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The local paper for Downtown wn

WEEK OF AUGUST CANINES COMPETE ◄ P. 5

2-8 2018

PANEL EYES CHANGES TO COMMUNITY BOARDS POLITICS Mayor’s charter revision commission to examine term limits, increased land use resources for local advisory boards BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Robert Gans is the founder and program manager of the Volunteer Beach Floatable Program, which is run through the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Photo: Michael DeSantis

UNCOVERING THE WATERFRONT ENVIRONMENT City DEP program enlists volunteers to survey shorelines for debris BY MICHAEL DESANTIS

In April, a young sperm whale washed onto Spain’s southeastern shore, having died after eating 64 pounds of waste. Plastic, ropes, pieces of net and other debris was found in its stomach. That’s the danger posed to sea life by man-made debris. Robert Gans is trying to do his part to ensure that doesn’t happen to the aquatic life around New York City. In 1998, he founded the city Depart-

ment of Environmental Protection’s Volunteer Beach Floatable Program as an effort to monitor the city’s water and shorelines of “floatables,” or waterborne waste material that floats. Fish, birds, turtles and other animals could ingest or get tangled in that type of debris, often killing them. The program, which started with a handful of volunteers monitoring three locations, has expanded to 100 volunteers monitoring 65 waterfronts around the five boroughs. “I’ve always been a beach bum and water enthusiast,” Gans, 70, said. “I love the beaches, I love clean water and I hate dirty beaches.”

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As part of the city’s ongoing charter revision process, New Yorkers could be asked to vote this year on major changes to rules governing community board membership, including instituting term limits and a uniform citywide appointment process. The preliminary staff report of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s charter revision commission, released in July, recommends that the 15-member commission consider potentially significant measures that could reshape the local representative bodies. The city’s 59 community boards, 12 of which represent Manhattan neighborhoods, are the most local manifestation of New York City’s municipal government, responsible for advising elected officials and government agencies on matters of community importance. Each board is composed of up to 50 volunteer members appointed by the borough president, half of whom must be nominated by the City Council member or members representing the district. Members can be reappointed to an unlimited number of two-year terms. Critics charge that the current appointment system has resulted in boards with little turnover in membership due to repeated reappointments, producing makeup that often

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer opposes instituting term limits for community board members. Brewer’s office is responsible for appointing members to Manhattan’s 12 community boards. Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council lacks ideological and demographic diversity, particularly in neighborhoods that have recently undergone rapid change. Term limits, they claim, would create increased diversity through new appointments. Ben Kallos, who represents much of the Upper East Side in the City Council, said in recent public testimony that term limits “are necessary to ensure that these bodies reflect their communities and create a culture of getting things done and foster mentoring and the passing on of institutional memory.” Other have argued that increased turnover would have the opposite effect on institutional memory, unnecessarily robbing boards of experienced and committed members. Downtowner

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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

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Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer opposes term limits, citing the importance of maintaining experience and expertise among the bodies’ membership. “Members must know about zoning, tax incentives, housing finance, landmarking, and so much more,” Brewer said at a recent public hearing held by the mayoral commission. “This is knowledge that takes full-time students and planners years to develop, and community board members must learn it all as parttime volunteers.” Brewer pointed out that Manhattan community boards have seen nearly 60 percent turnover in membership since she took office in 2014, and said that her office takes

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AUGUST 2-8,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

What district-level election results reveal about Downtown

BY OUR TOWN STAFF

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even down to the block level. Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s map is overwhelmingly blue. Republican candidate Donald Trump failed to win a single voting district in Manhattan. Though Democrat Hillary Clinton dominated, earning 87 percent of the vote in Manhattan, these results afford a granular look at how voting behavior can vary within neighborhoods and even from block to block. Published here are a few hyperlocal insights gleaned from The Timesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s map.

Last week The New York Times published an interactive map showing the results of the 2016 presidential election at an incredible level of detail. A doctoral student at Washington State University, Ryne Rohla, assembled information about how people voted down to the voting district level. His work tallied information for each of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 168,000-plus voting districts. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve mined that data to show you some of the more interesting parts about the neighborhood

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Clinton had 1 Hillary overwhelming support in precincts along the western half of Canal Street, from Centre Street to the Holland Tunnel entrance, winning more than 88 percent of the vote in seven of eight precincts, and exceeding 90 percent in two precincts along Broadway. didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t receive a single vote 2 Trump in one tiny precinct in Chinatown that covers a single block bounded by Canal, Baxter, Hester and Centre Streets. Clinton won 11 votes in the precinct. precincts covering Southbridge 3 Two Towers, the former Mitchell-Lama development just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and surrounding area had the highest proportion of Trump voters of any Downtown precinct. Trump earned 31 percent of the vote in both precincts. also performed relatively well in Battery 4 Trump Park City, where he won 20 percent of the vote in two of the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nine precincts. Clinton won no more than 81 percent of the vote in any Battery Park City precinct, earning below 80 percent in six of nine precincts, underperforming her borough-wide rate.

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 1st district for the week ending July 22 Week to Date

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

SUBWAY ATTACK

CAR CARNAGE

PRADA PREDATORS

As temperatures rise, tempers fray. At 11:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20, a 28-year-old man got into an argument on the mezzanine in the Fulton Street J train station with a strange 25-yearold man who said, “I’m going to take your woman!” before punching the 28-year-old in the face, breaking his nose, according to the account he gave police.

Summer is just the time for road rage incidents as well. At 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, a 49-year-old man was a passenger in a car involved in an accident at the northeast corner of Pine Street and Broadway, police said. The passenger got into a verbal dispute with the 31-year-old driver of the other car, when the driver socked the passenger in the ear. The victim was removed to New York Downtown Hospital, and police said they arrested Christophe Smith on assault charges.

Shoplifters bagged several designer bags at a local boutique. At 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, unknown perpetrators had taken three bags worth a total of $6,320 from the Prada store at 575 Broadway. The stolen bags included a blue model valued at $2,350, another priced at $2,350 and a black bag tagged at $1,620, making a total haul of $6,320.

Year to Date

2018 2017

% Change

2018

2017

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

1

0.0

Rape

1

0

n/a

16

10

60.0

Robbery

0

5

-100.0

38

42

-9.5

Felony Assault

2

1

100.0

33

49

-32.7

Burglary

1

1

0.0

38

39

-2.6

Grand Larceny

21

37

-43.2

556 557 -0.2

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

11

10

10.0

BILLABONG WRONG

IF LOOKS COULD KILL

Another shoplifter made off with enough shirts and shorts to outfit a good-sized family for the summer. At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, a 35-yearold man entered the Billabong store at 597 Broadway and took 46 shorts and 6 shirts totaling $3,109 off a shelf before concealing it in a shopping bag and leaving the premises, fleeing southbound on Broadway.

At 6:18 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18, a 29-year-old Brooklyn woman was walking to 26 Federal Plaza when an unknown woman at the northwest corner of Canal Street and Broadway yelled at her, “Why are you looking at me?” The woman then punched the 29-year-old in the face. The assailant fled on foot in an unknown direction while the victim sustained a cut on her mouth but refused medical attention.

IT’S MORE THAN A CALL It’s a way to keep you and your community safe. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and call 911 or 1-800-75-CONED (26633). Learn more about gas safety at coned.com/gassafety


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Useful Contacts

AUGUST 2-8,2018

Drawing Board

POLICE NYPD 7th Precinct

19 ½ Pitt St.

212-477-7311

NYPD 6th Precinct

233 W. 10th St.

212-741-4811

NYPD 10th Precinct

230 W. 20th St.

212-741-8211

NYPD 13th Precinct

230 E. 21st St.

NYPD 1st Precinct

16 Ericsson Place

212-477-7411 212-334-0611

FIRE FDNY Engine 15

25 Pitt St.

311

FDNY Engine 24/Ladder 5

227 6th Ave.

311

FDNY Engine 28 Ladder 11

222 E. 2nd St.

311

FDNY Engine 4/Ladder 15

42 South St.

311

ELECTED OFFICIALS Councilmember Margaret Chin

165 Park Row #11

Councilmember Rosie Mendez

237 1st Ave. #504

212-587-3159 212-677-1077

Councilmember Corey Johnson

224 W. 30th St.

212-564-7757

State Senator Daniel Squadron

250 Broadway #2011

212-298-5565

Community Board 1

1 Centre St., Room 2202

212-669-7970

Community Board 2

3 Washington Square Village

212-979-2272

Community Board 3

59 E. 4th St.

212-533-5300

Community Board 4

330 W. 42nd St.

212-736-4536

Hudson Park

66 Leroy St.

212-243-6876

Ottendorfer

135 2nd Ave.

212-674-0947

Elmer Holmes Bobst

70 Washington Square

212-998-2500

COMMUNITY BOARDS

LIBRARIES

HOSPITALS New York-Presbyterian

170 William St.

Mount Sinai-Beth Israel

10 Union Square East

212-844-8400

212-312-5110

CON EDISON

4 Irving Place

212-460-4600

TIME WARNER

46 East 23rd

813-964-3839

US Post Office

201 Varick St.

212-645-0327

US Post Office

128 East Broadway

212-267-1543

US Post Office

93 4th Ave.

212-254-1390

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5

CANINES COMPETE FOR CALENDAR GIG HUMAN YEARS Showcasing the dogs of Central Park — and the majestic landscapes in which they romp BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

There are foxhounds and deerhounds, mastiffs and salukis, mutts and mongrels, Alaskan malamutes and English coonhounds, Great Danes and Japanese Chins, clumber spaniels and long-haired terriers. And you don’t need a $200 ticket to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to watch them trot. All it takes to see the best-in-show — relaxed, content, in their element, cost-free — is a stroll through Central Park. The city’s backyard has welcomed these furry friends since it opened to the public in 1858. Now, the Central Park Conservancy is getting ready to immortalize 13 of them in a 2019 calendar it has branded “Central Bark.” The nonprofit, which manages the park for the city, has been seeking one picturesque dog for each of the 12 months — plus a “cover dog” — in a contest that appears every bit as competitive as any blue-ribbon dog show. Consider that the park’s 21 dog fountains, 23 “dog-friendly areas” and 843 acres of lawns, lakes, brooks, paths, fields, rambles and woodlands play host to an estimated 400,000 to 500,000

dog-walkers every year, according to Conservancy research findings. To winnow the field and identify what it calls the “cutest canines,” the group fired off five dedicated online messages promoting its campaign to roughly 205,000 email addresses, and it also put out the word via its website, social media channels, member newsletters and seasonal guides. Starting on May 17, dog-lovers were asked to submit color photos of their beloved pets, with a park landscape as a backdrop, and by July 16, the submission deadline, more than 1,000 pictures had been received.

FROM LAKE TO ARCH TO MEER The Conservancy’s internal jury reviewed the entries. But as it turned out, selecting 13 noble, soulful winners wasn’t so easy. On July 23, another mass email went out: “We’ve narrowed it down to our top contenders,” the message said. “But now, we’re stuck — they’re all so adorable, we can’t pick favorites. We need your help!” Park stewards selected 24 finalists — there was Wally relaxing next to the model sailboats, Tequila posing on the Imagine mosaic in the center of Strawberry Fields, Misha at a boat landing on the lake, Emma in front of the Glen Span Arch, Sister Rosetta Tharpe on the Harlem Meer — and it then asked online voters to select their own personal favorites.

Harry, Lizzy and Fitz rest on a bench near the Arthur Ross Pinetum. Courtesy of the the Central Park Conservancy

Wally appears at ease as model sailboats drift by at the Conservatory Water. Courtesy of the the Central Park Conservancy In the five-day period between July 23, when voting began, and July 27, nearly 5,500 votes were cast to help determine which entrants would appear in the 2019 calendar. The ballots are still pouring in. “We’re thrilled by the public response to the contest,” said Jane McIntosh, the Conservancy’s vice president for development and external affairs. “So many adorable dogs, and as you would expect, a great range in terms of breed, size, color, grooming and so on.” The ubiquity of cellphones also offered a ready tool to highlight and showcase the “diversity of dogs” in the park, she said, providing a unique opportunity to “engage with the community and Central Park’s many devoted dog owners.” Noting that contest rules require all photos be taken in Central Park, McIntosh added, “The initiative also highlights the Conservancy’s work — you get to see the beautiful landscapes, rustic benches and other features that highlight the beauty of Central Park.” Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 6. The winners will be unveiled in mid-August. And the Central Bark calendar, which can be purchased in advance with a $25 donation, will be shipped out around September or October. The Conservancy raises 75 percent of the annual budget of Central Park, which is America’s most frequently visited urban park — and boasts vast, green, seemingly infinite, dog-roaming open spaces. One of missions of the nonprofit is to “advance the stewardship of other urban parks and green spaces,” McIntosh said. The calendar project is exactly the kind of “engagement effort that could be replicated in other parks with other friends groups in the five boroughs and across the country,” she added. invreporter@strausnews.com

Cody digs in at an expanse believed to be the Sheep Meadow. Courtesy of the the Central Park Conservancy

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Rosie) relaxes on the Harlem Meer opposite the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Courtesy of the the Central Park Conservancy


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AUGUST 2-8,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

BOARDS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 performance and attendance into account in evaluating members for reappointment. Various groups and elected officials have recommended term limits ranging from four to eight years. The mayoral commission, which is holding public hearings, has neither determined whether it will include revisions to term limits among its final ballot proposals, nor indicated the maximum term length it might recommend. The mayoral commission is expected to issue its ďŹ ndings and detail potential ballot proposals to amend the charter by September. The proposals could be put to voters in November. The mayoral-appointed commission is one of two panels reviewing the New York City Charter, the municipal governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organizing document. The City Council voted to convene its own charter revision commission in April shortly after the formation of the mayoral commission was announced. The Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commission, which met for the ďŹ rst time in July, has a broad mandate and will examine the Charter in its entirety, while the mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appointees (though they are empowered to review the entire charter) have been charged with a narrower focus on issues of campaign ďŹ nance, community boards, voter access and districting. The Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s review has a longer timeframe and would send measures to voters in November 2019. The timing of the process has frustrated some community board members, who say that the swift period, from the time the preliminary staff report was released in July until the commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ nal recommendations are announced in September, gives

The charter revision commission convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio is evaluating the role community boards play in New York City government, and could submit policy changes for voter approval on the November ballot. Photo: NYC Charter Revision Commission, via Twitter community boards â&#x20AC;&#x201D; many of which do not meet during the month of August â&#x20AC;&#x201D; little time to evaluate and weigh in on proposals that could signiďŹ cantly impact how the boards function. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a little concerned that this is moving more quickly than maybe it should,â&#x20AC;? said Anthony Notaro, the chair of Community Board 1, which serves much of Lower Manhattan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to potentially have major changes to the community boards, why not have enough time for the community boards to give input on it in the form of resolutions?â&#x20AC;? Notaro said.

Notaro explained that while he does not support term limits, the full membership of Community Board 1 has not yet had an opportunity to discuss the idea. Notaro said that members Community Board 1â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive committee will likely meet in a special session in August to evaluate the commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recommendations. Roberta Semer and Alida Camp, the chairs, respectively, of the Upper West Sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Community Board 7 and the Upper East Sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Community Board 8, expressed similar sentiments. CB8 has formed a task force to examine

charter revision issues while the full board is in recess during August, and CB7 will likely take similar steps. In addition to term limits, the commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s preliminary staff report also recommended that the mayoral commission also explore measures that would create a uniform citywide application process for board membership, which currently varies by borough, and provide boards with additional resources. Desire for additional land use resources or staff is widespread among community board leaders, who often

must rely on outside community organizations to hire professional planners and other experts to evaluate the potential impact and legality of proposed developments. â&#x20AC;?We really could use more land use resources,â&#x20AC;? Semer said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At Community Board 7 weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re fortunate because we have several members who have knowledge about land use, but issues come up when we really could use additional expertise.â&#x20AC;? Camp agreed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having a dedicated planner would enable us to better fulďŹ ll our advisory role,â&#x20AC;? she said. Others have called for the mayoral commission to examine fartherreaching reforms of the community board system than those recommended for consideration in the preliminary staff report. Suggestions include allowing for the direct election of community board members, granting boards increased power in land use matters, and instituting more stringent conflicts of interest rules and restrictions on eligibility to serve. Kallos, for example, has advocated for giving community boards binding power to initiate or veto certain land use actions in concert with the borough president, borough board and City Council members. Lynn Ellsworth, the chair of the land use advocacy nonproďŹ t Human-scale NYC, testiďŹ ed in favor of putting community board members on the ballot and barring registered lobbyists and individuals who hold leadership positions in political clubs, business improvement districts and unions from serving on community boards. Skeptics of electing community board members say that putting members on the ballot and opening the process to campaign funding could allow political clubs, unions and moneyed interests to exert undue inďŹ&#x201A;uence on the boards.

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

In conjunction with an exhibit at The Society of Illustrators/Museum of Illustration on East 63rd Street, a panel of cartoonists, including, left to right, Roz Chast, Emma Allen and Liza Donnelly discussed the creative process behind their cartoons.

ALL THE FUNNY LADIES SKETCHY Exhibit chronicles The New Yorker’s female cartoonists BY CHARMAINE RICE

It was hearty humor that broke through the seemingly never-ending humidity that engulfed the city last week. “Funny Ladies at The New Yorker: Cartoonists Then and Now” is a new exhibit at The Society of Illustrators/Museum of Illustration, on East 63rd Street between Lexington and Park Avenues. To kick off the exhibition, the museum hosted a panel discussion on July 26, featuring acclaimed women cartoonists from The New Yorker. Veteran New Yorker cartoonists Roz Chast, Liana Finck, Carolita Johnson and cartoon editor Emma Allen joined Liza Donnelly, the exhibit’s curator, to talk about what it’s like being a cartoonist at The New Yorker, the creative process behind their cartoons, and why they love being a cartoonist. Donnelly, herself a renowned cartoonist at the magazine, is the author of “Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons,” an anthology celebrating the magazine’s women cartoonists. The New Yorker was founded in 1925 by journalist Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant, a reporter for The New York Times. Being a feminist and having a funny bone during the Roaring Twenties landed Ethel Plummer a plum role; she

became The New Yorker’s first woman cartoonist and her work appeared in the inaugural issue. So, what is it like to work at The New Yorker today? “It’s a routine, there is a weekly schedule, and there’s a number of people who are on staff I guess ... basically, we don’t talk that much to other people,” quipped Roz Chast. “I spend a lot of time at my desk staring at a blank piece of paper. I jot down ideas during the week, things that seem funny, something I overheard, something that popped into my head, or just something weird that happened, and just play around with it.” Cartoonists typically submit a “batch” of 5-11 cartoons weekly. Chast noted that the discipline of delivering each week allows for experimenting with different forms and feelings. “I tend to stay away from topical influences, like the news cycle because I always want everything I do to be relatable 50 years from now, relatable on a universal level,” she said. “In this day and age, what’s relevant on the news can change so quickly.” Chast shared an exchange with her daughter that resulted in a cartoon titled, “When Moms Dance.” The cartoon depicts a mom dancing in front of her daughter, accompanied with the caption, “Stop. You’re hurting me.” “I literally used that line from my daughter word for word!” said Chast. “The captions come out of my own mouth,” said Carolita Johnson. “Before I was a cartoonist, I drove everybody nuts!”

“I’m like the empathetic sponge,” joked Emma Allen. “I know how incredibly difficult it is to work in isolation and come up with great ideas week after week.” Allen further explained what it takes to shepherd a cartoon through to publication. “The metabolism of The New Yorker is not really structured to have lots of [lead] time. Cartoons undergo an incredibly rigorous editorial process. Our cartoons are copy edited, factchecked and reviewed by general counsel. Usually a cartoon is deemed hot and won’t often see light of day for a year or more ... so it’s not really built for timeliness or to coincide with the news cycle.” Liana Finck spoke about how cartooning anchors her and enables her “to do [other] things that she loves that are hard but not too hard” including authoring a graphic novel and freelance design illustration. Doodling is a part of her creative process — Finck photographs her doodles and posts them on Instagram. “They’re not always funny – they’re usually angry,” she said, eliciting a chuckle from the audience. Like Finck, Chast also uses Instagram as an outlet for iteration. “With Instagram, I can play around with different things,” Chast said. During the discussion, a slideshow of cartoons was presented, touching on a slew of themes based on a woman’s perspective, including relationships, weddings and, of course, shoes. The exhibit runs through Oct. 13.

Nick Costa, the owner of Offside Tavern on West 14th Street, is asking hockey fans to donate their jerseys bearing Islander John Tavares’s name, rather than burning them, as some have done since the player announced his departure from the Long Island-based squad. Photo: Michael DeSantis

TAVERN COLLECTING JERSEYS FOR CHARITY SPORTING Hockey player John Tavares’s decision to leave the Islanders sparks fury BY MICHAEL DESANTIS

Fans of the New York Islanders hockey team grew attached to John Tavares during his nine years with the team. They celebrated him being drafted as the Islanders first draft pick in 2009, his nearly 300 goals and his playoffgame winning goals. Tavares was beloved among fans, who were hoping he would help restore the team’s former glory after decades of inept management. But Tavares’ voluntary departure from the Islanders to the Toronto Maple Leafs in July sparked outrage among Islanders fans and they’re now burning their jerseys bearing Tavares’ name. Nick Costa, a Chelsea bar owner, is proposing an alter-

native to the jerseys’ fiery fate. Costa, 36, the owner of Offside Tavern on West 14th Street, is encouraging fans to bring their unwanted jerseys to him instead of burning the expensive memorabilia. On July 1, the day Tavares left the team, Costa put out a tweet that he would offer a 70 percent discount on tabs if fans gave their jerseys to his bar instead of their firepits. “We’ll make sure they end up in the hands of someone less fortunate (and hopefully make an Isles fan out of them),” the tweet from the Offside Tavern Twitter account stated. Costa said he will accept jerseys all hockey season, from October to April or May, depending on if a team makes the playoffs. Most Islander fans live on Long Island, a trek from Manhattan, so encouraging fans to come during the NHL season Islanders games makes sense. He hasn’t yet decided on where exactly he’ll

donate the jerseys, however. When Costa read that Tavares was leaving for the Maple Leafs and the subsequent videos of Islander fans burning their jerseys, he said he wanted to do something about it. “I felt their pain and everything but that’s not the right way to go about dealing with it,” Costa said. “You shouldn’t destroy a perfectly good jersey that someone else could use.” He constructed the tweet, which currently sits above 900 retweets and nearly 3,000 likes — a lot for a small bar’s Twitter account with 1,600 followers. Costa said he’s only received a few jerseys thus far but is hoping for more once fans come out to his bar for Islanders games. Costa, a lifelong Islanders fan originally from Westbury, Long Island, said he’s tried to build Offside Tavern into the New York City destination for fans of the team.


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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.

SAVING THE NEWS AND VIEWS WE NEED! BY BETTE DEWING

The headline above was itself attached to a 1990 Liz Smith Daily News column, which, following the slashing of half earlier this month, is all too relevant in 2018. In 1990, the “hometown newspaper” itself was threatened and Smith lauded my “save the Daily News” column. Hey, I actually found it, so please let me share it. Thanks again, Liz. “A tip of the hat to Our Town columnist, Bette Dewing, who has written an ode of praise to the salvation of this newspaper. She pens: “Two thousand or so jobs lost in a time when newspapers are an

endangered species could mean prolonged unemployment and not least, the heartbreak,. But the city is the biggest loser; Unlike The N.Y. Times, The News’ major focus is on New York City. So are most of its editorials, columns, features and Voice of the People page. The Daily News must survive — with its news and views we can’t afford to lose!” And saved it was, with countless newspapers since going dark. And was before the Internet tsunami - so much about individual exchange with other like-mindeds. And too many Times-only readers judge the tabloids by their sensational covers and don’t know what’s going on inside. They need to hear now-

ex-editor-in-chief Jim Rich’s angry and anguished tweet to his staff the morning executives with the News’s corporate owner, Tronc, were about to fire him and half the staff. “If you hate democracy and think local government should operate unchecked and in the dark, then this is a good day for you,” he wrote. With half the staff, and maybe different priorities, how can the News “mind the store” like it once did — cover local politics and other policymakers along with local conditions which so affect our lives. And we need to be informed — and often forewarned — so we can act. Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio went very pub-

Voices

lic with their, at least nominal, distress at Tronc’s move. Cuomo said the corporation should have asked the state for help — adding how his dad as governor offered help to the struggling New York Post despite often differing views. “He knew the value of a free robust press — and so do I,” Cuomo said. (Incidentally, the News’ views have been more akin to the governor’s.) The Tronc organization said the paper’s new direction were about digital expansion with a focus on breaking news, crime, civil justice and citizen responsibility. Not so much on existing conditions or government and policymakers’ plans for the city. This longtime traffic safety activ-

ist also worries if the reduced staff will still report, however briefly, on every city traffic death and injury. Will new editor Robert York be concerned that New York City is uniquely a city of neighborhoods and is fast losing its stores and small businesses? Cohesive and neighborly neighborhoods also mean greater safety. And surely, please save “The Voice of the People” page — a compendium of no-nonsense in-a-nut-shell critiques from every background, most about city life and conditions that need to get out there and fixed. And critiques are needed now more than ever on the News’ new directions. It’s the news and views we need — we need.

CULTIVATING BEAUTY BY ASHAD HAJELA

Luis Lujan, a member of the Chelsea Garden Club, cares for five plant beds in the neighborhood, but has overseen as many as nine. Photo: Ashad Hajela

I was on a bicycle riding down Ninth Avenue when all of a sudden, at the 27th street intersection, a portion of my path was blanketed with greenery and various flowers in full bloom. It was like briefly being in a greenhouse in the middle of Chelsea. I assumed that it was the city that was responsible for maintaining this resplendence. But the caretakers are, rather, neighborhood residents, which I found out when I met a woman by the name of Missy Adams, wrenching open a fire hydrant to water the beds, around 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Missy Adams started the Chelsea Garden Club about eight years ago. The size of the group fluctuates between 30 and 50 people. “These people are just passionate about gardening,” she said. Adams and the Chelsea Garden Club have adopted about as many beds as they have member,

all around Chelsea. They maintain each meticulously. Although many people come together from around the neighborhood, Adams does not think of the Chelsea Garden Club a community institution since members only see each other twice a year - for a meeting in March and then during a “bed tour” in the summer. “It is a very selfless thing we are doing. We buy everything ourselves,” she said. “The only thing we get out of it is seeing the fruits of our labor.” But no member of the club works as diligently as Luis Lujan. Lujan manages five beds right now, but has overseen as many as nine. Lujan, a yoga teacher, grew up gardening in Arizona. He came to New York in the 1990s. His apartment is nearly holds a garden in itself. But that was not enough for him. In 2008, Lujan began wrenching open fire hydrants to water plants. City authorities threatened fines and tickets, but Lujan responded by showing off some of his handi-

work and eventually got a permit to go about his gardening. He would eventually receive even more recognition, being named “Most Beautiful Tree Bed in Manhattan” in 2012 in a contest organized partly by the city’s Parks Department. “It started with a single petunia and then it looked lonely so I added another one and the corner looked lonely and the next thing you know, I had five plots,” Lujan said. He used to do his gardening alongside his dog, a Maltese, before she passed away a year ago. That way, he not only got to know many of the people in the neighborhood but also many of the dogs. The neighbors would buy him coffee, hand him a $20 bill, and give him plants and flowers to nurture. His main goals were therapy for himself, community building and beautifying a neighborhood. “They were ashtrays and dog toilets before,” he said, motioning to the beautiful flowered beds.

The beds in Chelsea are ideal for gardening because they are bigger than other beds around the city. They have also been around longer in Chelsea than anywhere else. Gardeners have to deal with the perils of a densely populated city. The beds are often vandalized and people, passing by, often pluck flowers integral to the rest of the plant. “It’s my work going to waste,” Lujan said. He puts up signs saying “Don’t Pick Flowers,” one of which had a drawing of a giant flower strangling a human. Lujan spends about $200 on the beds every year. With each act of vandalism or innocent flower picking, that cost increases. Despite the costs of the upkeep of Chelsea’s bicycle lane beds, Lujan and Adams remain quite fond of the gardens they have created in the midst of the city. “I saw birds eating out of a sunflower in Luis’s garden and it was just heartwarming. It’s a lovely thing to see in the middle of the road,” Adams said.

President & Publisher, Jeanne Straus nyoffice@strausnews.com

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Senior Reporter Doug Feiden

Director of Digital Pete Pinto

Staff Reporter Michael Garofalo

Director, Arts & Entertainment/ NYCNow Alizah Salario


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NEIGHBORHOOD’S BEST To place an ad in this directory, Call Douglas at 212-868-0190 ext. 352.

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Human and equine officers on duty. Photo: DiddyOh, via flickr

NYPD’S FARRIERS DON’T HORSE AROUND They are on-call to care for the department’s 50 equine officers BY VERENA DOBNIK

It’s like AAA for horses. When one of the NYPD’s horses loses a metal shoe, or they just wear out on the gritty city streets, a blacksmith shop on wheels rushes to the rescue, equipped with a 2,850-degree furnace and trained farriers who can make the fix on the spot. “It’s almost amazing that in modern times we’re still doing horseshoeing out in the public in the street,” says Deputy Inspector Barry Gelbman, head of the NYPD’s elite Mounted Unit, where all 50 horses are considered equine officers, with badges around their necks to prove it. The NYPD has two such mobile horseshoe units that are stocked with all manner of anvils, hammers, nippers, files and pullers that have been the tools of the equine hoof trade for centuries, providing a stark contrast in the midst of a modern city. That was immediately apparent on a recent sweltering day in Times Square as horses got their monthly shoe change. Beneath shimmering skyscrapers, massive video billboards and dozens of high-definition security cameras, a crowd

gathered to watch as two NYPD farriers sweated over moltenred steel shoes fresh out of the fire. But this was not an entirely low-tech affair. For extra traction and strength, the shoes were welded with a layer of tungsten carbide, a compound twice as hard as steel that’s also used in armor-piercing ammunition. Farriers Marcus Martinez Jr. and Thomas Nolan held the crowd spellbound as they worked for an hour to swap out the shoes for a police horse named McQuade II, who, true to his training, didn’t even flinch amid honking traffic, people shouting and a helicopter whirring overhead. “We nip the foot down, we file it, we make sure the foot is level,” says the Irish-born Nolan, adding that the safety of an officer depends on a farrier’s precision, lest a horse trip. Martinez hammered away. Sparks flew, and clanging echoed into the steamy Manhattan air. Then came a sizzling sound as he pressed a fiery horseshoe on a tong into McQuade’s hoof to test the fit, smooth out imperfections and burn out any bacteria. A foulsmelling white smoke rose from the hoof. With sweat dripping off his brow, Martinez then lifted the legs of the imperturbable, 1,200-pound (544-kilogram) McQuade and, one by one,

hammered the shoes into place with 3-inch nails. Then the deep brown horse happily clipclopped away. The NYPD’s horses, which come mostly from Amish country in Pennsylvania, form what the department says is the country’s oldest continuously active mounted unit. It was created in 1858 to protect people from runaway carriage horses that were then the main mode of transportation. These days, the horses are mostly used for crowd control and public relations. When not on duty, they reside in one of four stables around the city. The Times Square horses live on the ground floor of an only-in-New York building called Mercedes House: a luxury skyscraper that’s also home to the city’s premier Mercedes dealership. When not working with the mobile vans, the farriers work there. The NYPD’s three farriers are civilian employees of the department, hired for their unique set of skills. Martinez, 38, who grew up in the suburbs north of the city, says he first was exposed to the craft in high school while watching a farrier friend work on horses. “I fell in love with these wonderful, magnificent animals, the mechanics involved and helping something that can’t help itself,” he says. “And that’s a really good feeling.”

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NEIGHBORHOOD’S BEST Features select Business & Services catering to residents in Manhattan. Neighborhood’s Best appears weekly and is distributed to 60,000 households throughout. Space is limited so please contact Douglas at 212.868.0190 ext. 352 to discuss availability.


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

FALL EDUCATION PREVIEW

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

EDITOR’S PICK

Sat 4 GOD STREET WINE: MODERN VINTAGE City Winery, 155 Varick St. 6 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. start. $40+ 212-608-0555. citywinery.com The band God Street Wine was part of the blossoming Jam scene in the early ‘90s. After opening for acts like The Black Crowes and The Allman Brothers Band, and having Dave Matthews Band and Sheryl Crow as their own openers, they decided to disband in 1999, only to reunite in 2010. They’ve been playing gigs ever since; don’t miss this one.

Tell 150,000+ Highly Educated Readers About the Best Education Opportunities

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Call NOW for more digital & print advertising options! 212.868.0190 x407 or advertising@strausnews.com

Thu 2

Fri 3

Sat 4

RIVER & BLUES: DELVON LAMARR ORGAN TRIO

▲ THE BOX TOPS TRIBUTE

IMMIGRANT ARTS SUMMIT

Cafe Wha? 115 Macdougal St. 6:30 p.m. $25 From the mid-60s into the ‘70s, The Box Tops were one of the finest all-male soul groups around. Raised in Memphis, the boys in The Box Tops had a megahit with “The Letter,” which brought them to stardom. This show will highlight their hit songs and the music that influenced them. 212-254-3706 cafewha.com

Immigrant Arts Coalition 36 Battery Pl. 4:30 p.m. $25-$45 This watershed event will feature distinguished artists and presenters from the tapestry of arts and cultural organizations that enrich our city and country. The program includes panels, talks, workshops, performances, a keynote address and an outdoor concert at Robert F. Wagner Junior Park. 212-566-6700 immigrantarts.com

Robert F. Wagner Junior Park 20 Battery Pl. 7 p.m. Free The Seattle-based soul collective Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio brings a jazzy, soulful blues to downtown Manhattan. Hammond organ-led jams, mixed with shredding guitar licks and inspired drum beats, are sure to get the crowd movin’ and groovin’. 212-566-6700 bpcparks.org


AUGUST 2-8,2018

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

MARBLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH Sunday Worship at 11:00am Sunday Worship, led by Dr. Michael S. Bos, is the heart of the Marble Church community. It is where we all gather to sing, pray, and be changed by an encounter with God. Marble is known throughout the world for the practical, powerful, life-changing messages and where one can hear world class music from our choirs that make every heart sing. Busy? Live stream Sunday Worship with us at 11:00am at MarbleChurch.org.

Summer Spirituality Series

Sun 5

Tue 7

▲ HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SERIES

► ‘MAEVE IN AMERICA’

Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Pl. 1 p.m. Free Bronia Brandman was born into a family of six children in Jaworzno, Poland. She was 8 years old when World War II broke out. In 1942, her parents and another brother were taken to Auschwitz. Brandman will tell her story of survival as part of the Museum’s moving series with survivors. 646-437-4202 mjhnyc.org

Exploring a variety of topics which will be utilized to engage in a number of theological discussions. All sessions meet in the Labyrinth Room and will also be live streamed.

The Strand, 828 Broadway $16 admission & signed copy/$15 admission & gift card Maeve Higgins was a bestselling memoirist and comedian in her native Ireland when, at the age of 31, she left home in search of something more. In her new book, “Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else,” Maeve tells the story of finding herself, literally and figuratively, in New York City. 212-473-1452 strandbooks.com

Mon 6

Wed 8

BROADWAY BOUND THEATRE FESTIVAL

‘HERETICS ANONYMOUS’ WITH KATIE HENRY

Theater at the 14th Street Y 344 East 14th St. 5 p.m. $25 This festival is a launching pad for fresh and emerging playwrights from across the continent. Throughout the festival, up-and-comers will present 13 main stage plays, a children’s play and seven staged readings. Festival runs from Aug. 4-26. broadwayboundfestival.com

Sundays through August 26 at 10:00am

McNally Jackson 52 Prince St. 7 p.m. Free Michael is an atheist. So he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s — a strict Catholic school — sporting a plaid tie. Debut author Katie Henry’s hilarious novel chronicles a band of misfits who set out to challenge their school, one nun at a time. Join her in conversation at McNally in SoHo. 212-274-1160 mcnallyjackson.com

Marble Collegiate Church Mobile App Download on iPhone or Android With the Marble Collegiate Church app, discover a new way to connect with Marble anytime you want. Live stream, catch up on last week’s sermon, connect with ministries, keep informed and register for Marble events, make a gift and sign up to volunteer.

Our Labyrinth Walks Labyrinth walks at Marble Collegiate Church are open to all: • First Sunday of each month: 1:00-3:00pm • Wednesdays: 5:00-6:00pm (Please call the church to confirm schedule)

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

Fri 3 FINANCIAL COMMUNITY FAIR Liberty St. from Broadway to Trinity Pl. 10 a.m. Free

Our Labyrinth Facilitators will be available to help guide you and answer any questions you may have, while allowing you the space to walk in your own way, at your own pace.

Event listings brought to you by Marble Collegiate Church. 1 West 29th Street / New York, New York 10001 212 686 2770 / MarbleChurch.org Download the Marble Church App on iPhone or Android


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AUGUST 2-8,2018

A MAILMAN’S FIRST-CLASS FAREWELL ROUTE’S END For 20 years, he delivered the mail – along with good cheer and bundles of joy, hope and love – to the residents of the Upper East Side

It is in this country that I’ve gained countless blessings over the years.” Letter from Ilsoo Choi, mailman

BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

No one knows East 88th Street between First and Third Avenues — and its 16 businesses, 56 residential buildings, 643 delivery addresses and roughly 1,400 renters and homeowners — better than Ilsoo Choi. He’s friendly with the “kindly local billionaire,” though he’s too discrete to name him. He’s encountered “countless doctors and professors,” a foreign diplomat — and a healthy number of down-to-earth celebrities. Veteran Fox TV anchor Rosanna Scotto is one of them. She lives on one of the two long blocks that comprise his territory. And she couldn’t be any sweeter. “She’s simply a beautiful, beautiful lady,” Choi said. He’s befriended the area’s dispossessed, too, like the homeless woman — “Nancy,” she called herself — who sat by the Vietnamese restaurant on 88th Street at Second Avenue. “She was my mentor,” he said. A former schoolteacher who lived in the East 90s and fell on hard times, Nancy was a “beautiful soul,” he said. “We’d talk every day for seven or eight years. She was lovely. And then one day, she just disappeared.” The 62-year-old Choi knows them all — and he just said his goodbyes to many of them — because after 20 years as a letter-carrier on the Upper East Side, including 12 years walking the same route on 88th Street, he is starting what he calls a “new chapter as a retiree.” Nancy always knew this day would come: “I’d sometimes try to give her a few bucks, but she’d say to me, ‘Choi, save it for your retirement!’” he recalled. A tad wistfully, he said he’d have loved to say goodbye to her one last time. Warmth, optimism, kind-heartedness and a love for humanity are not the qualities one typically associates with the employees of the United States Postal Service. With his trademark smile and distinctive ponytail, Choi proves just how wrong such assumptions can be. In a “Dear Friends” letter he placed earlier this month in the apartment building mailboxes of about 40 of his favorite postal patrons, he summed

up what he’d learned, what he’d seen — and how the residents of two multicultural blocks on East 88th Street had enriched his life: “Interacting with people of various ethnicities, cultures and religious backgrounds, I have gained a love, respect and appreciation for humanity,” he wrote. “I’ve interacted with both the wealthy and the poor in Manhattan, and I believe that we can learn a great deal about ourselves, and about life, when we open up to the world around us.” English is not the first language of the Korean-born Choi, and he says his 33-year-old daughter, Gina Choi, a church minister in Stamford, Conn., was a most attentive editor, tidying up his spelling and grammar as he crafted the missive. “It is in this country that I’ve gained countless blessings over the years,” he wrote. And he concluded, “In this land, in this city, I’ve learned and gained so much by encountering each of you, and I consider my life full and abundant. It is my prayer and hope that your lives will also be full of peace and joy in your everyday encounters with the world. “It has been a privilege serving you as your mailman.” The letter was signed, “Farewell, Mailman Choi.” Recipients were deeply moved. Nancy Ploeger, the former president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and an 88th Street resident, said that during “these trying times” with the leadership in Washington, the Choi letter speaks to the nation’s better angels. “It tells us that this is still America, that’s what the letter means to me,” said Ploeger, who stepped down from the Chamber in 2016 after 21 years and is now executive director of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation. “This is the America that I know. This is the America that I love. This is the America that the majority of our citizens know and love and care about it,” she added.

FROM SUNGLASSES TO SPECIAL DELIVERY Born in South Korea and raised in Seoul, Choi has devoted his life to public service, first in the Korean

Army, then as a firefighter in his homeland. When his future wife, Linda Kim, moved to New York to work in its nail salons in 1982, he made the snap decision to follow her aboard. “I immigrated to the U.S. to follow the people I love,” he wrote in the letter. It wasn’t easy. In an interview on July 26, his last day delivering the mail, Choi said that, “Like a lot of immigrants, I had a lot of jobs.” He worked on construction sites, and at one point, peddled sunglasses on the sidewalks. “I learned English on the streets of New York,” he said. After 17 years, he finally achieved the stability and security he sought. He went to work for the post office in 1999 and was assigned to the Gracie Station P.O., at 229 East 85th Street, which has been his home base ever since. Choi’s average delivery is an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 pieces per day. “His customers love him,” said Anthony Carlo, who is the USPS station manager at Gracie. “He’s happy, reliable, hard-working, and that letter of his was straight from the heart,” he added. In 32 years on the job, Carlo said, he’s never seen a mailman post a farewell letter to his patrons. Asked what he liked most about wheeling his mail trolley up and down East 88th Street every day, Choi cited two fixtures of daily street life — the children and the diversity. “At first, I see a little baby,” he said outside the entrance to the Gracie Station as he prepared to walk his route for the final time. “Then, the child starts to walk.... A few years pass, and suddenly it’s, ‘Oh, Choi, I’m going to school now.’” There was a certain sameness in Korea, he said. Not on the East Side: “Where I grew up, everybody had the same language, same culture, same background, same way of thinking, same way of looking at the world,” he said. “Here, it’s all different people, different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions. “We are not the same, everybody is different, and I love it,” he added. “Immigration made this country great and special.” As he pushed his mail cart on that last trip down 88th Street, Choi paused briefly on his rounds as neighbors embraced him or said their affectionate goodbyes, and at one point, as he took his leave of one woman, he said to her, “I love, love, love your country.” And he repeated, “This is a great, great, great country.” invreporter@strausnews.com

Veteran letter-carrier Ilsoo Choi outside the Gracie Station Post Office on East 85th Street on Thursday, July 26, as he prepares to deliver the mail for the last time along his route on East 88th Street. After 20 years on the job, the postman sent his patrons a farewell letter before retiring. Photo: Douglas Feiden


AUGUST 2-8,2018

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS JUL 17 - 23, 2018 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml. New Andy’s Deli

873 Broadway

Ramen Setagaya

34 1/2 St Marks Place Grade Pending (23) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Maharlika

111 First Ave

Papa Johns Pizza

210 1st Ave

A

Odessa

119 Avenue A

A

Kelly’s

12 Avenue A

A

Juice Generation

97 Greenwich Avenue

A

Istanbul Grill

310 West 14 Street

Grade Pending (28) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/ or non-food areas. 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. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Wolfnights

235 Bleecker St

A

Berber Street Food

35 Carmine St

Not Yet Graded (9) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Bleeker Street Pizza

69 7 Avenue South

Grade Pending (27) 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, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

A

Grade Pending (21) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/ or non-food areas.

Big Arc Chicken

233 1st Ave

A

Kikoo Sushi

141 1st Ave

Grade Pending (19) 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 contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Bowery Road

132 4th Ave

A

Tompkins Square Bagels

184 2nd Ave

A

A

15 East 7 Street

A

Courtyard Marriott / Table 181 Soho

181 Varick Street

Mcsorley’s Old Ale House Xi’an Famous Foods

81 St Marks Place

A

Goemon Curry

29 Kenmare St

A

The Dumpling Shop

124 2nd Ave

Not Yet Graded (37) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Insufficient or no refrigerated or hot holding equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at required temperatures.

Top Thai

235 Sullivan St

A

Momacha

312 Bowery

Not Yet Graded (64) Food contact surface improperly constructed or located. Unacceptable material used. Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant

93 1 Avenue

Grade Pending (3)

Anthony Cafe

73 2nd Ave

A

Omen Japanese Cuisine

113 Thompson Street

A

Be Juice

93 3rd Ave

Grade Pending (50) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/ refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided.

Shade

241 Sullivan Street

A

Delly Fried Chicken

85 Pitt St

Not Yet Graded (42) 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 Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. 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.

Wu’s Wonton King

165 E Broadway

Grade Pending (3)

Xing Wong BBQ

89 E Broadway

Grade Pending (27) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar

72 E 1st St

Grade Pending (22) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Grk Fresh Greek

51 E 8th St

A

Prune

54 East 1 Street

A

Argo Tea Cafe

75 University Place

A

Dylan’s Candy Bar

33 Union Sq W

A

Gelarto

145 Avenue A

A

Ahimsa Garden

265 E 10th St

A

The Lost Lady

171 Avenue C

Grade Pending (33) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Fuleen Seafood Restaurant 11 Division St

Grade Pending (24) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Liang Fan Dian

Grade Pending (32) 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. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

15 Division St


AUGUST 2-8,2018

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“I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HELP THAT HOMELESS MAN.”

BE THE SOMEONE. Sam New York Cares Volunteer

Every day, we think to ourselves that someone should really help make this city a better place. Visit newyorkcares.org to learn about the countless ways you can volunteer and make a difference in your community.

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AUGUST 2-8,2018

Business

COUNCIL CONSIDERS RIDE-SHARING CAP Bill would institute one-year moratorium on issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The City Council is considering legislation that would place a temporary cap the number of Uber, Lyft and other for-hire vehicles permitted city streets. The legislation, supported by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would place a yearlong hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle permits, during which time a study would be conducted to analyze the industry’s impact on the city. The Council is also considering a bill

that would set new minimum pay rules for for-hire vehicle drivers, and could move to vote on both proposals in the coming days. Uber responded with an advertising blitz, claiming that the cap would raise prices and increase wait times for customers. Johnson accused Uber of “misleading the public” about the Council’s proposal on Twitter. “Our goal is fairness, helping drivers, and reducing congestion,” Johnson said. “A pause gives us time to study the industry and see what works. We will continue to allow licenses for wheelchair accessible vehicles to encourage their growth.” A similar proposal supported by

Mayor Bill de Blasio failed in 2015, but increased congestion, often blamed on the growth in prevalence of ride-sharing vehicles, along with the city’s deepening transit crisis and continued protests from the taxi industry (including the suicides of several cab drivers), have prompted city elected officials to again examine the issue. More comprehensive policy proposals regarding congestion pricing are likely to languish in the state legislature in Albany until at least 2019. In a recent radio interview, de Blasio said he had not reviewed the most recent version of the legislation, but expressed support for the Council’s intent, saying, “people

The explosion in the number of for-hire vehicles on New York City streets has contributed to increased congestion and worsening bus service, critics claim. Photo: Stephen Strasser want a lot more to be done about congestion and this is one of the things I think could start to address congestion.” “A huge number of these for-hire vehicles like Uber cars for example are driving around empty,” de Bla-

sio said on Brian Lehrer’s WNYC show. “Unfortunately Uber’s business model is to flood the zone, to get lots and lots of drivers, make them basically compete against each other, and a lot of times not make much money.”

PIZZA, WITH AN OLD-SCHOOL FLOURISH Lombardi’s opens in the Biltmore Room’s former space BY DEBORAH FENKER

“The place is frozen in time, the days of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It’s a throwback in time. I instantly knew it was perfect,” said Lombardi’s owner, Michael Giammarino, of the former Biltmore Room space. Photo Deborah Fenker

The nation’s oldest pizzeria, Lombardi’s, has swooped in to rejuvenate one of Chelsea’s most picturesque venues — the former Biltmore Room on Eighth Avenue and 24th Street. The address has endured several unsuccessful reincarnations, but this one has by far the most potential yet, solidly founded with the claim of first pizzeria in the United States, dating to 1905. Lombardi’s original location was just a stone’s throw from its current SoHo operation at 32 Spring St., so the Chelsea branch brings its New York City presence to a grand total of two. Like so many others, the impressive gates from the original Biltmore Hotel are what initially grabbed the attention of Michael Giammarino, Lombardi’s owner. Driving north on Eighth Avenue, he noticed “the closed hulk of a space,” and immediately started researching the property. When he discovered its rich history, including the gorgeous relics of the old hotel remaining within, he knew he had to jump on it. Upon his first visit, he was awed, he said, by the “interior space with marble, brass, bronze. The space perfectly fits Lombardi’s, what we are,

and what we do. The place is frozen in time, the days of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It’s a throwback in time. I instantly knew it was perfect.” True to that impression, he’s kept the glamorous bones of the space: the glittering chandeliers, the original palatial tile work, and those impressive iron gates, and warmed things up with glowy lighting and deep cardinal red booths, giving it a retro, convivial feel. To keep things from getting too stuffy, freestanding tables are swathed in nostalgic red-and-white checked tablecloths. For now, the newly opened restaurant will offer the same menu as its predecessor, but as New York restricts coal-burning ovens to those which have been grandfathered in, Chelsea’s pizzas will be baked in a custom designed, brick-lined oven that’s as close to the coal-burning original as you can get. “Patrons are so amazed that they can’t tell the difference,” extols Giammarino. In addition to pizzas (full pies only, as per the original, although they are working on potentially branching out with high-end slice joints in the future), of which pepperoni is a perennial favorite, there are several salads, antipasti, customizable calzones, plus a full bar, beer and wine by the glass and bottle. Grandma Grace’s meatballs are true to the original — beef and pork colossus, each weighing in at an imposing quarter-pound and drenched in a rich,

tangy Sunday gravy with a flounce of shaved Romano cheese. Desserts focus on Italy as well, like a rich chocolate covered tartufo and their signature housemade cannoli, but they import another New York classic, the quintessential New York City-famed Junior’s cheesecake. Giammarino says he wants to roll out more diverse options in a month or so, including adding pasta dishes and a tapas-style bar menu. With that, Giammarino plans on opening for brunch, which will feature Italian frittatas and sandwiches elevated by crusty housemade bread, and accentuated by a full line of premium coffee beverages. But the restaurant won’t stray too far from what has made Lombardi’s one of the most successful and enduring eating establishment in what is ostensibly the most competitive dining city in the world. Gennaro Lombardi, the eponymous grandson of the founder, is still involved with the company, although more for his knowledge and guidance than in actual day-to-day operations. Those are left to a talented staff that ownership prefers to promote from within, to maintain expectations and quality, as well as nurture the sense of family — the strength upon which Lombardi’s was founded. Well, that, and some really excellent pies.


AUGUST 2-8,2018

17

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

        

 

    

 

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AUGUST 2-8,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

One Person’s Manhattan

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED How a change of career made millions laugh BY HARVEY EY COHEN

Did you hear about the dentistt and the comic who both walked into a bar? r? Their names were both Jeffrey Gurian. That’s no joke. Because Jeffrey Gurian, a respected Jeffrey Gurian, right, a dentist turned stand-up comedian and dentist who taught for 12 years at comedy writer, with Kevin Hart. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Gurian the New York University College of Today, besides doing his own stand-up, he also Dentistry, is now a highly regarded comic who has written for some of the biggest names in writes a must-read column, “Jumping Around comedy and performs stand-up at Manhattan With Jeffrey Gurian,” on the popular comedy website “The Interrobang” and produces two comedy clubs. Gurian was born in the Bronx and started comedy web sites, “Comedy Matters TV” and writing comedy when he was 12 years old. And “Gurian News Network.” He’s altogether earned he always dreamed of bringing his humor to the the title “The Cindy Adams of Comedy.” Asked about the difference between older big stage, across the river, in Manhattan. But motivated by a desire to help and heal peo- comedy icons and today’s stars, Gurian says ple, Gurian chose a different career path and be- comedy these days is less about jokes and more came a dentist with a successful practice doing about storytelling. It’s also meaner. That meanness is something Gurian regrets, general and cosmetic dentistry. However, as Gurian says: “If comedy is in you, since his own mission is very different. “My goal you can’t suppress it. At some point you have in life is to put positive energy out to the universe” he says. to do it.” In line with that goal, Gurian So after years of bring has contributed his talents to smiles to his dental patients, a great many good causes, Gurian decided to bring including appearing at Mansmiles to a much wider audihattan hospitals, among them ence, ultimately leaving denIf comedy is in you, Memorial Sloan Kettering. He tistry and concentrating on you can’t suppress it.” did a major fundraising event comedy. for diabetes research at the His first real professional Jeffrey Gurian Comic Strip Club on Second job was as a writer for RodAvenue and co-produced ney Dangerfield and you a benefit for Haiti starring could often find Gurian and Rodney hanging out at Dangerfield’s club on Kevin Hart. He’s also on the board of directors of “Laugh First Avenue. Over the years, Gurian, now 61, has written for MD,” a group dedicated to bringing humor to many superstars of comedy: Joan Rivers, Phil hospital patients. In that role, he’s gotten many Hartman, Richard Belzer, Jerry Lewis, Andrew other comics involved, because as Bob Saget “Dice” Clay, Pauly Shore and Gilbert Gottfried. has said: “Nobody can say no to Jeffrey Gurian.” Gurian’s success is even more amazing when He also helped Nick Kroll and John Mulaney you learn that up until he was in his 20s he open their hit Broadway show “Oh, Hello.”

suffered from severe stuttering. It was only through hard work and discipline that he overcame this obstacle. He now uses his voice and his words to bring joy and entertainment to many. He also spends time working with stutterers, helping them manage their disorder and make them more confident and communicative. There’s also another more spiritual side to Gurian. He now helps people suffering from pain by providing a mind/body healing touch alternative to the painkilling medications that have led to the current opioid addiction crisis. Dr. Kenneth Porter, former president of the Association for Spirituality & Psychotherapy, calls Gurian a “master healer.” Porter also endorsed Gurian’s latest book, “Healing Your Heart, by Changing Your Mind — a Spiritual and Humorous Approach to Achieving Happiness,” calling it “a very special and beautiful healing book that is the distillation of a lifetime of wisdom.” What Gurian enjoys most about Manhattan are the museums. The Met is probably his favorite. He also loves the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History and the tranquility of

The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan. Taking one of his granddaughters to the Space Show at the Planetarium was also a highlight. As for attending Manhattan’s comedy clubs, you can usually find him at Gotham Comedy Club, The Comedy Cellar, The Comic Strip, Dangerfield’s, New York Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, The Stand, or the West Side Comedy Club. He’s well known at all of them and if you’re lucky, you might even catch him on stage. At his home on the Upper East Side, Gurian maintains a virtual museum of photos and memorabilia that represent a lifetime of achievement as a comic, a teacher, a social commentator and a healer. It is truly a tribute to a life well lived in the pursuit of bringing smiles and laughter to everyone he meets. To learn more about Gurian, go to: comedymatterstv.com

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Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Gurian

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A QUIET, LETHAL ART COMBAT CRAFT Both men and women, including the chief instructors’ daughter, hone their skills at UWS Kenshikai Karate BY SUSHMITA ROY

Legs move in rhythmic motions. Punches are thrown and released. But there are no loud thuds — noise is kept to a bare minimum at this Upper West Side dojo. A woman pushes the door open and storms towards the desk, “Hi! I would like to find out about ...” The response from behind the desk is a finger raised to the lips; a signal in sync with the decorum of the ongoing sparring class. Matthew Fremon, lead instructor and co-owner, with his wife, at Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate on Columbus Avenue near 106th Street, recalls an occasion about 10 years ago, shortly after his daughter was born, that helped cultivate the quiet atmosphere. “One of our first black belts who started here, Amy, she always tells this story of how there was a fighting class going on (when she first came in) while Maya was asleep in the corner in her bassinet,” Fremon, 40, said. “She was like ‘What?’ and I was like, “there is a baby asleep right there,” and Maya was asleep in a bassinet during a sparring class,” Unlike most other dojos and gyms, Kenshikai, on Columbus Avenue near 106th Street, boasts an equal number of men and women who train there. And part of the reason could be his daughter, Maya, now 10 and a black belt in karate. His wife, Jennifer Fremon, is one of four with purple belts, the highest rank in Brazilian jujitsu that the dojo has produced. Jennifer, also a co-owner and a fifthdegree black belt in karate, teaches karate to the younger kids and continued to do so until the day she went into labor. “So Maya has been in the dojo since her negative days” said Matthew Fremon. Matthew and Maya recently started a YouTube Series after being featured on LegLocker, an Instagram page that claims to be the “largest leglock community on Earth,” with about 58,600 followers. “A friend of mine who owns another school in Brooklyn; he posted a video that was a leg-locking video and kind of as a joke, I posted a counter video,”

Fremon said. But after taking into consideration a friend’s suggestion, Matthew decided to let Maya be the one performing all the leg-locking stunts instead. “I am a fan of Maya and Matthew because they’re uniquely wholesome,” said Hector Casagrande, 27, the LegLocker page’s administrator. “At her young age, she’s already a dynamic instructor. We need more strong and confident role models like her.” Casagrande has been training in Brazillian jujitsu for over four years and focuses primarily on leg locks — his natural disposition, he said. He believes that Maya and Matthew have created a culture that lead to a gender balance among the students. “People need leaders. If we want more women in jujitsu, then we need more people like Maya. Confident women with a contagious passion. We are inspired by greatness. So, let’s celebrate it whenever see it,” Casagrande said. Matthew Fremon said it’s not unusual to hold classes where there are more women than men. “That’s super rare! In the more sports-based places or the more competition-based places, you’ll see a class photo at the end and it will be like nine men to every one woman.” He claims that his dojo runs the only fully Brazilian jujitsu program on the Upper West Side. It has produced four purple belts, two men and two women. In early December last year, Kristopher Zylinski, originally from the Bronx, but who now lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida, shared a great number of posts on Facebook claiming that women do not stand a chance against men in mixed martial arts fights. “99% of women are too weak and lack the reflexes to do enough damage to stop 99% of men. Even if they knew (Brazilian jujitsu) they just don’t have the size or strength to use the holds. It’s dangerous to teach any woman to try and strike or fight a man,” Zylinski wrote. Mcdojolife, a Facebook page run by Robert Ingram that has about 70,000 followers, tried to setting up a match between a man and woman. Tara LaRosa, a mixed martial arts fighter, was chosen to fight against Zylinkski after he claimed he could easily beat a trained woman. “Plenty of people on this planet have their own thoughts and opinions on the subject,” Ingram, 33, said. “I did not agree with the statement because I have been doing this for a long time

Unlike some other dojos and gyms, Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate boasts an equal number of men and women among its ranks. “I will have classes where there are more women than men,” said chief instructor Matthew Fremon, at left. His wife and co-chief instructor, Jennifer, is third from left. Photo courtesy of Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate and felt there are a lot more important factors in a fight than simply someone being male or female.” The match garnered a lot of attention but was eventually cancelled after the Florida State Athletic Commission intervened. The match was finally treated as a sparring match, held at an indoor venue, recorded and showcased live on Mcdojolife’s Facebook page. Zylinski’s loss was every woman’s win. “Jujitsu is designed for people who are smaller to take on un-trained people who are larger,” Matthew Fremon said. Unlike some dojos and gyms around the city, Fremon does not conduct all-women classes because “that promotes the idea of martial arts being a man’s only world,” he said. Occasionally, Fremon gets female students who are victims of assault. “I pair them up with females first and my female students happily take the responsibility,” he said. Then eventually I pair them up with a calmer and more composed man and so and so forth.” In a recent training class, Maya easily overpowered her training partner, Izaac, who, at 12, is not just older but twice her size. “Everyone’s fist tastes the same when it’s buried in your face,” said Ingram, who readily admits to having lost to women during sparring sessions. “You don’t have time to discriminate on the mats.”

Matthew Fremon, lead instructor and co-owner at Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate and his daughter, Maya, recently started their new YouTube Series after being featured on LegLocker. Photo courtesy of Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate

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The Hudson River near West 59th Street is one of 65 locations around the city surveyed by the Volunteer Beach Floatable Program, which is run through the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Photo: Michael DeSantis

WATERFRONT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 He asks that his volunteers take about 25 minutes per week from April to mid-October to complete a survey in which they monitor a 200-foot stretch of water and its shoreline for floatables. Kerry Halvorsen has been a volunteer for 12 years and monitors the beach near Tottenville, Staten Island, once a week. “I’ve been around this beach since the ‘60s,” Halvorsen said. “I’ve been living on the beach my whole life.” Halvorsen and other volunteers measure out their survey area, jot down landmarks to identify where they’re doing the survey, and then carefully scan the beachfront and water for floatables of any category: plastic, Styrofoam, rubber, cloth, wood, metal, glass, paper and other wastes. They will then tally what floatables they find on a sheet under the corresponding sub-categories. Plas-

tics, for example, include bags, bottles and candy wrappers. After they’ve done that, they’ll rate three categories from a range of very good to very poor: open water, near shore and shoreline. Finally, they’ll send their weekly findings to Gans, who enters them into his database. Volunteers don’t have to pick up any floatables. “If you’ve ever done a cleanup, they probably take a few hours to do a single area of a beach or a shoreline,” Gans said. “If I were to ask my volunteers to do that, I might get them once per season. We don’t want to intrude that much on their time.” Instead, cleaning up the floatables is a team effort. The city’s Department of Parks & Recreation cleans the city’s beachfronts daily. The city DEP monitors the waters and performs cleanups with its skimmer boats. Large pick-ups occur on International Beach Clean-up Day in September and on Earth Day in April. DEP measures water pollution based on the amount of

floatables in the water and on the shoreline, and compares those numbers across each location in the city and to previous years. Gans uses his volunteers’ surveys to make two year-end reports: one for the shorelines and another for the water. Gans said his program has largely been successful over the past 20 years. He said a 1990 baseline study on debris in the water showed that New York City was not meeting expectations. In 2003, five years after his program began, the city reached the baseline study, he said. The amount of floatables around the city’s beaches steadily decreased from there until about 2015, when Gans said their success has plateaued since. “I don’t know if it’s because of the temperature rising and so many more people are using the shorelines and beaches,” Gans said. “There are so many more building developments. It’s not getting worse but I’m looking for a jump up in getting better again.”


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YOUR 15 MINUTES

HIGH TOPS AND HIGH HOPES Long Islander and NYU grad John Budion’s “Rockaway” retraces his ‘90s childhood BY ANGELA BARBUTI

“At the end of the day, we’ve all got cameras in our pockets now. Anyone can shoot or film something. But if you can tell a story, that’s what will separate you from the rest,” said filmmaker John Budion. His newest project, “Rockaway,” which premieres at the Long Beach International Film Festival August 1 through 4, is loosely based on his life growing up on Long Island with his older brother and their friends in 1994. To cast the roles, he looked to rising child actors from hit films and television. “The six kids carry the film; they’re phenomenal. The emotion in the movie is just the six of them,” he said. A graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School now living in the Union Square neighborhood, Budion, 36, was able to train at post production facilities around his classes, which strengthened his film education. A fan of coming-of age stories, he credits filmmakers like Rob Reiner and Cameron Crowe as inspirations.

Did you always know you wanted to go into filmmaking? No, I started out in visual effects and ended up directing directors on how to achieve the shot that they wanted to get and make their self look cool. And then I worked with a director, John Watts, who just did “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I was doing a lot of vi-

sual effects for him. He was my age. We were both really young, about 24. And I realized that he was directing and I thought, “Well, I should be directing too.” He inspired me to get into directing and film my own pieces. Then I sort of blossomed from my background in visual effects to being on set.

What was your experience like at NYU? NYU was great. I was there from ‘99 to ‘03. When I came to New York City from Long Island, I was 17 years old and had no idea what I wanted to do. I went into NYU’s Gallatin School, which allows you to form your own major, which ended up being perfect for me. I was interning and working hands-on with great directors and agencies for commercials when I was 17, 18 years old. So I would go to class and around my classes, I was interning at very high-end, post-production facilities in Manhattan. So I was getting the hands-on training and the theory training at NYU, so it was a double-sided education that really worked out for me. And being in New York City was great too [...].

Who are your inspirations and mentors in the industry? I love coming-of-age stories, so I’m a huge Rob Reiner fan. “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally.” I really gravitate towards directors who capture those nostalgic stories. Cameron Crowe, who did “Almost Famous,” another great coming-of-age film. But in terms of mentors, Vico Sharabani, an amazing and talented visual effects artist who turned me from a punk kid from Long Island to a visual effects assassin. I kind of have a reputation as

being a very fast and efficient visual effects artist in Manhattan amongst the indie film crowd and commercial agencies. And I kind of owe a lot of my career to him. And then in terms of directing, I have to go back to my Long Island roots. I love Tim Van Patten, who is HBO’s go-to director for every major episode, executive producer on “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire,” and “Game of Thrones.”

Tell us about “Rockaway.” Essentially, it’s about my brother and I growing up on the South Shore of Long Island. I pushed the drama because at the end of the day, you want to entertain an audience. The story is two brothers battling an abusive father that they have planted revenge on and they’re helped through their adventurous summer in 1994 by the four friends that they make that summer and it coincides with the New York Knicks run at the NBA finals that year. The young protagonist, John, who is based on me, has high hopes of a new life with his brother and mom. And also his favorite player is John Starks winning the championship for them. So it kind of happened coincidently while the story takes place. And we actually got John to come out to set; he had a little bit of a cameo in the film. We took pictures. We filmed a little bit with him. I told my parents that it would be this year’s Christmas card. It was kind of funny.

Where did you film? We filmed for 20-something days on the South Shore of Long Island. So we were in East Rockaway, Woodmere. And then we filmed two days in a stu-

A still from filmmaker John Budion’s feature, “Rockaway.” Courtesy of ROCKAWAYtheFilm.com

John Budion’s newest project “Rockaway,” which premieres at the Long Beach International Film Festival August 1 through 4. Photo: Jill Apple dio in Brooklyn. And half a day in the city. We’re New York- and Long Islandpremiering the film at the Long Beach International Film Festival at the theater that all the boys I wrote about grew up going to. It’s a brand new Regal theater that just had all these renovations that Long Beach is using for the festival. We also spent our summers in Long Beach, so it’s kind of a homecoming for us as well.

How did you cast? [...] I hadn’t written anything in my life before. I wrote this script and thought it was so wonderful. And I had people in the industry read it and they said, “This is terrible.” And then I actually taught myself how to write and I got the script to Cory Thompson, a good friend I went to NYU with, one of our associate producers And then I actually taught myself how to write and I got the script to Cory, and he said, “Let me run this script by Billy Hopkins and Ashley Ingram. They cast 20 to 30 films a year, all on the Oscar level, such as “Mudbound,” “Good Will Hunting.” Their IMDb page is a Rolodex of amazing films. Billy and Ashley loved the script. We immediately met for lunch and sat down for two-anda-half hours. Every young adult male actor wanted to be in this because they get to be an adult in the film. It’s that life they live away from their parents. There’s cursing, the drama of what you used to do in the summer before you had all this social media stuff and phones. You were kind of on an adventure all day.

Tell us about the kids you chose for the roles. I saw the film “Brooklyn,” and loved James DiGiacomo. He reminds me of my friend, Dom. We immediately made the offer to James; he loved the script and accepted the role. I’ve always loved “The Americans,” and Keidrich Sellati who plays Henry Jennings reminded me of my brother in the sense that he came into a callback and, like my brother, didn’t really care if he got it. But he nailed it. And Billy and Ashley brought in a bunch of people and they are all seasoned actors and we just did a little bit of a read with some of them. I found Tanner Flood, who’s a Long Island native. He’s on “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Moonrise Kingdom.” And Colin Critchley. He read for so many parts. I knew he had to be in the film; I wasn’t quite sure where to put him. And then Harrison Wittmeyer is a gem. He’s like a young River Phoenix. He didn’t have as many films under his belt as the other boys, but he’s just raw and phenomenal. And in the last role is 7-year-old Maxwell who plays me. He just reminded me of myself. Our birthdays are less than one day apart. He was wearing the same sneakers I was wearing in the callback session. He could bring out the emotions needed. rockawaythefilm.com

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Carmine Street Comics Founded by Jon Gorga in 2013, Carmine Street Comics is a unique comic shop with a studio approach.

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books Located at 34 Carmine Street, between a Nepalese crafts store and an Asian tapas restaurant Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books has been a Greenwich Village mainstay for 25 years.

Scan or take a picture of your work and send it to molly.colgan@strausnews.com. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll publish some of them. To purchase a coloring book of Greenwich Village venues, go to colorourtown.com/gv

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