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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

February 9, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 6





For whom the bridge tolls; New push to make Verrazano fee two-way BY COLIN MIXSON


ew booth-less toll technology leaves Republican congressmembers with no more excuses for maintaining the Verrazano Bridge’s unfair one-way toll structure, local advocates say. Lower Manhattan dwellers have long argued that the unbalanced fee

sends cash-strapped truckers from the outer boroughs and beyond flooding into their neck of the woods. “We’ve been waiting 30 years for this tech to evolve,” said Sean Sweeney, executive director of the Soho Alliance. “The time is now. Lets seize it!” The current one-way bridge TOLL continued on p. 5

‘Watchdogs’ barking mad about B. DeVos being Education chief PHOTO BY REBECCA WHITE



espite this week’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Department of Education secretary, educators, students and parents across New York City rallied against the contentious pick that they see as a threat to public education.

In the week before the final vote, school kids across the city and their parents sent a slew of letters to U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urging them to stop DeVos, eventually meeting with staffers of both senators to voice their concerns. Lizzie Scott, a Brooklyn parDOGS continued on p. 10

Elizabeth St. Garden members gave Mayor de Blasio a workout on his way into the Prospect Park YMCA , urging him to visit the Nolita green oasis before he O.K.’s an affordable housing plan that would destroy it forever. See Page 3.

‘We won’t go backward!’ Gays rally vs. travel ban BY ANDY HUMM


.G.B.T.Q. people have protested and celebrated outside the Stonewall Inn since the Rebellion in 1969. But on Sat., Feb. 4, in subfreezing temperatures, thousands filled the streets of Stonewall Place to condemn President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations — standing up for Islamic people within and outside the com-

munity who have been singled out for persecution by the new administration. “L.G.B.T.Q. people have been fighting oppression for time immemorial,” said openly gay Councilmember Corey Johnson, who represents the Village and Chelsea. “So, when we see an administration come after vulnerable communities,” Johnson said, “we feel it deeply and personally. We are declaring with one voice that we are

in this together.” Johnson was one of the lead organizers of the protest, endorsed by more than 60 groups and scores of elected officials. Jamila Hammami, executive director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, said, “I am not a single-issue person. We are under surveillance. We worry about bombings. We worry about Islamophobia in our own community.” RALLY continued on p. 8

Haden-Guest K.O.’s Trump in b’day bout ............p. 2 Op-Ed: It’s time to can Electoral College ......... p. 13 Their Rogue won...................... p. 6

TRUMP’S TAKEDOWN: Anthony HadenGuest did what Hillary Clinton could not — beating Donald Trump. And he did it in a knockout! To celebrate his 80th birthday, the writer, art critic and socialite — and, most importantly, half-brother of Christopher Guest a.k.a. lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (“These go to 11”) in “This Is Spinal Tap” — went blow to blow with the presidential blowhard at Overthrow Boxing on Bleecker St. and floored him. “Mane Man” and Bridgerunners coach Power Malu was the ringmaster. ‘HOWEVER…’: Stand-up comic legend Irwin Corey died Monday evening at age 102½ on Sniffen Court, where he lived in two converted stables on the tiny landmarked mews in Murray Hill. “Irwin passed away peacefully last night at home,” his friend James Drougas, owner of Unoppressive Nonimperialist Bargain Books on Carmine St., told The Villager Tuesday morning. Villager arts writer Trav S.D. wrote on his blog about “The Professor” ’s passing: “Bob Greenberg, who was his good friend, posted this message last night: ‘Irwin passed away at 6:27 p.m. tonight in his home. He had just eaten vanilla ice cream swirl followed by egg drop soup. (The ice cream didn’t satisfy him so he sent his son out to get the soup.) After the soup he complained that the covers were too heavy on his feet. (This was odd since he usually complained that there wasn’t enough covering him.) His nurse adjusted them and when she looked up he was gone.’ Farewell to the ‘World’s Foremost Authority.’” We enjoyed seeing Corey perform in the Village at a benefit for “Grandpa” Al Lewis when he was running for governor, and also at a fundraiser for fellow comic Randy Credico when he ran against Senator Chuck Schumer. “Red China!” someone called out


Anthony Haden-Guest got ready to clock Donald Trump bigly at Over throw Boxing in an epic bout.

That’s it! Trump is down for the count and America is saved! Power Malu, in the corner, proclaims Haden-Guest the champ over the chump, Trump.

to Corey while he was onstage at Credico’s event. “Goes well with a yellow tablecloth,” Corey retorted. In May 2014, The Villager’s Albert Amateau profi led Corey in a Sniffen Court interview as the famed comedian was nearing his 100th birthday. In the article, the fiercely left-wing Corey reminisced about his trip meeting Fidel Castro in Cuba and his early days in comedy. R.I.P., Professor.

‘BUTCHER’ SERVES UP NEWS: We called Clayton Patterson on Tuesday to check in on how Sunday’s Acker Awards were shaping up, and he was on the phone with Daniel Rakowitz a.k.a. “The Butcher of Tompkins Square.” Rakowitz was calling from Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Wards Island, where he has been held for 27 years since murdering his roommate, Monica Beerle, a Swiss Power Malu raps about Haden-Guest and the pummeling of Trump.


Februar y 9, 2017

SCOOPY’S continued on p. 14

Garden protest ‘horns’ in on mayor’s workout BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


embers of the Elizabeth St. Garden stretched out the reach of their activism Tuesday morning — taking their fight to save their beloved but embattled Nolita green oasis to the Prospect Park YMCA in Brooklyn. Mayor Bill de Blasio goes there most mornings to stretch. De Blasio, along with Councilmember Margaret Chin, has been pushing an affordable housing plan for the garden, located between Prince and Spring Sts., despite massive opposition from the community, including Community Board 2 and all of the area’s local politicians. In addition, two citywide politicians — Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James — are also siding with the neighborhood against the incredibly unpopular plan. The scheme was originally snuck under the radar by the Bloomberg administration as an add-on to the


Mayor Bill de Blasio shook hands with Christopher Mar te and other Elizabeth St. Garden volunteers Tuesday before entering the Prospect Park YMCA for his regular morning workout. Mar te is running for City Council against the incumbent, Margaret Chin, who has broken sharply with the community in her plan to build housing on the proper ty. Mar te is a strong suppor ter of the garden.

Seward Park Urban Renewal Area development plan in Community Board 3, and later quietly rubber-stamped by de Blasio. Yet whereas SPURA had years of public review to obtain consensus among all stakeholders, de Blasio and

Chin — in a textbook top-down land grab — completely bypassed C.B. 2, leaving the board in the dark until after the fact. The city has already accepted developers’ responses to a request for proposals, or R.F.P., issued for the site, but the gardeners are hoping for a miracle. On Tuesday, de Blasio arrived in gym clothes and shook hands with the garden volunteers on his way into the Y. One of them, Patricia Squillari, told him, “Please come to the garden, then make a statement,” to which the mayor responded, “Fair enough.” On his way back out, now wearing a suit, de Blasio waved goodbye. A trumpeter, Takuya Nakamura, played “Reveille” to “wake up” de Blasio and get him to realize how great the garden really is and why it must be saved. C.B. 2 has identified what it says is a far better alternative site on Hudson St. where five times as much affordable housing could be built, allowing the garden in the open-space-starved neighborhood to be saved.

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Max Vernon A trumpeter played “Reveille” to “wake up” the mayor and make him see that the garden is something special and rare amid the concrete jungle of Downtown Manhattan.

Jeannine Kiely, a leader of the Elizabeth St. Garden, center, and other garden volunteers called for Mayor de Blasio to visit it before he seals its fate forever.

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t was a mash-up of instruments at “Busking for Justice” under the Washington Square Park Arch on Sunday afternoon. There were mandolins and ukuleles, guitars galore, an accordion, drums, harmonicas, tambourines and shakers and even a trombone and violin at the “This is what democracy sounds like” sing-along, which was announced through a Facebook invite. The sounds of “We Shall Overcome” floated through the park. There were many in the crowd who had sung the lyrics back in the civil rights days, decades ago. Younger singers or those who didn’t know the lyrics followed the words on sheets that were distributed for “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round,” “Down by the Riverside,” “This Land is Your Land,” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Eye on That Prize” and “Amazing Grace.” Young children perched on their daddies’ shoulders while some older ones danced in the middle of the musicians. A few little ones had their own instruments or kept time with tambourines. Amidst the solidarity in song, there were political signs held up that related to current executive orders and trampling on human rights. After the couple of hours of singing, in busking style there was a pitch for donations. The $2,000 raised was for the American Civil Liberties Union. Among the hashtags for the event were #DissentIsPatriotic and #BuskingForJustice, as well as #ACLU. The sing-along is happening again this Sunday.



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Februar y 9, 2017

For whom the bridge tolls; New V.B. fee push TOLL continued from p. 1

toll taxing Staten Island-bound traffic dates back to 1986. It was ostensibly a way to ease pollution caused by idling traffic tied up at the bridge’s massive toll plaza, which falls on the Staten Island side of the span. However, this coming summer, the Verrazano is getting a new cashless toll system — where cameras will record license plates as drivers zoom by — making concerns about booth-induced smog a thing of the past, Downtown Manhattanites argue. As it is, the Verrazano’s exorbitant $16 toll for Staten Island- and New Jersey-bound drivers sends hordes of outer-borough and Long Island motorists pouring over the toll-free East River bridges into Lower Manhattan, before turning crosstown thoroughfares into speedways as they head to the Holland Tunnel, which only taxes drivers heading into the city. Truckers — who are charged by the axle at toll crossings — were especially keen to avoid the Verrazano’s double toll. But Downtown residents got a break after trucks with more than three axles were forbidden from the Holland Tunnel following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

Canal St., in particular, has earned a reputation for truck-clogged gridlock in the years since the Verrazano toll went one-way, according to Councilmember Margaret Chin. “This is why crossing Canal St. is so dangerous,” Chin said. “We have to find a way to improve congestion and traffic safety.” And as drivers detour around the Verrazano span’s massive toll, the state looses out on millions of dollars in revenue, according to one Downtown activist. “It’s incredible the amount of toll revenue that’s lost,” said Carl Rosenstein, a Downtowner who in the 1990s created a group called Trees Not Trucks to combat commercial trucking traffic caused by the one-way toll. “Hundreds of millions of dollars to the M.T.A. system are gone — it’s really kind of criminal.” But the crusaders face a big roadblock — the Verrazano is the only local toll bridge that falls under federal jurisdiction, and a Republican-dominated Congress has been reluctant to back any change that would agitate conservative Staten Island voters. Republican Representative Dan Donovan, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, vowed to oppose any measure to restore the two-

way toll until he has seen data proving the change would decrease traffic and increase revenue, according to spokesperson Patrick Ryan. According to Ryan, until solid evidence emerges proving the efficacy of a two-way toll, the change will be a tough sell to Staten Island voters, Donovan’s primary constituency. “I think that with any constituency, when you propose changing something that’s been in effect 30 years, all these theories come up that it’s going to be worse because of ‘X, Y, Z,’ ” Ryan said. “But if you can say, ‘We’re going to get ‘X’ amount of revenue we can use for this project, that makes it easier to discuss.” Congressman Jerry Nadler, who represents Manhattan’s West Side and Brooklyn, meanwhile, has been a longtime supporter of the two-way toll. But he came under fire from constituents after he failed to see the change through when the House and Senate were briefly controlled by Democrats during the early years of Obama’s first term, according to Rosenstein. “The Dems had a veto-proof Congress and Nadler failed to do what he had promised his constituents,” Rosenstein charged. But ramming the change through Congress is more difficult than it seems,

because it needs to be tacked onto more substantial transportation legislation, which didn’t materialize during that two-year window, according to Robert Gottheim, Nadler’s district director. But with the new toll technology and President Trump championing new highway infrastructure programs, Nadler sees both the will and a way to realize a two-way toll on the Verrazano on the horizon, Gottheim said. “Looking forward, there’s a strong chance this can be done,” he said. Regardless of what the future holds in store, one question will likely remain forever unanswered: How has Staten Island managed to screw over Lower Manhattan for this long? “Why does this little backwater of New York City have such power that it can control the traffic flow in the center of the universe?” Sweeney asked. “Why are Trump supporters causing misery in Lower Manhattan. How is this allowed?” Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 (Gowanus and Park Slope) is championing the two-way toll and wrote Governor Cuomo asking for a study. Cuomo did not return a call for comment.

Februar y 9, 2017



Another Trump demo — this time supporting him


t’s hard to believe after the unyielding onslaught of anti-Donald Trump protests and marches, but there was actually a pro-Trump rally in New York City this Monday. The “Make America Great Again” gang gathered on Fifth Ave. near Trump Tower on Feb. 6. A pair of Trump spokespersons said that, based on “alternative facts,” it was indisputably far larger — much more yuuge and bigly — than the Women’s March. Actually, they didn’t say that, thankfully. ... Who knows? They may, in fact, actually be improving.


Februar y 9, 2017


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‘We won’t go backward!’ Gays rally vs. travel ban RALLY continued from p. 1

But on this frigid afternoon, there was solidarity with causes from justice for Palestinians to the plight of Syrian refugees. “We need to show up everywhere, said Debbie Almontaser, president of the board of the Muslim Community Network. “We cannot do it without you, and you cannot do it without us.” “They don’t know us,” former Council Speaker Chris Quinn said of the new Washington regime. “We never leave a brother or sister behind.” Ishalaa Ortega of Immigration Equality, a transgender woman of color from Mexico, talked about how her life was at risk in her country of birth because of her gender identity, and how reading about the Stonewall Rebellion at age 12 gave her hope. “Until Jan. 20, the world called this the country of freedom,” she said. “The asylum process was a painful journey. But we are here to stay!” Actor Cynthia Nixon ridiculed reports that Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were somehow protecting L.G.B.T.Q. rights in the White House. “They couldn’t even get the president to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day,” she said, in discussing news reports that the president’s son-in-law, a top White House adviser, and daughter played a behind-the-scenes role in keeping him from rescinding a 2014 executive order from President Barack Obama requiring contractors doing business with the federal government to provide sexualorientation and gender-identity employee nondiscrimination protections. Though Trump for now is allowing that order to stand, he and the Republicans are eliminating the office in the Department of Labor that enforces it, and there is widespread anticipation that a “religious freedom” order allowing anti-L.G.B.T.Q. discrimination by federal employees and contractors citing their religious beliefs is forthcoming. Legislative efforts championed by congressional Republicans would go even further, allowing broad religious opt-outs from nondiscrimination laws throughout society. Rachel Tiven, executive director of Lambda Legal, said, “Lambda is preparing to sue” the moment an antiL.G.B.T.Q. “religious freedom” order is issued or the anti-L.G.B.T.Q. First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is enacted by Congress. The crowd was filled with veteran activists and some first-time protesters. Three young men stood at the front of the barricades by the stage for more than three hours, having left their homes without their hats. Ryker Allen, 19, said, “I have to be here. I’m Mexican and queer. I’m here for my immigrant mother who came here illegally.” J.D. Moran, 24, of Brooklyn, said, “I want to be a body and a voice and show


Februar y 9, 2017


Thousands of L .G.B.T.Q. people and their allies rallied outside the Stonewall Inn in resistance to Donald Trump’s immigration order and other policies on Feb. 4.

my love for all communities who are hurting.” Ryan Duffin, 22, an immigrant from Canada, said, “I don’t know what is coming next. I have the privilege of white skin. I want to be here for all of my friends who are from places like Iran and Libya.” Sam, 43, said, “I got married in 2014. We need to preserve the progress we’ve made. Trump was groomed by the most evil person on the planet, Roy Cohn.” Joe Ameen, 33, of Bayonne, N.J., said, “There’s a new reality. But we have to march to make it clear to the establishment we are not going backwards.” Ameen’s fiancé, Alexander Esau, 26, said, “As a black gay man, I have very few liberties I can claim and very few I can afford to lose under this presidency.” Keri Willis, 33, a city public school teacher from North Massapequa on Long Island, said she has gay and immigrant students. “Things are changing so fast,” she said. “Someone has to speak up for them.” Jay Russell of Washington Heights has joined an L.G.B.T.Q. neighborhood group called Outwood for residents of Upper Manhattan. A veteran of ACT UP, he said, “I’m feeling frustrated and sad and like the world is turned upside down and every day is worse than before. I wanted to be with people who felt similarly.” Chad Miller, also with Outwood, said this social group is taking on advocacy efforts now, as well. Jordan Schaps, 68, who lives on Perry PHOTO BY DONNA ACETO

An “alternative” Kellyanne Conway.

RALLY continued on p. 20



Rookie dies in crash In a tragic accident, Bianca Bennett, 27, an off-duty Ninth Precinct rookie police officer, was killed Wed., Feb. 1, shortly before midnight, after a car she was riding in flipped over and burst into flames in the Bronx. The Dodge Charger’s driver, a 32year-old off-duty sergeant, was pulled from the vehicle by good samaritans. He suffered severe burns on his legs and was taken to the hospital in reportedly critical condition. According to news sources, Bennett was trapped inside the wreck and couldn’t be saved. The muscle car, which was leaving City Island, was said to have been speeding. At an East Village memorial for Bennett Monday night, hundreds of officers, along with her family members, joined arms outside the E. Fifth St. police stationhouse.

Spitting mad A terminated employee was kicked out of a city Human Resources Administration center in the Village, but she went kicking on Mon., Jan. 30, at 7:15 p.m. Police said the woman was fired by a supervisor and then asked to leave 12 W. 14th St. after she was loud and disruptive toward fellow H.R.A. staff there. After the woman refused to go and continued her unruly behavior, a police officer tried to arrest her, but the woman started punching, spitting, kicking and preventing the officer from handcuffing her. The officer was injured during the arrest. Nicolett Gonzalez, 20, was charged with felony assault.

Charge could stick Police said a man was spotted Tues., Jan. 31, at 3 a.m., in front of 275 W. 10th St., a private building, posting advertising bills with commercial-grade glue without permission. Tevin Goring, 23, was arrested for misdemeanor making graffiti.

Closet case According to police, a 40-year-old resident of 300 Mercer St. went downstairs to get her mail and left her door unlocked on Mon., Jan. 30, at 1:05 p.m. When she returned, she found a man hiding in her bedroom closet. The suspect had been delivering food to another apartment. “I’m sorry,� he said, and fled. Jeronimo Izalde-Fernandez, 25, was arrested for felony burglary.

‘I wuz framed!’ The Maison Gerard LTD Gallery, at 53


Police Officer Bianca Bennett was killed in a crash in the Bronx while off dut y.

E. 10th St., was burglarized Thurs., Dec. 22, at 11:56 p.m., according to police. A man got into the gallery with a password and key and stole two external hard drives and cash totaling $379, police said. Diego Heredia, 45, was arrested Feb. 2 for felony burglary.

The second annual Gay City News Impact Awards will recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions to New York City’s LGBTQ community, its progress, and its achievements

Honorees are being celebrated at the Gay City News Impact Awards Gala on March 30 To Get Your Tickets Today, Visit or Contact Jennifer Stern COURTESY N.Y.P.D.

A photo of the alleged Any way Cafe robber.


Cafe culprit A knife-wielding robber struck the Anyway Cafe, at 34 E. Second St., on Mon., Jan. 30, at 3 p.m., police said. Brandishing the blade, the suspect approached a female employee, 29, and demanded money. The worker complied and the robber fled with an undetermined amount of cash. The suspect is about 30, with a dark beard, and last seen wearing a green jacket, red hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, dark baseball cap and dark shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site,, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson



Post your congratulations message in the special keepsake issue proďŹ ling the honorees on March 30, 2017 Contact Amanda Tarley For More Information: 718-260-8340 | Februar y 9, 2017


‘Watchdogs’ barking mad over DeVos as Ed chief DOGS continued from p. 1

ent who helped organize the “Public School Watchdogs” letter-writing campaign, was motivated to take a stand against DeVos. “I became increasingly alarmed by her record of undermining public schools in Michigan,” Scott said, “and by comments she had made to the effect that traditional public schools were outdated and should be replaced by things like homeschooling, online schools and religious and charter schools. She also has hostility to public schools, to L.G.B.T. students, to special-needs students, to accountability, to financial oversight.” Scott then collected signatures from other parents on her letters, contacted her school’s P.T.A. Action Committee and spread the word through Facebook. The result was a grassroots campaign and an initial round of 1,500 letters from more than six schools. Upon delivering these to the senators who had yet to take a position on DeVos, Scott and other parents pushed for more letters, delivering a second round of around 2,000 from more than 25 schools, both charter and public. Finally, students became involved and circulated letters of their own. Among local schools involved were the West Village’s P.S. 3, as well as in the East Village,




Kids and parents from the “Public School Watchdogs” rallied outside the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in East Midtown and some also went inside to meet with the senators’ staff.

The Earth School, East Village Community School and Tompkins Square Middle School. Marie Edesess, a school parent who was present during the meetings between



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students and staffers of Gillibrand, said the kids were well-informed on the debates surrounding DeVos’s nomination and had watched the hearings. Among their concerns were guns in schools and the Individualized Education Program, or I.E.P., a document for special-education students defining their needs, services to be provided and a process by which progress is evaluated. Summing up her frustration with DeVos, Edesses said, “It’s that she has horrible policies, and underneath it she has no experience, skills or competency in the area. The public education system requires a national network of people to defend it,” she added. Marisa Kaufman, a spokesperson for Schumer, said the office was happy to arrange the meeting with students and their parents. “From Day One, Senator Schumer made it very clear that he had major concerns with at least eight of the nominees in what he termed, the ‘swamp cabinet’ of billionaires and bankers,” she said. “He fought off the Republican effort to bum rush this group through the Senate in one fell swoop, and instead forced a series of hearings to more fully question them and examine their records and their conflicts of interest.” Kaufman also said the senator will oppose any nominees “who don’t sufficiently answer deep concerns about some of the president’s more offensive and potentially illegal executive orders.” Also a staunch opponent of DeVos, Gillibrand voted against the confirmation and spoke out against it on the Senate floor last Friday. “Students, parents and teachers deserve an Education secretary whose commitment to public education and safe

schools will not waver,” Gillibrand told her Senate colleagues. “If public education fails, America fails — and I do not believe Mrs. DeVos shares my commitment to a strong public education system.” DeVos has drawn widespread criticism for her billionaire status and utter lack of education experience, as well as her support for charters and the hotly debated voucher system through which states may fund private school tuition for certain students who do not wish to attend public schools. She has also been under fire for promoting the expansion of the charter school system in Michigan. Although DeVos’s nomination has been approved despite serious pushback from Democrats, New York City locals say they will keep advocating in defense of public education, no matter what.

Plastic-bag battle will check out for one year BY DENNIS LYNCH


he state Assembly passed a bill Tuesday to postpone for 270 days the implementation of the City Council’s law to require grocery and bodega owners to charge customers a nickel for every plastic bag they use for their goods. It’s a major hit to proponents, who say the measure will hugely reduce the city’s garbage output. The state bill has now passed both houses of the Legislature, giving Governor Andrew Cuomo until the end of next week to review it and either veto or sign it into law. The City Council passed its bag fee bill last summer and it was supposed to come into effect on Oct. 1 of last year. But, after the Senate passed a bill to block the measure, the Council postponed its going into effect till Feb. 15. The Council agreed to use the time to work with state lawmakers to revise the bill before it reached the Assembly, where it likely would have passed and then been codified into law. The law would only affect businesses in the city, and city lawmakers said it would slash consumption of plastic here. Brooklyn Councilmember Brad Lander said that New Yorkers toss out almost 10 billion plastic bags each year and that the city spends roughly $12.5 million annual-


Back in Nov. 2014, when a 10-cent fee for plastic and paper bags was then being proposed, Dennis Phandular, an East Village superintendent, called it “silly” and said merchants should instead just ask if shoppers want a bag.

ly to get them to landfills. He said a similar ban in Washington, D.C., cut down the bags’ usage there by 60 percent. But many opponents contend that the initiative would hurt vulnerable populations, particularly low-income New Yorkers and seniors. Simcha Felder, a Republican-caucusing Brooklyn Democrat, has led the charge against the fee. The city had planned to lessen the burden on New Yorkers by handing out roughly 400,000 reusable bags from Feb. 15 to April 30 of this year. Felder has also raised concerns over

the cleanliness of reusable bags, because some studies have found E. coli and salmonella bacteria can contaminate the sacks’ fabric and thus cross-contaminate foods. On Wednesday, Cuomo called it a “complicated” issue and spoke to both environmental concerns over plastic bag usage and the fees’ probable impact on low-income New Yorkers, according to Politico. The New York League of Conservation Voters urged Cuomo to veto the bill. N.Y.L.C.V. President Marcia Bystryn

cited both environmental and political concerns. “This bill takes away New York’s ability to control the 10 billion plastic bags that enter its waste stream each year and sets a dangerous precendent for the preemption of local policy,” Bystryn said. “It puts the onus back on New York City to pass a new law, but not before a new City Council is seated in January 2018, making this a campaign wedge issue and undermining the authority of a popularly elected body.” Bystryn added that a full ban on plastic bags had mixed results in other cities and that fees tended to work much better. The back and forth between city and state government has also sparked a fierce debate over their jurisdictions. Opponents on the state level, including Felder, argued that city governments have no power to levy their own taxes. Many of his colleagues against the ban also characterize the fee as a tax, although it is not legally a tax at all. Individual grocery stores would charge and keep the 5-cent fee, so it would never reach the city’s coffers. Proponents of the bill said that state lawmakers representing constituencies outside the city have no business interfering with the Big Apple’s laws.

Februar y 9, 2017


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Trump’s next target: Animals

It takes a Villager. Your local news source

To The Editor: As he was signing edicts hurting one group after another over the past two weeks, it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump got around to hurting animals — already the most oppressed sentient beings on earth. The animals’ turn came yesterday — with the pulling down of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Web site that reports on government regulation of roughly 9,000 animal-handling facilities. These include laboratories, dog breeders, fur farms, circuses, zoos and aquariums. The Web site is used every day by animal-protection activists to monitor government enforcement of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act, the only effective federal law protecting animals. Taking down the APHIS inspection site is a huge setback for animal protection. It will almost certainly lead to reduced government inspection of animal facilities and more animal suffering — a virtual repeal of the Animal Welfare Act. Ironically, this oppressive act was launched by the same dark-of-night process as that of pulling more than 100,000 visas from thoroughly vetted Muslim immigrants one week earlier — no notice, no hearings, no due process, no public announcement. The oppressive mindset doesn’t really care who the victims are. Hopefully, the courts will.

tariff on the burros to protect his newly founded burro industry in the Rust Belt. Anthony was not available for comment while the Mexican government threatened to deny Melo a visa in line with its new policy of keeping undesirable Americans out of Mexico Carl Rosenstein

Tell it to Trump To The Editor: Re “Yo! Move it, Melania!” (letters to the editor, Feb. 2): Lauren Shapiro should also post her excellent comment on the Web site “Contact the President.” It is very easy to do and is direct and official: . Barbara Ruether

Hard-working House rep To The Editor: Re “Nadler and Velazquez rush to the rescue of refugees at J.F.K.” (news article, Feb. 2): Nadler is a real civil servant. I have seen him on an evening or a weekend working about town. Donald Moder

The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

June 16, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 24





Critics blast landmark bill as ‘anti-preservation’; Say ‘loophole’ offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK


contentious bill that will put deadlines on the city’s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself — but the measure might be moot due



he Omnibus Child Victims Act, or Senate Bill S6367, is the latest effort from state Democrats to reform the statute of limitations on victims of child sexual abuse. The bill, though still in committee, has momentum in the Senate as victims are stepping forward

Make Knicks great again

to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts — limits that the bill’s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks. LANDMARKS continued on p. 12

Hoylman pushes Albany to pass child sex-abuse reform, but Senate stalls and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference. ABUSE continued on p. 14

Nelson Yancy


Thousands of points of light: Monday night’s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.

‘We shall overcome’: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER


n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 50 patrons of an Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists.

At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and specifically called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. “We come together because this is a community that will

never be silent again,” he said. “I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.” Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. “We must go forward in love,” he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5

Graffiti artist tags Haring group in lawsuit ...... p. 16 Remembering Ramrod rampage of 1980.........p. 21 Here comes the sun energy...p. 18

To The Editor: New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson announced on Twitter the trade of former All-Star Carmelo Anthony, vowing “to make the Knicks great again.” Jackson recently accused Melo of stalling the offense, as well as hiding his cushy back-support pillow he brings to games. After weeks of pleading and begging G.M.’s around the league, Jackson worked out a “yuuuge deal” for New York by trading the disgruntled Anthony to the Monterey Immigrantes in the Mexican Federation. In exchange, the Knicks received a Chevy pickup, two burros and former Los Angeles Dodger Fernando Valenzuela. The entire deal was vetted personally by El Presidente Donald J. Trump, who levied a 20 percent

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Februar y 9, 2017

Electoral College: Little better than Trump U.



ingling Bros. Barnum & Bailey met its demise a few weeks ago. Now the elephants that should most concern us, on these shores at least, are Republicans. Not to worry, circus lovers. The shade of P. T. Barnum — who admitted he was “a showman by profession, and all the gilding will make nothing more of me” — strode into the White House shortly after the big top folded, promising to amaze us. Unlike the real Barnum, however, or even Reality Show Trump — wait, let me work on getting this out — “our new president,” instead of acknowledging his shtick as show business humbug, looks to an exponential increase of the proverbial three rings. Soon all of reality will be circus, circus, circus, a deluge of alternative facts effacing the very notion of truth. The admirable John Lewis caught flak recently for calling Trump illegitimate. Unfortunately, Lewis, beset by shameless or simply stupid Republican spin doctors, as well as by uncircumspect, tut-tutting liberal commentators — both said, “Look, the fact is that Trump was legally elected and we’ve got to accept

that” — dropped the ball. Putin and Russian hackers, Lewis responded, might well have decisively influenced the election and rendered the result nonbinding. It might turn out that’s true. The point, however, is that legality and legitimacy are not at all the same thing. Apartheid was assuredly legal in South Africa. Slavery and Jim Crow were legal in this country. Need I go on? Laws are objective facts, enacted at a particular time; legitimacy is subject to an evolving critique of those laws, not just by intellectuals and ethicists, but by the public at large, who must regard them as legitimate for a society to be experienced as truly democratic and for a government to elicit consent. There are times when that critique reaches a point when the legal basis of oppressive or undemocratic practices crumbles, its assumptions revealed as incompatible with whatever high-flown rhetoric of freedom the system might espouse. So here’s the Electoral College. That’s what got us this vile, venal, narcissistic man as president. He lost the popular vote by a total of almost 3 million. It’s clear that this constitutionally mandated method of electing the president violates any notion of “one person, one vote” democracy — as does, by the way, and perhaps problematically for the future, the institution of the U.S. Senate. The idea of the college was formulated in the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Let us be clear — “Founding Fathers” though they were — these two wished to construct a bulwark protecting the educated, mer-

cantilist elites of the East Coast from what they regarded as the riffraff agriculturalists of the hinterland, represented by Thomas Jefferson and, later, the populist Andrew Jackson. They also wished to placate the southern states, which were awarded greater electoral leverage by the notorious definition of slaves as threefifths of a person each (nonvoting, of course) for purposes of the census, thereby increasing the region’s congressional delegation and, hence, representation in the college.

It’s why this vile, venal, narcissistic man is president. As that body was originally conceived, electors would be chosen in their districts as independent agents, elected in their own names as “men of substance,” not as representatives of a particular presidential candidate to whom their votes were tied. But this arrangement quickly broke down, despite the opposition of Hamilton and Madison, with the development of political parties and the relative decline of the elites. In many states, as the franchise was extended to males who were not property holders, presidential electors came to be selected by the leg-

islature, more easily controlled than the popular vote. Today what we have, as a result of this long-running, systematic restriction of the franchise, is an arrangement in which the elitist machinations of Hamilton and Madison have come back to haunt us in a way they could not have contemplated. Donald Trump’s yahoos — H. L. Mencken’s boobus americanus revived — have been empowered, through this clanking, compromised system (which gave us Bush over Gore in 2000), to storm the White House like Jackson’s “gypsies in the palace,” only to encounter there — lo and behold! — their overlord oppressors from Goldman Sachs. Perverse outcomes of this magnitude are unacceptable. Though there is more to be corrected in our polity than the Electoral College, it can only be regarded as a poison pill written into our founding document by men bent on preserving their privilege and, despite their fervid anti-royalism, their right to rule. With amending the Constitution all but impossible (three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the change, and the less populous ones are granted disproportionate electoral power under the current arrangement), the most plausible corrective is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which New York and nine other states have already embraced. Readers should check it out. Farrin is Democratic state committeeman, 74th Assembly District

Stop hating everyone who didn’t vote like you BY LENORE SKENAZY


t seems like arguing — screaming, shouting or at the very least, extreme eye-rolling — is right up there with eating breakfast these days. Wake up, brush your teeth, glance at the latest news and…explode! Jeanne Johnson was sick of it. Johnson is a mom of two in Ridgewood, N.J., and a local activist. A few years back, she got the city to make its crosswalks more obvious to encourage kids to walk — and cars to stop. Last week she wanted to encourage something else to stop: The demonization of everyone who voted for someone other than the someone you voted for. So to a local social hall she invited Guy Benson, a conservative author; Julie Roginsky, a Democratic strategist; and Kennedy, the mordantly hilarious libertarian who has a show on Fox Business. In fact, all three are on Fox all the time, often sparring, but also always happy to see each other. That’s what Johnson wanted her fellow citizens to witness: You can disagree with someone’s politics, even vehemently, and not despise them as humans. As crazy as that sounds.

Kennedy moderated the chat by asking the kind of questions that can stop a, “You crazy s---head” in midair. For instance, she wondered, was there ever a time when either of her guests realized the other side was not evil incarnate? Roginsky recalled a time back in college when she and her fellow feminists took a bus to a Rhode Island abortion clinic, where nuns and priests were protesting outside. As Roginsky and her retinue shouted, “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries!” she looked at the clergy, fervently praying, and suddenly it hit her: These folks weren’t there to be judgmental jerks. They had come because they truly believed that a fetus

is a life that must be saved. For them, blocking the clinic was no different from grabbing the gun from some nut holding a hostage. To this day, Roginsky remains adamantly pro-choice. But she sees prolife supporters as people. Benson flashed back on 2009, when Obama was sworn into office on a wave of Democratic euphoria. Conservatives were beside themselves: Here was a president who would pass every piece of liberal legislation this side of Sweden. So Benson said, smirk-free, he truly empathizes with what Democrats are feeling now. He obviously doesn’t share their dismay — although he didn’t sound very happy about Trump. But he gave a knowing nod to the people who...well, that’s just the thing. The room was filled with ardent Democrats and Republicans, and probably some Libertarians. And you couldn’t tell who was who. “Those [feuding] people ended up having to sit at the same tables together,” she said. She’d deliberately chosen round tables, so everyone would be looking at everyone else, and purple tablecloths. Not red. Not blue. Purple. The cookies for the event were iced in purple frosting with the word “Together.” Cookies are

always an ice breaker. And so was this event. Up on stage, Roginsky and Benson were discussing free speech. They’d just gotten word about the unrest — riots? — at the University of California Berkeley, where masked agitators had caused $100,000 in damage as they protested a speech to be given by the right-wing agitator Milo Yiannopoulos. Roginsky was appalled. She is hardly a fan of Yiannopoulos, but free speech wins, she said. “Always.” Benson had some advice for the Dems: “If everything is an outrage, nothing is.” Pick your battles, he advised. The trick is to “listen generously,” said Benson. Don’t assume the person who didn’t vote your way chose the other candidate out of bigotry, stupidity or calumny. Assume they had their varied reasons, just like you had yours. “I know how contentious things were, or are, in our community — horrible,” she said. “Just like on the national stage.” But after the event, the audience hung around for almost an hour, talking, laughing and eating those cookies. “Let’s do this again!” they said. That’s an idea no one could argue with. Februar y 9, 2017



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Scoopy’s Notebook SCOOPY’S continued from p. 2

dance student who was performing at Billy’s Topless. Rakowitz bragged to friends that he killed Beerle, then boiled her remains and served them as soup to the Tompkins Square Park homeless. But a friend gave Rakowitz up to the cops and he eventually led police to the Port Authority, where he had left her skull and teeth in a locker. He was found not guilty due to insanity. Anyway, Patterson, who used to visit the crazed con about twice a year because he was “curious about what happened,� said Rakowitz was calling to report that he just received a letter saying his wife back in Texas had died. The wife never was in the East Village, as far as Patterson knows. Rakowitz and she apparently had a son together. The authorities continue to refuse to allow Rakowitz to leave Kirby, feeling he poses a threat to society. “They’re still denying him movement to a communitybased facility,� Patterson said.

TOM AND TERRI: Former state Senator Tom Duane and District Leader Terri Cude stood together in defense of the Constitution at the massive L.G.B.T.Q. rally outside the Stonewall on Saturday. Thousands


Profiles in courage: Terri Cude and Tom Duane.

gathered in a show of opposition to President Trump’s travel ban against seven majority-Muslim countries. State Senator Brad Hoylman has been handing out the Constitution, saying it will defi nitely come in handy over the next four years. Everyone needs at least one copy.

500+ miles. 7 days.

to end cancer            JULY 30 - AUGUST 5, 2017 NYC TO NIAGARA FALLS      


Februar y 9, 2017

The lasting impressions of a marked up man Exhibit pays tribute to tattoo master Gus Wagner


Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoo inked a dragon head on Texan Michael W yatt, at the Gus Wagner exhibition’s opening night reception.



rom the act itself to the passing down of techniques and tools, tattooing is an intimate endeavor — so it is fitting that the South Street Seaport Museum’s new exhibition should bear such distinct marks of artistry, legacy, and collaboration. “The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of the Modern Tattoo” is a fascinating look at tattoo history through the study of a unique, exuberant artist: Augustus “Gus” Wagner (1872-1941). During his time as a young merchant seaman, Wagner claimed to have been trained in the use of hand-made tools by tribesmen in Java and Borneo,

and later studied under practitioners in Australia and London. By 1908, he was billing himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America,” with over 800 tattoos. Throughout his career, he continued to use his hand-held instruments, despite the emergence of electric tattooing machines. His work as a traveling tattooist, tattooed man, and circus performer spanned over 40 years. Along with other wandering artists, Wagner brought the art of the tattoo inland from coastal ports, making it part of small town American culture. Included in the exhibition are videos, tattooing tools, flashes, and pages from Wagner’s scrapbook, providing an education in hand tattoo techniques and a closer look into Wagner’s life. Wagner met his wife, Maud, an aerialist and con-

tortionist, at the 1904 Louisiana World’s Fair. He offered her a tattooing lesson in return for a date. Under his tutelage, she became the first well-known female tattooist. Their daughter, Lovetta, began tattooing at the age of nine; unlike her mother, whose body was covered by Wagner’s work, she had no tattoos of her own. The Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin Tattoo Collection at the South Street Seaport Museum has a winding road that began when Alan Govenar was a 21-year-old studying American Folklore at Ohio State University. Seeking a subject for a fieldwork assignment, he came across a sign reading “As Ancient as Time, As Modern WAGNER continued on p. 17 Februar y 9, 2017


The long way to liking a love song A serious look at ‘Funny Valentine’ BY JIM MELLOAN


ighty years ago this April the Rodgers and Hart musical “Babes in Arms” opened on Broadway. The show contained a number of songs still well-known today, including “Where or When,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and that quintessential Valentine’s Day song, “My Funny Valentine,” which has since been performed by more than 600 artists. My sister Molly says there’s a joke: “How many New York cabaret singers does it take to sing ‘My Funny Valentine’?” “Apparently all of them.” What a funny old song it is. Far from gushing with ardor, it seems more an ode to the necessity of compromise in matters of the heart. The male object of the female singer’s affections is “funny” and “comic,” whose “looks are laughable, unphotographable.” Yet she begs him to stay. Personally, I’ve always hated it. The words seem condescending to me, and paired with music that’s cloying in its sentimentality. It’s like an artfully constructed, saccharine confection dedicated to expressing the sentiment “You’ll do.” I did a little crowdsourcing via Facebook to see how my friends feel about the song. Many love it, but a few had misgivings similar to my own. One friend loved the music but found the words “strange.” Another thought it “creepy.” Another said it was “unusual in that it’s honest, which gives unexpected force to the sentiment.” “Babes in Arms” was the original kids-putting-on-a-show musical. In this case it was kids from Long Island who a sheriff threatens to send to a work farm because their parents are all off on tour trying to stage a vaudeville revival. He gives them a two-week reprieve to put on the show. The musical was heavily revised for the 1939 Busby

Berkeley film starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, losing most of the original songs, including “My Funny Valentine,” two black teenagers, and a Communist. The song is actually sung to a character named Valentine. My old improv comrade Marty Barrett, who did the show in high school, said learning that fact was “like finding out that ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ first appeared as a jingle for a used-car dealer named Leon ‘Merry’ Christmas.” But it appears that the song came before the musical’s book, and Rodgers and Hart decided to name the character Valentine to hang the show around the song. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart met each other in 1919 while both were attending Columbia University. By the late ’20s they had become one of the most popular and prolific songwriting duos on Broadway. They wrote more than 500 songs together. While Rodgers, the composer, was a hardworking man of predictable habits, lyricist Hart was often depressed, and an alcoholic. Four-foot-ten, by most accounts he was an extremely closeted homosexual. In an interview to publicize “Babes in Arms,” he said “Love life? I have none… Who would want me?” Hart eventually became too erratic for Rodgers, who enlisted Oscar Hammerstein as a collaborator for “Oklahoma!” After a booze-soaked sojourn in Mexico, Hart returned to write lyrics for one new song for a revival of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” He wasn’t there for opening night, having commenced his last bender, and died a few days later, of pneumonia, in 1943. Rodgers continued long thereafter in a successful partnership with Hammerstein. While the song was a minor hit for a few artists in the ’40s, it became an iconic classic in the ’50s. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which trumpeter

Chet Baker joined in 1952, started doing the song in that year as an instrumental, and Baker was fascinated by it. He sang it on his first vocal album “Chet Baker Sings” in 1954. Baker, like Hart, was a troubled soul, addicted to heroin for years. He alone is said to have done more than 100 recorded performances of the song. Sinatra also did his version in 1954, and Ella Fitzgerald did hers on a double album called “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book” in 1956. Elvis Costello put out his version on the B-side of the “Oliver’s Army” single in 1979, letting it be known that he wasn’t just another p punk. By far the he most popu pula lar ve version popular on Y YouTube, with mor oree th than 41 1 more mill mi llio i n views, is byy a woman woman an n million name na med Alice Fred denh ham, m, named Fredenham, w ho o performed performed it on n thee who first week w ek of auditions we au udittionss forr th fo the 2013 sea aso son n off season “Bri “B ritain’s Got Talent.” Tal aleent.” “Britain’s The segment pulls pullls out all the tropes that ma m kes makes this show so successful: the shy, unknown singer sin inger who belts out the ssong ong ng in a master performance performaance ce and and d wows the judges. In this rendition, all hint of the condescension in the lyrics is gone;; in ninste a d t h e em-

phasis is all on the passionate plea that her Valentine will “stay.” Fredenham was eliminated on a subsequent semifinal, had a brief appearance on “The Voice UK,” put out a video of “My Funny Valentine,” and is still apparently a struggling less-than-successful singer. For my money the most impressive performance is by Chaka Khan, whose lushly orchestrated, vocally acrobatic yet soulful version is on the soundtrack for the 1995 film “Waiting to Exhale.” So have I gained a new appreciation for the song? Yeah. When I was a kid, my taste in comic books was strongly pro-DC, anti-Marvel. I liked the forthg goodness g p right of Superman and Batm n, and the conflicted perma man, sonal lives and moral aambiguities am biguities in Spider-Man and the H Hu lk literally Hulk made me queasy. I’ II’m m older now. I get it.

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit

Luigi & Langston



In Honor of Black History Month:

The story of two young By Derek Murphy slaves with a growing Dir. Mary Tierney desire for life, love, a dark comedy of Plays by famous and liberty, and the pursuit love and retribution emerging playwrights. of happiness. ... on a bloody couch February 2nd - 12th Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. 3:00 PM 16

Februar y 9, 2017

February 9th -26th Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. 3:00 PM

February 16th - 26th Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. 3:00 PM




Augustus “Gus” Wagner: “Self-Por trait, Tattoo Flash” ca. 1910-1930 (photographic print, ink, cardboard).

Pages from “Souvenirs of the Travels and Experiences of the Original Gus Wagner, Globe Trotter & Tattoo Ar tist” scrapbook, ca. 1897-1941 (leather, paper, photographic print, ink, thread).


Tattooing Tools, ca. 1900-1940 (metal, wood, bone, plastic, tex tile, paper).

WAGNER continued from p. 15


South Street Seapor t Museum Executive Director Captain Jonathan Boulware, at the exhibition’s opening reception.

as Tomorrow — Tattooing by the Teacher of the Art Since 1928.” The tattooist turned out to be Old School artist and circus performer Leonard L. “Stoney” St. Clair (1912-1980). Govenar became a frequent visitor to the shop, and his lifelong fascination with tattooing began. Today, Govenar’s body of work on the topic includes the book “Stoney Knows How: Life As a Sideshow Tattoo Artist” and its award-winning documentary film adaptation, and three books with the legendary Don Ed Hardy, whose tattoo designs became the basis for a popular fashion line. “It was very important to me to bring this [exhibition] to the Seaport Museum,” said writer, filmmaker, photographer and folklorist Govenar. “Not only for the sake of tattoo history, but to support the Museum.”

Seaport Museum Executive Director Captain Jonathan Boulware added, “Remarkably, four years after Hurricane Sandy, we’re still recovering. It’s also worth noting that we hadn’t yet fully recovered from the prior two blows: 9/11 and the recession of 2008. So, all things considered, we’re doing quite well! There’s much to be done to bring us fully back on line as the cultural anchor to the South Street Seaport Historic District, the birthplace of New York City. Exhibitions like this one are just right for us as we move ahead.” The Jan. 28 opening reception included a live demonstration, utilizing Wagner’s original tattoo design, by Daredevil Tattoo artists Brad Fink and Michelle Myles (141 Division St. in Chinatown; Michael Wyatt had flown in from Dallas to attend the opening and to be tattooed by Myles, choosing a dragon head as his image. Wyatt became acquainted with Govenar at his coffee-roasting studio, Full City Rooster. Last July, he presented a studio event, “American Tattoo: As Ancient as Time, As Modern as Tomorrow,” with Govenar as special guest speaker (the event title is the same as Govenar’s 1996 ArtBox, which contained a 48-page book, 15 postcards, and three temporary tattoos). Unlike the heavily inked Wyatt, Colin Graham, a Mariner at the Seaport Museum, was a tattoo virgin. “I don’t think most people get their first tattoo at a museum’s opening exhibition,” he said. “I was a little anxious doing it in open view of a bunch of people, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get tattooed by a first-class artist, and to choose an image from Gus Wagner’s collection. Brad joked with me while I was getting the piece done that I was going to probably feel a little lopsided and want to get one on my other arm. I do see some truth to the thought that once you have one, you’ll want another; the mental hurdle of getting your first is much bigger than for your second... I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. Brad Fink did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t imagine a better first tattoo.” On view through June 4 at the South Street Seaport Museum (12 Fulton St., btw. South & Water Sts.). Museum hours: Wed.–Sun., 11am–5pm. The exhibition is free with Museum admission: $12 for adults; $8 for seniors (65+), $6 for ages 6–17. Tickets can be purchased in person at 12 Fulton St. or online at For info about Govenar’s work, visit Februar y 9, 2017


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L.G.B.T.Q. don’t like you, Trump! No ban, no wall! RALLY continued from p. 8

St. in the Village, just blocks from the Stonewall, said, “We’ve got to get moving.� Schaps said he has greatly increased his donation to the American Civil Liberties Union. A former longtime photo editor at New York magazine, he said, “I’ve got five friends getting together� to see what actions they can take as leaders in the photography field. “Protesting on Facebook is not enough,� Schaps added. Political leaders were out in force, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, openly gay Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, and, representing the mayor, Carmelyn Malalis, the openly lesbian Human Rights Commissioner. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s openly gay counsel, Alphonso David, said, “The governor will stand by you shoulder-toshoulder to make sure every individual right is protected.� Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “We’re taking America back,� and was emphatic about not returning to “the days of back-alley abortions.� But while the governor is for these things, he is unwilling to take New York State’s Senate back from Republican leadership enabled by rogue Democrats, despite the fact that a Democratic majority was once again elected to the state Senate this past November. The defection of Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn keeps Republicans in the leadership, and separate deals with the growing Independent Democratic Conference (I.D.C.), led by Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, gives that faction leadership perks while freezing the majority of Democratic sen-


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Februar y 9, 2017

Dreams, swag, food and more — we need it!


See you in the streets!

Another sign of the times.

ators out. With Republicans controlling the state Senate agenda, attempts by the Democratic-led Assembly to codify certain reproductive rights and transgender rights and to enact Chelsea Assemblymember Dick Gottfried’s universal health insurance bill — things that would cushion the blow of Republican assaults from Washington — have gone nowhere. The Trump ascendancy puts added pressure on the disloyal Democrats, as new I.D.C. member JosĂŠ Peralta of Queens found out when he was protested against by his constituents at a town hall meeting this past week. Out gay Councilmember Danny Dromm of Queens said he was “extremely disappointedâ€? in Peralta. “He should step down immediately,â€? Dromm said. While city and state officials are making promises of never going back, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said she is not confident that all of the proposed Republican cuts in Washington can be made up by New York. “We receive $8 billion in food stamps here,â€? she said. She added that she is also alarmed about massive federal cuts to affordable housing monies that have gone to the New York City Housing Authority and into Section 8 funding.

“We should have affordable healthcare for everyone,� Marjorie Hill, the former C.E.O. of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and now head of the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center in Far Rockaway, told this reporter. “We cannot have government turn back the clock.� Before taking the stage, the U.S. Senate’s minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said, “The people are so aroused, the administration is becoming afraid.� He said he believed the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act would fail and that Betsy DeVos would not be confirmed as secretary of Education. So far, however, he is wrong on the second count, as DeVos was confirmed this week. Schumer was met with cheers, as well as some vigorous boos from activists outraged at his votes confirming some of Trump’s nominees. He gamely led the crowd in a chant of “Dump Trump!� and said, “I stand with you. We are going to make sure the Supreme Court does not turn the clock back.� There have been several large protests outside Schumer’s Prospect Park West home in Park Slope, including by the Rise & Resist L.G.B.T.Q. group. How does that make him feel? “Good,� he said. “The energy is good.� Schumer claimed not to be concerned

about “a few brickbats.� His mixed reception is an indication that the resistance to Trump is being driven and led by grassroots activists and not the politicians, as demonstrated at the massive Women’s Marches in New York, Washington and around the world the day after the inauguration and by the flood of protesters at U.S. airports immediately after Trump issued his antiMuslim executive order. “You are the conscience of this nation,� author, journalist, and activist William Rivers Pitt wrote on truth-out. org this weekend. “You are the flour and the yeast and the heat and the rising bread. You stand between what I see at night and what I know at dawn. You’re it, you’re everything. The Democrats won’t save us, nor will the Greens or the Libertarians. And, like Diogenes, I despair of finding an honest Republican in the daylight. Instead, I found you, and you found each other, and this cannot stop.� Cynthia Nixon urged the crowd to carefully preserve their energies for a fight likely to last at least four years. “We cannot be here 24 hours a day,� she said. “Our rage will consume us. We are in this for the long haul. Take care of yourself because you are our most valuable resource. We have to keep coming out.�

Februar y 9, 2017



Jesse Jane.

Jesse Jane, Mosaic Man’s canine sidekick, dies at 17


esse Jane, the faithful canine companion of Jim Power, the East Village’s “Mosaic Man,” died this past week. She was 17. Until recent years, she was a familiar sight with Power as he went about the neighborhood, and also during times when he was homeless. Named after the notorious Wild West outlaw Jesse James, she was a mixed breed. She had some pit bull in her, as well as possibly some Rottweiler. Very well trained, Jesse Jane would snooze calmly on the sidewalk next to Power as he worked on his street lampposts, decorating them with tile, broken plates and glass beads. “He’s doing very well,” Lorcan Otway, proprietor of Theatre 80 St. Mark’s, said of Power. “He misses her, but is getting on with his work and things...stoic.”

Among her favorite things, Jesse Jane loved it when Ray Alvarez would feed her hot dogs at his Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A. Times were often tough when they were homeless — before Power got a supportive-housing apartment at The Lee, on E. Houston St. — but Jesse Jane always had a sunny disposition. “I can also tell you about the time she walked herself to the park in the middle of the night, when they were living in the tent,” Otway recalled. “Jim thought she had been stolen. She came back up the street, carrying her leash in her mouth, because she knew she needed it for the dog run. So she took it with her...brilliant dog. “Did you ever see her trick with the dollar bill?” Otway continued. “He’d put a dollar on the ground, and she would pretend to guard it from him. He’d reach for it and she’d growl and bare her teeth at him. This would go on while he asked her for it, again and again. Then at last, she’d let him take it.”



e whistled to the discontented Come follow me, I will lift you up He said. Come inside and close the door And I will make you safe. But how did he get in? Why did the border guards not vet him properly As he slipped from the shadows on TV shows Onto the stage of cold reality A terrorist spouting schoolboy taunts and name calling


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Alternate truths and misdirections In a strange soft intersex voice Whittling away at 300 years of our protections, our laws Our friendships and interdependences here and with all the world Jeers and taunts, boasts and promises Impossible to keep. Oh He danced on the head of a pin. He prattled. He seduced And raped audiences and women. It was hard to watch. But he was far more entertaining Before the election.

‘Whoa, brother!’ Ray’s Night of Persian Delights BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


riends and fans of legendary Avenue A egg cream maestro Ray Alvarez “rocked the casbah” for his 84th birthday. It was pouring rain on Mon., Jan. 23, but that would never have stopped them from crowding into his hole-in-the-wall hot dog haven near E. Seventh St. Covering the pressed-tin ceiling and the posters for frozen yogurt, burgers and “Obama socks” were sheets of gauzy colored fabric hanging down like a tent, illuminated by the soft, sensual glow of red lights. It looked more like a bordello than a beignet-and-Belgian fries mecca — and that was the point. After 10 years of celebrating Ray’s birthday with burlesque dancers jiggling atop his countertop, this year his friends decided to return to Ray’s roots for “A Night of Persian Delights.” In an immigrant success story that no doubt would make Donald Trump purse his lips in outrage, Ray jumped ship from the Iranian navy to find his American Dream, which eventually led him to the East Village and the soft-serve ice cream hot spot. He was granted amnesty under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, only to have the official letter sent to the wrong address, leaving him in limbo for years. As everyone — except Trump — seems to know and appreciate, immigrants are always among the hardest workers. And Ray, who has run the store for 43 years, is no exception. He still pulls the overnight shift at the 24-hour java joint — though these days he gets a bit of assistance from a helper. So, on this night, atop the worn linoleum countertop lay a small Persian rug. Atop the rug, first there was a heaping helping of delicious food from Ravagh Persian Grill, at First Ave. between E. Seventh St. and St. Mark’s Place — steak, chicken and hummus. The food was then cleared away to make way for the pièce de résistance — belly dancer Amanda. She did a dance of the two, or possibly three, veils for Ray, then hopped up on the counter. With clicking finger cymbals and sinuous hand movements carving the air, she gyrated, spun and arched her back in a performance that riveted the crowd. Amanda even tried to get Ray to do a shoulder shimmy. “Go, Ray! Go, Ray!” called out Eden Brower, who blogs at Slum Goddess and plays ukulele and sings old-time blues in Eden & John’s East River String Band. Ray got a pig valve replacement and pacemaker for his heart last year. Most of the guys at the “Persian night”— and probably some of the women, too — could have used the same after Amanda’s steamy performance. After the dancing, came a scrumptious cake — rich chocolate with raspberry


Amanda shakes things up atop Ray’s counter top.

ing — from Veniero’s. Once again, the “Core Four” (plus one) of Ray friends made it all happen. Matt Rosen was the emcee. Shawn Chittle spun the Persian tunes. Ilya Shinkar —

along with Eugene “The Poogene,” who has helped man Ray’s counter — were in charge of decor. And Francisco Valera got the all-important cake. Before the belly dancing, Rosen gave a

Ray enjoys the show at his bir thday bash.

heartfelt speech about Ray’s meaning to the East Village. Quoting from “The Rubaiyat,” by Ray’s favorite poet, Omar Khayyam, Rosen said, “Although all religions promise paradise, take care to create your own paradise right here and now on earth.” “We are all very fortunate,” Rosen told Ray, “that you made this your paradise and that we can share it with you.” Again quoting Khayyam, Rosen said, “As much as you can avoid it, don’t give grief to anyone.” He noted that, on the other hand, Ray spreads a lot of joy, always greeting friends with a hearty call of “Hello, brother!” His equally lusty greeting to women and girls is, “I love you!” “That really makes Ray special,” Rosen noted. “Most people don’t have that kind of patience.” After the cake, Ray gave a few words. They were typically humble. “Everybody has been so nice to me,” he said, as he clasped his hands together. “I don’t think I deserve it.” “Awww!” everyone couldn’t help but gush as they applauded the lovable merchant. “I love you!” Ray answered them back. It was a night of earthly enjoyment, celebrating the pleasure of life in the moment, among good friends, with great food, dancing and merriment. Omar Khayyam would surely have approved. Februar y 9, 2017



TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


Februar y 9, 2017

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

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

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

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The Villager  

February 9, 2017

The Villager  

February 9, 2017