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2012 Vimeo Awards Your doctor retired to where?

Another reason to call.

Celebrating where film meets the web Text by Adel Manoukian • Photos by Ryan McCune/ Out of 15,000 submissions, Vimeo, the web-based video platform favored by filmmakers from up-and-comers to well-knowns, handed out 13 online films awards at the company’s 2012 award ceremony last Thursday at NYU’s Skirball Center in Greenwich Village. While the vote was public, the selection process included an esteemed and varied panel of judges, which included actor James Franco, documentarian Lucy Walker, professional surfer Alana Blanchard and local filmmaker Casey Neistat. The categories ranged from the standards like narrative and experimental to some off-the-beaten path choices like action sports, advertising and remix video. Each winner received a $5,000 grant, but the grand prize winner, the film directing collective Everynone, walked away with $25,000 for their film Symmetry, which was made in partnership with WNYC’s Radiolab. Attendees were treated to a performance by Reggie Watts, the Brooklyn-based comedian and musician, and U.K. beatboxer Beardeyman, who not only played off each other musically but incorporated a technologically innovative set into their performance. To read the full list of winners and learn more about Vimeo, check out

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NEIGHBORHOOD CHATTER Zadroga Bill to Cover 50 Types of Cancer Fifty types of cancer have joined the list of covered conditions for the World Trade Center Health Program linked to the Zadroga Bill that was passed in early 2011. The coverage comes after Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reviewed the link between exposure to the toxins at the World Trade Center site and cancers affecting the digestive and respiratory systems. He recently issued a proposed rule to accept all of the Science/Technical Advisory Committee’s recommendations. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released a statement Friday following the decision. “We thank Dr. Howard and the Science/Technical Advisory Committee for their hard work and diligence, which will get more of our 9/11 heroes suffering from cancer the treatment they deserve,” they said. Two more peer-reviewed scientific studies will be done to determine if any additional cancers should be included in the list. “We are confident that with the benefit of new peer-reviewed studies to come, we will be successful in ensuring that first responders and community survivors suffering from other cancers will also get the access to the program they so desperately need,” said Schumer and Gillibrand.

Sponge Bob, the 30-Pound Cat, Finds New Home Sponge Bob, the 30-pound feline media sensation, made his debut with his new owners last week on the red carpet at Animal Haven’s second annual Performance for the Animals benefit concert and auction at City Winery in Tribeca. Two months ago, Sponge Bob’s previous owner went into hospice and left the nine-year-old cat with Animal Haven, a nonprofit cat and dog shelter on Centre Street in Soho. The shelter started a blog about Sponge Bob to aid his adoption that won him instant fame last week, including press coverage in the UK and an appearance on the Today Show. He is likely the world’s largest living cat.

Sponge Bob now belongs to Courtney and Matthew Farrell, a young newlywed couple who live on the Upper East Side. They hoisted Sponge Bob up for the cameras on the red carpet—no easy task. Courtney Farrell said she and her husband had occasionally talked about getting a cat, but did not want to bother with a kitten or anything too out of control. When she first read about Sponge Bob, she sent her husband a picture as a joke. A few conversations later, they knew they had found the perfect match. When asked about the cat’s health, Matthew Farrell promised, “We’re going to whip him into shape.” He and his wife both exercise regularly and believe in promoting healthy lifestyles. “He’s already on a no-carb diet,” he said with a smile. “Catkins.”

Edie Falco holds Sponge Bob during an interview before the charity event. Photo by Jonathan Springer

City Has Too Many Bee Hives, Say Experts If dodging speeding cabs, wayward cyclists and lost tourists on the city’s sweltering streets this summer isn’t enough, here’s another thing to look out for: bees—a whole freakin’ lot of them. Honeybee swarms of cinematic proportions have terrified citygoers this spring from Brooklyn to the Bronx. They have bombarded a fire hydrant at the South

Street Seaport, crowded the Bowery and even trapped a family in a Volvo at Pier 92. The source of these swarms is one of the city’s fastest-growing hobbies: beekeeping. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani banned honeybees from New York City back in 1999 along with cheetahs, elephants and other exotic pets, but the relegalization of beekeeping in 2010 ushered in a new trend. The New York Post reports that since the ban was lifted, the number of registered hives in the city has increased from

three to 161. Hives range in size from small rooftop collections to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which boasts the city’s largest habitat with 20 hives and 20 million bees. Andrew Coté, founder of the New York City Beekeepers Association, said. “There are too many hives right now. As it increases in popularity, it will be more and more difficult to control.” Compiled by Paul Biscegio and Adel Manoukian


By Megan Bungeroth and Alissa Fleck Last week, State Sen. Tom Duane surprised both the political world and his constituents by announcing his intention to retire at the end of his current Senate term. The seven-term Democratic legislator, who represents parts of the Upper West Side as well as Clinton, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, NoHo and Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, has been an accomplished advocate for gay rights as well as health care, and plans to focus on continuing his advocacy outside of Albany. “I wanted to do something else and realized it’s time to start the next chapter,” Duane said in a recent interview. “I would say ‘retire’ is not a completely accurate term; I’m just not ready for re-election. I plan to continue working in my own small way to make the world a better place.” Duane, who was elected in 1998 and was New York’s first openly gay senator, was the first senator to introduce the Marriage Equality Act in 2001 and continued to push for its support until it was passed last year. He also made waves in 1991 when he won election to the City Council after disclosing his HIVpositive status, and in the Senate he passed legislation expanding routine HIV testing. NYPre 

Duane said he is proud to have passed laws that directly impact his constituents as well as serve as models for other cities. “I supported the Midwifery Modernization Act to allow nurse midwives to practice in New York State. I’ve supported routine HIV testing and helped lessen the stigma, particularly within correctional facilities. I also supported the prohibition of insurance companies to create tier four drugs with incredibly expensive co-payments,” Duane said of his accomplishments. He also introduced the anti-bullying Dignity for All Students Act in the Senate and fought for its successful passage, helped secure passage of a law that eliminates the criminal statute of limitations on many serious sex crimes and worked on measures that toughened laws against hate crimes and discrimination. Duane’s announcement to leave public office after the current Senate term, which ends Dec. 31, has many already lamenting his departure and others scrambling to replace him. “I am sad to hear of Tom Duane’s departure from public life,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose district overlaps Duane’s, in a statement. “Locally, he has been a power-

ful and unyielding advocate for affordable housing and tenants’ rights, serving his constituents as only a truly committed and compassionate public servant can. In Albany, Tom has been a legendary champion for civil rights, sponsoring and supporting legislation over the years to benefit all New Yorkers.” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio also praised the senator, singling out his contributions to gay rights in the state. “Today’s generation of LGBTQ youth will grow up in a world made more free and more fair because of Tom’s service,” de Blasio said in a statement. “He will always be remembered for his pivotal role in securing marriage equality for all New Yorkers.” Hoping to follow in Duane’s footsteps, current chair of Community Board 2 and longtime Democratic activist Brad Hoylman has already officially declared his candidacy for the seat. Hoylman is promising to bring reform to Albany and continue Duane’s legacy of fighting for equality at the state level, and political players expect him to receive the coveted endorsement Tom Duane. from Duane himself.

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Tom Duane Closes Door on Senate

City & State also reports that a woman named Tanika Inlaw has been going to local Democratic clubs to seek support for a 29th District candidacy that she announced on Facebook last week. Duane said that for the time being, he’s focused on finishing out his final term strongly. But he said that he’ll definitely miss parts of the job. “I’ll miss the challenges of garnering the widest possible support for issues I believe in, especially from people who have not shared my points of view,” Duane said. “I’ll miss finding that common ground and working with people in a collegial manner to pass bills that help people in a way they should be helped.”


Weed Trials

Cuomo seeks to loosen marijuana policies, while some lawmakers call proposal too lenient By Paul Bisceglio Get caught with a joint hidden in your pocket in New York and you get a fine. Get caught with a joint tucked behind your ear or lit in your hand and you get arrested. Concealed possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is a violation, while possession of the same amount in public view is a misdemeanor. Simple distinction, right? Nope. Consider gov. cuomo this: A cop stops you on the street and tells you to empty your pockets, and along with your wallet and keys, out into the open comes the small bag of pot you wanted to smoke at home. Because you followed the cop’s orders, and only because you followed the cop’s orders, you are now

subject to a much more severe punishment than when you were whistling down the sidewalk with Mary Jane ensconced by your side. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo started a charge last week to erase this “loophole” in law enforcement, as many officials have called it, by proposing a change in state law that would reduce the penalty of visibly possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana in public to a violation with a fine of up to $100 for first-time violators. Cuomo maintained that smoking in public should remain an arrestable misdemeanor, but argued that a reduced penalty for visible weed that’s not burning would combat the discriminatory police stop-andfrisk tactics that contributed to the arrest of over 50,000 New Yorkers for possession of small amounts of marijuana last year. “This is an issue that disproportionately affects young people—they wind up with a permanent stain on their record for something that would otherwise be a violation,”

he said when he announced the proposal. “The charge makes it more difficult for them to find a job. Together, we are making New York fairer and safer and ensuring that every New Yorker has access to a justice system that doesn’t discriminate based on age or color.” The numbers are telling. Cuomo pointed out that 50 percent of those arrested last year were under 25, and less than 10 percent were ever convicted of a crime. 82 percent were either black or Hispanic. When compared to federal government data on drug use showing that whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks or Hispanics, the likelihood of police discrimination becomes clear. Supporters see Cuomo’s proposal as a necessary continuation of the decriminalization of concealed marijuana in 1977 that will not only protect unlawfully targeted youths from arrests that harm their education, job and housing prospects, but also free up significant police resources to concentrate on graver crimes. “The over 50,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession last year—one out of every seven arrests in New York City—cost the city and state of New York nearly $75 million in police and court costs,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, speaking in support of Cuomo’s announcement.

“The simple and fair change proposed by Governor Cuomo will help us redirect significant resources to the most violent criminals and serious crime problems and, frankly, is the right thing to do,” said District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance. Other officials who endorsed Cuomo’s proposal include City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and State Sen. Daniel Squadron. A major coalition of advocacy groups, including Color of Change, Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY and the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives launched an online video campaign following the governor’s announcement in support of the change. Opposed to the proposal is the State Senate’s Republican majority, headed by Dean Skelos, who argued that the change would be excessively lenient. “Being able to just walk around with 10 joints in each ear and only getting a violation, I think that’s wrong,” he told reporters. He said the proposal would not pass his chamber in its current form. On the police’s manipulation of stopand-frisk tactics to garner arrests, however, Skelos said, “That is wrong. It should be a violation. You’re following the policeman’s order.”

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Cardiovascular Health at New York Downtown Hospital


One view of NYU’s original expansion plan. Renderings courtesy of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

NYU Expansion Battle Rages On City Planning Commission approves University’s plan 12-1 By Alissa Fleck

Through the generosity of the Moody’s Foundation, New York Downtown Hospital has created a state-of-the-art center that focuses on the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cardiovascular disease through a holistic, integrative approach. Our team of physicians works with you to assess your cardiovascular risk and design individualized treatment plans that allow you to live a healthier, more active life. Our cardiovascular specialists can also perform procedures at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, allowing our patients access to innovative treatment options. Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Center has been recognized for its high level of service, and we offer Cardiovascular Wellness Evaluations designed to attain a comprehensive approach to achieving your best health. We are committed to providing a superior level of care and patient service, and invite you to learn more about the services we offer. Consultations and testing services are easily scheduled with a single phone call, and in most cases can be arranged and performed within 24 to 48 hours. Most major insurance plans are accepted, and convenient appointments are available, including early morning and late afternoon visits.

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Debate on both sides of the incendiary NYU expansion plan NYU 2031 continues as the plan remains in limbo until it is voted on by the City Council in July. The proposal recently passed the City Planning Commission 12-1, with Michelle de la Uz the sole holdout against the controversial plan, which has come to be known as “Sexton’s Plan,” after NYU President John Sexton. City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden described the grueling review process in a press statement. “Throughout the public review process, including more than 10 hours of testimony at the Commission’s public hearing, we heard strong support for NYU’s need to grow and modernize its academic core in order to remain a globally competitive institution and economic anchor for New York City,” said Burden. “We also heard deep concerns from many stakeholders, including the community and local elected officials, regarding the scale of the proposal and the project’s potential effects on residents’ quality of life,” she said. NYU described modifications made by the Commission to the original plan in an email to students following the approval. These modifications, intended to reduce the project’s scope and size, included the elimination of a temporary gym, some dormitory space, underground academic space, a hotel and commercial overlay. The Commission also introduced reductions to the height and size of proposed Mercer Street buildings as well as construction phasing changes on the Washington Square Village superblock, preserving a key playground until at least 2027. These modifications are still subject to review by the City Council. The NYU website details the project’s ultimate breakdown of uses: “Approximately 65 percent for academic purposes, 10 percent for faculty housing, 17 percent for mechanical systems and replacement parking, 4 percent for the new public school and 3 percent for retail.” In a letter advocating for the plan, Sexton wrote, “Space is required to create a vibrant intellectual community in all senses of the phrase, with teachers and learners in proximity

to each other, ready and willing to engage with other thinkers and doers throughout the city.” While the NYU website lists many supporters, less than one-third of faculty members have chosen to publicly speak out on the plan. Those who have aligned themselves in favor of the project frequently represent departments in need of expanded space. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who testified at the April public hearing in support of the plan, explained that at a certain point, an academic institution begins to suffer without the space it needs. When the institution suffers, so does its value to the city and society. Many faculty members, however, still oppose the project. WNYC reported that a large number of NYU’s educators are worried about environmental factors, while many of them live in the proposed construction zone. At least 34 NYU departments have voted for resolutions to oppose the plan. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) also remains staunchly opposed to the project, even with the modifications. In a collaborative statement between GVSHP members and NYU faculty against the expansion, they stated that the public simply did not have enough information to make a meaningful assessment of the plan. The environmental impact has not been properly addressed, they argued. Andrew Berman, GVSHP executive director, said his group would continue to fight the plan, including lobbying the City Council. “The City Planning Commission hearing on the NYU proposal was the longest in its history; we expect the turnout for the Council’s hearings to be equally historic,” Berman said. De la Uz cited the plan’s vagueness and insensitivity and a concern over affordable housing, as a reason to vote against the plan. Near the site of the proposed expansion and in the Washington Square Park area, students seemed more or less oblivious or indifferent to the plan. “I knew I should have been formulating an opinion, but I just have none,” said one recent graduate. The City Council, which has 60 days to hold hearings before the vote, is set to vote on the proposal in July. The Committee on Land Use will hold its next public meeting on the expansion on June 21. NY m



Nolafunk Summer Solstice Kick-Off [6/20]

Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St. (betw. Samuel Dickstein Pl. & Pitt St.),; 7:30 p.m., $39.

Hear award-winning blues guitarist and vocalist Tab Benoit’s impressive body of work for two nights. Benoit sticks to his Louisiana roots and performs Cajun, rock and soul tracks from his latest album, Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit. Also hear the funky sounds of San Francisco native Eric Lindell, who will perform tracks off his latest album, West County Drifter.


❮ FREE Summer in the Square

South Plaza, Union Square Park, E. 14th St. & Broadway,; 7 a.m. The Union Square Partnership kicks off its annual entertainment series in the park, offering hourly fitness classes every Thursday. Do yoga, jog bright and early with the Morning Running Club and participate in Zumba while enjoying the outdoors and spending a little time under the sun.







Submissions can be sent to

Sometimes Cities: Urban America Beyond NYC

Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave. (betw. E 1st & 2nd Sts.),; various show times, $9. The Anthology Film Archives introduces a series of films that seeks to explain to New Yorkers the struggle of poor, midsize cities nationwide. These films illustrate how little the NYC has been affected by the economic recession compared to other smaller urban centers.

Anna Dagmar: Satellite Record Release Show/Kate McGarry Duo with Keith Ganz

92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson St. (betw. Desbrosses & Vestry Sts.),; 8 p.m., $15. NYC-based pianist Anna Dagmar performs colorful jazz tracks from her most recent album, Satellite. Grammy-nominated Kate McGarry and guitarist Keith Ganz will also be performing, adding a dash of swing into the evening’s mix.

In Full Bloom: The Bodhisattva Way and James Joyce’s Ulysses The Village Zendo, 588 Broadway, Ste. 1108 (betw. Houston & Prince Sts.),; 10 a.m., $30. Relax in this five-hour meditation and class celebrating writer James Joyce’s ideals of unity and compassion hosted by the Village Zendo. Learn about Bodhisattva, the courageous hero, through council circles and a close reading of Joyce’s Ulysses.

The Etiquette of Death

Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.),; 7:30 p.m., $18, adults, $13 students and seniors. 17+. Chris Tanner’s The Etiquette of Death, directed by Everett Quinton, explores death, in absurd, funny, wrenching and paradoxical ways. With a group of artists, Tanner has assembled a cluster of scenes, songs, poetry, music and dance that delve into the “Etiquette of Death” in this limited engagement final show of La MaMa’s 50th anniversary season.


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Visit for the latest updates on local events.

FREE SNC Comedy Stand-Up

Karma, 51 1st Ave. (betw. 3rd & 4th Sts.),; 8 p.m. 18+. The producers of Switzerland Neutral Comedy, comedians Evan Morgenstern and Liz Simons, give a free stand-up performance at Karma. Laugh with and at this comedic duo that made their start on MySpace and have been performing in clubs ever since.

❮ FREE The Bang on a Can Marathon 2012

World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey St. (betw. West St. & North End Ave.),; 12 p.m. Take half a day off to enjoy live music from jazz to experimental and everything in between at this 25th annual music marathon. Some of the artists at the 12-hour festivities include experimental sound pioneer Alvin Lucier, indie guitarist Kaki King and cellist Maya Beiser. Look out for bagpipers, pianists and rock music, too.

The GIANT Lit Mag Fair

Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St. (betw. Prince & E. Houston Sts.),; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy obscure literature and writers? You’ll love this lit mag fair. Peruse the wares—all issues are only $2—and mingle with the various editors and publishers in attendance.

❮ Pose Magazine

Worst Audition Ever

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 307 W. 26th St. (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.),; 8 p.m., $5. Watch Sue Galloway perform a play based on the women’s magazine. In the one-woman show, directed by Nate Dern, Galloway explores the ways women’s beauty is perceived in the industry, using the magazine as an example.

Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., (betw. 4th & Astor Pl.),; 9:30 p.m., $20. Worst Audition Ever involves a blank stage, a microphone and a group of actors all reenacting true personal stories of auditions that did not go well. Sit back and laugh while enjoying cocktails. All proceeds will go to The Actors Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports members of the performance community.

FREE Hot August Night/1970: The Forgotten LGBT Riot

LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.),; 6:30 p.m. Celebrate LGBT month with Steven F. Dansky’s discussion of a riot that occurred in August 1970 in Greenwich Village but garnered no attention from the media, although hundreds of protestors were involved and 17 arrests were made. Dansky, an original member of the Gay Liberation Front and the founder of effeminism, will tie this in with the LGBT struggle in history and will sign copies of his book, Hot August Night/1970: The Forgotten LGBT Riot.

Vision Fest 12: Opening Night

Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick St. (at Laight St.),; 8 p.m., $12. This opening night starts off the four-day film festival hosted by Domani Vision Film Society, which benefits and supports independent film and media production. Watch the New York premiere of Broadway’s Finest by Stephen Marro, the award-winning short Faith, by Erik Pagan, and Michael Wiehart’s experimental film, Release. Stay for discussion of the films with the cast and crew after. If you can’t make it this night, make sure to catch one of the other nights, as this year’s festival will showcase premieres and award-winning films.

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EyE on Auctions By caroline Birenbaum As the New York auction season winds down, a spate of preview exhibitions present historic items ranging from Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln documents to first generation Apple computer motherboards.

Edited by Armond White

New York’s Review of Culture •

Ugly Chic

Bonhams’ June 19 auction comprises a morning session of Russian Literature and Works on Paper, with many examples of constructivist poster design and book illustration and even a notorious volume of homoerotica, and in the afternoon, a wide-ranging selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts that is particularly strong in Americana, including a Revolutionary War journal kept by a Boston Selectman during the crucial year from April 1775 to March 1776 and a significant American Reconstruction document: Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten draft of a proclamation reserving for the president the right to grant amnesty to Confederate prisoners. Bonhams, June 19, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m., previews June 15-18.

Schiaparelli and prada’S catwalk catfight By Mona Molarsky


chiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, celebrates two influential women designers. The exhibit imagines a conversation between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. The two were born 60 years apart and never met, but the curators see the two as kindred, subversive spirits. To make the case, the show uses wall texts and video vignettes in which the actress Judy Davis, playing Schiaparelli with a wicked glint in her eye, converses with the real-life Prada. Schiaparelli (1890-1973) worked with artists Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau during the 1930s to create such surrealist-inflected couture as a hat shaped like a lamb cutlet and a dress that mimicked torn flesh. The show presents Prada (b. 1949) as her successor. Since the late 1980s, Prada has transfixed the fashion press with her designs. They dubbed them “ugly chic” due to the dismal color combinations and Prada’s refusal to flatter the female form. Prada clearly agrees. “If I have done anything,” she says, “it is to make ugly appealing.” One wall display is devoted to Schiaparelli hats and Prada shoes that mostly poke fun at high fashion and the moneyed customers who buy it. In 1937, Schiaparelli did a black hat shaped like a shoe. Prada’s contemporary equivalent is the “Hotrod” shoe with red-and-white “flames” shoot-

Sotheby’s June 15 sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts includes a first edition of James O. Lewis’s Aboriginal Port Folio, the first and rarest colorplate book on North American Indians, containing numerous rather ungainly portraits; six lots of Einstein material, including important autograph letters; two original pencil illustrations by John Tenniel for Through the Looking-Glass; and a rare working example of an Apple 1 computer motherboard—the first ready-made personal computer. Sotheby’s, June 15, 10 a.m., previews June 13-14.

Swann’s June 21 sale of 19th & 20th Century Literature celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth with extra-illustrated first editions of Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Dombey and Son, Little Dorrit, David Copperfield and Pickwick Club. Other highlights include English caricaturists and graphic humorists, attractive sets, bindings and fore-edge paintings and desirable modern first editions such as Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, James Joyce’s Ulysses and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. As a counterpart to the Tenniel pencil drawings at Sotheby’s, Swann offers a limited edition set of the complete Alice illustrations, with plates from the original wood blocks engraved by the Brothers Dalziel. Swann, June 21, 1:30 p.m., previews June 16, 18-21.

Gala Dali with Schiaparelli’s shoe hat, 1936.

ing out the back. The heart of this show is devoted to ugly chic. A Prada ensemble from the mid-’90s sums it up: the skirt, jacket and top combo, printed in imitation tweed and clashing shades of chartreuse, avocado and peridot, looks like a thrift shop special. “Bad taste is part of our culture,” Prada explains in the wall text. Somehow, she has convinced the rich to wear this sad truth on their backs. Schiaparelli did less egregiously ugly versions. During the Depression, she dressed a moneyed few in garments that seemed to comment archly on their owners’ cluelessness. The most famous was her lobster dress, a pretty organza frock emblazoned with a giant red crustacean. Wallis Simpson

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modeled it for Vogue in 1937, just before marrying the Duke of Windsor and traveling to Bavaria to meet Hitler. That Cecil Beaton photo is displayed in the show, with neither historical context nor comment. But it is only with context that the complex relationship between the designers and their customers makes sense. They share a vexed but powerful bond that’s sealed with dollars. Sadly, the Met’s show doesn’t examine that. If it did, the vision of Schiaparelli and Prada as subversive wouldn’t hold up. Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations Through Aug. 19, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, 1000 5th Ave., 212-535-7710,

Christie’s auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts June 22 begins with 42 lots from the estate of Hollywood film and television producer and important book collector William E. Self, including a copy of Dickens’ Pickwick Papers inscribed to Hans Christian Andersen. This sale also offers an Apple 1 motherboard. Among other highlights are a first German edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle with full contemporary hand coloring and Henry M. Stanley’s copy of Richard Burton’s The Lake Regions of Central Africa, heavily annotated as Stanley planned his expedition to rescue David Livingstone. The sale concludes with a fine selection of Americana, including a rare autograph manuscript by Elbridge Gerry concerning how the Constitutional Convention could determine apportioning of representatives in the House of Representatives. Christie’s, June 22, 10 a.m., previews June 1621.

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Trade Routes Mapping globalization at aicon By Melissa Stern


Healhty Manhattan

he current exhibition at Aicon Gallery, Mapmakers: The Evolution of Indian Art, got me thinking about globalization. I will freely admit to a certain amount of cultural bias when looking at art. I suppose we all have it; some of us are just more willing to pony up and admit it. When I go to look at a show of contemporary Italian art (for example), I don’t expect to see art that is particularly “Italian” in nature. I expect work that is about contemporary issues, materials and/ or politics, but that is in many ways similar to what I might see in from American artists in New York City. Right or wrong, I go to a show of nonWestern art with the full expectation that I’m going to see artwork that is somehow intrinsically tied to that culture. One hopes the work has a unique and contemporary tweak to it, but I look forward to seeing artwork that has some overt relation to the culture from which it has evolved. Perhaps because modernism came later

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to non-Western countries, I expect to be surprised and delighted by the integration of traditional and contemporary vocabularies. And while I don’t believe I am alone in this perspective, my Baiju Parthan, “Progression (Last Supper—After da Vinci),” oil and acrylic on canvas. 2008, 35.5 x 95. viewpoint—indeed long, with inexplicable architectural red this review—reveals as much about my bias same work as anywhere else in the world. lines thrusting into the frame in the vicinity as it do about the art I am reviewing. I miss the sense of place that is so prevaof Christ’s head. Cool and passionless, its Having enjoyed and admired Parts One lent in all art forms that come from India. colors are reduced to icy blues, black and and Two of The Rubin Museum’s groundIt is part of what draws me to the culture. white. A bland and formulaic response to breaking exploration of the development of Perhaps as the place itself becomes more the great passion contained in the original. modernist and contemporary art in India, I global, its most contemporary and worldly Perhaps I’m being a wee bit tough. There was eager to experience the Aicon Gallery’s artists cannot help but reflect the trend. If are some standout pieces that have the view of the contemporary Indian art scene. so, then some of the works on display at feel of authenticity to them. Nitin Mukul’s What I saw was a mixed bag of art trends Aicon succeed most admirably. But in its painting “Fountain” (2008) is a vigorous and from the past decade, some interesting, but attempt to show how global contemporary engaging abstracted vision of water. The largely populated with the same tired ideas Indian art has become, the show’s curators painting is beautiful. Shapes of water dropwith which American art schools have been have lost the pulse of what makes Indian art lets swirl in an almost psychedelic mass of filling U.S. galleries. Globalization has made so very unique and moving in the first place. color and pattern. It not only transcends all art look the same. the subject of water, but, more significantly, The painting by Baiju Parthan, “ProMapmakers: The Evolution of transcends cliché. gression (Last Supper—After Da Vinci)” is Contemporary Indian Art But in the main, the contemporary Indian Through July 7, Aicon Gallery 35 Great Jones painted as if it were an altered film strip, artists on display are turning out much the washed out and blurry. It is about eight feet St., 212-725-6092,

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Art Clowns hiStory of freak flagS flieS at inglett By Jim Long


n early 1970, with the publication of Robin Morgan’s poem “Goodbye to All That” as its battle cry, WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) took over the daily operations of RAT Subterranean News, founded in 1968, and transformed it into Women’s LibeRATion. By then, New York City had become the East Coast headquarters of activists, writers, musicians and artists from around the world, and tabloid publications like RAT were springing from rhizome networks as quickly as psychedelic mushrooms. Spoofing the lurid covers of easily available “adult” tabloids like National Police Gazette, Keyhole and National Tattler and inspired by progressive politics, the anti-war movement and the power of the pen to empower the people, the romance of cash-up-front, print-at-night independent publishing took hold, with lucrative personals sections paying the bills. Membership in the Underground Press Syndicate allowed free access to

other members’ material. As tips of very cool icebergs go, even the ever-curious cops and feds were never sure how big the material under the surface might be. (Confronted with boxes of evidence, an editor at the East Village Other was informed by arresting officers that they knew R. Crumb was really him.) Curated by Specific Object’s David Platzker, SCREW YOU at Susan Inglett Gallery features back issues of EVO, RAT, SCREW, KISS, LUV, New York Review of Sex (and Politics) and ORGY, along with the work of some of their artists and writers—Brigid Berlin, John Chamberlain, Dan Graham, Peter Hujar, Yayoi Kusama, Mel Ramos, Carolee Schneeman, Robert Stanley, Betty Tompkins and Andy Warhol. Lennon/Ono make an appearance, along with Crumb, Picasso, films by Stan Brakhage, Kusama and Warhol and writing by Gregory Battcock, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg. Media revolution, around since the days of Luther’s Theses and the peasant revolts, was joined in the ’60s by revolutions in home movie cameras, tape recorders, FM radio and amped guitars. The gatekeepers were caught with their pants down. Innovative reporters like Jane Alpert at RAT wrote

from inside unfolding politics, while EVO artists blew up the repressive Comics Code and its mandatory Seal of Approval. SCREW was an unlikely grail for artists and writers hungry for the publicity of instant notoriety; after all, the publication was busted 16 Kusama and company see spots. times in its first three years, so chances were good your work might acquire branched off with NYRS(andP), offering an aura. Publisher Al Goldstein didn’t give a writing from Battcock and Bukowski, phodamn about art, but his first issue’s centertography from Chamberlain and Schneefold featured Kusama’s naked Central Park man and art by Stanley and Ramos. EVO orgy at sculptor Jose de Creeft’s “Alice in published KISS to compete with SCREW. Wonderland.” Shortly thereafter Kusama The exhibition is necessarily compact, but would launch her own publication, ORGY, Platzker has arranged art and ephemera as and Picasso would release his epic 347 erotic carefully as Indra’s pearls. Look closely at engravings. the works and their miraculous reflections. The tabloids were linked in many ways, not just in the discovery that a nude on the SCREW YOU cover would triple circulation. SCREW’s Through July 13, Susan Inglett Gallery, 522 W. art director, 17-year-old Steven Heller, 24th St., 212-647-9111,

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June 14, 2012  •   O UR TOW N D OW NTOW N • 1 1

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1 2 • O UR TOWN DOW NTOW N • JUN E 14, 2 01 2

hen Lang Lang plays the piano, you never know what you’ll hear. It could be something ridiculously bad, it could be something historically good. Sometimes, you hear both of those extremes on the same night. Such was the case when the Chinese sensation played a recital in Carnegie Hall toward the end of last month. He opened with Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B flat. Immediately, he was all rubato, or, put differently, all license. It continued this way throughout the suite. Lang did whatever he wanted, with tempo, rhythm and phrasing. Whether this was what Bach wanted was doubtful. You would have hesitated to play a Chopin nocturne as freely as Lang played the sarabande here. Moreover, he committed some harsh, unreasonable accents, distorting the line. And when he emphasized inner voices—which is certainly no sin—he overemphasized them. Even for those of us who are liberal about Bach interpretation, Lang’s playing of the partita was hard to defend. It failed the test of musicality. In my experience, Lang never, ever plays badly. It’s just that he sometimes thinks badly. His fingers will do whatever his brain commands. After the Bach, he turned to an even bigger piece in B flat, Schubert’s sonata in that key. Beauty of sound is more helpful Lang Lang. in Schubert than it is in most composers. And Lang has ample beauty of sound. sic itself, “An die Musik.” Obviously, someone The Scherzo, particularly its beginning, was on this film—Anderson?—cares a lot about amazingly limpid. Lang gave no sense that a music. Someone on the film is smart about piano has hammers. He simply glided. Like the Bach partita, the Schubert sonata music too: The pieces selected fit the action and images on the screen like a glove. was unorthodox. Unlike the partita, in my Though many composers are represented, opinion, the sonata was interesting, defenBritten is the main one: We hear several of sible and musical. his pieces, not just The Young Person’s Guide. After intermission, Lang played the 12 Britten is a composer who stays close to the études of Chopin’s Op. 25. The first of these sea. The movie is set on an island off New is the “Aeolian Harp.” Lang was born to play England. A terrible, consequential storm it, because he can float like an angel. Other comes to the island. The movie uses Noye’s études require floating too. Still others reFludde (Noah’s Flood), Britten’s little opera quire deviltry or humor. Lang was persuabased on a 16th-century “mystery play.” sive in almost all of them. Each of them, he At the end of the movie, we again hear seemed to be improvising. bits of The Young Person’s Guide. The narraThis pianist can be a pain to look at, with tor in this piece explains how the sections of his gyrations and poses, but I must say I got the orchestra work together. The kids in the a kick out of him in the Chopin. He wielded movie have worked together too. the piano like a weapon. He was like some People say that music education in musketeer of the keyboard, swashbuckling. schools is dead. If that is so, we’ll have to rely Has there ever been silkier, more beaution the movies—along with cell phone rings. ful piano playing than what Lang showed in Photo by Felix Broede/Deutsche Grammohon

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the F-minor étude? But in the last one—the étude in C minor, turning into C major—he reminded me of a point I have long made about him: For all his gifts, Lang seems unable to make a proper fortissimo. So strange. He fails to produce a big or solid enough sound. He sort of slaps, vigorously. He closed the evening with his second encore, La campanella, that piece by the devil via Paganini and Liszt. If you hang around long enough, you will hear just about everyone play it. I have—and have never heard it played more excitingly or brilliantly than by Lang. If there is a bigger stage than Carnegie Hall, it’s the movies. And Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, just released, opens with The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, by Benjamin Britten. Children are listening to it. The movie is filled with children, even dominated by them. The Young Person’s Guide is the piece of music most often fed to children, along with Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Moonrise Kingdom includes some of the Carnival too. I did not hear any of Peter. The movie is absolutely stuffed with music, including Schubert’s great tribute to mu-

NY m


A Noxious Burp Ridley Scott hiccupS Alien fumeS in Prometheus By Armond White


he Alien franchise has become a quintilogy—a purely marketdriven neologism following the recent Blu-Ray box set that labeled the first four Alien films not as a “Quartet” but a “Quadrilogy.” Prometheus is made with the same contempt for the public—as if anyone wanted or needed another repackaging of the sci-fi horror tale. Even the 1979 original (the best, seconded by Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection) was little more than what one critic condensed as “a gorilla in a haunted house movie.” Prometheus could have been concocted by a publicist taking advantage of the current gullible film culture that believes the hype hoisting Ridley Scott as an artist (or even interesting). Scott’s sales record is all that makes fanboys take him seriously; his formulaic, stultifying, calendar-art-pretty movies certainly don’t. The mere fact that Prometheus gloms on to a legacy—it is a prequel to the previous four films—is enough to convince the easily duped that something

special is going on in this nonsense. What’s going on is a plot that is less coherent than any of the earlier films (even though it repeats them) with an unappealing cast babbling nonsense about faith, creation and let’s-get-the-hell-outta-here! The original film almost passes for art due to producer Walter Hill’s efficient adherence to genre storytelling and the unique exhibition of H.R. Giger’s unnervingly biomorphic designs for the monster and its space ship, which simultaneously evoked outre genitalia and assorted seafoods. (The original’s signature motifs conveyed a palpable, nearly poetic fear of sex.) Now, ultrahack Scott reveals himself as little more than a production design freak; Prometheus (convincingly shot in 3-D) lacks the atmospheric awe of the first film, the undeniably well-paced tension of James Cameron’s sequel and the rich, evocative splendor of Jeunet’s capstone. Instead, Prometheus is marked by Scott’s typically shallow characterization, narrative confusion and disrespect for movie history. Not since the atrocious Wall-E has one movie so thoughtlessly trashed a superior film. This time, both David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence are dishonored through the

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus.

characterization of an ominous automaton, David (played by Michael Fassbender, who has quickly come to emblematize crap cinema). David models his hair and speaking voice after Peter O’Toole’s classic enigmatic Lawrence, and David’s lack of “soul” refers to the conundrum of Spielberg and Kubrick’s neo-Pinocchio conception, scoffed at here as “not a real boy.” Just as Wall-E demeaned the spectacular movie musical romance Hello, Dolly! to the delight of ignorant film geeks, Prometheus

plays with our culture’s most profound artistic expressions of human ambition merely for a series of unpleasant thrills: Noomi Rapace performing an abortion on herself, various decapitations, dispirited ruminations on religion and, finally, Guy Pearce in ludicrous Halloween makeup. It’s a foul repeat, a noxious burp. If you swallow Prometheus, you’ll swallow anything. Follow Armond White on Twitter at @3xchair.

  

Saint Albans School is pleased to announce that it has a limited number of scholarships for children in Kindergarten and Grade 1 for Fall 2012. These  scholarships are made possible by the Teddy Forstmann Scholarship  Program, of the Childrens’ Scholarship Fund. Saint Albans welcomes  students in PreK through Grade 8. We are located at 317 East 50th Street   in mid-town Manhattan, near the United Nations. For information on the  Forstmann Scholarships and admissions, please visit our website at  

Congratulations to Marija Kero from the entire Equality Charter School community. Our staff, parents, and scholars are proud of your accomplishments and are thankful to have you as part of our team!

The Speyer Legacy School is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Deards as director of the middle division. Speyer Legacy is Manhattan’s only independent K– 8 non-profit school for advanced learners. Curriculum is responsive to student input, calibrated to be continuously challenging, and already proven invigorating and engaging to “minds on fire.”

Speyer Legacy’s Upper School will serve scholars in grades 6 to 8. While building on our belief in the inexhaustible capacity of children to respond to stimulating, relevant material, we will place a particular emphasis on the magic and mystery of the middle school years. There will be limited spaces for qualified students to join our 6th grade in September 2013. Tuition assistance is available. If you have a child who might thrive in a caring, rigorous, intellectually expansive environment, let us know. Applications will be accepted beginning September 2012.

15 West 86th Street 212 - 581- 4000 The Speyer Legacy School does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, color, gender, national or ethnic origin, physical disability, age or sexual orientation in selecting its students, faculty or staff.


J UNE 14 , 2012  •   O UR TOW N D OW NTOW N • 1 3

The United Federation of Teachers Congratulates

The 2012 Blackboard Award Winners: Lois Eder Warren Wollman Marija Kero Sammie Smith Andrew Adler Susie Kavanaugh Ross Grosshart Bernadette Robine

Michael Mulgrew, President

1 4 • O UR TOWN DOW NTOW N • J une 14 , 2 012

Jonathan Goldman Barbara Ciner Rose Coffield Cara Beseda Lisa Harrelson Tonia Percy Lindsay Werner Laurel Nyeboe Vishwanand Jewram

52 Broadway, New York NY 10004

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Sponsored by: NYPre  NYPress .com

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rEsEN ET NT PE rP sE Es T N Pr

blackbOaRd aWaRds fOR TeacheRs

Honoring 16 Outstanding Teachers


lmost all of us can remember a teacher who took the extra time to inspire us in some way. Many can recall several, which is why every year, Manhattan Media honors outstanding teachers throughout the city with our Blackboard Awards. Sixteen teachers from New York City private, charter and traditional public schools are being honored this year with Blackboards. This year, the 11th for the Blackboards, we received about 1,000 nominations from parents, students, principals and fellow teachers, and the final selections were made by editors and executives from four Manhattan Media publications—Our Town, West Side Spirit, Our Town Downtown and New York Family. One of our honorees, the beloved Jon Goldman at The Bea-

con School, unfortunately died this spring, but we wanted to recognize his extraordinary work over the years. In these pages, you’ll find 16 remarkable stories of teachers, including Susie Kavanaugh at Corlears Elementary School, who empties her classroom every year so her students can decide how to fill it up, and Ross Grosshart, an electrical engineer who changed jobs mid-career so he could teach college-level courses at Brooklyn Tech. Several other Blackboard winners also chose teaching after starting on a different path, and their students and our city are better off because of it. —Josh Rogers, Editor, Backboard Awards

2012 Blackboard Award Winners General excellence cara Beseda Barbara ciner rose coffield lisa Harrelson Susie Kavanaugh laurel nyeboe Tonia Percy lindsay Werner

P.S. 87 Adults and Children in Trust at St. John Divine Weekday School at Riverside Church Success Academy Upper West Corlears Elementary School P.S. 40 P.S. 290 Philosophy Day School

SPecIalTY caTeGOrIeS Special education lois eder

Susan Wagner High School

Monday, June 18, 2012

english Jonathan Goldman (posthumous) The Beacon School Sammie Smith Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science

5:30 p.m., Reception 6:15 p.m., Awards Presentation

Foreign language Bernadette robine

International School of Brooklyn

Humanities andrew adler

Hosted by: Alex Witt

Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies

MSNBC anchor and NBC correspondent

Math Marija Kero Dr. Warren Wollman

Equality Charter School Rodeph Sholom High School

Science/Technology ross Grosshart

Brooklyn Technical High School

at Fordham University Law School, James McNally Theatre

cOnGraTUlaTIOnS anD THanK YOU TO THe nOMIneeS, WInnerS anD all neW YOrK cITY TeacHerS! 1 6 • O UR TOWN DOW NTOW N • June 14, 2 012

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Congratulations to  the  2012   Blackboard  Awards  Honorees!        

       Working  to  ensure  there’s  an  excellent  teacher  in  every  classroom.      

Democrats for  Education  Reform  (DFER)  is  a  political  action  committee  whose  mission  is  to  encourage  a  more  productive  dialogue  within   the  Democratic  Party  on  the  need  to  fundamentally  reform  American  public  education.    DFER  operates  on  all  levels  of  government  to   educate  elected  officials  and  support  reform-­‐minded  candidates  for  public  office.   NYPre ss .com 

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Life Lessons Before Kindergarten By Juan DeJesus

parents. ment and how well Ciner understood the “It gave me chills,” Ciner said. “I’m havchildren—how she got to know her sons’ ing an out-of-body experience right now. I habits better than Kimbrough herself did. tarting your kids on the right path don’t like the spotlight.” Ciner even gave Kimbrough some pointat an early age is always a top However, she makes sure each child has ers that she still uses with her children concern for parents. So when their own spotlight in order to thrive and parents decide to send their chil- today—well past pre-school. develop in her classroom, a fact many par“In a way, the children are who they are dren to the Adults and Children in Trust ents appreciate. going to be,” Ciner program at St. John Divine, they can rest “I learned to said. “They have assured that Barbara Ciner will empower “I’m havIng an out-ofrespect and care their own pertheir children with the skills necessary to body experIence rIght about Ms. Barsonality, likes and survive. dislikes. All I want The 44-year-old teacher began her now. I don’t lIke the bara because she cared to do is give them teaching career over a decade ago and spotlIght,” barbara profoundly and respected the the confidence and has made it a point to teach with a deep cIner saId. little minds she was strength to be sucunderstanding of each and every one of shaping,” said Janet cessher students. Hernandez. “Ms. ful.” “The quality that Barbara effectively prepared my [4-yearEvery morning, Ciner sticks out most in my old] daughter and our preschoolers for the walks her classroom to make mind is her amazACT at St. John Divine difficult process of entering into some of sure that each child has their ing ability to know 1047 Amsterdam Ave. the most competitive kindergarten proown space and their own the children in her grams throughout the city, both private outlet for creativity. class,” said Karin “I make sure the blocks are attractive for and public.” Kimbrough, whose two children were in Ciner is constantly trying to improve children who like to build and that every Ciner’s class in Morningside Heights. “She and follows the philosophy of avoiding child has a place where they can interact would take the time to understand how rigidity in order to maximize the learning and thrive,” Ciner said. each one learned, what motivated them of her pupils. The teacher said she’s honored to to apply themselves and what issues they “I am now motivated to keep things receive a Blackboard Award and is thrilled have.” fresh and to keep being a student of life,” by the outpouring of support from Kimbrough was floored by her assess-


Andrew Schwartz

Barbara Ciner

Barbara Ciner.

Ciner said. “When I was 13, my grandmother wrote a note in my yearbook which said, ‘Lend your mind to learning and your heart to understanding.’” It’s a philosophy that she strongly abides by and hopes to pass on to each and every student she encounters.

Pre-K Teacher Uses Video to Teach Kids About Play By Jackie Kostek


Rose Coffield

Andrew Schwartz

very day, Rose Coffield’s pre-kindergarten students are the stars of their own show. “I see myself in more of a supporting role,” said Coffield, 34, who teaches pre-kindergarten at The Weekday School at Riverside Church. Of course, Coffield’s self-described supportive role doesn’t mean she isn’t in charge of leading and educating her 4- and 5-year-old students. She’s just developed her own approach. “Our curriculum comes from what the children are interested in,” said Coffield. “Whatever they want to do, I help come up with a plan, an idea of how to execute it and help collect the materials they need to use.” Coffield said the progressive, play-based approach she uses with her students allows for a great amount of choice during the day. Although her students follow a regular daily schedule, much of the day is spent in “choice time,” where

tion,” said Coffield. Last year, Coffield had a “very physically active” class of nine boys and five girls. On the playground, the group engaged in rough-and-tumble play that Coffield said she struggled with “policing.” What was natural and fun for the children Coffield found overwhelming. Coffield consulted with the school’s classmates. on-staff psychotherapist, who helped her “The children become the masters of understand the way children play. Armed their education,” said Coffield. “Because with information, Coffield decided to beof this, they feel very connected to what gin a conversation with her they are doing.” students that they could Coffield, too, feels a more easily understand. great connection to her “I started to videotape work as a teacher. Seven The Weekday School them so we could have years ago, this wasn’t at Riverside Church more concrete discussions the case, so at 27, she with visual examples of the made two major moves; 490 Riverside Dr. [physical] play and what she leapt from the West I thought needed more Coast to the East Coast structure and rules,” said Coffield. and enrolled as a graduate student at New “The children really took to the video York University’s Steinhardt School of and were having some great conversations Culture, Education and Human Developabout their feelings,” said Coffield. ment. As a student teacher and substitute This year, Coffield has expanded the teacher, Coffield got her first taste of use of video to other parts of the curprogressive education at The Little Red riculum. And with the school psychoSchool House. therapist, she’s even touted her work with In the five years since she started at The video to other teachers at workshops and Weekday School, she’s honed her own conferences. approach to teaching by reflecting on the Without knowing it, Coffield may be happenings in her classroom and experimoving from a supporting role in her menting with ways to solve problems. classroom to a starring role in education. “Videotaping was an interesting evolu-

Rose Coffield.

students choose activities they want to participate in independently or with other

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is proud to support

The Blackboard Awards for Teachers and congratulates all of this yearÕ s honorees

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Second Graders Are Happy to See a Familiar Face By Ellen Keohane


Tonia Percy

“My mother is Greek and my dad is German,” she explained. “I was the new kid. I didn’t speak English.” It’s an experience she draws on when integrating children who are new to the school or even the country, she said. Every summer, Percy, who speaks without an accent, visits her parents in Greece. They moved back to Europe about four years ago, “so now it’s just me and my brother here.” While working at P.S. 290, Percy started to notice more children with disabilities in her class. “I didn’t feel properly trained,” she said. Last year, she went back to school and earned a certificate of advanced graduate study in special education from Adelphi University. Percy also has a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, where she majored in German literature and psychology and minored in secondary education. She earned her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. Before working at P.S. 290, Percy taught preschool at the Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children.

Andrew Schwartz

Wearing her dark hair in a ponytail, Percy, 36, moved her arms in wide, enthusiastic gestures as she talked how much she n high school, Tonia Percy aspired to loves teaching. “I can’t shut up,” she said. be on stage. “I went to the Yale School A Washington Heights resident, Percy is of Drama for a summer program,” expecting her first child, a girl, in August. she said. Professors there encour“My husband and I are very excited.” aged her talent but questioned if she’d be After six years as a kindergarten teacher able to deal with the constant rejection at P.S. 290, Percy started teaching second most actors face. “They said, ‘Really think grade two years ago—so some students about other professions in which you can have studied with her twice. “You really engage your audience,’” she said. “And become part of people’s teaching came up.” families,” she said. A recipient of this “I was more than thrilled year’s Blackboard P.S. 290/ to have her again,” said Award for excellence Jess Walsh, whose daughter in elementary educaManhattan New School attended kindergarten and tion, Percy said she 311 E. 82nd St. second grade with Percy. often uses her theater “She makes learning fun.” background with her “I appreciate the effort she puts into 27 second graders at P.S. 290 (Manhattan the class,” said Barbara DiLorenzo, whose New School) on East 82nd Street. “We son had Percy as a teacher last year. “She do a lot of role playing,” Percy explained really knew how to bring out the best in on a recent morning in her classroom. “I him.” just feel like that takes a more abstract Percy grew up in Germany before movsituation and makes it really tangible for ing to the United States at the age of 16. kids.”

P.S. 290’s Tonia Percy has some of her old kindergarten students in her class.

“At this point, I’m licensed to teach general ed, special ed and gifted ed,” Percy said. “So whatever type of learner you throw at me, I will know how to engage them, how to support them, how to keep them happy, interested, curious and learning.”

Life Lessons from the South Side to the Upper East Side By Stephen Santulli


indsay Werner’s third-grade students read classics and Shakespeare. They can predict how much money their lemonade stand will take in on a particular day based on the temperature outside. These are some of the advantages of teaching in the rarefied setting of Philosophy Day School, a small private school of about 150 students for nursery through fifth grade on the Upper East Side. But they also speak to Werner’s passion for her job—one she discovered in very different surroundings. After graduating from college, Werner, 30, spent a year living in a homeless shelter on the South Side of Chicago and teaching second grade to the students living there. She came to appreciate the close relationships she developed with students at the elementary level, when children are developing both intellect and character. “I found that I really like listening to children,” Werner said.

important at a time when students face more potential distractions, from video games to Facebook. The lemonade stand project, which turned an ordinary math lesson into an engaging business startup, is one example of how she works to keep her students focused against those distractions. The support from Philosophy has helped reinforce those standards, Werner says. The where Philosophy occupies a brownstone school’s educational mission, which says less than a block from Central Park. Her classes typically range from 12 to 18 students. that “the character development of the child is essential in the learning process,” aims As stark as the contrast may be on the to develop students as people beyond their surface, Werner says she carried over from educational achievement. Chicago an appreciaParents of Werner’s tion for the imporstudents say she has had tance of “differentiaPhilosophy Day School a unique impact on their tion,” the process of children’s education. Steve tailoring lessons to the 12 E. 97th St. Millington says he noticed individual and “meeta positive difference in his ing every student right daughter, which he attributes to Werner. where they are.” “Mrs. Werner is a devoted teacher who Providing specialized attention to each has given my daughter Camille a much student remains a hallmark of Werner’s clearer understanding of how to learn,” style after nine years of teaching. So, Millington said. “In the first semester of too, have her high standards. Once, her third grade, Mrs. Werner diagnosed my students expressed interest in reading daughter’s strengths and weaknesses mystery novels. But after scouring the perfectly. She then implemented a plan of bookshelves for new titles, Werner was attack that was incredibly successful.” unimpressed. So she assigned Edgar Allan As students look forward to summer Poe’s The Raven, a challenging but ultivacation, Werner, who lives on Long mately rewarding task for her elementaryIsland, ended her own school year early age students. to welcome her first child. She expects to Werner says a dedication to the highest return to the classroom next fall. quality educational materials is especially

Lindsay Werner

Lindsay Werner of the Philosophy Day School.

After a year, Werner traded in the gritty environs of the shelter for the Upper East Side,

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Journal ads 2012_Blackboard 6/11/12 9:43 AM Page 1


2012 Blackboard Award Teachers on the occasion of the

Blackboard Awards June 18, 2012






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She Empties the Classroom Before Filling Their Minds By Joanna Fantozzi


Susie Kavanaugh

time doesn’t mean you’re not smart,” said Kavanaugh. “I feel I’m at the forefront of where the students can bring this all with them as they approach adolescence.” But for Kavanaugh, teaching fifth grade has not been without its challenges. On her first day teaching at Corlears last year, she found herself without a classroom—the brand-new fifth grade wing had been closed off because of building code violations. Thinking on her feet, Kavanaugh moved the entire class to a volunteer parent’s apartment for the first week of school. This, she said, was probably one of her most memorable teaching moments, and it taught her to think on her feet. During that first week, Kavanaugh took the students on many field trips, and it was during this time that she came up with the idea of the empty classroom project. With those skills, the students have had a hand in designing multiple projects, including an ancient Greekinspired maze and a library for a school in Haiti as part of the Wings Over Haiti relief program. The students did their

Andrew Schwartz

Cross in Worcester, Mass., she subbed for a year and loved it. “For me, it doesn’t feel like a job. I hen Susie Kavanawould say the majority of my friends ugh began teaching don’t like their jobs,” said Kavanafifth grade at Corlears ugh. “But I love my job, the kids, Elementary School on West 15th Street, she requested an empty everything.” Adrianna Diodato, 11, a student in Kaclassroom. When students walked in, vanaugh’s class, nominated her because they found a classroom devoid of all furshe said Kavanaugh “lets us be who we niture and materials, save for a couch. want. We are making our The students had own Greek gods and godto figure out how desses, and if we want our to raise money and Corlears School goddess to have pink hair build the furniture and purple eyes, we can do for their classroom. 324 W. 15th St. it.” The school liked it Student individuality is so much, she said, as much a part of Kavathe project is now a naugh’s classroom as technology is. At regular part of the school’s fifth grade Corlears Elementary, each classroom curriculum. is stocked with iPads. Kavanaugh uses Kavanaugh, 31, a teacher for seven them to individualize learning experiyears, taught at Massachusetts private ences. She might tell one student who is schools before coming to New York in struggling in math to look up a particu2010. Kavanaugh said she never thought lar YouTube video on fractions and give she would become a teacher and wanted another student a math computer game to be anything else, from a fighter pilot with which to practice. to president of the United States. But “Just because you don’t get it the first after graduating from College of the Holy

Susie Kavanaugh.

own fundraising and designed furniture for the Haiti project. But for Kavanaugh, making a difference is about more than just creative projects and keeping students busy. “There’s no way to not make a difference if you’re giving your heart and soul,” said Kavanaugh. “There are those few kids who write me a note later and say, ‘If it wasn’t for your class, I wouldn’t be where I am now.’”

Opening the Doors to the World By Mary Stachyra


Laurel Nyeboe

Jonathan Springer

n Laurel Nyeboe’s classroom, second- and third-grade children discuss stories in The New York Times, jump in place to solve math problems and earn certificates for good behavior. It’s a way of following the curriculum and having fun at the same time, and parents at P.S. 40, Augustus Saint-Gaudens School, have taken notice—so much so that they wouldn’t mind reliving their elementary school days themselves. “I wish I was 7 again and in her class,” said Carla Massey, a parent at the school. Nyeboe, 58, has been an educator for 23 years and has taught at P.S. 40 for the last five. Her goal in teaching is to make sure the students learn math, reading, writing and all the fundamentals, but she doesn’t stop there; she works through the curriculum and the children’s passions to help them develop critical thinking skills and social consciousness. “My premise is opening up the world to the children and exposing them to it as much as possible,” Nyeboe said. “I want them to live in a bigger world.”

Nyeboe for a Blackboard Award. “She opens doors to the world and inspires students to cross their threshold. Each of her students feels loved.” Nyeboe got her start in education at P.S. books by Roald Dahl and Robert Munsch, 183 under then-principal Tonya Kaufman, whose zany stories help children see who transformed the struggling school “outside a formula.” She encourages the to a success story. children to discuss At P.S. 183, Nyeboe stories in the news“Each of hEr worked on a “looppaper in a way that’s ing” schedule, where age-appropriate studEnts fEEls teachers spend time and uses terms they lovEd.” with the same kids understand to keep year after year. That them engaged. One experience allowed parent remembered her to develop deep relationships with her third-grader coming home and the families. saying, “Mom, are you aware of the tax “One mother I’m still friends with problems in Paris?” claims I helped her raise her child,” It’s that sort of experience that makes Kaufman recalled fondly. Nyeboe popular with parents. After 15 years at P.S. 183, she “Ms. Nyemoved on to the New Teacher boe infuses her Mentor Program, where she students with P.S. 40/ stayed for the next three years. her enthusiasm She missed spending time with for learning. Her Augustus Saint-Gaudens students in classroom, though, curiosity is conElementary School so she took a position at P.S. 40. tagious. She has a 320 E. 20th St. Nyeboe recently took the LSAT direct pipeline to and plans to go into school law. the imaginations This fall, she’ll also move on to a new of her students. She knows what makes school run by Kaufman, her first principal. children tick. She sees the world in a grain of sand,” Massey wrote, nominating “It’s like coming home,” she said.

Laurel Nyeboe of P.S. 40, Augustus SaintGaudens School.

Nyeboe starts off every year reading

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Beacon Students Remember Jon, Their Inspirational Teacher By Laura Shin


Jonathan Goldman

and worked with the National Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon. The Beacon School, a selective secondary school on West 61st Street, was created in 1993. Goldman was a part of the founding faculty and said that helping to establish the school was one of his biggest professional accomplishments. Prior to Beacon, Goldman began his teaching career at Seward Park High School, a school on the Lower East Side that is now closed. In addition to teaching English, Goldman was a fencing coach at Beacon. He was an avid and talented fencer, Isolde Goldman said, and was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic Team when he was in high school. “Shakespeare was always his big love,” she said, remembering how much Goldman loved reading when he was growing up. Goldman has an 11-year-old son named Jake, who Isolde Goldman said was his “best friend.” “Jonathan absolutely adored him and admired him for his intelligence and personality,” she said. Jake also loves to read, she added.

Andrew Schwartz

50. An online petition to rename the library after Goldman was established ater this month, the library at shortly after his death and has collected The Beacon School on the Up230 signatures. per West Side will be renamed Goldman’s mother, Isolde Goldman, The Jonathan Goldman Memosaid more than 100 students and former rial Library, after an English teacher many say had a profound impact on the students attended his funeral, which was held in Long Island. school and his many students over the “He loved the students,” she said. years. “I think that’s why he liked it. It made “Mr. Goldman taught lasting lessons him feel good to take that stay with me some a young person, who 10 years after graduamight not know or be tion from high school,” exposed to different wrote one former student, Beacon High School literature, and teach nominating him for a 227-243 W. 61st St. them about it. Blackboard Award. “He “One of his former was an amazing educastudents, now a teacher, was crushed and tor who opened our minds to so many said she was a teacher today because of things and really impacted the way I Jonathan’s influence.” think to this day.” Goldman grew up in Huntington, Another former student remembered Long Island, and lived a few years in his passion for his job. “‘Jon,’ as many Israel as a child. Upon graduating from of his students called him, was a pasHuntington High School, he moved to sionate English teacher, who inspired Manhattan to attend Columbia, where even the most disengaged students in he obtained a bachelor’s degree in comthe classroom. He had a way with words parative literature and later a master’s that left his students wanting to learn degree in French literature. more.” He also studied at Oxford University Goldman passed away in March. He was

Over 100 former and current students attended the March funeral of Jonathan Goldman, a founding teacher at Beacon high school.

Amanda Hass, Jake’s mother, recently divorced from Goldman, said she remembers how students used to write cards to Goldman to thank him. “He was very involved. He was there for the students and all of their individual needs,” Hass said.

A Passion for Writing, Theater and Latin By Teresa Tomassoni

cused her studies on Shakespeare, Smith, 33, has striven to share her passion for reading and writing by teaching. In the eaching was never a dream last seven years, she has taught middle of Sammie Smith’s. Growing and high school English and Latin in up in Joplin, Mo., she thought Missouri, Chicago and, most recently, she would go into medicine or New York City at Colaw. But halfway lumbia Secondary. through her pre“I want kIds to Her enthusiasm for med coursework be askIng bIgger the subjects is “infecat Washington tious,” said Candy University, Smith questIons about Gulko, a parent. In had had enough lIfe and to do It In a Gulko’s letter nomiof professors’ attempts to weed very serIous way.” nating Smith for the Blackboard Award, people out. She she wrote, “All stulonged for a more dents—from the struggling to the most supportive environment and decided to advanced—are mesmerized from the switch her major to English and educabeginning to the end of each class.” tion in order to purse her lifelong pasUsing a curriculum she designed sion for literature. herself when she first started teaching at Since earning a master’s degree from the school two years ago, Smith exposes Northwestern University, where she fo-


she directed a “Bollywood/New Orleans” version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which over 30 students were involved over the course of several months. Smith said she will do anything she can to get students to better understand and remember the texts they are reading. “I want our kids to feel like they have a leg up in the world because they’re ready her students to poetry, Beowulf, Shaketo read and write and express themspeare and modern fiction like Life of Pi. She uses the Socratic method to facilitate selves, and in an eloquent manner,” she said. deep philosophical discussions inspired Preparing them to do so, however, by what the students are reading. Smith said, takes time. “I want kids to be Smith said she typically asking bigger quesarrives at school around tions about life and to Columbia Secondary School 6:30 a.m. and leaves no do it in a very serious earlier than 8 p.m. She is way, something that’s for Math, Science constantly meeting with grounded in the text,” 425 W. 123rd St. students and parents Smith said. before and after class and Smith’s classes are leading after-school programs like Latin so engaging, another nominating parent Club and a student chapter of Amnesty wrote, “One wants to sit in the back and learn with the students. She is clearly well- International, said another parent who nominated Smith for the Blackboard educated in many areas; truly an intellect, Award. yet easy to talk to.” Smith, who declined to be photoParents laud Smith’s ability to infuse graphed for this article, said she would not performance into her lessons. She has have it any other way. They are long days, students sing poetic verses and act out she said, but they are a “labor of love.” passages of novels and plays. Recently,

Sammie Smith

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Mrs. Werner, it’s educators like you who instill the values needed for building good character.

Thank you and congratulations on your much deserved award!

PHILOSOPHY DAY SCHOOL 12 East 79th Street New York, NY 10075 212.744.7300 NYPre ss .com 

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Using Computers to Teach the Three Rs By David Gibbons


Andrew Adler

“For students who struggle with reading,” he explained, “we need to help them build up their schema, which is a fancy word for background knowledge, so they can better understand the material being covered. We may show them a movie or use photos to help them access content.” Many of Adler’s recent efforts have involved using the iBook Author program and iPads, adapting various historical source materials to different reading levels and learning styles. He also recently used Google Docs, which allows two users at their respective computer screens to work on the same file simultaneously, as a tutoring device, prompting a student through the difficult task of writing a paper, and in the process teaching him valuable research and presentation skills. Adler was awarded a scholarship by the Bank Street College of Education to pursue a degree in school-building leadership, which he hopes will give him more ammunition in his ongoing quest to harness technology as a compelling educational tool. Call it digital literacy if you like, but from his perspective, it’s nothing more than using modern-day machines to teach the good old three Rs.

Andrew Schwartz

innovation. Lab’s principal, Megan Adams, who uzzwords and catchphrases such hired him just over four years ago, said “Andy is constantly working to stay curas “digital literacy” don’t mean rent on the research and strategies… much without dedicated, hardwhich has a tremendous impact on both working teachers like Andrew the classroom and the school.” Adler to put them into practice. After an inauspicious start to his teachAdler, 40, teaches eighth-grade huing career—he was assigned to a special manities at the Lab Middle School for ed classroom at a high school in California Collaborative Studies, known for its pioneering role in ICT (Integrated Co-Teach- and simply instructed to keep the kids quiet and in their seats—Adler earned his ing), wherein classes are co-taught by a general education specialist and a special master’s degree from George Washington University in 2002. education specialist (Adler’s role). About Idealistic and determined, he soon 40 percent of the students in Adler’s became convinced that all students classes have learning disabilities. have the capacity to Lab is outstanding, learn, regardless of how if not unique, in its severe their disabiliinsistence on both rigor NYC Lab Middle School for ties are. He developed and inclusion and in its a passion for so-called ability to maintain high Collaborative Studies adaptive technologies— academic standards 333 W. 17th St. the use of up-to-date while integrating spehardware and software cial needs students into to implement individualized education nearly every class. plans and increase one-on-one instrucAdler’s approach is often cited for going tion time. His main thrust is to engage beyond the call of duty; for example, he students who would otherwise be disspends many after-school hours menengaged, to bring them back to school toring his students. But perhaps what when they might be inclined to walk makes him most representative of the away in frustration. school’s core values is his commitment to

Andrew Adler.

Adler counts as his biggest professional satisfaction “that moment when a student develops, presents, writes or comprehends something they never believed was possible. As a teacher, you don’t hit too many out of the park; you have to move your students around the bases. Every now and then, though, you get that perfect pitch, and you’re surprised.”

Special Teacher Making Strides with Students By Mary Stachyra


n many schools, the amount of interaction between special and general education students is limited. Lois Eder, a special education teacher at Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island, aims to change that. Eder, 54, believes it’s beneficial for students with different types of educational needs to interact with and learn from one another. To advance that goal, she and a co-worker developed the curriculum for a peer leadership program designed to teach students conflict resolution and leadership skills. General education students and special education students take the New Strides in Leadership program side by side. It has helped build the students’ selfconfidence, encouraged them to step up as mentors to others and helped combat bullying behavior, Eder said. “Some of the students had never come in contact with each other on a social level, so we did activities that built trust,” Eder said.

conflicts, how to deal with bullying and so much more. My sister really enjoys this class, and I haven’t seen her have a desire for anything the past two years,” she wrote. Eder said there’s a reason why the course is popular with families: “They’ve never had this experience where their children could be bridged with regular ed students on a level playing field.” and learn respect instead, she said. Drawing on her 32 years of experience Even people outside of the system have as an educator, Eder developed the protaken notice of the course and what it’s gram together with George designed to achieve. Anthony, a conflict resoluOrganizers of the 15th tion specialist. Eder earned a annual Season for NonSusan Wagner High School B.A. in elementary education violence conference at the United Nations 1200 Manor Rd., Staten Island from Queens College and a master’s degree from the invited the students College of New Rochelle and to come and speak at professional certification in school buildthe event this spring. The experience was ing leadership. transformative for them, Eder said. “Basically, I have always felt that all students “They went from not being able to should have the right to learn,” Eder said, speak to a counterpart to speaking at the explaining why she chose special education United Nations,” Eder said. as a career. “And I thought I’d like to be an adColleagues and students’ families say vocate for them and teach them as much as I the course is effective. can, so that they can flourish as young adults.” Yulya Ostrovskaya’s sister Elizabeth lost Eder hopes to see the New Strides in her vision two years ago and experienced Leadership program spread to other some related medical problems. “This schools. She said the benefits of the class is what encouraged my sister to start program can be seen in mainstream and to slowly participate in school,” Ostrovsspecial needs students alike. kaya wrote when nominating Eder for a “We became one family and one comBlackboard Award. munity, where we embraced love and “This class teaches students how to feel respect and tolerance,” Eder said. good about themselves, how to resolve

Lois Eder

Lois Eder.

The program is designed to help the students overcome stereotypes and biases

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blackboard awards for teachers

She’ll Give a Student the Socks Cara Beseda Off Her Feet P.S. 87/ William T. Sherman School 160 W. 78th St.

By Laura Shin


t the start of each school day, students in Cara Beseda’s kindergarten class at P.S. 87 sit in a circle and share something that is going on in their lives, whether it is an upcoming dentist appointment, a dance recital or something at home. As students share their thoughts, the other students often chime in and talk about similar experiences, Beseda said. Acknowledging that kindergarten is a transitional year, Beseda, 30, said she strives to create a classroom where students can trust each other. “Everything I do is to create a safe, nurturing learning environment for the kids,” Beseda said. “We work really hard at building a community.” Parents of her students say she goes above and beyond. “When my daughter entered Cara’s class, I felt like I had won the lottery,” said Lisa Katzenstein. Katzenstein recalled earlier this school

I was meant to spend my days teaching children,” she said. Beseda said she remembers the teachers she loved when she was growing up and is inspired by them. “I specifically remember the teachers who tried to make a personal connection with me, and that’s what I try to do,” she said. “I want them to know I care about them.” Parents of Beseda’s former students say Beseda made their children feel loved. “When I would go to pick up my daughter, she would come out holding Cara’s hand,” said Rachel Richardson, whose daughter was in Beseda’s class four years ago. “She was there for her when she needed her.” While many of the parents say Beseda gives “150 percent” to her teaching, she says she couldn’t do it without her father, who takes her to buy things for the school year and often comes to the classroom to help bring things in. Beseda lives in Manhattan with her husband, a teacher she met through Teach for America. She said she feels lucky to have

Andrew Schwartz

year when the class had gone on a field trip; her daughter was wearing new shoes that were giving her blisters on her feet. “Cara took off her socks and gave them to her so she wouldn’t get blisters,” Katzenstein said. “She is just so passionate about her job and the children.” Beseda has been teaching at P.S. 87 for five years. Before coming to P.S. 87, she taught at two other public schools in the city for four years. She grew up in Holmdel, N.J., and attended the University of Maryland, where she studied political science. During high school and college, Beseda volunteered at local schools and worked with children. Upon graduating college, Beseda joined Teach for America, a national corps of recent college graduates who commit to teaching in low-income communities for two years. Once she joined the organization and decided to pursue a career in teaching, she said she never looked back. “I knew I had found my place. I knew

One parent felt she had “won the lottery” when her daughter started in Cara Beseda’s class.

found her husband and a job she loves at the same time. “It’s so rewarding, especially in kindergarten, to watch the students learn how to be members of a community and to watch them grow academically,” she said. “It’s really an extraordinary process to watch and be a part of.”

She Cheers Students, and They Return the Favor By Teresa Tomassoni


Andrew Schwartz

or six years, Houston native Lisa Harrelson worked 90-hour weeks as an accountant and an extra two hours as a Sunday school teacher. When she realized those two hours were the best part of her week, she decided to make a career switch. Since earning her master’s degree in education from the University of Houston more than nine years ago, Harrelson, 39, has taught elementary education in Houston and New York City. This is her first year teaching kindergarten, however, and she loves it at Success Academy Upper West. “This age is wonderful because school is new for most of them. They’re just sponges. They’re absorbing everything and most of them are so curious and eager to learn; it’s really just a joy to see them learn and grow,” Harrelson said. It’s also a joy for parents to see their child willingly jump from bed each morning to rush to get to school, said J.C. Renners, a parent who wrote a letter

way I could just wake up one day and run 26 miles without training for it.” Personal examples like these have left a lasting impression on Harrelson’s students and parents alike. “She had an army of her students “They’re jusT and their parents loudly sponges. They’re cheering her through the finish line,” said Renners “Ms. Harabsorbing in his nominating letter. relson is truly everyThing and He credits Harrelson for magical, and mosT of Them are so “cheering, coaching and the lessons she teaches will curious and eager getting every ounce of ability out of her students” the serve these chilTo learn.” other 364 days of the year. dren their entire Harrelson said she does lives,” he said. this by infusing as much fun into her lesNot only does Harrelson teach with a sons as possible. “joyful rigor” Renners said, she educates “I want them to enjoy learning and not the “whole child—educationally, emotiondread coming here, because they have a long ally and socially.” career of school ahead of them,” she said. After all, Harrelson said she believes As part of a recent math lesson on data a truly happy, fulfilled and successful collection, for example, she surveyed her person has to learn more than academics, students for their favorite including how to be Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkin considerate of others, flavors. Then she used the to have integrity and Success Academy information collected to to persevere. show her students how to “There are no shortCharter School make a bar graph. To finish cuts,” she said she 310 Lenox Ave. the lesson (and celebrate reminds her class frethe end of the school year), quently—just as there she said, she will host a Munchkin party were no shortcuts when she trained for the featuring plenty of her students’ favorites: New York City Marathon last year. Harreljelly-filled donut holes. son said she told her class, “There was no

Lisa Harrelson

Many of Lisa Harrelson’s students watched her finish the New York City Marathon.

nominating Harrelson for the Blackboard Award.


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blackbOaRd aWaRds fOR TeacheRs

Engineer Goes Back to High School Mid-Career By Alan Krawitz


Ross Grosshart

Andrew Schwartz

covers in his class include working with small, micro-controller-powered robots. “Kids love technology and use it daily, so getting them hooked on the content isn’t that difficult,” Grosshart said. “Most find the class interesting, especially if they like working with their hands.” Grosshart said it wasn’t just his desire to teach that drove him to the classroom. “We need technology innovators—and it’s more than just an opinion,” said Grosshart, agreeing that the United States now lags behind other countries when it comes to turning out enough engineers and workers with technical skills. “Algebra and geometry should be taught throughout the middle school years,” he added. “Basic computer programming and introductory engineering should follow.” Linda Soled, the parent of a student in Grosshart’s class, said the teacher “never hesitates to please parents and students alike.” “Friendly to all, caring and extremely grateful to finally be at his dream job, Mr. Grosshart hopes to stick around for a long time doing what he loves,” Soled said. “Inspiring kids to look past high school

activities where students design complete circuits.” Although Grosshart realized he wanted n the case of Chelsea resident and to teach during his undergrad days at the 10th grade electronics teacher Ross Grosshart, the phrase “better late than University of Connecticut, it wasn’t until he saw an ad for a teacher’s program that never” couldn’t be more true. he decided to act. After more than 22 years as an engi“I tutored math and chemistry from neer, developing software for high-profile freshman year until I graduated and realcompanies including Hewlett-Packard, ized how fulfilling the role of educator American Express and GTE, Grosshart can be,” he recalled. “After 20 years in the decided to leave his lucrative career and business, I saw an ad for follow his dream to the NYC Teaching Fellows become a teacher. and looked into becomThat passion led Brooklyn Tech High School ing a math teacher. I was Grosshart in 2007 to Brooklyn Technical 29 Fort Greene Pl., Brooklyn lucky enough to end up at [Brooklyn Tech] teaching High School, where he technology classes. has been teaching 10th “As far as teaching goes, my biggest graders the finer points of digital electroninfluence was my chemistry profesics ever since. sor at the University of Connecticut, Dr. “DE is an introductory, college-level Covey,” he said. “She was the one who course typical for an college freshman pulled me aside after class one day and majoring in electrical engineering,” said asked me if I’d be interested in tutoring Grosshart, 50. “It starts with electrical some students. If not for her, I don’t know circuit fundamentals, both analog and that I would have ever made the career digital, to build student knowledge of transition.” different circuit components, and then it Projects and concepts that Grosshart moves toward projects and group-based

Ross Grosshart left engineering five years ago to start teaching it at Brooklyn Tech.

and plan a fulfilling career, that’s what he’s all about.” For Grosshart, some of the best parts of teaching include building a rapport with students that sometimes transforms into a mentoring relationship. He said “dealing with college, applications, personal conflicts, advice, etc.—that’s the best part of the job.”

French,’” she said. “It’s like a big salad bowl.” Sophie Ferguson, whose daughter is in Robine’s class, praised Robine’s ability to accommodate students of varying proficiency levels. “She is an effective sian public schools, but her position at teacher who has been able to work well ISB marks uncharted territory for her. with different levels of both the French The school is bilingual, with students language in her class and the great receiving half their instruction in English and the other half in either Spanish diversity her group encompasses this year,” Ferguson said. “She is there for or French. Robine’s class is conducted our daughter…[and] has been instruentirely in French, but her students mental in helping her both with her hail from all different backgrounds— developing written and approximately 50 reading French skills.” different nationalities After three years at ISB, are represented at the Robine will be leaving school—and some International School after the current school have only limited of Brooklyn year wraps up to spend exposure to French 477 Court St., Brooklyn more time with her two outside the classroom. children: a 4-year-old “I wasn’t trained to daughter, who was just teach my own lanan infant when the family moved from guage,” Robine said. “You really have to… France, and a 2-year-old son born in try to make it more understandable for the United States. French is spoken in them.” the family home, but Robine expects to Occasionally, she added, students will interchange French and English mid-con- stay here for years to come and hopes to enroll her children in a bilingual versation—or even mid-sentence—when school. they stumble on a word. This is the very “She has better English than me,” Robtype of cross-cultural bridge that Robine ine said about her daughter. “She corrects encourages. me sometimes.” “I’m not going to say, ‘You have to speak

From Paris to Brooklyn By Max Sarinsky


Bernadette Robine

Andrew Schwartz

ernadette Robine’s job is somewhat unusual for a teacher in the United States: immersing her students in French language and culture. But her students aren’t the only ones learning a foreign culture. Learning the nuances of American life has been a welcome adventure for Robine, a Parisian who moved to New York four years ago and now teaches first grade at the International School of Brooklyn (ISB) in Carroll Gardens. Robine, 32, said she developed a strong sense of wanderlust as a graduate student in Italy. When her husband received a job offer in New York, they jumped at the opportunity to move abroad once again—even though her English at the time was limited. “You don’t learn as much when you stay in your own country,” Robine said. “I think [we] are more open-minded when we have the opportunity to discover another culture.” Robine is a five-year veteran of Pari-

Not much English is spoken in Bernadette Robine’s class, which is just as well, since her French is much better.

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blackboard awards for teachers

Physics Doctorate Demystifies Mathematics at Rodeph Sholom By Paulette Safdieh


Dr. Warren Wollman

Most importantly, parents insist he is always available beyond class hours to help students one-on-one. “He really lives by that model of if you give a man a fish, you feed him for life,” said Steve Lipman, 51, chairman of the school’s board. “He doesn’t want you to memorize formulas as much as he wants you to think and understand. He wants students to be self-sufficient.” According to Lipman, whose ninth grade son had Wollman, he has a way of guiding children in the right direction— something Lipman says is characteristic of the best teachers. According to Wollman, it’s all a conscious effort. “If I want to teach something new, I place a big emphasis on how it can come out of something old—something they already know,” he said. Outside the classroom, Wollman enjoys playing on the faculty volleyball team at Rodeph Sholom, reading whenever he can and spending time with his two grandchildren. Born, raised and still living in the

Andrew Schwartz

pleted his doctorate in physics at the University of California. While there, Wollman was introduced to the famous psychologist here’s a big difference between Jean Piaget and went on to study with him helping students to grasp a new in Geneva for three years, an experience concept and just showing them that influenced his teaching style. the right answer, and Dr. Warren Wollman returned to Berkley with a Wollman makes sure his math students strong interest in child know that. As he wraps development and educaup his fifth year at tional psychology. He taught Rodeph Sholom High Rodeph Sholom High School at universities for 17 years School on the Upper before making the switch to West Side, he accepts 10 W. 84th St. schools. a Blackboard Award “I just preferred that life,” for his ability to reach he said. And the Rodeph Sholom communistudents in a way not everyone can. ty agrees it’s a fitting environment for him. “I try to give students an idea of where “He really connects with middle school math comes from, not just presenting it to students well,” said Lisa Rubin, 54, whose them,” said Wollman, who teaches seventh son had Wollman for both seventh and and eighth grade honors classes. “I try to eighth grade. “He believes in their intellect demystify the mathematics.” and he’s able to get them farther then they Although Wollman, 73, has taught at ever thought they could get.” schools across the city for the last 23 years, While he sets expectations high, Wollteaching wasn’t his first love. He obtained man’s sense of humor in the classroom his undergraduate degree in nuclear engihas been known to lighten the mood. neering at New York University and com-

Dr. Warren Wollman.

Bronx (he used to walk to Yankee Stadium as a child), Wollman insists he won’t be following the baseball season. “I got to the age when I realized I won’t be able to read everything I want to read,” he said. “I read more than I watch.”

Bringing Math Alive by Connecting it to Students’ Lives By Juan DeJesus


lifelong affinity for sports and mathematics has blossomed into a successful career for Marija Kero. The 27-year-old math teacher has found a way to capture the attention of her students and unlock their potential. The young teacher makes it a point to get to know each of her students. “Always make it about their life,” Kero said. “You never know, something that is going in their life could be a useful in how I teach my lesson,” Kero said, adding, “If you understand them as people…you can catch and hold their attention and teach them to embrace the subject the way that I have.” Kero initially went to school to become a social studies teacher. “Math is fun to me—it’s like solving a puzzle—but I also know that the lessons we can learn from history are just as important and necessary,” she said. It was only after a long talk with her father about the opportunities the subject could offer that Kero decided to turn her attention to math. She attended Pace NYPre  NYPress .com 

challenged and she did just that, making it possible for him to excel,” Patrick said. Kero tries to keep her seventh and eighth grade students’ energy levels high by finding ways to relate mathematical theorems into concrete examples. “You have to relate math to life,” she said. “Someone will always ask, ‘When am I ever ington Irving High School before getting going to use this?’ Every day you have to anher certification to teach in Florida; but swer that question because it is always there.” through the push and pull of life, she just She relates percentages to sports statismissed the window to apply for a New tics and other concepts to things like shopYork City teaching position before the hirping, art and music. She has even devised ing freeze. This forced the young teacher a classroom game called mathketball, a to take an unfulfilling sales job with a game that came out of her basketball team in lifelong love of the New York Harlem. Knicks. “It was as if a piece She has two teams of stuof my heart was Equality Charter School dents face off while having missing,” she said. 4140 Hutchinson River them solve equations head “I should have been Parkway East, Bronx to head. The wining player out there helping can chose to add another students. I missed two point to the tally by making years of helping kids, a shot into a waste paper basket or go for but now I am focused and determined to three from further out. make them successful.” “I love when they [compete] and they During her time with the team, she becheck their work and get excited when gan to look for schools where she wanted they are right,” Kero said. to teach. She found Co-op City’s Equality She hopes to give students the skills Charter School in the Bronx. they’ll need for life. Vivian O. Patrick, a parent there, said “I want them to work hard and be thinkKero’s attention and drive sets her apart ing people,” she said. “I want them to be from other teachers. more involved in their community and “Ms. Kero is a wonderful teacher. She succeed. When I see that, I know that I has made math come alive for my son have succeeded.” as well as the class. My son needed to be

Marija Kero

Marija Kero.

University, where she excelled and graduated from the school’s Pforzheimer Honors College. She began teaching career at Wash-

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Healthy Manhattan

The Book on Viagra and Other ED Drugs By Dr. Cynthia Paulis


rectile dysfunction or impotence occurs when a man can no longer get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. If this is an ongoing problem, it can be a sign of a serious health condition that needs evaluation, such as heart disease or poorly controlled diabetes. Oftentimes treating the underlying problem can reverse erectile dysfunction, but if it still occurs there are alternative treatments. Dr. Aaron Katz, chairman of the department of urology at Winthrop University Medical Center, said, “The goal of oral medications is to restore or enhance blood flow to the penis.” He said Viagra, which comes in three dose levels, works for about four hours. “It can be very helpful for men recovering from prostate cancer surgery, where the nerves and the blood supply to the penis may have been damaged during the surgical removal of the prostate,” he said. “We typically would use this medication much earlier after the surgery than we had in the past. “In the past, we had the philosophy of just watch and wait and maybe the blood flow and the nerves will be restored. But some of the more recent studies have shown that if you use these drugs early on…the longlasting effects can be much greater,” he said. “Viagra can be used as a bridge and hopefully it will restart, almost like a battery, and then maybe—hopefully—Viagra will not be used for long-term use.” One of the other well-known drugs on the market is Cialis (tadalafil), which has a much longer-acting component but works in a similar way to Viagra. What makes this drug unique is that it can work for 36 hours. “It does give you much more spontaneity than Viagra does,” Katz said. “Cialis is known in Europe as the ‘weekender.’ You can take it on a Friday and have sex for the entire weekend.” Cialis comes in a 20-mg dose, but the company has now come out with 2.5-, 5- and 10-mg doses that can be taken daily. Both Viagra and Cialis take effect within an hour of taking them. Side effects of both drugs are minimal; some

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men can develop back pain after taking Cialis, and both medications can cause flushing and headaches. However, they are fairly safe drugs as long as you are not taking them with nitrates, drugs commonly prescribed for chest pain such as nitroglycerin, Nitro-Bid, Nitrostat, Imdur, Monoket, Dilatrate and Isordil. Other medications that can cause problems with erectile dysfunction meds are blood thinners, alpha blockers for benign prostatic hyperplasia and high blood pressure medication. A third oral medication is Levitra, which works similarly to Viagra and has a four-hour window. A recent call to a pharmacist broke down the prices as following. Their best-seller was Viagra, with a six-pill pack costing roughly $135; Levitra was the least expensive, at $10 a pill; and Cialis ranged in price from $134 for the 20-mg pill to $147 for the lower dose of 5 mg, which is taken daily. Most of these are covered by insurance but according to the pharmacist, Viagra seems to be the one favored by insurance companies. There are two other, non-oral medications used to treat erectile dysfunction. The alprostadil penis suppository is a small suppository that goes into the opening of the penis and delivers blood flow there. Erections usually begin within 10 minutes and last 30 to 60 minutes. It is not used often because it can cause pain and bleeding in the urethra, along with the formation of fibrous tissue. Another method is alprostadil self-injection (brand names Caverject, Edex), wherein a fine needle is used to inject alprostadil into the base or side of the penis. The injection will produce an erection that occurs within a few minutes and lasts an hour. Side effects from this method include bleeding, prolonged erection and formation of fibrous tissue at the injection site. Katz said, “More than 50 percent of [male] diabetics have erectile dysfunction, so this may be very helpful for those patients.” Testosterone replacement for men with low levels of testosterone have helped some men who are menopausal and experiencing erectile dysfunction.

Dr. aaron katz.

If medications fail, the patient may have to seek alternative treatments such as a penis pump, a penile implant or blood vessel surgery. Katz said he has patients in their eighties with very active sex lives. One thing he emphasizes is that “you need to take care of your body. It’s all about flow and cholesterol and preventing arterial plaque that builds up in the heart and the small arteries to the penis. Men who are overweight and want to have sex, they want to take the quick fix, they want to take the Viagra—well, that’s not the answer. “The answer is to get in shape, work out, do yoga, meditate, be mindful of what we take into our bodies,” he explained. “Eat less fat, less red meat, eat more vegetables and practice more healthy living, do more aerobic exercise—running, jogging, swimming, biking—then you will have a better sex life and you won’t need the Viagra.”

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Healthy Manhattan The ABCs of Men and Vitamins By ASHLEy wELcH When it comes to vitamins and minerals, many men are not getting enough nourishment. According to the USDA, men ages 31 to 50 need to eat 350 percent more dark green vegetables and 150 percent more fruit per day than they currently do in order to meet federal dietary guidelines. Ideally, more fruits and veggies are the answer, but in today’s stop-and-go society, this is most likely not the reality. That’s where vitamin supplements come in. But how do you know which vitamins to take and whether they are safe? Is there such a thing as too many vitamins? Though consulting a doctor is always your best bet, we recently spoke with some experts and compiled this list of tips on taking vitamins in the healthiest, most effective way. What Basic Vitamins Should Men Be Taking? Nutritionist Laura Cipullo recommended a basic daily multivitamin to help compensate for the vitamins and minerals that are not being obtained from a regular diet. “Start with a simple, straightforward vitamin

that you would take with breakfast or with food to make sure you’re meeting all of your micronutrient needs,” she said. Cipullo, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator who maintains her private practice, Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services, in the Union Square area, said checking the label is a good idea to assure you are not taking in too many vitamins. “It does not need to be a mega dosage,” she said. “It just needs to say that it has 100 percent of the daily requirements. Something like 5,000 percent is way too much.” In addition to a multivitamin, Cipullo suggested omega-3 fatty acid supplements for men who consume little to no fish throughout the week. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They may also assist in memory and brain performance. Cipullo said vitamin D supplements may also be a good idea, as many men are deficient in that area. If a man is allergic to or does not consume many dairy products, calcium supplements should also be taken. What Happens If Men Take Too Many Vitamins? There can certainly be too much of a good thing, including vitamins. “More isn’t better,” said Nicolette Pace, a

registered, certified dietitian and nutritionist based in New York City. “Vitamins interact with metabolic processes and when there’s too much in the body, it can cause problems.” For example, an excess of vitamin A can cause damage to the liver, while too much of vitamin B6 can cause permanent neurological damage. Other side effects of too many vitamins can include constipation, confusion, weakness and loss of appetite. “It’s definitely a word of caution,” said Pace, who founded and operates the nutrition company NutriSource Inc. “You don’t go for the super ultra-dose of vitamins and expect everything to work perfectly.” Do Certain Vitamins Help with Specific Health Concerns? For men trying to lose weight, Pace suggested taking a balanced multivitamin. “Many nutrients are often knocked out of the diet when someone is trying to lose weight, so as a general rule, it’s best to take a multivitamin while dieting,” she said. In contrast, creatine, thiamine and zinc may help men who are looking to gain weight. Vitamins may also aid in treating infertility. Smoking, drinking alcohol and a poor diet can all influence infertility, and Pace recommended looking at those factors before turning to supplements. However, she noted that research

shows vitamins C and E, as well as the mineral selenium, help increase fertility. “Studies of men taking these vitamin supplements showed improvement in the movement of the sperm and resulted in higher pregnancy rates,” she said. What Should Men Look Out for on Labels? As with food, consumers should also read the list of ingredients on vitamin bottles. “You should always know what’s in your vitamins,” Cipullo said. “Maybe you’re picking up a multivitamin and you see the company has added in an herb that there hasn’t been much research on or you have an allergy to.” Cipullo also noted that since many vitamins are coated, consumers should watch for ingredients they do not recognize. “Preferably it’s just a list of the actual vitamins that are supposed to be in there, rather than a list of artificial colors and preservatives,” she said. Bottom Line Solely relying on vitamin supplements is never a good idea. “Food should always come first,” Cipullo said. However, supplements are a healthy way to make up for what your diet is lacking. It is also important to speak with a doctor about the vitamins you intend on taking and whether or not they will interact with any medication you are on.

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Healthy Manhattan Urologist Says PSA is Still Important for Prostate Screening By Dr. Cynthia Paulis If you ask my cousin Sonny, the only reason he is alive today is because of free bagels and a PSA test. “Our local hospital was offering a free men’s prostate screening test, and afterward they served free coffee, bagels and donuts,” he said. “My friends and I would hang around, compare our numbers and socialize, so a group of us made this a yearly thing.” Sonny’s numbers were always low, until one year when they weren’t. He followed up with his urologist for a biopsy and found that he had prostate cancer. He made the decision to have his prostate removed after discussing the options with his doctor and others, and has now been 13 years cancer-free. One in six men in this country will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime; it is one of the most common causes of cancer in men. Prostate cancer is usually slow growing

cause “they felt that PSA screening tests did not save enough lives to make it worthwhile and the cost to society was high,” Katz said. He disagrees with the findings and feels that without the test, we are missing an opportunity to find cancer early on. “The doctors who sit on that task force— none of them are urologists, none of them are even cancer specialists,” Katz said. “They are looking at a couple of flawed studies and making recommendations. The head of the task force is a pediatrician from Texas.” The Mayo Clinic recommends offering PSA screening and rectal exams to men age 50-75 years and to men 45-75 years with a positive family history of prostate cancer. Katz recommends “diet, exercise and supplements to try to prevent men who have early stage prostate cancer from going on to treatment. We recommend men eliminate red meat and fried food, get on pomegranate extract pills, anti-inflammatory herbals, fish oils and lycopene pills and do aerobic exercise. This is a very successful program. “Men need to get screened for prostate cancer by the age of 50,” he continued. “I think men need to be informed about the result and what it means. Men need to take on a more active holistic life style to prevent prostate cancer. You need to take care of your body.”

and initially remains confined to the prostate gland. When I was in medical training, I knew a family practice doctor who was in great shape, was healthy, exercised regularly and died at the age of 45 of prostate cancer, leaving behind a young family. He had not had a screening test and his cancer advanced quickly, and he was dead within a few months. Prostate cancer may not have signs or symptoms in the early stages. Cancer that is advanced may cause problems urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, swelling in the legs, discomfort in the pelvic area and bone pain. One of the ways to detect prostate cancer is through the combination of a rectal exam and a PSA test. PSAs, or prostate-specific antigens, appear in the blood in elevated amounts in the presence of cancer, so the blood test is used as a screening tool. However, the test has come

under fire in the press and by certain organizations who feel that it is unnecessary because it produces some false positive results. These are common—only about one in four men who have a positive PSA test turns out to have prostate cancer. Things that can increase PSA levels are benign prostate enlargement, benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate infection. Dr. Aaron Katz, author of The Definitive Guide to Prostate Cancer, a board certified urologist and chairman of the department of urology at Winthrop University Medical Center, said, “We are detecting a lot more prostate cancer because of the PSA screening. The issue is that we are detecting a lot of cancers that probably don’t need to be treated, and men are still undergoing surgery and radiation; unfortunately, some of the men do wind up with side effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.” The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force now recommends against PSA screening, be-

If it’s raining and you eat indoors, you’ll want to come back to have a drink at the rooftop bar. If you’re at the rooftop bar for drinks, you’ll want to come downstairs for a full meal once you pass the plates on your way out. You can do a full, multicourse dinner or a proliferation of small plates—both are a good idea. One might be inclined to call the Americano’s multiple personalities an identity crisis, and it would be hard to disagree. That rooftop bar is called La Piscine (and there is, indeed, a tiny pool up there, though it should be foregone for the seats at the other end, which have a view of the High Line and the Hudson River), but the grill up there serves Greek hummus and babaganoush, branzino and kasseri cheese. The dining room menu proffers “French food with a Latin flair,” which means there is a segregated section for things like carnitas with plantains, while the “Salades” include one of “Pulpo y Calamares” and the entrecôte comes with chimichurri. There is plenty of marble and black leather inside, but the entire rear wall of the dining room is a window looking out on the ivy-covered wall that supports the rear outdoor garden, a beautifully chaotic natural counterpoint to all the shiny edges indoors. However, this all-things-to-all-people striving is more and more a common pitfall for the kind of hotel that wants to lure in local business while giving overnight guests whatever they might need. And in this regard, the Americano does

much better than its counterparts. Navigating the NoMad Hotel, whose restaurant, the much-anticipated second home of the team from 11 Madison Park, is its over-hyped crown jewel, is a logistical nightmare. Eating there, you pity the poor souls who paid money to wander that blank lobby in search of their room; The sleek, spiky dining room of the Americano. Photo by Michel Ann O’Malley eating at the Americano, you wonder portion with a bracingly sharp mustard whether it wouldn’t be a better idea to get a jus and sweetly salted pistachios and the room for the night rather than go home. hard-to-find panisse, a French MediterraYes, your neighbors might be impossibly nean cake of chickpea flour that’s sometall, vodka-drinking Beautiful People, but where between polenta and bread but chances are you’ll both have just eaten twice as tasty. the same tuna tostadas, tiny rounds of And when they rave about the crudihard-fried tortilla topped with rare tuna, tés, don’t roll your eyes and dismiss it. An chipotle mayonnaise and a shower of assortment of the world’s most precious slivered hearts of palm, and will want to spring vegetables come, tops attached, in commiserate about how good they were. shallow bowl of “dirt,” olive crumbs over If you’re lucky, they might even share a sip a layer of crème fraiche. It’s amusing and of their cocktail, a grapefruit-and-bloodpretty to look at, but there’s more to it than orange concoction so refreshing you’ll kick simple appearances and it’s ultimately a yourself for overlooking it the first time. deeply satisfying, inarguably enjoyable They probably won’t have ordered the experience—a perfect synecdoche for the lamb saddle, but you should recommend Americano itself. it to them; it’s a delicate, perfectly cooked


Get a Room

The Americano is so delightful you may not want to leave By Regan Hofmann The words West Chelsea and Beautiful People are enough to strike fear into the hearts of most of us mere mortals—not just those of average self-esteem, but also the pretension averse, the perfume allergic and the food lovers. These are not places you go to eat. They are for cold marble edges and low black leather banquettes on which to perch while nibbling on tiny empanadas that taste enough of sawdust to discourage second helpings. They are for an overlong champagne list and vodka cocktails. They are for reflective surfaces and spotting Jon Bon Jovi. They are the places for which the term “scene” was coined. This could be used to describe the Americano (518 W. 27th St., betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), and in fact the place does fit the description—to a point. The break comes when you realize it is a place that is not just beautiful, it is one you actively want to spend time in. In fact, a first visit will likely find you planning your next before the meal’s end.

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Lights On…in LOwer Manhattan

Downtown Alliance’s Kelly Rush lets us know what’s opening and closing MaNhattaNMEdia

PrEsidENt/CEOTom Allon group puBLISHEr Alex Schweitzer CFO/COOJoanne Harras


ExECUtivEEditOrAllen Houston EditOr-iN-ChiEFMarissa Maier sPECialsECtiONsEditOrJosh Rogers FEatUrEdCONtribUtOrsLeonora Desar, Penny Gray, Courtney Holbrook, Regan Hofmann, Alan Krawitz, Robby Ritacco CONtribUtiNGPhOtOGraPhErs George Denison, Veronica Hoglund, Wyatt Kostygan, Andrew Schwartz iNtErNsLaurent Berstecher, Paul Bisceglio, Rebecca Harri, Alissa Fleck, James Kelleher, Adel Manoukian, Jonathan Springer, Amanda Woods

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OUrtOwNdOwNtOwNispublishedweekly Copyright©2012ManhattanMedia,llC 79Madisonavenue,16thFloor NewYork,N.Y.10016 Editorial(212)284-9734 Fax(212)268-2935 advertising(212)284-9715 General(212)268-8600 OUrtOwNdOwNtOwNisadivisionofManhattan Media,llC,publisherofwestsidespirit, ChelseaClintonNews,thewestsider, City&state,theblackboardawards, NewYorkFamily,andavenuemagazine. tosubscribefor1year,pleasesend$75to OUrtOwNdOwNtOwN,79Madisonavenue, 16thFloor,NewYork,N.Y.10016 recognizedforexcellencebythe NewYorkPressassociation


If your child is a little too old to be giving his father a mug with “I love you, daddy” scrawled on it in crayon, I have some better options for the upcoming holiday courtesy of Josh Bach, an attractive gift shop that has a good personality. We have a new location for one of our local post offices—my report should come in handy, because I’ve seen people come up to the old location, peer in the windows and pull on the locked doors, hoping they will open. They won’t, because the old Peck Slip location has permanently closed! A new barber shop in a surprisingly elegant space rounds out our most recent openings. As usual, if you see any new retailers or spot changes to a longtime establishment, please email me at and I’ll check them out.

Openings JOsh Bach

14 Fulton St. (betw. Front & South Sts.), 212487-9580,

Josh Bach’s façade features a picture of a hand throwing a paper airplane, which is appropriate because this gift shop in the South Street Seaport has a sense of humor—check out the boxers with the crabs on them. Wink. The light-filled space across from the Bodies exhibit and next door to the South Street Seaport Museum has many

or conscientiously, or a combination of all three. Some items are so popular, such as the Brooklyn cups, that Guazzoni can’t keep them on the shelves. “I appreciate everything in this store for its design and effort,” she said. Customers seem to agree.

ray’s BarBershOp

46 Park Pl. (betw. Church St. & W. Broadway), 212-233-9233

The unique ties that Josh Bach has become famous for. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Alliance

items designed by owner Josh Bach, including unique ties and gifts you won’t find anywhere else. Marketing and Creative Director Valentina Guazzoni said everything in the store is high-end and uncommon by design. The items are whimsical and clever and tie in with Bach’s aesthetic: not too serious, approachable and wearable. Bach’s cheeky designs are on boxers, pens, bow ties and pocket squares for men, but Guazzoni knew the store would need to cater to a larger crowd to remain viable, so she added gift items for women, children and items that would appeal to tourists. Gifts are either made in New York, made sustainably

Ray’s, which has another location on Chambers Street, has a new outpost at Park and Church that is now serving customers. The space was a bare canvas when they rented it, but months and a complete overhaul later, the interior is a sleeker, more masculine version of the classic barber shop. Owner Ray Tahlov and his team paid attention to every detail down to the barber chairs, a brand that is no longer manufactured. He found the chairs, which were in very poor shape, in different states, and restored them to top condition. “Everything you see here is custom-made,” he said. Services include haircuts, shampoo, beard trims and shaves. All haircuts include a hot towel and neck shave.

Moves The U.S. Post Office moved from 1-19 Peck Slip to 114 John St.


Sugary Soda: You Have to Start Someplace If the mayor’s move makes us think about serving sizes, it’s a winner By Christopher Moore


et’s start with this: We know our mayor is great with limits—for other people. He famously took stands against smoking in restaurants, bars and public parks. His administration has tried to limit everything from the size of newsstands to the number of cars entering Midtown. Then last week, the mayor, surrounded by piles of sugar cubes, said he wants to limit restaurant soda cups to the 16-ounce size. The only limit he has not really liked is the one allowing a mayor two terms. So he found a way to get that overturned, with very few highprofile New Yorkers daring to stand in his way. So I get why Mayor Michael Bloomberg drives some people crazy, especially if they happen to like supersizing their beverages. There’s something unseemly about a billionaire who cannot stop telling other people what to do. And there’s not much that’s warm and fuzzy about the guy to help his medicine go down. I also understand—oh, boy, do I—that it’s hard to hear that we’re too fat, especially during tough times. When first lady Michelle

Obama started her healthy eating campaign, I resented the hell out of it. I was newly unemployed and that woman was running around the country talking about vegetables. But my pals in New York City schools told me she was exactly right to tackle the obesity epidemic; it plays out in ugly ways in the lives of children (and adults) in this city and nation. Bloomberg is right to take action. His critics say the limit on soda size is random. It is. Wherever we start tackling this issue, it’s going to seem subjective and maybe even silly. But we have to start someplace, somehow. Yes, there are scientific reasons to question the mayor’s specific proposal. Some people think diet soda is even worse than the sugary variety. Others want to target specific foods instead of beverages. There’s a camp that prefers an education-only approach, with nothing punitive. Perhaps Bloomberg has picked the wrong piece of this monster topic to begin with, but he’s trying to come up with a political answer to a health crisis. Starting with sugary soda, where there has already been some slippage in usage and a growing agreement, makes political sense. Even if the mayor’s decree falls flat or gets overturned by the next mayor, the whole enterprise will have been worthwhile if it initiates a discussion about portion sizes.

Because let me tell you: I’m really not all that old, and in my lifetime there has been a drastic change in what gets put in front of you when you say “small,” whether you’re ordering a beverage or a food item. The simplest criticism of the mayor’s plan has its logic backward. Opponents say rebellious guzzlers will just order more than one soda. But that’s the whole point. Right now, we’re playing restaurant roulette. People need to be reminded what exactly one single beverage size should be. Is that subjective? Sure, but some of us are tired of the subjective decision to serve us, way too often, way too much food and drink. Who’s to decide the proper serving size? I pick me. And Bloomberg. Yeah, the mayor and me. ’Cause he looks OK and I just lost 10 pounds in four weeks. Basically, the one thing I did consistently and consciously was stop drinking sugary soda. It worked. I had Diet Cokes on special occasions: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and the night I saw Linda Lavin in The Lyons. I cut out the sugar-laced variety—and, sadly, French fries. I wasn’t trying to be trendy, I swear. I was just taking slightly better care of myself. Starting with soda just made sense. Christopher Moore is a writer in Manhattan. He is available by email at and is on Twitter @cmoorenyc.

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# 3.

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June 20 – July 14, 2012

R e c e p t i o n : T h u r s d a y, J u n e 2 1 , f r o m 6 - 8 p m CityArts Full page NA.indd 1 3/16/12 2:19 PM

Our Town Downtown June 14, 2012  
Our Town Downtown June 14, 2012  

The June 14, 2012 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, worki...