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The local paper for Downtown wn

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER

6-12 2018

At Picture the Homeless’s #FreeToPee event in Madison Square Park, August 28th. Photo courtesy of Picture the Homeless

A CAMPAIGN FOR PUBLIC TOILETS COMMUNITY Homeless advocates and politicians call for automated bathrooms to be moved out of warehouses and onto the streets BY RICHARD BARR

In recent years, there has been considerable discussion and debate about how New York City handles what have been referred to as “lowlevel crimes or offenses.” Should turnstile-jumping be prosecuted as a crime, or treated as an offense met with a summons, or not punished at all, because many turnstile jumpers simply do not have the $2.75 fare? What about smoking or possession of small amounts of marijuana? Some of the district attorneys have stopped prosecuting this as a criminal offense, and the NYPD has just said it will be issuing summonses, rather than making arrests, for this “offense.” One of these behavioral issues is

“public urination,” for which the penalty has transitioned, in many cases, from a criminal citation to a summons, or civil ticket, which can range from $75 for a first offense to $350 for a third, after which it can go back to being a criminal citation. It’s generally taken as a given that people should “just wait until they get home.” But what if they have no home, as is the case with tens of thousands of New Yorkers? What if they, (men or women) have bladder issues, or (men) have prostate issues, which may make waiting until they get home not an option? And what about public toilet options (once much more available), that would make untenable waiting unnecessary? The advocacy group Picture the Homeless (PTH) honed in on these issues at a press conference last Tuesday near an automated public toilet just outside Madison Square Park. Though the City ordered 20 of these toilets in 2006, only 5 were

CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

City Council Member Ben Kallos with preschoolers at the Manhattan Schoolhouse on the Upper East Side last year. He’s sponsoring a bill, likely to pass, that would bolster nutritional standards for beverages served to kids in thousands of city restaurants. Photo: Office of Ben Kallos

STRIVING TO STOMP OUT SUGAR HEALTH City Council fast-tracks a new bill to bolster children’s diets, rein in soda consumption — and alter the way 10,639 restaurants in Manhattan conduct business

Childhood obesity will stop being the norm when children are given meal options that are all healthy.” City Council Member Ben Kallos

BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

It doesn’t foretell the decline and fall of sugar. It doesn’t immunize New Yorkers from heart disease. It won’t end the scourge of obesity either. But new legislation has been quickly advancing in the City Council that

backers believe would take a huge step toward promoting those goals. The bill does this simply by elevating the nutritional standards for the beverages included in meals served to Downtowner

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SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.12

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

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

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

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

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

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

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

n OurTownDowntow

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children in city restaurants. It creates a “default beverage option” in which eateries serving kids are required to offer drinks that don’t contain added sugars or sweeteners. This is a big deal. The measure is largely aimed at the fare of fast-food chains — the Happy Meal that McDonald’s has sold its customers since 1979, for instance. But it applies to all 24,000 dining spots in the five boroughs, including 10,639 in Manhattan, that receive a letter grade from the city’s Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

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ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT THE NYPDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEEKEEPERS NATURE After bees swarm Times Square hot dog stand, police unit intervenes and becomes a hit on social media A swarm of bees had caused a brief commotion in Times Square in New York City after they made their home atop a hot dog stand. It happened at 43rd Street and Broadway at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28. The New York Police Departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beekeepers unit responded to the scene and safely removed the bees. WABC-TV showed thou-

sands of bees crowding the top of the vendorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s umbrella as a beekeeper sucked them into a hose. In a tweet, the NYPD said that â&#x20AC;&#x153;no tourist was harmed and no bee was left behind.â&#x20AC;? The beekeepersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Twitter account â&#x20AC;&#x201D; @NYPDBees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; quickly drew new followers. On Thursday, the unit offered a livestream on the platform, â&#x20AC;&#x153;talking bees, honey, politicing and the sweet sweet life.â&#x20AC;? The East Sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 19th Precinct joined in the fun, with a #CaptionThis contest for best bee puns: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey @NYPDBees we want in on your new found #bee craze fame!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;with The Associated Press

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG PUNCHY PAPA

STATS FOR THE WEEK

Road rage incidents now appear include strollers. At 6:55 p.m. on Friday, August 24, a 49-year-old man getting off the elevator on the concourse level of the Fulton Street 4 and 5 station was told by a 23-year-old man who was pushing a stroller, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You cut me off with my kids!â&#x20AC;? The young father then punched the older man, according to police. The victim was treated on the scene by EMS technicians and refused further medical attention, while the father with the stroller ďŹ&#x201A;ed to parts unknown.

Reported crimes from the 1st district for the week ending Aug 26 Week to Date

TAXI PASSENGER ARRESTED A man was arrested after hitting below the belt in a dispute with a cabbie. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22, a 47-year-old male taxi passenger refused to pay for his cab ride, the driver told police. The cabbie said the passenger exited the cab at Park Row and Spruce Street, refused to pay for his $10.30 fare and struck the cabbie in the groin two times. The passenger then ran away, and the cabbie chased him into the building at 30 Park Place, according to account given to police. Jason Walker was subsequently arrested and charged with assault. His explanation to police? â&#x20AC;&#x153;He took me to the wrong place.â&#x20AC;?

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

DRUMMER PEPPER-SPRAYED Apparently, a young couple liked a street musicianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cellphone better than his drumming. A man playing drums at the southeast corner of William and Fulton Streets was pepper-sprayed by a man later identiďŹ ed by police

as William Martin, 28. When the victim fell to the ground, Martin and a 25-year-old woman, Takira McGee, allegedly kicked and punched him in the face and head. Martin and McGee were arrested by arriving officers on assault charges. Martin was found to be in possession of the victimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cellphone.

2018 2017

% Change

2018

2017

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

1

0.0

Rape

0

1

-100.0

16

12

33.3

Robbery

1

0

n/a

45

46

-2.2

Felony Assault

1

0

n/a

37

56

-33.9

Burglary

1

0

n/a

47

43

9.3

Grand Larceny

26

22

18.2

664 658 0.9

Grand Larceny Auto

1

0

n/a

16

Introductory Classes in Alexander Technique

10

60.0

DOLCE DOLDRUMS

TANGLED WEBSTER

There was nothing sweet about a trio of shoplifters who hit up a Dolce & Gabbana store recently. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, two women and a man entered the designer boutique at 155 Mercer St. and removed merchandise from the second ďŹ&#x201A;oor. The items stolen included three D&G belts and two bags totaling $5,525.

A local Webster store clearly knows the meaning of shoplifting. At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, a woman and an accomplice of unstated gender entered the Webster store at 29 Greene St., took a $2,085 Balenciaga handbag off a display shelf, concealed it in a bag and left the store. A search of the neighborhood proved fruitless. The woman apparently had told the store employee, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m asking for some socks.â&#x20AC;?

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SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

SUGAR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The proposed new law’s sponsor is East Side City Council Member Ben Kallos, who early this year became a first-time father of a baby girl, and he summed up the bill’s mission in familial terms: “This will make it much easier and simpler to raise happy, healthy children,” he said. Specifically, the bill mandates that a beverage provided on a child’s menu, or in a combination meal in a restaurant, automatically default to water, sparkling water, flavored water, nonfat or non-dairy milk, 100 percent juice or fruit juice mixed with water — all in a serving size not to exceed eight ounces. It’s not a blanket ban on soda and other sugary drinks. Parents who want to order them for their kids can still do so. Though there’s no requirement to choose a default option, the expectation is that patrons will be encouraged, even pushed, in that direction, resulting in a

5

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com falloff in sugary beverage consumption among youth. Adding teeth to the legislation is the threat of civil monetary penalties for any food establishment serving kids that breaches the law by not offering the healthier preferred options. A first violation could result in a fine of up to $500, while a second and third violation could cost as much as $1,000 and $2,500 respectively, the text of the bill says. “The new normal should be healthy meal and drink options for our children — no matter where they are eating,” Kallos said. Only then will “childhood obesity stop being the norm,” he added. Kallos authored a similar measure in 2014 that stalled in the Council. This time, the bill has broader support and appears on a fast track to passage. He introduced it on Aug. 8. Council Member Mark Levine, who chairs the Committee on Health and represents part of the Upper West Side, signed on as a co-sponsor and indicated he would hold hearings on the legislation this fall.

Then on Aug. 23, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who district includes Chelsea and Greenwich Village, said he’d champion the bill to promote life-enhancing choices for kids. “Healthy habits begin at an early age,” Johnson said in a statement. “We want our kids to have access to healthy choices, and the default beverage options under this bill supports that goal.” With the Speaker on board, the likelihood that the measure with fly through the Council increased exponentially, and unless there’s an unforeseen hitch, the standard could be adopted late this year or by early 2019. The measure is supported by the American Heart Association — and even the powerful trade group that represents Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. That isn’t as surprising as it sounds at first blush: Starting in 2006, in a period when anti-soft drink politicians were pressuring the industry, the American Beverage Association says its members

began voluntarily removing full-calorie sodas from schools, replacing them with lowercalorie, more nutritious and smaller-portion beverage options that cut down beverage calories by a hefty 88 percent. Now, the group, whose support was announced by Johnson, is taking a similar stance

on the Kallos bill as its member companies increasingly offer more options with less sugar. “The beverage industry understands how important it is to support parent’s decisions about what their young children eat and drink,” Johnson said. Reducing sugar for their

children is what parents want, agreed Susan Neely, the trade group’s CEO. “This type of action empowers parents to make the choices that are best for their children,” she added in a statement. invreporter@strausnews.com

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Tour | Reflecting Absence: A Morning at the 9/11 Memorial

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11TH, 7:30PM The Strand | 828 Broadway | 212-473-1452 | strandbooks.com Investigative journalist Bethany McLean explains the truth behind America’s fracking boom and the risks of inflated promises ($15.99 admission & signed copy or $5 admission & gift card).

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST, 7PM 92nd Street Y | 1395 Lexington Ave. | 212-415-5500 | 92y.org The controversial life of Oscar winner Jane Fonda gets documentary treatment with Susan Lacy’s Jane Fonda in Five Acts, debuting Sept. 24. Find subject and filmmaker in conversation ($40).

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on August 16, 2018. Photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office

NYC TO REINSTITUTE SCHOOL ZONE SPEED CAMERAS SAFETY Governor, mayor and City Council push for stronger law in Albany BY DAVID KLEPPER

New York City is poised to reactivate 140 speed cameras in school zones after city leaders and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan last Monday that will circumvent the state Legislature, where

Republican leaders in the Senate had allowed the program to expire. The devices, which had not been taken down, should be operational before the start of fall classes this week. The program expired last month after the Senate adjourned for the year without passing legislation renewing the cameras. To get around that obstacle, Cuomo on Monday issued an executive order that reactivates the cameras for 30 days. The City Council voted to authorize the program on Au-

gust 29 by a vote of 41 to 3. Amy Cohen, whose 12-yearold son Sammy was struck and killed by a truck in 2012, said the renewal of the program will save lives. Cohen is now a leading advocate for pedestrian safety in the city. “When your child dies, it’s hard to be grateful,” she said at a news conference announcing the extension. “Today there is some light amid our personal darkness, and we have found a way to be grateful.” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who worked with


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018 Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on the details of the plan, said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll push lawmakers in Albany to pass a stronger, broader speed camera law. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our ďŹ ght will not stop after today,â&#x20AC;? he said. While the cameras can no longer be used to ticket speeders, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still turned on, giving the city an idea of how many cars have sped by since the law expired. The total in the first two weeks: more than 130,000. The legislative workaround rests on Cuomoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to declare public emergencies and issue executive orders. Cuomo said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conďŹ dent he is on ďŹ rm legal ground but acknowledged he was pursuing â&#x20AC;&#x153;an aggressive legal strategy.â&#x20AC;? Cuomo said the impending start of the school year creates an emergency need to ensure student safety. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Emergency situations are normally things like fires, floods, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, but an emergency is an emergency â&#x20AC;&#x201D; by deďŹ nition

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

When your child dies, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to be grateful. Today there is some light amid our personal darkness, and we have found a way to be grateful.â&#x20AC;? Amy Cohen, pedestrian safety advocate, whose 12-year-old son was killed by a truck in 2012

a situation that may cause the loss of human life,â&#x20AC;? Cuomo said. He cited figures showing a 55 percent decline in accidents and fatalities in city school zones since the cameras were ďŹ rst installed. Cuomo could issue another order renewing the program every 30 days but said it would be preferable for the Senate to reconvene to pass a long-term extension. Lawmakers arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t due back in Albany until January. Senate leaders have so far balked at requests to return early and have blamed Cuomo

and the Assemblyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Democratic leaders for the impasse over the cameras. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have said all along that our majority supports extending this program to keep speed cameras on,â&#x20AC;? said Republican Senate spokeswoman Candice Giove. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In fact, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d even consider codifying the governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive order into law.â&#x20AC;? During his remarks Cuomo thanked his frequent nemesis, fellow Democrat de Blasio, for his help on the issue, saying the two men â&#x20AC;&#x153;personally spent a lot of timeâ&#x20AC;? working on it.

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8

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Voices

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

TAKEN FOR A RIDE EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

De-riding — Port Authority Bus Terminal. No phone. App-less. Alas, no way to reach Uber, Lyft, Via or any other app driver. Option: yellow cab. Walk right up to the expanse from 42nd to 40th Streets on Eighth Avenue immediately outside the terminal where you will generally, in the later evening, find a caravan of at least 15-20 empty cabs with driver at the wheel. You would think he or she was waiting for a passenger. Instead, when a would-be passenger walks up to a yellow cab, he or she is met by a “facilitator” inquiring about where they are going: “Des-

A yellow cab outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Photo: Mo Riza, via flickr tination, please.” Aren’t taxi drivers — or their proxies — prohibited from asking that question? Isn’t one supposed to be able to just walk up to a yellow cab, get in, and be driven to their destination? With all of the sturm und drang surrounding taxis and their archenemy competitors, it’s hard to imagine that all of those

cabs would just stand empty instead of taking riders to their destination. Hard to be sympathetic to yellow cabbies if they’re not doing what they have to do to earn a living — like picking up passengers — so they (or the cab owner) can pay down those medallions. Call ahead — If you’ve been going

to a restaurant that’s been around for six decades, it’s not unusual that you would arrange to meet a friend there without calling to find out if they are still in business. Well, think again. Two friends arranged to meet at the Lenox Hill Grill in the East 70s on Lexington Avenue in mid-August only to find the diner had closed earlier in the month leaving a note in the window explaining that, due to “imminent construction in the building,” they were going out of business. The demise of the venerable diner was in the making when, in 2017, the landlord filed plans with the city’s Building Department to alter and enlarge the four-story building to a six-story building and to add eight more apartments. Diner not included. Not all closings are equal — And not all restaurant closings are forever. On a late August Monday afternoon, I got a series of phone calls and texts from an East Sider leaving frantic messages: “Barney Greengrass is closed. Barney Greengrass is closed. Gone. Cannot cannot believe it.” Accompanied by a tearful emoji in the text. The voice mail had him strug-

gling for breathe. By the time the umpteenth and final message came through, he was all calmed down — “Relieved. Relieved. It’s Monday. A sign in the window says that Barney Greengrass closes every Monday. They are still in business.” Close call. Reader readback — After noting that Council Member Ben Kallos’s constituent newsletters described himself as a “Reform Democrat,” East Side Observer inquired into the difference between a “Reform” and a “Progressive” Democrat. Republican and Conservative responses were that “Socialistic replaces Progressive” and that “Reform means Liberal.” Comes the Democrat response from all-things-politics maven Alan Flacks. His lightly edited explanation: The Reform Movement is dead. Young people who join regularly organized Democratic Party clubs do not even know what Reform means or why there is a need for them/it. Clubs that use the word “independent” in their name are no longer independent of Tammany Hall or the county organization.

WHEN THE VILLAGE VOICE LOST ITS JUICE PUBLIC EYE BY JON FRIEDMAN

Village Voice headquarters. Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim, via flickr

Sadly, but predictably, the Village Voice last week ended its 63-year run. I mourn the loss of our town’s weekly bible of pop-culture happenings, political investigations and all-round blasphemy as much as anyone. But upon examining the facts, we must recognize the Voice’s demise as a sign of these Darwinian times. The Voice’s loss of juice reflected the status of both modern journalism and the place it was synonymous with, Greenwich Village itself. Part of the Voice’s problem was the state of the media industry today. Bean-counters — armed with their algorithms and lists of “mostread” stories – rule the media ecosystem today. Page-view counts mean more than a beloved byline of a niche journalist. Advertisers determine a publication’s success more than the Voice’s ability to rake muck on a sleazy politician. Village Voice owner Peter Barbey said: “Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing Village Voice new material.

I bought the Voice to save it. This isn’t exactly how I thought it was going to end up.” Barbey acquired the Voice from Voice Media Group in 2015, proclaiming at that time that the altweekly should “survive and prosper.” The Voice stopped its print publications last year and laid off employees and continued to maintain an online presence. The Voice’s charm used to be its identity as a freewheeling magazine. But advertisers like publications that can reach the coveted 18-25 demographic (and yes, hitting the 18-to-34 market is almost as helpful, too). The Voice’s core audience skewed older. Plus, the hyperlocal trend in online journalism helped produce the Voice’s death by a thousand cuts. Neighborhood operations could serve up the sort of irreverence that the Voice was famous for. Likewise, New York magazine has for years now served as the city’s great media tastemaker, not the Voice. Then there was the reality of what part of town has the juice these days. Not Greenwich Village. Sad but unavoidably true, the area below 14th Street in Manhattan

Bob Dylan in the Village on his second album cover. Photo: Jon Friedman — the Voice’s hub — has gradually declined in cultural and societal importance in recent years. The action has shifted to Brooklyn. This is crucial. To me, this phenomenon can be explained by a brief but telling conversation I recently had with one of my Hunter College undergraduates just last week. Call her “Linda,” who described herself as a member

of Gen Z. She talks about living in Brooklyn’s fabled Bushwick, a 2018 mecca for artists, actors, musicians, writers and activists, as if she had just won the lottery. Once upon a time, people talked in such a smug way about living in the Voice’s sweet spot, the East Village or the West Village. But times change. Linda, who comes from somewhere out west, could not have cared less that in 1963, the cover of the second album release by Bob Dylan, arguably the patron saint of Greenwich Village and the figure who graced the cover of last September’s final Voice newsstand issue, showed the folk singer walking arm in arm with his thengirlfriend Suze Rotolo at the corner of Jones Street and West 4th Street. Linda would no doubt look politely disinterested if I had the audacity to play Bruce Springsteen jubilantly shouting, “Bleeeeeecker Streeeeet” in his terrific song “Kitty’s Back,” from his second album a decade later. When I asked Linda if she hung out much in the Village, she frowned and shot back: “Professor, I live in Brooklyn. I don’t need to go to the Village.” RIP, Village Voice. We’ll miss you.


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

9

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Photo:Stephen Paley

She loved theater. So she gave. At Picture the Homeless’s #FreeToPee protest and press conference in Madison Square Park, August 28th. Photo courtesy of Picture the Homeless

TOILETS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 installed, and the remaining 15 sit in a warehouse in Queens. Among the other numbers provided by PTH: there are only 53 toilets available in the city’s 468 subway stations, according to a 2017 survey. An Urban Justice Center report found that only 8 of 389 public plazas in Manhattan had bathrooms. They are scarce in parks and playgrounds as well. Despite this scarcity, according to the Misdemeanor Justice Project of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the city issued 308,724 criminal citations

for public urination from 2006 to 2016. And in the first quarter of 2018, the NYPD, according to its Summons Report, issued 1,392 summonses for public urination. Monique George, PTH’s Executive Director, said “No one should have to choose between a trip to the precinct and a trip to the hospital when they have to pee.” Other advocates mentioned the fact that few of the subway stations that once had open bathrooms still do, and that frequent subway delays only exacerbate the problem. City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who attended the press conference, said that “New York City currently

IWantToBeRecycled.org

lacks adequately safe and clean public restrooms. I urge the de Blasio administration to place higher priority on getting the automated public toilets out of storage and into use.” Council Member Stephen Levin sent a statement affirming the importance of access to public bathrooms, in which he lent his support to PTH’s #FreeToPee campaign. There will be a #FreeToPee workshop at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, on Thursday, September 6th, from 6 to 8 p.m. where people can learn how to get involved with the campaign to get the toilets out of the warehouse and onto the streets.

Some Some say say Helen Helen Merrill Merrill was was the the theater. theater. During During her her life, life, she she fostered fostered the the careers careers of of dozens dozens of of playwrights. playwrights. Today, Today, 21 21 years years after after her her death, death, the the fund fund she she started started in in The The New New York York Community Community Trust Trust supports supports emerging emerging and and distinguished distinguished playwrights. playwrights.

What do you love? We We can can help help you you create create aa charitable charitable legacy. legacy.

Contact Jane Wilton: (212) 686-2563 or janewilton@nyct-cfi.org

THE NEW YORK COMMUNITY TRUST nycommunitytrust.org


10

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Gallery-quality art for your home or office. The 46th Gracie Square Outdoor

EDITOR’S PICK

Art Show

Tue 11

East End Avenue from 84th to 88th Streets

CURATOR’S PERSPECTIVE: MIRANDA LASH Starr Foundation Hall, Room UL102, University Center 63 Fifth Ave. 7-8:30 p.m. Free, but RSVP to rsvp@curatorsintl.org with MIRANDA in subject line events.newschool.edu

Saturday, September 8th Free Admission Sunday, September 9th www.graciesquareartshow.info

keaway?...

10:00am – 5:00pm Free Admission

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

As part of ICI’s Curator’s Perspective, Lash, the curator of contemporary art at the University of Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, will discuss the realities and mythologies associated with the American South, and why it remains among of the most contested topics in our understanding of American national identity.

212.459.4455 Rain or Shine

212.459.4455 www.graciesquareartshow.info

Thu 6

e Square Outdoor

SUMMER EVENINGS IN THE GARDEN Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth St. Until 8 p.m. $15, $10 students & seniors; $1 admission for the museum’s good neighbors (ZIP codes 10012 and 10003) Enjoy the museum’s “secret” 19th century garden at its most verdant and talk with head gardener John Rommel about the season’s historic plantings. Take a guided tour of the house at 6:30 p.m., or head off on a self-guided tour. Refreshments. Rain or shine. 212-777-1089 merchantshouse.org/calendar

tober 1st ber 2nd 5:00 p.m. on

Fri 7 ► ‘PINK: THE HISTORY OF A PUNK, PRETTY, POWERFUL COLOR’

Presented by

Proceeds fund the restoration and maintenance of Carl Schurz Park

The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street Opening day of an exhibit curated by museum director Valerie Steele that explores the changing significance of the color pink over the past three centuries. 212-217-4558 www.fitnyc.edu/museum

Photo: Eileen Costa, The Museum at FIT


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

11

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

MARBLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH Dr. Michael Bos’ Sermon Series

Life’s Greatest Challenges Sundays, September 9-30 What was your life's greatest challenge? We invite you to join us on Sunday, September 9 as Dr. Michael Bos begins his new sermon series based on true personal stories. Sunday Worship at 11:00am, is the heart of the Marble Church community. Come join us to sing, pray, and hear inspirational sermons every week. All are welcome. Can’t make it in person? Stream our services live at MarbleChurch.org.

Photo: High Line, via Twitter

Sat 8

Sun 9

Tue 11

▼ ‘1969: THE SECOND MAN’

HUDSON RIVER NATURE WALK

▲ STARGAZING

New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East Fourth St., between Bowery & Second Ave. 2 and 8 p.m., $29 & $39 “I really didn’t want that,” Buzz Aldrin said when asked if he would have preferred to be the first man on the moon, “because of the added heartache.” Jacob Brandt’s rueful, raucous song cycle about Aldrin comes to theatrical life with playwright Dan Giles, director Jaki Bradley and a seven-piece band. www.nytw.org

9 a.m. sharp. Free Meet at the Christopher Street Fountain, just north of Pier 40 Learn about Hudson River Park’s wildlife by joining naturalists on nature walks along the park’s esplanade. Each walk is unique and offers a one-of-a-kind treasure-huntlike experience. Dress for the weather. hudsonriverpark.org

High Line at Little West 12th St. Tuesday evenings through October, beginning at dusk. Free Head to the High Line for a walk along the park and a chance to take a closer look at the stars. Peer through highpowered telescopes provided by the knowledgeable members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to see rare celestial sights. www.thehighline.org

Mon 10 Wed 12 NEOREALISM AND PHOTOGRAPHY: THE NEW IMAGE IN ITALY

6-7:30 p.m. Free Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, 24 West 12th St. Speakers will examine the new types of photographic images that emerged in the 1940s and ’50s, consider the relations between photography and cinema, and assess the validity of the concept of neorealism in photography. 212-998-6780 greyartgallery.nyu.edu

Photo: NASA

POETRY FORUM: FRED MOTEN 6:30-8 p.m. Free, first come, first seated Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall Room 510, 66 West 12th St. Moten, a poet, literary theorist, and professor of performance studies at New York University, will read from and discuss his body of work, including “The Feel Trio,” “The Little Edges” and “The Service Porch.” He also is the author “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition.” events.newschool.edu

Children, Youth & Families Ministry We provide FREE child care and activities for children of all ages every Sunday, 10:00am-12:30pm. The Children, Youth and Families Ministry believes in the innate spirituality of children. We support their growth in God through mindfulness, empathy development, music, volunteer opportunities and a curriculum based on multiple intelligences.

Annual Back to School Drive Please help NYC kids in need by purchasing school supplies! Monetary donations also welcome. Make checks payable to Marble Collegiate Church, and write “Back to School” in memo. All donations can be mailed or dropped off at our Reception at 1 West 29th Street “Attn: Action Committee”. To pay by credit card you may use an offering envelope (found in pews and at Welcome Center).

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


12

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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SPECIAL REPORT

CLIMATE CHANGES How the Trump administration’s rollbacks on environmental regulations could affect NYC’s water, air and trees COVER GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTINA SCOTTI


“Climate Signals,” a public art installation by Justin Brice Guariglia, consists of solarpowered highway signs in parks across the city displaying messages about climate change. The exhibition, sponsored by the Climate Museum and the Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs, is on display Sept. 1 to Nov. 6. Image courtesy of the Climate Museum.

As the federal government steps back from climate change and environmental regulation, where does Manhattan stand? BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Sea levels are likely to rise between one and two feet in the city by the 2050s. What does that mean? By the end of the century, more than one in 10 buildings in Lower Manhattan could be subject to monthly tidal flooding. The city’s 500 miles of coastline will become increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events as the 100-year floodplain — areas with an estimated one percent risk of being flooded in a given year — expands further and further inland as sea levels rise. The number of Manhattan residents living within the 100-year floodplain is expected to more than double by the 2050s.

T

he potential impact of federal policy changes proposed or enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump will exacerbate the effects of climate change and negatively impact public health according to experts. Under Trump’s leadership, the United States has announced it will withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, and his administration’s Environmental Protection Agency — headed by former administrator E. Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July amid a torrent of scandals, and Pruitt’s successor Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist — has proposed policies that would promote expanded use of coal and fossil fuels, and loosen regulations governing vehicle emissions, among other changes critics deem reckless, “anti-science” or worse.

New York is left to address issues of climate change without the support of the federal government. State and local officials have found themselves in a struggle on multiple fronts to mitigate the impact of federal changes proposed or enacted by the Trump administration. New York has responded swiftly to many of the Trump administration’s federal policy shifts on environmental issues. Soon after Trump’s announcement on the Paris deal, both city and state officials vowed meet the obligations of the accord. The state attorney general’s office has led

efforts to challenge EPA rule changes in the courts. And the new tenor from Washington has served as a stark contrast as the city continues its own efforts to address environmental issues and as climate change has emerged as one of the many political topics around which public mobilization has solidified. Hundreds took to the streets in Foley Square to protest Trump’s June 2017 announcement on the Paris deal, after which City Hall and One World Trade Center were lit defiantly in green. Five months later, thousands of demonstrators marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to mark the fifth anniversary of Sandy and call for action on climate change, just weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean. Later this month, as global leaders convene in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the city will also host the 10th annual Climate Week, with a slate of events intended to push climate action to the fore of the international agenda. In the last two years, the city has moved to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, adopted new guidelines requiring the design of city facilities and infrastructure to account for anticipated changes in sea level, temperature and precipitation, and announced it will divest pension funds from fossil fuel companies. These efforts take place as the city still works to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, six years after it caused $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity, and continues to design and implement resiliency measures to prepare Lower Manhattan, Yorkville and other vulnerable areas for future storms and floods. As Manhattan confronts an uncertain future, here’s what’s at stake:


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

15

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Having EPA weaken clean air requirements leaves downwind states like New York very vulnerable.” Judith Enck, EPA regional administrator during the Obama administration for New York and New Jersey Protest in Staten Island, April 2017. Photo: Thomas Altfather Good, via flickr

South Ferry Station, post-Sandy. Photo: MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins

who will have nonfatal asthma attacks and heart attacks,” she said. “One of the reasons why EPA was established by Richard Nixon was to deal with these cross-boundary issues,” Enck said. “New York State has sued out-of-state coal plants before, but the suits were based on these coal plants violating EPA regulations. So if you are weakening or eliminating the regulations, it makes the litigation much harder.”

AIR & TREES Downwind risks In August, the EPA announced a proposal to replace the Obamaera Clean Power Plan, which aimed to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions in power plants, with a new policy that would relax federal clean air regulations that the Trump administration says unnecessarily burden the power industry. The rule change would have a direct negative impact on New York City, said Judith Enck, who as EPA regional administrator during the Obama administration oversaw the agency’s work in New York and New Jersey. The risk centers on New York’s location, downwind of fossil fuel plants in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. New York’s own power plants are already subject to state-imposed emissions regulations that are more stringent than federal standards, but these rules do nothing to stop pollution from Midwest plants from blowing across state borders to New York. “Having EPA weaken clean air requirements leaves downwind states like New York very vulnerable,” Enck said.

Coal Regulations Peter Iwanowicz, the executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said, “The Trump administration, in its zeal

TREES 2.5 million trees

Auto Emissions

After Sandy on the Upper West Side. Photo: Sarah Lou, via flickr to prop up the coal industry, is aiding and abetting these power plants in not having to clean up their act, even when they know that the emissions from these plants are going to cause ecological destruction, air pollution, trigger asthma attacks and cut short the lives of seniors.” While the EPA’s own projections estimate the policy change could result in up to 1,400 premature deaths each year by 2030, Enck said that well-publicized figure alone doesn’t capture the full scope of the policy’s potential public health impact. “It’s terrible to have unnecessary premature deaths, but what that number is missing is the number of people

in parks and on sidewalks in NYC

The Trump administration’s potential changes to coal regulations follow the announcement of proposed rules that would freeze auto emissions standards put in place during the Obama administration and also challenge the authority of states like California to enact their own, more stringent tailpipe emission regulations. (California’s standards are followed by 13 other states, including New York.) “Not only would we get bad air to breathe, if the president is successful here, but we will get cars that drive fewer miles per gallon than we otherwise would, meaning we’re going to pay more at the pump,” Iwanowicz said. Over a dozen state attorneys general, including New York’s Barbara Underwood, have already announced their intention to attempt to block the coal and auto emissions changes in the courts if they are adopted. “You don’t just walk away from a successful program that a lot of states are relying on to reduce pollution and advance innovation in the automotive sector and not expect this to be tied up in litigation,” Iwanowicz said. These potential clouds roll in just as the city announced that pollutant levels are down across the board since its air monitoring program began in 2008, an important step toward New York’s goal of having the cleanest air of any major U.S. city by 2030; planted over 620,000 new trees since 2014, which remove hundreds of tons of pollutants from the air each year; and enacted a permanent ban on cars in Central Park—a step that would have been all but unthinkable just a few decades ago.

9,073 trees line Upper East Side streets, the most of any Manhattan neighborhood

$12.89 million Total annual benefits of Manhattan’s 64,000 street trees in energy conservation, carbon dioxide reduction, air pollution removal and other factors

EMISSIONS AIR QUALITY NYC’s air quality ranking among major U.S. cities

2,000 Annual number of NYC deaths attributable in part to air pollution

Portion of the city’s greenhouse emissions that come from cars

$1000 Estimated annual fuel savings from driving a new electric vehicle versus a new gasoline-powered vehicle for NYC residents


16

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

WATER Rainfall and flooding

Post-Sandy flooding near South Street Seaport. Photo: NYC Department of Small Business

40 -

25 20 -

inches

30 -

11 to 21

35 -

inches

18 to 39

50 -

inches

Since 1900, New York’s coastal sea levels have risen over a foot — nearly twice the global rate

22 to 50

inches

SEA LEVEL RISE

15 -

MIDDLE-RANGE PROJECTIONS

10 50-

2050s

2080s

2100

HIGH-END PROJECTIONS predict levels could rise

Even if drastic emissions cuts were immediately imposed on a global scale, New York would still be left to contend with sea level rise that is “locked in” to our future by greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere. The city has already begun preparing for this new reality, but many areas remain vulnerable. “Sandy was a form of shock therapy,” said Steven A. Cohen, the former executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Since 2012, the MTA has installed marine doors on lowlying subway entrances to prevent stations from becoming inundated during future floods; Con Edison has fortified the East Side substation that flooded during Sandy and caused electricity outages in much of Manhattan; and the city has worked to upgrade infrastructure in flood-prone areas. Work is still in progress — and funding is still being sought — for a number of consequential measures, including the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, which will seek to defend the downtown waterfront with measures such as temporary floodwalls that could be deployed before storms and raised earthen berms along the Battery. Other storm surge protection plans are grander in scale. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently accepting public comments on a number of proposals to protect the region from coastal storms with new infrastructure, one of which would include a five-mile long barrier across the mouth of New York Harbor from Sandy Hook to Breezy Point. Enck, the former EPA official, cautioned against a harbor barrier, which the Regional Plan Association estimated could cost $10 to $36 billion to build and between $100 million and $2.5 billion each year to maintain. “I think that is very ill-advised and the city should weigh in with the Army Corps of Engineers and say: stop wasting time on that multi-billion-dollar boondoggle and help us with real resiliency steps,” she said. “Walls on the land are fine to block water, but if you put walls in the water it just pushes the water other places and also potentially does permanent damage to the Hudson River.” The myriad impacts of climate change extend beyond the oft-cited examples of sea level rise and increased coastal flooding. Instances of intense rainfall are projected to increase in the coming decades. In New York City heavy precipitation sometimes leads to a phenomenon known as combined sewage overflow in which untreated wastewater is discharged directly into the city’s rivers and bays. Continuing the New York’s tree planting initiative, which has added over one million new trees to the city since 2007, and creating and preserving green space to absorb rainfall will be crucial for preventing combined sewer overflow, Cohen said.

Read this article online at otdowntown.com to view the interactive map.

Satellite image showing the 100-year (dark blue) and 500-year (light blue) projections of the NYC floodplain. Image courtesy of NYC Panel on Climate Change

I think [a harbor barrier] is very ill-advised and the city should weigh in with the Army Corps of Engineers and say: stop wasting time on that multibillion-dollar boondoggle and help us with real resiliency steps. Walls on the land are fine to block water, but if you put walls in the water it just pushes the water other places and also potentially does permanent damage to the Hudson River.” Judith Enck, EPA regional administrator during the Obama administration for New York and New Jersey

more than six feet by 2100

MANHATTAN POPULATION LIVING WITHIN THE 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN

THE COST $19 billion Cost of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy in damage and lost economic activity

$90 billion Potential cost of a similar event in 2050, due to projected sea level rise

Today: 89,100

2050s: 214,500

2080s: 275,600

2100: 317,700

Each icon represents approximately 25,000 people.


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

WHAT LIES AHEAD Toward a sustainable, resilient future The last two years have made it clear that even in the absence of federal leadership, state and local authorities will do what they can to address climate change and environmental regulation on their own. But will that be enough? “To make a real difference, yes. To solve the problems, no,” said Rebecca Bratspies, the director of the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform. “The reason we have federal regulations is that so many of the environmental problems we face are far beyond the capacity of one state to control,” and must be addressed on a national and international scale. But New York City does have an important role to play, she said. By virtue of the city’s size and economic clout, policies enacted here have the potential to become widely influential. “The systems that we work out, the laws that we enact and implement really can set the mark for what other places are going to do, because they’re looking to places like New York for models,” Bratspies said. The city mandate announced last year to cut fossil fuel use in buildings, which officials say will reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 7 percent by 2035, for example, “is going to have tremendous implications for the city and state’s overall carbon footprint, and once it’s in place and up and running it also creates a model that other municipalities can copy in a relatively easy fashion.”

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The reason we have federal regulations is that so many of the environmental problems we face are far beyond the capacity of one state to control.” Rebecca Bratspies, director, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform New York has set ambitious goals on climate change — both the city and state have signed on to the so-called “80 by 50” pledge to reduce emissions to 80 percent by 2050 — but meeting them will require aggressive action. “There’s no other way to meet the 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the city or at the state level by 2050 unless we completely move our entire economy off of fossil fuels,” Iwanowicz, of Environmental Advocates of New York, said. “It’s just not possible to achieve an 80 percent cut otherwise.” Bruce Ho, senior advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “It’s become increasingly clear that the 800-pound gorilla in the room is transportation.” Federal changes on vehicle emissions may be disheartening, but they don’t prevent states and cities from reducing emissions by “improving our public transportation systems, improving our bikeable and walkable infrastruc-

ture, ensuring that there’s affordable housing near transit, and hopefully continuing to push the ball forward in the transition to electric vehicles, both through investments in the infrastructure and by setting targets and standards that will get us there.” Cohen, of the Earth Institute, said that funding subway and bus improvements through congestion pricing is imperative. To the extent more buses and cars are electric and powered by renewable energy sources, all the better. “Everything we’re doing to adapt will be made easier if we make this transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and mitigate climate change to begin with,” he said. “Everything else we’re doing is kind of putting our finger in the dike, hoping we can make these other changes before the really serious flooding begins.” Cohen finds a few silver linings in the federal shift on the environment since Trump took office. One is the slow churn of the regulatory apparatus. “It’s going to take a long time for the changes in Washington to have any impact, and hopefully by then the policy direction will change,” he said. Another is the kind of response Trump tends to inspire in his opponents. “What’s happening in Washington is not helpful at all,” he said. “But in a really kind of funny way, it may not be as bad as people think, because Donald Trump is a really unifying force. Everybody who is against him really gets active.” That public response, and the extent to which it translates into concrete political action, will play an important role in determining New York City’s environmental future. Which is to say, New York City’s future.

WASTE $10 million Annual cost to dispose of plastic bags, which make up 2.3% of all city waste

It’s become increasingly clear that the 800-pound gorilla in the room is transportation.” Bruce Ho, senior advocate, National Resources Defense Council

TEMPERATURE Currently, over 100 New Yorkers die each year from extreme summer heat By the 2050s: 4.7°F to 5.7°F increase in average temperature 2X the number of days 90°F or hotter 3X the number of heat waves per year

South Ferry subway station, August 2018. Photo: Jeremy Weine

INFOGRAPHICS: Caitlin Ryther & Christina Scotti DATA SOURCES: New York City Panel on Climate Change; New York City Mayor’s Office; Natural Resources Defense Council; Regional Plan Association; New York City Parks Department


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SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Three experts offer perspectives on EPA proposals and the city’s environment — and what can be done

REBECCA SEAWRIGHT New York State Assembly Member On air quality in New York City:

JUDITH ENCK Senior Policy Adviser at the Center for Climate Integrity, and Former EPA Regional Administrator On the federal landscape: The Trump administration has announced that they are either directly repealing or weakening or delaying over 50 key EPA regulations that were put in place during the Obama administration. Obviously not all of them will survive legal challenge, and the New York Attorney General’s office has been doing a really good job beating back some of these regulatory attacks in the courts — however, even if the lawsuits against the Trump policies prevail, we lose valuable time. I would say the policies that are most negatively going to impact New York are the ones that deal with air quality. Why this matters for New York is that a lot of air pollution comes from the Midwest, from coal plants in Ohio and Indiana and Pennsylvania. A lot of that air pollution hits the New York City metropolitan area, and that is why New York City has many unhealthy air quality days. It’s a terrible strain on people’s hearts and lungs. Inevitably, we will see many more asthma attacks and cardiac problems because EPA is relaxing clean air controls. These Trump policies are making it so much worse than it has to be. It’s coming at such a pivotal moment, when the science is so solid, and we really can’t afford to lose four years. And it’s not just losing strong environmental regulations. It’s also the Trump policy of promoting fossil fuel development on public lands and in tax policy. This is an administration that works very closely with the fossil fuel industry to promote more burning of gas and oil and coal. You see the president in West Virginia promoting coal: that all makes climate change worse. Photo courtesy of Judith Enck

Air quality is central to any serious discussion of environmental policy for our city and state. Locally, on the Upper East Side, poor air quality is becoming synonymous with the waste transfer station. In my efforts to continue to oppose the East 91st Street waste transfer station, I sponsored and passed legislation to require a study on the high incidence of asthma in the borough of Manhattan and to prepare a remedial plan and legislation calling on the Department of Environmental Conservation to place air quality monitoring equipment near waste transfer stations across the State. With sufficient data, we will be able to keep up the fight. I am also strongly supporting a key NYCLV environmental bill (A9819) in order to address the oversight in New York State Law to prohibit offshore drilling, protecting our coastal economy and ecosystem, and rebuffs the federal government’s plans for oil and gas exploration on the East Coast. Recently, it was reported that there was a proposal for a Northeast Enhancement Supply Pipeline which would carry fracked natural gas (methane) from Pennsylvania across the Lower Bay of New York’s harbor. The underwater part of the pipeline would be laid 23 miles along the south coast of Staten Island, past Coney Island, and would end 4 miles south of the Rockaways. This would involve excavating a trench across the entirety of the route to bury the pipe. I signed onto a letter to the Governor urging him to deny permits for the Williams Pipeline that would be built in Lower New York Harbor. I am supporting legislation (A10167) that would establish a moratorium on natural gas that has been produced by hydraulic fracturing process outside New York pending an environmental impact assessment. I am proud to have once again received a 100% ranking from the New York League of Conservation. We must continue to fight at every level to enhance environmental quality in defense of the health and vitality of our community. Photo courtesy of Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

ELIZABETH JOHNSON KLEIN Deputy director of State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law On an EPA proposal to limit the use of scientific evidence in the development of new rules and state efforts to fight against regulatory rollbacks: EPA’s proposed rule “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” would prevent the Agency from considering critical scientific research on the public health effects of pollution and harmful substances as the Agency considers how best to regulate things like air pollution, water contamination, and toxic chemicals. Disguised as a measure to improve “transparency,” EPA’s proposal would prohibit regulators from evaluating peer-reviewed scientific research that conceals the medical histories of the individuals who participated — a common practice protecting patients from privacy violations. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal led a coalition of 16 AGs in submitting comments to the EPA demanding that Acting-Administrator Andrew Wheeler reverses course and drops the proposed rule. The AGs have notified the EPA that its action would violate existing federal law, which requires the EPA to consider the best scientific evidence available in the development of new regulations. State AGs have been particularly active on environmental issues during the Trump Administration. They have taken more than 120 actions against harmful environmental rollbacks and have racked-up multiple major victories, including AG Underwood’s recent court victory halting the EPA’s attempt to stop implementation of life-saving accident prevention rules at chemical facilities.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Johnson Klein


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

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After Hurricane Sandy, flooding in the Financial District, Oct. 30, 2012. Photo: Patrick McFall, via flickr

THREATENING OUR CITY’S FUTURE What gives New Yorkers the confidence of clean air, safe water and healthy food? The confidence to go about our lives, grow our businesses, to innovate and excel in commerce and the arts, and to build families, careers and businesses? We rely on the landmark environmental protections of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Clean air, safe water and healthy food are essential to a decent life, and it is impossible to imagine a prosperous New York without them. And yet, they are at greater risk today than they have been in fifty years. Claiming that these long-standing commonsense environmental regulations are “job killing,” today’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is systematically weakening the rules that govern the way power plants operate, cars are built, mines are dug, oil and gas are extracted, and water is stored and piped into our homes. These rollbacks will make NYC less healthy, less safe and less prosperous. Example one: the EPA’s proposed rule change to the Clean Power Plan (CCP) would let the dirtiest coal plants keep running and remain dirty instead of retiring them or refurbishing them by adding modern pollution controls. In the 1990s a clean-air device called a “scrubber” helped end the acid-rain crisis. Scrubbers were first installed on new power plants in the 1970s to reduce air pollution before people were focused on acid rain, which gave us an additional reason to install scrubbers in the 1990 Clean Air

Act amendments. About 30 percent of US coal plants still do not have scrubbers and another 22 percent do not have advanced anti-smog controls. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from combusting fossil fuels are primary drivers of global warming and CO2 is the main byproduct of coal combustion. Coal-fired power plants also emit mercury which returns to earth in precipitation and enters our food supply. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to mercury — even small amounts — can cause serious health problems. Example two: the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration propose to freeze the Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. The proposed rule would freeze emission standards and fuel economy targets at 2020 levels (around 38.5 mpg for all cars and light trucks overall) instead of rising to about 49.5 mpg by 2025. Transportation is a critical contributor to climate change and accounts for 27 percent of global emissions and roughly onethird of NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Loosening emission and fuel economy standards will hurt NYC twice — making us suffer from more pollution and making us pay more for gasoline in less fuel-efficient vehicles. According to a recent Princeton University article, “Study finds climate change will only exacerbate inequality in the United States.” Climate change will worsen inequality in our society if underserved communities

Moody’s, a major credit rating agency, recently added climate to credit risks and warns cities to address their climate exposure or face rating downgrades. become uninhabitable. Migration, some planned and some in panic, will stress already overburdened social welfare systems and infrastructure. The best way to mitigate these effects is to limit the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. With the approaching sixth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, we remember its devastating impact on NYC which has over 500 miles of shoreline. Sandy caused 48 deaths in New York mostly due to drowning. Sandy also did an estimated $71 billion in economic damage in the NY-NJ region, with $19 billion in losses to NYC. While the storm’s immediate impact lasted only weeks, major infrastructure systems, including mass transit and electrical and telecommunications systems, sustained lasting damage,

Clean air, safe water and healthy food are essential to a decent life — and it is impossible to imagine an innovative and prosperous New York without them

some of which is still not repaired. Sandy was extraordinarily disruptive. It hit Lower Manhattan hard while the neighborhood was still rebuilding from September 11th. The historic South Street Seaport and portions of the Financial District, Tribeca and Battery Park City and the World Trade Center site which was still under construction were flooded, along with tunnels and subways. Even the New York Stock Exchange was closed for a couple of days. Schools were temporarily relocated. The cleanup and rebuilding efforts to bring our community back online were enormous and costly and involved many government agencies and the assistance of elected officials at the city, state and federal levels. Many buildings went days and other weeks and months without utilities. Generators and other temporary mechanical equipment filled the streets and reduced air quality. Many small businesses in CB1 suffered dire financial situations; some were not covered by federal or private flood insurance and were still paying back 9/11 loans. Furthermore, many commercial and residential buildings were closed, depleting local businesses of their customer base. Sandy taught us the importance of preparation and the necessity of investing to prevail in the worst potential impacts of climate change. Two recent developments strengthen the case to act. One, the future of the National Flood Insurance Program is

BY CATHERINE MCVAY HUGHES

uncertain and is due to expire on November 1, 2018. We do not know if or how much the federal government will assist in rebuilding our communities after the next Superstorm Sandy. Two, Moody’s, a major credit rating agency, recently added climate to credit risks and warns cities to address their climate exposure or face rating downgrades. Lower ratings would shut cities off from the investments they need to adapt to climate change and to recover from future storms. The bottom line is that climate resiliency is critical to our city’s future. The EPA’s reckless rollbacks will threaten that future. For more information on attempts to scale back federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures, visit the Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law which maintains a Climate Deregulation Tracker. Catherine McVay Hughes served two decades on Manhattan Community Board 1, half of that time as chair or vice-chair. After Superstorm Sandy, she was appointed co-chair of NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program for Southern Manhattan. Hughes serves on the Earth Institute Advisory Board at Columbia University, CERES Presidents Council, Battery Park City Authority, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, The Trust for Governors Island, South Street Seaport Museum, WTC Scientific Technical Advisory Committee and the Storm Surge Working Group Steering Committee.


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Salutes and Congratulates Straus News for This Special Report Protecting the Quality of Life for New Yorkers

GLENWOOD BUILDER OWNER MANAGER

MANHATTANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FINEST LUXURY RENTALS           

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

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“Self Portrait,” ca. 1970, graphite. From the artist’s studio. © Wayne Thiebaud/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

SWEET RENDERINGS “Candy Sticks,” 1964, watercolor and graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Bequest of Susan Morse Hilles. © Wayne Thiebaud/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

At The Morgan, Wayne Thiebaud’s delicate delights BY VIRGINIA RANDALL

Visitors to the “Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman” exhibit at The Morgan Library & Museum will likely want to hit up the museum’s café for a bite afterwards. The show looks good enough to eat. The native Californian is known for his delectable oil paintings of pies, cakes and candies, but this is the first to show his journey and his mastery of the creative process with #2 pencils, pen and ink, watercolors and pastels. Outside the exhibit rooms, there’s a self-portrait, in pencil, of a stocky Thiebaud, one who appears to know his way around a pastry case. The drawing overlooks the sketches he made in the 90s for the gastronomic classic “The Physiology of Taste” by Brillat-Savarin, who once said, “tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” The works range from a few dashed off scribbles that evoke the ruffled feathers of a strutting bird to a fully realized sketch of a farmer holding his kill — all dynamically rendered. Thiebaud wanted to be a cartoonist, but that early effort gets scant wall space. The exhibit picks up with “New York City Winter,” from 1956, a breezy, impressionistic black-andwhite watercolor rendering of a typi-

IF YOU GO WHAT: “Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman” WHERE: The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave. WHEN: Through Sept. 23 www.themorgan.org

“Candy Ball Machine,” 1977, gouache and pastel. Collection of Gretchen and John Berggruen, San Francisco. © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

cal mid-century neighborhood corner grocery: salamis overhead, piles of bananas and melons, a display case with sandwiches and a black cat headed for the storeroom. It’s the overture to his later works, when he focused on a carefully selected and arranged display (he was once a window dresser) of burgers (which he loved) pies, cakes and candies. He came to New York to be a painter, but returned to California when his friend and fellow painter Willem de Kooning told him his first attempts looked like he was trying to make “art.” Thiebaud recalled that de Kooning suggested he paint “what he knew something about and was passionate about.” Back home, Thiebaud sat before a blank canvas and, following Cezanne’s advice about what Thiebaud has called “basic units,” painted a few circles. On an impulse, he added a few triangles. He recalled thinking “I’ve seen rows of pies that look like this.” He had found his subject, maybe even his muse. Even in his studies and experiments with no color, just shadow, such as “Shelf of Pies,” from 1960, he’s the JeanBaptiste-Simeon Chardin of pastry. All his works are serene. There’s no irony, no snide subtext about calories, junk food or consumerism. Even in these preparatory works, the cakes and pies

are on literal pedestals, glistening with frosting. This is a show you can take children to. The towhead carried by his dad nearby couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old, and was happily pointing out his favorites among the brightly colored works. His favorite, and that of many others, are the depictions of candy apples. “Nine Jelly Apples,” from 1964, is a richly colored watercolor whose subjects look freshly dipped, juicy and glossy. Although all his watercolors fairly glisten, this work is all bright, sweet stickiness. In “Candied Apples,” the same subject appears in pen and ink, as stark and iconic as a Japanese ink drawing. The last in this series, “Three jelly apples,” also from 1964 , is a sedate pencil work that brings out the brittle quality of the fruit. “Candy Sticks,” from the same year, is all colored swirls, stripes and shiny surfaces in pastel, and as sedate, pure forms in pencil. For all the sweets on display, though, this compact show packs a bittersweet punch. Thiebaud, now 97, evokes nostalgia for a lost New York: The delicatessen counters, the corner grocery stores, the pastry cases and cake stands that have all but disappeared from a city with a dwindling number of diners. There’s a reason he’s been called (perhaps with a sneer) “the

Walt Whitman of the Delicatessen” for his portrayal of scenes once familiar to countless New Yorkers. Among the most poignant is “Candy Ball Machine,” a gouache and pastel rendering depicted as delicately as a flower dispensing nectar to hummingbirds. The detailing of the gumballs within the clear glass globe are a riot of glossy colors, whirls, stripes, stars and spangles. He called “Candy Ball,” which he painted in 1977, “a kind of icon, with simple beauty, colors and magic, dispensing a luscious, colorful sweet treat.” Compared to his desserts, the works featuring people don’t satisfy. While technically brilliant, the renderings are impassive and static, with no more depth than the glaze on a candy apple. The landscapes are even stranger, with city streets intersecting each other on hills with ridiculously steep angles or irresolvable loops and curves. Instead of puzzling over those, head to the café, or a block up Madison Avenue, to the Moonstruck Diner, and have a slice of cake. The Morgan show displays the span of Thiebaud’s skills, but his sweets outshine the rest. Yes, there’s more to him than that, but like the old adage: Life is short. Eat dessert first.


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS AUG 22 - 28, 2018

Juice Bab

182 Lafayette St

A

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.

Zutto Japanese American Pub

77 Hudson St

A

Creamistry

129 Walker St

A

Interlude Cafe

145 Hudson St

A

Grade Pending (23) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/ sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

Ear Inn

326 Spring Street

A

The Broome

431 Broome St

A

Le Pain Quotidien

100 Grand Street

A

Le Relais De Venise L’entrecote

15 Watts St

A

Grade Pending (37) 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. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Feng Cha

99B Chrystie St

A

Yonah Shimmels Knishes

137 East Houston St

A

Loreley Restaurant

7 Rivington Street

A

Tijuana Picnic

151 Essex St

A

L’estudio

61 Hester St

Grade Pending (27) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Benares

Stage Door Deli

45 Murray Street

26 Vesey Street

Gee Whiz

295 Greenwich Street A

Lenwich

25 Park Pl

A

Jupioca

155 Chambers St

A

Subway

165 Church Street

A

Starbucks Coffee # 26287 148 Church St

A

Minamoto Kitchoan

4 World Trade Ctr

A

Copper Throat

123 Ludlow St

A

Elim Bistro

11 Park Pl

Grade Pending (9) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.

Kodawari

100 Forsyth St

A

Formosa Cafe

34 Eldridge St

A

Izzies Cheesesteaks

47 Clinton St

A

Cocoa Bar

19 Clinton St

A

Finest Dumpling Restaurant

25 B Henry Street

A

Karaoke Boho

152 Orchard St

Grade Pending (2)

Lupa Osteria Romana

170 Thompson Street

A

Senza Gluten

171 Sullivan St

A

Red Bamboo

140 West 4 Street

A

Soho Room

203 Spring St

Grade Pending (14) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Okinii

216 Thompson St

Grade Pending (37) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. 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 not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Canteen Cafe

125 Barclay Street

A

One World Observatory

1 World Trade Ctr

A

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

224 Front St

A

The Ainsworth

121 Fulton Street

Grade Pending (23) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/ refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Barbalu

225 Front Street

Grade Pending

Open Kitchen

123 William St

A

Stamina Grill & Juice Bar

80 Nassau Street

A

Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen

20 John Street

A

New Chatham Seafood Restaurant

6 Chatham Sq

Grade Pending (31) 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. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Pret A Manger

222 Broadway

A

Capitale

130 Bowery

A

Banter

169 Sullivan St

A

La Colombe Torrefaction

319 Church Street

A

The Nolitan Hotel

30 Kenmare St

A

Cha Cha’s Of Little Italy

113 Mulberry St

Not Yet Graded (63) Food from unapproved or unknown source or home canned. Reduced oxygen packaged (ROP) fish not frozen before processing; or ROP foods prepared on premises transported to another site. 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. Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Oddfellows

55 E Houston St

A

Holi Mole

250 Mott St

A

The Juice Press

670 Broadway

Not Yet Graded (74) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. 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. No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment.


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

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23

DRAWN TO DANCE ON THE UES PERFORMING ARTS Ballet Academy East selects students from around the world for their PreProfessional training program BY ALICE TECOTZKY

On the third floor of a Second Avenue office building, young women and men of all ages sit on the floor stretching, their legs cloaked in light pink tights or black sweatpants. A cacophony of chatter fills the hallways, serving as a stark contrast to the dance studios themselves, where the only sounds are the soft footsteps of ballet slippers. Founded in 1979 by Julia Dubno and offering Young Dancer, Pre-Professional, and Adult divisions, Ballet Academy East has become internationally recognized as a top dance school. As a result of its stature, BAE has attracted students from all over the world, and the Pre-Professional division has implemented a program in which they select dancers from around the world to participate in their year-round training at the school. Seven students have been chosen for the 2018-2019 season, all of whom live for free either at St. Mary’s residence, the 92nd Street Y, or BAE’s sponsored apartment on 78th Street and Second Avenue. Two of this year’s dancers are from Brazil, with the rest being from Colombia, Greece, Australia, and Canada. The students will study at BAE for the whole season, which runs from September 18th, 2018 through June 16th, 2019. Jenna Lavin, who danced professionally for 18 years at a variety of companies, including the Miami City Ballet and the Chicago City Ballet, serves as BAE’s principal of the Pre-Professional Division, and helped to grow the school’s international program four years ago by including free housing for the dancers, most of whom are around 18 years old. Lavin felt that housing was a necessary addition to the program, given the expense of living in New York and the general challenges that accompany leaving one’s home at a relatively young age. Lavin explained that dancers often reach out to the company in order to participate in the program, sending in

video auditions in hopes that they will be one of the few selected who have the opportunity to train and grow in New York. The international students take classes with all of the other dancers, forming connections both in and out of the studio. “It’s really wonderful to have them,” Lavin said. “It’s amazing to have the kids be aware that there’s different cultures. Ballet is really such an international language.” Kurt, 20, who did not want to provide his last name, moved to New York from Canada last year in order to train at BAE. He lives in BAE’s sponsored apartment and dances six days per week, from 1:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 at night. In addition to having grown as a dancer at BAE, Kurt has found that he’s also grown as a person, and has developed what he hopes will be lasting friendships. “BAE has definitely become my main source of friendship,” he said. “Especially with the guys I live with, because we’ve formed such a close bond. Honestly, we’ve become more like siblings that roommates.” Lavin says that “our school is special, because of course we care about the kids, but we want them to be good human beings on top of being good dancers.” For international students, the emphasis on community at BAE can be comforting. Many of those who dance at BAE go on to have professional dancing careers, while others choose to continue dancing as a hobby. Two of last year’s international students will be dancing in the Sarasota Ballet this coming season. “That’s always our goal, is to train them to become professional dancers, but sometimes life gets in the way,” Lavin said. “Really, we’re proud of all of them.” Lavin is continually awed by the relationships formed at BAE, both in and out of the studio. Despite the seemingly endless hours and demanding competitive nature of dance, students at BAE genuinely care for one another. “Even though we’re very serious about what goes on in the studio, there’s a lot of love here,” said Lavin. “Yes, there’s competition, because that’s the nature of the best, but they’re friends for life.”

Kurt (right) at BAE’s 2018 Spring Performance in the piece “From A to M,” choreographed by Alan Hineline. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor

DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE US TO LOOK INTO? EMAIL US AT NEWS@STRAUSNEWS.COM Pre-Professional dance class. Photo courtesy of Ballet Academy East


24

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Business

4 REASONS WHY CONSUMERS ARE IN A MOOD TO SPEND A booming economy and companies’ own efforts to try to Amazon-proof their businesses are boosting sales BY ANNE D’INNOCENZIO

for a couple of years,” he added. “But specialty apparel stores are going to struggle.” Here are some of the main trends right now.

A STRONG ECONOMY The store isn’t dead for Home Depot, Kohl’s, Best Buy or Target. Many traditional chains have posted strong sales, both online and at stores, as people are in a mood to spend. What’s driving it? A booming economy and companies’ own efforts to try to Amazon-proof their businesses. That means making their stores more pleasant, updating their websites and speeding up delivery. The bounce is a welcome reprieve from talk of a retail apocalypse that flourished after a spate of bankruptcies. Plenty of stores are still struggling, particularly mall clothing chains like Victoria’s Secret and department stores like Sears. So is it the start of a sustainable revival? “It’s a retail renaissance for a core group of retailers,” said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics. “They’re set to glide on this path

Shoppers are spending more freely in an economy that has recently grown at the fastest pace in nearly four years. Unemployment is near an 18-year low. Average hourly wages rose 2.7 percent in July from a year earlier. “There’s no doubt that, like others, we’re currently benefiting from a very strong consumer environment, perhaps the strongest I’ve seen in my career,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told investors. Target saw sales at established stores post the strongest growth in 13 years. Customer numbers in stores and online had their best showing since at least 2008. Walmart similarly posted the largest increase for same-store sales in more than a decade. Best Buy had its biggest second-quarter same-store sales boost in 15 years. These three retailers, along with Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kohl’s and others raised their outlooks.

FASTER OPTIONS AT THE STORE Stores are catering better to timeconscious shoppers with delivery and pickup services that take advantage of their store networks. Walmart has curbside grocery pickup at 1,800 stores, and is expanding its pickup towers, which serve up items ordered online within seconds. Target says it’s reduced the wait time for curbside pickup to 2 minutes. Target has also found where it’s testing sameday delivery for store shoppers the average basket size is more than $200, the highest of any service it provides. Though Walmart has dropped mobile checkout at its namesake stores, others like Macy’s and Kroger are embracing it. Urban Outfitters says more shoppers than it expected are using self-checkout at its store in Manhattan’s Herald Square. “It’s all about instant gratification,” says Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of Douglas Elliman’s retail group.

REVAMPING WEBSITES Stores are trying to make it easier to browse and discover products online as a way to compete with shoppers ac-

Stores like Macy’s, Kroger and Urban Outfitters are embracing mobile checkout. Photo: Elvert Barnes, via flickr customed to Amazon. Walmart overhauled its website with a special emphasis on fashion and home goods, and has special sections dedicated to Lord & Taylor as part of their partnership and for the outdoor brand Moosejaw it bought last year. Consolo cited Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s as others that have made their sites easier to shop. “Retailers are putting together an internet-friendly site that’s easy to navigate,” said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group.

POWERFUL EXCLUSIVE BRANDS Shoppers are responding to the brands stores have developed to differentiate themselves — and which have better profit margins.

Target has been aggressive here, particularly in clothing and home goods. Cornell says these brands are attracting new customers, and the children’s clothing brand Cat & Jack generated $2 billion in sales one year after its launch in 2016. Macy’s hopes to have its private label and exclusive brands account for 40 percent of the merchandise it offers in the next few years, up from about 30 percent. And Kohl’s teamed up with media company PopSugar on a clothing collection that will hit next month. “The department stores that have a clear strategy and vision are going to be the clear winners,” said Greg Petro, founder and CEO of First Insight, which helps retailers set prices.

DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE US TO LOOK INTO? Exclusive brands are a focus at Macy’s. Photo: Elvert Barnes, via flickr

EMAIL US AT NEWS@STRAUSNEWS.COM


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

25

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26

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Everything you like about Our Town Downtown is now available to be delivered to your mailbox every week in the Downtowner From the very local news of your neighborhood to information about upcoming events and activities, the new home delivered edition of the Downtowner will keep you in-the-know.

Joe Iconis is a longtime fixture in the city’s cabaret and concert scene. Photo: Michael Hull

And best of all you won’t have to go outside to grab a copy from the street box every week.

It’s your neighborhood. It’s your news.

WARMING TO BROADWAY THEATER Joe Iconis’s “Be More Chill” could be the vehicle that, finally, lands him on the Great White Way BY ANNIE MCDONOUGH

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Joe Iconis is about to explode. But this isn’t news to him. From the moment the composer-lyricist started winning up-and-comer awards after finishing NYU Tisch’s musical theater graduate program in 2005, Iconis has been told time and time again that he’s on the verge of his big break. He was supposed to make it in 2008, when his rock musical revue “Things to Ruin” garnered a rare rave in The New York Times and later got its own cast recording. Two years later, he was supposed to catch fire when his spaghetti western musical “Bloodsong of Love” played at Ars Nova and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations. In 2016, The Times remarked that Iconis has “been circling Broadway for a number of years without yet landing.” “I’ve been at this place for so long, where everyone says to me, ‘Oh, you’re about ready to explode. And when you do, it’s gonna be so easy and you’ll be

stable,’” Iconis says. But each of his heavy momentum projects eventually fizzled out without Broadway or, in some cases, even off-Broadway runs. So maybe it’s the built-up good karma of would-be and should-be breaks that’s brought Iconis to the mouth of the volcano he’s at today. Iconis is the mastermind behind the internet’s favorite musical, “Be More Chill,” which opened off-Broadway, at the Pershing Square Signature Center, last month. The show (with a book by Joe Tracz) is based on Ned Vizzini’s novel of the same name about teens and a supercomputer that teaches them how to be more ... cool. And thanks to a viral cast album — over 150 million streams worldwide — “Be More Chill” went from an overlooked show to something of a musical theater miracle. Three years after originally playing a single month’s worth of performances at a small theater in Red Bank, New Jersey, “Be More Chill” debuted in New York — with an eight-week offBroadway run that sold out before it even opened. A longtime fixture of New York’s cabaret/concert scene — he and his collaborators perform as Joe Iconis & Family — nearly all of Iconis’s work has a

rebellious, rock undercurrent. He’s written musicals about “women of a certain age” in the style of exploitation films of the 1970’s, a punk rock band formed in a 1960’s girls’ juvie hall, and the life of Hunter S. Thompson. Iconis is currently juggling all these projects and more, working to bring his newer work to New York for the first time and revive old shows that he thinks could still get their due. And while creative work like this is rarely stable, Iconis counts living off of musical theater — though it’s sometimes handto-mouth — as an accomplishment in itself. Iconis is married to the theater actress Lauren Marcus (“Brooke” in “Be More Chill”), and for the past few months, the pair have either been together in rehearsals and performances, or slowly getting settled into their new apartment, which happens to be very close by the theater. Iconis’s life seems to revolve around the theater district. The couple’s so-called “break” from work was a marathon viewing of “Angels in America” on Broadway. He doesn’t fantasize much about vacations, let alone take many. “I should,” he says. “If things are going really well, then I feel


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018 like, I’ve been working for 12 years for things to go well, so I want to take advantage of that opportunity. And if things go poorly, I feel like, I can’t leave now, things are going poorly!” Self-described as a lover of neckties and “the guy with the big eyebrows,” Iconis frequently sports stylish suits and thick glasses. But a few songs into a live performance, his wellcoiffed black hair will succumb to his pounding on the piano, starting with a single Superman curl dropping to his forehead and ending with a mess of dark hair flopping along to the rhythm — all this assuring the audience that they are, in fact, at an American Songbookworthy rock show. And though Iconis fans scream like groupies at the stage door and at post-show meet-and-greets, their heartfelt hysteria is focused and powerful. “They’re so brave in a way I never was,” Iconis says. “The things that people will come up and say to me — I still couldn’t do that to someone who I only knew as an artist whose work I liked.” Because he’s written a show that deals with teenage anxiety and depression, fans often approach him and the stars of the show with personal and emotional stories. “If someone’s crying to you and talking

27

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com about how this thing that you’ve done has really affected their life, we’re not gonna be like, ‘OK, sorry, next picture!’” Iconis says. “We just need to listen. That equals meet and greets that are like two hours and 15 minutes long.” But despite the unprecedented method and degree of the show’s success, Iconis is still hesitant to bet on himself. Perhaps partly because the New York theater world is hesitant to wager on anything unproven. “Everyone is talking about ‘Be More Chill’ like we’re going to be at the Signature and then go on to something else, be that Broadway or another off-Broadway run, or a tour or whatever,” he says. “I’ve been

disappointed in such extraordinary ways so many times, that I just can’t get myself to be like, this is it.” Iconis says this with a smile — not bitterly or lacking appreciation of the support “Be More Chill” has received, but with a candid desire for selfprotection. Because even when you’ve written a mega-popular musical and it’s finally playing in New York, the future is always uncertain. What’s killed some of his past shows, Iconis says, is a bad review in The Times. And The Times review for “Be More Chill” was certainly less-thanglowing. But the day after it appeared, the Signature announced a one-week extension of “Be More Chill,” and the eight extra performances sold out in hours. While still in rehearsals, Iconis couldn’t shake the feeling that they needed a good review in The Times to move on to the next step — in particular, to transfer to Broadway, which could yet happen. A show needs a reason to be on Broadway, Iconis says, be that a strong property like “Mean Girls,” a big Hollywood star, or, in this case, a good review from Ben Brantley. “But maybe I’m wrong,” he says. “Maybe the reason is being the internet’s favorite musical.”

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Nearly all of Joe Iconis’s work possesses a rebellious, rock ‘n’ roll undercurrent. Photo: Stephanie Wessels

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28

SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Meet Anderson Simon After three decades of drinks, cheers, live music and memories, O’Flanagan’s, just south of 66th Street, closed its doors for the last time on August 31. Photo: Shoshy Ciment

CHEERS TO AN EAST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD LANDMARK

)FLOPXT5IF Neighborhood.

FAREWELL O’Flanagan’s shutters after 30 years of merriment on First Avenue

Anderson uses The local paper for Downtown

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t%FTJHO4FSWJDFT t1BJOU t8JOEPXBOE 8BMM5SFBUNFOUT t6QIPMTUFSZ The local paper for Downtown

Your Neighborhood Store 55 Thompson St @ Broome | 212-627-1100

BY SHOSHY CIMENT

Former city Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg might diverge politically, but when it comes to drinks, they’re on the same page. “If it wasn’t for O’Flanagan’s on First Avenue, I don’t know where I would have spent my Friday nights as a young man,” said Bloomberg in 2008 at the U.S.-Northern Ireland Investment Conference. “It is nearly impossible to imagine New York’s history without our ties to Ireland,” he added. For t h re e de c ade s, O’Flanagan’s was a dependable spot for locals — and mayors — to wind down or party up; Giuliani also frequented the Irish bar and restaurant at a time. But on Friday, August 31, after 30 years of drinks, cheers, live music and memories, O’Flanagan’s, just south of 66th Street, closed its doors for the last time. “We’re not going voluntarily,” said Gerry McGwyne, one of the owners of the bar, before it closed. The management team at O’Flanagan’s was given notice 10 years ago that they could be forced to vacate the building at any time. Three months ago, that warning became an imminent possibility.

“Devastated is an understatement,” said McGwyne, who is originally from Sligo, Ireland. “We had a fantastic family of people over here. Great friends for life, we had.” The bar’s lawyers negotiated with the landlord during a three-month battle that ended without success. The property, at 1215 First Ave., is owned by the Hakim Organization and rumored to be slated for demolition. “They’re telling us they’re knocking down the building and building up a high-riser,” McGwyne said. Though what is planned for the 2,800 squarefoot lot is still left up to conjecture. Kamran Hakim, who heads Hakim Organization, and who was named among the city’s worst landlords by the public advocate’s office in recent years, did not return a request for comment. “I know how the neighborhood feels and I know how the locals feel but you’re not going to win with these guys,” McGwyne said. Saying goodbye was difficult for many regulars, especially for those with a deep connection to the bar. Through heat waves, blackouts, snowstorms and Saint Patrick’s Days, O’Flanagan’s was a place for everlasting memories and good beer, a place for people to fall in love and return for subsequent wedding anniversaries. As McGwyne put it: “[There are] a lot of good stories in this place.” “O’Flanagan’s was the first

bar I ever went to legally,” said Kenny Mathieu, who started habitually visiting the tavern in 2012. “It’s the first bar I was a regular at. It was a major part of my college experience.” For many regulars, the live band karaoke and cover band concerts were an essential and unique part of the O’Flanagan’s experience. “This place is home for us,” said Paul Briscoe, the bass player in the band Spoiled Rotten, which played O’Flanagan’s regularly for nearly 19 years. The band’s lead singer, Gia Piro, who is married to Briscoe, was similarly nostalgic. “It’s going to be extremely emotional,” she remarked about the bar’s closing. “We are devastated.” As a bar and relic of the Emerald Isle across the Atlantic, O’Flanagan’s will be missed. Its walls, adorned with a mural of Moore Street in Dublin, will remain on the sheetrock of the building, even during demolition. Everything else will stay in storage until the owners find a new location for the bar, which they are currently scouting for on the Upper East Side. “It was a great voyage,” said Mcgwyne over beers on the eve of the bar’s final night. “Some wonderful people we met over the years and we had a good time. And sadly, it’s coming to an end.” Mathieu echoed the sentiment. “It’s the end of an era,” he said.


SEPTEMBER 6-12,2018

29

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

YOUR 15 MINUTES

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

EATING ELEMENTALLY Chef Divya Alter serves up hearty vegan and vegetarian fare in a tranquil space on the Lower East Side. It’s quintessential Manhattan — though you just might forget you’re in New York BY ALIZAH SALARIO

When choosing a delicious tea off the menu, this reporter has never been asked to let her pulse be the deciding factor. But that’s exactly what Divya Alter, owner and culinary mastermind behind Divya’s Kitchen, suggested I do as we sat down at her Lower East Side restaurant. As the owner of New York’s only Ayurvedic restaurant since 2016, Alter is dedicated to serving flavorful vegan and vegetarian foods that aid digestion and balance the body and mind — the philosophy behind Ayurveda. The term combines the Sanskrit words for life (ayur) and science or knowledge (veda). When queried about whether

she recommended the spiced chai (with almond milk made in-house) or ginger tea, Alter asked if she could take my pulse. After pressing two fingers into my wrist, she determined I was slightly imbalanced toward vata, the element of air. Go with the chai, she said, which had cooling effect. Alter dished on how a modest cooking class spawned her popular cookbook, why food is medicine and medicine is food, and her journey from washing pots at an underground ashram in Communist Bulgaria to India to Manhattan restaurant owner.

How did you decide to open up an Ayurvedic restaurant? My story is that we’ve had a culinary school here in New York for the past 10 years. It’s called Bhagavat Life, so we’ve been teaching Ayurvedic cooking classes for the past 10 or more years. We were planning to move to another building because the space became too small ... so many people

who would come to our classes, and would eat a full meal at the end of the class and say, “Wow, this is so delicious, I feel so amazing, where do you eat like this in the city?” We were like, this is the only place that prepares this food! The space [below the cooking school] opened up at the right time, and we decided to open a restaurant.

Where did you learn to cook in the Ayurvedic tradition? I’m from Bulgaria, and I was looking to do yoga. At that time, Bulgaria was still a Communist country, so even yoga [studios] were not allowed in the country. So I found an underground yoga ashram, and I became an intern in exchange for learning yoga. This was 1990. My first intern job was helping in the kitchen, washing pots and chopping vegetables. I had no idea how to cook at the time, but this [was] when I fell in love with food and cooking. I became a trained chef at the ashram in the yogic tradition.

Wha brought you to New What York York? The Bhkati Center invitTh us to teach [in 2009]. ed u We started with a very simple cooking class, sim which whi grew into different levels, and now for the third year in October we’ll we’ be offering our 250hour hou culinary training, which is a program my wh husband and I developed hu because it didn’t exist be before. be

W Where do you source yo your produce and other all all-natural ingredients? II’m very particular about ingredients. I ab place all the orders mypl self. For food to be mese dicinal and really have d this medicinal effect t on o the body, it has to be b of very high quality. it We are 80 percent organic, and we try to o source locally when s possible. I work with a p company called Local c Bushel; they distribute produce from local farms. It’s harvest to order, so I place the order two days ahead of time, they harvest [the produce] and deliver it ... we make

Divya Alter: “It’s my passion.” Photo courtesy of Divya’s Kitchen fresh cheese, we make our own yogurt [from scratch], we make fresh ghee, like clarified butter, it’s very good for cooking. We also cook in non-toxic pots. It’s all geared toward supporting your health with food. It’s homelike, so it helps you relax and feel the nourishment you would at home. It’s actually hard to find home-like, freshly cooked food in the city, so that’s what we’re trying to create here.

When it comes to food, New York has an embarrassment of riches. How have New Yorkers, with their notoriously refined taste, responded to your restaurant? [People] come looking for an atmosphere that’s very relaxing and calm, or if they’re looking for food that’s really healthy but also delicious. One thing that people always tell me is they’re surprised when they first eat here. Even if they’re carnivores, they say, “I didn’t miss the meat at all.” One thing with Ayurvedic cuisine, if it’s done properly, you feel full and satisfied after your meal, but you don’t feel lethargic ... my cooking is all geared to support digestion. It’s not just for taste. If certain foods prepared together would impair your digestion, we wouldn’t serve them.

Do you live on the Lower East Side? I live upstairs! So work never ends ... I know a lot of the neighbors, we know each other by name. It’s very much like a village vibe, which I really love. I love New York because of the people. I don’t like the pollution, I don’t like the noise, but you can be happy anywhere when you have good company. That’s why I’ve been here in New York for already 10 years. That’s what’s keeping me.

Tell me more about your cookbook, “What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen.” I love that each recipe has variations that allow you to personalize it, depending on how you tend to experience imbalances. The cookbook really came from teaching a lot of classes, coming up with a lot of recipes. A lot of my students who come to my class would say I’m just tired of all these handouts, why don’t you just write a book? So I decided to write a book — I wrote it myself, I didn’t have a ghostwriter ... The cookbook teaches you how to cook seasonally; it’s particularly relevant for our hemisphere with the four seasons.

Running a restaurant is a grueling business. How do you managed to stay balanced? It’s very challenging when you run a business, and sometimes staying up late is a big problem for me. It’s difficult for me to balance, it’s not ideal for my health, but at the same time, what drives me is [that] I feel that I’m aligned with what I’m meant to do in this life, so it’s very fulfilling for me, and it’s my passion. I don’t have to force myself to come into the restaurant every day. But what really inspires me is our interaction with our guests. I like to come and be with the guests as much as possible. We develop such wonderful relationships, and many people, especially people who live in the neighborhood, they’re like, “I’m so glad you exist, my attitude to food changed.”

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SUDOKU by Myles Mellor and Susan Flanagan

COLOR GREENWICH VILLAGE by Jake Rose

Grove Court Nestled between Numbers 10 and 12 Grove Street is Grove Court, a row of six brickfaced townhouses sitting in an ivy-laden patch of land.

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


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PUBLIC AUCTION NOTICE OF SALE OF COOPERATIVE APARMENT 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 September 26, 2018, in the Rotunda of the New York County Courthouse, 60 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007, commencing at 1:45pm for the following account: Elia Ramos, as borrower, 250 shares of capital stock of 41214 East 10th Street Housing Development Fund Corporation and all right, title and interest in the Proprietary Lease to 412-14 E 10th Street, Apt. #5A, New York, NY 10009 Sale held to enforce rights of Citibank N.A., who reserves the right to bid. Ten percent (10%) Bank/Certified check required at sale, balance due at closing within thirty (30) days. The Cooperative Apartment will be sold “AS IS” 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 $156,647.52. This figure is for the outstanding balance due under UCC1, which was secured by Financing Statement in favor of Citibank, N.A. recorded on May 4,

2006 in CRFN 2006000249573. Please note this is not a payoff amount as additional interest/ fees/penalties may be incurred. You must contact the undersigned to obtain a final payoff quote or if you dispute any information presented herein. The estimated value of the above captioned premises is $541,000.00. 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 30, 2018 Frenkel, Lambert, Weiss, Weisman & Gordon, LLP Attorneys for Citibank N.A. 53 Gibson Street Bay Shore, NY 11706 631-969-3100 File #01-088585-F00 #95483

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