Silence Is Golden at Film Forum
From Joan Crawford co-starring with an armless knife thrower to a married Greta Garbo falling in love with a younger man, downtown cinema presents a series of silent movie gems. (P10)
Get Out of the Kitchen
Where to eat out this Thanksgiving. (P12)
Residents sound off on their changing nabe at a Sen. Dan Squadron town hall meeting. (P4)
NOVEMBER 24, 2011 | WWW.OTDOWNTOWN.COM
A MOVEMENT WITHOUT A HOME
The future of #OWS
Your Holiday Flick Picks
Tom Hallâ€™s guide to film-watching during your vacation. (P19)
PHOTOS BY DAVID SHANKBONE | SHANKBONE.ORG
The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Martin.
Enjoy the Caribbean Sun and Captivating Culture on a Winter Getaway to St. Martin By Penny Gray For an experience in the Caribbean both calming and cultural, why not head down to St. Martin? As the smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations (the French and the Dutch), this 37-square-mile island offers the rarest and richest of opportunities to bask in both endless sunshine and cultural diversity. American Airlines began offering daily, nonstop flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to St. Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport Nov. 17. The flights use a Boeing 757 aircraft, with 20 seats in business class and 166 seats in economy. Flight 667 departs from JFK at 7:59 a.m. and arrives in St. Martin at 1:09 p.m. Upon arrival, take a taxi to the French side of the island (the border can hardly be perceived, and both islanders and visitors alike cross back and forth without even knowing they’re entering a new country) and find yourself in Marigot, the capital city of French St. Martin. Perhaps the most French in spirit of all the cities in the Caribbean, Marigot resembles a French market town complete with streetside cafés and bistros ideal for people-watching, as well as luxurious boutiques and elegant shops with the latest fashions. Visit the open-air Marigot market for a chance to sample freshly caught fish and local produce, spices and tropical fruit. Stroll to the southern end of Marigot for a brief education in the island’s history at the St. Martin Museum, where artifacts dating back to 1800 BCE and ceramics from 550 BCE can be found alongside a detailed history of colonial life on the island, including the progression from plantations and slavery to modern development. Then climb to the top of Fort St. Louis, the largest historical monument on the island, for a panoramic view of Dutch St. Maarten and the stunning sea surrounding it. From this vantage point, you can choose one of the country’s great beaches for a quick dip to cool down after your climb. The beach at Grand Case is an excellent choice, and there are some savory barbecue stands located nearby with some of the best food on the island (the stands are
called “lolos” by locals). After lunch, head on over to the Dutch part of the island, St. Maarten. In the capital city of Philipsburg you’ll find plenty of duty-free shops nestled among arcades and courtyards crammed with flowers. Even if shopping is not your passion, the traditional West Indian architecture alone warrants a walk through the charming town. Front Street, one of the town’s two main thoroughfares, features sites of more historical import, including the court house and the Simartin Museum. At the eclectic museum, the contents of a British shipwreck can be found alongside artifacts from the natives of the island, the Arawaks. After a brief orientation in Philipsburg, climb aboard the Lord Sheffield, St. Maarten’s sophisticated pirate ship. A square-rigged sailing vessel armed with black powder cannons, the Lord Sheffield is a unique way to get a tour of the island from a distance or go for a snorkel or a sunset sail. If a smaller, private boat is more your speed, consider renting your own boat and exploring the largest landlocked lagoon in the Caribbean, certainly the most unique geographical feature of St. Maarten. After such an adventurous day, return to the French side of the island to relax on Orient Beach. Often referred to as the “French Riviera of the Caribbean,” this beach offers plenty of places to enjoy a frozen drink and relax in a lounge chair while staring out into the sea. Most of the best restaurants on the island line this mile-long beach, so consider one of the many fine dining options for a leisurely (and fresh) meal by the sea, often involving freshly grilled fish and local vegetables in season. After dinner, take a stroll up to Paradise Peak, the highest point on the island. There are two observation decks on the 1,400-foot-tall Pic Paradis, and at night, the island glitters with electricity like fireflies and boats at sea provide a magical light show. From the top of the mountain, you can have a long think about where you’d like to relax the following day. After all, no trip to St. Martin is complete without a day of lounging on one of the many quiet, protected beaches or coves and doing absolutely nothing at all.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | NOVE M B E R 24, 2011
� N E I G H B O R HOOD CHAT TE R
Photo Courtesy of State Sen. Daniel Squadron’s office
Downtown Hospital Adds New Critical Care Transport and Two New EMS Ambulance Runs
New York Downtown Hospital, the only hospital below 16th Street, announced two critical emergency services for the downtown community last week, including a critical care transport (known as an “ICU on wheels”). The specialized ambulance is staffed with highly skilled paramedics, nurses and even doctors, depending on the patient’s needs, and is equipped with ventilators, invasive pumps and other intricate patient monitoring devices. Its primary function is to transport critically ill patients requiring specialized care. The hospital was also awarded two new ambulance runs by the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The New York City Fire Department is tasked with handling all 911 requests and out-of-hospital emergencies in New York City. They perform this task with the assistance of hospitals that provide ambulances in the 911 response matrix.
CHINATOWN NEW HANDRAIL AT COLUMBUS PARK Council Member Margaret Chin recently helped secure a handrail in Columbus Park for local seniors. According to a press release from her office, Chin noticed unsafe conditions near the pavilion in the park earlier this month. After talking with several seniors who had difficulty climbing the steps—and had even injured themselves on the steps— the council member brought this issue to Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe’s attention. “The seniors in Columbus Park helped identify this dangerous area and I was able to get it corrected very quickly. This goes to show how important it is to speak to your local representatives when you see improvements that can be made to our community. This stairway is now safer with a handrail and will allow our green space to better serve all those who use Columbus Park. I want to thank the Parks Department and Commissioner Benepe for their quick attention to this issue,” said Chin. GREENWICH VILLAGE FUNDING SECURED FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF PIER 42 Rep. Charles Schumer and State Sen. Daniel Squadron announced last week that they have secured funding commitments to use a portion of the remain-
ing Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) federal dollars to begin the completion of the East River Waterfront Park, redevelopment of Pier 42 and completion of the continuous green ribbon park around Lower Manhattan, connecting the Hudson River Park to the East River Park and beyond. In November of last year, Schumer and Squadron urged the LMDC to fund the development of Pier 42 and complete the park using a portion of the $20.4 billion in funding Schumer had secured for Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The agreement between the LMDC, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the City of New York to make an initial investment of $14 million will begin the process of redeveloping Pier 42 into parkland and could include the demolition of an existing shed. “This funding will continue the revitalization of Lower Manhattan and is a big step toward a Harbor Park, a central park for the center of our city,” said Squadron. Pier 42 is currently being used for public parking and parking for movie productions. It is situated directly between Gouverneur and Jackson streets, creating a major gap in the East River Waterfront park plans. The land was scheduled to be redeveloped by the city, but the plans were put on hold last year when the city announced it did not have the funds to finance the project.
The Downtown Brew Hop
n Saturday, Nov. 18, New York called upon its most rowdy drinkers to compete in the annual New York City Beerathon. Competitors were challenged to drink a beer at each of the 26 bars and restaurants involved in the competition—a task only one person has successfully completed in past years. veronica hoglund Friends took to Downtown Manhattan—some in team costumes, others in normal gear—and did their very best to drink as much as they possibly could.
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NOVE M B E R 24, 2011 | otdowntown.com
� N EWS Gentrification, Congestion & Cuts Downtown residents sound off on their changing nabes at Squadron’s Town Hall meeting
| By Lillian Rizzo
Downtown Manhattan residents, like those in most other neighborhoods, worry about slow public transportation service, excessive noise and funding cuts to vital government programs. But Lower East Side dwellers also have a major demand for their diverse city streets: Don’t let gentrification change them anymore. At State Sen. Daniel Squadron’s last town hall meeting, held at the BRC Senior Center at 30 Delancey St. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, he listened to the concerns and complaints of his constituents from the LES, Chinatown and the East Village. The meeting came a week after his first town hall at the Southbridge Community Houses, 90 Beekman St., to address the needs of the residents of Lower Manhattan, Tribeca, Little Italy, Battery Park City, Financial District and Soho. Topics raised at the town hall were varied, but the sentiment that Downtown Manhattan neighborhoods are changing too
much was shared by many. When it came to gentrification, the Bowery and LES were pinpointed. An overall increase in traffic and congestion was also targeted in those areas, as well as Tribeca and the East Village. The concerns about the Bowery spanned from making buildings on the east side of the street landmarks, halting the building of hotels, increased congestion and environmental matters. Most were from LES residents, while others were from neighboring areas that also use the thoroughfare. “They are building enormous hotels on the Bowery, which use a ton of water,” said Michele Campo, a LES resident. “How many hotels do we need in this city? They put up more and it hurts small businesses.” Not far from the Bowery, the Bialystoker Nursing Home, the oldest nursing home in the area at 228 E. Broadway, was also mentioned. On Nov. 1, Bialystoker was forced to close its doors and send senior citizens to affordable assisted living homes in the outer boroughs. While residents within and outside of the home fought to keep Bialystoker open, the owner faced a tough financial situation. Even though residents are still upset its doors are closed, they are even more concerned about will happen to the building
now that it is up for sale. “Our immediate goal is saving this building—very few [like it] remain in the LES,” said one neighborhood resident. Bialystoker is an art deco building built in the 1920s, and was home to many Holocaust survivors throughout the years. “That nursing home was a terrible loss to the community, and it would be a terrible loss to lose the building,” said Squadron. “I am trying to make a strong case on advocating to make the building a landmark.” Squadron noted that he had “urged” the state attorney general to look closely at Biaylstoker’s chance of becoming a landmark. The same resident also brought up buildings on the east side of the Bowery and how they were unprotected from demolition or defacing, unlike those on the west side. He hoped to “ward off gentrification.” Squadron said he had supported a previous form of the proposal to create landmarks on the Bowery’s east side, which has already been sent to City Planning. As the meeting continued, gentrification managed to creep into the conversation, though not always in the form of saving the neighborhoods’ original appearance. Many residents targeted streets crowded with cars
and bicycles. “Bicycles have made the streets more dangerous for pedestrians; there is no law enforcement for them,” said Michael O’Connor of the East Village. O’Connor said that as his neighborhood’s residents change, so do their modes of transportation. An increased number of cyclists have appeared in the East Village, speeding through red lights and even riding on the sidewalks, he told Squadron. Squadron responded with hope that law enforcement will become stricter with bicyclists, especially those who ride on the sidewalk. Following O’Connor’s unruly bicyclist concerns, a Little Italy resident raised the issue of traffic leading to the Holland Tunnel in Tribeca making the streets more dangerous. “My concern is about suburban drivers; the other night, right off of Varick Street, I actually thanked traffic officers for being there,” said Elliot Hurwitt of Little Italy following the meeting. During the meeting, he shared the story of a close call, when a driver almost hit him while illegally switching lanes. Many residents agreed with Hurwitt and shared similar concerns about Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge.
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NOVE M B E R 24, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
The Movement, It Is A-Changin’
Future of OWS remains uncertain after its eviction | BY MATT HARVEY
uccotti Park—Immediately after the Occupy Wall Street encampment was forcibly removed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the Nov. 15 predawn sweep, the ground lights were flipped back on. The now barricaded plaza has shimmered like an ice rink every night since, with Brookfield Properties’ security guards in yellow vests manning the two entranceways and patrolling inside. (Brookfield Properties is the owner of Zuccotti Park.) Once in a while someone haggard-looking will risk putting his head down on one of the benches only to be jolted by one of the many guards saying, “You’re not allowed to lie down here.”
While a handful of hardcore activists stay in the park through the night, Brookfield Properties’ new prohibitions against “tents,” “tarps” and “storage”— enforced jointly by private security and the NYPD—have effectively stymied re-occupation. And without its 24/7 physical anchor, the movement has lost exposure. These new circumstances also beg the question: Without an encampment at Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the “Occupy” actions, will this media sensation still turn into a political and social revolution? Or will it slowly lose steam not only in New York City but across the nation and become a distant memory of a much-buzzed-about story? And, if the protesters are vigilant in continuing their efforts, where will the movement move next? Some haven’t lost hope of reinhabiting the park and many former occupiers promise they have not gone away. Charlie Meyers, a 20-year-old who dropped out of college in his home state of Arkansas to be a part of the move-
ment—and spent 40 hours in central booking after being arrested during the sweep—estimates there are “between 500 to 1,000” OWS folks hunkered down locally waiting for “the next occupation.” They’re revolving through churches, the New School “Occupation”—where Meyers is bedded down—and the United Federation of Teachers building at 62 Broadway, which serves as an OWS main storage facility. They’ve got their eye on permanently taking Duarte Plaza, a space on Sixth Avenue and Canal Street owned by Trinity Church. But if that plan falls through, one thing is for certain. According to Meyers, “All these people have gotten a taste of a progressive utopian vibe and they’re not going home.” Meyers himself can’t go home even if he wanted to because his lawyer has advised him not to leave the state until the trespassing and obstruction charges he racked up the night of the sweep are dealt with. “I was thinking of
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | NOVE M B E R 24, 2011
going home to start the next semester, but now I’m staying to August,” Meyers said. But money is tight and an occupation is the only way that the movement can attract the necessary donations to survive, because it “shows transparency.” He added: “Without that we’re just like Greenpeace begging for money on corners.” No one’s connection to the former camp was stronger than that of Gary Williams, an 18-year-old former foster kid who sports cornrows and hails from Queens “by way of Virginia.” Williams— a member of the long-silenced drum circle who still carries his drums on his back—had nowhere else to live but the OWS settlement for two months. That’s where he ate his meals. That’s where his friends lived. On the morning of the eviction he was handcuffed by the cops, then let go. Since then he’s been sleeping at a “church on West Fourth Street,” but as of Nov. 20 he said that’s no longer
an option: “I don’t know where I’m going tonight.” Asked what he misses the most, he put forth a flurry of examples showing that the jury-rigged community represented a “time of sharing.” Asked if he’s optimistic as to whether OWS will survive, he gave it some thought and replied, “It definitely has slowed down, but maybe it’ll come back. But not as big.” Looking at the ground for a moment, he added, “If they let something like that fail it will be a shame.” Meanwhile, despite the relative quiet, the plaza remains the hub of the OWS movement, if only because it is here that the General Assembly—the movement’s highly democratic main governing body—meets nightly to show that things are business as usual. At 9:30 p.m., Nov. 20, the scene was a miniature version of the plaza in the freewheeling incarnation that led up to the eviction. At the time of the sweep, estimates of
seemed that the slow wheels of pure, unfettered democracy had come to a screeching halt. Riffing on the theme that Sheldon had touched upon while speaking to the group, Michael Gottsign, a 50-yearold protester who lives in Manhattan, remained positive. He said that the “slow” consensusseeking process is necessary for the movement to gel around any ideas that stand the test of time. “If everyone doesn’t agree,” he said, referencing the consensus, “then they’ll be a split, which is antithetical to the movement.” Whether or not such a disparate group of voices (the original OWS contingent included liberals, socialists and anarchists) ever coalesced around anything, there are signs that despite the obvious idealism of Gottsign and others like him, the movement is already split. The most visible split is between those affiliated with OWS who recall the encampment fondly and a more media-savvy contingent who saw it as a potentially ugly impediment to the movement’s progress and are happy it’s now gone. The latter group felt that the camp had become so disorganized as to render it politically impotent and the crackdown was the only thing to tame it short of an Oakland-style tragedy. Going forward, the movement would have to rely less on a physical anchor and more on the grass-roots appeal of its antiWall Street message and marches. Summing up this strain of thinking, liberal commentator Matthew Yglesias blogged on Nov. 15 that “getting kicked out of Zuccotti Park is probably good for Occupy Wall Street.” On the day after the crackdown, Brendan, a sometime-facilitator who preferred to use only his first name, said he was glad the NYPD had taken over, even though he had lived in the camp at times. “The tents were becoming a liability,” he said, careful not to make too much about the problems the encampment also had with crime, “and we were worrying about not getting through winter.” That same day, performance artist/activist Reverend
ILLUSTRATIONS BY SAHAR VAHIDI
the number of activists and hangers-on who were there vary wildly from roughly 200 to as many as 800 people. Meanwhile, 50-some protesters attempted to ratify a mission statement affirming OWS’ collective interest in abolishing “unchecked corporate power and unjust government,” in the interest of a “truly free democratic and just society.” It would seem like a shoo-in for a progressive group to sign off on a prodemocratic, anti-corporate governance statement that one activist called “uncontroversial,” but it quickly got bogged down under the group’s critique. Some complained that the statement was too “flowery,” while others noted it omitted any mention of “institutional racism” and a few doubters even wondered whether it was in keeping with the spirit of “true democracy” to have a mission statement at all. After an hour or so of further discussion, points of procedure, friendly amendments and threatened blocks, the facilitator, Jarod Shelton, announced that further discussion of the proposal would probably have to be shelved until the following day because the group couldn’t reach the necessary consensus. “The process can be tedious but it’s worth it in the end,” he announced evenly. Shelton’s statement to the crowd was just the latest reminder that with more than two months under its belt— months that have included several large-scale “days of action,” hundreds of arrests and the dizzying eviction—the OWS movement has yet to set out even the thinnest sketch of its collective ideals, never mind undertaking the more difficult task of outlining a set of political demands to take to the powerbrokers, who have loudly raised doubts over whether OWS is a force to be politically reckoned with. But for the moment, at least, it
Billy, resplendent in his usual white suit and upside-down black collar, said he was “more optimistic about [OWS] than ever.” But in the ensuing days—especially after the Nov. 17 march on Wall Street— few in OWS could go on denying that the crowded encampment gave the movement a share of the public’s attention that it will have a difficult time otherwise filling. But for those sympathetic with the movement, the complaints against the encampment suddenly ceasing to exist are more heartfelt. After standing and listening to the mission statement discussion for a few minutes, a twenty-something man with longish brown hair and a “99%” shirt walked away disappointed. “Fucking bullshit GA,” he said, and wandered over to the empty side of the park. Meyers bluntly said, “Park people aren’t GA people.” But he adds that he appreciates that the GA is filled with reasonable members who have “four hours every day to talk about stuff,” and the two groups should theoretically complement each other. Meyers gives the GA credit for making decisions to allocate $3,000 for “Halloween costumes,” and even thousands of dollars to send a group of OWS “observers” to the Egyptian elections. “I would have never voted for those proposals,” he said, but it turned out the media attention generated by these projects brought in an influx of donations far exceeding those amounts. There was some evidence Sunday night that perhaps OWS is moving a degree or two away from the form of democracy that currently decides its fate while
trying to remain true to its collective vision. In response to a question by a protester who worried about “not getting his voice heard,” one of the General Assembly’s facilitators replied that since the crackdown, the importance of “working groups” (such as the one that drafted the as yet un-agreed upon mission statement) have grown in importance. Though there was an implication, however, that this would mean the GA was losing some power within the movement. If the GA is seen as a natural extension of Zuccotti Park, its own future in the center of the movement is now in serious doubt. While the loss of a 24/7 home base may have taken the teeth out of the GA as a governing body, it has also left some emotional scars for the movement’s most devoted followers. More poignantly, a 30-year-old woman in a black beret began to quietly cry after a few minutes of listening to the speakers at the Nov. 20 General Assembly. Asked what was wrong, the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was checking out the park for the first time after the sweep. She sobbed softly, “These people talking are all that’s left of everything?” “Everything,” of course, referring to the tents and signage and general utopian vibe that the camp gave off in its finer moments—as when an unnamed woman living in one of the tents offered a white rose and “two empty spaces” to two men in suits who had claimed to have just been fired from Goldman Sachs 20 minutes before the eviction. Then, referencing the sweep, the woman in the black beret added, “That’s all it takes to make people go away?” That, perhaps, and 200-some arrests in the following two days would at least put a damper on the movement.
IS R H E O F R TU FU
NOVE M B E R 24, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
THE 7-DAY PLAN
FREE Lighted Boat Parade [11/26]
East River (betw. Williamsburg Bridge & Governor’s Island), www.sail-nyc.com; 7-7:45 p.m.
This year’s expanded parade will feature over 15 large boats decked out with holiday lights. Other cities have had a holiday boat parade for years—and now NYC is finally getting in the act with its amazing mix of boats, from commuter vessels to tourist watercraft. There are several free public viewing areas, but the best locations are the South Street Seaport or the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 FRIDAY
House of Pleasures IFC Center, 6th Ave. (betw. 3rd & 4th Sts.), www.ifccenter.com; show times & prices TBA. In the late 19th century, much of the Parisian sex trade took place in luxurious grand maisons. House of Pleasures—an official Cannes Selection—enters the cloistered walls of one such establishment—the plush L’Apollonide—to meet the madame, her elite clientele and some dozen girls.
Visit otdowntown.com for the latest updates on local events. Submissions can be sent to email@example.com.
Racing Dreams IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (betw. 3rd & 4th Sts.), www. ifccenter.com; show times & prices TBA. Racing Dreams is a coming-of-age story about three kids who dream of one day racing in NASCAR. Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry takes us into the lives of Annabeth (11), Josh (12) and Brandon (13) as they compete for the championship in the Little League of professional racing. Stephan Kellogg & the Sixers Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.); www.boweryballroom.com; 7 p.m, $20. On Gift Horse, their second album for Vanguard and their fifth studio effort overall, Stephen Kellogg and his bandmates— Kit “Goose” Karlson, Brian “Boots” Factor and Sam “Steamer” Getz—bring the rich legacy of American rock & roll into the present tense.
Lee Mingwei: The Travelers and The Quartet Project Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre St. (betw. Grand & Howard Sts.), www.mocanyc.org; various times, $29. A solo exhibition of Taiwanese-born American artist Lee Mingwei, including his two participation-based projects, “The Travelers” and “The Quartet Project.” For “The Travelers,” MOCA and Lee teamed up in 2010 and distributed 100 notebooks to family, friends and acquaintances, asking them to write their story of leaving home.
Drumadics Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave. (betw. Havemeyer & Roebling Sts.), bk.knittingfactory.com; 6 p.m., $8-$12. William B. Johnson’s Drumadics is a fusion of woodwinds, stirring brass, traditional/contemporary and unorthodox drum styles. With African, Latin, pop, hip-hop and soul highlights, this musical explosion of culture and rhythm unites in symphony.
FREE European Party
The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), www.judygold.com; 3 p.m., $65-$75. Back by popular demand, comedian and actress Judy Gold returns to the stage in this hilarious look at her life through the lens of the classic sitcoms of her youth. Gold shows how she balances family and ambition with a little help from our favorite TV shows of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
FREE Viva VIDA Poetry Reading KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), www.kgbbar.com; 7-9 p.m. In the latest installment of its Monday Night Poetry series, KGB bar will host Erin Belieu, the author of three published collections of poetry, and Kathryn A. Morton Prize winner Cate Marvin.
FREE Night of a Thousand
Santas Pieces Bar, 8 Christopher St. (betw. Greenwich & Gay Sts.), www.willclarkworld.com; 8-10 p.m. This celebration is the official start of the XXXmas season: Will Clark’s annual “Night of a Thousand Santas,” featuring dirty Santa Claus and special guest Candy Samples as a sexed-up Mrs. Claus.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | NOVE M B E R 24, 2011
1 Oak, 453 W. 17th St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), www.1oaknyc.com; 11:30 p.m. With Christmas fast approaching, go easy on your wallet and take a European vacation without leaving NYC. Party with the European Union and dress in your best Euro fashions for a night of globetrotting fun. No cover before midnight.
Monday Night Magic Players Theatre,115 MacDougal St. (betw. Bleecker & W. 3rd Sts.) www.mondaynightmagic.com, 8 p.m., advance $37.50, day of show $42.50, VIP $72.50. New York’s longest-running Off-Broadway magic show continues. From cards to flames to puppets, every show features four performers with diverse types of magic.
FREE Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life LES Tenement Museum, 108 Orchard St. (betw. Broome & Delancey Sts.), www.tenement.org; 6:30 p.m. Writer and critic Vivian Gornick will paint an insightful portrait of one of the most memorable political figures, an anarchist whose name is synonymous with human integrity.
The Circus Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), www.websterhall.com; 10 p.m., $35. The circus has come to town—and we’re not talking about the Big Apple. Webster Hall hosts a night of thrills, freaks and fun when the circus takes over. Travel behind the curtain and enjoy the show—if you are over 19, of course.
FREE Emily Books Launch
Housing Works Bookstore, 126 Crosby St. (betw. Houston & Prince Sts.), www.housingworks.org; 7 p.m. Come celebrate the launch of Emily Books, an independent ebookstore that specializes in mindblowingly awesome, criminally underappreciated works of fiction and nonfiction by women. Featuring a reading with Eileen Myles, author of Inferno, and open bar for the first hour.
Nutcracker in the Lower Gala Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St. (betw. Pitt & Bialystoker Sts.), www.abronsartscenter.org; 7:30 p.m., $25-$500. Urban Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker in the Lower— classic holiday ballet with a Downtown twist—fuses the classical ballet with flamenco, hip-hop and other diverse dance forms. The gala event celebrates the ballet’s opening; the piece will run through Dec. 4.
FREE Celebrating Native American Nations Screening National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green (at State St.), www.nmai.si.edu; 1-2 p.m. Thanksgiving has come and gone, but head to the Museum of the American Indian to learn more about Native American history at this film screening.
FREE Against the Falling Tide: Working Families and the Economy Arnhold Hall, 55 W. 13th St., 2nd floor (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.); 212-229-5418, 6 p.m. Jared Bernstein, the former executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, will answer questions about the economic future for most Americans.
nove m b e r 24, 2011 | otdowntown.com
� SE E
Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Clarence Brown’s Flesh and the Devil (1926), playing Nov. 28 at Film Forum. Photo Courtesy of Photofest
Silent Stars Return to the Big Screen Films without sound still speak to modern audiences | By Cullen Gallagher While the silent era may have ended in 1927 with the introduction of sound, for the next three months, this form of cinema will live again in Downtown Manhattan. Now through Feb. 6, Film Forum pays homage to that bygone epoch—and the most glamorous and extravagant of classic Hollywood studios—with The Silent Roar: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1924-1929. As an added treat, each film will feature live music by leading accompanist Steve Sterner. From adulterous lovers (The Kiss, Jan. 30) to malformed murderers (The Unknown, Jan. 16), everyman soldiers (The Big Parade, Dec. 12) to debauched royalty (The Merry Widow, Dec. 19), there’s plenty in these movies to surprise, delight and even shock modern audiences. They may be over 90 years old, but these silent
movies still have a lot to say, and they’ve lost none of their rapturous command. Screening Nov. 28, Flesh and the Devil (1926) was Greta Garbo’s second American film, and it cemented her popularity as the preeminent silver screen siren. Is there anything in theaters right now to rival the raw sensuality of that unforgettable close-up of Garbo and John Gilbert nestled beneath the moonlight, passing a cigarette between their lips? As famous for its magnificence as for its troubled backstory is Erich von Stroheim’s would-be masterpiece Greed (1924) (Jan. 2). Based on Frank Norris’ McTeague, Greed tells the story of a dentist (Gibson Gowland) and his wife (ZaSu Pitts) whose desire for wealth ultimately leads to their demise. Outraged with von Stroheim’s excess, MGM took control and cut the film down from its original 10 hours to just 90 minutes. What remains, however, is a stunningly grim portrayal of obsession and corruption. Considering the current financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street, von Stroheim’s film is just as relevant as ever. Also not to be missed are two films starring the first lady of the silent screen, Lillian Gish. In the 1910s she was the embodiment of Victorian purity, but in the 1920s, Gish recast her persona through a series of complex roles, the best of which are The Scarlet Letter (1927) and The Wind (1928), both directed by
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comedy and subtle characterization. Her spirited portrayal of the “ugly duckling” younger sister hopelessly in love with her older sister’s beau in The Patsy (1928) (Feb. 6) is utterly delightful, and the film’s unpretentious charm is a surefire bet even for those new to silent cinema. Davies’ parodic expertise it at its peak in Show People (1928) (Jan. 23), a backstage satire about an aspiring actress trying to break into movies. Released in the middle of Hollywood’s transition to sound, Show People is a final glimpse at the silent empire at its height. Within a year, the talkies would have permanently conquered the industry. This series, however, is proof that sound didn’t fully kill silent cinema; these talk-less pictures continue to entertain new generations of filmgoers. Film Forum is located at 209 W. Houston St. (betw. 6th Ave. & Varick St.).
Swedish émigré Victor Sjöström. In The Scarlet Letter (Jan. 9), Gish brings intense spiritual strength and poetic grace to American literature’s most famous adulteress, Hester Prynne. Gish’s greatest performance, however, is in The Wind (Dec. 5), a psychosexual cyclone set in the Mojave Desert that still astonishes with its surreal imagery and dreamlike structure. Gish plays an eastern transplant who moves west to live with her cousin only to find herself unwelcomed by his suspicious wife. After reluctantly accepting a local farmer’s proposal, Gish is increasingly tormented by his sexual advances and goes insane under the hypnotic powers of “the wind.” The real hidden gems of the series, however, are two films starring the criminally underrated Marion Davies, an immensely talented actress equally adept at slapstick
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Be Dead By The Time You Read This being released Nov. 29 by Plume, an imprint of Penguin. The Midtown West-based artist is known for his sticker art and the years he animated kiddie favorites such as Dora the Explorer and Wonder Pets for Nickelodeon. His newest project was born out of a sticker series that has been slapped on AT 100% BOX WIDE played as poignantly orTHIS hilariously as IS in 3 INCHES Romeo Alaeff’s new book of drawings I’ll CONTINUED p15
nove m b e r 24, 2011 | otdowntown.com
� EAT A citywide guide to eating out on Thanksgiving
| By Kristina Diggins-Reisinger Imagine your typical stressed Thanksgiving day preparations: A frazzled mother who clatters around the kitchen; dozens of dishes, from turkey to yams, that must be cooked to perfection or your Uncle Ned will grumble; and you sporting a splattered apron, your hair frizzy and your face red. Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be an exercise in cooking en masse or a test of your nerves. There are other ways to celebrate the holiday—namely, strapping on a pair of festive heels and going out on the town with the family in tow. Restaurants big and small, obscure and famous offer sumptuous, delicious courses on bird day.
Tried & True Turkey Griffou This chic West Village spot was conceived by New York restaurant veterans Larry Poston and Johnny Swet with Jonathan Hettinger and Jesse Keyes. Griffou has managed to capture the bohemian, creative atmosphere for which Downtown New York is known, adding a dose of history as well. The establishment gets its name from the 1870s boarding house located in the same building, which was originally presided over by Madame Marie Griffou, a big-hearted French woman with a soft spot for creative types. Though no longer a hotel, Griffou retained
Bohemian Chic at Griffou.
a certain magic from its early days. It was one of the first places the early suffragettes met, and Mae West stopped by for a celebratory drink after winning her trial on indecency charges. This holiday season, Griffou is offering a special Thanksgiving day prix-fixe menu prepared by new chef Mark Strausman, who used to be executive chef of Fred’s at Barneys, Campagna and Coco Pazzo. Highlights of the meal will include a traditional entrée of turkey, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, whipped potatoes and cranberry sauce, which can be finished off with pumpkin soufflé. 21 W. 9th St. (betw. 5th Ave. & Ave. of the Americas), 212-358-0228, www.griffou.com; reservations advised, call from 3-9 p.m., $75. Porter House New York Enjoy a traditional roast natural turkey, sweet onion stuffing with gravy, bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce in Columbus Circle. The Thanksgiving menu also includes filet mignon, ribeye or salmon and, a holiday dessert tasting plate—think arm apple pie, chocolate cake and eggnog. 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor (betw. 9th Ave. & Broadway), www.porterhousenewyork.
Photo courtesy of griffou
com; $85. Ciano Go to town with Ciano’s pasta tasting menu. Eighty-nine dollars for the table also includes filet of wild sea bass or Giannone chicken for two at this Italian-style eatery. 45 E. 22nd St. (betw. 5th & Park Aves.), cianonyc.com; $33-$55. Kid-Friendly Choices Rock Center Café A welcoming atmosphere for kids where mom and dad can chow on jumbo shrimp, Berkshire pork chops and key lime pie while tots snack on crispy chicken tenders, grilled cheese or petit filet—and a brownie sundae. 20 W. 50th St. (at Rockefeller Center), 212332-7620; $65. Murals on 54 A buffet-style, kid-oriented restaurant with roast turkey and pepper-rubbed beef tenderloin carving stations, a raw seafood bar. 65 W. 54th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), www. murals54.com; $54 adults, $17 kids, children under 5 free.
A Wine to Complement Any Thanksgiving Meal
shook my head as I walked down the “seasonal” aisle of our local CVS. Natali sighed heavily, knowing I was about to sound off about something insignificant again. She was right. “I mean, really?! Christmas already?” I huffed. “Halloween was yesterday.” The shelves that had only 24 hours ago held hundreds of pounds of funsized Snickers bars and mountains of candy corn now housed tinsel, LED string lights and candy-cane shaped chocolates wrapped in green-and-red foil. “It’s the seasonal aisle, Josh,” she said, “and this is the beginning of the Christmas season.” “Good lord,” I muttered. “Has everyone forgotten about Thanksgiving?” True, there aren’t as many surefire merchandising tie-ins and pieces of swag associated with Thanksgiving. I suppose there are only so many foldout paper turkeys with which one can decorate. That said, I feel like, over the last couple of decades, this most American of holidays has become an afterthought in the great rush to Christmas. I happen to think it’s the ultimate
holiday. First, for selfish reasons, because it’s all about food. The focus of the day is on the meal and the meal alone. Second, its message is a tremendous one. True, the origins of this day are more than a tad shady, but the evolution of the holiday’s meaning is undeniable: Give thanks for what you have. Third, it’s nondenominational. Everyone gets to eat turkey, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So in honor of my absolute favorite holiday of the winter holiday season, I would like to pick some American wines to pair with some of the typical courses of this great American feast. A side dish that I make every Thanksgiving, while not part of the typical Turkey Day menu, is Israeli couscous with chanterelles. Mushrooms, in one form or another, usually find their way into the Thanksgiving meal, whether in a green bean casserole, as part of the stuffing or sautéed and served all by themselves. My go-to wine for all things ’shroomy is a full-bodied California chardonnay. A great example of this type of full-throttle chard is the Arcadian Vineyard “Sleepy Hollow” Chardonnay 2006 ($33.99 at
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | NOVE M B E R 24, 2011
Astor Wines, 399 Lafayette St. at E. 4th St., 212-674-7500). This wine’s fermentation happens in French oak barrels. Because it’s fermented in oak, there are overt notes of oakiness, but because it is French oak, there’s more finesse and less of those “chewing on Ikea furniture” flavors. It has major scents of tangerine and biscuits on the nose. The palate continues the mature orange flavors and adds guava notes in the middle. The finish is honeysuckle, allspice and burnt sugar. Then, of course, there’s the turkey. No matter how you prepare it—roasted, grilled, fried or braised—I always reach for the same varietal: zinfandel. And what could possibly be more appropriate than serving, arguably, the most American of grapes with the most American of main courses? True, the primitivo grape that is indigenous to southern Italy is genetically identical to zinfandel, but aside from that, the two wines have precious little in common. Zinfandel is bold, strong and makes a real statement. What’s more American than that? A wonderful example is the Rosenblum Harris Kratka Zinfandel 2006 ($17.49 at Morrell and Company, 1 Rock-
efeller Plz. at 48th Street & 5th Ave., 212-688-9370). The Rosenblum brand is well known for reliable and affordable zins, but the Harris Kratka really josh perilo showcases the best winemaking that this producer has to offer. Blueberry compote and cinnamon are the major scents on the nose. Deliciously aggressive notes of blackberry jam, currants and mace lead through to a peppery middle and a finish that goes long with lingering flavors of earth and cassis. The ubiquitous pumpkin pie can be a tricky one to match, wine-wise—unless you have a bottle of Osborne Pedro Ximenez Sherry on hand ($17.99 at 67 Wine, 179 Columbus Ave. at 68th St., 212-724-6767). This thick-as-syrup mealender has enough unctuous notes of molasses, dates and caramel that coffee may become an afterthought. So, instead of bringing the candied sweet potatoes this year, bring a bottle of vino! I guarantee you’ll be more popular.
� DWE LL Better Laight than Never A new sweeping upscale development hits Tribeca | By wickham boyle Tribeca is no stranger to high-end development—after all, Forbes Magazine dubbed it the richest ZIP code in New York City in 2006. Even though it fell to a not-so-shabby seventh in the most recent listings, one can’t help but wonder how many high-end buildings can fit in one small neighborhood. Real estate developers and agents hawking lush wood floors, top-of-the-line finishing touches and swank addresses must firmly believe there is still room for many more clambering for a place at the table. Gloria Sokolin, with the Fox Residential Group, is one of two agents representing one such new property, at 50-52 Laight St. She said this offering was created by joining two former garage buildings and giving them a new brick facade and a limestone base. The renderings, at least, look as if the amalgamated building has been below
Renderings of the penthouse at 50-52 Laight St. (above) and the building’s exterior (right). PHOTO courtesy of FOX RESIDENTIAL
Canal Street since the 19th century. Sokolin said that the property’s owner/ developer is Laurel Capital LLC, with a Japanese lead investor. They are the same folks who developed 25 N. Moore St. and bought a few properties on Mercer Street when the New Museum decamped—they have credentials and roots in the area. The group first purchased one garage, then Sokolin knocked on the neighboring door to ask, “Can we make a deal?” Poof, it was goodbye garage, hello upscale real estate. Sokolin says the previous owner’s response was that for the right price they were happy to sell— one hopes they traded in their wrenches
and tire irons for a beach somewhere. “This was never meant to be a modern monstrosity, but rather a historic conversion,” said Sokolin. It is a conversion from wholecloth, as the garage buildings were reconstructed to resemble historic buildings like those that dot the landscape. The new plans are well-wrought, restful and luxurious, with eight windows facing the glorious southern light. The development will have units ranging from 1,945 to 2,761 square feet, each home designed to blend 19th-century elegance with the modern trend to sophistication and technological ease. The homes
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are priced from just under $3 million to $6.9 million for the penthouse. Sokolin extolled the unusual feature of a virtual doorman, one who “has key fob activations for doors and private elevator landings.” Other features are Wi-Fi throughout, walnut floors and the usual high-end appliances, from stovetops to in-home washer-dryers. These are among some of the newest homes offered in Tribeca, featuring stunning light, great rooms, a floor plan for parties and a neighborhood where takeout abounds and strollers and town cars compete with old-school artist residents for space.
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Coaching Diabetics Treat the Mind and the Sugars Will Follow By Lisa Elaine Held
iabetics live in a world ruled by measurements and numbers. Doctors and other health care workers, such as Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs), tell them what their blood sugar numbers should be, how to measure them and how much insulin to take. But while numbers are crucial to controlling the disease, they make up just a tiny snapshot of the larger picture of diabetes management, a process that has emotional, psychological and social challenges. Now, a small but growing sector of professionals is seeking to address those challenges through varied styles of coaching and counseling. In doing so, they believe they can help individuals accept and control the disease and live healthier, happier lives as a result. “There’s a whole psychology behind it that goes beyond what are you eating and what your numbers are,” said Dana Hariton McQuade, a New York City life coach who works primarily with diabetics. “How you value yourself and how you take care of yourself are affected by how you embrace the disease.” McQuade primarily works with women, many of whom are dealing with social challenges like dating while wearing an insulin pump or managing pregnancy or motherhood and blood sugar at the same time. Some of her clients harbor anger at their own misfortune, as did a 30-year-old woman she worked with who resented her disease and therefore had a hard time taking control of it. Eliot LeBow, a New York social worker who counsels diabetics, said that anger is a huge issue with many of his clients, along with depression. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011 reported that people with diabetes are twice as likely to battle depression. They are also often misdiagnosed, said LeBow. If blood sugar levels are not under control, diabetics may
O U R TOW N D OW N TOWN | N OVE M B E R 2 4 , 2 0 1 1
exhibit the same symptoms as those suffering from clinical depression. “If their blood sugar levels are always high, they’re going to be lethargic and have no motivation and basically feel depressed,” he said. In addition, the process of diabetes management is extremely stressful. It requires constant attention and measurement and is full of ups and downs each and every day. Doctors and CDEs in clinical settings don’t usually have the time to look at the larger picture. They can tell patients what their numbers should be and the biological changes they need undergo to get there, but they won’t determine what in the patient’s life needs adjusting in order to make that happen. That’s where life coaches and counselors come in. “When I get a new client in, I look at the whole picture,” said LeBow. After determining what they need to work on, he guides them through making positive changes. “Most go on to have their blood sugar under control, and their emotional life gets better.” This was true for Sysy Morales, a 28-year-old mother of twins who started a blog called The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes after getting her disease and depression under control with the help of a health coach. Morales said her coach mostly listened to what she said and then asked interesting questions she wouldn’t have thought to ask herself. This made her
realize what the roots of her issues were and gave her a new sense of clarity. “Using positive thinking helped me, and I worked on changing my diet and lifestyle habits,” she said. “Getting out of the depression made me able to take care of my diabetes and that, in turn, made my mood even better.” The woman Morales went to for help was a health coach. McQuade is a life coach, and LeBow is a licensed social worker. While their credentials and approaches are slightly different, they’re all working to address the emotional and psychological challenges associated with a disease that is often looked at as purely biological. Most coaches and counselors in this field have another thing in common—they’re diabetics themselves. McQuade and LeBow were both diagnosed as children, a factor that allows them to understand their clients in a more profound way. Their services tend to be sought out mainly by individuals with Type 1 diabetes. This may be because of their personal experience with Type 1, or because those living with Type 1 are dependent on insulin, making management a more difficult, consuming process. If the field continues to grow, it may expand to reach a larger population. “I’m trying to get other people on board,” said LeBow, “so people will know that therapy is a big part of managing diabetes.”
Alternative Healthy Manhattan
How to Become a Life Coach Columbia Coaching Certification Program 525 W. 120th St., 212-678-8240, $900– $8,700 The Teachers College at Columbia University and Columbia Business Schools together offer the Columbia Coaching Certification program. Students focus on learning guiding principles such as ethics, core competencies that help establish successful relationships with clients and the overall coaching process. Columbia offers five-day intensives for individuals looking to establish life coaching as a profession (external coaching) and for those looking to incorporate it into their existing jobs (internal coaching). Students have the option to continue on to coaching practicum, a semester of in-field coaching work, and a five-day wrap up advanced coach intensive for a certification in
Life Coaching Is Part of Good Psychotherapy
By Lucille Barish As a unified concept in psychotherapy, life coaching is a recent addition to the field—and many psychotherapists still do not consider life coaching a legitimate part of the psychotherapy process. They see life coaching as a resource for emotionally together people who want to expand themselves in new ways with higher aspirations and psychotherapy as a process of exploring the past with emotionally disturbed people in order to help them understand how dysfunctional early life has negatively impacted them as adults. They see therapists as listening in a non-directive way, allowing clients to come to realizations on their own at their own pace. However, psychotherapy is much more complex than empathic listening and realization. Many clients have never learned to develop the skills needed to grow up in healthy ways. Their “foundations” are weak and very vulnerable to self-loathing, anger, depression, anxiety and feelings of helplessness from lack of good-enough parenting. Or they may
coaching. The program can be completed in as little as eight months, although schedules can be stretched out over longer periods of time. Coaching for Transformation at the New York Open Center 22 E. 30th St., 212-219-2527, $5,485 The accredited program trains 36 people in each class in addition to one- and two-day seminars, which draw about 25 people twice a year. The courses are designed to accommodate the lives of busy, working professionals. NYU School of Continuing and Professional Services 7 E. 12th St. #923, 212-998-7100, $895– $995 Students can choose to specialize in Personal/Life Coaching or Organizational/ Executive Coaching as part of the leadership program and are required to complete seven classes. Mandatory instruction focuses on decision-making and communication and motivational skills, and may be complemented with courses in marketing and human relations. become traumatized later on by things like rape or war-related horrors. Clients who come to us are lost, anxious or depressed, and often act out their pain through anger and have little internal sense of reality to help them deal with the world. And while it is important for therapists to help clients understand their past and how it impacts the present, it is also vital that they feel they can ask for advice and concrete help and that we therapists feel comfortable in giving them that guidance. They often need very direct tools on how to deal with troubling issues, education about how healthy relationships work, how to be better parents, how to deal with difficulties regarding jobs and career, sexuality, spirituality, separation, etc. This is what good-enough parents do for their children and what good-enough therapists must often do for their clients. And when they are successful in dealing with issues in which we have guided them, they need our reinforcement and our pleasure in their learning and growing. Surely this is a form of life coaching, whether acknowledged as such or not, that is vital to the therapy process. I am quite sure good-enough therapists have always been life coaches, even before it was called “life coaching.” Lucille Barish is a licensed clinical social worker.
from p10 buildings, fences and streetlamps from New York to Paris to Shanghai. I’ll Be Dead matches overheard phrases with drawings of different animals to stunning effect. One page shows a frog saying, “I’m afraid of changing”; on another, a butterfly says, “I wish I could just start over.” The pairings aren’t arbitrary. Alaeff has compiled more than 3,000 sayings that he has overhead everywhere from subway conversations to bar banter. “This project is about how and why we’ve evolved to experience the emotions we do. It’s a humorous way to get people to contemplate their situations,” he said. “Why did we evolve to feel such despair? Most people, in some way, are not completely satisfied with their lives.” The drawings for the book started as a highly successful set of intricate penand-ink drawings. “So I made them into stickers. I would give them away and they spread like crazy. I had no idea that they would become what they became. I started getting pictures back of my stickers from Tel Aviv, Iceland, Gabon, the Congo, in front of the pyramids in Cairo, on the glass pyramid of the Louvre— anywhere you can imagine,” he said. Alaeff’s life has been as varied as his stickers dotting the globe. The native New Yorker has lived in New Orleans, Atlanta, Rhode Island, Texas, Scotland
and Berlin, among other places. The success of the animal drawings landed him in Stuck Up Piece of Crap: Stickers from the book Punk Rock to Contemporary Art last year. He’s currently working on a half-dozen other projects including gallery shows, a children’s book, a new drawing series and his ongoing 16-year documentary series There’s No Place Like You. Despite all of their exposure, the animal drawings still have a soft spot in his heart. “The stickers became interesting to me because people were interacting with them. And that’s why the book is interesting, too—it’s just another way to get people to interact,” he said. The public can interact with the artist and pick up a copy of his book at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo. There will be drinks, a Q&A, original artwork for sale and a chance to chat with the artist. NYPress.com and Our Town Downtown are co-hosting the party with Penguin and PowerHouse Arena, among others. (Full disclosure: NYPress.com and Our Town Downtown are part of the Manhattan Media publishing family, which publishes West Side Spirit.) As to how many of his animal stickers are currently out there in the world, Alaeff doesn’t have a clue. “Thousands? Tens of thousands? I don’t know. I’ll never know.” For more information, visit www. illbedead.com.
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teacher at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, 2010 Sloan Award winner for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics
| By mARISSA MAIER
photo COURTESY OF ann fraioli
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� TALK I N G U P D OWNTOWN Ann Fraioli
nn Fraioli is an educator at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School (the public high school on Governor’s Island made famous not only by its location but by its curriculum’s emphasis on a hands-on approach to studying the marine world). It was a little over a year ago that Fraioli and her fellow teacher, Roy Arezzo, were two of the eight educators in New York City to receive the Sloan Award for science and math teaching. We caught up with Fraioli, a Barnard graduate, a year after the awards ceremony to learn how she still engages her students in the world around them. Your background seems uniquely suited for working at the Harbor School. You majored in environmental history and minored in education at Barnard College at Columbia University. You have crewed tall ships throughout the North Atlantic and you spent two months aboard the RV Ewing, working with a science team in the Southern Ocean. When you started at the Harbor School, did you have a sense that the school especially catered to your expertise? When I found out about the school and the job, I did feel like it was a perfect match because of those different experiences I had in and after college. When I went to Barnard, I was fortunate enough to create my own major and I was interested in environmental history. It is like geography in the sense that you are studying human relations and impacts on the surrounding environment. I put together a course load that focused on the intersection of humans and science. I got my teaching certificate because I wanted the flexibility of being able to teach. At Barnard, we all do a thesis, even as undergrads, and I wrote one on the history of the 79th Street boat basin, the local ecology and the New York City waterways. How did you first learn about the Harbor School? Were you part of the process of creating the curriculum? I actually found out about the Harbor School through an email. After college, I spent time with an oceanographic research team and I met some great people. One of them was a grad student who
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | NOVE M B E R 24, 2011
was connected to Columbia University. She had received this email but was in university, so she forwarded it to me. As soon as I read the description, it seemed really perfect for me. All of the teachers—there were about eight of us at that point—were instrumental in developing the curriculum and the school as a whole.
get to have a lot of interaction with different people in the field. Then we do a lot of fun, hands-on activities like rowing, sailing tall ships, pulling mud up from the bottom of the river, seeing what lives there. We go to museums or aquariums…We put all of this information together and look at ecological systems.
Right now, you teach the Introduction to the New York Harbor Class, which every freshman student is required to take. The class seems exciting because there is an emphasis on learning about the harbor in a very hands-on way. Can you tell us a little bit more about the class and some of the ways in which you teach your students about the harbor? The class is literally an introduction to the harbor. We cover a lot of things, including the science and ecology of the harbor, the history and human impact on the harbor and the current industry and local uses of the harbor. We work with a variety of partners, including notfor-profits, people in the commercial industry and governmental agencies in the field. We go out and around the harbor every other week. We take about 17 trips per year and every trip is to a different place. With each trip, though, there are some similarities. We do water quality testing so the students can compare the water quality. We often meet partners at different sites, whether it be a volunteer with a nonprofit or a dockworker. The students
What do you find is the key to getting students interested and engaged in science? That is the golden question. One thing that is important, and what we do at the Harbor School, is that we do some fun, hands-on experiences but we also have classroom experiences. It isn’t all really alternative or always getting our hands dirty. We are working on the content knowledge and coming back to the classroom. Following that duplicity is the whole package and is really important for a student’s education, especially in high school. We are used to one mode for school, and we shouldn’t throw that out the window. We are supplementing that with meaningful experiences that are related to what the students are learning in a variety of classes. Especially in my class, there is a lot of interdisciplinary work and connection to different subjects. When students see that these subjects are all connected to a variety of jobs and careers, they also learn that they need to pull from multiple parts of their learning to be successful.
Watching Your Way Through The Holidays
or most people, tradition is an inviolate principle of the holiday season—and movies are no exception. Although American multiplexes swell each autumn with a new batch of holiday-themed films, home is where the heart is; with annual marathons of classic films broadcast into our living rooms, movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story are as important a part of the fabric of the season as the taste of an unwavering family recipe or a box of decorations passed down from generation to generation, each trinket in its well-earned place upon the mantle. Of course, that’s the story we tell ourselves as we imagine the comforts of this time of year. But as the days begin to darken and family, parties, crowds and expenses draw ever closer, a sense of disquiet settles in. The holidays are coming, ready or not. Our society romanticizes this season all out of proportion—and nothing perpetuates our personal myth-making more than the movies. As much as we love the solace of our memories and fantasies, perhaps it’s time to embrace reality with a new tradition; holiday films that
capture the truth about our collective anxiety. Here are a few movie recommendations for coping with the real spirit of the season. A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noël) (2008) The Vuillard family convene at their family home in Roubaix, France, for Christmas, but their reunion comes with some bad news: matriarch Junon (Catherine Deneuve) is very ill and needs a bone marrow transplant from one of her motley brood. When Henri (Mathieu Amalric), the troubled pariah of the clan, returns unexpectedly, Christmas and family spin into wild, imaginative dysfunction. A Christmas Tale is Arnaud Desplechin’s tragicomic tale of family and festivities, tragedy and comedy. The Vuillard family wear their hearts on their sleeves, a refreshing alternative to the forced civility of the typical family Christmas. Fanny and Alexander (1982) Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece is the story of the titular siblings and their efforts to escape the tyranny of their abusive stepfather. The definitive 312-minute version of
the film (originally made for television and now widely available on DVD and Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection) begins with one of the most elegant holiday sequences ever recorded to film. Once the narrative gets rolling, the film blossoms into a magical tale of interfaith humanism, but Bergman knows better than to leave it at that; the finale is a haunting reminder that family trauma is always just a memory away.
and follow their dreams. There is no finer depiction of the guest who wouldn’t leave—the film is a perfect example of the power the holidays have to disrupt our otherwise carefully organized lives.
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) There is something about this grand, stagey brand of comedy and performance that doesn’t quite hold up, but there is also a hilarious familiarity in William Keighly’s The Man Who Came to Dinner, which stars Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan. Set in a small Ohio town during the Christmas season, the film tells the story of Sheridan Whiteside (Montey Wooley) an arrogant, big-city radio personality who slips and falls outside the home of the courteous Stanley family, who take him in to heal his wounds. Whiteside reveals himself to be the worst possible houseguest, a condescending braggart who encourages the entire Stanley clan to leave their normal lives behind
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) The movies have a long, troubling tradition of Christmas-themed horror, each film distinguished by its inability to frighten; there is something about the holiday spirit that resists the ugly tropes of brutality and violence. Finnish director Jalmari Helander’s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is the exception to this rule, a rare example of a film that takes the good feeling of Christmas and turns it on its head. The film is a truly troubling story of a Golem-like Santa figure, the antithesis of the jolly old elf of legend. While it does provide some truly anxious moments, it also captures the dark side of the holidays in a unique (and often hilarious) way.
8 million stories
Cathy Vandewater gets more than she bargained for from an unpaid internship
was two weeks into my unpaid internship at a film production company when I met the owner, Doug. This is what I knew about Doug: 1. He owned the company. 2. He liked Fresca (the one perk of the job was supposed to be free soda, but we were unofficially forbidden to touch the Fresca, which was sometimes the only brand in the machine). 3. He preferred to work in the main room where he could stare at the interns, who toiled at a long, unfinished work bench. The first time I saw his face (not just a flurry of movement in or out of the office), he was peering at us over a copy of Entertainment Weekly. “You guys look bored,” he said. I sat up straighter in my wobbly chair and began typing furiously. The mighty Doug had spoken. Countless other interns had failed, they told us, the three twentysomethings who showed up to work on Mondays and Wednesdays—a failed sportscaster, a cocky theater major getting school credit and me— but those who succeeded, they promised, those who emptied the garbage and read spec scripts with equal zest, would get the Golden Ticket—Doug’s letter of recommendation. I ate it up. I needed that recommendation. Plus, I read in Doug’s copy of the New York Times on the “intern table” that bankers were committing suicide. It was a very scary time. By October, I had gotten the hang of tying the trash bags properly and aced my first big
assignment: driving Doug’s truck to a rental place to drop off some equipment, even though I’d never driven in Manhattan before. As a reward, I was invited to work as a production assistant on a commercial shoot on Long Island—the jackpot of intern tasks—where I helped costume and set designers pin things and arranged the craft services table that interns were not allowed to eat from. On the drive home, the crew stopped for ice cream. Doug turned to me and asked for my order. “And what do you want, Cathy?” I was shocked. He knew my name. In December, Doug hosted an intern appreciation night for those of us who were still in school and finishing our internships for the semester. It was the unofficial “last night to impress Doug and get him to recommend you,” so we took his invitation for drinks seriously. The men came in buttondowns and ties, a far cry from the T-shirts and jeans we wore to work. I donned a conservative but dressy black cocktail sheath and curled my hair. At the bar, I was seated across from Doug, which was embarrassing because I couldn’t tell if he’d remembered me. By our third round, it was clear that he did. “You,” he said. He turned to Jason, the new intern, a bookish Brown University student, who sat next to him. “You’ve been sniffing around Cathy, huh?” Jason turned eight shades of red. “You’re a nobody,” Doug said. “Don’t try to play big man around me.” The conversation shifted, and I signaled
to Jason that we should go for a smoke. “What is this?” slurred Doug as we left the table. “I told you—I know when these things are going on,” he told his assistant. “I think he’s jealous that we talk,” Jason said as we puffed in the cold. I laughed. “Why would he be jealous? He doesn’t even know me!” I said. A flash went off. The sportscaster intern, Mike, ran off laughing, clutching a camera. “Doug, I got it!” he yelled inside. We decided to go to another bar. I was getting unsteady in my heels, but a few people were heading home, so it was a smaller group. I thought I might even get to talk to Doug alone and ask for his recommendation. I hopped in Doug’s car with Jason and a few others. We ended up at, of all places, a grimy basement lesbian bar. Doug’s choice. I felt horribly out of place but ordered a beer and tried to look at ease leaning against a pillar as the others played pool. Doug sidled up next to me. “You know,” he said, cupping his drink, “I think it’s about time…” He said something else very quietly. I tilted my head toward him, smiling politely. “What was that?” His head dropped toward me and his open mouth locked onto my neck. He sucked. Hard. “Ahh!” I shoved him off, shocked, wiping his spit from my throat. My neck burned from his sharp stubble. I paused for a moment, looking for help, but I couldn’t see anyone’s face in the dark bar. I finally turned and ran out the way we’d come in, stumbling onto the icy
sidewalk in heels. Jason followed me. “Did you see that?” I screamed, rubbing furiously at my neck. “Yeah, everyone saw,” he said. We stood in the cold for a few minutes before he offered to go back in with me to get my things and go home. I was digging for my purse under a sticky table when Doug came over with his palms up, looking very contrite. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “Let me just explain.” The music was loud, and as I stood with my arms crossed over my coat, he leaned in so I could hear him. “I just wanted to say…” he started. He suddenly flopped forward onto me and pressed his mouth all over my neck and collarbone, moaning. “Get off !” I screamed, shoving him as hard as I could. He trailed behind me as I fled, grabbing at my shoulders like a zombie as I shrugged him off, swatting behind me. I fled to the subway, where, finally alone on the C train platform at 3 a.m., I sobbed. I went to work on Monday, sure I would get some sort of backup—because, as Jason had said, everyone saw the incident—but people didn’t even look up when I said hello. By noon, I was so hurt and bewildered by the silent treatment, I told the producer I worked under I quit. I left a note with a few choice—yet classy—words for Doug, but I never got the piece of paper I wanted from him: a recommendation for my three months of good, uncompensated work. I guess I got a different kind of “experience.”
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