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SAINTS PRESERVE US City Council accepts Rudin’s vision for St. Vincent’s Hospital. (P5)
Get a great deal on online beverage orders. (P11)
Why the controversial Internet content bill deserved to die. (P9)
Freeze on Wall Street! And we don’t mean just snow. (P5)
JANUARY 26, 2011 | WWW.OTDOWNTOWN.COM
PHOTO BY GEORGE K. DENISON
The HIV/AIDS doctors of Downtown on why medical breakthroughs have failed to prevent infection rates from rising. (P6) Dr. Tony Urbina, associate medical director of the Comprehensive Care Center’s West 17th Street Clinic
WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER? SATURDAY JAN. 28 Grace Church School - 86 4th Ave. - 12pm–3pm SUNDAY JAN. 29 Union Temple - 17 Eastern Parkway - 12pm–3pm
� C R I M E WATC H Strange CoinCidenCe The moral of this incident might read: Don’t leave your bag unattended—even in a bar. A 27-year-old woman went to a bar on Mercer Street Thursday, Jan. 12, and was rudely reminded of this lesson. She left her bag, containing a laptop, among other items, underneath the bar, say police. An unusual-acting man came in, stayed for roughly 20 minutes and promptly left. When the woman went to retrieve her purse, she noticed it was missing. She left her information with a bartender, who called her at 3 a.m. with an interesting development. It turns out the man was later seen at Fanelli’s Café on nearby Prince Street. The manager of the café told police that the man was acting strangely; he reportedly stayed for a bit and then left, leaving behind both the purse and the laptop. The woman’s credit cards, however, weren’t recovered and she apparently discovered $87 in unauthorized charges for cigars and food. alwayS CheCk the Cab before you exit The previous brief notwithstanding, most times, when you lose or misplace something in New York City, it stays miss-
ing. Such was the case for a 24-year-old Wall Street resident. After a cab ride home late at night last week, the woman realized that she had left her wallet in the car’s back seat. Shortly after realizing it was gone, she learned that $30 had been charged to one of her debit cards at a gas station on Queens Boulevard. The other missing, and probably not be seen again, items were a $70 train ticket to Hicksville, a $40 Macys gift card and a $60 Bumble and Bumble gift card. two theftS, one bar A bar on Varick Street has reported a lot of theft activity. Two incidents came to the fore recently, say police. In late December, a man placed his jacket under a chair before getting up to dance. When he returned, his jacket was missing. Another man at the watering hole/ club on Monday, Dec. 16, had his wallet reportedly safely stored in the back pocket of his jeans. He felt a bump and noticed his wallet was gone. It is still unclear whether the wallet was stolen or simply lost in the fray, as no charges were made to the 25-year-old man’s debit cards. over $1,000 Stolen in beauty ProduCtS Last week, a 38-year-old employee at a
illUstRAtioN bY evAN soARes
The Case of the Missing Vehicle
A Brooklyn man parked his Hyundai Elantra on West Houston Street between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue last week at roughly 7 p.m. When he returned to the car a few hours later, it was missing. A canvass of the neighborhood didn’t turn up anything and there was no glass at the scene. Looks like the man will either have to replace his car, which retails for around $20,000, or wait for it to turn up at a junkyard. beauty chain store on Broadway in Soho noticed a woman clandestinely taking items off the shelves and slipping them into her shopping bag. While she made her rounds around the shop, the male
employee called the police, who quickly arrived to arrest the 26-year-old. Police reported that the goods in her “goody” bag totaled $1,168.50. Quite the stash. —Compiled bY mARissA mAieR
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
1/13/12 1:07 PM
� N E I G H BO R H O O D C HAT TE R Your company insurance changed again? photo bY pAtRiCiA VoUlgARis
125th Anniversary of University Settlement
Last Thursday, Jan. 19, Council Member Margaret Chin, along with Michel Zisser, executive director of University Settlement and members of Community Board 3, celebrated the 125th anniversary of University Settlement with an honorary street naming. The group installed a street sign in honor of the settlement house, which provides everything from adult literacy classes to mental health services, and in celebration of the Lunar New Year— University Settlement’s early childhood education classes feature the traditional lion dance. The Settlement is located on Eldridge Street between Delancey and Rivington streets. LOWER EAST SIDE LES COMMUNITY CHAMPION PASSES Mary Spink, a member of Community Board 3, passed away on the morning of Monday, Jan. 16 at Beth Israel Hospital after struggles with liver and kidney failure. Spink, 64, was active in over 20 organizations in the Lower East Side, and her life was devoted to serving the community. Over the years she was part of the LES People’s Federal Credit Union, the LES Girls Club and Seward Park Urban Renewal Area,and was currently serving as executive and development director of the LES People’s Mutual Housing Association. “Mary was truly one of the Lower East Side’s bright lights and her strong dedication to our neighborhood will be sorely missed,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. State Sen. Daniel Squadron presented Spink with a “Women of Distinction” award last May. CITYWIDE POLS PUSH TO MAKE LUNAR NEW YEAR A SCHOOL HOLIDAY In time for the Chinese New Year, which began Monday, Jan. 23, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Grace Meng are reiterating their call on the city to make the Lunar New Year a school holiday. Currently, a student who celebrates the holiday receives an “excused” absence—but it remains an absence on the student’s record and results in the student missing class. In a letter sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the legislators wrote, “As representatives of two of the city’s largest Asian American communities, we believe that making Lunar New Year a school holiday would help recognize the important role that Asian Americans have played in our city and state.” They are urging
the city to designate the day as a school holiday or professional development day to allow students to celebrate with their families. Squadron and Meng also sponsor legislation that would establish the day of the Lunar New Year as a school holiday in municipal jurisdictions with substantial (at least 7.5 percent) Asian American populations. gOv. CUOMO INTRODUCES ECONOMIC REfORM PLAN AND NEW $25 bILLION AgENDA Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his 20122013 Executive Budget and Reform Plan last week, which introduces sweeping changes in an effort to cut spending and create a new New York. Cuomo closed the $2 billion state budget gap without introducing new taxes or fees on taxpayers—instead, the governor introduced a new $25 billion economic agenda funded by private sector investment. In the plan, he sought to do away with the current top-down model of state economic development to a bottom-up community based one, which means slating an increase of $715 million in unrestricted operating aid to local governments. Under the new plan, the state’s operating budget would increase less than 2 percent while increasing school aid and Medicaid funding by 4 percent, with measures to take over Medicaid spending from municipalities over the next three years. With Cuomo’s planned health care redesign, over 1 million New Yorkers will gain coverage and the costs to persons and businesses who purchase coverage will be slashed 66 percent. Schools will get an increase of $805 million, with high-need districts receiving the majority of the allotted aid. —Compiled bY mARissA mAieR
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JAN UARY 26, 2012 | otdowntown.com
Freeze Tag on Wall Street
La Salle Academy Educational Excellence Since 1848
Saturday, October 29 , 2011 • 10:00am - 1:00pm Saturday, February 4th, 2012 • 10:00am - 1:00pm th
ight snow and freezing temperatures didn’t deter a group from participating in the sixth annual Freeze Tag on Wall Street. Organized by The Levys’ Unique New York, a New York City-based tour company, adults recreated recess at the Patricia Voulgaris intersection of Wall and Broad streets last Saturday. The menu of games included such traditional schoolyard fare as Red Rover and Freeze Tag, as well as some more obscure games like Blob Tag and Wolf Sheep Rock. —Photos by Patricia Voulgaris
text by staff
“Friends You Haven’t Met Yet” • The mission of La Salle Academy (LSA) is to educate young
men of diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic back grounds with special outreach to those most in need. • LSA is recognized by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and accredited by the U.S. Department of Educa tion as a “Blue Ribbon National School of Excellence.” • The student/faculty ratio is 13:1, • Average class size is 23, • LSA represents a variety of cultures: 60% Hispanic, 19% Afri can American, 13% Caucasian/European, & 8% Asian, • LSA has won 8 City Titles in Basketball and has won 2 City Titles in Baseball • LSA meets the needs of those families that want to send their boys to an affordable, private, all-boys Catholic college prepara tory school in NYC.”, • “The value of what you invest now will produce dividends when your son graduates from high school.”
215 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003 212-475-8940 4
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
� N EWS
Speaker Christine Quinn seeks to make parking tickets like this one a thing of the past if you were buying a parking pass at a muni-meter when it was issued. PHOTO BY MARk LYON
Council Passes Ban on Violation Stickers City politicians push through changes to parking regulations, Bloomberg likely to veto
| By Andrew riCe Parking, like finding a well-priced apartment, can be a frustrating endeavor in New York City. Last week, however, City Council passed a trio of bills, dubbed the Fair Parking Legislative Package, that could make life for car owners a little bit easier. The legislation is aimed at making parking enforcement fairer and curbing excessive ticketing practices. The first bill addresses the problem of vehicle owners being slapped with a parking ticket while in the process of purchasing a pass from a muni-meter. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, along with the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member James Gennaro, put forth the legislation after receiving complaints from many
New Yorkers; it requires traffic enforcement agents to cancel a ticket on the spot if they are presented with a muni-meter receipt that shows a time no later than five minutes after the citation was issued. Currently, if an agent is presented with a receipt they have no option to cancel the ticket instantly. Under the new bill, the city would also issue an annual record of cancelled tickets to the City Council for review. The procedure, however, would require a programming change to all muni-meter machines at an estimated cost of $250,000. Speaker Quinn argued that parking tickets and summonses are meant to enforce the law and are not meant to be a stream of income for city government. It has been reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is likely to veto this first bill, while the City Council plans to override his veto. Council Member James Sanders Jr. proposed a second piece of legislation that would prohibit the city from issu-
David Greenfield, the lead sponsor of the bill, believes that the stickers are punitive measures meant to embarrass motorists who are seen as being in the wrong. According to Greenfield, many drivers successfully fight these tickets and the stickers are punishment for an offense for which they’ve not yet been convicted. Quinn believes that this legislation will also face opposition from the Bloomberg administration. “As he’s hinted last year, Mayor Bloomberg will likely veto the bills put forth by Council Members Gennaro and Greenfield. I don’t know why he would want to, but we believe we have enough votes in the City Council to overturn his vetoes and push these through.”
ing late fees to motorists who dispute their parking tickets. Late fees currently accumulate 30 days after a ticket is issued instead of 30 days after the determination of the case. Under the new bill, there would be no fees until at least 30 days after a finding of guilt or, in the case of appeal, 30 days following the notice of a determination of the appeal. The final bill that is part of the package aims to eliminate the use of stickers placed on cars that have purportedly violated alternate side parking rules. Roughly 400 stickers are issued on alternate side parking days, mainly religious holidays like Passover or Ash Wednesday, by the Department of Sanitation. Council Member
Luxury Condos Slated to Replace St. Vincent’s Hospital City officials vote unanimously on transformation of Greenwich Village building
| By Andrew riCe The controversial plan to convert the St. Vincent’s campus in Greenwich Village from a vacant hospital building and lot to a luxury condominium with a school, medical center and public park space moved one step closer this week. On Monday, Jan. 23, 13 members of the City Planning Commission (CPC) unanimously approved the project, which requires rezoning the building on 7th Avenue between 11th and 12th streets that once housed the Catholic hospital. “I wish that there was a replacement hospital for St. Vincent’s,” said Maria Del Toro, a member of the CPC, “but unfortunately that isn’t possible right now. My vote is yes.” Rudin Management Company, a real estate developer, purchased the property this past
October to the tune of $260 million after St. Vincent’s Hospital folded nearly $1 billion in debt. With Monday’s decision, Rudin was granted permission to rezone the St. Vincent’s building from a hospital to a residential development; the building is slated for 450 condo units and some commercial space. However, the City Council must still sign off on the proposal. Before its closure, St. Vincent’s was the third oldest hospital in the city, having been founded in 1849. Some critics of the Rudin Management plan say the real estate company is benefiting from the bulk and density of the former hospital building, which was originally intended to serve the public and not become a residential complex. Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has said this project could create a precedent where residential developers buy out defunct public buildings in order to capitalize on their size. “The village and the surrounding neighborhoods have tons of these community facilities which were given special consider-
A vacant St. Vincent’s hospital building on 7th Ave. PHOTO BY PATRiciA VOULgARis
ation with zoning, and now these properties are given to private developers who want, and are getting, the same thing. The ramifications are frightening,” said Berman. Aside from the former hospital building, Rudin Management has also redesigned and is currently selling 44 units at a separate 14-story building nearby at 130 W. 12th St., where the
two units currently available are selling for $5.7 and $6.3 million. The developer also plans to create a new school in the area for residents as well as an AIDS memorial public park on a triangular plot of land near the 7th Avenue building, a nod to St. Vincent’s history as one of the oldest HIV/AIDS clinics in the country. To help make the change palatable to residents of the Village, who have been without a full-service hospital since April 2010, Rudin Management has pledged $10 million to create a comprehensive care center. The center will include a 24-hour emergency department and 24-hour ambulance services and will be run by the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Community members against the plan, however, point out that the center will contain only two inpatient beds—a far cry from the former health care facility’s 758 beds. Protestors from Hands Off St. Vincent’s, a group lobbying for the creation of a new hospital in the Village, distributed flyers showing the huge inequality of hospital beds in Manhattan neighborhoods: 4,064 beds on the Upper East Side, 2,306 on the Upper West Side and 3,101 on the Lower East Side. Opponents say the fight isn’t over yet, as Rudin Management still needs final approval from the City Council, which must vote on the proposal within 60 days of the CPC vote.
JAN UARY 26, 2012 | otdowntown.com
The New Face of HIV/
Downtown doctors fight a growing trend of new HIV infections in minority communities | By Penny Gray
ack in the mid-1990s, when Dr. Tony Urbina was completing his residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, he witnessed a major turning point in HIV/AIDS care. At the time, medication cocktails were just being introduced to the infected. “There were patients who looked like walking corpses; with [medication], in a matter of weeks, they would miraculously come back from the [brink of] death,” Urbina recalled in an interview. Over 10 years later, HIV/AIDS no longer is seen as a death sentence but a chronic condition that can be treated with proper medical care. Once again, however, Urbina finds himself at a precipice in the story of HIV/AIDS. Instead of diagnosing middle-aged and older gay males, Urbina’s newly diagnosed patients are frequently minority men, some of whom are as young as 16, who have sex with other men.
Dr. Tony Urbina, associate director of the Comprehensive Care Center, which treats 5,000 HIV/AIDS afflicted patients in New York City. photo bY geoRge k. deNisoN
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
What hIV/aIDS LookS LIke In the 21St Century At subway stations throughout New York City, HIV prevention posters are pasted on the wall with the message “Get Tested,” often featuring serious-looking minority men. Are they really the faces of HIV today? And if so, are posters like these promoting prevention and testing or are they alienating the at-risk community? Data from the New York City Department of Health (DOH) suggests that the faces of the HIV prevention campaign are indeed representative of New York City’s highest HIV risk group in the city: minority men who have sex with men. According to the DOH, in 2009, gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 43 percent of the newly diagnosed HIV infections in New York City—more than any other group—and they experienced more than half of new diagnoses (57 percent) among men. Forty-eight percent of all new infections were reported from the African-American community, 32 percent from the Hispanic community and 3 percent from the Asian/Pacific Islander community. Perhaps even more disconcertingly, a recent study of MSM in New York City showed that 53 percent of those who are HIVinfected were not aware of their status, suggesting that messages of prevention and testing are not being communicated
adequately to high-risk groups. Dr. Donna Mildvan, chief of infectious diseases at Beth Israel Medical Center at 16th Street, has been around the block with HIV/ AIDS, having been one of the first doctors in the city to recognize the symptoms in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (“A point,” she said, “we don’t need to dwell on. We just have the longrange view here at Beth Israel, that’s all.”) As she sees it, the minority MSM acquisition of HIV is a recent and troubling phenomenon. For his part, Urbina said he first noticed it roughly five years ago. “What we’re looking at is a population of young people who don’t see this as a threat,” Mildvan said. “These statistics reflect the fact of a cavalier attitude among young people.” Indeed, for a generation most familiar with Magic Johnson’s 1991 diagnosis and successful antiretroviral treatment, HIV no longer holds the threat of AIDS and imminent death that it did 30 years ago. “Now, we can treat patients with one pill a day and we have options about what that one pill will be. It looks easy—looks like it’s not the disease Larry Kramer wrote about in The Normal Heart. But it’s a lot worse and a lot more complicated than other degenerative diseases,” Mildvan was quick to point out. Dr. Victoria Sharp, director of Saint Luke’sRoosevelt’s Center for Comprehensive Care on 17th Street, has recognized similar trends in public attitudes. “This disease was once the disease of white gay men. There’s not manifestations as there was 15 years ago, when it was a lot easier to see the physical signs of the disease. These were the walking dead. Now, the younger generation senses that it’s not a problem.” Sharp is quick to link social stigma to the heightened HIV infection rates among minority gay males. “For many of these atrisk communities, there’s stigma attached to sexual intercourse with other men. So these are MSMs, but they don’t publicly identify as such. They are on the down-low,” Sharp said. Originally an African-American slang term, the phrase “on the down-low” has been adopted by the HIV medical community to describe men who have sex with men but for social or personal reasons choose not to socially or publicly identify themselves as homosexual. “Having unprotected sex on the down-low affects infection rates in multiple ways. Young MSMs are infected, but women are infected through men who are on the down-low as well. After all, African-American women are the other group with rising infection rates,” Sharp reported. Ding Pajaron, director of development at the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/ AIDS (APICHA) and Daniel Goldman, development specialist at APICHA, confirmed the prevalence of social stigma in minority communities that makes prevention and care very difficult. Indeed, the Asian community has the highest rate of concurrent diagnosis of both HIV and AIDS, which is a signal of late testing. “In minority communities, there is stigma associated with homosexuality that makes it difficult for people to access services,” Pajaron said. “It can be really brutal. One of our clients came out to his family; when he did, his par-
An advertisement advocating HIV/AIDS testing. PHOTO BY ed JOHNsON
ents brought him to the cemetery and said, ‘We consider you dead.’ As you can imagine, this sort of attitude makes it seem dangerous to access services.” Goldman concurred. “The fact of the matter is that people at risk for this disease are disenfranchised in the city. HIV is affecting the African American population, the Latino population and the Asian/Pacific Islander population, so there is very good reason for resources to go into these communities. Our aim and mission is to provide general primary care to those who are at high risk for HIV. As we speak, we are expanding our services to more at-risk communities,” he said. In both the public and private sectors, many HIV care facilities are moving to an all-in-one care model in an effort to combat HIV infection trends. One such facility is the Center for Comprehensive Care (CCC), the largest HIV/ AIDS treatment center in New York State, which currently serves 5,000 patients in the city. Sharp, director of the CCC, reasoned, “How can we thin this trend? Well, everybody gets HIV from someone, right? So treatment is tantamount to prevention. If we can put an HIVinfected person on medication, we can prevent them from passing the infection along. As the Center for Disease Control recommends, first get tested and then immediately get linked into care so you can’t pass it along.” In 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine published results suggesting “a 96 percent reduction in HIV transmission risk to an HIV-negative partner…[is] definitive proof of the concept that antiretroviral therapy lowers the risk of HIV transmission.” This promising data has solidified the DOH’s own focus on HIV testing as a means of prevention. According to its press office: “The Health Department collaborates with
community partners on various initiatives that focus on areas of high HIV prevalence and work with vulnerable populations. Two such initiatives are The Bronx Knows (which just ended in June of last year after a very successful three-year run) and Brooklyn Knows, currently in its second of four years. Both are initiatives designed to routinize HIV testing in clinical settings, facilitate testing for every person who is unaware of their status (i.e. anyone who has never taken an HIV test) by providing free test kits to those who are uninsured, collaborate with non-clinical testing sites and link those who test positive to quality care and services.” Confronting HiV/AiDS Authorities seem to agree that HIV testing ultimately leads to both care of the HIV-infected person and prevention of the spread of the disease. But everybody seems to have a different idea about how to arrive at widespread HIV testing. Robert Shiau, AIDS administrator at the AIDS Center of Beth Israel Medical Center, pointed out, “There’s a lot of education out there, but we need to increase access to education on safer sex, condoms and clean needles.” Mildvan went even further in her convictions about outreach and prevention, saying, “We need to get very, very creative at this point and start making full use of social media. We need novel ways of reaching a populate at huge risk.” Mildvan pointed to HIV BIG DEAL, a social media campaign run by Public Health Solutions, as a prime example of successful social media. The brainchild of Dr. Mary Ann Chiasson, vice president of research and evaluation at Public Health Solution, HIV BIG DEAL uses 10-minute video dramas to realistically address the social and
health-related dilemmas MSMs face. But Urbina, the associate director of CCC, suggested the young minority MSM population can’t be pinned down to prevention strategies so easily. “If the prevention message doesn’t resonate, it isn’t going to be effective, “ Urbina said. “There’s actually data to show that young MSMs have higher rates of condom use than their heterosexual counterparts. And young African-American men have fewer sexual partners than their white and/or heterosexual counterparts. Hence the paradox of higher rates of infection.” “What’s actually playing out here is that for a young MSM, that one chance encounter is much more likely to lead to an infection. It doesn’t mean they’re having any more chance encounters than a young heterosexual male. It’s difficult because young men are exploring and just awakening to their sexual identities, and hyper vigilance is not a normal response for young people. Sex is a biological urge in all of us, and it’s difficult for youth to accept and internalize the need for condom use,” Urbina lamented. “There are engaged, talented young men becoming infected because of one chance encounter. We see track stars, we see straight-A students coming in, infected with HIV by the time they get to high school. We’re all struggling with this. “All efforts at prevention are wellintentioned, but we need to go back to the basics and realize that a community approach is the solution. The sooner we normalize our approach so that it’s about health, spanning across all cultural, ethnic, economic and sexual orientations, the sooner we’ll put an end to HIV.” JAN UARY 26, 2012 | otdowntown.com
THE 7-DAY PLAN
The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St. (betw. Thompson St. & LaGuardia Pl.), themoth.org; 7 p.m. $16 in advance, $8 at door.
FREE New York Diaries: 1609-2009 Tenement Museum, 103 Orchard St. (betw. Delancey & Grand Sts.), tenement.org; 6:30 p.m. New York, a city like no other, has been embraced and reviled, worshipped and feared. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter scoured the archives of libraries, historical societies and private estates to assemble an account of this iconic metropolis. The book includes entries by notable New Yorkers like Mark Twain, Andy Warhol and Jack Kerouac.
Once Upon Many Times: Legends and Myths in Himalayan Art Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St. (at 7th Ave.), rmanyc.org; $10. The Himalayan region is home to strong narrative traditions, evidence of which is found in a great number of Himalayan works of art. Once Upon Many Times will present a variety of forms that tell stories of the Buddha, spiritual quests and adventures of heroes painted in thangkas and murals.
Underknown Auteurs: Gregory La Cava Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave. (betw. 1st & 2nd Sts.), anthologyfilmarchives.org; $9. As part of the Archives’ Underknown Auteurs series, they will focus on Gregory La Cava, a director known for the beloved Stage Door. He is also the director of many other, lesser-known classics, like She Married Her Boss, a 1935 picture starring Claudette Colbert and Melvyn Douglas, which will be shown.
Monk in Motion: The Next Face of Jazz Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. (betw. West & Greenwich Sts.), tribecapac.org; 7 p.m., $25. A partnership between BMCC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Thelonious Monk Institute, the evening presents the top three winners of the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Tonight, first place winner Kris Bowers, who has worked with Kanye West and Jay-Z and performed for President Barack Obama, will play.
FREE 13th Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade Starts in Little Italy and goes through Chinatown, betterchinatown.com; 1 p.m. A colorful spectacle featuring floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dancers, beauty queens, Asian and Hispanic musical performers, acrobats and local organizations. Over 6,000 individuals will march in the parade, which spans every major street in Chinatown. An outdoor cultural festival will take place at Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at Chrystie & Stanton Sts.).
Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come Back, Africa Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), filmforum.org; $12.50. Come Back, Africa (1959), Lionel Rogosin’s groundbreaking depiction of South Africa under apartheid, runs at Film Forum in a newly restored 35mm print. Africa was shot with a nonprofessional cast in a South Africa still under apartheid, right under the noses of the authorities, who thought he was shooting a musical film about “happy natives.”
Visit otdowntown.com for the latest updates on local events.
The Moth StorySLAMS are that simple: notable and ordinary people take the stage to recount a tale on a theme. Tonight’s theme is Gangs, Cliques and Crowds.
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NY Moth StorySLAM: Gangs, Cliques and Crowds [1/30]
Brian Froud: Visions for Film + Faerie Animazing Gallery, 54 Greene St. (at Broome St.), animazing.com; 10 a.m.–to 7 p.m. Artist Brian Froud is best known for his collaboration with Jim Henson as the conceptual designer of his films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, but Froud’s solo work focuses on faeries and faerie lore. In this exhibition, Froud presents a coterie of fantastical characters from the beautiful to the grotesque.
FREE New Sounds Live: Silent Films/Live Music World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey St. (at West St.), worldfinancialcenter.com; 7:30 p.m. A spotlight on the modern master of experimental film, Bill Morrison, in a free, four-night series pairing his features with music from some of today’s renowned composers. Screening tonight is The Miners’ Hymns, a documentary that depicts an ill-fated mining community in England. The Wordless Music Orchestra, conducted by Guðni Franzson, will perform the brass-heavy score by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. FREE Ask Roulette with David Carr and Others Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St. (betw. Prince & Houston Sts.), housingworks.org; 7 p.m. An unscripted conversation in which strangers ask and answer questions of each other in front of a live audience, or, if you prefer, you can just be part of the crowd. Questions are serious or silly and answers are short or long. With special guests Starlee Kine (This American Life), David Carr (The New York Times) and Kurt Braunholer (Hot Tub Comedy).
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
A Conversation with Edward Burns 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St. (at Vestry St.); 7 p.m., $18. Join filmmaker and Tribeca resident Ed Burns for a candid conversation and screening of select clips from his newest film, Newlyweds. The movie is Burns’ sixth to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the closing night selection for 2011. And, like many of his movies, it was inspired by— and shot in and around—Burns’ Tribeca neighborhood. Hear about the movie Burns calls his “love letter to Tribeca” and about his inspiration for this film.
This is Where We Take Our Stand IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (at W. 3rd St.), ifccenter.com; 7 p.m., $15. This is Where We Take Our Stand, a new documentary about vets who spoke out against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will be screened as a special benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Directed by David Zeiger (Sir, No Sir) and Mike Majoris and Bestor Cram (Unfinished Symphony), the film is based upon a six-part series that premiered online. Following the screening, the filmmakers and IVAW members profiled in the documentary will take part in an onstage discussion.
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SOPA PIPA, People! The Bright Side of the Dark Side
hank God for SoPi. I’ll tell you why. On the morning of Jan. 18, America woke up to a digital reenactment of real life as experienced by humans at the turn of the century. We were shaken. We called and emailed and berated our elected representatives. Surprisingly—given the recent string of questionable legislation passed well within earshot of public clamor—they listened. With a few synchronized lines of code, the Internet killed a bill. Though heroic it may seem, the group of companies that participated in the Blackout of Twenty Twelve did not step in to save us—exactly the opposite. Yes, SoPi (the Stop Online Piracy and Protect Intellectual Property acts, respectively) would have greatly limited our rights to freely express ourselves using clips from The Lion King or lip-synching that Whitney Houston song from The Bodyguard but, often, so does thinking twice. The sort of free speech that would have been at risk if SoPi were passed would be more subtle. Say, instead of posting “Hakuna Matata” to communicate joy to your friends, you just wanted to watch the movie. Incongruently, you didn’t want to pay for it. Luckily, there’s, in the words of SOPA, a “Foreign Infringing Website” (FIW) that is hosting an illegal copy of the Academy Award-winning film owned by Walt Disney Pictures. If Disney found out about the FIW, under the powers granted by SOPA’s passage, they could file a claim to have that site’s domain name blocked within the United States. Furthermore, any site linking to the infringer or anybody accepting payment from them or their server would be penalized if the FIW refused to comply with demands to remove the film. In the most extreme of hypothetical scenarios, the government would effectively have the ability to shut down access from within the United States to any website whose content could be construed as in violation of copyright protection. Every year, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) publishes a report on the five technologies to watch. Even though it’s already 2012, I’m sure CEA is smugly patting itself on the back this week—in the five trends it predicted to be of particular relevance during 2011 lingered the future of video distribution and consumption. For almost a century, elite producers have been floating content on invisible waves that would reach us in our homes on our TVs and radios. When cable came around, the networks didn’t bat an eye. After all, cable in the early days was a wasteland of unwatchable movies, uncomfortably boring softcore porn and a ton of infomercials. Remember when Comedy Central would just…end? Substitute that for under_con-
struction.gifs, uncomfortably slow-loading porn and just about anything anybody could think to sell and you’ve got the early web. Cable won. So will the Internet. People do not want to pay extra for what is apparcarib guerra ently free using a service they already pay for. But it’s not free, right? The studios still pay hundreds of millions of dollars to produce content; the record companies still front an inordinate amount of cash to produce artists that may (and often do) totally flop. With SoPi, these content producers would have had an effective way of policing the unauthorized use of their intellectual property. Anybody who owns anything will agree: It would suck if people just walked up and used your stuff all the time and you were helpless to stop them. That’s real, and SoPi was set to be the long-awaited solution to a problem that consumers don’t seem to care about—that is, where their media content comes from. All the time we hear people talk about the economics of the Internet as though it were a cash blackhole: “Nobody knows how to make money on the Internet.” No way. According to MagnaGlobal, a division of IPG Mediabrands, and its updated Global Advertising Forecast for 2011, Internet advertising revenues increased 16.9 percent last year to reach $78.5 billion. Online video shot up 58.5 percent to $4.7 billion in revenue. Those aren’t staggering numbers if we consider the mountains of cash that entertainment suppliers have historically raked in. But there are no manufacturing or shipping costs to weigh, no huge ad campaigns for individual titles. Hulu doesn’t have to post billboards about what shows they’re offering. We’re already there looking for one we want to watch tonight. It wasn’t the actions of the Internet that made legislators spin maximum distance from the suddenly repulsive SoPi bills. It was us. We called in. We wrote emails. We made this happen. For all the evils that SoPi represents and the limitations on freedom that we should aggressively fight against by blocking their passage, they may yet be a godsend. The sudden uproar against their potential effects has highlighted the huge problem within the media environment that would have necessitated such ridiculous bills. The only purpose they serve is to halt progress by forcing us to receive content the same old way—and pay the same old people to give it to us. If you want a future that’s made for you, speak up and make SoPi history. JAN UARY 26, 2012 | otdowntown.com
� SE E Where Every Day is Dia de los Muertos The dark underbelly of Mexico’s scenic beauty is revealed in Miss Bala | By John Blahnik For the past 10 years, directors Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Torro and Alejando González Iñárritu have been at the forefront of a remarkable renaissance in Spanish-language filmmaking—and now, with Miss Bala, Gerardo Naranjo has joined them. What a wide-eyed girl his protagonist starts off as. The film opens in the bedroom of Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman), where magazine cutouts, pinups and glam shots of friends have been optimistically hung on crumbling walls. Laura’s hopes for escaping the squalor are pinned on winning the Miss Baja California pageant. “What does the winner get?” Laura’s friend Suzu asks. “To sleep with one of those old, rich guys,” Laura says. The opening scenes show what several pageant contestants later fatuously point out, that Mexico’s beauty, in particular
Salvaging Silent Cinema with a Brand-New Score The films of Bill Morrison take over Downtown this winter
| By Mark PeikerT Fans of experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy his work this winter. In addition to The Miners’ Hymns at Film Forum Feb. 8–14, this year’s Silent Films/Live Music series (Jan. 31–Feb. 3) at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey St., will feature four Morrison films: The Miners’ Hymns, Decasia, Spark of Being and The Great Flood. “I’d done Miners’ with Jóhann [Jóhannsson, who composed the score],” Morrison said, “and I heard of it being a live concert with film [at Winter Garden]. As I started talking to [curator] John Schaefer, he said he was thinking of a weeklong event that included my films. At the same time, Film Forum was contacting me about showing the films there, and you don’t want to have a film showing two places at once because people get proprietary. But as it worked out, both parties could work together and make a unified event—or
that of Baja California, has been unfairly overshadowed by recent drug wars. This doesn’t last. In celebration of a callback, Suzu takes Laura to the Millennium Club, which is little more than a derelict warehouse whose patrons are brutish policemen and whose bouncers fail at what should be Bouncing 101: Disallow mass murder. at least a co-supported event.” Morrison’s presence at both institutions certainly makes sense: He’s made a career out of resurrecting fading films, turning old silent film into experimental tours de force. Decasia is a compilation of decaying celluloid set to a score by Michael Gordon, called “the greatest movie ever made” by Errol Morris. When it comes to telling a story, Morrison is a firm believer in repurposing. “With any one of these projects, you have to figure out what the skeleton is that you can hang the footage on,” he said. “Just talking about the Winter Garden series, The Great Flood is an historical-based footage film dealing with the 1927 Mississippi flood. We used the chronology of the event to sort of frame the events of the film but also to look at the minor things that were happening that would inform life in 1927. So there’s a sequence that’s just the 1927 Sears catalog for that season. Took every page and scanned it.” And for The Miners’ Hymns, Morrison looked to the BFI and BBC archives, where he discovered restored archival footage of what amounted to a history of coal mining in North England during the 20th century. Perhaps even more integral to Morrison’s films than the perfect image are their scores, which makes the Winter Garden series essential viewing for fans—The Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble will perform Gordon’s score to Decasia, while The Wordless Orchestra brings to life Jóhannsson’s score for
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
drug jobs and more escape attempts. It’s an unrelenting portrait of impressed bovinity, and realism hedges our inevitable frustration. Laura is a teenage girl. Can we really expect criminal cunning? Lino’s character, however, is trickier. Why, for instance, does a supposedly capable gang leader repeatedly trust an untrustworthy girl? And why, in between drug deals and firefights, does he rig Miss Baja California in her favor? Publicity for his new pawn can’t be a good idea. In the end, we overlook these potential implausibilities because we’re preoccupied by the plot twists and the anticipation of gunsmoke. Miss Bala is an action movie with a feel of documentary realism. “We’re fearless,” say Lino’s battle-ready men, and the line is repeated with such authenticity that Naranjo may well have Stephanie Sigman in Miss Bala. plucked it from the streets. An epilogue tells us cartels in the An unlikely survivor of a shooting country have committed over 36,000 murspree at the club, Laura’s prolonged stay of ders since 2006, and you sympathize with execution at the hands of gang leader Lino how helpless some Mexicans must feel. (Noe Hernandez) reveals her to be incredWhen Lino first lets Laura go, it’s night in ibly lucky. Lino shanghais her services, and the desert and, for no apparent reason, what follows is a series of poorly executed she soon returns. In daylight you see why. drug jobs followed by poorly timed escape She was on the ocean’s edge. There was attempts followed by forgiveness, more nowhere else to go.
Left: A scene from The Miners’ Hymns. Right: Director Bill Morrison. CoURtesY of ICARUs fIlms
The Miners’ Hymns. “Most of these projects, the composer and I start at the same time and talk about what the project should be and then go our own ways,” Morrison said when asked about his collaborative process. “But at the end of the day, they deliver a finished score. And there’s an integrity to the score that way, where I create something that makes sense in musical terms.” That his films rely so heavily on their scores leaves Morrison slightly stymied as to why they are so consistently referred to as “silent” films. “There’s been a lot of emphasis, promoting the Winter Garden show, on these being silent films,” he said. “But I don’t think of them that way because they come with enormous soundtracks.
“More than some narrative films, they’re edited to these soundtracks for the most part, so the sound is part and parcel with the finished product—it’s not just laid on top,” he said. “But it’s also just talking about that tradition of films with live music, where the live music is a big part of the event.” As to how he would describe his films, Morrison pauses. “I guess the thing that bonds all these films together is that they’re using archival footage and edited to a contemporary score,” he said. “It’s almost the opposite of what the old silent filmmakers were doing.” For more information and schedules, visit www.worldfinancialcenter.com and www. filmforum.org.
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Minimal Is the Most A kitchen design company transforms cabinets into works of art | By MArk Peikert When it comes to cabinetry, Minimal’s designs could easily be considered art—literally. The showroom is located in Chelsea, on the top floor of a building comprised mostly of galleries, where managers Bartolomeo Bellati and Stefano Venier command a view of the Hudson River and a spiral staircase that leads to the rooftop. Originally founded in the Venetian region of Italy by brothers Fabio and Denis Zanette, Minimal is dedicated to the concept of bespoke solutions that focus on detail (Minimal even designed a kitchen for the set of Transformers 3). Minimal USA’s projects have taken them across the country, from Austin to the Upper West Side, but every end result is subtly different. From big contracts (the apartments in the
Little Red House Building in Soho) to the breathtaking Clock Tower loft in Brooklyn, Minimal USA makes good on their promise to provide eco-friendly solutions that don’t compromise aesthetics. Minimal’s collections go by names like “Verve” and “Glam,” words that don’t immediately spring to mind when it comes to kitchen remodeling. But it’s hard to argue with those words when the end results seem so worthy of them; a particularly impressive option is the sliding top, which both hides the sink and provides ample counter space. Their showroom is available for viewing by appointment (and their website, www.minimalusa.com, offers plenty of jaw-dropping proof), so check them out. Minimal USA may be the ultimate purveyor of real estate porn.
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WiNTeR iN The ciTy Where to have fun (indoors & out) when things get really cold | BY AmY SPIRo, LEAH BLACK ANd GAvRIELLA mAHPouR | PHoToGRAPHY BY PATRICIA vouLGARIS
Spin, Spiral, Slap
Where to ice skate, where to pass the puck Wollman rink
With ice hockey, a skating school, public skating and one of the most picturesque settings in the city, Wollman Rink in Central Park has long been a favorite of New York City families. Enter at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue, wollmanskatingrink.com.
A twin rink facility tucked away in the north end of Central Park, Lasker offers a youth hockey league, ice skating school and public skating. Enter at 110th Street and Lenox Avenue, laskerrink.com.
There’s free admission (and lockers) at Bryant Park’s Citi Pond, with skate sharpening available for a $20 fee. Between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, citipondatbryantpark.com.
Everyone should hit The Rink at Rockefeller Center at least once! Skating lessons and public skating are offered, not to mention a picture-perfect view of the 30,000-light tree. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, rockefellercenter.com.
Beginners to advanced skaters can glide around the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, which hosts youth hockey, figure skating, general skating and cozy parties. Pier 61 (23rd Street and the Hudson River), chelseapiers.com.
CiTy iCe Pavilion
Long Island City’s relatively new addition to the skating scene is an NHL-style dome with an ice skating school, ice hockey training and free public skating. 47-32 32nd Pl., Queens, cityicepavilion.com.
Hot CoCoa HavenS
Where to get a steaming cup of sweetness
The STandard hoTel
Now in its second season, this pop-up ice rink has become a popular skating locale for families in the know. When your footsies grow weary, be sure to stop by the hotel’s Kaffeehaus for fresh crepes, waffles, hot cocoa and spiced apple cider. 848 Washington St., standardhotels.com/new-york-city.
dylan’S Candy Bar & Café
Located on the store’s third level, dylan’s café offers six varieties of over-the-top frozen hot chocolate, including “Birthday Party” (which comes with whipped cream, sprinkles and a slice of cake) and “Peanut Butter Explosion” (complete with peanut butter cups, chocolate chips/sauce and whipped cream). 1011 3rd Ave., dylanscandybar.com.
max Brenner’s signature hot chocolate is served in a specially-designed “hug mug”. Choose from dark, milk and white chocolate varieties and mix in your flavor of choice: raspberry, coconut, cinnamon, mint, hazelnut or banana. 841 Broadway, maxbrenner.com.
There’s a reason Jacques Torres is known as “mr. Chocolate.” Kids can try the classic thick and creamy hot cocoa (and add flavorings such as peanut butter, orange or caramel), while adults sip the “wicked” version, made with allspice, cinnamon, chipotle and ancho chiles. various locations, mrchocolate.com.
This mario Batali restaurant is well-known for its pizza, but in the winter months it also offers a sweet, warm treat: gianduja calda, or hazelnut hot chocolate with cinnamon whipped cream, made from roasted hazelnut grounds leftover from the gelato.1 5th Ave., ottopizzeria.com.
Nothing beats a homemade marshmallow floating in a giant mug of drinkable chocolate. City Bakery’s rich, thick concoction is sure to satisfy any chocoholic. Pair it with the bakery’s famed pretzel croissant for the best sweet and savory combination around. 3 W. 18th St., thecitybakery.com.
marieBelle’S CaCao Bar and Tea Salon
The menu features five different varieties, each with the option of “European-style” (made with water) or “American-style” (made with milk). The mocha is made with finely ground coffee powder and 60% cacao, while the spicy version is flavored with chipotle, ancho chiles, nutmeg and cinnamon. 484 Broome St., mariebelle.com.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
For tips on local parenting resources, shopping, and weekend events, sign up for its weekly e-newsletter at newyorkfamily.com
� S E N I ORS Protecting Against Telemarketing Schemes and Other Fraud Senior citizens are commonly targeted by con artists and other fraud schemers. To help combat this problem, the FBI offers many tips for seniors to protect against telemarketing fraud, Medicare scams and other common schemes. Below is FBI material on senior fraud—to find out more, visit www.fbi. gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors. Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home, and/or have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists. People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone. Older Americans are less likely to report fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think they no longer have
the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs. When an elderly victim does report a crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory and count on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks— or, more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events. Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim. Telemarketing Fraud If you are 60 or older—especially if you are an older woman living alone—
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We’ve thought of everything to enrich and enhance your life. Call us and come visit, we have special Winter pricing.
you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products and inexpensive vacations. It’s very difficult to get your money back if you’ve been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember: • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you will want more information about their company and are happy to comply. • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware—not everything written down is true. • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses
and business license numbers—verify the accuracy of these items. • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment. • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay for services only after they are delivered. • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision. • Don’t pay for a “free” prize. If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law. • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons. • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance. If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local or federal law enforcement agencies.
Acting Young. There’s one thing to feel young but another to act young. The residents at Isabella House have found an entirely different way of acting young. During performance days you might be walking by and hear a dramatic rendition of Macbeth or a famous line from King Lear may capture your attention. But these are not professional actors being brought in to put on a show for the residents. Nope, these are the residents of Isabella. Partnering with the People’s Theatre Project of Northern Manhattan, Isabella began to offer acting classes for their residents. The classes provide the opportunity for our residents to live someone else’s life for a few hours each day. Classics such as Macbeth and King Lear are performed live in front of their fellow residents—who can be the harshest critics. The classes’ help our residents feel lively and vibrant and more importantly, it keeps them fresh. The acting classes are in addition to Isabella House’s Tai-Chi, Chair Yoga, Posture Exercise, poetry and painting classes. For more leisure-oriented activities they offer Game Nights and Movie Nights. Residency at Isabella House also comes with lunch and dinner served restaurant style in our elegant dining room. Getting out and about is easy – whether you choose our weekly transportation to local stores – or decide on local buses, subway or taxi to nearby midtown Manhattan. Isabella House offers the best of life, whether you want a dynamic schedule of activities – or the freedom to relax in the quiet of your home. For more information or to arrange a visit, please call (212) 342-9539. Isabella House is located at 525 Audubon Avenue, New York, NY 10040. Visit their website at www.isabella.org
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JAN UARY 26, 2012 | otdowntown.com
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David Garza executive director of Henry Street Settlement
| By Mark Peikert
ounded in 1893 and based out of its current location at 265 Henry St. since 1985, Henry Street Settlement has offered a broad range of social services to residents of the Lower East Side—and Downtown Manhattan—for over a century. We spoke to Executive Director David Garza about the Settlement’s responsibility to its neighbors and what’s in store for the historic organization in an uncertain economic climate.
email@example.com PUBLisHeR Gerry Gavin firstname.lastname@example.org DiReCTOR OF NeW BUsiNess DeveLOPMeNT Dan Newman assOCiaTe PUBLisHeRs Seth L. Miller, Ceil Ainsworth aDveRTisiNg MaNageR Marty Strongin sPeCiaL PROjeCTs DiReCTOR Jim Katocin seNiOR aCCOUNT exeCUTives Verne Vergara, Mike Suscavage DiReCTOR OF eveNTs & MaRkeTiNg Joanna Virello email@example.com exeCUTive assisTaNT OF saLes Jennie Valenti firstname.lastname@example.org
How long have you been with Henry Street Settlement? Eleven years and counting. My introduction to the Settlement was in a much more entry-level role—I started here as a scepter changer. At the time, they were starting to evolve the services they provided for welfare work participants and it was a chance for me to get involved in the social services sector, which is something I had aspired to but had always eluded me because I was caught up in a different career progression in the private sector.
Certainly there have been a lot of changes on the Lower East Side in the last 11 years. That really attracted me to the organization. One of the things that defines New York City neighborhoods is you can go from one block to the next and encounter a totally different reality, and nowhere is that more true than here. I think [recently] it’s been more characterized by gentrification, but I don’t see that as an entirely dirty word. I think it provides an opportunity to build community, just in a different way. But with gentrification there comes a certain responsibility to build bridges between residents who normally wouldn’t meet or interact. I think organizations like Henry Street Settlement have a responsibility to build bridges, and we relish that role. Our other role is to protect and serve the people who desperately need our services. The Lower East Side is number two in respect to income disparity, and that can create a real vulnerable situation for people who need services. As trendy as the neighborhood is becoming, just walk down Avenue D from Houston to 14th Street and tell me there’s no need.
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In your 11 years with the organization,
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
what are you most proud of? Since becoming executive director, I have a profoundly deep appreciation of the scope of services we provide; from daycare to senior services, we do it all. We’re a community-based organization in the most basic sense of the word. I think my job is to make sure we’re as effective and efficient as we can be because of the nature of the funding landscape and the economic climate. I’ve done some things that I’m proud of in that vein. One of those is we’ve added two positions. [One is] advocate of community research, because I think it’s important to stay connected to the people we serve in the most meaningful ways and to stay connected to advocacy networks. Our organization has a long history of advocacy efforts; we were the first organization to put nurses and health care in New York public schools. We were at the forefront of workers’ rights after the Triangle Factory Fire. So we want to stay in that position where we are the voice that is accurate and informed because we’re doing the work in that landscape. The other position was one of the most effective ways to create bridges; to create volunteer opportunities for both corporations and neighbors. If people
only knew the conditions that existed, they would surely do something about it. And volunteerism is one of the ways to increase awareness of conditions some people face. We literally doubled our volunteer capacity in my first year, and it’s really affected our results. What does the future hold for Henry Street Settlement? In some ways we’re surviving and some ways we’re thriving. It just speaks to the volatility of the climate and it requires organizations like ours, as large as we are and as historically relevant as we are, to be agile. There are areas in which we’re becoming innovative and partnering with other organizations instead of competing. Agility requires a certain amount of focus that is challenging for any organization. As much as we do, whether trying to have an impact on our culture or to make a marked difference on a program area, we like to go narrow and deep because that’s what’s required to make a difference. But agility is the watchword of the day. Last year, we raised 26 percent more than the previous year in corporate funding and we’re encouraged by that. The tougher the times get, the stronger our resolve gets.
� O N TOPI C For Roe v. Wade Supporters, Silence is No Longer a Choice gone so far as to ban abortions entirely after 20 weeks, with no exception for rape or incest or to protect the health of the mother. Fortunately, Rep. CaRolyn Maloney President Obama has made it clear that he supports choice and that he believes that reproductive health care needs to be protected and funded. Last week, his administration reaffirmed that any organization that is not solely religious will have to comply with the preventive care provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including providing access to all FDA-approved birth control medication. This year could prove pivotal in the fight to protect reproductive rights. For those of us who support Roe, silence is no longer a viable choice.
up under health care reform. Fortunately, the services provided by Planned Parenthood are Senate hasn’t taken it up either. family planning, cancer screening and other It has become a time-honored tradition non-abortion-related care. This language to point out that Roe hangs by a thread in the would have impacted basic health care for Supreme Court, Whoever becomes president millions of women. Fortunately, the Senate next year will likely determine whether the defeated it. Constitution guarantees women the right to In May, the House voted to repeal health choose the timing and number of children care reform and the Republicans approved they will bear. If any of an amendment the four Republicans that prohibited federal funding to train It has become a time-honored tra- remaining in the race doctors to perform dition to point out that Roe hangs win, they have promabortions, even if by a thread in the Supreme Court, ised to select Supreme Court candidates who an abortion would Whoever becomes president next will overturn Roe and save a woman’s year will likely determine whether have pledged to sign life. The Senate has the Constitution guarantees legislation that could taken no action on restrict women’s access this bill. women the right to choose the to basic health care. In October, the timing and number of children If Roe falls, the House considered they will bear. issue will be turned the most dangerback to the states. ous bill of all, the NARAL has identified 69 so-called “Protect Life separate anti-choice measures adopted in the Act,” which many groups are calling the “Let states in 2011, even with Roe. Five states have Women Die Act” because it would let hospitals refuse to provide lifesaving care to women who need an abortion and allow them to refuse to transfer them to another institution that would provide care. It also denies women the right to buy insurance covering full reproductive care on the health care exchanges set
Carolyn Maloney represents the East Side of Manhattan and parts of Queens in the House of Representatives.
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ast Sunday, we marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that guarantees a woman’s right to choose. Reproductive freedom is at greater risk now than at any time since Roe was handed down in 1973, and family planning is under attack. Women can no longer afford to be silent. Last year, Republicans passed an endless parade of legislation in the House regarding reproductive rights and family planning, and this year promises to be no better. Many of the Republican efforts go far beyond choice and would impact women’s access to birth control and basic health care, including cancer screenings. The number and variety of their attacks on reproductive care is more than simply breathtaking—it’s dangerous. Meanwhile, Republicans have offered zero substantive bills to create jobs, the No. 1 issue for the American people. Early last year, Republicans zeroed out family planning funding in the 2011 omnibus government funding bill. This wasn’t funding for abortions – federal law already prohibits that – rather, it was aid for birth control, pre-natal care, and other reproductive health services. The bill also included the Pence Amendment, which specifically bars funding for Planned Parenthood. The vast majority of
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Filmmaker Journeys to Understand Visions By anam Baig
onas Elrod is a filmmaker in New York who woke up one day to discover that he was having visions and could see angels, demons, ghosts and auras. “My first vision was pretty personal,” he said. “I was in San Francisco working on a film when I woke up in my hotel room and started seeing energy and feeling energy. I saw these geometric figures and shapes—it was all very overwhelming and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.” To get some answers, Elrod traveled the country with his girlfriend Mara, focusing on all things spiritual and religious—even the occult—to find out what was happening to him. He went to several doctors to check if there was anything physically wrong with him, but to no avail. Elrod filmed his cross-country experi-
The Wild West of Yoga Apps Sifting through the mass of meditation apps By Paulette Safdieh Bundling up and walking to the gym for yoga class seems less and less appealing as the New York winter rolls on. The hundreds of yoga apps offered on smart phones and tablets mean you can still roll out a mat and enjoy a moment in shavasana pose after a long day’s work in the comfort of your apartment. Yoga junkies can use apps for guided instruction, playlist curating and class locators to enhance their regular routines. Hundreds of yoga apps, both free and for purchase, have competed for yogi love since the 2007 release of the iPhone and the subsequent launch of Android, the Google operating system. According to Sergio Tacconi, the mind behind the Pocket Yoga app, necessity was the mother of invention. “I needed a way to do yoga any time,
Still from Wake Up.
ence with the help of filmmaker Chloe Crespi, creating the documentary Wake Up to show the world his experience with the spiritual. In the film, he seeks knowledge from a slew of physicians, scientists, religious teachers and spiritual leaders about his sudden metaphysical visions, but no amount of MRI scans or psychological tests determine how or why Elrod sees and hears the supernatural. In the end, he realizes that his visions are part gift, part curse, and he embraces both. Growing up in a Southern Baptist family, Elrod was always surrounded by conservative Christians. “You either grow up the preacher’s son or you completely rebel,” he says. “And I rebelled. It’s not like I despise religion, I certainly believe in and trust Jesus. But I wouldn’t consider myself religious. I’m certainly more of a spiritual person. “When I visited my parents and told
them about the visions, they were hesitant at first, like I was,” he continued. “But it was my mother who embraced it and started asking me questions about it. Our relationship has opened up since then, but my father does not ask me anything about my visions.” The reaction to Elrod’s journey in Wake Up has been overwhelming. It had its festival premiere at the Southwest Film Festival in March 2009 and its New York City premiere, hosted by Sting and Trudie Styler, in April 2010. The film has been on a series of tour and private screenings hosted by Elrod and others. The next New York City screening is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at Jivamukti
Yoga at 841 Broadway. “The audience reaction has been really reassuring. There are always going to be people who think you are crazy for seeing and hearing angels and dead people. But then there are those who truly believe and are moved to tears by my experiences. There is a bigger reality than the one we’re sold, and people are looking deeper than ever before. Our job as filmmakers is to get people to start asking questions, and we’ll continue doing it despite all the skeptics.”
anywhere,” said Tacconi, 37, whose app sells for $2.99 on both Apple and Android devices. “I started looking at yoga apps and didn’t like the ones I saw, so I made my own.” Tacconi teamed up with Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studios in Dallas, where he practiced for eight years, to select the content. The app offers 27 sessions with varying difficulty levels and styles, default playlists (and the option to draw from your personal iTunes library) and a dictionary of poses. The app has earned a four-and-a-half-star rating in the Apple app store since its launch in 2009 and was made available for Android in 2010. “The app is not a replacement for your full yoga experience, it’s a supplement that will help you along,” said Tacconi, whose app has reached over a half-million users. “I wouldn’t completely replace my yoga class with an actual teacher with the app. It’s a tool that will help you when you need it.” Tacconi also launched Practice Builder in November, an app to help yoga teachers build customized routines. Manhattan yoga teacher Jennilyn Carson, the mind behind the acclaimed yoga news website YogaDork. com, uses a similar app called Yoga Journal. In a city with as many yoga classes as taxicabs, Carson says it helps narrow down the selection. “The apps are great for people stuck in the subway when the train’s delayed and
they need to relax,” said Carson, 31, who uses apps on her iPhone. “It helps you use every opportunity to get your yoga in.” Eighty-five percent of Tacconi’s customers are Apple users like Carson. Like most apps, Pocket Yoga is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Macbook computers. A free trial version of Pocket Yoga is offered on Apple systems, but not for Android users. “The Android market is the Wild West,” said Tacconi. “The Apple market is better for consumers, since they approve and disapprove the apps submitted. You have a guarantee you’ll get what you’re going to get.” For those with the strength to get to class, Yoga Local NYC—available on both Apple and Android devices—caters specifically to New Yorkers. The app pulls up your location using your device’s GPS and provides the addresses of nearby studios, class times, instructor names and, of course, prices. “When the iPhone came out, I expected it to have an app for yoga the same way it comes built in with the stocks,” said Ben Fleisher, 33, who worked to create Yoga Local. “Nobody did it and I thought, ‘This is crazy!’ Everyone here is on the run even when they’re sitting down. When you want to go to class you don’t want to have to look up so many different websites on your phone.” Fleisher works as an acupuncturist and massage therapist on the Lower East Side
in addition to having practiced yoga since 1995. He plans to expand the app to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago over the next few months since receiving positive feedback for the New York City version. “Technology is driving us toward shorter and shorter attention spans,” said Fleisher. “Yoga Local and other technology platforms make it easier to get to classes, stay inspired and stay motivated. To that extent, they make our lives more efficient.” While yoga apps certainly help yogis in a bind, they also change traditional yoga practice. Instead of turning off a cell phone to wind down, app users spend even more time looking at the glowing screens of wireless devices. Achieving mind-body awareness through breath and movement, the goal of practicing yoga, is better reached in a classic, group setting. For that reason, Carson suggests using apps just as a supplement to a regular yoga practice. Some apps, like Relax Melodies, which has close to 5,000 ratings averaging at five stars, just provide soothing music to ease meditation and relaxation instead of poses. “I don’t think apps make up for classes, but they’re really good when you need some inspiration for your practice,” said Carson. “They’re useful to look at and remind or refresh yourself.”
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | JAN UARY 26, 2012
JAN UARY 2 6 , 2 0 1 2 | ot d owntown. c o m
WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER? Renee Flax, director of camper placement of the ACA NY & NJ, will be on hand to answer parents’ questions and help guide them in their search for the right camp!
SATURDAY, JAN 28, 2012 Downtown Grace Church School 86 4th Ave. 12PM - 3PM
SUNDAY, JAN 29, 2012 Park Slope Union Temple 17 Eastern Pkwy 12PM - 3PM
SATURDAY, FEB 4, 2012 Upper West Side Bank Street School 610 W. 112th St. 12PM - 3PM
New York Family magazine and the American Camp Association, NY & NJ are teaming up for their winter fairs! Meet dozens of different camp directors from local DAY CAMPS and SLEEPAWAY CAMPS from across the region. Great for children ages 3 to 17! pre-register at:
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The January 25, 2012 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, wor...
Published on Jan 25, 2012
The January 25, 2012 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, wor...