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Last Sunday, a 26-year-old woman got into a taxi on East 62nd Street and York Avenue and asked the driver to take her home. The problem arose when the driver said he didn’t know how to get to her address on Webster Avenue in the Bronx. The two argued, and the woman demanded to be let out of the cab. As she was exiting, the driver allegedly got out and kicked her in the groin area and left leg, causing bruises and substantial pain. Police arrested the 35-year-old driver when they arrived on the scene.

PUsHOveR RObbeRy Police apprehended and arrested a 32-year-old man last Sunday evening for felony robbery. The man

of work and, as the fight escalated, the accuser punched the other man in the face with a closed fist. The 55-year-old victim was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital for treatment, and the 45-year-old assailant was arrested.

PRaNksTeR ON THe LOOse A 23-year-old woman came home last Sunday to her East 83rd Street apartment to find that she couldn’t get into her door. An unknown perpetrator had filled the lock with silicon glue, damaging it and preventing her from using her key.

dOGGie debacLe Sometimes, even puppy love can go too far. One Upper East Side woman’s desire to protect her pooch recently got her into trouble with another passerby. On the evening of May 28, the 55-yearold woman argued with a

mOvie THeaTeR madNess A night at the cinema turned violent





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over Memorial Day weekend when a man started going berserk in the theater. After starting a ruckus in the AMC Movie Theater on Third Avenue on the evening of May 27, the man raised his fist toward a woman who was attempting to stop his antics and began kicking her. But that wasn’t enough for him—he left the theater, spitting on the woman on his way out. Before long, he returned with his glass-smasher of choice, a chair from Piazza Pizza and Grill next door, which he used to shatter the theater’s door. Police were called to the scene and arrested the out-of-control assailant.

had been following his victim, a 26-yearold woman, as she walked on East 67th Street (she later told police she could tell she was being followed). Before she could get away, the perp threw her to the sidewalk and forcefully grabbed her purse, causing lacerations and bruises on her knees and shoulder. He got away with her purse, which she said contained $517 worth of valuables, but police were able to catch him, and the victim positively identified him before he was arrested.

FOOd FiGHT Two employees at a Third Avenue Asian restaurant were arguing last Saturday over stolen food. One man accused the other of pilfering food from their place

man she claimed had almost stepped on her dog as she was walking on East 83rd Street near Park Avenue. The dispute escalated into violence when the man punched the woman on her right cheek, bruising her face. The man fled the scene and police are on the lookout for the suspect.

WaLLeT GONe missiNG An 18-year-old man was walking on the corner of Third Avenue and East 59th Street on the evening of May 28 when he felt someone bump into him. When he checked his back pocket, he noticed that his $200 Ralph Lauren wallet, containing his New York State learner’s permit, Citibank debit card and school MetroCard, was missing. No suspects were found.

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May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 3

April 5, 2012



Tapped iN

Get the latest news and share your opinion online at

By Megan Bungeroth & Amanda Woods

SiNgiNg The gaRbage aWay A local group opposing the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station is holding a free community concert to raise awareness for their cause and protest the proposed MTS. Residents for Sane Trash Solutions is sponsoring the event, called “Dump the Dump,” Friday, June 5 from 5-7 p.m. at the Asphalt Green Field on East 90th Street and York Avenue—right by the proposed station. The concert will feature musical acts Caroline Sunshine, Upper West and local talent, including neighborhood kids. The first 1,000 attendees get a free T-shirt, presumably one that declares the wearer’s opposition to the MTS. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

FRee adUlT COmpUTeR ClaSSeS Upper East Side residents will have the opportunity to brush up on their computer skills this summer at the 67th Street Branch of the New York Public Library. The branch will hold free adult computer classes throughout June and July. June classes include computer basics (June 5, 5:306:30 p.m., and June 7, 2-3 p.m.), mouse and keyboarding skills (June 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and June 14, 2-3 p.m.), basic Internet search (June 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and June 21, 2-3 p.m.) and email basics (June 26, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and June 28, 2-3 p.m.) July classes will focus on Microsoft Excel and Word skills as well as an open computer lab. The library is located at 328 E. 67th St. For more information, call 212-734-1717.

CleaN heaT SemiNaR Local residents are invited to attend an informational session on the city’s Clean Heat Program Monday, June 4, 6 p.m. at The Chapin School, 100 East End Ave. Resident managers and managing agents as well as co-op board members are also encouraged to attend. The event, sponsored by local civic group CIVITAS, will give residents information about converting heating systems from dirty oil fuel to cleaner alternatives. The Clean Heat program offers help and incentives for switching to cleaner fuels ahead of the city’s mandatory schedule. Representatives from engineering and energy supply companies will be on hand to answer questions and explain how buildings can convert to receive natural gas from Con Edison. RSVP to the event

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hiSTORiC ph.d Marymount College President Dr. Judson R. Shaver, presents Ruth Gruber, journalist and author, with a honorary degree at the school’s commencement. by calling 212-996-0745 or emailing info@

commencement speaker. A total of 431 students were eligible for graduation this year.

maRymOUNT maNhaTTaN ClaSS OF 2012

NeW CaRdiaC TReaTmeNT aT lOCal hOSpiTalS

On Friday, May 18, the Upper East Side liberal arts school Marymount Manhattan College bid farewell to its class of 2012. Senior class speaker Robbie Torrest, a theater arts major, extolled the individuality of his classmates and spoke of how their experiences at the college and in the city have shaped and sometimes changed the paths of the students. The college awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Dr. Ruth Gruber, a journalist and author who has covered Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors during her long career. When she received her Ph.D. in Germany at the age of 20 in 1931, Gruber was the youngest person in the world with that title. She served as a special assistant the secretary of the interior during and immediately after World War II, and was selected for a special secret mission in 1944 to escort 1,000 Jewish refugees from Italy to Oswego, N.Y. Gruber has written several books and published photography about her experiences and has been a fierce advocate for refugees. Faculty and staff member Peter H. Baker and human rights advocate Sheila Barry Tacon also received honorary degrees, and Rocco Landesman, Ph.D., the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, was the

Two Manhattan hospitals—St. Luke’s and Roosevelt—are getting ahead in the treatment of slow heartbeats. The two hospitals will be among the first in the nation to treat patients with INGENIO pacemakers, which help people who suffer from bradycardia, a heart rate of usually less than 60 beats per minute. “The INGENIO device enables physicians to treat pacemaker patients with an advanced and comprehensive set of therapies,” said Emad Aziz, a doctor in the Department of Medicine and Cardiology at the hospitals. “The INGENIO pacemaker’s MV sensor is easy to optimize and will provide needed therapy for patients to help them feel less fatigued during physical activity.” With this new device, doctors can keep tabs on their cardiac patients’ health from a distance; the device’s wireless technology can transmit patients’ data to doctors in several locations in North America.

paRkiNg RegUlaTiON map gOeS ONliNe The Department of Transportation announced the launch of an online map that will show parking regulations for every

block in New York City. The new tool came about as a result of legislation authored by East Side Council Member Dan Garodnick designed to increase transparency of street and transit data. The map shows parking signs, indicates when roads were last resurfaced and gives a street evaluation for roads in good, fair or poor condition. The DOT hopes that the tool will make resident parking easier, allowing people to check the map for alternate side regulation days before setting off on the daunting task of finding a spot in whatever neighborhood they’re in. This could cut down on the time that drivers are wandering the streets if they know which streets to avoid before they set out. “New Yorkers shouldn’t be flying blind when they are looking for parking,” said Garodnick, who attributes the idea for the map to his mother. “It can be extremely annoying to drive to a new neighborhood and only learn the parking limitations once you have arrived. This map will let drivers know what they are getting themselves into when they plan a trip, and ultimately will save them some unnecessary headaches.” Council Member James Vacca, chair of the transportation committee, compared deciphering parking regulations to “understanding Morse code” and praised the city for making it easier, and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan promised to continue using technology to help residents navigate the city’s transportation system.

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May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 5


Residents and Pols Fight Back Against Garbage Dump By Laura Shin


t’s been six years since the city passed its Solid Waste Management Plan, a system that promises to be a cost-effective, environmentally sound solution to handling the city’s solid waste. But Upper East Side residents are still fighting one key component of the plan: the reopening of the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (MTS). “We have a belief that you don’t want to put trash dumps in poor, minority neighborhoods, nor, on the other hand, do you want to put trash in residential neighborhoods,” said Jed Garfield, president of Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, a neighborhood organization dedicated to fighting the opening of the MTS. Residents for Sane Trash Solutions and dozens of residents, along with City Council Members Jessica Lappin and Dan Garodnick, gathered on the steps of City Hall recently to protest. They believe the proposed MTS, planned to be a two-acre, 10-story facility along the East River, will have a significant negative impact on their neighborhood. “It would wreak havoc on a residential com-

munity. It would bisect a park where tens of thousands of children come to play. It would ruin our air,” Lappin said at the rally. Garfield said his group believes the project will cost $400 million, based on a recent independent study. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Executive Budget released in early May, the 91st Street MTS has a budget of $226 million. The city currently relies on a truck-based system, where in the city’s waste is transported from a number of land-based waste transfer stations in the city to areas outside of New York. The 91st Street MTS, along with three other converted marine transfer stations—two in Brooklyn and one in Queens—is part of a larger plan to reduce trucks trips by moving to a barge-and-rail system for long-haul waste disposal using the city’s waterways and existing MTS network. “You’re talking about over 100 truck trips that each one of these barges would eliminate,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. According to a May 15 statement released by the Environmental Justice Alliance and a

coalition of groups that support the Solid Waste Management Plan, the 91st Residents rally at City Hall against the Marine Transfer Station. Street MTS would offer “Conditions have been imposed by the relief to low-income communities of color state that make it acceptable to go forward that are currently overburdened because with this marine transfer station,” said the majority of the city’s land-based transfer Gorman Reilly, vice president and board stations are located there. member of CIVITAS. “We all know that the burden of garbage Reilly said the facility’s ramp has been facilities has been borne by disadvantaged communities. That is unjust,” said Garodnick. designed to hold more trucks, so there will be no queuing on residential streets. He said “But the city is not correcting that injustice by a Department of Sanitation employee would doing the same thing on the back porch of a also be at the bottom of the ramp to help public housing complex home to 2,200 New direct traffic, ensuring safety in the area. Yorkers or the thousands of other New YorkStill, residents are concerned. ers who live right across the street.” “I feel it’ll create a lot of noise; it’ll create The MTS operated from 1940 to 1999. a lot of filth; it’ll create a lot of congestion; Some residents fear reopening the facility would mean the odors and rodent problems it will endanger the health of children,” said Alison Grillo, a nearby resident who that existed before would return. attended the rally. She added that if the MTS CIVITAS, a group dedicated improving opens, she might have to consider leaving the quality of life on the Upper East Side the neighborhood. and in East Harlem, supports the MTS.

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Homebound Seniors Fear Lenox Hill Cuts By Megan Bungeroth


Lenox Hill helped her overcome that fear. “What she did was give me confidence to, little by little, go into a program where I can have somebody help me out,” said Mannina of her case worker. “They have sent me someone who has made me feel very confident. All of a sudden, you don’t feel so bad.” Mannina said that for a while, she didn’t bother with errands and rarely left her home, crippled by fear and unsure of herself. When she began working with a case worker, she was able to talk out her problems and figure out how people could assist her. Zempsky said that this type of issue—one of confidence—is often the biggest hurdle

ew York City’s senior population is often forced to endure the threat of budget cuts to programs that help them, and this year is no different. One of the programs in line for a potentially severe cut is the case management program run by the city’s Department for the Aging (DFTA). The program’s proposed 2013 budget is $14,926, over $3,000 less than 2012 and a 30 percent reduction from its actual spending in 2011. Locally, this would hit the case management program run out of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a program that serves 1,400 elderly and at-risk Upper East Side residents. “This would be really tragic for our homebound seniors who often don’t have a lot of supportive family or community left,” said Dina Zempsky, director of case management at Lenox Hill. While last year, entire senior centers faced potential closures when the state budget was deeply slashed before being restored by the Legislature, this year’s A senior citizen works with a case worker at the Lenox Hill possible cuts could hurt in Neighborhood House. less visible but still powerfor their clients. But if they get the support ful ways. to keep living alone, they can avoid the “Homebound elders are for the most part often prohibitive expense of a nursing home not a visible constituency, so it’s very difand maintain their independence. ficult for them to advocate because no one Community Board 8 approved a resolureally thinks of them until their program is tion last year asking the DFTA to baseline going to be cut,” Zempsky said. the budget for this program and issued Case managers are assigned to clients another resolution this year strongly opwho may need assistance with tasks like posed to the cuts, stating that further cuts to paying their bills on time or going to the the program would “mean that many of the store. Some just need regular check-ins to frail older adults it serves will be put at grave make sure they’re staying healthy, while risk, fewer will be able to be served and the others require more intensive assistance. services available will likely be both few in Case workers often arrange for meal delivnumber and less comprehensive, and waitery and are sometimes the only people in ing lists will grow.” regular in-person contact with the clients. Zempsky said that the prospect of another Regardless of the type of case, the thing round of cuts is too tough to even contemthe program’s participants have in common plate, but emphasized that none of their is that they can stay in their own homes as clients would be suddenly abandoned. It long as they receive some help. would, however, put a great strain on their One typical client is Concetta Mannina, resources and push the waiting list for the who is 85 years old and lives alone on program into the hundreds, leaving many Second Avenue in the East 50s. Her eyesight Upper East Side residents with few options isn’t too good, and as a result she can’t do for help. some things, like grocery shopping, on her “We do everything we can to support own. There are services that send aides to folks living independently in the communiseniors to help them run errands, but Manty,” Zempsky said. “It’s really really impornina was too afraid to step outside with a tant that these funds don’t get cut.” virtual stranger until her case manager at



Enter the 2012 Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction. For the last 25 years, Dan’s Papers has showcased artists on the cover of the publication. Now Dan’s Papers wants to similarly showcase writers. We believe this is the first literary prize ever offered on the eastern end of Long Island for nonfiction in literature. Visit Our Website for Official Rules and to Enter Entries must be nonfiction and between 600-1500 words. You may send in memoirs, biography, autobiography, account of a day, opinion, history, profile of a person or institution, essay or humor. Works must reference eastern Long Island in a meaningful way.

Contest begins March 31 and ends August 1. First Prize $5,000 • Two Runners Up $500 each. Winners announced at the John Drew Theater of Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday, August 25. Entry fee is $20.

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Meet Megan Hilty


By Angela Barbuti

he character Ivy Lynn on Smash, NBC’s new musical drama series, wants to be a star. Megan Hilty, the actress who plays her, already is. Having made her debut in Wicked a decade ago, the 31-year-old has also starred in 9 to 5 and just wrapped a role as Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at City Center. Now, while recording her first solo CD, the Broadway luminary can be found in her Upper West Side neighborhood talking with fans. They are known to stop her on the street by yelling out one word, “Smash.”

When did you first grace Broadway? I was just out of college and got the standby for Glinda in Wicked. I ended up making my Broadway debut standing in a bubble opposite Idina Menzel, which was amazing. I had just graduated college, so I must have been 23. Would you consider Wicked your big break? Oh, absolutely. I owe everything to that show and Joe Mantello [the director]. I spent four and a half years of my life in it. It was an amazing platform, both in New York and L.A. What is a typical day like on the set of Smash? It’s long, but really fun—especially for me and Kat [McPhee], When we’re not shooting, we’re in the recording studio, learning choreography or at costume fittings. It’s such a great group of people, so there’s a lot of laughter on set. We’re always goofing around. Are there similarities between Ivy and yourself? I would say the biggest is our ambition. I think Ivy’s willing to go a little farther [laughs] and sacrifice more to make her dreams come true. I think one really relatable thing about Ivy is that everyone NYPre  N Y P re ss .com 

knows what it’s like to be stuck in their jobs, dying to do anything to take that next step, and feel like people don’t see their full potential. I don’t believe you have to be a theater person to know that; I think that’s pretty universal.

Bernadette Peters plays your mother on the show. Is it true she is the only person you ever wrote a fan letter to? It’s so true! I knew I was going to meet her when I performed for her at a gala while I was in college. I needed her to know how important she is to my career and life, so I wrote this big letter and handed it to her. There was no return address; I didn’t want her to do anything. She was nice when I told her about it; she pretended to remember it [laughs]. You have said you are not a great dancer. How do you fake it on television? I would say that I move well, but the rest is Josh Bergasse. He’s an incredible choreographer and knows how to play to people’s strengths and make it look like we know what we’re doing—or at least me. Everybody else really does know what they’re doing! Can you give us some hints about the next season? Not really, because I don’t know of anything that’s actually been cleared to be written. I’m hoping that Ivy gets it together a little bit and gets to have something that she can really celebrate and not feel totally threatened and insecure about. And maybe a really cool boyfriend, who actually treats her nicely. Were you surprised to learn that Ivy sleeps with her rival’s boyfriend? That was one of the moments where my jaw hit the floor! I couldn’t believe that I didn’t see it coming, that ultimate betrayal. It was definitely one of the juicier moments of the season. Describe the CD you are recording. [It’s] all songs from the movies, so they’re recognizable, with new arrangements. Hopefully it will be out early next year.

Photo by Albert Michael/

You said that people notice you more now… It’s great that fans are excited about the show, and I love talking about it with people. They have very strong opinions and have no problem coming right up and telling me! Sometimes they just scream “Smash” at me. I’m not quite sure what to do with that [laughs]. In your opinion, what is the best show on Broadway at the moment? It’s a tie between Peter and the Starcatcher and Venus in Fur. What role would you like to play on Broadway? That’s another tie: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and the Witch in Into the Woods. How would you describe Broadway in one word? Magical.

You recently tweeted that you dyed your hair blond. Are you a natural blonde? Oh yeah, just not as blond as I have it now [laughs]. What advice would you give a young person trying to make it as an actor in New York City? If you really want to be an actor, you have to figure out why. Ask yourself why your heart’s in it, because if it’s not in it for the right reasons, this town will eat you up. There’s a huge misconception that this job is glamorous, and it’s anything but. Even when you think you have the greatest job in the world, it could end tomorrow. And be nice. Not only is it nice to be nice, but you don’t want to burn any bridges. You never know if the person’s who’s getting you coffee one day could be your boss the next. For more information on Hilty, visit www.

May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 9 MAY3 1, 2 012 • OUR TOWN DOWNTOWN • 7

EYE ON AUCTIONS By Caroline Birenbaum

Edited by Armond White

New York’s Review of Culture •

The New York School’s Preschool

Bonhams heads to Greenwich, Conn., June 3 for Concours d’Elegance, a sale of Automobilia, including printed matter and mascots, followed by Collectors’ Motorcars dating from the first to the ninth decade of the 20th century. In New York, their June 12 auction of 20thCentury Decorative Arts includes a wealth of glass, from splendid Tiffany lamps to vessels by Chihuly. Bonhams, June 3 at 9:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Previews June 2. June 12 at 10 a.m. Previews June 9-11.

When america meT modernism By John Goodrich


f the New York School marked the ascendancy of some uniquely American traits—a physical frankness, a zeal for open spaces and untamed possibilities, a practicality of expression—what, then, characterized the preceding decades of American art? The 40 paintings, sculptures, photographs and works on paper in Gerald Peters Gallery’s Defining Modern provide some intriguing clues. Dating mostly to the first four decades of the 20th century, they reflect a broad mix of cutting-edge European trends and home-brewed realism. A number of works show a keen enthusiasm for the French School. Max Weber’s cubist figure painting from 1912 suggests a lyrical, gentler version of Picasso, while the open, broad contours of his two watercolor landscapes (1911 and ca. 1912) recall Cézanne. Gaston Lachaise’s bronze portrait of Alfred Stieglitz from 1928 shows a ragged naturalism, but two sculptures of nudes (1919 and 1924) by the Paris-trained sculptor ebb and swell with expressionistic energy. Sounding the opening notes of abstract expressionism, Arshile Gorky’s monochromatic painting from 1945 plumbs Picasso’s urgent side, catching fragments of a horse and figures with whiplash lines. Wary of modernism, other artists devote themselves to faithful recordings of the American heartland. Regionalist painter Grant Wood imparts a rich, moody light to rolling hills in a charcoal and pastel drawing from 1934. Though urban in

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There’s much to engage the discerning eye at upcoming auction previews. Swann’s sale of Maps, Atlases, Natural History and Historical Prints June 7 features desirable American maps, including the first printed sea chart of New England and the New Netherlands, Florence, 1647, and a miniature ivory globe that opens to a sundial. Highlights of American Art on the morning of June 14 include an oil painting of Provincetown by Blanche Lazell, best known for white-line woodcuts, and “Carome,” an abstract oil painting by Mavis Pusey. The afternoon session of Contemporary Art offers works on paper by well-known American and international artists, plus surprises such as two recent paintings by Harland Miller. Swann, June 7, 1:30 p.m. Previews June 2, June 4-6. June 14, 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Previews June 9, June 11-13.

Christie’s sale of 20th-Century Decorative Art on June 14 opens with seven magnificent Tiffany lamps that adorned the San Francisco bars operated by Norman Jay Hobday, aka Henry Africa. A large fossil marble table by Isamu Noguchi, commissioned in 1948 for a Chappaqua home, is the star item among a strong selection of furniture, sculpture and jewelry. Christie’s, June 14 at 10 a.m. Previews June 9-13.

Preston Dickinson, “The Absinthe Drinker,” ca. 1921. Watercolor and graphite on paper, 10.5 x 11.5 in.

temperament, Reginald Marsh’s slightly overcharged rendering of a striptease from 1938 feels closer to American traditions of caricature than to contemporary European painting trends; his large fresco of a steam engine (1934) captures pistons, wheels and boiler with meticulous precision. Among several photographs, two by Stieglitz of nude torsos (dated 1918 and 1918-19) possess a straightforward sensuality transcending time and place; they could have been produced yesterday. One of the exhibition’s surprises is the work produced by his model for these photographs, Georgia O’Keeffe, whose tiny monotype of a woman painting (ca. 190708) stands out for its exquisitely colorful atmosphere. Dated ca. 1925, a small, early painting by Thomas Hart Benton startles,

too, for its vitality of color, almost fauvist in intensity and clarity. Works by Marin, Hartley, Archipenko and Demuth round out this elegant show. But the biggest revelation may be Marguerite Zorach’s sparkling watercolor from 1913. In motif and style, it somewhat resembles Matisse’s iconic “Joy of Life,” painted just a few years before. Zorach, however, suffuses her arcadian scene with an original and slightly mystical air. Accompanied by delicate, stylized butterflies and a lone dragonfly, her figures lounge through a deftly layered space, as airy and sensuously flat as a Persian miniature. Defining Modern Through June 8, Gerald Peters Gallery, 24 E. 78th St., 212-628-9760,

Phillips de Pury showcases furniture, lighting and pottery dating from the 1930s to the present in a Design sale on June 15 that features a glamorous bedroom suite of amboyna veneer and other materials by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, circa 1925, and a bronze “London Papardelle” chair by Ron Arad, circa 1992. Phillips de Pury, June 15 at 11 a.m. Previews June 6-14. Out of Town In addition to works by French, American and Italian designers such as Perriand, Prouvé, Nakashima and Ponti, Wright’s June 7 auction of Important Design includes a section of Brazilian designs, concluding with an early piece of green architecture, the Demountable House, José Zanine Caldas’s circa 1980 pre-fab structure built of reclaimed and salvaged ipe wood. The June 9 sale consists of the gorgeous Frank Toskan Collection of Important Italian Glass. Wright, Chicago, June 7 at 1 p.m. Previews May 31-June 6. June 9 at 1 p.m. Previews May 31-June 8.

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The CityArts Interview Bill Bragin


ill Bragin, “curator/presenter” of Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, clued into music’s transcendental effects early on. As a teen on Long Island, friends gathered after school in his record-strewn bedroom to hear his latest vinyl discoveries. Before one track had even finished, Bragin would be setting up the next—“Now you need to listen to this!” Not much has changed, really, except the size of his playing field—today it’s Lincoln Center-sized audiences that he directs to the world’s most visionary performing artists, often billed together in audacious mash-ups. His commanding musical instincts have only refined and expanded. That precocious missionary zeal for opening ears and expanding minds is now enabled by his position and wide-ranging contacts gathered over decades of developing and showcasing talent. It began with his very first day of college, when the young music junkie joined the campus radio station and the alternative concert series. He interned the following summer for Carla Bley and Michael Mattler’s New Music Distribution Services and, while still getting his B.A. in sociology, worked for George Wein’s Festival Productions. After graduation, a life-changing gig setting up concerts for Summerstage connected him to knowledgeable niche music advisors such as Afropop’s Sean Barlow. Then, Bragin dived into the opportunity provided by the Public Theater at Joe’s Pub, where his artist development and programming of approximately 3,000 shows turned the club into the crossroads for the scattered affiliates of New York City’s most adventurous music scenes. [Elena Oumano] How do you bring in people who normally wouldn’t go to a Joe’s Pub or a Lincoln Center? It starts with going to people where they are. In college, I’d find a great article about the artist, turn it into a flyer and paste it on the back of every bathroom stall on campus. In the performing arts we call this artist contextualization, preparing the audience for the show, a grassroots form of audience development and social marketing. Now you just send an article to Facebook or post it on a website to let people know, “Here’s an artist whose name you don’t know but


I think you’ll be curious about—come because it’s free. Either you’ll like it or you won’t, but at least you’ll be taking a chance.” These cross-cultural, cross-genre bookings are interesting because they can fall flat on their faces or be really illuminating. I’m fundamentally a generalist with very broad tastes, so the context I work in is not necessarily about being the definitive presenter in any one style. A lot of the focus is on understanding the different niches of different dynamics. It’s about how and where you communicate to them in terms of the protocol and audience expectations—is it an audience that will want to









AND MORE .... Bill Bragin

dance or come on stage and give money to the performer or sit and be very quiet? Does this relate to anything happening out in the world politically? It’s important to me that the audiences have a base of those who are familiar with the artist and recognize his or her cultural importance as well as audience members who are encountering not just the artist but that style of music or dance for the first time. There’s that immediate moment of discovery, when your mind is blown because you’ve never heard or seen something like that and there’s interaction between all of the audience—that process of cultural sharing, a sort of pride and eye-opening. That’s why I wanted to be at Summerstage and why I came to Lincoln Center—those points of intersection are key. I look at the work I do both from an aesthetic standpoint and also as communitybuilding and how the work will resonate within society. Festivals like Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors have a huge social mission that works in tandem with the artistic mission. Schedules for Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors can be found at



Kamilla Talbot, Governors Island 2, watercolor on paper, 2007, detail

May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 1 1


At the Crossroads The musical language of The Balkans By Judy Gelman Myers


ince the ’90s, horrendous images of war have dominated our perception of the Balkan Peninsula. To lay these images to rest, two European foundations engaged the universal healing power of music in “The Balkans—Crossroads of Civilizations,” an extravaganza of suites, sonatas and songs curated to underscore the cultural similarities throughout the Balkan nations. Her Royal Highness the princess of Bulgaria, as well as U.N. ambassadors and consuls general from Albania, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey attended the event at Carnegie Hall on May 21. Though spoken languages abound on the peninsula, the Balkan nations share a common musical language, characterized by Oriental sonorities, irregular rhythms like 7/8 or 5/16 and the rich harmonies brought to America by Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. At the same time, similari-

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ties are also found in the coexistence of various musical trends, so that Balkan classical music halls comfortably offer atonal violin suites side by side with folk tunes. In that spirit, “Crossroads of Civilizations” proffered a broad swath of styles, from the 12-tone Petite Suite No. 2 for Violin and Piano by Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas to an Albanian love song achingly drawn by cellist Rubin Kodheli, himself a composer of film music (Precious). The most emblematic work of the region—and the best received—were two excerpts from Petko Staynov’s Thracian Dances. In 1933, Staynov co-founded the Union of Bulgarian Composers, whose aim was to encourage composers to recreate traditional music in artistic forms. With its halting 7/8 rhythm and buoyant melodies, Thracian Dances epitomizes the classical reiteration of folk material. Expanding on that idea, Turkish composer Fazil Say, a Balkan Satie, composed Sonata, Op. 7, whose unearthly harmonies launch us into space only to be grounded by the thumping of a prepared piano suggesting the timbre of traditional instruments.

Fazil Say

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Personality Plus PianisTs Pires and zacharias Play concerTos in Pairs By Jay Nordlinger


Joshua South Photography

wo orchestras came to town, each bringing a pianist. The first orchestra to appear was from just down the road, Philadelphia. They played in Carnegie Hall with their chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. And their pianist was Maria João Pires, from Portugal. She is very well-known from recordings, but not so well-known from personal appearances, at least here in New York. She has a big reputation for Chopin, and, in fact, played Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F minor. In the first movement, she was competent—but also stiff, workmanlike. The music lacked its fluid nature. The closing rondo was much the same—competent, acceptable, but without flair. A wet noodle. So, how did Pires acquire her big reputation? She gave the answer in the middle movement, Larghetto, which was a thing of beauty: graceful, sensitive and altogether musical. Chopin himself would have smiled. Three nights later, an orchestra from

Bavaria, the Bamberg Symphony, played in Avery Fisher Hall. They were led by their longtime chief, Jonathan Nott, an Englishman. And their pianist was Christian Zacharias, a German. He is a pianist who is capable of perfection, no less. Other nights, he is commendable all the same. This was one of those nights. Zacharias played Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G major. Its opening chord is hard to get right: You have to play all the notes together, with the top note, B, having prominence. Zacharias got it exactly right. In the first movement at large, he had a few slips, but nothing major. His playing tended to be dry. Sometimes a bigger, fatter sound was desirable. But Zacharias obviously understood the logic of the music, and he was no-nonsense without being cold. He is a conductor too, and, at the keyboard, he could not quite resist the urge to conduct the orchestra. He was champing at the bit to do so. Did this bother the actual conductor, on the podium? Ask Nott. The second movement, that sublime creation, was matter-of-fact—very much so. Zacharias could have been a little freer. And the rondo could have been sprightlier and more graceful. But, again, you will want

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space

Maria João Pires

to hear Zacharias on any night, no matter what. Incidentally, his concert clothes are

those austere black pajamas, the modern uniform. It seems to suit the clinical side of his personality.

Fine Art, Midcentury, and Antique Auction Monday, June 4th at 5:30pm View 400 lots at

N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series Presents

Kent Tritle


Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 7:30 PM FELIX MENDELSSOHN Sonata in F minor, Op. 65, No. 1

CÉSAR FRANCK Chorale No. 3 in A Minor

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542


NICOLAS DE GRIGNY Recit de Tierce en taille

MAURICE DURUFLÉ Prelude and Fugue on Alain, Op. 7

Tickets $20 General | $15 Students/Seniors THE CHURCH OF ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA 980 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Tickets & information available at | (212) 288-2520 NYPre 

Pictured (clockwise from left) : Jean Jansem Oil on Canvas, Clock and Ivory Lamp by Caldwell, Zebra Wood Front Midcentury Chest

Clarke Auction ∙ 2372 Boston Post Road ∙ Larchmont, NY 10538 Ph: (914) 833-8336 ∙ Fax: (914) 833-8357 ∙ Email:

May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 1 3


Happy Lives, Steel Lifes alice neel’s rich dimension

ing and close. Their bodies, side by side, flow into each other. Their wrinkles and tousled hair hint at a private world from which they look out at us. By Kate Prengel “Sherry Speeth” is a totally different character. Nervous and taut, he sits lice Neel’s subjects stare calmly on the edge of his chair, bursting with out from the canvas. They’re in energy. Neel takes the best of him, makthe middle of a conversation ing a little man in a little chair into a or they’re in the middle of just dynamo. Her colors do a lot of the work being themselves—whatever it is, Neel’s here; red accents at his ears and hands late paintings, on exhibit now at the David mark him for action. And, as so often, Zwirner gallery, are richly intimate. Even the still lifes here show signs of an inner life, Neel uses gentle caricature—elongated fingers, sharp knees, oversized glasses—as shorthand to express personality. “Kevin and Andy,” a fatherand-baby portrait, may be one of the oddest pieces in this show. Kevin and Andy look incredibly awkward and unfinished. The baby’s teeth are ludicrous, taking over half his face; his father’s arm, holding him, hangs out over empty space, and the chair they sit in is just a few dark lines on the plain white canvas. But then, these two people are unmistakably happy—and isn’t this what having a baby does, makes the whole world look unfinished and new? Neel’s still lifes also bristle with personality, especially “Roses.” The Alice Neel, “Sherry Speeth,” 1964. Oil on canvas, 42 x 28 inches. flowers’ strong, © The Estate of Alice Neel sinewy stems, their bright simple faces and their tangle and the people, awkward smiles and all, are of green leaves are all full of life. They sit warm and real. in a lopsided vase on a messy, misshapen I spent a long time looking at “Geoftable. Everything in the painting is flat; frey Hendricks and Brian,” a portrait of it’s the awkwardness, the loose lines, that a couple, one of the first pieces in the gives it all a little dimension. The same exhibit. The subjects are on record as could be said for all the rest of Neel’s grumbling about Neel’s manners—apparpaintings. ently she hardly said a word to them over the long posing sessions. Still, they almost Alice Neel: Late Portraits and Still Lifes glow on the canvas. Their skin is blotchy, Through June 23, David Zwirner, 533 W. their bodies are lumpy and their clothes 19th St., 212-727-2070, are frumpy, but they look patient and lov-


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Five Facilities_ManMed 5/15/12 11:06 AM Page 1


The new 390,000 sq. ft. Fiterman Hall at Borough of Manhattan Community College replaces the one lost on 9/11, with new classrooms, instructional and computer labs, an art gallery and café.



Bronx Community College’s, 98,000 sq. ft. North Instructional Building and Library, provides classrooms, a library, a café, a two-story commons, study rooms and lounges.


CUNY Law School moves to 2 Court Square, an environmentally green building in Long Island City with 260,000 sq. ft. of classrooms, library, law clinic, moot court, an auditorium and offices.

ESIGNED TO INSPIRE INQUIRY AND INNOVATION, five new, state-of-the-art education hubs — part of The City University of New York’s capital program to upgrade and build facilities to meet record

enrollments and 21st-century needs — open their doors this fall. CUNY’s construction program is a job-creating economic engine for New York, responsible for nearly 20 percent of all construction in New York City. — Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor


The New Community College at CUNY, an exciting new college opens in the center of midtown Manhattan at 50 West 40th Street, overlooking Bryant Park. The first entering class will be 300 students.



Lehman College’s 69,000 sq. ft. New Science Facility, Phase I, showcases its strength in plant science teaching and research with high-tech sustainable laboratories, science learning centers and offices.

Visit for more info.

May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 1 5


Zombie Mantra Solondz abhorS irony in Dark Horse

from the inside, as a confession of ethnic commonplaces and familial discontent that have become his specialty. Abe is as much an archetype as Gopnik in the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man, only Abe’s unhapBy Armond White piness leads to loathing of self, not of his circumstances. n an answer to contemporary culture’s Abe’s first line, “I don’t dance,” is such manic competition for fame, Todd a self-abnegating thesis statement that if Solondz offers Dark Horse, a film about Dark Horse was indeed produced on stage Abe (Jordan Gelber), a 35-year-old rather than as an independent film, it Jewish man—overweight, living with his would probably receive enormous acclaim, parents, employed in his father’s real estate like Mike Nichols’ current rehash of Death business yet still playing with toys, desperof a Salesman or shows like Other Desert ate to begin his life and enjoy the culture’s Cities and The Lyons. But Solondz’s film empty cheer. does what those plays don’t; he dramaAbe’s not a frontrunner, the sports tizes the spectacle of Abe’s lack of self-consciousness, the moral perspective that contemporary culture drowns out. Solondz’s subtext elevates Abe’s private condition into a larger social matter. His suffering tribe Jordan Gelber and Donna Murphy in Dark Horse. (Walken overstresses the father’s misery, while Mia Farrow’s metaphor used by his father (Christopher supplicating mother does not—or maybe Walken). His dim prospects reflect Everyit’s just their bad wigs) is contrasted with man pessimism through a lower middlethe empty cheer of American Idol-type pop class experience that’s more authentic than music that has become our national, anesDeath of a Salesman, yet rarely acknowlthetizing soundtrack. edged. Solondz, almost alone among Gelber’s Abe is an uncanny figure of Jewish-American filmmakers, presents pampered Jewish miserabilism, and Murethnic uniqueness frankly, with unsmiling phy’s Marie is one of those definitive Solondz mockery. His tough, deadpan compassion is more humane than fashionable cynicism. performances: a phantom life ranging from repression to sexual spite (her sullen strut Solondz abhors irony, the sarcastic sympathetically corrects the predatory Mrs. cultural disposition that oppresses all of his Robinson). Their obvious contrast recalls characters. When Abe proposes to suicidal, stage drama rather than cinema, but it’s still withdrawn Miranda (Selma Blair), she asks, piercing. “You’re not being ironic—like performance Solondz uses an even better, ultra-cineart or something?” matic device when Abe sits alone in a movie Dark Horse continues the narrative experitheater, waiting for a film to begin, and ment of Solondz’s previous film, the almost idly mouths the answers to an on-screen masterly Life During Wartime, where depuzzle: “George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, pressed characters phase in and out of psyBrad Pitt.” This zombie mantra is a daring, chic dream/nightmare states. Abe’s visions brilliant summation, calling out the stars about his father’s sympathetic secretary, of our culture’s contemporary anomie. And Marie (Donna Murphy), suggest a yearning it casually lays waste to Woody Allen’s The so deep and unwittingly compassionate it is Purple Rose of Cairo. almost, Solondz suggests, telepathic. These episodes play out in a nearly Follow Armond White on Twitter at theatrical flatness, as if Solondz were 3xchair indeed rewriting Death of a Salesman—but


Summer courses are starting soon! Study in small classes with trained teachers who are all native speakers from Spain or Latin America. Watch Spanish films, attend art exhibitions and socialize in an all-Spanish atmosphere. Small class sizes • Day, evening and Saturday schedules available • Courses include 2 hours of free tutoring sessions per week • Make-up classes available Group classes • Choose between 9 or 3-week courses Private classes • Custom design your classes • Make your own schedule and study at your own pace and level • Focus on your particular learning needs and interests 4-week workshops • Focus on conversational skills and grammar review

Spanish for Business • Classes can be customized to meet your organization’s specific needs Spanish for Children • 9-week program aimed at children from 6 to 12 years of age • Kids learn Spanish through storytelling, games, songs and activities related to their own experiences Spanish for Teens • Material specially designed for younger learners • Attention to school program’s needs Queen Sofía Spanish Institute is proud to have achieved over 40 years of excellence in Spanish language instruction.

Register now! Call 212-628-0420, visit us on the web at or stop by in person at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, 684 Park Avenue, 6th floor.

1 6 • O UR TOWN • M ay 3 1, 2 012

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Cold Facts About Ice Wine ExtrEmE flavors and pricE mark it as a cut abovE


o, you are not spending $65 on that teeny, tiny bottle of wine,” said my wife, arms crossed, hands

on hips. “You don’t understand,” I said, cradling the bottle like it was a baby, “it’s ice wine!” I left without my ice wine that day, but my passion for it was not deterred. “It’s just a dessert wine,” she said later. “We can get a bottle of Moscato instead.” I gasped audibly. How could she? The two had as little to do with each other as a cabernet sauvignon and a chenin blanc. Dessert wines get a bad rap, in general. If they aren’t all getting lumped together, they’re being dismissed as sissy drinks or unsophisticated, simplistic backwash. I couldn’t disagree more, especially when it comes to the super-rare and ultra-expensive ice wine (or eiswein, if it’s German). Ice wine is amazing, and not just because it sounds like a beverage from

Game of Thrones. The reason the flavors in ice wine are so intense, and the cause for its extreme price, has to do with how it’s made. In Germany, the growing areas tend to be relatively cool, so the growing season is longer. The Germans classify their grapes for wine by how late into the harvest they are picked. A Kabinett is a wine made from grapes picked at normal harvest time. If it’s a good year and the grapes are ripening slower, then Spatelese (“late harvest”), Auslese (“select harvest”) or even Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese (“select berry harvest” and “dried select berry harvest,” respectively) are made. While those are a mouthful and extremely rare, even rarer is the once-a-decade jewel in the crown of any Riesling grower: eiswein. If the grapes are allowed to stay on the vines all the way to the first frost, eiswein can be made. The traditional way to harvest these berries is before dawn after the first frost, with gloved hands so as not to warm the chilled berries with your body

heat. The grapes are then crushed before they have a chance to thaw and the water rises to the top in the form of ice. The ice is removed and the tiny amount of juice that is left is made into wine. What does this incredibly complex process yield? One of the most seductive, complex and nuanced beverages you will ever have the privilege of sipping...if you can afford it, that is. Often packaged in half-bottles, new vintages of German eiswein often average around $150 to $200. So how can a normal person get hold of some By Josh Perilo of this amazing stuff? One solution is to go north. Canada, while not the ideal climate for most wine grapes, is the perfect place to produce ice wine. There are dozens of reputable producers of ice wine from our northern brethren, but my favorite has to be Inniskillin Riesling Icewine ($79.95 at SherryLehmann, 505 Park Ave., at 59th St., 212-838-7500). At half the price of what you would pay for the same quality from

Germany, you get the complex flavors of honey, overripe peach, wildflowers and bracing citrus. If you’re looking for something even less expensive, Inniskillin makes an ice wine from the North American grape vidal that is not as complex but is still delicious and intense. Another way to get the ice wine flavor without the cost is by buying what is known as a “freezer wine.” These wines are made by freezing the grapes after they’ve been picked, then taking away the excess water and fermenting from there. While most freezer wines are vastly inferior in taste and many purists regularly lobby for them to be outlawed outright, there are a few that are worth trying. The Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere ($20 at First Avenue Wines & Spirits, 383 1st Ave., at 22nd St., 212673-3600) has all of the sweet honeyed stone fruit you could ever ask for in an ice wine, plus a sucker punch of spice on the finish. Don’t let the heavy price tag of German eiswein put a chill on your dessert plans. There are plenty of alternatives well within your monetary means that will keep you in sweet wine bliss indefinitely. Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshperilo.

The Board of Directors of the 60-86 Madison Avenue District Management Association, Inc. cordially invites you to attend the

2012 Annual Meeting of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:30 AM The Hotel Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street RSVP to 212-861-2055 To learn more about the Madison Avenue BID, visit our web site at


May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 1 7

Your neighborhood. Your news. (and arts and shopping and politics and more) V








28, 2008








31, 2008





Caribbean Haven for German Jews Exhibit details little-known history of Nazi refugees



Shopping, Activities and more!

Visit to learn more about the best parenting e-newsletter in the city.

Grant Money Giveaway Funds available for small, community improvement projects


The High Priestess of Haute Couture Shots Fired Second incident


Few people know about Sosúa, a town in the Dominican Republic where Jewish refugees settled during World War II. When Nazis still allowed Jews to emigrate from Germany, the Dominican government offered to resettle 100,000 Jews in this small, agricultural village on the island’s northern coast. Approximately 700 settled in Sosúa from the late 1930s to mid-1940s, but the settlement never grew beyond 450 at any given time, according to historian Dr. Marion Kaplan. Restored artifacts, archived materials and stories from the settlement are now at the exhibit Sosúa: A Refuge for Jews in the Dominican Republic, which opened on Feb. 17 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who spearheaded the exhibit along with the American Jewish Congress, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute and the Sosúa Jewish Museum, said politics actually had


Great Tips on...Parenting,

Volunteer groups looking to plant a community garden or neighbors frustrated with graffiti will want to take advantage of one New York non-profit’s passion for grassroots projects. The Citizens Committee of New York will be allocating its annual New Yorker for Better Neighborhoods award to 100 small volunteer groups focused on beatification and community improvement projects all over the city. “The idea really is about bringing New Yorkers together,” said Peter Kostmayer, the organization’s president. “We’re not looking to fund a large organization V O L . X X X V I I , I S Swith U Ea paid 3 5 staff and a headquarters. We’re looking for neighborhood volunteer groups.” The organization, which based in Chelsea, has  is  been funding local neighborhood development projects since it came into existence in 1975. Since then, awards of $500 to $3,000 have been given away by the thousands, with the goal of creating cleaner, safer and friendlier neighborhoods. According to Kostmayer, one award went to a group that facilitated basketball games between African Americans, Staten Island residents and new police Settlers in the Sosúa community tend to their livestock. recruits who would be serving in that district. something to do with the exhibit in efforts to drive me out of office,” he “It’s not about what organization can clean the most an indirect and serendipitous way. said. In 2002, opponents redrew his graffiti or plant the most flowers,” he said. “It’s a great “It was an unintentional conse- district lines to include Washington program that allows people to help themselves.” quence of the Senate Republicans Heights and Inwood in addition to Kostmayer said the organization is most likely to fund his Upper West Side region, thinking groups that involve neighbors—both young and old— he wouldn’t be reelected in a dis- working together on a project that benefits the community. trict with a high Hispanic populaThe not-for-profit organization has also funded agrition. “But they supported me and cultural projects that bring fresh produce to underserved reelected me and I traveled to visit neighborhoods in the South Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. the Dominican Republic several Even though 100 grants are given away citywide, the times a year for cross cultural selection process is competitive because of the number exchange projects.” of submissions. Kostmayer said the organization has According to Schneiderman, fur- already received many, but he reiterated that groups ther research on Sosúa revealed still have time to apply. that Jews and Dominicans had a In addition to the grants, the group offers one-on-one shared history even before World assistance with projects to help volunteers make sure War II. He said historians found a their altruistic ideas realized. This includes skills-buildletter from the president of the ing workshops, leadership training and access to an Dominican Republic in the 1890s equipment loan library. P that addressed Jews fleeing oppresBY denly felt very vulnerable in the The application deadline for grants is March 14. sive czars in Russia. InGERRY addition, VISCO the Rothchilds, the Jewish bankingRiver fam- isGroups can apply online at mucky “The Hudson so beauwaves. The riverbed was at see REFUGEES, page 6 For more information, call 212-989-0909. Two men worship inside a synagogue in the Dominican-Jewish settlement.

New exhibit at FIT museum examines the work of Madame Alix Grès BY ALAKANANDA MOOKERJEE

She was quite the antithesis of many current fashion designers. She made every attempt not to cultivate a celebrity status. She would not throw attention-grabbing sound bites at the media. Or pose for the camera. If anything, Madame Alix Grès, one of Paris’s most-celebrated couturieres, led a notoriously reclusive life. So much so that even the news of her death in November 1993 did not leak into the public domain until more than a year later. In a bizarre Alfred-Hitchcock-esque tale, her only daughter, Anne Grès, managed to keep it a closely



Why Hit the Beach When You Can Relax in the River? A dip in the Hudson featured strong swells, but nary a dispatched body

tiful. It’s breathtakingly clean and green,” Teddy Jefferson of Swim the Apple told me rhapsodically, biting into his Caesar salad while gazing at Manhattan’s most majestic body of water. It was starting to sprinkle, but it didn’t matter, since we were already dripping in damp bathing suits after our swimming expedition. “The Hudson was a cesspool for so many decades. But not anymore,” he said. “It’s a beautiful, swimmable river.” I agree. Why go all the way out to the beach when we’re already surrounded by water? I’m more wimp than daredevil, so when I asked Jefferson to take me out for a swim in the Hudson, I had no idea it would involve a jump off a pier. Apparently the designers of the newly renovated Hudson River Park forgot to include a little sand or a few steps to accommodate swimmers. The park website mentions jogging, walking, sunbathing and even fishing, but nary a word about swimming. My friends and a group of Pier 66 devotees were standing at the edge, cheering me on, so there was no choice. I took the plunge, feet first into the churning waters of the Hudson. The current was moving rapidly, and Jefferson was bobbing in the surf about six feet away, guiding me toward the waiting motorboat over where the others were swimming gleefully. Even though I swim in a pool every day, I sud-

least 15 feet below. My heart began to pound, and I felt a twinge of panic until like a beached whale, I clumsily flopped onto the boat, on firm ground again. The six of us, including two young children, sped off toward the middle where we anchored in calmer water. The current is always stronger near the piers than it is by the shore or in the middle of the river. Jefferson’s kids, longtime veterans of the Hudson, dove off the side of the boat and I ventured cautiously again into the water, joining the frolicking in the warm, salty water. About 10 years ago, Jefferson began Swim the Apple, a nonprofit swimmer’s advocacy group, and has taken out a couple of hundred people to swim in the river so far. He once brought a group of 60 in a tugboat for a bath near the Statue of Liberty. Usually, he finds converts through word-of-mouth, and onlookers often ask to go for a swim after they see him and his friends afloat. Many New Yorkers assume the Hudson is unsafe or contaminated, but according to the report “Swimmable River,” released this July by the environmental group Riverkeeper, “Conditions in the Hudson River and New York Harbor have improved significantly.” The report is based on data from water samples tested since 2006. The cleanliness of the river varies depending on the

pieces will be on display. Those interested in learning more may also pick up a copy of a fabulously illustrated coffee-table book by the museum’s deputy director, Mears, A U Patricia G U S T 2 1 , 2 0 0that 8 shines light on Grès’ obscure life and her passion. “One of the things we try to do is to have diversity programs,” Mears said. “At any given time we have two exhibitions on view. One SINCE of them is a historical collection. And another is a special exhibition which displayed foreign collections.” Born as Germaine Emilie Krebs in 1903, Grès aspired to




In an age of mass production, Grès frowned upon machine-made, ready-to-wear apparels. Often, her gowns took as many as 300 hours to finish, each createdWith pleat-bythe 2008 presidenpleat, one millimeter wide. only a few tial election

guarded secret from the world. It is this veil of secrecy surrounding her life that earned her the nickname “Sphinx of Fashion.” Just as little is known of her personal life, there is scant in-depth knowledge about her professional life. But, in the first exhibition to analyze her work and categorize her creations stylistically, the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is tackling Alix Grès’ portfolio. Madame Grès: Sphinx of Fashion is slated to run from Feb. 1 through April 19, with more than 70 of her master-

The writer, Gerry Visco, paddles back to a boat.

location and also the weather conditions—after heavy rains, it’s best not to swim or boat in the river for a couple of days, and Jefferson concurs. Riverkeeper, in collaboration with Columbia’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, will be conducting a monthly water-quality testing program to assess conditions until the whole river is deemed swimmable. There will be a renewed focus on upgraded

sewage treatment, water quality monitoring and public notification of water conditions. Like most urban waterways, the Hudson became much cleaner after passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. In addition, the North River wastewater treatment plant, located on the Hudson between 137th and 145th streets, provides wastewater see RIVER, page 12

Democracy in Action

months away, the City University of New York has become a sculptress or a ballerilaunched a new program, na. But her sartorial talent took “Vote with the Best,” to proher down a different road: mote student interest and women’s clothing. She started out participation. as a voter hat-maker but found her true will distribute more métier CUNY in dressmaking. 360,000 registration Inthan 1934, in avoter Parisian workforms in English, Spanish, shop, she opened her own house Chinese and “Alix,” Koreanwhere and coorunder the name she dinate various election-relatbegan experimenting with simple ed classroom activities. garments. The next year she had Efforts a teach-in her first brushinclude with success by by visiting journalists and designing costumes for a 1935 officials at playelected La Guerre de Troie LaGuardia N’aura Pas Lieu, Community directed by a debate at the College, French and playwright Jean Brooklyn College between Giraudoux. New York Post contributor Robert George and liberal author Eric Alterman, who is an English professor at the college. Candidates will also be visiting various CUNY campuses to discuss issues critical to students, such as tuition, student aid and immigration policy “‘Vote with the Best’ exemplifies the university’s long-standing commitment to promoting voter participation and education about our democratic system of government,” said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “CUNY’s voter registration efforts, coordinated by the Office of University Relations, encompass all 23 CUNY campuses and is the most comprehensive program of its kind of any multi-campus university system in the nation.” —Patty Lee

this month

The classically inspired Grecian gown that was Alix Grès’ hallmark. During the Nazi occupation of France, her business was shut down for a brief period because she defied the German officers by

refusing to make dresses for their wives. After the war her salon resee FIT, page 4

After being shot in the leg in the early morning hours of Jan. 21, a man was able to walk into Bellevue Hospital and seek treatment. No arrests have been made in the case, and the man was not seriously wounded. Though only one bullet hit the victim, four shots were fired during the incident which took place at 5:11 a.m. just outside of the Chelsea Square Restaurant at 368 W. 23rd St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues. The restaurant is sharing images from its surveillance equipment with police, according to a letter sent out to area residents by Melanie la Rocca, legislative aide to Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The letter says the involved parties came to the restaurant after frequenting Sol, a nearby nightclub on West 29th Street. This is the second area shooting this month, both of which were linked with area nightclubs. A 32-year-old Queens man was shot in the back and killed on Jan. 10 just outside of Club Stereo, at 512 W. 29th St. Though a neighborhood blog,, has logged a fair amount of comments about the incident, a spokesperson for Quinn said the speaker’s district office has only received two calls on the matter. P

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Let Me Entertain You Up the fUn factor at yoUr child’s birthday party by hiring a great local entertainer By Robin Saks Frankel


hether it’s a small family gathering or a big birthday blow-out, choosing the right performer for your child’s party can be a make-it-or-break-it decision. We’ve compiled a list of New York’s favorite children’s entertainers for bashes of any size or style. CLOWNs Each child who attends Looney Lenny’s hilarious, interactive magic show (with juggling!) receives their own clown-o-rific name. Every party guest walks away with a balloon animal. Juliet Schaefer Jeske studied clowning at the New York Goofs Ultimate Clown School, which should tell you all you need to know. Schaefer’s talents include face painting, balloon twisting, stilts, silly magic and the ukulele. Sammie and Tudie’s clowning philosophy: Life is better when you’re laughing. Boasting over 20 years of experience, this comedic magic circus show is ideal for ages 3 and up. FACE PAINTINg Not your typical face painting experience, the award-winning Faces by Derrick will make your kids, ages 3 and up, never want wash their faces again. Girls love the signature unicorn design of Face Art by Melissa. This mother of two does fabulous face art and gorgeous glitter tattoos. The owner of Hearts Face Painting &

Hot Tip of the Week

A Super Science Street Fair This Sunday, head down to Washington Square Park for a free scientific street fair like you’ve never seen before! An exciting end to the World Science Festival, families can watch a school of robotic fish swim like their reallife counterparts, meet real crime-scene investigators, make bubbles and find out what it’s like to study orangutans at the Philadelphia Zoo. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit


Balloon Art brings both creative art forms to birthday environments. Her professional background lies in painting, so party spaces and little faces are sure to transform. Kiki’s Faces and Balloons is an allencompassing entertainment company offering face painting, balloon sculpting, “silly people” and princesses. Party Faces By Rachel’s namesake has a background that’s practically a Ph.D. in paint. The Brooklyn preschool teacher’s ability to charm the little ones while she works helps keep them comfortable with the painting process.


MAgICIANs The Amazing Max is so beloved he has his own Off-Broadway show for mega-magic families. His high-energy, interactive show blends comedy and juggling. Paying tribute to the great magicians of the turn of the century, Cardone the Ultimate Vaudeville Magician’s act includes escape artistry, ventriloquism and classic scarf, coin and card tricks. Ages 3-7 will fold into fits of laughter at Gary the Great’s comedic magic act. He adapts his show based on audience response, so no two performances are alike. Magic Al’s sleight-of-hand tricks will stupefy even grown-ups, and his goofy antics keep kids in stitches throughout every performance. Mario the Magician’s 45-minute set is aimed at kids ages 4-11 who are sure to go nuts for his silly antics, age-old slapstick humor and a live dove named Mozzarella. Kids ages 3-8 (and their parents) will adore Silly Billy. This self-proclaimed “comedian for children” uses magic, balloon twisting and lots of jokes to drum up laughter. MUsICIANs Led by Audra Tsanos, a highly soughtafter Music for Aardvarks instructor, Audra Rox’s family-friendly band is just right for Big Apple birthdays. Audra incorporates the birthday child in the music and will have every guest jamming along on percussion props. Brett Band is the brainchild of early childhood music educator Brett Rothenhaus, formerly of Little Maestros. His original music and kiddie classics make for a playlist that gets everybody on their feet. Moey’s Music Party brings the pompoms, maracas and parachute for 45 minutes of fun. Try the Princess Party Package, filled with boas, bling and boogeying.

Mario the Magician

Meredith LeVande, perhaps better known as Monkey Monkey Music, specializes in upbeat, original tunes for little ones. Her parachute-, instrument- and bubbleinfused party shows instantly get all ages grooving. mr. RAY, a pioneer of the kiddie genre, takes a mix-it-up approach to birthday gigs. Beginning with a concert and transitioning into a dance party, the festivities end with kids stepping up to sing solos on the mic. A one-man band, Rockin’ With Andy makes kids and their parents want to shake their groove things. Mom and dad love Andy’s acoustic guitar versions of grownup hits, and the little ones go bananas for his kids’ classics. Andy also brings shakers, bells, scarves and animal puppets for maxi-

mum rocking. sPECIALTY If you can dream it, Nick the Balloonatic can make it. At it for 20 years, Nick’s handiwork includes flower bouquets, superheroes, monkeys on palm trees, top hats and much more. Wendy the Pipe Cleaner Lady is a category unto herself. Girls adore her tiaras, boys covet her spider creations and even Martha Stewart wants her pipe cleaner flower rings. Robin Saks Frankel is a mother of two toddlers and a freelance writer, editor and social media addict. For more birthday party planning tips, visit

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Alternative Health

a monthly advertising supplement

A Guide to Living in the Now Author offers techniques for reducing stress by staying in the present By Ashley Welch Whether worrying about the future or rehashing the past, it may always seem difficult to focus on the present. However, Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D, makes the case in his new book, The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life, that living in the moment can lead to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. “The ‘now effect’ is those moments of clarity during the day when we connect to what really matters at any given time,” Goldstein said. Research shows that how people pay attention and what they pay attention to affects how the brain grows. Sensory overload and numerous distractions from what is going on in the present moment allow the brain to go on autopilot, allowing the mind to make decisions automatically. Goldstein argues that by becoming aware of our thought processes, we have the ability to rewire how we think, stop automatic thoughts and choose to think differently. Life is decided, he said, in these spaces, or “choice points,” where we can decide how to respond to what is going on around us. “We have the ability to retrain our subconscious mind to be more present to what’s here right now,” he said. In The Now Effect, Goldstein highlights several benefits of living in the present. These include focusing better at work and at home and opening up to feelings of love, hope, empathy and compassion. It also lends itself to increased emotional intelligence and the ability to relax more effectively in moments of distress. Goldstein offered the following example: “Say you’re walking down the street and in the distance you see an acquaintance. As you walk closer, you smile and wave but he doesn’t look at you and just walks by. If you’re in a good mood, you may think, ‘Oh, he didn’t see me,’ but if you’re anxious or depressed, you may think, ‘Is he mad at me? Did I do something wrong?’ and become insecure.” Goldstein said that becoming aware of how our moods affect our perception of situations can help us relax and gain control over our emotions so we can alter how we react to what goes on in our lives. In addition, Goldstein said being present in the here and now can allow for greater connections, both internally and to others, and help us

be more flexible in decision making and responses to people and challenges. Finally, the “now effect” can open us up to what is good in life. “Our brains are naturally inclined to anxiety and negativity,” Goldstein said. “We can train our minds to focus more on the positive.” So what keeps us from being able to live in the present? Goldstein said that our greatest gift as humans may also be our greatest curse. “The biggest barrier to being in the present is the same thing that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom,” he said. “That’s our ability to think, reflect, formulate plans and exert free will.” Whether we are anxiously awaiting tomorrow or fixating on what happened a year ago, many people find it hard to live in the moment because they are wondering what could or what would have happened. “The No. 1 thing that takes us away from the present is playing the ‘what if?’ game,” he said. In the book, Goldstein offers practical techniques to counter this kind of thinking and bring readers back to the now. The simplest technique, he said, is to ask the questions “Where am I starting from now? What is my body doing? Where is my mind?” “Doing that,” said Goldstein, “widens the space between stimulus and response.” Another method is to use what he calls present nostalgia to connect ourselves to what really matters. “Project yourself into the future and ask yourself what the more distant you would say you’re missing in this very moment,” he said. “It’s a way of tricking your brain to think with more perspective.” Goldstein also offers simple breathing exercises, recommending envisioning breathing in to keep calm and breathing out to release burdens. He also warns of the disconnected culture we live in. Facebook, Twitter and other social media may make us feel we are connected to others, he said, but that is only a surface connection. He recommends focusing on real relationships in the present. Goldstein provides video demonstrations of these practical techniques accessible via Microsoft Tags throughout the book and embedded videos throughout the e-book. He emphasized that The Now Effect is not a universal guide; the techniques can be tailored by individuals to what suits them. “As readers go through the book, I don’t want them to swallow it whole,” he said. “I want them to use the book as a guide and see what works for them. What is most valuable is the person’s experience.”

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covered medical expenses, including home care. You will not be billed for the surplus amount. You can have the trust use almost the entire surplus to pay for your regular bills, such as rent and utilities.

Applicants with assets higher than the Medicaid limit can reduce them by spending them down to the limit or by transferring them to a trusted family member or an irrevocable trust. If you have significant assets, you should consult with an elder care attorney about how best to reduce them. Once you have reduced your assets to under the limit, you are eligible to apply for Medicaid in the following month.

f you need long-term home care but cannot afford it, you can usually apply for Community Medicaid to pay for it. However, many people who need Community Medicaid believe ApplicAtions for that they cannot qualify for it because of two MedicAid-covered myths.

Myth: I cannot get Medicaid because my income is too high. long-terM heAlth Fact: The Community Medicaid Myth: I cannot become cAre tAke A long limits are eligible for Medicaid tiMe to process, so income $792 a month for a because my assets are too Apply before you single person and high. Fact: Applicants for AnticipAte needing it. $1,159 for a married person. Community Medicaid You can still in New York State must apply and qualify for Medicaid if you have less than $14,250 (for a single person) have income over these limits. Medicaid or $20,850 (combined assets for a married treats such “surplus” or “excess” income couple). as a deductible. For instance, if you are a An applicant’s residence does not count single person with an income of $1,292 a as an asset if the market value of the home, month, you have a surplus of $500. If you minus the amount mortgaged, is less than have $1,400 of medical expenses, including $750,000.

home care, in a month, Medicaid will only pay for $900 of those expenses; you will be billed for $500. However, you can use a pooled income trust to protect your surplus income. Once Medicaid recognizes that you are disabled and are depositing your surplus into a pooled income trust, it will pay for all the

New York City’s Human Resources Administration can take a long time, sometimes over 3 months, to approve Medicaid and Medicaid home care. Applicants, especially when they have surplus income and are using a pooled income trust, often face delays and difficulties and need expert help to deal with them. For these reasons, if you foresee needing Medicaid to pay for home care in the future, you should start preparing to apply now by calling a knowledgeable geriatric care manager or social worker. Roy Herndon Smith, Ph.D., is with Community Geriatric Care (, a subsidiary of Foremost Home Care.

The only dedicated Assisted Living Facility in New York City specializing in Enhanced Memory Care.

Ensconced in the landmark neighborhood of the Upper East Side, Residents continue to enjoy the heart and soul of this incomparable city they have always loved. • Beautiful Upper East Side Environment • Each floor a “Neighborhood” with Family Style Dining & Living Room • 24-hour Licensed Nurses & Attendants specially trained in dementia care • Medication Management • Around the clock personal care, as needed • Housekeeping, Linen & Personal Laundry • Courtyard & Atrium Rooftop Garden • Chef prepared Meals Nation’s first recipient of AFA’s Excellence in Care distinction.

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The 80th Street Residence Earns Additional New York State Department of The 80th Street Residence Earns Additional New York State Department of Health Licensure and Certifications Health Licensure and Certifi cations The only licensed Assisted Living Residence in New York City to obtain both The only licensed Assisted Living Residence in New York City to obtain both Enhanced and Special Needs Certification Enhanced and Special Needs Certification

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The 80th Street Residence is the first in the city to receive the New York State Department of partment of Health licensure as an Assisted Living Residence (ALR) with certificates Health licensure as an Assisted Living Residence (ALR) with certificates allowing the entire allowing the entire community to serve as both an Enhanced Assisted Living Residence community serve as both Needs an Enhanced Assisted Living Residence (EALR) and a Special (EALR) to and a Special Assisted Living Residence (SNALR). With these Needs new Assisted Living Residence With newadditional certifications 80th Street is now to certifications 80th Street is(SNALR). now able tothese provide specialized care andable services provide additional specialized care and services for its Residents, all for its Residents, all of whom suffer from cognitive impairment. of whom suffer from cognitive impairment. Clare Shanley, Executive Director says, “The 80th Street Residence has always been Clare Shanley, Executive Director says, “The 80th Street Residence has always been devoted devoted to providing excellent care and specialized services to our Residents. In fact, to providing excellent care and specialized services to our Residents.Foundation In fact, our program was our program was the Nation’s first to receive The Alzheimer’s of America’s the Nation’s fi rst to receive The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s ‘Excellence in Care’ award. ‘Excellence in Care’ award. Now with the highest level of licensing for Assisted Living, Now with the levelour of licensing for Assisted Living, in addition to families providingthe our peace unique of in addition tohighest providing unique program, we are able to offer program, we are able offerloved families the peace of mind thatreceive their loved ones may mind in knowing thattotheir ones may now ageininknowing place and more nursing now age in place and receive more nursing they need in the place they call home.” care should they needcare it inshould the place they itcall home.” Fully bythe theNew New York State Department of Health, TheStreet 80thResidence Street Residence FullyLicensed Licensed by York State Department of Health, The 80th is the isonly thededicated only dedicated living community New York CityinSpecializing inInMemory assistedassisted living community in New YorkinCity Specializing Memory Care. their Care. Insetting, their boutique setting, Street offers unique comboutique 80th Street offers80th unique neighborhoods, eachneighborhoods, composed of no each more than posed of no more than ten Residents similar cognitive neigheight to ten Residents with eight similartocognitive abilities.with All neighborhoods haveabilities. cozy and All homelike borhoods and dining and aliving rooms and are 24 hours dining andhave livingcozy rooms andhomelike are staffed 24 hours day with personal carestaffed attendants. The a day with personal care attendants. The intimate setting allows for an environment that is intimate setting allows for an environment that is conducive to relaxation, socialization, and conducive to relaxation, socialization, and participation in varied activities. A true jewel participation in varied activities. A true jewel of care on the Upper East Side.

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CLASSI FI E DS Classified Advertising Department Information Telephone: 212-268-0384 | Fax: 212-268-0502 | Email: Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm | Deadline: Monday 12 noon for same weeks’ issue


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May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 25

capiTal cONNecTiONs

Hillary Could Be Romney Dragonslayer MaNhaTTaN Media President/CeO Tom Allon grOuP PuBLisHer Alex Schweitzer CFO/COO Joanne Harras


exeCutive editOr Allen Houston sPeCiaL seCtiOns editOr Josh Rogers Cityarts editOr Armond White staFF rePOrter Megan Bungeroth PHOtO editOr/editOriaL assistant Andrew Schwartz Featured COntriButOrs Alan S. Chartock, Bette Dewing, Jeanne Martinet, Malachy McCourt, Josh Perilo, Christopher Moore, Regan Hofmann

adVeRTisiNG PuBLisHer Gerry Gavin direCtOr OF new Business deveLOPment Dan Newman assOCiate PuBLisHers Seth L. Miller, Ceil Ainsworth, Mary Ann Oklesson advertising manager Marty Strongin sPeCiaL PrOjeCts direCtOr Jim Katocin seniOr aCCOunt exeCutives Verne Vergara, Mike Suscavage direCtOr OF events & marketing Joanna Virello exeCutive assistant OF saLes Jennie Valenti

BUsiNess adMiNisTRaTiON

COntrOLLer Shawn Scott Credit manager Kathy Pollyea BiLLing COOrdinatOr Colleen Conklin CirCuLatiOn Joe Bendik


PrOduCtiOn manager Heather Mulcahey editOriaL designer Monica Tang advertising design Quran Corley

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26 • O UR TOWN • M ay 3 1, 2 012

ElEction wouldn’t bE closE if shE wErE VP Pick


he didn’t start here, but Hillary Clinton is now a very popular New Yorker. She is so popular she swamps the very popular Andrew Cuomo in presidential polls both in New York and nationally—in fact, it isn’t even close. Of course, 2016 is a long way off and anything could happen. There are some interesting clues to insider politics. Clinton has announced that she is not interested in serving another term. She says she will not campaign for the president. Her husband, Bill, says he wishes his wife would run for the top job. The woman who replaced Clinton in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, says she will be an original signatory to the draft Hillary movement. I can hardly believe she made that announcement without checking with Hillary. A recent New York Times poll shows there has been a reversal in the female vote and that a majority of women now favor Mitt Romney. Obviously, we have no real idea about what goes on here. But we have to remember that Barack Obama narrowly edged out Clinton for the Democratic nomination to run for president. Maybe, in the immortal words of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, Clinton is still thinking, “I could have

been a contender.” Or maybe there are other hand, if she doesn’t run, there will be another thousand reasons why Hillary is more of a Cuomo opportunity. Let’s face saying what she’s saying. it, I don’t think Clinton wants to do it and Now the atmosphere is filled with I don’t think that Obama wants to jettison rumors that Team Obama will have to Biden, but when the middle of the night replace Vice President comes and it’s a question of Joe Biden with Clinton. winning or losing, the hard Up until now, everyone realities will prevail. It will be denied the rumor. The a win-win. president has stated There have been many that he isn’t making any times in U.S. history when changes. But winning the such difficult decisions have presidency is what we been made. Ike had to live call a “mutually exclusive with Nixon, who he never game”; you only get one really liked. Kennedy had to winner and there are no take Johnson; without him, second prizes. he just wouldn’t have won. If confronted by the So unless Hillary is ill or is alaN chaRTOck otherwise indisposed, she’ll cold hard facts that they might lose the presihave to take the offer when dency, the Obama people may have to ask and if it comes. Clinton and Biden to switch places—ClinWhen and if Hillary becomes vice presiton runs for vice president and Biden is dent, she will be the font of all patronage offered the secretary of state position. I’m a and pork in New York. That too, may cause big Biden fan and I think he has the chops a little friction with the governor’s office— to make a lot of friends for the United or just the opposite. You just never know. States. Based on recent polling, I really think Back home in New York, one can only that this is a no-brainer. The way it looks wonder how Gov. Cuomo is taking to all now, Hillary, if she wins, would be the first of this. We know the Cuomos are always female vice president. That’s huge. thinking six moves in advance—“Is this good for me or bad for me?” Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of If Clinton runs for vice president and WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an the ticket wins, there will be no contest— executive publisher at The Legislative she’ll be the candidate in 2016. On the Gazette.

term, she got a chance to try to rehabilitate her reputation. So far, two former Council members, Miguel Martinez and Hiram Monserrate, have been convicted of felonies, and a third, Larry QUiNN NOT FiT Seabrook, is up for another trial. This FOR MayOR corruption happened on her watch. In recent years, she has turned the I want to commend Tom Allon (“A City Council into Trashy Political Idea,” her own personal May 17) for his ex“what I say goes” planation of why the Find out more at: form of government. proposed Upper East $20 Family Ticket Time after time (the side site of the waste paid sick leave bill, transfer station is a for example) there bad idea, but more for FUN PRIZES have been bills with his honest depiction AND GREAT SPEAKERS a strong majority of of Council Speaker FOR NEW & ENTER TO support that she reChristine Quinn as EXPECTANT WIN THE ULTIMATE fuses to put up to a Mayor Bloomberg’s PARENTS NURSERY OVER 100 BRANDS vote simply because “rubber stamp.” FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS she doesn’t agree. The worst example Allon, as he of this was Quinn disclosed, is runusing her power to Saturday & Sunday, May 19 & 20 Pier 92, 711 12th Avenue (52nd Street & the West Side Highway) ning for mayor in overturn term limits. 2013 and he, along We must rememwith any other ber that this came potential candidate, would make a at a time when the slush fund scandal better mayor than Christine Quinn. was fresh in our minds. By selfishly —Mickey Kramer extending herself and the mayor a third





Gay MaRRiaGe cON Vice President Joe Biden “outed” President Barack Obama by coming out for gay marriage first (“My Marriage and My President,” May 17). It was one of Biden’s many outspoken comments, although this time he knew the mike was open. This announcement could have been made earlier during the Obama/Biden administration, but was delayed to be politically timed. The effort was to solidify the gay, lesbian and transgender base for political contributions and votes to re-elect Obama/Biden in 2012. It was also a clever way of avoiding discussion of more important issues, such as our 15 percent unemployment rate (8 percent out of work, plus 7 percent who have just given up looking), increase in national debt by $5.6 trillion, increase in yearly spending from $3 trillion to $3.7 trillion and continued yearly waste, fraud and abuse of tens of billions in taxpayer dollars. Intelligent voters will not fall for this con game. —Larry Penner

NY m


Why We Should Vote on 9/11 Shifting electionS away from anniverSary date iS a miStake


he move is shortsighted and contrary to the public interest. The decision in question: shifting the state primary from Tuesday, Sept. 11 to Thursday, Sept. 13. The governor and the state legislature have decided that Sept. 11 is, as the New York Times put it last week, “a day for reflection and not for politics.” The mindless attack on anything deemed political really needs to stop—especially when it comes to this significant anniversary on the national calendar. There are political implications to almost everything, but especially to the most serious attack against Americans on their own soil. The governor and the legislature have it exactly wrong. Sept. 11 is a perfect day to go out and vote. To exercise freedom. To express opinions. To take part in the democratic process. One of the terrible little realities of Sept. 11, 2001, a day of much bigger atrocities, was that voters were stopped in their tracks. It was, after all, a municipal

Too bad the anti-politics crowd has got primary day. hold of the way we talk about public afGranted, this year, New Yorkers statefairs. Cynicism increases and the people wide are being asked to vote in too many who love low turnout rates wind up being elections. The state needs a sensible, thrilled that they can keep running the nastreamlined approach, voting machines that inspire confidence and an open-mind- tion. When you say you don’t like politics, you begin to opt out of self-government. ed attitude about same-day registration, When you don’t vote, you among other electoral fulfill someone else’s agenda. innovations. Not needed: In reality, politics is a any more of this reflexive, thrilling and all-encompasssilly and downright daning business. In a new play gerous dislike of anything about newspaper biggie deemed “political.” Joseph Alsop by David AuI use the quotation burn called The Columnist, marks on purpose, since the famous scribe takes aim almost everything falls after hearing someone decry under the definition of politics. “My boy,” Auburn’s politics, according to what Alsop says, “politics is life! they say in freshman year poli sci classes. Politics is chRisTOPheR MOORe Politics is human intercourse at its most sublimely ridicuabout the struggle over lous and intensely vital. You limited resources and who may as well say you don’t very much care gets what. Politics is sometimes, but not for sex.” always, about partisan struggles, although These words are thrillingly on target. I that’s the way it’s usually viewed today. In recently finished—thanks be to God—a truth, there’s nothing more political than semester teaching college students in New a lively Board of Education meeting or a Jersey. So many of the most conscientious bad personal relationship, even if nobody students kept telling me that they don’t like is ever outwardly aligned with a political politics. They refuse to read about it or folparty.

low it. I wanted to quote Auburn’s line about sex, but worried about winding up on the evening news. It breaks my heart. We need our most nimble minds to embrace the public sphere, the ongoing fight over limited resources in a changing society. We need smart people of all ages to think and rethink about military misadventures and health care funding and library hours and marriage rights and class size. There’s nothing we need more than an informed, active citizenry. Sept. 11 does not now—and never did— need to become another day for people to sit on their butts and eat hamburgers. Like many Martin Luther King Jr. Day advocates understand and insist, we need days on instead of days off. We need engagement. We need participation. We need to vote. When it comes to shifting the election date, the governor and the legislature are pandering, pure and simple. Is it too much to ask our politicians to stand up for politics? I vote that we vote on Sept. 11. And every other chance we get. Christopher Moore is a writer living in Manhattan. He can be reached by email at and is on Twitter (@cmoorenyc).


Ain’t Nobody Hair But Me the urban cloak of inviSibility

I think.” She paused in mid-air over my head while she gave him an obligatory scan. One of her hands held the scissors and the other the comb. I gaped at the man. “Hey! I’m sitting right e came out of nowhere. here!” I wanted to yell. He There I was was still gazing at himself getting my hair in my mirror, his face about cut, absorbed two feet above mine, and in the blissful experience he was turning his head this of being pampered and way and that, touching his beautified, when suddenly hair. Brigitta started snipping I noticed a tall, chiseled away at me again, trying to man in the mirror right ignore him. He was obviover my head. Hello? But ously a regular customer, so he wasn’t looking at me, he she could not very easily tell was scrutinizing himself, him to leave. and he was talking to my “But you see this here…” stylist. JeaNNe MaRTiNeT he said, and he brushed his “So, Brigitta…” The hand over the top of his brisstranger smoothed his tly head and smiled devilishalmost nonexistent hair ly at himself. I looked pointedly up at him, (which looked like a crew cut that could my eyebrows raised as far as they would go, hardly be cut further) back above his right in what I hoped was questioning disdain. At ear. With his head cocked, he continued to study himself in the mirror. “Do you think I’ll last his eyes met mine, and I detected a faint hint of embarrassment. “I’ll come back,” he be ready to come back next week?” he said. said quickly. “I do want the top to be—I want to have After he left, Brigitte apologized and said enough for you to work with.” Who the hell is the front desk should have waylaid the man. this guy? Do salons need bouncers now? But I couldn’t help wondering: What was it “Ah, sure,” Brigitta replied in her elegant that made me invisible? Until I finally got Latvian accent, “You will probably be ready,



his attention, I was just an object, like the chair. I do not believe he was acting primarily out of a sense of entitlement, like someone who butts in front of you because they believe their business is more urgent than yours. It was simply that he was oblivious. Obliviousness is not uncommon in urban life. We’ve all had the experience of waiting for a cab when someone steps right in front of us and grabs it. But the truth is, most of these taxi thieves are not thinking, “If I move quickly, I can get that cab first.” They really do not notice the other people waiting. As New Yorkers we constantly need to cut out noise and stimuli or go crazy, so we develop tunnel vision, and everything nonessential tends to recede into the background—including, sometimes, other people. Sometimes we can’t see others even when we really want to. Recently I heard about a friend and his wife who were both trying to meet up on 42nd Street. They were walking in opposite directions toward each other, on the same side of the street, yet they walked right past each other without realizing it. The crowded city itself affects awareness. But certainly there are situations in which we are more prone to becoming invisible. When we hand our bodies over to be

worked on—primped, trimmed, massaged, whatever—there is a sort of disappearing that happens, since we become almost entirely passive. We become a thing upon which something is being done. Isn’t this why manicurists talk to each other while they are doing your nails? And (ever more increasingly, it seems) why checkout clerks talk to each other while they are checking you out? You, the customer, are not real. You are a shadow, a blur going by. Of course, I could (as is my wont) blame the salon incident on the insensitivity of our technology-saturated society—on the theory that everyone is so insular that others seem just a part of each person’s own reflection in the mirror. But I suspect it might be simpler: The guy was a classic narcissist. Certainly, while my Narcissus was obsessing over his hair, his reflection and mine merged in at least one way. Whether it was because Brigitta was distracted by his interruption or she was influenced by looking at his cropped head, she ended up clipping away much longer on me than necessary. So now, thanks to this short-haired interloper, I have much shorter hair than I wanted. And, funnily enough, invisibility no longer seems such a bad idea. Jeanne Martinet, aka Miss Mingle, is the author of seven books on social interaction. Read her blog at

May  3 1, 2012  •   O UR TOW N • 27

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Our Town May 31, 2012  
Our Town May 31, 2012  

The May 31, 2012 issue of Our Town. Founded more than three decades ago, Our Town serves the East Side of Manhattan from Turtle Bay to Carne...