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The local paper for Downtown wn

WEEK OF NOVEMBER - DECEMBER

TAKE A BOW, DAVID HOCKNEY

30-6

◄P.12

2017

LITTLE AUSTRALIA’S UNCERTAIN FUTURE COMMUNITY BY MIHIKA AGARWAL

Mayor Bill de Blasio denounces “Trumpism” and rails against the “scam” GOP tax plan at a rally with seniors and union workers outside Trump Tower on November 21st. Photo: Ed Reed / Mayoral Photo Office, via flickr

SCANDAL? WHAT SCANDAL? IOWA BECKONS LEADERSHIP Even before he’s sworn in for a second term, Mayor Bill de Blasio will hit the Hawkeye State to rev up his national profile — despite intense blowback from bogus leadpaint inspections at public housing BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

When the going gets tough, Mayor Bill de Blasio gets going — as far away from City Hall as politically, geographically and logistically possible. It’s been a four-year pattern. And now, even as his administration reels from a mushrooming scandal at the New York City Housing Authority

(NYCHA), it is about to repeat itself: The mayor next month packs his bags for Iowa, home of the first-in-thenation caucuses — and graveyard-inthe-cornfields for outsized dreams and overreaching politicians. Fresh from his reelection triumph and two weeks before his swearing-in for a second term, he’ll headline the fifth annual holiday party for the liberal advocacy group Progress Iowa in Des Moines on December 19th. It is the classic testing-the-waters event — one that Bernie Sanders keynoted in December 2014 as he geared up for his 2016 presidential bid. “Welcome back to Iowa,” said Matt Sinovic, the group’s executive director and a “BBQ sauce competitor” at the Iowa State Fair. He said the mayor’s

“progressive leadership and passion for common-sense solutions provides a model for the entire country.” Perhaps. But at the largest public housing authority in America, the home of one out of every 14 New Yorkers, there’s been a spectacular lack of common sense. Not to mention absence of compassion for the vulnerable. Even disrespect for the rule of law. It turns out that NYCHA over a fouryear period failed to conduct leadpaint safety inspections in thousands of its apartments as mandated by state and federal laws, then lied about it by submitting false claims, the city’s Department of Investigation revealed in a November 14th report.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

On a chilly November morning, Two Hands Café, at Mott and Broome Streets, is bustling with Australian expats. A few are serving avocado toast and flat white lattés, others are partaking of those distinctly Down-Under delicacies. One of these is Matt Webb, who, along with his wife, moved from Australia to the city on a green card. “I wanted to move to the States — either L.A. or here — and we chose New York for the adventure and because it’s a completely different lifestyle,” said Webb, who waits tables at Two Hands in Nolita, a neighborhood known to some as

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Two Hands Café on Mott Street, which replicates Australia’s beachside vibe. Photo: Mihika Agarwal

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Little Australia for its multitude of Oz-inspired outlets. According to U.S. government data cited by New York-based non-profit The Australian Community, the number of tourists from Down Under to the United States has nearly doubled since 2007, with 1.3 million Aussies visiting in 2015 – despite the relative plunge of the Australian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar. But if tourists making the rounds through the States have climbed, longer-term visitors positively spiked recently. Australians on B1-2 visas, which typically allow longer stays Stateside, grew 54 percent last year, from 8,359 in 2015 to 12,872 in 2016.

WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW < CITYARTS, P.12

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

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

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

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

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

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

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

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

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NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

HOLIDAY TRENDS SURE TO CHARM — AND VEX CONSUMERS Surprises are part of the package BY JOSEPH PISANI AND ANNE D’INNOCENZIO

Amazon goes into the holiday season with a newly magnified brick-andmortar presence, giving it more opportunities to sell its Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and other gadgets. The online retailer now has more than a dozen Amazon Books stores, which also sell toys, electronics and small gifts. Kohl’s has carved out space for Amazon shops in 10 of its department stores. Amazon also has small shops in several malls, and is selling most of its gadgets in 100 Whole Foods stores and opening popup shops in five. But the Seattle-based company’s physical stores are a small part of its business, making up just 3 percent of its total revenue between July and September, even though it bought Whole Foods and its 470 stores during that period. And its online sales will still dominate. Bain & Co. analysts expect Amazon.com Inc. to take about half of the total growth in online sales

Photo: simone.brunozzi, via flickr during holiday shopping season. Still, having a physical presence gives shoppers a chance to see and try out Amazon gadgets, and maybe buy. It also gives shoppers a chance to ``interact’’ with Amazon employees, and learn more about the products, analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets say. Here are some other trends this holiday season:

TOYS THAT SURPRISE After the wrapping paper is ripped off, some gifts will need to be unwrapped again. Some of the hottest this year are LOL Surprise and Pikmi Pops. These and similar toys hide small stuffed animals or dolls inside plastic balls that are wrapped in several layers of pack-

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aging. Kids peel each layer, revealing tiny bags filled with trinkets, stickers, messages or other doll accessories as they go. Some record themselves opening the toys to post on YouTube, part of the popular video trend of unboxing. For the holidays, toy company MGA Entertainment launched the $69.99 LOL Surprise Big Surprise, which it says has 50 items to unwrap, including small dolls, accessories and bath balls that fizzle in water and reveal charms. “Opening is part of the play,” says Jim Silver, the editor-in-chief of toy review website TTPM. “It’s fun, like going on a scavenger hunt.” The trend extends to stocking stuffers, too. “Blind packs” like Shopkins or Disney Tsum Tsums remain popular for kids who delight in the mystery and unwrapping as much as the toy itself. The craze for surprises follows on one of last year’s hot toys, the animatronic bird-like Hatchimals that “hatch” from eggs. Those are still popular this year, as well as small Hatchimals eggs that need to be peeled by hand.

TURMOIL IN TOYLAND Being in the toy business seems less

fun these days. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection in September, hampered by the weight of its debt. Barbie-maker Mattel and rival Hasbro, the company behind Monopoly and My Little Pony, said their recent financial results were hurt by the Toys R Us Chapter 11 filing. Both said they temporarily slowed shipments to Toys R Us ahead of the bankruptcy, but that their toys would be on the retailer’s shelves before the holidays. Besides problems with Toys R Us, the companies have faced trouble selling their toys to kids, many of whom would rather play with a tablet or smartphone. Mattel has tried to revive its iconic brands, such as giving Barbie new body shapes and skin colors, but third-quarter sales fell across all its brands, including Hot Wheels and American Girl. Hasbro even reportedly made a takeover approach that Mattel rejected, a subject neither company is commenting on. Even Lego, which has posted years of growth, said in September that sales of its colorful bricks fell for the first time in 13 years, and announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs.

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NEW YORK CITY

Gagosian Quarterly Talks: Walton Ford and Emma Cline

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 7PM The Greene Space | 44 Charlton St. | 646-829-4000 | thegreenespace.org Get two takes on California at Gagosian Quarterly’s inaugural Greene Space talk. WNYC’s Mythili Rao leads a conversation on Ford’s Calafia, a new watercolor exhibit inspired by a mythic Cali, and The Girls, Cline’s debut novel, which covers similar ground of California dreaming ($20).

What Is Life: Is Life Inevitable?

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 7:30PM Caveat | 21 Clinton St. | 212-228-2100 | caveat.nyc Times science writer Carl Zimmer returns to his “What Is Life?” series with biochemist and theoretical physicist Jeremy England and DNA expert Steven Benner as they delve into life all the way down to the molecular level ($20).

Downtowner

Just Announced | TimesTalks: Jodie Foster & Rosemarie DeWitt

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11TH, 7PM Symphony Space | 2537 Broadway | 212-864-1414 | symphonyspace.org The dystopian sci-fi fave Black Mirror is returning for a fourth season. Hear from Jodie Foster, who directs Rosemarie DeWitt in the episode “Arkangel,” as they talk creativity, the toll of screens, and their support for women in Hollywood ($45).

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

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

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG DUCAT DISPUTE A ticket seller outside One Bowling Green was arrested on assault charges Sunday, November 12, following an argument with a reluctant customer that brieďŹ&#x201A;y turned violent. Police said a 30-year-old Brooklyn man walking with his wife was approached by a 26-yearold man selling unspeciďŹ ed tickets that the Brooklyn man declined. The seller, subsequently identiďŹ ed as Jonathan A. Cuebas, then remarked to the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You need a new husband!â&#x20AC;? at which the husband replied, â&#x20AC;&#x153;F*ck you!â&#x20AC;? Cuebas followed the couple, with

a dialogue continuing until Cuebas struck the husband in the face with his clipboard. The seller ďŹ&#x201A;ed the scene, according to the police account.

JUICE PRESS SQUEEZED A rogue employee escaped ďŹ ngerprint detection but not the watchful eye of a store security camera. At 7:20 a.m. on Sunday, November 20, two employees â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a 20-year-old male and 32-year-old female â&#x20AC;&#x201C; entered the Juice Press location at 156 Prince Street to open for business, when they

found the front door unlocked, displays knocked over, and two registers and two safes unlocked with property removed. There were no signs of forced entry on the front door, registers or safes, according to the police account. A review of store security video showed a 23-year-old woman entering with a key and wearing gloves. Police said the 32-year-old employee made a positive ID of the perpetrator, and Shanice A. Kittel, a fellow employee, was arrested November 20 and charged with grand larceny. She had made off with $9,122.

NEVER PAY ANY PRICE FOR FABULOUS Discount clothiers have their problems with shoplifters as well. At 3:55 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, three men and a woman, all about 25 years of age, stole merchandise from store racks in the Marshalls location at 206 Washington Street. A store employee told investigating officers he is currently investigating a theft pattern involving these particular perpetrators. Police said one member of the quintet, Antonio King, was identiďŹ ed and is being sought in connection with the thefts. The total amount of merchandise stolen came to $3,300.

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

Year to Date

2017 2016

% Change

2017

2016

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

9

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

15

9

66.7

Robbery

1

2

-50.0

64

54

18.5

Felony Assault

1

1

0.0

84

73

15.1

Burglary

0

2

-100.0

60

106 -43.4

Grand Larceny

28

29

-3.4

922 969 -4.9

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

14

46

-69.6

WALLET STOLEN FROM BAG

REISSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S PIECES

Police remind patrons of bars, restaurants, and cafĂŠs to keep an eye on your belongings at all times. At 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, a 41-year-old man who had been having coffee in the Starbucks at 2 Water Street later noticed that his bag was open and his wallet, containing $4,300, was gone. He told police he was sure that his bag had been zipped and closed before the incident.

As long as designer clothing is sold, shoplifters will have designs on it. At 12:30 p.m. on Friday, November 17, an unknown man entered the Reiss store at 185 Greenwich Street and removed items of merchandise with a total value of $3,593.

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

NYPD 7th Precinct

19 ½ Pitt St.

212-477-7311

POLAR PRINCIPLES

NYPD 6th Precinct

233 W. 10th St.

212-741-4811

BY PETER PEREIRA

NYPD 10th Precinct

230 W. 20th St.

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Useful Contacts POLICE

NYPD 13th Precinct

230 E. 21st St.

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16 Ericsson Place

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FIRE FDNY Engine 15

25 Pitt St.

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227 6th Ave.

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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

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59 E. 4th St.

212-533-5300

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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

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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

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TIME WARNER

46 East 23rd

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US Post Office

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US Post Office

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Our Town’s

ART OF FOOD EST. 1744

at

5 Napkin Burger Andy D’Amico

Amali Dominic Rice

Calissa Dominic Rice

Candle 79 Angel Ramos

Crave Fishbar Todd Mitgang

Flex Mussels Alexandra Shapiro

Freds at Barneys New York Mark Strausman

Jones Wood Foundry Jason Hicks

La Esquina Fabian Gallardo

Little Frog

Presented by

Xavier Monge

Magnolia Bakery Bobbie Lloyd

Maya David Gonzalez

Saturday February 10, 2018 Photo: Evan Sung

Honoring chef Claus Meyer, the gastronomic entrepreneur behind Grand Central’s fine dining restaurant Agern, and cofounder of Noma, voted best restaurant in the world.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque Hugh Mangum

Orwashers Bakery Keith Cohen

Paola’s Stefano Marracino

Quality Eats Delfin Jaranilla

Serafina Always Vittorio Assaf

T-Bar Steak Benjamin Zwicker

The East Pole Joseph Capozzi

artoffoodny.com

The East Pole Fish Bar Joseph Capozzi

The Great Northern Food Hall Claus Meyer

The Meatball Shop Daniel Holzman

The Penrose Nick Testa


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NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

A NIGHT AT ‘ZOMBIE MCDONALD’S’ NEIGHBORHOODS Inside an Eighth Avenue hangout, with fights, stretchers and noddingout patrons BY LIZ HARDAWAY

With ten, maybe twenty bags of trash slushing onto each other on the curb, the doors open to four men leaning a little too far into their chairs. Are they asleep? They’re not really moving. A line curls, immobile, from the lone cashier. This is 10 p.m. on a Monday at the McDonald’s on 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. “That McDonald’s?” locals ask. With NYPD and ambulances frequenting the establishment on a weekly basis, it’s hard to not notice what’s going on. Notorious for its back room, where drug deals are allegedly made, it seems every visit is accompanied by a fight or spectacle. Customers blow up about getting 15 cents too much for change, proclaiming “I don’t need your handouts” for the whole place to hear, while others get carried out by stretchers. On Nov. 11, NYPD squad cars were traded out for fire trucks because the roof had caught on fire. No one was hurt, and the place opened up the next morning. Some of the problems at this McDonald’s stem from the methadone clinic just down the street, dispensing the opioid to help treat heroin addiction. There is also a needle exchange and two outpatient substance-abuse programs within walking distance. In 2015, reporter Kim Barker’s story in the New York Times exposed this McDonald’s for what it is: a trap house (or drug den). “A Manhattan McDonald’s With Many Off-the-Menu Sales,” was the headline on the Barker story. Patrons go to the bathroom, buy what they need and nod off in the front tables.

The McDonald’s at 490 Eighth Avenue. Photo: Andrew Willard “The Zombie McDonald’s” or “The Junkie McDonald’s,” as locals have called the place, according to Barker, is just twelve blocks from Times Square. As tourists run starry-eyed among the concrete metropolis, a man wrapped in a blanket sleeps above a subway grate. UGG boots from Mississippi or Maine stomp near his cup of change next to his cardboard sign, oblivious to the poverty at their feet. One Monday night, just after the Thanksgiving holiday tapers off into

Christmas cheer, at 10:09 p.m. a woman is screaming from the back of the McDonald’s for a winter coat. Almost immediately a man runs in carrying a bunched-up blue coat. Another man walks in the restaurant saying, “Check, please!” but there’s no check. There are two young women, and the thinner of the two brings a wad of paper towels towards the back. Both of them are arguing with a man, claiming he stole the women’s phone cord and battery from her coat, with some

expletives sprinkled into the conversation. “Thief,” she spits. “You better get away from me, I’m going to punch you in the mouth,” he retorts. Their arguing continues, getting louder, bouncing throughout the McDonald’s booths. A man starts to usher his wife out of the restaurant at 10:18 p.m., looking fearful and not even ordering food, as another man follows the people arguing with a phone, re-

cording and egging them on. Sometimes this McDonald’s has a security guard to calm the ruckus. Even police officers will stroll in to keep the peace. This night, however, the place is unsupervised, just for the patrons and the workers. As the fighting continues, a homeless man approaches a table for a dollar. They don’t have cash, he asks again, and they say the same thing so he leaves. The people arguing continued their aggressive conversation outside. A group of four huddle behind this table at 10:21 p.m. In hushed voices, one man whispers to the others, “I need it,” repeatedly. Another whispers back, “I got fired.” At one point a woman appears, with an Auntie Anne’s pretzel wrapper, and hands this to the man who “needs it.” He leaves, less anxious, as ambulances whir by, flashing through the window. The thin young woman returns, guiding another woman with a ponytail to the back room. A different woman walks towards one of the men sleeping near the front. She checks to see if he’s breathing. Meanwhile, a man who appears to be homeless starts rifling through the McDonald’s trash bins. He takes a cup, throws away the lid and walks away with a seemingly empty cup. It’s now 10:30 p.m. A worker walks towards the back and announces she is shutting the area down for the night. One man rises to the occasion, grabbing cups, ketchup wrappers, napkins and a stray newspaper from the floors and tables, throwing them away. As the back is closing down, the endless line has become bearable, people are just sitting eating burgers and pizza that is not on the menu. As the doors close, the same four men are unmoved. Slouching, leaning into the plastic chairs, eyes closed, hopefully just asleep.

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EAST RIVER GREENWAY INCHES FORWARD WATERFRONT Sutton Place residents push back on proposed 54th Street access point BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Chef Andy at last year’s Art of Food The city’s plan to build eight new blocks of pathways along the East River is moving closer to realization, but the location of one proposed access point to the riverfront greenway has emerged as a point of contention for some residents. In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $100 million in city funding for the second phase of the project, which will create a new stretch of elevated path raised on pilings over the East River from East 60th Street to East 53rd Street. Construction is expected to commence in 2019 and last three years. When complete, the East Midtown Waterfront Esplanade project will add 1.1 miles of new, uninterrupted esplanade along the East River from 38th Street to 60th Street, narrowing one of the largest remaining gaps in the network of riverside pathways that officials hope will eventually encircle the island’s entire 32-mile waterfront. Officials from the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the lead agency on the project, updated the public on the status of the project at community board meetings last month. Typical stretches of the new esplanade will be 40 feet in width, with pedestrians and cyclists traveling on separate pathways divided by planters and seating areas. The project also includes the construction of new access points to the esplanade across the FDR Drive. One of the proposed upland connections, a pedestrian bridge at East 54th Street, has aroused opposition from some residents of nearby Sutton Place. As currently planned, the entrance point to the bridge would be within Sutton Place Park South, a block-long strip of shaded open space at the south end of Sutton Place. Some neighbors have complained that the bridge would take up much of the existing park. “This would completely

RECIPE: THE FIVE NAPKIN BURGER A rendering of the planned expansion of the East River Waterfront Esplanade between East 53rd Street and East 60th Street. Image: NYC EDC change the nature of a park that serves as a mini-oasis in the southern portion of Sutton Place,” said Charles Coutinho, the president of Sutton Area Community, a nonprofit that represents the neighborhood’s residents and businesses. “On ground level, you’re going to have something which completely distorts, if not destroys, what you have there now.” Coutinho suggested that a more suitable location for an esplanade access point could be found one block south, where there is an exit ramp from the FDR Drive onto East 53rd Street. “We’ve worked thoughtfully and closely with the local community on the East Midtown Waterfront Esplanade project, and we continue to welcome their important feedback as the long-stalled project finally moves forward. We’re working closely with a designer to reflect the needs and priorities expressed by the local community and their elected officials,” EDC spokesperson Shavone Williams wrote in an emailed statement. “We look forward to taking the next steps to provide [an] ADA compliant ramp for bicyclists and pedestrian access to the waterfront and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.” The EDC plans to create themed “nodes” near access points like the one proposed at East 54th Street, which will serve as centers for activities, programming and educational installations.

Public art installations will also be integrated into the esplanade design. The EDC, in collaboration with Stantec, the private design firm contracted for the project, is currently soliciting public input on the public art component. Residents are invited to recommend local artists who should be invited to apply, as well as nominate community members to serve on an artist selection committee by emailing EMidtownGreenway@stantec.com. Suggestions will be accepted until December 4, and artists will be selected by March 2018. The completed first phase of the esplanade project runs from 38th to 41st Streets; the third final phase of the East Midtown project calls for the construction of new esplanade from 41st to 53rd Streets, bypassing the United Nations complex and connection the southern part of the greenway to the northern portion, which will run uninterrupted along the waterfront to East Harlem. Work is currently under way to repair a portion of the esplanade between 88th and 90th Streets in Carl Schurz Park that collapsed into the river during a May 2017 rainstorm. In November, the Parks Department released new guidelines for waterfront park development that include best practices for designing parks that preserve and improve access to the city’s waterways while mitigating risks posed by storms and accounting for projected sea-level rise.

In anticipation for this year’s Art of Food, Chef Andy is sharing his classic 5 Napkin Burger recipe with our readers. To see the masterpiece he whips up this year, get your tickets at: www.artoffoodny.com. He’s known for his burgers, but last year, Chef Andy D’Amico switched things up a bit at The Art of Food, creating a hummus avocado toast that remarkably resembled his paired artwork: Wayne Thiebaud’s Cheese Chunks. “We do burgers, and we’re famous for them, but we also have these very creative appetizers and sides, so I wanted to show this other dimension of who

Our Town’s

ART OF FOOD at

Presented by

we are,” explained D’Amico. “I couldn’t resist a tongue & cheek homage to one of the most popular--and overplayed--dishes of the year. I was inspired to call the dish Avocado Toast when I realized I would utilize chunks of toasted bread to emulate the chunks of cheese in the artist’s painting.”

Five Napkin Burger Serves 4

1. MAKE THE CARAMELIZED ONIONS 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 lbs. onions, thinly sliced 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. thyme leaves Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions and salt, cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Stir onions every 10 minutes, being careful not to let the onions brown. After the onions have softened and have turned golden add the thyme & salt, cook 5 minutes longer and remove from heat.

2. MAKE THE AIOLI 2 large egg yolks 8 cloves garlic, crushed into a paste with a pinch of salt 1 cup olive oil 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice Whisk egg yolks in a medium sized stainless bowl until light in color. Add garlic and begin to add the oil very slowly, in a thin stream, while beating. As the emulsion forms, oil may be added faster. Add the lemon juice and reseason with salt & pepper.

3. MAKE THE BURGERS 2 ½ lbs. fresh ground beef 4 soft white hamburger rolls ¼ lb. gruyere cheese, sliced thin 1 ½ cups caramelized onions 1 cup aioli Divide the meat into 4 equal portions and form each into a burger about 1 inch thick. Cook to desired doneness over a hot grill, preheated iron skillet or under the broiler. Top each burger with two slices of cheese and melt, place the burger on the bottom half of a toasted bun. Top each burger with a generous portion of onions and a heaping spoon of aioli.


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Voices

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

FAMILY DYNAMICS GRAYING NEW YORK BY MARCIA EPSTEIN

Every family has its own way of doing things, and the people in that family have to make many kinds of adjustments. I am the grandmother in a family of two daughters and four grandchildren, and none of us spend

Thanksgiving together. Instead, for the past many years, I have gone with partner John’s sister to “our” Thanksgiving restaurant on Long Island, just the three of us. Why? Well, when my older daughter married her husband, they both apologized and told me that his family celebrates only one holiday a year — Thanksgiving. My family celebrates birthdays, both adults’ and children’s. We are usually able to manage being together on those occasions. So I gave Thanksgiving to the in-laws with not a squawk on my part. My younger daughter and her family usually travel south to spend Thanksgiving with her in-laws or else celebrate with friends on Long Island. That’s OK also, as we, as I’ve said, get to-

gether often for birthdays and other occasions. And it really is all right. I like the restaurant we go to, and it’s a peaceful and stress-free day. But sometimes it does feel sad, such as when my women’s group is discussing their holiday plans, which are all with family. Or my other friends are telling me of their plans, which are also all with family. Then I do get a pang or two. Don’t all the magazines and TV shows and newspapers show family members going to airports, trains, highways, to visit family for Thanksgiving? Isn’t that the American norm? A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving is what we think of when we imagine the holiday. But the truth is that there is no norm. That’s why there are so many

organizations that offer Thanksgiving dinners to New Yorkers without families or any other place to go. Many churches and religious organizations know that lots of people will be alone and prepare Thanksgiving dinners for them. People who are alone also can volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless or the lonely. And believe me, there are those who prefer not to have to deal with the roads and airports on this holiday, not to mention difficult families and uncomfortable situations. The city is so quiet and empty during the holiday; I’ve spoken to people who just love being alone and walking the streets, picking up a sandwich or even a dinner in a coffee shop while peacefully reading the newspaper.

In my case, well, it would be nice, though a bit stressful too, to spend the holidays with family. I’ve gotten to the age where the running and screaming of the kids can affect me, and the next day I am totally exhausted. But I know I am lucky also; I don’t need Thanksgiving to know that I will see my children and grandchildren again. On the day that my 6-year-old grandson suddenly looked up from his toys and said, “Grandma, did you ever have any children?”, I knew no big, raucous family get together could ever top that moment. So yes, I was a little disappointed, but I was also fine with the lovely restaurant with the fireplace and the adult company. And there are no dishes to wash!

CROSSTOWN COMPLICATIONS EAST SIDE OBSERVER

prey to the practice. And we don’t need passengers being held up when the taxi’s pulled over.

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Schmoozing on the job — 6 p.m. on the day before the start of holiday gridlock season. Jumped in a taxi on 39th and Third going west. Rush-hour traffic picking up. Taxi approached 39th and Lex. Traffic cop, standing at the far corner, was busy talking to his partner, and not directing traffic. Without being signaled to stop, the taxi proceeded to move through the intersection. Suddenly, Police Officer G. Miller was on the job, pulling over the taxi driver and eventually handing him a citation. More than $100. Impervious to the fact that he wasn’t directing traffic and to the poor driver’s explanation, Miller, with a big grin, went back to his schmoozing. That may be a good way to generate money to fill city coffers and show the boss you’re on the job. Not. We’ve been that route before. Traffic police should be directing traffic so that tickets aren’t necessary and traffic keeps moving. We don’t need quotas. We don’t need police officers not doing their job. We don’t need hard working taxi drivers

Photo: b k, via flickr

9 and counting — New York Post’s Cindy Adams off her ninth annual Blessing of the Animals Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. at Christ Church United Methodist Church at 520 Park Ave. She’ll be there with her Yorkie, Juicy. People bring your pets. Pets bring your people. No solos. Bring the pooch, the cat, the gerbil, the bird, and don’t forget the goldfish. They’ll all be blessed by Christ Church Senior Minister Stephen Bauman and Central Synagogue Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein. No RSVPs. Come early. Or SRO. The place fills up real fast. And thanks to Cindy Adams for her advocacy on behalf of NYC’s animals. The event lasts ‘till 4 p.m. Manhattan vista — The Parks Department is really making the city a premier place for parks. Last week, Steve Simon Manhattan, chief of staff for the department, joined Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and local public officials and community leaders at the ribbon-cutting for the newly completed Andrew Haswell

Green Park at 60th Street and York Ave at the top of the ramp at the site of the former heliport. We now have a new and idyllic place, surrounded by a large lawn with shrubbery, to take in the view of the river and the Roosevelt Island tram. And have a game of chess or checkers at one of the tables. Nashville, New York — Just before Thanksgiving Nashville looked like New York — well, Manhattan anyway. Not only is there a West End Avenue and Broadway in the country music capital, but members of New York’s judiciary broke bread with Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry at a reception held by the New York State Bar Association’s Torts, Insurance Compensation Law Section, honoring Barry with an award presented by Justice George J. Silver. Joining Silver were Supreme Court Judges Tony Cannataro and Adam Silvera, and the UES’s newly elected Civil Court Judge Suzanne Adams. Here’s hoping that New York’s mayor, who’s not keen on Manhattan, will be as gracious to Nashville as Barry was to New York when Nashville’s Southern-themed restaurant and concert space, Opry City Stage, comes to Times Square in December.

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A rendering of the Yorkville athletics facility planned by the Spence School, which would host physical education classes from neighboring elementary schools under a proposed arrangement. Rendering by Rogers Partners

SPACE-STARVED SCHOOLS COULD FIND REC RELIEF FROM SPENCE SCHOOLS Public schools discuss use of proposed private school gym for phys ed classes BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Students at two Yorkville public elementary schools could soon gain access to muchneeded recreational space in a new athletics facility proposed by the Spence School. Under a prospective arrangement discussed by Spence and public school officials, the 54,000-square-foot athletics complex the Spence School hopes to build on East 90th Street would open its doors to physical education classes from nearby P.S. 151, the Yorkville Community School, and P.S. 527, the East Side School for Social Action. The Spence School announced plans last year to build the facility as a new home for the prestigious all-girls schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s athletic programs. The proposed 98-foot-tall building would house six ï¬&#x201A;oors of athletic and educational spaces, including a regulationsized basketball court, nine

squash courts, locker rooms and coachesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; offices, a student study center and a greenhouse and rooftop planting area for the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sustainability program. The new Spence facility would be located at 412 East 90th St., between First and York Avenues, roughly threequarters of a mile from the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main building at 22 East 91st St., between Fifth and Madison Avenues. The Spence School is in the process of seeking a variance and special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals to allow the structure to be built at the site, which it purchased in 2011 and is currently occupied by a twostory parking garage. According to Spence, the proposed facility will provide a permanent home for the schoolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; athletic programs, which have outgrown the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing facilities. The school currently utilizes two on-campus gymnasiums, which lack regulation-sized courts for the basketball and volleyball teams and do not have space for bleacher seating, and supplements these spaces by renting several off-campus recreational facilities for its

sports teams. In addition to serving the Spence Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s athletics programs, the new facility would provide gym space for physical education classes from P.S. 151 and P.S. 527 under the terms of a proposed, but yet-to-befinalized agreement between the schools. The two schools are each located near the proposed site of the new Spence facility and have limited space for physical activities. Students at P.S. 151, located at 421 East 88th St., use two converted classrooms for recreational space, while those at P.S. 527, located at 323 East 91st St., use an auditorium with a sloped ï¬&#x201A;oor and low ceiling, said City Council Member Ben Kallos, who described the gym-sharing proposal last week at a public hearing on the project at the Board of Standards and Appeals. According to Kallos, by the time the new building opens for the 2019-2020 school year, Spence and the Department of Education will enter into an agreement allowing the public schools to use the Spence gymnasium for physical education classes during school hours, at no cost to the schools.

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Who’s The Best in Manhattan? Find out in Straus Media Manhattan’s 2017 Neighborhood Guide

HOW NEW YORK VANISHED: BOOK TALK WITH JEREMIAH MOSS The New School, 66 West 12th St. 212-229-5108 Thu. 30, 6 p.m. Free, registration required

(29th Year)

Watch for it! December 21 t Best Food & Drink t Best Pet Places t Best Kid Places t Best Arts & Culture t Best Home Improvement Businesses: Don’t miss out on being listed as one of Manhattan’s Best. Get a 100 word write up about your business in the category you choose Call Vince Gardino at 212-868-0190 or email advertising@strausnews.com The local paper for the Upper West Side

The local paper for Downtown

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

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Best of Manhattan

The local paper for the Upper East Side

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

The local paper for Chelsea

If you mourn every lost knish, celery soda and the deli counters where you could once find them, then perhaps you’ll love Jeremiah Moss‘s “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost its Soul.” The books chronicles gentrification in the 21st century, but it’s really a love letter to lost New York. Moss, author of the popular blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, looks at parts of the city that have transformed since he arrived here in the early 90s — from the Lower East Side and Chelsea to Harlem and Williamsburg. In this book talk, Moss will illuminate studies and draw lines from the past to the present, addressing how we got here and what we can do about it. Q&A and book signing to follow.

Thu 30 Fri 1

Sat 2

OPENING RECEPTION: RAHA RAISSNIA

ART NOUVEAU NUTCRACKER

FREE CHOCOLATE▲

The Drawing Center 35 Wooster St. 6 p.m. Free Explore questions of culture, visual representation and identity with Iranian-American artist Raha Raissnia at her first solo museum exhibition. Raissnia grew up in Tehran during the 1978-79 revolution, and she often accompanied her father, an amateur photographer, on trips to the city center to document mass protests against the shah. 212-219-2166 drawingcenter.org

Winter Garden at Brookfield Plaza, 230 Vesey St. 7 p.m. Free Sugarplum fairies will be dancing in many little heads after watching this beloved holiday ballet, set in the style of Art Nouveau and choreographed by longtime New York Theatre Ballet choreographer Keith Michael. Arrive early and take pictures with your favorite Nutcracker characters. Additional performances on Dec. 2. 212-417-2414 artsbrookfield.com/event

The Strand 828 Broadway 2 p.m. Free Need we say more? Start the holiday season out right with Dandelion Chocolate, a San Francisco-based bean-tobar chocolate factory whose principals are celebrating the launch of a book “Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S’more.” Come for a scrumptious sample, stay to learn Dandelion’s decadent secrets. 212-473-1452 strandbooks.com


NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

Sun 3

Mon 4 Tue 5

ANNUAL SANTA RESCUE▼

LITERARY COCKTAILS▲ OPENING NIGHT: SEA OF LIGHT

New York City Fire Museum 278 Spring St. 11:30 a.m. Free to watch the rescue, $8/adults and $5/ children to sit with Santa. Purchase tickets in advance. As per tradition, an FNDY ladder truck will bravely rescue Santa from atop the New York City Fire Museum. Once safely inside, Santa will take gift requests and pose for photos. Don’t miss this spectacular Santa sighting. 212-691-1303 nycfiremuseum.org

The Strand 828 Broadway 6:30 p.m. $15 Join literary lushes for an evening of cocktail in the Strand’s Rare Book Room with the on-demand liquor, beer and wine delivery service Minibar Delivery. They’ll provide the skills and fixins’ to create signature, one-of-a-kind cocktails that nod to literary classics. 212-473-1452 strandbooks.com

The Seaport District 19 Fulton St. 5:30 p.m. Free, reserve ticket in advance Everything is illuminated at South Street Seaport, where a futuristic holiday light installation will wow even the cynical Scrooges among us. Come celebrate opening night by listening to live music and dancing along the cobblestones, cozying up with a cup of mulled wine, and waving your free Xyloband (a radio controlled LED wristband) to the beat. eventbrite.com

Wed 6 GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN ON THE WAR ON TERROR National Sep. 11 Memorial and Museum 180 Greenwich St. 5 p.m. Free Learn more about the War on Terror, cybersecurity and Russian interference from retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency on 9/11 and, from 2006 to 2008, director of the CIA. Hayden was first person to have led both agencies. 212-312-8800 911memorial.org/museum Photo by Jonathan G Meath, via Wikimedia Commons

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Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

TAKE A BOW, DAVID HOCKNEY A blockbuster retrospective at The Met Fifth Avenue surveys the celebrated artist’s six-decade career BY VAL CASTRONOVO

Think of him as an heir to Picasso and Matisse, a lover of cubist tenets and a great colorist. David Hockney, now 80, is a giant in the art world and still painting — every day. He showed up at a preview of his latest show at The Met looking dapper as ever in cap, blazer, red tie, gray slacks and turquoise sweater-vest with matching turquoise socks, a playful nod to his signature aquamarine swimming pools. He used a black walking stick and seemed genuinely amused by the awe his appearance inspired. The black-rimmed owl glasses made him instantly recognizable as he slowly moved through the crowd to a chair beside the lectern. “I want my work to be seen. I don’t have to be seen,” he said in brief remarks to a rapt audience. “Thank you very much.” He may be keeping company on the museum’s second floor with Michelangelo, whose divine drawings are down the hall. But this art world royal was taking it in stride and enjoying the moment. “David wears his sophistication and his eminence lightly,” Sheena Wagstaff, head of the museum’s Department of Modern and

David Hockney at the Met Museum Fifth Avenue earlier this month. Photo: Don Pollard Contemporary Art, said. The blockbuster show, comprised of paintings, drawings, photocollages and compositions on the iPad, is the fullest presentation of the artist’s works to date and includes his latest painting, “A Bigger Interior with Blue Terrace and Garden” (March 2017), a picture of his home in Hollywood Hills with chopped-off corners. Fans hoping to see his famous nearlife-size double portraits and an abundance of California swimming pools and brightly hued landscapes will not be disappointed. The exhibit is an exhaustive, roughly chronological sur-

David Hockney, “A Bigger Interior with Blue Terrace and Garden.” 2017, acrylic on canvas. Collection of the artist. © David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney, “Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.” 1968, acrylic on canvas. Private collection. © David Hockney vey of Hockney’s work from his early abstract experiments at the Royal College of Art in London (1959-62) to his enchantment with naturalism after his migration to Los Angeles in 1964, where he has lived on and off since leaving the U.K. Born in West Yorkshire in 1937, Hockney has never been wedded to a particular style of art. Many of his works, the early ones especially, are an amalgam. The influences go back 5,000 years. As Wagstaff said: “By his own description, Hockney’s influence was ‘the history of pictures,’ that is, humankind’s repertoire of artistic achievement since people first drew a line on a surface to describe what they saw in the world.” But with a special hat tip to the double figures in Fra Angelico’s “Annunciation,” Chinese scroll paintings, the fauves and Picasso’s dismissal of single-point perspective in favor of multiple vantage points. Hockney painted what he knew. He reveled in the familiar, the stuff of his own experience. In the early pictures from the 1960s, he bravely outs himself, years before homosexuality was de-criminalized in Britain in 1967. He drew inspiration from graffiti in public toilets in the London Underground and from masters of abstraction like Dubuffet to create tributes to homosexual desire, some quite explicit. Phallic forms cheekily mix with scrawled words, lines from Walt Whit-

man and coded references to men he was smitten with. Upon graduation from the Royal College of Art, Hockney was already a celebrity. The work softens and figures emerge in domestic interiors, suggesting partners in committed relationships (e.g., “Domestic Scene, Los Angeles,” 1963). Hockney was consumed by a desire to paint relationships, intrigued by the psychological dynamic — the tension — between couples. Showstoppers “Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy” (1970-71), “Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy” (1968), and “Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott” (1969) are among the five grand-scale double portraits of friends and acquaintances here. (Geldzahler was The Met’s first curator of contemporary art.) The wedding portrait of designers Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell in their flat in Notting Hill, separated by a long open window, riffs Jan van Eyck’s iconic marriage painting, “The Arnolfini Portrait” (1434). The dog in van Eyck’s masterpiece is a symbol of fidelity; the cat on Ossie’s lap is a symbol of waywardness. Ossie’s right leg is extended, with his foot buried in the carpet, creating a kind of ominous line in the sand. Feelings of estrangement are palpable — and prophetic. The couple split in 1974. According to Helen Little’s essay in the catalog, “Portrait of an Artist

(Pool with Two Figures)” from 1972 is the climactic work in the series and signals the painful unraveling of Hockney’s relationship with Peter Schlesinger, whom he met in California in 1966. Schlesinger, depicted nude by the artist in several works, is fully clothed here. “Peter ... appears introspective and remote both from the viewer and from the distorted swimmer whom he looks down upon,” Little writes. The rest of the galleries are largely devoted to color-saturated interiors and expansive landscapes that the eye can roam — Hollywood, the Grand Canyon, Yorkshire. A fan of smart technology, Hockney remains hip and continues to innovate. In his most recent painting, he flaunts his obsession with “reverse perspective,” a technique in which lines extend out toward viewers, inviting them in. “I don’t think there are any borders when it comes to painting. There are no frontiers, just art,” he recently said.

IF YOU GO WHAT: “David Hockney” WHERE: The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Ave. (at 82nd Street) WHEN: Through February 25 www.metmuseum.org


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ELLARY’S GREENS = ORGANIC EVERYONE CAN ENJOY HEALTHY IN THE CITY A downtown eatery focuses on wholesome ingredients and “healthy sexy food” BY SUSAN MARQUE

Ellary’s Greens is a refreshing organic eatery tucked away between Bleecker and Seventh Avenue, on Carmine Street, a short walk from the West Fourth Street subway stop. The location is charming, but it is the care that goes into the food here that is magical. Leith Hill is a vivacious mom who created Ellary’s Greens from a lifelong love of good food. She grew up in New Orleans; her father was into healthy living long before it was trendy, so she was raised knowing more than the basic four food groups, eating whole grains, lots of vegetables and desserts that were often sweetened with fruit. “I’ve been cooking since I was little,” says Hill. “I know if you start with amazing ingredients, you don’t have to do much with the food. It will stand on its own.” The idea for the restaurant got ripe over time. After college at Harvard, Hill worked in public relations and development in Boston for the Girl Scouts. Her favorite moments of the job were when she got to interact with the kids. She went back to school at Boston College for a masters in social work and was enjoying helping teens when she became pregnant with her first son. Ellary’s Greens — derived from Ella, the name of both her grandmother and great-grandmother — started taking root soon after her son was born. Hill was then living in Stony Brook, Long Island when she was driving with her newborn in the back seat. “He was happily hopped up on breast milk and I was starving,” Hill recalls. “There was nowhere that I could eat.” She only saw fast-food restaurants, not anywhere she could be comfortable getting the quality ingredients

Ellary’s Greens owner Leith Hill. Photos: Susan Marque that made her feel good. Hill thought there should be a place to get organic food that would fit all types of diets. She went to work researching what people ate around the world and what she could find locally. Now Hill uses her social skills and love for humanity by making wholesome ingredients tasty and available. Her menu is coded for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and except for a small amount of tofu, the menu is also soy-free. It does have meat and fish. “I knew that having a restaurant with flexibility, that had healthy sexy food, opening up options for everyone, was what Ellary’s Greens was all about.” The meats are carefully sourced from local farmers that the restaurant

Hill’s grandmother lives on in the name of this West Village eatery where everything is organic, including the wine.

knows personally. The bacon, cured and smoked in-house, is from a heritage breed of pig that is over a hundred years old and much leaner and more moist than more modern breeds. Ellary’s Green’s cures the pork belly for six days with celery juice that has juniper berries and spices mixed into it, and smokes it in-house. Everything Hill uses is organic and fresh, which adds to the flavors. The smoked deviled eggs melt in your mouth and are both delicate and filling. The hummus is light and doesn’t leave any garlic aftertaste; in the garden wrap, it is served with a side salad dressed in a slightly sweet raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Ellary’s Greens serves organic beer

Smoke adds a surprising flavor to deviled eggs.

and wine that Hill says doesn’t cause hangovers the way other alcoholic beverages can. She has had customers call the next day wondering about the secret since they knew they were being indulgent and couldn’t quite believe how well they felt after drinking and dining at Ellary’s Greens. The place also serves a variety of juices and smoothies so that kids, and those who want something fun without alcohol, are covered too. Care and thoughtfulness go into everything at this downtown eatery, from the recycled cardboard light fixtures to the live plants. Planning began in 2010 and the restaurant opened in April 2013. Hill worked with the architect Shawn Sullivan to create details

that make the space warm. She wanted diners to feel like they were in a garden, no matter what the weather outside. The restaurant is so interested in recycling that instead of getting plastic menu holders, they took the prettiest part of the cardboard boxes that deliveries came in and cut out pieces to glue their menus onto. It shows off the artwork of the suppliers, while providing a service. Ellary’s Greens has a second location at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island that is an organic café counter with a different menu. With so much to choose from, this is a place to go back to again and again — or get delivery when you can’t make it in.

A refreshing salmon burger at Ellary’s Greens.


14

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS NOV 14 - 20, 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. Village Yokocho

6 Stuyvesant Street

A

Little Poland Restaurant

200 2nd Ave

Grade Pending (10) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Anyway Cafe

34 East 2 Street

Grade Pending (19) 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.

Laut

15 East 17 Street

A

Sao Mai Vietnamese Cuisine

203 1 Avenue

Grade Pending (26) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Ribalta

48 East 12 Street

Grade Pending (32) 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.

Jane

100 W Houston St

A

Famous Ben’s Pizza Of Soho

177 Spring Street

A

Quantum Leap

226 Thompson St

A

Il Mulino

86 West 3 Street

A

Mikaku

85 Kenmare St

A

Yui Tea Shop

131 Eldridge St

Not Yet Graded (31) No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment.

The Bowery Ballroom

6 Delancey Street

Grade Pending (27) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/ refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

The Whiskey Ward

121 Essex Street

A

El Maguey Y La Tuna

321 East Houston Street

A

Jadis Restaurant

42 Rivington Street

A

Sticky Rice

85 Orchard Street

Grade Pending (18) 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.

Mizu

29 East 20 Street

A

Saltwater Coffee

345 E 12th St

A

New Rong Hang Restaurant

38 Eldridge Street

Ono Bowls

33 E 8th St

Not Yet Graded (23) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. 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.

Grade Pending (20) 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.

Los Feliz

109 Ludlow Street

A

Zest

249 Broome Street

Grade Pending (42) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

The Summit

133 Avenue C

A

Grayson

16 1st Ave

A

Fryguys

150 E 2nd St

Not Yet Graded (19) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations.

Pizza

84 Hester St

A

Berimbau

43 Carmine Street

A

Fahr Fresh And Hot Pizza

117 Orchard St

A

Dominique Bistro / Akashi

14 Christopher St

A

Metrograph

7 Ludlow St

A

Cafe Select

212 Lafayette Street

Grade Pending (27) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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. Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

La Margarita Pizzeria

168 Ludlow St

A

Sun Shine Seafood Restaurant

27 Division St

Grade Pending (2)

Black Tap

529 Broome St

A

The Roxy Hotel

32 White Street

A

Cafe Clementine

227 West Broadway

A

Taim

45 Spring Street

A

Starbucks

185 W Broadway

A

Honest Chops Burgers

99 Macdougal St

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

Niko Niko Sushi & Bowl

133 John St

Grade Pending (26) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Muscle Maker Grill

10 Murray St

A

Harry And Ida’s Luncheonette

11 Park Pl

Grade Pending (22) 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.

Sushi On Jones

348 Bowery

A

Chow House

181 Bleecker St

Not Yet Graded (10) 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.


NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

EXPATS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Others are staying even longer, intent on building a life in the United States. Among those is Adam Lewis, who became principal at Loyola School, a Jesuit high school on the Upper East Side earlier this year. Lewis moved from Melbourne with his wife and three children before taking the helm at the Park Avenue school in July. “Australia’s more laid back; the pace of life in Manhattan suits me,” said Lewis, who said he was drawn to the city for the range of people with different backgrounds and the culture on offer here. James Boland, the founder and president of The Australian Community said Australians are settling in just about every city neighborhood, although most live in downtown’s districts. “There are certainly a few Australian businesses in Nolita, but this only represents a small percentage of total number of Australian businesses in New York City,” he said. “In fact most of our members live downtown in TriBeCa, FiDi and Battery Park with pockets on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side as well as Harlem.” But you can also expect to find Oz expats in Brooklyn. “I find that people with children move to Williamsburg,” said Webb,

who lives in Greenwich Village But Aussie expats, like those from other countries, also face challenges, specifically employment. While some Australians are settling permanently in the city, others are still struggling to find a job. According to a recent survey conducted by The Australian Community, the number of approvals E-3 visas – issued to Australian professionals – increased by just 1.6 percent, a significant decline from prior years. As of June, there were about 11,500 Australians in New York City on E-3 visas – carved out from a 2005 trade agreement between the U.S. and that country – which allow Australian residents with a “legitimate offer of employment” to extend their stay two years, and even indefinitely. Still, roughly 1 in 10 Australians in the U.S. this year were likely to repatriate, According to the Australian Community. “It is more difficult for professional expats from any country to live and work in New York City,” Boland said. “You have to be exceptional at what you do professionally, and you have to be highly resilient to start over in a new country.” Emma Goddard had always dreamed about American college life and living in New York. Three years ago, she studied for a semester in the University of Southern California and moved to New York about four months ago when she found out

15

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com she qualified for a J-1 Visa. She said she had to take the opportunity. “Pretty much everyone’s that lives here has moved from a different state or country,” Goddard said. “Everyone doesn’t have their family around them, nobody has cars, everyone is searching for jobs.” Goddard said her biggest difficulty is finding a permanent job. She started applying to companies a few weeks ago but has had little luck. She thinks the deterrent for employers is that they think she would need sponsorship in a year. Goddard said employers are wary. “But I think, as soon as employers read my resume and see Australian, I think immediately they probably kind of freak out,” she said. Webb, too, is struggling to find permanent work. His wife, who wants to work as an assistant director and producer, has been working at an advertising agency for a few months but he hasn’t managed to find a job in her preferred career niche. “It’s very competitive and we don’t need visa sponsorship or anything like that so it definitely takes that away but it’s still quite difficult,” he said. Despite her hardships, Goddard said she feels at home in the city. “It’s very different from Australia but it’s become my home now,” she said.

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16

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

Business

5 HOTELS WITH SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OFFER Cool NYC places to stop in for a drink or dinner — even if you’re not staying overnight BY BETH J. HARPAZ

New York has hundreds of hotels, located in different neighborhoods, with different styles and amenities. But a hotel is more than just a place to rest your head. Many hotels have something truly special to offer, and often those features can be experienced even if you’re not staying overnight. Stop in for a drink, for dinner or even just take a peek inside the lobby or the bar. Here’s a quick look at five Manhattan hotels and what’s unique about each of them.

BEST HISTORIC RESTORATION The Beekman hotel opened just last year at 123 Nassau Street, but its Temple Court restaurant and bar has already become one of Lower Manhattan’s most popular after-work spots. It’s located in a landmarked 1881 building that was vacant for years before the hotel’s painstaking historic restoration brought it back to life. The building’s star attraction is a glorious nine-story atrium surrounded by decorative wrought-iron balconies.

In the lobby, antique oriental carpets suggest exotic adventure, while Edgar Allan Poe’s portrait connects the site to an even earlier incarnation as the Mercantile Library Association, frequented by Poe and other 19th-century writers.

lions out front. You can even see the public library from some of the guest rooms. But the really clever thing about the Library Hotel is that it’s organized according to the Dewey Decimal System, which uses numbers to classify books by subject. Every floor is themed on a different Dewey Decimal category — for example technology, social sciences or literature. And each room is themed with art and books on a topic within that category. Looking for a romantic place to spend the night? On the philosophy floor, there’s a room themed on love.

MOST PLAYFUL Moxy hotels are part of the Marriott chain, but they were designed to appeal to millennials and they have the look and feel of fun, chic boutique hotels. The Moxy Times Square, which opened in late September at 485 Seventh Avenue, has already become a playground for the city’s twentysomethings. It’s hosted everything from a graffiti master class to a popup shop with an “embroidery bar” offering personalized designs. But it’s the Moxy’s Magic Hour rooftop bar and lounge that’s the killer attraction, with a view of the Empire State Building, live DJs, a carousel, a minigolf course called Foreplay and topiary bears in naughty poses. You can even order up a $99 crash pad from the cocktail menu.

COOLEST CO-WORKING SPACES Hang out with the cool kids on the Lower East Side in the co-working spaces at the Public hotel, 215 Chrystie Street. It’s got everything from

MOST LUXURIOUS LOOK

Message in a room at the Library Hotel. Photo: catherinecronins, via flickr stadium-style seating to long white sofas, along with spots for food, coffee and cocktails. Bring your laptop, sketchpad or notebook and come up with the next big idea. There’s also a small, tranquil park with a picnic table just out front, a sleek rooftop bar with great views and a groovy escalator lined with neon-like lights. The hotel opened earlier this year and is the brainchild of Ian Schrager, co-founder of the legendary 1970s

disco Studio 54 and the businessman credited with creating the concept of boutique hotels.

BEST THEME There are 6,000 books in the Library Hotel. You’ll find books in the lobby, in your room, at the rooftop bar and in the hotel’s reading room. Located at 299 Madison Avenue, it’s a block from the grand New York Public Library building with those famous stone

You may know the name Baccarat from the company that produces some of the world’s finest French crystal. But you may not know that there’s a Baccarat hotel, open since 2015 and discreetly located at 28 West 53rd Street across from the Museum of Modern Art. If you can’t afford an $855-a-night room here, how about a $42 cocktail called La Belle Epoque? As you walk to the bar, take in the crystal chandeliers and candelabras, the sparkling stemware and bowls, the white sofas and bouquets of perfect, bright red roses. It’s not just bling. It’s a sumptuous look that simply defines luxury.

NEIGHBORHOOD SIDE STREETS MEET 12TH STREET

sideways.nyc

JAMES BEARD HOUSE 167 WEST 12TH STREET James Beard House was a man who had a culinary vision well before cooking and dining out was as popular as it is today. Beard introduced Americans to the wonders of food and how healthy eating can enhance our lives. He passed away in 1985, at the age of 81, but left his mark in the world of cooking. The James Beard Foundation has continued his legacy by offering educational programs and outstanding dining experiences in the place that he called home on West 12th Street. Chefs are invited to prepare meals in his kitchen and guests are able to mingle in his garden over a glass of champagne before going upstairs for their meal. For more photos and side streets, go to sideways.nyc


NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

17

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

        

 

    

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18

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

MINI BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS Our Town’s

ART OF FOOD at

Presented by

To see what Chef Holzman is creating this year, get tickets for The Art of Food at: artoffoodny.com. For the third consecutive year, meatball master Daniel Holzman is bringing his ballin’ expertise to The Art of Food. Last year, he was paired with John Chamberlain’s piece Marvelettes, and created a mac ‘n’ cheese meatball inspired by the colors in the artwork. To hold everyone over until the Feburary 8th event, Holzman is sharing his famous Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs recipe.

Chef Daniel Holzman of The Meatball Shop Barney’s rainbow zebra represents “diversity and acceptance.”

Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Makes about forty 3/4 -inch meatballs

INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp vegetable oil 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 1/3 c. Frank’s RedHot Sauce 1 lb ground chicken, preferably thigh meat 1 large egg 1/2 celery stalk, minced 3/4 c. bread crumbs 1 tsp salt

PREPARATION 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the vegetable oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. 2. Combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, whisking until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

3. Combine the hot sauce mixture, ground chicken, egg, celery, bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. 4. Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 inch balls, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another. 5. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

A HOLIDAY TRIBUTE TO NEW YORK SCENE IN NEW YORK Department store windows focused on the city’s cultural institutions — and messages of acceptance PHOTOS BY ANDREW WILLARD

6. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

Manhattan’s holiday windows are always a draw, for

city dwellers and tourists alike. This year department stores outdid themselves, with themes that focused squarely on the best that NYC has to offer. “To New York With Love,” was the message of Bergdorf Goodman’s opulent displays paying tribute to the New York Philharmonic, the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical So-

Reprinted with permission from The Meatball

New-York Historical Society reference at Bergdorf’s.

ciety and other exemplars of the city’s vibrant cultural life. Lord & Taylor emphasized “The Best And The Brightest.” Some focused on city values: harmony at Macy’s (“The Perfect Gift Brings People Together”) and Barneys’ whimsical take on being socially conscious, with a rainbow zebra representing “diversity and acceptance.”


NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

19

Our Town|Downtowner otdowntown.com

MAYOR

THE TOP OUT-OF-TOWN EXCURSIONS OF BILL DE BLASIO

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Mayoral itinerary for 2017 covers at least 16 cities in roughly a dozen road trips

Not atypically, de Blasio was enjoying a week-long, postelection family vacation in Connecticut when the news broke — but that didn’t deter him from mounting a strong defense of NYCHA’s embattled chair, Shola Olatoye. After 24 hours of silence, and an initial refusal to address what DOI termed “systemic mismanagement” at her agency, the mayor took to Twitter on November 16th to say Olatoye is “turning NYCHA around” and “she isn’t going anywhere.” Now, consider that the mayor had just praised an apparatchik whose blunders had put tenants, mostly children, at risk, and who had falsely and knowingly certified in federal documents that lead-paint inspections had been carried out, even though she knew that wasn’t the case, according to DOI Commissioner Mark Peters. It got worse: “POISON BILL,” screamed the Page One headline in the Daily News on November 19th. “Blaz knew,” the story said with tabloid succinctness. It disclosed that for more than a year, the mayor had concealed from the public and 400,000 public housing tenants his knowledge that NYCHA was violating the law by failing to perform inspections designed to protect kids from lead poisoning. By November 20th, the mayor was back from Connecticut, and at a press conference in Queens, he acknowledged he was “angry” and “frustrated” and “never wants to see anything like this happen during my administration.” All at-risk apartments had been belatedly inspected and remediated as of June, he said. “Personnel changes” had forced out two senior managers. A third was demoted. But he also blamed the Bloomberg administration, saying lapses in inspections began in 2012. And he continued to heap praise on Olatoye, saying she was “absolutely part of the solution at NYCHA.” Let’s take a step back: NYCHA was created in 1935 to offer safe, decent and affordable housing to low- and moderateincome New Yorkers — exactly the citizens de Blasio vowed to champion in 2013 as the candidate of the have-nots who would reverse income inequality and restore affordability. Instead, it is those residents — living in 176,066 apartments in 326 public housing buildings, including 97 in Manhat-

Atlanta FEBRUARY

Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale New York City Housing Authority chair Shola Olatoye with Mayor de Blasio at Lincoln Houses in Harlem when she was appointed in 2014. She is under fire after city investigators said she falsely certified that NYCHA had inspected thousands of apartments for lead paint; the mayor has been caught up in the scandal because he knew for over a year the inspections hadn’t taken place, but never disclosed it. Photo: Ed Reed / Mayoral Photo Office, via flickr tan — who are now the victims of the NYCHA scandal. Their landlord? The mayor of New York City. Yet it is de Blasio, self-styled fighter for the dispossessed, who will be feted in the Hawkeye State. As Sinovic put it in a statement, Progress Iowa is eager to hear his take on the future of a movement to “ensure working families get a fair shot at success.” So de Blasio, now term-limited and technically a lame duck, is changing the subject to burnish that image: Before addressing the NYCHA scandal on November 20th, he took to online publishing platform Medium to unveil the Iowa trip, writing that “fighting for New Yorkers doesn’t end at the edge of the five boroughs.” No, he insisted at the Queens press conference, he’s not running for president. But he’ll travel out of town when he’s needed, for instance, to support Democratic efforts to retake the House and Senate in 2018. “This is who I am,” he said defiantly. “This is what I’m gonna do.” So take him at his word. It’s indeed who he is. In times of crisis, he hits the road: Among his 2017 destinations: • Atlanta in February. Backing a fellow progressive and bucking his party’s establishment in the race to chair the Democratic National Committee, he jetted off to the DNC winter meeting — but came away empty when his candidate lost. He’d been grilled by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hours earlier over his campaign’s sketchy pay-for-play fundraising practices. No charges were filed. • Miami Beach in June. Traveling with first lady Chirlane

McCray and a dozen city officials, he checked into the Fontainbleau Hotel to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The scheduled expiration of mayoral control of public schools was just days away, and critics rapped him for leaving town with the outcome unclear and a pitched battle still raging in Albany. • Hamburg, Germany in July. Arguing that America is ill-represented by President Donald Trump abroad, the mayor demonstrated at a rally of global leftists at the Group of 20 summit. Police Officer Miosotis Familia had been assassinated in the Bronx the day before, cops were enraged about the trip, and Ed Mullins, head of the NYPD sergeants union, said, “As the city mourns, its leader flees.” • Rhode Island in August. Taking a week-long family vacation on the eve of a major election is rare enough, but de Blasio did so just days after coming under fire for claiming he faced a tough, “competitive” race so he could score $1.6 million in public matching funds from the city’s Campaign Finance Board. His victory margin? A landslide 39 percent. As for the latest out-of-town excursions, well, New Yorkers had a few choice words for his timing: “What about the lead poisoning you’ve covered up for the past year?” tweeted @ dang90, the handle of Daniel Girdusky, on the mayor’s Twitter feed. Added @Spratterz, also known as Kate Spratt, “Yea, it’s going to Iowa during the lead-paint mess.” Give the last word to @MyGlassBagel, the handle for Darrius Andorrus, who posted, “You are the mayor of New York City. Nothing more. Stop your pitiful overreaching.”

Attends Democratic National Committee meeting, backs losing candidate in race for DNC chair

MARCH

Holds at least four fundraisers over several days for his mayoral campaign

APRIL

San Francisco, Sacramento and Seattle Holds at least three fundraisers over several days for his mayoral campaign

Burlington, Vermont Delivers speech at fundraiser for Vermont Democratic Party, makes joint appearance with Senator Bernie Sanders

MAY

Miami Beach JUNE

Hamburg, Germany Boston and Maine Attends global anti- Takes what City Hall Trump rally at Group & calls a “personal trip of 20 summit, delivers keynote speech at event called “Hamburg Shows Attitude”

Addresses United States Conference of Mayors, pushes anti-Trump agenda at Fontainbleau Hotel

JULY

to visit family”

Rhode Island AUGUST

Connecticut Takes week-long, post-election family vacation

Takes week-long, pre-election family vacation

NOVEMBER

Des Moines, Iowa DECEMBER

Set to headline fifth annual holiday party and fundraiser for grassroots group Progress Iowa on Dec. 19 and 20

Source: City Hall, Straus News research, published accounts; Compiled: Douglas Feiden; Graphics: Christina Scotti


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YOUR 15 MINUTES

BRIGHT AND PRECIOUS Playwright and actor recounts her coming-of-age in a one-woman show BY ANGELA BARBUTI

“Even in America, I can tell a Guyanese from the gold ring on their hand. It’s very distinct gold,” Ingrid Griffith, the woman behind the one-woman play “Demerara Gold,” said. “Everybody in Guyana, whether you’re rich or poor, has a ring on their hand, because it shows that we are going to get out of this.” When it came to naming her two-act show, which recounts her immigrant story through 18 different characters, she used the unique gold from the Demerara River in her native Guyana as a metaphor to represent the uniqueness inside each of us. The plot centers around her young self being left with her two grandmothers and sister in the Caribbean when her parents immigrate to America. When she finally secures a visa and joins them in the United States, things are not what she expected as she assimilates to American culture. The Upper West Side resident, who has been in New York since 1984, now looks to the Hudson River that runs through her adopted home as a replacement for the one that represents

her childhood. “Demerara is much more vast, but the Hudson is like the water still in me.” Griffith, who has done the show 75 times to date, will be performing it at Goddard Riverside’s Bernie Wohl Center on December 8.

Give us a synopsis of your show. It’s a coming-of-age story of a 7-yearold girl who is left behind in the Caribbean as she watches her parents leave without her to come to the U.S. The story starts there, when she realizes she’s not going. When they tell her there’s no visa for her, just for them. And then there’s a scene with them leaving her behind in the care of her two grandmothers. For about 25 minutes, you see the child between her two grandmothers. One is a very strict ex-teacher, who doesn’t leave her house anymore. The other is a religious fanatic. It’s very humorous, about her growing up among her two grandmothers who are in two different worlds and her having to adjust as she waits for her parents either to return or for a visa for her to join them in the U.S.

This project started out as a memoir. What were the challenges you faced while writing it? I’m an actor and got my master’s in

creative writing, so when I got out of the program, I thought, “Maybe I should try a one-woman show with that story.” Six months into writing, I looked into various people in the city and found Matt Hoverman, who is really amazing who coaches solo show workshops. I did the first part, which took six months, and then had to write the second part, about when she comes to the U.S. The story continues when she does get the visa. I thought that would have been the end, but once I finished that, I realized I needed to tell about what life was like when I did finally rejoin my parents. So that took another six months to write and then I workshopped it for another six months. The process was about two years, with workshops and rewriting, and performing it at small venues.

When you first came here, you lived on Long Island, and attended a school that was mostly white. Was America like you had envisioned it? I lived in Wheatley Heights, New York, right outside of Wyandanch. I never even thought about that I would be in a school that would be mostly white. Guyana is the land of five races, so it’s mostly Indians from East India, blacks from Africa, Portuguese from Madeira, Chinese and indentured people. As a 12-year-old, I just wanted to be with my

Photo: Bernadette Wills parents. So when I came, there were a lot of new awakenings and things that I never even considered. Like the fact that snow would be really uncomfortable. I thought it would be magical and I’d be outdoors all day in it. There were a lot of things that, as a kid, I never thought of, because we never experienced them in Guyana.

In this show you play 18 characters. How do you keep them all straight?

Photo: Hollis Kam

I just have been doing it for a while. I know these characters, in the sense that I grew up with them — my mom, dad, family members. So I know exactly who I’m playing because I know them well. I think that just to keep them straight in the piece, I’ve written and rewritten the story 500,000 times, so know it inside out. When I just started performing it, I used to be afraid that I wouldn’t remember where I was next. Not necessarily the characters, but, “Where am I going next?” Once, when my mom was in the audience, I think it was because she was there, it felt like 30 minutes of not knowing where I was. But when I told everyone I was so sorry, they said, “What are you talking about?” It seems much longer than it is. But you’re out there on your own, so you just jump in and figure it out.

What do you want audiences to take away from your story? First, the fact that it’s such an empowering genre. The one-woman, one-man format is really empowering to not only the actor, but the audience, because I can tell my story and make it work and don’t have to count on a budget, producer, agent, or find the right cast and all that. And I think the audience feels it. When they see a woman on stage and then the story begins, they have to be swept into it, and they are. I speak from the child’s point of view and you don’t really hear that when it comes to an immigrant experience, you always hear the adults. The takeaway is our experiences are so similar. People come and tell me, “I know this story.” Their parents are from Ireland or Russia and they connect because the story is so universal in a very profound way. www.demeraragoldtheshow.com

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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Each Sudoku puzzle consists of a 9X9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3X3 squares. To solve the puzzle each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. Puzzles come in three grades: easy, medium and difficult.

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SUDOKU by Myles Mellor and Susan Flanagan

by Myles Mellor

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CROSSWORD

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NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 6,2017

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