methods by exploring the concept of poetic greatness and the standards we use, and the ways in which an editor must suspend his own “natural resistance” to new forms and new ideas. This year’s Guest Editor, National Book Awardwinning poet Terrance Hayes, admits in his introduction to finding himself obsessing over the concept of “best” and concluding that there are all kinds of “bests,” representing a “unity of contradictions.” What I will attest to, in all of these volumes, including the current one, is that there is brilliance, there
September 11, 2014
Courtesy of Scribner
is innovation, there are surprises, and there are no poems that I would unequivocally state are unworthy of inclusion. The series began in 1988, and employs a different poet as Guest Editor each year, who is responsible for the final selection. For the most part, the poems were published during the previous year. The first Guest Editor, John Ashbery, included a poem of his own, and appears in the current volume. David Lehman’s early practice of writing forewords has evolved into a “state of the art ” statement. In the current volume, he considers the ways in which the digital age has changed our language and thinking. Poetry may continue to be celebrated “if you can write in units of 140 keystrokes,” as a character from “Mad Men” states in the opening paragraph. Lehman points out two things that you can count on. First, that “people will keep writing as they adjust from one medium to another,” and second, that articles will appear at regular intervals declaring that poetry is dead. The selected poems vary in form and are diverse in the choice of poets. They are arranged alphabetically, yet, magically, create links and form natural arrangements, probably because of the vision of
the editor. Many anthologists spend countless hours creating order among their selections; I’ve found it to be one of the biggest challenges in my own solo collections. In this case the poems line up like children in size place, some of them rowdy, some quiet, some refusing to stand quietly in place. A poem by Ray Gonzalez, “One El Paso, Two El Paso” ends with the words five centuries praying in the beautiful dust as a young woman’s body is dragged from the river. The following entry, by Kathleen Graber, is titled “The River Twice,” which takes its title from a pre-Socratic philosopher, and concludes, A hymn with the chorus Every moment you shall be judged is followed by in which the choir shouts Praise! Stand up and be forgiven. To me, some of the gifts of the volume are these coincidences, cultural diversity connecting on artistic soil. Another aspect that distinguishes this series is a lengthy section (42 pages) of contributors’ notes and comments. Rather than the usual array of accomplishments and/or cute one-liners, an opportunity is provided for the poets to write about the published pieces. Olena Kalytiak Davis, whose entry, “It is to Have or Nothing” was one of my favorites, admits, “I don’t really like this poem.” She goes on to explain that the most interesting thing about it is all of the other poems that happened around it — “that they are part of the dirt!” Jon Sands, a thirty-one-year-old Brooklyn resident, created a new form in his poem, “Decoded,” in which he tried to “produce an effect similar to what you get when you examine a photograph beside its negative.” He adds that “without the work and personhood of Eboni Hogan” this poem could not have been written.” I’ve known Jon Sands for several years and his innovation and generosity of spirit are what you would expect from him. The kid is a mensch of the highest order and his work stands up equally on page and stage. He has built a community both with other poets and in the human service arena, providing well received workshops in harm reduction settings. I decided to have a conversation with him about his inclusion in the series and his view of the state of the art. I was curious about how the selection process played out for him. “I received a fairly nondescript email about possible inclusion in ‘an anthology,’ and I’m really glad I wrote back,” he explained. He later learned that the Guest Editor reads as much published work as possible for a year, and curates from there. It is telling that Sands’ piece was originally appeared in “Rattle,” which publishes in several forms, including online, and whose mission
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The Best American Poetry 2014 Continued from page 18 is solely “to promote the practice of poetry.” I noted that despite the complexity of his piece, a sly humor also emerged. “I believe that ninety-nine percent of the discoveries in my life that I have been most proud of would not have been possible without a sense of play. My hope is that the sense of play, dark humor, and the undeniable pain (and growth) that can accompany not looking away are all-present in the poem.” Sands had just returned from a residency at the Blue Mountain Center in Upstate New York when we spoke, and I asked him about the experience. “The residency was transformative and productive,” he responded. “The true benefit for me has come in its wake. But, like most profoundly transformative spaces, you’re not meant to stay there. You’re meant to take it with you on your journey into the difficult and beautiful world.” The description of the world as “difficult and beautiful” is what I have come to expect from him. Sands’ first solo collection, “The New Clean,” was published in 2011 and I attended the book release party. Some moments stay with you. I was greatly moved by the sense of community and the love present among the participants and the audience. I specifically recall Sands’ friend, Jeanann Verlee, who is also a favorite poet of mine, describing their friendship, hours spent on the floor of Barnes & Noble, in love with poems, words and each others’ spirits, and I remembered when that was me. On the floor in the Eighth Street Bookstore, or the back of the Fillmore, or going through records in Free Being, in love with the moment of discovery. For many people, it’s only new once, but artists get to continually transform. The torch has not only passed, it returns to light the fires under those who thought hope was lost. And that is why I like this series so much. It brings hope. As Lehman points out, Whitman wrote an essay in 1888 forecasting the demise of poetry in fifty years “owing to the special tendency to science and to its all-devouring force.” Hayes ends his introductory interview with these words: “The poems are here as proof. They are a gift to you whom I was thinking of all along the way. How you might, on .com
Courtesy of the artist
2014 Best American Poetry contributor Jon Sands made his solo collection debut in 2011, with “The New Clean.”
an overcast day, criticize my choices. How you might, on a well-lit day, salute what I salute, and be transformed as I have been transformed.” How, maybe, you might even write a poem. Learn more about Jon Sands at jonsands.com. His collection, “The New Clean,” is available at bookstores or online, at powells.com/biblio/61-9781935904267-0. His favorite show of the year is coming up Sat., Sept. 13, 7-9 p.m., at The Firehouse Space (246 Frost St., Brooklyn), hosted by Sands and Adam Falkner, with special guests a cappella trio Saheli. Tickets are $12, $8 for students and veterans. Puma Perl and Friends will appear at Moscow 57 (168 Delancey St.) on Thurs., Sept. 18, 9:00. The next Puma Perl Pandemonium is Friday, Sept. 26, 7-9:30, at the Bowery Electric Map Room (327 Bowery), and includes featured guests Michael Anthony Alago, Annie Sauter and Jim Petrie, Alison Gordy, Johnny Young and a cast of regulars: Puma Perl and Friends, Joff Wilson, Walter Steding, Danny Ray, Angello Olivieri, Joe Sztabnik, Jeff Ward and Rick Eckerle. Admission to both events are free. September 11, 2014
Theater:Village Explores Diversity, American Style Four unique companies champion a common cause THEATER: VILLAGE FESTIVAL
E PLURIBUS Through Oct. 5 At Axis Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, New Ohio Theatre & Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Tickets $10-$40 Four-Show Pass: $95 To Order: 866-811-4111 Or theatervillage.com
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Whether from just across the border or the other side of the world, they come to America, wanting — needing — to find a better life, and often find themselves working subsistence jobs amidst unsafe conditions. Two plays in the Theater:Village Festival, set a century apart, bring that plight into sharp focus while illustrating how little has changed despite how far we’ve come. A pair of additional works focus on change, as experienced by those who’ve put considerable distance between themselves and their roots. Awareness of heritage, and the desire to build on the positive aspects of its legacy, is something David Van Asselt has spent considerable time shaping into a cohesive vision — realized for the first time last year, as a collaborative effort that became an annual event: the Theater:Village Festival. The artistic director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (244 Waverly Place), Van Asselt says the notion of a festival came about “because I’d been looking for a way to bring attention to the West Village as a place where theater goes on, and where it has always been going on. When [Eugene] O’Neill came to New York in 1916 with his Provincetown
September 11, 2014
Photo by J. Stephen Brantley
The highs and lows of life, all in one night, in “I Like to Be Here: Jackson Heights Revisited.”
Players, it was MacDougal Street where they [established a base and] first presented “The Emperor Jones.” The West Village is where Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett and Sam Shepherd were first done.” Having been a presence in the small world of NYC independent theater for quite some time, Van Asselt already “had a relationship with Angelina Fiordellisi at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Rattlestick was producing at Cherry Lane prior to this [having our own space], and she thought it was a great idea. Then I talked to Randy Sharp, who runs Axis Theatre Company, and they were very enthusiastic. So I approached Robert [Lyons] at the New Ohio Theater, and we all began getting together as a group. The idea was that we’d decide on a theme or a playwright.” Last year was devoted to “The Town Hill Plays,” a cycle of five works by Lucy Thurber — but long-term, that format wasn’t viable for what the festival founders determined would be an annual event. “It’s not often a playwright writes linked plays like Lucy Thurber did,” says Van Asselt. “You almost never see quartets or quintets. So even last year, we knew that 2014 would be [geared towards] a theme. We tossed around a number
of different ideas, and settled on ‘E Pluribus,’ which is mainly about the celebrating the diversity of culture in New York.” The festival is also a celebration of diversity within, and cooperation among, the West Village theater community. “It shows that theaters can work together in a meaningful way,” says Van Asselt, echoing the festival press material’s declaration that “Theater:Village signifies a major shift in the ways theaters work. It challenges the assumptions that we must cut back and compete more fiercely with each other in order to survive as nonprofit arts institutions, and instead promotes collaboration and community-conscious programming.” The realization of that promise, this year, is:
I LIKE TO BE HERE: JACKSON HEIGHTS REVISITED, OR, THIS IS A MANGO New Ohio Theatre’s production of this multi-writer play has new characters meeting those already established during the course of Theatre 167’s “The Jackson Heights Trilogy.” Taking place during a single, sleepless night in the most diverse neighborhood in the world, “I like to be here” serves not only as the work’s partial title, but also
as a memorable line and an encapsulation of the play’s affectionate, ultimately optimistic take on what both lures and tethers people to Jackson Heights. It’s a neighborhood where empathetic cabbies, closeted cops, shop clerks, drag queens, meth heads, dosa chefs, predatory realtors, custodial workers and two-dollar dance partners coax forward their own dreams while deal with those who come off the 7 train just long enough to buy exotic spices or pay for sex. “That’s what I love about Jackson Heights,” says one character, “you never know who’s going to show up on the bad side of a half-price margarita.” Through Sept. 27. Wed.–Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 7 p.m. Added performance Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. At the New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher St., btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.). Tickets: $18 ($16 students/ seniors). Visit NewOhioTheatre.org and Theatre167.org.
JUÁREZ: A DOCUMENTARY MYTHOLOGY Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre presents this new work by Theater Mitu that challenges us to examine the porous US/Mexico border through the eyes of those who’ve seen the highs and lows of life in and around Ciudad Juráez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Hundreds of conversations drawn from over 200 hours of interview footage represent lives transformed by gangs, cartels, corruption, NAFTA, femicide, the War on Drugs, fear and familial honor. Through Oct. 5. Sun.–Tues., 7 p.m., Thurs.-Fri, 8 p.m., Sat., 3 & 8 p.m. At Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (244 Waverly Place, btw. W. 11th & Perry Sts.). Tickets: $25 ($10 for theater artists/under 30, $5 students, $30 premium seating), Visit rattlestick.org.
SOLITARY LIGHT Axis Theatre’s world premiere musical — directed by Randy Sharp with music and lyrics by Sharp and Paul Carbonara — wanders through the streets of Lower Manhattan, assessing the fallout from 1911’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Based on historical documents and newspaper accounts, “Solitary Light” looks
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Photo by Theater Mitu
Photo by Lisa Ramirez
Multiple perspectives, multi-media presentation: “Juárez: A Mythology Documentary.”
The Cherry Lane Theatre’s 90th anniversary season kicks off, with “To The Bone.”
Continued from page 20 at the horrors of working class life, as seen (and sung) by two young politically minded immigrants in love. Using the motif of illumination — from a single star, a lone light in a factory window — the infamous disaster, which took the lives of 146 trapped
workers, is used to ask why what’s widely acknowledged as a turning point in history “still occurs in factories all over the world.” Through Oct. 4. Wed.–Sat. at 8 p.m. Additional performance Sept. 15, 8 p.m. At the Axis Theatre (One Sheridan Square, btw. Washington Pl. & W. Fourth St.). Tickets: $40 ($30 students/ seniors). Visit axiscompany.org.
TO THE BONE Cherry Lane Theatre’s new play by Lisa Ramirez puts the politics of “Solidary Light” into a modern context, by delving into the lives of Latina immigrant poultry workers. Created after extensive interviews conducted by Ramirez during a six-month stint in New York’s Sullivan County, the play is written in the tradition of John
Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” to “give the audience a close up look into the lives of the invisible work force that puts food on our tables.” Through Oct. 4. Mon.–Fri. at 7 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. At the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St., at Seventh Ave. South). Tickets: $40 ($25 for 30 years and under, $20 rush, $10 student). Visit cherrylanetheatre.org.
What the Great Ones Groove To, and Why The One LP Project pairs famous fans with favorite recordings
© William Ellis
Annie Ross, with Billie Holiday’s “The Lady in Satin.”
BY SCOTT STIFFLER From Graham Nash beaming with pride at the “Sgt. Pepper’s” album to Al Jarreau giving Les Double Six a thumbs up, to Johnny Marr paying Iggy and the Stooges’ “Raw Power” some .com
somber respect: The One LP Project reminds us that those we have on heavy rotation started out as humble, ravenous fans. Determined to provide “a compelling insight into how this music often sets out the course of their lives,” British photographer William Ellis spoke with 50 musicians about the deep connection they felt with a particular recording. This exhibit (the very first for its host venue) will have QR code links to the interviews, alongside its equally candid and revealing portraits. The opening night event, at which Ellis will take photos of those in attendance cradling their own favorite recording, is sold out. Another session has been
added: Sat., Sept. 20, 2–4 p.m. The $100 fee benefits the ARChive of Contemporary Music — a noble non-profit music library and industry research center that knows how to throw a party (contact them to attend, or become a member and snag an invite to their impending Holiday Record + CD Sale opening night shingdig). “The One LP Project” is a free exhibit, at the ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., 3 blocks south of Canal St., btw. Broadway & Church Sts.). Sept. 19–Oct. 3. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For info, call 212-226-6967 or visit arcmusic.org. Also visit onelp.com.
© William Ellis
Ron Carter, with his copy of Leonard Bernstein & The NY Philharmonic’s recording of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.” September 11, 2014
September 11, 2014
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
NICO: UNDERGROUND Personapalooza! It’s yesterday once more, when Theater for the New City hosts 1960s Warhol superstar and Velvet Underground centerpiece Nico. Born Christa Päffgen in pre-war Cologne, Germany, she’d grow up to assume the guise of a Teutonic chanteuse who captivated Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Jim Morrison — while making her mark as a distinctive artist whose glum monotone was (and is!) ripe for parody. Something much more than that is offered by gifted satirist Tammy Lang. A longtime NYC performance scene presence as country/ gospel crooner Tammy Faye Starlite, Lang as Starlite channels the singer/songwriter’s genuine greatness and undeniable goofiness, in “Nico: Underground.” Anchored by Starlite’s dead-on vocal performance, the show functions as a jukebox musical (a “cavalcade of non-hits”) as well as a recreation of actual encounters Nico had with journalists (via Jeff Ward’s portrayal of The Interviewer). While Nico’s dour worldview is played for laughs, this production has genuine artistic merit. Starlite does a fascinating job of coaxing emotion from that iconic monotone, and the classic songs (including “Femme Fatale” and “I’ll Be Your Mirror”) benefit from the top-notch musicianship of Keith Hartel (bass, guitar), Richard Feridun (guitar), Ron Miracle Metz (drums), Dave Dunton (keyboard) and Craig Hoek (sax, flute). Sept. 11–28. Thurs.–Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 3 p.m. In the Cabaret Theater, at Theater for the
Photo by Bob Gruen
Photo by Peculiar Works Project
She’ll be your mirror: “Nico: Underground” reconsiders the artistic legacy of a woman who was much more than a Warhol muse.
Three men and a doctor all play God, in the sanctuary of Judson Memorial Church. See “3Christs.”
New City (155 First Ave., btw. 9th & 10th Sts.). Tickets: $15. For reservations, visit theaterforthenewcity. net. For info on the artist: facebook. com/tammyfayestarlite. Twitter: @ tammyfayenyc.
of success. As the delusional patients are manipulated by a series of indisputable truths and convenient lies, the nurse charged with overseeing their day-to-day existence begins to question both the ethics and effectiveness of destroying one’s core belief system. “Perhaps,” she rea-
3CHRISTS Peculiar Works Project continues their tradition of site-specific productions, by setting “3Christs” in the sanctuary of Judson Memorial Church. Co-playwrights SM Dale and Barry Rowell based their script on a psychological study that took place in Michigan’s Ypsilanti State Hospital from 1959-61. Betting that he can cure three paranoid schizophrenics with one harsh dose of reality, Dr. Milton forces them to live together. Eventually, he reasons, all will have to admit that they can’t possibly be the one true Jesus Christ. Good intentions, bad idea. The overconfident doctor soon finds himself playing God — to varying degrees
sons, “psychosis represents the best terms some people can come to with their lives.” Through Sept. 28. Thurs.–Sun. at 7 p.m. In the sanctuary of Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.). For tickets ($18), call 866-811-4111 or visit peculiarworks.org.
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September 11, 2014
CHELSEA NOW, SEPT. 11, 2014