THE MAN REPELLER OPENS UP Fashion’s hottest blogger gets personal (P16)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON TRAYVON MARTIN’S DEATH City’s leader blames gun lobby for Florida youth’s death (P6)
PAN E L HASH ES OUT NYU PLAN Professors and reps differ on need for hotel (P6)
APRIL 5, 2012 | WWW.NYPRESS.COM
PHOTO BY PATRICIA VOULGARIS
THE LIBRARY HOLE
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Aisle of the lost While shopping at a chain supermarket on Greenwich Street, a man from Washington State put his black Gucci money clip down as he was shopping. When he realized he no longer had the money clip at the checkout, he went to look for it, but it unfortunately didn’t turn up. Among the lost items were credit cards and Harley Davidson and Costco gift cards totaling $500. out to lunch When a 38-year-old woman was eating lunch at a taquería on Canal Street, she didn’t expect to get a phone call a few days later from her credit card company asking for payment on about $1,600 in charges from that day. The woman believes a nimblefingered thief reached into the purse draped behind her chair as she ate, grabbed her credit cards and $250 in cash and ran. The woman had no clue she had been robbed until she got the phone call. DAnce the night AwAy Drinking and dancing sounded like lots of fun to a 21-year-old woman until, as she danced the night away at a bar on Pearl Street, a man stole her Louis Vuitton purse and wallet worth $1,500. Also stolen were her Apple iPhone 4S, credit cards and $200 worth of MAC makeup. The thief was recognized as
a regular of the establishment and is believe to work in a kitchen in Hanover Square. off to work When a 29-year-old woman went to clock in at the restaurant she works at on Church Street, she unfortunately forgot her purse on one of the bar stools. After catching up with her co-workers, she realized that the bag had vanished without a trace. Inside were her apartment keys, debit card and $200 cash.
Feb. 22, a man was arrested for credit card fraud in a drug store on Wall Street. The man tried to buy $1,040 worth of American Express gift cards and, perhaps in an effort to properly launder the money, a $7 bottle of fabric softener. illustration by evan soares
teAtime On March 22, a 46-year-old man sat down in his favorite coffee shop on the corner of Dey and Church streets to drink some tea and do some work on his computer. When he reached down to collect his bag next to his leg, he realized that someone had stolen it, along with his cell phone, credit cards, a $100 digital camera, headphones and an Apple iPod, which were all inside. cArD tricks A tourist out with her friends from Kentucky, was pickpocketed on Canal Street as she watched a game of three-card monte. The thief, who stole $500 in cash from the 46-year-old woman, was caught red-handed but averted arrest. Before he ran off, the pocket picker shouted, “Go ahead and call the law!” He has yet to be caught.
LEARN SCIENCE IN CHINESE? There’s a big difference between learning a language and learning a culture. At Avenues: The World School, we believe in creating a richer second-language experience — so students gain a deeper appreciation of the world in which they will live and work. Rather than simply learn Mandarin Chinese or Spanish in language class, our students will learn new subjects in those languages as well. As part of their Avenues education, they will also interact with our future network of connected global campuses spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. With a world course developed by leading university scholars, Avenues offers K through 12th grade students not just a rich education, but a truly global one.
stolen Bike On the evening of March 19, a 21-year-old Queens man parked his red Honda motorcycle on the corner of North End Avenue and Murray Street. When he returned to the corner, his bike, which was unlocked and uncovered, was no where to be seen. Police searched the area for the missing bike, estimated to be worth $10,000, but to no avail.
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Little Shop of Vintage Medicine
ednesday, Mar. 28, Michael Sappol, Zoe Beloff and Sport Murphy educated a keen audience at The Housing Works Bookstore Café on topics as obscure as dentists’ hand silhouettes, plastic surgery reconstruction circa the 1900s and malaria pinup calendars from the 1940s. Why, you ask? These subjects veronica hoglund are only a few selections from Blast Books’ latest publication, Hidden Treasure. The new book showcases some of the most perplexing objects from the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library.
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� N E I G H BO R H O O D C HAT TE R UNION SQUARE NEW ADDITION TO UNION SQUARE PARTNERSHIP Felicia Tunnah, former assistant vice president of the Downtown Alliance, has joined the Union Square Partnership as its director of economic development and special projects. As the new director, Tunnah will create programs to promote retail and commercial activity in the area and enhance the streetscape around Union Square. “Union Square is one of the city’s most vital and vibrant districts, offering tremendous opportunity for economic development benefiting stakeholders, and the Partnership has done a wonderful job serving the district for over 30 years,” said Tunnah.
incidence rates by gender, decade of age, site and histology), and childhood cancers (any diagnosed in people under the age of 20) be covered under the Act. “The inclusion of cancer under the Zadroga Act will unlock the door to lifesaving treatment for thousands of first responders and survivors,” said Chin, who represents the World Trade Center site and lower Manhattan. STAC had until April 2 to submit its recommendations to Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health and the administrator of the WTC health program. Howard will make the final determination on which cancers will be covered. NURSE-FAMILY PARTNERSHIP Last week, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, the ranking member and former chair of the Senate Social Services Committee, heralded the $2.5 million allocated for Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) in the state budget, as well as significant investments in other critical social services programs.
Squadron has long championed state funding for NFP, which matches low-income first-time mothers with registered nurses for home visits from pregnancy until the child is 2 years old. Between 2009 and 2010, Squadron secured $7 million in state funding for the program, allowing NFP to grow the number of families for which it can provide services. Studies have consistently found that NFP’s work reduces child neglect and abuse, improves children’s behavior and school performance and leads to significant long-term savings for families.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT SILVER ON DOWNTOWN CONSTRUCTION NOISE Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called on the city’s Department of Transportation and the Department of Buildings to cease issuing variant permits that allow noisy construction work that continues into the night and forces residents to use their pillows to block out the noise. The Financial District is one of the fastest growing mixeduse neighborhoods in the city and, prior to its relatively recent residential boom, the after-hours permits were not considered particularly disruptive. Now, residents have primarily complained about construction on John Street and at the Brooklyn Bridge. Silver called for the city agencies to only allow construction during weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CITYWIDE CCRB TO MONITOR POLICE MISCONDUCT For the first time, the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), will be able to independently prosecute substantiated cases within the NYPD’s internal system. An agreement between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the CCRB will bring increased transparency to their reviews of alleged police misconduct. Under their prosecutorial authority, they’ll investigate civilian claims of police misconduct and refer to the NYPD for prosecution if necessary. ZADROGA BILL TO COVER CANCER Last week, the Science/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) of the World Trade Center Health Program voted to add certain types of cancer under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, said a press release distributed by Council Member Margaret Chin’s office. The STAC recommended that select cancers and cancer site groupings should be added to the list of WTC-related conditions, including breast and ovarian cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, thyroid cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. The STAC also recommended that rare cancers (based on age-specific apr i l 5, 2012 | nYPR E SS.com
� N EWS
Urban planning experts debate NYU 2031 | By aLaN Krawitz
Ever since NYU unveiled its behemoth 2031 expansion plan in 2010, it has drawn heated reaction from Downtown residents, community groups, activists and politicians alike. Hosted by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), last Tuesday’s panel of urban planning experts broke little in the way of new ground as the merits and failings of NYU 2031 were once again debated. The MAS is a nonprofit membership organization involved in urban planning, design and preservation and has been involved in Village planning issues since the 1950s. The organization has also authored a comprehensive position statement on NYU’s plan, featuring detailed recommendations on neighborhood context, public space and public process. The audience of more than 200, comprised mainly of NYU students, faculty and local residents, were eager to hear some ostensibly new perspectives on NYU’s plan to add about 6 million square feet of academic space throughout the city with nearly half of the expansion, equal to about the size of the Empire State Building, concentrated on two Washington Square-area superblocks located near the school’s main campus in Greenwich Village. As the panel’s moderator, John Alschuler, chairman of HR&A, a regional planning consultancy, asked each member of the panel to weigh in on various parts of the NYU 2031 plan, the audience either groaned in disapproval or gave a brief round of applause in support. Asked about the planned NYU hotel tower to go into the Zipper Building on the corner of West Houston and Mercer Street, Brad Hoylman, chairman of Community Board 2, which recently voted against the NYU 2031
plan, said that the board “scratched its head when it heard about the hotel plan.” He added that the board was unclear about why there was a need for such a hotel, which would cast shadows on the landmarked Silver Towers located on the same lot. Hilary Ballon, deputy vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi and a professor of urban studies and architecture at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, defended the proposed hotel, saying it is necessary to “support academics” coming to the area from out of town and even abroad. And Gary Hack, a professor of urban design at Penn Design, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, called the hotel a “critical piece of the plan.” But Ron Shiffman, a professor at the Pratt Graduate Center for Planning, said, “We have hotel space—there is no reason to not stay at other hotels in the area.” While acknowledging that a certain level of expansion is necessary for the university, he noted, “Expansion for expansion’s sake is a formula for disaster.” In response to a question about what level of growth is appropriate and constructive, Hoylman said that NYU has not gone to the community with adequate answers. “There is not enough information on what the school is doing.” “Growth should not take away the character and distinctiveness of the community,” Shiffman said. Expanding further on growth strategy, Shiffman said that the school should be encouraged to control the density in Manhattan by expanding into the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn or the Bronx. “There’s a limit to density,” Shiffman said. “You do need some open space.” Speaking generally about the plan, Ballon said it is about preparing for the future. “The
Mock-up of NYU’s expansion plan couRtesy of gvhsP
plan represents people who’ve yet to emerge,” she said. A handout prepared by the office of Assembly Member Deborah Glick was more skeptical of NYU’s plan. Under the headline “Truth be Told,” the handout said that the real truth is that NYU has tried for years to create a campus to compete with other universities and that this plan represents an “NYU administrative scheme that doesn’t reflect the needs of the students, faculty and certainly not the community.” And Glick is not alone in her opposition. On March 22, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation led a press conference on the steps of City Hall to call upon Borough President Scott Stringer to vote “no” on NYU 2031’s ULURP application. The press conference was followed up last week with a joint letter urging Stringer to vote no, signed by about 50 community activists,
residents, politicians and preservationists including Simeon Bankoff of Historic Districts Council, Jeanne Wilcke of Downtown Independent Democrats and Sean Sweeney of the SoHo Alliance. Ronna Texidor, a resident of Thompson Street, said, “No one who lives here wants 20 years of construction.” “The university cares deeply,” said Ballon to loud groans from the audience. “The city is part of its identity. Its success is linked to the city.” Said Hoylman, “We need NYU to make a better case to the community. We never saw any movement. We’re for taking the plan back to the drawing board.” Stringer has until April 12 to make his recommendation to City’s Department of City Planning, after which City Planning has 60 days to act. From that point, the City Council has another 50 days, including a possible 15day extension, for a final vote.
Mayor Bloomberg Blames Gun Lobby for Trayvon Martin’s Death | By Laura Nahmias
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, back from a tour of Asia, was asked at a recent press conference for his thoughts on the killing of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, a story that enveloped the national news over the past week. The killing of the unarmed teen has become a flashpoint for gun control advocates and critics of racial profiling across the country, following the Justice Department’s decision to investigate the teen’s death, which some observers said may have been legal under a Florida law that allows a bystander in threat of imminent danger to use deadly force. The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
Demonstrators gathered in Union Square on March 21 to protest Trayvon Martin’s shooting death in Sanford, Fla. cReAtIve commons Photo
“Your heart just has to go out to the parents,” Bloomberg said at the press conference in Brooklyn. “I guess you pray for the deceased, but this really struck a nerve with a
lot of people across the country. I think what you see here and we should be perfectly clear about this: The gun lobby is writing our nation’s gun laws.” “It’s a disgrace,” Bloomberg added. “They write them in Washington, they write them in state capitals. And the result is that our children are being killed, our police officers are being killed, you and I and our families are in danger, in greater danger than we should be.” On Wednesday, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, an outspoken critic of the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, joined demonstrators in Union Square wearing hoodies like the one Martin was wearing when he died. Williams said racial stereotyping is to blame for Martin’s killing.
“It’s Trayvon Martin in Florida. It’s Ramarley Graham in the Bronx. The darker your skin, the more you look like a criminal,” he said at the rally, Gothamist reported. But Bloomberg stuck to the topic of gun control and did not bring up New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policy, which Williams and other detractors argue disproportionately targets young men of color. “I mean this is just the craziest thing, only in America,” Bloomberg said. “We have more guns than people, and the rest of the world is looking at us incredulously, that we’re letting people kill our citizens.” This article originally appeared in City & State. To read more, visit cityandstate.com.
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City Looks to Close the Book on More Library Funding | By Megan Bungeroth
with additional reporting By andrew rice
hen people think of libraries, they think of taciturn old librarians, stacks of musty books and repressive quiet zones where the smallest sound is met with a harsh shush! The reality couldn’t be further from this image. Walking into the Battery Park City Library on North End Avenue, the first thing you notice is that it’s bright and sunny, with large open windows. Dozens of kids are playing quietly in a children’s area. Adults are sitting at computers doing research alongside young students doing their homework. It certainly isn’t filled with an oppressive air of silence—the library is a surprisingly vibrant community center. Library usage in the city keeps going up— in the last fiscal year, the St. Agnes branch on the Upper West Side had nearly 300,000 visits and the entire NYPL system had 15.1 million—but funding continues to drop precipitously. Now the NYPL system is facing severe budget cuts again; the proposed 2013 budget slashes $36 million, a 32 percent decrease that, if implemented in the executive budget, would surely mean reduced hours, staff and services all around Manhattan. “More patrons than ever are coming through our doors, checking out more materials, attending more programs and accessing more information,” said Dr. Anthony Marx, president of the NYPL, at a City Council hearing last month. “This cumulative cut means that [fiscal year] ’13 funding, excluding inflationary reimbursements, would be a full 44 percent lower than the FY ’08 adopted budget.” It’s a particularly cruel irony that the same economic crisis that squeezes the library budget is the same force sending New Yorkers into those libraries in droves. Library advocates point out that the loss of hours and staff would mean fewer librarians to help people find and fill out job applications, fewer free activities for cash-strapped parents to bring their kids to and fewer English as a Second Language courses, one of the many types of free class the NYPL provides. “Especially in an economic downturn, libraries just become more necessary,” said Lauren Comito, a librarian who runs the organization Urban Librarians Unite. She said she has probably helped over 1,000 people in the past six months search for jobs, write résumés and apply to positions online. Last year, 440,500 people attended job-related classes at the city libraries. The steady decline in funding has forced libraries to get by on shoestring budgets and operate with military-like efficiency to avoid cutting services. “The cuts have definitely been tough,” Angela Montefinise, director of public relations and marketing at the NYPL, wrote in an email. “We’re down 500 employees since
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
Patrons at the Battery Park City library, which is part of the New York Public Library system. Photos BY PAtRIcIA VouLgARIs
, and yet we still manage to have an average of six-day service around our system. We have worked extremely hard…to ensure that public service is not impacted by these cuts, but there’s only so far we can push to maintain that level of service as resources continue to decline.” According to the NYPL, about $100 million of their $259 million adopted budget for FY 2012 comes from private donations, a number they say remains consistent. It’s the city money that fluctuates and that the system is constantly negotiating. “I call it, in the words of Yogi Berra, ‘Déjà vu all over again,’” said Council Member Vincent Gentile, chair of the Libraries Committee. “It seems like every 10 months or so, we’re back to where we started. “Last year, we had to close a gap of $3 million [after larger cuts were restored to the budget],” he said. “Now it’s come to the point that we’re looking at a gap of $96 million,” the total combined amount for the NYPL, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island as well as the research libraries, and cuts to the Queens and Brooklyn library systems. Gentile said that the libraries should receive a baseline budget—something they can count on every year—but that he doesn’t see that happening in this administration. “The fact that we haven’t baselined it really leaves everybody with no ability to plan and no ability to have some sense of
security,” he said. Maureen Sullivan, president-elect of the American Libraries Association, said that urban libraries around the country are suffering similar budget restraints and that lawmakers need to be made aware of the tremendous return on investment that libraries offer in terms of public services and community benefit. “I think there’s really a need for the financial people, the policy makers to understand what people who work in libraries do and how people in the community use libraries,” Sullivan said. “It’s critical to recognize that the public library is often the only resource available for those in our communities who are not yet using the technology or don’t have the ability to get the information,” for things like online employment resources. While job search resources are critical, local libraries also serve as cultural and social havens for Downtown residents. On a recent weekday afternoon at Battery Park City, a mother played with her young child in a foam play area. Behind her, several nannies talked amongst themselves as their charges read books or used computers. On the other side of the library, teens surfed the Internet or read books. A quick jog upstairs brings you to the library’s quiet area, where Tammy Keller helped her daughter go over her homework. “I bring my daughter Olivia and her friends here, and it’s a bright, wonderful space. We do homework here, go to story time
and check out books. If anything happened, we’d still come here, but we wouldn’t be as happy.” Back downstairs, Lolita Atilola organizes a Spanish story time with two dozen infants and their parents. Through song, dance and puppets, Atilola immerses these young children in the Spanish language. “Some parents take their kids here because they want them to learn about their roots or their culture. Others do this because they want their children to have an early exposure to another language,” said Francesca Coraggio, who manages the library. Liza Polanco, 50, is a nanny for two children who are here for the Spanish story time. “If they closed the library or cut its hours, I don’t know what we’d do. Lots of children come here. We come here every week for the readalongs, the story times and all the other activities. They had animals at the library once,” said Polanco, as the children piped up their experiences with the animals. “They had an owl here and it was the coolest thing ever!” said the little boy with Polanco. “They talk about basically cutting the most vulnerable folks in this city who depend on us for access to ideas—the bedrock of democracy, the bedrock of an economy,” Marx said in his Council testimony. “That would demonstrate fewer items being circulated, libraries being closed, youngsters being deprived of access to books and programs. It really is a horror show.”
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THE 7-DAY PLAN
Moth StorySLAM: Education [4/10]
Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St. (betw. Prince & E. Houston Sts.), housingworksbookstore.com, 212-334-3324; 7 p.m., $8. The folks at Housing Works say this event always sells out, and we think we know why. It’s 10 stories judged by three people, with just one winner. Plan on getting to the café early for seats, because you won’t want to miss the educational experience that is the Moth StorySLAM.
05 06 07 08 09 10 11 FRIDAY
Manuela Anthology Film Archive, 32 2nd Ave. (betw. 1st & 2nd Sts.), anthologyfilmarchives.org; 7 p.m. Manuela is not your typical foreign film. Set in southern Spain, it does not hinge on traditional stereotypes and instead seeks to personify an individual’s struggle for love and acceptance. Similar to Wide Sargasso Sea, Manuela follows the life, passion and conflict of a beautiful young woman who follows her heart instead of social expectations.
Kelli Sae: The Unveiling Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl.), joespub.com; 9:30 p.m., $15. Experience rhythm and blues as they mix perfectly together when Kelli Sae brings her talents to Joe’s Pub for a Friday night show. Her powerfully soulful vocals and genuine songwriting will leave you in wide-eyed wonderment. Sae’s sound has been described as “undeniable and downright intoxicating” by Billboard magazine.
The Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival: Producer’s Picks 92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson St. (betw. Vestry & Desbrosses Sts.), 92Y.org; 8 p.m., $10. For the past 10 years, the Iron Mule short comedy film series has brought New Yorkers the best comedy films around. Now, the producers who have orchestrated the laughs take center stage to present their favorite picks of this iconic comedic staple.
Anoushka Shankar City Winery, 155 Varick St. (at Vandam St.), citywinery. com; 8 p.m., $65. It’s not often that we get a chance to describe something as an entirely unique blend of sounds—but Shankar gives us that opportunity. With her blend of Indian classical music and heartfelt Spanish music, she will help you discover a harmonic pairing that will rival any brie and pinot grigio.
Trinity Church, 74 Trinity Pl. (Broadway at Wall St.), trinitywallstreet.org; 9 a.m. For Christians, Easter Sunday is one of the holiest days of the year. Celebrating their faith and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians gather in ceremonies of rebirth and redemption that coincide with the spring season. Morning mass will be held at Trinity Church and will include a festive celebration of the Eucharist with hymns and other music.
How Are You Feeling? High Line Park, 18th St. (at 10th Ave.), thehighline.org. We pass by billboards every day and are conditioned to barely afford them a glance, but with one 25-by-75-foot canvas, David Shrigley will turn the High Line’s 18th Street billboard into a simplistically provocative interpretation of our fears, insecurities and paranoia. And because of the intimacy afforded by the High Line, you’ll enjoy the time you can take to stop and stare.
A Silent Film Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. (betw. Essex & Ludlow Sts.), mercuryloungenyc.com; 6:30 p.m., $10. This acclaimed Oxford quartet will be celebrating the release of their debut studio album, Sand & Snow. The band’s pure rock sound is a fusion of the synth rock that Coldplay has made so famous and a raw lyrical quality that might have belonged to a sober Noel Gallagher.
Letters to Kurt book signing Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St. (at Union Square), barnesandnoble.com; 7 p.m. Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson, who was Kurt Cobain’s close friend, has spent over a decade trying to come to terms with his demons in the wake of Cobain’s death. A courageous attempt to vocalize his loss, this series of letters that read as poetry is, in Erlandson’s words, “a 52-card pickup” and a hope that through his own struggles, he may be able to help others.
Zürcher Studio, 33 Bleecker St. (at Mott St.), galeriezurcher.com; 12 p.m. Techno Nature is not your typical oil-and-canvas gallery. Instead, the exhibition’s curators have chosen to focus on the way the world has changed from the canvas to the screen, and vice versa. Wading on the heels of technology’s impact on art, this exhibition promises to give you a fresh perspective on an age-old subject.
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Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
Who’s Next Live feat. Schoolboy Q S.O.B.’s, 204 Varick St. (at W. Houston St.), sobs.com; 7:30, $15. This is a spot we don’t normally give too much attention to, because anyone who’s into hip-hop already knows this is THE place to be. With Hot 97 host Peter Rosenberg, you can watch as up-and-coming rappers battle it out for fame. This week, check out Schoolboy Q—with a flow that sounds like vintage Dre mixed with Kid Kudi, the Cali-based “schoolboy” will keep the energy exactly where it needs to be.
Post Mortem Film Forum, 209 W. Houston (betw. Varick & Spring Sts.), filmforum.org; 10 p.m., $12.50. A morbidly comic drama set in the middle of the bloody 1973 Chilean coup. Though this plot may seem like an oxymoron, when a coroner’s assistant gets thrust into a cataclysmic event while swooning over an erotic dancer, we can’t help but laugh. This portrait of an imagination that becomes indistinguishable from reality is, at its heart, a nightmarish landscape with metaphorical undertones that mirrors what a future Chile would face as a nation.
� The Bully Pulpit SE E
New doc beats up viewers | By ArmoNd White Just as the contrived “Kids Killing Kids” hype for The Hunger Games was getting started, a new “Kids Killing Kids” documentary asserts its claim on public attention: Bully, directed by Lee Hirsch, could be one of the challenges in The Hunger Games. It makes a show of how schoolkids torment each other, using real-life circumstances where victimization goes unheeded. Hirsch starts with two suicides (Tyler, 17, Ty, 11), another boy’s daily misery (Alex, 14), a taunted teenaged lesbian (Kelby, 16) and the incarceration of a girl (Ja‘Meya, 14) who threatened her oppressors. These terrible incidents are meant to represent an epidemic of hatefulness–but Hirsch showcases too many instead of simply concentrating on one story to reveal the basic cultural breakdown when kids killing kids becomes an everyday social occurrence and not just a tag line to promote a blockbuster. It’s the blockbuster-doc mentality that undercuts Bully. Hirsch’s do-gooder impulse recalls Waiting for Superman, where the filmmaker’s sanctimony confuses special pleading with the work of journalistic investigation. Hirsch exploits these kids and their communities, though with the best of intentions. But Bully’s feel-good-about-feeling-bad approach is offensive because it’s also the “That’s not me” approach, allowing viewers to think they would react differently or more effectively than the helpless parents, clueless school officials and young, terrified “All-American” prey. Hirsch goes for sorrow when there is no sorrow in our Hunger Games culture, just an atmosphere of relentless competition. This cultural disaster is exacerbated by social media, the open platform for incivility mistakenly celebrated as democratized, technological progress. As a documentary, Bully fails to examine the warped adolescent habits that pornographer Larry Clark enjoyed in his 2001 Brad
Renfro movie Bully. Director Clark’s prurience is a tonic compared to Hirsch’s approach. Hirsh never interviews a bully, refuses to detail the psychology of social behavior. He seems uninterested in how bullies learn their malice or how our institutions promote antagonism through the culture of winning. There’s no insight into cliques and conformity, just sob stories—and some are difficult to shake off, fragile Ja’Meya‘s homecoming ecstasy and Alex’s awkward age romanticism (“Girls are like candy, sometimes you want a Hershey bar, sometimes you want a Snickers bar. ”) that confirms he’s like every kid. When a documentarian undermines his own subject, blame the Michael Moore syndrome that has distorted the parameters of nonfiction filmmaking. Hirsch compounds his crusading arrogance with the fuzzy principles of cinema verite. While filming scenes of Alex’s school bus brutalization or an assistant principal’s feckless attempts at crowd management, Hirsch bears witness to cruelty without stepping in. It may make for alarming footage, but it also fails an adult’s responsibility. The Motion Picture Association of America is right to recommend restricted viewing for such scenes as a boy threatening “I will end you! I’m bringing a knife tomorrow, I’m gonna f**k you up!” It is self-righteous for filmmakers to ignore that such voyeuristic scenes glorify menacing bravado, especially in a film and video culture dedicated to crime and violence. Arguing for a non-restricted rating once again ignores the need for responsible film viewing. MTV’s Bully Beatdown offered a better remedy; so does the porn satire It Gets Bigger, whose mockery of the sanctimonious “It Gets Better” campaign naughtily implies that no amount of liberal sloganeering will resolve unchecked animal instinct. The problem of PC sanctimony only gets bigger. Bully’s promoters seem ignorant of the fact that kids don‘t want to see docs like this anyway. They already know what bullying is— and most movies congratulate them for it.
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� B USI N ESS lIgHts on…In lower ManHattan
Downtown Alliance’s Kelly Rush fills us in on new openings in Lower Manhattan photos by kelly rush
reminders that the northern hemisphere is waking up to spring and showing us its colors. I hope you enjoy them, and as usual, if you see any new retailers or longtime establishments changing locations, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll check them out. Conrad new York Hotel
102 North End Ave. (betw. Murray & Vesey Sts.), 212-945-0100.
t seemed this winter that the supply of new businesses opening in North Battery Park City was endless, and in fact this column will soon see yet another crop. The final two that I know of are expected to open in time for my next column, and then we’ll say goodbye to this busy little strip for a while. I’ve been taking pictures of some of the myriad public spaces in Lower Manhattan and have come across some beautiful
We’ve seen the construction crews moving in and out of this space for months now, and all that work has finally concluded with the Conrad celebrating its grand opening March 19. The hotel, perched in the center of Restaurant Alley across from the Goldman Sachs building, is like its own little city; It has a restaurant, Atrio, a rooftop bar opening in May called Loopy Doopy (named after the Sol LeWitt mural hanging in the hotel’s atrium), and even a barbershop, Salvatore Barber (Atrium Level, 646-769-4272), which is now open and serving guests and visitors in need of a trim. I walked to the hotel recently and was impressed with the light
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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This full-service restaurant, situated just off the lobby, has an extensive menu including breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, plus desserts. To start, try an ahi tuna crudo or a radicchio-and-endive salad. Main dishes include an orecchiette pasta with Long Island duck sausage, a stone-fired organic chicken and a prime New York strip. Stone-fired pizzas available include one with a port reduction and smoked scarmorza. For dessert, try the pistachio profiteroles, salted peanut gelato or a chocolate panna cotta with amarena cherries.
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.
that pours in through west-facing windows overlooking the Hudson waterfront. Hotels have a tendency to be dark, and patrons can experience what I call the “casino effect,” whereupon leaving the building, one’s eyes cannot adjust even to the weakest sunlight. Not so here. The artwork complements the architecture, the plush carpet in the lobby is so deep it muffled my clunking footsteps and you just can’t beat the view.
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� DI N I N G
The dining concourse at Grand Central Station. pHOTO BY Mike SandMan
Heading out of town this weekend? eat here first an English muffin with an egg, American | By Regan Hofmann cheese and grilled onions and give it to This weekend, the twin holidays of Easter and Passover will have familial obligations bearing down heavy on most of the city. But while the big-ticket holidays might pull New Yorkers farther afield to moms in Michigan or in-laws in Idaho, the limited shelf lives of the two spring celebrations by necessity limit their reach. Passover, thanks to that pesky lunar calendar, can land any day it damn well pleases. And except for the extremely religious, who take part in all the Maundy Thursdays and Lazarus Saturdays beforehand, Easter is a Mass, a meal and some chocolate bunnies for the ride home. Because of this, we scramble to find the most geographically convenient relative with whom we can manage to spend a few hours and consider our filial duties done. Aunts in Connecticut we never speak to; cousins up in Albany we’ve only made peace with in our adult years—if they’re within train’s reach, they’re family. Grand Central and Penn stations become the cliffs from which we lemmings stream out to sea. The transit hubs, never sleepy, are sheer madness from the first train out Friday morning to the last train back Sunday night. Unfortunately, they’re both in no-man’s-lands for food, a mishmash of traveler-targeting grab-and-gos and sit-down expense account magnets (Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, anyone?). Hopefully, Aunt Susan’s cooking is so good you’re already pining for her worldfamous brisket. But if not, and you’re already planning where to hide the leftovers, sneak a pre-Seder snack or a postdinner dinner at one of these surprising station-adjacent spots. Breakfast: a new addition to Grand Central’s downstairs food court, Tri Tip Grill’s menu is limited to its eponymous sliced steak in various iterations; sandwiches, salads, platters. So far, so good. But for breakfast, they’ll put that steak on
you with a side of tater tots. It’s everything you never thought an egg-and-cheese could be, down to the egg being fried rather than scrambled, so the yolk runs throughout and creates a glorious sauce with the melted cheese. Plus, they’ll sell you whole steaks to take away and finish in the oven, a good last-minute backup in case Uncle Morty forgets to pick up the pot roast that morning. Lunch: If you’re heading out at noon for a dinner you know won’t be ready until 8:30, build your stores at Fuji Bakery and Restaurant (224 W. 35th St., betw. 7th & 8th Aves., 212-629-7588), just a block from Penn Station. The no-frills combination Chinese bakery/restaurant is one of the few in the area where the BBQ pork buns are as good as the braised bean curd. Don’t be fooled by its crummy linoleum and the generic-looking steam table up front—even white-guy standards like beef with broccoli are better than the rest. To win extra points, bring along a dozen egg tarts or coconut buns for the folks; at 75 cents apiece, you can be a dessert hero for less than a 10-spot. Dinner: So you’ve made it through the evening and are safely back home in the city. But Cousin Becky’s decision to “try something new” for the main course was a bust, and you’re starving after pushing that ham casserole around your plate all night. Before you give in and go home to some stale chips and salsa, stop in at Pera (303 Madison Ave., betw. 41st & 42nd Sts., peranyc.com) a Turkish spot around the corner from Grand Central. There, come back to your senses with mezes like carrot and eggplant croquettes or hummus topped with pastirma, a kind of Middle Eastern cured beef that’s like the lovechild of pastrami and prosciutto. Their wine list is extensive, too, so you can start working on blotting out the memory of the whole night and be ready to go again next year. apr i l 5, 2012 | nYPR E SS.com
� FAM I LY C O R N E R Ten Questions to Ask a Camp Director A priorities list for your camp search | By Jess MichAels When researching a summer camp for your child, there are certain pieces of information you should know in order to make an informed decision. Whether you speak to the camp director in person or by phone, the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey (ACA, NY and NJ) recommends asking these 10 questions to help you get started. 1. What is the camp’s mission and philosophy? Each camp is unique in its programming and approaches, so it’s important that the director can easily explain what they’re all about. Ask the director about the type of child that is typically successful. Renee Flax, director of camper placement for ACA, NY and NJ, said, “Knowing your child’s personality and learning style, along with carefully considering whether or not the camp’s philosophy matches your own philosophy, are valuable in selecting the right camp.” 2. What does the camp’s programming involve? Think about if you are looking for a well-rounded camp experience or a specialty program, like martial arts or theater. What activities are must-haves for your child? How long is each activity? How many electives do the campers get and what kind of guidance do they receive in choosing them? 3. What type of training and education does the director have? The ACA recommends that directors possess a bachelor’s degree, have completed in-service training within the past three years and have at least 16 weeks of camp administrative experience. 4. What are the enrollment options? What is the length of the program offered? Is there flexibility? You should also inquire about available transportation. 5. What is the staff like? It’s important to know who will be caring for your child. Ask about the age make-up, pre-season and on-going staff trainings, the camperto-staff ratio and cabin supervision. “Parents should not only ask the camp about how many hours or types of training the
staff has, but more importantly, the overarching philosophy and message being delivered to the staff,” said Paul Isserles, director of Buckley Country Day Camp in Roslyn, N.Y. At a minimum, camp staff should be trained in safety regulations, emergency procedures and communication, behavior management techniques, child abuse prevention, appropriate staff and camper behavior and specific procedures for supervision. 6. What percentage of the campers return each year? A large number of returning campers usually indicates a high level of satisfaction with the camp’s programming and operation.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
7. What are the safety procedures? Ask about the safety measures that are in place. These can include medical personnel on property, emergency plans, staff screening procedures and instructor qualifications.
how the camp proceeds.
8. Is the camp accredited? Find out if the program follows a nationally known accreditation process and if it’s inspected each summer by the Department of Health. The ACA is the only national organization that establishes uniform standards for reviewing camps.
10. Can the camp provide references? This is generally one of the best ways to check a camp’s reputation and service record. Ask other parents about the experiences of their children at the camp and whether their child is returning or attending for the first time. “Parents can provide you with an ‘inside’ perspective on how camp impacted their children directly,” said Sam Borek, owner/director of Woodmont Day Camp in New City, N.Y.
9. Can the camp accommodate special needs? If your child has special requirements, such as food allergies, religious obligations or a learning disability, ask
Still have questions? Come ask them in person at a free camp fair hosted by New York Family and the ACA, NY and NJ. Visit newyorkfamilycamps.com for more info.
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� S OCI ETY
The Man Repeller Opens Up Leandra medine, the 23-year-old behind the fashion world’s most influential blog, gives the scoop on her engagement, wedding dress, upcoming book and all things fashion | By Carson Griffith
Photos By aram Bedrossian
or maybe the first time in her career, Leandra Medine is showing signs of opening up. The 23-year-old blogger, known to readers of her site as “The Man Repeller,” has followed a strict mantra of “personable over personal” that has made her irresistible, if not entirely accessible, to her fans. But with a recent engagement and an upcoming wedding at the St. Regis, she’s slowly coming out of her Thakoon cocoon. Over a latté at The Smile in Noho the Friday before Fashion Week, Medine almost looks like she’s wearing a disguise. Having made her living for over the past two years on the promotion of fashion-forward, often wacky attire, it’s slightly disappointing to find the native New Yorker in an oversized sweater and scarf. But a large, sparkly engagement ring and an “arm party” of bracelets—a term Medine herself coined—make up for the lack of a tufted skirt with multiple layers or high-waisted shorts. The Upper East Sider has made time for me in her morning between a flurry of meetings, including styling a Lila Horn show for Fashion Week, and working on her popular blog, which garners 2 million hits a month and helped her top Adweek’s “Fashion’s Power 25 list” last September, beating out Lady Gaga, Anna Wintour, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
“I’ve RSVPed to, like, 50 shows,” she admitted when I asked her for her Fashion Week schedule. Among them are Calvin Klein and Derek Lam, both coveted first-year invites for the blogger, but she did not attend the show of one of her favorite young designers, Alexander Wang. Strangely enough for Medine, she missed the hot ticket, which took place Saturday, Feb. 11, to attend her own engagement party. In a short white Marchesa dress at 583 Park, Medine brought friends and family to celebrate her engagement to her long-term, on-and-off boyfriend, whom she keeps anonymous on her blog and won’t name here. When I asked what he does for a living, she said, “We’re fulfilling all the New York stereotypes, which means…” she trailed off. “Finance,” I said. But getting back to fashion, the open-faced, long-legged brunette will not be slipping into a dress designed by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig for her nuptials. While her millions of readers and 60,000 Twitter followers have waited with bated breath to hear who will be designing her wedding dress, it sounds as if she’s narrowed it down to one hot designer, one she also considers a friend: Prabal Gurung. “We’re actually talking about the prospect of him doing my wedding dress,” she smiled, almost shyly, at the thought of a custom-made gown on a girl’s biggest day by one of fashion’s most popular men. “I Continued on page 18
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From page 16
think Prabal Gurung is probably going to be the most relevant and important designer in fashion five years from now. His collections are insane.” As for any woman who has made her career in fashion, it is easy for Medine to tick off a litany of favorite designers. The difference, however, is that a number of them, such as Gurung, are personal friends with the famous blogger. Last fall, Medine walked the catwalk for Rebecca Minkoff’s Fashion Week show, after, Minkoff tells me, she challenged Medine to a walk-off after dinner on a rainy night. Medine concluded her audition runway strut with a funny routine from Saturday Night Live, which she watches regularly. It sealed the deal. “I love Becky,” Medine said, calling the designer by a pet name when I inquire about the relationship. The feeling is mutual. “Leandra
ters the night before Fashion Week began last season and has another collaboration with Dannijo due out next month, called Mr. Dannijo’s Eye Spies, a takeoff of their original Mr. Dannijo collaboration. She admits not everyone is singing her praises, though. The “haters,” as she calls them, are still lurking on the Internet, ready to pounce on her every move, due to her quick, though not unwarranted success. Despite receiving lengthy and numerous congratulations upon posting news of her engagement on her website, other sites condemned her for it as if it were a kind of betrayal. “I didn’t mean for the ‘Man Repeller’ to be me [initially],” she said, explaining that the name of the site and online persona was about making a “social comment about fashion.”
relationship with Medine since meeting her reminds me of what Katharine Hepburn a year ago at a party for the blogging forum was to fashion in a time when women Tumblr. “It was love at first sight,” Snyder only wore skirts and she wore pants. She said, adding she thinks they’ve spent “364 stood for the modern woman in an era of out of the 365 days” that they’ve known glamor,” Minkoff enthused. “I appreciate each other together. her singular point of view; women love “She’s like a fox on the trends men oversized clogs,” she hate. She’s fearless “Leandra reminds me of what said about the blogand empowers ger’s ability to actually other people to be Katharine Hepburn was to not repel men. “I never the same.” fashion in a time when womtease her because just Minkoff keeps en only wore skirts and she when I think she’s lookMedine on her wore pants. She stood for the ing too hot, I realize she mind in the modern woman in an era of hasn’t shaved her legs in workplace as well. way too long.” “We consider her glamor,” Rebecca Minkoff said. “I feel so blessed part of the brand’s I’ve become so close family. Our bawith [Danielle and Jodie],” Medine said rometer. We always ask ourselves, ‘How earnestly, despite Snyder’s joking comwould the Man Repeller wear this?’” mentary and despite the fact that she has Danielle Snyder, of the jewelry line Dannever in her life owned a pair of clogs. nijo, which she created with her older sister Medine helped host a dinner with the sisJodie, has developed an almost sister-like
This story first appeared in the March issue of AVENUE. For the rest of the story, visit avenueinsider.com
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APR I L 5 , 2 0 1 2 | nyp r e s s. c o m
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A CAmp For EvErY BudgEt If you’re worried about how to afford summer camp, here are some cost-saving steps to consider
ummer camp is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn life lessons like leadership, independence and self-confidence, as well as trying new activities like sailing, ropes course and waterskiing. It’s hard to put a price tag on
your child’s learning and growth experiences, but parents should know that with a little planning and research there are a number of ways—some perhaps obvious, some less so—to help make summer camp more affordable. Adam Weinstein, executive director of the American Camp Association, New
York and New Jersey, said, “With careful planning, parents can find a camp that works within their families means. When you think about how much it costs to have a child home all summer, with child care and activities, you realize you can be paying a very small premium for a very rich experience.”
look for caMp early
It isn’t too early to look for a summer camp for the summer of 2012 or even 2013. Tour camps this summer while the camp is in action. Some camps offer early bird specials for registering now so you can register soon after the camp tour for savings. Searching for camp early also gives families a longer time to plan financially for camp.
Camp can be given to children as part of birthday gifts and holiday gifts and parents can budget for these gifts throughout the year. Likewise, members of the extended family, like grandparents, may also contribute to a gift like camp.
Search caMpS By coSt
There is a camp for every budget. Families can search the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey’s website searchforacamp.org by cost as well as day/sleepaway, location, activities or single-sex/coed/brother-sister camps. (Therightcamp.com also has a good camp search engine.) Likewise, families can also call the American Camp Association, NY and NJ camper placement specialist at 212-391-5208 for free, one-on-one advice on finding the right camp at the right price for your family. Keep in mind that some Y camps, in particular, view it as part of their mission to accept a certain percentage of kids from families with modest means.
aSSiStance offered froM the u.S GoVernMent
The government offers programs that may help families save money on summer camp. • A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account—A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account allows parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care or adult dependent care expenses that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work, or attend school full-time while they are caring for qualified dependents. Visit the FSA Feds website at fsafeds.com for more information. In certain circumstances, day camp expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services. • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit—the IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents (up to $3,000 for one dependent). The amount of the credit is based on your adjusted gross income and applies only to your federal taxes. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses as well. Visit the FSA Feds website for more information.
talk to the caMp director
Parents should talk to the camp director at the camp they are interested in sending their child to. Some camps offer sibling discounts or early bird specials for registering early and payment plans—and that’s just the official policy. If you have your heart set on a camp but can’t afford it, talk to the director to see if he or she would consider a sliding scale rate in your case. You never know.
hold a fundraiSer
I know this might seem like an overly self-serving solicitation, but if you do it in a way that shows spunk and creativity—and your child helps take the lead on it—you’d be surprised how friends and neighbors might be charmed by the idea of an effort to raise money for camp. Even something as old-fashioned as a lemonade stand with good signage about where the money is going might be an attention-getter and profit-maker. But use real lemons. People appreciate authenticity.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | APR I L 5, 2012
What is the etiquette of sleeping with a guy on the first date? You’re asking me what the etiquette is for stripping down buck-naked with someone who is essentially a stranger to you and doing the nasty on his Pabststained Star Wars sheets? Um…Use a condom? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sex on the first date is not a good idea. Our generation/culture believes that sex is something casual because, like the little-brained monkey robots “The Man” hoped we’d be programmed into, we’ve fallen for mass media and marketing. But that’s not a very sexy answer is it? Get to know someone first. And no, asking if they have been tested before the act does not count as a Proustian interview. Unless this is someone you have known for a very long time and you guys are “giving it a try,” there is no possible way either of you could be comfortable going between blankets. Booze, of course, will take care of this, letting your inhibitions loose, but that most commonly ends with a 7 a.m. walk to Duane Reade for a little Plan B action. (Don’t act like it doesn’t.) And if you have known that person for a while and you are giving it a try, it is a major shift from let’s go grab a beer and shoot some pool tonight, friend-o.
Now, if you’re dead set on getting yours on that very first date, I can’t stop you. But I might be able to help you based on what you’re looking for. If you’ve been on the market too long and you’re looking for the GF clause, you’re knocking yourself 10 steps back by jumping in the sack. “But we drank a lot, and he’s really hot and respects me.” If he respects you, he’ll respect your needing to wait. If he doesn’t respect that, he’s a chump. If you’re the chump and you’re looking to jump his bones ASAP, go against all post-coitus instincts. After you have sex, get out of there as fast as you can. He’ll try to make a whole kerfuffle about it, but have your BS meter on high. How is he saying, “No, babe, I really want you to spend the night”? Is there that high inflection in the back of his voice? Yup. That’s what we call lying. And that’s cool, darling, because you’re not going to fall for it. You’re going to make him feel used, because every guy wants a little holding time after sex. They jostle, jab and joke about it, but if you leave him in that dark room alone, I guarantee he’ll curl up with a pillow so he can get some of that snuggle fever covered. This will also (and I’m aware that this
the mandate: the man with all the answers
is retarded, but guess what? So are men) make you seem cool. Like you are a hip little chick; don’t need no man to make you feel whole. And in that message, the man will wonder if he could possibly ever be the man that you’d want to spend the night with. On initiating the sex if, once again, you can’t control yourself: Gently let your gentleman caller know you are a sexual being, but don’t oversell it. You should not
be talking about your view of sex as a fun thing you like to do. No. Be the strong, sexy, confident woman you are. Let him know that you are in touch with your sexuality. If you’d like, you can say that you enjoy sex, but anything that might come off as “I get around,” can be dangerous, so play this one close to your chest. Be very subtle, with just enough innuendo that it gets his mind-a-movin’. If his mind is moving, you really should get out of there, because you’ll be leaving him wanting more. It doesn’t matter whose place you go to, though; if your dude has a roommate, you should really ask yourself if this is someone you want to have sex with. Grown man + roommate = some sort of trouble. Now, if you’re just looking for a little slap and tickle, then go all out. Sex is fun and we sometimes crave it. If you’re just looking to get it out of your system, take your shots, talk about how much you love sex and take him home. It doesn’t mean anything tonight and it sure as hell won’t tomorrow. If you have a sex or relationship question burning a hole in your mind, send it email@example.com.
Visit either our Manhattan or Morristown office: New York, NY 530 First Avenue, Suite 6D 1-877-VEIN-NYU (834-6698) Morristown, NJ 95 Madison Avenue, Suite 415 1-973-538-2000
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