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The local paper for Downtown wn

WEEK OF JULY BRIGHT AND SHINING LIGHT < P.12

13-19 2017

NEW YORK HISTORY IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND TECHNOLOGY The creator of OldNYC talks about how he developed a digital timetravel site of city buildings BY ELISSA SANCI

Have you ever wondered what the plot of land you live on looked like 30 years ago? How about where you work — have you thought about how that building might have changed over the past hundred years? As long as you have a smartphone and access to the internet, you don’t have to wonder any longer. OldNYC is both a website and a mobile app that allows users to access a map that can show what any part of New York City looked like at any given time since 1800. Dan Vanderkam, the website’s creator, developed and released the site in 2015. Vanderkam, a Brooklyn-based software engineer, developed the OldNYC site as a side project over a span of three years, working whenever inspiration struck. His motivation was pure curiosity. “I think people tend to look for places that they’re familiar with,” Vanderkam said. This includes himself — the former Google employee said he knew putting together OldNYC was going to be a fun endeavor when he started looking into the history of Google’s Manhattan office.

In a survey, downtown residents gave high marks to crime control efforts in the neighborhood. Photo: Johan Wieland, via flickr

COMMUNITY SATISFACTION: HOW DOES DOWNTOWN MEASURE UP? NEIGHBORHOODS Residents grade their slice of NYC in survey BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

What does downtown Manhattan do better than anywhere else in the city? Where could it use some improvement? The Citizens Budget Commission has some data on what your neighbors think.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Building under construction in 1908 on Madison Avenue. Photo: NYPL and OldNYC

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Crime Watch Voices NYC Now City Arts

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Restaurant Ratings Business Real Estate 15 Minutes

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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

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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

n OurTownDowntow

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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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The commission recently released the results of a neighborhood survey measuring residents’ satisfaction with quality of life and city services at the community district level. The results are based on the responses of 9,800 New Yorkers collected by the National Research Center in January 2017. Published here are select results of the survey for Community

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JULY 13-19,2017

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PROUD TO BE A CITY MOUSE FAMILY Why Manhattan is the best place to raise kids BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

If you’re thinking of moving out of Manhattan to a) get away from those Upper East Side moms satirized on “Odd Mom Out,” b) have a yard that you believe will be superior to Central Park, or c) live what you believe will be a simpler life (where you envision yourself making your own jam), have I got a summer read for you. The newly published “City Mouse” by Stacey Lender follows the move of Jessica and Aaron, along with their two young daughters, from Manhattan to Suffern, where we are reminded that momzillas, posers and mean kids are everywhere. If one’s skill set includes gossiping and fundraising, pull up an Adirondack chair. Aside from the entertainment value of this fish-out-of-water story, (Jessica, as well as I, were a bit taken aback by the whole backyard party/ hot tub scene), the story reminded me of why I’m glad that my husband Neil and I stayed in NYC to raise our now

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22-year-old son, Luke and 19-year-old daughter, Meg. • Although everywhere go you there will be ice skating and Little League, or whatever activities your children are into, one of things I liked was looking up from Wollman Rink and seeing the CPW skyline, or looking around and thinking that Central Park is truly an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle. • I never had to rely upon a car to take my kids to the dentist or a playdate, let alone to buy bread. • Neil’s “commute” has always been a nice, head-clearing walk from his midtown office to our Upper East Side home. • My kids have always known what a real bagel tastes like. • Even though the Time Warner Center, Pier 17, and the Manhattan Mall are all indeed “malls,” it never occurred to Luke or Meg to hang out in them. • My children learned early how to travel via public transportation. When Luke was a junior in high school, a friend from Westchester was going to come to Manhattan to spend the day with him and some other guys. The boy’s mother insisted that Luke

meet her son at the MetroNorth gate in Grand Central, so that Luke could escort the kid uptown on the subway. They were both 17. • We never needed the services of ADT or an electric fence, because we have a doorman. • I would have rather walked my kids across the park to the Museum of Natural History to look at the big whale or the butterfly exhibit for the umpteenth time, than ever have them step foot in a Chuck E. Cheese. • We can all sleep at night, even when there’s noise. Sirens. The rattle of the garbage truck. Music to our ears. • Luke and Meg learned early that not everyone looks like them and how to get along with different types of people. • Life is competitive, whether it be getting into a school or on a team. Better to learn this sooner rather than later. Both Neil and I are native New Yorkers, from Queens and the Bronx, respectively. When we began our careers, working with other recent college grads who’d moved here from suburbs near and far, it was hard for us to believe their disbelief that the rest of us weren’t getting out of their way, so their career paths could be one

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

Photo: Steven Pisano, via flickr boulevard of unbroken green lights. • Even when there’s nothing to do, there’s always something to do. • More space means more stuff and more to clean. The lure of a basement and an attic escapes me. • Sophisticated serves kids better than sheltered. • We share our home with 8.55 million other people. Waiting our turn is not a foreign concept to any of us. • Carl Schurz Park is our backyard and I’ve never had to remind, aka nag, Neil to mow it.

• And for those moms who work outside the home like Jessica, who kept her 9-to-5 theater-district publicity job, when something happens such as the fender bender her nanny and girls were involved in, there’s no hopping in a cab or running several blocks to the scene. You just have to hope you’re in time to catch the 3:07. Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels “Back to Work She Goes,” and “Fat Chick,” for which a movie is in the works.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Oculus Book Talk | From Mall to Prison: El Helicoide’s Downward Spiral

THURSDAY, JULY 13TH, 5:30PM Center for Architecture | 536 LaGuardia Pl. | 212-683-0023 | cfa.aiany.org Look at a failed Caracas mall that hosted squatters, intelligence police, and torture—so much for drive-in shopping—to become known as the “Tropical Tower of Babel” ($10).

Sam Kean + Robert Krulwich | Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

WEDNESDAY, JULY 19TH, 7PM The Strand | 828 Broadway | 212-473-1452 | strandbooks.com Delve into the history of the chemicals in our atmosphere, moving from the dinosaur era through modern chemistry breakthroughs ($15 gift card or $28 book purchase required).

Just Announced | TimesTalks: Naomi Watts, Brie Larson, and Jeannette Walls

TUESDAY, AUGUST 8TH, 7PM FIAF/Florence Gould Hall | 55 E. 59th St. | 212-355-6100 | fiaf.org Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson joins actor Naomi Watts and author Jeannette Walls to talk about their upcoming film, “The Glass Castle,” based on Walls’ memoir of a dysfunctional family ($40).

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

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


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG BIG SMACK

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 1st precinct for

One man may think twice before trying to stop a fight between two women again. Just after midnight Saturday, July 1, a 59-year-old man was inside the McDonald’s restaurant at 160 Broadway when he tried to break up a fight between two 30-yearold women. His peace-keeping attempts were rewarded with a metal flask hitting the right side of his face. One of the two women also punched and bit him. Police were unable to locate the warring women in the neighborhood later.

Week to Date

NOT VERY CONSTRUCTIVE A verbal dispute turned violent at a local construction site. At around noon Friday, June 30, a 25-year-old man had a verbal dispute with a 29-year-old man at a construction site inside 155 Mercer St. The 25-year-old later told police that the older man left the room before returning with a knife, swinging it multiple times and stabbing the younger man in his right leg, cutting him. Jeremiah Peters was arrested June 30 and charged with assault.

Year to Date

2017 2016

% Change

2017

2016

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

0

n/a

Rape

1

0

n/a

9

6

50.0

Robbery

0

2

-100.0

33

31

6.5

Felony Assault

3

1

200.0

40

43

-7.0

Burglary

0

0

n/a

31

70

-55.7

Grand Larceny

19

24

-20.8

477

540 -11.7

Grand Larceny Auto

0

5

-100.0

8

27

-70.4

Tony Webster, via flickr

COLOGNE “ON LOAN”

GILLETTE THREAT

CADILLAC ATTACK

It seems that there will be a lot of sweet-smelling dudes in the neighborhood soon. At 1:58 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, eight men entered the Abercrombie & Fitch store at 199 Water St. and took 46 bottles of cologne totaling $5,268 from displays, racks, and shelves that they placed into shopping bags before leaving without paying.

At 7:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, a man entered the Duane Reade store at 250 Broadway and took 17 packages of Prilosec valued at $578, two Nexium tabs worth $50, plus a large quantity of Gillette Fusion razors and blades amounting to $1,273. The total stolen came to $1,901.

A thief went to town using an outof-towner’s credit cards. At 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, a 40-year-old woman from Norwalk, Connecticut, reported to police that her wallet was taken while she was sitting in the Joe Coffee shop inside the Cadillac House on Hudson Street. She told police that she had her wallet when she entered

the location, but someone took it from her bag after she hung it on the back of her chair. She canceled her missing credit cards, but unauthorized charges totaling $10,498.14 turned up at Saks Fifth Avenue New York City. Also stolen was a quantity of cash, a wallet, a Connecticut driver’s license and a Metro-North monthly card.

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Useful Contacts 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.

212-477-7411

NYPD 1st Precinct

16 Ericsson Place

WORLDS UPON WORLDS BY PETER PEREIRA

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

POST OFFICES

HOW TO REACH US:

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A CALL TO CURTAIL TOBACCO AVAILABILITY PERSPECTIVE Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started before they reached 18 BY FADI GAYE Do you know how it feels to walk in my shoes down the streets of Manhattan and have to see so many advertisements for tobacco products? Tobacco retail outlet density is a major issue in my neighborhood. The sad truth is that you’re more likely to find more tobacco retail outlets than libraries and playgrounds. Students are surrounded by tobacco retail outlets everywhere they go: More than 9,000 tobacco outlets already swamp New York City. We don’t need more tobacco shops on our blocks. My school, Urban Assembly of Emergency Management on Pearl Street, for example, is surrounded by nearly

The blue dot indicates Urban Assembly of Emergency Management High School on Pearl Street, while the skull and crossbones buttons represent the cluster of tobacco retail outlets surrounding the school. 46 tobacco retail outlets. Tobacco companies purposely advertise and sell their deadly addictive products

near schools so students like me can be “replacement” smokers. Widespread availability of these products

normalizes tobacco and the more my peers see it, the increased likelihood of them picking up a chronic habit. Philip Morris once said, “Today’s teenagers is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens.” What’s even more disconcerting is that the majority of the tobacco products being sold at these stores contain menthol. Menthol is a cool minty flavor, often found in peppermint or gum. Tobacco companies add menthol to tobacco products because it counters the harshness of their products, thereby making cigarettes easier and more enjoyable to use. Teenagers like me are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes because of the cooling sensation. Brands such as Kool and Newport, both mentholated, are marketed to young students by advertising — and availability — in areas that youth frequent the most.

Percentage of Residents Who Responded “Excellent” or “Good”

This is huge problem considering that, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 90 percent of smokers started before the age of 18. The earlier students start to smoke the harder it is for them to quit. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smokingrelated illness.” I participate in Reality Check with NYC Smoke-Free, a program that lets you stand up and speak out against tobacco use and the tobacco industry. We all need to do our part in educating others about these issues going on within our community. We need to be the change we want to see in the world! For more information on getting involved, please visit Nycsmokefree.org Fadi Gaye is a senior at Manhattan’s Urban Assembly of Emergency Management High School

SATISFACTION CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Community District 1 Neighborhood as a place to live

89.4%

Feeling safe walking alone in your neighborhood at night Control of Street Noise City Spends Tax Dollars Wisely Public Education (K-12)

Public after-school Programs

Traffic

92.8% 42.0%

72.9%

62.6%

80.0%

70.1%

34.3%

20.8% 55.3% 58.7% 11.0%

NYC Overall

Manhattan Overall

24.3% 45.3% 43.2% 16.9%

40.4% 20.8% 48.0% 42.1% 19.6%

Snow Removal

79.5%

66.5%

53.45%

Crime Control

82.7%

60.6%

50.1%

District 1, including broad quality of life indicators and categories in which downtowners gave their neighborhood particularly high or particularly low marks. According to the survey, Manhattan residents enjoy greater overall satisfaction with their neighborhoods than residents of any other borough (Bronx residents were found to be the least satisfied). Residents of Manhattan Community District 7 reported the highest overall satisfaction with their neighborhood as a place to live —92.2 percent of the district’s respondents rated the Upper West Side community “good” or “excellent.” The full results of the survey, based on the responses of 9,800 New Yorkers collected by the National Research Center in January 2017, are available on the Citizens Budget Commission’s website, cbcny.org.

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JULY 13-19,2017

MISSING ON MADISON BUSINESS A rash of empty storefronts unsettles the fashionable avenue, even as two dozen new boutiques debut BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

The storefronts are dark. Brown paper often covers the windows. There is a feeling of hollowness. Even the signboards can be unsettling: “Store Closing Sale” and “Everything Must Go” and “Store for Rent,” they read. Still, an air of optimism is also maintained. “Showcase Your Brand,” one sign reads. “Luxury Retail Space Available for Lease,” says another. As for positive spin, “Prime Retail Flagship Opportunity” is hard to surpass. Yet every once in a while, a plaintive note is posted: “Thank You for 26 Years of Business!” And that is when it dawns on you. This is not only a story about “Availability” — a word preferred by brokers and landlords — it is also about “Vacancy,” a word seldom in evidence on the signs. “There’s a New Look on Madison,” proclaims the signpost at 943 Madison Avenue, an empty storefront in a prime location, just one door south of the Met Breuer, the former site of the Whitney Museum of Art. Unfortunately, that’s true. The photographer Pierre Crosby on Sunday, June 18, walking southbound down Madison, took pictures of what he

believes to be 49 vacant retail spaces in the 35-block, 1.75-mile stretch between 57th Street and 92nd Street. In an effort to confirm those findings, an Our Town reporter on Sunday, July 9 drove northbound over the same route twice — first up the east side of the avenue, then up the west side — and counted 46 apparent vacancies. “I grew up going to the Rudolf Steiner School on 79th and Madison and have many memories of walking the avenue as a child — in awe of the window displays and luxury items,” said the 23-year-old Crosby. “Today, it is sad to see so many of the mom-and-pop shops gone, and just a few still hanging on. Only the bigname brands, like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, are sure to stay, and it feels as if something is missing from the avenue and its allure,” he added. Crosby’s stark portraits of emptiness, which he provided as a courtesy to Our Town, first ran in NewYorkSocialDiary.com, which chronicles old money, the nouveau riche and society doings in Manhattan and the Hamptons. In a piece about the “deaccessioning of retail space” that accompanied the photos, society writer David Patrick Columbia, who co-founded the website, wrote bluntly that Madison Avenue, long the “crown jewel in American retailing,” is now “looking like the guy you run into on the street panhandling who is missing a lot of teeth.” Wait a minute. Not so fast. Let’s get

Madison between 80th and 81st. Photo: Pierre Crosby / @pierrecrosby

Madison betweemm 67th and 68th. Photo: Pierre Crosby / @pierrecrosby some perspective here. If Madison is the Hope Diamond of hyper-luxe shopping districts globally, let’s just stipulate that it has a flaw, an imperfection, as most diamonds do. That being said, take a gander at 63rd Street, where you can still get a 100-carat stone at Graff Diamonds, a $9,500 moon quartz-and-diamond ring at David Yurman or a jeweled Duchessa watch with hand-engraved yellow-gold diamonds at Buccellati. Looking for $975 sneakers matched with $595 socks? Try Brunello Cucinelli a block south. Or listen to Matthew A. Bauer, the president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District since 1999, who ticks off an A (Alison Lou) through V (Vinotherapie Spa by Caudalie) list of the 24 Madison Avenue shops that have opened their doors in the past year alone. “That includes two new stores —

Balenciaga and Golden Goose Deluxe Brand — that opened in just the past two weeks,” he said. Are there challenges? Of course, Bauer acknowledges. In response to a query, he conducted his own survey of the BID’s territory, which runs from 57th to 86th Streets and takes in a short amount of frontage along the east and west cross streets. He reported the results on July 10: Of the 472 ground-floor spaces in the BID, 38 are currently vacant, a rate of 8 percent. “Throughout New York City and the country, there is a concern about spaces that are vacant,” Bauer said. “But the story about Madison Avenue in this difficult retail environment is the large amount of brands that are investing in the street — and making sizable contributions to the development of the district.” Still, the avenue does contain a

Madison between 63rd and 64th. Photo: Pierre Crosby / @pierrecrosby

“great deal of empty space,” said Justin Levinson, whose Vacant New York website, founded last September, tracks the inventory. “Landlords are looking for the few major brands who would open big flagship stores and could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, but most of them aren’t going to get those tenants,” he said. “These are huge spaces, and there’s not a lot of people who can afford them.” While there’s “no shortage of demand for storefront space,” Levinson added, “There’s just not the demand at the prices that are being asked for it.” The results can be found on the placards that front these empty boutiques, some of which now operate from other locations: • Foravi. A women’s clothing store, formerly at 1067 Madison Avenue. “Thank you for your 8 years of business.” • Rachel Riley. A children’s clothing store, formerly of 1286 Madison Avenue. “After 10 years on Madison Avenue, our lease has come to an end.” • Corner Café. A restaurant and bakery, formerly at 1246 Madison Avenue. “It’s been a pleasure serving our Carnegie Hill neighbors for the last 8 years.” • Naturino. A shoe store, formerly of 1184 Madison Avenue. “Thank You for 26 Years of Business!” Bauer boils down the issue like this: “The ideal situation is that there would not be one vacant store on all of Madison Avenue,” he said. “But this street, just like every other street in the Our Town coverage area, has not been immune to the challenges facing the retail industry.” And he added, “If the question is, ‘Are major brands investing in the street?,’ the answer is, ‘Absolutely yes!’”


JULY 13-19,2017

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

IN THE MEANTIME BY BETTE DEWING

No meetings in July and August for the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association so maybe a column on how meetings can really be swell — and what we can do in the meantime. Remember the “High Society” Frank, Bing and Grace song, “What a swell party that was!”? Swell meetings, well, whatever kind, the talk will be shared. (“My Share,” the talk club, never did get off the ground — sigh). In swell civic

groups, the public speaks first, tells the electeds, police and other policy makers just what is wrong, and what these designated fixer-uppers must do. The really swell civic meeting shares the talk — one brief comment to a customer. The shy are urged to speak, ‘cause we think a whole lot. Responders (official fixer-uppers) must also be brief. Maybe revive “Get the hook!” That great invention, the micro-

phone, has just gotta be used. Another aside: The population is aging — hearing loss is ever more common, but so overlooked is what the hearing public can do to help. Speak a little LOUDER, ENUNCIATE, SLOW DOWN. So should we all. So no one is left out. So no one is left out. What else makes a “swell” civic meeting? Well, monthly ones like the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association’s. To potentially help build more community interaction — more community — yes, less isolation. As for Swell Civic Meetings’ primary needs, the electeds need reminding that government’s first duty is to protect public safety, which means all-out enforcement of the laws.

SIDEWALK SHENANIGANS EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Bike clamor — With all the street traffic on city sidewalks, space is limited, so a tall pole to lean on at the bus stop (where the bus indicator resides) during the long waits is a welcome amenity. Whoa, not so fast. Let us not forget that sidewalks are also where stationary bikes have a right to park where there are bike racks. But not all sidewalks have bike racks. So bikers lean their bikes on street lamps or wrap them around bus poles, taking away valuable public space. Of course, they could do what cars do when they can’t find a parking space and go look for another spot. Doesn’t happen that way. The result is that bikes wrapped around bus poles or leaning against street lamps take away the ability of other street users to endure long bus waits while at least being able to lean on the bus pole or the street lamp. These bikes also interfere with the ability of pedestrians to navigate the sidewalk safely. It’s not fashionable these days to interfere with bike rights, but bikers should not be permitted to misuse public property without penalty. Disappearing sidewalks — Businesses that operate a portion of a restaurant on a public sidewalk must

have a sidewalk cafe license. An unenclosed sidewalk cafe is an outdoor area on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant with removable chairs and tables. Small unenclosed sidewalk cafes have no more than a single row of tables and chairs next to the building. The tables and chairs can occupy no more than 4 feet, 6 inches of the public sidewalk. Truth to tell, I don’t walk around with a ruler or a tape measure. All it takes

is a look-see and there’s no doubt that some of the restaurants on the west side of Second Ave between 89th and 90th Streets are occupying space beyond the requirement. I love the restaurants. I love the street life, but it’s hard for pedestrians and other street traffic to co-exist as the sidewalk gets narrower and narrower. Return of everyday ethnic eating — Everyone has a favorite ethnic food.

Voices

Again, recalling those killed by traffic accidents, vehicular failure to yield at corners kills more pedestrians and causes more, often lasting injuries than all other city moving traffic violations. And it’s not just high accident corners, remember how we’d never have known of Belle Moser’s fatal injury as she crossed 82nd and East End in July 2013 if her neighbor was not a friend of mine. This 90-year-old woman’s’ three-weeks of suffering before she perished at least received media coverage. And the 79th Street Neighborhood Association meeting president has ever since asked why the elder driver who “was unable to see a woman

Mine’s Greek. The tavernas of old — small Greek restaurants similar to a tavern — are few and far between in Manhattan. There are the high-end Greek restaurants like Avra and Estiatorio Milos in Midtown, and Korali, a newbie on the UES. And there are the low-budget gyro and souvlaki grab-and-go or sit-and-eat-real-quick places. What I miss are those tavernas that once were — where you could sip a glass of Greek wine, preferably retsina, have some pita and meze, and just hang out. My favorite was the Greek Village on Lexington in the 70s, which is no more. But all is not lost. In recent weeks, I found two that fit the bill. One

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on St. Marks Place — Ayios (Yeeros). “Yeeros” is a riff on the pronunciation of gyros — and Greek Eats on First Ave between 66th and 67th Streets. Ayios has table service and Greek Eats is self-serve. At both you can get a glass of Greek wine for $6. And at Ayios, you can enjoy the earthy retsina. Nice to find casual Greek dining in our town without having to take the train to Astoria. Welcome back tree — Soon a tree will be growing again on East 92nd Street between First and Second Avenues. The previous one, opposite the Drunken Munkey restaurant, was taken down by the city. Another is being planted. Word is that the pretty lights will be back, too. The neighborhood is de-lighted. A Manhattan Tale — Actor Chazz Palminteri had a long run with his “A Bronx Tale” on stage and screen. Same fate was not to be with his eponymous restaurant on Second Ave and 47th Street, which closed at the end of June. It was an old-worldish Italian restaurant with classic Italian dishes, tuxedoed waiters, linen table covers, ‘50s music in the background. It’s moving to the Cambria Hotel on West 46th Street off Fifth Ave. The new location in the Theatre District may have a cache that was missing in Midtown East, where the rage is for more casual dining and a 24/7 Morton Williams supermarket. As for the Palminteri celebrity aspect, I get the sense these days that celebrity dining experiences are more Mark Wahlberg’s Wahlburgers than old-school Italian. Buona fortuna.

Photo: emerson12, via flickr

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with a walker in the crosswalk” still has a license to drive. But according to my scouts at the June 2017 meeting, the police officer speaker started off about dangerous jaywalkers. And again the epidemic of killing off neighborhood places that build caring communities, needs to be stopped. The latest such lifeline, about which more will soon be said, is Gracie’s Cafe on 81st and York, shut down without any warning. Heat, incidentally is a natural disaster killer and a caring society looks after its vulnerable citizens who also live in upper scale neighborhoods.

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ROSENTHAL FACES 4 CHALLENGERS FOR COUNCIL SEAT POLITICS Small business, development, museum’s proposed expansion among campaign issues BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

In 2013, Helen Rosenthal defeated six candidates in the Democratic primary and three more in the general election on her way to winning the District 6 City Council seat. As Rosenthal nears the end of her first term representing the Upper West Side, it appears as though she’ll face a slightly less crowded field in her reelection campaign. With summer campaign season picking up in advance of the Sept. 12 primaries and the Nov. 7 general election, four challengers have filed with the New York City Campaign Finance Board to run for the seat currently held by Rosenthal. Rosenthal said she welcomes the election year challengers. “Campaigns make every candidate better,” she said. “I’m really proud of my record,” Rosenthal said. “We help thousands of people every year.” Rosenthal expressed particular pride in her support for the hotly contested public school rezoning plan, passed last year, that aims to alleviate overcrowding and increase economic and racial integration in three Upper West Side elementary schools. Rosenthal said it might have made for easier politics to have withheld support for the plan, which attracted vocal opposition from many community members, but she is proud of the stance she took. “Why would you have this job if you wouldn’t support the parents on the Community Education Council who voted for it?” Rosenthal said of the plan, which she described as an “elegant, respectful, smart solution” to persistent problems. “I would do it again,” she said. “It was the right thing to do.” For the second straight election cycle, Rosenthal will compete for Democratic primary votes with Mel Wymore, the community organizer and former Community Board 7 chairman who finished second to Rosenthal in the 2013 Democratic primary, winning 6,440 votes to Rosenthal’s 7,716. If elected, Wymore would become the first transgender person elected to the City Council. Wymore has made small businesses and what he refers to as the West Side’s “epidemic of empty storefronts” focal points of his campaign. “It’s almost impossible to start a business, let alone make a profit here because of the red tape we see, because of the soaring rents we see, and because there’s no one really supporting the small busi-

This is Mel Wymore’s second bid for the District 6 seat.

David Owens is running as an independent.

Opposition to the Museum of Natural’s History’s proposed Gilder Center is Cary Goodman’s prime campaign issue.

Opposition to the Gilder Center is also a focal point of William Raudenbush’s campaign.

161st Street Business Improvement District, has been a consistent opponent of the project. “Mel Wymore and Helen Rosenthal are both on the side of expansion,” Goodman said. “Mel Wymore had a chance to oppose it but he didn’t,” Goodman said. “He opposed lack of public discussion before tax dollars were allocated. That’s not the same thing as saying this is a toxic plan that is going to poison the neighborhood by dividing it and causing such stress. Goodman’s campaign for the Democratic nomination also focuses on plans reduce segregation in public schools and promote affordability for small businesses. Opposition to the Gilder Center is also a focal point of William Raudenbush’s campaign. Raudenbush, an information governance consultant and vice president of the Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, announced his candidacy last month at a public hearing on the Gilder Center’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. “I had held out hope that Mel Wymore would ultimately end up

opposing the project as-is,” he said, explaining his decision to enter the race. Raudenbush has collected petitions to appear on the Democratic primary ballot, but said that he may instead choose to run as an independent. David Owens, a longtime Upper West Side resident, told the Spirit that he will mount an independent campaign for the District 6 City Council seat. “I went to public school, I grew up in affordable housing, my mom’s Jewish, my dad’s black — I mean, I am the Upper West Side,” he said. Owens founded and coaches the New York Grays Baseball Club, a youth team that seeks to use baseball as a vehicle to put children on track towards college. Owens said he will focus on improving affordable housing and after school programs. “There has to be more attentiveness to people on the lower rungs of socioeconomic status,” he said. Owens said he’d also propose what he described as “practical, common sense” initiatives like working with the Parks Department and Central Park Conservancy to install new bathrooms in Central Park.

Council Member Helen Rosenthal faces four challengers in her bid for reelection to the District 6 seat. ness person in the face of everyone trying to get the highest rent they can from a chain, a bank or a drugstore,” Wymore, a former small business owner, said. “We need to level the playing field for small businesses, and that means taking on real estate,” he added. “It means making sure our small businesses have a fair chance to renegotiate their lease.” Wymore has criticized Rosenthal for what he characterizes as a lack of responsiveness and inclusiveness. “Four years ago, we had an amazing City Council member,” Wymore said, referring to Gale Brewer, who preceded Rosenthal as District 6’s Council representative and is now Manhattan Borough president. “Someone who was very connected to the community, full of commitment to making sure all people in the community are well served. And in the last few years, I have had real concerns about the way in which our community is served, especially those who are most vulnerable — low income families, seniors, immigrant families in our community.” Rosenthal rejects the charge that she is unresponsive to constituents, calling it “flat out wrong.” Among other examples, Rosenthal cited her office’s efforts to assist tenants who are harassed by landlords. Rosenthal said that a package of tenant safety bills she has championed in the Council is characteristic of her overall strategy to “use information we gather from the cases that come into our office to pass laws to help people.” “I do think Mel Wymore makes a lot of assertions,” she said. “I don’t expe-

rience them to be grounded in fact.” The American Museum of Natural History’s planned Gilder Center expansion, which calls for the construction of a new museum building that would occupy a quarter-acre of what is now Theodore Roosevelt Park and is currently in the city’s environmental review process, has been another topic of contentious debate in the district. Opponents cite a host of concerns with the planned expansion, including lost park space, increased traffic congestion, noise during construction, and the fact that the project relies, in significant measure, on public funding. Rosenthal supports the plan, which she said will serve the public and “polish the gem” that is the museum. “I have heard the community loud and clear on this issue,” Rosenthal said, adding that politicians have allocated public resources to the museum for years and that she would like to see additional public reporting from the museum on issues like traffic congestion. Wymore said he is “not, in principle, against the idea” of the expansion, but that there wasn’t adequate public debate surrounding the proposal. “We have a very upset community because a decision was made without their input,” he said. Wymore has concerns about the size of the expansion and its impacts on traffic and environmental sustainability. “I would freeze funding until we had full public hearings, because that’s the right thing to do,” he said. Staunch opposition to the Gilder Center plan is a central feature of the campaign platforms of two other candidates. Cary Goodman, a longtime Upper West Sider and director of the


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Thu 13 Fri 14

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▲NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY

HIGH LINE WILDLIFE TOUR

Le District 225 Liberty St. 10 a.m. Indulge in truffle, poutine or beef bourguignon at the new Bar a Frites. Buy a pint of Saison DuPont or Palm beer and receive a complimentary sample of french fries. 212-981-8588. ledistrict. com

JOHN GIORNO & THE SPARK OF POETIC REVOLUTIONS Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway 7 p.m. $20 John Giorno, a living legend in NY’s performance arts and experimental poetry worlds, has published numerous literary works and art installations, and continues to create and perform. 212-473-1452. thinkolio.org

IF BOOKS COULD KILL Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway 7:30 p.m. $15 One dark and (hopefully not) stormy night, a group of thrilling tale tellers will gather to tell of their stories and their work within the realm of suspense. Join this power-packed panel as they discuss their work, featuring Brad Taylor, Danny Gardner, Nicholas Petrie and Jason Pinter. 212-473-1452. strandbooks. com

PORT OF SHADOWS Tompkins Square Park 8:30 p.m. Free On July 14, the free outdoor French film festival Films on the Green will screen 1938’s “Port of Shadows” (Quai des Brumes), directed by Marcel Carne. 212-439-1407. frenchculture. org

The High Line 8 a.m. Free Exact tour location provided via email following RSVP. Tour the High Line with horticulturist and resident wildlife expert, Maryanne Stubbs. 212-500-6035. thehighline. org

AWAY! ART OPENING Mulberry Street Library, 10 Jersey St. Away! an exhibition by the National Association of Women Artists opens. An exhibit on summertime, and the changes and exploration that comes along with it. Happening in the lower level community room. 212-966-3424. nypl.org


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Comfort, Security & Community Straus News’ Senior Living Guide Photo by Global Landscapes Forum via Flickr

Sun 16 ‘THE FUTURE IS FEMALE’ The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard St. 6 p.m. Free. Catch the closing reception of an all-woman gallery & public art exhibition which explored and celebrated the everevolving intersectional feminist movement, while redefining and expanding upon the mainstream definition of the female gaze. 212-319-2220. saveartspace.org

OPERATION FINALE: THE CAPTURE & TRIAL OF ADOLF EICHMANN The Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl. 10 a.m. $12 This exhibit offers an unprecedented opportunity to view recently declassified material and artifacts that tell the story of the incredible secret history behind the capture, extradition and trial of one of the world’s most notorious escaped war criminals. 646-437-4202. mjhnyc.org

Mon 17

Live version of the popular podcast 2 Dope Queens, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York and Billy Joel. Plus, a whole bunch of other stuff. 212-260-4700. boweryballroom.com

9:30 a.m. Free Drawing inspiration from books like “The Carrot Seed” and “The Grouchy Ladybug,” Storytime at The Battery will give children their first introduction to urban farming with activities like planting seeds, touching soil, crafting and tasting new, delicious herbs and vegetables. 212-344-3491. thebattery.org

KATJA NOVITSKOVA’S EARTH POTENTIAL

Wed 19

City Hall Park, Broadway & Chambers Streets Katja Novitskova combines science, fiction, technology and art to make nature seem alien in her latest art installation. 212-408-0100. nycgovparks.org

Tue 18 ▲AL GORE ON CLIMATE CHANGE BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. 7 p.m. $50 Don’t miss this crucial conversation with former vice president and climate change activist Al Gore on how far the battle to halt climate change has come — and why he thinks the momentum is unstoppable. 212-220-8000. tribecapac. org

2 DOPE QUEENS LIVE The Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. 7 p.m. $30

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The High Line 6 p.m. Free Exact location provided via email after RSVP. Get an insider’s look at the unique design elements of the High Line and the notable architecture in the neighborhood. Learn about the behind-the-scenes work that led to the development of the High Line and its impact locally and worldwide. 212-206-9922. thehighline. org

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HAPPY HOUR DANCE CARDIO South Flatiron Public Plaza, 949 Broadway 6 p.m. Free Dance-based interval training class perfect for students of any level. This class alternates between choreographed combos of dance cardio, toning and dynamic flexibility sections. 212-741-2323. flatirondistrict.nyc

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JULY 13-19,2017

BRIGHT AND SHINING LIGHT The Frick illuminates a rarely seen work by Rembrandt BY MARY GREGORY

Rembrandt has been called the painter of light. He was enamored of it. He pursued and captured it with dazzling similitude. His works are defined and transformed by it. He invented astonishing techniques that allowed him to describe and portray it. Rembrandt’s voice, his manner of thinking, and his spirit are communicated through illumination. Through a rare loan of “Abraham Entertaining the Angels,” Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, a curatorial fellow at the Frick Collection, shines a light on this aspect of the master’s work. Amsterdam’s golden age produced many spectacular artists, none more

IF YOU GO WHAT: “Divine Encounter: Rembrandt’s Abraham and the Angels” WHERE: The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street WHEN: Through August 20 www.frick.org/ remarkable than Rembrandt van Rijn. Born in 1606 to a middle class miller’s family, Rembrandt was the sole son who was afforded higher education. He took the opportunity and ran with it, becoming a sensation at a young age, instantly recognized for his astonishing artistic abilities.

Rembrandt, “Abraham Caressing Isaac,” ca. 1637–45. Etching, 4 ½ x 3 ½ inches. Photo: The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

Rembrandt, “Abraham Entertaining the Angels,” 1646. Oil on oak panel, 6 3/8 x 8 3/8 in. Private collection. Photo: Michael Bodycomb While portrait commissions poured in, Rembrandt was always drawn to historical and biblical subjects. They were deemed in artistic and academic circles as more prestigious, more intellectual, more challenging and creative than painting the shipbuilders and their wives whose likenesses paid the rent. Though Rembrandt never traveled abroad, he voraciously consumed imagery from afar and was influenced by Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro, as well as by the Baroque model of focusing on action, tumult and events that expressed them. He was an artist who continuously sought to capture the energy of life through both its physical and psychological drama, so otherworldly biblical scenes and the lessons they were meant to impart were an excellent subject. They also fit in with Rembrandt’s Calvinist faith. Seidenstein points out in the exhibition text that Calvinism’s prohibition of representations of God challenged Rembrandt to “devise new means for representing the divine.” The centerpiece of the exhibition, “Abraham Entertaining the Angels” was painted in 1646, by which time Rembrandt had begun turning away from tempestuous subjects, focusing more on inward revelations. Known for enormous paintings like “The Night Watch,” he also produced scores of small paintings like this, many on

biblical subjects. Historians have suggested that Rembrandt created these smaller works primarily for himself, rather than as objects of commerce. In them, he honed his skills, focused on what mattered to him as an artist, and heeded and developed his own voice. “Abraham Entertaining the Angels” illustrates the story of Abraham and Sarah being visited by angels who announce that Sarah, an old woman, will give birth to a child within a year. Abraham kneels, immobilized by the presence before him. Sarah peers in from the background. Three other figures face him, pictured in varying stages of ethereality. One, back towards the viewer, wears dark red and carries a walking stick, like any other traveler. At the far left, another is bathed in reflected light, eating bread Sarah has prepared. The central figure radiates pure heavenly light. On a pictorial level, the light draws the eye. On a conceptual level, it speaks of the spiritual realm. Abraham and Sarah view their visitors calmly. “They have not yet grasped what is taking place before their eyes,” Seidenstein writes. “Rembrandt thus conveys a disconnect between sensory perception and cognition, portraying the couple at the cusp of revelation, suspended between seeing and understanding, darkness and light.” The painting is just 9 inches wide, but its luminosity draws the viewer close, and that intimacy is captivating. With

just a hand’s length of surface to peruse, the eye rests on the tiniest of details and the virtuosity with which they’re rendered. The bright rim of a round dish is achieved by a stroke of paint as thin as a thread, yet thick enough to create a three-dimensional projection from the surface. It depicts the shape of a bowl while becoming one. The painting is surrounded by a tight selection of other Rembrandt scenes from the life of Abraham. Exquisite drawings, executed in sparse but powerful strokes, and etchings in which the lines vary from dark and strong to whispers that look traced by a feather, depict other notable biblical tales, and include “Sacrifice Of Isaac,” “Abraham Caressing Isaac,” “God Announcing his Covenant with Abraham,” “Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael,” and a touching father-son moment between Abraham and Isaac. Part of the power of an artist like Rembrandt is his work’s ability to speak across centuries to timeless realities. Abraham’s story is one of loyalty and faith, but the idea of entertaining angels also occurs elsewhere in scripture, and may have been in the artist’s mind. In Hebrews we’re told “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” An enlightening thought for our and all times.


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SUNDAY JULY 16 1:00–4:00 PM

th

6th & 7th A ves ween t e . .b t S

Caption: Monsta X performing in Singapore in 2015. Photo: Anna Naver via Wikimedia Commons

CONCERTS IN THE CITY MUSIC Stars from K-pop to hip hop bring their shows to New York this week BY OSCAR KIM BAUMAN

New York is a city known for its diverse culture, and few things reflect that better than the musicians who come and perform here. This week, South Korean boy band Monsta X will play at Manhattan’s Playstation Theater on their first stateside tour, and chart-topping rapper Kendrick Lamar hosts two all-star nights at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Who: Korean boy band Monsta X Where: Playstation Theater in Times Square When: July 14th Korean pop is making its mark in the United States, and less than a month after K-Con, a twonight concert for K-pop fans, sold out Prudential Center in Newark, popular boy band Monsta X is embarking on its first American tour, performing at six theaters across the country in July. The group, composed of seven members (two rappers and five vocalists), combine a sound influenced by teen pop, American hip hop, and electronic dance music with elaborate costumes and dance routines. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the men of Monsta X are heavily involved with the writing and production of their music, and bandleader Son HyunWoo, known as Shownu, has said that they wish to show their capabilities to excel in any genre. Who: Acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar, with openers Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn When: July 20th and 23rd Fresh off the heels of his critically acclaimed third album, “Damn.”, Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar is on tour, and will perform two sold-out concerts at the Barclays Center this week. Though “Damn.” channeled the sound of

ART MAKING SILENT DISCO MEDITATION SPACES REFRESHMENTS

Kendrick Lamar performing at Øyafestivalen in Oslo, Norway in 2013. Photo: Joerund F. Pedersen via Wikimedia Commons ‘90s era hip hop, Lamar’s music is known for incorporating elements of various genres, including, prominently, jazz and rock — U2 even features on a track on “Damn.”, the standout “XXX.” Regardless of style, Lamar is also known for his philosophically and spiritually rich lyrics, which differentiate him stylistically from his openers. Joining Lamar are fellow rappers Travis Scott and D.R.A.M., both of whom present their own takes on modern rap. Scott is known for his dark, beat-heavy music, featuring his signature drowsy, filtered vocals and hedonistic subject matter. D.R.A.M., an anagram for “Does Real Ass Music,” makes more playful music, infused with touches of soul, with his voice often transitioning between rapping and singing. The two shows are highly anticipated and represent a real who’s who of current hip hop.

Performances by: · New York Suwa Taiko Association · The Brooklyn Express Drumline · Poets John Giorno and Tenzin Dickyi · Dana Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga · Tibetan Community of NY/NJ · Bhakti Center Free & open to the public Rain or shine! #RubinBlockParty

The Rubin block party is made possible through the generosity of New York Life. Additional support has been provided by Con Edison, Agnes Gund, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


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JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS JUN 26-JUL 05, 2017 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. Asuka Sushi

300 W 23Rd St

A

Resobox

203 W 20Th St

Not Yet Graded (39) Insufficient or no refrigerated or hot holding equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at required temperatures. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Grand Sichuan Eastern

172 8 Avenue

Grade Pending (25) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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.

Think Coffee

568 6Th Ave

A

North Village Deli

78 8Th Ave

Grade Pending (48) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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. 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.

Espresso Matto

201 W 21St St

Not Yet Graded (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. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

1 Oak

453 West 17 Street

Grade Pending (23) 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 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.

Toro

85 10Th Ave

Grade Pending (26) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food worker does not use proper utensil to eliminate bare hand contact with food that will not receive adequate additional heat treatment. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Fika

555 6Th Ave

A

Berlin Currywurst

75 9Th Ave

A

Champion Pizza

2 W 14Th St

A

Num Pang Sandwich Shop

75 9 Ave

Grade Pending (16) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.

Tuck Shop

75 9Th Ave

A

10Th Avenue Cookshop

156 10 Avenue

A

Omen Japanese Cuisine

113 Thompson Street

A

Le Souk

510 Laguardia Place

Grade Pending (39) 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. 2) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Mile End Sandwich

53 Bond Street

A

Little Cupcake Bake Shop

30 Prince Street

A

Saigon Shack

114 Macdougal Street

A

Jack’s Wife Freda

224 Lafayette Street

A

Prince St Pizza

27 Prince Street

A

Siggy’s Nyc

292 Elizabeth Street

Grade Pending (27) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Food worker does not use proper utensil to eliminate bare hand contact with food that will not receive adequate additional heat treatment. 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.

Sant Ambroeus

265 Lafayette Street

A

Sweetgreen

100 Kenmare St

A

La Colombe

154 Prince St

A

Lighthouse Outpost

241 Mulberry St

A

Botanica Bar

47 East Houston Street

A

Saxon & Parole

316 Bowery

Grade Pending (24) 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.

Baal Cafe And Falafel

71 Sullivan St

A

Ramen-Ya

133 W 3Rd St

A

Groove

125 Macdougal St

Not Yet Graded (18) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. 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.

Angelika Film Center

18 West Houston Street

A

Savore

200 Spring Street

A

Georgetown Cupcake Soho 111 Mercer Street

A

Silver Spurs/Molcajate Taqueria

490494 La Guardia Place

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

Favela Cubana

543 La Guardia Place

A

Francois Payard Bakery

116 West Houston Street

Grade Pending (2)


JULY 13-19,2017

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

WILL PENN STATION WARNINGS LIVE UP TO HYPE? TRANSPORTATION The “summer of hell” has begun. What train riders need to know BY DAVID PORTER

Los Angeles’ 2011 freeway closure, “Carmageddon,” ended up being more karma than ‘geddon. Seattle’s recent highway viaduct closure, “Viadoom” — meh. Closer to home, the predicted nightmare stemming from the longterm partial closure of the Pulaski Skyway, a heavily traveled route to New York, failed to materialize. We love apocalyptic predictions, it seems, particularly when it involves people trying to get from one place to another (and preferably when we are not those people). Which brings us to the looming “summer of hell,” the phrase coined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to describe the two months of track repairs at New York’s Penn Station, which began Monday, that have train riders in New Jersey and Long Island fearing the worst. Months of planning have preceded

NYC HISTORY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “I found photos of that building under construction in the 1920s,” he said. “It was pretty cool to see the context in which that very familiar building was built.” While previously living in California, Vanderkam had created a similar, albeit much smaller, site to showcase archived photos of San Francisco; once he relocated to New York, he decided to do the same with his new home. Vanderkam first turned to the New York Public Library for help elp with stockpiling historicall photos of all five boroughs. “With our help, Dan n got access to high-resolution n materials and access to our database,” atabase,” said Bert Spaan, the e NYPL Space/Time Directory ry engineer. “We gave him a list of all the photos, titles and descriptions of all the photos and with all that data, he made OldNYC.” Of course, there were ere obstacles. In order to place the photos on the map, Vanderkam had to convert nvert the photos’ locations, which came as cross streets, ts, to latitudes and longitudes. udes. This can be done easily y with a geocoder — a system m that converts postal addresses esses to numerical coordinates — but Vanderkam explained that because of urban growth, a lot of what existed back in 1800 isn’t

the track work as Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road have sought to prepare hundreds of thousands of daily commuters for reduced service and expected delays. Will it pay off? “It’s going to take a few days for everybody to get used to the new schedules and figure out how they’re going to commute,” said Janna Chernetz, policy director for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign New Jersey, an advocacy group. “People might try different things, but ultimately people are going to figure it out. They have to. There might be people who get more creative about it, but you have to get to work.” Things to know: WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY? Two recent derailments and other problems that caused lengthy and lasting delays up and down the Northeast Corridor this spring prompted Amtrak, which owns Penn Station, to speed up repair work that was being performed on nights and weekends and was to continue for a few more years. Primarily, the work involves

around any longer. “For obvious reasons, the geocoders that people have built are for contemporary streets; they’re not for streets in the 1920s and though the New York street grid hasn’t changed that much in the last hundred years, it has changed in some ways,” Vanderkam said. “I wrote out a list of some of the streets that had been renamed, or blocks that had been removed and figured out what those latitudes and longitudes would be, so you can actually see the photographs of some of these intersections that don’t exist anymore.” anymore.

Dan Vanderkam developed the OldNYC site over three years. His motivation was pure curiosity. Photo: Sidewalk Labs

replacing “several thousand feet of track,” according to Amtrak executive Scot Naparstek, and replacing switches in an area where tracks crisscross and head to different platforms. The three railroads that use the station — Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit — are reducing service at peak periods during the repairs, which are expected to last until the end of August. WHO WILL BE MOST AFFECTED? On Long Island, pretty much everyone. The LIRR is adding extra cars to some rush-hour trains by canceling three overnight trains. Commuters are being urged to change to subway service in Jamaica, Queens, and at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center arena, for the final leg into Manhattan. Both locations figure to experience overcrowding. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the LIRR, also is adding new bus and ferry service to accommodate overflow. In New Jersey, the brunt of the pain will be borne by New Jersey Transit riders from the west, in Morris and Essex

The interactive map of Manhattan holds nearly 40,000 archived photos. Click on any of the red dots on the map and you’re taken back in time as a yellowed photo pops on screen, a year and description hovering to the side. Scroll to Brooklyn to see photos of the Williamsburg Bridge under construction, or over to 350 Fifth Avenue for half of the Empire State Building. 333 Seventh Avenue, the towering building that now houses Straus News, was once a modest six story apartment building in 1914. “One On of the really great things thing is seeing photographs from the less developed places,” Vanderkam said. “If you V look at a photographs from out in Queens from the 1920s, it’s Qu like farm fields, so those are fa some of the areas that have really changed a lot in New York ch over tthe last hundred years. I had no n idea that parts of the city used to be so rural.” u After Afte the website came the mobile mobi version. The OldNYC app gives users the ability to access the history of any a property in New York City at pro any given time; it’s a handy and convenient way to immediately compare the old med with the new. Although Vanderkam loves Alth the app (in fact, he said he feels the app is superior to the website), he isn’t responsible for its creation. Those credits go

Waiting game. Photo: Charley Lhasa, via flickr counties. Rush-hour trains from those areas will be diverted to Hoboken, for transfer to New York Waterway ferries or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s PATH trains. Both NY Waterway and PATH will offer expanded service during the repairs. WHAT WILL IT ACCOMPLISH? If all goes according to plan, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from having up-to-date equipment in and around the station. But that’s where it ends, basically. “I don’t want to fool people that we’re going to deliver 100 percent on-time performance,” Naparstek said Friday. “We’re not bringing a new station to Penn Station, we’re not replacing all the infrastructure, but the infrastruc-

to Orian Breaux and Christina Leuci, a couple who responded to the call for app developers Vanderkam made in an OldNYC newsletter email blast. “I said, ‘If anyone out there is an iOS developer and wants to build an Old New York app, get in touch,’” Vanderkam explained. After Breaux, a product manager, and Leuci, a software developer, made contact, Vanderkam met with them to show them how to access the data. “A few months later, they

ture we touch this summer should be much more reliable than it was before the summer.” While the derailments had the most widespread effect and garnered the most attention, many of the problems behind the day-in, day-out indignities suffered by commuters will remain, such as wire problems in the station’s tunnel during very hot or cold weather; train breakdowns; and track and signal problems outside the station, particularly in New Jersey between Newark and New York. Those problems won’t be adequately addressed until a new Hudson River tunnel is built and other improvements are made, which will take years.

came out with the OldNYC app, which was pretty awesome because probably 90 percent of the time I show OldNYC to people now, it’s using that app,” he said. “So they really did a service to New Yorkers.” Although Vanderkam released the site two years ago, he’s found that he’ll never quite be done updating the map as more photos are found and as he develops new techniques to smooth out minor glitches. Most recently, he added a time slider to the site — now users

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can narrow down their search to photos from specific years. OldNYC is just one of the many archival tools that history buffs and researchers alike can look towards. The NYPL’s NYC Space/Time Directory offers a number of resources, including a searchable atlas of New York’s past, a historical location directory and geocoder and a discovery tool that links all of the NYPL collections together in historical and geographical context.

A clinical research study is being conducted for low back pain


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JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Business THE AGE OF NICE CREAM FOOD Creamier bases and new exotic flavors enhance the appeal of vegan desserts BY LEANNE ITALIE

Nice cream: It’s what they call vegan ice cream. But with creamier bases and more interesting flavors, it’s not just for vegans anymore. Dairy-free ice cream options have come a long way thanks in part to meat-eating folk looking to avoid dairy or just make healthier choices without defaulting to sorbet, the usual substitute. Though banana is a popular base for vegan ice cream, so are nut butters, rice, soy and even hemp milk. Whatever the base, the texture and quality of ingredients are giving the products a higher profile, both in scoop shops and on grocery shelves. “I love, love, love ice cream but I can’t eat it every day, you know,” said meateater Alexis Druyan, 24, on a recent stop at Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co., a scoop shop in Manhattan’s bustling Union Square. “If I want to be healthy, I definitely come here for dessert.” The Instagram-worthy neon light banana on Chloe’s wall says it all: Started by a fro-yo addict looking for a healthier choice, the shop uses only fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar to blend up creamy frozen treats like dark chocolate and pumpkin. Chloe’s opened its first shop in 2010, and now sells frozen pops in supermarkets and to hospitals, schools

and hotels. “The vegan thought process and connotation has changed over the last seven years,” said Michael Sloan, CEO and co-founder of Chloe’s. “When we first opened and something was vegan, it couldn’t be good, and now I think we’ve helped explain that food can be delicious and oh, by the way, it’s vegan. We used to hide that we were vegan or say it just for the vegans who wanted to see it was for vegans. Now we promote that it’s vegan.” While all Chloe’s offerings are vegan, Ben Van Leeuwen serves up dairy and non-dairy ice cream at five shops in New York and three in Los Angeles — and business is booming. “Our customers asked for it. From day one we didn’t want the vegan ice cream to be an afterthought or a supplement to our regular menu,” he said of his Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. “We applied the same commitment to using the best quality ingredients and using little or no stabilizers. We make the vegan ice cream with house-made raw cashew and almond, organic coconut cream, raw cocoa butter from Ecuador, raw extra virgin coconut oil and organic cane sugar.” Van Leeuwen’s vegan flavors come in classic and exotic varieties, including a bright blue Planet Earth, made with almond, spirulina and matcha tea cake. In upstate New York, C.A. Lane recalls darker days of vegan ice cream. She blogs as the Duchess of Vegan after transitioning 15 years ago from vegetarian to vegan. “It’s changed so much,” she said. “When I started, most of the ice cream options were mostly soy based and

I’ve always had a little bit of a stomach issue with soy. That was always a bit of a stumbling block, but I ate a lot of Tofutti Cuties,” the ice cream sandwiches that helped launch vegan ice cream treats. Within the last decade, Lane said, “we’ve started to see more companies emerging, more startups, and a lot of companies that already existed starting to offer alternatives to soy. Now we have everything from coconutbased to almond to cashew, and even big companies like Ben & Jerry’s are offering an almond ice cream. To me that’s so powerful, to see large companies embracing vegan and lactoseintolerant customers. It really shows how far we’ve come.’’ Dena Wilmette, senior innovation and communications manager for Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington, Vermont, said the company had already begun to research vegan options when protests demanding them, fueled by a petition drive, broke out at Ben & Jerry stores around the country on free cone day three years ago. Haagen-Dazs also recently introduced four non-dairy ice creams including mocha chocolate cookie. “This is no longer just about a small group of people,” Wilmette said. “More and more people are adding these types of products into their lifestyle.” Carver Audain, 36, a vegetarian for 24 years, doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth but enjoys Van Leeuwen’s unusual flavors. “I don’t know that I necessarily stay away from dairy but if I have an option of trying something otherwise or avoiding it I will,” he said at a Van

Non-dairy flavors from Ben & Jerry’s. Photo: Troy Tolley, via flickr Leeuwen shop in Brooklyn while eating turmeric and matcha green tea vegan ice cream. Vegan and vegetarian cuisine in general is enjoying a higher profile with chefs and restaurant owners. “There are a lot more options and it makes it more feasible for many people to consider an alternative diet,” Audain said. Ronen Seri, co-founder of two vegan restaurants in Manhattan named Blossom, has been vegan since the mid-1990s and recently published

“The Blossom Cookbook” with business partner Pamela Elizabeth. Their restaurants’ desserts include a vegan gelato, Cashewtopia, from a company called Organic Nectars. It’s free of dairy, soy, refined sugar, gluten and trans fat in a raw cashew base. Vegan “used to be like a foreign word,” Seri said. “People used to think you were eating lettuce. We get so many people coming here who are not vegans at all and when they taste the food they’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it could taste that good.’”

ON THE SIDE STREETS OF NEW YORK LAURA LOBDELL JEWELRY — 183 1/8 WEST 10TH STREET

Laura Lobdell. Photo: Jasphy Zheng, Manhattan Sideways

Inspired by her friends, her travels, and vintage items that she collects, Laura Lobdell designs beautiful and meaningful pieces of jewelry. Visiting

this sliver of space, meeting Laura, and listening to her stories will leave you smiling and wanting to come back to see her next creation. To read more, visit Manhattan Sideways (sideways.nyc), created by Betsy Bober Polivy.


JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Summer on West 125th Street. Photo: B.C. Lorio, via flickr

SOHA? HARLEM BRISTLES AT NEIGHBORHOOD NICKNAME M57 BUS DODGES SERVICE CUTS The MTA has walked back a plan to reduce M57 crosstown bus service. Photo: Chris Sampson, via flickr

TRANSIT

COMMUNITY Critics say the acronym smacks of gentrification and changing demographics BY DEEPTI HAJELA AND MICHAEL NOBLE JR.

In Harlem, a furor has erupted over what was supposed to be a simple, catchy acronym: SoHa. An attempt by some businesses and real estate professionals to rebrand the southern part of the neighborhood as SoHa has been greeted by many residents as an affront to a capital of African-American culture and history. They say it smacks of gentrification that has increasingly seen different demographics coming into the area along with rising median rents, which have increased since 2000 from $710 a month to $1,050. That section of Harlem stretches from Central Park to 125th Street and includes such landmarks as the Hotel Theresa, which hosted such figures as Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. “Harlem is a treasure of New

York,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat, whose congressional district includes the area. “I, along with leaders and constituents of this community, stand united to vigorously oppose the renaming of Harlem in yet another sanctioned gentrification.” New York City is filled with neighborhood names altered by real estate professionals and developers to create cachet, some of which have stuck more than others. There’s SoHo (for south of Houston Street), Nolita (north of Little Italy), Tribeca (triangle below Canal) and Dumbo (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass), just to name a few. Occasional references to SoHa as a neighborhood date back almost 20 years but have picked up steam recently, including on local businesses, such as the real estate agency Keller Williams NYC, which used SoHa for the team of real estate agents focusing on the area. Keller Williams this past week told The Wall Street Journal it had decided to change the team name out of respect and passion for the area’s people,

history and culture. It is now listed on its website as “Central Harlem.” Tiffany Simone, 54, has experienced the outrage firsthand. A lifetime resident of the area, Simone and a few other people took over a flea market in the area a few years ago and called it the Soha Square Market. She says it was actually a reference to the idea that their market was “so Harlem,” and also a girl’s name meaning “star.” But so many people complained about it, thinking she was adopting the SoHa moniker, that she ended up changing the name to the Harlem Square Open-Air Market. “I decided it wasn’t worth it,” said Simone, who is black. “This is the community I’m from, and the last thing I want to do is offend my community.” Casey Tucker, 24, who moved to Harlem last year, is among those firmly against the name. “I feel like I live in Harlem. Not SoHa.” Carl Shipman, a 43-year-old lifetime resident of the neighborhood, agreed. “Harlem is more than a name,” he said. “It’s a feeling.”

MTA scraps planned reductions in M57 service; proposed cuts to three other crosstown routes remain in place BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The MTA has changed course on a plan to reduce service on the crosstown M57 bus line in response to public opposition from elected officials. The transit agency won’t cut M57 service, but proposed service cuts to the M31, M66 and M72 crosstown bus routes remain in place, City Council Member Ben Kallos told Straus News. At a July 7 meeting with elected representatives, MTA officials agreed to maintain current service levels on the M57 line, going back on an earlier proposal that would have increased headways on the route from 10 to 12 minutes during AM peak hours and from 12 to 15 minutes during PM peak hours. “The M57 was going to have the most cuts, and they’ve agreed to make no service changes to

the M57,” Kallos said. The proposed changes, scheduled to take effect in September, were first announced by MTA New York City Transit in a June 16 letter to elected officials and community boards. The letter also proposed reductions in service frequency on the M31, M66 and M72 bus lines that would increase scheduled wait times by 11 to 33 percent. Despite opposition from elected officials at the July 7 meeting, the MTA has not altered its proposal to cut service on the three lines, Kallos said. Days after the MTA proposed the service changes, a coalition of local, state, and federal elected officials expressed their objection to the cuts in a letter to the MTA New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick that was signed by City Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright, state Senators Liz Kruger, Brad Hoylman and José Serrano, and U.S. House representatives Carolyn Ma-

loney and Jerrold Nadler. Representatives of each official that signed the letter were present at the July 7 meeting at which MTA officials agreed to maintain current service levels on the M57. Kallos said that he and other elected officials would continue to push back against the proposed cuts to the M31, M66 and M72 lines. “We’re looking at massive reductions in service and losing buses every hour,” he said. The MTA explained in its June 16 letter that the reductions in service frequency would “more closely align service with customer demand and meet established bus loading guidelines.” Kallos said he would also continue to advocate for the MTA to release farebox data on bus ridership used by the agency to determine service levels, which the MTA has thus far declined to share publicly. “They have to show us the data that supports why they need to make these changes,” Kallos said. The MTA did not respond to a request for comment on the proposed service changes.


JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Nothing beats newspapers as the most reliable source of local news in print and online Recent studies show:

‘‘

Newspapers led online consumption for local news” Coda Ventures Survey August 18, 2016

‘‘

Local media users named newspapers as their “most relied on” source for deals across a range of goods and services.” Coda Ventures Survey August 18, 2016

‘‘

What accounts for print’s superiority? Print - particularly the newspaper - is an amazingly sophisticated technology for showing you a lot of it.”

‘‘

Local newspapers are still the top source of news about readers’ communities, including their branded Web sites and social media channels.” Publisher’s Daily - August 30, 2016

‘‘

Residents are eager for news about their own communities, which, increasingly, only local news organizations can provide” Editor & Publisher - June 1, 2016

Politico - September 10, 2016

STRAUSMEDIA your neighborhood news source 212-868-0190 | nypress.com

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JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Don’t go out into the heat. GET YOUR LOCAL NEWS DELIVERED It’s your neighborhood. It’s your news. And now your personal copy is delivered directly to your mailbox every week!

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YOUR 15 MINUTES

THE FRUIT OF HIS LABORS UES native, 21, brings the exotic pitaya to New York City BY ANGELA BARBUTI

On vacation in Aruba, Max Alcobi was introduced to a pitaya bowl at a local beach shack. He was immediately captivated by the pitaya, also known as dragon fruit, because of its vibrant pink color and refreshingly light taste. As a business student at Northeastern University, he traveled to Europe, Los Angeles and other coastal cities in the U.S. to explore local juice cultures. “I came back to New York and was trying to find a place that predominantly made smoothie bowls and there was no such thing.... I saw a gap in the market,” he explained. The fruits of his labor is Loco Coco, which opened last month at 835 Lexington Avenue, near 64th Street. The literal translation of the moniker is “crazy coconut.” At the store, the coconut represents Alcobi’s commitment to sustainability, as his smoothie bowls are served in refurbished coconut shells from sustainable farms in Taiwan and Bangladesh. When asked about bestselling items on the menu, he noted the Enter the Dragon Fruit bowl, which is pitaya with fresh basil, lemon, pineapple and strawberry topped with granola, grapes, pineapple and strawberries. Their most popular smoothie is the Loco Loco, which contains acai, blueberries, banana and activated coconut charcoal.

How did you get the idea for Loco Coco? About four years ago, my family and I were on vacation in Aruba ... and a new beach shack opened up which served pitaya bowls and acai bowls. And we were very familiar with acai bowls, but had never seen a dragon fruit bowl, which is pitaya.... And then we came back to New York and tried to seek out a pitaya bowl. There were a couple of places, mainly restaurants and cafes, that served a sit-down version of a pitaya bowl. The idea kind of settled in our mind, but we weren’t actively thinking about doing anything.

What made you decide to open the store? My father does real estate, and he had a satellite office of his brokerage in the physical location where Loco Coco

Max Alcobi in front of his Lexington Avenue shop. Photo: Michele Bengualid is right now. And I was about to come up finishing up Northeastern and I was thinking that it would be a great idea to change what he had in there because it wasn’t the most beneficial to his business. It wasn’t hurting it, but we weren’t per se promoting it correctly. You know, the real estate world, especially brokerages, went predominately online. Most people look for their apartments, houses and stores through something like StreetEasy or Zillow. And the actual retail part of the brokerage was kind of fizzling out as most retail companies.... It’s mainly just food establishments coming up in the retail environment in New York City. So we were brainstorming ideas, my family and I, and my sister actually was the one who brought up the idea of, “Hey, remember those acai and pitaya bowls? That would be kind of cool.”

What are the health benefits of pitaya and acai? Pitaya is a very water-dense fruit and in turn, it’s very low in sugar. And the pitaya itself has a ton of black seeds inside which add to its fibrous profile. It’s very high in fiber, magnesium and

antioxidants. And on top of that, it has an enormous amount of Vitamin C. So because it encompasses that many nutrients and health benefits, the health world calls it a superfruit or a superfood. Now, acai is somewhat similar to the pitaya. It does contain antioxidants and fiber, but also has heart healthy fats, like omega-3s. But in general, the acai is a lot higher in antioxidants and has a lot of B-12 in it, which gives you a lot of energy.

Your minor is sustainable business practices. How do you practice sustainability? So before I got the name, I was looking for an idea of how I could couple my passion for sustainability with my drive for entrepreneurship and my teachings in finance. I was sitting around with my friends and girlfriend, brainstorming, “What can I put anything in — maybe a fruit, vegetable, gourd- that would be completely biodegradable and compostable, but at the same time looking amazing and also be able to translate the mission and the product that I want to serve to my customers?” So these coconut bowls come from a couple of different

sustainable farms which actually use the entire coconut in every way possible. From taking it down from the tree, grinding down the actual husk, making it into a dust that they use for construction. They then cut open the coconut, take the meat and water out, and use it for themselves for whatever type of nutritional value they need from it. When they saw open the top, they actually grind down that top half of the coconut for me and form it into a spoon. So each coconut bowl has its own paired spoon that came from that actual coconut. Now we don’t actually know which one is paired to which, but we do know that they come from the same batch. And on top of that, they poke a hole into the tree and let the sap ooze out and use that as a lacquer to coat the bowls. So the bowls are completely dishwasher safe. But if someone chose not to keep it, they could just recycle it or put it into their compost because it’s completely biodegradable.

What are your plans? My future plan with the brand is to definitely bring it to a couple of up-andcoming, gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City. We’re targeting places

like the Lower East Side. We’re even looking at places like the South Bronx, which is extraordinarily gentrifying, or East Harlem. But we also want to go into well-established neighborhoods like SoHo, Little Italy or NoHo, which would be very cool. I definitely do want to bring this to a point where I can go to different coastal cities- they don’t even need to be coastal- but mainly people who are health conscious and active in the fitness world in America. In places where smoothie bowls and fresh, vegan superfood options are not readily available. We’re thinking of going up to Boston, maybe Philadelphia, Charlotte, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Austin. So we’re really branching out and doing our due diligence on all the options. www.loco-coco.com

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S M J Z M L L E J A Z A P R N

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Downtowner 1

JULY 13-19,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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JULY 13-19,2017

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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24

JULY 13-19,2017

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Our Town Downtown - July 13, 2017