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The local paper for Downtown wn A SMALL BUSINESS PASSION PROJECT <P.16

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER

14-20 2017

DACA: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE DREAMERS A longtime community leader on his involvement with an East Harlem group devoted to helping Latino immigrants BY STEPHAN RUSSO

In February I retired from a job I loved. I had been the executive director of Goddard Riverside Community Center since 1998, having started my career there in the summer of 1976 as a young and impressionable youth worker. As I rose through the ranks of this venerable West Side agency, I clung to the values of fairness, social justice and the power of offering a helping hand. Today Goddard Riverside serves over 17,000 neighborhood residents and has been a citywide leader in street outreach, supportive housing and access to higher education for young people who are often the first in their families to attend college. Yet it was time for me to move on and pass the torch to the next generation of leadership. Faced with the challenge of transitioning from community leader to community member, I wanted to put my energies elsewhere in the quest to “do good.” The instinct to find community, and be part of something that makes a difference, brought me to a wonderful East Harlem organization called CREA, Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (The Center for Adult Education). I came upon CREA last spring after a conversation with an old friend and colleague. I related to her that I was interested in getting involved with a group working on immigration, particularly an organization deeply

A colorized postcard image from 1941 shows the giant, 17-foot, gold-tinted rotating globe in the lobby of the old Daily News Building at 220 East 42nd Street. One of the world’s largest indoor globes, it was used as a permanent educational science exhibit for schoolkids. Postcard: Published by Lumitone Photoprint, via Wikimedia Commons

CREA founder Maria Guadalupe Martinez (“Lupita”). Photo courtesy of CREA rooted in the Latino community. (I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1970s in Colombia, South America, and the warmth of that community has never left me.) “I know a marvelous woman who leads an education program in the Hispanic community,” my colleague said. “The program works primarily with immigrants of Mexican decent who never had the opportunity to complete their studies in their home countries and are motivated to improve their lives through education.” She put me in touch with Maria Guadalupe

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‘TOO TOUGH TO DIE’ MEDIA A former Daily News reporter ponders the sale of the storied tabloid, reflects on its past glories, marvels that it has once again dodged a bullet – and prays for twin miracles, its continued survival and success BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

A single pointed word, perfectly chosen, speaking volumes. The telltale exclamation point that follows. A haunting photo that, once seen, can never be forgotten. The visceral presentation, in print no less, that can shock, anger, inform and take your breath away, all at the same time.

This was newspapering at its most elemental, and, I would argue, at its finest: On January 12, 1928, murderess Ruth Snyder went to the electric chair at Sing Sing after she and a lover garroted her husband. And the next day, a photo of the execution ran on Page One of the Daily News. There was the one-word headline — “DEAD!” – topping a picture of a woman in a black dress, sitting upright in a chair, an electrode strapped to her leg, her face masked, head helmeted, an autopsy table at her side, at precisely the moment a fatal current coursed through her body. OK, it was lurid. And sensationalistic. Illicit, too. You can’t just snap photos in a death house. So a News lensman (yes, we actually called them that) smuggled in an ankle camera, a long cable release running up a trouDowntowner

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WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.12

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

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

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

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

The effort to help small seems to businesses in the city be gathering steam. Two city councilmembers, Robert Margaret Chin and Cornegy, have introduced create legislation that wouldSmall a new “Office of the within Business Advocate” of Small the city’s Department Business Services. Chin The new post, which have up told us she’d like to would and running this year, for serve as an ombudsman city small businesses within them clear government, helping to get through the bureaucracy things done. Perhaps even more also importantly, the ombudsman and number will tally the type small business of complaints by taken in owners, the actions policy response, and somefor ways to recommendations If done well, begin to fix things. report would the ombudsman’s give us the first quantitative with taste of what’s wrong the city, an small businesses in towards important first step fixing the problem. of for deTo really make a difference, is a mere formality will have to the work process looking to complete their advocate are the chances course, velopers precinct, but rising rents, -- thanks to a find a way to tackle business’ is being done legally of after-hours projects quickly. their own hours,” which remain many While Chin “They pick out boom in the number throughout who lives on most vexing problem. said Mildred Angelo,of the Ruppert construction permits gauge what Buildings one said it’s too early tocould have the 19th floor in The Department of the city. number three years, the Houses on 92nd Street between role the advocate She on the Over the past 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.” can’t come p.m. and 7 a.m., of these that the hollow boom, issuance reverse. owners, in business moving The increased beeps of a truck has generto a correspond and you as after-hours. soon enough. variances has led at the alarm clock The surge in permits

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

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

n OurTownDowntow

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Newscheck Crime Watch Voices

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

2 City Arts 3 Top 5 8 Real Estate 10 15 Minutes

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ser leg, and recorded the horrifying scene. Now, why is this a good thing? It was the mission of “New York’s Picture Newspaper” to show, not just tell. Its duty to readers was to present a vivid account by camera, not just pencil and paper. The editors wanted to show you what really happened inside that execution chamber. Did they want to sell newspapers? Of course. Yet look what else they accomplished. Opposition to capital punishment snowballed. A movement to reform American criminology was launched. Debates raged in state legislatures and European parliaments over the power of the state to kill its killers. Suddenly, the death penalty itself was in play.

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SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

DON’T DEMONIZE PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS current agony: Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in U.S. adults. A snake had wound itself around my spine. When the spasm was ferocious, I couldn’t get in and out of bed on my own or find a comfortable position to lie in. The oxycodone pills let me sink into sleep. As I felt their power I cried in gratitude. As the days passed and the intensity of the episode subsided, the snake relaxed its grip. I noticed that the morning following the night found me in a nothing-seemed-very-important world. Realizing that my daytime feelings might be related to the pills taken the night before, I refilled the antiinflammatory and muscle relaxant prescriptions but didn’t ask my physician to reorder the industrial strength painkiller. I’m not alone: A PubMed review found that among those who take opioids for pain, the rate of addiction averaged between 8 and 12 percent. That’s a huge number of people but, it’s critical to note, most use these

VIEWPOINT It’s misguided to link medical use with misuse BY LEIDA SNOW

New government numbers once again scream a staggering rise in drug deaths, but in most news reports, medical use is conflated with recreational misuse. And even though there is a downward trend in deaths from prescription opioids, and the upward data are shown to be related to increases in the supply and use of heroin and a mixing of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the government report still recommends “safer opioid prescribing.” When my back seized up some months ago, I embraced the heavy doses of prescribed painkillers, even as I followed the news about a national opioid epidemic. This wasn’t my first episode, and the overwhelming majority of sufferers could tell the same story of re-

meds responsibly, for short periods of acute distress. So is the opioid crisis a national emergency as President Donald Trump has declared, based on his bipartisan commission on opioids report? Or is the huge problem actually about recreational — rather than medical — misuse of drugs? Thousands of sufferers get hooked on strong pain relievers and move to heroin, some to minimize physical or emotional suffering, some to enjoy the euphoric feelings they give. Some want to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, which can include drug craving and muscle spasms. The problem is critical and can’t be minimized. But there is another way to look at this, admittedly serious, issue. No matter the drug, most addictions start in young adult years by those who misuse medications recreationally and then get hooked. In the “Unbroken Brain,” neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz discusses a groundbreaking

program that treats addiction as a developmental disorder from which sufferers can be taught recovery. Osteopathic physician Craig Antell, director of ambulatory orthopedic rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center, said that “opioid addiction is a critical national problem, but it needs to be put in perspective and not sensationalized. We don’t outlaw alcohol,” he continued, noting that a 2016 Surgeon General report included alcohol as part of the addiction crisis. “More people die from alcohol-related causes every year than do from opioids,” Antell emphasized. He said the use of the term “epidemic” could lead regulators to prevent physicians from prescribing painkillers to those who need them. While I’m currently not taking any medication, my back remains stiff. For chronic discomfort, there are back exercises, yoga, acupuncture, shiatsu, physical therapy and the Mayo Clinic’s concentration on perception. I’ve tried ver-

Tablets of oxycodone hydrochloride, an opioid analgesic. Photo: Babypat, via Wikimedia Commons sions of all of them. And I have the muscle relaxants and antiinflammatories handy. But if I ever have another acute episode, I hope my physician will be able to prescribe oxicodone or the equivalent. It is critical to remember that the big numbers of those addicted, troubling as they are, are a small percentage of the people who need, and use, prescription pain relievers on a temporary basis. While a Blue Cross report states that the high dosage of prescription

drugs like OxyContin and Percocet has seen a corresponding rise in the rate of abuse and addiction, it also notes that opioids are more likely to be prescribed for select acute short-term conditions. September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Recovery Month. Addiction won’t end if prescriptions for pain are limited. Linking medical use with misuse isn’t a solution. The opioid crisis should be confronted with care and caution.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

eat local with

dirt

THE CHALLENGE: Eat only food that’s grown, raised, produced or caught within 250 miles of your home in the bountiful month of September with five exceptions of your choosing The hope is that we will not only have a positive impact on the environment, local economy and your own health, but also that we’ll build community.

Are you in? Join your neighbors and sign up for a month, a week or a day at

eatlocalwithdirt.com Sponsored by SM

AUNTS: Free Interactive Dance Performance

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH, 7:30PM NYU Skirball Center | 566 LaGuardia Pl. | 212-998-4941 | nyuskirball.org Skirball hosts an interactive night of dance everywhere but in its stage. Wander through backstage, dressing rooms, hallways, and lobby are transformed for AUNTS and an “uptown/downtown performance extravaganza” (free).

“Passing Time”: A Conversation Between Andrea Köhler and Mark Lilla

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH, 6:30PM Deutsches Haus | 42 Wash. Mews | 212-998-8660 | deutscheshaus.as.nyu.edu Smartphones notwithstanding, the human experience is still marked by an awareness of waiting. Author Andrea Köhler discusses the marking of time with Columbia professor Mark Lilla (free).

Just Announced | Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing Live with John Dean

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 8PM NYU Skirball Center | 566 LaGuardia Pl. | 212-998-4941 | nyuskirball.org Catch the unlikely pairing of presidential impersonator Alec Baldwin and Watergate alum John W. Dean, as Baldwin hosts a live taping of his WNYC conversation series Here’s the Thing ($37-$65).

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

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


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

3

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG took the victimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bag of medication and ďŹ&#x201A;ed eastbound on Dover. The victim suffered a small cut to the left side of his neck but refused medical attention at the scene. The items stolen included Percocet, Gabapentin, blood pressure medications and more.

ARMED ROBBERY AT ATM

POLICE ARREST FIGHTING FOOD VENDORS There are food ďŹ ghts, and then there are food vendor ďŹ ghts. At 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, a 34-year-old male food vendor was getting ready for work inside 503 Broadway when he was assaulted by three other male food vendors working at the same location, police said. A 39-year-old male witness saw the trio set upon the victim, with one of the men holding some type of metal instrument in his hand that he used to assault the victim before throwing it in the back of their work truck. The victim was treated by EMS on the scene for pain to his groin area as well as an injury to his chest and neck. He was then removed to a hospital for further observation. Carlos

Lopez-Pizarro, Marco Vial, and Eduardo Latin-Cisterna were arrested on assault charges later that day.

MAN MUGGED OF MEDS One bad guy got away with very little after a recent mugging. At 11:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 31, a 36-yearold man was walking to his car at the southeast corner of Water and Dover Streets when a man wearing a black hoodie came up from behind, put his hand over the victimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mouth, held a sharp instrument to his neck, and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Give me your wallet, money, and phone!â&#x20AC;? The victim told the robber he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any money and that he had left his wallet and phone at home, according to police. The robber also

At 12:35 a.m. on Thursday, August 31, a 27-year-old woman stopped at the Santander Bank branch inside 2 Gold Street to withdraw money. As she was taking cash from the machine she saw a 45-year-old man attempting to open the door to the ATM vestibule. Once inside, the man stood behind her watching her withdraw the money before saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Give me a thousand dollars right now!â&#x20AC;? according to the police account. The woman told the man that she did not have that kind of money, at which he pulled up his shirt, drew from his waistband a black ďŹ rearm that he displayed to her, and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Give me what you got.â&#x20AC;? She handed over $160 to the man and emptied her purse to show him she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any more money. The man then ďŹ&#x201A;ed westbound on Maiden Lane toward Broadway. Police searched the area later but couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ďŹ nd the bandit.

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

Year to Date

2017 2016

% Change

2017

2016

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

12

8

50.0

Robbery

3

1

200.0

49

44

11.4

Felony Assault

3

1

200.0

56

55

1.8

Burglary

0

0

n/a

43

87

-50.6

Grand Larceny

24

20

20.0

674

712

-5.3

Grand Larceny Auto

0

1

-100.0

10

41

-75.6

UNSAFE STORAGE ROOM

RADIO CALL

One bike owner discovered that his ride wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t secure even in his doorman buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s locked bicycle storage room. At 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, a 26-year-old man placed his gray/red Cannondale CAAD12 in a locked bicycle storage room inside 325 North End Avenue. His bike was missing when he next went to retrieve it on on Friday, September 1. The Cannondale is valued at $2,549.

At 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, September 3, a 29-year-old man parked his Polaris motorcycle in front of 225 South End Avenue. When he returned at 8 a.m. the following morning, he discovered that his radio had been removed and the front bumper was showing minor damage. Police searched the area but couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t locate the thief or the stolen radio. The motorcycleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s radio was valued at $1,200.

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How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever.

City and Country School Keeping the progress in progressive education. Two-Year-Olds â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8th Grade

Open House: Thursday, November 16, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802

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3471CZSFHJTUFSJOHPOMJOFBUZPSLQSFQPSH "OZGVSUIFSRVFTUJPOT FNBJM,FMTJFJO"ENJTTJPOTBULQBUSJDL!ZPSLQSFQPSH York Prep is a coeducation college preparatory school for grades 6-12


4

SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Useful Contacts POLICE NYPD 7th Precinct

19 ½ Pitt St.

212-477-7311

NYPD 6th Precinct

233 W. 10th St.

212-741-4811

NYPD 10th Precinct

230 W. 20th St.

212-741-8211

NYPD 13th Precinct

230 E. 21st St.

NYPD 1st Precinct

16 Ericsson Place

212-477-7411 212-334-0611

FIRE FDNY Engine 15

25 Pitt St.

311

FDNY Engine 24/Ladder 5

227 6th Ave.

311

FDNY Engine 28 Ladder 11

222 E. 2nd St.

311

FDNY Engine 4/Ladder 15

42 South St.

311

ELECTED OFFICIALS Councilmember Margaret Chin

165 Park Row #11

Councilmember Rosie Mendez

237 1st Ave. #504

212-587-3159 212-677-1077

Councilmember Corey Johnson

224 W. 30th St.

212-564-7757

State Senator Daniel Squadron

250 Broadway #2011

212-298-5565

Community Board 1

1 Centre St., Room 2202

212-669-7970

Community Board 2

3 Washington Square Village

212-979-2272

Community Board 3

59 E. 4th St.

212-533-5300

Community Board 4

330 W. 42nd St.

212-736-4536

Hudson Park

66 Leroy St.

212-243-6876

Ottendorfer

135 2nd Ave.

212-674-0947

Elmer Holmes Bobst

70 Washington Square

212-998-2500

COMMUNITY BOARDS

LIBRARIES

HOSPITALS New York-Presbyterian

170 William St.

Mount Sinai-Beth Israel

10 Union Square East

212-844-8400

212-312-5110

CON EDISON

4 Irving Place

212-460-4600

TIME WARNER

46 East 23rd

813-964-3839

US Post Office

201 Varick St.

212-645-0327

US Post Office

128 East Broadway

212-267-1543

US Post Office

93 4th Ave.

212-254-1390

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WHIRLWIND BY PETER PEREIRA


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

DACA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Martinez (“Lupita”), the visionary founder of CREA. I trekked over to CREA and met with Lupita, whose boundless energy became immediately apparent. Her story, like many who have settled here seeking a better life and have made a contribution to our city, is remarkable. Lupita journeyed to this country in the late 1990s. She was a PTA leader in her son’s school and realized that many Spanish-speaking parents were afraid to become involved because they themselves had not finished their education and were reluctant to participate in their child’s education. Lupita quickly discovered her passion to help her fellow parents by establishing her own “Plaza Comunitaria,” an educational program recognized by the Mexican government that offers literacy, elementary, middle and high school equivalency classes, as well as life-skills workshops to Spanishlanguage communities. The first year (2013) CREA had 40 participants and today provides a community education program for close to 100 students. The needs of the students who attend CREA extend beyond the classes and workshops. Lupita has created a tight-knit, supportive community. The program is fully staffed by volunteer teachers as well as interns from “La Universidad IberoAmericana” in Mexico City and CUNY. CREA has partnered with an experienced counselor who helps students with the plethora of issues beyond education – food, housing, jobs and family crises. Now CREA finds itself confronting a troubling national issue. The announcement last week by the Trump administration rescinding the DACA program created by former president Obama has alarmed the Latino community. Several volunteer interns who teach classes have sought protection under DACA. If they lose their DACA status, CREA would be hard pressed to find qualified, Spanish-speaking instructors. Lupita pointed out that the elimination of DACA would affect en-

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Math lessons. Photo courtesy of CREA

tire families, not just the young people who have been able to take advantage of the opportunity to study and work without the fear of being deported. “The worst part of Trump’s announcement is the fear and uncertainty which has been created in the community,” said Lupita. “The administration is causing great pain, despair and suffering. For Trump, this is a game of chess with many moving pieces; but for the Latino community, it is life itself. On the one hand he praises the accomplishments of these young people yet puts forth policies which will drive them back into the shadows.” The concerns of this community are not new. CREA has been able to facilitate legal help to those whose status is uncertain and provide concrete ways to deal with ICE’s more aggressive approach. Lupita highlighted the importance of empowering her community with information, and remains confident that its strength and determination will help see it through this period. “The young people in DACA want nothing more than to improve their lives by educating themselves,” Lupita stressed. “They have been raised here and love this country. Their parents work long hours to provide them with a better life. We also have to recognize that the people in our community are not going anywhere. This is where they work, study and raise their families. They are an integral part of our city.” I am in awe of the sheer determination and optimism of Lupita, the volunteers and her group of advisors. In addition to confronting the DACA crisis, CREA is currently searching for a permanent home and additional resources to sustain its work. How fortunate for me to have stumbled upon this East Harlem hidden gem of an organization as I deal with my own professional transition and ongoing desire to remain involved in community work. I am currently helping CREA become its own 501c3 non-profit organization with the assistance of Lawyers Alliance for New York. I just may have found what I was looking for.

Students in class. Photo courtesy of CREA

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SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

RETURN OF CIRCUS TO PARK REKINDLES TENSIONS OPEN SPACE Residents criticize Lincoln Center for using Damrosch to host what is now a for-profit enterprise BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The Big Apple Circus is set to return to Damrosch Park next month after a tumultuous one-year hiatus from the venue during which the circus, formerly a nonproďŹ t, declared bankruptcy and was reconstituted as a for-profit business. But as Big Apple prepares to pitch its tent again in its former longtime home, it faces opposition from some neighbors, parks advocates and local officials, who claim that hosting the revamped circus in Damrosch Park is an inappropriate use of public land by a commercial enterprise, and may violate the terms of a 2014 legal settlement. Damrosch Park, a 2.4-acre plaza on West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, is a public park that owned by the city but operated and managed by Lincoln Center under a license agreement with the Parks Department. Lincoln Center hosts various programming in the space, such as free outdoor concerts and movie screenings, as well as larger events that occupy the park for longer periods of time, such as the circus and, formerly, Fashion Week. Until it ďŹ led for bankruptcy last year, Big Apple Circus had been a ďŹ xture in Damrosch Park since the 1980s, staging performances in the plaza for a few months each year. The circus, which had previously operated as a nonprofit, was bought at auction earlier this year by Florida-based investment ďŹ rm and relaunched as a for-proďŹ t venture. In March, the reconstituted Big Apple Circus reached an agreement with Lincoln Center to return to Damrosch from Oct. 8 to Feb. 1 for the next 10 years. The circusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ rst performance of the 2017 season is scheduled for Oct. 27 with tickets already on sale. Helen Rosenthal, the city council representative whose district in-

In March, the Big Apple Circus signed a 10-year deal with Lincoln Center to return to Damrosch Park for performances in October through January. Photo: Reed George, via Flickr cludes the park, has criticized the deal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re using a name of what was a public nonproďŹ t to mask what is now a private company,â&#x20AC;? Rosenthal said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m opposed to it.â&#x20AC;? Lincoln Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s management of the park has been a repeated point of contention with some community members, who feel that the open space has been used too often for special events. Fashion Week was the subject of a 2013 lawsuit ďŹ led by community members and parks advocates, who claimed that the event, which was held in the park for several years, was an inappropriate non-park use of the space and violated the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Public Trust Doctrine, a common-law standard that holds that parkland exists for the beneďŹ t of the public at large, not just for some. The plaintiffs reached a settlement with Lincoln Center and the Parks Department in 2014, after which Fashion Week was relocated and Lincoln Center implemented a landscape plan to replace trees and shrubs that had been uprooted to make room for tents during the event. Though the impetus of the 2014 settlement was the use of the park for Fashion Week, some opponents of the new agreement with Big Apple Circus say that the settlement includes terms that are not speciďŹ c to Fashion Week and also apply to events like the recon-

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stituted circus. SpeciďŹ cally, they point to a clause in the 2014 settlement that states that the city and Lincoln Center â&#x20AC;&#x153;intend to further expand public access to the Park by not entering into agreements for commercial events substantially similar in nature, size and duration to Fashion Week and for which access is not generally available to the public.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It almost describes the Big Apple Circus exactly,â&#x20AC;? Bill Raudenbush, a local activist and critic of the new circus deal, said of the language in the 2014 settlement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no small thing that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for-proďŹ t and takes up almost the entire park.â&#x20AC;? (Raudenbush, who is running as an independent for the City Council seat held by Rosenthal, said that he credits the incumbent for her stance on the issue.) Rosenthal, who chairs the City Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contracts committee, plans to look into whether Lincoln Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new agreement with Big Apple Circus violates the letter or spirit of the 2014 settlement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already let Lincoln Center know I plan on investigating this very seriously,â&#x20AC;? she said. Olive Freud, who serves as president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, a plaintiff in the 2014 lawsuit, said that her group and other plaintiffs in the suit plan to send a letter to Lincoln Center and the city

expressing concern that the terms of the settlement are not being met. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were enough stipulations in there to protect the community, and if they violate the stipulations theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be taken to court,â&#x20AC;? Freud said. Mary Caraccioli, Lincoln Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief communications officer, said that Big Apple Circusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s status as a commercial enterprise is not an issue â&#x20AC;&#x201D; circuses she said, are firmly entrenched as an appropriate use of public space. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tons of legal precedence saying that a circus, forprofit or not-for-profit, is a park-like use,â&#x20AC;? she said. Parks Department spokesperson Crystal Howard echoed the sentiment in an emailed statement, writing, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Circuses are parks appropriate events that have taken place in New York City parks for decades and the reconstituted Big Apple Circus is no different.â&#x20AC;? The city has permitted forproďŹ t circuses to be held in other public parks in the past and city parks also host concessions and other for-proďŹ t enterprises. Caraccioli added that the circus is â&#x20AC;&#x153;nothing likeâ&#x20AC;? Fashion Week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fashion Week was closed to the public,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy tickets if you wanted to. It was not seen as a parklike use because it was closed. [The circus] is open to the public. There are free shows, there are low-cost shows, there are tickets available at every price point imaginable, as there always have been.â&#x20AC;? Caraccioli said that the layout of the circus would be â&#x20AC;&#x153;substantially the sameâ&#x20AC;? as the last time it occupied Damrosch Park in 2015. She added that the site plan was speciďŹ cally designed to ďŹ t within the footprint of the landscape plan agreed to in the 2014 settlement. Geoffrey Croft, the president of NYC Park Advocates, a group that was a plaintiff in the Fashion Week lawsuit, said that the for-proďŹ t circus does not belong in Damrosch Park. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bottom line for us has always been this is a private business and there are obviously lots of locations to run a private business,â&#x20AC;? Croft said.

Klari Neuwelt, the chair of Community Board 7â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Parks and Environment Committee, expressed concerns about the deal at the full boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sept. 5 meeting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is not at all clear to us what the review process was for this new for-profit entity that will take up the entirety of Damrosch Park for four months every year for the next 10 years with the Department of Parks and Recreation,â&#x20AC;? Neuwelt said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a very not-transparent process. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not sure whether the Parks Department knew that this was a for-proďŹ t circus.â&#x20AC;? The ďŹ nancial details of the arrangement â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including how much Big Apple Circus will pay Lincoln Center for the use for the use of the public park â&#x20AC;&#x201D; have not yet been shared publicly and were redacted from the copy of the contract that was provided to the Parks Department. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how much the forproďŹ t circus is paying to Lincoln Center,â&#x20AC;? Neuwelt said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of public policy and transparency issues concerning this new contract.â&#x20AC;? Lincoln Center is required to report its park-related revenue to the Parks Department each year, and all such revenue is rededicated to maintaining the space. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Where that revenue goes is to Damrosch Park and all the public spaces of Lincoln Center,â&#x20AC;? Caraccioli said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Instead of taxes going up to pay for it, that money goes to pay for the upkeep of these public spaces.â&#x20AC;? Some opponents of the deal claim that Lincoln Center failed to adequately consult the community about its plans for the park, as they believe Lincoln Center was required to do under the terms of the 2014 settlement; Lincoln Center disputes this, claiming that the requirement in question applied speciďŹ cally to the landscape plan and was fully met. Caraccioli touted the circus as an important performing arts resource at Lincoln Center that benefits the surrounding community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It just seems that there are some people who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want a circus in their backyard and they are trying to rewrite a legal agreement to ďŹ t their point,â&#x20AC;? she said.


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Voices

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GRADUATING SENIORS GRAYING NEW YORK BY MARCIA EPSTEIN

Considering what I hear from my friends who have moved to assisted living or retirement communities, the feelings involved aren’t much different from the long ago move from home to college. The sense of loneliness, of dislocation, of unreality are much the same. When an 18-year-old moves away from home for the first time, however much he or she has been anticipating it, there

is often a feeling of shock. Where am I? Who are these people? Where are my old friends, my old bedroom, my old routine? Recently The Times had an article on this sense of displacement in new college students, and somehow it sounded very familiar. Aside from my own experience decades ago with similar emotions, it sounded very much like what I‘m hearing about leaving one’s home to move for an assisted living or retirement community. The same sense of disorientation, of loss, even fear. As beautiful as the new facil-

ity may be, it’s not “home.” Not yet, not for a long time. It’s a major life change, just as college was. I’ve even heard a retirement home called the “campus,” and one woman spoke of the need to get “off campus” and see old friends. Although these retirement homes sound idyllic to me — all meals, swimming pools, activities, people around all the time — I remember how traumatized I was years ago moving from one floor to another in my own building, so I don’t fool myself that it would be easy. Not that I can afford it, not by any means, so it’s moot for me. But since I prefer to be around people my age or older, it does have its enticements. I have many friends who love to be around younger people; they say it refreshes them, keeps them “young.”

Aside from my family, I don’t feel the same way. I don’t feel any sense of connection to young people, or even the middle-aged. Older people are going through what I am, we can all relate. Younger folks just don’t get it. For the very young, life stretches out ahead of them in endless years. The middle-aged are usually involved in child rearing and/ or careers. My contemporaries are usually retired, finding their way in the world without the schedule that work requires, dealing with various aches and pains, and looking at a limited number of years ahead of them. These are my folks! What could I possibly talk to younger people about? I know very little about new technology, and don’t much care to. I don’t have a smartphone or a smart TV; I don’t know

what the iCloud is, I don’t use Twitter or Snapchat. Truly, I, like many of my friends, feel invisible to young people. And so, in many ways, I’d feel right at home in a retirement community where I’m sure people chat with each other and not through texting. I don’t think I’d miss screaming children in restaurants and music so loud I can’t hear my friends talk. But as I’ve said before, there isn’t any way I can afford to move to such a facility, and maybe it’s for the best. I’m sure I’d have the same feelings that I’m hearing about regarding the “what the heck am I doing here?” thoughts that my friends, and friends of friends are dealing with. Interesting though, the parallels between new college students and new assisted living/retirement community residents. Food for thought.

TIME TO PROTECT CYCLISTS ON OUR CROSSTOWN STREETS As bike ridership surges, protected lanes and other safety measures are essential BY GALE BREWER

This summer, two cyclists were fatally struck in Chelsea. The first was a 36-year-old man riding east on a Citi Bike along 26th Street. He was hit by a charter bus just past Eighth Avenue, the first fatality in the four years since Citi Bike started. The second victim was an 80-year-old man, struck while riding near the intersection of West 29th Street and Seventh Avenue. If there had been protected bike lanes on those streets, these two men would probably still be alive. Bike ridership is surging in our city. As the Department of Transportation’s latest study shows, the number of New Yorkers who cycle regularly has grown 150 percent in the last decade. This trend is good news for New Yorkers’ health and for congestion; every person on a bike is one less person traveling by car through our increasingly congested streets or on jam-packed trains in our subway system. But we have to plan for growth in cycling — and the safety needs that come with it. Most of our borough’s crosstown

The Second Avenue Subway Transit Garden on the Upper East Side, configured earlier this year, includes a protected bike lane. Photo: New York Department of Transportation streets are far narrower than our avenues, which makes it harder to accommodate separated bike lanes on some of these roadways without removing parking spaces. And street design changes always rankle some – the few New Yorkers who own cars want to preserve parking, and all of us worry about worsened congestion when driving lanes are narrowed. But if we do not include more crosstown bike lanes, tragic collisions like the ones we have seen this summer will

likely continue. This is a no-brainer and long overdue. I am urging the Department of Transportation to embark on a study of Manhattan’s crosstown streets to determine which could best accommodate protected, river-to-river bike lanes with the least amount of disturbance to traffic flows. The city should plan to start building new bike lanes by next summer. Mayor Bill de Blasio should be commended for the work he has done to

expand our city’s bike lanes so far. In 2016, the Department of Transportation added an unprecedented 75 miles of bike lanes across the city, and 18 of those routes were fully protected. Last year the mayor also committed to installing 10 miles of protected bike lanes in New York City each year moving forward, and he increased bike lane funding from $245,000 to $690,000 in this year’s budget. It is nearly possible to the entire length of our borough in a protected bike lane — but there’s virtually no safe way to go crosstown. There’s more to be done — and bike lanes aren’t the only preventive measure. We should be looking into carrots and sticks to push intercity buses onto broader streets and keep them off the narrower side-streets where these crashes occurred. Intercity buses that veer off broad streets and designated bus routes have been a problem for years. One of the problems is these buses don’t have good places to go – capacity at the current Port Authority Bus Terminal is stretched to the limit, and many buses don’t even use the terminal as a pickup and drop-off point. As the Port Authority considers options for replacing or supplementing its midtown terminal, part of a long-term solution

has to include getting more buses off of the streets. Large trucks also pose a safety concern for pedestrian and bikers. Projects like the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel long championed by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler would help dramatically reduce the number of trucks on our streets. This is urgently needed — on Sept. 11, a woman on a Citi Bike was struck and injured by a truck on Seventh Avenue and 30th Street, just five blocks from the site of the first Citi Bike fatality earlier this summer. We must continue to implement life-saving street treatments like the creation of protected bike lanes. These improvements not only lead to much safer cycling conditions, they also have been found to improve quality of life and boost small businesses that depend on pedestrians. The Department of Transportation needs to conduct a crosstown streets study so we can determine which streets can best accommodate safetyminded changes. Even one preventable fatality is too many. We cannot afford to lose more New Yorkers to senseless traffic violence. Gale Brewer is the Manhattan Borough President

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A SEPTEMBER ELEVEN SALUTE POETRY BY JOHN PETERS

September 11. 2002 First anniversary, honorable visit, recall fire-fighters, patriots all. In terrorist’s terror, evil in thrust, stabs of agony. In dusts of disaster, in shards of debris, screams, announcing catastrophe. The nation grieves, rivers, streams of tears, heroic, the survivors. Collective grief proved her best, this crisis time. Freedom is not free. On hallowed ground, ghosts abound, ‘round this day of infamy. Freedom is not free.

Crash site, hallowed ground, resounds, the terror unleashed that recalled, fatal day. A somber city sobs a cry, “Heal we must and heal we will, take comfort in our history.” The wound is raw, the sorrow true, hurt beyond despair, like nightmares in a dream. The hurt remains, embrace the pain, the hallowed ground moans, still, Freedom is not free. Brotherhood, goodwill demands, a chain of loving helpful hands. Freedom is not free. We rise, stronger in our worth, Glow, “Bright light of liberty”. Freedom is not free. John Peters, an artist, orator and poet, is 90 years old and a resident of Westbeth artist housing.

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Thu 14 Fri 15

‘NEW YORK’ MAGAZINE EDITORS TALK ‘IN SEARCH OF FELLINI’ MURDER AND CRIME Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway 7:30 p.m. $26, includes admission & signed book copy Join “New York” senior editor Carolyn Murnick and culture editor Adam Sternbergh as they discuss true and fictionalized crime. “Vulture” books editor Boris Kachka will moderate a discussion covering Murnick’s debut memoir, “The Hot One” and Sternbergh’s novel “The Blinds.” 212-473-1452. strandbooks. com

THE MAN WHO CAPTURED EICHMANN Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place 3 p.m. Free with museum admission Peter Malkin, the Israeli intelligence agent who directed the surveillance leading to the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, will be remembered by his son, Omer Malkin. The younger Malkin will talk with Harry Stein, co-author of Peter Malkin’s 1990 memoir, “Eichmann in My Hands.” 646-437-4202. mjhnyc.org

Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Ave. 10 a.m. $15 Don’t miss this eccentric film about a small-town Ohio girl who discovers the films of Federico Fellini and sets off on a strange, beautiful journey across Italy to find him. 212-529-6998. citycinemas. com/villageeast

NAOMI KLEIN AND RICHARD KIM IN CONVERSATION Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway 6 p.m. $15.26 admission and signed copy of the book Acclaimed journalist, activist and author Naomi Klein talks to executive editor of “The Nation” Richard Kim about her latest book, “No Is Not Enough,” and survival in tumultuous political times. 212-473-1452. strandbooks. com

Sat 16 ▲IDEASCITY NEW YORK Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Chrystie Street, one block from the New Museum 10 a.m. Free Explore ideas and strategies for urban innovation at this daylong festival themed around “100 Actions for the Future City,” Includes performances, workshops and a panel of mayors including Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Maurice Cox, former mayor of Charlottesville, Va. 212-219-1222. newmuseum. org/calendar

LOVELESS TEXAS Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker St. 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. $40 Set in Texas oil country during the Great Depression, this bluegrass-twinged indie musical echoes Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” if the Bard knew the Cajun waltz and cowboy yodels. Presented by the Boomerang Theatre Company. Through Sept. 24 212-925-2812. sheencenter. org/shows


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Fall IS HERE!

Advertise your open houses, after school programs or tutoring services Say hello to Arnie (on left) and Arya (on right). Both of them are availeble for adoption! Find out more at www.animalalliancenyc.org

Sun 17 â&#x2013;˛ADOPTAPALOOZA Union Square Park North Plaza, 22 East 17th St. 12 p.m. Free Seeking a new furry friend? More than 300 homeless dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and rabbits in need of new homes will be at the Mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Alliance for NYCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Animals adoption event. 212-252-2350. animalalliancenyc.org/events

A PUBLIC FORUM Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. 7 p.m. $35 Kick off the season with a celebration of the last 50 years of creation and innovation in downtown New York City. Featuring musicians, playwrights, professors, curators and others. 212-539-8500. publictheater. org

Mon 18 DAME JUDI DENCH IN CONVERSATION BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. 7 p.m. $50 Join Dame Judi Dench and New York Times contributing writer Logan Hill as they

discusses the legendary Oscar, Bafta and Golden-Globe winning actressâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decades long career and her reprised her role as British royalty in her upcoming ďŹ lm "Victoria and Abdul.â&#x20AC;? 212-220-1459. tickets. tribecapac.org

her new book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're.â&#x20AC;? 212-587-5389. stores. barnesandnoble.com/event

Tue 19

P. DIDDY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;TIMESâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; TALK

CREATIVE ALCHEMY WITH PATTI SMITH Barnes & Noble Union Square, 33 East 17th St. 7 p.m. Free, priority access with purchase of book Travel to the South of France to Camusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house and meet the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov and Genet with musician and author Patti Smith as she discusses her new book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Devotionâ&#x20AC;?, an exploration of the nature of creative invention. 212-253-0810. stores. barnesandnoble.com/events

TESS HOLLIDAY BOOK SIGNING Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren St. 6 p.m. $17.53 includes book, wristbands will be distributed beginning 10 a.m. Both are required for attendance. Plus-size supermodel Tess Holliday makes a passionate plea for modern women to embrace the body positive movement in

Wed 20 The New School, 66 West 12th St. 7 p.m. $60 For Sean â&#x20AC;&#x153;Diddyâ&#x20AC;? Combs, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not only about the Benjamins. The Grammy-award winning record producer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist discusses his career, creative inspirations and his criticallyacclaimed documentary, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Stop, Wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Stop: A Bad Boy Story.â&#x20AC;? timestalks.com/index

5HDFKDIĂ XHQWSDUHQWV looking for help in your neighborhood! (SAT, ACT, SHSAT) Targeted options include neighborhood newspapers, GHGLFDWHGHPDLOEODVWVDQG K\SHUORFDOZHEVLWHV

ROOFTOP PAINTING WORKSHOP Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, 1 Clarkson St. 6 p.m. Free At this rooftop watercolor painting and monotypes printmaking workshop, learn the basics of materials, mixing colors and how to paint from observation. Supplies are provided, no experience necessary. 212-408-0243. nycgovparks. org/events

&DOO9LQFHQW*DUGLQRÂ&#x2021;[ DGYHUWLVLQJ#VWUDXVQHZVFRP

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SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

‘THE RISE AND FALL OF TIMES SQUARE’ “The Deuce” recaptures the area’s peep shows, gin mills and massage parlors of the early 1970s BY FRAZIER MOORE

You don’t have to look far to find a New Yorker who beefs about what 42nd Street has become. That stretch between Eighth Avenue and Broadway just off Times Square: It’s now a frothy family friendly cauldron of theaters, eateries and other tourist draws that many natives denounce as “Disneyfied.” By any description, it’s a stunning transformation from the urban slag of peep shows, gin mills and massage parlors known as “the Deuce” back in 1971 — the time and place in which a magnificent new HBO drama series, “The Deuce,” is immersed. (Its eightepisode season premiered Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern.) For devotees of “The Wire” and “Treme,” nothing more need be said

about “The Deuce” than it was cocreated by David Simon and George Pelecanos, who can lay claim to those extraordinary dramas. Pelecanos’ shorthand for his new series: “the rise and fall of Times Square.” More specifically, this first season tracks the rise of the flesh trade from what was then called “smut” and what jokester Johnny Carson dubbed “strolling hostesses” to today’s billion-dollar industry whose wares are just a cellphone call away. From its first scenes, “The Deuce” gets under your skin. As on “The Wire” (set in Baltimore) and “Treme” (New Orleans), this new series populates its chosen world with a rich spectrum of characters that range from pimps and prostitutes and drug dealers to mobsters and dirty cops and even a New York University dropout-turned-barmaid. But among the series’ splendid ensemble, the greater among equals

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy in “The Deuce.” Photo: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

James Franco in twin roles in “The Deuce.” Photo: Paul Schiraldi/HBO are Maggie Gyllenhaal as a defiantly entrepreneurial hooker who sees adult films as her ticket to success and James Franco, who tackles twin roles as identical twins: Vincent, an oddly high-minded bar owner who fronts for the mob, and Frankie, a rascally, trouble-courting cad. The denizens of the Deuce trace intertwined narratives that unspool in matter-of-fact yet lyrical fashion, all set against an exactingly re-created Big Apple of nearly a half-century ago. Perhaps no one is more knocked out by this production-design wizardry than Franco. “You watch all the old (Martin) Scorsese and Sidney Lumet films that I love from that era, and all they had to do was put their cameras where they wanted and it was fine,” he says. “But not only did we have to set up all the shots, we also had to make up everything you see in the frame.” On top of that were his dual roles, which include scenes where, with cinematic fluency, he interacts with himself in the same frame. It’s no small trick. “I go in usually as Vincent first,” explains Franco in a soft, confiding tone as he leans in to his interviewer, “just because of the way the makeup and the hair worked, even though I would have rather done Frankie first, since he’s the more extroverted one. And

then I’d do Frankie. And each time, the actor playing opposite me” — a place-holder in the two-shot — “would remember what I did with the other brother from when we rehearsed, so he could do it himself.” All that, plus in two of the episodes, Franco is also directing himself. “It’s a real case of compartmentalizing,” he says. By phone, Pelecanos noted that onscreen twins played by a single actor are usually each given distinctive grooming or garb. Not here, apart from a helpful cut on Vincent’s forehead in the earlier episodes that help viewers get accustomed to telling the two characters apart. “We kept them very similar in the way they look,” Pelecanos said. “What Franco did to differentiate the characters was all acting. Not just line delivery, but his posture, the way he walked — that was all him. What he did with the twins was really great.” Vincent and Frankie are based on real-life twins, with the bar that “Vincent” actually ran in the early `70s a well-known hangout for all types of people. “Gays, straights, prostitutes, pimps, cops, porn actors — everybody was welcome,” Pelecanos said. “That was real attractive to us dramatically.” But the series’ central theme — an

explosion in the sex trade as obscenity laws began to fall away — was much more difficult to dramatize. “This is a tough show to do without being exploitative,” Pelecanos said. “And if, in the end, we have done that, we’re guilty of the thing we’re presenting. But hopefully, we hit the mark. If you look at the scenes where they’re making porn, it’s not sexy at all.” (As evidence, look no further than Episode Two’s potato soup.) Future seasons of “The Deuce” will follow the porn boom, the sexual revolution and, all too soon, the scourge of AIDS. By the mid-’80s, the ease and economy of video production would spell the end of back-room porn films. Then the porn industry moved out West. By the 1990s, on the eve of Time Square’s cloying renaissance, 42nd Street had been left to rot. With that much story left to tell, Franco is itching to get a green light for Season 2. “I remember walking around New York last summer when we were filming the first season and just thinking, This is the dream! The best writers in television. An incredible cast. And not only one great role, but TWO great roles.” He flashes a smile as only James Franco can. “This is as good as it gets!”


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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

13

MAKING THEIR MAARKAH FASHION Designers from the Middle East and North Africa make their debut at NYFW BY ALIZAH SALARIO

Moroccan fashion designer Khaoula Ouilal runs her fingers along the handsewn sequins and ornate braided piping, called sfifa, that embellish a blushcolored gown. Her design glints in the afternoon light pouring into Studio 450, an airy loft space Chelsea. Ouilal, 27, is about an hour away from unveiling the collection she created in a Marrakesh studio on a New York runway. Ouilal is one of ten designers who presented her fall collection at MAARKAH, a Fashion Week showcase on September 11 featuring designers of Middle Eastern and African descent. Far from the mainstage and the hoopla of celebrity-driven runways, the show drew a quiet crowd. MAARKAH, meaning brand in Arabic, was produced by the fashion promotion agency Runway Prestige and Rabab Abdalla, who wanted to see greater representation of Middle Eastern and African designers in mainstream American fashion. “We’re putting a spotlight on them so that they become the brand, the maarkah,” says Abdalla. Inclusion has long been an issue during Fashion Week, from the narrow standards of beauty and body shapes on display on runways to the lack of diversity among designers. In recent years, efforts have been made toward greater diversity. “I like the initiative,” says designer Houda El Fechka. “I think it’s time to get this kind of fashion in New York Fashion Week.” El Fechka, who was born in Holland to Moroccan parents, wears aviator sunglasses and pristine cream-colored sneakers. A bold rhinestone brooch pins the fabric of her hijab over one shoulder. She previously presented a couture collection at New York Fashion Week, but this is the first time she will show looks that incorporate elements of traditional Moroccan design. Inspired by a recent trip to Andalusia, her fall line reflects the Arabic influences in Spanish culture. Many of her designs juxtapose unexpected fabrics, shapes and silhouettes — lace on caftans, for instance — to create a look she describes as sensual, elegant and more theatrical than her previous collections. “I always believe that fashion is a language we all speak, whether Muslim, non-Muslim, Christian, Jewish,” says El Fechka. The language of fashion inspired Michal Hidas, an Israeli designer who studied and worked in Milan, to

From Israeli designer Michael Hidas’s “Bridging” collection with a Palestinian artist. Photo: Alizah Salario

Designer Khaoula Ouilal. Photo: Alizah Salario co-create the “Bridging” collection. After volunteering with Israeli children recovering from trauma after the 2014 conflict between Israel and Gaza, she wanted to learn more about how children in Gaza were coping with trauma. Hidas began Googling the same phrases in Hebrew, English and Italian, and realized that vastly different images appeared depending on which language she typed into the search engine. “You see something completely different, and you don’t know what is the reality,” say Hidas. “You only know what’s happening by speaking to people.” Hidas then began reaching out to artists and designers throughout the Muslim world on social media, and developed an online friendship with a Palestinian artist and architect. Though the two have never met in person — he cannot leave Gaza, and she cannot enter — they collaborate online. The Palestinian artist created a series of freehand drawings, which are printed in bold colors and patterns

on dresses that Hidas designed. The result is a collection called Bridging. As Moroccan-American designer Issam Balalioui prepares to launch his fall collection on the runway, he wears tinted sunglasses a mesh trucker hat pulled down low. Once the show begins, he’ll swap it out for a tarbouche, the deep red brimless cap topped with a silk tassel traditionally worn by Muslim men in Morocco. “There’s a lot of color in my show,” he says. Balalioui, who earned his degree in business administration and worked in sales in the U.S. before returning to Morocco and pursuing fashion, takes pride in mixing aesthetics and accessories from different cultures. For Balalioui, East and West, and modern and traditional, are not mutually exclusive categories. El Fechka too designs without borders, and with a person’s character in mind, not their country of origin. “I design for the strong woman that knows what she wants, and is confident, and ready to conquer the world.”

Moroccan-American designer Issam Balalioui. Photo: Alizah Salario


14

SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS Pera Soho

54 Thompson Street

Grade Pending (47) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Cafetal Social Club/ Chachis

285 Mott Street

Grade Pending (27) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Atla

372 Lafayette St

Grade Pending (35) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

The Pokespot

25 Cleveland Pl

Grade Pending (27) 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. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Joe & The Juice

161 Prince St

Not Yet Graded (22) 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. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Deng Ji II

51 Division St

Not Yet Graded (31) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

375 Thrice Cooked Fries

124 Ludlow St

Not Yet Graded (35) No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Uchu

217 Eldridge St

Not Yet Graded (40) Food contact surface improperly constructed or located. Unacceptable material used. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Grade Pending (28) 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. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

1 Pike

1 Pike St

A

Cutting Board

53 Bayard St

Grade Pending (9) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Bubby’s

120 Hudson Street

A

AUG 28 - SEP 3, 2017 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml.

Taj Cafe

310 East 6 Street

A

Klimat

77 East 7 Street

A

The Immigrant Tap Room

341 E 9th St

A

Setsugekka

74 E 7th St

A

Sal Anthony’s Restaurant

226 3rd Ave

Grade Pending (81) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Food contact surface improperly constructed or located. Unacceptable material used. No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Pure Green

60 E 8th St

A

Key Bar

432 East 13 Street

A

Planet Rose

219 Avenue A

A

Donostia

155 Ave B

A

Two Boots

42 Avenue A

A

Extra Virgin

259 West 4 Street

A

Tacoria Meza

95 7 Avenue South

Grade Pending (22) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours. Food worker does not use proper utensil to eliminate bare hand contact with food that will not receive adequate additional heat treatment.

Wild

Saturdays Surf

535 Hudson Street

17 Perry Street

Grade Pending (19) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewageassociated (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.

Art Bar

52 8 Avenue

A

Dim Sum Vip

68 Mott St

A

Cafe Cluny

284 West 12 Street

A

Oppa

261-267 Canal St

A

Potjanee

48 Carmine St

A

Milk And Cream Bar

159 Mott St

A

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

181 Waverly Pl

A

Boba Guys

261 Canal St

Hudson Cafe

628 Hudson St

A

Chalait

375 Hudson St

A

Pokerice

162 W 4th St

A

Grade Pending (27) Food worker does not wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, coughing, sneezing, smoking, eating, preparing raw foods or otherwise contaminating hands. Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Gmt Tavern

142 Bleecker Street

A

Kuro-Obi

261-267 Canal St

A


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

15

DAILY NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 It’s called doing-good-by-doing-well journalism: “It wasn’t about public service, it was the drive to get something the other guy hasn’t got,” said longtime press agent, publicist and political fixer Morty Matz, 93, who worked on The News’ picture desk from 1949 to 1960. “But it evolved into a public service,” he added. “Legislative and political arguments were made, and people opposed to the death penalty came forward. In those days, there was always a war going on, and that was the whole idea behind it — competition.” It had been four years since I considered the Ruth Snyder agonistes. But every day for 17 extraordinary and life-defining years, I would walk past that slightly blurry image of her final moments. You see, I was lucky enough to work for the Daily News — on a dozen different beats, as reporter, rewriteman, bureau chief, editorial page writer, investigative reporter – from 1996 until a round of mass layoffs in 2013. And there she was, hanging on a wall, down a long hallway at 450 West 33rd Street, the paper’s then-headquarters, along with dozens of other Page One mock-ups that recounted the history of New York City, the nation and the world, in that order: “WHO’S A BUM!” proclaimed the Brooklyn Dodgers’ seventh-game triumph over the hated New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. “WE WUZ ROBBED” told how gunmen stole sackfuls of cash from the paper’s Brooklyn printing plant in 1961. “ T E DDY ESC A PES, BLON DE DROWNS” telescoped the chilling 1969 crash in Chappaquiddick that killed Mary Jo Kopechne and dogged Senator Ted Kennedy forever. “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD” skewered President Gerald Ford for nixing loans to a nearly bankrupt city in 1975. “HE DIED IN THE CHAIR AFTER ALL” bid adieu to Albert Anastasia, “Lord High Executioner” of Murder Inc., who was assassinated in the barber’s chair of midtown’s Park Sheraton Hotel in 1957. “SAY GINA WAS OBSCENA ON LA SCREENA” reported an Italian magistrate’s ruling that starlet Gina Lollabrigida’s 1966 sex scenes were indecent. You felt the weight of all that history when you worked there. You felt connectivity with the city because your paper was woven into its fabric. You felt the burden of responsibility, too, when you put on that press pass. You had a tradition to uphold, a mission to amplify the authentic voice of everyday New Yorkers. And there were few professional joys greater than riding the Lexington Avenue line and watching a straphanger clutching your paper, reading your story. All this came to mind as news broke on September 4 that the Daily News had been sold for $1 — the price of a

The Daily News’s City Room in the early 1950s. Standing is longtime press agent, publicist and political fixer Morty Matz, then an assistant picture assignment editor at the paper. Photo: Collection of Morty Matz

This fabled and much imitated Page One headline – “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD” – ran in the Daily News on October 30, 1975 after President Gerald Ford refused to authorize federal loans to New York City as it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. The next day, then-Mayor Abe Beame famously posed holding up a copy of the paper. Photo: Newsstand copy, via Wikimedia Commons

single newsstand copy — to a company called Tronc, which also assumed $26.5 million in pension liabilities and other obligations. Despite its unfortunate and widelyridiculed name, Chicago-based Tronc, short for “Tribune online content,” has a long history with The News. Formerly the Tribune Company, the publisher founded the paper in 1919 as America’s first modern tabloid. The Trib hailed it as the “common man’s paper.” The “servant girls’ Bible,” competitors sneered. A famous 1992 ad proclaimed its mantra, “Tell it to Sweeney.” The coda? “The Stuyvesants will understand.” In other words, speak to your core working-class readers, then largely Irish- and Italian-Catholic, and the blue-bloods and merchant princes will respect you, even advertise with you. So now the question becomes, “Will Tronc understand?” Can it take a humbled paper – in a single story, Keith Kelly, The Post’s adjective-loving media columnist, dubbed it “beleaguered,” “moneylosing,” “money-bleeding,” “ailing,” “teetering,” “troubled,” “stagnant,” and “perpetually downsizing” — and restore it to obstreperousness, or at least stability and solvency? Let’s break down the deal. Tronc gets a prize that, monetarily, is worth more than its print acquisition: Ownership

of the paper’s Jersey City plant and a 49.9 percent stake in 25 adjoining acres. Which raises two questions: Is this a newspaper deal in which the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune reenters the nation’s biggest media market? Or a real estate deal for its most valuable asset – prime land overlooking Manhattan’s skyline? The answer: It’s both a media and a property deal. Or as Tim Knight, Tronc’s president, bluntly put it, the property was “certainly an added inducement to this transaction.” No kidding. Exiting the picture is Mort Zuckerman, ex-chairman of Boston Properties and a billionaire who himself has masterminded mega-real estate deals for trophies like the General Motors Building. The 80-year-old Zuckerman, now facing health problems, could never stanch the flow of red ink. Perhaps no one could. Waves of large-scale dismissals followed. It was rough. The paper felt diminished. There was blood in the water. Mercilessly, The Post began taunting it as “The Daily Snooze.” Yet one can never forget: Mort had saved the paper from near-death, buying it out of bankruptcy in 1993 after a crippling strike and the mad reign of British publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, a supposed white knight who

This historic sports cartoon – under the banner headline, “WHO’S A BUM!” – graced the cover of the Daily News on October 5, 1955, the day after the Brooklyn Dodgers, affectionately known as “Dem Bums,” won the seventh game of the World Series against their much-despised rivals, the New York Yankees. The back cover, referring to the long wait for that triumph, proclaimed, “THIS IS NEXT YEAR!” Photo: Newsstand copy, via Wikimedia Commons plundered $1 billion from his company’s pension funds before tumbling off his yacht in the Canary Island in 1991. That was Mort’s great gift to the city. A quarter-century added to the life of a newspaper. The continuance of doorstep reporting. The thrill of irreverent, two-fisted headlines. Yes, the News lost zest and brassiness. But that wasn’t all bad. Drinking and smoking vanished from the City Room. Women took on enhanced roles. Bawdiness and sexism didn’t disappear. But they were curbed. Oh, two other things. Under his watch, the paper earned five Pulitzer Prizes. And after a period of somnolence, it found its voice all over again with the rise of Donald Trump, who became the paper’s arch-nemesis. Back came the Page One “screamers” — tabloidese for exclamation marks, also called “slammers” or “bangers” — on classics like “NUTS!,” “OFF HIS MEDS!,” “LOCK HIM UP!” and “STOP THE DON CON!”

Naturally, Trump didn’t take kindly to such barbs. But the paper was elevated anew when he branded it “worthless,” and “loser” and labeled Zuckerman “dopey” in several 2016 campaign tweets. So if I can offer a few unsolicited words of advice for Tronc: Wear those Trumpian slurs as a badge of honor. Remember an old slogan that can still define your paper, “The Eyes, the Ears, the Honest Voice of New York.” Respect your history and heritage. No, you don’t have to be a prisoner to every old Page One hanging in a hallway. But you do have to honor the glorious traditions from which those headlines sprang. And lest you contemplate a future erasure of the sacred trust you just purchased, remember the popular lapel buttons worn by your reporters during the existential crises of 1991 and 1992: “DAILY NEWS: TOO TOUGH TO DIE.”


16

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

NEIGHBORHOOD SIDE STREETS

SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Business

MEET 28TH STREET

sideways.nyc

ALT FOR LIVING 146 WEST 28TH STREET Before Lilia, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, discovered ALT for Living, she said she had never considered that shopping could be an “experience.” “For me, life is life and shopping is shopping, quick and painless — I go in, find what I need, and get out. But as I walked into ALT for Living, I felt as though I had entered a time warp.” ALT contains two little worlds, a coffee bar and a showroom, and they work with miraculous synchronicity. The cozy coffee bar, A Little Taste, serves as the storefront, and it brings to mind the old-fashioned cafes of Paris and Rome. The coffee beans are hand-roasted by ALT Roasting CO.

A SMALL-BUSINESS PASSION PROJECT The founder of Sideways New York reflects on her journey to support establishments on Manhattan’s side streets BY BETSY BOBER POLIVY

There’s been much hand wringing and few solutions for the problem of local businesses rapidly closing up shop in Manhattan. What we can do, and what we should do, is to treasure the small businesses that survive and continue to grace our streets. My passion project since 2011 has been to support and promote the thousands of small businesses on the side streets of Manhattan. In the past six years I have literally walked and catalogued every one. You can go to Manhattan Sideways (sideways.nyc) to see all the small businesses. Beginning on First Street, I have walked from the East River to the Hudson documenting every shop, boutique, restaurant, bar, garden, hotel, church, synagogue, gallery and much more. This summer, I reached the pinnacle of my journey — 155th Street — where the original Manhattan Grid ended. As I worked my way north over the course of the past six years, I’ve also been continuously updating the site to reflect establishments that are opening and closing on a daily basis. There are over 14,000 “businesses”

Dawn Harris-Martinez of Grandma’s Place. Photo: Adrian Bacolo reflected on Manhattan Sideways plus 40,000 photographs. In addition to having all commercial enterprises listed, we also tell the stories of owners in the Side Picks section. Sadly, I’m witnessing shops in business for 50 to 100 years being forced to close their doors, many times because the building has been scheduled to be torn down to make way for a large apartment complex, or the rent has been raised so high that it is, inevitably, a chain store that will replace them. Lately, I’ve found that small businesses aren’t even surviving a year on a side street. It’s my pas-

sion to have New Yorkers support the staples in their neighborhood, and to get out and explore other neighborhood areas to find the amazing gems that are hidden on every single side street. These small businesses are part of what make our city unique. My journey has allowed me glimpses into the lives of iconic New Yorkers, such as Ruth Kuzub, the owner of Silversmith on West 4th Street — considered to be the smallest retail space in Manhattan. She has been operating her jewelry store here since she took it over in 1960. She continues to make many of her own wares, and only sells pieces

that she loves. Well into her eighties, she still goes to work most days — at least whenever the sun is shining. Ruth told us in the interview that “I’m the last of all the artists who were on the street.” While she has managed to maintain her small store at the address — 183 ¾ West Fourth Street — many have not been as fortunate. Creative, independent stores like the Silversmith are too quickly becoming few and far between. Another story that continues to resonate with me is that of Lou Lou Button. Owner Roz Farhadi arrived in New York from Iran in 1978. He applied to universities in the States without discussing it with his family. Roz said that when he told his mother that he had been accepted at Brooklyn Polytechnic, she asked “where is America?” She spoke no English and did not write, but she took her small parcel of jewelry, the only possession that she had, and sold it. She gave the money to her son and sent him off to follow his dream. After earning a degree in engineering, he began working for a company on Fifth Avenue. During his lunch break one day, he wandered into a shop and picked up an interesting button and inquired about purchasing some of them. When he was told that it would take a few weeks for the buttons to arrive in the store, Roz immediately thought to himself, “I am

going to make this.” Today, 20 years later, Roz has a tiny but successful store on West 38th Street where he designs and makes buttons for the fashion industry, Broadway shows, the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet. And then there is Grandma’s Place, a children’s educational toy and book store at 84 West 120th Street that is a gem in Harlem. People do not only stop into Grandma’s Place to pick up a gift for a birthday party, or something special for their own child. During my visits, on several occasions, it seemed that the entire neighborhood was dropping by simply to receive a warm hug from Dawn Harris-Martinez, and possibly sticking around a bit longer to entertain their little ones, or share some local gossip with the owner of this remarkable staple on 120th Street. Without a doubt, Dawn — a former school teacher who was the first in her family to go to college and originally opened the space as a literacy center — has earned the beloved title of “Grandmother of the neighborhood.” As a lifetime New Yorker, my goal for Manhattan Sideways is to encourage others to venture out, to discover and appreciate some of what I have had the pleasure of experiencing for the past several years, and to, of course, support the small businesses in our city.


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

17

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

        

 

    

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18

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR PARK ROW TRANSPORT Pedestrian, bicyclist access will be expanded BY CARSON KESSLER

The more than 1,600 bicyclists who ride in and around lower Manhattan’s Park Row can look forward to much-needed relief from extreme congestion along a half-mile stretch by spring. Mayor Bill de Blasio last week announced that the New York City Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the NYPD, would enhance pedestrian and cyclist access to Park Row. The project is tied to Vision Zero, the de Blasio administration’s traffic safety initiative. With the installation of a two-way bicycle lane set off by a concrete barrier, bicyclists will no longer have to pedal

against road traffic or onto crowded sidewalks. The bike lane will enhance safe access to and from the Brooklyn Bridge without reducing roadway capacity, city officials said in a press release announcing the project. “New York has so many cyclists,” said Liza Pausma, a tourist from the Netherlands. “These improvements will be useful for tourists, like us, because local cyclists seem to drift in and out of vehicle lanes.” Not just tourists will benefit from the enhancements. Abigail Weinberg tends to avoid the Brooklyn Bridge altogether when making her commute into Manhattan. “There are so many pedestrians,” she said. “[The improved access] will definitely make traveling over the bridge more pleasant.” Pedestrians will also benefit from a new crosswalk on the east side of Spruce Street. The crossings at Spruce and Beekman Street will be shortened

by expanded median tips, curb extensions and extended medians. “After years of effort, I am proud that we have arrived at a design solution that strikes the right balance: increasing access through this corridor while at the same time maintaining the safety around one of our most sensitive locations, One Police Plaza,” de Blasio said in the release. The project also envisions reconnecting the Chinatown and Civic Center areas, which were divided in parts by security measures following the 9/11 attacks. Wayfinding signage will accompany the pedestrian space and bike path to better direct pedestrian traffic towards Chinatown and Lower Manhattan. “Park Row remains an important artery for our community much like prior to 9/11 times, today’s new initiative is a right step toward that direction and we look forward to working for further improvements to enhance

our accessibility and connectivity,” said Wellington Chen, the Chinatown Partnership’s executive director. DOT also will replace streetlights in the area with brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs. The Park Row bike path will eventually connect with the existing bike network via Frankfort street, including the protected lane adjacent to City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. “Park Row should be a welcoming, safe, walkable and bike-able gateway from Chinatown and Two Bridges to the Civic Center, the Seaport area, and the rest of lower Manhattan,” the Manhattan Borough president, Gale Brewer, said. DOT expects to start work on Park Row from Worth Street to Frankfort Street this fall. Construction is not expected to affect bus service on the M9 or M103 lines.

CARNIVORES, REJOICE! RESTAURANT Sparks Steak House, one of the last survivors of the old Steak Row in the East 40s and scene of a notorious mob rubout, is saved by a last-minute real estate deal BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

East 45th Street and a handful of neighboring blocks between Second and Lexington Avenues once sported more steakhouses than existed in entire American cities. Served by the slaughterhouses on the East River that were demolished in the 1940s to make way for the United Nations, the restaurateurs of “Steak Row” liked to boast that they “fed more carnivores than Chicago and Omaha put together.” But tastes, diets and demographics changed. Carbohydrates became a dirty word. Wall Street steak-lovers started to dine elsewhere. Red-meat joints in the area became, well, done. Or at least, medium-rare: Joe & Rose’s, opened in 1915 at Third Avenue off 46th Street, shut its doors. Crist Cella, opened in 1923 at 160 East 46th Street, closed down. The original Palm, opened in 1926 on Second Avenue off 45th Street, shuttered in 2015, though Palm Too still carries on across the street. Any steakhouse graveyard would have to include Pen & Pencil, Danny’s Hideaway & His Inferno, The Edito-

An FBI mugshot of Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano in 1984. The picture of the Mafia chieftain, known as “Big Paul,” was taken a year before he was assassinated, on December 16, 1985 outside Sparks Steak House. Photo: FBI, via Wikimedia Commons rial, and the original Pressbox, all on 45th Street. Then add Scribe’s, Fourth Estate, Late Edition and The Front Page. The list goes on, the vanished chophouse names paying homage to a largely male clientele that then labored in the newspaper, printing, publishing and advertising trades. Which makes it all the more extraordinary that one of Steak Row’s most endangered species just won a new lease on life — literally — and will continue serving its high-caloric repasts to loyal chowhounds and connoisseurs, gastronomes and gluttons, until at least 2032. Sparks Steak House, at 210 East 46th Street, just inked a new 15-year lease for the 22,924-square-foot restaurant space it has occupied since 1977, its landlord confirmed on September 11.

The outside of Sparks Steak House, at 210 East 46th Street in the heart of the old Steak Row, which once housed dozens of chophouses. Photo: Piffloman, via Wikimedia Commons Made world-famous by a spectacular Mafia assassination that took place outside its doors in 1985, the eatery, which was opened by the Cetta family in 1966 at 123 East 18th Street before its migration to midtown, had faced possible closure on August 31. That was when its below-market lease expired, the family business was suddenly faced with the prospect of a rent hike as steep as 100 percent, and its future looked pretty dire. In fact, co-owner Michael Cetta filed a so-called WARN Notice on May 26 with the State Department of Labor — which requires businesses to give employees early warnings of closures and layoffs — saying that Sparks was preparing to let 87 unionized work-

ers go due to “possible non-renewal of lease.” The jobs of waiters and busboys and dishwashers and chefs hung in the balance. Meanwhile, talks between the Cettas and the property’s owner, The Durst Organization — which was founded by Joseph Durst in 1915, the same year as Joe & Rose’s opened — went down to the wire. Eventually, the parties hammered out a deal that called for a significant rent hike, but not the doubling the family had initially feared, which would have forced it to shutter or relocate. “We met at the ‘market,’” said Jordan Barowitz, Durst’s principal spokesman, referring to the area’s

Cyclists along Park Row, which is scheduled for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements. Photo: Carson Kessler

market rate. In a statement, Jody Durst, the company’s president, added, “Sparks has been a neighborhood staple since the late 1970s. They are our oldest East Side tenant, and we are thrilled with their success in the competitive restaurant business and pleased they will remain in our portfolio.” The father-and-son owners, Michael and Steven Cetta, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Oh, and about that mob rubout: It was a double assassination actually, which federal prosecutors later proved took place on the orders of John Gotti, the late Gambino crime family boss, and for better or worse, it gave Sparks a special kind of cachet for New Yorkers and tourists alike that resonates to this day. It was broad daylight on December 16, 1985, and Paul Castellano, better known as “Big Paul” and then the Gambino family’s reigning don, was in a Lincoln Town Car being driven to Sparks by his underboss-bodyguardchauffeur Thomas Bilotti. As they pulled into a “No Parking” zone in front of the restaurant, four gunmen wearing matching white trench coats and black Russian fauxfur hats pulled semi-automatic handguns from their coat pockets and shot both men in the face and head multiple times. Gotti was said to have watched the twin executions from down the block, and a few weeks later, he assumed Big Paul’s job duties, his racketeering trial later revealed. The Cettas have never denied that the episode proved a boost to their business. And inside Sparks, it is still referred to as “The Incident.”


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

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SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politico - September 10, 2016

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


SEPTEMBER 14-20,2017

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

YOUR 15 MINUTES

STEEPED IN TRADITION Lifelong Little Italy resident and Figli di San Gennaro member Michael Vera reflects on his neighborhood and its annual event BY ANGELA BARBUTI

Some of the goodies served up at the Feast of San Gennaro. Photo: Tom Thai, via flickr

Michael Vera was born on Mulberry Street, in the same apartment his grandparents settled into when they immigrated to Little Italy from Naples at the end of the 19th century. Now 69, he still lives there, and although he’s seen the neighborhood change, one thing that’s remained over the decades is the Feast of San Gennaro. Now in its 91st year, the feast will run from September 14 to 24, with highlights like cannoli- and meatball-eating contests and a Mass to celebrate the patron saint of Naples for which it is named, at the Church of the Most Precious Blood. As a member of the Figli di San Gennaro, the nonprofit that runs the iconic event, Vera celebrates the past, but also looks to the future. “I hope that the Feast of San Gennaro goes at least to 100 years. We’re hoping and praying for that part. And then, we hope that all its heritage and background is preserved. And that the future is intertwined with much of the past.”

Tell us about your family’s history in Little Italy. My grandparents came from the town of Avellino which is in Naples. They moved to Mulberry Street in 1897. I still live in the same apartment. We’re still the legal occupants living there.

ian festival or to frequent some of the Italian restaurants. The millennials that have come in, the bad part about that, is they made the rents, which were basically at one point stable, go sky-high. But when they decided to come in, rents have gone very high and they no longer patronize a lot of places that are still around.

As part of the Figli di San Gennaro, what are some initiatives you’re working on? We are helping to keep some of the religious institutions around, such as the Church of the Most Precious Blood. We help fund that to get it back on its feet and get it refurbished. We hope that it will be around for a longer time. It was basically an Italian-oriented church and attended by the Italians that were around. We help support the church as best we know how and have several fundraisers, including the Feast of San Gennaro.

What is your favorite memory of the feast? The best memories were I think, what everyone usually remembers, the grease pole. They used to have a pole filled with grease. There were teams of guys around the neighborhood who basically tried to climb to the top. And on the top, there were all kinds of prizes ... money, at that time, televisions and a few other household goods. That stopped in the ‘70s somewhere; I’m not too sure about the exact date. It was very family-oriented. At the time, families came back to the neighborhood. All the families that were still here cooked and ate at their grandparents’ house.

What was it like growing up there?

Feast of San Gennaro in 2016. Photo: er Guiri, via flickr

Anything new to the feast this year or does it stay the same?

It was a fantastic, quaint, nice and friendly neighborhood. The people were generous and friendly. Up until the early ‘70s, it was still considered an Italian neighborhood. Most people have moved out basically for more room and have families ... parking was involved, schools were involved. So a lot of them have moved to, I don’t want to say suburbia, but a lot have moved to Brooklyn and Staten Island.

It’s usually almost all the same, but there are quite a few different factors. Usually the same vendors are around, lots of sausage and zeppole stands. A lot of the good and healthy Italian foods. I think there are a few vegan stands that have opened up along its way. It’s a good time, fun for all, and still safe. It’s still a safe neighborhood.

How has the neighborhood changed?

www.sangennaro.org

It changed in the fact that it’s not a neighborhood that’s a neighborhood anymore. You lose your heritage because everybody starts to separate. Families don’t come back around anymore. The only time they usually come back down is basically during the Ital-

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


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