DECEMBER 29, 2011 | WWW.OTDOWNTOWN.COM
ELIZABETH H. BERGER
WE CONSULT DOWNTOWN MOVERS AND SHAKERS ON WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS IN POLITICS, REAL ESTATE AND MORE… ALSO: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOE LITTLE AND A GUIDE TO NEW YEAR’S EVE
PLUS: THE YEAR’S BEST MOVIES AND WORST THEATER
SEN. DANIEL SQUADRON
� N E I G H BO R H O O D C HAT TE R FINANCIAL DISTRICT EAST RIVER FERRY SERVICE EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS In mid-December, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, joined by a collection of elected officials, greeted morning ferry commuters to celebrate six months of service on the East River Ferry. Nearly 500,000 paying passengers have taken advantage of this new three-year waterborne transportation pilot program, which lands at Pier 11 in the Financial District, in just six months, far exceeding the projected annual 409,000 paid ridership. “The fact that East River Ferry ridership is shattering projections in only six months is proof that commuters and tourists alike are discovering both the beauty and convenience of traveling borough to borough on the East River by ferry,” said Quinn. The East River Ferry service provides increased access to the waterfront and additional transportation options in areas along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront, giving them a connection to each other and to two key business districts in Manhattan. The fast, frequent, reliable mass transportation option makes these emerging waterfront locations more desirable, hopefully triggering more economic development in New York City. The ferry service was launched on June
13 as part of a three-year pilot program to provide year-round ferry service between East 34th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn. Seasonally, the ferry also makes stops at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Governors Island. Having averaged about 20,000 weekly riders in revenue service and now in its winter schedule, passengers are still taking to the water as a more convenient and enjoyable alternative for commuters and tourists in the growing neighborhoods along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfronts. The service costs riders $4 for a one-way ticket, $12 for an unlimited day pass and $140 for an unlimited monthly pass. WORLD TRADE CENTER BOARD STILL UNNAMED FOR PAC While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to name his appointees to the board of directors for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center (PAC)—a decision that must be made by Dec. 31—Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver noted last week in a release that the Port Authority remains committed to developing the PAC. On Dec. 19, Silver arranged a meeting with Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye and members of the community, who
Make the city your playground.
© Gabe Rogel
Spring & Broadway
Photo CouRtEsy of ChRistinE Quinn’s offiCE.
met to ask questions about a number of ongoing issues in Lower Manhattan. On the subject of the PAC, Foye said that, based on reports of fundraising progress from the city, there is no risk that the $100 million allocated by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will be lost at the end of the year, as had been reported. LOWER MANhATTAN FIRST NEwBORN OF NY DOwNTOwN HOSPITAL GIVE BIRTH Gloria I. B. Ramos gave birth to her first child, Olivia Monique Estevez, Dec. 17 at New York Downtown Hospital. Of the almost 3,000 babies delivered each year at the hospital, Olivia’s birth was
BATTERY PARK CITY MEMORIAL HELD FOR STUYVESANT SENIOR A memorial service was held Wednesday, Dec. 28, in Chinatown for Stuyvesant High School Senior Terence Tsao, who was killed earlier this month by an allegedly drunk driver. Tsao, 17, was reportedly within a block of his Brooklyn home the night of Friday, Dec. 16, when a Dodge minivan ran into him. DNAinfo reported that Vitali Korzavin, 46, was arrested in association with the crime.
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BillyBey Ferry Company President Paul Goodman, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Member Margaret Chin and NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky at the East River Ferry entrance.
remarkable since her mother, Gloria Infirmary Beekman Ramos, was herself the first newborn in the New York Infirmary (New York Downtown Hospital’s predecessor) some 30 years ago. “This has always been my hospital since the day I was born. Ever since I started to come for my pre-natal care right up to my delivery, everyone here has provided excellent care to me. I feel like having my second baby right away!” said Ramos. Her mother, Nancy Ramos, is a particular fan of the hospital and noted, “I’ve had a total of 11 grandchildren born in this hospital. My other daughter just had her son delivered here this morning.” With the growing number of families moving into Lower Manhattan, New York Downtown Hospital is anticipating even more deliveries in 2012. The hospital’s new nursery and NICU have received numerous accolades from patients and their families.
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
❯ N EWS
Top News Stories from OTDT Even though Our Town Downtown didn’t resume publication until Sept. 1 of this year, the last four months have seen a wide range of activity in Downtown Manhattan. Here are some of our favorite issues and stories that Our Town Downtown has covered in 2011: (1) ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 Our first issue was titled “The Reasons We Love Downtown,” but that could have been the title of our second issue, which preceded the anniversary of 9/11. Everything we love about our neighborhoods and our city was on display, both on the day of the attacks and in the decade since: resiliency, courage, compassion, community, determination and pride in being a New Yorker. It was especially wonderful to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum open to the public the next day. (1)
(2) OCCUPY WALL STREET When OWS first started their occupation, no one paid much attention to the motley crew of disenfranchised youth armed only with tents, sleeping bags and ideas. But after mass marches and waves of arrests, often visible in the media, the ideology of Occupy spread across the country faster than a bed bug epidemic. Despite the eviction of Zuccotti Park, the embers of OWS continue to burn. (3) SCHOOL REZONING As the residential population of Downtown Manhattan continues to rise, wait lists and the need for more schools in the area have endured as hot-button issues over the years. While the Department of Education opened the Spruce Street School this year, the problem resurfaced when the DOE once again examined rezoning not only to combat wait lists but in preparation for the 2015 opening of the much-anticipated Peck Slip School. While Peck Slip has added more seats for a new
(2) total of 712, parents in the area seem resolute in their belief that the area needs more schools—the sooner the better. HURRICANE IRENE Despite being in a danger zone, Downtown was mercifully spared the full wrath of Hurricane Irene this August. But though the storm was something of an anticlimax for those of us
CB1 Supports Living Wage Last week, Community Board 1, serving Lower Manhattan, joined four other local community boards in supporting the Living Wage Bill, or Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. CB1 passed a formal resolution for the bill during their full board meeting last Wednesday, Dec.
21. As explained in the resolution, the bill would require employees in citysubsidized projects to be paid at least $10 per hour with benefits or $11.50 an hour without benefits, instead of the current $7.25 per hour. As members of the board pointed out, previous issues
who stayed behind to brave the worst, we all were reassured by the smooth enforcement of safety regulations. From instructing New Yorkers to leave their homes in a timely manner to getting seniors and other New Yorkers to evacuation centers, Mayor Bloomberg and city officials left no doubt that the next time a hurricane is headed for us, New York City will be prepared.
with the bill, such as the criticism that it would hurt small businesses, have been worked out. The act would exempt not-for-profits and manufacturing businesses and would “apply only to companies with at least $5 million in annual revenue located in developments that had received at least $1 million in city subsidies.” “This is a very important matter,” said CB1 Chair Julie Menin, adding that the bill would lessen income inequality.
(3) PHOTO BY ANDREW SCHWARTZ
In their resolution, the board also pointed out that 15 cities have similar laws, including Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. According to a recent study on job growth in these cities from the Center for American Process, the higher wages translated to “efficiency gains for firms through reduced turnover. Increasing wages for the lowest-paid workers also stimulates local economies, as low income households typically spend more of their dollars locally.”
DECE M B E R 29, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
DOWNTOWN SOCIAL Veronica’s Top Pics of 2011
very year, New York City has the ability to keep its inhabitants occupied with exciting and fabulous things to do. This year, like most in New York, was insane, wonderful, exhausting and memorable. So let’s celebrate 2011 VERONICA HOGLUND while there is still time, as 2012 holds another round of happenings just as marvelous to keep us going. Here are my choices for the best photos from The Downtown Social. Governors Island’s sixth biannual Jazz Age Lawn Party: It is a true art to stand out, in a crowd who are all dressed appropriately for the occasion, like she did.
Fashion’s Night Out: This chick certainly dressed her part for the spectacular evening.
Gr an dm a’s F ar ewell T our !
‘TIS THE CIRCUS SEASON! NOW THRU JAN 8
Rebel Bingo: Not only was this the strangest game of bingo I have ever encountered, it was also was the most exciting. Who knew one could win a stuffed elephant amongst drinks and dancing? The chick dressed to impress at Newmindspace’s annual lightsaber battle at Washington Square Park.
AT LINCOLN CENTER (62nd St. Btw Amsterdam & Columbus Aves.)
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Reflecting the Stars: I snapped this picture of artist Jon Morris with his colleague.
BUY NOW ! BigAppleCircus.org 888.541.3750 * Offer good on select seat locations and performances. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
Though he could have used a pal dressed as Mario to complete his ensemble, at the end of the day, who doesn’t like a cute kid dressed up in Halloween wear.
What was perhaps one of my favorite events was that of the SCAR Project by photographer David Jay. Not only was I able to snap a picture of him in front of one of his favorite and most sentimental photographs from his collection, but I was also able to discuss intimately the reasons behind his work.
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D E CE M B E R 2 9 , 2 0 1 1 | ot d owntown. c o m
PUNDITS AND PLAYERS RUMINATE ON WHAT 2012 HOLDS IN STORE FOR DOWNTOWN—AND BEYOND
THE YEAR AHEAD MARGARET CHIN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER I foresee a year of growth and opportunity for Lower Manhattan in 2012. [This] year, the world watched as we joined together to remember the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. After the attacks, people said our community would never recover. But today, we are stronger than ever. In 2012, we will continue to develop into a dynamic, forward-looking neighborhood that attracts the best talent and innovation from all over the world. Our residential population will keep growing in the years ahead. As such, the residents of Lower Manhattan need to fight for their fair share. We all have to join together and organize in order to get the services and support this community deserves...I look forward to representing Lower Manhattan on the City Council in 2012 and, as always, I am humbled and honored to serve this community.
ANDREW BERMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GREENWICH VILLAGE SOCIETY FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION A series of epiphanies will strike city movers and shakers. NYU President John Sexton will realize that if he can build campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, he can shift some of his massive 20-year NYU expansion plan two subway stops south to the Financial District, rather than seek to overturn neighborhood zoning protections and take public parkland to build an Empire State Building’s worth of new space south of Washington Square Park. The Landmarks Preservation Commission will finally follow through on outstanding commitments to extend landmark protections in the South, East and Far West Village, without a single additional building being lost to faceless, placeless new development.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
NANCY SHAFER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL There will be a film at the festival that will wow audiences in a way I have not predicted. We’re pretty good at knowing who the audience is for most films, but there are always one or two that surprise us! It will be sunny at the Family Festival Street Fair on April 28 and 250,000 people will come support our Tribeca community! We will continue our Director’s Series—last year featured Robert De Niro, Doug Liman, Soulemane Cisse and Julie Taymor—and this year’s lineup will rival last year’s!
GENE RUSSIANOFF, STAFF ATTORNEY FOR THE STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN Sadly, the fare will go up at the end of 2012. That’s the MTA plan. Last time, in December 2010, the 30-day unlimited MetroCard went up 17 percent. If that happens again, be prepared for a $122 30-day card. It’s a good time to be in the 1 percent. There will be some good news for long-suffering bus riders: You will soon be able to use your cell or smart phone to tell how far your bus is from your stop in real time. A new “Bus Time” program goes Staten Island-wide in January 2012, and then around the city. “Poetry in Motion,” the subway car ads featuring works from Shakespeare to Frost, will return from retirement. You may get stuck in a subway tunnel, but it will be a chance to catch up on Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson.
ELIZABETH H. BERGER, PRESIDENT OF THE ALLIANCE FOR DOWNTOWN NEW YORK One World Trade Center will “top out” at 105 floors; Fiterman Hall will reopen in September to the benefit of the more than 20,000 BMCC [Borough of Manhattan Community College] students; Lower Manhattan’s residential population will continue to grow; another notable tenant will sign a large lease in Lower Manhattan; and New York City will have a year free of natural disasters.
DANIEL SQUADRON, NEW YORK STATE SENATOR There’s a lot we can’t predict about a new year. But one thing’s for sure: Downtown Manhattan will continue to grow and thrive. We’ll make progress on Pier 42, moving us toward open, green space and a harbor park—a central park for the center of our city. We’ll see increased L train service and Chinatown street repairs to prevent road-curb ponding. I also predict that we’ll continue to have more need for seats than our Lower Manhattan public schools can currently handle—so we’ll push for a schools plan that meets our needs and serves our kids. And based on the last few years, it’s very likely that the eyes of the world will turn to Lower Manhattan on an issue that we have not yet predicted!
SEAN SWEENEY, DIRECTOR OF THE SOHO ALLIANCE Soho’s unrelenting development will continue unabated, as more retail stores move into formerly backwater areas that have relatively more affordable rents, namely lower and eastern Soho around Canal, Howard, Lafayette and Centre streets. However, residents will continue their fight to stop unbridled commercialization, particularly in opposing a proposal by mega real-estate developers to establish an unnecessary and unwelcome Business Improvement District (BID) on Broadway from Canal to Houston streets. The developers’ BID proposal met with
dogged resistance in 2011 from Soho’s residents, businesses and property owners, as well as the community board, two local newspaper editorial boards and elected officials. The prediction is that it will die in 2012. R.I.P. Soho’s traffic problems and failing transportation infrastructure will be addressed, like the crumbling crosswalks along the length of Greene and Mercer streets and the potholes that have never been repaired in well over a century on Wooster and Crosby streets. Clueless tourists will continue to block the sidewalks in 2012.
ALICIA SALZER, M.D., CO-FOUNDER OF MEDHATTAN LESLIE MILLER, M.D., CO-FOUNDER OF MEDHATTAN The insurance industry’s answer to rising health care costs is to increasingly offer high deductible plans and catastrophic-only insurance that only covers surgery, hospitalizations and the like. This means that in 2012, tons of New Yorkers will avoid going to the doctor to save money. And that’s a problem because you miss the chance to diagnose problems in the early stages and intervene before things get out of hand. We hope that this insurance trend does not translate into people ordering prescriptions online and trying to diagnose themselves via
the Internet. All over America, when people get sick, they take advantage of their neighborhood Urgent Care Center—all over America except New York, that is. The Big Apple is very late in joining this national trend, yet our ER wait times are some of the longest in the country: 60 percent of people who are in ERs don’t need to be there and we all know how hard it is to get a same-day appointment with your doctor. Visiting an Urgent Care Center like Medhattan Immediate Medical Care is a new option in 2012 for New Yorkers.
MARK MILLER, PRESIDENT OF THE LES BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT Lower East Side galleries will become the first stop to see what is new and exciting in the art world. Jarmulovsky’s Bank Building, located on the corner of Orchard and Canal streets, will be sold to a new owner who will begin development to turn this Lower East Side treasure
into a boutique hotel. The Lower East Side BID will launch unique programming called “Day Life” on select Sundays on Orchard between Delancey and Houston streets, bringing back the turn-of-the-century crowds that used to populate Orchard Street in the daytime.
ADAM LISBERG, EDITOR OF CITY AND STATE (A MANHATTAN MEDIA PUBLICATION) The mayoral race will stay largely quiet. Just as the rumors always swirl about a business-backed would-be Bloomberg jumping in as a Republican, rumors will also swirl about a black or Latino challenger to try to undercut Bill Thompson among Democrat primary voters. Neither will happen. The existing major candidates have worked too hard, scrubbed their records too clean and raised too much money to let an interloper disturb their grim dance. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not fall to earth. He is too skilled a politician to believe his own press, and is too focused on the mechanics of governing to let his attention wander. He knows there are forces that hope he settles into a sophomore slump, so he will stay focused on getting results and keeping on top of every potential threat. Beginner’s luck wears off, but he knows the finish line wasn’t the bud-
get, the tax deal or gay marriage—it will be New York’s economy and job market in 2014. Or 2016. New York’s media will stay robust and vibrant, even as more and more New Yorkers shift from reading newspapers and watching TV. A new iPad model and other competing tablets will give more people a reason to get their news in mobile form, not in an old format they have to buy every morning or sit down to watch. Yet the profusion of emerging sources of credible and interesting media will continue to grow—as Capital New York did, and BuzzFeed might, and other startups dream of—giving everyone in New York an explosion of good options. That’s good news for new media outlets, bad news for old media empires and scary news for journalists who hope to one day have an employer that contributes to their 401(k).
GARY MALIN, PRESIDENT OF CITI HABITATS I predict a limited supply of new rental and sale product will enter the market during 2012, thus keeping properties in both categories in high demand. It’s still the Big Apple and everyone wants a bite. Looking at the city’s sales market, prices will remain stable and may even appreciate slightly if the economic outlook improves. However, a lot is riding on potential home buyers’ access to credit. With rental prices near record highs and mortgage rates near historic lows, the city’s tight rental market will push more clients
into purchasing in 2012. In fact, I believe now is a golden opportunity for people who have been waiting on the sidelines to purchase real estate before the economy improves and prices rise. I predict developers will plan more “hybrid buildings” in 2012. In a difficult lending environment, buildings that mix retail, hotel, condos and rentals are a good way for developers (and banks) to hedge their bets. I predict that, despite the loss of Beltran and Reyes, 2012 is the Mets’ year to take it all.
JULIE MENIN, CHAIR OF COMMUNITY BOARD 1 There will continue to be explosive residential growth in Lower Manhattan as the population is expected to double in the next five years, just as it doubled in the past 10 years. Construction will continue on the Peck Slip School, and we expect to locate another site for another new public school in Lower Manhattan to meet the needs of all the new families who have moved to Lower Manhattan. We hope that the WTC Performing Arts Center will make progress with a board being appointed and fundraising commencing for this project. Progress will continue on the East River Waterfront so that residents on the East Side will have access to the water, parks and open space. We will push to build more affordable housing in Lower Manhattan and will continue to urge the city to do so.
DECE M B E R 29, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
MICHELE THOMPSON, DIRECTOR OF THE 92YTRIBECA SUSIE LUPERT, VICE PRESIDENT OF HOUSING WORKS My prediction for 2012 is that the New York Times will report (again) that independent bookstores are on the rise and that sales are up. The Times will also report that e-books have surpassed hardcover sales by 100 percent. Somehow
these two points will not seem incongruous to people. I also predict that the city will continue to cut funding for homeless people who are HIV positive. Our organization will continue to advocate on their behalf.
SAM MILLER, PRESIDENT OF THE LOWER MANHATTAN CULTURAL COUNCIL The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is looking forward to unveiling an amazing array of free arts and culture programs in 2012. A definite highlight of next year will be the 11th annual River To River Festival. Last
year, we began evolving the festival into a densely packed, four-week showcase for world-class musicians, artists, dancers, films and much more. We’ll be announcing our lineup in April.
nent of dates in American social justice history as 1776 and 1965. Tiger Moms will go through menopause and give up on their daughters— who will in turn declare a victory.
❯ DWE LL From high-end properties to a tightening real estate market, Halstead’s Sara Rotter explains the trends of the 2011 market | BY MARISSA MAIER This fall, Sara Rotter, a New York City native, became the director of sales for Halstead Property Downtown. Rotter, a former Harvard University student and agent, is a treasure trove of information on the Downtown real estate market—for our year-end issue, Rotter shared her insights on how properties and rentals fared in 2011. I understand we are still waiting for Halstead’s fourth quarter report, but from the three reports thus far what trends have you noticed in 2011 in the Downtown real estate market? The fourth market report is due out on January 4. We did notice a few trends this year. Just to clarify, if you look at our market report and all other major firms, Downtown Manhattan usually refers to 34th Street and south of that. Some classify Downtown as everything from Gramercy Park to all the Villages, Chelsea to Soho and Tribeca..
Watched Films series, where his colleagues are often special guests for post-screening Q&As. And you’ll be able to see standup by staffers at The Daily Show Live Jan. 12. We’ll stand out in a sea of 3-D movie multiplexes as one of the last (and best) places to see films on 35mm (and VHS and 16mm).
VALLEJO GANTNER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF P.S. 122
JESSICA CHAO, INTERIM DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA The minister of Culture for Guiyang City will attend the opening night of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at the Shanghai Grand Theater and love his character. 1882 and 1943 will become as promi-
We’ll have a MacArthur Fellow, an Oscar winner and at least one New York Times bestselling author on our stage. We’ll welcome more staffers from The Daily Show than possibly anywhere else in Manhattan (with the exception of their studio, of course). The Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan hosts our monthly Closely
My predictions for 2012 are that P.S. 122 narrowly saves the world from Armageddon. After sweeping in from Lebanon, Rabih Mroué successfully brokers peace in the Middle East, while Young Jean Lee finally answers the bloody questions to just about every problem. It was controversial, many of us were offended—I probably will have to storm out in a huff once or twice, but will later realize I am now totally enlightened. My Spanish will improve dramatically after I see El Pasado es Un Animal Grotesco. The TEAM will once and for all resolve what the hell happened to 330 million people’s sanity in 2007 and chart a
roadmap to recovery. Temporary Distortion will film it and cut it into a gorgeous interactive film/theater work, which will be shattered as Heather Kravas’ women dancers drum and chant throughout. Once we’ve messed with your heads, we’ll dream of the matrix we’ve made with Michael Kliën and Steve Valk and dangerously reflect upon it with Davis Freeman before we realize we’ve all just been performing for David Levine’s inimitable benefit. Then Carmelita Tropicana will appear, as if in La Jetée, and rock us into exile with Pavel Zustiak. Should be a sensational year. I’ve bought a good whiskey and I’m going to hang on for the ride.
THE YEAR IN REAL ESTATE In general, I can tell you, from what I noticed over the year, that two bedrooms were the hottest commodity. Any two-bedroom property priced between $1.2 to $1.8 million that came onto the market was quickly gone—if it was priced well. What do you attribute to this popularity in two-bedroom properties? I think we have a city that is one of the most appealing places to live. It is a true destination to live here; the experience of culture, nightlife, retail, entertainment, and ease of mass transit makes it so livable. People are noticing and are coming back to the city from the suburbs. But we do also have many people upgrading within the city, and these are residents who want to stay here, which I love to see. What were some of the other trends of 2011? Another major trend was the rental market is tightening up. Obviously, in the tougher economic time of 2009, the vacancy rate was higher and landlords were offering incentives. That helped dry up the supply. Now that the vacancy rate is straddling one percent or under, there is very low supply and high demand. This was what drove the prices up and is now causing people to stay put. When the rental prices are up, people are less likely to upgrade or move to another rental so the option to purchase becomes
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
that much more enticing. When a rental payment is higher than a monthly mortgage, people sway in favor of purchasing (if they have the down payment). Another interesting trend was the demand for higher-end properties. We listed two apartments in July for $6 and $7 million. They were marketed separately and as one combination for $13 million. The combination was what sold. It was in contract by September. We are also noticing a lot more cash purchasers in the marketplace, which could mean that people are investing in real estate over other means of investment. There is also a definite increase in demand for new developments. Since there are not as many available Downtown, they are selling very well. We have also noticed that a large increase in foreign investors have come back into the market. How does 2011 stack up against 2010? People were still a bit hesitant last year, whereas this year, there was more buyer confidence. The bidding wars have come back within specific price points. Downtown is a price-sensitive market; if you are priced well, the property should sell quickly. Others will most likely sit on the market unless it is a “one of a kind” home. For the buyer who is looking to set up roots Downtown but still wants to make a smart buy and get a good deal, where is a
good place to buy? I think a really great area is anywhere near The Highline, especially the northern part of Chelsea, which is seeing a real resurgence. Before The Highline was developed, the area was very unique but in the last two years it has been remarkable to what has been developed. The Highline is a draw to both New Yorkers and visitors. The Meatpacking District is always a smart buy. I also think that is an area that will develop some more. Also the area between the West Village and Soho is still underdeveloped. In general, for the amount of un-renovated space that you can come by in Soho to rent or buy, you may still do very well in that area on a price per square foot basis, if you’re willing to do the work. Do you think the area is going through a resurgence? It is for sure. I love this market. I have been offered to work in other areas, but I’ve never wanted to leave. The resurgence or the market trending up doesn’t surprise me; this is an extraordinary place to live. There is so much variety Downtown and each neighborhood has distinct character with its own unique architecture. There is so diversity, from the way people live, the retail to the style of each neighborhood. This is what makes it, in my view, one of the most enjoyable places to live in the city.
NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS
BROTHER JOSCEPHUS & THE LOVE REVIVAL REVOLUTION ORCHESTRA
bar. GalleryBar will be ringing in the New Year with a collection of the city’s best DJs, chiefly DJ Turbz. The evening includes an open bar all night long, a gratis champagne toast at midnight, a live stream of the Times Square ball drop and a photo booth. Not a bad way to welcome 2012!
92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St. (at Vestry St.), www.92y.org; 9 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 day of show.
Since 2007, Brother Joscephus and The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra has been on a musical mission to make the world a more righteous place. The two main visionaries of this 12-piece explosion of love, Brother Joscephus and his eccentric cohort, the Right Reverend Dean Dawg, dip heavily into a gumbo that’s rich with New Orleans rhythms, old-school soul, classic rock stylings and feel-good gospel music. Special guests include Swift Technique and JuiceBox. ULTIMATE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION Pier 40 (at W. Houston St.), www.hornblower.com; 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m., $350.
Set against the backdrop of Manhattan’s luminous skyline and epic midnight fireworks show, the three-and-a-half-hour cruise—the debut journey of the Hornblower Hybrid in the New York Harbor— features internationally themed food stations, premium open bar, entertainment and a DJ. Guests can enjoy spectacular fireworks and scenic views from the vessel’s spacious upper deck and viewing atrium. Price includes all taxes and fees, meal and open bar.
NYE PUB CRAWL IN THE EAST VILLAGE Village Pourhouse, 64 3rd Ave. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), www.pubcrawls.com; 7:30-10 p.m registration., $50.
Brother Joscephus & The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra.
JURASSIC PARK IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (at 3rd St.), www.ifccenter. com; 11:59 p.m., $13.
For the mellower NYE crowd, catch one of the final big-screen showings of Stephen Spielberg’s dinosaur opus. While others are downing drinks, let yourself be entertained with performances by Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sir Richard Attenborough— and of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. THE LIAR SHOW: NEW YEAR’S EVE! Cornelia St. Café, 29 Cornelia St. (at Bleecker St.), www.corneliastreetcafe.com; 5:30 p.m., $25 (includes glass of champagne).
Can you spot the fib? The Liar Show
presents four storytellers sharing four personal stories, but only three are true. For this special New Year’s Eve edition, The Liar Show welcomes Leslie Goshko (Manhattan Monologue Champion), Andy Ross (Mad Magazine), Ed Gavagan (The Moth Radio Hour) and host Andy Christie (NY Times; WFUV). BIGGEST NYE DANCE PARTY IN LES GalleryBar, 120 Orchard St. (betw. Delancey & Rivington Sts.), www.gallerybarnyc.com; 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $85$105 (includes open bar).
By day, GalleryBar serves as exhibition space, but by night, the Lower East Side spot converts to a two-level lounge and
Melding one of the biggest holidays with one of the city’s biggest nightlife trends comes the New Year’s Eve Pub Crawl in the East Village. The team behind some of the world’s largest pub crawls host a moving party that includes some of the best bars the neighborhood has to offer. SANDRA BERNHARD Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. Astor Pl. & E. 4th St.), www.joespub.com; 9 & 11 p.m., $100-$150.
Sandra Bernhard is priming her insight, outspoken views and outrageous mouth to ring in the New Year. Bernhard’s hilarious diatribes on the state of modern culture and classic rock attitude still burns smart. With her band, The Rebellious Jezebels, she has all the raucous energy of youth, bringing audiences to their feet.
IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT SUMMER CAMP FOR 2012! Renee Flax, director of camper placement of the ACA NY & NJ, will be on hand to answer parents’ questions and help guide them in their search for the right camp!
SATURDAY, JAN 28, 2012 Downtown Grace Church School 86 4th Ave. 12PM - 3PM
SATURDAY, JAN 21, 2012
SUNDAY, JAN 29, 2012
SUNDAY, JAN 22, 2012
SATURDAY, FEB 4, 2012
Upper West Side St. Jean Baptiste School 173 E. 75th St. 12PM - 3PM
Upper West Side Congregation Rodeph Sholom 7 W. 83rd St. 12PM - 3PM
Give the gift of New York this holiday season!
Park Slope Union Temple 17 Eastern Pkwy 12PM - 3PM
Upper West Side Bank Street School 610 W. 112th St. 12PM - 3PM
New York Family magazine and the American Camp Association, NY & NJ are teaming up for their winter fairs! Meet dozens of different camp directors from local DAY CAMPS and SLEEPAWAY CAMPS from across the region. Great for children ages 3 to 17! pre-register at:
Newyorkfamilycamps.com For more info on summer camps:
SAVE $10 ON TICKETS WHEN YOU USE CODE: RDMM TO PURCHASE TICKETS: CALL (866) 299-9682
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DECE M B E R 29, 2011 | OTDOWNTOWN.COM
THE 7-DAY PLAN
BEST PICK IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (betw. W. 3rd & W. 4th Sts.), www.ifccenter.com; $17.50. Wim Wender’s dazzling foray into 3-D began as a collaboration with legendary choreographer Pina Bausch in an attempt to reimagine her dance on the big screen. When Bausch died suddenly in 2009, Wenders forged on, turning the project into a moving tribute to her groundbreaking work with the Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble.
29 30 31 01 02 03 04
Lola Montes Schnabel: Love Before Intimacy The Hole NYC, 312 Bowery (at Bleecker St.), www.theholenyc.com. In this group of five new works by Schnabel, each painting depicts an episode in a narrative of androgynous youths encountering each other on a remote Greek island. Schnabel engaged the surface with a five-color palette reminiscent of the restrictive color schemes of the Spanish Romantics or the lucky five-color Ko-Kutani school of Japanese ceramics.
Brother Joscephus & The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St. (at Vestry St.), www.92y.org; 9 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 day of show. The two main visionaries of this 12-piece explosi on of love, Brother Joscephus and his eccentric cohort, the Right Reverend Dean Dawg, dip heavy into a gumbo that’s rich with New Orleans rhythms, old-school soul, classic rock stylings and feel-good gospel music.
HIM Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, 38 Commerce St. (at Bedford St.), www.cherrylanetheatre.org; 7 p.m., $18. Hunky actor Nick Cooper has just landed his breakthrough role and the offers from Hollywood’s A-list are pouring in. The only problem: Nick is gay and his viper of an agent wants to keep him in the closet. Nick is happy to play along, but all hell breaks loose when a Latina bombshell is brought in to play Nick’s girlfriend.
Ultimate New Year’s Celebrati on Pier 40 (at W. Houston St.), www.hornblower.com; 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m., $205. Set against the backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline and epic midnight fireworks show, the three-and-a-half-hour cruise—the debut journey of the Hornblower Hybrid in the New York Harbor—features a open bar, entertainment and a DJ. Guests can enjoy spectacular fireworks and scenic views from the vessel’s spacious upper deck and viewing atrium. Price includes all fees, meal and open bar.
Raiders of the Lost Ark IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (betw. W. 3rd & 4th Sts.), www.ifccenter.com; $13. Steven Spielberg’s breakneck adventure tale starring Harrison Ford as daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones returns for its 30th anniversary in a gorgeous new 4K digital restoration for midnight shows at IFC Center.
FREE U.S. Customs House Tour
National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green (betw. State & Whitehall Sts.), www.nmai.si.edu. Museum ambassadors provide a 45-minute in-depth look at the unique architecture and design of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, home of this Downtown museum.
Submissions can be sent to email@example.com.
Duwende Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), www.highlineballroom.com; 3 p.m., $14–$25. Funk up your holidays with the bass- and beatboxdriven a cappella group. The group is best known for its fiercely original funk/pop style and has headlined major a cappella festivals such as the East Coast Summit, SoJam and AcappellaStock.
Visit otdowntown.com for the latest updates on local events.
Michael Sackler-Berner & Sierra Noble Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (at Astor Place), www.joespub.com; 9:30, $17. Brooklyn-based Michael Sackler-Berner’s debut, MSB, features drummer Jim Keltner (Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, George Harrison). His most recent recordings were produced by Grammy winner Steve Jordan (Keith Richards, Alicia Keys, John Mayer), who accompanies on both bass and drums. Noble breezes through celtic, bluegrass, jazz, world beat and other styles of music with stunning ease on her fiddle, belying her 20 years of age.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
Supertall! The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Pl. (at 1st Pl.), www.skyscraper.org; Wed.–Sun., noon–6 p.m., $5. This exhibit is an international survey of superlative towers featuring projects that have been completed since 2001, are under construction or are expected to top out by 2016. The recent generatiion of giants, generally 100 stories or higher, represents a new paradigm of slender mixed-use towers that explore innovative approaches in engineering and technologies.
The Hunter IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (betw. W. 3rd & 4th Sts.), www.ifccenter.com; $13. The Hunter, a tense, striking thri l ler about a man pushed to the edge in a repressive and restrictive society, opens for an exclusive engagement at IFC. Shot in the days leading up to the contested Iranian elections, The Hunter paints a complex portrait of a country about to reach the boiling point.
The Inspired Word’s Open Mic Night Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E. 3rd St. (betw. Aves. C & B), www.inspiredwordnyc.blogspot.com; 9 p.m., $10. Coming out of hosting retirement to once again don his fedoras, pinstriped suits and one-of-a-kind cuff links, Nathan P. promises this won’t be “your father’s open mic. Noooooooo. Trust me, it’s not like any other open mic you’ve ever seen before.”
D E CE M B E R 2 9 , 2 0 1 1 | ot d owntown. c o m
❯ SE E
BEST FILMS OF 2011 (SEEN BELOW 14TH ST.)
very December, I vow not to make another Top 10 Movies of the Year list. It’s an arbitrary number, CULLEN GALLAGHER there are too many releases, pitting indies against blockbusters isn’t fair, excuses ad infinitum. But once again, I find myself incapable of sticking to that resolve. Not only is the temptation to pick favorites and champion underdogs too great to pass up, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect upon the diversity of films released throughout the year and celebrate the theatrical venues that bring them to audiences. This year, cinemas below 14th Street were thriving with blockbusters, documentaries, indies, foreign discoveries and experimental fare. Whatever your tastes, the downtown movie scene always delivered. Here are my picks (in alphabetical order) for the best films of 2011 seen below 14th Street. BELLFLOWER (ANGELIKA FILM CENTER)
Boy meets girl, girl cheats on boy, boy gets revenge with flamethrower. An explosively stylistic film about the euphoric ups and devastating lows of relationships, complete with homemade cars and homemade explosives shot on a homemade camera. Audaciously blending Greek tragedy-type drama and ’80s action movie hijinks, Bellflower still manages to resonate as one of the most heartfelt relationship movies in years.
FAST FIVE (REGAL UNION SQUARE)
Once in a while, we all need a big-screen action fix, and nothing delivered more high-octane thrills than the latest in the Fast and the Furious saga. This time, Vin Diesel and company are plotting a big heist in Rio de Janeiro, with federal agent Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hot on their trail. Smartly directed by Justin Lin and featuring a surprisingly strong ensemble cast, this is blockbuster entertainment at the peak of craftsmanship. No need to feel guilty about liking this one!
CINEMA LOCATIONS Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston St. (betw. Broadway & Mercer St.), angelikafilmcenter.com Regal Union Square, 850 Broadway (at E. 13th St.), regmovies.com Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), filmforum.org Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St. (betw. 5th Ave. & University Pl.), cinemavillage.com IFC Center, 323 6th Ave. (at W. 3rd St.), ifccenter.com Rooftop Films, 232 3rd St. (betw. Union & Sackett Sts.), rooftopfilms.com
MEEK’S CUTOFF (FILM FORUM)
The most daring, original Western since Unforgiven (if not The Wild Bunch) will enthrall even those viewers who long ago swore off the genre. Lost in the desert with diminishing water supplies, a wagon train must decide whether to trust their guide, who led them off the trail, or their Indian captive whom they have been taught to fear and hate. Stripping the Western migratory to the bare essentials, director Kelly Reichardt transforms this tale into a minimalist thriller distinguished by a stellar ensemble cast (including one of two brilliant turns this year by Michelle Williams).
THE MUPPETS (REGAL UNION SQUARE) Just as delightful and intelligent as the original The Muppet Movie from 1979, The Muppets is that rare comedy that works just as well for adults as for children—and the even rarer musical that actually features songs worth listening to.
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (ANGELIKA FILM CENTER)
The Artist, with its onedimensional history lesson, might be getting more Oscar buzz, but My Week With Marilyn is the real treat for lovers of classic Hollywood. Set during the shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film captures the complex psychological and emotional nuances of one of cinema’s most haunting legends. In her second virtuoso performance this year, Michelle Williams is so convincing that, at times, you forget she isn’t the real Marilyn.
OUTRAGE (CINEMA VILLAGE)
The Rube Goldberg of yakuza flicks, Outrage is a bloody treat from Japan’s grandmaster of gangster films, Beat Takeshi (aka Takeshi Kitano). More mechanical than emotive, Outrage is nonetheless a fascinating design about the domino effect of betrayal. If severing fingers with box cutters and stabbing ears with chopsticks sounds funny to you, then don’t miss this one.
LE QUATTRO VOLTE (FILM FORUM)
A beautiful, meditative and humanly funny fable about an aging shepherd and his goats in rural Calabria. The less said about Le Quattro Volte ahead of time the better—it is overflowing with life and surprises, and it is best to let viewers experience the film for themselves without preconceptions. One of the simplest, most profound documentaries of the year.
THE ROBBER (CINEMA VILLAGE)
Proof that the best crime stories come straight from the headlines, this is the true story of Johann Rettenberger, a famed German marathon runner who robbed banks (wearing a Reagan mask) on foot because no one could keep up with him. Featuring some of the most thrilling and realistic chase scenes this year, a U.S. remake is already in the works.
SEPTIEN (IFC CENTER)
The most bizarre yet heartfelt movie of the year. Eighteen years after he disappeared, Cornelius Rawlings (Michael Tully, also the director) returns to his family’s Tennessee farm to reconnect with his brothers. Fresh and unpredictable, Septien abounds with humor (sports hustling!) and the all-too-familiar weird tenderness that comes with family reunions, something many of us will experience this time of the year.
OUTER BOROUGH PICK: BAD POSTURE (ROOFTOP FILMS)
A slacker crime story set in Albuquerque about two friends, Flo and Trey, whose latest spree begins when they spot a girl reading in the park. While Flo falls in love, Trey steals her car. As the duo sells drugs, paints graffiti and plays with automatic rifles, Flo secretly plots how to get the car back to her. A surprising and innovative film, Bad Posture has that rare local authenticity that is often lacking in Hollywood productions.
❯ SE E
THE WORST TRENDS IN THEATRE THIS YEAR
| BY MARK PEIKERT
his past year has seen some memorable moments on stage (Playwrights Horizons’ offerings; Nina Arianda on Broadway—twice!), but they all pale in comparison to the amount of wrongheaded dreck that theatergoers had inflicted upon them. As everyone gazes with holiday-glazed eyes at glasses half full, let’s look at the other half of that glass, containing these distressing trends.
PLAYS BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN PLAYWRIGHTS
Few things were as painful to sit through as We Live Here and The Wood, both Off-Broadway. The former was a well-upholstered melodrama by actress Zoe Kazan that required more than a little suspension of disbelief (as well as a conscious forgetting of the tropes of Gothic literature to remain surprised by a mad sister playing the piano during a lashing rainstorm); the latter was another play from documentary filmmaker Dan Klores, a clunky affair about real-life journalist Mike McAlary that conveyed neither the excitement of a newsroom nor McAlary’s particular investigate reporting gifts.
MUSICALS AT THE YORK
The best thing about this year’s Road to Qatar and Tomorrow Morning was that they were both short.
The worst thing was…just about everything else. Qatar aimed for dumb fun but only succeeded at being dumb, while Tomorrow Morning tried in vain for an elegiac tone that Once is currently nailing effortlessly. Neither show had anything fresh to say, and what was said wasn’t worth hearing. Not a great sign for the future of original musicals not based on movies.
The infuriating thing about Adam Rapp is that audiences know he can be capable of thrilling theater (Red Light Winter, The Metal Children). This year didn’t feature works that approached either of those, though it wasn’t for lack of trying: including The Hallway Trilogy, Manhattan saw five Adam Rapp plays in 2011, most of which featured the array of sordid frat boys and gleeful exhibitions of psychical and psychic suffering that has made his name. The final offering, Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling, was at least set in an upscale home, albeit one with a lion in the basement and a rain of geese. Is it any wonder Charles Isherwood wrote a heartfelt plea, begging to recuse himself from reviewing Rapp? Go away, Adam Rapp, so we can miss you for a while.
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Baby It’s You! The People in the Picture. Play It Cool. The Blue Flower. Bonnie & Clyde. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. At some point during these musicals, the design teams and/ or the writers and directors bashed audiences over the head with the time period, whether with silhou-
Betty Gilpin, Jessica Collins and Jeremy Shamos in We Live Here. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
etted breadlines (Bonnie & Clyde), poorly written, hard-boiled dialogue (Play It Cool) or eye-gouging colors (On a Clear Day). In the case of the latter, who realized that the ’70s were quite so ugly?
THE PUBLIC’S SHAKESPEARE
A quick Beyoncé dance number in Love’s Labor’s Lost. A Lear so doddering so early on that we sympathize with Goneril and Regan. Dildosporting demons cavorting throughout Measure for Measure. An All’s Well That Ends Well that takes its title so literally there’s no room for doubt. All presented with a resolutely contemporary take on the dialogue that often twists it into pretzels to sound impromptu. Is The Public winning any fans with its strenuous, trying-too-hard-to-be-hip approaches to Shakespeare? As a not-for-profit company, it’s hard to forgive them for using their
resources on a total of five Shakespearean plays this year, when so many other companies continue to present the same canon.
As for that whole half-full thing…you can put me on the record as saying I have rarely been more moved, tantalized or entertained than I was by Playwrights Horizons’ Kin, Go Back to Where You Are and Completeness, the Second Stage production of Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Keen Company’s Lemon Sky revival and the smart-about-being-dumb Lysistrata Jones. Memories of those shows (and a few others) will no doubt help get me through 2012.
THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR!” -Roger Ebert, CHICAGO-SUN TIMES
NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE NEW YORK FILM CRITICS ONLINE BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
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TOP NEW DOWNTOWN RESTAURANTS OF 2011
rom a quaint West Village restaurant that channels Paris’ Left Bank to an über-hot spot SHARON FEIEREISEN where you can mingle with celebs and a Michelin-starred eatery helmed by a world-renowned chef, 2011 brought with it some of the most fantastic restaurant openings in years. Here’s a look at the Downtown spots that took the cake. MARBLE LANE
355 W. 16th St. (betw. 8th & 9th Ave.), www.dreamdowntown.com Located in the lobby of the Dream Downtown Hotel, Marble Lane has been luring in the glitterati since its inception. The internationally influenced steakhouse is helmed by Top Chef alum and former Lavo chef Manuel Treviño and the menu includes salads, a raw bar, pastas and an American Kobe beef selection, a mix of which are consistently served up to A-list celebrities like Cameron Diaz and Manhattan influencers like Stylecaster CEO Ari Goldberg.
11 Doyers St. (at Bowery), pulquerianyc.com Despite its in-the-boonies location—it’s situated on a little-known street that looks straight out of a Chinese gangster movie— Pulqueria is well worth the trek. The subterranean Mexican restaurant opened with a splash
during New York Fashion Week. It comes courtesy of the same folks behind cult cocktail bar Apotheke. In fact, the eatery is NYC’s first to serve pulque, an alcohol made from agave but fermented rather than distilled, like tequila is.
21 9th Ave. (at W. 13th St.), catchnewyorkcity.com For the ultimate Meatpacking District experience, start your night at this see-and-be-seen seafood eatery opened by Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, the power duo behind Abe & Arthur’s and Lexington Brass. With 14,000 square feet, multiple floors, a consistently jampacked bar, Top Chef winner Hung Huynh helming the kitchen and a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge. Catch is nothing if not scene-y. Luckily, it does so without being overly pretentious or underwhelming in the kitchen.
30 Hudson St. (betw. Reade & Duane Sts.), davidbouley.com With the opening of Brushstroke, David Bouley is finally back to his Michelin star-winning Danube glory. Over a decade in the making, the Japanese kaiseki-style eatery is a collaborati on between the starred chef and the Tsuji Culinary Institute; the result is an artfully prepared, intricately thought out menu served in a refined setting.
MAS (LA GRILLADE)
28 7th Ave. S. (at Leroy St.), www.maslagri llade.com A long overdue follow-up to Mas (farmhouse), James
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OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
Beard awardwining chef Galen Zamarra’s newbie West Village, grilltastic eatery, Mas (la grillade), stays true to the chef’s locavore approach to cooking. Expect impeccable service and simple dishes prepared over an open fire.
131 Sullivan St. (at Prince St.), thedutchnyc.com With most dishes priced under $28, The Dutch is surprisingly reasonably priced, considering it’s helmed by chef Andrew Carmellini, of A Voce fame. The eclectic comfort food menu includes a much buzzed about burger (only served at lunch, brunch and late-night), a raw bar, pasta dishes, fried chicken and steak.
THE MEATBALL FACTORY
231 2nd Ave. (betw. 14th & 15th Sts.), themeatballfactorynyc.com Forget The Meatball Shop—The Meatball Factory is where you want to be. Unlike the Shop, where some meatballs— notably the vegetarian ones–come chock full of filler (aka breadcrumbs), the Factory’s are pure deliciousness. Add to that friendly service, a welcoming laid-back atmosphere and affordable prices and you’ve got the perfect answer for what to do for a casual night out.
239 West 4th St. (betw. W 10th & Charles Sts.), fedoranyc.com Given the diminutive size of this shabby chic, always jam-packed restaurant/bar, getting a reservation is no easy feat. The New American joint only takes sameday reservations–and you’d better call at 11 a.m. on the dot. Another word of caution–unless you’ve got a strong stomach and adventurous taste buds, avoid the fried chicken, which comes served with a whole leg, claw and all. That said, the overall satisfying grub, upbeat atmosphere and friendly service are hard to beat.
117 Perry St. (betw. Greenwich & Hudson Sts.), leftbankmanhattan.com While you may feel like you’ve temporaril y hightailed it to Paris’ Left Bank, given the quaint, airy setting of Left Bank, a West Village eatery co-owned by Micheline Gaulin and Laurence Edelman (both of Mermaid Inn), the restaurant actually melds French, American and Italian cuisines into a well-edited, reasonably priced menu. All of the dishes are exceedingly flavorful and made with carefully sourced seasonal and local ingredients.
69 Gansevoort St. (betw. Washington & Greenwich Sts.), 646-398-9125 Courtesy of the folks behind Mulberry Project, Vinatta Project serves small plates (think mini tacos and braised short rib sliders), artisanal beers and bespoke as well as signature cocktails in a casual but chic setting. While the booze and bites are sure to satisfy, the real draw here is Vinatta’s wall of enomatic wine machines—aka vending machines, where, using a pre-paid card, you can pour booze straight from them, creating your own unique tasting flight.
Alternative Healthy Manhattan
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Getting the Mind to Listen to Resolutions Yoga & meditation can help make your New Year’s pledges stick By Paulette Safdieh Staying healthy requires more than an impulsive New Year’s resolution and a spanking new gym membership. To nix bad habits for good and maintain positive changes to your body in 2012, fitness experts argue that the first and biggest change starts with the mind. The philosophies behind yoga, Pilates and meditation share the idea of a mind-body connection. These exercises require a certain awareness of the body that differs from running on the treadmill or breaking a sweat in Zumba class. Instead of counting the calories burned, practitioners believe a mental shift and commitment to change yield the best results. “We live in a fast-paced, results-oriented society,” said Allan Lokos, founder of the Upper West Side’s Community Meditation Center. “If you stick with certain exercises long enough, you realize one day that you can now handle difficult situations with greater ease than you could have before.” According to Lokos, 71, newcomers flock to classes as holiday bells start ringing. He says the human body doesn’t know how to differentiate between negative stress and the good stress brought on by the holidays, like shopping, overeating and traveling. People turn to meditation for the pleasant feeling of calm and quiet, but Lokos insists the sessions can be far from carefree. “When you’re left alone with your body and your mind, all kinds of stuff comes up—and some might not be pleasant,” said Lokos, a two-time author on the topic. “Do I really want to lose weight? Do I really want to quit smoking? You get that clarity and it creates motivation.” Meditation can help spur positive change—whether it’s dropping a few pounds or throwing out the cigarettes for good—if people have genuine concern for their well-being and the desire to change for themselves, not just because
the doctor said so. Unfortunately, the weight won’t slip off just by sitting in lotus position with your legs crossed a few times a week. To reap the most benefit from meditation, proper activity should be incorporated between the hours spent in the office cubicle. Lokos agrees that exercises like yoga and Pilates maintain a similar philosophy—being attuned to your body, making long-term changes and clearing your mind. “It’s about sculpting yourself from the inside out, changing your mind’s perspective so your body will fall into place,” said Marissa Antebi, who has been a yoga instructor in Midtown for 11 years. “With any body issues, it’s about how you’re seeing something. You need to become aware of the bad patterns and grow from there.” For Antebi, 40, January is the busiest time of year. Despite the holiday rush, not
all newcomers tap into the endurance needed to stick it out and see results. Antebi suggests starting with something as minor as a walk in the park once a week and building from there. Attending group sessions provides the support system of fellow classmates, further encouragement to stick with it. Soon enough, you’ll learn how to maintain your health and weight instead of experiencing the fluctuations of fad diets and cleanses. Pilates instructor Donna Singer, of the Upper East Side’s Center for Movement, said that’s the common ground between yoga and Pilates—it becomes a way of life, not just a method of exercise. “You become aware of your posture and alignment and understand that you don’t need intense exercise to feel limber, supple and stronger,” said Singer, 42, who opened her first studio with cousin Elle Jardim in 1998. “We don’t play mu-
“You need to become aware of the bad patterns and grow from there.”
sic—we want you to keep your mind on what you’re doing. It encourages you to make positive steps to a healthy lifestyle and continue on that journey outside of the class.” Pilates helps create strength without the bulk that comes along with weight training. Sessions at Center for Movement, on the Upper East Side and in Scarsdale, focus on flexibility and elongating the body though breathing. The goal is to do the movements correctly, increasing efficiency so fewer repetitions are required. “As opposed to a spinning class, where you feel sore or you sweat, we teach a method,” said Singer. “After six sessions, you start to see subtle differences, like a flatter stomach and more flexibility. We want to help people meet their resolutions.” Antebi agrees that sticking to your New Year’s resolution through mid-February can be long enough to earn a pat on the back. “People get caught up in their goals for the year,” said Antebi. “If you put it on the back burner and just commit to becoming aware of your mind and body, positive changes will come from that.”
DECE M B E R 29, 2011 | otdowntown.com
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oe Little, public relations manager for the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM) on Lafayette Street, talks about the homeless and working poor in Lower Manhattan…and a different sort of experience of the holiday season. What is the New York City Rescue Mission? We exist to feed the poor, to give rest to the weary and give courage to the hopeless. We’ve been around since 1872. 1872? That’s a long time ago. Yup. We were founded in 1872 by Jerry McAuley. He was a real knucklehead from Lower Manhattan and a river thief, who committed all sorts of crimes. While serving time in Sing Sing Prison, he had a conversion, his heart was softened and he decided that when he got out of prison he wanted to do something to help men in his sort of situation, the ones who weren’t going to jump through the hoop. And that’s how the Rescue Mission came into being. So NYCRM is a Christian organization? It is; Christianity is part of the DNA of this programming, but it’s entirely ecumenical and we have volunteers from all faith traditions. We know that we’re not all that and that God loves us. We’re no better than anybody else on this planet. We’re just interested in how we can live out the teachings of Christ. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We’re here to serve the down and out, the marginalized, the outcast. Many are homeless, but not all of them. The working poor come to us as well, as do the folks visiting the family court. If you’re visiting the family court, you’re having a tough day. The outreach isn’t purely a homeless shelter? We do have 99 beds for homeless men, and we serve dinner for them every night and breakfast for them every morning. But we also serve a free lunch to anybody on the streets who wants it, and we particularly try to reach out to the folks at the family courts because it’s such a difficult experience. In addition, we have a food pantry from which families can come and get bags of groceries once a week. We’ve seen a 20 percent increase in use of the
OU R TOWN DOWNTOWN | DECE M B E R 29, 2011
food pantry in the last year of the economic crisis. We also have a Residency Recovery Program in which men can commit to staying with us full-time and learning about themselves and how to change before entering back into the world. Right now, we have 20-something men in our Residency Recovery Program. They’re here to smooth off the rough edges, soften their hearts and strengthen their minds. Some of these guys have been on the streets all of their adult lives, so it’s a big change. What’s the success rate of the Residential Recovery Program? What’s success? What’s progress? What’s change? It’s hard to quantify the success of this mission. Is success to hold down a job for a week? A month? A year? Is it to stay off drugs for a week? A month? A year? I don’t really know. How do we measure interior change? But I guess you could say we have a 100 percent success rate, if you measure by the fact that everybody who needs a bite gets a bite. Does being Downtown shape the NYCRM? You bet it does. We’re definitely a Lower
Manhattan thing. To some extent, Downtown is the locus of homelessness in Manhattan. It’s really where the homeless live. And we have organic relationships with Lower Manhattan that have been built up over the last 140 years. Downtown is also the location of a lot of wealth, and the two are inextricably intertwined. 9/11 witnessed a real reversal of all of that and really captured the spirit of the NYCRM. Many prospering people came to us that day—they came to eat, to pray, to take a shower. And in that momentary reversal of fortune, the homeless and the broken were given a chance to serve and to help those who were wellto-do. Sometimes everybody needs to be rescued. What’s happening at NYCRM for the holiday season? As early as Thanksgiving, all of the colorful decorations and the bells came out. Our volunteers from Lower Manhattan really come out for the holiday season to help, realizing that blessing others is the same thing as being blessed. So that really raises the spirit to see so many folks participating. There’s a real joyfulness and excitement.
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MARY WHEELER poured coffee for a year and a half and no, she doesn’t care how you take it Even the toughest coffee connoisseur that excitement quickly dwindled into never questioned my barista skills; any burnout. complaints I got were because the drinks It took two solid hours to open the were too hot. Looking back, my drinks bakery. The inventory: an endless array of probably tasted terrible. cookies, cakes, brownies, scones, muffins We had another rule at the bakery and breads. The appeal to eat any of it was that I never understood. The idea of stelquickly diminished by the overpowering lar customer and sometimes service entailed nauseating smell I don’t miss smelling like a Krispy putting the milk of sugary sweetKreme donut. and sugar in ness. the customer’s The bakery coffee. If someone asked for two packets opened promptly at 7:30 a.m. and, like a of Equal in their coffee, it was, “Of course, bank or the DMV, people would line up absolutely.” The problem with this was out the door, eagerly drooling over the that the majority of the time, customers chocolate croissants, apple coffee cake would complain that you put too much or and lemon bars. I generally gravitated to not enough of something in, defeating the making the drinks—less interaction with people, less shifting around. Coffee, lattes, purpose of the ass-kissing. After the initial 9 a.m. rush of grumbly hot chocolates, macchiatos, americapeople on their way to work passed, life nos—all, basically, drinks I could never at the bakery slowed—but not for long. afford. The rule I was taught was two shots for There were still salads and sandwiches to be brought out, iced drinks to be made, a large cappuccino, one shot for a small, tables to be wiped and product signs to followed by a lot of foam and just a touch be readjusted before lunch hit. The great of steamed milk. I never followed this rule. I made all of the drinks, cappuccinos thing about food service is the diverse array of people working in it: struggling and lattes, exactly the same (no measurartists, single moms, divorcées, college ing, no concept of espresso to milk ratio).
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graduates, high school graduates, foreigners, etc. Food service is a very non-cliquey business—whoever you are, wherever you came from and however you want to define yourself, you have a place. In food service, you always have one scene-stealer of the day. The woman who screamed because the orange juice wasn’t freshly squeezed, the line-cutters, the indecisive tourists and those who were just angry. There’s really no right or wrong way to react to such hysteria, though I found that remaining silent and staring blankly back seemed to do the trick. We did occasionally have a celebrity appearance—Rachael Ray, Tom Colicchio, Molly Shannon—so there was a faint hint of glamor in working behind the counter. I’m happy that my food service days are behind me. I don’t miss the customer always being right. I don’t miss smelling like a Krispy Kreme donut. And I don’t miss putting half and half in someone else’s coffee. The next time a food service employee asks you how you take your coffee, know they really don’t care and are just counting down the minutes until they get to clock out. Still, I can think of worse jobs.
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y alarm would go off every morning at 5:20 a.m. I would throw on a grimy brown T-shirt, often still stained from the night before, dingy Nike sneakers and too-tight jeans. My blonde hair was carelessly thrown into a ponytail or braid, I wore no makeup and usually chipped nail polish. To top off my look, I had to wear a tan baseball cap two sizes too big. This was my typical attire as a food service worker at one of New York City’s most popular bakeries. No, I never aspired to work in a bakery. I was just one of the many recent college graduates in 2009 that had either been laid off or were “underemployed.” I had struggled for six months to find full-time work and was only able to find temping gigs on Craigslist (working as a receptionist at a real estate office, collecting signatures for nonprofits, cleaning the sides of boats out in Connecticut). Needless to say, my work history was about as irregular as my birth control routine— when I finally landed a full-time job at a swanky Chelsea bakery, I thought, This is great! But in the world of food service,
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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
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Saturday, January 7, 2012 | 10 AM to 4 PM | Rain or Shine | Bowling Green Park Turn your holiday tree into environmentally friendly mulch, and take some home to use on your flowers, shrubs, or street trees. Remove all lights, ornaments, and the stand from your tree before bringing it to MulchFest. Downtown Connection Buses will transport you and your tree to MulchFest–for free! Visit www.DowntownNY.com for more details. NYC Compost Project staff will be on hand to answer all of your questions about composting and how to use mulch. 10 AM to 2 PM | Bowling Green Park
Did you get high-tech presents for the holidays? Don’t throw out your old electronics–recycle them at Bowling Green Park. The Lower East Side Ecology Center’s 9th Annual “After the Holidays” E-waste Event Series, bringing events to all five boroughs of NYC this year. We will be accepting working and non-working computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones and PDAs. Visit www.lesecologycenter.org or call 212.477.4022 for details. 10 AM to 4 PM | Bowling Green Park
O U R TOW N : D OW N TOWN | D E C E M B E R 2 9 , 2 0 1 1