Page 1

The local paper for Downtown wn

FALL 2017

WEEK OF AUGUST

EDUCATION P.11

24-30 2017

LEAD IN WATER WAS COMMON IN CITY SCHOOLS INFRASTRUCTURE Department of Education says remediation of outlets was immediate BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The Rev. Monsignor Donald Sakano, next to the statue of St. Rocco, at The Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral for the Blessings of the Dogs. Photo: Estelle Pyper

BLESSING OF THE DOGS FETCHING A church on Mott Street marks the Feast of St. Rocco with its first celebration of the love of animals BY ESTELLE PYPER

Penelope, a hefty pit bull-terrier mix, sauntered through the gates of The Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mott Street last Wednesday evening with her owner in tow. Little did she know, she would exit those gates a blessed dog. August 16th marked the Feast of St. Rocco — the littleknown Catholic patron saint of dogs. The story goes that Rocco (who also represents knee problems and other diseases) was heavily involved in tending to those who had the plague. So much so that he acquired the plague himself. He retreated into the forest where he found a spring to drink from, but had no food. But it was a dog that brought him bread and licked his wounds until they healed. Thus Rocco is an emblem of the bond between humans and dogs, solidifying their place as “man’s best friend.”

CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

Department of Education testing showed that drinking water in a number of downtown schools, including the Leadership and Public Service High School and Greenwich Village Elementary School, contained lead at concentrations greater than state-mandated action levels for the toxic metal during the last school year. The New York City DOE completed lead testing on drinking and cooking water outlets in every public school in the city during the 2016-2017 school year. Results showed that 83 percent of school buildings had at least one water sample with lead levels above the action level of 15 parts per billion. Elevated lead levels were found in roughly 8 percent of all samples. After testing, the DOE sent letters notifying parents and staff of their individual school’s results. Results for each building were made available on schools’ individual websites, but a single, comprehensive database of results for each outlet tested in every school was not made available by the DOE until

recently, following a freedom of information law request filed by Straus News. The DOE’s remediation protocol calls for outlets with elevated lead results to be immediately removed from service and replaced. Outlets are not returned to service until follow-up testing shows that lead levels are below the 15 ppb action level. “Many of the elevated water samples came from fixtures that are not typically used for drinking, including bathrooms, slop sinks, and laboratories,” read one DOE letter to parents and staff. Faucet-level test results, however, show that elevated samples were found in drinking fountains at many schools. Thirteen drinking fountains had elevated results, including three with concentrations above 200 ppb, at the Broadway Educational Campus, a school complex in the Financial District that houses the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, the Richard R. Green High School of Teaching, and Lower Manhattan Community Middle School. More than a third of all samples had elevated lead levels at the Leadership and Public Service High School in the Financial District, including a hallway drinking fountain with results of 278 ppb.

DOE test results showed thirteen drinking fountains with elevated lead levels in the Broadway Educational Campus, which houses three public schools in the Financial District’s Standard Oil Building. Photo: Gryffindor, via Wikimedia Commons

CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

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Crime Watch NYC Now Voices City Arts

3 6 8 24

Restaurant Ratings 26 Real Estate 27 Business 28 15 Minutes 29

WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.12

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

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

9-16

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

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

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

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

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

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

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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BATTERED BRONZE SPHERE RETURNS TO WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE The Fritz Koenig sculpture will have a permanent home overlooking the 9/11 memorial A 25-ton, bronze sphere damaged by the collapsing World Trade Center is finally being returned to a spot overlooking the rebuilt site. Workers last Wednesday began hoisting sections of the Koenig Sphere into its permanent home at the new Liberty Park overlooking the 9/11 memorial. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last year approved plans to move the sculpture from its temporary place in Battery Park at Manhattan’s southern tip. The sphere once stood between the trade center’s two towers. The late German artist Fritz Koenig created the work commissioned by the Port Authority, which lost 84 employees. It was dedicated in Battery Park in 2002, with an eternal flame honoring the more than 2,700 people who died at the trade center a year earlier. — The Associated Press

The local paper for Downtown

Recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers, the Koenig sphere was relocated to a temporary home in Battery Park. Photo: Harvey Barrison, via flickr

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ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Prerana Reddy: On Engagement

THURSDAY, AUGUST 24TH, 7PM LMHQ | 150 Broadway, 20th Floor | 646-779-9616 | ohny.org Open House NY’s conversation series on the contemporary city brings in Prerana Reddy, Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement for the Queens Museum. She’ll discuss the overlap of arts, culture, and social development in one of the most diverse spots on earth (free).

New Amsterdam: The Birthplace of New York Walking Tour

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27TH, 1PM Castle Clinton | 347-292-7246 | brooklynbrainery.com Using new insights from the last couple of decades, get a glimpse of life in the Dutch colony that once occupied Lower Manhattan. The tour wends up to Wall Street, with thorough explorations along the way ($25).

Just Announced | Music and Meaning—Seminars in Society and Neuroscience

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 4:15PM Columbia University | 116th St. & Broadway | 212-854-1754 | columbia.edu A conversation between scholars representing the humanities and cognitive science examines the power of music to communicate both emotions and ideas (free).

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

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


AUGUST 24-30,2017

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 1st precinct for Week to Date

Tony Webster, via ďŹ&#x201A;ickr

STATION AGENT ASSAULTED, MAN CHARGED A man was arrested on assault charges after he hit an MTA station agent at the Fulton Street station on Saturday, August 12. The agent was giving directions about 3:10 p.m. when a man, later identiďŹ ed as Michael Bozer, hit him in the face, causing the agent, a 55-year-old man, pain and dizziness, police said. Bozer, 52, was arrested soon afterward. There was no word on what prompted the hit.

ROBBERY ON 4 TRAIN

BALMAIN PLAN

At 1 a.m. on Thursday, August 10, a 47-year-old Manhattan woman was riding the northbound 4 strain between Borough Hall and Bowling Green when two men approached her and asked for one dollar. She gave one of the men a dollar, and tehwn one of the men pushed her head and grabbed her wallet from her bag, containing $120. The pair ďŹ&#x201A;ed up the stairs of the Bowling Green station and police could not locate them. The victim told police she knew the men from Utica Avenue in Brooklyn. She also refused medical attention on the scene.

High-end designer jeans proved a costly temptation for a shoplifter. At 7:35 p.m. on Thursday, August 10, a 36-year-old man was seen putting on a pair of designer jeans under his own jeans and attempting to leave the Saks Fifth Avenue store at 250 Vesey St. without paying. The man was stopped and held at the store exit by a store guard and soon found by police to be in possession of burglar tools as well. John Mitchell was arrested August 10 and charged with grand larceny. The jeans, a pair of Balmains, are valued at $1,295.

Year to Date

2017 2016

% Change

2017

2016

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

11

8

37.5

Robbery

3

0

n/a

46

39

17.9

Felony Assault

4

2

100.0

52

52

0.0

Burglary

1

3

-66.7

41

85

-51.8

Grand Larceny

16

16

0.0

613

650 -5.7

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

10

38

-73.7

CRANE AND SIMPLE An energetic young man took his photography to new heights. At 7:25 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, a 25-year-old man unlawfully entered the Gilbane construction site at 118 Fulton St. and climbed to the top of a 71-story-tall crane to take photos. Andrew Liu was arrested at 9:24 p.m. and charged with burglary.

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Useful Contacts NYPD 7th Precinct

19 ½ Pitt St.

212-477-7311

WHERE INSPIRATION STRIKES

NYPD 6th Precinct

233 W. 10th St.

212-741-4811

BY PETER PEREIRA

NYPD 10th Precinct

230 W. 20th St.

212-741-8211

POLICE

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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SUBWAY TILES WITH CONFEDERATE FLAG LOOK TO BE ALTERED SYMBOLS One of the tile mosaics at the Times Square subway station some have likened to the Confederate flag. Photo: FerryMen, via Wikimedia Commons

Post-Charlottesville, the MTA will modify ‘Crossroads of the World’ art at Times Square entrance BY TOM HAYS

Tile mosaics some have likened to the Confederate flag at the Times Square subway station were covered over by stickers resembling another common pattern at the station. Photo: Richard Khavkine

LEAD CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 A higher proportion of elevated results in a given building did not necessarily correlate with higher lead levels in the school’s individual water outlets. For example, only two of the 176 samples tested at P.S. 87 William Sherman on the Upper West Side turned up elevated results, but one was a cold water faucet in a first floor classroom with test results of 1,191 ppb, nearly 80 times greater than the action level. At P.S. 41, Greenwich Village Elementary School, a classroom drinking fountain had results of 226 ppb. It was the only one of the eight elevated samples at the school taken from a drinking fountain (the other seven came from cold water faucets). DOE Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth A. Rose wrote in an April 2017 letter to families and staff

that the department’s testing “demonstrates that we do not have any systemic issues with water in our school buildings and our remediation protocol is effective.” Lead poisoning rates among New York City children have declined in recent years, and according to the DOE there has never been a known case of lead poisoning due to water in city schools. The DOE has said that elevated lead levels found during testing are not necessarily reflective of actual lead levels students and staff are likely to encounter during the day, as testing was performed on water that had sat in pipes overnight. The DOE says that lead levels drop sharply after faucets are first used each day and stagnant water is cleared from the pipes. Lead enters drinking water primarily through the corrosion of lead plumbing materials, which are now banned but were once widely used. For

adults, exposure to lead over time can result in a number of harmful effects, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney disease. Young children, who absorb ingested lead at a higher rate than adults, are particularly susceptible to harmful effects of lead exposure, which can have permanent negative impacts on the development of the brain and nervous system. The U.S. Environmental Pro-

Transit officials decided to alter subway station tiles that have a cross-like design similar to that of the Confederate flag. On Tuesday morning, several of the tile mosaics with the design looked to have been hidden behind stickers bearing the station’s iconic “T” mosaic. In a statement last week, an MTA spokesman said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would modify the tiles at the 40th Street entrance to the Times Square subway stop to avoid any confusion about their meaning. “These are not confederate

tection Agency emphasizes that there is no safe level of lead exposure. The 15 ppb action level is not a health-based benchmark; rather, it is an action level for implementing treatment techniques aimed at reducing lead levels at the tap. According to the World Health Organization, “There appears to be no threshold level below which lead causes no injury to the developing human brain.”

flags,” Kevin Ortiz said. The red, white and blue tiles installed decades ago are “based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World,’” he added. The decision comes in the wake of the deadly rally over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has caused communities across the nation to remove Confederate memorials and symbols. Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other politicians pressed the U.S. Army to rename two streets named for Confederate generals Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on an Army base in Brooklyn. The Army has so far resisted, saying the streets were named for the generals “in the spirit of reconciliation” and to recognize them as individuals, not representatives of “any particular cause or ideology.” Mayor Bill de Blasio has gone

even further by announcing plans to conduct a review of all of the city’s public art and statues to identify “symbols of hate” for possible removal. The mayor singled out a sidewalk plaque commemorating Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain located on the “Canyon of Heroes” — the 13 blocks of Broadway in Lower Manhattan where ticker tape parades are held — as a likely candidate. Both Cuomo and de Blasio have also called for removal of busts of Lee and Jackson featured at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College. “Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed from the CUNY hall of great Americans because New York stands against racism,” Cuomo tweeted. “There are many great Americans, many of them New Yorkers worthy of a spot in this great hall. These two confederates are not among them.”


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6BC Botanical Garden, 622 East Sixth St. 5:30 p.m. Free The Jazz Foundation of America and Ariana's List present this live neighborhood jazz performance in Alphabet City, Charlie Parker’s old haunt. This ode to the “Bird” is part of the 25th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. 212-360-1399. cityparksfoundation.org

POST-TRUTH ART EXHIBITION Parsons School of Design, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Ave. 6 p.m. Free Art reflects our precarious political moment at this thesis exhibition for the Parsons MFA Photography program. The “POST-TRUTH” exhibition includes computer-generated imaging, 3-D imaging and printing, video and installation pieces. 212-229-8919. newschool. edu/parsons

CITYLAW BREAKFAST New York Law School, 185 West Broadway 8:15 a.m. Free Grab a coffee and enjoy the latest installment in this enlightening breakfast discussion series featuring Carmen Fariña the chancellor New York City Department of Education. 212-431-2115. citylaw.org

Sat 26 BATTLE FOR THE BALLOT Governors Island, Building 18 in Nolan Park Noon. Free Learn about our nation’s original “nasty women” in this exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York state. Curated by teen student leaders and presented by the New York Historical Society. 212-873-3400. nyhistory.org

ANAT COHEN TENTET Marcus Garvey Park, 124th Street and Fifth Avenue 7 p.m. Free Connoisseur of the clarinet, the Tel-Aviv born Anat Cohen leads her gifted ensemble through multiple forms with hints of Brazilian, Eastern European, New York and New Orleans traditions. 212-360-1399. cityparksfoundation.org

BACK IN TIME WALKING TOUR Meet at Bowling Green Park, Broadway & Whitehall Street 11 a.m. $10.99-$29.99 Take selfies where our forefathers stood, visit Revolutionary War sites and hear a tune at Alexander Hamilton’s tomb on this lively historical tour of Lower Manhattan, led by performers in period costumes to boot. 347-604-3964. backintimetours.com


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Tired of Hunting for Our Town Downtown? Subscribe today to Downtowner Photo by Teri Tynes via Flickr

Sun 27 AMERICAN SEPHARDI JEWISH MUSIC FESTIVAL Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th St. 1 p.m. $20-$40 Sephardi culture is a rich jumble of languages, flavors and experiences; this festival is no different. Featured acts include singer Sarah Aroeste, who fuses Judeo-Spanish folk songs with rock, pop and jazz, and Brian Prunka’s Arabic jazz ensemble Nashaz. 646-724-3129. americansephardimusicfestival. com

▲ WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Pier 45 in Greenwich Village, meet at the Christopher Street Fountain 9 a.m. Free, registration required Get in touch with the West Side’s wildlife on this nature walk along the Hudson River Park esplanade. Guided by experienced naturalists. 212-627-2020. hudsonriverpark.org

Mon 28 MAC MCANALLY AT CITY WINERY City Winery, 155 Varick St. 6 p.m. $35+ Hear music royalty perform in an intimate setting. Voted the Country Music Association Musician of the Year for an unprecedented eight years in a

row, McAnally is a member of the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame and Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer band. 212-608-0555. citywinery. com

MOVIE MONDAYS Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave. 6 p.m. Free Before “fake news” there was “Shattered Glass,” a story ripped from the headlines about the headlines written by a star reporter at the New Republic in the mid-90s. Starring Peter Sarsgaard, Hayden Christensen and Chloe Sevigny. 212-243-4334. www.nypl. org/locations/jefferson-market

Tue 29 ‘KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE’ Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Ave. 7 p.m. $15 Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki directs this beloved story of Kiki, a young witch who sets out on an apprenticeship with her chatty black cat. Part of Village East’s Studio Ghibli Festival, featuring films from the legendary Japanese animation company. 212-529-6998. citycinemas. com

‘BROAD CITY’ COLORING & TRIVIA Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway 7 p.m. $14.99, includes admission and a signed copy of

the book Celebrate the new season of Comedy Central’s hit “Broad City” with Mike Perry, the artist behind the show’s quirky animated title cards and its official new coloring book. Refreshments and prizes? Yas kween. Abbi and Ilana would kvell.

Wed 30 SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS City Winery, 155 Varick St. 8 p.m. $40+ Two decades ago, fans were practically rabid when a band named for a medium-sized rodent released their album “Hot,” which sold over 1.3 million copies. The Squirrel Nut Zippers are back for a 20th anniversary concert, and they still defying easy definition. 212-608-0555. citywinery. com

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT’S DADDY ISSUES Bryant Park Reading Room, between 40th & 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues 7 p.m. Free Explore a rich chapter in American history with author and former broadcast journalist Eric Burns. He’ll discusses his book, “Someone to Watch Over Me: A Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Tortured Father Who Shaped Her Life.” Produced in partnership with New-York Historical Society. 212-768-4242. bryantpark. org

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Voices

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

ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Little shops on the corner — Add to the commercial mix of midManhattan the Lex Shopping Court at the northwest corner of Lex and 56th on the street level of what’s rumored to be the site of a high-end residence for senior living. The businesses in the neighborhood have been shuttered and shuttering in droves. Entire blocks of businesses are gone — from small retailers to Friday’s to either a T-Mobile or AT&T on the east side of Lex between 57th and 56th. A souvenir shop on the southwest corner bears a recent Marshal’s Notice. The yet-to-open court was described to me by one of

the tenants as a “Christmas store, you know like Bryant Park” and Columbus Circle in Central Park and at least one near where the Bull and Fearless Girl stand in the Financial District. Not sure that the new Lex location is bringing smiles to some of the existing storefront businesses that are paying high rents and will be competing with the year-round Christmas shops. According to Lex Shopping Court tenants, who were busily stocking their shelves before the opening, they will be there for at least two years. The foot traffic in the area and along the street will be seriously impacted — it’s a busy commercial and residential district with a bus stop between 55th and 56th Streets. And let us not forget that 56th and Lex, an eastbound street, is in the direct path of traf-

Photo: David, via Flickr fic of our president’s Fifth Avenue home and is subject to closure at any time. So what does the new permanently temporary shopping court do for local residents and businesses? Did anyone ask? Did anyone care? Fixe mix — Prix fixe menus usually consist of an entree, soup or salad, and dessert. Now, at some restau-

rants, you can swap out one of the above for a glass of wine. Happened on the UES at Parlor restaurant and at Little Frog. Nice to have good wine as part of the pickings. Sound off — Speech is free. But not on T-shirts where you get to pay to print what you have to say. Literally, of course, when you buy the

shirt. It’s too bad when you don’t share the sentiment and have to pay the price of standing behind two people — make that idiots — who are standing alongside each other with one wearing a T-shirt that says “I Have the Right to Be Violent,” and the other saying, “Yes He Does and I Like It.” Can’t tell them to shut up. And sure won’t tell them to take off their shirts. Outfoxing — Yes, Fox News is leaning in and taking “fake news” and its not-so-great press seriously when it comes to gender, with its new noon entry, Outnumbered, on Channel 44, where the grid promotes and describes the programming: “Four female panelists and one male colleague share their perspective of the day’s top new stories.” Odd characterization of the talking heads. Sounds as if they’re talking about ABC’s The View without the Fox News’s good guy, Juan Williams.

HOW TO BE A CLASS MOM A new book is a reminder of the experiences one NYC mother had with other school parents BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

Back-to-school is only weeks away, and for many NYC mothers it will be their child’s first academic experience. Whether you’re a 9-to-5er, freelancer as I was, or SAHM (stay at home mom), you will be expected to be a participating parent in your school community. One way to do that: class mom. With my son Luke, 22, I held the post in nursery school and first grade; for my daughter Meg, 19, it was third and fourth grades. It’s no wonder I read with interest Laurie Gelman’s new novel, “Class Mom.” (FYI: The Manhattan author set the story — much of which is told via unconventional class emails — in Missouri, because, according to her interview on “Live with Kelly & Ryan,” she was tired of people beating up on Upper East Side moms.) Although most parents appreciate the efforts of the class mom, it takes only one to turn the job into what main character “Jennifer Dixon” acknowl-

edges as “thankless.” I’d love to tell all the newbies that Gelman exaggerates for comic relief, but alas her book is an all too real trigger of my own experiences with: Allergy Mom: Class mom catches a break if the school has a no-nut policy that makes all parents responsible for being hyper-vigilant about no PB&J lunches and packaged snacks with nut ingredients. If, however, the school has no such policy, when class mom organizes parties, she is expected to echo relentlessly this mom’s demands that the other parents be mindful of what treats they send in, or a child’s possible lethal reaction will be on whom? Class mom. Busy Mom: She always has tons to do (unlike the rest of us), so there’s no time to volunteer. There’s always time though to advise class mom on how to run the latest event. On the back end, she’ll make it known how much better things coulda-shoulda-woulda been if she’d been in charge — an impossibility, of course, because she’s (all together now for the back of the house) too busy. Socialite Mom: A member of café

In the class mom days: Merkl with son (left) and daughter(right). Photo courtesy of Lorraine Duffy Merkl society — in her mind, she keeps up appearances by declaring everything class mom has chosen for the parent cocktail party — from hors d’oeuvres/ beverages to music/decorations — “basic.” To class mom’s face, however, that term is substituted with the passive-aggressive “cute.” A cheese cube sighting has her one plastic wine glass away from transferring schools. Boho Hippie Chick Mom: With her flouncy skirts and peasant blouses, she’s as relaxed as a broken-in pair of Levi’s, as long as class mom is sensitive to her beliefs that the contributions for the toy drive be gender nonspecific, an alternative menu of vegan fare also be offered at both adult and child functions, and there be no “violent” games, like Whac-A-Mole, at the class booth at the school carnival. If not, peace and love means war.

Rabble Rouser Mom: She views class mom as a champion who wields Game of Thrones-like power over the administration, and who will get her suggestions (aka better way of doing things) addressed. When explained that this is beyond the scope of the volunteer position, but she herself is free to discuss matters with the principal, this mom questions the point of having a class mom, if the person’s not going to do anything. (Organizing events, assisting the teacher with scheduling, and being everyone’s goto when there’s a question, apparently doesn’t count.) Plain Inconsiderate Mom: At teacher gift-giving time, class mom puts the call out for funds to buy a group gift. Because many don’t pony up til the last minute, the item is usually purchased in advance and class mom

gets reimbursed. However, there are those who choose to opt out of the purely voluntary activity. This is fine — if their intentions are made known upfront, as opposed to on the eve of the presentation, meaning class mom not only makes her own contribution, but is then in the hole for that of the thoughtless. Despite the many personalities as well as requests (often made a dinnertime), this is a coveted position that has people like Jennifer and me making repeat performances. If I had to do it over again, though, I’d make sure my missives were as feisty and acerbic as hers. Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of “Back To Work She Goes,” that has a SAHM reentering the workforce.

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A PLANT-BASED RESTAURANT GROWS IN MIDTOWN FOOD FOR THOUGHT P.S. Kitchen opens in Times Square, hoping to make a difference by giving profits to charity BY ESTELLE PYPER

Pit bull-terrier mix Penelope at the church with her owner. Photo: Estelle Pyper

DOGS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 When Kathleen Brady learned that St. Patrick’s has a stained glass window and a statue of a dog (accompanying St. Rocco), she knew it had to be celebrated. She was there for an event at the end of July with her friend and member of the church, Anne Riccitelli, listening to the Rev. Monsignor Donald Sakano speak. “Monsignor said, ‘I like to tell people that we are a church that has a statue of a dog,’” Brady recalled, “and I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, ‘We should have a blessing of the dogs on the feast of St. Rocco!’” Sakano loved the idea. The only hitch? August 16th was only two weeks away, but they spread the word and threw together the church’s first Blessing of the Dogs. The informal event lasted from 6 to 8 that evening in the courtyard. Dogs and owners could come and go as they pleased. Animals waiting to be blessed sat (distractedly) in front of Sakano while he read a prayer and blessed them (and their owners) with holy water.

“I say a prayer that acknowledges the role of dogs in our lives, ‘God we offer every gift, animals and dogs are a way you provide help for our needs,’” said Sakano. “They’re very special. You know, a dog is the only animal that looks a human being in the eye. No other animal does that in a meaningful way.” Sakano was accompanied by a large statue of St. Rocco with the little dog at his feet: there is a lesion on his knee, and the dog carries bread. Being a saint of knee issues as well, St. Rocco served a second purpose for Sakano: “I just had double knee surgery,” he said. “But I’m doing pretty good — due to St. Rocco.” The low-key event well-received by parishioners, with smiles all around. Water and doggie treats were available for the blessed animals. The church hopes this is the first of many annual dog blessings to come. Neither Brady nor Sakano have dogs themselves (although Sakano spends a lot of time looking at beagle videos on YouTube), but for an evening, they united a community through the love of animals.

Walking through Times Square’s bustling streets is no easy feat. But if you sidestep the clogged crosswalks of Seventh Avenue and Broadway, you’ll find a peaceful enclave just to the west. P.S. Kitchen is a little over two weeks old, but already is proving worthy of New York’s competitive restaurant scene — with an edge of its own. The man behind P.S. Kitchen is Craig Cochran, co-founder of Terri — a plantbased “fast food” café in Manhattan (there are three locations in the city). Cochran is no stranger to the New York food scene, but for his next venture, he wanted something different. More specifically, he wanted something that would make a difference. About three years ago, Cochran was approached by a friend, and now co-founder of P.S. Kitchen (who has chosen not to disclose her name), about an idea to make donating more active and “fun” for the giver: a nice restaurant that would give profits to charity; a place where people can enjoy a cocktail and a quality meal while supporting something greater than themselves, instead of just writing a check. In addition, they wanted to make the menu 100 percent plant-based, and hire people from underprivileged backgrounds. It is all these supplements and “postscripts,” if you will, that generated the title: P.S. Kitchen.

Fennel tart. Photo courtesy of P.S. Kitchen

Interior of P.S. Kitchen. Photo: Michael Tulipan “There’s more to the story than us just being a restaurant,” explained Cochran. “P.S. We’re a social business that gives all profits to charity. P.S. We work with people from marginalized and underprivileged communities. P.S. we serve local, sustainable, and plant-based food.” The space is modest and shares a block with Longacre Broadway Theatre and Hershey’s Chocolate World, at 246 West 48th Street. The outside resembles a speakeasy: white brick exterior and wooden planks above the front door with a subtle “P.S.” printed in gold on the lower right corner. The inside, designed by Eric K. Daniels Architects, is long and narrow with white, simple tables and chairs. Wildflowers in jars serve as centerpieces, giving the place a very clean and organic vibe — fitting the menu. The lights are soft and give off a rose-

y hue. A pink neon sign that playfully reads, “Ready or not,” hangs on a wall (Cochran’s own touch). “We signed the lease about three years ago; it’s been a long ride,” said Cochran. “This building’s really old — it was built in 1910, and it’s just falling apart, so we rebuilt the whole thing from the inside out. Here we are three years later, and it’s beautiful. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.” Cochran helped develop the plantbased menu with the head chef, Gary Barawidan, and describes it as “global cuisine unified by classic French technique.” You’ll find everything from Filipino and German-influenced food to dishes from Buffalo, NY — Cochran’s hometown. There’s even a spaghettini (a thinner spaghetti), which Cochran seems to adore, saying, “I have dreams about this spaghettini.” Another favorite seems to be the strawberry shortcake, but it won’t be on the menu for long — they want to keep the menu seasonal and switch it up as needed. As for giving back, the plan is to donate quarterly. It’s too early to predict earnings for this quarter, but Cochran hopes to give monthly in the future, to a different charity each time. So far, they’re working with Share Hope, The Bowery Mission and The Doe Fund, among others. By working with these organizations, “You’re also giving a hand up instead of a hand out,” said Cochran, explaining the backbone of P.S.’s mission. And business is booming. In its first two weeks, P.S. Kitchen has been booked solid. They’re currently renovating the upstairs to accommodate more patrons, but Cochran is already throwing around ideas of location expansion. “We have a great management team here,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep growing.”


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FALL 2017

EDUCATION

STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

WHAT’S INSIDE • Joy in Science ...13 • A School’s Secret Formula...17 • Urban Studies...14 • The Admissions Specialists...18 • Civility in the Classroom...15 • Why Reading Hard Copy Books • After High School...16 Gets Results...20

The range of educational choices is staggering, the sheer diversity of options unparalleled. Nothing on the planet can match the pedagogical menus offered to the vast learning communities of Manhattan. Consider that a child might enroll in the Finger Painted Hands Preschool on West 83rd Street and learn by “playing, exploring, making mistakes, getting messy” and “leaving handprints all over the Upper West Side!” Then flash forward two or three decades: That same student might now venture across the park to the biomedical research laboratories of Rockefeller University on York Avenue to study with the five Nobel Prize laureates on its faculty. Pick a topic from A to Z. Our universities have it covered. The ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus? Try the classics department at New York University. The Iranian religious prophet Zoroaster? Go to the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University. Pick a topic from A to Z. Our universities have it covered. The ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus? Try the classics department at New York University. The Iranian religious prophet Zoroaster? Go to the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University. But let’s not sugarcoat the shortcomings, even the horrors, of the city’s educational system. Before you can achieve erudition and scholarship and vault to professional heights, you have to learn to read and write. A bit of civility helps, too. It can be strikingly absent from the classroom. And yes, that makes it awfully tough to pick up basic literary and arithmetical skills. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


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INTRO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 City Hall boasts that college readiness rates for city students climbed in 2016. True. It inched up a bit. But the boast is hollow: Now, just 37.2 percent of students meet the City University of New York standards for incoming college freshmen. High school graduation rates also rose last year, hitting a record 72.5 percent, up from 70.5 percent in 2015. Naturally, that’s great news. But it’s not as great as it sounds: An analysis in September 2016 by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office found that the growth was driven largely by gains at the city’s highest performing schools. High schools in the best performing quintile saw graduation rates climb to an impressive 97 percent, up from 93 percent the year before. For schools in the lowest performing quintile, however, rates plummeted to an abysmal 50 percent, Stringer’s auditors found. Still, opportunities abound. Offerings are unmatched. As the largest school district in America, the city’s Department of Education serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools. That includes 400 high schools offering some 700-plus specialized programs, of which 109 high schools are in Manhattan, which itself boasts 151 programs with more on the way. To name a few, in alphabetical order, the program offerings include studies in architecture, business, communications, computer science and technology, culinary arts, engineering, environmental science, film and video, health and hospitality.

The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers’ garden at West 84th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Photo courtesy of UAGC To name a few more, specialized programs for Manhattan students include travel and tourism, humanities, law and government, performing arts, science and math, teaching, visuals arts and design, the list goes on and on. Interested in the interplay of food and finance? Take a look at the Food and Finance High School at 525 West 50th St. Know a young woman who wants to lead the city, state or nation? Enroll her

in the Young Women’s Leadership School at 105 East 106th St. Want to communicate with the deaf? Try the American Sign Language and English Secondary School at 223 East 23rd St. Eager to explore what makes a global citizen? Keen to engage with the environment? Consider the Global Learning Collaborative or the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers respectively.

AUGUST 24-30,2017 They share a building at 145 West 84th St. And when it comes to artistic and creative talent, look no further than the Talent Unlimited High School, at 317 East 67th St., which celebrates the bond between the performing and liberal arts, or the Professional Performing Arts High School, 328 West 48th St., which will train you in tap dancing, ballet, acting and musical theater. Other options include Manhattan’s 52 charter schools, many with long waiting lists, from the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School at 17 Battery Place to the multiple Success Academy Charter Schools, which can be found from Union Square to West 49th Street to Harlem. Religiously oriented schools also abound. Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York was launched in St. Peter’s Parish in lower Manhattan in 1800. Today, Catholic educators run a couple of dozen elementary schools and 13 high schools on the island, including Xavier High School, at 30 West 16th St., and Regis High School, at 55 East 84th St. Meanwhile, Jewish students have long found an educational home at the Manhattan Day School, at 310 West 75th St., and Ramaz, which divides it campus between locations on East 85th Street and East 78th Street. Bottom line: Yes, there are pitfalls. They can be very daunting. But there are glories, too. And there are grand opportunities for learning and scholarship and erudition and fulfillment and growth in the city’s vast, complex, diverse — and every once in a while, embracing — educational system.

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JOY IN SCIENCE An educator’s take on teaching science in the 21st Century BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

So far in 2017, scientists for the first time edited genes in human embryos to remove a diseasecausing mutation, located seven planets 235 trillion miles from Earth that could potentially support life, and discovered 300,000 year-old fossils in Morocco that alter our understanding of the origins of Homo sapiens. For science educators, this era of rapid discovery across so many fields presents challenges about how to keep up with and make sense of the latest developments. But it also offers new opportunities to foster excitement in students. Paula Cuello, a science teacher at an Upper East Side private school, often draws upon reports from science publications to help convey the real world relevance of classroom concepts. “If it’s too abstract, then it’s meaningless,” she says. When students can explain what’s going in in the world around them using what they’ve learned in school, she says, “That’s when joy can come in.” Bringing joy into the classroom is among Cuello’s chief objectives as an educator — she says that it’s too often missing in schools, particularly when it comes to science. Being joyful means sometimes being willing to do some silly things in the service of learning — after all, she

Photo: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, via Wikimedia

says, “they’ll remember that stuff because it’s fun” — and never taking herself too seriously. “If we lose joy and humility, we lose what makes us good scientists,” says Cuello, who holds a doctorate in molecular biology and became a teacher after a career as a research scientist. Cuello has found that humility is a trait often shared by good scientists and good teachers. Despite her expertise and experience, Cuello says it’s not uncommon for students to ask insightful questions that she simply doesn’t know the answers to. Rather than dreading these moments, she embraces them as opportunities. “Saying ‘I don’t know’ is very powerful,” she says, explaining that when teachers acknowledge the limits of their own understanding and then work together with students to discover answers, it creates a collegial atmosphere, building what she refers to as a “partnership in learning” between teacher and students. Cuello believes that the skills students learn in the science classroom — learning how to read graphs and interpret data, distinguishing between sound research and questionable studies — are essential tools they’ll need to become active, informed citizens, whether they go on to careers in science or not. “Before, teachers were the font of knowledge, but now knowledge is everywhere and we need to teach students how to sift through it,” Cuello says, adding, “You need to be able to tell the dif-

ference between good and bad science.” Cuello, who teaches students at various levels, from fifth graders to high school seniors, says that she’ll often spend time in class looking up and addressing common misconceptions about a topic as she introduces it, explaining to students, “These are the mistakes that some people make, but we’re not going to make those same mistakes.” Cuello, who comes from a family of scientists and educators, stresses that memorizing facts is less important than developing thinking skills and curiosity. Too much memorization, she says, “makes people think that being a scientist isn’t creative,” when, in fact, scientists need the originality to think of approaches and ideas that others haven’t. In practice, this approach includes letting students design their own experiments rather than simply following along with predesigned lab instructions from a book. “You can do an experiment really mindlessly and not get much out of it if you don’t have to struggle through it,” Cuello

says. This iterative, experimental process is time consuming, but key in reinforcing concepts and the importance of a scientific mindset. “It takes more time to let kids think,” she says. “They come out with fewer facts, but they have the skills to teach themselves and evaluate sources.” There are tradeoffs to this approach — students studying for the fact-intensive SAT subject tests have to put in extra work on their own, for example — but Cuello feels that the thinking skills students develop are more valuable in the long run. “At the end of the day, what we’re teaching in schools may change completely down the line,” she says. “They need to have the skills and curiosity to teach themselves. It’s on us as educators to make it joyful, interesting and relevant.”

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

URBAN STUDIES In such a city of so many accomplishments, the schools, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d think, would be one more BY BILL GUNLOCKE

The ad on the radio for one of the giant phone companies says â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Yorkers demand the very best.â&#x20AC;? Once that notion seemed cool. I guess. Maybe in an old movie. Or in a full page ad in Life magazine with someone hailing a cab almost on their tip toes, and then, in your imagination, telling the cab to get someplace in a hurry. Now all you can think of are stockbrokers being demanding of the waitstaff in an overpriced restaurant where the brokers get to go all the time even though brokers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work weekends or take work home with them. The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rigged for them and their foreign counterparts who are also demanding of the waitstaff and love those restaurants too. It always has been rigged for them. Worse now. You wish it was rigged for school kids. The ones in the public schools in the parts of town where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tough to ďŹ nd a cab. You wonder why all the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t excellent. With

the rents people here pay, they should be as good as Palo Altoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools. Better even, when you think about what New York has: Scholastic, The Times, Time Warner, Conde Nast, Broadway, Off-Broadway, great museum after great museum, Random House, Joan Didion, Spike Lee. How can all that written energy and creative ambition not enhance the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools? Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone wrong? Is New York a real bastion of liberalism in a Grace Paley way or is it a place where the refined educated classâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; most vivid liberal fantasy is to have a weekend getaway home designed by Maya Lin? To make the schools better, maybe great, why not convince Columbia English majors to stay here and teach kids about books and reading? Convince Fordham English majors and NYU English majors. They could live in Brooklyn. It would solve two big problems. Where are English majors going to ďŹ nd a job that involves books and isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t behind a cash register at Strand? And where is the city going to ďŹ nd bright literate types to teach students in poor areas of town about how to decipher and be expressive in lan-

The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school kids should all be prepared well enough by the public schools to take part in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vibrant reading life. Photo: Bill Gunlocke guage? The city should go whole-hog on getting smart English majors to stay and teach here. You want teachers who have a passion for their subject. English majors are also socially and politically liberal. A city classroom

would be a good ďŹ t for them. The way it is now is not working. The poor kids canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read well. What chance do they have at a fulďŹ lled future? There are many books on the poor parts of town. Crime stories galore.

Drugs. Guns. Projects. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a new book that has all that, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s set not in a city, but in a tough town in Arkansas. Racially itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a city ghetto. Michelle Kuo, a Taiwanese-American with a still-wet Ivy League degree, goes there to teach English. Her book is â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reading with Patrick.â&#x20AC;? Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s candid, determined, smart, sometimes disheartened. You think you already know the story. But you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. She tells it better than the one you think you know with Jonathan Kozol and Michelle Pfeiffer as the leads. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unflinching, you might say. You should read it. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the type of book, when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d show Obama and his daughters buying books in a good independent bookstore on Marthaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vineyard, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have gotten. Sometimes no matter how long youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lived here, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll look up, at an avenue going north usually, and for a moment it looks impersonally impressive. Massive, in its one-right-afteranother office buildings or apartment houses with their awnings pointed toward the busy street ďŹ lled with cabs. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re like a tourist when you see the city that way. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intimidating, alienating even. The endlessness of its commerce, the vastness of its wealthy living spaces. You would never think, as you look at it in one of those moments, that it would be a city with public schools not very good at all.

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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CIVILITY IN THE CLASSROOM What happens when college students show little respect for their classmates’ points of view? A professor reflects on playing the heavy — and getting positive results BY JON FRIEDMAN

As someone who spends a good deal of time teaching and conversing with college students, I’ve begun worrying about something we don’t think enough about: Is civility dead? (NO! I insist.) It’s a legitimate question and an important issue, bubbling up in our society and culture. Consider it a corollary to another hot-button item among civilized people who fret that Facebook and Twitter have effectively put out to pasture such antiquated obsessions as grammar, punctuation and spelling. (Feel free to smirk and shout: “Oh professor, those are so twentieth century!”) Civility has been on my mind a lot these days. I’ve presided over discussion-based classes over the past few semesters about such key societal concepts as leadership and diversity. The students were largely pre-med candidates and the courses were often given on a pass-fail basis. Therefore, the emphasis was on classroom discussions, not necessarily homework assignments or — gasp! — exams. I made it clear in the syllabus that I wanted these high achievers to speak up. Well, Professor Friedman, let me tell you: Be careful what you wish for! Yes, indeed, the students laid it on the line in the classroom. The negative point was that they occasionally

I don’t tolerate hazing or bullying or intimidation of any kind,” I warned. Things calmed down right away — until I had to send out a follow-up memo. Jon Friedman

showed little respect for one another. I had to resort to playing the heavy and sending out a class-wide note reminding them that they had to show respect for their classmates’ opposing views. “I don’t tolerate hazing or bullying or intimidation of any kind,” I warned them. It worked. Things calmed down right away — until I had to send out a follow-up memo. Well, I asked for it, right? I haven’t taken a poll but I’ll suggest that discourse has grown more challenging since Donald Trump was elected president. Immigration and the proposed Muslim ban were the issues that most affected my students of all ethnicities during the spring semester, which coincided with the start of Trump’s administration. Trump often gets blamed for the decline of civility, and not only because he has emerged as Twitter’s 140-character poster boy. The chaos at Trump’s campaign rallies frequently made its way to the television news programs.

Street scene, Baruch College. Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman, via flickr And yet I say that civility is not dead, right? I am cheered by a few snapshots that occurred in my classroom over the past year or so: Snapshot #1 involves one of my brightest students, a graduate of an acclaimed New York City high school, whose family recently emigrated to the United States. She was quiet, almost withdrawn, in our first few classroom discussions about leadership and diversity. I made it a point to remind the students that I wanted them to speak up. That unleashed a floodgate in this young woman. She became energized and focused — and, happily, outspoken. After the end of the semester, she went so far as to send me an email to say thanks for encouraging her. The class had changed her life. (Next time you encounter me in Whole Foods, a New York Sports Club, Grist-

ede’s or on the platform of the F train, ask me to show you the email). Snapshot #2: Two male students were arguing a fine point about Apple and Google in another class and things got heated. Again, I reminded the class to cool it. (I am a remnant of the 20th century, after all!) Before the start of the next class, I spied the two bellicose students out in the hallway shaking hands. They later became roommates. Finally, my favorite case of all: I was teaching a class not long after Trump announced his candidacy in 2015 and became the most sought after “get” interview on the planet, especially for the rabid television news networks. When I mentioned Trump’s name, an exchange student scrunched up her face and asked in a shaky voice, “Who is Donald Trump?” Sadly, but inevitably, many kids in the class snickered, tittered and guffawed. She was morti-

fied at her gaffe. After class, she almost tearfully pledged to drop the course at once. ”Why?” I kidded. ”Do you dislike me that much already?” She launched into a self-loathing diatribe about not knowing who Trump was. I told her not to drop the class. Instead, when I or a student said something she didn’t understand, she should immediately raise her hand high and ask me to stop the class and explain the fine point to her. The upshot: She stuck with it and became the biggest chatterbox — and most popular student — in the classroom. She later went back home to resume her undergraduate studies and subsequently asked me to write a recommendation for her to get into the University of Southern California’s business school. No, civility is not dead. It just needs a kick in the butt now and then.

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, LAW SCHOOL OR MED SCHOOL? A high school senior’s thoughts on parents who dictate their children’s futures BY OSCAR KIM BAUMAN

“So, how can my son apply directly to medical school?” says the man at the back of the auditorium. It’s a question I’ve heard time and time again during the past year. The details vary, sometimes they ask about law school or business school rather than medical school, but the core message is always the same. At nearly every college I’ve visited, and even in my own social circles at my Upper East Side high school, I’ve found that with the college application process comes an upsetting trend of overbearing parents attempting to micromanage their children’s futures into what they think is an ideal. When it comes to applying to college, I’ve been incredibly fortunate with regard to the degree of personal freedom I’ve had. I’ve chosen my own dates to take the SATs and made my own decisions about where I want to apply, and what I want to major in. That’s certainly not true for many of my peers. I’ve heard tell of kids who,

Harvard Medical School Quadrangle. Photo: SBAmin, via Wikimedia Commons since elementary school, have known they were going to be doctors, and when asked why, repeat the same points about job stability and practicality without a hint of passion. I realize that their parents had a much greater degree of control over their children in their formative years than mine did over me, and that’s fine. I’m

not about to engage in a debate over parenting methods, but there’s a difference between making choices for children that impact them in the short term and deciding a child’s future, giving a soon-to-be adult no say in the matter of how he or she will spend a good portion of the rest of their life. Consider, for example, a parent who

wants their child to become a doctor. There are obvious reasons that this career path has become a favorite of controlling parents. In the United States, at least, the health care industry is immensely lucrative, and a career as a doctor carries a certain prestige. But pushing your kid to be a doctor may not be a sure bet. As re-

cent events have shown, the nature of our health care system can quickly change, and though it seems unlikely at the moment, a future move towards single-payer healthcare, already adopted by most other developed nations, would make a career as a doctor much less lucrative. In addition, speaking from a purely selfish point of view, I’d rather have a doctor who genuinely cares about my health than one who was pushed into their field and is only in it for the money. So what overall point am I trying to make? While it pains me to see my peers pushed into careers chosen by their parents, I realize they all have their reasons, and it’s hard to criticize people who, in their own way, just want the best for their kids. That being said, I yearn for the day that every teen approaching adulthood will be allowed to choose their own path in life, to succeed and fail pursuing their passions the way I have. Although the future certainly will include its fair share of doctors and lawyers, I’d greatly prefer if all of them are there by their own volition, rather than because of a decision foisted upon them at 17.

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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A SCHOOL’S ‘SECRET FORMULA’ The principal oof PS/IS 171 in East Harlem sa ays y a practice of “systems and protocols” says helps students succeed BY DIMITRES PANTELIDIS

PS/IS 171 is a Pr Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8 located in East Harlem with public school lo population of 740 stuan ethnically diverse di dents, including 65% Hispanic, 27% AfricanAmerican, 4% Asian, 3% Caucasian and 1% A American Indian. According to New York City and State reports reports, students at 171 have demonstrated consist consistently high performance on yearly New York State St ELA (English Language Arts), math, and science tests for the past ten sc years. Our eighth-grade students have the opeighth-g portunity to take accelerated courses in matha ematics, scienc science and foreign languages, leading to a acceptances at top-tier and competitive competiti specialized high schools such as a Bronx High School of Science, enc Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and LaGuardia PerformT ing Arts. Knowing that a significant number of inner-city schools are struggling to support their students and meet proficiency goals, many educators who visit

Principal Dimitres Pantelidis with a student. Photo courtesy of PS/IS 171

BREAK FROM THE STANDARD EDUCATIONAL TRACK

our school want to know exactly what “secret formula” the school follows to ensure that our students receive a high-quality education that results in meaningful learning and consistent levels of excellence in student performance. Teachers, students, parents and administration believe that the strong set of systems and protocols that govern the daily life of the 171 community provides the necessary structure to promote and maximize student learning in six key areas: Curriculum/Instruction, Assessment/Data Analysis, Teacher Teams, Teachers and Leadership Education, Behavior/Safety and Partnerships. The systems are intricately connected through the lens of student achievement. Teachers at 171 work collaboratively in teams to develop and refine units of study across the grade levels. All units of study are based on state standards and the results of both formal and informal assessment of student work. Teachers discuss effective teaching strategies and monitor student progress using the Student Work Protocol, which provides the framework to understand and assess student learning. All lessons help build student understanding and application of new skills and concepts, including differentiated strategies to meet the individual needs of learners. The goal is always to engage students through discussion, higher-level questions and visual supports. To ensure consistency, there is a designated daily schedule for each grade level. Teachers emphasize close-reading strategies to build comprehension, and the “I.C.E.” strategy to promote conceptual understanding in mathematics: students identify necessary Information, complete required Computation and offer an Explanation of the reasoning they used to solve the problem. At 171, there is a school-wide Interim Assess-

ment Cycle inspired by the work of Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, whose book, “Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction” has been touted as a key framework for increasing student achievement. His suggestions have helped our school implement a culture focused on data and rigorous instruction. As part of our data focus, students in second through eighth grade are given interim assessments in English language arts and math four times a year. Prior to the assessments, teacher teams give students an understanding of the question types and specific components. After the tests, teachers organize the student data to determine patterns and trends in skill strengths, and come up with a strategy to provide feedback and next steps for instruction. Teacher teams discuss appropriate instructional initiatives and/or interventions to address student needs. Within each classroom, teachers utilize the assessment results to confer with students. At the end of each conference, students set goals which target specific skills they want to improve upon based on their test results. As shared in our goals for the 2017-2018 school year, “We will maintain highly effective, collaborative learning communities that engage in professional learning using school-wide coherent protocols and data to inform inquiry and make adjustments to instruction. We will also provide students with timely and effective feedback so that they are fully aware of next steps leading to high achievement.” We believe that it is essential to help our students become independent life-long learners so that they are ready to meet the challenges and achieve success as they enter highly selective high schools, college and career. It gives me a great sense of pride to know that through our diligent efforts, our students can fulfill their dreams.

For 50 years, Bard College at Simon’s Rock has brought the benefits of a liberal arts college education to younger students. Our core philosophy is that many high school students are ready, now, to take on meaningful, serious academic challenges. This guiding principle has earned us a 99% academic rating from the Princeton Review, and 78% of our students go on to graduate study. With the addition of Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, we now welcome 9th and 10th graders to our beautiful Berkshire campus. Here they pursue an intensive two-year high school curriculum (taught by college faculty) specially designed to prepare them to enter college at Simon’s Rock after the second year.

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Admissions consultants say they can help students get in to the city’s elite private schools, such as Trinity School on the Upper West Side, where the acceptance rate for kindergarteners was 8.2 percent one recent year. Photo: Jim.henderson via Wikimedia Commons

THE ADMISSIONS SPECIALISTS Education advisers on finding the right private school — and getting in BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Parents navigating applications to private schools in New York City, where admissions rates can rival those of Ivy League universities, have long searched for ways to gain any competitive edge for their children, from investing in hours of tutoring to leveraging personal connections with trustees and parents of current students. Fierce competition to gain entrance to the city’s

elite private schools has spawned a sub-industry of admissions advisers offering various services aimed at increasing students’ odds of getting in to their top choice. Parents about to pay upwards of $40,000 annually on tuition are often willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to private consultants for help with the stressful and time-consuming process of applying to as many as a dozen schools. These consultants, who often boast of previous experience in admissions departments, coach parents and students on all aspects of the process — matching students with the right schools


AUGUST 24-30,2017 to apply to, nailing the interview, avoiding faux pas during tours and meetings, and editing admissions essays and even thank you notes. We spoke with three consultants to get their perspectives on the private school admissions landscape.

What should parents and applicants keep in mind as they navigate the application process? Jennifer Brozost, co-founder of Private Education Advisory Service: “From the admissions person’s perspective, you’re not the enemy. They want to love you and they want you in their school, but they’re also overwhelmed with so many applicants for so few spots. They’re really looking for families that are the right fit for their schools. If you look at the numbers it seems very daunting, but the reality is that all those people that are applying are probably also applying to nine other schools. Yes, there are certain schools that are harder to get into than others, but it’s not impossible. All schools are looking for great families who fit who they are and can add to their community.”

How can families make themselves stand out?

From the admissions person’s perspective, you’re not the enemy. They want to love you and they want you in their school, but they’re also overwhelmed with so many applicants for so few spots.” Jennifer Brozost

S M E A R E E R H T D R G A I T B S

end-all be-all, nor should it be — because if it’s not the right fit for your child you’re doing them a disservice. It’s important to use connections if you have them, but it’s important that you have connections at the right school for your child.”

Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting: “Schools are looking for a diverse group of students and parents, and diversity is not just ethnic — it’s also where parents live and what their jobs and experiences are. When I work with my clients, I try to help them identify what’s really interesting about them and teach them how to trumpet that both in their essays and their interviews.”

Jennifer Brozost: “We’re really advocates for the family behind the scenes. We’re not calling schools to get them in. Sometimes people will call us and say, ‘We want to go to this school, do you have a connection there?’ We don’t work that way at all.”

What do students need to know as they apply to middle schools and high schools?

Who can benefit most from hiring an admissions consultant?

Dana Haddad, founder and CEO of New York Admissions: “It’s very important that applicants understand that there’s a lot of work involved. We’re very up front with them. I tell them what it’s going to take and that we’re going to help along the way, but you have to do the work. Parents can’t write the essays for the kids.”

Jennifer Brozost: “For clients that know nothing about the process, a consultant can be hugely helpful because there are so many small nuances that get lost and mistakes that parents make. For example, thinking the school’s philosophy is one thing when it’s really not, and then bringing that up during an interview.”

How important are personal connections?

What should parents look for in an admissions consultant?

Emily Glickman: “I find that personal connections are more important at the kindergarten and lower school level. Once you get to middle school and high school, the balance shifts more toward the individual applicant’s qualifications. I don’t think judging one 4-year-old against another is a nice or accurate business to be in, but given that that is in fact what schools are doing, they do rely on what they think of the parents and who the parents know.” Dana Haddad: “Families work their connections to maximize their chances, but it’s not an

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Do people sometimes have misconceptions about the work you do?

Dana Haddad: “You need to decide how much help you want. Ideally, you want a consultant that can be flexible and that’s willing to work with a family on an hourly basis if they just have a few questions, or, if the family needs more support, that they’re capable and ready to do that. To me, the most important thing is to find an educational consultant that you’re comfortable with and that’s willing to take the time to get to know you and your child. You also want someone who’s familiar with the process.”

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Photo: Nicole Dixon

WHY READING HARD COPY BOOKS GETS RESULTS Shiny covers and sticky notes: an English teacher on the advantages of physical texts over e-books BY NICOLE DIXON

I teach 7th grade English in a school obsessed with reading. In New York City, where more than 60 percent of kids are “reading below grade level,” it makes sense to focus on boosting literacy. All teachers, regardless of subject, have signs on their doors with what they are reading, the principal hosts near-weekly book club lunches, and 30 minutes of my double block class are devoted to kids reading absolutely anything they want independently.

It’s working. The library is the beating heart of our school, almost as popular as the cafeteria at lunchtime and even the spot where kids cutting class often turn up. When I help students clean out their backpacks, I see more books than notebooks or other academic materials, extras stashed away “just in case.” I’m not one to bash e-books. During reading time, some students have Kindles and others enjoy books on tape. We read some nonfiction online, learning about news the way most adults do today. But hard copies help transform classrooms of readers into a reading community. One of the big skills my students learn is annotation, which is invaluable in helping them synthesize


AUGUST 24-30,2017

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Photo: Nicole Dixon ideas. My students go through thousands of sticky notes; a classroom photo features reading partners, with their annotations from one book spread out and completely covering three desks. As they are planning a literary essay, students are eager to bring me back to the page where they realized something important. During classroom discussions, they flip wildly through their flagged pages to find the perfect quote. My classroom library also makes the process of choosing a book organic and student-centered. It’s organized into bins from genre (“Horror”) to whim (“In the mood for something quick and wacky?”) to audience (“If you loved The Lightning Thief”) that are inspired and rearranged by the students. Students who find that simply shelving a book in the favorites bin won’t do might put sticky note recommendations right

on the back cover along with the professional reviewers. I particularly enjoy the rare treat of younger siblings finding old annotations from siblings in years past. The draw to well-worn spines or shiny covers is as powerful in the age of smart phones as it was when I was a kid. I’ve almost started a riot opening a new box of books for our classroom library. I’ve watched kids hug and kiss old favorites when they discover them on my shelves. When the latest book of a hot series is released, the hand-off from one reader to the next is filled with suspense and promise. And I’ve caught as many kids sneaking “just one more chapter!” inside their desks as I have texting or snapchatting. From Dirt magazine, dirt-mag.com

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UPSTARTS SPAR FOR KALLOS SEAT POLITICS Democrat Socialist Bobilin and community activist Goodwin face steep odds in bid to oust Upper East Side incumbent BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

Two veterans of the insurgent Bernie Sanders campaign — who watched an anti-establishment long shot come breathtakingly close to toppling a candidate once branded inevitable — are vying to unseat incumbent City Council Member Ben Kallos. Raised by a single mother, trained as an engineer and animated by the mission of community organizing, Patrick Bobilin is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America who unselfconsciously describes himself as a “perennial protester.” Forged in the political firefights and community battles of East Harlem, Gwen Goodwin is a neighborhood activist who carries the battle scars from what she terms her “historic campaigns” — including defeats in previous bids for the City Council in 2009 and 2013 and a failed effort to get on the ballot in 2005. The 34-year-old Bobilin and the 56-year-old Goodwin, who both cite the Sanders race against heavilyfavored Hillary Clinton as a source of inspiration, are challenging the 36-year-old Kallos in the Democratic

Community activist Gwen Goodwin, at center with red beret and scarf, in front of Trump Tower during the January 21st Women’s March on NYC. She is challenging incumbent Ben Kallos to represent the Upper East Side. Photo: Gwen Goodwin Campaign primary for City Council District 5 on September 12. Kallos, who was elected in 2013, is a lawyer-cum-entrepreneur-turnedpolitician who was schooled at the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School and Bronx High School of Science. A third-generation Upper East Sider, he’s lived in the neighborhood, originally at 88th Street and York Avenue, since he was four years old. His record, and his campaign treasury, will make him tough to beat. Kallos has quadrupled the number of

City Council Member Ben Kallos, who is running for reelection to his Upper East Side seat, with some of his youngest constituents this summer at the Manhattan Schoolhouse, a preschool in his district. Photo: Ben Kallos Campaign

pre-K seats in the district, to 618 from 155 over 2.5 years, and helped secure some $150 million in shovel-ready construction for the East River Esplanade, he said. At stake is a political prize once known as the Silk-Stocking District for the affluence of its residents — and literally, the fabric of choice for the footwear they favored from the end of the 19th century until roughly the onset of the Great Depression. Thought current boundaries no longer include the moneyed precincts along Fifth and Park Avenues, the district takes in Yorkville, Carnegie Hill and Lenox Hill on the Upper East Side, as well as Sutton Place, Midtown East, East Harlem and Roosevelt Island. “I’ve been banging on the doors of City Hall for so long that I realized, especially after seeing Bernie Sanders get his message out, how very important it is to be inside City Hall, with that same spirit of activism, fighting for the rights of people on the outside,” Bobilin said. His street cred as a demonstrator includes marching with Black Lives Matter and for reproductive rights, denouncing NAFTA and bias against the LGBT community, manning a picket line with striking electrical workers and protesting outside the Metropolitan Republican Club at 122 East 83rd Street. The downside: Bobilin, who lives on East 81st Street, is a newcomer to the district, he acknowledges. He only moved into the city from Chicago in February 2016. He’s never run for office. Campaign funds are scant. While Kallos has amassed a hefty $185,511 war chest from 542 donors, Bobilin has raised just $3,827 from 86 supporters, and $1,100 of that comes

Political newcomer Patrick Bobilin, who is challenging incumbent Ben Kallos to represent the Upper East Side. Photo: Mindy Tucker

from his own contributions, according to filings with the city’s Campaign Finance Board. That’s exactly the wrong yardstick, he believes. “Raising money in politics is not the issue when you’re fundamentally against money in politics, and you want to fundamentally restructure and fix the imbalance of capitalism,” he says. If Bobilin is a newbie when it comes to the electoral scrum, Goodwin is an old hand who has mixed it up repeatedly with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the East Harlem Democrat who is arguably the city’s second most powerful elected official after Mayor Bill de Blasio. Redistricting yanked Goodwin’s East 100th Street apartment — where she lives in a fifth-floor walk-up, 92 steps up — out of Mark-Viverito’s territory, moving it into Kallos’ turf and making her current challenge possible. But before that happened, she three times sought the seat. Disqualified from the Democratic primary ballot in 2005, Goodwin was then beaten twice when she tried to oust her nemesis in 2009 and 2013. Why would a fourth-time run for a Council seat be the charm? “For all you naysayers out there, I just have to remind you that Winston Churchill ran five times before he won, and so did Abraham Lincoln,” she said. “I’m not putting myself up there with these two men. But one of the things I own is the resolve to keep coming back and showing up again, even with these difficult defeats.” A well-known community activist, Goodwin helped save PS 109 on East 99th Street from demolition, campaigned to close a fume-spewing MTA bus depot on Lexington Avenue

and has been trying to block luxury housing developments planned by the city’s Housing Authority on infill sites at several of its projects. The downside: in 2014, she filed one of the more bizarre lawsuits in local political history against Mark-Viverito, claiming the Council member had essentially placed a hex on her. Really. In legal papers, she argued that a mural painted on the side of her building portraying a decapitated and swordstabbed chicken or rooster had been installed at the initiative of her rival, who then headed an urban art program that painted murals on buildings. “In the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat,” the lawsuit alleged. Goodwin, who sought $1 million in damages, said she eventually dropped the case. But she defends the legal action: “I sued her because she committed a hostile act toward me,” she said. “This reaches a new level of disgustingness. It was a hostile-looking dead bird. It was a threatening picture.” Goodwin and Bobilin both criticized Kallos for what each called “outrageous” self-dealing in supporting a 2016 raise for Council members, who reaped a 32 percent pay hike, to $148,500 from $112,192. Kallos pointed out that he authored two reform bills at the same time that made the Council a full-time job, made outside income illegal — and got rid of so-called lulus, or stipends for members. “Now, the Council works full time for the people without the corrupting influence of outside income or additional income at the discretion of the speaker,” he said.


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WEAVING A TALE Bamboo arts at The Met BY MARY GREGORY

Entering The Met Fifth Avenue’s Arts of Japan galleries, many visitors can’t help but gasp. We did. The guard on duty said it’s a common response. The exhibition title and signage promised bamboo baskets. It didn’t say anything about a floor-to-ceiling twisting mass of frenetic energy in a site-specific installation by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. The Gate, woven of tiger bamboo, torques and twirls like a funnel cloud, or the tendrils of a great vine, or the circulatory system of some unseen giant. It’s at once ethereal and overpowering, weightless and crushing. It’s extraordinary. At home, our kitchen counter usually holds two or three bamboo bas-

IF YOU GO WHAT: Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection WHERE: The Met Fifth Avenue WHEN: Through February 4 www.metmuseum.org/ kets filled with bananas and apples or unsorted mail. It was clear from this introduction that the work in the exhibition that followed would have little to do with our everyday experience of bamboo. Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection highlights some 90 works in bamboo, from functional baskets to abstract sculptures, that date from the late 1800s to the present. It’s The Met’s first exhibition focusing on

“Tide,” a 1978 work by Fujitsuka Shosei, who was trained by an earlier master of bamboo form. Photo: Adel Gorgy

“Dragon in the Clouds Flower Basket” by Iizuka Shokansai holds an ikebana floral display created by the Ikebana International New York Chapter. Photo: Adel Gorgy

basketry, and most of the works have never been on public view before. New York residents Diane and Arthur Abbey have amassed one of the most comprehensive and exquisite collections of a form that has only recently been considered fine art. Yet, six of the artists whose work is on view have been recognized in Japan as Living National Treasures. From delicate grasses to timber towering five stories high, the more than 60 varieties of bamboo that are native to Japan have become woven into the arts, culture and daily lives of the society for hundreds of years. Its shoots are a dietary staple, and it’s been used to make kitchen utensils, furniture, hats and shoes, transportation devices for everything from medicine to travelers, and even bridges, roads and buildings. Called one of the “three friends of winter,” along with pine and plum trees, bamboo doesn’t succumb to cold, grows quickly, and bestows its gifts to animals and humans with grace. It bends without breaking and is thought of as steadfast and loyal. For all these reasons, the venerable and venerated plant has been depicted and utilized by artists for ages. One of the pleasures of the exhibition is the engaging way that curator, Monika Bincsik, has woven the Abbeys’s baskets through a presentation of The

“Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V” carries a bamboo helmet in this 1774 woodblock print. Photo: Adel Gorgy Met’s superb collection of screens, woodblock prints, Inrō containers, manuscripts and ceramics. Each gallery contains conversations between basketry and other objects, expressed in the language of bamboo, but with almost infinite dialects and inflections. One case presenting a glorious

painted manuscript had me wondering what it was doing there, until I read the title of the story: “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” Bamboo imagery throughout the galleries decorates delicate fans, massive folding screens and antique porcelains. But it’s the baskets that carry the exhibition. Many were created to hold ikebana floral arrangements, a classical art of spiritual refinement. They range from minutely detailed to radically abstract, and from traditional to uncompromisingly contemporary. “Tide,” a 1978 work by Fujitsuka Shōsei, displaying the “thousand line” technique is beautifully placed in front of a screen decorated with painted bamboo leaves. Nagakura Ken’ichi’s “Woman Flower Basket,” tall and spindly, recalls a Giacometti figure. A dramatically lit, black-lined case holding two objects is a show stopper. In “Wave,” created by Monden Kōgyoku in 1981, a rolling mass of energy coils in on itself. Next to it is the 2000 work, “Dance,” by Honda Shōryū. It pliés and twirls with elegance, precision and grace. “Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection” presents a sweeping view across centuries and media with spectacular forms expressing a humble and hardy, but hardly plain plant.


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SHAPING ENGINEERS LEARNING The Brooklyn Robot Foundry teaches children to build machines and confidence BY ARIANA REICHLER

Alex, 9, described the the light saber-wielding robot he was building using words like “microchips” and “hummingbirds” and engineering terminology that would make an adult’s head spin. His knowledge was impressive, but par for the course at the Brooklyn Robot Foundry. For parents struggling to find a meaningful way to occupy their young children during the summer and beyond, the Robot Foundry makes the task a little easier, providing a selection of robotics, engineering, circuitry, design and programming classes. Started in 2011, it offers weeklong summer sessions, after-school programs and one-time classes for 2-yearolds through seventh graders. The original Brooklyn location has quickly grown into studios in Brooklyn, Tribeca and the Upper East Side. Each class focuses on building a certain project — a puppet, a car or a boat, for example — and each project

The Brooklyn Robot Foundry offers classes for 2-year-olds through seventhgraders in Tribeca and the Upper East Side, as well as in Brooklyn, providing instruction in robotics, engineering, circuitry, design and programming. Photo: Josh Brechner is associated with a real world lesson, introducing concepts like magnet switches, parallel circuits and water pumps. In addition to being educational, sessions are also designed to be fun. Builders have access to any creative child’s dream: an abundance of colored paper, glitter, markers and, of course, googly eyes. “All of the kids make the same skeleton of their robots, but then we decorate and the kids turn it into their own thing,” said Josh Brechner, who

works in marketing and design, but also leads classes. “So, if we’re making cars, one kid may make the Batmobile, one will make a limo, and one will turn it into a subway.... It’s a whole other world in terms of what the kids create.” The Brooklyn Robot Foundry is the brainchild of owner Jenny Young and co-founder David Van Esselstyn, both of whom grew up building small projects in their free time. “I was always in the garage making things with my dad with little scraps of wood and leftover things,” Young said. “I think I look at the world slightly differently than people who didn’t have that same upbringing. I think a lot about taking things apart and putting them back together.... It’s made me have a questioning personality.” Noticing that children in New York City often don’t have a space to work with their hands in the same way as those growing up in suburbs or small towns, Young and Van Esselstyn set out to create “a garage for city kids to take things apart, learn how things go together, and build free-form things.” “The goal of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry is to make kids feel comfortable and excited about failure,” said Young, citing the focus on standardized testing and the emphasis on the “right” answer as flaws in the public

Two-year-olds through seventh-graders can take robotics classes at the Brooklyn Robot Foundry in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Foundry offers week-long summer sessions, after-school programs and one-time classes. Photo: Josh Brechner school system. “I’ve never met one engineer who’s designed [a product] once, thrown it out on the assembly line and just manufactured it. That’s not how it works.” Young wants the Robot Foundry’s classes to demonstrate the importance of trial and error, and stand in contrast to less dynamic and more traditional lessons. “If you aren’t afraid of failure you will do things that are outside your comfort zone, and that ... makes smarter, more free individuals,” she said. Nine-year-old Alex’s enthusiasm validates this approach. “Here you get to build stuff,” he said. “In school you only get to learn.” He likes the Brook-

The Brooklyn Robot Foundry teaches young children robotics, engineering, program, design and circuity by building projects ranging from cars to puppets. Photo: Ariana Reichler

lyn Robot Foundry because he can learn while using his hands and being creative. “I want to be an engineer or a scientist or an astronaut,” he said. The emphasis on experimentation makes the institution a particularly friendly environment for children with special needs. “We have a lot of kids who are on the spectrum or who have ADD or ADHD, and when you’re in a typical classroom it’s really hard for a child with any type of special needs to be able to sit down and listen and answer questions when they’re told,” Young said. She recalled a conversation with the mother of a boy who had struggled in mainstream classrooms: “His mother said, ‘You have made him feel more confident in his own ability as a little person, and, because of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry, he is doing so much better in school because he is feeling happier about himself.’” Another goal of the program is to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young girls. “I’m a female and I definitely get treated as if there’s no way that I can be an engineer, and it feels awful,” Young said. “I was thinking, what can I do to combat this and show people that there are women who are in STEM and do really fascinating and awesome things?” Her solution was to launch a monthly family lecture series that showcases women with careers in STEM. Ultimately, Young and her colleagues want to encourage children to pursue whatever interests them without fear of failure. “When we have a new group of kids we ask them if they’ve ever built a robot before and if they think that they could build a robot. I think that, through film and media, we often have an idea that robots are very hightech and sci-fi and very complicated, but the reality is that robots are very simple and easy to make,” Brechner said. “It’s really important to show kids at an early age that they have that built-in capacity, so that when they consider learning more in STEM fields they know it’s a real possibility for them.”


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RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS

Sarita’s Mac & Cheese

197 1St Ave

Not Yet Graded (49) 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 contact surface improperly constructed or located. Unacceptable material used. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Korilla East Village

23 3Rd Ave

Not Yet Graded (22) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

The Joint

94 3Rd Ave

Not Yet Graded (23) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

The Bowery Hotel Bar

335 Bowery

A

Piccola Strada Restaurant

77 East 4 Street

A

Momofuku Ko

8 Extra Pl

A

Shabu Tatsu

216 East 10 Street

A

Nowhere

322 East 14 Street

A

Sing Sing Karaoke

9 St Marks Place

A

Waga

22 St Marks Place A

AUG 8-18, 2017 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection. shtml. J ‘S Pizza

98 7 Avenue

A

Blossom Du Jour

259 W 23Rd St

A

Davidovich Bakery

75 9Th Ave

A

Green Cafe

599 6Th Ave

A

Liquiteria

63 W 8Th St

A

2 Bro’s Pizza

601 6Th Ave

A

Empire Diner

210 10Th Ave

A

Subway

221 7Th Ave

A

Periyali

35 West 20 Street

A

The Red Cat

227 10 Avenue

A

Gym Sports Bar

167 8 Avenue

A

Dirty Bird To-Go

204 West 14 Street

Grade Pending (2)

Joe: The Art Of Coffee

405 West 23 Street

A

Matchabar

256 W 15Th St

A

Rainbow Falafel

26 East 17 Street

A

To Two Boonsik

97 Canal St

A

Juicy Lucy’s

72 East 1 Street

A

Essex

120 Essex Street

A

New Andy’s Deli

873 Broadway

A

Clandestino Cafe And Bar

35 Canal Street

A

Cucina & Company

200 Park Avenue

A

Macaron Parlour

44 Hester St

Grade Pending

Ise

63 Cooper Square

A

Sushi Hana

111 Rivington Street

Grade Pending (45) 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. 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. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Tuck Shop

68 East 1 Street

A

Chipotle Mexican Grill

864 Broadway

A

Bar Primi

325 Bowery

A

Joe Coffee

37 E 8Th St

A

Make Sandwich

135 4Th Ave

A

Bowery Meat Company

9 E 1St St

A

La Linea Lounge

15 First Avenue

A

Burp Castle

41 East 7 Street

A

Black Ant

60 2 Avenue

A

Ikinari Steak

90 E 10Th St

Not Yet Graded (38) 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. 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.

Spiegel

26 1St Ave

A

Tuome

536 E 5Th St

A

Ruffian Wine Bar

125 E 7Th St

A

Beckys Bites

122 E 7Th St

A

Caracas Arepa Bar

939312 East 7 Street

A

Hawa Smoothies

181 East Broadway

A

Fahr Fresh And Hot Pizza

117 Orchard St

Closed By Helth Department (48) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. 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.

Souen

326 E 6Th St

Not Yet Graded (78) 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/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food contact surface improperly constructed or located. Unacceptable material used. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.


AUGUST 24-30,2017

27

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Business TIMING MATTERS (BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK) Think percentages as you contemplate your next sale BY FREDERICK W. PETERS

Is there a right time to sell your property? Yes, but maybe not exactly when you thought it was. More than anything, timing the sale of your home or investment depends on what you plan to do next. Depending on your longerterm plans, different spots along the moving graph of market performance will either save or cost you money, regardless of the sale price of your currently owned property. Here’s why: Even the most sophisticated sellers can become hung up on their absolute selling price. Unless you are exiting the market, however, your selling price is not a relevant number. The relevant number is the DIFFERENCE between what you sell for and what you buy for. As a smart buyer, you want that number to be as small as possible when you are trading up. And as a smart seller, you want that difference to be as large as possible when you are trading down. To say it another way, you always want to trade up when the market is slow and depressed, and you always want trade down when the market is hot and frothy. Here’s how it works: you always need to contemplate your next trade in terms of the percentages. If you currently own a two-bedroom, but you need a three-bedroom, a little research will usually indicate how much more in percentage terms you will need to spend. Will it be 30 percent more, or in order to get what you want

Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman, via flickr do you have to spend 50 percent more? Once you have that figured out, then it’s just a matter of the numbers. If the market is hot, and your current place comps out at a value of $2,000,000, then the next place at 50 percent more will cost you $3,000,000. But if the market is down 10 percent, your current place is only worth $1,800,000. Which means that your new place will cost you around $2,700,000. See?

Without doing a thing except for trading up in a down market, you have saved yourself $300,000! Of course, the opposite holds true when you trade down. Let’s take the same example but look at it the other way. Your current two-bedroom is worth $2,000,000 because the market is hot, and the one-bedroom down to which you want to trade is worth 70 percent of that. You are putting

$600,000 in your pocket with the trade. If on the other hand the market has dropped 10 percent and your current place is only worth $1,800,000, then the cost of your new place will be around $1,260,000 and only $540,000 goes into your pocket. Success in the market does not always mean obtaining the highest price for what you currently own. It can equally well mean paying the

smallest increment for what you want to buy next. Figure out the final impact on your pocketbook in terms of dollars saved or dollars earned after the dust settles on both a purchase and a sale — THAT is when you will know whether or not you made a smart deal for yourself. Frederick W. Peters is chief executive officer of Warburg Realty Partnership

ON THE SIDE STREETS OF NEW YORK SMALLS JAZZ CLUB — 183 WEST 10TH STREET

Photo: Jasphy Zheng, Manhattan Sideways

Signaled by a saxophone hanging above the door, a winding staircase leads into the basement of a West Village building to Smalls Jazz Club, which has been honoring New York’s romantic past with jazz music since its opening in 1994. Named for the “Sandlot” character, Smalls is an apt name for this intimate, dimly lit space with a charmingly eclectic collection of mismatched chairs and stools arranged

around a tiny stage at the forefront. Original founder Mitch Borden, who owns the space (which has seen several iterations) with partner Spike Wilner, is quick to claim that nothing compared to the early Smalls years. “I never locked the door and everyone had a key anyways. There was nothing to steal down here — it was like the Little Rascals club,” he recalled. To read more, visit Manhattan Sideways (sideways.nyc), created by Betsy Bober Polivy.


AUGUST 24-30,2017

29

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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

YOUR 15 MINUTES

A PASSION FOR FASHION Fashion-tech expert Katlean DeMonchy returns to Fashion Week BY ANGELA BARBUTI

“The fashion industry alone is a 1.2 trillion global industry and they haven’t really changed at all. So it’s really ready for disruption,” said Katlean DeMonchy. As a fashion journalist in her early career, she attended every fashion show in New York, Milan and Paris, but wasn’t feeling challenged enough in her work. “It got to the point where I could almost predict what the designers were going to say to me,” she said. Around that same time, she started to realize how important it was for the fashion and technology industries to be more interconnected. “Fashion companies were needing to adapt to digital ways and technology compa companies were needing to go beyond thinking that pink was what represented females,” DeMonchy, who is a frequent guest fashion expert on talk shows, explained. So, in September 2014 she launched StyleX, which will celebrate its second year at Fashion Week on Sept. 11. The StyleX Experience “showcases innovative and emerging designers, makers, brands and sponsors with a full schedule of events, leadership panels and demo experience

lounges.”

Did you always know you wanted to go into the fashion industry? I always had a passion for fashion; there’s no doubt about that. My dad was a diplomat, so I lived all over the world. When I was little, I would look at magazines and interpret clothes and design and make my own clothes. I’m both right and left brain, so at one point, thought I was actually going to design clothes. Then I realized I liked people, putting people together. So that’s how that evolved. What is your background in the fashion and tech industry? I’ve been reporting on brands for the last 15 to 20 years. I started off as a reporter at Reuters and covered everything in fashion, every fashion show in Paris, Milan, London and New York.... I wasn’t as challenged. So I started seeing that technology was really inter inter-

Katlean DeMonchy. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Katlean DeMonchy, left, with colleagues. esting and had gone to CES and there weren’t a lot of women in the process. Martha Stewart was there the same year I was. I was told that some of the companies weren’t really targeting women, which was kind of shocking since we have so much buying power. But that changed really quickly and I’ve been at CES now every single year and have to say that the equation now is very different and there are lots of women in all areas.

And I guess with Hudson Yards, we will find a central place.

Give us a glimpse into your Fashion Week events. Who are some of the speakers on the panel?

It’s a pioneering platform that provides a way for people to discover game changing technologies. Some of them will have huge impacts and some will be transition technology. But some will have major breakthroughs in the fashion, beauty and wellness area.

We work with people like Francis Bitonti, a world-renowned 3-D printing artist. He created the first 3-D-printed dress that Dita Von Teese wore. He’s the actual guy who made the dress and there’s another guy who designed it. It’s really very innovative. We’re seeing 3-D used in a way that someone like Tory Burch can create a button in America and get it tested and see the form of it and have it duplicated in Asia without any errors. That’s the simplest form of how 3-D can help. But we’re also seeing it be used for limbsnew arms, new legs, ways of integrating design in very necessary and practical ways as well.

What is the atmosphere at Fashion Week?

You are also offering a beauty and wellness lounge there. What is that?

Fashion Week right now is a bit of a circus because there isn’t a central point. But at the same time, it’s really interesting because there are so many different people expressing themselves. The biggest challenge for the press is where to go and access because the venues have become smaller than the interest. And also the fact that people are still physically moving from space to space. We can also work on becoming more digital in our presence as well. I envision a time where people will be able to join us. And we can do that now through Facebook Live and other interactive ways where we can go beyond the breadth of who’s there. And that’s why we’re seeing people like Tommy Hilfiger take Fashion Week out of New York and into other places. So it is a challenge for the city right now to find a place.

The idea came from the fact that when I was running around, I always wanted to feel refreshed. So we wanted to pamper the fashionistas between shows. That’s where it started. And of course, wellness is now the new luxury. Everyone is almost more interested in how to live a longer and better life. That can become a show of its own. There is just so much now happening in that category. So we anticipate a lot of growth in the wellness sector.

How can you explain Style X’s concept and mission?

cused on the tech. They tend to be affluent early enough, so we sort of think of them as people with influence who like to see new things and have access to them sometimes more than others. So we’re delighted to have them. And being in New York, a lot of celebrities come to the city at that time.

You’ve been a guest on talk shows as a fashion expert. Any memorable moments on television? Yes, the first time I ever went on TV, a very famous person whose name I won’t say, asked me, “What are you doing here?” And then the lights went on. The person was very famous and made me feel so little at that moment. And I smiled and am like, “Of course I’m supposed to here.” And then I noticed, from that moment on, that I developed some very resourceful tools that, no matter what, I could be in the moment and go on TV. That was really interesting out of the gate that that happened. Never happened again. TV is an interesting process because you have a short amount of time to get across whatever you’re there to say. And sometimes there are collaborative hosts, and sometimes there’s not, so it’s really up to you to have fun and be very focused on what it is you’re there to accomplish. Otherwise, you go on TV and are like, “The time went by and I wasn’t able to say anything.” www.stylex2017.com

Who are some celebrities you’ve worked with? We’ve had quite a few “Housewives.” Ramona Singer, Aviva Drescher, Camille Grammer. Andi Dorfman from “The Bachelorette.” We’re very flattered that celebrities come to the event, but we’re not just focused on the celebrities per se. We’re more fo-

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


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AUGUST 24-30,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

CLASSIFIEDS

Telephone: 212-868-0190 Fax: 212-868-0198 Email: classified2@strausnews.com

POLICY NOTICE: We make every eďŹ&#x20AC;ort to avoid mistakes in your classiďŹ ed ads. Check your ad the ďŹ rst week it runs. The publication will only accept responsibility for the ďŹ rst incorrect insertion. The publication assumes no ďŹ nancial responsibility for errors or omissions. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or re-classify any ad. Contact your sales rep directly for any copy changes. All classiďŹ ed ads are pre-paid.

MERCHANDISE FOR SALE

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Directory of Business & Services To advertise in this directory Call #BSSZ (212)-868-0190 ext.4 CBSSZMFXJT@strausnews.com

Antique, Flea & Farmers Market SINCE 1979

East 67th Street Market PUBLIC NOTICES

PUBLIC NOTICES

PUBLIC AUCTION NOTICE OF SALE OF COOPERATIVE APARTMENT SECURITY PLEASE TAKE NOTICE: By Virtue of a Default under Loan Security Agreement, and other Security Documents, Karen Loiacano, Auctioneer, License #DCA1435601 or Jessica L Prince-Clateman, Auctioneer, License #1097640 or Vincent DeAngelis Auctioneer, License #1127571 will sell at public auction, with reserve, on Aug. 30, 2017 in the Rotunda of the New York County Courthouse, 60 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007, commencing at 12:45 p.m. for the following account: Donald Weber a/k/a Donald A. Weber, as borrower, 64 shares of capital stock of 350-52-54 W. 12th Street Owners Corp. and all right, title and interest in the Proprietary Lease to 354 West 12th Street, Unit 1D, New York, NY 10014 Sale held to enforce rights of CitiBank, N.A., who reserves the right to bid. Ten percent (10%) Bank/CertiďŹ ed check required at sale, balance due at closing within thirty (30) days. The Cooperative Apartment will be sold â&#x20AC;&#x153;AS ISâ&#x20AC;? and possession is to be obtained by the purchaser. Pursuant to Section 201 of the Lien Law you must answer within 10 days from receipt of this notice in which redemption of the above captioned premises can occur. There is presently an outstanding debt owed to CitiBank, N.A. (lender) as of the date of this notice in the amount of $326,545.02. This ďŹ gure is for the outstanding balance due under UCC1, which was secured by Financing Statement in favor of CitiBank, N.A. recorded on April 27, 2007 under CRFN 2007000217862. Please note this is not a payoff

amount as additional interest/ fees/penalties may be incurred. You must contact the undersigned to obtain a ďŹ nal payoff quote or if you dispute any information presented herein. The estimated value of the above captioned premises is $520,000.00. Pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code Article 9-623, the above captioned premises may be redeemed at any time prior to the foreclosure sale. You may contact the undersigned and either pay the principal balance due along with all accrued interest, late charges, attorney fees and out of pocket expenses incurred by CitiBank, N.A.. and the undersigned, or pay the outstanding loan arrears along with all accrued interest, late charges, attorney fees and out of pocket expenses incurred by CitiBank, N.A., and the undersigned, with respect to the foreclosure proceedings. Failure to cure the default prior to the sale will result in the termination of the proprietary lease. If you have received a discharge from the Bankruptcy Court, you are not personally liable for the payment of the loan and this notice is for compliance and information purposes only. However, CitiBank, N.A., still has the right under the loan security agreement and other collateral documents to foreclosure on the shares of stock and rights under the proprietary lease allocated to the cooperative apartment. Dated: July 7, 2017 Frenkel, Lambert, Weiss, Weisman & Gordon, LLP Attorneys for CitiBank, N.A. 53 Gibson Street Bay Shore, NY 11706 631-969-3100 File #01-080328- #92373

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The Jewish Week Media Group is looking for an advertising salesperson to work full time (36 hours per week) selling print and digital advertising in various categories such as synagogues and schools in Manhattan, Westchester, and the Bronx for The Jewish Week and its websites. We are looking for a self-motivated go-getter who has experience in print and digital media sales. However, we would interview a recent college graduate looking to break into media sales. QualiďŹ ed candidates must be well-organized, detail-oriented multitaskers. In addition, prospective candidates must have a college degree, strong presentation skills and tremendous initiative. Knowledge of Word, PowerPoint and social media are a must. Compensation includes beneďŹ ts and salary plus commission. Potential candidates should email their resume and cover letter to ruth@jewishweek.org

THE JEWISH WEEK MEDIA GROUP

J WMG


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

AUGUST 24-30,2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politico - September 10, 2016

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

Our Town Downtown - August 24, 2017  
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