Page 1

The local paper for Downtown wn THE WOMAN WHO PIONEERED ABSTRACT PAINTING ◄ P.12

WE’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BALLOT ELECTIONS They’re not exactly the magnificent 17. But the overcrowded public advocate’s race features plenty of liberal activists, some with rap sheets — and an upstart Republican who just might eke out a win BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

They have street cred and progressive bona fides. Several boast of encounters with the NYPD. Some have even been arrested — repeatedly — during protests, sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience. Their outrage is directed at all things Trump. And they have something else in common: Each ranks among the leading candidates vying in the Feb. 26 special election for the post of public advocate. The cast is dizzying. The field is almost surreally oversized. There are 17 contenders on the ballot, including 15 Democrats, winnowed down from the 23 who originally submitted nominating petitions. No frontrunner has yet surfaced. Political clubhouses haven’t coalesced around anyone. So liberal are the hopefuls, so fractured their support, that if no Democrats break out, an underdog Republican could squeak in. At stake is a citywide office that is supposed to serve as a watchdog and ombudsman for New Yorkers — but that has traditionally functioned as a training ground and launching pad for ambitious pols on the make. While the position has few official responsibilities, its occupants have proved adept at holding press con-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

@OTDowntown

2019

Paul Scariano, Xavier High School alumnus and parent

Xavier High School reached out to students, parents and alumni in the wake of the release of the names of Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. Photo: Courtesy of Xavier High School

‘IN A WORD, IT’S A HORROR.’ RELIGION Two elite Jesuit schools confront painful revelations about priests from their past BY EMILY HIGGINBOTHAM

The sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades has now reached two prominent Manhattan high schools. A list naming Jesuit priests, who were identified by the Society of Jesus as having credible allegations of sexual abuse, was published on January 15, revealing that Regis and Xavier high schools were among the institutions where some of these accused priests spent parts of their careers. The step toward transparency comes

as the Catholic Church deals with new investigations by federal and state law enforcement. The release of the list has also forced local institutions to review how they communicate about the abuse crisis, especially when the accused were once a part of their community. Out of the 50 men on the list made public by the Northeastern Jesuit Province, four worked at Regis between the 1950s and 80s, and seven worked at Xavier between the 1940s and early 2000s. One priest spent time at both schools. The time the priests spent at either school varied, with some serving at the institutions for only a couple years and others for more than a decade. In some cases, priests had decades-long careers in which they spent time at several Jesuit schools in New York and Downtowner

O OTDOWNTOWN.COM

7-13 I don’t know what else you can do but be honest about it.”

ferences, issuing reports, hiring staff and generating press releases, often self-aggrandizing in nature. Expect abysmally low turnout. Voters aren’t accustomed to dead-ofwinter balloting in arctic conditions. “You might see 12 to 15 percent,” said Democratic political strategist George Arzt, who served as Mayor Ed Koch’s press secretary in the late 1980s. Winning is not the sine qua non. Self-promotion plays a key role. “A lot of people are in this campaign to raise their profiles for future races,” Arzt said. But if multiple Democrats, each trying to out-progressive the other, fall below, say, a 10 percent threshold, they could effectively cancel each other out, creating a path to victory for Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a moderate, anti-Trump Republican. “I will be Bill de Blasio’s worst nightmare — the last person he’d ever want to see as public advocate,” Ulrich vowed in an interview. As of the Jan. 25 filing, he’d raised $100,462 for his campaign. “If Ulrich turns out his Queens base and wins Staten Island in a low-turnout race, he’s a player who can emerge from this mess and win,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who has worked on the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and Mike Bloomberg. The job, which is the first in line to succeed the mayor, is now vacant because, in typical fashion, the last public advocate, Letitia James, resigned on Jan. 1 after her election last year as state attorney general.

OurTownDowntown

WEEK OF FEBRUARY

Crime Watch Voices NYC Now City Arts

3 8 10 12

Restaurant Ratings Business Real Estate 15 Minutes

16 18 19 21

WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.12

FOR HIM, SETTLING SMALL CLAIMS IS A BIG DEAL presided over Arbitration Man has three decades. for informal hearings about it He’s now blogging BY RICHARD KHAVKINE

is the common Arbitration Man their jurist. least folks’ hero. Or at Man has For 30 years, Arbitration court office of the civil few sat in a satellite Centre St. every building at 111 New Yorkers’ weeks and absorbed dry cleaning, burned lost accountings of fender benders, lousy paint jobs, and the like. And security deposits then he’s decided. Arbitration Man, About a year ago, so to not afwho requested anonymity started docuhe fect future proceedings, two dozen of what menting about compelling cases considers his most blog. in an eponymous about it because “I decided to write the stories but in a I was interested about it not from wanted to write from view but rather lawyer’s point of said Arbitration view,” of a lay point lawyer since 1961. Man, a practicing what’s at issue He first writes about post, renders and then, in a separatehow he arrived his decision, detailing blog the to Visitors at his conclusion. their opinions. often weigh in with get a rap going. I to “I really want whether they unreally want to know and why I did it,” I did derstood what don’t know how to he said. “Most people ... I’d like my cases the judge thinks. and also my trereflect my personalitythe law.” for mendous respect 80, went into indiMan, Arbitration suc in 1985, settling vidual practice

9-16

MANHATTAN'S APARTMENT BOOM, > PROPERTY, P.20

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

The effort to help small seems to businesses in the city be gathering steam. Two city councilmembers, Robert Margaret Chin and Cornegy, have introduced create legislation that wouldSmall a new “Office of the within Business Advocate” of Small the city’s Department Business Services. Chin The new post, which have up told us she’d like to would and running this year, for serve as an ombudsman city small businesses within them clear government, helping to get through the bureaucracy things done. Perhaps even more also importantly, the ombudsman and number will tally the type small business of complaints by taken in owners, the actions policy response, and somefor ways to recommendations If done well, begin to fix things. report would the ombudsman’s give us the first quantitative with taste of what’s wrong the city, an small businesses in towards important first step fixing the problem. of for deTo really make a difference, is a mere formality will have to the work process looking to complete their advocate are the chances course, velopers precinct, but rising rents, -- thanks to a find a way to tackle business’ is being done legally of after-hours projects quickly. their own hours,” which remain many While Chin “They pick out boom in the number throughout who lives on most vexing problem. said Mildred Angelo,of the Ruppert construction permits gauge what Buildings one said it’s too early tocould have the 19th floor in The Department of the city. number three years, the Houses on 92nd Street between role the advocate She Over the past on the is handing out a record work perThird avenues. permits, there, more information of Second and an ongoing all-hours number of after-hours bad thing. of after-hours work the city’s Dept. problem can’t be a said there’s with the mits granted by nearby where according to new data jumped 30 percent, This step, combinedBorough construction project noise Buildings has data provided in workers constantly make efforts by Manhattan to mediate BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS according to DOB of Informacement from trucks. President Gale Brewer offer response to a Freedom classifies transferring they want. They knows the the rent renewal process, request. The city They 6 “They do whatever signs Every New Yorker clang, tion Act go as they please. work between some early, tangible small any construction on the weekend, can come and sound: the metal-on-metal or the piercing of progress. For many have no respect.” p.m. and 7 a.m., can’t come of these that the hollow boom, issuance reverse. owners, in business moving The increased beeps of a truck has generto a correspond and you as after-hours. soon enough. variances has led at the alarm clock The surge in permits

SLEEPS, THANKS TO THE CITY THAT NEVER UCTION A BOOM IN LATE-NIGHT CONSTR NEWS

A glance it: it’s the middle can hardly believe yet construction of the night, and carries on full-tilt. your local police or You can call 311

n OurTownDowntow

COM

Newscheck Crime Watch Voices

for dollars in fees ated millions of and left some resithe city agency, that the application dents convinced

2 City Arts 3 Top 5 8 Real Estate 10 15 Minutes

12 13 14 18

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25

the northeastern United States. Many of the priests are now deceased, while some have been defrocked, have left the ministry or have been restricted from service involving minors. Regis officials declined to be interviewed for this story, but provided Our Town with a statement. “There are four men on that list whose allegations pertain to incidents while at Regis. There is also one man who is on that list who worked at Regis at one time and has an allegation against him from some later time and place,” the statement said. “No abuse is acceptable, and we are horrified and distressed by each one of these allegations. All victims of sexual abuse are in our prayers.”

CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

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FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR HOSPITALS AND CONSTRUCTION COSTS “The Metamorphosis of a Hospital” (January 17-23) is alarming from a medical viewpoint. The article fails to specify what medical facilities will be built, how they will be financed or whether or not they are needed. Construction of new health care facilities requires a certificate of need (CON) from the New York State Health Department. The rationale for this requirement is: excess and thus underutilized facilities give rise to increases in the cost of medical care. These increases are needed to cover maintenance costs for underutilized facilities. Initial construction costs may also be problematic. It appears that in this case Lenox Hill’s construction costs will be covered by the proceeds the from the sale of real estate already in its portfolio and/or profits from non medical commercial investments envisioned for the project. Given that institutions often satisfy construction-related debt by increasing the cost of medical care to its patients, it is important that the funding sources be made public. The requirement that no monies derived from patient-care delivery can

The local paper for Downtown

be used for capital improvement projects is a staple in all robust progressive health care legislation. To this end, our state legislature is considering a single payer health care bill (New York Health) that — among other things — prohibits institutions from diverting income from health care delivery services to capital improvement projects. The notion that institutions devoted to health care delivery should function primarily as machines to generate profit is upsetting. Marc H Lavietes MD Soho

BACK AND FORTH ON THE L TRAIN The devil is in the details concerning Governor Cuomo’s proposed new design for the Canarsie L Line Subway Tunnel project. (“Averting the L-pocalypse,” January 10-16). Several hundred million dollars in funding was provided under a Federal Transit Administration Super Storm Sandy Recovery and Resiliency grant in 2016. What is the new design impact on budget, engineering, milestones, scope of work changes, useful life of the invest-

ment, overnight and weekend track outages along with more NYC Transit Force Account (employees) to protect private contractor workers, which nobody has seen? When will the MTA HQ, board members, NYC Transit, NYCDOT managers and engineers along with the Federal Transit Administration formally review and comment on this new design and budget impacts? Ditto for both the MTA & FTA independent oversight engineering consulting firms. The winning contractors’ Judlau and TC Electric $477 million bid was based on the original scope of work and design proposed by the MTA. This included included 24/7 site access to both tunnels with no active subway. This contract will now have to be renegotiated. They now have the basis to request additional reimbursement in the millions. These added costs will be far more than any credits given the contractor for deletion of work as a result of the new design. Contractors’ claims for additional financial reimbursement can be based upon delay claims due to limited site access and change orders for significant design and work scope changes to the original contract. Who will cover costs for

Advertise with Our Town Downtown today! Call Vincent Gardino at 212-868-0190

The Park Avenue side of Lenox Hill Hospital on 77th Street in a recent photo. A portion of the super-expensive parcel is being eyed for possible sale and redevelopment. Photo: Douglas Feiden materials previously ordered by the contractor in preparation for initiation of work in April that may now not be needed? How will the MTA find additional funding to supplement previously approved federal Super Storm Sandy Relief and Resiliency grant dollars? How many more months

and even years will it take beyond 15 months to now complete all work? Don’t be surprised if it takes between two to three years. Larry Penner Great Neck, NY

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Managing an Exit: The End of the Merkel Era

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH, 6PM Deutsches Haus | 42 Wash. Mews | 212-998-8660 | deutscheshaus.as.nyu.edu As the departure of Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union for the last 18 years and de facto head of the E.U., comes closer (before Germany’s next federal elections, due in 2021) a panel looks at her legacy and potential repercussions (free, RSVP requested).

Contested City Book Launch

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH, 7PM The New School | 55 W. 13th St. | 212-229-5108 | newschool.edu Urbanist, artist, and New School professor Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani launches her new book Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area along with reflections from Bendiner-Viani’s longtime collaborators (free, RSVP requested).

Just Announced | Wrongfully Accused—Mindhunters

SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD, 4PM The Town Hall | 123 W. 43rd St. | 212-997-1003 | thetownhall.org Former FBI agent John E. Douglas, who pioneered criminal profiling (he’s been called the “serial killer whisperer”), spends an evening with Amanda Knox, who served nearly four years in jail in Italy, and Damien Echols, who did 18 years as one of the West Memphis Three ($47).

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FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG THERE GOES $75,000 Police remind the public that any time a stranger asks you to pay for something with gift cards, you are likely being scammed. On Friday, Jan. 25, a 29-year-old woman got a phone call while she was inside the Warby Parker

store at 223 Spring St., apparently from 212-860-6511, the number for the 25th Precinct. The caller informed her that her Social Security number had been compromised and she needed to move her money out of her bank account to secure it. She was told to purchase Apple gift cards and send

pictures of the cards to the phone number 270-693-2754. The victim later told police that she talked to two men who identified themselves as Alan Parish and William Turner. The woman was scammed for a total of $74,900.

ASSAULT ARREST On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 26, a 65-year-old man got into a verbal dispute with a 24-year-old male stranger at the corner of Greene and Spring Sts. According to police, words turned to blows as the younger man punched the older man in the face multiple time with a closed fist, causing bleeding and swelling. Police arrested Sebastian Benjamin and charged him with assault.

MTA MOTORMAN PUNCHED Police are searching for a man who assaulted an MTA motorman. The male motorman, 39, pulled a southbound 1 train into its last stop at South ferry at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24.. As he was getting off the train he saw a man in his 40s sprawled out on a train seat. “You can’t be laying down like that,” the motorman said. The passenger responded by getting up and punching the motorman in the face, causing pain and redness. A search of the area failed to turn up the pugilistic passenger.

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 1st precinct for the week ending Jan 27 Week to Date

Year to Date

2019 2018

% Change 2019

2018

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

0

0

n/a

Rape

0

1

-100.0 1

1

0.0

Robbery

0

3

-100.0 2

5

-60.0

Felony Assault

2

0

n/a

6

3

100.0

Burglary

3

1

200.0 9

3

200.0

Grand Larceny

14

23

-39.1

62

76

-18.4

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

0

0

n/a

STOLEN: A WATCH WORTH MORE THAN SOME CARS

UNATTENDED FUR COAT DISAPPEARS

One hopes a certain downtown resident has full-replacement-value insurance. At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, a man was walking in front of his home at One World Trade Plaza when someone bumped into him. Minutes later, the man discovered that his watch was missing from his wrist. The stolen timepiece was a Rolex Daytona, valued at $30,000.

It seems that a full hour is much too long to leave a fur coat unattended in a public place. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, a man went to the restroom inside the Brookfield Place mall at 250 Vesey St., leaving his fur coat unattended at a table in the food court. When he returned an hour later his coat and a debit card were missing. He canceled the card, and fortunately, no unauthorized usage turned up. A search of the area did not turn up the coat, a Fendi valued at $2,680.

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Payment of interest on CDs is based on term: For terms less than 12 months (365 days), interest may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or at maturity (the end of the term). For terms of 12 months or more, interest may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. A fee for early withdrawal will be imposed and could reduce earnings on this account. Special Rates are applicable to the initial term of the CD only. At maturity, the Special Rate CD will automatically renew for a term of 6 months, at the interest rate and APY in effect for CDs on renewal date not subject to a Special Rate, unless the Bank has notified you otherwise. Due to the new money requirement, accounts may only be opened at your local branch. Wells Fargo reserves the right to modify or discontinue the offer at any time without notice. Offer cannot be combined with any other consumer deposit offer. 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Useful Contacts

FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

Drawing Board

POLICE NYPD 7th Precinct

19 ½ Pitt St.

212-477-7311

NYPD 6th Precinct

233 W. 10th St.

212-741-4811

NYPD 10th Precinct

230 W. 20th St.

212-741-8211

NYPD 13th Precinct

230 E. 21st St.

NYPD 1st Precinct

16 Ericsson Place

212-477-7411 212-334-0611

FIRE FDNY Engine 15

25 Pitt St.

311

FDNY Engine 24/Ladder 5

227 6th Ave.

311

FDNY Engine 28 Ladder 11

222 E. 2nd St.

311

FDNY Engine 4/Ladder 15

42 South St.

311

ELECTED OFFICIALS Councilmember Margaret Chin

165 Park Row #11

Councilmember Rosie Mendez

237 1st Ave. #504

212-587-3159 212-677-1077

Councilmember Corey Johnson

224 W. 30th St.

212-564-7757

State Senator Daniel Squadron

250 Broadway #2011

212-298-5565

Community Board 1

1 Centre St., Room 2202

212-669-7970

Community Board 2

3 Washington Square Village

212-979-2272

Community Board 3

59 E. 4th St.

212-533-5300

Community Board 4

330 W. 42nd St.

212-736-4536

Hudson Park

66 Leroy St.

212-243-6876

Ottendorfer

135 2nd Ave.

212-674-0947

Elmer Holmes Bobst

70 Washington Square

212-998-2500

COMMUNITY BOARDS

LIBRARIES

HOSPITALS New York-Presbyterian

170 William St.

Mount Sinai-Beth Israel

10 Union Square East

212-844-8400

212-312-5110

CON EDISON

4 Irving Place

212-460-4600

TIME WARNER

46 East 23rd

813-964-3839

US Post Office

201 Varick St.

212-645-0327

US Post Office

128 East Broadway

212-267-1543

US Post Office

93 4th Ave.

212-254-1390

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NEIGHBORHOODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEST To place an ad in this directory, Call Douglas at 212-868-0190 ext. 352.

EDUCATION

DINING

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SEX AFTER SIXTY AGING Hormonal and physical issues and a â&#x20AC;&#x153;partner gapâ&#x20AC;? may present problems. But the effects of aging are often amenable to treatment BY CAROL ANN RINZLER

Type â&#x20AC;&#x153;sex after sixtyâ&#x20AC;? into your computer search bar and up pop lots of virtual pages documenting whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s doing what and how among the Golden Agers. No surprise there, really. Desire is in the brain and sex is in the body, but better meds and better living have kept both in tune for longer than previously expected, sustaining what was once considered a strictly youthful sport well into Granny Land. There may, of course, be a few bumps along the way. For men, â&#x20AC;&#x153;hydraulics is the biggest impediment to sex later in life,â&#x20AC;? says Dr. Walter Bortz, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, past president of the American Geriatrics Society and former co-chair of the American Medical Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Task Force on Aging. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For women, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opportunity and availability.â&#x20AC;? True: Older men do experience hormonal and physical issues that may interfere with sexual performance, and older women do have problems finding enough older men to go around. But as Barbara Chubak, Assistant Professor of Urolgy at Mt. Sinaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Icahn

School of Medicine, correctly notes, women also â&#x20AC;&#x153;experience biological changes that can interfere with sexual arousal response and pleasurable sexual activity, and both men and women are troubled by unrealistic gendered expectations.â&#x20AC;? The difference, of course, is that the physical effects of aging are often amenable to treatment, which is why the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) reports that nearly one in seven men age 57 to 85 take little blue pills to improve sexual function. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not treatable is the significant gender difference in longevity that results in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;partner gapâ&#x20AC;? certified when AARP ran a Sex, Romance, and Relationships Survey of Midlife and Older Adults study showing that only 32 percent of women 70 or older have partners, compared with 59 percent of men in the same age group. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not for lack of interest on the female side. The National Commission on Aging (NCOA) says that 62 percent of women over 70 find sex â&#x20AC;&#x153;at least as satisfying or more satisfying physicallyâ&#x20AC;? than it was in their 40s. The problem is fewer older men, a difficult situation made more so by cultural norms which applaud guys who seek younger partners but laugh if you switch the genders. The men prove their virility with â&#x20AC;&#x153;trophy wives.â&#x20AC;? Older women? Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re â&#x20AC;&#x153;cougarsâ&#x20AC;? going tooth and claw after helpless â&#x20AC;&#x153;boy toys.â&#x20AC;? What no one mentions is that the boys might have

read Benjamin Franklinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1745 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistressâ&#x20AC;? urging them to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Prefer old Women to young ones ... the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.â&#x20AC;? Besides, unable to restrain himself, Franklin, added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are so grateful!!â&#x20AC;? Today, their younger sisters might be equally grateful for the attention. Contrary to common wisdom which sees youngsters hopping in and out of bed with abandon, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that from 1991 to 2017 the number of high-school students having actual sex dropped 14 percentage points. There are similar stats among the wider group of Americans younger than 35 perhaps because as many as one in three of them live with their parents, putting an obvious crimp in their romantic lives. And vice versa, too: Adult children may be less than pleased to see their aging parents and grandparents as sexual beings. In short, after 60, sex is as complicated as ever. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth the effort. As Bortz has written: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you stay interested, stay healthy, stay off medications, and have a good mate, then you can have good sex all the way to the end of life.â&#x20AC;? Even faithful trophy wives and boy toys.

Â&#x203A;Â&#x2019;Â&#x;Â&#x160;Â?Â&#x17D;ČąÂ&#x160;Â&#x203A;Â?¢ȹÂ&#x2DC;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2013;Â&#x153;ČąČ&#x160;ČąÂ&#x17D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2022;¢ȹÂ&#x160;Â&#x2014;Â&#x152;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2014;Â?ČąČ&#x160;ČąÂ&#x160;Â?Â&#x17D;Â&#x203A;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2014;Â? Ĺ&#x2122;Ĺ&#x2014;Ĺ&#x2013;ČąÂ&#x17D;Â&#x153;Â?ČąĹ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x2122;Â&#x203A;Â?ČąÂ?Â&#x203A;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D;Â?ČąČ&#x160;ČąĹ&#x2DC;Ĺ&#x2014;Ĺ&#x2DC;ČŹĹ&#x2DC;Ĺ&#x153;Ĺ&#x203A;ČŹĹ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x2013;Ĺ&#x2013;    ǯÂ?Â&#x17E;Â&#x203A;Â&#x201D;Â&#x17E;Â&#x160;ÂŁÂ&#x203A;Â&#x17D;Â&#x153;Â?Â&#x160;Â&#x17E;Â&#x203A;Â&#x160;Â&#x2014;Â?ÇŻÂ&#x152;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2013;Čą

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6

BALLOT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 She succeeded another ambitious pol, de Blasio, who was elected as advocate in 2009 and parlayed the post into a successful mayoral run in 2013. Mark Green had no such luck. In 2001, he’d also weaponized the position in a bid for Gracie Mansion, but was bested by Mike Bloomberg. Like all special elections, which are nonpartisan, the candidates cannot run on existing party lines. Instead, they have to mint their own unique party labels, which can be colorful, off-beat or attention-grabbing. Whoever wins will only hold the post till Dec. 31 and will be a potential lame duck. Democratic and GOP primaries will be held in September, and on Nov. 5, the victors will square off in the general election to fill the rest of James’ unexpired term, which runs through 2021. Despite the prospect of a short 10-month reign, aspirants are locked in a spirited, big-bucks free-for-all — perhaps the first citywide race in New York history in which rap sheets for low-grade offenses are being leveraged to score political points with liberal constituents.

HANDCUFFS, FINGERPRINTS AND MUG SHOTS Consider the questionnaire the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, an influential Greenwich Village-based LGBT clubhouse, sent to candidates seeking its endorsement: “Have you ever been arrested?” it asked. Twice, replied ex-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the East Harlem Democrat and senior adviser for the Latino Victory Fund who is running on the “Fix the MTA” ticket. She leads the pack in fundraising with $345,867 in contributions and would be the first Latina to hold citywide office. “Please explain why and the outcome of arrest,” the club asked. Turns out, Mark-Viverito was busted in Sept. 2017 for blocking traffic in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue during a protest over federal immigration policies. Then last October, she joined a Washington D.C. sit-in during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and was pinched a second time. Her twin arrests, however, are dwarfed by Washington Heights City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Transportation Committee, who is running on the “United for Immigrants” line and has raised $132,736 for his campaign as of Jan. 25. By his own reckoning, Rodriguez has been locked up “around 10 times” over a 30-year period, starting six years after he came to the city as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic in 1983, he recalled in a Nov. 4 interview. His signature moment came on the night of Nov. 15, 2011 when cops forcibly cleared Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street protesters. Knocked to the ground, roughed up and thrown into a police van, he was detained for three hours for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, charges that were later voided.

FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com The ordeal gave Rodriguez a distinction no rival candidate can match: He was featured in Time Magazine’s coverage of its 2011 Person of the Year, “The Protester.” “Listen, I’ve been in this fight as long as I can remember, and that will always be a part of my life,” he said. Win or lose, “I’ll continue to use the beautiful, peaceful means of civil disobedience to seek social justice and march for our rights,” Rodriguez added. So who’s racked up the most arrests? It is a mantle claimed by three-term Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a former tenant activist who ran a strong, if ultimately unsuccessful, race for lieutenant governor last year and has collected $194,780 thus far in his current campaign. Asked by activists at the Jim Owles Club if he had ever been arrested, Williams, whose ballot line is the “People’s Voice,” answered, “Yes, more than any other elected official in New York.” And he linked to pictures depicting him handcuffed by police, his body pressed down against the hood of a car, and to accounts of his brushes with the law at Trump Tower, Occupy Wall Street, the West Indian Day Parade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, and at multiple protests against stop-and-frisk, school closings, CUNY tuition hikes, federal deportation drives and immigration laws in Arizona. Unsurprisingly, it was Williams who ultimately won the endorsement of Jim Owles. He also scored backing from the Four Freedoms Democratic Club on the Upper East Side. But in a measure of how the public advocate’s race has so completely riven the city’s progressive clubhouses, two other influential East Side clubs voted to support two rival candidates: While the East River Democratic Club endorsed attorney Dawn Smalls, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner who is vying on the “No More Delays” ticket, the Lexington Democratic Club backed Queens State Assembly Member Ron Kim, who created the “No Amazon” line. Meanwhile, on the same week when Jim Owles threw its weight behind Williams, the city’s two other LGBT political strongholds also split their endorsements, with the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn rallying behind Mark-Viverito. At the same time, the Stonewall Democratic Club said it was supporting Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights and is the only openly gay candidate in the race. A self-proclaimed “opinionated loud mouth,” O’Donnell, the older brother of Rosie O’Donnell, is best known for a breakthrough piece of legislation, the Marriage Equality Act permitting samesex unions, which he steered into law in 2011. He lives on West 111th Street and had raised $99,530 for his “Equality for All” ticket as of the most recent campaign filing. “I haven’t been arrested — I’m the guy they call to get out of jail when other people get arrested,” said O’Donnell, who is also an attorney who had worked as a public defender. invreporter@strausnews.com

TRAFFIC JAM ON THE BALLOT An unwieldy 17 candidates — yes, you read that right, 17! — are running for Public Advocate. The top 10 hopefuls, based on the amount they raised as of Jan. 25.

Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of East Harlem, a Democrat running on the Fix the MTA ticket, raised $345,867. Photo: Mark-Viverito campaign Twitter account.

Bronx state Assembly Member and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee Michael Blake, running on the For the People line, raised $324,039. Photo: Blake campaign Twitter account.  

Attorney and law partner Dawn Smalls, running on the No More Delays ticket, raised $243,754. Photo: Smalls campaign Twitter account.

Brooklyn City Council Member and former 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams, a Democrat running on the People’s Voice ticket, raised $194,780. Photo: Williams campaign Twitter account.

Queens Assembly Member Ron Kim, the first Korean-American elected in the state and a Democrat running on the No Amazon ticket, raised $186,886. Photo: Kim campaign Twitter account  

Brooklyn City Council Member and ex-state Assembly Member Rafael Espinal Jr., a Democrat running on the Livable City line, raised $172,167. Photo: Espinal campaign Twitter account.

Washington Heights City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democrat running on the United for Immigrants ticket, raised $132,736. Photo: Rodriguez campaign Twitter account.

Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican running on the Common Sense Party line, raised $100,462. Photo: Ulrich campaign Twitter account.

Upper West Side and Morningside Heights Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, a Democrat running on the Equality for All ticket, raised $99,530. Photo: O’Donnell campaign Twitter account.  

Queens activist and Democratic Socialists of America member Nomiki Konst, running on the Pay Folks More ticket, raised $95,964. Photo: Konst campaign Twitter account.  


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

7

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

A GOP CLUB DIVIDED POLITICS Ian Walsh Reilly is the new Metropolitan Republican Club president, emerging as victor in contested election in the aftermath of Proud Boys violence BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

A hotly contested Jan. 30 election to determine the next president of the Metropolitan Republican Club highlighted tensions among members, returning the historic political organization to the public eye four months after chaotic street violence erupted on the Upper East Side following a club event featuring the founder of a far-right group. The bitterly fought campaign, which pitted two supporters of President Donald Trump against one another, divided the club’s membership and raised questions about the Republican Party’s future in Manhattan — mirroring currents that have roiled the GOP nationally. Metropolitan Club members elected Ian Walsh Reilly, 38, to serve as president at the club’s annual meeting. Reilly defeated his opponent, Robert Morgan, 66, by a margin of 324 to 270. Some members cast the contest as a generational struggle between Morgan, a past club president who was supported by a number of notable figures within the Republican Party establishment, and Reilly, who is seen by some as representative of a more strident brand of farright politics. Contested elections have been unheard of in recent decades at the storied Metropolitan Club, historically a bastion of establishment Republicanism stretching back to the days when it counted President Theodore Roosevelt as a member. Reilly, in a message to supporters on his campaign Facebook page, which features a sketch of President Donald Trump in profile and the slogan “Keeping the Met Club Great,” warned of “anti-Trump forces of the Republican Establishment [...] reasserting themselves and plotting a takeover of the Metropolitan Republican Club.” Reilly’s campaign won public support from the rightwing agitator Milo Yiannopou-

los, who denounced Morgan’s campaign against Reilly as an “anti-MAGA coup d’état” in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post to his 2.4 million followers. In a telephone interview with Our Town, Reilly said he does not consider his political views far-right. “I don’t think supporting the president is a farright position, so I don’t characterize myself in that way,” he said. Morgan won the backing of many members of the city and state Republican Party establishment — including Manhattan Republican Party Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis — as well as support from several recent Republican candidates for public office in New York, such as former mayoral candidate and current Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis and former East Side State Senate candidate Pete Holmberg.

‘A cancer that is growing within the club’ Morgan wrote of the need “to keep the club away from needless divisions and controversies” in a campaign message to members, apparently a reference to a now-infamous Oct. 12 event at the club featuring the right-wing provocateur Gavin McInnes. McInnes is the founder of the Proud Boys, a self-described “pro-Western fraternal organization”’ whose members have been involved in political violence in recent years Charlot-

Ian Walsh Reilly, the new president of the Metropolitan Republican Club. Photo courtesy Ian Walsh Reilly

tesville, Va. and Portland, Ore., among other incidents. Following McInnes’s Oct. 12 speech, members of the Proud Boys engaged in violent clashes with anti-fascist protesters on the streets surrounding the Metropolitan Club’s stately East 83rd Street headquarters. The incident and ensuing fallout attracted national media attention and the club was widely criticized for hosting McInnes and allowing Proud Boys to attend the event. Some Morgan supporters claimed Reilly was responsible for inviting McInnes to the speak at the club, a charge Reilly and his supporters deny. McInnes spoke at the club the previous year without incident and was rescheduled by the club as a matter of course, Reilly said. The Metropolitan Club promoted the program as “an unforgettable evening with one of Liberty’s Loudest Voices” and hailed McInnes for having “taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values.” One club member, who supported Morgan and asked not to be identified, characterized the election as a referendum on the McInnes incident and the club’s response to the aftermath. “The Gavin McInnes incident was like a cancer that is growing within the club, and we were hoping to eradicate it by handing Ian Reilly a humiliating defeat,” the member said. “It didn’t work, and we’re kind of screwed.” “There are a lot of issues that need to be worked out within the club, and within the Party overall,” the individual said, adding, “There could be a mass exodus from the club, and that would be a form of accountability.” Reilly said that the Metropolitan Club does not bear responsibility for the violence that followed the event. Instead, he noted that the club was vandalized prior to the event and blamed anti-fascist protesters for instigating the violence that followed McInnes’s speech. (The New York Times obtained surveillance footage of one violent incident on East 82nd Street that shows a Proud Boy charging at a group of left wing protesters, sparking a brawl that lasted less than a minute and broke up upon the arrival of NYPD officers, who made no arrests at the scene.)

The Metropolitan Republican Club was vandalized prior to an October 2018 event featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. Photo: Michael Garofalo

I don’t think that you can blame the victim.” Metropolitan Republican Club President Ian Walsh Reilly on the club’s role in the street violence that followed an Oct. 2018 event featuring Gavin McInnes “That violence took place away from the club,” Reilly said. “I don’t think that you can blame the victim,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response.” McInnes distanced himself from the Proud Boys following the Metropolitan Club incident, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of at least 10 Proud Boys members and three antifascist protesters. McInnes has advocated for the use of violence against political opponents in the past, calling it “a really effective way to solve problems.” “Gavin is a performance artist, a satirist,” Reilly said. Reilly said that while McInnes will not be invited back to the Metropolitan Club anytime soon, as president he will continue to extend invitations to other controversial conservative speakers the club has hosted in the past, such as Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter.

A struggle for the party’s future John William Schiffbauer, a

Republican campaign consultant and former deputy communications director for the state Republican Party, said that an embrace of the farright fringe at the club would not bode well for the party’s electoral fortunes in New York. “The Met Club comprises the large majority of people who vote in primaries and work on campaigns” in Manhattan, he said. “Anything that pushes the party further to the right and toward supporting extreme candidates hurts us statewide.” “If [Reilly] keeps going in the direction his campaign went in, I think it’s going to further fracture and alienate the GOP in Manhattan.” Alexandra Sherer, a 23-yearold club member who worked on Morgan’s campaign, took issue with the notion that the divide between the candidates was split along generational or ideological lines. For her, the key issue was whose supporters were best prepared to do the work of grassroots organizing. “I have nothing against Ian personally,” Sherer said. “It’s more some of people he’s associated with that I’m not the biggest fans of,” referencing a “MAGA group” of “Facebook warrior-types” that supported Reilly, who she said were more interested in fighting online than being active in local party politics. Like a number of other Morgan supporters — including Catsimatidis, who issued a statement congratulating Reilly — Sherer said she is hopeful the club and party can unify

following the election. “This was a very nasty, horrible fight that we’ve had among fellow Republicans and we want to find a way not to have this happen again,” Sherer said. Reilly downplayed frictions within the club and said he doesn’t expect the outcome of the election to result in lasting divisions within the membership. “Our membership is over 600 people,” he said. “Of course there are going to be members who don’t like someone who comes to speak or how something is done.” “And if it was a referendum, I’ve won,” he added. A handful members of the East River Democratic Club braved freezing temperatures to protest the Jan. 30 election outside the Republican clubhouse. Patrick Bobilin, vice president of the East River Democratic Club, said he was disappointed that more demonstrators didn’t turn up, given his view of what the club’s failure to “accept some accountability” for the Proud Boys incident represents. “I don’t think they want a discourse,” Bobilin said. “I think they want violence and aggression and trolling to be the de facto basis of politics in this country. And now it’s in Manhattan, and the absence of more protestors says to me that people are removed from the reality of it.” “Violence as an element of political discourse is something we can now expect in Manhattan and on the comfortable Upper East Side. I don’t know where we go from here.”


8

FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Voices

Write to us: To share your thoughts and comments go to otdowntown.com and click on submit a letter to the editor.

NO JUSTICE WITHOUT BAIL REFORM EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Bail’s out — The importance of criminal justice reform hasn’t been lost on the Upper East Side. What seemed to me to be an impromptu message — a Thursday email for a Saturday event — resulted in a large turnout at the Criminal Justice Panel held at the Church of Advent Hope on East 87th St.. The church, in partnership with UES Assembly Member Dan Quart, hosted panelists Marvin Mayfield from JustLeadershipUSA and Erin L. George from Citizen Action of New York. The discussion focused on the bail system and the fact that it is poverty-based — meaning that the poor who can’t make bail go to jail while the rich or those with the ability to borrow get to go free. And all while there’s a

presumption of innocence. The push for advocacy on the matter of bail in particular and criminal justice reform in general was reflected in the personal story of Mr. Mayfield, who couldn’t make bail and was subjected to gruesome experiences in the jail system. His case was ultimately dismissed. Quart addressed his experience as a legislator, and the antiquated and prejudicial laws which may hamstring judges from exercising their discretion with respect to statutorily mandated fees. The Assembly Member, who is on the 18B Assigned Counsel Plan and represents criminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney, told of his experiences in representing clients who were victims of the system because of their inability to either make bail or pay fees. One audience member, a prosecuting attorney in the Bronx DA’s office, spoke to what

he said was “progressive” prosecuting. That gave rise to an exchange with a man who identified himself as from the Community Board and who disagreed with the Bronx ADA about the progressiveness of the Bronx DA office. Game on. Bragging rites — With the onslaught of fast casual dining — if you want to stand-up-and-eat or join unaffiliated others at a communal table — it’s comforting to know that there are still some old-school restaurants with, as Tevye would say, “tradition.” So it was smile-worthy to see that Le Veau d’Or, the venerable French restaurant on East 60th St, now in its 82nd year, still serves such classic French cuisine as vichysoisse, grenouille, veal kidney, meringue dessert, and enjoys its status in the culinary world and the patronage of famed authors and eminent regulars. Le Veau d’Or shows it all off with two

stacks of books in its entrance-way window. The stack (or pile) pays homage to its regulars who either wrote about the restaurant or mentioned Monsieur Robert in their tomes. Monsieur Robert is Robert Treboux, the influential chef/owner who took over Le Veau d’Or in the mid-80s and ran it until his death in 2012. His daughter, Catherine Treboux, now runs the restaurant. The books by celebrated authors that bear witness include Floyd Abrams’s “Soul of the First Amendment,” Thomas Knight’s “Eloise in Paris,” Oleg Cassini’s “In My Own Fashion,” and A.E. Hotchner’s “Papa Hemingway.” Bragging rights, too, for such departed regulars as Grace Kelly, Truman Capote, and Liz Smith. A bygone time for sure. Note to newbies: Remember to write. Uppity and out — If you name a restaurant “Infirmary” where can you go from there? How far can you rise? Or fall? That’s my take on the recent demise of a restaurant with that name, which closed at the end of this January, and not because of rent.

Infirmary was meant to conjure up the food and flavor of New Orleans — one of the of owners was a Louisiana native. Word was that Infirmary was the go-to place for the New Orleans Saints and for a Happy Hourish millennial crowd. But Infirmary was no sports bar — save for the tv screens. And happy hour was happy because, hey, there’s wine and beer and cocktails. But not the prices. Bar snacks, menu dishes were overpriced. Po’Boys, sandwiches, and starters started at $20. The atmosphere was more UES upscale than down-home New Orleans. And the penchant for local organizations and political clubs to have events at Infirmary didn’t bring in followers or foodies. Service was poorly organized. And the “event” food, except for hummus, was assuredly packaged, maybe frozen. But who can blame the food and prices when the name set the pall, along with ambiance and attitude. Too bad the owners an investors ignored the basics. And for the record: No fun having another empty storefront.

FRIENDSHIP ACROSS THE GENERATIONS BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

“Millennials,” muttered the man behind me in line at Fairway on 86th Street, questioning the work ethic of the young cashier daring to go on her break and leaving customers to wait all of a minute for her replacement to start ringing up. The impatience with different age groups, of course, flows both ways. How many 20- and even 30-somethings roll their eyes when a Boomer is baffled by technology, specifically social media? I don’t get the us vs. them. I guess because I’ve always enjoyed the benefits of trans-generational relationships. Aside from friends my own age, I’ve had older companions, whose experience has enlightened me and younger pals who’ve I’ve mentored — as well as learned from. My mother and daughter, both about 40 years apart from me on either end of the spectrum, are my best examples; my 96-year-old has saved me from myself with her strength, perseverance and wisdom more times than

I can count, while my 21-year-old has kept me young by keeping me abreast of what’s au courant, and her feistiness has often awakened in me the gogetter I used to be. Hence, I read with interest “The Unexpected Connection,” the debut novel by Upper East Side writer, Dena Levin, about two women, separated by generations, who discover they are soul sisters. Manhattanites both, the unlikely pair meet in West Palm Beach where Michelle, a widow in her fifties, has retired, and Vanessa, a millennial professional, is vacationing solo to regroup after one of life’s double whammies: a breakup she initiated reluctantly with a job-loss chaser. Michelle would like to help her new, young pal redirect her life, but knows a lecture or gratuitous advice in the form of “and then there was the time” stories are usually all it takes to push people away. Instead, she asks Vanessa for her thoughts on her manuscript, which chronicles Michelle’s dating escapades since the unanticipated loss

of her husband. As the younger woman reads of her mature companion’s transition from grieving widow to mingling single, we too learn about men like The Joker, Another Bad Penny, and Mr. Rude, just to name a few. (You won’t find any of this bunch on those Our Time commercials, where all the silver studs are dashing, trim and apparently list boating as a hobby.) The book-within-a-book device offers not only comic relief, but insights into Gray Dating, while sparing us chapter after chapter of flashbacks. Michelle’s social bio becomes Vanessa’s bible for life as well as relationships. She takes away what most people forget: heartache knows no boundaries or, “Single is single,” as Michelle likes to say. The elder woman’s accounts also seal their friendship deal, showing Vanessa the synchronicity of events both women share. Most importantly, the younger of the two learns by her new mentor’s example to focus on liking herself instead of blaming herself.

When it’s time to return to NYC, Vanessa does so to a new position, and attitude toward her former love. With Michelle’s unofficial life coaching as her resource, it’s now up to Vanessa to implement all she’s learned. We live in the ultimate melting pot. So many of us are open to inclusion when it comes to races, religions, and nationalities, but stop short when it comes to those in other age groups. Most of what I know, for example, about where I live on the Upper East Side, is not from books or by taking a tour, but because of my mother who graduated from Yorkville High School, now P.S. 151 Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street. Her short-term memory may be fading, but she has no trouble recalling her youth when East 86th Street was the heart of “Germantown” with the bakeries, shops, and “new” beer gardens as the social hot spots. Then of course, the post-WWII demolishment of the Third Avenue El along with brownstones and tenements that made way for towering high-rises.

Photo via Amazon.com Sound familiar? A stroll around the UES, specifically across the street and around the corner from my building, shows charming old-world townhouses razed to make way for the new and modern. Including those of other generations into your New York experience offers an inkling of what’s coming, and when it comes to our elders, an idea of whether or not we want to relive what’s past. History and, as shown in “The Unexpected Connection,” relationships have a way of repeating themselves. Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels “Fat Chick” and “Bactk to Work She Goes.”

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AFTER THE NON-MARCH FOR DISABLED WOMEN TRANSPORTATION What does Jennifer Bartlett want? Disability justice. When does she want it? Now. BY GAIL EISENBERG

Among all the controversy with the Women’s Marches last month, the fight widely overlooked was the one for disability justice. Not surprising given that people with disabilities are often cast aside, despite being one of the largest minority groups in the nation at nearly 13 percent of the population. Local poet and disability rights activist Jennifer Bartlett is working hard to change that. Bartlett, a self-described white woman with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition caused by birth trauma that manifests as an awkward gait and a speech impediment, has demanded more than compliance with 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legislation. She wants leadership roles in the planning of such large-scale events, and for those with disabilities to be highlighted verses tokenized or minimized, as Bartlett wrote on Facebook. Moreover, Bartlett makes clear an important distinction — it is not about having someone with a disability sit on a board, but having someone with

a disability who is actively working to represent the community hold a board position. So, while it’s possible that inadequate accommodations may have made the Women’s March NYC difficult for the 49-year-old Greenpoint resident to navigate, it was the lack of inclusion that led her to organize the first-ever Non-March for Disabled Women. Sponsored by the direct-action group Rise and Resist and endorsed by the NYC Chapter of the National Women’s March, D.C., upwards of 300 disabled women and their friends, families, and allies gathered indoors at Grand Central Station where it was “warm, near an accessible elevator subway stop, required no marching, and had access to food and bathrooms.” Bartlett traces her own transition from advocate to activist to roughly twenty years ago, when she was writing articles about disabled people for WeMedia, a now-defunct website. “It was the first time in my life I got to know a lot of disabled people. It was interesting; I noticed the language they were using,” she says. Since then, Bartlett has been tireless in her efforts to bring public awareness to numerous issues people with disabilities face, as well as what should be obvious — that they deserve the same respect and opportunities as able-bodied people. As a contributor to the New York

Disability activists Jennifer Bartlett (left), Jessica Murray, and April Coughlin with NYC Transit Chief Andy Byford in April 2018. Photo: Erik McGregor

The crowd in Grand Central Station at last month’s Non-March for Disabled Women. Photo: George de Castro-Day Times; co-editor of “Beauty is a Verb,” the first anthology of poets with disabilities; and other writing projects in the works, she’s sure to employ the power of the pen along with direct action to make her voice heard. In April 2017, months before Andy Byford was a name associated with NYC Transit, Bartlett co-founded the Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group (EAG). The EAG regularly attended transit meetings to demand the MTA to address the meager 24 percent accessible subway stations. They staged rallies and protests, and aligned with other groups for their on-going “Elevators are for Everyone” campaign, which sheds light on the diverse mix of subway riders who need and rely on working elevators. When Byford was hired as transit president, fellow EAG activist Jessica Murray presented him with a subway map pierced with pushpins — red to delineate inaccessible stations and blue accessible — and invited him to ride the subway. Byford agreed. Byford spent several hours traversing the system as the group encountered what they expected — issues such as slow or broken elevators, outof-service card readers and necessary updates to elevator signage. The unexpected happened when they ordered breakfast. “I asked for an iced coffee, and the barista looked at Andy and said, ‘What’d she say?’ I told her: ‘I can speak for myself,’” says Bartlett. “I spend a lot of time navigating the city

Participant at last month’s Non-March for Disabled Women. Photo: George de Castro-Day alone, which I like because whomever I encounter is forced to speak to me. When they ask the closest person what I’ve said, it’s completely demoralizing.” Byford asked questions about the exchange. It was clear to Barlett that he grasped there weren’t just accessibility issues that disabled her; it was also the daily prejudice in simple interactions. She said she thought to herself, I would really like to work with this guy. The universe heard her request. Late last year, amidst perhaps the transit system’s most critical — and criticized — time in its history,

Bartlett was tapped to be a training and outreach specialist for systemwide accessibility on the team led by the MTA’s first-ever accessibility chief, Alex Elegudin. She’s currently writing sensitivity training manuals, and will soon hold etiquette sessions for bus operators. “I’ve been taking the bus for 20 years, and I love it. I’m really excited to work on this project.” For more information about Rise and Resist’s Elevator Action Group go to: rise-and-resist.squarespace.com/elevatoraction-group


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Feed Their Souls & Fill Their Hearts

Discover the world around the corner. Find community events, gallery openings, book launches and much more: Go to nycnow.com

EDITOR’S PICK

Jan 18 - Feb 23 LEX BROWN: ANIMAL STATIC

Join us any Sunday from 10:00am to 12:00pm for spiritual learning and creative outlets for children of all ages. Always free of charge!

children, youth & families ministry

For more information contact us at: 1 West 29th Street / New York, New York 10001 212 686 2770 / MarbleChurch.org

The Kitchen 512 West 19th St 11:00 a.m $15 thekitchen.org 212-255-5793 Through an installation of motion-sensor video, large-scale drawing, and performance, Lex Brown’s cast of characters draw us into an evolving, self-contained narrative circuit, presenting each of us with slips in reality that we’ve already begun to build into our everyday. Curated by Lumi Tan.

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TENZIN CHOEGYAL MUSICAL PERFORMANCE WITH RUBIN KODHELI

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Mulberry Street Library 10 Jersey St 1:00 p.m. Free Simple stories, songs, and rhymes for confident crawlers/ walkers and their caregivers, followed by a short playtime. Limited to: 20 caregivers and their children. For ages 1 and older. nypl.org 212-966-3424

The Rubin Museum 150 West 17th St 7:00 p.m. $25 Through his powerful musical performances, celebrated Tibetan artist, composer, and activist Tenzin Choegyal will look inward to explore the root of his musical practice and the intentions behind it. rubinmuseum.org 212-620-5000

UCB East 153 East 3rd St 10:00 p.m. $14 Watch as some of the UCB’s top improvisers interview an audience member about their love life, and then spin their stories of romantic love and loss into comedy gold! This is also the last ever show at UCB East. 212-366-9231


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Sun 10 Mon 11 Tue 12 ▼ SOCCER AFTERNOON LIVE! Caveat 21 A Clinton St 3:30 p.m $12 Hosts Jon Hudson (KickTV, MLS, NBC) and Neil Sharma (DeadassTV) explore the internation phenomenon of soccer alongside journalists, personalities, and former/ current athletes for a rowdy, action-packed variety show. caveat.nyc 212-228-2100

TODDLER STORYTIME Jefferson Market Library 425 Ave of the Americas 11:00 a.m. Free Picture book stories, songs, and crafts for toddlers and their caregivers. nypl.org (212) 243-4334

CHARLIE JANE ANDERS: THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT The Strand 828 Broadway 7:00 p.m. $15 From the Hugo and NebulaAward winning author of the critically-acclaimed All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders, comes an all-new work of thought-provoking and entertaining speculative fiction set on a distant planet, divided into permanent day and night. strandbooks.com 212-473-1452

Wed 13 ▲ KNITTING CIRCLE Hudson Park Library 66 Leroy St Noon Free Relax with others and explore your crafty self! All created items will benefit a local charity. Some experience required. nypl.org 212-243-6876

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In the High Gallery: An expansive view of works from the series “The Ten Largest” (1907) Photo: David Heald. © 2018 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Hilma af Klint. Stockholm, 1910s.Photo: Courtesy The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm

THE WOMAN WHO PIONEERED ABSTRACT PAINTING Hilma af Klint was ahead of her time, and of all the men who followed in her footsteps BY VAL CASTRONOVO

Until the last half of the last century, Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (18621944) was pretty much on no one’s radar. And that’s the way she wanted it. After she veered into abstraction in the early 1900s, she insisted that her works be kept under wraps — seen by very few, virtually hidden — until 20 years after her death. She was convinced they would not be understood. Even more oddly, she directed that two mathematical characters, + x, accompany her written legacy. Nearly all her notebooks display the symbols on the first page. “All works,” she wrote in a 1932 notebook, “should carry the sign shown above.” Okaaay. Af Klint is internationally celebrated today, but her oeuvre did not emerge from the shadows until 1986, when it was included in a groundbreaking show, “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It turns out af Klint, a woman, pioneered abstract painting. She took it

up years before Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich. But she did it on her own terms, in her own way. She produced more than 1,200 artworks during her career, including conventional landscapes, portraits and scientific illustrations that she sold to support herself. The retrospective here is exhaustive, with more than 170 drawings, paintings and notebooks, the bulk from 1906-20, lining the ramps. Prepare for a workout. A spiritualist, with an appetite for the occult and things that go bump in the night, af Klint was part of a group of women who styled themselves The Five. They held séances and communicated with spirits. Hilma became a medium, falling into trances and channeling invisible powers, known as “High Masters.” The spirits had names: Amaliel, Ananda, Clemens, Esther, Georg, and Gregor. A 1933 notebook includes a sketch by the artist of several sprites. They look like shooting stars. Think of af Klint and her cohorts as translators. They met regularly, kneeling around an altar and looking for the spirits to move them, to guide them. Automatic drawings — recordings of their contacts — that the women made

during these sessions are on display. In 1906, af Klint agreed to accept a “great commission” from the Masters to create a vast cycle, “The Paintings for the Temple” (1906-15). She produced 193 works for the sanctuary, though the holy place was never built. Her pivot to abstraction stemmed from a desire to understand the universe and how things work, cosmically speaking. She was a truth-seeker, in search of higher knowledge. The art was informed by occult philosophies like theosophy and the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, as well as scientific breakthroughs like Darwin’s theory of evolution and the discovery of subatomic particles — things that cannot be seen. Visitors to the show can tap into that spirit, beginning in the High Gallery, where 10 monumental, ecstatic paintings known as “The Ten Largest” (1907) are presented. This series charts the stages of human life — Childhood, Youth, Adulthood, Old Age — and looks like it could have been made today, or in the 1960s era of trippin’ and flower power. The works, which were painted on the floor (think Jackson Pollock, decades later), appear quite decorative, but they convey mystical messages.

The Ten were created in an astonishingly short period of time, around 60 days. They are a blast of color and free-floating forms; some of the forms are familiar, some not at all. There are flowers, tendrils, pinwheels, snails — lots of snails — swirls, curlicues, circles, overlapping circles that look like Venn diagrams, circles that look like eyeballs, and two bulbous yellow shapes that are connected and look like an hourglass (a hot-air balloon? squash?). And then there are the writings — individual letters and unrecognizable words sprinkled here and there, like code. These paintings are a wild spill, a window into altered states of consciousness. Af Klint described the process of painting The Ten this way: “It was not the case that I was to blindly obey the High Lords of the Mysteries but to imagine that they were always standing by my side.” In 1916, she quit channeling and assumed full control of her art. Near the top of the ramp, the exhibit achieves transcendence again with the showcasing of “Altarpieces” (1915), a trio of geometric works with triangles and gold orbs, the last leg of “The Paintings for the Temple.” Conceived to hang in the house of worship’s in-

ner sanctum, they radiate splendor and otherworldliness. Af Klint’s vision for the never-realized temple included a spiral staircase. The design was eerily similar to Guggenheim museum co-founder Hilla Rebay’s vision for the spiral monolith on Fifth Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. But the similarities were purely coincidental, curator Tracey Bashkoff writes in the catalog. It is no coincidence, however, that the ever-graceful edifice, founded as a “temple of spirit” to house non-objective art, is now hosting an exhibit by a pioneer of non-objective art, one who was enamored of the spiral motif (remember the snails?). As Bashkoff writes, “The spiral, symbol of evolution, progress, and growth, and linked to forces of nature, embodies and houses af Klint’s visions.”

IF YOU GO What: Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future Where: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York When: Through April 23 www.guggenheim.org


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Bailen onstage during their sold-out show last month at Bowery Ballroom. Photo: Courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum

WEST SIDE SIBLINGS SING THEIR WAY TO THE TOP MUSIC The Bailens, who grew up in a musical household, are winning fans with their heartfelt sound BY MICHELLE NAIM

It’s always nice to see siblings who actually get along. But Daniel, David and Julia Bailen are doing much more than that. Instead of pulling each other’s hair out, the Bailens, who have been singing since they were in diapers, brought their talents together in 2014 to form the Bailen band. Their refreshing three-part harmonies, folky style and original songs have them on a dream trajectory. They sold out the Bowery Ballroom last month and begin a three-month tour of the U.S. on February 20th. But before the rest of the country sees them, Bailen, accompanied by their parents, have a show February 7th at their childhood middle school, Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side. Julia, 22, is on vocals and acoustic guitar. Twins Daniel and David, 27, also sing and handle bass (Daniel) and drums (David). Their childhood friend, Pierre Piscitelli, their “brother from another mother,” as Daniel puts it, plays keyboards. Although the band’s success is solely their own, they come from musical blood. Their parents, Eliot Bailen and Susan Rotholz, are freelance musicians who taught at Columbia University and the Manhattan School of Music while the siblings were growing

Julia Bailen is the leader of the band, said big brother Daniel. Photo: Courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum up. The Bailen’s childhood home was a regular stop sophisticated instrumentalists, making the home “a cacophony of sounds,” said Daniel. He recalled one time when he had a friend over and “[he] went to use the bathroom and there was literally a violinist practicing in the bathroom. So that’s the house we grew up in.” For the Bailen kids, a career in music seemed like the most normal thing in the world. Growing up, the Bailens lived in Morningside Heights, and Daniel spoke fondly of life on the Upper West Side. “It’s a special place to be,” Daniel said, “it was a wonderful place to grow up.” In fact, the cover of the

band’s debut record was shot in front of The Hungarian Pastry Shop, on Amsterdam Avenue, which is their favorite spot to write song lyrics. “A lot of amazing authors and writers go there and all the books that have been written there are on the wall.” Daniel said his little sister, Julia, who went to Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts on the Upper West Side, is the leader of the band. “She just knows what’s good and bad, she’ll let you know.” Although the siblings get along for the most part, Daniel said they all have strong personalities that can clash at times. He described his drum-playing

twin brother, David, as “super organized and very detail oriented ... If there’s a tour, I’m like, ‘Yeah we’re just driving twenty hours.’ [For David,] all the things that could go wrong are going wrong in his head and he’s planning for them ... If I’m working on a tune, [it] will be a complete mess and David will come organize it.” He also recognizes that their “little sis,” Julia, is “just way cooler than us.” The twins began writing songs together when they were around 5. Their first composition was called “Fire in the Kitchen.” Later, between the ages of 8 and 12, they started singing professionally in the Metropolitan Opera. In high school, Daniel said, that he and David “would go to Emmanuel Baptist Church [in Brooklyn] which is mostly a Haitian community, [a] beautiful place, where amazing music is created. It’s gospel music. Every Sunday we would go down there and play bass and drums.” The twins formed the Bailen Brothers in high school, and promised Julia she could join once she got her braces removed. Then, when the band began to get serious in 2015, they started performing with their sister. In 2016, they began working with Sofar Sounds, which arranges concerts in living rooms, retail shops and other small settings. “I know that if you’ve heard about us it’s because you’ve heard us live,” said Daniel. “And you’ve probably heard us in a really intimate environment. I know that our followers ... are all people we’ve met and not [people] who stumbled upon us on Instagram or ... Spotify, where

everything is so quick and moves so fast. That’s something that is so much more valuable than discovering us on a playlist. It’s in the flesh.” Daniel called Bailen’s musical influences “a very wide range ... Appalachian folk ... classical music ... [we sang] New York gospel music growing up ... New York City had a huge influence on the eclectic sound that we have.” The band’s sold-out Bowery Ballroom show (opened by Elliott Skinner) included a poignant moment when Daniel introduced a new song, called “Eyelashes.” Daniel told a story of a girl, “She was our age. She grew up on the Lebanese border during the second Lebanon War in the 90s. She was a child in the 90s.” He said that she told him “Her mom was worried because she kept pulling out her eyelashes. So she asked ‘Why do you keep pulling on your eyelashes?’ And she said ‘because I want to make wishes.’ So her mom asked ‘What are you wishing for?’ And she said: ‘I’m wishing for the war to end.’ I thought that was a really beautiful story so I wrote a song about it.” Towards the end of the performance, the band announced the midnight release of their first single, “I Was Wrong.” As Daniel explained the idea behind the song: “When there’s a problem, you never see anyone stepping back and saying ‘Maybe there’s something I’m doing that’s triggering this or starting the problem.’ And it’s never right or wrong.” True enough. But Bailen is getting it right. There’s no doubt about that.


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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HAPPY HARMONIES NIGHTLIFE There’s music everywhere in Manhattan, and you can join in BY MEREDITH KURZ

There are no neon lights and the red door tucked in a corner is nondescript. “If you reach a place with Italian lights overhead, you’ve gone too far,” are a stranger’s vague directions. With a handful of steps down from the sidewalk, I bend down to peer in, make sure it’s the right spot, that they’re open on a Sunday at 5:30. In the dim interior I see a few Christmas lights and then the old upright piano. Behind the bar, Joseph O’Neill is on his eighth sticky note, scrawling out “must go” places in the Village for two women from Wales who are enjoying ‘Tea Time,’ in other words, a couple of beers, no glasses, please. O’Neill knows this neighborhood like he knows all the lyrics to “Don’t Rain on my Parade.” He’s giving them City Gold which you won’t find online. As I step up to the bar, he’s on pizza joints (only three worth mentioning) giving arcane details like, “Look for an old guy with a scruffy beard. If he isn’t there, don’t order”. There are no 60” monitors over the bar at Marie’s Crisis. A deceased TV that must have witnessed the moon landing is tucked under the rafters. When I tell Joseph I called the phone number to get a schedule he waves his hand. “That was disconnected ten years ago.” “They don’t exist anymore,” people tell me when hunting for a cozy neighborhood piano bar. “Most of them are gone,” O’Neill shrugs, almost agreeing. “This is the best one in the city and we’re able to stay because the bar owner also owns the building.” This gem’s hidden in plain sight at 59 Grove Street. Sure it’s given high stars for the late night crowd, but we’re enjoying an early evening weekend very happy hour. Pianist Kenney Green, who’s also Artistic Director for the Depot Theater, arrives. He sits down and pulls out an iPad and tells me he doesn’t miss the three suitcases of sheet music he used to lug around. People start to straggle in, order drinks, and you can tell they have their own stool, their spot around the piano.

In the swing of things at Marie’s Crisis. Photo: Steam Pipe Distribution Venue, via Flckr This crowd knows one another but pull me into their circle, into the magic. Taking a seat on a cracked red vinyl stool, I toss a dollar into the fish bowl. Another woman reaches over me and drops in two fivers. “My husband’s working next door,” she says. “He’s a trumpeter.” Turns out she plays piano and sings as well. A few others belly up to the piano, and I realize this is where musicians come to sing. Rubbing elbows with real musicians, trying out my rusty voice is a throat constricting, eye-misting treat. We work our way through “I Believe In You” (To see the cool clear, eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth), “Embraceable You” (Just one look at you, my heart grew tipsy in me. You and you alone bring out the gypsy in me), “American in Paris,” “‘S Wonderful,” Gershwin’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (You say potato ...) and Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to warm up. “People meet here, fall in love, and some get married,” O’Neill says. With songs like these, in a place like this, I can see why. There are other places to sing with strangers. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has four weekly “Move and Groove” sing alongs. For seniors, the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side holds a free sing along every fourth Friday of the month. Symphony Space,

also on the UWS, offers movie sing-alongs, and a calendar of Karaoke events at their Bar Thalia around the corner. My neighborhood forum offered their favorites; Iris G. likes the sing along of oldies at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue; Diane K. enjoys the Flying Ivories who play Manhattan-wide; Paul M. and others suggests Sid’s Gold, where Shelly Watson offers sing-alongs on the second Tuesday of every month. There are choruses and choirs all over town, and I enjoyed one semester of singing with the Riverside Church’s Inspiration Choir, whose director, Nedra Olds-Neal, the best director I’ve ever sung under, has produced with SONY and Arista Records. As for romance and Marie’s Crisis, I learn Kenney Green is filling in for Adam Tilford, his husband, who he met here. Kenney plays Wednesday and Friday nights from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m,, so getting to hear him in the early hours is a treat for me. I know I’ll return to sing with Adam. If you aren’t a late night person and you’re looking for that place you thought didn’t exist anymore in Manhattan, go to Marie’s Crisis. You don’t have to go at midnight, although they have a rollicking good time then. You may start singing with strangers, who become acquaintances, and then? On this day at this time this is a secret gem for New Yorkers.

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RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS JAN 23 - 29, 2018

Chefs Club by Food & Wine 295 Lafayette St

A

Surya Indian Cuisine

154 Bleecker St

Grade Pending (19) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Banter

169 Sullivan St

Grade Pending (24) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml. Maxwell’s

59 Reade Street

A

Bluespoon Coffee

76 Chambers Street

A

McDonald’s

167 Chambers Street

A

Spotify - Barista Bar

150 Greenwich St

A

Pepe Rosso To Go

149 Sullivan Street

A

Bennie’s Thai Cafe

88 Fulton Street

Grade Pending (19) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature not cooled to 41º F or below within 4 hours. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

12 Chairs

56 Macdougal Street

Grade Pending (24) Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Squire Diner

80 Beekman Street

A

Sadelles

463 W Broadway

A

Nassau Bar

118 Nassau Street

A

101 Maiden Lane

A

Coco & Cru / Sweetwater Social

643 Broadway

Potbelly Sandwich Works Milk N’ Honey

160 Broadway

A

Keste Wall Street

77 Fulton St

A

22 Thai Cuisine

59 Nassau St

A

Grade Pending (22) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Luchadores

87 South St

A

Okinii

216 Thompson St

A

Bin No 220

220 Front Street

A

Deb’s

200 Varick Street

A

Casa Toscana

12 John Street

A

Dos Caminos

675 Hudson Street

A

Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen

110 Ave of the Americas

A

Milk & Cookies Bakery

19 Commerce Street

A

Maura’s Rotisserie

353 W 14th St

A

Starbucks

150 Varick Street

A

The Woodstock

446 W 14th St

Nonna Beppa

290 Hudson St

Grade Pending (25) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Breakroom

83 Baxter St

Not Yet Graded (28) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Not Yet Graded (47) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, crosscontaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/ sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Benvenuto Cafe

189 Franklin Street

A

IFC Center

323 6th Ave

Tasty Dumpling

42 Mulberry St

A

Eggloo

60 Mulberry St

A

Yee Li Restaurant

1-3 Elizabeth Street

A

Grade Pending (15) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Greenwich Street Tavern

399 Greenwich St

A

Slaughtered Lamb Pub

182 W 4th St

A

Dunkin Donuts

381 Canal St

A

Seven Grams Caffe

175 Varick St

A

Houseman Restaurant

508 Greenwich St

A

Banh Mi Zon

443 E 6th St

A

Joe’s Steam Rice Roll

261 Canal St

A

Black Seed Bagels

176 1st Ave

A

Raouls

180 Prince Street

A

Space 194

194 1st Ave

A

Lombardi’s

32 Spring Street

Grade Pending (23) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, crosscontaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Cornerstone Cafe

17 Avenue B

A

Casa Adela Restaurant

66 Avenue C

A

Paris Baguette

264 1st Ave

A

Cafe Mogador

101 St Marks Place

A

Sophie’s

507 East 5 Street

A


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

SCHOOLS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The accused abusers and their tenure at the Upper East Side school include: John Farrand, 1957-61; John Gallen, 1957-60; Edward Horgan, 1954-57, 6370; James Kuntz, 1983-84, 8994; and Robert Voelke 1969-80. All but Kuntz (who pleaded guilty to a child pornography offense after his time at Regis and Xavier) are dead. Officials at Regis have reviewed the school’s policies and continue to work to create a safe place for students, according to the statement. As for Xavier, none of the accusations of abuse against the priests stem from their time at the Chelsea prep school, according to its president, Jack Raslowsky. Raslowsky said the province gave him a week’s notice that Xavier would appear on the list, but he said he had been aware of some of the names on the list already. The priests include: Cornelius Carr, 198083; Thomas Denny, 1969-70; Raymond Fullam, 1946-48; John Garvey, 1989-2002; James Kuntz, 1971-74; Keith Picklers, 1984-87; William Scanlon, 197172; and Joseph Towle, 1960-63. Denny, Kuntz, Picklers and Scanlon are alive, according to the province’s list. “In a word, it’s a horror,” Raslowsky told Our Town in a recent interview. He called the abuse crisis a failure in leadership, and a problem that encompasses the church at large. Since becoming the first lay president of Xavier in 2009, Raslowsky has sought to change the leadership culture by embracing transparency and establishing strict policies that aim to protect students from abuse. In anticipation of the province’s list, Raslowsky sent a letter to a network of 19,000 alumni, parents, past parents and other members of the Xavier community addressing what was to become public the following day. “No one has been more affected by the abuse crisis than victims and their families. Recognizing and acknowledging abuse often takes many years and can involve a lifetime of healing,” he wrote. “It is hoped that the release of the names of those credibly accused will help the healing of victims. Their healing and the prevention of future abuse must be our first priorities in word, deed, and action.” The letter provided the community with information about Xavier’s current policies and

Xavier High School president Jack Raslowsky. Photo: Courtesy of Xavier High School procedures regarding the prevention of abuse and harassment. In 2012, for example, the school hired T&M Protection Resources, a private security, intelligence and investigations company, to revise procedures and policies and help implement yearly training for the faculty and the students. An ombudsman oversees policies, training and investigations into abuse, harassment and bullying. The letter, and a follow-up with a link to the list and information for survivors of abuse, prompted a broad spectrum of reactions from the Xavier community. “There was a lot of support for Xavier. There was gratitude for the letter, gratitude for confronting it honestly,” Raslowsky said. “In some cases there was great distrust of the church.” Raslowsky said many alumni had trouble coming to terms with the inclusion on the province’s list of John Garvey, who was at the school for more than a decade. “Many of the other guys were older or were here briefly. They [the alumni] knew John. For those folks, John did some very good work and was well loved by many,” he said. “For many of those folks they begin to question their relationship, they question their experience, they’re hurt for John, they’re hurt for victims. There are a lot of complications there, but honest complications.” The release of the list prompted one survivor of abuse a chance to share his story with Xavier leadership. “I received one call from an alum who was the victim of abuse in 1961 by a lay person. We had a good conversation and he was relieved to tell his story,” Raslowsky said. “The person who committed the abuse is dead and has been for

over ten years, and had been at Xavier for three years in that period.” Following the publication of the list, Xavier hosted a forum at the school as well as a conference call for alumni and parents to voice their thoughts and feelings. “It was very solemn; it was apparent those emotions were in that room, from dismay and disappointment to anger and frustration,” said Tom Weatherall, a 1986 Xavier graduate, who attended the forum. “I felt like there was compassion for the victims.” Weatherall said Xavier was the place where he accepted his Catholic faith and felt that it was his own, rather than something given to him by his parents. So when the abuse crisis become apparent in the early 2000s, Weatherall said he felt anger, disgust and deep sadness, and frustration with the church for the broader hierarchy that covered up the abuse. For him, the province’s release of the list and Xavier’s actions have been a welcome start toward healing. “I appreciated [Raslowsky’s] and the Xavier community’s openness and willingness towards transparency,” Weatherall said. Paul Scariano, a 1990 graduate who has two sons enrolled in Xavier was proud and comforted by the way the school’s leadership handled the news. “My boys are aware of things. They talked about it in their religion class and were asked if they wanted to talk about anything,” said Scariano, who is also a member of the school’s board of trustee’s. “The administration got to the students in the right way.” Scariano said Xavier had also been a place where he fit in well, and most others fit in well, and he thinks the school’s culture continues to be a place that values communication and openness with students. “Everyone wishes the church was honest about it in the beginning. Now, I don’t know what else you can do but be honest about it,” he said. For the church to move forward, Raslowsky said it needs to continue to be transparent and open about the mistakes it has made along the way. “Here at Xavier we’re a place where we give voice to different people. Power comes from that ... to raise questions about how the church is the best church it can be in terms of power and voice and authority and leadership,” he said. “We are one very little part of the worldwide church, but we get it right, hopefully it inspires other people to get it right.”

He loves solving problems. So he gives. William Donnell turned to The New York Community Trust to help him share his good fortune. Together, we preserve parks, support the LGBTQ community, and fight poverty. He also put The Trust in his will. “Long after I’m gone, The Trust will keep using my money to make New York better for everyone.”

What do you love? We can help with your charitable giving. (212) 686-0010 x363 or giving@nyct-cfi.org www.GiveTo.nyc

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

COMMON GROUND IN THE KITCHEN La Central, a new restaurant in Chelsea, focuses on the allure of Latin American cuisine from those who know it best BY DEBORAH FENKER

In the midst of all the closings and bankruptcies of Chelsea restaurants, a glimmer of hope lies in a spectacular new project that has just opened its doors within the Hotel Americano. La Central, a dynamic pan-Latin eatery, has renowned chef Franklin Becker at its helm. But what makes this place fresh, exciting, timely and important is the collaborative initiative that brought it to life. Becker is no newcomer to New York’s restaurant scene. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he cut his teeth bussing tables in the early ’80s. Recognizing a natural affinity towards what others might regard as the chaos of the kitchen, Becker enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation in ’92, he fell in with some of the best chefs in New York at the time: Charlie Palmer, David Walzog and Bobby Flay. It was Flay who introduced him to the allure of Latin American cuisine. So when the owners of Hotel Americano (who are from Mexico City) approached him just nine months ago about opening a restaurant in the space, the Latino focus was a no-

brainer. Chef Becker took a good look at his kitchen staff — the Peruvians, Ecuadoreans and Salvadorans who were already a part of his team — and found the inspiration for La Central. He asked, “What do YOU cook?” and the effusion of replies become the foundation of the menu. La Central obviously doesn’t refer to the restaurant’s physical location, which is in the far reaches of West Chelsea on 27th Street, but to Central and South America, including influences from the Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish settlers that populated those territories early on. The diverse kitchen, then, became a unifying instrument for the chef, his staff and its cuisine: a center, if you will, and thus, La Central was born. Not only have their talents been elevated by cooking dishes with which they are familiar and comfortable, there emerged a tremendous pride of culture in sharing family recipes and regional specialities with the diners who would come to frequent the restaurant, and also among members of the staff. Any cultural differences between them melted, and alongside Chef Becker and even the front of house, they have united as a singular team like few kitchens ever accomplish. The staff calls Becker “Padrino,” which means grandpa, further illustrating the familial bond. The menu is like a playlist of the

FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

Business

Chef Franklin Becker and Lucero Guittierez. Photo: Deborah Fenker staff’s family recipes, sometimes seen through the eyes of chef Becker, and other times, directly adapted from the original. “I’m going to give them credit for what they’re doing.” Lucero Guittierrez, is from Cholula, Puebla, a town known for their moles and sauces, and opens the menu with her namesake Lucero’s Salsas: a spectrum of heat and color, spanning from a mild, bracing curtido, pungent with cloves, to an incendiary puree of chile di arbor that hits you in the back of the throat and just keeps on burning — in the best possible way. This is her first time cooking professionally, and she has even started making making her own tortillas, branching out as she’d never dreamed of before.

La Central’s team is really a team: the cooks note how working here feels different, like they are really fundamental partners, rather than just employees. Carlos Cartagena was born in the U.S., but his Salvadoran and Dominican roots shine through his deep golden pupusas, a vegetarian version stuffed with mushrooms and sweet winter squash. “Everyone in the kitchen is putting their culture into the menu,” he says, and there’s so much “more love and care” as a result. Marco Castro contributed the leche di Tigre, causa, and chaufa of his native Peru, all “food I used to eat” growing up. Roberto’s Enchiladas (Roberto Martinez is also from Cholula) are another highlight, fresh tortillas stuffed

with the tenderest chicken, stewed and salty, smothered in an almost creamy salsa verde and drizzled in crema and a flounce of queso fresco. While it is listed as an appetizer, it’s in no way too skimpy for a main, especially with its depth of flavor. Rounded out with the chips and salsa or one of the innovative side dishes, one could comprise a relatively economical meal. But while La Central is no divey bargain tacqueria, its prices are easily justified by the robust and nuanced flavors that sing from every plate, even if the portions weren’t as generous and filling as they are. Sometimes we might forget that we’re not the only Americans, that Central and South America share that title with Northerners, and comprise a huge part of our current population as well. Hotel Americano has provided a platform to usher in this inclusiveness, a reminder of the melting pot that we are. Whether it is via pot, skillet or cazuela, dinner at La Central has achieved something beyond just delicious food: it provides an example of how people, how Americans, can cooperate, collaborate, and thrive at their very best. As Marco Castro said, and in every sense, “this is good.” La Central is located in the Hotel Americano, at 518 West 27th Street. The restaurant is open throughout the day for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Reservations through Open Table.

Roberto’s Enchiladas. Photo: Deborah Fenker

Lucero’s Salsas. Photo: Deborah Fenker


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com To read about other people who have had their “15 Minutes” go to otdowntown.com/15 minutes

YOUR 15 MINUTES

BORN PURPLE, AND FUNNY BY JOSHUA NASSER

comedians from so many different worlds of the New York comedy scene. It was nice because I think it’s easy to be accepted in your college improv team, but it felt really nice when I was integrated into the New York comedy scene. There are so many pockets of it.

Leanne Velednitsky is a New Yorkbased actor, writer and comedian. She graduated from NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing in 2016, and has studied sketch/improv at UCB and the Magnet. She’s worked at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and the digital comedy company Above Average. She talked about her time in New York, the city’s different comedy “pockets” and what she thinks is next to come.

So, to start this off, I’m gonna ask an easy question, do you think funny people are born funny? Nah, funny people are born purple.

Okay, interesting, so do you think you weren’t born funny? Nah, when I was born, and I was purple.

So I’m gonna take that as a yes, people can be born funny. I will say I don’t think you have to be born funny to be funny. Haha sure I’d agree with that.

But after being born funny, I guess my next question would be how long have you been doing comedy? I’ve been enjoying comedy for a very long time. [Interviewer and subject both laugh.] Do you mean just mean doing comedy in New York?

Yeah that works. I was thinking overall, but how long have you been doing comedy before New York? I’ve been doing comedy for six years now! Although four of those were while I was attending college at NYU in the city, so I guess we’ll say two years in the big bad world!

What would you say has been the major difference between the two? I guess what I mean is, you feel a difference doing comedy within the singular institution of college for a built-in audience of college students and doing it on a larger scale of ... well, for anyone.

What do you mean? Audiences. You’re playing to your bubble or you’re playing for the world. But I don’t think that’s just a comedy thing. That’s the major difference between college and after college — nothing is guaranteed or handed to you. You have to put effort into making your community and seeing things through. Especially as a freelance artist/comedian/person. There are far less deadlines.

“My resume says I’m versatile, or at least that’s what I hope it gives off!” Photo: Katie Gehrmann

Oh what do you mean by pockets of it? Just like different crowds you could be with and stuff!

Comedian and actor Leanne Velednitsky is currently appearing Off Broadway in “Puffs,” at New World Stages. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Velednitsky

Sure, that makes sense. And after all of that I’m doing it all over New York! Although I was taking improv classes outside of school when I was in college, so I was always kind of a part of that world.

And where would you say you are now? Or rather how has post-college comedy been? It’s been good! Right now I’m a cast member in Puffs which is playing Off Broadway!

Oh I’ve heard of that show. It’s from the perspective of the Hufflepuffs, all throughout Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts right? Yeah!

That concept is cool. What else? I host a monthly variety show in Brooklyn, and I make videos with my production team Bad Apples. I perform improv, characters and I was on a sketch team at The Magnet. I do all this at various venues and shows. I’m having fun.

What was the sketch team like? Was that one of your first post college comedy experiences? It wasn’t my first but it was one that I’m very happy I was on!

I’m just curious about what changed you from college comedian to comic in New York? I got on a team at the Magnet in August of 2017. You audition for teams there and they have a really great policy where women and POC don’t need to have trained at the Magnet to be able to audition. I was happy I was able to audition, then I got onto a team which is called The Nitro Girls. I was on that team for more than a year. The Magnet is such a wonderful community and it was nice to meet so many

I see. I always think those are kind of interesting. You may belong to a specific pocket, but comedy’s just so huge in general. Like you could be a comic in the club scene, or do improv, or alt comedy and still barely touch all of the social circles. I’m rambling. Anyways how do you feel about the pockets and such? I feel fine personally, I’ve always felt like a floater throughout life, whether it be socially or skill-wise. I like to do different things. My resume says I’m versatile, or at least that’s what i hope it gives off! [laughs] And that has led me to dip my toes into a lot of different comedic waters.

From being in these different pockets, in what ways have you seen comedy change and what do you think you’re looking forward to the most with comedy in New York or with comedy in general? I like the idea of more acceptance being pushed. People are caring for others in a very good way and it’s just nice to see. Recently you’ve been seeing more mics being run by women, LGBTQ, and people of color and that has been a huge shift from what the scene was like when I was in college. I was mainly doing improv and sketch back then, but I was on a stand up team at NYU, which was pretty much the only place I did stand up. NYU was nice but when I would venture out into the city you would see some mics that were run with a negative energy. Now that I’m out it’s been nice to see the changes that have happened in the meantime. There’s still a long way to go but it’s nice to know these spaces exist.

That’s great that such a positive shift has happened throughout your career. Well thanks so much Leanne this was really nice. Thanks for having me, this was fun! Check out more of Leanne’s work at her website www.leannevelednitsky.com

Know somebody who deserves their 15 Minutes of fame? Go to otdowntown.com and click on submit a press release or announcement.


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Downtowner 1

FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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