Healthy Manhattan: Weekend Warrior Warnings Page 16
June 9, 2011
East Siders ‘Dump’ on Waste Station
Keep Your Bike...
Elderly Attack Shakes Neighborhood
t u O
Blackboard Awards Make the Grade
East Side slams crosstown path. West says build it. andrew schwartz
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express “We all know that reading on your own, especially when school’s out, is one of the best habits to get into, and that reading can enrich our lives at any age,” said Kavanagh in a statement. “But many families cannot afford to supply their young readers with books ofINSERTION their own, so we’re ORDER counting on our community to help.” From now until Monday, June 20, Ainsworth donate new or gently Ceil used books suitable Manhattan Media for children or young teens to Kavanagh’s office, 237 First Ave., Suite 407. To arrange 63 West 38th St.
KAVANAGH LAUNCHES BOOK DRIVE—
State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and P.S. 34 Principal Joyce Stallings Harte announced a drive for book donations from community residents to encourage summer reading. The drive will allow each of the 400 children from P.S. 34, the Franklin D. Roosevelt School, to take several books home to read while out of school on vacation. Over 99 percent of the students come from low-income families.
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New York NY 10018 (212) 284-9724 Fax: (212) 268-0502 p.m., Carter Burden Center for the Aging, 1484 1st email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ave., Lower Level Conference Room. cc: email@example.com
• Community Board 8 Street Fair Committee, 7 p.m., Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 4.917”W x 2.687”H, E. 93rd St., Room 6.
Monday, June 13 • Community Board 8 Landmarks Committee Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Hunter College, 695 Park Ave., West Bldg., West Lobby.
• Community Board 8 Full Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Memorial Sloan-Kettering, 430 E. 67th St., Auditorium.
Tuesday, June 14
This schedule is current as of Tuesday, June 7. For more information, including full agendas, please contact the community boards directly.
• Community Board 8 Health, Seniors & Social Services Committee Meeting, 6:30
Community Board 8: 212-758-4349, cb8.com.
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• Community Board 8 Youth & Education Committee Meeting, 7 p.m., New York Blood Center, 310 E. 67th St., Auditorium.
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to donate books, contact 212-979-9696 or firstname.lastname@example.org. —Catharine Daddario HISTORIC WALKING TOUR—On Sunday, June 12, City & Suburban Homes hosts a free historic-district walking tour, highlighting the early-20th-century Cherokee Apartments,
designed in the Late Gothic Revival/Beaux Arts style. Spiral staircases in the corners lead up six stories to apartments designed to house the working poor. The building was landmarked in 1985, as much for its social mission and history as its architecture. Meet at 515 E. 78th St., at 1 p.m. —Molly Blayney
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June 9, 2011
Keep Your Bike Out of My Park East Side slams crosstown path. West Side says build it
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June 9, 2011
the conservators of a scenic landmark, a park that is so heavily used it’s ridiculous at times, and trying to give everybody an equal piece.” Michele Birnbaum, another committee member, likened the desire to cross the park on a bike to “tumbling on a Ferris wheel” and said that it might be fun but it’s not necessary. “I see my city, the way I travel and how I get around being completely revamped to accommodate a very very very small percentage of the population,” Birnbaum said. “It isn’t really a right to traverse the park on a bicycle, and to turn things upside down to do so is what my frustration is.” Heidi Untener, an Upper East Side resident who commutes by bike with her two young sons, read a statement in support of the new paths. “I cannot expect my 8-year-old to loop the entire southern end of the park to simply get from West 72nd Street to East 68th Street after a full day of school,” said Untener. “Our choices, either dangerous or unlawful, are to ride against the flow of traffic on 72nd Street or to weave our
“I see my city, the way I travel and how I get around being completely revamped to accommodate a very very very small percentage of the population,” Michele Birnbaum said.
way along pedestrian pathways to 69th Street. We typically choose the latter, and my children feel like criminals, looking out for police.” “I am back and forth across the park sometimes up to six times a day, and for me to have to stop to walk my bike to try to get across is completely inefficient,” said Liz Patek, a member of the public at the meeting. “A bike is a form of transportation, and to try to go through the vehicular transverses is sudden death.” Sharon Pope, a member of the group Sure Walkers, presented a two-sided perspective at the meeting, speaking as a proponent of pedestrians who also occasionally rides a bike in the park. “There is no greater pleasure than to ride a bike in Central Park,” Pope said. “There is also nothing worse than a bike
By Megan Finnegan The Parks Committee of Community Board 8 isn’t interested in sharing. Last week, Caroline Greenleaf, community relations manager for the Central Park Conservancy, attended the committee meeting to explain impending changes to some of the park’s crosstown paths. The park is planning to allow cyclists to ride at slow speeds on some of the paths that currently only allow pedestrians in an effort to provide safer and faster methods for biking commuters to cross the park. “The reality is that we’re seeing a lot of bikes on the paths,” said Greenleaf, who asserted that it was better to make sure people used the paths safely than admonish them for using the paths at all. The proposed shared paths would be on either side of the 96th Street Transverse, which runs near the North Meadow Recreation Center, and the path at 102nd Street, allowing cyclists to ride in both directions on each path. Greenleaf also emphasized the need for everyone on the path to share nicely— speed limits for cyclists would be 5 miles per hour, dog walkers would be required to keep their charges on short leashes and everyone would yield to pedestrians. “The real thrust here is that we’re focusing on education,” said Greenleaf. “I am actually really thrilled to be able to stop [cyclists], talk to them and say, if you can start demonstrating to the public that you are able to ride on this path responsibly, that you stop if you see a crowd of people, that you walk your bike through a crowd of people, that you basically honor the fact that it’s a multi-use path, it will only help us in starting this experiment when it officially opens.” Members of the committee, however, were not pleased, and called the plan “stupid,” “dangerous” and “a bad idea.” Some members also berated representatives of the group Transportation Alternatives, who had come to the meeting to support the park’s proposal, as “arrogant” and a “lobbying group” that doesn’t adequately represent the public. “I have to say quite honestly I’m shocked because the Conservancy sadly is turning into a version of the Department of Consumer Affairs; they issue a lot of licenses without regard to the practicality of New York City, how it works, how it doesn’t work, and they don’t enforce,” said committee member Teri Slater. “You’re forgetting your role as
CB8 shot down proposed paths that would allow bicyclists to cross from the east to the west side of the park. speeding past a pedestrian, a walker, and you are almost sideswiped.” She said that much of the problem comes from the bad behaviors of bike messengers and food deliverymen. “A reasonable legal option, a place to bike across the park, is necessary in order for us to expect that people have the option of not being law-breakers,” said Scott Falk, one of the two committee members who spoke in favor of the measure to share paths. “It’s a lot easier to be zero tolerance on bikes being in the wrong place if there’s a right place to go.” Some committee members wanted to know why the park could not create completely separate segregated lanes. Greenleaf said that the park considered this option, but that they just don’t have the ability to widen the paths enough. Steve Vaccaro, volunteer chair of Transportation Alternatives’ East Side Action committee, attended the meeting to support shared paths and reiterate that he and others from TA spend time and resources trying to educate other cyclists on how to ride safely and considerately. Some CB8 committee members didn’t think that was adequate, however, and at one point the conversation devolved into a pro-bike versus anti-bike shouting match. After the meeting, Vaccaro said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the vitriolic responses. There are some Community Board 8 members “critical of the notion that cycling is a legitimate
form of transportation,” he said. “I think it varies by neighborhood. I think you get different views on that in different parts of the city. There’s a real difference on the Upper West Side as compared to the Upper East Side.” Vaccaro cited a study that names the Upper East Side as having the lowest concentration of frequent bike commuters, and said that from his own experience living there, he sees a relatively high number of food deliverymen on bikes, adding to the negative perception of cyclists as reckless and only concerned with speed. Mel Wymore, chair of the Upper West Side’s Community Board 7, said that their board isn’t taking an official position on the shared paths so far, although he noted that several individual members are strongly in support of the idea. In general, the West Side tends to vote more frequently in favor of biking initiatives; their parks committee recently voted to allow cyclists to ride at safe speeds on shared paths in Riverside Park. Vaccaro said that he wouldn’t characterize the Upper East Side as wholly resistant to bikes, even though some have been outspoken against any changes to accommodate cyclists. “There’s a feeling that something is being taken from them and given to someone else, and I understand that,” he said of the resentment toward biking advocates. “Every square inch of New York is contested space.” N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
East Siders Dump on Waste Transfer Proposal within 600 feet of public housing projects. “It breaks my heart that a facility like Asphalt Green, that’s filled with children every day, would be trashed,” said Gloria Gross, 64, an Upper East Side resident. The fight over the transfer station has been going on for years. The Department of Sanitation first applied for the requisite permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to construct the transfer station in 2007. The community breathed a sigh of relief when the Department of Sanitation announced this April that due to lack of funding, the plans would be delayed until 2018. However, a month later, Mayor Bloomberg restored funding in his capital budget proposal, and if it is approved this June, construction could begin in the very near future. Anthony Ard, of the Gracie Point Community Council, also spoke out against the plan and has been fighting it in the courts for years. He said even if the project is approved, the litigation process could delay it another year. Several prominent environmental groups, including the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Environmental
Sheriff ’s Sale. Stock Sale. By virtue of Vend Exp Jus. Judge (CA# S11J-01-011) to me directed will be exposed to Public Sale at Sheriff ’s Office 800 N. French Street 5th Floor Wilmington, DE 19801 on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM, the following described property: Stock Sale. In receipt of 2 stock certificates, Stock #30 & 88. (1) This is to certify that Nicholas H Kim is the Owner of one hundred twenty five thousand fully paid and non-assessable shares of the above corporation [Gyneconcepts Inc.] transferable only on the books of the surrender of this certificate properly endorsed. Witness, the seal of the corporation and the signatures of its duly authorized officers. (2) This is to certify that Nicholas H Kim is the owner of seven hundred fifty thousand fully paid and non-assessable shares of the above corporation [Gyneconcepts Inc.] transferrable only on the books of the surrender of this certificate properly endorsed. Witness, the seal of the corporation and the signatures of its duly authorized officers. Obert M. Undem, Secretary; W.G. Worthen, President. Seized and taken in execution as the property of Nicholas Kim, and to be sold by Trinidad Navarro, Sheriff of New Castle County, Delaware. Terms of Sale: Cash and Carry. O u r To w n NY. c o m
Defense Fund, the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have spoken in support of the marine transfer station. They commend the city’s plan to reduce truck-based facilities and say it is time for Manhattan to take some waste disposal burden off other boroughs.
By Ashley Welch Hundreds of people gathered on the Upper East Side on Monday night at a forum to voice their opinions against Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed plan to build a marine waste transfer station at East 91st Street. The station, if approved, would be located adjacent to the East River and FDR Drive and be capable of processing as much as 5,280 tons of municipal solid waste per day. Though the project is part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which is intended to make the disposal of the city’s solid waste more efficient, residents on the Upper East Side are strongly opposed to its location. “I really could not think of a more inappropriate place for a waste transfer station in New York City,” East Side Council Member Jessica Lappin said. Lappin and many community members, who spoke out in anger at the Stanley Isaacs and John Holmes Center, cited the neighborhood’s dense population and abundance of children in the area as reasons the station does not belong. The site would also cut into Asphalt Green, a park and athletic facility that has over 675,000 visitors every year, and would be located
Proposed site for East 91st Street waste transfer station. “Historically, just three neighborhoods—Southeast Queens, Williamsburg/ Greenpoint and the South Bronx—have handled more than 80 percent of the city waste,” said Dan Hendrick, spokesman for the New York League of Conservation Voters “There are always going to be trade-offs involved with managing solid
waste, but until there is no longer a need for marine transfer stations, they should be sited carefully and equitably.” However, those who attended the meeting emphasized that a marine transfer station should not be placed in any residential neighborhood in any borough. “Manhattan should bear its environmental burden, but this is going about it in the wrong way,” Elaine Friedman, 48, said. “Trying to put a station here to even the score is equally wrong. That’s not environmental justice, but environmental revenge. It doesn’t belong in any residential neighborhood.” Both Lappin and Ard said they suggested alternate non-residential locations to the city, such as the Hudson Yards on the West Side, but said they were ignored. Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Department of Sanitation were invited to the forum but declined to attend. At the end of the meeting, residents made plans to organize a rally against the marine transfer station at 6 p.m., Monday, June 13, location TBA. For more information, email opposethemts@ gmail.com.
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June 9, 2011
Mile of Fun at Museum Crawl By Megan Finnegan immigrants who snatched up an entire On Tuesday, June 14, nine of the city’s collection of modern art in the early 20th most treasured cultural institutions will century, long before the works of Matisse open their doors for Museum Mile, an and Picasso were widely appreciated and evening of free admissions and celebrat- highly valued. The exhibit features over ed art that stretches from 82nd to 105th 50 of the Victorian sisters’ private stockstreets along Fifth Avenue. Allow your- pile. They also have a trove of marriage self time to get distracted along the way contracts from the Jewish Theological by the myriad number of vendors, musicians, variety acts and family activities. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of the three-and-a-half-hours of a traffic-free Fifth Ave. The festival kicks off on the steps of the Neue Galerie (1048 Fifth Ave.), which is presenting its exhibition Vienna 1900: Style and Identity. From there, start at the Metropolitan Museum, off of East 82nd Street. (The GoetheInstitut is currently installed at an interim location downtown; they’ll have some info at their old 1014 Fifth Ave. building.) Highlights include the Alexander McQueen retrospective Savage Beauty, displaying the breathtaking artworkas-clothing styles of the late, great British designer, and the giant metal geometric sculptures of Anthony Caro in the roof garden, which also Museum Mile on June 14 opens nine of the presents fabulous views of the park city’s museums to the public for free as well and city. as closes down Fifth Ave. between 82nd and Next stop is the Guggenheim, 105th streets. where the permanent collection of paintings by the likes of Cézanne, Monet, Seminary Library, shedding light on the Picasso, Renoir and van Gogh is enough customs and cultures surrounding matrito keep oglers busy for hours. Also mony from all over the world and dating worth stopping by for is the A Year with back to the 12th century. Children 2011 exhibit, showcasing art Skipping up to 103rd Street, stop at the created by New York City public school Museum of the City of New York to students. You can also catch Kandinsky catch their exhibit Joel Grey/A New York at the Bauhaus 1922-1933, displaying Life, featuring the photographic work by the painter’s geometry-inspired period. and of the prolific stage actor. Tear yourself away from the twoThe final (or first, depending on how dimensional and hit the Cooper-Hewitt you’re walking) stop is El Museo del National Design Museum, which will Barrio, which is launching The (S) Files: show a special collection of jewelry by Voces y Visiones: Signs, Systems & The Van Cleef & Arpels. They’re also exhib- City. Their sixth biennial features works iting Color Moves: Art and Fashion by by some of the most innovative Latino, Sonia Delaunay, a Parisian abstract col- Caribbean and Latin-American artists in orist who applied her 1920s and ’30s art- the city. At 6:30 p.m., the Museum for istry to textiles, garments, film and inte- African Art (which will eventually be rior design. moving into a new home at Fifth Avenue At the Jewish Museum, you can mar- and 110th Street) presents a dance pervel at the foresight of the Cone sisters of formance, and other musical acts follow Baltimore, daughters of German-Jewish throughout the evening. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
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O u r T o w n N Y. c o m
June 9, 2011
Best and Brightest Teachers Honored at 2011 Blackboard Awards
By Megan Finnegan At this year’s Blackboard Awards, an event honoring 18 educators from around the city for their outstanding work, a new tradition was created in the form of dozens of small feet clambering onto the stage to say thanks to their teachers. Excited students cheered on the award recipients and accompanied them onstage, giving the audience a window into how these teachers interact with the students who so clearly adore them. Monday night’s event at Fordham Law School, hosted by NBC correspondent and mother of two young children Kate Snow, highlighted the tireless efforts of the group of winners selected from over 1,200 applications. It was the first time that students and parents were called to present some of the awards, and the students were thrilled to be honoring their favorite teachers. The teachers were equally happy to be recognized by their charges. “I’m very lucky,” said Rodrigo Alonzo,
teacher at the Speyer Legacy School, surrounded by his giggling 1st graders. “I get to come to work every morning and ask questions and be greeted by questions. Like, how did the Atlantic Ocean get its name? What’s
“There’s this magic, this undeniable charisma created in a classroom when kids start learning,” said winner Anne Looser, special education teacher at Lehman High School. the difference between a square and a rhombus? When are we going to have snacks?” A few speakers pointed out how tenuous the positions of many great teachers are amid the fear of layoffs and budget cuts. Vice President of the United Teachers Federation Karen Alford presented an award, and said, “With teachers
being vilified across the country, it’s so nice to have an event celebrating teachers and all they do.” City Council Member Gale Brewer noted that she had spent the day in budget hearings and was working to preserve teaching positions and resources for the city. One teacher took the opportunity to emphasize a focus on individual learning over test results. Theresa Furman, who teaches 2nd grade at the Upper West Side’s P.S. 87, spoke of an email she received from a parent, thanking her for encouraging her students to view school as a place to be happy, to think and create. “Maybe the people who are emphasizing standardized testing so much would think about that,” Furman said, to much applause. A constant theme was the importance of parent and administrative support to each of the winning teachers. Many thanked their communities for helping them create a positive environment for their students. “There’s this magic, this undeniable
charisma created in a classroom when kids start learning,” said winner Anne Looser, special education teacher at Lehman High School. “I first wanted to teach kids about history, because I wanted to teach students about the Revolution. Then I started teaching special ed, and I realized, this is the revolution.” John DeMatteo was recognized for his work as the physical education teacher who brought sports to the Manhattan Academy of Technology, even starting a surfing team at the Chinatown middle school. DeMatteo thanked his parents, both New York City schoolteachers, and acknowledged his unusual path to teaching. After 9/11, he quit a lucrative Wall Street job to go into teaching. “I know now that success is not written in a pay stub,” DeMatteo said. “It’s in the hearts and minds of students who can say those four words: ‘I can,’ and ‘I will.’ Hearing those words from my students makes me the richest man in the world.”
The Board of Directors of the 60-86 Madison Avenue District Management Association, Inc. cordially invites you to attend the
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RSVP to 212-861-2055 To learn more about the Madison Avenue BID, visit our web site at www.madisonavenuebid.org 8
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June 9, 2011
N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
O u r T o w n N Y. c o m
June 9, 2011
Teacher Suzanne Mir with students from Corpus Christi School.
P.S. 166 teacher Derek Bruun with students from his school.
Teachers Receive ‘A+’ at 2011 Blackboard Awards
anhattan Media hosted the 2011 Blackboard Awards for Teachers on June 6 at Fordham University Law School. The annual event celebrates the best and brightest New York City teachers. Eighteen teachers were chosen out of more than 1,200 nominations for the award. photos by andrew schwartz
(Far right) Teacher Mary Ann Diglio from the Staten Island Academy with her husband, Frank Diglio, and Director of Studies Patrica Lynch.
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June 9, 2011
St. Luke’s teacher Robert Snyder accepts his Blackboard Award.
P.S. 87 teacher Theresa Furman, with some of her students, accepts her Blackboard Award.
Thomas McInerney, Council Member Gale Brewer, Millennium High School teacher William LaMonte, New York Family Editor Eric Messinger and Kate Snow.
Herbert H. Lehman High School teacher Anne Looser, Karen Alford, vice president of elementary schools at the United Federation of Teachers, and Purvis J. Behan Elementary School teacher Rasheda Lyons. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
O u r T o w n N Y. c o m
June 9, 2011
P.S. 40 teacher Linda Adler with students from her school at the 2011 Blackboard Awards that took place June 6 at Fordham Law School.
Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering students, with Kate Snow and New York Family Editor Eric Messinger, accept an award for teacher Meredith Hill.
Thandi Guimaraes, Renaissance Charter School teacher, accepts her Blackboard Award.
P.S. 126/I.S. 126-Manhattan Academy of Technology teacher John DeMatteo with students from his school.
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June 9, 2011
Hunter College High School teacher Eliza Kuberska accepts her Blackboard Award.
Kate Snow, correspondent on NBC’s Dateline, with Tom Allon, Manhattan Media president and CEO, and Dr. Brian J. Byrne, vice president for Lincoln Center/Fordham University.
Kate Snow, P.S. 58 Carroll School teacher Stephen Cedermark and New York Family Editor Eric Messinger.
Teacher Rodrigo Alonzo of the Speyer Legacy School with Kate Snow and some students from the school.
Teacher Lindsay Korn with students from the Growing Up Green Charter School.
Kate Snow, International School of Brooklyn teacher Rosa Torres and New York Family Editor Eric Messinger. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
The United Federation of Teachers Congratulates
the 2011 Blackboard Award Winners: Willaim LaMonte Eliza Kuberska Stephen Cedermark Anne Looser Meredith Hill Thandi Guimaraes Rosa Torres John De Matteo Theresa Furman Linda Adler Rasheda Lyons Derek Brunn
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Neighborhood Shaken After Attack on Elderly Woman By Megan Finnegan Upper East Side residents were shocked by a violent sexual assault against an 85-year-old woman last week. According to police, who obtained surveillance footage of the initial attack, the victim was walking on East 83rd Street around 5:40 a.m., Monday, May 31, when the alleged attacker grabbed her around the neck and dragged her behind a nearby building. He forced her to perform a sex act and stole a ring from her before fleeing the scene. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and stabilized, and the community rallied in outrage around the vicious crime. By Wednesday morning, police had arrested 32-year-old Jeffrey Ritter of Brooklyn for the attack and charged him with one count of criminal sexual act, robbery one and sexual abuse. As residents breathe a collective sigh of relief over the assailant’s capture, questions remain as to how this type of crime could have happened in a neighborhood with one of the lowest crime rates in the entire city. Before police arrested Ritter last week, local block associations joined with Manhattan Borough President Scott
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Stringer and City Council Member Dan Garodnick to pass out fliers outside the 86th Street subway station. Kathy Jolowicz, a member of the 83rd and 84th Street Block Association and vice president of the 19th Precinct Community
“This is such a heinous attack on a very vulnerable 85-year-old woman.” —Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer Council, lives in the area and was handing out fliers to everyone who would take one. She said that she was concerned for the victim and that it might be someone she knows personally within the tightknit community. She also said that the attack has made her reconsider her own safety as an older woman. “I have a mailbox on my corner, and I want to get my work done, and I get my mail and say, oh I’ll just run down at midnight and just throw it in,” Jolowicz said.
“My corner is deserted. Now I’m thinking about it twice. We don’t know what that man was doing here at that hour.” “It’s very surprising to have a situation of this nature in our neighborhood,” said Molly Blayney, a member of the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association and Community Board 8. “But that doesn’t make it any worse. Any neighborhood, somebody like that should not be allowed to continue this aggressiveness.” “This is such a heinous attack on a very vulnerable 85-year-old woman,” said Stringer. “We’re alerting people to watch out for our seniors, make sure they’re OK.” The man arrested for the crime came to the attention of police after someone called in a tip, according to Commissioner Ray Kelly. Ritter had been charged with sexually assaulting a minor in 2000 in Arkansas, and subsequently was arrested in Nebraska for failing to register as a sex offender. He also neglected to register in New York, which is how the police were able to arrest him and obtain a confession for the Upper East Side attack. Many are still shaken by the crime and wondering why someone would attack
an elderly woman. As with most heinous crimes, there are no easy answers. Michael Nuccitelli, a psychologist and forensic consultant who has evaluated sex offenders and treated patients for sexual abuse trauma, said that there are many reasons why a sexual predator would target an elderly woman, and sometimes the reason may be the same as why someone would target children. “Like children, senior citizens are viewed as being highly vulnerable,” Nuccitelli said. “From a criminal perspective, it is believed many elder rapists are simply opportunists. Given that rape is a crime of power and aggression, rather than sexual, the opportunist becomes aroused by the power and control he experiences by victimizing a helpless older woman.” In response to the attack, the 19th Precinct Community Affairs office released a bulletin on personal safety tips, reminding all residents to be vigilant of their surroundings at night. “I think people have gotten accustomed, as they should, to a safe and livable city,” said Garodnick. “But you can never completely take it for granted.”
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These Feet Aren’t Made for Flip-Flops Talk about footwear that’s a flop with podiatrists By Lisa Elaine Held uring Mike DeFrancisco’s freshman year of college, his feet started to hurt. It started as a minor pain in the heel and then began to radiate out through the arches. He went to see a podiatrist, who then diagnosed him with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. “One of the first questions my doctor asked was how often I wore sandals,” said DeFrancisco. “And when I told him, he said that my problems most likely stemmed from the shoes I had been wearing.” His footwear of choice? DeFrancisco had been wearing flip-flops almost every single day for six years. While most people vary their footwear much more frequently, warmer days do mean that more and more New Yorkers are hitting the streets in their Havaianas. And with the familiar sound of rubber smacking concrete comes a familiar concern: Can wearing flip-flops cause damage to your feet? “The problem is that they give absolutely no support,” said Dr. Marlene Reid, a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. “It’s like running around barefoot, but worse, because sometimes your toes have to scrunch down to keep the shoes on.” One study, published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, found that flip-flops significantly increased pressure on the bottom of the foot, as compared to sneakers. This pressure, the researchers wrote, “has been
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correlated to an increased risk of foot deformity.” The pressure is heightened when you factor in the non-pliant city streets New Yorkers tread on. “The flip-flop is so thin that it offers little shock absorption,” said Dr. Krista Archer, a Manhattan podiatric surgeon affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital. In 2010, Dr. Justin Shroyer, a researcher at Auburn University in Alabama, published a study in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association that looked at how flip-flops affect the way in which a person moves while walking or running. His study found that flipflops, as compared to sneakers, shortened the wearer’s stride and increased a measurement called “ankle angle” as the individual swung their leg through mid-stride. According to Dr. Shroyer, the shortened stride matters because it leads to an overall increase in the number of steps an individual takes, increasing pressure on the foot. The increased ankle angle is an indication that the struggle to keep the flipflop on the foot (by curling the toes down) could be causing strain. “Your body is trying to pull your foot up to swing the leg through, but in inadvertently trying to keep the flip-flop on, it’s pulling the foot down,” said Dr. Shroyer. “So the muscle that’s pulling the foot up has to work harder. Because it’s working more and it’s such a repetitive motion, it’s a chronic effect that leads to lower leg pain and ankle pain.” And no, it is not normal (or healthy) for the bottoms of your feet to be coated in a black film after a full day walking the summer streets. “City streets are gross and there’s no protection against dirt and grime!” said Dr. Reid.
Continued on page 24
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Take It Easy, Weekend Warriors Injuries to men returning to a sport are common, so start slowly By Lisa ELainE HELd d Gemdjian, a personal trainer at equinox’s 17th Street location, ran track and cross-country in high school until a series of injuries ended his running career. Years later, he still gets the urge to run whenever the weather warms up. “The problem is that i never learned to go jogging,” he said. “When i go for a run, i go for a hard run. and it’s amazing how quickly those injuries come back.” Gemdjian uses his personal experience to inform his work with clients, many of whom, like him, engage in “weekend warrior” behavior, diving head first into intense physical activity after a long time away or without ever having tried it. Whether getting suddenly seriously physical is the result of the changing seasons, the desire to return to a missed sport or weekend workouts that attempt to make
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Healthy Manhattan Continued from page 18
up for weeknights dedicated to happy hour, a common result is likely: injury. Statistics related to sports injuries, especially confined to weekend warriors, are difficult to quantify, but Gemdjian estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of his clients have had a sports-related injury at some point in their past. Some of the most common include impact injuries like shin splints and knee pain, ankle sprains, back pain, shoulder injuries, rotator cuff tendonitis and hip pain. And certain sports are associated with particular injuries based on the movements required, said Stephanie C. Petterson, a physical therapist and the regional clinical director for Sports Physical Therapy of New York, which has 10 offices throughout Manhattan. For example, runners often get plantar fasciitis, golfers may experience lower back pain and rotator cuff strain and swimmers usually suffer from shoulder impingement. While all athletes and casual exercisers are susceptible to injury, weekend warriors are particularly vulnerable. Carol Otis, a physician who specializes in sports medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, said
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that ideally, an individual should be consistently increasing the intensity of a workout by about 10 percent per week. Weekend warriors go from zero to 100 all at once. â€œThereâ€™s a learning curve with getting back into the groove of any activity,â€? said
â€œThereâ€™s a learning curve with getting back into the groove of any activity,â€? said Matt McCulloch, the director of Kinected, a downtown Pilates studio that specializes in injury prevention. â€œFor example, if you only play tennis in the summer, the muscles that you use in tennis you donâ€™t use during the rest of the year.â€? Matt McCulloch, the director of Kinected, a downtown Pilates studio that specializes in injury prevention. â€œFor example, if you only play tennis in the summer, the muscles that you use in tennis you donâ€™t use during the rest of the year. So it takes a while to
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get your technique back up to where it was the season before.â€? McCulloch explained that because of this, a weekend warrior will operate with a faulty technique or mechanics. They may also lack the flexibility, strength and stamina necessary for the activity or use equipment with faulty ergonomics, which can affect movement patterns. â€œThese things seem small, but when youâ€™re not working out regularly, they add up quickly and set you up for injury,â€? he said. McCulloch created a workshop called â€œAnatomy of a Weekend Warrior,â€? giving New Yorkers the chance to come in at the beginning of the summer to learn how to practice preventive maintenance before jumping back into their Central Park softball league. Itâ€™s like their spring training. In addition to education, McCulloch uses Pilates techniques to help prevent injury. â€œPilates focuses on increasing the stability of joints and at the same time balancing out the muscles that support the joints, so you donâ€™t have overuse injuries,â€? he explained. It also helps people understand how their body moves, allowing them to isolate and focus on one part of their body. For weekend warriors who arenâ€™t quite ready to book a Pilates session, Gemdjian
said there are many ways to prevent injuries while working out at the gym or with a trainer. â€œWarming muscles up is absolutely key,â€? he said. A 10 to 15 minute warm-up should not be about static stretching, but should consist of a gradual build-up to the movements youâ€™re about to make, like a relaxed volley in tennis or slow strides leading up to a run. During the workout, pay attention to your body, do active stretches between sets and drink lots of water to prevent cramping up. When youâ€™re finished, cool down properly and stretch, but avoid overstretching already flexible muscles. â€œIf itâ€™s tight, stretch it,â€? said Gemdjian. â€œIf not, leave it alone.â€? Finally, correct potentially dangerous movement patterns by working with someone, like a trainer, prior to jumping into the activity. If you do experience pain, it may be time to see a physical therapist. In the end, weekend warriors, just take it easy. â€œA lot of these guys think theyâ€™re still as athletic as they were when they were 20, and, to put it lightly, theyâ€™re not,â€? said McCulloch. Replace that dream of the major leagues with a Central Park diamond and focus on fun rather than glory.
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GET A BEACH BODY BY SUMMER THE HEALTHY WAY By Alana M. Bell
HEWLETT, NY Spring is in full bloom, and the remains of winter are almost gone, that is with one exception: the winter weight gain. Now that the holidays are over people have summer fun on their mind, with winter weight on their hips. The excitement of waking up to warm sunny days, driving with the car windows down and weekends spent at the beach with family and friends is exciting and appealing, but the anticipation of a wardrobe consisting of shorts, bathing suits and tank tops can send people into a tailspin. Ă’ The idea of wearing so little when you are feeling so big can cause mild to even somewhat major anxiety,Ă“ said Dr. Bo Rosenblat, Chief Physician of Dr. BoĂ• s Diet, a medical weight loss program with locations throughout New York and Florida. The 12-week program which can yield weight-loss results of up to !
patients what Dr. Rosenblat calls the Ă’ jumpstart.Ă“ Ă’ I used to love the summer and hate the summer all at the same time. I always felt self-conscious at the beach or pool. I was embarrassed and it totally took the enjoyment out of spending time with my family. I especially hated taking pictures and always tried to keep covered in my sarong,Ă“ said Sarah R. of East Rockaway, NY, a patient of Dr. BoĂ• s. This is the time of year where Ă’ crashĂ“ diets become the norm and it seems that everyone is coming out of hibernation and trying something drastic to help them shed their unwanted seasonal weight gain. Most of these so called Ă’ dietsĂ“ are nothing more than liquid fasts or unhealthy starvation plans that will help you shed a few pounds quickly, but once you go off of them the weight comes back on quickly and then some. There is a reason these diets are fads, going in and out of vogue like the fashion statements, they simply have no lasting results and therefore remain popular for no more than a season or two before they are Ă’ outĂ“ .
Sarah, who lost 37 pounds and counting with Dr. Bo, has seen steady results for six months. Ă’ IĂ• m so happy that the summer is around the corner and I am not panicked to lose weight like I was in the past. I feel better than I have in years and I know that I can keep the weight off for good,Ă“ explained Sarah. Ă’ I initially started the program as a preNew Years resolution, hoping to shed some weight before the holidays and here we are in April and I am still going strong. I lost 24 pounds in the !
in the following months. But the best part is that I have maintained it and know that I can continue to keep this lifestyle.Ă“ Dr. Bo created his 3-Phase, 12week program with two major objectives in mind, rapid weight loss and maintainable long-term results. Ă’ I wanted to develop a program
this summer, we want them to lose weight for this summer and keep it off for each summer thereafter.Ă“
and Nutritional components to the ! personalized and comprehensive The weight maintenance portion approach to weight loss allows of Dr. BoĂ• s Diet program begins patients to maximize their weight ! loss as well as help patientĂ• s maintain a solid foundation in Phase 1 and their results moving forward. continues in Phase 2, where the Dr. BoĂ• s Diet offers private care patientĂ• s metabolism is reset and and custom tailors their methods years of metabolic abuse may be to each patient. Ă’ The main thing I undone. Dr. Bo believes in Ă’ leaving like about Dr. BoĂ• s was the personal the patient with the physiological attention that I got. I have been to tools to keep the weight off for goodĂ“ other programs where I felt like I so that they may break their unhealthy was paying to be weighed in and relationship with food. Ă’ It sounds reprimanded or embarrassed. The clichĹ˝ d but I know that this program staff was always available to me and has changed my relationship with the private sessions made me feel food forever. ItĂ• s not just the way I comfortable enough to ask all of my think about food, itĂ• s also the way I questions, and more. In many ways it react to it physically. My metabolism felt like I went to a therapy session, a was so slow from years of bad habits weight loss program and had a makeand yo-yo dieting. I had gained and over all at the same time. I look and lost the same 30-40 pounds over and feel better than ever.Ă“ over, but after my third child was For a afree orto toreceive For freeconsultation consultation or receive more information calls Dr. more information call Dr. BoĂ• Diet Ă’ I wanted to develop a program specifically designed at 516-284-8248 or visit us online Boâ€™s Diet at 888-750-3726 or visitat to give you crash diet results with long-term DrBosDiet.com. us online at DrBosDiet.com.
sustainability,Ă“ said Dr. Rosenblat.
! crash diet results with long-term sustainability,Ă“ said Dr. Rosenblat. Phase 1 concentrates on the rapid weight loss, with his average patient losing between ! pound to 1! pounds per day over the course of about thirty days. Ă’ Any time you hear the word Ă’ crashĂ“ its associated with something negative. You wouldnĂ• t try to have a car crash, right? So think of a crash diet as a car crash for your metabolism, the impact can be very traumatic and the recovery can be tough or even near impossible,Ă“ explained Dr. Rosenblat. Dr. Bo is very sensitive to his patientĂ• s need and desire to shed the pounds quickly. Ă’ I think rapid results is an extremely important part of our program. It gives patients a jumpstart and above all else a high level of motivation to continue with the program. People will generally stick to something when it yields such dramatic results,Ă“ said Rosenblat. Ă’ We donĂ• t want our patients coming !
born I simply couldnĂ• t get the weight off and I felt completely defeated by the dieting process,Ă“ said Sarah. Ă’ This program changed that.Ă“ In Phase 3 the patientĂ• s new healthy base weight is locked in and the focus shifts to the individualĂ• s body and mind, and towards changing their relationship with food for good. Ă’ I tell all my patients the same thing. There is no magic pill and we arenĂ• t miracle workers. If you want to lose weight quickly only to regain it back just as fast, this is not the program for you. We want our patients to lose weight, but our main goal is for them to keep it off for good,Ă“ added Rosenblat. With a staff of doctors, PAĂ• s, nurses, nutritionists and weight-loss specialists, Dr. BoĂ• s team works together with each patient to identify ! customized plan is created utilizing a three-pronged approach to identify the Physiological, Psychological
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Anorexia Is Not Just for Girls Men often ‘suffer in silence’ because the disease is more common to women By Dr. Cynthia Paulis ention the word anorexia and the image that comes to mind is a female model sashaying down a runway with toothpicks for arms and legs, size zero body and a scowl on her face
because all she eats is a thimble of water and a lettuce leaf. Anorexia was always considered a female eating disorder, but it turns out that an estimated 10 percent of anorexia sufferers are men—and the actual number may be much higher.
Anorexia is an eating disorder where people can literally starve themselves to death, and we are now learning that it is not just a disease of women. People with anorexia eat very little even though they are already thin. they have an intense
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and overpowering fear of body fat and weight gain. those with anorexia are often characterized as perfectionists and overachievers who appear to be in control when in reality they suffer from low selfesteem. dr. evelyn Attia, director of the Center for eating disorders at Columbia University Medical Center, said: “we are not certain that male anorexia is actually on the rise. we are seeing more men than we have before, but they are still the minority. eating disorders can affect both men and women. Many doctors out there don’t see a lot of these cases, so they may not have their antennae up for patients who are atypical.” diagnosing anorexia in males is complicated by the reluctance of men to seek medical help for a disorder that has in the past been considered a woman’s disease, and as a result they suffer in silence. According to dr. Attia, most anorexic behavior starts during adolescence, “but we have seen anorexics in our unit ranging in age from 13 to 62.” “we don’t know what causes anorexia but we do have a fair bit of evidence to suggest that genetics plays a part in the story, along with the environment. in cultures where there is no dieting behavior we don’t see anorexia,” she said. She emphasized that in a society like ours, where there is a lot of pressure on thinness, and you take an individual who is biologically and genetically vulnerable, “your environment plus their biology cre-
WarninG siGns OF anOrEXia Dressing in layers to hide weight loss Eating only “safe foods” low in calories and fat Odd rituals of cutting food into small pieces Spending more time playing with food than eating it Cooking meals for others without eating Engaged in compulsive exercising Spending less lime with family and friends, becoming more isolated, withdrawn and secretive
It’s more than a plan, it’s a solution. Continued on page 24
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This was one of the many activities available to residents. Tai Chi, Chair Yoga and Painting were other interesting offerings held during the busy week. Mary wondered if the Posture Exercise session would be more than an admonition to “stand up straight.” The smiling instructor welcomed the guests and began with leading the participants in drawing a moon in the air, then making rain with finger movements. Mary didn’t imagine improving posture could be so much fun. The last thing residents did was to “walk the runway” to the applause of their friends. When it was over Mary turned to her daughter and whispered, “I could get used to this.” As the afternoon progressed, Mary became more and more comfortable. She liked the people and was touched by the genuine warmth of Isabella House. She saw a model apartment and was impressed by the size and the panoramic views of New York. Today, Mary is one of our most enthusiastic residents, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
• Moderately priced, spacious, sunny studios and one-bedroom units with spectacular New York City views • Scheduled trips to museums, restaurants and the Cloisters • Two meals a day – lunch and dinner • 24-Hour Emergency Call System • Library, gift shop, beauty salon, laundry & check cashing facilities • Complimentary Basic Cable TV • Utilities are included • Guest Suite for overnight guests • Free on-site visitor parking
You want an outstanding doctor and we can connect you with one who’s right for you. Whether near your home or office, doctors affiliated with Continuum Health Partners hospitals – Beth Israel Medical Center, Roosevelt Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Long Island College Hospital, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary – are conveniently located throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Our doctors participate in all major insurance plans.
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June 9, 2011
Healthy Manhattan Continued from page 22
ates the perfect storm, and that person may go on to develop an eating disorder.” For men there is the added pressure to have a six-pack abdomen and a thin, lean body based on all of the media hype. The most obvious sign of anorexia is weight loss, but men with anorexia tend to keep the weight off with excessive exercise as opposed to women who tend to under eat. Both male and female anorexics share
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the same traits of low self-esteem and preoccupation with weight. Without treatment, anorexia can slow the heart rate and lower the blood pressure, thereby increasing the chance of heart failure. Soon the hair and nails of the person will grow brittle and the skin will dry out. Anemia, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass and light-headedness are a common occurrence among anorexics. Severe cases of anorexia can lead to brittle
bones that break easily as a result of loss of calcium. In males there is a decrease in testosterone. As the disease progresses, electrolyte abnormalities occur, creating abnormal heart rhythms and eventually death. In addition to physical problems, people with anorexia may also have mental disorders as well, including depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders,
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“We don’t know what causes anorexia but we do have a fair bit of evidence to suggest that genetics plays a part in the story, along with the environment. In cultures where there is no dieting behavior we don’t see anorexia,” she said. obsessive-compulsive disorders and drug abuse. Dr. Attia states that with recognition and intervention, most anorexics can recover. The treatment involves not only restoring the weight but behavioral issues as well. “These treatments aren’t taken care of by popping a pill or checking into a place for a few days or weeks. They are usually months or sometimes longer to really get someone’s behavior moved in a healthier direction,” she said.
Continued from page 16
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
NYU Langone Medical Center 550 First Avenue (at 31st Street) Alumni Hall B
Presenters Kathie-Ann Joseph, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery Yelena Novik, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Oncology)
To RSVP, call 212-263-2266, email: NYUCIcommunityprograms@nyumc.org or reserve online at www.nyuci.org/rsvp. Please provide your name, phone number, the name of the lecture and the number of people attending.
An NCI-designated Cancer Center
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Understanding cancer. And you.
While wearing sneakers every day would technically be the best idea, experts concede that for most people, and especially in a fashion-focused city, that is not a practical alternative. Other footwear options are at least somewhat kinder. “The good thing about a ballet flat or a flat sandal with a buckle is that your toes aren’t working hard to keep the shoe on,” said Dr. Archer. If you’re going to wear flip-flops, you can minimize the harm by choosing a style that the American Podiatric Medical Association has given their “seal of approval” to. A full list, available on their website (apma.org), includes brands like Fit Flop and Chaco, which offer better support. “There are some that have a built-in arch, and some that have a deeper setting for the heel,” said Dr. Reid. “Those are better.” In the end, your best bet is to save the flip-flops for sandy surfaces or the occasional picnic in Sheep Meadow. If it’s too late to save your soles, don’t try to walk away from the problem. “If you have pain, don’t ignore it, and don’t keep wearing shoes that are causing the pain,” warned Dr. Archer. “If you switch to better shoes and it still hurts, see a doctor.” N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
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O u r T o w n N Y. c o m
June 9, 2011
Bridging the legend
Trollhunter is a sophisticated horror comedy; Matthew Vaughn practically turns X-Men into Inglourious Basterds.
Photo courtesy of Magnet releasing
By arMond WhiTe
See that? He’s a sophisticated troll.
Directed by André Ovredal At Village East Cinemas Runtime: 90 min.
e need to be able to know junk when it appears and call it by no other name— especially when the tendency is to excuse it as summer fun. Trollhunter is an exception that makes the rule imperative. It starts out with a “based on fact” epigraph, announcing that it is found-footage—a hypothesis that makes you groan: “oh, no, not another Blair Witch Project!” or even worse, a mockumentary: “not District 9 again!” But norwegian director-writer André ovredal has a better sense of the fantastic than those catastrophes and he expresses both the fantasy and the pretense with superbly dry humor. It takes a moment to realize that ovredal is working from a cultural tradition that countenances the existence of trolls and spirits. the film’s conceit comes out of the land: the very lush, expansive, awesome territory that ovredal and cinematographer Hallvard Braein gaze upon. Trollhunter’s sense of natural beauty puts it in a different class than Blair Witch and District 9—which merely sought to manipulate cheap scares. In ovredal’s premise, the unfortunate tV camera crew, whose material has been left behind, were investigating wonderment and confronted a very modern skepticism about faith, religion and legends. When the crew’s motivation is eventually revealed, it is not a trick ending so much as genuine cultural shock. Because Trollhunter is based in cultural myth, ovredal doesn’t have to mess around with inept formula. the film’s technical sophistication enhances our credulity, which
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in turn is confirmed by the natural phenomena: silvery waterfalls over gray mountains, stately fjords and brisk atmosphere establish an authentic land of myth. ovredal’s imagery revives André Bazin’s appreciation of photographic realism—an aesthetic recently corrupted by the proliferation of simplified film and video technology that has allowed hacks to use filmmaking itself cheaply, as the essence of horror. When fake-doc style employed long takes or smash-edits to agitate viewers and convey a false sense of unease, the flimsy storytelling made it difficult to tell whether the movie’s form was actually being deliberately interrogated. In this sense Trollhunter is also an aesthetics-hunter—but with a sense of humor. ovredal realizes that in contemporary media (in everything from dogme 95 to Slumdog Millionaire), form has been overemphasized to the point of ridiculous narrative exaggeration and useless, pseudopostmodernism. So ovredal’s exaggeration more honestly contemporizes the marvel of mythology. the hero is a troll hunter named Hans (otto Jespersen), who is working for a government agency that supervises troll hunting through a national bureau that issues a Slayed troll Form. But Hans is also on a quest for vengeance like a modern Captain Ahab and, yes, Quint from Jaws. ovredal’s sense of heroism is also playful, as when the camera crew is rebuffed by a local politician and they persist, saying, “do you think Michael Moore gave up after the first try?” But it takes real filmmaking vision, not political or mockumentary arrogance, to achieve this balance of natural wonder and a sense of fantasy. Hans hunts a variety of
trolls—the Harding, the Mountain King, tosserlad, Ringlefinch with three heads— and when these behemoths appear, they are simultaneously amusing and terrifying creatures out of a national primeval dream, as well as H.R. Pufnstuf or Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. the trolls’ oddity helps ovredal redeem one of the most hackneyed gimmicks of horror movies: the green-tinted night-vision camera P.o.V. observing the trolls mid-hunt in this cautious manner lends the beasts a perfect nightmare quality combining fear with legend. “Which one of you believe in God or Jesus?” Hans asks, insisting that the camera crew can only accompany his mission if they’re atheists because the trolls can smell the blood of Christians. ovredal’s man-to-monster compositions alternately recall tiananmen Square or the destruction of new York’s WtC, and then evoke the obligation of witnessing such deeds. Hans’ sudden use of music as a tool evokes tim Burton’s Slim Whitman tune in Mars Attacks, but it also puts Hans’ sanctimony into age-old cultural context. trollhunter is not a shrill political allegory like Boon Jong Ho’s the Host. that was junk; ovredal’s mythic horror comedy is genuinely sophisticated.
X-Men: FirsT Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn Runtime: 132 min.
ot teRRIBle IS the best evaluation a sensible person could give to X-Men: First Class—but that isn’t good enough. this back-to-adolescence prequel is meant to revive the franchise after Bryan Singer drove X-Men 3 into uselessness. Seeing how Professor Xavier and Magneto first met, and began their rivalry as leaders of the specially gifted mutant crime fighters, merely rehashes the familiar story with younger faces. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender aren’t exactly fresh in these roles; the characters and their situations are so utterly familiar they can’t be rethought or refreshed. the entire film is a hackneyed exercise. Hack director Matthew Vaughn’s specialty is British refurbishments. As in Layer Cake and Kick Ass, Vaughn repeats already established genres with a desperate lack of imagination. the introduction of each mutant feels like déjà vu and is humorlessly drawnout. even with new actors playing Mystique (Jennifer lawrence), darwin (edi Gathegi), Beast (nicholas Hoult), Riptide (Alex
González) and Havok (lucas till), Vaughn finds no personality spark. this makes him— shockingly—a lesser director than Bryan Singer. At least X-Men 2 showed Singer energized by the outsider theme as a gay-teen allegory: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Romijn, Alan Cumming, Halle Berry and James Marsden were all flirt, promising unleashed potency. Singer had anticipated the “It Gets Better” campaign—but then got worse. Vaughn stays timidly within the X-Men comics’ narrative limits. He’s finally found an exploitable fantasy mode, but when he includes obvious James Bond and Dr. Strangelove references, it only reinforces how mundane the material has become. Ironically, that’s exactly why X-Men: First Class serves as a jackpot for Vaughn, just as the debutante Star Trek was for J.J. Abrams. these prequels give an illusion of rejuvenation that might be especially appealing to susceptible young viewers, but while rebooting the box office, these films also constrain viewers’ imaginations. take the good vs. evil premise that starts in 1944 with the nazi invasion of Poland and ends with the Bay of Pigs standoff in 1963. It teaches vengeance, not history, practically turning the X-Men into Inglourious Basterds. travestying history doesn’t give edge or profundity to action comics; it just makes them distasteful and dumb. Young Magneto’s choice between using his powers to manipulate a nazi coin or save his mother’s life is merely coarse; it gets wrong the ethical choice that was so well played in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, when Indy’s dilemma opposed diamonds and an antidote. X-Men: First Class trivializes each mutant’s motivation as childish petulance. Vaughn lacks the knack for expressive action, reducing the athletic gallantry Fassbender displayed in Centurion to silly things like levitating a submarine. He wastes Fassbender’s beautiful emotional capacity. Magneto and Professor X’s disputes lower personal principles into mumble-jumble. And Vaughn doesn’t dare push the earnest young men’s sympathies toward romance. Using Jennifer lawrence, January Jones and Zoe Kravitz as insipid sex objects is a tired alternative. Sure, this prequel could have been better, but using pre-sold comic book escapades to pacify moviegoers couldn’t be worse. X-Men: First Class tricks audiences into misunderstanding episodic narrative pleasure. they become accustomed to dull, rehashed gimmicks, awaiting the next ticket buy. Vaughn’s shrewd: His ending isn’t a cliffhanger, it’s a carrot. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
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O u r T o w n N Y. c o m
June 9, 2011
Central Park Water World
For streams, swimming and solitude: north of the park can’t be beat
romantic feature of the topography. At the eastern edge of the Pool, stop to admire the beautiful wooden rustic bridge capping the Ravine’s first cascade and facing the magnificent stone Glen Span arch. Originally, the Park had more than 100 such rustic features. Over the past 30 years, the Central Park Conservancy has been painstakingly rebuilding them throughout the Park. Descend under the arch and you’ll come out beside the Loch, a manmade brook that meanders through one of the Park’s three serene woodlands. Just past the third waterfall and Huddlestone Arch, you arrive at another pool, but this one— Lasker Pool—is one that you can swim in! Lasker (which becomes an ice skating and hockey rink in winter and is located inside the Park at approximately 108th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard) occupies the site at the end of the Ravine and the western edge of the Harlem Meer. When your swim is over, take a short walk around the cooling waters of the Harlem Meer for some fishing. The
Charles A. Dana Center (located between Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue on Central Park North) features a free catch-and-release fishing program. The Central Park Conservancy stocks the Meer—the Dutch word for “lake”—with 10 varieties of fresh water fish. The Conservancy staff will hand you a fishing rod and bait to catch freshwater fish in the Meer. They only ask that you toss the fish back into the Meer after releasing it from your hook. Originally, the Harlem Meer was a swamp in the village of Harlem. It is the lowest topographic spot in Central Park. At the southern end of the The North End of Central Park is a water lovers’ Meer, finish your journey at the paradise and the best place to grab a moment Conservatory Garden. Created in of reflection. cooling shade as you reflect on the magic 1937, the Park’s 6-acre formal garden features a breathtaking array of col- of Central Park. orful annual and perennial shrubs and Sara Cedar Miller is the historian for flowers and three of the best fountains in the Park. Grab a bench in the garden’s the Central Park Conservancy. andrew schwartz
By Sara Cedar Miller In summer, we turn to water to cool, to refresh and to play—and there’s no better place to do that than the northern section of Central Park. Start your day with a relaxing stroll by the placid waters of the Pool, located at Central Park West between West 100th and West 103rd streets. This lovely water body, ringed by Red Maple, Bald Cypress and American Gum trees, was not included in Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s original plan for the Park. An addition to the 1858 design, Samuel Gustin enlarged natural stream Montayne’s Rivulet through the land, to create the intimate lake. The commissioners liked the idea so much that they ordered the designers to include it in the Park’s landscape. It’s hard to imagine the Park without it. Heading east on the southern path of the Pool, you’ll hear rushing water coming from a cave-like grotto. It’s not a real grotto but rather a pipe flowing with New York City drinking water, which creates a JUNE 9, 2011
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Putting ‘Sweet’ in Sweet 16 Teen turns down ostentatious b-day for charitable fundraiser By Lorraine Duffy Merkl body has left the city. The Vera Wang gown. The celebrity DJ. The idea to commemorate the day she The 10-layer buttercream cake shaped was born in this off-the-beaten-path way like a skate to carry out the ’70s “Stayin’ evolved with a suggestion from her vocal Alive” roller disco theme. coach, who thought Victoria was ready to No, I do not describe a lavish June wed- sing before a live audience. ding, but what has become “I’ve been singing for fun standard fare for our city’s since I was 10,” she said. Sweet 16 set. My son Luke, Her mother Laurie added, in that age group, has “She’s always liked it. But received quite a number of this year with the encouragesuch invites to affairs held at ment of the music teacher at prestigious Manhattan venher school, Victoria started ues—from the NYAC to the to take it more seriously and Water Club to Tribeca Grill. began private lessons.” So imagine my surprise When the coach proposed when my 7th-grade daugha concert, Victoria decided ter, Meg, was invited to the that since the same people— milestone birthday of a 9th Victoria Consumano. schoolmates and teachers, grader in her school who is family friends, relatives, her choosing to forgo the bash and raise some soccer and basketball teammates— cash for charitable works done by an would be invited to it as would be to her organization she considers near and dear. birthday party, she might as well combine With Meg’s party plans only three years the two and have it earlier in the summer away, I needed to find out what made still- while people were still around. 15-year-old Victoria Consumano decide In lieu of gifts, she has asked for donato celebrate tiara-free. tions to Bridge of Hope (www.cradle“I wouldn’t want one like that,” said hope.org/boh). Victoria, who’s yet to attend a 16th birth“What [the charity] does is connect day party, but has seen them on shows people from around the world and chillike MTV’s My Super Sweet 16. dren from Russia to make wonderful fam“My mom didn’t even ask me what ilies,” she said. I wanted to do for mine because we That’s what they did for her eight years weren’t thinking of having a one.” For her ago when they paid for the trip of the thensummertime birthday, normally every- Russian orphan to come to the United
I agree that loitering derelicts should be discouraged, which can be accomplished many ways. Call 311, call the police department, and ask the businesses in the area to complain. I have noticed that Central Park also has homeless people inside of it, but I don’t think Fredrick Olmsted would have changed his mind because of a little misuse. The BlackboardAwards for Teachers
To the Editor: 40 The homeless situation in Kips Bay, while 2 a problem (“More Park Space, How Dare You?” June 2), should not inhibit residents from trying to improve the neighborhood. I too am a longtime resident of Kips Bay The BlackboardAwards for Teachers Towers, and I am in favor of a pedestrian mall along Second Avenue. Small businesses rely on foot traffic; by attracting people to sit and enjoy the open space, they are likely to spend more time and money in the area. The vacant spaces between 30th and 32nd on Second Avenue will not be filled unless businesses feel there is a reason to lease them. ANNIVE
The Return of Vudu Lounge
News: Mayor to Gut Early Childcare Budget June 2, 2011
East Sider Explains ‘Why Noise Matters’
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Keep Kips Bay Plaza Water-Main Worries in Sutton Place
States, which led to her being adopted. “I want to give back to those who don’t have what I have now,” she said. Bridge of Hope has been directly responsible for the adoption of more than 500 children. The cabaret show—her first professional gig—will offer a range of songs from hip-hop to Broadway show tunes. As well as the aforementioned guests, Bridge of Hope families have been invited, along with organization representatives, to whom Victoria hopes to present a check for $1,000 from sales of $10 tickets to the 100-seat Children’s Aid Society theater on Sullivan Street. Although there will be cake afterwards, it’s still not an actual party. Might she ever regret not having a flashier fête? “I look back at what I didn’t have [before coming to America]. I want to give a shout out to Bridge of Hope because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. It’s still a celebration to me and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.” And that’s how to put the sweet in 16. Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. concert on Monday, June 20, are still available. RSVP VictoriasBenefitConcert@yahoo.com.
Waste Station in Battery Park?
To the Editor: Mayor for life, Michael Bloomberg, and anyone in favor of this ill-conceived
project (“Waste Station Fast Tracked,” May 12) must be completely detached from the reality of what this will do to this neighborhood. There are hundreds of children using this area daily right next to this disaster site. Come out and observe for yourself the activity this Saturday morning. The M86 bus stops right across the street on York and 91st Street. Families with strollers, older citizens and the rest of the public crowd the sidewalks of this area that includes Carl Schurz Park, historic Gracie Mansion and the Greenway River walk. You might as well build this thing at Battery Park. $125 million dollars? What insanity! Stephen GroSS Upper east side Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y
DewiNg thiNgS Better
Raising the Veil on Traffic Tragedies Pedestrian deaths and family love deserve more media coverage By Bette Dewing Here’s hoping that “all the news that’s fit to print” paper’s new executive editor, Jill Abramson, and news editor, Dean Baquet, give more coverage to non-political violent crime and to what I’ve long called crimes of traffic. As of now, they’re mostly only covered in this paper, the Daily News and the Post. Sure, it’s a relief not to know about “all that,” but what we don’t know hurts us. Wrongful deaths and terrible injuries may not get prevented. And Times-only readers have the most wherewithal to change what needs a’changin’—so they need to know! And here’s the wish-you’d-been-alongat-some-changing-for-the-better events I planned to write before the Times news broke. The Music Forum at the Langone Medical Center showed how music and singing old-time songs gets miraculously through to those with fading minds when nothing else can. To be continued.
And the New Amsterdam Boys and Girls Choir’s recent 25th anniversary benefit concert included a sing-along and the premier performance of “Happy Birthday to a Little Girl,” a country ballad. And again, how we need to hear about the absentee daddy in the song who longs to become part of the life of his little girl on her sixth birthday. What heartache and yes, crime too, is prevented when fathers are there for their daughters and sons. Greater coverage is also needed of traffic tragedies and their prevention, the goal of the Stuart C. Gruskin Family Foundation begun by Nancy Gruskin after a wrong-way-ridden food delivery bicycle killed her husband, Stuart, as he walked to work in midtown two years ago. There is such a long way to go and I hope you will join the Foundation’s magnificent work to stop not only bicycling lawlessness but also all crimes of traffic (Gruskinfoundation.org). And no greater tribute could be paid to
Marine, Steven C. Jorgenson, 22, so tragically killed by a car as he hurried back to his ship during Fleet Week, than for his 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to support this foundation and help the mayor who mourned and honored Jorgenson on Memorial Day to get the city’s speed limit reduced! For now my heart sinks at the view from my window, overlooking a residen-
Segregation by generation, especially in families, is the most destructive apartheid; one that is often advanced by dangerously misguided “helping professionals.” tial avenue where so few bikes racing silently by stop for the red light. Many ride the wrong way and usurp the sidewalk where, incidentally, I plan to sit and literally blow the whistle at every lawless biker and other traffic criminal too.
But now, don’t let Father’s Day be one day of remembrance in a year of forgetting longtime daddies. Protest gurus like radio’s Dr. Joy Browne, who orders parents to “Get out of your adult offspring’s lives!” Segregation by generation, especially in families, is the most destructive apartheid; one that is often advanced by dangerously misguided “helping professionals.” I deeply regret not being there enough for my widowed dad, 44 years my senior. His only fault was being silent about his daughter’s flawed priorities. And I’m writing a song about the sons and daughters who got too far away, making the road rougher for all generations. And that’s gotta change! Maybe the “paper of record’s” Home, Style and Health Sections will help. And as the Times often approves my related letters, let’s hope they don’t change the letters editors! Remembering your father and mine, with much love and actions that walk the talk—before it’s too late! email@example.com
City StorieS: StoopS to NutS
Bursting at the Seams with Food and Talk For Nan, eating and friendship went hand in hand By Thomas R. Pryor “Please! Step on the scale!” a firm male voice directed me. I waited a second, listening carefully to make sure my grandmother sounded busy three rooms away. When I heard the sink running, I got on and the scale’s voice came back strong. “Your weight is 178 pounds. Have a nice day. Goodbye!” I’m a fat bastard, I thought. Laughter started in the kitchen at the other end of the railroad apartment on York Avenue. My grandmother, Nan to me, with the hearing ability of a nocturnal animal was clearing her lungs and stomach, big ol’ belly laughs starting way down. She didn’t have a normal sense of humor, but thought it was the funniest thing in the world to see you in psychic pain. I wanted to kill her, and kick my cousin in the ass for buying her the talking scale with Don Pardo’s voice. O u r To w n NY. c o m
I loved Nan dearly but she wanted me fat. She wanted everyone fat. She worshiped food and loved eating with people, so she filled her fridge to the point that the 15-watt light bulb was shaded by a colossal head of iceberg lettuce sitting on top of two large tubs of Cool Whip. The Cool Whip was on top of the Turf Cheese Cake that she bought twice a week. Italian Village, the pizza place on First Avenue, considered her family, and the owners of Parker’s Grocery bought their first car on the profits they made off Nan’s cold cut orders. She never bought a quarter pound of anything. Half pound was a snack. Three quarters of a pound was getting into sandwich country. Similar to recreational drug friendships, the bond with my friends was strengthened by the quality and quantity of cold cuts, Jewish rye and condiments
in Nan’s fridge. In 1969, Artie Peters met me Saturday afternoons on lunch break from my delivery job at Corner Pharmacy on 79th Street. Throwing a football back and forth, we’d go straight to Parkers, buy a pound of Swiss cheese and a loaf of rye on Nan’s credit in the marble book, go up the apartment and make six grilled cheeses, two each—Nan included. “Use the big knife. Cut thick slices. Don’t be stingy!” Nan ordered from the living room couch. Artie and I created dark chiaroscuro swirls on the white tin ceiling with the plume of smoke coming from the butter-soaked black frying pan with a foot-high flame under it. Nan liked everything cooked quickly. Buddy McMahon and I had an exchange student relationship with his mom and my grandmother. I’d call for
Buddy and he wouldn’t be home, but I’d go up to the apartment anyway and hang out with his mom and shoot the breeze with her while she loaded me up with 4C Iced Tea. Buddy would drop by my grandmother’s when I wasn’t there for a sandwich and glass of milk, and catch up on the local gossip and politics since she was the local Democratic District Leader and Buddy loved to blab and listen to Nan complain about me. Being a blabber myself, I did the same thing with his mom. About a month after Nan got the scale, Buddy dropped by the apartment. For a change, I was there. “Hey, Buddy, try out the new scale,” Nan said. Obediently, Buddy stepped on the scale, clueless, and Nan looked like she just ate a canary. “Your weight is 180 pounds. Have a nice day! Goodbye!” Buddy startled, frowned and rubbed his belly; I was pleased; and Nan grinned. Thomas Pryor recently completed his first book and he curates a show at Cornelia Street Cafe. Read his blog at YorkvilleStoopstoNuts.blogspot.com. Ju n e 9 , 2 0 1 1
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