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

March 23, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 12

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All in all, it’s another brick in the wall . . . vs. Don deportations BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

‘T

hey talk about building a wall,” said Melissa MarkViverito, the New York City Council speaker. “We’re going to build a wall of resistance — and create a safe space for everyone.” If one sentence summed up a recent forum held by the Ur-

ban Justice Center on the idea of “sanctuary cities” — and how New York is taking actions to increasingly bolster itself as one — that was it. The event, hosted by U.J.C.’s Young Professionals Board, was held at the Rector St. office of the progressive nonprofit on the evening of Mon., March 13, SANCTUARY continued on p. 6

Better bathrooms, bishop’s poles, more in ‘people’s budget’ BY SEAN EGAN

O

n Tues., March 23, City Council District 3 residents milled about an “expo,” taking in facts and snacks and observing the handiwork of their neighbors. No, it wasn’t a crafts show, but a presentation of projects that people can vote on in

what’s known as participatory budgeting. The venue was the new P.S. 340, the Sixth Avenue Elementary School, on W. 17th St. The evening event was a prelude to the official voting period for participatory budgeting, informally known as “P.B.” BUDGET continued on p. 4

PHOTO BY MILO HESS

A rose looking at the world through green-colored glasses at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade last Friday.

Blaz shores up Pier 40 but chops Eliz. Garden BY DENNIS LYNCH

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t a town hall meeting in Chelsea last week, Mayor de Blasio heartened local youth-sports league parents when he said the city is ready to help redevelop Pier 40 to ensure its playing fields are preserved — albeit, while pointedly stressing that Governor Cuomo has to start doing his fair share for Hudson River Park.

On the other hand, the mayor dealt a crushing blow to Elizabeth St. Garden activists when he said he simply disagrees that the entire beloved Little Italy garden should be saved by shifting an affordable housing project planned there to another site. It was a tough call, though, he admitted, dubbing it “the ultimate Solomonic decision” — evoking King Solomon’s threat to cleave a child in two with a

sword to settle two women’s argument over who really was its mother. The mayor answered dozens of questions from New Yorkers during a City Council District 3 town hall meeting that lasted around three hours at the New York City Lab School last Wednesday. Councilmember Corey Johnson, who represents the disMAYOR continued on p. 8

Activists blast Canada Goose stock sale............p. 2 Ex-C.B. 3 Chair McWater puts up his dukes.....p. 23 Landmarks gave us this?.......p. 13

www.TheVillager.com


GOOSE STOCK ON THE LOOSE: Canada Goose held its initial public offering last Thursday and, as you might expect, the animal-rights activists who have been protesting constantly outside the costly coat company’s new Soho store were instead down in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Many of them were wearing coyote masks, to highlight the company’s use of real coyote-fur collars. They also cajoled Canada Goose-wearing passersby who work in the Wall St. area to shed their coyote collars — and, to their delight, a few actually did. There was also an anti-Canada Goose protest the same day at the Toronto Stock Exchange. Lauren Dee, one of the activists, gave us her take on the overpriced-parka company’s I.P.O., noting that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals apparently is trying to sabotage the company from within. “Animal-rights activism is already a stated risk per their I.P.O. fi lings, and there will be no cessation of these activities post-I.P.O.,” she declared. “Protesters worldwide are garnering a tremendous amount of public and media attention, and it is growing. Now they face the mega-influence of PETA as a sizeable shareholder. PETA will undoubtedly undermine the corporate brand and message by bringing more public awareness of the cruel methods used by Canada Goose. The majority of their celebrity brand ‘ambassadors’ are not going to risk being associated with animal abuse and torture. Fashion is volatile and unpredictable, and so is Wall St.,” Dee said. “With the company going public, Bain Capital has a clear exit strategy for when things start to slide south and the next must-have fashion trend wipes Canada Goose right off the radar.” A Canada Goose spokesperson said she would have to decline to comment about the I.P.O. protests as a result of the mandated “quiet

An animal-rights activist wearing a coyote mask and holding a bloody coyote collar (which we’re guessing was probably faux fur) outside the New York Stock Exchange last Thursday. The giant Canada Goose banner on the temple of capital, and also the Canadian flag, were added in honor of the Canadian company’s initial public offering of stock.

period” after the stock offering, which is to prevent insider-trading manipulation. However, requesting anonymity, she did mention that, to give “a sense of investor interest and appetite for the stock,” the stock priced above the announced price range and opened above where it priced on their fi rst day of trading.

GATIEN RUMOR: On Saturday night, we enjoyed partying with Downtown scenester photographer par excellence Patrick McMullan at his annual St. Patrick’s party. This year he held it at Jue Lan Club, at 49 W. 20th St., which as a manager told us, is “the back one-quarter of the old Limelight.” What’s up with Peter Gatien, the Limelight’s notorious former impresario? we wondered. Actually, 2

March 23, 2017

we briefly met Gatien there back in the day, thanks to the late nightlife legend Baird Jones, who hooked us up with Gatien, who was hanging out in some obscure inner sanctum in the old former church. Jones led us through winding hallways and up and down stairs, like in some Gothic fi lm noir, until we fi nally arrived at a room with the eye patch-wearing club kingpin and his wife. Anyway, enough with the fl ashbacks already... . In response to our question about Gatien, the Jue Lan Club manager, to our surprise, responded, “He’s back in New York. He’s looking to open up a place.” We weren’t able to fi nd out more before press time. If only Baird Jones – our old club contact — were still around, he’d confi rm it or deny it in a second. At any rate, it’s quite possible that you read it here fi rst!

TheVillager.com


Silver appeals federal corruption conviction

WON’T YOU JOIN US?

BY DENNIS LYNCH

D

isgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was in court on Thursday to appeal his 2015 conviction on seven counts of corruption, and now the ultimate fate of a man who was once one of Albany’s most influential power brokers is in the hands of a federal judge. The hearing on March 16 took only about an hour, but the appeals court “could take a day, or six months, or a year,� to decide on the appeal, according to Joel Cohen, one of Silver’s attorneys, with the law firm MoloLamken. Silver, now 72, is seeking either an outright dismissal or another trial. Now-former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged Silver in two schemes. In one, Silver directed half a million dollars in state research funds to a mesothelioma doctor who was referring his patients to Silver’s law firm for potentially lucrative lawsuits. In addition, Silver referred two major real estate firms to a law firm he did no lawyering for but from which he received large fees. Silver netted roughly $4 million in total through the two arrangements. Silver’s lawyers argued on Thursday that the former power broker’s trialcourt judge wrongly told the jury that Silver’s actions constituted an “official act,� and that the faulty instruction led to his conviction. His attorneys said he did not break the law because he never engaged in a quid pro quo action — meaning, a direct exchange of a political favor for money — in either situation. They based their argument on the outcome of a 2016 Supreme Court appeal that overturned a similar conviction handed down against former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. A jury had convicted McDonnell of accepting gifts and loans from the owner of a dietary-supplement company, in exchange for help getting the state’s public universities to study one of the company’s products. McDonnell set up meetings and events and contacted other public officials on behalf of that effort, which federal prosecutors argued constituted an “official act� within the official capacity of McDonnell’s office. However, the U.S. Supreme Court said the judge in that case, in fact, gave the jury what ended up being an “erroneous� defi nition of an official act. As a result, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction by clarifying the term as not applying to McDonnell’s actions. Based on that ruling, in order to get a conviction, prosecutors must now prove that a public official pressured or advised on some payout or scheme. TheVillager.com

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This year’s honorees include:

AP PHOTO / SETH WENIG

The once-power ful former A ssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leaving cour t last May after his sentencing to 12 years in prison on seven federal corruption counts, including ex tor tion, honest-ser vices fraud and money laundering.

Silver’s lawyers similarly argued that what he was accused of doing did not constitute an official act. Silver was not convicted on the same charges as McDonnell, however. The septuagenarian former pol faces 12 years in prison if the appeals court upholds his conviction. If served in full, that sentence could mean Silver would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Silver was the leader of the Assembly from 1994 to his conviction in 2015, serving as speaker under five governors — including father and son Mario and Andrew Cuomo. He represented Lower Manhattan in the state body from 1977 until being convicted on federal fraud charges, at which point he was immediately stripped of his office. Silver offered an emotional postconviction apology in a letter a month before he was sentenced, saying that he had “failed the people of New York.� Because of me,� Silver wrote, “the government has been ridiculed. I let my peers down, I let the people of the state down, and I let down my constituents — the people of Lower Manhattan that I live among and fought for. They deserve better,� the letter said, according to The New York Times. The McDonnell ruling could have a wide-ranging impact on corruption cases around the country, since it raises the burden of proof that prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction, according to legal experts.

Governor David Paterson

Anthony Nicodemo

Ana MarĂ­a Archila & Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Eunic Ortiz Leo Preziosi, Jr.

Christopher Bram

Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Lisa Cannistraci

Manny Rivera

Staceyann Chin

Doug Robinson

JD Davids

Therese Rodriguez

AndrĂŠs Duque

Allen Roskoff

Bryan John Ellicott

Robyn Streisand

Ashley C. Ford Suzanne Goldberg

Christopher Tepper & Paul Kelterborn

Oriol R. Gutierrez

Jennifer Flynn Walker

Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones

Jillian Weiss

Howie Katz

Edie Windsor

Terrance Knox

Mel Wymore

Donna Lieberman

Emanuel Xavier

Carmen Neely >`SaS\bSRPg(

List in formation

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Post your congratulations message in the special keepsake issue proďŹ ling the honorees on March 30, 2017 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for proďŹ t local LGBT and community organizations

Contact Amanda Tarley For More Information 718-260-8340 | amanda@gaycitynews.com

gaycitynews.nyc March 23, 2017

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Participatory budget voting set to start Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009

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March 23, 2017

BUDGET continued from p. 1

Under the process, district residents propose and then vote on capital-improvement projects. The winners will be awarded money from a pot of $1 million in discretionary funds — anywhere from roughly $100,000 up to $500,000, based on the type of project — set aside by Councilmember Corey Johnson. Voting starts Sat., March 25 (both online, at tinyurl.com/ kdkyh26, and at select voting sites) and runs for a full week through Sun., April 2. People can support up to five projects. School improvements are one of the most popular types of project on the “P.B.” ballot. “We’re in an old building, we have very limited outlet useage,” explained Nicole Barth, a parent from P.S. 3, at Hudson and Grove Sts. “We’re scared of overloading the electrical system.” Those fears would be addressed by the new, upgraded electrical panel and quad outlets on the P.B. ballot for the Village school. Meanwhile, school parent Alice Ho was concerned with unsafe drinking water at the Lab and Museum Schools, at 333 W. 17th St., where some water outlets have tested positive for lead. “We basically weren’t feeling warm and fuzzy when the numbers of parts per million kept going up with each test,” she said. She noted that the 12 water fountains for Lab on the P.B. ballot would ensure safe drinking water for staff and students. Advocating for air conditioning for the library at P.S. 111, at 440 W. 53rd St. in the Hell’s Kitchen part of the district was Trevor Richardson, the school’s P.T.A. co-president. Almost all of the school’s A/C units are broken, according to Richardson. “The library is a key spot in our school that’ll help a lot of people,” he said, noting that public places like this would be targeted for cooling to help provide relief to students and the wider community during the summer months. Repairs to the bathrooms at the Humanities Educational Complex (home to six schools), at 351 W. 18th St. are badly needed, according to student Nicole Bernardo, who called

PHOTO BY SEAN EGAN

Hoping to make a connection: At the P.B. project expo, Nicole Bar th stumped for funds to update the electrical system at P.S. 3 in the Village.

them “a mess.” There are broken stalls and tiles and missing sinks, she said. High School of Fashion Industries, at 225 W. 24th St., would get a technology upgrade if its ballot item is among the top vote-getters. Another major category of projects involved the improvement and upkeep of public spaces, like parks and gardens. “The block has been fighting for over 20 years,” said JD Noland of efforts to get a new Hell’s Kitchen park off the ground. Now, with the Parks Department approving the use of a location at 10th Ave. and W. 48th St., Noland sees P.B. funds as a way of officially getting the ball rolling. “We need it for the children of Hell’s Kitchen,” he said. Liam Buckley was stumping for general repairs for the playground at Penn South, the Chelsea moderate-income housing complex in the W. 20s between Eighth and Ninth Aves. “It’s become outdated,” he said of the playground. Things are breaking, things are dirty.” Representing the nearby Elliott-Chelsea Houses, resident Darlene Waters said people should vote for proposed improvements for the public housing complex’s garden. “We’ve been getting a lot of complaints from parents about

how open the yards are,” she said. The improvements would include fencing, which would keep kids from easily running out into nearby streets. Fencing was also on the mind of Jack Intrator, a historian and volunteer with the Jefferson Market Garden, at Greenwich and Sixth Aves. in the Village. He was making a pitch for P.B. funds to replace the garden’s northern chain-link fence, which he called a “security issue,” as well as “a toolshed that’s past its longevity.” Other ballot items include installing historic-style bishop’s crook street lampposts along Seventh Ave. South, between Christopher and Bleecker Sts., in the Greenwich Village Historic District; adding realtime electronic rider information signs at five key bus stops around the district; creating handicapped-accessible bathroom facilities at the Hudson Park Library, at 66 Leroy St.; repairing all safety surfacing, roofs on play equipment, adding new trees and replanting green space at the Bleecker St. Playground, at Hudson and W. 11th Sts.; renovating the basketball court at Chelsea Park, at W. 27th St. and 10th Ave.; and resurfacing the toddler sprinkler at the Robert Fulton Houses, at W. 16th St. and Ninth Ave. Councilmember Johnson

praised the turnout at the expo and encouraged everyone to get out there and vote for the projects they support. “I think really now, more than ever,” he said, “given the trauma that we face every day reading the news, it’s important for everyone to be engaged locally. It really is like watching democracy in action.” Voting locations include the L.G.B.T. Center, at 208 W. 13th St., between Seventh and Greenwich Aves., March 25-26 and April 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Greenwich House, at 27 Barrow St., between W. Fourth and Bleecker Sts., March 25-26 and April 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Johnson’s District Office, at 224 W. 30th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves., Suite 1206, March 27-31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fulton Houses Tenants Association Office, 419A W. 17th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves., March 25-26 and April 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Hudson Guild Elliott Center, at 441 W. 26th St. at 10th Ave., March 25-26 and April 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Fountain House, at 425 W. 47th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves., March 25-26 and April 1-2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Again, you can also vote online, at tinyurl.com/kdkyh26. For more information, visit coreyjohnson.nyc/pb.

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Adding more N.Y.C. bricks in the wall vs. Trump SANCTUARY continued from p. 1

a few hours before the big snowstorm hit town. Joining Mark-Viverito on the expert panel were Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City; Lourdes Rosado, the civil-rights bureau chief at the New York State Attorney General’s Office; and Danielle Alvarado, an immigrant-rights attorney with the U.J.C.’s Community Development Project. Though “sanctuary city” has become an accepted part of our vocabulary — though not by Donald Trump — it’s a relatively new term, having evolved, at least in the case of New York City, only over the past 15 years or so. But the concept has obviously taken on far greater significance now with the new president vowing to deport millions of undocumented immigrants — particularly those he vaguely disparages as “the bad ones.” In New York, the nation’s largest city, with 8.5 million people, Trump’s threats have created a deep chill. Immigrants make up 40 percent of the population here — that’s the biggest amount of immigrants, both by percentage and sheer numbers, of any city in the world. “We are obviously in an awful climate right now,” said Mark-Viverito. “There’s a lot of fear.” The speaker of the City Council for the past three years, Mark-Viverito said she does consider New York to be a de facto sanctuary city. However, as the panel’s moderator, reporter Jeff Mays, formerly of DNAinfo, and the other panelists agreed, technically speaking, there is no official definition of what a sanctuary city actually is. Nevertheless, the effort to create this refuge has been vigorous and is ongoing. It’s been multipronged, involving executive orders passed by former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of the “ICE Detainer Bill,” changes in police enforcement to minimize immigrants’ contact with the criminal-justice system, and an effort to keep Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers out of Rikers Island. Things started under Bloomberg, who passed executive orders generally barring city employees — other than law enforcement — from inquiring about people’s immigration status, plus mandating that no one be denied city services based on their residency status. Also based on an executive order by Bloomberg, police, as well, are not supposed to inquire about a person’s immigration status “unless investigating illegal activity other than mere status as an undocumented alien.” “It shall be the policy of the Police Department not to inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses or others who call or approach the police seeking assistance,” one of Bloomberg’s several orders stated. Speakers on the panel noted that it’s

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March 23, 2017

PHOTO BY YEKATERINA GYADU

Immigration attorney Danielle Alvarado spoke at the March 13 forum on sanctuar y cities as Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the city’s New Sanctuar y Coalition, listened.

very important for immigrants to feel safe approaching police — both for immigrants’ own safety and for the public’s

‘They have only one goal in mind — ethnic cleansing.’ Ravi Ragbir

safety, in general. As the Council speaker said, “We don’t want an immigrant who witnesses a shooting not to call the police.” In addition, the “ICE Detainer Bill,” signed into law by de Blasio in late 2014, dramatically reduced New York City’s cooperation with the feds regarding ICE deportations. Basically, the city said it would not turn over information on lowlevel offenders with immigration issues, and would not detain them for an additional 48 hours after their cases were resolved — even if the charges have been dropped or dismissed — so that ICE agents could come get them. “Let’s remember,” Mark-Viverito stressed, “if you’re being held at Rikers, you’re accused of a crime – you’re not convicted of a crime. ICE had records of those rosters. We were colluding and feeding into this broken deportation system, letting ICE know about people accused of a crime.” Also, in May 2016, the City Coun-

cil passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which creates “more-proportional penalties” for certain low-level, nonviolent offenses, including having an open container of alcohol in public, being in a park after hours, littering, public urination and unreasonable noise. These cases are now being sent to civil court rather than criminal court — so the individuals do not receive a permanent criminal record. In addition, the City Council is working with the New York Police Department to modify its Transit Bureau policies, notably by having police just issue a summons rather than making an arrest for turnstile-jumping. Again, this keeps the individual out of the criminal-justice system, and he or she does not get fingerprinted. As Mark-Viverito summed it up, “We’re really pushing the envelope as a city, in terms of protecting immigrants.” She added that New York City leaders will meet with those from other self-declared sanctuary cities around the country this month to discuss how they can better work together to combat deportations. Trump, of course, has said that sanctuary cities are violating the law by shielding illegal aliens — and has threatened to punish these metropolises by withholding federal funding. But Rosado, from the state A.G.’s office, said there is leeway in immigration-enforcement regulations. “There are places where it’s voluntary or not to follow federal law,” she noted. In her introduction of Ragbir, MarkViverito noted that he had “legally immigrated” here from Trinidad. But Ragbir took exception to that. “Let’s stop using qualifying words,” he said. “You said I legally immigrated here. I migrated to the U.S.,” he stressed. “Migration is a natural process.” Ragbir noted he has “to be careful” what he says in public since he has to

“check in” again with ICE officials next month. He formerly worked for a mortgage lender and was convicted in 2001 of wire fraud — and thus faces deportation. He was under house arrest for three years, served two-and-a-half years in prison, and then two more years in immigrant detention, according to an interview earlier this month on WBAI’s “Democracy Now!” His green card remains subject to review. According to The Observer, he was ordered to be deported in 2006, but received a stay of removal in 2011, extending to 2018. Even though he is married to a U.S. citizen, the government refuses to normalize his status. In the meantime, Ragbir has been leading the city’s interfaith New Sanctuary Coalition, which is based out of Judson Memorial Church, on Washington Square South, in the Village. The passage of the ICE Detainer Bill was a major victory for the coalition. “In 2014, we literally got ICE out of Rikers Island,” he said. “Actually getting them out of that space was huge.” Ragbir offered some other advice for how to thwart ICE: basically, make the agents’ job as difficult as possible. He referred to last month’s ICE raids in New York City, which included the arrest of at least two men on Staten Island for violent crimes — although immigrant advocates say more people were actually busted in that borough than ICE is admitting. “They went to Staten Island,” Ragbir said. “Can you guess why they went there? They were going where the community would welcome them.” Yet, ICE agents still need a warrant to enter a home, he noted. So a good first step for protection is just to lock your door, he offered. “If ICE comes into an area and everyone locks their door and no one is on the street — what happens? ICE becomes ineffective,” he stated. Also, Ragbir advised that if people are “accosted by ICE,” they should just show their IDNYC — the new municipal ID card created by de Blasio — which is obtainable by anyone living in New York, regardless of immigration status. “They will not know your status,” he said. “That was the idea of municipal ID… . And if you are bilingual, speak in Spanish,” he added. Also, Ragbir suggested, as much as possible, people should flood ICE’s offices in a show of support whenever an immigrant convicted of a crime has to go for a check-in, as many — including Speaker Mark-Viverito — did for him at his check-in last month. Hundreds rallied outside the ICE office down by Foley Square when Ragbir went for his checkin. “What if we had 600 people who showed up for every person who had a check-in with ICE?” he said. Alvarado, of U.J.C., added that, even SANCTUARY continued on p. 20 TheVillager.com


Toward a New America

It takes a Villager. Your local news source

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

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

A

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

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 BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE

T

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

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

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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

I

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

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7


De Blasio shores up Pier 40 but he chops down MAY0R continued from p. 1

trict, had planned the town hall, and then the mayor asked to join in, according to a Johnson staffer. Johnson’s West Side district stretches from Canal St. to W. 63rd St., and includes the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Anyone could ask the mayor anything — and many of the questions had citywide interest. People pushed de Blasio on topics as local as excessive honking on the corner of W. 23rd St. and Eighth Ave. and as national as confronting President Donald Trump on his immigration policies. De Blasio had commissioners and deputy commissioners from all the city’s agencies on hand to answer specific questions and often deferred to them. The mayor gave a quick nod to former state Senator Tom Duane, a man he called a “legend” in Albany and within the local community. Duane represented much of the area before retiring and being succeeded by Brad Hoylman. Daniel Miller, a former president of the Greenwich Village Little League and a current member of the Community Board 2 Pier 40 Working Group, asked the mayor about his commitment to the treasured Lower West Side “family sports pier.” De Blasio’s administration kicked in $14 million for the pier along with last year’s approval of the St. John’s Partners project across the West Side Highway. Also under the deal, the St. John’s developer paid the Hudson River Park Trust $100 million for air rights from Pier 40 — with the money set to be funneled into repair of the pier’s corroded metal support pilings. Noting he was speaking for the families and “thousands of children” who use the pier, Miller thanked the mayor for the $114 million for the pier, and asked what he will do to ensure the pier’s viability for the future. “We know that this is only the beginning,” Miller said, “and that massive repairs are needed to keep our ball fields and Pier 40 open.” For its users, Miller said, the pier’s community feeling “turns New York into a small town.” At the same time, he said, the sportsleague parents accept the idea that some amount of economic development of the pier is needed to help ensure both the pier and the whole 5-mile-long Hudson River Park’s future well-being. Currently, Pier 40, due to the millions of dollars in annual revenue from its parking operation, is one of the waterfront park’s major revenue generators. De Blasio put some of the onus on the governor, saying, “Part of the answer is to get the state into this game. I have seen a troubling trend of the state trying to ‘outsource’ costs onto the city. Yes, we are ready to keep making investments, but we want to start getting a clear commitment from the state at the same time,” de Blasio said.

8

March 23, 2017

PHOTO BY DENNIS LYNCH

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Councilmember Corey Johnson listended at last week’s District 3 town hall as Chelsea tenant leader Miguel Acevedo, right, asked about what the cit y is doing for minorit y- and women-owned businesses and about hiring practices at the new Hudson Yards development.

‘The decision I came to [on the garden] was to do a split.’ Bill de Blasio

James Paget, the new commissioner of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, added, “The city is very committed to seeing the development and complete reconstruction of Pier 40.” Paget said “the most important next step” is for the park’s legislation to be amended in Albany. Apparently, he was referring to the Trust’s plan to redevelop the W. Houston St. pier with commercial office space, which the Hudson River Park Act currently doesn’t allow. “As soon as we have that, the city will absolutely come to the table to find a solution to all of the crucial issues,” Paget said. C.B. 2 member Susan Wittenberg asked de Blasio about saving the full Elizabeth St. Garden — citing what she felt was a similar case in Chelsea. “Corey was successful on the swap that got the 20th St. park” and afford-

able housing that was slated for that site moved to another location, she noted. C.B. 2, meanwhile has repeatedly asked the mayor to shift the senior housing development planned for the garden to an alternative site on Hudson St. where “five times” as much affordable housing could be built, she said. She noted that Johnson supports the alternative plan. Johnson’s support is tacit, though, since he doesn’t want to publicly cross Councilmember Margaret Chin, who is laser-focused on ramming the Elizabeth St. housing plan through to completion. But the mayor stood firm. “You and your colleagues have done a fine job and have gotten your point across and been everywhere,” de Blasio told her, supportively. Indeed, the garden advocates have buttonholed the mayor outside the Prospect Park YMCA in Brooklyn when he was doing his morning workout and also outside The Cooper Union before he gave a speech on immigration there. However, he told Wittenberg, “I’m very much clear that this was the ultimate Solomonic decision. The whole site was slated for affordable housing and there was no public space. You had an active public space in the interim — and a very good use, obviously,” the mayor said of the thriving community garden space. “The decision I came to was to do a split — where there would still be public space and there would be space for activities, but we could also put in affordable housing for seniors that was desperately needed in the community.” Under the city’s plan, only about 5,000

square feet would be preserved for public use — or about one-quarter of the current block-through lot. The gardeners have repeatedly begged de Blasio to come see the sculpture-andfoliage festooned garden for himself. “I do look forward to visiting the site, I want to see it with my own eyes,” he offered. But he continued, “So, right now that’s where we are, and I don’t see that changing. I believe we’re in the right place — even though I know you disagree.” Also, if garden activists and C.B. 2 keep offering up alternative sites for the housing, the city will be happy to look at them, he said — but the plan for Elizabeth St. won’t change. “If there is another site, we will certainly evaluate it,” de Blasio stated, “but not as an ‘either or.’” Both de Blasio and Johnson frequently asked people to do more to help flip the state Senate to majority Democratic, citing the Republican-controlled body as a major roadblock for many of the policies the Democratic-controlled City Council wants to make law. De Blasio was asked about “underfunding” at public schools. “We need to fight harder” for state funding, de Blasio said, adding, “We will hit 100 percent fair funding for every school by 2021,” as long as current funding remains steady. Johnson followed him, stressing that if the city wants to better secure school funding, among other things, change is MAYOR continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com


Eliz. St. Garden in ‘ultimate Solomonic decision’ MAYOR continued from p. 8

needed in Albany. “We have to turn the state Senate Democratic,” the councilmember stressed. On congestion pricing, some may be dismayed to learn that Mayor de Blasio said he “is not there yet.” Under the traffic-reducing scheme, drivers would be charged more money for being in a certain areas, such as in Manhattan. But the mayor is not convinced it’s the way to approach traffic issues. On the other hand, he is convinced it would not pass through either house in the state Legislature. When asked broadly about the city “getting out from under the yoke of Albany,” de Blasio said the first thing he would do is “strengthen rent regulation.” For two years in a row now, the Rent Guidelines Board — which the mayor controls through his appointees on it— has enacted a rent freeze for one-year lease renewals for rent-regulated apartments. Robin Rothstein, another C.B. 2 member, asked the mayor about helping small businesses stay in business in the face of skyrocketing rents and a deluge of bars. Councilmember Johnson said “commercial rent regulation,” which has been proposed in the city for years via the Small Business Jobs Survival Act can’t happen without Albany’s support. To the immense frustration of advocates, however, the S.B.J.S.A. has never been allowed to come up for a vote in the City Council. “It’s never going to happen, because of Albany,” Johnson declared. “Let’s turn the state Senate Democratic and then talk about all the wonderful things we want to do in the world.” Many locals pushed de Blasio about land use. Jean-Daniel Noland, chairperson of the Clinton / Hell’s Kitchen Land Use Committee of Community Board 4, asked the mayor personally for help bringing affordable housing to the district. Molly Park, deputy commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, announced that her department would issue a request for proposals, or R.F.P., for two affordable sites at Hudson Yards in the late spring or early summer. D.O.B. Commissioner Rick Chandler was asked about bad-actor landlords who misrepresent their buildings’ status to obtain demolition permits to scare off rent-regulated tenants, which in some cases can be a felony. “I would love nothing more than to get an owner on a felony if I could,” Chandler said, adding that he was working to close loopholes in D.O.B. permit applications that could allow landlords to misrepresent their buildings. De Blasio added that his administration was hiring more inspectors to help enforce rules. A public-school teacher asked the mayor about ensuring that immigrant chilTheVillager.com

Elizabeth St. Garden suppor ters recently staged yet another “ Wake up!” rally to tr y to persuade Mayor de Blasio to save the endangered Little Italy green oasis. This time they held their action outside the former Rivington House AIDS hospice, at Forsy th and Rivington Sts. Now primed for residential development, the onetime Lower East Side school building’s scandalous sale has dogged the mayor’s administration. In late 2015, the city’s Depar tment of City wide Administrative Ser vices quietly removed the proper t y’s deed restrictions for use as a nonprofit medical facilit y, and it was subsequently bought, and then soon flipped to a new developer who plans a luxur y conversion. The garden advocates say Rivington House — in addition to a number of other local sites — would be a per fect spot for the affordable senior housing the mayor wants to put on Elizabeth St., which would destroy the garden.

dren feel safe in school. De Blasio said that he and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina have told parents and students “that they are respected and protected regardless of their origins.” “Regardless of their immigration status,” the mayor said, “when they come to their school, they are in someplace safe, and no information will ever be shared with the federal authorities.” Answering a broader question about the city’s sanctuary policies, he said that the city would provide legal assistance to individuals the city sees as wrongly threatened with deportation. Heather Campbell, a P.S. 41, parent, asked de Blasio if he was doing anything to decrease school size and to counter policies that may hurt public schools that many expect from Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s secretary of the Department of Education. “We’re never going to go to vouchers,” de Blasio vowed, speaking of publicly funded grants for students to attend private schools. However, de Blasio said, budget issues, a growing population and severe overcrowding elsewhere in the city “does not allow us to do as much as we want to on class size.” Lorraine Grillo, president and C.E.O. of the School Construction Authority, listed some local projects, including the new middle school at 75 Morton St. in

‘[The S.B.J.S.A.] is never going to happen, because of Albany.’ Corey Johnson

the West Village, and two sites “near New York University” and Hudson Square they are “debating.” Indeed, Village-area school advocates have long pushed for a new public school at Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place — on the current Morton Williams supermarket site on an N.Y.U.-owned superblock — and another one as a promised part of a Trinity Real Estate residential tower planned at Sixth Ave. and Canal St. A West Village Houses co-op shareholder asked the mayor to help create a better deal than the one the city originally helped broker back in 2004, when the majority of the complex’s owners bought their units. Under the original

deal, shareholders were set to lose a tax abatement next year that they have been enjoying since the sale and, in turn, be hit with a huge property-tax increase. The city has been working to renegotiate the deal — but in return for continuing the tax abatement, the co-op owners would not be able to sell their units at market rate for 20 years. Not all the owners are happy with the offer. “I tend to think we can find our way to something good,” the mayor assured. H.P.D.’s Park said her agency “would very much like” to work something out. Johnson said he was willing to broker a meeting, and reiterated to Deputy Commissioner Park that the folks at West Village Houses “were not happy with the H.P.D. offer.” The mayor also fielded questions on public housing. Tenants from the Chelsea-Elliot Houses said they had heard that the city was pushing a new preventative program to exterminate rats at the complex. Speaking more generally, de Blasio said he would fight proposed federal budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, hopefully maintaining some funding for the New York City Housing Authority. Trump’s proposed budget came up again later in the town hall, although city administrators, stressing that the budget was far from final, didn’t get into many specifics. A woman asked how the city’s Department of Environmental Protection would step up to fill in roles of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Trump wants to slash the E.P.A.’s funding by $2.4 billion, or more than a quarter of its current $8.1 billion budget. “We cannot do everything the E.P.A. does,” de Blasio said. “I think that’s the sad truth. We can use all our powers and work with the state...if we see there is some gap we can legally act on.” At the town hall’s start, the mayor plugged his plan to consolidate homelessshelter beds currently in hundreds of hotels and apartments into 90 city-designated shelters, but no one asked him about the plan. Councilmember Johnson, however, is co-sponsoring legislation that seems at odds with the mayor’s plan, which seeks to site shelters in the communities from which people enter the shelter system. The Council legislation, on the other hand, aims to spread the facilities more “equitably” around the city based on the Fair Share principle. De Blasio also advocated for his “mansion tax” — a 2.5 percent tax on the sale of homes for $2 million or more. The city’s Office of Management and Budget estimates the fee could net $336 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the New York Post. Such a tax has floated around since Governor Mario Cuomo first proposed it, but so far no one has been able to put it into law.

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson March 23, 2017

9


POLICE BLOTTER

Mouth mauler

Fatal bridge crash

9th detective dies

Mar. 19, at 4:05 a.m. inside 7 Car-

A young Brooklyn woman celebrating her birthday was killed early on Thurs., March 16, when the car driven by an allegedly drunk New York Police Department traffic agent went out of control on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. Amanda Miner, 21, of Southside Williamsburg, was pronounced dead at the scene after the 3:14 a.m. crash. The car’s driver, Officer Stefan Hoyte, and a 24-year-old man who was the front-seat passenger, were both taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries and listed in stable condition. An investigation by the N.Y.P.D. Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad determined that the gray 2013 Infi nity four-door sedan was traveling eastbound on the bridge, struck the median dividing the inner and outer roadways, and then struck a support pillar. Miner, the rear-seat passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and came to rest in the roadway. Hoyte was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated and imprudent speed.

Detective Shaniqua Osborne, 42, a 19-year veteran officer at the Ninth Precinct, died after suffering a massive heart attack around 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 16, while on duty at the E. Fifth St. stationhouse. She died soon after at “a local hospital,” according to a report on the NJ Blue Now Facebook page. She was a married mother and also a sister to an N.Y.P.D. sergeant, the Facebook page said. Captain Vincent Greany, the precinct’s commanding officer, announced the tragic news at the March 21 meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council. The precinct’s Twitter account posted the message: “With heavy hearts we mourn the loss of Det Shaniqua Osbourne, a 19 year vet of the pct. An amazing soul that will not be forgotten.” Later that night, a switchboard operator at the precinct said Osborne lived on Long Island. There will be a service for her on Friday afternoon in Jamaica, Queens, at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, 110-31 Merrick Boulevard, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

24-year-old woman, said she and her

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March 23, 2017

mine St., police said. The victim, a husband got into an argument and he jammed his fi ngers into her mouth and forcefully stretched it open, causing bruising, bleeding and pain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the suspect also bit her on the arm. Vincent Molinari, 23, was arrested for misdemeanor assault.

ICE’y arrests Twenty-five protesters were arrestDetective Shaniqua Osborne was a 19-year veteran of the N.Y.P.D.

ed for civil disobediance after they knelt down to pray and blocked traffic outside the Immigration and Cus-

Bad management According to police, a supervisor got a little too heavy-handed with an employee in front of 160 W. 12th St. on Mon., Mar. 13 at 7 a.m. A man, 36, told cops that he and his supervisor got into an argument over his dismissal time. The dispute escalated and the manager, Christian Cruz-Rodriguez, 32, allegedly punched the victim, causing a cut to his lip. Cruz-Rodriguez was arrested for misdemeanor assault.

toms Enforcement detention center at 75 Varick St. last Thurs., March 16. The protesters were part of a citywide coalition of multifaith and faithbased congregations. According to a press release, “Hundreds of supporters looked on and stood by in support to call on the mayor and the City Council to stop targeting immigrant and refugee New Yorkers and communities of color.” The group started with a rally at Washington Square Park representing Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu

Vape scrape

communities. Choirs started the pro-

Police said a man was violently attacked with a vaporizer in front of 228 Bleecker St. at 4 a.m. on Sat., Mar. 18. The victim, 41, stated that the suspect hit him in the face with the metal vaporizer several times. The attack caused swelling, contusions, a cut to the head and substantial pain. He was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital for treatment. Joshua D. Wallace, 31, was arrested for felony assault. It wasn’t immediately clear what sparked the attack.

gospel rap performance from mem-

gram in song and dance, including a bers of the Bronx artist collective Thy Wai. The

activists

slammed

Donald

Trump’s travel ban a.k.a. “Muslim ban 2.0,” and decried the New York Police Department’s “Broken Windows” enforcement policy against low-level offenses. They then marched through the West Village, singing and chanting,

Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.

JOSEPH LICHTER, D.D.S.

A domestic assault occurred Sun.,

Snapple attack A man was attacked inside the Rite Aid at 501 Sixth Avenue on Sun., Mar. 19, at 6:55 p.m., police said. Cops said the suspect charged the victim, 21, knocking him to the ground, and punching him while he was down. The suspect also threw a glass Snapple bottle at the other man. The alleged attacker, Carlos Pizarro, 24, also reportedly resisted arrest by fl ailing his arms and refusing to be handcuffed. He was charged with felony assault.

stopping at the Stonewall Inn to say prayers for six transgender women murdered in the fi rst three months of this year. “We are calling on Mayor de Blasio to decriminalize low-level offenses and fully fund legal representation for low-income New Yorkers in deportation proceedings,” said Pastor Rich Perez of Christ Crucified Fellowship.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com


Arch ’nt yah glad to be reading your community newspaper?

s s i m t n o D g’e issue! a sin l Call ûõüĘöúôĘöùõú To Subscribe! TheVillager.com

March 23, 2017

11


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Stores we actually need

support community nEWS!

To The Editor: Re “The malling of Soho: Big-box plan sparks big anger from locals” (news article, March 16): Soho residents should go even a step further and demand businesses that serve the community. Our community needs a grocery store. We need a diner. We need neighborhood bookstores. We need our neighborhood shoe repair and dry cleaner. We don’t need another chain women’s clothing store or chain sneaker store. Jessica Wolff

Bad-news behemoth To The Editor: Re “The malling of Soho: Big-box plan sparks big anger from locals” (news article, March 16): I’ve lived directly across from 462 Broadway since 1971, and cringe at the thought of such a behemoth invading our beloved neighborhood.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE VILLAGER

CALL 718-260-2516

Leil Lowndes

Office use would work To The Editor: Re “The malling of Soho: Big-box plan sparks big anger from locals” (news article, March 16): It seems that an excellent win-win solution for the landlord and residents would be commercial offices. Office use would be low impact — little traffic, far less garbage, fewer deliveries — and much more in character with the neighborhood. Allan Meislin

Fur sure, times changed To The Editor: Re “The faces of protest: Who really are Canada Goose animal-rights activists?” (interviews, March 16): Nice to see what looks like a diverse group of individuals coming together to fight for something they believe in. I find it inspiring. Back in my day, you would not be caught dead walking around with fur in New York City. I miss those simpler times.

I hope my grandkids don’t grow up to hate animals. Vierra Roberta

Sorry, fur is not humane To The Editor: Re “Ethical fur versus intolerant animal activists” (talking point, by Alan Herscovici, March 16): Leg-hold traps do not discriminate, and often family pets and endangered species are the victims of their cruelty. Many animals die trying to free themselves, as well as from dehydration, blood loss and hypothermia. Some chew off their own limbs desperately trying to escape. This is humane? Fur trim is added to jackets for luxe appeal and is completely unnecessary for warmth in most of the climates where sales are highest. The fur industry rationalizes its use for their own profit, but fur simply is unnecessary, outdated and inhumane. To cite the use of petrochemicals used in synthetic fabrics is just silly since the shells of all of the popular brands, such as Canada Goose, are all synthetic. Most fur in the U.S. comes from China where there are no regulations about how the animals are raised or killed. Arguing that fur in fashion is sustainable, safe and humane is simply wrong. Ellen Reznick

PeopleWay? No way! To The Editor: Re “What the L? TransAlt vol is accused of not ID’ing self at forum” (news article, March 9): I urge all block associations, community coalitions and tenant-resident alliances in the immediate vicinity of 14th St. to broaden your outreach to similar likeminded groups in Greenwich Village and the East and West Village to stop the ridiculous idea of closing 14th St. to traffic. This proposal impacts us, too. The Greenwich Village Block Associations, a coalition of 25 member organizations, lists contact information for all of them on its Facebook page. Is there an online petition we can sign? It’s going LETTERS continued on p. 14

IRA BLUTREICH

Mayer de Blasio dances his way out of an indictment. 12

March 23, 2017

TheVillager.com


What’s wrong with Landmarks Commission?

TALKING POINT BY ANDREW BERMAN

T

his is a question many in the Village, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, have been asking of late. A string of controversial approvals at 11 Jane St., 145 Perry St., and 60-74 Gansevoort St. seem to undermine the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s very purpose to preserve and protect the historic character of landmarked districts like Greenwich Village. There’s no denying that the L.P.C.’s decisions to approve a very out-of-context new apartment building at 11 Jane St., a mega-mansion and apartment building at 145 Perry St. that looks straight out of Rodeo Drive or Miami Beach, and an oversized new building and overpowering addition at 60-74 Gansevoort St. were highly damaging, disappointing decisions. But there have been some very good decisions coming out of the L.P.C. recently, as well. Its rejection of plans for oversized towers for a mega-mansion at 85-93 Jane St., turning the project instead into a sensitive restoration and modest addition, was quite welcome. So too was the commission’s recent rejection of a large, highly visible proposed rooftop addition to the landmarked Keller Hotel at Barrow and West Sts., as well as its rebuffing of a plan to replace a crumbling building at Bleecker and Christopher Sts. with a garishly oversized one, approving instead a more faithful recreation of the historic building that stood on the site. There’s been some good news on other fronts with the L.P.C., as well. In December, over the objections of the powerful Real Estate Board of New York and the New York Archdiocese, the L.P.C. approved the third and final phase of G.V.S.H.P.’s proposed South Village Historic District, covering 175 buildings on a dozen blocks, which the city resisted landmarking more than a decade. (Though, as has been widely reported, the city’s hand was forced by G.V.S.H.P. and Councilmember Corey Johnson). And earlier, the L.P.C. finally landmarked two buildings that had been under consideration for landmark designation for almost 50 years — an 1817 Federal house at 57 Sullivan St., and the 1866 Tifereth Israel Synagogue at 334 E. 14th St. — neither of which would have happened without years of campaigning by advocates, of course. So is the picture actually rosy, in spite of a few setbacks? Hardly. The approvals on Jane, Perry, and Gansevoort Sts. are downright disturbing, and are not isolatTheVillager.com

A design for the “Gansevoor t Row” project at 60-74 Gansevoor t St. in the landmarked Meatpacking District, which the local community strongly opposed but which the L .P.C. approved.

A design for a new “mega-mansion” at 145 Perr y St. that the L .P.C. O.K.’d, but which local residents and preser vationists have condemned as straight out of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive.

ed incidents. We have seen the L.P.C. under the de Blasio administration become increasingly generous with the scale and design of what it considers “appropriate.” Worse, the agency too often seems susceptible to being worn down by developers — come back enough times with slightly revised plans, it seems, and the L.P.C. will almost inevitably say yes. Beyond that, there is no denying that this administration not only does not see preserving historic buildings or neighborhood scale as a priority, but too often sees it as the enemy. But for better or worse, it’s worth

keeping in mind that we have faced similar challenges with prior administrations. Arguably, no administration was friendlier to developers and more hostile to preservation than the Giuliani administration. The big difference there was the real estate market was not nearly as hot as today, so there were many fewer opportunities for the L.P.C. to give away the farm. And bad decisions by the L.P.C. have hardly been limited to the Giuliani and de Blasio administrations. Two of the most shocking approvals came under Mayor Bloomberg, whose administra-

tion approved the 13-story, undulating glass tower at 122 Greenwich Ave. (W. 13th St.), and the 12-story tower rising on the southeast corner of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields block at 100 Barrow St. Going back further, it’s hard to believe the hulking, brown-brick buildings of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital were approved by the L.P.C. in the 1980s without at least some attempt to make them a bit more contextual. In fact, to help put recent L.P.C. decisions in context, G.V.S.H.P. has produced a report showing every new building approved by the L.P.C. in the Greenwich Village Historic District since its creation in 1969, which can be found at www. gvshp.org/newbuilding. In addition to some of these aforementioned, troubling head-scratchers, you’ll see some iconic and wonderfully contextual buildings, including the sharply angled row house at 18 W. 11th St. that replaced the home destroyed by the Weathermen bomb factory in 1970, and the block-long “Washington Court” apartment and retail complex on Sixth Ave. between Washington and Waverly Place — both of which are considered paradigms of contextual architecture now, but were highly controversial at the time. So, while some may say that in light of recent decisions, landmarking no longer makes any difference, and the public has no impact, the broader picture says nothing could be farther from the truth. Aside from the considerable list of positive decisions the L.P.C. has made recently, it’s important to recognize what would happen if there were no L.P.C. and no landmarking in the Village. Not long ago, the beloved “Cobble Court” farmhouse at Charles and Greenwich Sts. was advertised for sale as a “potential development site” and “blank canvas.” When a public outcry reminded those responsible that landmark designation would allow no such approach, the ad was quickly withdrawn, and the house has remained. Anthology Film Archives not long ago floated a plan for a huge addition atop its historic 1919 former Magistrate’s Court building at Second Ave. and Second St. With the building now landmarked as part of the new East Village / Lower East Side Historic District, that plan was quickly tabled, and a much more modest rooftop addition is being contemplated. Then there are the changes that never happen due to landmark designation. Almost none of the Village has zoning height limits. Without landmark designation, we could see enormously out-ofscale development on many of our blocks that would dwarf even the most egregious intrusions approved by the L.P.C. Architectural ornamentation could be stripped, and new development projects — instead of having to fit in at least according to the L.P.C.’s (sometimes misguided) standards — could be reflective LANDMARKS continued on p. 14 March 23, 2017

13


Interfaith outrage on housing and special ed BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

T

he New York City Housing Authority and Department of Education came under sharp criticism Sunday at a Manhattan Together assembly held at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church attended by around 500 people. Seated in the audience at the church, at 103 Pitt St., were representatives of various community organizations, churches, synagogues and mosques, and a large turnout of public housing residents, parents and immigrants. The keynote speaker at the afternoon session was City Comptroller Scott Stringer. The gathering was organized by Manhattan Together, an organization of citizens, and aspiring citizens, from duespaying congregations in Manhattan. The group’s purpose is to organize people from member institutions to push for progress on important local issues. Speakers at the meeting not only outlined the shortcomings of various city agencies, but asked Stringer and other elected officials how they would help. Stringer promised the assembly that he would double his efforts to push D.O.E. to fix its Special Education Data System (SEDS), which, the schools agency claims, has been filled with glitches. Last year the agency announced a working group to fix its system, which, it said, does not allow D.O.E. to track services accurately. The comptroller said this has cost the city millions of dollars in missed Medicaid reimbursements.

PHOTO BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

Comptroller Scott Stringer speaking to Manhattan Together in the East Village, said NYCHA and D.O.E. must do better.

Stringer added that he wants to increase the accountability and funding of NYCHA and to help immigrants and the homeless build a power base. “I have already conducted eight audits of the New York City Housing Authority in the years that I’ve been in office, which is more than any other comptroller has done,” he said. “The New York City Housing Authority must be fixed, so residents can enjoy their housing and more poor people can find a place to live in.” Stringer said he wants to see $400 million in untapped federal funds allocated to NYCHA over the next 10 years. Turning to D.O.E., the comptroller noted that he is a parent of two young children. “We have to make sure that every child of any age and all abilities can have the

opportunity to learn and be properly educated,” he said. “I stand with you, today, in fixing a system that only helps kids who have the resources to do well.” In his welcoming remarks, Father Thomas Faiola, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, blasted NYCHA. “Many apartments are in disrepair,” he said, “and there’s not adequate housing for the poor and immigrant population. We’ve made some progress, but huge challenges remain that need to be addressed to make public housing better.” Melissa Bracero, a NYCHA resident, told the audience a heart-rending story of how her grandmother became seriously ill because of mold in her apartment that the housing authority could not fix. “The mold problem got so bad, my grandmother couldn’t sleep in her bedroom,” she said. “NYCHA cleaned up the mold but it came back. They tried, again, with no success. They still have not found out what is causing the mold.” Reverend Getulio Cruz, pastor of Monte Sion Christian Church, at 297 E. Third St., angrily backed up her remarks. “We want NYCHA to fix mold problems within five to 10 days,” Cruz said. “There’s been some progress in them doing that. But the problem keeps recurring in about 15 percent of the apartments. We want the agency to resolve mold problems permanently.” Hope Baker, a member of the East End Temple, at 245 E. 17th St., told the gathering about the poor performance of D.O.E. She said that her son, a specialneeds student, was not getting the help

he needed. “The D.O.E. admits that over 40 percent of special-needs students are not getting the services they have a legal right to. This is a crisis,” she said. “Their tracking system doesn’t work.” “This isn’t just about software, and it’s not just about long-term planning,” Stringer answered. “It’s about kids who for years are not getting the support they need because the Special Education Information System has flaws.” Father Sean McGillicuddy, a pastor at Most Holy Redeemer-Nativity Church, at 173 E. Third St., spoke about the ballooning homeless crisis. “Many homeless people I have spoken to would rather live on the streets than go into these unsafe shelters,” he said. “We need to give more help to the 60,000 homeless people living on the streets of this city.” Jairo Guzman, from the Mexican Coalition for The Empowerment of Youth and Families, said hate crimes are rising in the city against Muslims and Jews — particularly, Muslim immigrants. “They are afraid to report crimes against them to the police,” he said. “We must educate them to their rights, so they no longer need live in fear.” The meeting also heard from Rabbi Beni Wajnberg of Temple Shaaray Tefila, on the Upper East Side, who echoed the gathering’s message of unity. “We’re gathered here to make our neighborhoods safer,” he said, “and to work together regardless of our backgrounds of religions.”

What’s wrong with the Landmarks Commission? LANDMARKS continued from p. 13

glass-and-steel, or worse. As outrageous as the approvals for 60-74 Gansevoort St. are, without landmark designation the developers could and undoubtedly would have torn down the entire block, and could have built 50 percent larger and as much as double the height of the approved new building, with no design controls whatsoever. (None of which excuses the L.P.C.’s grossly inappropriate decision here.) And even the bad decisions by the L.P.C. could have been a lot worse had it not been for public pressure. Through the public-hearing process, the oversized tower planned at 100 Barrow St. was brought down several stories, and even 11 Jane St. was brought down more than 10 feet in height, and its design modified considerably — which is to say nothing of what would have been built there with no landmark designation. Cynics understandably contend this is part of the kabuki theater of the L.P.C. process — applicants start with a stalking horse that will inevitably be jettisoned for a more “reasonable” compromise that is

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what they wanted all along. But this is a self-defeating hypothesis not borne out by the facts. Case in point: At 145 Perry St., the developer came in with what we thought was an outrageous plan for the new mega-mansion, and the L.P.C. approved it exactly as is. On the other hand, at 11 and 85 Jane Sts., or 6074 Gansevoort St., the design changes, loss of square footage and additional time resulting from the public pushback cost the developers considerably — losses they would, no doubt, have preferred to avoid altogether. Rather than wring our hands and say the landmarking process is broken beyond return, it’s important to step back and view the present in context. Recent decisions by the L.P.C. have been disappointing, but this is nothing new, and there have been good decisions, too. This L.P.C. has certainly been too easy on some developers, and that lax approach has been compounded by an overheated real estate market that has multiplied the chances for the L.P.C. to get it wrong. But even on its worst day, having an L.P.C. and landmark designation is vastly preferable than having none. And, fortu-

nately, not all days are the L.P.C.’s worst. Further, public input does make a difference: We regularly see the L.P.C. push back on applicants on exactly the points that we raise in public hearings and our members raise in letters to the agency. So how do we improve the L.P.C.? Hold the mayor responsible. He appoints its members, gives them direction, and sometimes tells them what to do. If we like what they’re doing, we should let the mayor know; and if we don’t, we should do the same.

And we should make sure that anyone who runs for mayor knows that these are critical issues to this community. Who the mayor picks to run the L.P.C. and how they run it must be elevated as key campaign issues. And the mayor and any other candidates need to know that this community watches and takes those decisions very, very seriously. Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS continued from p. 12

to take a major effort by all of us to persuade the New York City Department of Transportation and defeat Transportation Alternatives. The people say “No way!” to closing 14th St. Noreen Shipman Shipman is a member, Washington Place Block Association

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. TheVillager.com


Away With Escapism The 2017 Whitney Biennial is a dark reflection of challenging times BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Marking its first installment in the museum’s new home in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Biennial is as comprehensive as it is eclectic. Curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, who are both in their mid-30s, it reflects the result of several months’ worth of research and studio visits. There are 63 participants in total and many more works on display, spanning two entire floors and reaching into several others. Although the Whitney Biennials have always aimed to present a cross-section of current American art (and trends), this year’s 78th edition certainly counts among its darkest. You will find little art about art, or purely conceptual positions. We live in a world filled with explosive issues — and falling into a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and extreme politics, this Biennial was not conceived to divert our gaze or offer any sense of escapism. Instead, it aims to address vital issues at hand and, as a result, serves as a stunning reminder that visual art can count among the most poignant reflections of the pulse of our time. In fact, art thrives when times are challenging. A good way to tour the vast assemblage of objects, installations, and thoughts is from the top down. As soon as visitors step off the elevator on the sixth floor, they will be facing Henry Taylor’s almost mural-sized canvas “Ancestors of Genghis Khan with Black Man on horse” (2015-2017). Painting large comfortably, Los Angeles-based Taylor is known for his innovative exploration of portraiture. He is an avid chronicler of the world he observes, primarily his immediate surroundings. His figures, which are set against simplified backgrounds, point at increasingly visible racial tensions, especially between law enforcement and the communities they serve. They are both poetic and tothe-point. Nearby, several more of Taylor’s works can be viewed, counting among the best that this Biennial has to offer. Turning 180 degrees, one will find three small sculptural works by New Mexico-based artist Puppies Puppies. Upon closer inspection, one can recognize each as a gun trigger, albeit stripped of most of their context. These works belong to the artist’s “Triggers” series, which focuses on the mere mechanism that prompts the firing sequence of a gun. In this case, each piece marks the leftover remains of a Glock 22 that was destroyed at the artist’s request. While drawing attention to the ongoing misery of gun violence in the United States at large, these works also come from a personal place; a wall text informs the viewer that the artist’s mother was held at gunpoint in a school parking lot when the artist was 11 years old. Throughout the museum, sculptures by Jessi Reaves can be discovered. Merging found objects such as TheVillager.com

Courtesy the artists

Postcommodity, still from “A Very Long Line” (2016. Four-channel digital video, color, sound; looped).

Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin; photo by Gert Jan van Rooij

Jo Baer, “Dusk (Bands and End-Points)” (2012. Oil on canvas, 86 x 118 in.).

baskets, electrical wiring, or a vinyl purse with natural materials like driftwood, she creates unusual concoctions that hint at the former functionality of their various ingredients. Her sculptures range from complex to rather simplistic. An example of the latter is

“Herman’s Dress” (2017), for which she sheathed an Eames Herman Miller sofa in a translucent pink silk slipcover. As a result, the modernist piece of furniture WHITNEY BIENNIAL 2017 continued on p. 16 March 23, 2017

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WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued from p. 15

takes on an unexpected disguise, as well as an air of eroticism and kitsch. Also drawing on found objects, yet with an eye on abstraction, Kaari Upson turns stained paper towel rolls and upholstered furniture into lush sculptures. In the past, for example, she used a weathered sectional sofa that she left exposed in the driveway behind her Los Angeles studio for a year. It is through the reorientation of such objects and the painting of their soft surfaces that Upson succeeds in obscuring her source. In fact, her pigmentcovered sculptures faintly evoke the work of some artists not exhibited here, such as the Glasgow-based Karla Black and the American John Chamberlain. In fact, Chamberlain’s sculptures, which are made of compressed automobile parts, seem like hard-edged and highly saturated counterparts to Upson’s gentler biomorphic forms. Meanwhile, like Black, Upson finds a way to bestow an air of the extraordinary onto the ordinary. One of the largest installations by a single artist — or in this case, artist collective — comes in the form of KAYA’s “Serene” (2017). The sprawling display is made of 13 large works, which are both installed on walls and hanging freely from the ceiling. It is a number sparked by the artists’ muse, collaborator and name-giver Kaya Serene, a friend’s daughter, who was 13 when the collective started working together in 2010. As KAYA, Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers explore the intersection between sculpture, painting, installation, and performance. Involving an array of components such as hardware, synthetic leather, translucent supports, suede, tiles, and cast resin fragments, the works are as faceted as they are theatrical. While there are plenty of paintings to discover, most of them are figurative and some even illustrative in nature.

Photograph by Matthew Carasella

Installation view: Rafa Esparza, “Figure Ground: Beyond the White Field” (2017).

Among these are a group of six unstretched canvases by the formidable American artist Jo Baer, who has been based in Amsterdam for years. Born in 1929, Baer might be looking back at more than six decades of painting, and yet her work couldn’t look more timely. Begun in 2009, her series “In the Land of the Giants” is rooted in her research of the Hurlstone (Holed Stone), a prehistoric megalith in County Louth, Ireland. Baer’s imagery, which spans from human figures, references to paintings, and animals to landscapes, was sourced from the Internet and composed with the help of digital media. The results are strange amalgams of visual information that confuse our traditional perception of space and time. Despite their far-reaching content, Baer’s paintings are far from cluttered;

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Collection of the artist; courtesy Company Gallery, NY; photo by Matthew Carasella

Installation view: Raúl De Nieves, “beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end” (2016).

they are sparse, soft in palette, and elegantly conceived. Other examples of resonant paintings are five large abstract canvases by Carrie Moyer and six compositions by Shara Hughes. Both of these individual positions mark a highlight on the overall disjointed fifth floor. Moyer’s compositions are abstract — and since the early 2000s, they have involved the use of small collages as a starting point. Meanwhile, Hughes’ exuberant landscapes stem from the imagination. In contrast to Moyer’s larger paint-

ings, which envelop the viewer, Hughes’ works are of a medium scale and appear as windows or even portals into otherworldly landscapes. Their almost hallucinatory quality evokes the late watercolor landscapes of Charles Burchfield, which the Whitney featured in their old Breuer building in 2010. Hughes frequently begins a composition by altering the canvas’ surface by covering it in a glue-like substance or spray-painting its back. These first steps serve as a self-imposed challenge, establishing a situation to which the artist then has to TheVillager.com


Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist & DC Moore Gallery, NY

Carrie Moyer, “Swiss Bramble” (2016. Acrylic and glitter on canvas, 84 x 78 in.).

WHITNEY BIENNIAL continued from p. 16

respond. Overall, Hughes’ scenes are far from harmonious. Underneath these saturated colors remains the suggestion of something unhinged, if not postapocalyptic. Hughes’ landscapes in particular make for an interesting segue to “A Very Long Line” (2016), a four-channel digital video installation by Postcommodity. Filling an entire self-contained space, it focuses on the border between the United States and Mexico. It is a site that has been emotionally and politically charged for years, but even more so since the 2016 election. Filmed from a car window, the footage is projected along with an out-of-sync audio component. The result succeeds in disorienting the viewer, reflecting its premise that the border, which was predated by important Indigenous trade and migration routes, is not fully known or truly understood. One of the most brutal experiences is offered by Jordan Wolfson’s “Real Violence” (2017). Employing virtual reality headsets, his high-defi nition video lasts no more than two and a half minutes, and yet one will not leave quite the same. During that brief time period, we witness an act of unexplained and incredible violence as it unfolds on a sunny day in a Western city. A recording TheVillager.com

of Chanukah blessings, city traffic, and violence form the tangled soundtrack to the visuals. Due to the virtual reality headset, one can easily turn away from the scene and focus on trees or disengaged passersby instead. However, one can never escape the sound, which is as prominent as if one were to stand right in the middle of the event. In Wolfson’s film, we might be able to turn our back on the deadly assault of another human being, but we aren’t permitted to stop listening to it. It is a sickening experience, which leaves a lingering feeling that will get triggered (albeit less overtly) several more times. On the fifth floor, the intimate Dana Schutz painting “Open Casket” (2016) depicts Emmett Till in his coffin (her monumental work “Elevator” from 2017 faces the fifthfloor elevator). In 1955, the 14-year-old African American Till was accused of having flirted with a white woman and beaten to death. When Till’s mother decided to have an open casket at his funeral, traces of the brutal assault were made visible to all, helping to spark the Civil Rights movement. Schutz’s work captures Till in his casket, reinterpreting his mutilations through thick layers of paint and a deep gash. This is hardly a graphic depiction of the subject, and yet Schutz succeeds in finding a form for a layered feeling. Even without read-

Photo by Scott Rudd © 2016

Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, curators of the Whitney Biennial 2017.

ing the title and wall text, we sense that there is something completely wrong, dark, and senseless before us. In this context, the abstract, geometric enamels by Ulrike Müller serve as a reprieve. Müller’s work is concerned with contemporary feminist and genderqueer concerns. A member of the feminist genderqueer collective LTTR, she has used text, sculpture, weaving, video, performance, painting, and drawing in her work. Overall, Müller continuously explores the relationship between abstraction and the body. Employing geometrical figures and color surfaces, the compositions on display here exude an erotic and sexual quality. Certainly, the Biennial is filled with many more works to explore. Raúl De Nieves’ impressive site-specific installation on the fifth floor and John Divola’s photography series are among them. While De Nieves covered no fewer than six floor-to-ceiling windows with 18 “stained glass” panels, which he created with paper, wood, tape, beads, and acetate sheets, Divola captured discarded student paintings on the walls of abandoned buildings in Southern California. If there is a case to make, it is that this particular and most elaborate installment of the Whitney Biennial is impossible to take in during a single visit. Instead, one should plan to return

several times. Meanwhile, the Whitney has given the online presentation of the Biennial much thought. Perhaps, for the first time, its website serves as a valuable resource for both those who have and those who have not seen the works in person. Ultimately, the Whitney Biennial provides less of an overview of what is currently being made in American art than that it represents a compilation of excerpts of voices that deserve to be heard. It is clear that this year, there will be a less lively debate about the exhibition’s overall quality — usually a given fact that is as much anticipated as the event itself. Who will argue against a show that gives a forum to valuable criticisms? However, if you are looking for a feel-good distraction in a time of anguish, contain yourself to the permanent collection on the upper floors. The 2017 Whitney Biennial is on view through June 11 at the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St., btw. 10th Ave. & Washington St.). The sixth floor of the Biennial closes on July 16. Hours: Sun., Mon., Wed., Thurs., 10:30am– 6pm. Fri. & Sat., 10:30am–10pm. Admission: Online, $22 general, $17 for students/seniors. At the door: $25 general, $18 for students/senior. Free for members and those under 18. Call 212-570-3600 or visit whitney.org. March 23, 2017

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Adding more N.Y.C. bricks in the wall vs. Trump SANCTUARY continued from p. 6

in a city like New York with all its protections for immigrants, more can still be done. There is “room for growth,� she said, for people with more-serious criminal convictions. “There are 170 offenses for which the city will let ICE know about the individuals,� she noted. And low-level offenses can still pose a threat, too. “The ‘Broken Windows’ policy disproportionately affects people of color and low-income people,� she noted of the Police Department’s policy of nabbing people for relatively minor offenses to try to keep down more-serious crime.

More to the point, referring to the country’s undocumented immigrants, she said, “Trump has made all 11 million people ‘illegal criminals.’ � “We’re seeing ICE undercovers at the courts, and that’s very disturbing,� she said. Trying to restrict ICE from public areas in government buildings is another step the city is now contemplating, she said. As for the president threatening to yank federal funding to punish sanctuary cities, Rosado, of the A.G.’s office, said there are limits. “It’s very narrow what he can do,� she said. “He can’t take money from daycare, but he could take money from law enforcement — which would hurt law and

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Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito speaking at the Urban Justice Center’s forum on sanctuar y cities as moderator Jeff Mays, left, and panelist Lourdes Rosado, right, listened.

order.� Added Mark-Viverito, “Being rational is never a word you can apply to this administration or this individual.� Meanwhile, New York City’s success disproves the rationale of Trump’s jihad against immigrants. “All these policies to protect immigrants have made us a better city,� MarkViverito said. “We’re doing well economically, we are not less safe — and we have the data to prove it. What they are doing is clearly scapegoating,� she said of the Trump administration. “They’re not talking about gun control,� she scoffed. “They’re afraid to go after the N.R.A. That’s what they’re doing to our Muslim brothers and sisters. “We’re a viable, thriving immigrant city,� she declared. “They don’t want that to be the case.� The Villager later asked Mark-Viverito about concerns by some police that not arresting people for turnstile-jumping or public urination means that sometimes a person packing a gun, for example, won’t get caught. “It’s a negotiation,� she said, moving her hands up and down to indicate a need for balance. As for his own situation, Ragbir said existing with the constant threat of deportation is draining. “It’s like living in quicksand,� he said, “not knowing what will happen when you put your foot down.� He added that, while he was under

house arrest for three years, he was forced to wear a GPS ankle monitor, which never came off, and which he had to charge for three hours each night by hanging his foot over the edge of his bed. “This quicksand we’re in, we were living in it even before ‘he who shall not be named,’ � he said. But he added that with the new administration, things have clearly gotten much worse. “They have only one goal in mind,� he said, “ethnic cleansing.� During a question-and-answer period, a woman in the audience who represents African street vendors said many of them are very afraid right now about getting arrested. “Some of the bags that they are selling are fake,� she noted. “They’re worrying it could affect their immigration status.� Trump — shamefully, many would say — likes to showcase family members of murder victims who were killed by illegal immigrants. But Ragbir, for one, argued against “setting lines,� offering that homicide shouldn’t always necessarily be a basis for deportation. “Even murder — maybe we can find there was a mental illness in the situation,� he noted. “There are many things to consider.� Similarly, Alvarado said, a criminal conviction shouldn’t automatically mean deportation. “Why are people irredeemable?� she asked.

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Cat Camp a ‘purr-fect storm’ of info, merch, fun

PET SET BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

C

at ears — whether on “pussy hats” or just plain, pipe-cleanerstyle ears — have filled the air at the Women’s Marches against Donald Trump. But they were also out in force two weekends ago at the inaugural Cat Camp in Chelsea. People weren’t actually allowed to bring their own pets to the event, at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 19th St.: Instead, the cat ears were atop many of the attendees’ heads. Cat Camp, billed as New York’s “first feline-focused conference and adoption extravaganza,” follows on the heels — or, rather, the paws — of Catcon, an annual Los Angeles event that has been hugely successful in recent years. The organizer behind Cat Camp was Christina Ha, co-founder of Meow Parlour, a cat cafe at 46 Hester St. At cat cafes, people pay to pet cats or just work on their laptop computers while the cats nap next to them. Hopefully, nap, that is — since, of course, there’s nothing more enticing to a cat than parking itself in front of a laptop while someone is actually trying to use it. The Lower East Side cat cafe has also fostered more than 200 hard-to-adopt cats since opening in late 2014. The two-day cat confab on March 1112 included talks by various celebrities, activists and cat-behavior consultants, ranging from the likes of Jackson Galaxy, host of “My Cat From Hell,” the Animal Planet reality-TV show — who signed photos for fans — to Kathleen O’Malley, of the New York City Feral Cat Initiative, and Hannah Shaw, a.k.a. The Kitten Lady. Galaxy was the weekend’s keynote speaker. Another of the event’s big stars was Lil Bub, the dwarf Indiana kitten, whose overly large eyes and lolling tongue forever hanging out of her mouth — she was born without a lower jaw — have endeared her to cat lovers. There were also at least two teams of documentary filmmakers who are currently doing projects on “community cats” a.k.a. feral cats, in Brooklyn and elsewhere. If attendees took away anything from the conference it was the concept of “T.N.R.” — as in “trap, neuter, release.” As O’Malley and members of the team from “The Cat Rescuers” (the Brooklyn film) explained, feral cats generally are hard to adopt; but people can have a terrific, sustainable “cat colony” in their backyard by trapping the animals in special cages, getting them fixed and then returning them to their stomping ground. In this way, the critters’ numbers won’t explode and — if “feeding stations” are kept properly filled — the animals won’t

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March 23, 2017

PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

Steven Lawrence, from Bay Ridge, right, and Sassee Walker, from Canarsie / East New York, are volunteer grassroots cat rescuers in Brooklyn. Walker is featured in a documentar y film by Lawrence and Rob Fruchtman, “The Cat Rescuers,” which is currently still in production. According to Lawrence, it’s estimated there are probably more than 1 million feral cats in New York Cit y alone.

go wandering dangerously across streets in search of chow. Of course, in addition to new information, Cat Campgoers could also take away something physical, too, as in a plethora of products from the event’s dozens of vendors. For example, you could buy Pussweek magazine, an Australian parody of a style magazine. “It’s the GQ of cats,” noted publisher Bexy McFly, from Sydney. You could also buy coma-inducing catnip in an array of varieties, almost akin to the choices at a pot dispensary; and even catnip-spiked “cat wine.” (However, some “cat cabernet” purchased by a friend of this writer was snubbed by her two cats, who both totally ignored it.) People could also get an actual cat from one of nine adoption groups at Cat Camp. Admission was $20 and up, with more for V.I.P. events, such as Galaxy’s talk. In addition to O’Malley and others who are educating people on how to keep feral cat colonies contained and healthy, community cats are now receiving some serious protection — namely, from the Guardian Angels. Curtis Sliwa, the crime-fighting group’s founder, was strolling around checking out the vendors’ offerings at Cat Camp’s first day, along with Nancy Regula, director of the Guardian Angels’ Animal Protection wing. Regula — whose Angels handle is “Lone Wolf” — is an attorney from the Upper West Side. She got involved with the Angels about a

Nanc y Regula is the director of the Guardian Angels’ Animal Protection arm.

year ago. She personally takes care of one feral cat colony in Sunset Park and assists with nine others. (Based just on Cat Camp, it seems that Brooklyn may be one of the world’s leading locations for feral cat colonies.) Sliwa is a big proponent of community cats, and gave them his stamp of approval. However, he noted, his Italian mother had some Old World misconceptions about them — namely, that because they carry rats in their mouths, they have diseases.

Kathleen O’Malley, of the New York Cit y Feral Cat Initiative, was on a discussion panel with Steven Lawrence and Sassee Walker of “The Cat Rescuers” about “T.N.R.,” or “trap, neuter, release” — the most effective way to keep “communit y cats” under control.

“They’re very good for rodent control,” he said. Tina Traster of the group Catnip Nation, who is also making a documentary on feral cats, and is seeking funding for it, said it’s estimated there are 90 million of them in the U.S. TheVillager.com


Ex-chair not pulling punches

SPORTS BY JACK BROWN

D

avid McWater, the former four-time chairperson of Community Board 3 and an East Village bar owner, has taken his new show on the road. McWater’s Split-T Management is a rising star in the world of boxing. Following his resignation from C.B. 3 in September 2013, McWater discovered a new passion as a manager and agent for boxers. Using tactical thinking and personal diplomacy that he honed in the rough and tumble of community board politics, he is now innovating in the sport of boxing. Specifically, McWater has developed a proprietary software that uses statistical analysis to determine which prospects are most likely to become world champions. This is where most of the money is made. In short, he is becoming the “Moneyball� Billy Beane of boxing. “D-MAC� believes his approach is seven times as efficient as that of Bob’s Top Rank. This will create a profit-making machine as Split-T develops its stable of talent. However, statistics tell only part of the story. The essential component is McWater’s ability to recruit a prospect — in other words, personal rapport. McWater says he won’t be satisfied until Split-T represents half the ranked fighters. It’s clearly an ambitious goal, but not impossible given D-MAC’s accomplishments. He caught boxing fever from his mentor, the colorful boxing lifer / promoter Don Elbaum. “I always sat ringside and got so much blood on my suits,� McWater recalled. He was headed in that direction but his East Village bar business, Fly Catcher, was taking off. Eventually, McWater amassed 16 taverns, making him the largest single bar owner in the city. As he built up his bar business, he also became a civic leader. He joined C.B. 3 and quickly rose to chairperson. One of his crowning achievements was spearheading the Seward Park Urban Redevelopment Area negotiations with the Bloomberg administration. Ultimately, this initiated the development of 9 acres of land below Houston St. that had lain fallow amid contention for nearly 50 years. Today, the Essex Crossing project — a mix of affordable and market-rate housing — is currently underway on the SPURA site. In addition, McWater played a TheVillager.com

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PHOTO BY DAMIEN ACEVEDO

Ryan “Blue Chip� Mar tin won by T.K.O. on the undercard of Saturday night’s big fight at Madison Square Garden. He is represented by David McWater’s Split-T Management.

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

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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

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

leading role in negotiating the rezoning of 96 square blocks of the East Village and Lower East Side, which will help to ensure that the low-scale, residential character of the community is preserved. Some would say this places McWater right up there among the city’s “rezoning czars,� sort of like an East Village Robert Moses, if you will — and that he set a high-water mark for a community board chairperson. However, some might argue that McWater’s C.B. 3 legacy is mixed, in that he was accused of being too pro-bar. And, in fact, it was when community activist groups, like the LES Dwellers, began to fight back most stridently against bar proliferation that McWater ultimately threw in the towel and resigned from the board. At any rate, McWater’s “ring� nowadays is boxing, not community activism. Split-T uses national-level boxing tournaments — the sport’s “minor leagues� — as its recruiting ground. He holds meet-and-greets in hotel suites. “We show that we’re regular people and we do what we say,� he explained. This genuine, personal approach is proving effective. Split-T has signed a healthy percentage of the boxers who have competed for or made the last two U.S. Olympic boxing teams. Teofimo Lopez, a lightweight who grew up in Brooklyn but fought for Honduras in the Rio Games last year, is among the boxers represented by McWater.

“I love David. He’s like a father,� said Lopez’s father, who is also his trainer. This past Friday night, Lopez won by knockout at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. He is now 3-0 with three knockouts as a pro. Another Split-T fighter, Ryan “Blue Chip� Martin, a 5-foot-11 lightweight, who is now 18-0, won by T.K.O. on the pay-per-view undercard of the Golovkin vs. Jacobs middleweight bout on Saturday night. It was a big weekend for Split-T. McWater and promoter Lou DiBella are eyeing a championship fight for Martin in late 2017. When McWater came to New York to attend New York University, he aspired to become “the white Malcom X — fighting for justice.� As a young basketball player in Norman Oklahoma, he traveled to area inner cities to sharpen his basketball chops. Many of the boxers he signs are from the inner cities of Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia. McWater is continuing his selfappointed role as “a sentry� — sticking up for and defending those who can’t defend themselves. Ironically, in working with boxers, he is representing those who attack and defend for a living. “I travel constantly and I’m on the phone 24/7,� McWater said. “But I’m having the time of my life.� Can Split-T really rise to be an equal to Top Rank and represent half of the ranked fighters? Knowing McWater, he’s definitely got way more than a puncher’s chance.

BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE

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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

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.

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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

I

ABUSE continued on p. 14

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 speciďŹ cally 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

www.TheVillager.com

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

January 14, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 2

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Squadron slams Senate for refusing to consider the Elevator Safety Act BY YANNIC RACK

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enants and politicians joined in calling on state legislators to       prove regulation and licens   %        &'     crushed to death in an elevator on New Year’s Eve. ( )* 

     * +  !,!* ( / 

 /    0 ,! When the elevator got   ) Brown reportedly helped oth       ELEVATOR continued on p. 10

Composting comes to Spring St., twice a week BY TEQUILA MINSKY AND LINCOLN ANDERSON

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he term “scrappy New Yorkers� is taking on added meaning at a spot on the Lower West Side where local resi                        

   

grounds.       gram to encourage residents to separate out their organic                 at Spring St. and Sixth Ave.         !!   "#$-

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

A photo of David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period amid votive candles and flowers at the memorial in front of his Soho building.

Fans bid Bowie farewell, good luck amid the stars BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

COMPOST continued on p. 12

Grey Art Gallery goes global........page 21

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lison Dalton was walking down La (     1        0%* 2  3     

     42    53 (26    

      * 2 !78,  4)        6 The superstar singer died

early Sunday in London at age 97    !   with liver cancer. Along with      :  had lived at the Soho address  !777 Asked what Bowie meant     0  '7  4)     was going through.â&#x20AC;? (              ed cards with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aladdin Saneâ&#x20AC;?         (   40% ;%6  %      < Stardust and the Thin White

0           4     %     6         4; %    %  =                 :      >  % 6 (      came to pay their respects         &';(* 2      +  ever-changing stage perso %     BOWIE continued on p. 6

Ex-chef dies in skateboard accident...........page 8 Are kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; playdates really for parents?......page 14 www.TheVillager.com

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March 23, 2017

23


ADVERTORIAL

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

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March 23, 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.

TheVillager.com

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March 23, 2017

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