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

June 22, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 25

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Pam Pier, owner of the East Village’s Dinosaur Hill toy store, was feeling bounc y as she made a point with a kangaroo puppet at the Village Awards.

It takes in a Village; Society awards span the ’hood’s spectrum BY R AINER TURIM

T

heater, food...more food...activism, a longtime local merchant, a librarian, a historic renovation project and the new NYC AIDS memorial were among the winners at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic

Preservation’s 27th Annual Village Awards on Tues., June 6. This year’s recipients spanned the spectrum, including The Public Theater, B & H Dairy, GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), Dinosaur Hill toy store, Patisserie Claude

PHOTO BY MILO HESS

Aaargh! A squint y-eyed pirate enjoyed the Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Saturday. See Page 23 for more photos.

Pier55 project still afloat as Corps modifies permit

AWARDS continued on p. 4

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

S

ummer has officially started, and though it’s cool to hang out in the cooling breezes over in Hudson River Park, things are heating up once again — as is so often the case — in the waterfront park. Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a modified permit for the embattled Pier55 project,

seemingly giving it new life. On June 5, the Hudson River Park Trust, the statecity authority that is building and operating the 5-mile-long park, and Pier55, Inc., the Barry Diller-led nonprofit that would operate and program Pier55, slated for off of W. 13th St., issued a joint statement. They confidently said the project “will move ahead expeditiously,” and promptly floated out a veritable armada

of politicians’ statements in support of the plan. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Pier55 would ensure that people keep coming to Hudson River Park — not as if it isn’t already an extremely popular park. “Hudson River Park is one of New York’s most cherished parks and valued resources,” Cuomo said. “The developPIER55 continued on p. 6

Chewing the fat; It’s 1984 all over again!..........p. 13 Q & A with candidates on saving our stores.....p. 14 Spring St. subway mugger..... p. 10

www.TheVillager.com


Trump balloons and Beatles in Washington Sq.

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

The Trump Beatles have been a yuuge hit in Washington Square Park. The wig-wearing fab four rewrite Beatles songs to parody the president. Their reper toire includes “Dating My Daughter” (sung to the tune of “Paperback Writer”) and “Pussy to Grab” (sung to “Ticket to Ride”).

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Har vey, the Balloon Guy, created a horny-looking Donald Trump in Washington Square Park. Marco Rubio may want to check this one out.

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June 22, 2017

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 10 AM - 1 PM The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

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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.

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

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LANDMARKS continued on p. 12

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

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 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

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without regard to their race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, veteran status, or any other characteristic prohibited by state or local law. EOE. TheVillager.com

June 22, 2017

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It takes in a Village: Awards span gamut 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

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON

ARTS EDITOR SCOTT STIFFLER

CONTRIBUTORS ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH TINA BENITEZ-EVES SARAH FERGUSON BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL SHARON WOOLUMS PHOTOS BY RAINER TURIM

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. director, above right, with the owners of B & H Dair y, a Village Award winner for 2017.

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ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY (P): 718-260-8340 (E): ATARLEY@CNGLOCAL.COM

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The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2017 by the NYC Community Media LLC is published weekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Offices: One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Offices: NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2017 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR

The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2017 NYC Community Media, LLC

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June 22, 2017

G.V.S.H.P.’s Andrew Berman, left, with Frank Collerius, manager of the Jefferson Market Librar y, another Village Award honoree. AWARDS continued from p. 1

and Jefferson Market Library’s Frank Collerius. In addition to the Village Awards, G.V.S.H.P. awarded the Regina Kellerman Award jointly to the NYC AIDS Memorial, St. Vincent’s Triangle Park and the former O’Toole Building, now the Lenox Health Greenwich Village comprehensive care center. The audience was packed with local East Village and Greenwich Village residents, plus Councilmember Corey Johnson. Before the awards began, the society held its annual meeting. Art Levin, president of the board of trustees, began and closed the meeting, with Mary Ann Arisman, co-chairperson of the Village Awards Nominating Committee, speaking in between.

In his introduction to the awards, Andrew Berman, the society’s executive director, highlighted the progress and accomplishments by G.V.S.H.P. this year. Among other things, the society helped get more than 40 buildings designated as landmarks and helped “Mosaic Man” Jim Power renovate his tile-encrusted lampposts along Astor Place, plus increased education about landmarking and prevented building demolitions. “Despite the growing number of challenges,” Berman said, in closing, “I’m hopeful that, with the people and supporters behind G.V.S.H.P., the society will continue to thrive in its accomplishments.” Levin introduced the awards presenter, poet Bob Holman. Before announcing the honorees, Holman read his poem “Village,” about legendary writer and activist Jane Jacobs. A new documentary about Jacobs, “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,” is

currently enjoying an extended run at the IFC Center on Sixth Ave. Holman introduced each local store, eatery and institution with a careful historical description. He touched on some recent hardships the neighborhood has suffered, including the loss of the Stage restaurant after the Second Ave. gas explosion in March 2015. Fawzy Abelwahed, a co-owner of B & H Dairy, which was also impacted by the explosion, said he was honored to receive the award. “Everybody gets to know each other, and the neighbors support the neighbors, and be apart of the community,” he said. “We have an appreciation from the Village Society. We’re honored. It’s a great feeling.” Damaris Reyes, executive director of GOLES, said, in accepting the society’s award, “It’s a great night when a wonderful organization like G.V.S.H.P., which does such amazing work, takes time out to recognize all of the other parts of the community that makes a difference, too.” Architect Rick Parisi, accepting the Regina Kellerman Award for the St. Vincent’s Triangle Park, said he was impressed by the variety of the winners. “It was really interesting to have restaurants, to have food establishments that have been here, that I’ve gone to for 30 years,” he said. “It’s really interesting to have such a diverse collection of awards. That’s what I think the Village is about — diversity.” As Holman said earlier in his poem, “I live in the Village, not just any village, not just every village, where the city becomes a village, that’s my Village.” TheVillager.com


48 years after the Stonewall riots, New York University joins Greenwich Village in celebrating a turning point in LGBTQ civil rights.

We salute the leaders, friends, and allies, then and now, whose tireless advocacy continues to further equality, inclusion, and support for individuals from every community —

in New York City and beyond.

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June 22, 2017

5


Pier55 still afloat with permit modification PIER55 continued from p. 1

ment of Pier55 will ensure that the park continues to attract millions of residents, tourists and travelers each year, while showing off the very best that New York has to offer. I applaud the Army Corps’ decision to issue a modified permit, which will keep this innovative project moving forward.” Mayor Bill de Blasio added, “This is a major step forward for a new public park on our waterfront. It has been a bumpy road, but I look forward to the day when New Yorkers from across the city can come and enjoy this remarkable open space, and all the cultural and community programming it will offer. We are grateful for Mr. Diller’s generosity in making this largest-ever donation to a city park,” de Blasio said. Chuck Schumer, the U.S. Senate minority leader, said the city needs Pier55 and its arts programming to remain a cultural leader. “The project envisioned by Hudson River Park Trust and Barry Diller will be another jewel in the crown for New York City,” he said, “making sure our cultural attractions and recreational spaces are second to none.” Councilmemer Corey Johnson lauded the nature and arts that will be part of Pier55.

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June 22, 2017

Some piles for the Pier55 project have already been pounded, specifically for a small platform along the shoreline and for one of two pedestrian bridges that would have led to the $200 million pier. Opponents are hoping it will be a bridge to nowhere, but the Hudson River Park Trust is getting set to restar t work on the project now that it has received a permit modification from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Pier55 presents a unique opportunity for the creation of innovative public open space in a district starved

of parks,” Johnson said. “The pier’s lush plant life will also provide refuge to native birds, butterfl ies and bees. The Village is known throughout the world as a source of groundbreaking theater, music, literature and dance, and the three performance spaces built into the park’s design will help us continue this artistic legacy. These are among the reasons why this project was approved overwhelmingly by Community Board 2 and why I hope Pier55 is completed.” Rich Caccappolo, chairperson of the C.B. 2 Parks and Waterfront Committee, said the initial project proposal went through a lot of scrutiny during its review process at the community board. “Questions, potential issues and concerns that were raised were addressed and the result was an improved plan for an amazing new space, including an incredible venue for performances, managed by an extraordinary team, in a public park under public control,” Caccappolo said. “We wanted it then and we want it even more now, because we know it will be a beautiful, unique new park that will be incredibly beneficial for a neighborhood, for the Hudson River Park, and for the entire city.” Also hailing the issuance of the modified permit was Michael Novogratz, chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park, the park’s main private fundraising wing. “What a great day for everyone who loves Hudson River Park!” he said. “It’s truly unfortunate the park has had to use precious resources fending off a mis-

guided action to keep public parkland from being built, but we’re thrilled that the Army Corps’ has issued a modified permit and that a project with broad community support can now move forward.” In March, however, in a ruling that hit the dazzling $200 million project like a tsunami, federal Judge Lorna Schofield ruled that the Army Corps had erred in issuing a permit for the 2.75-acre “arts island.” In Schofield’s opinion, the Corps had violated the Clean Water Act in determining that the entertainment-and-recreation-focused pier was “water dependent.” The plaintiffs in the case are Tom Fox and Rob Buchanan, two members of The City Club of New York, who contend that the glitzy pier project, to be fi nanced mostly by power couple Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, was originally cooked up in secret, out of the public’s view. Judge Schofield said the Corps’ mistake was so “egregious” that she rescinded the permit, leaving the Pier55 plan “dead in the water,” according to the plaintiffs and their attorney, Richard Emery. All that has been built, so far, is part of one of two pedestrian bridges that would lead out to the “island pier,” and a small ledge extending from the bulkhead (Village shoreline) a bit. In late May, as the deadline to appeal the ruling was about to expire, the Corps and the Trust fi nally fi led notices of appeal of Schofield’s ruling. PIER55 continued on p. 8 TheVillager.com


Stuy Town is fertile ground for composting plan BY SCOTT R. A XELROD

R

ei Moya talks a lot of trash. In fact, as director of environmental services for StuyTown Property Services, he actually talks a lot about trash, and how Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village currently has the largest organized community composting program in the city. The 80-acre complex stretches from First Ave. to Avenue C, between 14th and 23rd Sts., with 110 buildings and more than 11,000 apartments. Last December, with a well-organized recycling program already in place, STPCV partnered with the city’s Department of Sanitation and NYC Organics to bring the roughly 27,000 residents bins designed exclusively for the disposal of organic waste. With three bins allocated to each building, STPCV residents dispose of enough household food scraps to create an average of 10,000 pounds of compost a week, which is produced at off-site composting facilities. “Right now, about 10 to 15 percent of our residents are using the bins,” Moya said. “If we can get up to 50 percent, that would be a really big win.” Moya, along with Maryina Kruk,

I AM

PHOTO BY SCOTT R. AXELROD

Special bins in Stuy vesant Town / Peter Cooper Village for collecting food scraps for composting.

the community affairs manager for StuyTown Property Services, recently gave The Villager a tour of the complex’s environmental services facility. They explained how some residents have been skeptical about participating in the composting program, since they think of the bins as little more than glorified plastic garbage cans, ripe and ready to be ripped into by

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TECH

vermin. However, Moya explained the bins are lockable and also lined with biodegradable bags, and that mice and rats would have easier access to the large black trash bags that have been tossed down the buildings’ garbage chutes. So, while composting may be a tough sell for some, Moya has worked

hard to ensure that his roughly 200 staff members and STPCV residents remain committed and vigilant when it comes to keeping the community clean. Through the use of a real-time messaging system, any sanitation situation can be relayed by text message and addressed quicker than ever. Every building is also inspected every two weeks and given a score based on any maintenance needs. “This is like managing a small city,” Moya noted. “My phone never goes on snooze.” It’s that type of commitment to maintaining a cleaner and more sustainable community that caught the attention of the Department of Sanitation, whose commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, has cited StuyTown Property Services as an example that others can look to, as the city itself looks for ways to go greener. In fact, Moya has volunteered to meet with administrators and leaders of other housing developments to lend his expertise in helping to devise similar sanitation and recycling programs. “My personal tagline has been that we’re making sanitation sexy,” Moya said. “If StuyTown can do it, anyone can do it.”

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Pier55 still afloat PIER55 continued from p. 6

Wooster Street adds another layer of vibrancy to the historic cast-iron buildings and cobble-stoned streets of downtown Manhattan! Join top rated retailers with libations and special discounts throughout the night!

How To Participate: 1. RSVP at Wooster Street Block Party.eventbrite.com 2. Pick up a map at any of the participating retailers - M. Gemi, Ray Ban, Woolrich, Barbour, Leesa, Joie, Equipment & More! 3. Enjoy libations & gifts with purchase & special discounts throughout the night - 6-8pm

Main Retailers: Barbour: Whiskey Tasting Diane Von Furstenberg: 20% off and gift with purchase Joie & Equipment: 20% off a purchase for new clients as well as champagne in both stores Leesa: Enjoy a glass of wine at the Leesa Dream Gallery while relaxing on their ‘dangerously comfortable’ mattress. Special discount code for those who stop in. M. Gemi: Serving prosecco, a prize wheel + bites Ray Ban: Live t-shirt screen printing, complimentary for all guests, and music by DJ Quiana Parks Ted Baker: Dj, Drinks & 20% off of Full Price items Victorinox Swiss Army: Drinks & price wheel with a chance up to 30% off Woolrich: Serving drinks and raffling off a classic Arctic Parka DF in the winner’s choice of color and size, (they have a male and female version) and will also have select styles 30% off

Additional Retailers: Athleta Exhale: 20% off boutique purchases and one week of classes for $40 The North Face: Free gift with a purchase of $100 or more 8

June 22, 2017

But the Trust, in late April, also modified the Pier55 design. The new design “involves no visible changes to the pier design itself,” according to a Trust spokesperson. In turn, earlier this month, when the Corps issued the modified permit, the Trust scrapped its notice of appeal. “We decided to drop the appeal after the issuance of the permit,” the spokesperson said. The April design modification includes a couple of main changes to the plan. First, concrete “fi ll” — flowable concrete — which was to be poured into hollow “pot”-style support piles that are one of the project’s signature design elements, has been replaced in the plan by prefabricated concrete piles for any piles below the waterline. (The presence of the “fi ll” in the plan was what triggered the Clean Water Act review in the fi rst place.) Second, a barge included in the original plan, which was to contain dressing rooms for actors and be a sort of “staging area” for them, has been nixed. Instead, the actors’ dressing rooms are now designed to be in “interstitial spaces” in the pier, according to the Trust spokesperson. As the spokesperson explained, “The interstitial spaces below the pier deck will serve the same function as the barge, but not be visible to parkgoers.” According to the Trust spokesperson, the modified permit does not need to be reviewed or approved by the court, even though Schofield did sink the prior permit. “The modified permit renders the judge’s objections irrelevant because of the elimination of the fi ll,” the spokesperson said. “The modified project eliminates the small amount of 280 square feet of flowable concrete fi ll below spring high tide within some hollow piles, and replaces them with prefabricated piles. “With the Corps’ approval of this modified application, construction will move forward expeditiously,” the spokesperson stated. “We expect construction to start sometime this summer — largely on the two accessways — and continue through the fall.” Fox and Emery say their understanding was that Diller’s investment in the construction of Pier55 is “capped” at $185 million, that he signed an agreement to that effect back in April when the design was modified. But now the project’s cost has ballooned to $250 million, they note. But the Trust spokesperson said, “One hundred eighty-five million dollars was never a ‘cap.’ Instead, it is the amount that would come from the donor and is based on the detailed

cost estimate that was developed for the project following the concept design phase. As previously noted, Mr. Diller/Pier 55 will be responsible for all [cost] overages. At the same time, the public contribution is capped at $20 million.” Fox and Emery have also asked what the public’s commitment to the project is, to which the Trust spokesperson said, “The public funding cap is $20,232,000, $17.5 million of which has been committed since the project’s inception. The additional $2,732,000 was approved by the Hudson River Park Trust’s board in January.” Meanwhile, Fox and attorney Emery remained confident that the project still does not pass muster. “We continue to evaluate all options,” Emery said. “We have not reached any fi nal conclusion of where and how we proceed. But it is clear to me that the challenge will continue.” He warned, “They start work at their peril.” Emery noted one strategy they might take is to argue that Pier55 still is adding “fi ll” to the river — in that the old pile field of Pier54 remains in the river, but now the Trust also wants to add hundreds more concrete piles as part of the Pier55 project. The Trust decided to strip the decaying concrete decking off of Pier54 — the authority’s former main entertainment pier — leaving just its wooden support piles in the river, and instead build the new Pier55 on a completely new footprint just to the north. Fox, who formerly ran New York Water Taxi, was an early leader of Hudson River Park during its planning stages as the fi rst president of the Hudson River Park Conservancy (which completed the Hudson River Park’s concept and fi nancial plan) from 1992-’95. He was also a member of the Hudson River Park Alliance (which supported the Hudson River Park’s founding legislation) from 1996-’98; and a board of directors member of Friends of Hudson River Park until 2011. Asked his thoughts the Trust’s press release with all the political “big guns” supporting the Pier55 project, Fox said, “So that means they are all wrong. Would not be the fi rst time!” Fox, who cut his teeth in waterfront activism fighting the Westway highway-and-landfi ll megaproject back in the 1980s, is not cowed by political pronouncements of faits accomplis. “Just like Jane Jacobs won so many battles versus Robert Moses, who always tried to make his projects sounds like done deals,” he said, “we beat three presidents, two governors and three mayors in court and Westway sleeps with the fi shes. Same place Pier55 is going,” he declared, “Davy Jones’s locker.”

TheVillager.com


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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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-

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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.

June 22, 2017

9


POLICE BLOTTER Spring subway robber Police are looking for a man who has robbed two middle-aged women at knifepoint in the late-morning hours on the Uptown side of the C/E subway station at Spring St. and Sixth Ave. Each time, he grabbed the victim from behind and put a white cloth over her nose and mouth, while brandishing a blade. The first robbery occurred Tues., June 13, at 10:53 a.m., when the stranger grabbed a 50-year-old woman using the above M.O. and removed $70 from her before fleeing southbound toward Sixth Ave. Then, on Sat., June 17, at 10 a.m., the suspect grabbed a 49-year-old woman from behind as she was walking up the stairway to exit the station. He again covered her nose and mouth with a cloth and held a knife, causing her to drop her purse to the ground. The attacker swiped $75 cash from it and fled, reportedly through the underpass to the station’s Downtown side. There were no reported injuries in either incident. Following the attacks, police have been posted inside and outside the station. Lucy Brinkerhoff, a barista at The Frog’s Crown cafe, across the street from the subway entrance, told a TV news reporter that she was there for

N.Y.P.D.

A sur veillance-camera image of the alleged Spring St. subway mugger.

the second mugging and heard the victim give “five or six bloodcurdling screams.” The suspect is described as 25 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and bald. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants, a gray sweat jacket, a white T-shirt, white sneakers and a black backpack with a Nike logo. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stop-

pers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers. com, or by texting to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

caught on camera making the two unauthorized purchases. Landon Palmer, 36, was arrested for felony grand larceny.

$5 phone ransom

Goes too far at Fargo

A woman lost her iPhone at the W. Fourth St. subway station and the finder tried to sell it back to her — for the grand sum of $5, which was enough to get him busted on a felony charge due to the phone’s value. On Thurs., June 15, at 10:40 p.m., the phone’s owner, 33, received a message from her friend that a man had found it at the station and would only return it if he was paid $5. It was arranged for the woman and suspect to meet at the subway station at 14th St. and Eighth Ave., where he was arrested. David Patti, 30, was charged with felony grand larceny.

Police said a man tried to use fake ID to deposit a stolen check at the Wells Fargo branch at 475 Sixth Ave. on Mon., June 12, at 12:55 p.m. He also reportedly had other fake ID and debit cards. Matthew Mixson, 32, was charged with felony criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Bad credit According to police, a man was using stolen credit cards to make unauthorized purchases at a Duane Reade near E. Ninth St. last Wednesday. On June 14, at 4:37 a.m., while making an arrest inside 769 Broadway, an officer spotted a credit card with a name different from the suspect’s name. The card’s owner told police that there were two unauthorized purchases on his account. The suspect claimed he found the debit card. He was

Bulb boob busted Police have arrested the third suspect in a Feb. 17 light-bulb attack on a teen at Seravalli Playground, at Gansevoort and Hudson Sts. Ethan Rufli, 16, was collared Mon., June 12, and charged with felony assault. In the incident, the victim, 16, was hanging out in the Village park at 3:15 p.m., when the trio of toughs bashed him with the bulbs, causing glass shards to get into his eyes. Ousmane Niambele, 16, and Francisco Serrano, 17, were previously arrested March 22 and April 25, respectively.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

Smell gas? Leave the area immediately and call 911 or 1-800-75-CONED (26633). Don’t expect someone else to make the call. conEd.com/GasSafety

Live in a world where everyone acts fast when they smell gas.

10

June 22, 2017

TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Police flooded the Spring St. C/E subway station Saturday after a woman was robbed there by a repeat mugger. The suspect wields a knife while he puts a white cloth over his victims’ mouth and nose. It was the second time he struck in four days at the same spot. The vic tim is barely visible seated at left, mostly obscured by the woman wearing the shor t-sleeve gray hoodie, as she is being questioned by a repor ter.

De Blasio Affordable Housing Myth #4 “Rent is the number one expense for New Yorkers. Unless we change the status quo… hardworking families will be pushed out of their homes.” –Mayor Bill de Blasio … “We need to keep rents affordable…”–Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (Source: City of New York Website)

The Facts: • The Hevesi-Klein “Home Stability Support” proposal would subsidize the rents of public assistance-eligible tenants facing homelessness or eviction. • The “Tenant Rent Increase Exemption” proposal would permanently freeze rents for all tenants (not just senior citizens and the disabled) with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 who pay half towards rent. • Why isn’t de Blasio and other politicians supporting these Albany proposals that would provide real rent relief and solutions to the homeless crisis, and keep families in their homes?

De Blasio’s Housing Policies: Politics & Hypocrisy TheVillager.com

June 22, 2017

11


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Yuuge Trump Tower reveal

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To The Editor: Re “One word at a time… ‘Taking’ Trump Tower” (news article, June 15): Thanks for exposing this public space right under the nose of the Dick-Tater Tot. We will resist and rejoice under the golden towers of greed. See all you Purr Sistas there. Sara Jones

What we have become

Your Community News Source

To The Editor: Re “24-story tower could work at old Chelsea Vocational H.S.: City” (news article, June 15): I live across the street from this lovely school, and was happy to see the exterior and roof painstakingly restored just a few years ago. This venerable edifice hearkens back to the day when this was a real neighborhood. Donald Trump’s nearby erection — the bankrupt Trump Soho Hotel — where a construction worker was decapitated, is perhaps a more fitting representation of what we have become. Perhaps all of our once-revered public schools should be sold to real estate developers. New charter schools can be placed in the lobbies of gleaming condos and office buildings, and the monies can be distributed directly to the students, who could really use the windfall to buy weapons and opioids. Wouldn’t that better reflect our current values, than say, renovating the interior of a high school? Harry Pincus

even one business. However, the lease-renewal crisis causing a record 1,200 evictions per month in our city can be truly solved by one well-vetted and -studied solution: the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. In five to 10 minutes, anyone can become an expert and be able to call out the REBNY racketeer rigging of our city’s commercial leasing, just read www.saveNYCjobs.org and save our main streets in every community in all five boroughs! Stop the crisis. No more studies needed. Learn the facts! Read the Web site (www.SmallBusinessCongress.org) and share the Truth! Steve Barrison Barrison is co-chairperson, Coalition To Save NYC Small Businesses

Small stores in the storm To The Editor: Mom-and-pop stores face a perfect storm: online retailing, landlord greed and high taxes. Your June 15 issue included two articles about the crisis: “Pushing for E.V. protective zoning for small stores” (news article) and “Why it doesn’t have to be bleaker on Bleecker” (talking point, by Brad Hoylman). What especially caught my eye was the “Special District Protection” program mentioned in the first article, about Community Board 3, but not in the second article on Bleecker St. Since these protections currently exist in parts of Harlem and Bay Ridge, why doesn’t state Senator Holman mention the possibility? Ron Singer

Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail pbeatrice@cnglocal.com

We cover “The Cube”!

It’s lease renewals, stupid! To The Editor: Re “Pushing for E.V. protective zoning for small stores” (news article, June 15): The high rents due to the unfair lease-renewal process, in which the tenants have no rights, is the number one issue. The Real Estate Board of New York rigging of our commercial-rent issues in New York City — and the REBNY contributions to political candidates — is the real story. All the rest is alternative facts — right here in New York City! Facts speak louder and can be understood without the same 30-year-old fake solutions being offered again by our politicians, which will not save

Right on, sister! To The Editor: Re “Veteran feminists show they’re young at heart at reunion” (news article, June 15): Great article by Mary Reinholz. Thank you for covering this event! Diane Lebedeff LETTERS continued on p. 22

EVAN FORSCH

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June 22, 2017

TheVillager.com


Orwellian return to 1984 and ‘Death to Homos’

TALKING POINT BY TIM GAY

A

year ago, who would have predicted that virtually all references and public information about gays and lesbians would be erased from every federal agency Web site? Check out Health & Human Services. Search “L.G.B.T. Health” and you get “Page Not Found, We’re sorry, but there is no page that matches your entry.” Everyone I know is appalled. However, allow me to go further, and to make some racist, sexist and derogatory statements. Specifically, I am thinking of Mitch O’Connell, Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes and Sean Spicer, not to mention the tasteless and gaudy purveyor of glitzy real estate, the once-and-future king of bankruptcy, that increasingly plump Donald Trump. These pale, pampered fat boys — and those who obey them — are the heirs to political gerrymandering, census undercounting, election fraud and a national race-based legal system that for 40 years has kept conservative white men in power. With undulating thighs and bouncing bellies concealed in loose blue suits, they are fighting to keep women pregnant, underemployed and vulnerable to sexploitation. They want to eliminate higher education and force the masses back into low-wage manual labor in factories, gas stations and coal mines. They want tougher laws and more police enforcement to put more minorities in prison, and then strip their rights to vote forever in all but two states. Corporations are people, too, and rich people don’t pay taxes. Healthcare is a luxury that only they can afford. These blubber boys got their military experience from interactive war game videos, blockbuster movies and clips on CNN. They live in white-only gated communities and show up at Christmas and Easter for photo opportunities at suburban gothic cathedrals or 20,000 seat megachurches. And most of all, these plus-sized creampuffs of masculinity are hell-bent on eliminating the rights for those ungodly homosexuals, transvestites and gender-manipulators. Sure, many of them are closet cases. But remember, those in power in Washington still have young men willing to be discreet — for a price. Suddenly, it’s back to 1984. Back then, Reagan promised “Morning in

TheVillager.com

Tim Gay says, unfor tunately, this is no time to just go with the flow.

America.” He was elected and re-elected by the homophobic white male television ministers who created the Moral Majority, which was neither. H.I.V. was identified and AIDS exploded, but our

Homophobia and hostility are on a rise.

president didn’t utter the phrase until his last declining year in office. In 1984, Cardinal O’Connor spent millions of the faithfuls’ tithes to fight New York City’s proposed lesbian and gay anti-discrimination law. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of New York was quietly settling cases with underage rape victims while providing refuge

for pedophile priests from the Archdiocese of Boston. Yet we persevered. And yelled. We stood tall, marched, raised our fists and hollered, “We’re Here! We’re Queer! We’re Not Going To Take It Anymore!” Many of us would actually like to forget those days, or think of only the good times and the successes for L.G.B.T.Q. rights. As time goes by, fewer and fewer of us personally experienced that important transformation. And those who don’t know history and 1984 are condemned to repeat it. Consider that every gay man and lesbian age 40 and younger never lived in a world without AIDS. However, they came of age in an increasingly “out” society where it was cool to be gay. The national dialogue went beyond AIDS to social issues, like gays in the military, recognition of “domestic partnerships” and immigration reform. The Democratic National Convention of 1992 included a gay and lesbian platform. In 1990 alone, mainstream television shows had gay characters, episodes and themes. “Roseanne,” “The Golden

Girls,” “L.A. Law” and, of course, “The Simpsons.” Remember when Homer’s new secretary, “Karl,” with voice by Harvey Fierstein, ends the episode by kissing him? Back in the ’90s, when Chelsea Boys ruled and Eighth Ave. was the center of the L.G.B.T.Q. universe, we still fought homophobia and violence. I remember when a gay couple was attacked in 1997 by four men from New Jersey in a red Chevy van. One had an eye gouged out by broken bottle. The 10th Precinct captain, whose name I forget, dismissed it as “a guy thing.” After our outcry, he was soon transferred. We elected Tom Duane back in 1991 as our first openly gay city councilmember. He and his chief of staff, Christine Quinn, spent as much time dealing with L.G.B.T.Q. violence and discrimination as they did with health, parks and housing issues. One phone call to Tom and Christine could stop construction of a high-rise (The Grand Chelsea, where workers threw coffee cups filled with concrete down on the Chelsea Gym), and halt evictions of people whose partners had died from AIDS. Tom and Christine dealt with police indifference and a recalcitrant district attorney and brought them to the forefront for equal protection. Christine, as we know, went on to head the Lesbian and Gay AntiViolence Project, and then followed Tom to the City Council, becoming the Speaker. Now, well into the 21st century, violence, homophobia, hostility and indifference are on a startling rise. Bigots, tired of being “politically correct,” plus a minority of Protestants and Catholics, pleading for “religious freedom” from queer people, helped to push the current president to an electoral college majority. So today, Hispanics and Middle Eastern-appearing people are stopped, interrogated and deported. Anti-Muslim violence is becoming commonplace. Young black men continue to be killed by law enforcement officers. And, conversely, the first reported anti-Republican shooting ever reported took place last week. What are we L.G.B.T.Q.’ers supposed to do in a hyper-polarized postfact era? Look Back, Understand the Past, Don’t Panic: Lesbian and gay activists pre-Stonewall through the 1970s found invaluable lessons in the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and the labor movement — in fact, many of them were involved in all three. Those organizing and educational tools are timeless. Combined with social media, the Internet and even our own networking capabilities, we have good ways to communicate and, yes, recruit. GAY continued on p. 19 June 22, 2017

13


Where do candidates stand on small business?

TALKING POINT BY SHARON WOOLUMS

F

our years ago, I walked out of the Village Independent Democratic candidates’ endorsement meeting in disbelief. Greenwich Village was being destroyed by rampant real estate speculation. Mom-and-pop stores’ faced closures. There were ridiculous rents, lost jobs, skyrocketing prices. The worlds’ most unique community was turning into an anti-art shopping mall. Yet, no candidate spoke on this dire issue. Thus began my series of Villager columns about my quest to fi nd a candidate who would fi nally do something. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would give rights to 10-year renewals and equal rights to negotiate lease terms, had 32 councilmember sponsors and would have easily passed. But former Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined with the Real Estate Board of New York to block the vote. No candidate made a

public statement exposing this antidemocratic act. Now comes another election, and I’m asking the same question: “Who will support real solutions to stop the closings and fi nally stand up to REBNY?� Historically and unfortunately, once elected, lawmakers abandon election-year rhetoric. In June 2015, current Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito promised The Villager’s editor she would hold a hearing at which the S.B.J.S.A. would be discussed — but it still hasn’t happened. It’s the fi rst time in the 30year debate on this legislation, that a hearing was not even held — and this under Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio pledged to take the city in another direction from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pro-real estate climate. But under his self-proclaimed “progressive� leadership, de Blasio has offered no real solutions to save a single business or job. I sent candidates for office some questions. Here is a sampling of responses: Q: Do you believe small-business owners face a crisis to survive when their leases expire due to free-market conditions that favor landlords with tenants having no rights? (All responded Yes.)

David Eisenbach (public advocate): “Everyone living in New York City knows small business is in a state of emergency and the main culprit is a lease-renewal system that favors landlords while leaving tenants with no rights.� Christopher Marte (City Council District 1): “Small businesses are on the brink of extinction. Without legislation that gives business owners rights, soon the shops and services that have defi ned the city’s character for generations will be forced to close for good.� Q: If elected, would you ever support legislation that did not stop the illegal practice of landlords extorting cash from small-business owners? Jasmin Sanchez (City Council District 2): “Such practices are illegal, egregious and should be prosecuted to the law’s full extent. And any local officials or politicians who agree with such practices should be fi red and also thrown into jail.� Eisenbach: “No. What kind of a city allows extortion as a common business practice? You can’t claim you are pro-immigrant if you allow extortion of small-business owners.� Carlina Rivera (City Council District 2): “I would expand the services of city agencies, like our Department

of Small Business Services and Department of Consumer Affairs, to provide resources our businesses need to identify extortion.� Erin Hussein (City Council District 2): “No. As this crisis worsens, extortion and other landlord abuses will only increase. I believe legislation like the Small Business Jobs Survival Act must be enacted quickly to stop the abuses.� Q: Do you agree with Sung Soo Kim, the city’s leading authority on small businesses, that any real solution / legislation to save our small businesses must give commercial tenants the right to renewal? Marte: “The right to renewal is fundamental for small businesses’ survival. Without it, there is no future for independent business owners.� Hussein: “Yes. The future of our small businesses and neighborhoods can no longer be solely in the hands of landlords and out-of-town speculators. The future of our well-managed businesses and their employees must be in the hands of the business owners and their satisfied customers.� Q: Would you support any legislation that did not give reasonablelength leases to owners, giving their SBJSA continued on p. 19

      

   

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14

June 22, 2017

TheVillager.com


‘Ain’t No More!’ rooted in American folklore Willi Carlisle’s folk operetta sings a song of our times BY TRAV S.D. In times of political tumult in America an interesting, possibly counterintuitive, thing seems to happen: a revival of interest in traditional American folk culture. During the Great Depression, musicians like Woody Guthrie and The Weavers revitalized American roots music while folklorists like Alan Lomax captured oceans of elusive human culture in notebooks, on film, and on audiotape. A similar burst of energy happened three decades later during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. And we are in the midst such an upswell now. One manifestation of the current Renaissance of Americana is Arkansas-based folksinger, poet, musician, theatre artist, scholar and square dance caller Willi Carlisle, whose new theatre piece “There Ain’t No More!” will be presented in NYC June 29 and June 30. That word “Renaissance” is not inappropriate to describe Carlisle’s work. He has an MFA in poetry, a BA in creative writing and performance studies (including theatre training), plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar, has done fieldwork in the collection of folklore, and several of his scholarly essays have been published. He looks and sounds like Larry the Cable Guy’s brother, yet in conversation refers to his immersion in Jerzy Grotowski and mask work. In “There Ain’t No More!” he is collaborating with director Joseph Fletcher, founding member and artistic producer of the Artist’s Laboratory Theatre in Fayetteville, Arkansas. To hear that there is such an organization in the Ozarks is to observe the eternal verity of Bob Dylan’s refrain: “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” “There Ain’t No More!” is a solo theatre piece mixing elements of storytelling, folk song, clown, and even puppetry to take the audience on a journey into the dark heart of what Greil Marcus called “the old, weird America.” Carlisle calls it a “folk operetta.” Interest in folk culture comes naturally to Carlisle, who is originally from Wichita, Kansas. “My father played in bluegrass bands but he didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps,” Carlisle said. “He found it to be a beer-soaked TheVillager.com

Photo by Sabine Schmidt

Willi Carlisle uses folk songs, storytelling, clowning, and puppetry to tickle the underbelly of traditional American rural culture.

experience. But I heard many stories about the cowboy singers he played with. It became a kind of obsession for me because it was a secret world, closed off. Later, when I went to college [Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois] I learned that the poet Carl Sandburg, who was from the area and whom I was a fan of, sang and collected folk songs and this fed into it.” For the past six years, Carlisle has made Fayetteville his home base, playing music, collecting folklore, and immersing himself in the local culture, and occasionally working with the Artist’s

Laboratory Theatre, a “community-centric, site-specific” theatre company that specializes in devised pieces. “I was more editor than director when we started this process,” quipped Fletcher. According to both collaborators, they began the process with what Carlisle described as a “massive document” — 100 pages of text, including poems, academic essays, transcriptions of collected folk material, and song lyrics. Out of this emerged a narrative arc from the point of view of an elusive folk musician told through shifting formal strategies ranging from fiddle tunes

to puppetry. “We chose the strongest iteration of each form,” Carlisle said, “and that helped determine the shape of the piece.” While the identity of the singer is left ambiguous, he is also a very specific TYPE. And this is where the timelessness of the piece couldn’t be more timely. Said Fletcher, “This play is about a type of people who from a distance could be either Bernie or Trump supporters. American socialism originally came from farm country and rural communities. Positive and negative sides to it go hand in hand. Folk culture and tradition have beautiful aspects and qualities like community and sharing, but can also come with things like racism and sexism that make maintaining it problematic now. A lot of the oldtime culture is super-conservative in the modern context. This show talks about some of the problems with that.” Added Carlisle, “A reviewer wrote recently about how at the beginning of the show I turn around, and I’m this old man in a mask with this gravelly voice and the writer found the image terrifying. He was expecting ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and was relieved when I turned out to be funny, looking like I look. There’s a way in which people in larger communities can look down on rural people. But there’s a value in vernacular culture. I’m looking for a way to work back to the positive elements of traditional culture, telling the story of these people compassionately, and hopefully exploding the impression that writer initially had. We can choose the culture we come from. We can choose to foster an inheritance that’s different from the one that’s pushed at us by corporate capitalism.” “There Ain’t No More” has two performances. Thurs., June 29, 8pm at UNDER St. Marks (no wheelchair access; 94 St. Marks Place, btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($20), visit horsetrade.info. Then, on Fri., June 30, 8pm at Ryan’s Daughter (350 E. 85th St. (btw. First & Second Aves.), presented as a double bill with “The Legend of White Woman Creek.” For tickets ($25), brownpapertickets.com/ event/3002673. For artist information, visit willicarlisle.com. June 22, 2017

15


Courtesy the artist

Frances Roberts “Three Cups of Cats” (2017. Porcelain clay with hand-painted drawings with underglazes). On view at the PSSS exhibit.

Courtesy the artist

Florence Cohen’s “Spanish Dancers” (2016. Acrylic on canvas. 9 x 12 in.) is featured in the Multimedia Art Exhibit.

Courtesy the artist

Susan De Castro’s “Kensaku” (2017. Charcoal on paper. 18 x 24 in.) was created during one of the PSSS Drawing Group’s 20-minute “quick poses.” Courtesy the artist

Marianne Rosenfeld’s “Swing dancers on cruise ship” (2012. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24 in.). On view June 24-25 at Penn South.

Exhibit exemplifies the evolution of Penn South Social Services BY SCOTT STIFFLER Chelsea’s iconic beacon of affordable housing is breaking ground once again, but it’s not the type of brick and mortar project that gave rise to the 10 buildings that house 2,820 units. This new project’s construction materials are paint, graphite, charcoal, and clay — and though the works they’ve produced will endure, you’ll only have two days to see them all in one place. Open to the public and free of charge,

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June 22, 2017

Penn South’s first-ever Multimedia Art Exhibit showcases creative output drawn from several art groups within the co-op as well as the Senior Center and the popular on-site Ceramics Studio. Organized and presented by members of Penn South Social Services (PSSS), the June 24-25 viewing is part of an ongoing effort to “broaden our base to include more members of the Penn South community,” said PSSS president Gary Schoichet.

In recent months, that effort has translated into a number of recreational initiatives independent of the PSSSfunded Senior Center, whose programming is restricted to the 55+ set. So far, a kid-centric chess class initially offered every six weeks has turned into a regular Saturday gathering, a music group has begun, and a garden group is in its early stages. In the fall, a memoirwriting class conducted in partnership with the National Writers Union and

the AFL-CIO will yield a written collection of accounts from retirees who had a hand in creating New York’s infrastructure, skyscrapers, and public works projects. The PSSS Multimedia Art Exhibit is free and open to the public. 1pm–5pm, Sat., June 24 and Sun., June 25. At Penn South’s Community Room 8A (343 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 26th & 27th Sts.). To learn more about Penn South Social Services, visit psss.org. TheVillager.com


Fearless and Funny Eddie Sarfaty mines all of life’s experiences in crafting big laughs BY GARY M. KRAMER Out gay comedian Eddie Sarfaty thinks everything is funny: family, relationships, politics, annoying people, really annoying people, pets, his own neuroses, other people’s neuroses, self-doubt. The list goes on and on. “If there is anything so horrible that you can’t make fun of it, I don’t ever want to know what that is,” he cracked over FaceTime recently. “Even the people in Auschwitz used laughter to help them get through it.” Sarfaty then deadpanned, “My show is not big on Holocaust jokes. I try to do political stuff, but Trump gets me so ranty, I just sound angry. I will be funnier when he’s no longer in office — and if the world is still here and we have the freedom to tell jokes.” Sarfaty doesn’t sit and write political humor, pointing out that such jokes have a short shelf life. But he can write forever about fighting with his mother. What attracted Sarfaty to comedy was the opportunity to be himself. “When I do stand up, it’s me that people will pay to see complain for an hour,” he explained. “Sometimes my humor is biting and silly, and selfdeprecating, and absurd.” That said, it took the comedian 10 years to fi nd his voice. “I was very paralyzed by fear,” he admitted. “I grew up with a lot of fear. But I’m fearless now on stage. As a comic, you want people to laugh. When I fi rst started, I wanted people to like me, and I remember some reporter or reviewer said I did ‘nice guy’ comedy. When I tried to do something edgy, people wouldn’t accept that from me. Now I’m not such a ‘nice’ Jewish boy. My material is smart and interesting and cutting.” It was a big breakthrough for Sarfaty to get over his anxiety about being liked, which, he acknowledged, is particularly hard for a comedian. “I thought the audience had power,” he said. “But the audience is happy and relieved for you to take charge. They want to sit back and go for the ride. Laughter is intimacy with strangers you can’t get any other way. It’s a non-threatening bond. Just having people escape for an hour — it took me a long time to appreciate how important that can be. For people to come and laugh and release is really TheVillager.com

Courtesy the artist

Eddie Sarfaty brings the laughs to the Metropolitan Room on June 27.

important.” Audiences have shown they do appreciate Sarfaty, who has been making people laugh with his appearances on TV, in comedy clubs, and in his hilarious memoir, “Mental,” which came out in 2009. He can fi nd a joke in any situation, from a conversation with a friend to something on the news to a random idea that pops into his head. His skill at being an observer, he explained, is critical. “The most productive thing is to do and see and listen to lots of things,” he said. “When you try to think of some-

thing funny… it’s excruciating to sit and try to make yourself laugh.” When Sarfaty’s humor strikes a funny bone it is generally because it is grounded in reality. “Most of the stuff I talk about isn’t gay,” he said. “I’ll talk about coming out to my family, and that’s a gay situation, but if I’m talking about how my husband doesn’t do the laundry, that’s not a gay joke, it’s a laundry joke. It’s so different now because the American audience is used to gay people and even coming out. To an audience that’s not gay, there are a lot are parents, so a coming out joke speaks

to them in that way.” But Sarfaty is by no means shy about doing gay material. “I do this joke about coming out that my father and my boyfriend have the same name: ‘Daddy,’ ” he said. “I did that joke on TV and thought a million people are going to see it, so I cut it out of my act for a while and people would see my show and say, ‘You didn’t do the “Daddy” joke!’ So there are always people who haven’t heard it.” Writing jokes is really what Sarfaty enjoys, and he likens that process to writing poetry. “Whether you’re Shakespeare or doing limericks, there’s a form. You select each syllable for the emotional content, and it has to be crafted. It doesn’t mean you won’t say things off the cuff, but writing is what you can control most. There’s no excuse to not writing a joke the best way it can be written.” The craft in shaping a joke is something Sarfaty clearly enjoys exploring. “The length of the set-up is inversely proportionate to the power with the punch line,” he explained. “It’s fun when your jokes can ricochet, but silence can make me panic. I can deliver this more slowly. I’m not adding words, but there are ways to enhance the set-up without making it much longer. A pause can nourish the joke, but not add dead space to it. There are a million ways to deliver a joke. If I do that ‘Daddy’ joke another million times, my cadence or my rhythm or the pitch of my voice can be different.” But for all the craft, Sarfaty acknowledged, the key ingredient is heart. “The reason for telling a joke is that it’s got to be because you’re excited, angry, or titillated, otherwise you’re not connecting with the audience, which is what comedy is about,” he said. Happily, audiences who see Sarfaty on stage have very little trouble feeling that connection. Tues., June 27, 7pm at the Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Tickets are $20 plus $25 food/drink minimum. For reservations, call 212-206-0440 or visit metropolitanroom.com. Follow Eddie Sarfaty online at keeplaughing. com and on Twitter @eddiesarfaty. June 22, 2017

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June 22, 2017

TheVillager.com


Back to ’84 and ‘Death to Homos’ GAY continued from p. 13

There are so many similarities from the 1970s and 1980s with the current Fourth Reich. Thankfully, we have a solid history, multiple resources and active advocacy organizations already in place. But we must support them. Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force are three of more than 25 national organizations out there. Older Queers, Be There for Our Young Ones: My husband, who was at Stonewall for the second day of riots in June 1969, and I, an openly gay writer and politico since 1979, are always reaching out and helping young gay men. We go to Hillside Campground and other gay campgrounds. We’re involved in our L.G.B.T.Q. community in the Hudson Valley. We’re the go-to guys when someone wants to talk about the old days. Bob and I tell them how we were fighting just to keep our jobs, and then to save lives for people living with AIDS, and to make our streets and discos and bars safe from the police and the Mob. Last weekend, one 23-year-old man admitted the only reading he had done on gay rights was the history of the rainbow flag. Still, he knows a lot about our social, sexual and liberation revolutions through the stories we’ve told him over the past two years at camp. Then there’s the 21-year-old Bard College student who was archiving

and digitalizing historical VCR cassettes from the ’80s and ’90s at the L.G.B.T.Q. Center in Kingston, N.Y. He wanted to know more about the “gay ghettos” since they no longer exist. We told him stories about how we moved into an almost-abandoned building in Chelsea in the late ’70s, and how our safety depended on creating our own communities. We told him about the gay zones in Houston, Chicago and New York, and the mecca of all, San Francisco. He couldn’t believe it when Bob told him about dining and dancing with Liza, or how I met Hibiscus and the Screaming Violets and edited newspaper stories on the Harvey Milk assassination. And there’s the 27-year-old guy, now married and living in a gently run-down fi xer-upper riverbank house near the Hudson, who is becoming more involved every day in helping runaway and throwaway L.G.B.T.Q. youth. We encourage curiosity, much like my mom and dad did when discussing how they survived the Depression and fought fascism. All Politics Is Local — Reach Out, Help Others, Know Your Neighbors, Elect or Replace Your Elected Leaders: Contrary to the vicious diatribe, most people, including many Trumpers, can engage in reasonable discussions. More people are understanding the true significance of Obamacare. The majority of women have used birth control, and men understand that. Almost everyone today knows someone

who is gay, and the majority have no problem with gay marriage. Since L.G.B.T.Q.’ers no longer live in gay ghettos, we need to get out there and know our neighbors, store owners, dog walkers, crossing guards, police officers and get involved in their issues, too. When Bob and I got married in 2015, a lot of mountain neighbors on our “last road up there before trail’s end” were not only happy to hear the news, but several came to our creek-side ceremony. Rabbit John, a neighbor down the road who raises rabbits for show and eating, is a card-carrying Conservative Party member. He told us he was “proud to walk his daughter down the aisle” when she married her girlfriend at a nearby country Methodist church a few years ago. “She couldn’t get married in Virginia back then, but we wouldn’t have heard of it, even if she could,” he said. “She married a fi ne woman.” We shall overcome. Actually, we already did. It’s just that the fat men haven’t fi nished singing. Gay was the male Democratic district leader in Chelsea from 1992 to 2005 and deputy chief for the Manhattan Board of Elections from 2002 to 2014. He and his husband, Bob Gibbons, divide their time between Hillside Campground in Pennsylvania, Chelsea and the Catskill Mountains.

Candidates S.B.J.S.A. Q and A SBJSA continued from p. 14

future some predictability, encouraging growth and creating new jobs? Rivera: “I support the S.B.J.S.A. because it gives small-business owners the bargaining power they need to negotiate a long-term lease.” Marte: “No. Many landlords keep their independent business tenants on month-to-month or yearly leases in order to preserve the opportunity to hike rents that only chains can afford.” Hussein: “No. Even a one- or two-year lease hamstrings the ability of a small business to predict future costs, and thus the business cannot grow and create jobs. Short-term leases are job killers.”

When a politician repeats REBNY’s talking points as an excuse for not supporting the S.B.J.S.A. — as in, “The bill has legal problems” or “Only Albany has the authority to act or it’s unconstitutional” — they’ve been coached by REBNY. When they promote a REBNY-created proposal keeping the status quo, they’ve sold out to big real estate. When they remain silent on the closing of businesses and refuse to even give the S.B.J.S.A. or any potential solution an honest public hearing, they’re committed to REBNY to never regulate landlords or give business owners rights. Councilmember Margaret Chin and Public Advocate Letitia James did not comment for this column. You ask them! If not satisfied, vote! Vote to save our Village.

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Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 12

Select Buses? Noooo! To The Editor: Right on schedule and as expected, we are going to get Select Bus Service shoved on us, and the disruption to 14th St. and the traffic throttling this entails. Even a few public voices are being raised against traffic throttling. We do not need Select Bus Service. The only means of getting Uptown or Downtown in the deliberately created congestion is by car service. Let’s hope the current traffic throttling is set aside for several years. We are paying and voting for people who are making us miserable.

Is this the consequence of the viciousness of the avaricious media that has lost its mind regarding the loss of the presidency to Donald Trump? It is no longer about Trump, but about the left, who have been in ascendance — and so, now losing to Donald, they have lost their minds. The New York Times no longer publishes all the news fit to print but, rather, it prints speculation, right on the front page, claiming that Donald will fire Mueller, which is not news, not true, and so, proves my contention that the media has lost all grip. We are in for a long, nasty ride. Oy vey. Bert Zackim

John Wetherhold

Media fuels violence? call to subscribe



To The Editor: I am listening to the news, this early morning. Some congressional members have been shot. Is this the commencement of the overt violence that is to come?

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With mermaids, sea monsters, it wasn’t a wash Despite rainy weather, the 35th Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade lit up the famed boardwalk Saturday. This year’s king and queen were Deborah Harr y and Chris Stein of Blondie.

PHOTOS BY MILO HESS

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