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• JUNE 20, 2013


Getting to the Root of Hate Crimes Rash of anti-gay violence in the City prompts senate hearing to assess efficacy of hate crimes law and rehabilitative options By Alissa Fleck


ormer senator Tom Duane sat before elected officials and members of the community at a senate forum and talked about the time in 1983 when he was brutally beaten outside a bar because of his sexual orientation. “It was a matter of life or death,” said Duane. “A few weeks later I called the [District Attorney] and the police department which took the report and asked when the trial was

and they told me it had been adjudicated— classified as a misdemeanor.” “I had no chance to even see the perpetrators in the light of day,” said Duane. “There was no interaction with law enforcement, there was no organization in that area. It was as if it never happened.” Despite successes for the LGBT community in recent years, bias-motivated acts targeting members of this community have not declined. While many members of the larger community may like to believe these incidents are isolated acts of vitriol, Duane sat before State Senator Brad Hoylman and his colleagues and told them that’s simply not the case. The real problem is a lack of education, he said, and it extends everywhere, from a faulty educational system to ignorance in the State Senate itself.

Meet Seaport City: Mayor Bloomberg’s Last Pet Project

Attendees at the forum, including Nicholas Porto, left, who was a victim of a recent hate crime on the West Side. There have been some drastic social and legal changes since Duane was attacked in 1983, but much—including public attitudes Continued on page 6

The mayor proposes constructing a giant new neighborhood off the coast of the Lower East Side By Adam Janos


ayor Bloomberg rolled out a $20 billion plan Tuesday called “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” in which the administration mapped out ideas for infrastructural changes that would protect the city from the threat of climate change and extreme weather in the decades to follow. The plans calls for a additional levies and jetties throughout the city, the introduction of wetlands buffer zones to help reduce waves in exposed areas, and – perhaps most dramatic for East Siders, the introduction of “Seaport City,” a raisedelevation area for commercial and residential development that would be built upon landfill on the East River south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Continued on page 5

NEIGHBORHOOD CHATTER New Athletic Facility in Battery Park Asphalt Green, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting health through activity, sport and fitness, will open the doors of its new downtown location on June 15, leading to the launch of its summertime program offerings on June 24 and a Summer Day Camp program on June 27. The new 52,000 square-foot Asphalt Green Battery Park facility is equipped with a lap pool, a teaching and exercise pool, a line of exercise equipment, a wood floor gymnasium, six multi-purpose studios and classrooms, a culinary center, and a 156-seat theater for lectures, film screenings and other activities. The new Asphalt Green is accepting registrations for members of all ages (with discounts offered to Battery Park locals) and registrations for the summer camp for 4-13 year-olds, which offer a range of classes from the athletic to the artistic. Looking past the summer term, an after-school fall term will begin with similar programming on September 7th. “Belonging to Asphalt Green Battery Park City is more than gaining access to a great facility; it’s about enriching health and lives” said Andrew J. Nussbaum, Chairman of Asphalt Green’s Board of Directors. “Asphalt


Green Battery Park City will continue our great tradition of partnering with respected local organizations to deliver premier cultural and sports programs. We are ready to open our doors and welcome the community.”

Chin Picks Up Labor Endorsements Several prominent labor unions announced their support for Council Member Margaret Chin’s re-election last week. 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, 32 BJ and District Council 37 all issued endorsements for Chin. “The 220,000 nurses and caregivers of 1199 SEIU in New York City strongly endorse Council Member Margaret Chin for reelection because she is a passionate advocate for quality healthcare and working people,”


said Kevin Finnegan, Political Director of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “We share her progressive vision for the future of our city, which includes immigrant rights and effective policing that respects civil rights. She was a cosponsor of the paid sick day law, and believes as we do that the law should be strengthened so all working New Yorkers are covered.” Josh Gold, Political Director of the Hotel trades Council, said, “As an immigrant herself, Margaret Chin has a unique understanding of the many challenges immigrant workers face and for the past four years she has fought vigorously for the rights of these workers. Margaret’s commitment to equality has never faltered, as demonstrated in her cosponsoring of legislation to end employment discrimination against the unemployed and to bar the use of credit histories as a factor of hiring.”

Locals Petition for East River Ferry Stop Residents and businesses of the Lower East Side launched a petition to bring the East River Ferry to a new stop at the redeveloped dock at Grand Street, under the Williamsburg bridge. At press time, an online petition was nearing 500 signatures, and supporters had also collected about 50 paper signatures,

which they will present to the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The EDC, which runs the ferry service, will begin studying this month where to site additional stops. Currently, there are only two Manhattan stops - one on 34th St., the other at Pier 16, near Wall Street. According to supporters, a ferry stop on Grand Street on the Lower East Side would help bring in new passenger traffic from Brooklyn and Queens and help revive an underutilized Grand Street. It will also provide incoming passengers access to three bus lines - the 14th St. crosstown, the Houston Street crosstown, and the 22 to Battery Park City. All three launch from Grand St. and the FDR, and provide access for commuters and tourists going to the Lower East Side, the East Village, Soho, Noho, Union Square, City Hall, Chinatown, and Battery Park City. Those in favor of the ferry stop also say that it would relieve parking congestion near the renewed East River Park athletic fields, and for heavily attended concerts/events at the East River bandshell. “Our goal is to collect several hundred signatures, and turn it over to the EDC,” said local resident Joseph Hanania. “A river view cafe by the ferry stop would attract lots of users, and make the stop even more profitable for the EDC.”


CRIME WATCH By Jerry Danzig

Electric Encounter At 10:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, a 52-yearold man was riding an electric bike to make a delivery, heading eastbound on Warren Street. Just then, a green Ford F250 pickup pulled up next to him, slowly pushing him to the curb. The pickup driver opened the driver’s side door, forcing the deliveryman to stop. Three men then got out of the truck. The driver grabbed the deliveryman and held him against the seat of the truck while the other two men got out, took his bike, and threw it into the back of the pickup. The other two men got back into the truck while the driver let the deliveryman go and jumped back into the truck himself. The truck took off, heading up Church Street. The deliveryman said that the truck had New York vanity plates, but he could not remember what they said. The boosted bike was a Series Brand Five electric valued at $800.

Lock, Stock, and Wallet A little after noon on Friday, June 7, a 55-year-old man from Brooklyn left his property in the locker of a gym on Murray Street and locked his locker. When he returned an hour later, his lock and wallet had been removed. Video surveillance outside the locker room could not ID the thief. The unfortunate gym member’s cards had been used in several locations, including a real estate office on Cortland Street, to charge more than $700. Items in the wallet stolen included $30 in cash, his credit and debit cards, plus his PATH and MTA monthly passes. Speak about an exercise in frustration!

Testing His Fiber At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, a 47-yearold man was working at a job at Varick Street and parked his car containing work equipment across the street. When he came back out to his car a few hours later, he noticed that the driver’s side window had been broken and property in the rear of the

vehicle was missing. The gear gone was a Samsung tablet valued at $450 and OTDR fiber testing equipment valued at $6,500.

Bimmer Bummer At 6:15 in the evening of Saturday, June 1, a 43-year-old man from Hopewell, NY parked his BMW SUV in a legal parking spot on Vestry Street. When he returned three days later at 10:30 a.m, he found his vehicle was missing. Aside from himself, only his mother had access to the car, and she had not taken it. Police conducted a canvass of the area but couldn’t locate the Bimmer. The owner of the missing vehicle checked with the towing pound, as well as the sheriff and Marshall’s office, and none of them had his ride. The stolen car was a black 2006 BMW X5 with New York plates, valued at $20,000.

Lenovo Lost In the evening of Friday, May 31, a 33-year-old man left his property on the floor of a Pearl Street restaurant next to his chair. When he went to leave about twenty minutes later, he found his belongings were missing. He called the restaurant two days later, but no one had turned in his property. Items taken were a Lenovo laptop valued at $2,000 plus the man’s medical and state tax records.

Illustration by John S. Winkleman

Hydrant Heist At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, a 49-year-old woman placed her wallet on top of a fire hydrant on Broadway, while she was putting some items in her bag. When she turned back to retrieve her wallet, she discovered that it was gone. She deactivated the stolen credit cards before any charges were made. Items in the stolen wallet included two money orders valued at $351, her New York State driver’s license, her healthcare card, and two credit cards. Think she discovered the meaning of “faster than a New York minute?”

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Photo credit: Lauren Farmer


As Meltzer Towers Prepares for Development, Residents Reflect Some Housing Authority tenants are pushing back, while others are behind the plan By Adam Janos “I came up in Che Guevara’s days,” said Celia Santiago, resident of the Meltzer Towers Senior Center. “I am his sister, and I believe in total revolution.” Santiago is protesting the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Infill plan. The Authority has identified lots of cityowned land that lie in the middle of several housing projects throughout the city as “underutilized,” and plans to sell leases to the land to private developers that will construct buildings

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with 80 percent market-rate housing. The money from the leases, will be used to create revenue streams and help NYCHA get out of financial trouble by closing gaps in their severely debt-addled budget. For the Meltzer Towers Senior Center at 94 East 1st Street, the plan means the destruction of the Meltzer Park seating area, a gated-off section of the property adjacent to the towers with over thirty trees, small gardens, and several benches. According to city estimates, that seating area potentially represents 90,000 square feet of primate real estate, and 97 new apartments to rent out. Santiago’s fellow protester and Lower East Side NYCHA resident Tito Delgado sees the development of the land as an issue of economic justice and political might. “They’ve got money to bail out banks,” Delgado says. “But there’s no political will to help out poor people.” Protesting has been slow-going in the early stages for Meltzer Park advocates. When Goles (Good Old Lower East Side) organized a protest of the city’s infill plan last Thursday, Santiago was the only Meltzer Tower resident who went. At time of print, an online petition to save the park had 330 signatures, far short of their 1,000 signature goal. Still, Santiago believes her tower neighbors’ inaction is rooted in fear, not indifference. “Folks here are elderly folks,” Santiago said. “They’re scared that if they protest, they will retaliate.” They also may not have the physical or linguistic capabilities to protest. Carlos Fivera, 86, relies heavily upon a walker. Blood thinners that help his circulation have in turn swollen his knees to the point where he can no longer control them. His left eye is afflicted by cataracts. Further complicating matters, Fivera is hard of hearing, and primarily speaks Spanish. Of Puerto Rican descent, he came to the States in 1947; after working twenty years as a handyman in New York hotels, illnesses took Fivera in and out of work until he retired for good in 2000. However, even though he enjoys the space, he sees no reason it shouldn’t be developed. “The government is going to do something that benefits people. They’re doing it because they have the money. The generations are growing, and there’s no space for the poor,” he said. Maria Thomson, a home health aide who works at the Towers, believes the space is underutilized, noting that most people sit on the benches outside the towers and neglect the park altogether. According to Thomson, the park area is primarily used by locals from outside the towers, on lunch break. However, she does note that some of the Chinese tenants at the towers use the seating. Still, she thinks it’d be a shame to lose the space. “There’s no other space for them to go. There’s no green space,” Thomson said. “And they’re going to build it for upmarket residents. They’re gong to tear up the trees, the gardens… to what end?” To Fivera, it’s a story of Robin Hood. NYCHA will take from the rich, and use the money to give back to the poor. “Who else are they going to take money from?” Thomson asked. “The poor don’t have anything to give.”

Carlos Fivera and Maria Thomson, residents of Meltzer Park, discuss NYCHA’s plan to lease their outdoor space to private developers.

Meltzer Park playground, which could become the site of a market-rate apartment building


Seaport City Continued from page 1

The plan is modeled after Battery Park City on the west side, and is clearly a response, in part, to the damage that Superstorm Sandy wreaked downtown last autumn. Rachael Cleetus, a Senior Climate Economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, believes the plan is a step in the right direction. “This’ll be helpful for the city in thinking about how to elevate, protect structures, and start a difficult conversation about places that will become too exposed by mid-century,” Cleetus said. “I’m not saying all 250 items [in the proposal] are fantastic, but I really support that they’ve taken the time to do a detail, local-level risk assessment, and come up with specific ideas about how to protect themselves.” The response from local business leaders and some elected officials has been more cautious. A spokesperson for the Downtown Alliance refused to endorse or reject the proposal, only noting that, “we still have a lot to look at.” State Senator Daniel Squadron’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver praised the measure in a written statement, stating that: “Our communities are still struggling to rebuild from the devastating impacts of Superstorm Sandy, so I commend Mayor Bloomberg for his proactive approach to

making sure Lower Manhattan and the rest of our city is better prepared for future storms.” Locals in the community are more negative about the idea, with several in the Seaport area concerned about sustaining business viability and the neighborhood’s character through the development. “I can’t imagine that the Seaport would still be the Seaport,” Maura Kilgore, owner of Cowgirl Seahorse (259 Front Street) said. “We’ve been a construction zone for so long. If they do more, we might as well close our doors.” Rudie Medina, a local resident, finds the idea aesthetically distasteful. “I’ve only been here one year, but my roommates have been here ten. They’d die if [it was developed]. There are other ways to protect the city than high rise buildings,” Medina said. Others wonder if some of the worry is premature. Nancy Ploeger, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, thinks there’s a lot to discuss before people need to fuss. “Seaport City is one of many thoughts and ideas that the Mayor’s office has studied. Battery Park City protected the downtown area, and this has the potential of both growing the city and protecting the financial district,” Ploeger said. “It’s an exciting possibility. But it’s way too early to discuss the pros and cons. Still, from a residential and business standpoint, it’s an idea worth exploring.”

Potential Successors Question Mayor’s Plan By Jennifer Peltz


he future of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping proposals will largely rest with whoever is elected to serve at the city’s next mayor. Several mayoral candidates praised the mayor for thinking big, and Democrat Sal Albanese, Republican George McDonald and GOP front-runner Joe Lhota said they were inclined to pursue its major projects. Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn, who heads a City Council that is making its own proposals, called Bloomberg’s report “a roadmap for future mayors.” Democrat Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, praised the all-encompassing approach but said officials need to ensure the plan does enough to help the poor and doesn’t rely too much on uncertain federal support. And Republican John Catsimatidis, who has questioned whether the effects of climate change are overstated, wondered in a statement whether the city could spend considerably less and still get adequate


protection. “The $19.5 billion price tag is a huge amount of money,” said the billionaire candidate, whose businesses include oil, real estate and grocery stores. In Lower Manhattan, a removable system of posts and slats could be deployed to form temporary flood walls rising from ground level along the waterfront. The height would depend on the ground elevation and potential surge. The approach is used along some Midwestern rivers and in the Netherlands, city officials said. Bloomberg acknowledged some projects could block water views and otherwise prove controversial. But “if we’re going to save lives and protect the lives of communities, we’re going to have to live with some of the new realities,” he said. Community Board 1 had called for a study of storm surge barriers, but former chairwoman Julie Menin said Wednesday she was delighted with the removable walls. “It’s going to protect the communities,” said Menin, who is running for Manhattan borough president.


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authorities and, if they choose to report at all, would rather consult with a non-government entity. Dean indicated another problem with data collection, and failures in data collection—remains the same, as a recent however, which is the tricky process of making sure a hate spate of hate crimes in the City this year has demonstrated. crime is initially reported as such by the responding officer. Hoylman convened the senate hearing with a number of While an officer is not necessarily exempt from personal bias, witnesses from relevant organizations to address what he and most often he is simply the first cop responding and potentially others feel is a very serious issue. unfamiliar with proper protocol or the signs of a hate crime. “There have been nine suspected bias motivated attacks in “Hate crimes can and do disrupt entire communities the last month in Manhattan alone,� said Hoylman, “including and take away civility essential to democratic processes,� the tragic murder of Marc Carson,� who was shot and killed in said Hoylman. “Combatting hate crime takes a multi prong the West Village last month. approach.� “We need to look at how state and local governments are “It’s widely recognized that hate crime laws can have a enforcing the law and what amendments are needed,� he deterrent impact—we must limit the potential for hate crimes added. to explode into cycles of violence.� There were 720 hate We also need to do a better job identifying In terms of solutions to the troubling persistence of crimes reported in who’s at risk, Hoylman said. He noted bias-motivated attacks, numerous presenters discussed the State in 2012; 405 one current shortcoming: transgender rehabilitative and educational strategies rather than were anti-religious, individuals are not currently covered under 250 were anti-race and incarceration, particularly since the vast majority of hate crime law. hate crime offenders tend to be young. The average 93 were anti-sexual Anti-LGBT hate crimes have been on the offender of hate crime incidents is 13 to 22 years of age, orientation. rise in the City for four years with a four while seventy percent of victims are in high school, percent increase from 2011 to 2012. Prior to and highly unlikely to report. Sometimes, several that, the increases were in the double digits. presenters noted, the root of negative attitudes is found in the Hoylman explained: “This comes at a time when we see perpetrator’s home or religious community. tremendous progress in the LGBT community—a study According to Daniel Dromm of the Committee on published yesterday by the PEW research center found 90 Immigration, “Every school in New York State must use the the percent of LGBT Americans believe progress has been made, words ‘Lesbian,’ ‘Gay,’ ‘Bisexual,’ and ‘Transgender’ in positive though one third have experienced violence based on their context to make safe and affirming environment.� orientation.� The elderly are another group, like young kids, Despite these recent hate crimes, the LGBT community is disproportionately impacted and less likely to report their not unique—there have been waves of bias motivated incidents victimization. across the state affecting all groups. The laws around hate crimes must be updated, noted Adam Dean, the chief of the New York State Crime Hoylman. “Hate crime data collection mandates are essential Reporting Program at the New York State Division of Criminal for understanding the nature and magnitude, and increasing Justice Services, laid out the troubling statistics. There were public awareness and prompt improvements in response to 720 hate crimes reported in the State in 2012; 405 were crimes,� he said. anti-religious, 250 were anti-race and 93 were anti-sexual He added there should be better training for law orientation. Many survivors of hate violence, particularly enforcement personnel, stronger data collection and a wider those in the immigrant community, do not trust government scope for hate crime law. Hate crime training, for instance, is Hate Crimes Continued from page 1

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currently not mandatory for law enforcement. Additionally, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s crucial for survivors of hate crimes to feel comfortable coming forward and talking about the experience. Charles M. Guria, the Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in Kings County, explained, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Individuals who have been victims of hate crimes could serve an important role if they were to share their vantage pointâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like being the person trying to report, the more a police officer has information, the more it helps with reporting aspects.â&#x20AC;? He also noted some of these incidents are extremely traumatic and embarrassing and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not uncommon for a victim to not want to repeat slurs used against him. These individuals must feel the outcome of reporting will result in success rather than re-traumatization. Another complication, explained Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, is that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;victimâ&#x20AC;? is not a static entity. While Stapel agrees legislation against hate violence must be altered, she believes we need to have a deeper understanding of the victim in the first place. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is a chilling, compounded effect for people who are, for instance, LGBT and immigrants. They are afraid of authority but also of their immigrant status.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to look at every imaginable category of protected class,â&#x20AC;? added Stapel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to examine the intersection of identities and address it at this intersection.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Training is a good thing but we have to recognize the limitations of training,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Until we have comprehensive multicultural inclusive curriculum, we will not see an end to the hate crimes.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;For many years I fought for the enactment of hate crime legislation,â&#x20AC;? said Duane. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But it took a few years for me to say I was the victim of a hate crime. I stuffed it down because I did feel there would be judgment.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even if there had been a way for me to report it was a hate crime, I may not have, because I had no broken bones.â&#x20AC;? Duane said if the incident were to happen today, rather than go straight to the police, he would still feel safer consulting the Anti-Violence Project and asking them to walk him through the process.

LES Manhunt for Pace Student Murderer By Meghan Barr A big police presence amassed at a New York City housing project to arrest a man in a 2010 killing, but police have determined he was not there. The NYPD went to a Lower East Side apartment Wednesday looking for a suspect in the death of a Pace University student. Police say the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother and other relatives were inside and refused to let police inside, so officers initially treated it as a hostage situation. Police spokesman Paul Browne says the suspectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother finally agreed to open the door. When they went inside, the officers found only the mother and four others ranging in age from 12 to 19. Authorities say the student who was killed sold marijuana at an apartment in Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s financial district.


Scams Hit Unsuspecting Seniors DA’s Office and Department of Aging warn about fraud schemes and financial crimes By Joanna Fantozzi


woman living on East 79th Street received an alarming phone call in mid-May from “Captain Tom Piscani,” head of financial crime in New York, who told her that she was in possession of counterfeit bills. He told her to cash a check from her bank, and meet with a plainclothes officer in front of the New York Society Library. The bank declined to cash the check, and she instead gave the officer $3,200 in cash. The officer never showed her identification. This is just one incident in a string of police fraud-related crimes that occurred on the Upper East Side in late spring. The victims were all elderly. Another victim gave a detective-impersonator access to her bank account information, and a third sensed something wrong and refused to give the “officer” any money. Patterns of fraud and scam-related crimes committed against senior citizens 65-plus are common. There are more than 700 cases of elder abuse handled by the DA’s office every year, including abuse, neglect and fraud. There are multiple types of fraud crimes -- from a stranger posing as a police officer, landlord or electrician who convinces the victim to hand over cash, to phone conversations with strangers posing as relatives pleading for bail money. The 20th precinct on the Upper West Side, in particular, saw several incidents of the “relative’s cry for help” scams earlier in the year. But many times, the elderly victim knows the perpetrators personally. The Manhattan District Attorney just indicted an accountant for allegedly stealing more than $1.2 million from his client- a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor who has since passed away. “The reality is that abuse against seniors is a big problem, especially with a rapidly growing aging population,” said Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance. “It’s the kind of crime that people have been reluctant to acknowledge for decades, but now we are focusing on it. You have strangers, family members, fiduciaries, caregivers all taking advantage of the elderly.” In addition to scams in person, Vance also named scams over the phone and Internet scams, where the perpetrator tells a victim that he or she has won a prize, or needs to enter his or her bank account information. So why are senior citizens more affected by these scams? According to the Department of Aging, senior citizens are less likely to suspect


anything fishy. They grew up in an era of unlocked doors and without any knowledge of misleading spam emails and scams. “This is a generation that’s much more trusting than generations after it,” said Aurora Salamone, director of the elderly crime victims resource center with the Department of Aging. “The Internet is a newer tool to them and when you open up your email, a lot of time these offers or warnings look real. If you think about it, why would a bank ask you for your bank account if they have it already? But to an older persons not savvy with the internet they might think it’s perfectly legitimate.” The Internet scams “get” their victims by making scammers’ emails look as legitimate as possible using logos of banks and names. When an elderly person is scammed over the phone, the tactic is often manipulation. For instance, said Salamone, the perpetrator might hear a dog barking in the background, and relay a personal story about his or her own pet. But senior centers and senior resources centers are wising up to these tactics, and warn their senior citizens all the time about potential dangers. “We have had training for seniors making them aware of some of these risks,” said Sara Peller, the Director at Dorot, a senior services center on West 85th Street. “A lot of times they fall for these phone calls, and the other risk for seniors is anyone who comes into your home; you should really be cautious of that.” The last type of scam or fraud, and possibly the saddest, is when senior citizens are taken advantage of by someone they trust. It usually happens when an elderly person puts an accountant or a relative in charge of their bank account, and instead of just helping their elderly grandmother or neighbor, the perpetrators start helping themselves instead. “Seniors are folks who are capable of having a relationship which they are victimized by,” said DA Vance. “Banks are supposed to throw a flag on someone coming in all the time and writing checks off a senior’s account, especially with any suspicious withdrawals.” In fact, said Salamone, the DA’s office is specifically working with HSBC bank to train staff in ways to catch suspicious activity before it is too late. For instance, if a senior citizen usually takes $200 per week out of his bank account, but it all of a sudden spikes to $1,000, the bank will put a flag on the bank account to watch out for any further evidence. Western Union has also been cracking down on suspicious financial wire transactions. In terms of scams offering prizes or anything free, Council Member Jessica Lappin, who is also the chair of the Aging Committee on the City Council, offers this piece of important advice: “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”


Tips on Avoiding a Scam: • Never give out financial information or social security number over the phone, unless you were the one who made the call, and you can confirm the identity of the person over the phone. • If you get a suspicious phone call from a company or bank, hang up and call the company or bank to ask about the phone call. • Always ask to see the identification of a police office, building worker, electrician, etc.

• Be aware banks will never ask you for your personal information. • If someone does your banking for you, be sure to have access to that account, or do not give them sole access to your bank account. • Be aware of your surroundings. • Never enter in your personal or financial information online unless you can confirm that it is a secure bank login, etc. • Do not be embarrassed to report a fraud crime.

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Summer Crawfish Boil

Bourbon Street Bar & Grille, 346 West 46th St.,, 2 p.m., $5.95-$26.95, June 22nd. You probably didn’t realize this, but crawfish season is upon us. Luckily, you can attend a New Orleans-style celebration of this crustacean in your beloved metropolis. The Abita Brewing Company from Louisiana will be participating so you can sample their seasonal brew selection and even grab one of their t-shirts. These festivities will make you swiftly forget you’re even in New York.

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FREE: Derange Derangement of the Senses


Happy Ending Ending, 302 B Broome St.,, 7:30 p.m. This isn’t your typical poetry reading- we are warning you now. There will be no recounting of stories in a dreary monotone. Producers Kevin Carter and Miracle Jones amp up the standard reading format with multimedia performances from writers, storytellers, and even burlesque dancers. Prepare to be stimulated in a very unfamiliar way.

New Museum of Contemporary Art, 235 Bowery,, 11 a.m., free-$14. Being citizens of America, we are no strangers to innovation. In the past few years, multiple technologies have transformed how we work, communicate, and relate. This exhibition explores everything from furniture design, to weapons manufacturing, to medical breakthroughs. The display of 25 different projects presented through artifacts, objects, and films will easily force you to question the definition of design.



FREE: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Pier 26, Hudson River Park,, 9 a.m. For the 17th Annual paddling race around New York Harbor, NY Outrigger is throwing a free all-day affair by the start and finish line. While crews sweat through the 15-mile course, sample traditional Polynesian culture at a lei-making class or dance lesson. You may start to genuinely believe that you’re a hula dancer - and that is perfectly okay.

Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St.,, 7:30 p.m. doors, $12, 21+ This post-punk soul band out of Chicago is touring to promote the release of their most recent album, Howl. They’ve been called a lot of things - throwback, new funk, neo-soul, “relentlessly catchy” - but regardless of the chosen descriptor, all agree that they put on a hell of a show. You WILL be dancing.

The Lombardi Case 1975

Monkey Town 3

The Living Room, 154 Ludlow St.,, 2 p.m., $60. This immersive crime-solving theatre event will be a thrill to participate in. A politico’s daughter is murdered on the LES, and immediately becomes a sensational crime in the news. You become a rookie cop and must search the neighborhood to get to the bottom of the story.

Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, 540 West 21st St.,, 7 p.m., $45. This reboot of the Williamsburg bar and restaurant that opened in 2010, is something you must experience for yourself. Each performance invites 32 people into a suspended white cube of screens onto which a two-hour program of multichannel video art is projected. During the screening, enjoy a multi-course mean cooked by a rotating lineup of chefs.




Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection


Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th St.,, 11 a.m., free-$10. A millennium’s worth of work is featured in this exhibit on the diverse artistic traditions of the Himalayas. See Buddhist and Hindu deities depicted in papermâché, textiles, stone and wood. You will even be able to see life-size photos of 18th-century murals from the Dalai Lama’s secret temple in Tibet. Anticipate reaching an entire new level of enlightenment.

Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave,, 9:15 p.m., $6-$10 Catch this screening of the sharp film based on the 2003 novel by Don DeLillo. It stars Robert Pattinson, but will make you all but forget about his Twilight days. He plays a 28-year-old billionaire and currency speculator who is faced with meltdowns both global and personal- set to the backdrop of none other than Manhattan. It is a thriller from start to finish, consistently keeping you on your toes.

Jazz @ Lincoln Center, 62nd St between Columbus and Amsterdam,, 6:30 p.m., $17. For 15 days, this dance fest hosted by Lincoln Center welcomes jazz, mambo, rock and, yes, swing bands to Damrosch Park’s open-air ballroom. Highlights include two wallet-friendly, late-night silent discos, in which participants boogie down wearing individual headphones; salsa dancing led by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra; and a this toe-tapping set by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on opening night.

Buddy Guy B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 243 W 42nd St, $27, 8:00 p.m. Guy’s legend has only grown throughout the ‘90s and into the 21st century. Recent releases like Bring ‘Em In (2005), Skin Deep (2008), and Living Proof (2010) continue to demonstrate that Guy, while firmly ensconced in his blues roots, has always tried to keep his music looking forward - even at the risk of alienating lovers of traditional blues sounds. Internationally acclaimed, a Grammy winner, and now an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Guy has firmly cemented a blues legacy that places him squarely in the company of his heroes who came before.



Midsummer Night Swing

Poetry Reading: Lasting Matters: Writers 57 and Over ◄ Nimrod Roseland Ballroom, 239 W. 52nd St.,, $59, 6:30 p.m. Good words are always lasting, and so are good people. They last in our memory and on the page. Nimrod has lasted 57 years—and promises to go on another 57! And so Nimrod’s spring issue is a testament to lasting words, lasting people, and a lasting journal. Join Nimrod in a celebration of all three in a staged reading from the Spring/Summer 2013 issue, Lasting Matters: Writers 57 and Over. The reading will feature local authors included in the issue and performers reading from Nimrod’s Lasting Matters which includes the writing of literary stars such as Ted Kooser, Stephen Dunn, Ron Wallace, and local favorites including Ivy Dempsey, Deborah Hunter, Fran Ringold, and Cynthia Gustavson. Music and dance will also enliven the readings. The event is free and open to the public. Copies of the issue will be available for sale.



Local Senator Supports Changing Marijuana Law Sen. Daniel Squadron is sponsoring the senate version of a bill that would reform punishments for small amounts of marijuana possession


cross New York City and state marijuana is a polarizing issue, but not in the way you might think. It’s the penalty, not the use, that seems to be dividing New Yorkers. According to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union, black New Yorkers are 4.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white New Yorkers, despite the fact that the use is nearly equivalent between the groups. In Brooklyn and Manhattan, black New Yorkers are nine times more likely to be arrested. What accounts for this disparity? Private possession, possession that wouldn’t be discovered by police frisking, is only a violation, while possession of small amounts in public view is a misdemeanor. Many possession arrests come as a result of stop-and-frisk stops, which disproportionately target minorities. Local State Senator Daniel Squadron is sponsoring a bill in the Senate to reform the state’s laws on what should constitute a violation versus a misdemeanor when it comes to marijuana possession. The bill has already passed the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assembly Member Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn), and Governor Cuomo has stated his strong support for reforming the in-plain-view marijuana statutes. “A large number of people carry small amounts of marijuana. But the vast majority of people who get criminal records for it are young black and Latino men. That’s simply immoral and unacceptable,” said Squadron. “None of us should accept living in a place where the color of your skin, your gender, and your age define whether your behavior is a criminal act or not. Reforming the inplain-view marijuana statute and the inconsistent way it’s enforced would be an important step toward ending these unacceptable racial disparities. It’s time for the Senate to act and bring justice to each and every New York community.” According to the ACLU


report, in 2010 the estimated annual fiscal cost of marijuana possession enforcement in New York was $678,450,560. Marijuana possession accounted for nearly 60 percent of all drug arrests. “This legal inconsistency has led to tragic consequences with breathtaking racial disparities and it cannot be allowed to stand,” added Senator Liz Krueger, who represents the Upper East Side. “Every day the Senate Majority fails to move this legislation is a stain and an affront to civil rights and justice in New York State.” “New Yorkers should be embarrassed that our state leads the nation in marijuana arrests,” said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman. “The crackdown on low-level marijuana possession happening across our state needlessly hurts individuals and families – subjecting them to all sorts of collateral consequences like the loss of student financial aid and job opportunities. It is time for the Senate to stop stalling and enact this commonsense criminal justice reform.” “Marijuana arrests in New York are out of control, and they are a stark example of racial bias in policing practices and drug policy in our state,” said Alfredo Carrasquillo, VOCAL-NY’s Civil Rights community organizer. “Even though white youth are more likely to use marijuana, the overwhelming majority of arrests are among black and Latino youth since they are most likely to be stopped and searched by police. Senators Klein and Skelos must allow a vote on this urgent racial justice issue so that we can stop these costly and damaging arrests.”


A 12x12 Project House in another city

Art Project for Lower East Side A temporary public art installment is planned for First Street Green Park


ower East Side residents will soon be able to enjoy “The 12x12 Project: A World Policy Institute Project on Smart Consumption,” a public art installation planned for the small park sandwiched between two buildings at 33 E. 1st St, near Houston Street. According to the project’s proposal, the work “is a temporary 12-foot by 12-foot shed-like structure, taking the form of a book-like house that consists of ‘living’ walls based on the DNA double helix weave-like design.” There will also be an “upside down umbrella or butterfuly rooftop with a waterproof layer and root barrier” which will collect rainwater and channel it into a collection barrel to be reused. During the day, the small structure will remain open and will house works of various artists, acting as both a piece of art itself and as a tiny exhibition space for other local artists. It’s designed by artist Simon Draper, who said that the goal of the project is to explore the role of the artist in bigger societal issues and to “find poetry in the seemingly mundane and transform it so that others might enjoy the everyday with a brighter eye.” There will also be several ways for the public to interact with the works. Viewers will be asked to reflect on the concept of houses - the one before them, their own, the idea of the planet itself as a “house” and then that input will be shared on the web and through social media. The location for the project, which has previously been set up in other cities around the country, was chosen for its high visibility and foot traffic location as well for the park’s existing partnership with Fourth Arts Block, an artists’ group.



New New Yorkers, from the Very Old Country A new Georgian restaurant wants to bring a taste of the home country to NYC By Adam Janos “Not to burn the kebab, not to burn the stick,” Beka Peradze, co-owner of new restaurant Oda House (76 Avenue B), explains. It’s an old idiom from his native land, the Republic of Georgia, a nation of 4.5 million in the central Asian Caucasus. It’s hard to say what Peradze exactly means by this (out of the frying pan and into the fire, perhaps?), but it seems fitting that the idiom is both cryptic and tied to food, as Georgia’s rich culinary tradition remains largely a mystery to the average New Yorker’s palette. Oda House, which opened on May 5th, is the brainchild Beka’s stepmother, Maia Acquaviva; together, they run the place. Acquavia is a native Georgian who came to New York in 2007, and – after attending culinary school – served as an executive chef at a Russian Restaurant on East 20th Street called Mari Vanna. Not that Russian and Georgian cuisine are anything alike. “It’s big different,” Acquavia said. “Georgian cuisine is rich: rich with everything. I could not say same with Russian cuisine. They not have so much herbs, meat products.” Georgia, in contrast, was perfectly situated to take advantage of the rich trade that came through the Silk Road, a network of trade routes dating back to the first millennium that linked Europe and East Asia. “We use a lot of fresh things: so many herbs: tarragon, mint,

cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic… and it’s makes our dishes so flavorful. It’s different; there’s a freshness that makes our cuisine different.” At Oda House, Acquavia is hoping to use those flavors to create a menu that’s elegant, exotic, and inspiring. Aside from her set menu, which includes her favorite dish (Chakapuri: a slow-cooked lamb with tarragon, mint, scallions and white wine, served with Georgian bread), the chef is preparing specials every week. This week, she’ll be serving chicken roulade with vegetables, and a cold zucchini in a white sauce with tarragon and mint. As the weather continues to warm, she’ll start preparing cold savory soups. Along with the Georgian food, Acquavia and her staff of eight (seven Georgians, one Latino) hope to familiarize New Yorkers with all aspects of Georgian culture. They have live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, in which a duo plays Georgian folk tunes on the doli (hand drum) and the phanduri (traditional fretted string instrument). “And we want to start next week, Thursday evening, we want to make Gypsy evening because we know these people very well,” Acquavia says. “And maybe from Monday until Wednesday: she’s very famous singer, Georgian, now in United States: Nini.” “She’s gonna be in U.S. X-Factor,” Peradze added. “She been through three auditions already, now she go for judges like Simon… she won Greek X-Factor.” There’s a saying in Georgia: if you ask a Georgian for water, they give you wine. Acquavia says that why she opened a restaurant, and why she wants to bring people into her business. “‘Oda’ means your own home,” Acquavia explained. “Your

family home. Your grandmother’s home. In old Georgian language, Oda means this one. It’s the old word for ‘house’. Your house. I want everyone who comes here feel like they’re home.” “We’re little people, just 4.5 million,” Acquavia said about Georgia. “But we are very friendly. For us, family is much important. We are religious people, Orthodox. We religious, but never have Antisemitism in Georgia. Never, ever. Jewish, Muslims, Christians: they live like brothers together. I’m so happy because we’re so friendly. I’m proud of this, because it’s a different genetic.” “People say: today’s egg is better than tomorrow’s chicken,” Peradze added. Enjoy the things you have in front of you. Eat Georgian food in New York’s melting pot, where the old world comes to begin anew.


Find One-of-Kind Sweaters and More at Granny-Made Brick-and-mortar store moves online-only in July By Laura Shanahan


ay it ain’t so, Joe! But it is so: As per last week’s news item in this very paper, owner Michael Rosenberg’s singular store Granny-Made, which served the Upper West Side and fans from beyond – way beyond – for 27 years will be closing, with summer the targeted time. But lest you worry you’ll make a wasted trip if you go now, as the store may be shuttered any minute; or that the selection’s dwindled down to nothing; or that you’ll never be able to buy another Granny-Made sweater, so might as well call it quits now – take heart: The answer to all your concerns is “NO! NO!” and one mo’ time: “NO!” I just visited Michael and he assures me that the shop, at 467 Amsterdam Ave., between


82nd and 83rd, will be open throughout July – at the very least. So there’s still time, mes amis – and the advantages of going now are twofold: First, you can take advantage of closing sales on items that will not be carried at the online shop ( – and second, in-store you have the opportunity to fondle, sniff and otherwise scope out the favorite items that will indeed continue to be available online. And let us not discount the possibility of a third act elsewhere: Stay tuned! To give you an idea of the quality that inspired and continues to inform this children’s clothing-toys-and-more store, consider the immaculate wool-knit coat hanging on display. Looks like it could have been hand-knit yesterday. In fact, granny Bert Levy made it for a friend’s granddaughter in 1956. (Bert Levy was the real-life granny of Granny-Made, and lives on as its inspiration and guiding force.) “The family sent it to me,” Michael says proudly of the coat, which is framed by other vintage items Bert Levy created. Today, her original cable-design knits for


children, from 6 months to approximately 6 years, are handmade in Peru of cuddle-soft pima cotton. Priced at $70-$78, the zip-up cardigans come in multiple girly shades of pink, plus a raspberry and lavender, as well as in navy, light blue and olive. Ruth Hornbein, a longtime employee and a well-known children’s sweater-designer in her own right, showed me her hand-loomed pure cotton cardigans for boys and girls. Loved the pink and purple version – I’m such a girly girl – that features the Manhattan skyline on front and the Brooklyn one on back. “That’s Orion on the front,” Ruth pointed out in the design’s star-studded sky, “and the Big and Little Dipper on the back.” (I shamelessly nodded as though I could identify them on my own.) Anyway, $85 for these truly original, impeccably detailed sweaters. Ruth shared another bit of knowledge: Pointing out a sweater featuring intarsia designs of doggies, she noted that cats used to be the big sellers, and “now it’s dogs.” Interesting factoid, no? Noteworthy in addition to the knits are

Granny-Made 467 Amsterdam Ave., 212-496-1222 What’s special: Original and lovingly handmade knits for the kids like a talented granny made. Hurry in before this longtime shop remains online only – at least for now.

glittering rings and tiaras, soft toys for tots and the novel ABC wall-hangings; $45. Made of quilted fabric, the hangings’ 26 pockets each contain a tiny toy corresponding to every letter of the alphabet. (“O” has an owl tucked inside.) Last but not least, there is the selection of interactive books. Consider the glossy hardcover Noisy Noah’s Ark for $19.99 that features such sounds as rain, hammering and music. Long before Gene Kelly, apparently Noah was singin’ in the rain…



Edited by Armond White

Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is The Godfather of superhero movies By Armond White


an of Steel is the first superhero movie to be directed by a real filmmaker since Tim Burton took on Batman in 1989. Unlike Burton, director Zack Snyder’s sensibility derives from comic books and graphic novels yet his visual extravagance also contains the palpably erotic core of comic book fantasy. Snyder immediately invests the Superman story with this tactile realism, a feel for ancient legend. Opening scenes on the dying planet Krypton recall the stylization of 300 but with a slightly futuristic edge that never lapses into conventional superhero movie fantasy. (Snyder got that out of his system with Watchmen.) The arch otherworldliness of Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) sending their newborn infant into outer space to survive Krypton’s destruction and preserve their heritage from the tyrannical threat of General Zod (Michael Shannon) also evokes a kind of classicism. It doesn’t play like sci-fi and when the story shifts to planet Earth where the alien boy KalEl is raised as Clark Kent, Snyder effectively creates a contrasting, charged-up realism. In Man of Steel, Snyder’s ingenuity--his realistic panache--prevents the Superman story from mainly appealing to either adolescent whimsy or adult camp. He makes a radical break from past Superman movies where cliché narratives, routine violence and a basic lack of seriousness are accepted as standard. Man of Steel is marvelous, serious fun which changes all that. Kal-El/Clark Kent (played by Henry Cavill) isn’t called “Superman” until late in the story; his history and identity are the film’s real subject. First seen bursting through flames as a Herculean physical specimen, his alien adjustment to Earth and humanity is a personal trial neatly conveyed through screenwriter David S. Goyer’s multiple flashbacks. While Snyder gives the alien’s feats


New York’s Review of Culture .

Serious Fun a quality of wonder, Cavil conveys surprise, urgency and torment. Snyder is good at the physics of stress (The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a masterpiece, I promise you) which separates Man of Steel from The Dark Knight trilogy. Snyder’s consistent intermix of realism and legend upgrades the superhero genre. Cavil’s dramatic handsomeness recalls young Sean Connery’s exotic virility; his simultaneously otherworldly and legendary aspects suit Snyder’s sensuous action style--textured closeups of skin and capillaries, jet trails in the sky as he flies, his red cape’s heavy swoosh. No previous Superman achieved Cavil’s perfected gesture of drawing back his right hand when flying to exert physical and spiritual will. Converting iconography from District 9, the Transformer films and Independence Day, Snyder improves on the imagery, giving it a speedy, thrilling roughness, preferable to the usual unimaginatively slick CGI. What’s terrific here is that Snyder expresses Kal-El’s force, his will. The yearning to


understand himself and his human-likeness gives the film depth. When Kal-El meets the earnest newspaper reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) their immediate attraction is so well acted it’s deeper than romance. Their passions meet and that’s Snyder and Nolan’s breakthrough. This is the most stirring, impassioned superhero movie I’ve ever seen. By emphasizing Kal-El’s conflict with his abilities, desires and his yet uncontrollable circumstances, Snyder discovers his meager genre’s richest potential. (One scene offers a beautifully concise Christ-parallel.) Lessons from Kal-El’s two fathers are sturdily presented by both Crowe and Kevin Costner (as Jonathan Kent) so that tests of his ideals and his strength against Shannon’s Zod (that Frankenstein brow suggesting political warp yet oddly touching like Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty) offer a continuum of masculine being. Eat that Luke Skywalker. Snyder doesn’t cheapen the “S” emblazoned on Superman’s chest. “In my world it means ‘Hope’” Kal-El says. That’s a significant

difference from The Dark Knight trilogy’s nihilism. The fight against Zod is primarily ethical (“You have developed a sense of morality and we have not--which gives us an evolutionary advantage. If history has taught us anything, it’s that evolution always wins.”) Yet as Snyder envisions this battle, realism stays in scale with awe—something science can’t measure. As the Supeman-Zod fight escalates so does its 9/11 evocation and Snyder’s vision of urban destruction attains the poetry Michael Bay did not, alas, achieve in Transformers III: Dark of the Moon. That evolution comment evokes The Godfather; its implicit “you can kill anybody” suggests 9/11 annihilation which has fed the juvenile thrall of too many comic book movies, Snyder’s Superman--symbolizing hope--counters all that. Man of Steel allows sci-fi blockbuster audiences to finally merge from post-9/11 darkness. Thanks to Zack Snyder’s artistry, Man of Steel is The Godfather of superhero movies. Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair



Sharecropping Sirens A radiant documentary honors the background singer By Armond White


n Greil Marcus’ original review of the Rolling Stones’ 1969 “Gimme Shelter,” he wrote about “women who can shout like Mary [sic] Clayton--gutty, strong, and tougher than any of the delightful leering figures that are jumping out of the old Stones’ orgy. She can stand up to Mick and match him, and in fact, she steals the song. That’s what makes ’Gimme Shelter’ such an overwhelming recording--it hits from both sides, with no laughs, no innuendoes, and nothing held back. The Stones have never done anything better.” Marcus may have misspelled Merry Clayton’s name but his awe-struck (and awesome) review got everything else superlatively right. Merry Clayton’s solo on “Gimme Shelter” is one of the most astonishing performances in the history of popular music yet the singer’s near-anonymity is one of our culture’s saddest shames




and that’s what the new documentary 20 Feet from Stardom sets out to rectify. Director Morgan Neville surveys the troops of mostly black female harmony singers who back-up the musical dreams of headliner artists. He searches out the women who can shout now in middle age who added grace and glory to innumerable hit records-Clayton, Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, Judith Hill, even legendary Claudia Lennear (inspiration and personification of the Stones‘ “Brown Sugar”). Some discovered their gifts as preachers’ daughters, first learning harmony in church choirs; some tried Darlene Love and Merry Clayton brief or unsuccessful solo Others like Fischer found a sinecure as longcareers but all share stories of frustration: time back-up on Rolling Stones tours. Their Love suffered Phil Spector’s megalomania and stories are not about envy but the variables of was cheated of recognition; Clayton, Vega and fate and ego. Venerable blues singer Dr. Mable Lennear couldn’t catch the trend of popularity. John gives wisdom: “Check out your worth” but she’s also warning fans and listeners who remain ignorant of the human costs the music DRAWING biz demands. PAINTING Neville’s snapshots of the women’s maturity SCULPTURE excludes tragedy. Still beautiful, keen and PRINTMAKING good-humored, these sharecropping sirens have not received their due compensation PHOTOGRAPHY for journeyman work that proved to live VIDEO and remunerate other folks forever. Yet in ART THEORY their individual personalities they remain CLASSES FOR YOUNG ARTISTS vital as their voices. Fischer, shown on stage with Sting, delivers a virtuosic presentation REGISTER NOW! that’s all in a night’s work. “She’s a star!” Sting WWW.NATIONALACADEMY.ORG exclaims. But that ain’t the half of it. Note: 212.996.1908 Fischer’s brief solo career produced a Grammy NATIONAL ACADEMY SCHOOL win for the R&B hit perfectly titled “How Can 5 EAST 89TH STREET AT FIFTH AVENUE I Ease the Pain?” Such demonstrations of underrated and under-compensated artistry deserve a more serious study. Even though Neville’s aim is celebration, he tends to skimp his subject’s greatest contours: How female back-up singing evolved past segregation during the Civil Rights Era. How objectification mixed with discipline (“We were R&B’s first action figures” Lennear recalls her time as one of the Ikettes doing sexy calisthentics that anticipated Beyonce). How the subculture of Black vocalizing led to the specialized esthetics of the master Luther Vandross and the singular Cindy Mizelle whose Steely Dan chirping grew into the sound of Chic. How developing technologies like overdubbing and



Auto Tune threatened to erase the background artists industry. These fascinating brief tales (annotated by Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Patti Austin, Lou Adler, Max Greenwall, David Lasley and others) hold the history of American culture. Between Fischer’s insistent “I’m doing good!” and Clayton professing “My way of being an activist was to do the music” lie untold secrets of American perseverance. Clayton tearfully admits “I felt if I just give my heart to what I was doing I would automatically be a star.” Woe to thee, non-self-promoter But it’s also Clayton who rose from bed, beckoned to the studio to record “Gimme Shelter” and decided on the second take: “Uh huh, I’m gonna blow them out of this room.” In her heart she knew that they wanted something out of her; that though they needed and admired her they could/would never adequately pay her back and so with pride and courage she expended her artistry which is ultimately--though not always--without price. Neville does posterity a favor by separating Clayton’s vocal from the “Gimme Shelter” music track. The power of her personal artistic sacrifice, lent to Jagger and Richard’s concept-reifying and immortalizing it--still makes your hairs stand up on your neck. This isolated sound is one of the greatest, most unfair things on record. That there’s much more to these stories is implicit in Darlene Love’s radiant reflection on her youth: “Amazing isn’t it? I was talented and didn’t know it.” Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair


Don’t Blink On “Blinkey” Palermo’s vehicles for color By Jim Long


allowing the work to become monumental.   A few favorite strategies repeat: a triangular edge intrudes into the field from the lower left corner: suggesting Klee’s transparent over-lapping planes, Popova and Malevich’s home-cooked geometries, or maybe the BMW logo. Edges are sometimes crisp, often fluid, in the manner of Beuys, always displaying a sure touch. The work suggests an embrace of artistic

GALLERIES CITYARTS intention based in geographic experience: Leipzig colors are yellow and blue; Dusseldorf red and white; Munich black and gold; Bavaria white and blue; Germany red, black and gold. Abstract form as vehicle for color is not new, and Palermo’s works on paper can appear to simply unpack Kandinsky or Mondrian and rearrange it horizontally, like a Warhol screen test. Yet the work is delightfully engaging. In New York, in 1976, it would have been outof-the-way: not unfashionable, simply from somewhere else. “To The People of New York” in 1977 looked like an import. 

How to account for how good the work looks? It might be useful to think of it in context: the artist/musician communes of Germany in the 1960’s-‘70’s exploring nonhierarchical cultural forms. The slight melodies and driving rhythms of the band Kraftwerk (based in Dusseldorf; sharing members with NEU!) defined a cultural moment that escaped broad acceptance in American music. The insight that art and music can exist without rules, education, or tradition is difficult. Palermo reversed that idea, the beginning of work only he could envision. 

alermo, born Peter Schwarze in Leipzig in 1943, was 34 when he died in 1977. He and his twin brother Michael were adopted by a couple named Heisterkamp and escaped to Munich in 1952. In 1962 he enrolled in the Kunstacadamie Dusseldorf, studied with Joseph Beuys and acquired the name “Blinkey” Palmero. David Zwirner gallery is NEW currently exhibiting “Palermo: Works on Paper 1976EUROPEAN 1977,” acrylic and graphite PAINTINGS works on paper mounted on GALLERIES cardboard: late work from 1250 –1800 an artist whose active period NOW OPEN spanned scarcely 15 years. The work is composed in parts, usually two, otherwise from three to twelve. Nearly all are loosely brushed variations on geometric figure/ground motifs in a limited range of red, yellow, blue, green, and black. The groups are uniform in size, elegantly framed and presented in rows echoing the minimalist aesthetic of the time. A special example is a study for To The People of New York City, 39 sketches for an extended work on a single sheet.  Palermo, trained in graphic design before entering the academy, devised an engaging abstract vocabulary, part conceptual, part minimal, part arte povera based on sampling Kelly, Beuys. Mondrian, Tuttle, Marden, Malevich, Klee, Kandinsky, Popova, Rothko, Newman…how many others? Each “set” is grouped and experienced somewhat cinematically, like animation cells or montage. Palermo’s lasting contribution may well be his ability to impart a sense of locomotion to inherently static geometric form while avoiding illustration strategies. He is interested in the anonymity that is the root of monumentality in abstraction, but energetically resists Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes), Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga (1784–1792), detail, 1787–88, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jules Bache Collection, 1949.





15 1 4 7


ways to your newspaper old

Use it as wrapping paper, or fold & glue pages into reusable gift bags.


Add shredded newspaper to your compost pile when you need a carbon addition or to keep flies at bay.


Use newspaper strips, water, and a bit of glue for newspaper mâché.



Crumple newspaper to use as packaging material the next time you need to ship something fragile.


Tightly roll up sheets of newspaper and tie with string to use as fire logs.

After your garden plants sprout, place newspaper sheets around them, then water & cover with grass clippings and leaves. This newspaper will keep weeds from growing.

Make origami creatures

Use shredded newspaper as animal bedding in lieu of sawdust or hay.


Make your own cat litter by shredding newspaper, soaking it in dish detergent & baking soda, and letting it dry.


Wrap pieces of fruit in newspaper to speed up the ripening process.


Cut out letters & words to write anonymous letters to friends and family to let them know they are loved.


Roll a twice-folded newspaper sheet around a jar, remove the jar, & you have a biodegradable seed-starting pot that can be planted directly into the soil.


Make newspaper airplanes and have a contest in the backyard.

12 15

Stuff newspapers in boots or handbags to help the items keep their shape. Dry out wet shoes by loosening laces & sticking balled newspaper pages inside.

a public service announcement brought to you by dirt magazine. PAGE 14



Dance of the Disciples Five choreographers pay tribute to Bill T. Jones By Valerie Gladstone “He stands for so much politically, emotionally and visually,” says dancer choreography Heidi Latsky iin praise of Bill T. Jones of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. “He came along in the late ‘70s and broke all kinds of rules. He’s brilliant and daring. His works resonate in the dance world.” On the 30th anniversary of the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company, Latsky, Arthur Aviles and Catherine Cabeen, former members of the troupe, and David Parker, the founder and director of The Bang Company, and Maureen Whiting, g director of the Maureen Whiting ting Company, willl honor Jones with “Fivee Choreographers at Baruch,” a series of performances ormances at the Baruch Performing Arts Center ter June 25-29. It would be hard for anyone in the performing orming arts over the past 30 years not to count nt Jones as an influence. A MacArthur “genius” ius” grant winner, he has dealt with gay rights, AIDS, racism m and many other tough h subjects in highly ly charged dances ces packed with powerful movement. ement. Moreover eover he has also choreographed eographed for opera, theater ter and television, won innumerable umerable awards in the dance and theater worlds, and continues to revolutionize lutionize dance as a leader of New w York Live Arts organization. Latsky, atsky, a member of the Jones/Zane s/Zane company from 1987-1993, 7-1993, credits Jones with giving ng her an understanding of the he value of stillness in dance, ance, and by giving ng her, as a dancer, grounded unded and emotional movement ement to perform.

“Five Choreographers at Baruch,” appears at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, Lexington Ave. and 23rd Street, June 25-29.

At the Baruch Center, she will present two pieces, “Solo Countersolo” and “Somewhere,” the latter a series of dances to various versions of the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Inspired by Jones, Latsky has, since 2006, included disabled dancers in many of her works, most noteworthy, “Gimp” explaining why dance should be inclusive: “Bill felt no trepidation about including people of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes in his company,” she says. In Jones fashion this piece features four disabled performers, who make the song sing through their bodies. Cabeen, the director of Hyphen Dance Company, performed with the Jones/Zane troupe from 1997-2005 and now sets Jones’ works on companies all over the country. She will present two pieces, one of them the formal and ornate “Five Windows,” with the oud player, Kane Mathis. Aviles, a member of the company from 1987-1995 and the co-founder of the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD). He has not only devoted himself to choreographing but also to giving

the Puerto Rican, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities a place to work and create - an outgrowth of Jones dedication to the disenfranchised. To celebrate his mentor, he will present the joyous “Cumpeanos Feliz,”named for a tradi traditional d tional Spanish Spanissh birthday song. Seattle-based choreographer Whiting thinks that simply being aware of what Jones was doing in the ‘80s, affected her. “No one had been so politically active in dance as Bill,” she says. “It changed completely how everyone thought of contemporary dance.” He is also noted for his theatricality, and her work, “belly,” in the upcoming tribute, follows in that line. Parker didn’t dance with Jones but he was deeply influenced by him too. “I love his mixture of formal and dry and how highly charged his works are,” he says. Parker’s witty pieces share a formality, clear in his new dances for the Baruch engagement, engagement entitled ”Unbridled” and “Groomed.” “None of us would have dared so much without Bill’s example.”



Who Can Best Manage a Big City? When considering candidates in the mayor’s race, management style is a big factor By Tom Allon


ew York has had its share of crises in the past decade 9/11, the Wall Street financial crisis and then, of course, Superstorm Sandy. Who leads the city during times of crisis - and relative calm - is important. And their ability and experience as a manager and leader is paramount. When we pick the next mayor this fall, it’s important to focus on management skills and style. The last two occupants of City Hall, Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, had very strong management backgrounds but their styles were extremely different. Management skills are tough to quantify or define precisely. To me it’s about recruiting talented managers, giving them clear direction, commanding their respect and then knowing when to empower them or replace them. Rudy Giuliani came to Gracie Mansion after an impressive stint as a crime-fighting

U.S. Attorney. He hired deputies and staff who were hard-charging, fiercely loyal and who were as determined as their boss to prove that New York was indeed a governable place. For four years, from 1993-1997, Giuliani’s turnaround management skills were just the tonic New York needed and his strong team helped drive down crime and the welfare rolls, and the city became a much more livable and desirable place. Mike Bloomberg, who is much less a micromanager than Giuliani was, hired great people like Patti Harris, Dan Doctorof, Kevin Sheekey and Edward Skyler to form his inner circle. His strong leadership skills from building Bloomberg LP into a booming financial information company were proof that he could lead a city of eight million residents and a $42 billion budget. And now we come to this year’s evergrowing crop of mayoral contenders: the good, the bad and the potentially ugly. A few have relatively impressive management backgrounds, while others have resumes so thin, it leaves one dreading the next four years. Let’s start with the leading Democratic contenders, none of whom have any impressive private sector management experience nor the hard-charging management style of a candidate like Giuliani. Bill Thompson had a fairly strong run as Comptroller and has recently worked in the private sector. To many, however, his mild

manner gives them pause. But in the current crop of candidates, his nuanced positions and lack of personal drama is a refreshing antidote to the reality show swirling around him. Christine Quinn has a very mixed record as a leader. On the debit side of the ledger is the slush fund scandal and the term limits power grab. She also seems to have the personality of a vice president or deputy mayor, almost always following rather than leading (as evidenced by her relationship with Mayor Bloomberg). To Quinn’s credit, however, she has managed an unruly legislative body for eight years, is not thought of as a pushover (except to her patron in City Hall) and has taken some unpopular stands (like supporting the East Side Marine Transfer Station). Anthony Weiner has a pretty dubious reputation as a manager. A recent New York Times piece about him pointed out his revolving door staff and his confusing management style. Not a promising background for the potential leader of a $70 billion budget that employs more than 300,000 people. Bill de Blasio and John Liu have held citywide offices just long enough to leapfrog to a mayoral run and nothing in either of their resumes gives one confidence that their management skills can handle being the chief executive of a large metropolis. Liu, for example, couldn’t even run a clean fundraising campaign.

On the GOP side, management skills are much more evident. John Catsimatidis is a self-made billionaire (hey, does that sound familiar?) and has run a large chain of companies from supermarkets to oil refineries to aviation enterprises. Joe Lhota, besides a stint as Giuliani’s deputy mayor, has been successful on Wall Street and as an executive at Madison Square Garden. He is also quick to point out that he was at Rudy’s side on 9/11 (and Andrew Cuomo’s side during Sandy). But, like Quinn, he has to convince people he’s more than a VP type. What’s a confused voter to do? Well, just think of the chaos in New York in the late 1960 and 70s when we had a charismatic but management-challenged mayor. Or when his successor, a mild-mannered former comptroller, plunged the city to near bankruptcy. Who we pick to succeed Giuliani and Bloomberg as New York’s chief executive matters a lot. Who do you want making the tough decisions that lie ahead on public safety, education, labor contracts and infrastructure rebuilding - the pandering career politician or someone who has a firm backbone as a manager? Tom Allon, the president of City and State, NY, is a former Liberal Party-backed candidate for Mayor. Questions or comments? Email


Keep Libraries Open Today’s libraries are more than warehouses for books By Jonathan Bowles and Julie Sandorf


t a time when far too many New Yorkers are struggling to make the transition to today’s knowledge economy, no institution is doing more to bridge the gap than the city’s public libraries. The city’s 206 branch libraries have become the go-to places for those who lack the essential literacy, language and technological skills needed to get ahead today. They are helping adults upgrade their skills and find jobs, assisting immigrants learn English, fostering reading skills in young people and providing technology access for those who don’t have a computer or an Internet connection at home. Yet, the libraries are often treated by city policymakers as if there’s little more to them than children’s story time. They always seem to be first on the chopping block when Mayor


Bloomberg proposes a budget. The City Council has prevented most of the proposed budget cuts from taking effect in prior years, but city funding for the libraries is still down by eight percent over the last decade. As a result, the libraries are barely open 40 hours Jonathan Bowles a week, fewer than almost every major urban library system, and too many branches across the city are subpar. This year, the libraries are literally fighting to keep their doors open. They face their largest proposed budget reduction ever, 35 percent below current funding. For a mayor who puts a premium on metrics, it’s hard to rationalize the cuts. Over the past decade, the city’s three public library systems have experienced a 40 percent spike in the number of people attending educational programs and a 59


percent increase in circulation. The public libraries are more relevant than ever because they have evolved from repositories for books into dynamic community centers offering an array of programs and resources that help New Yorkers help themselves in today’s information age. It’s time for policymakers to embrace libraries as the critical 21st century resource that they are. The mayor and the City Council should restore this year’s proposed budget reductions and give libraries more stability in the budget process by setting an adequate baseline level of funding. With more dependable support, they could be serving more New Yorkers and playing an even more pivotal role in restoring New York as a city of opportunity. Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. Julie Sandorf is president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. Julie Sandorf








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Chris D’Elia D’elivers Laughs at Carolines The comedian and actor on his first gig, his witty family, and “Whitney” By Angela Barbuti


f you go to see Chris D’Elia’s comedy show at Carolines this weekend, some of his act will be about dating. It’s not surprising that he gets his material from hanging out with friends at diners late at night. It seems like a no-brainer that NBC casted the former “Whitney” star as the lead in its new show, “Undateable.” The 33-year-old plays a dating coach to his lovelorn friends. When asked if life imitated art, D’Elia replied, “I’m acting.” Besides this new show, he is in the process of cutting a Comedy Central special of his work and has some movies on the horizon. “I’m right where I want to be,” he said.

You live in LA. How is it different to perform in New York? In New York, there’s a lot of different kinds of people and I really like that. I perform in LA so much that I see a lot of the same people.

What is the demographic at your shows? It’s like 18 to 40 year-olds who come to see me. And all different races. In LA a lot of Persians like me. I don’t know why that happened, but that happened.

Persians? Really, why? Maybe cause I’m hairy.

How do you come up with material? Hanging out with my friends late night at diners- that’s how I always come up with my material. If I can make them laugh, then I can bring it to the stage. Sometimes it works, and when it works, I add it to the act. And then sometimes, when it doesn’t, I just get mad at my friends.


Tell people who have never seen your act what it’s about. Different people, different cultures. A lot about dating and exgirlfriends.

Where was your first stand-up gig? My first actual show was at the Ha Ha Café in North Hollywood in 2006. I invited some friends. I was so nervous. But it turned out well and then after that, I bombed for a few months and ended up earning my stripes.

When did you first realize that you were funny? [Laughs] I don’t know; I’m still trying to figure it out. As long as they’re laughing, I’m happy. I thought that things that I thought were funny made me funny. My mom and my dad - and my brother - they’re just so funny, so it’s tough to keep up. I was the butt of a lot of jokes growing up, so that made me stronger in that respect. So I just started to make fun of people. They created a monster, I think.

Your dad is in the business too. Did he want you to go into entertainment? No, he wanted the opposite. But he came to some shows and was happy about it. I made him laugh, so he was all for it.

Many know you from the show “Whitney.” What was that experience like for you? It was great. I loved Whitney [Cummings] and all the people who were involved with that show. It was kind of a dream job. It was so close to where I lived and I loved hanging out with the people - they were friends. I knew Whitney before we started doing the show.

You’re going to be on a new show in the fall on NBC. Yeah, it’s called “Undateable.” I’m the lead and actually, a guy who used to be my opener, Brent Morin, is the co-lead in it. It’s pretty cool that we get to work together.

How did this role come about? I was doing “Whitney,” and Bill Lawrence, the guy who created “Scrubs” - he does “Undateable” - and he really wanted me for the role. So NBC said, “OK, we’ll have Chris for the role, but if we pick up


‘Whitney,’ then we’re gonna have to recast the role.” But “Whitney” got canceled and the next day they picked up “Undateable.”

It’s about you giving dating advice to guys, right?

I’m trying to get the undateables, dateable.

Does that happen in real life? I’m acting. No. I don’t know if I’m the dateable one in real life. Follow Chris on Twitter @ chrisdelia


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Marble Collegiate Church’s Children, Youth & Families Ministry congratulates the winning artist of the

Draw Your Dad Contest

Drawing by Kitty (4)

Congratulations to the family pictured above. Their daughter’s drawing of dad was pulled at random. Pictured are, Dad David Burke, Amelia (5), Kitty (4) and Lucy. They won 4 tickets to

the Musical.

Drawing by Amelia (5)

Dr. Michael B. Brown, Senior Minister Marble Collegiate Church is a welcoming and accepting church, where all are valued and affirmed. At the heart of Marble’s transformational ministry are true community and common ground. We hope you will visit us at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 29th Street for Sunday Worship at 11:00am, or check out our website at THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013






Our Town Downtown June 20th 2013  
Our Town Downtown June 20th 2013  

The June 20th, 2013 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, work...