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The local paper for Downtown wn

WEEK OF MAY GOOD AS GOLD ◄ P.12

10-16 2018

UWS SUBWAYS CLOSED FOR REPAIRS, BUT NO ELEVATORS IN SIGHT TRANSIT Renovation work at 72nd, 86th and 110th Street stations should have included accessibility improvements, advocates say BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

St. Vincent de Paul Church on West 23rd Street, once a significant marker for the city’s African-American community, before it was shuttered in 2013 by the Archdiocese of New York. The church, among the vestiges of significant cultural institutions in the neighborhood, has since been purchased by a hotel developer. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

SAVING CHELSEA HISTORY A coalition of residents works to preserve the neighborhood’s history and its diversity BY MICHAEL DESANTIS

Wooden boards cover the three large windows of a forsaken limestone building with a triangular roof on West 23rd Street, a few doors west of Sixth Avenue. Brown discoloration marks the stone, which is chipped in parts. Its bulky green hardwood doors are powdered with a fine dust. St. Vincent de Paul Church, where an abolitionist, the Rev. Annet Lafont, taught religion to African-American children in the 1850s, has been shuttered since 2013. The church, once a hub of the

neighborhood’s African-American community, has been abandoned, in some ways symbolic of a vanishing piece of Chelsea, which has seen a sweeping tide of gentrification. Vestiges of the neighborhood’s rich cultural history and ethnically diverse businesses are disappearing, replaced by trendy boutique hotels, chain stores and luxury apartment buildings. Longtime neighborhood residents lament how Chelsea has changed, but a grassroots organization, Save Chelsea, is actively fighting to preserve the area and its history. In the late 19th century and early 20th, a strong African-American community brought sweeping changes to Manhattan’s music, theater and art cultures. Chelsea was

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As MTA employees worked to shutter the subway station at West 72nd Street and Central Park West for six months of renovations on the morning of May 7, transit riders and advocates gathered nearby to protest the transit authority’s failure to install elevators as part of the station improvement project, which also includes extensive work on three other Manhattan stops. “We encourage investment in our subways, but when you make repairs and renovations you must do elevators as well,” said Linda Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side in the New York State Assembly and organized the rally. Dozens of attendees, a number of whom used wheelchairs or pushed strollers, huddled in front of the boarded-up station entrance and called on the MTA to expand elevator service in the city’s subway stations, roughly 75 percent of which are inaccessible to riders who cannot climb stairs. Hilda Caba, a Bronx resident who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury, said she traveled to the rally by taxi because no subway stations near her home have elevators. Caba, like many disabled riders, relies primarily on bus service, which she said is often slow or unreliable. “It’s not the same as the train,” she said. “It’s frustrating,” Caba said of MTA station renovations that don’t include

Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and transit advocates rallied at the B and C train stop at West 72nd Street to call on the MTA to install elevators during future station closures. Photo: Michael Garofalo

There is no better time to construct elevators than when stations are already closed for renovations” Colin Wright, TransitCenter

new elevators. “Why are they not including us? I think that’s not fair, because we are also citizens. We have the same rights as everybody else, and I think they should have more funds for these issues.” The work at 72nd Street is part of the MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative, a repair and renovation project champiDowntowner

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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

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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

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

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oned by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The initiative, originally slated to include improvements to 32 stations citywide, was later reduced in scope after the transit authority ran through most of the $936 million budget with only 19 stations completed or in progress.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

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MAY 10-16,2018

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THE ‘QUIET STORM’ OF DIABETES HEALTH As “Mr. Divabetic,” Max Szadek is out to change attitudes about the disease in honor of Luther Vandross BY GAIL EISENBERG

Max Szadek is pulled in a lot of directions. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. As the volunteer vice president of activities and outreach for Gotham Volleyball League, North America’s largest LGBTQ sports organization, Max Szadek plans events, fundraisers, wellness programming and the group’s annual Coming Out Project. But it’s the Murray Hill resident’s gigs as a celebrity personal assistant that have taken him and his community organizing skills in unlikely and rewarding directions. Szadek was the assistant for many years to Luther Vandross, the Grammy-winning singer who suffered from diabetes and died in 2005. After Vandross’s death, Szadek started a diabetes awareness non-profit in his honor called “Divabetic.” Szadek appears at events in a “fruit suit” of fruit and rhinestones as his alter ego, “Mr. Divabetic,” as he seeks to changes mindsets from helpless to hopeful.

Szadek spoke about the origins of the group and its upcoming inaugural four-day Fandross Festival beginning May 10.

I thought that’s not a diabetic, that’s a diva. “Divabetic” popped into my head. Later ... I realized the “v” represented “Vandross.”

In 2003, thirteen years into being Luther Vandross’s right-hand man, the entertainer had a diabetes-related stroke. Tell me about how that experience led to the advocacy work you do.

And you knew nothing about diabetes?

I found my boss on the floor and rushed him to the hospital. The emergency room doctor came out and told me this could have been prevented. It was like someone slapped me across the face. I knew he had type 2 diabetes. That really has always stayed with me, that missed opportunity of education. I became Luther’s part-time caregiver, and focused my attention on jump-starting the diabetes conversation no one was having. I started by selling “Divabetic” t-shirts, and after Luther died in 2005, we incorporated as a 501c3 national non-profit.

What’s the genesis of the name? Patti LaBelle was performing at a Luther Vandross tribute concert. She stopped between songs to address the crowd, and admitted she was living with diabetes. Then she said diabetes doesn’t control her, she’s controls diabetes. I was blown away by how outspoken she was about her diagnosis.

I didn’t know about diabetes, but I knew about divas. I thought a glamorous approach would be a way to get people to take care of themselves. Divabetic is unique in its approach to diabetes wellness education and empowerment. We are very successful at presenting diabetes education out of the clinical setting. Our messages related to self-compassion resonate with our members and boost confidence in managing their self-care.

I had the idea to bring my annual Luther Vandross tribute podcast to life! To present the ultimate Luther Vandross fan experience and connect them with the people who helped Luther make the music since so many reach out to me with questions about his music, background vocals, etc. I also wanted to highlight members of Luther’s musical family and their endeavors.

Interestingly, you currently work for Itzhak Perlman, the world-renown violinist, conductor and teacher, who’s been living with polio since he was four.

Max Szadek wearing a Divabetic tee he designed. Photo: Winston Kerr, Kerr Photo

Members are primarily female, right?

What’s an OMG diabetes fact/stat?

Yes. African American and Latino women — who happen to comprise a large part of Luther’s fan base — are disproportionately affected by diabetes health-related complications such as stroke. Unfortunately, issues specifically related to women and diabetes management are not adequately addressed, including menopause, menstruation, etc. And women tend to make themselves their last priority. I like to shine the spotlight on them, boost their confidence, and inspire them to get involved and take care of their health.

Seventy-nine million people are living with pre-diabetes, and a third of them don’t even know they have it. Luther is an integral part of a genre of music called the “Quiet Storm.” The term sums up diabetes perfectly.

The inaugural Fandross Festival kicks off its four-day run of performances, panels, and screenings on Thursday at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar on the Upper West Side. Besides wanting to raise awareness, what was the impetus for the event?

When I found out he was in a motorized scooter, it humbled me and piqued my interest in working for him. During the final stages of Luther’s life he was in a wheelchair, and I saw how quickly the world passes by and no one slows down. I’ve been able to help coordinate outreach advocacy activities for Mr. Perlman with Rotary, an organization that works toward eradicating polio, as well as Concerts in Motion, which brings live concerts to those who can’t go to them.

What’s next? I’m already in discussions about next year’s Fandross Fest, and I’m aiming for a big, splashy production for Luther’s 70th birthday in 2021. For more information about the Fandross Festival or Divabetic’s Glam More, Fear Less approach to managing diabetes, go to divabetic.org

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The Visiting Nurse Service of New York can help you live well at home. To learn how call 1-855-867-6966 or visit vnsny.org. ©2018 VNSNY


MAY 10-16,2018

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 1st district for the week ending Apr. 29 Week to Date

Year to Date

2018

2017

% Change

2018

2017

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

1

0.0

Rape

0

1

-100.0

7

6

16.7

Robbery

0

1

-100.0

19

18

5.6

Felony Assault

3

2

50.0

17

23

-26.1

Burglary

1

2

-50.0

18

18

0.0

Grand Larceny

14

21

-33.3

307

315

-2.5

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

4

3

33.3

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

CABBIE ASSAULTS TRAFFIC AGENT Some road rage incidents take place curbside. At 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24, a 27-year-old male NYPD traffic agent was writing a parking ticket for a taxi parked on the northeast corner of Church and Fulton Streets when the cabbie poured hot coffee on the agent and then punched him in the mouth, police said. The crabby cabbie then got back into his vehicle, and took off northbound on Church Street. The agent was treated by a Fire Department EMS team at the scene. Police were searching for the driver.

BAR FIGHT A perceived slight turned into a fight at a pub, resulting in one arrest, police said. At 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, a 46-yearold man struck a 40-year-old man in the face with a glass cup,

cutting the victim’s left eyebrow, cheek and neck. The assault went down inside Ulysses Folk House at 95 Pearl St., and the victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital for treatment by EMS personnel. Youngjun Seo was arrested and charged with assault. Police said he later told officers, “He disrespected my girlfriend, so I hit him.”

PRADATORS Hat and sweater season is almost over, but try telling that to two shoplifters. At 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, two men entered the Prada store at 575 Broadway, took two sweaters and two hats worth a total of $3,170 from a shelf, put the items in their own shopping bags and took off.

FORCED ENTRY

SORRY ILORI

Thieves broke into yet another van making deliveries downtown. At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, a 56-year-old man was making deliveries at 139 Fulton St. When he returned to his van 30 minutes later, the back door latch had been tampered with and merchandise was missing. The stolen goods amounted to $9,268. Police are looking for two men suspected in the burglary.

Prada seemed to be a hot label for shoplifters recently. At 5:19 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, an individual took five pairs of Prada sunglasses totaling $2,300 from a display case in the Ilori store at 138 Spring Street and left the store without paying.

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Useful Contacts

Drawing Board BY MARC BILGREY

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

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CON EDISON

4 Irving Place

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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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WEST SIDERS VOTE TO FUND TREES, TECH AND MORE SPENDING Participatory Budgeting results announced for UWS council districts BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Upper West Siders voted to fund new windows for FDNY Engine Company 74’s historic West 83rd Street firehouse in this year’s Participatory Budgeting process. Photo: Jim.henderson, via Wikimedia Commons

Improvements targeting schools, trees and libraries are among the projects on tap for the Upper West Side this year after more than 5,000 residents cast votes to fund their preferred capital projects through the City Council’s Participatory Budgeting program. The sixth and seventh council districts had record vote totals in the seventh cycle of Participatory Budgeting, which lets residents vote on how to allocate $1 million in discretionary funding in their district. Four projects will receive funding in Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s sixth council district, which includes most of the UWS. “This year’s

project competition was our most successful to date — 3,583 residents voted for their favorite community initiatives, about 500 more than last year,” Rosenthal said. This year’s top vote-getter was an initiative to fund technology upgrades in three Upper West Side public libraries. St. Agnes Library on Amsterdam Avenue at 81st Street, Riverside Library on Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street and the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center will each receive funding for laptops, desktops, printers, self-checkout kiosks and Wi-Fi improvements. Residents also voted to fund technology upgrades at P.S. 166, the Richard Rodgers School of Arts & Technology, on West 89th Street. The school will receive new smartboards, desktop computers, tables and chairs in its classrooms and technology lab. The other two winning projects in the district will fund

guards to be installed around 35 trees lining the neighborhood’s sidewalks and new energy-efficient windows in FDNY Engine Company 74’s historic firehouse on West 83rd Street. Residents of Council Member Mark Levine’s seventh district, which extends from 96th Street to 165th Street on the West Side, cast over 2,000 votes to fund five projects, including technology improvements at local libraries and M.S. 54, the Booker T. Washington Middle School, on West 107th Street. The other winning projects in Levine’s district were new bus countdown clocks along Broadway, external lighting at NYCHA’s Grant Houses and technology upgrades at P.S. 36, the Margaret Douglas School. “It’s truly amazing to see how our community comes together to get things done through this process,” Levine said in a statement. “This year’s winners represent an incredible cross section of projects .”

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SHELTER’S MILESTONE MARKS END OF ERA GRAYING NEW YORK Valley Lodge, an UWS fixture for 30 years, prepares to vacate longtime home to make way for major senior affordable housing project BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Each May 3, current and former residents of Valley Lodge gather to sing, eat and celebrate the Upper West Side shelter’s work helping homeless resi-

dents age 50 and older transition to permanent housing. The annual anniversary party is always a festive occasion, but this year’s event held special significance — it marked not only Valley Lodge’s 30th anniversary, but also the coed shelter’s final days in the West 108th Street location it has called home for its entire history. “We are going to celebrate by literally knocking the building down,” joked Paul Freitag, executive director of the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, or WSFSSH,

the nonprofit that runs Valley Lodge and 25 other buildings serving low-income residents in Manhattan and the Bronx. Valley Lodge, along with two neighboring parking garages, will soon be demolished to make way for a new affordable housing development that will include a modernized and expanded shelter facility, along with 194 units of affordable housing on West 108th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Karen Jorgensen, Valley Lodge’s director, has been with the shelter since its inception and was on site when two former tenement buildings were gut renovated and converted into the 92-bed facility, which opened in 1988 and was among the first privately operated shelters contracted by the city. Over three decades, she has watched the shelter’s residents change along with the surrounding Manhattan Valley neighborhood.

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PRESENTED BY:

Downt ownNY.com/DineAroun #DownIsWhatsUp

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The two converted tenement buildings that have housed Valley Lodge on West 108th Street just east of Amsterdam Avenue for 30 years will soon be demolished to make way for a new affordable housing development including new facilities for the shelter. Photo: Michael Garofalo

aurants t s e R s Fabulou f o s e Scor Festival d o o F in One

* Par ticipants include : Adrienne’s Pizza Bar Bar Andaz Kitchen & Restaurant ATRIO Wine Bar |

Battery Gardens Bavaria Bier Haus Bay Room l Beckett’s Bar & Gril Bill’s Bar & Burger Blue Ribbon Bakery Park City Blue Smoke Battery ouse Bobby Van’s Steakh Brushstroke City Acres Market Cowgirl SeaHorse rant Delmonico’s Restau wn Eataly NYC Downto rie Financier Patisse Harry’s Harry’s Italian Inatteso JuiceBrothers Ketch Brewhouse Le District Mexican Cantina Mad Dog & Beans Manhatta OBAO Water Street Parm Battery Park se Pier A Harbor Hou se Route 66 Smokehou Sprinkles Land Stone Street Tavern SUteiShi The Capital Grille The Dubliner i The Malt House FiD

The Tuck Room se Ulysses’ Folk Hou Underdog Vintry Wine *List in formation and subj to change

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MAY 10-16,2018

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‘CHAIRS THAT INSPIRE’ PUBLIC ART On the UES, sidewalk installations by SVA students highlight a partnership with the Madison Avenue BID BY SHOSHY CIMENT

Gabriela Ong’s “Broadway Stage” encapsulates the inspiration she receives from live theater. Photo courtesy of Madison Avenue BID

Storefront window displays are not the only glass-enclosed structures turning heads on Madison Avenue this spring. In partnership with the School of Visual Arts (SVA), Madison Avenue’s Business Improvement District (BID) unveiled a public art installation on April 28 consisting of 16 original chairs that represent each artist’s inspiration to create. These “Chairs that Inspire” can be found in eightfoot tall, lucite-enclosed displays scattered along the sidewalks on Madison Avenue between East 57 and East 86 Streets until May 18. “People just kind of embrace chairs,” explained Kevin O’Callaghan, the chair of the 3D

design department at SVA who mentored the student artists through the creation process. Though each piece is loosely centered on a chair figure, each student put his or her own twist on the structure to make a visual statement about inspiration. “If you get it right away, then it’s really kind of a wonderful little journey,” O’Callaghan said. This series is the fourth art installation to come from the partnership between SVA and the Madison Avenue BID. The union was formed in the fall of 2016 when the two entities teamed up to create a series of 3D dresses in the “Language of Fashion” display during New York Fashion Week. Since then, SVA has regularly contributed talent and art to Madison Avenue. “It is an unusual and unique partnership,” remarked the BID’s president Matthew Bauer. “I would say it feels very New York.” This time, the installation is running during one of New York’s busiest weeks for art. A

series of art fairs and auctions will be attracting close to 70,000 people during the second week of May, many of whom will likely descend on Madison Avenue, noted Amy Rosi, who runs public relations for the Madison Avenue BID. “It’s very cool timing to be up,” she said. O’Callaghan gave his students about four weeks to produce their pieces. Most students did it in two. “When he gave the assignment to us, I didn’t have a very particular inspiration,” said Mert Avadya, whose chair is entitled “The Art of Junk.” Avadya’s piece portrays hairdryers, scissors, and other remnants of “junk” in a puzzle-like arrangement that perfectly fits the form of a chair. For other students, the inspiration was more obvious. Filipa Mota’s piece “The Windows of Portugal” was inspired by her upbringing there. “I feel like I’m still very much inspired by my culture in everything I do,” she said. “And I do truly believe it

shifts my way of thinking.” Another student, Gabriela Ong, drew from her love of Broadway to construct a stage out of an old theater chair. Student Matt Iacovelli chose to portray his connection to pop culture by constructing an old-fashioned newsstand chair, complete with actual candy and magazines. “Every single piece of history or pop culture that has ever taken place has at one point been on a newsstand,” Iacovelli pointed out. For many of the student artists, being featured on Madison Avenue is a dream come true. For close to a month, the students’ work will be on display on one of the busiest avenues in New York. “I mean, talk about exposure,” remarked O’Callaghan. “What more could you be given as a starting point for a student’s career?” “It’s insane,” agreed Ong. “I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia so I never thought I’d ever be on the streets of Madison Avenue and have a piece that screams me.”

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

The Myth of Progress: Our Most Violent Fantasy

FRIDAY, MAY 11TH, 8PM The Strand | 828 Broadway | 212-473-1452 | strandbooks.com Is humanity inevitably evolving into a less violent state of affairs? Historian Jamie Warren looks at the truth of historical progress (the 20th century doesn’t score so well) and asks “just how we came to believe that the past exists in service to the future” ($20, includes complimentary beer).

A Lawyer, A Poet, and A Philosopher Walk Into a Bar…

TUESDAY, MAY 15TH, 6PM Cornelia Street Cafe | 29 Cornelia St. | 212-989-9319 | corneliastreetcafe.com The aforementioned trio looks into “America the Miserable”: the rising depression experienced in the U.S., its sources, and what might be done to relieve it. There will be singing ($10, includes one drink).

Just Announced | Do Angels Need Haircuts?: Early Poems by Lou Reed, with Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman and Friends

TUESDAY, MAY 22ND, 7PM Stephen A. Schwarzman Building | 476 Fifth Ave. | 917-275-6975 | nypl.org Laurie Anderson and friends gather to celebrate the recent release of Do Angels Need Haircuts?, a collection of Reed’s early poetry, with readings and reminiscences (free; registration required).

For more information about lectures, readings and other intellectually stimulating events throughout NYC,

sign up for the weekly Thought Gallery newsletter at thoughtgallery.org.

She depends on you. You can depend on us. Caring for an older relative or friend is not easy. You can get support and guidance that includes in-home or overnight care, supplies and a lot more. Call 311 and ask for “caregiving support.”

Bill de Blasio Mayor Department for the Aging

Donna Corrado, PhD Commissioner


8

MAY 10-16,2018

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.

LAST SUPPER AT THE ABBEY BY CHARLES KAISER

I love the New York places that never change, like John’s Pizza on Bleecker or Joe Allen’s on West 46th Street or Julius’s on West 10th Street — the spots that can still connect you to the New York of Mad Men, which also happens to be the New York where my Manhattan memories began. The first place like this I ever went to in the ‘60s was Donohue’s, which was the hamburger joint for “The Making of the President” author Teddy White, my first author-mentor. It was just around the corner from Teddy’s town house, it’s still there at Lexington and 64th Street, I still go there with Teddy’s children — and if you go in for lunch today, you can still chat Maureen up about Teddy and his two wives

(Maureen’s grandfather opened the place in 1950). Up here around Duke Ellington Boulevard, The Abbey has been my Donohue’s for fifty years. I’ve been there every year since I was a Columbia freshman. This is where we went in 1969 if we didn’t want to go to the West End or the Gold Rail — or Tom’s; or Duke’s, if it was after 2 a.m. I have been there every year since. Last week the awful news finally arrived — the wood-paneled room with indoor stained-glass windows and faux Tiffany lamps was finally going the way of all flesh. On its penultimate night we sat at the corner table with our pal Rick Whitaker, his son David and David’s pal Aleks Korves, next to the kitchen, because that’s all that was left; I hadn’t been in that corner since I

came home from Paris for Christmas in 2002. (We never sat there because it’s not a booth, and we only sat in a booth.) This is where I had always gathered my consiglieres after every neighborhood book reading, at Book Culture or Barnes & Noble. I ordered the last of many hundreds of medium-rare Blue Cheese Burgers, which had once mysteriously disappeared from the menu for a couple of months, until a wave of protest restored them, and a Corona, because all the draft beers were gone except for Bud. The bartender was one of our old waitresses; our waitress was new, but eager and friendly. I felt the same way when Bill Carey walked out from behind the bar at Julius for the last time, or when John — the master of the Old Fashioned — left

Charles Kaiser (right) and his husband Joe Stouter. Photo: Rick Whitaker as the bartender at The Ginger Man across from Lincoln Center. These places are the unreplaceable arteries of New York. So this was a night I’d been dreading for decades. I gave thanks that it was always there, two blocks away, for so very many years, until tonight. As I walked toward the front door,

I leaned over the bar one last time: “I need a kiss!” I shouted to the bartender. She was happy to oblige. Charles Kaiser has lived on the Upper West Side since 1968. His first book, “1968 in America,” is republished this month in a 30th anniversary edition.

A LIFESAVING GARDEN BY BETTE DEWING

Many who knew Yorkville shopkeeper Srymanean Manickam gathered on April 22 to dedicate a York Avenue garden in his memory. Manickam, who managed a nearby grocery, was run over crossing York a year ago. Photo: Stuart Schenendorf

Thanks to a street-side memorial garden, Srymanean Manickam, known to the community as Mano, will not be forgotten — such as by the way he cared for the community and, unfortunately, above all, by the way his life was so brutally, wrongfully ended by a taxi turning into his York Avenue and 78th Street crosswalk just one year ago. And this safe traffic activist believes the garden is a first-of-a-kind memorial, thanks, above all, to the valiant year-long efforts of Patricia Banks, a customer and friend of the Super Del Market, where Mano worked and managed for 20-plus years. Managed with such extraordinary grace and concern for not only his customers but the entire community — always helping those down on their luck, needing a helping hand or a listening ear. Yes, there was media coverage, espe-

cially in this paper, and also a standing-room-only memorial service at St. Monica’s Church. Let’s hope the myriad heartfelt tributes heard that night were recorded. And while Mano’s Garden, located on York between 78th and 79th does not note the cause of death, please, when you visit or read this, also think to remind your or any elected officials that drivers’ failure to yield when turning into a crosswalk is the number one cause of pedestrian death and injury. Infinitely more attention must be paid! (Again contact information is found in this paper’s Useful Contacts column). And if anything ever needed to go viral. it’s Mano’s Garden photos and this message. And urgently needed are Yield to Pedestrian stencils on every crosswalk where a pedestrian was struck down and killed. Of course at 78th and York, but also at 79th and York, where three lives have been cut short in recent years.

And why not make Mano’s Garden a Mother’s Day visit on Sunday — nobody cares more than mothers about their offsprings’ safety. Remember Mothers against Drunk Drivers memorable movement — and now maybe youngsters should be leading a comparable protest against Failure-toYield Drivers. Again, we cannot thank Patricia Banks enough, with help from City and Suburban Homes manager, Steve Goldenberg for the first of a most needed street memorial — potentially lifesaving garden. And remember we must what made Mano so beloved — like a community project begun by P.S. 158 students recalling the extraordinarily caring ways of Srymanean Manickam. this man for others called “Mano.” It can be done if enough of us try. dewingbetter@aol.com

President & Publisher, Jeanne Straus nyoffice@strausnews.com

STRAUS MEDIA your neighborhood news source nyoffice@strausnews.com 212-868-0190

Vice President/CFO Otilia Bertolotti Vice President/CRO Vincent A. Gardino advertising@strausnews.com

Associate Publishers Seth L. Miller, Ceil Ainsworth Regional Sales Manager Tania Cade

Account Executives Fred Almonte, David Dallon Director of Partnership Development Barry Lewis

Editor-In-Chief, Alexis Gelber Deputy Editor Richard Khavkine

Senior Reporter Doug Feiden

Director of Digital Pete Pinto

Staff Reporter Michael Garofalo

Director, Arts & Entertainment/ NYCNow Alizah Salario


MAY 10-16,2018

9

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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Karen Jorgensen, executive director of Valley Lodge on West 108th Street, raises a toast at the shelterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 30th anniversary party. Photo: Michael Garofalo

MILESTONE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Back in 1988, many of the folks who came here had severe mental health issues or major substance abuse or alcohol issues.â&#x20AC;? Jorgensen said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now we ďŹ nd the preponderance of folks are here for economic reasons. There are just not enough affordable apartments.â&#x20AC;? WSFSSH at West 108, as the new development is known, will feature a new Valley Lodge with 18 additional beds, as well as supportive housing and apartments for low-income families and seniors. The project also includes meeting spaces for local groups and a community health center, as well as the addition of public restrooms and other improvements to an adjacent playground. A planned second phase of the project will include another 81 units of affordable housing and require the demolition of a third garage on the block. The development, approved unanimously by the City Council in April, was bitterly op-

posed by some neighbors concerned about noise and other disruptions during construction and the loss of hundreds of parking spaces in the cityowned garages.

RELOCATION, DEMOLITION, RECLAMATION Mark Levine, who represents the neighborhood in the City Council, hailed the project as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;huge win for our communityâ&#x20AC;? in an emailed statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over the past two years my office and I have conducted extensive community engagement on this issue, and at every turn, one fact was made unequivocally clear: the overwhelming majority of residents in my district believe we need to prioritize subsidized housing over subsidized parking,â&#x20AC;? Levine said. In the weeks to come, Valley Lodge staff and residents will begin relocating to a temporary location a mile away, in another WSFSSH building on West 85th Street. Demolition of the existing Valley Lodge building is expected commence this summer, and the shelter hopes to move back to West 108th Street within three years.

A rendering of the planned WSFSSH at 108 affordable housing development, which will include modernized and expanded facilities for Valley Lodge. Rendering: Datner Architects

An enduring sense of community was evident at the ďŹ nal anniversary party at the old Valley Lodge, as dozens of current and former residents, staff, friends and family gathered and reminisced, surrounded by art created by residents and accompanied by music sung by the shelterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s choir. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What I see is that people make friends here who they never knew before, and when they leave they have this support network they stay in touch with,â&#x20AC;? Jorgensen said. Jorgensen recognized returning alumni in order of the year they graduated to permanent housing and gave a toast to Valley Lodge (â&#x20AC;&#x153;cheers to 30 yearsâ&#x20AC;?), with sparkling apple cider standing in for champagne. Valley Lodge alumna Carol Fasolino â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Class of 2002 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; was among the former residents who returned for the event. She now lives in Washington Heights but still comes back to the shelter regularly to tap dance for residents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not going to forget the people here,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They deserve the best.â&#x20AC;? Fasolino didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate when asked if sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d continue visiting Valley Lodge at its temporary home on West 85th Street. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yes, indeed,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will still come.â&#x20AC;? During its performance at the anniversary party, the Valley Lodge Choir acknowledged the impending shuffle with a waggish twist on the lyrics of the old spiritual â&#x20AC;&#x153;We Shall Not Be Movedâ&#x20AC;?: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We shall be, we shall be moved/We shall be, we shall be moved/To a place a little bit south of here/We shall be moved.â&#x20AC;? Michael Garofalo: reporter@ strausnews.com

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Compassionate Senior Move Manager & Expert Real Estate Broker Marilyn Karpoff www.KarpoffAfďŹ liates.com | mkarpoff@karpoffafďŹ liates.com 212.358.8044 | 290 Third Avenue, Ste 26C, NYC 10010


10

MAY 10-16,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

CREATE A VIEW JUST AS BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE THIS SPRING Save $100 on Hunter Douglas Shades until June 25, 2018 at

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

EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S PICK

Wed 16 MADRIGAL MADNESS The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas St. 7:30 p.m. $10-$20 646-599-5258. theďŹ&#x201A;ea.org Claudio Monteverdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s madrigals get a madcap makeover from ARTEK, an outstanding ensemble known for their theatrical performances of baroque music. Featuring ARTEKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early music stars and young artist guests, performers include Ryland Angel (countertenor/tenor), Andrew Fuchs (tenor) and Peter Becker (bass-baritone). Seek peace and harmony as you listen to Madrigals from Books 2 and 3 of Monteverdi.

SilhouetteÂŽ Window Shadings

THE CELEBRATION OF LIGHT SAVINGS EVENT Take advantage of timing and purchase these modern shades during Janovicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s promotion. Consumer rebates available from April 14-June 25, 2018 on listed products when you purchase the following:

SILHOUETTEÂŽ WINDOW SHADINGS (shown) (min. of 2 each, plus $50 for additional unit)

LUMINETTEâ&#x201E;˘ PRIVACY SHEERS (min. of 2 each, plus $100 for additional unit)

STORE LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT NYC

GRAMERCY PARK 292 3rd Avenue @ 23rd St Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x2021;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x17D;äĂ&#x17D;ä

YORKVILLE 1491 3rd Ave @ 84th St Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;nÂ&#x2122;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x17D;ää

1** , Ć&#x201A;-/- nnniĂ?Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x152;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ć&#x201A;Ă&#x203A;iJĂ&#x2C6;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;-Ă&#x152; Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;Â&#x2021;ÂŁ{ää

 ½-/  Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x2C6;£äĂ&#x152;Â&#x2026;Ć&#x201A;Ă&#x203A;iJxĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2DC;`-Ă&#x152; 212-245-3241

1** ,7 -/- ÂŁxÂ&#x2122;7Ă&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;Â&#x2DC;`-Ă&#x152;J ½Ă&#x153;>Ă&#x17E; Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;xÂ&#x2122;xÂ&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;xää

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-"" 55 Thompson St @ Broome Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2C6;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2021;Â&#x2021;££ää

 - Ć&#x201A; 215 7th Avenue @ 23rd St Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x2C6;{xÂ&#x2021;x{x{

UPTOWN WEST Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x2C6;nä Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x153;>`Ă&#x153;>Ă&#x17E;J£äĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2DC;`-Ă&#x152; Ă&#x201C;ÂŁĂ&#x201C;Â&#x2021;xĂ&#x17D;ÂŁÂ&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;Ă&#x17D;ää

" -Ć&#x201A;  /9 Ă&#x17D;äÂ&#x2021;Ă&#x17D;x/Â&#x2026;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;Ă&#x192;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ć&#x201A;Ă&#x203A;i Ă&#x17D;{Ă&#x2021;Â&#x2021;{ÂŁnÂ&#x2021;Ă&#x17D;{nä

Thu 10 Fri 11

Sat 12

ISABEL WILKERSON IN CONVERSATION

â&#x2013;˛ HOLI HAI FESTIVAL

Federal Hall, 26 Wall St. 6:30 p.m. $5-$20 This essential discussion and Q&A with Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Great Migration,â&#x20AC;? will explore the impact of the Great Migration on education, jobs and housing, and how it transformed our cities, politics and culture. eventbrite.com

ST. PAULâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MOVIE NIGHT: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;COOL RUNNINGSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chapel Broadway and Fulton Street 7 p.m. Free Cinema in a chapel? Why not? Through May, St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will feature ďŹ lms about athletes who broke barriers, starting with this modern classic about a disqualiďŹ ed sprinter who started the ďŹ rst Jamaican bobsled team. Catch â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cool Runningsâ&#x20AC;? for the ďŹ rst, or 15th, time. 212-602-0800 trinitywallstreet.org

Governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Island 10 a.m. Free Celebrate the Indian and Nepalese festival of Holi Hai in honor of the coming of spring. This all-day extravaganza of colors and light on Governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Island includes live Indian drums (Dhols), dancing, Indian cuisine and traditional color-throwing festivities. nycholi.com


MAY 10-16,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

11

A Premier Day Camp for Boys and Girls LOCATED IN NEARBY ROCKLAND COUNTY, JUST 30 MINUTES FROM THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE

Sun 13 Mon 14 Tue 15 â&#x2013;˛ TOUR: EXPLORING NOHO

MUSICAL MONDAYS: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;HELLO, DOLLY!â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Meet in front of 315 Mulberry St. 3 p.m. $25-$29 Before â&#x20AC;&#x153;Billionaireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rowâ&#x20AC;? and Fifth Avenue, New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wealthiest families resided in the neighborhood formerly known as Lafayette Place. Tour the neighborhood and take a rare trip inside Colonnade Row, a landmarked series of Greek revival buildings built in the early 1830s. nyadventureclub.com

Village East Cinema 181-189 Second Ave. 7:30 p.m. $15 Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to ďŹ nd a partner for â&#x20AC;&#x153;half-a-millionaireâ&#x20AC;? Horace Vandergelder, convincing a motley crew to travel to New York City along the way; hilarity ensues. Starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. 212-529-6998 citycinemas.com

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A LUCKY MAN:â&#x20AC;&#x2122; JAMEL BRINKLEY WITH ANGELA FLOURNOY Housing Works Bookstore 126 Crosby St. 7:30 p.m. Free In the nine expansive stories in Jamel Brinkleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debut collection â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Lucky Man,â&#x20AC;? fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront past mistakes. Join Brinkley in conversation with award-winning author Angela Flournoy. 347-473-7400 housingworks.org

Wed 16

A UNIQUE CAMP EXPERIENCE for Boys & Girls, Ages 3-15

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Discover the Magic of Camp Ramaquois!

â&#x2014;&#x201E; PRIYA PARKER: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;THE ART OF GATHERINGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The Strand, 828 Broadway 7:30 p.m. $28 admission & signed copy; $15 admission & gift card In the age of social media, has the role of gathering face-to-face changed? Priya Parkerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Art of Gathering,â&#x20AC;? is a guide on how to create a human-centered approach to getting together, hanging out, congregating â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in other words, gathering â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in an age of avatars. 212-473-1452

CONTACT US TO SET UP A PERSONAL TOUR Weekend appointments available

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12

MAY 10-16,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

GOOD AS GOLD The Met showcases luxury arts of the ancient Americas BY MARY GREGORY

What’s as good as gold? As evidenced by The Met’s dazzling exhibition, “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas,” silver, platinum, turquoise, jade, stone, textile and feathers fit the bill. Feathers were, for many ancient peoples of Mexico, Mesoamerica and South America, more valued than gold, a fact that carried through to the time of the Conquistadors, who found it quite confusing. When Christopher Columbus arrived on the coast of Central America in 1502, he was greeted by local people adorned in fabulous gold. Pieces they wore can be seen in the exhibition, as can some of the effects of that encounter. Columbus named the spot “Costa Rica” or rich coast. Word spread and others arrived, seeking treasure. Yet, in central Mexico, records indicate that feather-working was a more respected art form than gold-working. One of the exhibition’s openers is a remarkable tabard, a kind of square poncho, worked in yellow, white and blue feathers made in Peru around 600 AD. Later, we see another, decorated with pelican shapes in bright cyan and gold from the Chimú culture. A showstopper is The Met’s own massive blue and yellow Wari feather panel from about the same period. It was found in 1943,

IF YOU GO WHAT: “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” WHERE: The Met Fifth Avenue WHEN: Through May 28 metmuseum.org buried in large ceramic jars in the dusty western foothills of the Andes. The macaws, whose feathers (tens of thousands of them) are woven into the panel, lived vast distances away in the Amazon rainforest. That gives an idea of how prized feathers were and leads us to wonder what it took to get them there. Reddish-orange Spondylus shells were held more valuable than gold by the Incas; jade was tops for the Maya and Olmecs. The Aztecs prized turquoise and obsidian. Rich textiles were adored everywhere. But a river of gold ran through all the region, and jewelry and ritual items in gold make up the majority of this thought-provoking and surprising exhibition. Some 300 pieces from over 50 museums in 12 countries stretch across several galleries, offering glimpses of the “luxury arts” from Peru in the south to Mexico in the north, from around 1000 B.C. to the arrival of Europeans in the early 16th century. Luxury items, the curators point out, are small, transportable and precious. They proclaimed power and wealth to those who saw them, and impressed

A fearsome funerary mask in of hammered sheet gold alloy and covered in red pigment, once adorned the body of a deceased ruler on Peru’s north coast. Photo: Adel Gorgy

Precious colorful feathers were woven into resplendent robes by craftspeople in the Ancient Americas. Photo: Adel Gorgy

A ceremonial knife (Tumi) seen in “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” at the Met Fifth Avenue. Photo: Adel Gorgy others, hundreds of miles away, when items functioned as ambassadors to other lands. The exhibition is filled with objects of delicate, fearsome or jaw-dropping beauty that, through extraordinary materials and craftsmanship, are signifiers of status, means of communication, agents of change, links to the supernatural realm and guarantors of eternity. Gold was in use in the Andes as early as the second millennium B.C., and worked its way into Central American and Mexican art over the course of the next several hundred years. The Nahua people, from an area that spans Mexico and El Salvador, called gold teocuitlatl meaning “divine excrement.” The sun was believed to dive into the underworld at night, shedding bits of its radiance. Among the highlights are gorgeous crowns, earrings (worn through enlarged piercings in the lobes), nose ornaments and pectorals worn on the chest. They vary from charmingly naturalistic, like a selection of bells in the

A pair of ear ornaments from the Moche people of Peru (made in A.D. 400–700) depicting winged messengers is one of the highlights of the exhibition. Photo: Adel Gorgy

shapes of crabs and owls, to starkly abstract flat spirals, to works that delightfully bridge imagination, realism and abstraction. An amazing piece is a Caucan “bird-man” pectoral from ca. 900-1600 AD. Arching feathers or hairs, delineated by infinitesimal flawless striations, sprout from the head. A stylized axe mirrors that shape and balances the bottom. In between, the anthropomorphized little figure has a beak, two arms with tiny fingers holding lizards, bent knees, small shin protectors and teeny toes, all painstakingly depicted in a size that would fit in the palm of a hand. Not man, not bird, but art, it’s spectacular. The works in “Golden Kingdoms” were created for gods and goddesses, kings and queens. They attest to the highest level of artistry, mysterious mindsets and the merciless march of time. Some stayed buried for thousands of years. Some traveled to kingdoms their owners never imagined existed. A stunning, rare turquoise mosaic is built of tiny bits of blue-

green stone forming a mask framed by the jaws of some mythical creature. The healing properties of turquoise (speckles of this type of stone were eaten by victims of lightning strikes) and the exquisite craftsmanship may have protected the work in its long journey. Now, it’s in the collection of Museo delle Civiltà in Rome. At one time, it belonged to Cosimo de’ Medici. It was a survivor, like all the works in the exhibition, whispering of distant pasts, complex, harsh histories and, at times, unpleasant realities. Some of the pieces in the show were used in practices that included human sacrifice. “Golden Kingdoms” isn’t a primer on cultures and their history, geography, cosmology and spiritual practices. For that, you’ll have to do your own archeological digging. Rather, it’s a window into one glittering, shining aspect of ancient art that crossed borders, cultures and centuries, and a chance to reflect on dominion, power, and their costs.


MAY 10-16,2018

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MAY 10-16,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS APR 25 - MAY 1, 2018 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.

Grey Lady / Goa Taco / Paratha Taco

77 Delancey Street

Grade Pending (21) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. 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.

Elrey

100 Stanton Street

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.

Bite of Hong Kong

81 Chrystie St

Grade Pending (20) 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. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Starbucks

233 Broadway

A

Barnes & Noble Cafe

97 Warren Street

A

Ox Verte

63 Reade St

A

Red Mango

111 Fulton Street

A

Asian Wok

88 Fulton St

Grade Pending (2)

Diwan-E-Khaas

53 Nassau Street

A

Birch Coffee

8 Spruce St

A

Mee Sum Cafe

26 Pell Street

A

Davelle

102 Suffolk St

A

Starbucks

241 Canal Street

A

El Castillo De Jagua Rest

113 Rivington Street

A

Antique Garage Tribeca

313 Church St

A

Mikey’s

134 Ludlow Street

Tribeca Rooftop (10 Desbrosses Street)

480 Canal Street

A

Grade Pending (21) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott Street

A

Golden Forest

353 Grand St

A

Starbucks

405 Broadway

A

Empanada Mama

95 Allen St

A

Delight 28 Restaurant

2830 Pell Street

A

Trapizzino

144 Orchard St

A

Simply Bakery

70 Bayard Street

Grade Pending (34) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. 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 contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Zafi’s Luncheonette

500 Grand Street

A

Jin Feng Restaurant

2-6 Eldridge Street

A

Clinton Square Pizza

201 Clinton St

CLOSED (84) 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. Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required. No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment.

East Seafood Restaurant

17 Division St

CLOSED (47) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/ or non-food areas. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Perfect Picnic

81 Allen St

A

Lanzhou Ramen 107

107 E Broadway

A

95 Fusion Tea Room & Kitchen Bar

95 Chrystie St

A

B-Mvmbnt

114 Stanton St

Not Yet Graded (51) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding. Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment.

The Mercury Lounge

217 East Houston Street

Grade Pending (20) 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 contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

The Whiskey Ward

121 Essex Street

A

Ms. Yoo

163 Allen St

Grade Pending (18) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Vive La Crepe!

51 Spring Street

A

Aux Epices

121 Baxter Street

A

Cafe Mae Mae

70 Vandam Street

A

456 Restaurant

69 Mott Street

Grade Pending (45) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of rats or live rats 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. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Umberto’s Clam House

132 Mulberry Street

A

Tribeca Bagels

374 Canal Street

A

Buddha Bodai One Vegetarian Restaurant

5 Mott St

CLOSED (49) 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. 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/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. 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.

Sichuan Hot Pot Cuisine

34 Pell St

Grade Pending (37) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/ or non-food areas. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. 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.


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New York Cit y â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tr i nity Church, a tourist attraction loved for its ties to colonial America and links to a Broadway hit, will be largely closed to visitors during a two-year renovation intended to brighten the church and improve disabled access. The neo-Gothic church surrounded by soaring skyscrapers embarks Monday on a $98 million renovation that will put its nave, with its 66-foot vaulted ceiling, off limits. A small chapel in the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northwest corner will be open, as will the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s picturesque graveyard, where luminaries including Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, are buried, will remain open throughout the renovation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to create much more accessibility and much more capacity to welcome people,â&#x20AC;? said the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rector, William Lupfer. An estimated 1.9 million people visited Trinity in 2017, according to the church. Those numbers are swollen by fans of the musical â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hamilton,â&#x20AC;? who often leave flowers or other mementos on the founding fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memorial stone and the tomb of his wife. The churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stained-glass windows will be restored and a new one will be installed at the front of the church facing Broadway. A new organ with more than 7,500 pipes is being built in Germany at a cost of $11.4 million. The renovations will add a wheelchair ramp to the church, lower the pews, which are now a 4-inch step up from the aisles, and increase seating capacity from 514 to 652. A clear canopy will be attached to one side of the building to protect clergy members from the elements when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re assembling for the Sunday procession into the church. New gender-neutral bathrooms will be added as well. David Maddox, director of

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Trinity Churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s graveyard, where luminaries including Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, are buried, will remain open throughout the renovation. Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim, via ďŹ&#x201A;ickr facilities and property management for the church, said the columns and window casements inside Trinity are stone, but the interior walls are plaster painted to look like stone when the church was built in the 1840s. Maddox said the plaster will once again be painted with veining that mimics stone, but in a lighter shade than the dark brown favored in the Victorian era. The building being renovated is the third Trinity Church to occupy the site at the head of Wall Street. The ďŹ rst was built in 1698 and burned in the great New York ďŹ re of 1776, which destroyed hundreds of buildings. The second was built in 1790 and torn down after support beams bucked in 1838. George Washington and members of his government worshipped at the second Trinity Church during the period when New York was the capital of the United States. The current Trinity Church, designed by architect Robert Upjohn in the Gothic Revival style, was consecrated in 1846. Its 281-foot steeple made it the tallest building in New York City until 1890. The parish also includes St.

Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chapel ďŹ ve blocks away, built in 1766 and operating continuously since then, which will host Trinityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sunday services during the renovation. Both Trinity and St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s survived the destruction of the nearby World Trade Center, and St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ministered to recovery workers for months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Trinityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lower Manhattan neighborhood has become both a prime residential area and a tourist destination in the years since the attacks, and Lupfer said hundreds of neighborhood residents as well as visitors worship at Trinity every week. Insurance broker Alda Dhingra said she lives in New York but hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been inside Trinity Church before visiting last week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always passed it and just walked by,â&#x20AC;? Dhingra said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I needed prayer so I went inside and sat and prayed. And I feel so much better now that I did.â&#x20AC;? She added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so beautiful that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s here amidst all these buildings of commerce. Because I think we all need to remember sometimes we are spiritual beings, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not just business people.â&#x20AC;?

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CONSIGNING THE FUTURE Michael’s, the high-end, secondhand-apparel shop, makes its move into a new era, relocates four blocks up Madison Avenue, gives up its second-floor perch, occupies ground-floor digs BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

Once upon a time in the consignment business, a stigma was attached to the purchase and sale of women’s clothing that could suitably be called “gently used,” “lightly worn” and “previously owned.” In fact, the mother-and-daughter team that owns and runs Michael’s Consignment recounts a common occurrence from years past when a customer would recognize a friend or neighbor coming into the shop. “She would quickly retreat into the dressing room,” recalls Tammy Fluhr-Gates, the 41-year-old coowner of the UES store. “And she’d stay in the dressing room until that friend left the shop!” Concealment isn’t necessary anymore. “Consignment has evolved,” said Laura Fluhr, the 70-something mother of Tammy who has helmed the store since 1985. “It’s become more mainstream, less self-conscious.” Founded in 1954 by the late Michael Kosof — the father of Laura and grandfather of Tammy — Michael’s was one of the first consignment shops in America, and also one of the priciest, and for 64 years, it maintained a discrete second-floor entrance at 1041 Madison Avenue just north of 79th Street. “Michael made a strategic business decision to take second-floor space, and he did it for a reason,” Tammy said. “It was the smartest business model out there at a time consignment wasn’t socially acceptable as it is today.” Society eventually caught up. Recycling came into vogue. Sustainability became a buzzword. Retailers who placed environmental watchfulness at the core of their companies thrived. And lo and behold, it turns out that’s exactly what Michael’s and two of the family’s predecessor businesses had been doing for the past 116 years — recycling clothing in the secondary marketplace.

EARLY ENVIRONMENTALISTS It’s a tradition that dates back to

We didn’t think in terms of saving the Earth. But we were always sensitive to the concept of recycling previously owned goods.” Laura Fluhr, co-owner of Michael’s Consignment

1902, when Tammy’s great-greatgrandfather, Simon Kosofsky, established Cast Off Clothing & Furs at 753 Sixth Avenue in Chelsea. It continued into the depths of the Depression when Tammy’s greatgrandfather, Aaron Kaye, who changed the family name, opened the Ritz Thrift Shop at 107 West 57th Street in 1935 — to sell “temporarily orphaned minks” who left “good homes on Park Avenue.” Then, Michael Kosof, who changed the family name yet again, brought sustainability to the Silk Stocking District when he ventured to Madison Avenue two decades later. “We didn’t think in terms of saving the Earth,” Laura said. “But we were always sensitive to the concept of recycling previously owned goods, and it had very much the same effect.” Which takes us up to that second shop entrance. In September 2017, Naftali Group, a midtown-based developer, closed on the $21 million purchase of 1041 Madison, a five-story, mixed-use building, as part of an assemblage of four adjoining buildings, between 1039 and 1045 Madison, it has been piecing together for an unspecified residential project. Naftali’s real estate play means that Michael’s had to find a new home. It also created uncertainty over the future of Gentile’s Fine Foods, another multi-generational mom-and-pop, housed on the first floor of 1041 Madison and first set up shop on the East Side in 1927. At the same time, at least two other upscale retailers are also expected to be impacted: Davide Cenci, the Italian menswear brand, located at 1043 Madison, and Eileen Fisher, the women’s clothier, at 1039 Madison.

MAY 10-16,2018

Business

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL’S CONSIGNMENT

Michael’s was the first of the affected enterprises to make its move, and while the reinvention of the block was the catalyst, the owners say it led them to reconfigure their business in a fashion they had long contemplated. “For many years, I thought about a ground-floor entrance,” Laura said. But as she got older, it became less urgent. Then one day, out of the blue, the forced relocation presented an opportunity, she added. Agrees Tammy, “The truth of the matter is that it pushed us to do something we’ve wanted to do for quite a while.” Remaining in one place since 1954, enjoying a great run and commercial success, “You get comfortable,” she said. Now, the two women were ready to walk down those second-floor stairs for the last time.

SAGA OF A FAMILY BUSINESS:

A PINK BIRKIN WITH OSTRICH The formula would remain the same — the buyer gets a luxury product in mint condition for less than retail price, the seller monetizes an item she no longer wants, the merchant reaps a percentage of the sale — but all parties would now enter the new place of business at street level. So Laura and Tammy found a new home and inked a deal fairly quickly. May 5 was the last day at the old location, and on May 6, they moved four blocks to the north, to 1,200-square-foot shop at 1125 Madison Avenue at 84th Street. It’s not a discrete hideaway. It has two corner windows that give it an inviting aspect, and it’s just south of the city’s original Le Pain Quotidien at 1131 Madison Avenue. A soft opening is planned for this week with a grand reopening slated for May 17. “I’m not going to lie to you,” Tammy said. “My store is not cheap.” Indeed, the most expensive item now on sale in the shop — a miniHermes Birkin bag, black with gold hardware — will set you back $15,000. The store record? Another Hermes Birkin, pink with ostrich leather and silver hardware, which went for $18,000. Still, not all of Michael’s items will break the bank: The average sticker price is $300, and the least expensive item is a $15 bracelet from Alex & Ani. invreporter@strausnews.com

1 Ukraine

New York

SIX GENERATIONS IN RETAIL, FIVE IN CONSIGNMENT 1ST GENERATION: The Kosofsky Family operates a pushcart in the Ukraine in Eastern Europe. 2ND GENERATION: Settled in America, Simon Kosofsky in 1902 opens Cast-Off Clothing & Furs at 753 Sixth Avenue at West 25th Street, the family’s first brick-and-mortar business. 3RD GENERATION: Simon’s son, Aaron Kaye, changes the family name, and in 1935, in mid-Depression, opens the Ritz Thrift Shop at 107 West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. 4TH GENERATION: Aaron’s son, Michael Kosof, changes the family name again, and in 1954 opens Michael’s Consignment at 1041 Madison Avenue between East 79th and 80th Streets. 5TH GENERATION: Michael’s daughter, Laura Fluhr, becomes president of Michael’s in 1985 and continues to run it from 1041 Madison Avenue until Saturday May 5. 6TH GENERATION: Laura’s daughter, Tammy Fluhr-Gates, joins the family business in 2006, and along with her mother, relocates Michael’s this month to 1125 Madison Avenue, at the northeast corner of 84th Street. A grand reopening is set for May 17.


MAY 10-16,2018

17

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5SBWFMr'BJSTBOE'FTUJWBMTr"SUr&WFOUTr 'BNJMZ'VOr%SJOLTBOE&BUT *TTVF%BUF Thursday, June 7th "E%FBEMJOF Friday, June 1st The local paper for the Upper East Side

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The local paper for Chelsea

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CHELSEA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 that communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s epicenter. Much of that is consigned to memory. So is the once-lively Hispanic and Latino community that Chelsea was known for in the 1970s, which Pamela Wolff, the vice president of Save Chelsea and a 62-year resident of the neighborhood, recalls. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s radically different,â&#x20AC;? Wolff said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a huge loss of the bedrock community that we had.â&#x20AC;? But Save Chelsea is adamant about doing what it can to preserve the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culturally signiďŹ cant landmarks that date back to the turn of the 20th century, a time when Chelsea was a major destination or living space for the 60,000 blacks living in New York City. Tin Pan Alley, on West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries home to a sea of songwriters whose collective pianos were said to sound like a cacophony of clashing tin pans. That discord has been replaced by the sound of mostly slow-moving traffic. Save Chelsea is trying to get the city to landmark the row houses that comprised Tin Pan Alley to keep them from being torn down. The future of the HopperGibbons House, Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sole documented Underground Railroad location, is also unknown. Save Chelsea aided Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons House Underground Railroad Site in staving off a potential ďŹ fth-ďŹ&#x201A;oor addition to the West 29th Street building last year. But the ultimate goal is restoration of the home, and whether the group will be able to do so is unclear. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All of these kind of iconic places that represent blackness are disappearing because of gentriďŹ cation,â&#x20AC;? RenĂŠe Blake, director of Africana Studies at New York University, said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is erasure. These cultural institutions that have been fortiďŹ ed by black people, what becomes of them?â&#x20AC;? Landmarks are not the only entity in Chelsea that are threatened by gentrification. The diversity of its population and small businesses are also susceptible to rising rents and developers. Save Chelseaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wolff recalled the avenuesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; thriving momand-pop businesses: Flower shops, barbers, shoe repairs, cleaners, laundromats and bodegas. That was decades ago. Now, as they do nearly every-

The Hopper-Gibbons House at 339 West 29th St. was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Its current owner wanted to modify the rooftop and rear additions but was denied. Preservationists want to restore the home. Photo: Raanan Geberer where in Manhattan, chain stores such as CVS, Rite Aid and Duane Reade predominate. The homogenization of Chelsea has reshaped the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s small business landscape. Restaurants featuring Spanish or Chinese Cuban cuisine that once lined Eighth Avenue are virtually non-existent today. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been replaced by McDonaldses and Subways. Miguel Acevedo, 57, who was born and raised in Chelsea and is president of the Fulton Houses Tenantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association Acevedo, said the community used to be 70 percent Hispanic or Latino in the 1970s. According to 2016 city data, Community Districts 4 and 5, which roughly stretch north from 14th Street to 58th Street and east to Eighth Avenue, have a Hispanic or Latino population of 14.6 percent. Only 5.4 percent of the population in Manhattan Community Districts 4 and 5 is black as of 2016, down from 7 percent in 2010. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the gentrification started and it became so expensive to live in our community is when people started dispersing from the community,â&#x20AC;? Acevedo said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our landlords took advantage of families who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have much money.â&#x20AC;? Kimberley Johnson, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, called the demographic change â&#x20AC;&#x153;alarming and somewhat sad for the city.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not really having African American culture in the daily mix is sad,â&#x20AC;? Johnson said. Douglas Wagner, director of brokerage services at BOND New York real estate, said the area will swiftly become even more expensive. He said rents for a typical 620-square-foot one-bedroom in Chelsea rose from $2,550 in 2001 to about $4,500 today. Whenever landlordsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tax benefits expire, any rent regulation on their apartments do as well, Wagner said. Landlords then raise rent to prices only wealthy people can afford. Those who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pay end up leaving. To maintain the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diversity and perhaps even stem departures, Laurence Frommer, Save Chelseaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s president, said the organization has shifted its efforts from historic preservation to also retaining and establishing new affordable housing. It has seen some success, especially recently. At an April meeting, members of Community Board 4 pushed slow-burning 40-yearold plans to provide affordable housing. As a result, four buildings on Seventh Avenue and West 22nd Street will ultimately provide 24 new units of affordable housing in the form of a co-op, Wolff said. Five tenants, she added, now have the right to return to the new building upon completion. Score one for Save Chelsea.


MAY 10-16,2018

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Work at the B and C train stop at West 72nd Street was underway as transit advocates rallied to call on the MTA to install elevators during future station closures. Photo: Michael Garofalo

Along with the 72nd Street station, the B and C train stops along Central Park West at 86th Street and Cathedral Parkway110th Street will each close for the summer and are scheduled to reopen by this fall. This fourstation phase of the Enhanced Station Initiative, which also includes the 163rd StreetAmsterdam Avenue station in Washington Heights, is expected to cost $111 million. The primary purpose of the station closures, according to the MTA, is to perform necessary structural repairs to deteriorating infrastructure. The renovations will also include the installation of arrival boards, Wi-Fi and improved lighting, but do not include accessibility improvements, which are funded from a separate pot of money in the MTA capital budget. Colin Wright of the public

transportation advocacy group TransitCenter said that accessibility measures should have been included in the scope of the project. “There is no better time to construct elevators than when stations are already closed for renovations,” he said Andy Byford, who named improved accessibility as one of his top priorities when he took office as president of New York City Transit in January, has directed his staff to study the feasibility and cost of installing elevators in every station. At a recent meeting on the Upper West Side, Byford told transit riders that the station closures were necessary to complete essential repairs in the “quickest, most efficient way.” “Had the [Enhanced Station Initiative] just been about aesthetics, I would have vetoed it,” he said. “It isn’t.” Christine Yearwood attended the Upper West Side rally with her two-month-old son and a stroller. Yearwood founded the group Up-Stand three years

ago, after the birth of her first child, to advocate on behalf of women and families, who she said are often forgotten in conversations about accessibility. Yearwood said that the scope of MTA ridership impacted by accessibility issues is underappreciated, and encompasses “sectors of society that almost all of us will be part of at some point.” “It’s riders who are pregnant, disabled, elderly, parents — that’s almost everybody,” she said. “So when you talk about access, some people might move in and out of those groups at different points in life, but it’s almost all of us. If this is public transit, we should be servicing all of the public.” The MTA is engaged in ongoing litigation with the federal government, which alleges that the transit agency violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to install elevators as part of an earlier station renovation project in the Bronx.

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YOUR 15 MINUTES

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

CULTIVATING COMPASSION The president and CEO of Odyssey Impact on using the power of film to bring about a more just world BY ANGELA BARBUTI

As a journalist in his native UK, Nick Stuart was thrilled when the network he worked for asked around for someone with a background in religion for a show they were creating. “I always envied people on trains and airplanes when they said, “Is there a doctor on board?” And I used to think, “Nobody will ever ask me, “Is there a theologian on board?” Having earned a bachelor’s in theology and philosophy, Stuart was always bothered by y the fact that many y viewed religion as countercultural. Therefore, in 2009, when he was asked to move to New York to join Odyssey Impact, which creates documentaries that shed light on issues of social justice, with a focus on communities of faith, he knew he had found his niche. “I thought if we’re doing something about religion, if I could bring my insight to all these places around the world about the way it impacts the major stories that affect our lives,” the Midtown East resident began, “then New York is the place to do it.”

Tell us about your journalism background. For about 25 years, I worked in mainstream TV in the UK as a presenter and reporter. I had a program which took me around the world looking at the religion aspect behind the world’s top news stories. And so they sent me to places like Gaza to cover the first intifada, South Africa for the end of apartheid, Moscow, Kiev, during the end of communism. And then the streets of Belfast.

How did your job at Odyssey come about? I bumped into Odyssey at TV industry shows and conferences around the world. I was over in New York in 2008 and doing a speech at the History Makers’ Conference. It’s a conference where history program producers and yp g p buyers from around the world come and talk about what they do and what they want. At the end of it, the outgoing president of Odyssey came up to me and said, “I really like what you have to say. Have you ever thought of working in New York?” I was 48 at the time and as a foreign correspondent, I lived in countries for about two months or so, but never really lived there. And I thought, “If I’m going to do it, I should do it now. And, wow, New York.”

Nick Stuart, the president and CEO of Odyssey Impact, second from right, with, from left, the Rev. Derrick Harkins, the senior vice president at Union Seminary and an Odyssey Impact board member; Robert Corbit, whose sister, Recy Taylor, was the subject of an Odyssey feature; Nancy Buirski, the director of “The Rape of Recy Taylor”; and Marcia Fingal an Odyssey Impact board member. Photo: RaeAnn Walters

What attracted you to the nonprofit? One of the key things that drew me to Odyssey was the chance to really combine the passion and insights of people of faith with the wider, mainstream world. It always bugged me that people sometimes saw religion as countercultural. When I came there in 2009, I said, “We are going now to look at social justice. This is going to be our mission. We are going to try and create films which tell really powerful human stories. Obviously, they’ll be based on issues.” It always seemed to me, especially coming from a news background, if you present an issue as the issue, you immediately have division around politics. But if you need change, you need to find a common ground where opposing groups will come together somehow. And it’s finding that common ground in human stories.

I know it’s hard to choose, but what’s a project you worked on there that you’re most proud of?

The president and CEO of Odyssey Impact Nick Stuart. Photo: Pete Monsanto

Well the first one we did was, “Serving Life.” We did that with Forest Whitaker for Oprah. It was the first documentary the Oprah Winfrey network commissioned. And I wanted to do this doc for the UK. It’s about the Louisiana State Penitentiary, regarded as the harshest jail in the South. There are 5,000 inmates there and 95 percent die there; it’s life without parole. It just seemed like hell on earth. I really wanted to challenge the perception that people who were put away for life were inhuman in some way; there was no redeeming quality. We followed the prison hospice on a project where they learned care for in-

mates. And at the beginning, we were interviewing an inmate who said, “I thought you had to a be a savage animal to survive here.” And I thought, “Where will we find compassion if they have it?” And after six months, you saw these tender moments of them looking after their fellow dying inmates. And you thought, “That’s it; even some killers can care. They can have compassion.”

What did you learn from that experience? A year or two later, I was asked to do a speech at Morehouse, the AfricanAmerican college, about leadership. And one question was, “What lesson have you learned from your career?” And I said, “I used to think that for wisdom, I had to look upwards to prime ministers or archbishops or professors. But actually in the words of some of those inmates appearing in the film, I found some of the most profound insights into human nature. So never be afraid to look down, because we rarely do.”

You are committed to telling the stories of ordinary people. As a producer and journalist, I’ve always been fascinated by human stories. One of my main jobs in the UK was as an interviewer. I used to interview prime ministers and archbishops and leaders of industry. And the thing that really interested me most is what I call, “ordinary people being extraordinary.” I remember with the end of communism, in several countries that I was sent to, there would be a minister or a priest who would basically step out of the crowd and lead the people that final step, and then step back into

the crowd. And I was really always impressed with that. The big names are like superheroes, they’re almost unattainable to most of us. But these people could have been you or you could have been them in the background. I remember early on in my career, I had just interviewed the Dalai Lama, and there was a TV crew following him, so they interviewed me afterwards. And they said, “Is he not the most wonderful person you ever interviewed?” And I actually said, “He’s okay, but...”

In a time when people tend to stay away from speaking about religion, how do you work through that? I think the key is to find the common ground. Throughout history, certainly over the last two or three hundred years, the work to improve prisons or hospitals or education often came through religious organizations, so that’s where I start from. There is a history of religion working side by side to improve society. That’s not about what god you believe in. And we use the term at Odyssey, “to build a more just and compassionate world, people of faith and good will.” So if you could bring them together around those issues, I think that gets around the faith and secular division. And you’re exactly right, one of the big problems is the R word. If you hear it, there is a picture in people’s minds. And that narrative, to me, is so unfair.

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


22

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MAY 10-16,2018

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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POLICY NOTICE: We make every effort to avoid mistakes in your classified ads. Check your ad the first week it runs. The publication will only accept responsibility for the first incorrect insertion. The publication assumes no financial responsibility for errors or omissions. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or re-classify any ad. Contact your sales rep directly for any copy changes. All classified ads are pre-paid.

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