december 22, 2011 | www.otdowntown.com
bowie ball 2011 (P 5 )
schooling between the lines parents and doe clash over rezoning versus building new schools. (P6)
the return of #ows for its 3-month anniversary. (P3)
photo by andrew schwartz
with the weather outside turning frightful, check out these trendy new hot chocolates. (P12) Kate winslet shines in the curiously bloodless Carnage. (P10)
� N E I G H B O R HOOD CHAT TE R Give the gift of New York this holiday season!
Photo CouRtEsy of DaniEl squaDRon’s offiCE
State Sen. Daniel Squadron Nabs Public Servant of the Year Award
Last weekend, State Sen. Daniel Squadron was given the Public Servant of the Year Award by the Little Italy Merchants Association (LIMA) and the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation in recognition of his “compassion, humanity and commitment in serving the citizens of the Little Italy and Chinatown communities.” After being presented with the award by LIMA President John Fratta, Squadron joined Chinatown and Little Italy leaders to march in the annual East Meets West Christmas Parade.
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
12/20/11 8:30 AM
SEAPORT PECK SLIP ADDS SEATS Last week, the Department of Education (DOE) announced that the Peck Slip School will add 56 seats in addition to the 180-seat extension that was announced earlier this year. The total number of planned seats for the school is now 712. “I am so happy that even more children will now have the opportunity to attend a brand-new, state-of-the-art school. I want to thank the DOE for recognizing the desperate need for elementary school seats in Lower Manhattan in this case,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “By adding 56 seats today, as well as the 180 added last month, DOE is taking a big step toward responding to the needs of Lower Manhattan’s ever-growing community,” added State Sen. Daniel Squadron. FUTURE OF THE SEAPORT MUSEUM Council Member Margaret Chin, chair of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee, hosted a joint hearing with Council Member James Van Bramer last week to examine the future of the Seaport Museum. At the hearing, the programming and financial future of the museum were discussed. Volunteers from the Army Corps of Engineers are currently repairing and helping stabilize the museum’s historic ships, and professional librarians are re-archiving its collections. The museum plans to open in January 2012 with an admission price of $5 to encourage visitors. The museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday at the start, but will open seven days a week if the need exists. “Over the past few years, the Seaport Museum has faced challenges, but we are optimistic about the future success of the museum,” Chin said. “I know there is strong community support and interest in seeing the museum succeed.” The South Street Seaport Museum has struggled over the last decade to remain open. In 2009, it earned revenue of only
$280,000 on a budget of $5.2 million. The Museum of the City of New York took control of the Seaport Museum in October 2011 and will oversee the management and $3 million budget of the museum. LOWER MANHATTAN DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE ON SMALL BUSINESS Last week, Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger testified in front of the City Council’s Small Business Committee, which held a hearing on BIDs’ roles in promoting commerce during the holiday shopping season. The Downtown Alliance holds an annual holiday shopping campaign, which is now entering its fourth year. “While the Downtown Alliance promotes Lower Manhattan’s restaurateurs and retailers all year long, we take it up several notches during the holidays with a comprehensive driveto-web advertising campaign that encourages workers, residents and visitors to shop and dine in the district,” Berger said. She cited the Alliance’s extensive print and outdoor advertising, promotions, direct mailings and the brand-new edition of its Shopping & Dining Guide, all part of the 2011 holiday campaign. Berger added that the Alliance consistently updates its web-based event calendar and searchable map to reflect holiday offerings and uses various social media platforms, including the Alliance’s blog, to promote seasonal events. The Alliance also boasts a holiday-centric webpage, DowntownNY.com/holiday, which features a link to their guide to over 1,300 stores, restaurants, bars, museums, organizations and services, offers from restaurants and retailers, and a list of holiday events in the district. Overall, roughly 30,000 print copies of the guide have been distributed, and thousands of digital copies have been emailed. The campaign was officially launched in anticipation of Black Friday with a press conference featuring New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and J&R Music CEO Rachelle Friedman.
� N EWS First Person with ows Protester Lucas Vazquez
Ringing in the three-month anniversary of OWS
ec. 17 marked the threemonth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. As a birthday present, I and others in the movement sought to re-occupy another public space, Duarte Square, at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Canal Street—just to clarify, Duarte Square is both a publicly owned triangular sidewalk and an enclosed lot to the west, which is privately owned by Trinity Church. We had planned a very festive day full of music, balloons, energy, dancing, songs and food to celebrate the seeds that were planted three months before, which have sprouted into a national movement. At around 3 p.m., on the march around the square, people told me to stick close to the crowd in order to hide a ladder from sight of the police. The officers were mostly outside the fence, guarding its perimeter. But my group was able to reach a part of the fence without police in front of it. The ladder was erected for people to climb into Duarte Square, the new public space we would liberate. [Ed. note: Trinity Square’s portion of Duarte Square is currently closed to the public for the season.] The first person to climb into the square was a retired bishop [Episcopal Bishop George E. Packard]. It was such an ironic image to see a bishop reclaiming a public space that Trinity Church had refused to allow Occupy Wall Street to use for an occupation. As more people continued to climb
the Fight over duarte square
While Trinity Wall street, an episcopalian church located in lower manhattan, provided early support like blankets and places to rest for occupy Wall street (oWs) protesters, the faith organization now finds itself at odds with members of the movement. since oWs was evicted from its previous home in Zuccotti park in mid-November, the protesters are now calling to set up an encampment on a triangular piece of property owned by the episcopalian diocese in soho. They attempted to occupy the space on the threemonth anniversary of oWs this saturday, dec. 17. The property in question, duarte square, is a small, empty plot bordered by 6th avenue, sullivan, Grand and canal streets. “Vast resources sit unused while people are in need—in need of homes, schools, jobs and public places to gather and empower communities,” members of the movement noted in a press release before saturday’s “re-occupy” event. “This vacant lot [Trinity Wall street’s portion of duarte square] has sat empty for the past 3 years and is not slated for develop-
into the park, other protestors successfully ripped the fence out from the bottom to create an entrance. Roughly 200 people, including myself, remained in the square until police began to charge inside, when many escaped through the newly made hole in the fence. I was on the periphery, watching as the 50 or so protestors who had bravely stayed inside were arrested for trespassing on “private property.” In the middle of the excitement, I couldn’t help but notice the symbolic
ment for at least another year, similar to the hundreds of bank-owned, foreclosed homes in east New york.” in a statement, the rector of Trinity church, the rev. dr. James H. cooper, noted that the church still holds the ideological values of the movement dear and pointed out that duarte square isn’t equipped with the facilities to accommodate an encampment, especially in the winter months. “oWs protestors call out for social and economic justice; Trinity has been supporting these goals for more than 300 years. The protestors say they want to improve housing and economic development; Trinity is actively engaged in such efforts in the poorest neighborhoods in New york city and, indeed, around the world,” cooper wrote. “We do not, however, believe that erecting a tent city at duarte square enhances their mission or ours,” he continued. “in good conscience and faith, we strongly believe to do so would be wrong, unsafe, unhealthy and potentially injurious. We will continue to provide places of refuge and the responsible use of our facilities in the Wall street area.” —marissa maier
potential of this moment. It was the 99 percent succeeding at doing away with an unnecessary fence that symbolized the 1 percent. Our success lay in realizing our potential as the majority in this struggle, those who suffer from economic, social and cultural oppression. We marched uptown to the house of Trinity Church’s owner to protest the hostility toward our genuine intentions to reclaim a public space. We marched with enthusiasm and energy by taking to the
Protestors marching up 6th Avenue from Duarte Square in celebration of their threemonth anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 16. PHOTO BY PaMEla DREw
streets and stopping traffic. Such militancy clearly arose from ordinary people— from city council members to teachers to radicals to the unemployed—engaging in direct action. You could hear chants like “A-Anti-Anti-Capitalista” and “Bloomberg beware, Zuccotti Park is everywhere” from blocks away. We proved to the world that we are willing to spend the night in jail, climb fences, take the streets and escalate to build momentum and solidarity for a newly born movement that seeks to achieve justice for the 99 percent. Disclaimer: Lucas Vazquez is not an official spokesperson for Occupy Wall St.
Park Performer Rules Spark Conversation about City and Art As the city’s regulations on park performers have drawn scorn from the community, Community Board 2 held a “Washington Square Speak Out” Monday, Dec. 19. The meeting, held at the NYU Kimmel Center, gave locals a chance to voice their opinions on the Parks Department rules, which chiefly prohibit performers from soliciting donations within 50 feet of a monument. It appeared that a majority of the attending public were against this rule, and many posited that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city were attempting to rid the city’s parks of performers in order to usher in more corporate operations in the vein of the holiday market currently open in Union Square. William Castro, the Manhattan Borough commissioner for the Department of Parks and Recreation, attended the meeting and opened it with a few remarks. He maintained that the rules are misunderstood and said that the city isn’t attempting to ban performers. He noted that the city recognizes the importance of having performers
in the park, but added that they hope to better regulate their activities to make parks vibrant and safe places for all. While some have argued that, due to the plethora of monuments in Washington Square Park, it is difficult—if not impossible—for a busker to find a legal spot to perform, Castro noted that there were many acceptable places, including the Garibaldi Stage. Robert Lederman, president of Artists Response to Illegal State Tactics(ARTISTS), noted that he had visited the park with a tape measure and couldn’t find a spot that was 50 feet away from a monument. He believes the city hopes to make room for corporate vending. “These rules seem to have come all of the sudden,” said Doris Diether, co-chair of CB2’s Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee. Deither, a longtime resident of the area, pointed out that musicians have been a fixture of the park since the 1950s. Colin Huggins, known for playing a grand piano in the park, called himself “the
big ticket winner” in terms of the amount he has been fined for performing. He noted that at minimum, he owed over $2,000, which he had to pay over a six-week period, but many generously donated to him to cover the costs. Joe Mangrum, the artist responsible for the sand art pieces found in the park, said that when he first moved to New York City he was surprised by the freedom for self-expression and said that sense of freedom propels art in public spaces. “By killing this art, the park will be more vacant as a result,” he added. Of course, a meeting involving themes of self-expression had to end on an artistic flourish with the opera singer Katie Kat, a masters student and adjunct professor of voice at New York University, belting out a musical piece in Italian. Kat, one half of the Opera Under the Arch duet, said she has been busking since she was a teenager and that for many artists in the park, public performance offers a chance for their talents to be discovered. The Parks, Recreation and Open Space
Citizens Polled on living Wage
according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 74 percent of New yorkers are in favor of the Fair Wages for New yorkers act, also known as the living Wage bill. in a statement, living Wage Nyc said of the poll results, “This sentiment reaches across political lines, as a whopping 56 percent of republicans and 83 percent of democrats agree that the Fair Wages for New yorkers act would benefit the city—results consistent with an earlier baruch college living wage poll.” 1,242 registered voters were polled dec. 7 through dec. 12. The Fair Wages for New yorkers act would make the minimum hourly wage for workers hired by companies that receive more than $1 million in city subsidies $10 per hour plus benefits or $11.50 without benefits.
board is set to reconvene Jan. 14, 2012, at which point, noted board members, a resolution concerning these regulations will most likely be brought up. In the meantime, community members can send their comments to email@example.com. —compiled by marissa maier
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | otdowntown.com
IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT SUMMER CAMP FOR 2012!
S I M
N O SI
Renee Flax, the associate director of the ACA NY & NJ, will be on hand to answer parents’ questions and help guide them in their search for the right camp!
SUNDAY, DEC 11, 2011
Upper West Side Ethical Culture Fieldston School 33 Central Park West 12PM - 3PM
New York Family magazine and the American Camp Association are teaming up for a December Camp Fair! Meet over 30 different camp directors from local DAY CAMPS and SLEEPAWAY CAMPS from across the region. Great for children ages 3 to 17! pre-register at:
Newyorkfamilycamps.com For more info on summer camps:
O U R TOW N : D OW N TOWN | D E C E M B E R 2 2 , 2 0 1 1
Long Live David Bowie
his past Saturday evening, Ziggy Stardust enthusiasts from across the five boroughs— and perhaps even beyond—gathered at the Lower East Side’s (Le) Poisson Rouge to celebrate the singer’s 65th birthday at the Bowie Ball. The annual event drew an animated crowd of all veronica hoglund ages dressed in their best Bowie gear and makeup, so great that the man himself would have been proud. With a number of performances, DJ sets, makeovers, sing-alongs and a late-night costume contest, the night’s attendees went above and beyond to honor the great man.
on the street
Citizens Weigh In on Park Performer Regulations | PHOTOS By GEORGE DENISON | TEXT By STAFF
n a bright, albeit cold, Sunday afternoon, dozens of people sat at the edge of the fountain or on the stone benches in the center of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to hear Colin Huggins george denison tickle the ivories of his grand piano. Huggins, a fixture in the park, is one of many outdoor performers who have been handed summonses for breaking a rule that took effect last year: performers aren’t allowed to play within 50 feet of a monument, and Huggins is especially found of a spot near the Arch. The city reportedly created the rule to control vending—including performing—in parks and others have reportedly come out in the support of the regulations saying the performers can be annoying at times. Last Sunday, we visited the park and asked a collection of parkgoers how they felt about the regulations.
JaMes Mccolley, 38: I do think it’s wrong. I’m a breakdancer, and on a good day I make $700-$800. I know you can get arrested or given a ticket for performing—I was given a $50 ticket once— but this is a free country and people should be allowed to perform.
Kristina Milne, 27: It is better than begging; at least they are doing something for the money. I’ve seen jugglers get shooed out of the park, but I’ve also seen drug dealers selling here and I haven’t seen anyone do anything about that.
John shen, 30: Those balls are dangerous [laughs].
KM: People come here to see him [Huggins].
adryan dillon, 23:
williaM Mccloud, 46:
I like to listen to the piano player. It is a nice surprise to listen to him. I think the performers have always been part of this park. Certainly some of them are annoying, but I can always find somewhere else to sit.
It is absolutely stupid. There are so many people complaining. Part of the rule is you can’t perform within 50 feet of a monument. I dare you to find a place that is 50 feet away from a monument. In the summer, people come here to hear the musicians. They aren’t blocking public ingress or egress.
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | otdowntown.com
The Past, Present and Future of School Rezoning The battle over Downtown’s schools | BY LILLIAN RIZZO
The future site of the Peck Slip school. FLICKR4JAZZ PHOTO
Top: The Spruce Street School. Right: P.S. 234. PHOTOS BY GOOGLE LABS
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
ince October, parents have stood in school auditoriums, before panels and projectors, asking for the answer to a simple question: What school will their children attend in the fall? These parents from Lower Manhattan neighborhoods have attended meetings at which the District 2 Community Education Council (CEC) and the city Department of Education (DOE) tried to figure out the best way to rezone neighborhoods for new schools being built to prevent wait lists. After three proposals and endless meetings where parents, community board members and local politicians voiced their opinions, a rezoning proposal was finally approved unanimously by the CEC on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Although the new lines have been drawn and parents from Tribeca and the Financial District know where their children will attend school in September 2012, few are happy about the resolution. The discussion constantly circled back to the same theme at every meeting and conversation: Lower Manhattan needs more schools. With so many people moving into Lower Manhattan, schools in the area have filled up over the past few years, creating wait lists for kindergarten classes. In response, the DOE has opened two new schools, P.S. 276 in Battery Park City and P.S. 397, the Spruce Street School, and plans to open two more by 2015. But the CEC argues this still isn’t enough— once the new schools open, they will most likely have wait lists themselves. However, without new schools, redrawing neighborhood lines wouldn’t be necessary. When parents hear the word “rezoning,” especially those with younger children about to attend pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, they are automatically frightened, which usually leads to fury. “Last time, I was told we were being rezoned to P.S. 1; tonight, we’re rezoned to P.S. 397. We’re very helpless going through this process,” said Tom Ryan, a Tribeca parent, at the Nov. 28 meeting. “I ask you to represent us and do the right job by us.” The DOE must rezone an area when new schools are created; otherwise, there would be no designated children to fill the seats.
In the process of rezoning, existing schools come into question, especially those that are either overcrowded or under capacity. Neighborhood lines are redrawn in order to shift children to form balanced schools where classrooms aren’t overcrowded. “Rezoning is something you have to do when a new school opens, unless you make it a school without a zone—an ‘option’ or Magnet school,” said Shino Tanikawa, CEC 2 president. “But because of overcrowding in Dist245rict 2 that’s not a smart option. Now we need schools.” Since October, the DOE and CEC have been faced with rezoning Lower Manhattan, primarily because the Peck Slip School, which is set to open in 2015, doesn’t have a zone. Before the building at 1 Peck Slip opens, two classes per grade will be incubated at the Tweed Courthouse, which usually holds incubator classes and offices for the DOE. Resolution 47, the CEC’s name for the approved rezoning proposal, created a new zone for Peck Slip and slightly changed the zones for P.S. 397 and P.S. 89. The P.S. 234 zone in Tribeca was kept the same due to loud outcry from parents. But now some parents are left questioning what this means for their children and their futures. Many people moved into certain neighborhoods specifically for the school it offered, and are now finding their children will attend different schools. “Changing every year is not a good way to manage things because people live and thrive on children,” said Amy Ellen Schwartz, New York University professor and director of the Institute of Education and Social Policy. “It matters where you’re going to send your kid, the school they go to, the after-school program.” Schwartz referred to the last rezoning of Lower Manhattan, which took place in 2009 to create zones for P.S. 397 and P.S. 276. That process was a bit different than the one this year, Tanikawa admitted. Although the threemonth proposal hearings were tiring and felt drawn out, she said the recent process went smoothly compared to 2009 when the DOE presented more than one proposal at a time for rezoning options. “One thing we learned is when you present multiple proposals at one time… it divides the community,” said Tanikawa.
“That’s exactly what happened in 2009. We had two proposals and two camps of supporters for them, and it turned into parents against parents. It was really awful.” This year the DOE only presented one proposal in October and continued to edit it based on CEC and parents’ remarks. A major issue was the zone for P.S. 234, a school that is known for its lengthy wait lists. Over the past two years, the principal was able to add classrooms to the kindergartens, preventing overcrowding but delaying the opening of a middle school in the building. Currently, 6th-grade classrooms are being used for kindergartens, and the date of the junior high school opening continues to get pushed back. P.S. 234 has been slated for many years to expand to 6th grade (it currently goes to 5th grade.) Due to the need for kindergarten space, however, the school has been unable to incorporate 6th grade levels. While the problems of rezoning, overcrowded classrooms and not enough seats have been plaguing Lower Manhattan community boards and the District 2 CEC since
incoming families. But this, to some, doesn’t seem to be enough. Eric Greenleaf, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a P.S. 234 parent, has done extensive research on Lower Manhattan communities and projected the number of children that will enter its schools by 2015. His numbers are drastically different from the DOE projections, another problem that he and the CEC and community board members continue to point out. “The worst thing we’ve done is not gotten the scent of this problem a while ago,” said Schwartz. “Probably this is not what anyone had hoped for.” This year, Downtown took in about 440 new students. Greenleaf projects that by 2015, when Peck Slip opens its doors, there will be about 600 incoming students, if not more. Greenleaf came to this conclusion by taking a count of the number of children born in the area in 2009, the incoming kindergartners of 2015, which increased by 46 percent. “Even as we talk about zones for existing
LOWER MANHATTAN PROPOSAL #3 (REVISED)
Some parents are left questioning what rezoning means for their children and their futures. Many people moved into certain neighborhoods specifically for the school it offered, and are now finding their children will attend different schools. just before 2009, the problem actually started on 9/11. Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the city feared people would leave Lower Manhattan and buyers and renters wouldn’t want to move into the area. As the city rebuilt itself emotionally and physically, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to reinvigorate Lower Manhattan and assured citizens it was a prime place to live. Millions of dollars were infused into the area, reviving businesses that were decimated on 9/11. There was also a push in building development outside of the Freedom Tower, with numerous apartment buildings springing up in the area. Within a few years, around 2005, the area was revived and became a hot spot for families to start their lives. “As we look back on the past decade, and as the picture of what has happened here comes into sharper focus, I believe the rebirth and revitalization of Lower Manhattan will be remembered as one of the greatest comeback stories in American history,” said Bloomberg in a Sept 6. speech at an event sponsored by the Asssociation for a Better New York, days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, the area of Downtown Manhattan that comprises Community Board 1 grew by 77.2 percent since 2001, a remarkable rate. The population and number of apartments have more than doubled since the attacks. Bloomberg pointed out that the city invested more than $260 million in park construction and expansion. He also pointed to the 19 new hotels, the millions of dollars put into apartment building expansion and the reconstructed streets and pipelines in the neighborhood, as well as the two new schools built and more than 4,000 seats added for
schools, in the background there is the worry that these schools aren’t enough. Zones don’t create seats, they’re not a substitute for the schools we need,” said Greenleaf. “People begin to worry. If these schools aren’t enough, where will the kids go?” Greenleaf, Tanikawa, CEC members and parents alike all seem to agree, and reiterated that the DOE doesn’t grasp the situation they are faced with. Tanikawa has repeatedly suggested that developers should be held accountable. “When they build residential buildings, they should kick in an education fund that leads to building schools,” she said at the Dec. 14 meeting. Tanikawa and Greenleaf both wondered if the city had mapped out every possible need for Lower Manhattan when revitalizing it. “When [the DOE] says,‘We built all of these schools, why build more?’ they’re saying to all of these Downtown families, ‘You moved here because we asked you to. Now move out,’” said Greenleaf. When DOE representatives and Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who held a town hall meeting Dec. 7 with the CEC, are confronted with the call for more schools, they point to the two that were just opened and to the Peck Slip School and Foundling Hospital School, which will open in a few years. The problem still remains, however, that the longer it takes to build and open these schools, the more wait lists and overcrowding occurs, forcing people back to the rezoning board. “For five to six years now, parents’number-one concern is the more kids we have, the more schools we will need,” said Michael Markowitz to Walcott at the Dec. 7 meeting. “I completely reject rezoning as a tool to rebalance areas.”
The rezoning maps that were approved by CEC 2 Dec.14. MAPS COURTESY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
THE 7-DAY PLAN THURSDAY
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FREE Park Here
201 Mulberry St. (betw. Delancey & Spring Sts.), www.openhousegallery.org; noon–8 p.m.
As the weather gets nastier and temperatures drop, are you jonesing for some grass between your toes? Your prayers have been answered by the kind people at Open House Gallery, creators of the pop-up Park Here. Hang out in 70-degree temperatures with flowers and grass galore through Feb. 15— just don’t forget to bundle back up before heading out the door.
Tracking of the Credit Crisis Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall St. (at William St.), moaf.org; $8 (Members free). This monumental graphical timeline explains the crisis from the US Housing bubble in 2006 through the trillions being injected into the private sector in 2008-2010 by the government.
Hypnotik: The Seer Will Doctor You Now New Stage Theatre Co., 99 Wall St. (betw. Front & Pearl Sts.), www. newstagetheatre.org; 8 p.m., $18. In this show, a hypnotist promises psychic healing to volunteers. One by one, he beckons his subjects to the stage, where under his entrancement they reveal their most abject and malignant drives. But when the selfdescribed “spectacle of raw shame” fails to deliver a group catharsis, the game of shame gives way to horror as the Seer stares into a whirlwind poised to swallow more than just the Palace and its host.
The Gold Rush Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), www.filmforum.org; $12.50. Celebrate the first day of winter with an American classic as Film Forum screens Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. Prospecting in the wintry turn-of-thecentury Klondike, Chaplin holes up with mountain pal Mack Swain in an isolated cabin, where desperate hunger makes even an old shoe a sumptuous repast.
Dubster Hall Bassment Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), www.websterhall.com; 10 p.m., $10. Nothing says Christmas Eve quite like dubstep, right? Well, if that’s your bag, you are in luck: Webster Hall will grind out a night of dubstep for Christmas Eve clubbers. Good luck getting up the next morning for presents.
Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad Soho Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan St. (betw. Houston & Prince Sts.),www.brownpapertickets.org; 8 p.m., $25. Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad returns for its ninth Christmas Eve with a very special event featuring comedy, music, art, film and burlesque.
It’s a Wonderful Life IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (betw. W. 3rd & 4th Sts.), www.ifccenter.com. Celebrate Christmas Day with one of the most iconic and beloved Christmas films of all time. Take a trip down memory lane with this classic that is sure to delight filmgoers of all ages. As an added bonus, Donna Reed’s daughter, Mary Owen, will be there in person at select shows. Twelfth Night Festival Trinity Church, 74 Trinity Plz. (betw. Rector & Thames Sts.), www.trinitywallstreet.org; 1 p.m. The holiday tidings just keep on coming with Trinity Wall Street’s Twelfth Night Festival. The event will feature Trinity Choir and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra performing six Christmas Oratorio cantatas to celebrate the holiday season.
Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam Ann Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. 4th & 8th Sts.), www.joespub.com; 9:30 p.m., $30. Buckle up, adventure calls! Pam Ann, the original queen of the skies, who has toured with Cher and crewed private jets for Elton John, is back in New York—and this time she means business. She aims to knock the plastic smiles off the imposter hostesses on TV’s Pan Am in her raucous new production.
Visit otdowntown.com for the latest updates on local events.
I Lift My Lamp Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., www.mjhnyc.org; 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m., $12. If you aren’t at home ripping open the last of your Christmas presents, enjoy a day of homage to Emma Lazarus—the famous poet who wrote the inscription at the foot of the Statue of Liberty—and Lady Liberty herself. The event features Statue-inspired crafts, tours and films.
Eve Beglarian’s River Project Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St. (betw. Pitt St. & Abraham Pl.), www.abronsartscenter.org; 8 p.m., $25. In the fall of 2009, Eve Beglarian journeyed down the Mississippi River by kayak and bicycle. Traveling along the spine of the United States, she encountered sights, sounds, and communities that inspired a new body of experimental Americana music.
FREE Christmas in the Clouds
National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, www.nmai.si.edu; 2 p.m. Check out a Christmas film through a Native American lens. A romantic comedy of errors, Christmas in the Clouds is set in a struggling, tribally owned and operated ski resort. The ensemble cast—featuring veteran Native American actors—mixes it up in a delightful concoction of mistaken identity and would-be love, seasoned with bingo basics and treacherous mountain roads.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
FREE Book Reading
and Sing-Along Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St. (betw. Houston & Prince Sts.), 11–11:30 a.m. Whether you are feeling little kid-ish with the holiday season still in swing or you just need a brief respite after a holiday full of children, pop over to Housing Works Bookstore for a book reading and sing-along, perfect for entertaining (and tuckering out) kids and toddlers.
D E CE M B E R 2 2 , 2 0 1 1 | ot d owntown. c o m
� SE E Q&A
Robert Jackson, author of Highway Under the Hudson | By Linnea Covington
PHOTO By ysaBEl DE la ROsa
Texas native Robert Jackson spent three and a half years compiling a complete history of a structure far from his home, something 33 million East Coasters pass through every year—the Holland Tunnel. Built in 1927, this daily part of New Yorkers’ lives was at the time the longest and largest vehicular tunnel in the entire world, the first to utilize a ventilation system. In Highway Under the Hudson, Jackson delves into not only Robert Jackson. the history of this famous tunnel but the drama behind its construction, the people involved and the unique engineering that took place. “Engineering has played a major role in the social and economic development of our country, impacting our character and our attitudes,” he said. “In nearly every instance, there are fascinating and untold stories behind the creation of ‘engineered’ elements of our built environment, such as bridges, tunnels and highways.” Since 1995, Jackson, who also works as an urban and environmental planner, has written about the nation’s engineering and industrial heritage, including in his previous book about St. Louis’ Eads Bridge.
A Tidy Mess
Roman Polanski’s adaptation of God of Carnage is surprisingly bloodless | By MaRk PeikeRt A funny thing happened to God of Carnage, Yasmina Reza’s hit 2009 Broadway comedy, on the road to its streamlined film incarnation as Carnage: Our loyalties to the pair of middle- and upper-middleclass couples have shifted. A stylish (if hollow) comedy about the bad manners of the conscientiously well-bred, Reza’s 90-minute play sailed along on a wave of sheer acting from Marcia Gay Harden (who won a Tony for
What drew you to writing about the Holland Tunnel? A few years ago, Director of New York University Press Steve Maikowski decided that a book on the Holland Tunnel needed to be written and he began searching for an author. I was recommended to him and was eager to accept the challenge due to my strong interest in the history of transportation engineering. After reading my history of the Eads Bridge, Steve decided that I was the right person to tackle the story and the rest, as they say, is history. This is a very rich history; how did you start your research? I began my research by contacting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to see what records it retained from the state commissions that built the tunnel, before they merged with the Port Authority in 1930. Unfortunately, all of those records had been stored in the Port Authority library in the World Trade Center and were lost on 9/11. But the New York State Library and Archives in Albany and the New York Public Library had enough material to get me started. I also relied upon the C. M. Holland Collection at Case Western University and found other bits and pieces of documentation in other libraries as I went along. What surprised you most about the Holland Tunnel? When I began, I assumed that the tunnel
had been built primarily for use by passenger vehicles, with truck traffic being of lesser importance. Just the opposite was true; it was built to facilitate the movement of freight from New Jersey to New York, with accommodation of passenger vehicles a secondary consideration. I was also surprised to find that, around the time of World War I, approximately 50 percent of the nation’s foreign trade annually passed through the port of New York. What did not surprise me because I have studied other great construction projects but might surprise others is the cost in human life of building and maintaining a major piece of urban infrastructure. By my count, at least 14 workers died during construction of the tunnel, though it was thought that only 13 had died until I did my research. Also, two men, one firefighter and one patrol officer, died during the fire of 1949. It had previously been assumed that no one died because of the fire. In addition, two of the chief engineers died from overwork while the tunnel was under construction. How does the Holland Tunnel compare to other large passenger tunnels? There are many other vehicular tunnels that exceed the Holland Tunnel in size, length or visual beauty, but the Holland Tunnel holds a unique place in the history of tunnel engineering as the first such structure that was mechanically ventilated. It thus influenced the design of virtually every vehicular tunnel
unlikely pair who play off of each other her performance as the uptight, bleeding perfectly; her softness and his shark grin heart Penelope), Hope Davis, Jeff Danconvey an eroticism in their relationship iels and James Gandolfini. A few critics that Daniels and Davis couldn’t even pointed out the implausibilities of Reza’s begin to suggest, one that sugarcoats their story about two Brooklyn couples who contentious relationship. Jodie Foster come together to discuss their sons’ fight, and John C. Reilly, however, never seem but the foursome on stage were having like a probable match. Foster has rarely such an infectious good time that it didn’t been seen onscreen as a wife (The Beaver matter. aside), and she seems uneasy and slightly That immediacy of being a fly on the hysterical, unwall of the apartment in which Penelope dercutting and her husband Michael live isn’t recrewhat was, ated in Roman Polanski’s film adaptain Harden’s tion—though the director tries like hell hands, a to convey it with tight middle shots and a wonderful plentitude of close-ups. We’re still watchcomedic role. ing the afternoon spiral out of control— Her pinched still somewhat implausibly spurred on shrillness is by alcohol—as semantics are debated, child-rearing skills are questioned and ev- immediately erything eventually devolves into the men off-putting, while Winslet’s versus the women—but it somehow feels take on the more theatrical than the stage version, slightly dippy even as co-screenwriter Polanski streamlines the script. Christoph Waltz and The casting is also questionKate Winslet in Carnage. able. Kate Winslet and Christoph PHOTO COuRTEsy Of THE Waltz, as the visiting couple, are an wEinsTEin COMPany
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
Sandhogs waiting during the construction of the Holland Tunnel.
that came after it. It will never relinquish its place as a seminal work of civil and mechanical engineering. How long do you think the tunnel will last? All great works of humankind are destined to fade away at some point, but, as the title of my last chapter states, the Holland Tunnel was built to last. I believe that with proper maintenance, it will remain in use long after you and I are gone. What structure would you like to write a book on next? I’m currently working on a historical fiction crime novel set in Dallas in 1936. After that, I want to do a documentary film about a subject that I’m keeping to myself, for now. I would hate for someone else to beat me to it.
Nancy invites audience loyalty all the more for not asking for it. Most of the world, of course, didn’t see the original Broadway cast, but even they might be hard-pressed to find Carnage little more than an exercise in acting for its 80 minutes. A lot of juicy dialogue is hurled around—along with a purse and a glass or two—but the end result is surprisingly bloodless.
� SE E Sherlock Holmes: Don’t Play Chess | By Noah WuNsch Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Hollywood has got most of its Oscar contenders out of its system. We’ve already had another Twilight and Harry Potter got married and had kids—what other superfluous blockbuster sequel can we jam in before fall ends? Hey, didn’t that Sherlock Holmes flick make a bunch of money? The super sleuth returns this Friday in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. All of his old friends came to the party and (because it’s a sequel) a few new ones decided to boogie on through. Let’s bring out the sexy new cast and get to know them a little bit! Noomi Rapace as Madam Simza Heron, Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. James Watson. Photo By DaniEl SMith CouRtESy of WaRnER BRoS. PiCtuRES If you like gypsies, you’ll absolutely love Madam Simza Heron, played by Noomi Rapace of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fame. the problem with starting a movie with an This little vixen will read your fortune and explosion is that the audience must hold steal your heart. that adrenaline spike for the rest of the film. Next up we’ve got Holmes’ foppish older If it ever stagnates, the audience will be lost. brother, Mycroft Holmes, played by foppish And for a 2-hour movie, that’s a helluva lot of BEST ACTRESS BEST ACTRESS JODIE FOSTER KATE WINSLET actor Stephen Fry. adrenaline to serve! How many times The main problem “A GOLD STANDARD FOURSOME!” ©HFPA Director Guy Ritchie’s stylized shoot-Karen Durbin, ELLE do we get to laugh with the story is how ing helps maintain the pace of the JODIE KATE CHRISTOPH JOHN at his big, naked Holmes’ eccentriciFOSTER WINSLET WALTZ C. REILLY film, but the problem with starting a ties from the first film gut? Watch the WINNER WINNER BEST ENSEMBLE CAST BEST ENSEMBLE CAST movie with an explosion is that the movie and find out. are blown up and THE DETROIT SOCIETY THE BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS OF FILM CRITICS Last but surely audience must hold that adrenaline exaggerated. Yes, he A ROMAN POLANSKI FILM not least, we’ve WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM can stop the world for spike for the rest of the film. BASED UPON THE PLAY “GOD OF CARNAGE” BY YASMINA REZA got the bad guy of a second and play out CITY CINEMAS CITY CINEMAS LINCOLN PLAZA CINEMAS the movie, Professor a fight in his head. Yes, he CINEMA 1,2,3 ANGELIKA FILM CENTER BROADWAY BETWEEN 62ND & 63RD STREET 60TH STREET & CORNER OF HOUSTON & MERCER STREET FOR INFO & ADVANCE TICKETS, James Moriarty. C’mon out, Professor! Awww, likes dressing up in costumes. Yes, he always 3RD AVENUE 1-800-FANDANGO #2707 CALL 212-757-2280 OR VISIT 1-800-FANDANGO #2705 WWW.ANGELIKAFILMCENTER.COM WWW.LINCOLNPLAZACINEMA.COM he’s a little shy about his eye twitch, which seems to be a step ahead of everyone around VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.CARNAGEMOVIE.COM may not have been a character trait so much him. But there isn’t the same intelligence that as an acting flaw. But who’s counting, right? comes with it in this film; instead, Holmes is And there you have it: The new cast in played as the all-knowing fool. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. When everything does come together, an BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR • VIGGO MORTENSEN The movie begins with a bang, literally, act that happens over and over again, the au“AN INTELLECTUALLY VIGOROUS, OCCASIONALLY as a building explodes within the first few dience has the reasoning explained to them KINKY TERM PAPER ON THE RIDDLE OF SEXUAL DESIRE seconds. It seems some unknown villain is after the fact. It’s as though the screenwriters ©HFPA AND THE DANGERS OF SCIENTIFIC AMBITION.” planting bombs around the continent, slowly thought, “What are five random objects we BASED ON THE TRUE STORY -A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES inciting political rage around Europe. can throw together that only Holmes can see OF JUNG, FREUD AND THE PATIENT Who could it be? I bet Sherlock Holmes that we can then tie together so everyone, WHO CAME BETWEEN THEM knows. He does! And he spends the whole y’know, gets it?” movie essentially trying to prove that he is For all of its downfalls, it must be said that A DAVID CRONENBERG FILM smarter than his evil counterpart; a feat that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a very WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE manifests itself in a clichéd game of chess. entertaining movie. What keeps it from mediON Holmes and Watson travel from place to ocrity is its last 10 minutes, an ending that is LANDMARK LINCOLN PLAZA CINEMAS place, trying to get a step ahead of Moriarty On by turns dark and miserable, tantalizing and BROADWAY BET. 62ND & 63RD ST. FOR INFO SUNSHINE CINEMA but always falling short. enjoyable. I don’t want to give anything away, & ADVANCE TICKETS, CALL 212-757-2280 143 E. HOUSTON ST. Visit iTunes.com/SPC for a look at A Dangerous Method and other SPC films OR VISIT WWW.LINCOLNPLAZACINEMA.COM 212-330-8182 Director Guy Ritchie’s stylized shootso I’ll say he does this, then does that, then ing helps maintain the pace of the film, but VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.ADANGEROUSMETHODFILM.COM everyone goes, “Ohhh.” Enjoy!
A COMEDY OF NO MANNERS GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD NOMINATIONS
GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD NOMINEE ® ®
A DANGEROUS METHOD
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | otdowntown.com
PUBLIC NOTICE LEGAL NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, PURSUANT TO LAW, that the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at 66 John Street, 11th floor, on a petition from Pee Wee & Tyson Ltd., to continue to, maintain, and operate an enclosed sidewalk café at 242 Mott Street in the Borough of Manhattan for a term of two years. REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF THE PROPOSED REVOCABLE CONSENT AGREEMENT MAY BE ADDRESSED TO: DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS / FREEDOM ON INFORMATION, 42 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10004
PHOTO COuRTEsy Of JaCquEs TORREs CHOCOlaTE.
Evolution of a Childhood Classic Hot chocolate is the city’s latest trendsetter | By Regan Hofmann Take a simple, slightly special childhood food. Something you might get after acing a particularly hard spelling test, or to celebrate the first snow day of the year. Nothing fancy, mind you—just outside the norm enough to feel like a treat. It’s no secret that chefs all over the city have been coming back to exactly these comforting memories for the past few years, spurred by the conflicting desires to meet consumers on their economic level and continue to push the creative envelope. Some add unusual ingredients. Some up the refinement level. And some just go over the top, letting their inner 8-year-olds go screaming through the pantry. Hot dogs? Yep. Cupcakes? We all know that one. Hot chocolate? You’re up. Here’s how this latest immature indulgence has evolved, just in time for the season of splurging. Exotic/Traditional: Jacques Torres (350 Hudson St., betw. Charlton & King Sts.), www.mrchocolate.com By now, of course, haute chocolatiers like Vosges and Mast Brothers have made spice-infused chocolate positively pedestrian. But back when the idea of adding chiles to chocolate was just a glimmer in an Aztec’s eye, Jacques Torres’ wicked hot
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Jacques Torres’ wicked hot chocolate.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
chocolate was the first to blow New Yorkers’ minds and tastebuds. Mexican hot chocolate is, of course, the grandaddy of them all. But when the idea of making a cacao-based beverage first hit, sugar was not common on the continent and the brew was spiceheavy and bitter. Fast-forward some 1,500 years and Mexico has found the sugar and lost most of the spice, save for cinnamon, which adds a piquant edge. In his take, Torres combines his dark chocolate with cinnamon, allspice and a blend of chile peppers to create a thick, fragrant brew that warms the palate in more ways than one. Traditional/Indulgent: Otto (1 5th Ave. at 8th Street), www.ottopizzeria.com Mario Batali’s Otto doesn’t do anything that isn’t straight from the Italian playbook, from its extensive salumi list down to the gelato that wins converts faster than you can say “really? olive oil?” Gianduja is that winning creation that pairs rich, roasty hazelnut paste with sweetened chocolate, originated in Turin, Italy, in the 1850s and ubiquitized by Nutella. Yes, the Europeans beat us to the “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” moment by about 75 years—but hey, at least we get
that snappy orange wrapper. Otto’s gianduja calda can be found on the restaurant’s dessert menu, which means you can rest assured this treat’s going to be more meal than beverage. Milk and hazelnut chocolates are melted into hazelnut-flavored milk and topped with whipped cream, and the cup comes with a dainty quaresimale, shortbread-like biscotti, perched on the saucer. Dip the cookie in your cup to marvel at how thickly the drink coats it, but save it for nibbling on separately—its crisp nuttiness is a perfect foil for the intense chocolate. Indulgent/Childish: Coolhaus (check @CoolhausNY on Twitter for the day’s locations) A food truck venture that began in California and has since branched out to Miami and two trucks—and a cart—in New York, Coolhaus’ main business is build-it-yourself ice cream sandwiches. The name is a cute play on the architect Rem Koolhaas, but not to worry. Though the concept is light as air, their offerings are serious business: inventive, delicious homemade ice creams and cookies in flavors from horchata and eggnog to red velvet and pumpkin spice. In the wintertime, the truck, which roams the city but can currently be reliably found at the Union Square Holiday Market, offers similarly playful, creative hot chocolates. Flavors include dirty mint, nutella (take that, Italians!) and salted caramel. You know that kid’s urge to take all of your favorite things and combine them into one great Frankenstein’s monster? That’s how these drinks taste, in the best possible way. Start to look for it, and you’ll see that almost any food trend can be parsed in the same way. What’ll be the next big kid’s treat to proliferate in 2012? My money’s on Rice Krispies squares—hey, stranger things have happened.
� DWE LL No Time? No Problem! Pret-a-Habiter does all the décor legwork for the design-impaired
style—classic, modern, country, etc.— then the designer creates a design plan, chooses the furnishings and décor and then whips it all into one beautiful design. “It’s the greatest time to be a consumer because the range of products, styles and prices—whether it’s IKEA or Target or West By Mark Peikert Elm or Design Within Reach, it’s all there,” said Pret founder and Executive Director As IKEA and CB2 stores proliferate, Carl Bradford Stibolt. “You can basically have design has turned into something both afa fantastic home and it’s not going to cost fordable and achievable. Gone are the days you a lot of money.” of hiring an expensive interior decorator and Focusing on simplicity in decorating crossing your fingers; now, you can outfit rather than markups and hidden fees has your entire home in style without breaking allowed Pret-a-Habiter to weather the recesthe bank. sion better than most design firms. “The Of course, a plentitude of choices has first thing to get cut is luxury, and people still its own drawback: making decisions. That’s think of interior design as luxury,” Stibolt where Pret-a-Habiter comes in. The onesaid. “But you’ve got money invested in your stop shop for all your decorating needs, the home, and maybe you don’t have the time or company has been handling busy, overthe know-how or the eye to put it together. whelmed style-seekers since 2005, first in CON expanding EDISON - GAS SAFETY10" tricks, X 5.541" That’s what we do. We know we know New York City then gradually great sources, and you really can have a across the country to Boston, L.A., Chicago, place that looks good.” West Palm Beach, St. Louis and Portland, As homeowners and renters slowly beOre. Charging just a flat fee ($2,500–$3,000 per come more design savvy, Pret-a-Habiter has reflected the growing trend toward affordroom), Pret takes clients from boring to chic able décor that’s not reliant on hourly billing. in four easy steps. First, the client chooses a
A Pret-a-Habiter designed room. PHOTO BY BaRBaRa SaSkia klaP fOR PRET-a-HaBiTER
“Traditionally, you always hired someone based on their style,” Stibolt said. “But we’ll go in and do eclectic or modern. We’ve had bankers who wanted more classic, masculine things, people who want more color in their lives. We see everything; people who are downsizing, people who are here for a few years and want to have a nice place. It’s really been all over the place. Our demographic is people who want to have a designed home but aren’t ready to make that leap to working with a high-end designer, either for budgetary reasons or they don’t think it’s worth it.” Pret-a-Habiter is also willing to go the extra mile with their services, from accessorizing the finished product to offering a slew
of digital services that cut down on the time crunch. “I think where we’re going is very much a digitalized thing,” Stibolt said. “We do an online project management system, and people do go online at midnight, and do it at their own pace. We even have a blog where people can go on and ask a design question, AskPret.com.” When a company is willing to do all of the legwork for you—from ordering furniture to making sure it’s delivered—there’s not a single reason to avoid making your house into the kind of place that looks as if an adult resides there. For more information about Pret-aHabiter, visit www.pretusa.com.
Gas Safety for All Seasons Natural gas is clean, efficient and convenient. We cook with it. Keep warm with it. Even dry our clothes with it. Every day, Con Edison delivers natural gas safely and reliably to our customers through a network of underground transmission and distribution pipelines that serve thousands of homes and businesses.
HOW TO DETECT GAS LEAKS Gas leaks can create fires and explosions. It’s important that you and your family know how to recognize a gas leak and what to do if you suspect a leak. Signs of a gas leak Any one of these is a sign of a gas leak: • Smell – A distinctive, strong odor similar to rotten eggs. • See – A white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, blowing dust ©2011 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Ad: Arnell Group
or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason.
• Hear – Roaring, hissing or whistling.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DETECT A GAS LEAK • If the odor is strong, leave immediately and take others with you. • If the odor is faint, open windows before leaving. • If you are outside, leave the area immediately.
• Do not light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including
• • • • •
flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode. Find a phone away from the area and call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Do not assume someone else will report the condition. National Grid customers should call 1-718-643-4050. Tell us if there is a problem with your electric service. Follow directions from emergency responders who are on site.
CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG There are more than 4,300 miles of underground gas pipelines in our service area. The slightest scratch, scrape, dent or gouge can result in a dangerous leak. To protect these pipelines, you must call the local one-call center at 811 two to 10 days before you dig or excavate on public or private property. After you call, utility companies will mark the approximate location of their lines at no charge to you.
LEARN MORE For gas safety tips, visit www.conEd.com/gassafety.
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | otdowntown.com
©2011 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Ad: Arnell Group
Gifts with Heart 9/11 MEMORIAL
Northeast corner of Albany and Greenwich Sts., www.911memorial.org With free admission to both the 9/11 memorial and museum, it’s nice to give back with a gift shop purchase—net proceeds go toward developing and sustaining the organization. While the museum shop offers everything from FDNY and NYPD ornaments to 10th anniversary jewelry, our favorite picks can be found in the book section, particularly Listening Is an Act of Love ($24.95), a medley of StoryCorpxs’ 30,000plus recorded interviews arranged to show a portrait of American life. For the shopper looking to give a small piece of the memorial to their loved one, the 9/11 Memorial Lapel Pin ($6) is a good pick.
209 W. Houston St. (betw. 6th Ave. & Varick St.), www.filmforum.org While Downtown is known for its selection of indie movie houses, few know that Film Forum is indeed a not-for-profit. The cinema had humble beginnings in 1970, when it consisted of 50 folding chairs, one projector and a $19,000 annual budget. It has since flourished into a three-screen space that shows a fascinating, out-of-the-ordinary collection of films (see Cullen Gallagher’s piece on Film Forum’s silent film se-
ries at OTDowntown.com). For the cinéaste or art lover in your life, consider buying them a Film Forum DVD set on varying themes like fashion or dance. The dance set ($65) includes three carefully curated DVDs: Stormy Weather, The Red Shoes and Ballets Russes. Or grab the Maira Kalman—author of the Max books—T-shirt, with six canine cinephiles watching a 3-D movie ($14.95).
GREENWICH VILLAGE SOCIETY FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
www.gvshp.org The name is misleading; the GVSHP fights to preserve the architectural heritage and cultural history of buildings in the East Village and Noho as well as Greenwich Village. Founded in 1980, the GVSHP also offers public lectures, tours, exhibitions, school programs, an oral history project and publications. Tucked on their website is a roster of locally themed wares like the GVSHP porcelain holiday ornament bearing an anthemion ($9.99) or a poster of Tony Sarg’s classic 1934 Village map ($17.99).
The holidays are often equated with decorations, big meals and, perhaps most importantly, shopping. But while you are swiping that plastic or forking over cash for presents for family and loved ones, it can feel especially nice to mix purchasing with philanthropy. We suggest not only indulging in your consumer urges but helping out a Downtown not-for-profit while doing it. Below is a list of local nonprofits that offer a wide array of feel-good purchases.
For the location nearest you, visit www.housingworks.org While running thrift stores with amazing bargains and a coffee house/bookstore with great brews and good reads, at the end of the day Housing Works’ main mission is to help homeless and HIV/ AIDS-afflicted New Yorkers. Their various entrepreneurial pursuits, which also include a catering company and screenprinting business, all go to fund their main goal. If you are unable to make it to their brick-andmortar storefronts, Housing Works also boasts a well-organized website, where you can place bids on some truly remarkable items. Last time we checked, a vintage Gucci cross carry bag was going for $75, along with a monogrammed zip case at $45. You can also purchase art, accessories and even furniture, like an Avery Boardman Sleeper Sofa for $175.
103 Orchard St. (betw. Delancey & Broome Sts.), www.tenement.org The Tenement Museum aims to preserve and interpret the history of immigration to the Lower East Side by telling the personal experiences of immigrants past and present. While the museum is known for its neighborhood tours, exquisitely restored apartment exhibitions and thought-provoking talks, it also boasts a large selection of funky and
chic merchandise at college student prices. Pick up the Tenement tote bag ($8.95) for your farmers market fanatic friend or the gold Skyline desk organizer ($25.95) for your officemate. For those family and friends who celebrate Chanukah, how could you say no to a set of four glasses of the “Heroes of the Torah” ($22.95)?
www.themoth.org While The Moth, a live storytelling series that started in NYC but is now aired on select NPR stations, might not have a physical store, the not-for-profit is based in Soho. If you aren’t able to make it or get into the live show—they often sell out—we suggest giving the gift of The Moth by purchasing their Best Of box sets (Volume 1 or 2, $55 each). The stories on these CD compilations are told by some familiar voices, like Jonathan Ames, Malcolm Gladwell and Dan Savage. For a Moth-related present that won’t leave a dent in your wallet, take a peek at their line of “I Moth Stories” T-shirts ($20).
Holiday Service Calendar PHOTO BY PATRICK REHM.
CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 7 State St. (at Battery Park), 212269-6865. Christmas Day service Sunday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m.
JOHN STREET METHODIST CHURCH
ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL
74 Trinity Place (betw. Rector & Barclay Sts.), www.trinitywallstreet.org. Christmas Eve midnight Mass Saturday, Dec. 24, 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Christmas Day Holy Eucharist Sunday, Dec. 25, 8-8:45 a.m.
44 John Street (betw. Dutch & Nassau Sts.), www.johnstreetchurch.org.
ST. PETER’S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Christmas Eve Mass: carols, candles and Holy Communion Saturday, Dec. 24, 7 p.m.
St. Peter’s Church Mass Saturday, Dec. 24, 8 a.m. & 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 25, 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. & noon.
22 Barclay St. (betw. Church & Broadway Sts.), 212-233-8355.
ST. JOSEPH’S CHAPEL
Christmas Day Mass: celebration of God’s word and table Sunday, Dec. 25, 11 a.m.
LOWER MANHATTAN COMMUNITY CHURCH P.S./I.S. 89 Auditorium, 201 Warren St. (at West St.), www. lowermanhattanchurch.com.
Second annual Candlelight Christmas Eve Service Saturday, Dec. 24, 4 p.m.
Gateway Plaza 500 (near World Financial Center), 212-466-0131.
74 Trinity Place (betw. Rector & Barclay Sts.), www.trinitywallstreet.org. Christmas Eve services Saturday, Dec. 24, 4 p.m. (children, youth and families), 6 p.m. (Eucharist) & 9 p.m. (choral prelude & Eucharist). Christmas Day services Sunday Dec. 25, 9 a.m., 10 a.m. & 11:15 a.m.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
St. Joseph’s Chapel Mass Sunday, Dec. 25, 10 a.m. & noon.
SYNAGOGUE FOR THE ARTS
49 White Street (betw. Church & Broadway Sts.), www.synagogueforthearts.org. Chanukah services Tuesday, Dec. 20–Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.
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Susie Lupert vice president at Housing Works
photo courtesy of housing works
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vice president at nonprofit Housing Works, Susie Lupert talks to us about the Housing Works Bookstore Café at 126 Crosby St., as well as the other business ventures that Housing Works has going in its fight to end homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, lifesaving services and entrepreneurial businesses. How did you land at Housing Works? I have a background in not-for-profits and a master’s in not-for-profit policy, so I’ve been dedicated to the field for a long time. I’ve been here for eight years now, so it’s been the crux of my career. How would you describe Housing Works? Housing Works is a grassroots organization dedicated to helping homeless people who are HIV-positive. We’re a unique nonprofit because we believe that profitability isn’t bad. An efficiently run company isn’t bad. I can’t imagine another nonprofit like us. We’re running businesses to raise money to help people. You’re a vice president—what does that mean in terms of day-to-day practice? A lot! My job is to generate long-term visionary ideas about our businesses. I run several of the small businesses for Housing Works, and we’re always thinking about how to be profitable while remaining true to our core values. It’s a unique balance of brainstorming about revenue generation while also developing a board of directors, all the while leaving enough space to think about new ways to raise money for the HIV-positive homeless of New York, which is our ultimate purpose and mission. The Bookstore and Café are only two of the businesses I’m responsible for running. How does the Housing Works Bookstore Café on Crosby Street relate to Housing Works’ wider mission? We’ve been at 126 Crosby St. since 1996, so it’s been quite a while—long enough that we’re a Downtown institution. We’re really one of the last community spaces left in Soho, and we pride ourselves on being part of the Downtown community. We’ve got many supporters who are die-hard Downtown artists, and we hope that people see us as part of the Downtown infrastructure.
What’s it like being Downtown at the moment? It’s tough because the rent is high and we have a large staff to support. We’ve started doing private events to subsidize the cost of staying open. People just don’t buy as many books as they used to. It’s a real sacrifice to us to close early to fund the location, but the space just can’t be a used bookstore anymore because we don’t sell enough books. One interesting fact that most folks don’t know is that we actually run another business underneath the Bookstore Café in the basement. It’s our online bookshop, and it generates about $1 million in revenue every year, equal to the bookstore’s revenue. We provide skills and full-time jobs to those who have come through our job-training program—it’s an amazing incubator to make money and provide jobs. It’s also a great form of outreach to let people know about Housing Works all around the world. We put a bookmark in every book we ship out, and we hear from folks all the time who are so excited to learn about us and visit us when they come to New York City. Do you think the Housing Works Bookstore Café could exist elsewhere in the city? Sure; it’s replicable, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would probably be purely an events space. People aren’t buying books anymore, which may be sad, but it’s the
way things are. The private events keep us open and part of the community, which is what we want to be and do. We couldn’t replace the Downtown community somewhere else in the city, that’s for sure! What upcoming events is Housing Works Bookstore Café hosting? Every Friday night we have a happy hour with cheap drink specials and board games. We really want to create a community space for people—what better way to do that than to provide a space where people can economically have a glass of wine before dinner and get to know other? Or, even better, just read and drink. We also host two Moth Story Slams every month. [The Moth is a nonprofit dedicated to telling stories about true life.] We’ve enjoyed that collaboration very much. Dec. 18 is a special day for us as we’ll be hosting “What the Dickens?” a Christmas Carol marathon in which authors and celebrities come and read throughout the day, starting at 1 p.m. That’s not to be missed, and it’s an excellent way to celebrate the holiday season. What do you love most about your job? My job is totally unique. I love it because not another one exists like it in the world. Every year I’m taking on projects and job elements I haven’t done the year before. It’s a position that is constantly in flux. And that’s a lot of fun.
DECE M B E R 22, 2011 | otdowntown.com
School Lines That Leave Many Parents Behind
Raise your hand if you’re planning to send your child to kindergarten in the next year or two,” someone said at the beginning. I wasn’t, so I didn’t. The message at my “first” meeting was clear. The city’s Department of Education was not thinking about where my toddler would go to school, even though I had been making plans for years. It was my first meeting as a parent advocate, but as the former editor of another paper I had covered hundreds of Downtown community forums on many topics. Both perspectives have led me to the same conclusion about school zoning proposals: They are developed with little knowledge of communities, little information about future enrollment and little regard for parents. The first draft of this year’s plan would have blocked me and my Chelsea neighbors from our first-choice neighborhood school only three blocks away. This would have been done to make room for Greenwich Village children who did not want to travel a mile to my first choice, P.S. 11. The school
apparently has room to expand, but the city nevertheless wanted to lock out the families who most wanted to be there in order to force Village kids out of their neighborhood schools to make room for Tribeca children zoned out of the coveted P.S. 234. The madness of the scheme was immediately obvious to many, including the parent leader of the Community Education Council, who described it as such, but it took a few months for the city to back off and offer a new plan that was somewhat better, although it left little time to make changes before kindergarten enrollment began. This is far from the first time ill-conceived plans have been floated. Two years ago, the city proposed cutting the school zoning line through a Tribeca building complex so that the wealthiest residents would be zoned for P.S. 234, while middle-income tenants would have to travel farther away. The class-based zoning line did not appear to be the intention and it was subsequently altered, but it is the kind of mistake that is easily made when communities are not
consulted earlier in the process. Talking with neighborhood groups, preschool directors and parent leaders early would produce plans that would upset fewer people and keep parents of young children informed early in the planning. These are the parents most likely to be affected and least likely to hear about proposed changes because they are not yet tapped into the school system. The second draft plan this year satisfied our concerns in Chelsea but was unnecessarily unfair to Village and Tribeca families. Some people living close to the two most desired schools, P.S. 41 and 234, would still be zoned out to provide seats for those living farther away. A new group of families in eastern Tribeca were all of a sudden aggrieved in order to relieve north Tribeca. District 2’s Community Education Council, a group of parents with the power to reject city zoning proposals, probably took the best available option, keeping the lines the same in Tribeca, the Village and Chelsea—though it may lead to wait lists again this year at P.S. 234. It really is anyone’s guess.
Eric Greenleaf, an NYU professor and Lower Manhattan parent who has closely tracked Downtown population and enrollment figures, argues that josh rogers the city has avoided doing more accurate enrollment estimates because they would show the need to build more schools. He says Community Board 1 has received better information using urban planning students provided by the borough president’s office. If there are waiting lists at 234, it will undoubtedly mean another group of Tribeca families will be upset—those living right near the school who could easily be denied a seat. We have not heard much from them—yet. I only hope the educators learned something this time around. This year’s decision means another zoning change is coming in a year or two, and my son is due to enroll somewhere in 2015.
8 million stories
Caitlin tremblay explores the other side of the student debt crisis
lot has been said about the severity of the student loan debt crisis in the United States. Much of the discussion, however, has centered on the perils of overpriced private schools; schools like New York University, which jack up tuition rates when endowments don’t raise “enough” money and get cozy with big banks to dole out student loans to unsuspecting freshmen. What hasn’t been focused on, and what is more unsettling, is the five-digit debt some students are accumulating at public schools. Public schools are supposed to be the economical way to go about getting a higher education. They receive government funding and can keep tuition low, but it’s the hidden fees and living expenses that are upping the amount of debt for students trying to make the money-friendly college choice. Christina is a senior at CUNY’s John Jay College and is $58,497 in debt—over twice the amount the average student has after earning a four-year degree. Why so much debt? While John Jay only costs $5,500 a year, she paid $13,999 per year for three years to live in the dorms. The dorms, called The Towers, are a CUNY-wide residence not directly affiliated with John Jay, and she was essentially forced to live there because, while an apartment in Harlem would be cheaper, her student loans can’t be used toward rent. The Towers were Christina’s only option if she wanted to go to John Jay—the best school for what she wants to do, which is work for the FBI. Commuting from Long Island would leave her little time for home-
beginnings of the dotcom bubble in the midwork and her part-time job, and paying for 1990s to the housing bubble,” Nasser said. an apartment out of pocket was out of the “In the build-up to the housing crisis, the question. Christina now lives in an offmajor ratings agencies used by the biggest campus apartment with three other roombanks gave high ratings to mortgage-backed mates, but her costs are still rising. Tuition securities that were, in fact, toxic. A similar increases every year, and she still has two pattern is evident in student loans.” The more years of graduate work to complete. default rate for student loans is 25 percent— Her situation is all too common in the the same as the mortgage default rate at the CUNY and SUNY systems, state schools height of the housing crisis. that are supposed to level the economic Only 40 percent of student loans are being playing field but are having to increase repaid, while the other 35 percent are delintheir tuition because of budget cuts and the quent, meaning payments have been missed. floundering economy. According to the DeIn his 2010 partment of Education, State of the Union In his 2010 State of the Union this is the lowest repayaddress, President address, President Barack Obama ment rate the student Barack Obama said, said, “No one should go broke beloan industry has ever “No one should seen, and there aren’t go broke because cause they chose to go to college.” many options for those they chose to go to Well, they are, and it’s escalating college.” Well, they into the largest financial crisis our in financial trouble. A diploma can’t be are, and it’s escalatcountry has ever seen. repossessed and basic ing into the largest consumer protections financial crisis our don’t apply. Student loans can’t be discharged country has ever seen. in bankruptcy (unlike, say, gambling debts), The amount of student loan debt in the the statute of limitations for a collection U.S. will top $1 trillion next year. According to agency to sue a borrower does not apply, stuthe Department of Education, there are over dent loans don’t need to adhere to state usury 1.4 million students in student loan debt. Collaws, which cap interest rates, and federal lectively, they owe $829 billion, a number that student loan debt collectors don’t need to recently topped the amount of credit card adhere to the fair debt collection rules. They debt in the nation for the first time ever. can call as much as they want, whenever they Student debt is growing at a rate of $90 bilwant and can garnish wages and withhold lion a year, according to Alan Nasser, professor tax refunds. It’s gotten so out of control that of political economy at Evergreen State College students have resorted to lying on their loan and author of The Student Loan Swindle. application forms to get more federal aid or “The extraordinary growth of student setting up websites to panhandle for money debt paralleled the bubble years, from the
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 22, 2011
on the Internet. Elizabeth Warren, the brain behind the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a current Massachusetts senate candidate, has spoken out about the toxicity of student loans. “Student loan debt collectors have a power that would make a mobster envious,” she recently told the Wall Street Journal. Because of the lack of regulation, borrowers default, lose their homes, have their wages garnished, tax returns confiscated—livelihoods are lost. And nothing substantial has been done to change this. Just a few weeks ago, hundreds of CUNY students took to the streets to protest tuition hikes and were joined by members of the Occupy Wall Street movement. These students are afraid that the once-affordable place to earn a degree will soon be out of their reach unless they take out more and more loans. Experts predict that, eventually, there will be no more money to loan to those who want to go to college because loan providers keep losing money on the increasing defaults. This is particularly frightening for the federal government, which provides 10 times as much in student loans as private lenders do. “If the government runs out of loan money it would be much worse than any burst mortgage bubble,” said Mark Katrowitz, a financial aid expert who runs finaid.org. “The entire economy would collapse.” Christina has accepted the fact that she’ll be paying her loans back for a long, long time. “I think I’ll be paying them back for the rest of my life,” she said. “Government jobs don’t pay very well, but I’ll retire with great benefits.”
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The December 22, 2011 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, wo...
Published on Dec 22, 2011
The December 22, 2011 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, wo...