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September 15, 2011

Rally to Save Ruppert Playground

Since 1970

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Roosevelt Island locals up in arms over appointment of nonresident to governing board ANNIVE

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By Megan Finnegan P.6

Where Every Day is Mother’s Day

ANDREW SCHWARTZ

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We need your support now to complete the East River Greenway. Attend the final community forum to voice your support: Tuesday, September 20, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. NYU Langone Medical Center, Smilow Seminar Room 550 First Avenue (at East 30th Street)

Illustrative Rendering - For Discussion Purposes Only

Legislation passed in June grants the United Nations the ability to build out its campus—generating revenue that will allow the City to complete the East River Greenway between 38th and 60th Streets and fund other parks improvements. All details of the agreement must be worked out by October 10. Visit EastRiverGreenwayNYC.org to learn more and email East Side leaders to tell them how important it is we finally complete the Greenway.

The following organizations are coalition partners of Friends of the East River Greenway:

Transportation Alternatives • Tri-State Transportation Campaign • Earth Day NY • East Coast Greenway Alliance • Partnership for New York City • United Nations Foundation • Common Ground-NYC • League of Conservation Voters • Five Borough Bicycle Club • The Weekday Cyclists • Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy • Kips Bay Neighborhood Alliance • Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance • Municipal Art Society of New York • New York Building Congress • Gramercy Park Block Association • East Village Community Coalition • Lower East Side Ecology Center • New Yorkers for Parks • Roosevelt Island Residents Association • Upper Green Side • Solar 1 • New York Cycle Club • New York Walkers Club • Manhattan Chamber of Commerce • Bicycle Habitat • Stuyvesant Cove Park Association • Project for Public Spaces • Gramercy Neighborhood Associates • Bike The Bronx • Recycle-A-Bicycle • The Fast and Fabulous Cycling Club • Bike New York • East River C.R.E.W. • Turtle Bay CSA • Brooklyn Greenway Initiative • Stuyvesant Town – Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association

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September 15, 2011

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news

Every Day is Mother’s Day at New Museum By Beth Mellow Facing mortality, Joy Rose gave birth to the concept of the Museum of Motherhood. Lupus had shaped her as a mother, having developed it during the delivery of one of her four children. Yet it wasn’t until she received a kidney transplant to treat the illness 11 years ago that she thought about all she still wanted to accomplish. “Back in 2000, I decided I wanted to live a great life, which meant a life that was greater than myself. I created a vision board and at the pinnacle was the Museum of Motherhood,” she said. The Museum of Motherhood, a pop-up that opens this month on the Upper East Side at 401 E. 84th St. and will remain open through Dec. 30 is by no means Rose’s first foray into the realm of motherhood and art. She was also a member of the “Mom Rock” band Housewives on Prozac and founder of Mamapalooza, an organization that produces festivals across the country celebrating motherhood. In summer 2010, she worked with the town of Seneca Falls in upstate New York, where the suffragette movement originated, to bring the Moms of Rock

exhibit to storefronts along Main Street. This exhibit served as a stepping-stone to the physical location for the Museum of Motherhood, which until now lived primarily online. Dedicated to honoring mothers and educating the masses about their contributions, the Museum of Motherhood pop-up will feature art exhibits, media and community programming, including plays, mom-oir writing classes and family yoga. The museum’s featured artists are all mothers who use various media as a means of expression. Alexia Nye Jackson’s Mother: The Job, a permanent exhibit at the museum, is a photographic essay that conveys the monetary value of tasks regularly performed by mothers, including gardening and cooking. A birth flag created by Rose and Elizabeth Cole Sheehan gives visitors a sense of what it might be like to travel through the birth canal when they walk through its swaths of translucent fabric. Deb Putnoi channeled her relationship with her daughter to create the artwork that decks the wall near the entrance to the museum. “I was very cognizant of my own

Artist Alexia Nye Jackson and Joy Rose, Museum of Motherhood founder. 13-year-old year and helping my daughter navigate her own 13th year. I was watching and sharing stories with other mothers and realizing that parenting during adolescence is a complicated terrain,” she said. In selecting the artists and exhibits for the space, Rose wanted to commu-

nicate how each mother faces unique challenges. “Motherhood is so individual, complicated and fraught,” she said. “The artists are all listening to their own voices.” In addition to being a space for imparting the experiences of motherhood, Rose has loftier intentions for the Museum of the Motherhood. “I want the experience here to be transformational, empowering and healing,” she said. The Museum of Motherhood, working with the YWCA, will select a group of 25 “mothers in need” from Inwood Houses and other parts of the community to participate in a program teaching leadership and equipping women with the skills to excel as parents. At the conclusion of the six-week program, participating mothers will be offered internships with the Museum of Motherhood or Mamapalooza. The program is open to women of all ages and backgrounds. Museum admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children over the age of 6. The fee covers most performances and programming. For more information, visit www.mommuseum.org.

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news

As Playground Closes, Residents Rally With Hope president of New York City Park Advocates, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving and expanding public parks. He has been fighting to get the park transferred back to the city since 2009. Having lived in the neighborhood since he was a child, Croft remembers when the park was first built in 1978. “I was 11 years old. We were taking out the bricks and we were the original group that lobbied to get a Children rallied to save Ruppert Playground between park here,” he said. 92nd and 93rd streets and Second and Third avenues. The original 1968 Ruppert Urban Renewal Plan recognized that the court, basketball court, handball court, lack of open space in the area contrib- tot lot, several benches and dozens of uted to “unsatisfactory living conditions” trees. in the neighborhood. Croft said increased Though The Related Companies density and the addition of dozens of announced that it planned to close the buildings over the decades have made park Sept. 12, advocates and protestors park space more important than ever for were full of hope on Saturday. quality of life. “This is not a done deal,” said Oscar Community Board 8’s area is the dens- Fernandez, one of the lead organizers of est in the city and has the least amount the Save Ruppert Playground campaign. of publicly accessible open space, Croft “There are some very viable options that said. Ruppert Playground houses a tennis we’re looking at with the city and Related

PROTECT YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET YOUR “REAL ESTATE”

Laura Shin

By Laura Shin It was no surprise to find a large group of neighborhood kids running around Ruppert Playground on the Upper East Side on a warm Saturday afternoon. But on Sept. 10, these children weren’t at the park to play. They were there to protest. Having heard the news that their beloved playground, located between 92nd and 93rd streets and Second and Third avenues, would be shutting its gates for good, the children and residents of all ages rallied to salvage the one-acre recreational space. “It’s just horrible that in a neighborhood with so few parks and so few places where you can see the sun and green trees, they’re going to take it away from us,” said Frank Silverberg, who has lived across the street from the park and used it for 17 years. The city sold the playground in 1983 to The Related Companies, a private developer, under an agreement that the public space be preserved for 25 years. When that agreement expired in 2008, Related began exploring plans to construct a 49-story residential building on the land. Local resident Geoffrey Croft is the

has said that they are looking to speak to us.” Options include a land swap or a multimillion-dollar tax credit that the city would grant The Related Companies. Both options could appeal to the developer from a financial perspective, Fernandez said. He urged supporters to continue to write and call the mayor’s office to help push the issue along. City Council Member Dan Garodnick assured the large crowd at the rally that he and other elected officials would continue to fight for the playground by seeking a solution from different angles. “The Related Companies does have rights to develop. We need to find ways for the city to partner—for the community to partner—to find alternate sites and find other incentives for The Related Companies,” he said. One of the most unique things the park offers is its free tennis court. Valerie Beesley, who lives one block away, says she uses the court several times a week. “It’s free and it’s so wonderful. We just put up a net and we can play,” said Beesley. “It’s also a great space for the children, for the elderly, for everyone.”

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First and Second Avenue Bike Lanes Gain Traction By Megan Finnegan The Department of Transportation is moving forward with a massive bike lane extension plan for the Upper East Side, and last week, Community Board 8’s transportation committee signaled their approval of the DOT’s plan by passing a resolution in support of it. While several board members voiced their skepticism over the DOT’s claims that the new lanes will not slow down traffic, the committee ultimately approved of the increased safety measures that will be implemented by the plan. The extension plan would bring protected bike lanes up both First and Second avenues, with the Second Avenue lanes installed as part of the road restoration as the Second Avenue Subway construction continues. Much of the plan on First Avenue is based on similar street configurations downtown, on the avenue between First and 34th streets. The DOT reports that after the buffered bike lane was installed in that section, total injuries from crashes have been reduced by 36.5 percent, while bicycle use for the month of June against last year, before the bike lanes were put in place, is up 319 percent.

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The plan for the upper regions of First Avenue involves repurposing some parking spaces and reducing the number of traffic lanes in favor of “mixing zones” and turning lanes that DOT insists will help rather than hinder the flow of vehicles.

“You can’t take away a lane and expect everything to be the same,” said Teri Slater, a CB8 member. “I don’t think anyone has been able to demonstrate what the effect will be.” “We’re not just making things safer, we’re making the street move more effectively,” said Ryan Russo, assistant commissioner for traffic management, at the meeting. Russo explained that First Avenue sees 2,100 vehicles an hour during peak times and that each lane can accommodate 600 vehicles an hour. In theory, the reduction of lanes from five to four in certain areas would still accommodate 2,400 vehicles an hour.

Septem ber 15, 2011

Some people expressed skepticism that changing the streetscapes won’t change the traffic. “You can’t take away a lane and expect everything to be the same,” said Teri Slater, a community board member who questioned the DOT’s claims, after the meeting. “I don’t think anyone has been able to demonstrate what the effect will be.” Others voiced concerns about the removal of parking spaces. The first phase of the plan, to begin this fall, will remove 47 parking spaces on First Avenue between 60th and 72nd streets, which accounts for 20 percent of the parking area. The spots will be turned into turning lanes/mixing zones and 13 pedestrian islands. “I think this is premature to the education and enforcement system,” said Michele Birnbaum, a committee member who advocated for a crackdown on errant cyclists in advance of any changes to the streets. She said the loss of parking spaces for businesses will be problematic and create more double parking problems. “Business drives this city, not bikes,” she said. People spoke up in favor of the bike lanes as well; several local residents

came to the meeting to describe their difficulty commuting by bike on First Avenue and how they will welcome the protected lanes. Steve Vaccaro, volunteer chair of Transportation Alternatives’ East Side Committee, said the added protections will be beneficial for everyone—drivers and pedestrians included. “Anyone who is looking at this proposal and thinking of the safety problems isn’t listening to DOT,” Vaccaro said. “There are traffic calming measures that are good for everyone.” Ultimately, the committee agreed and voted to support the DOT’s plan. The resolution will go before the full board next week. They also voted to support the city council’s move to update the bicycle master plan so residents can see a fuller picture of the DOT’s vision. The board also plans to discuss a resolution in support of requiring all cyclists to be licensed by the city. “All of these resources are being allocated for bicyclists when, in fact, they’re not being paid their fair share,” said Slater. “The City Council was spurred into action in this master plan idea because neighborhoods felt they were being blindsided by these bike lanes.”

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express

Tapped In

REMEMBERING THE YORKVILLE 9

Notes from the neighborhood Compiled by Megan Finnegan

AUCTION FOR UES SOCIAL HISTORY

Community

meeting Calendar Monday, Sept. 19 • Community Board 8 Landmarks Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m., Marymount Manhattan College, 221 E. 71st St., Regina Peruggi Room (2nd Fl.) Wednesday, Sept. 21 • Community Board 8 Full Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., Memorial SloanKettering, 430 E. 67th St., auditorium Thursday, Sept. 22 • Community Board 8 Health, Seniors & Social Services Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m., Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main St., Roosevelt Island

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DESIGN YOUR WATERFRONT CIVITAS, a nonprofit that works on urban quality of life issues in the Upper East Side and East Harlem, has launched “Reimagining the Waterfront: Design-Ideas Competition” for the East River Esplanade, which spans the shoreline from East 60th to East 125th streets. The organization is calling on architects, landscape architects, urban planners and professional designers to develop dramatic and original concepts for the waterfront. First prize is $5,000, and though there are no guarantees that city planners will accept the design, the contest is organized and sponsored by many local elected officials who could have some influence over the process. The competition opens Sept. 15 and runs through Jan. 15, 2012. There are also second and third place prizes and five honorable mention awards. Jurors for the contest include lawyers, architects and an official from the Parks Department. Visit reimaginethewaterfront-civitas.com for more information.

STEEL DRUMS FROM HELL An Our Town reader called to complain that the steel band from hell is playing across from the Central Park Boathouse in solidarity with the strike that’s been going on there against practices by the restaurant’s management. It’s not that the reader has a problem with the protest itself, but the fact that the band is so loud it can be heard from 68th Street all the way up to 81st Street. “It’s absolutely earsplitting,” she said. “I understand why they are doing it, but they are also depriving people in general from enjoying the park and I have a problem with that.”

andrew schwartz

The Upper East Side institution of dining and kibitzing, Elaine’s, was sadly shuttered after the death of Elaine Kaufman, but New Yorkers will have the chance to own parts of the iconic eatery when Kaufman’s estate goes up for auction on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. People can view the collections from her restaurant and penthouse home from Saturday, Sept. 17 through Monday, Sept. 19 at Doyle New York, 175 E. 87th St., where the auction will be held. Some items from the restaurant, like the bar’s vintage cash register, the papier-mache carousel horses that dangled from the ceiling and copper chef pots, are listed for hundreds of dollars. The collection of art from her penthouse includes a signed lithograph of a shoe and leg by Andy Warhol, estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000, and David Hockney’s etching of a Panama hat, as well as paintings and photographs from may well known artists. Diane Becker, who managed the restaurant and inherited the estate, said of Kaufman: “She lined the walls of her res-

taurant and home with artwork, books, photographs and memorabilia, some of which was given to her by the wonderful people she met night after night at her restaurant.”

Linda and Sheldon Levinson stop to view the newly installed memorial to the Yorkville 9, nine firefighters from Engine Company 22 and Ladder Company 13 who lost their lives in the line of service on Sept. 11, 2001.

A SECOND SERVING OF BLACK EYED PEAS After severe lightning jettisoned their June 9 Concert for NYC in Central Park, the hip-hop-pop foursome tweeted lots of sad faces and about 60,000 people were equally bummed. But a rain date has been scheduled for Sept. 30, and the Black Eyed Peas are once again set to perform the mega-concert to benefit Robin Hood, a charity that fights poverty in the city. It’s a good cause, for sure, but local

residents are nervous that they’ll see a repeat of the concert prep from June that caused major parking disruptions and blocked access to the park. City Council Member Gale Brewer’s office received complaints last time around, and Brewer wrote to Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris asking for better coordination from the city this time. Considering the influx of people and the impact the concert will have on parking and public safety, combined with the fact that it’s rescheduled for Rosh Hashanah, Upper West Siders deserve to be kept in the loop.

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Cuomo’s Colonial Island Locals up in arms over appointment of nonresident to operating board

By Megan Finnegan

“I

’ve lived here all my life and I no longer consider myself a New Yorker,” said Matthew Katz as he strolled along the East River on a recent sunny day. “I consider myself a Roosevelt Islander.” Katz is the president of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). He and his wife moved to the island from the Upper East Side in 1989, into a Mitchell-Lama housing development that offered a more affordable alternative to the pricey neighborhoods they left behind. The island is home to both affordable and luxury housing residents and boasts an impressively diverse community, thanks in part to its proximity to the United Nations. It’s accessible only by the Roosevelt Island Bridge, which

connects to Long Island City in Queens, via a stop on the F train or by the iconic tram that zips over the river to and from Manhattan. On a beautiful day, the views of New York are unparalleled. What Katz describes—the feeling that, smack dab between Manhattan and Queens, the island is its own world—is a common sentiment among its approximately 13,000 residents. And they aren’t just thinking whimsically. Roosevelt Island has always occupied an in-between space, both geographically and figuratively. In the 19th century it was called Blackwell’s Island and housed

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andrew schwartz

“People were coming to the island once a month, sitting in a two-hour meeting and making decisions that would affect us for the rest of our lives. It’s not fair,” said Matthew Katz

prisoners, mental patients and diseaseridden souls who were quarantined from the rest of the city’s population. The Gothic Revival-style Renwick Ruins, once a hospital for smallpox patients, now sit crumbling on the southern tip of the island. In the mid-20th century it was renamed Welfare Island and a few hospitals opened there, but by the ’60s it was largely unused and undeveloped. Mayor John Lindsay convened a committee to figure out what to do with the place and the city ended up leasing the island to the state of New York for 99 years, pursuant to the state creating and executing a development plan. Now, while the area is politically a part of Manhattan, it is technically a state property. Day-to-day life on the island is controlled by a public benefit corporation called the Roosevelt Island Operating Committee (RIOC), which acts on behalf of the state. The president of RIOC is appointed by the governor, as is the ninemember board that oversees RIOC. In other words, the people who make the decisions about daily life on Roosevelt Island, from public safety (part of RIOC, since no NYPD precinct will report to the island) to garbage collection, parking and maintaining the seawall that holds everything up, are not elected by the people they represent. “Things that would normally apply everywhere else in the city don’t [here]— things like ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure], things that the City Council would have a say over,” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner, who represents the island. “None of these things apply on Roosevelt Island, and the community for a very long time felt that the corporation and the corporation’s board members weren’t accountable in any way.” Residents remember the days not too long ago when the RIOC board consisted entirely of nonresidents. “People were coming to the island once a month, sitting in a two-hour meet-

Matthew Katz, president of the RIRA. ing and making decisions that would affect us for the rest of our lives. It’s not fair,” said Katz, who describes the majority of his job as RIRA’s president over the past 14 years as “convening meetings and convincing people to do things they don’t want to do.” The association holds public meetings and passes resolutions, but has no official power. “All RIRA has really is our credibility as the voice of the island and the ear of the island.” For many years, the position of RIOC president, which is currently a $150,000plus gig, as well as board positions, which are unpaid, went to pals of the governor and state legislators with no regard for whom the residents wanted to represent their interests. After a lot of pushback from the locals, the law was changed to require that five of the board members be residents of Roosevelt Island. On top of

that, governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson both chose board members from groups of nominees presented to them as the winners of popular elections on the island. While it wasn’t a perfect democratic structure, it worked. Until Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed an outsider to the board this June. Salvatore Ferrera lives in Brooklyn and has worked for the past year as the executive director of The Child Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island. He was nominated to the board by State Sen. Martin Golden, also of Brooklyn, with whom he has worked in his history as a teacher and principal. (Golden’s office did not return calls requesting a comment on the nomination.) According to Ferrera, his appointment was a surprise even to him, but it was a bigger surprise to many people on the island and the elected offiN EW S YO U LIV E B Y


feature cials who represent them. “I find it sort of frustrating that this was done—not only without the consultation of the residents, but I didn’t get a phone call,” said City Council Member Jessica Lappin of Ferrera’s appointment. She stresses that her objection has nothing to do with Ferrera personally, but thinks that the governor should have respected the process that had previously been followed. “We worked for years to get a process in place that Spitzer agreed to back in 2001, to hold these island elections just to suggest people, to give the governor a sense of who people would like to see on the board, with the understanding that they would have to be background checked and vetted,” said Lappin. Ferrera admits he barely knew anything about the island’s governing structure before he was appointed (which he said happened following a series of phone interviews with members of the governor’s staff) and that he had no idea how upset people would be at his appointment. “If I had known it was going to be this contentious before, I never would have taken that first step,” said Ferrera. But he insists that his position as the head of a major school and his plans to build a new athletic and equestrian center will enhance the island. “I see myself coming in from the outside with a different perspective. I’m able to broker compromises,” he said. Others feel that his nomination is a clear step backward. Dick Lutz, a journalist who edits the local paper The Wire, has editorialized that Ferrera should step down from the board. “People have worked for 10 years to democratize the island and move as expeditiously as possible toward an elected RIOC board,” said Lutz. “What do people who don’t live on Roosevelt Island know about our specific day-to-day and long-term concerns? Do they take the subway into the city in the morning? Probably not—they’re coming the other way. Do they use the red bus [that transports people up and down the two-road island]? Chances are they don’t—they drive and they have private parking for their vehicles, most likely they don’t use the rather badly maintained parking structure here. You can go on and on, literally for hours, about all the issues that a nonresident would have absolutely no acquaintance with.” Leslie Torres, the current president of RIOC, is another nonresident; she has been in the job for about a year. She replaced Steve Shane, who was ousted by the board. While the board won’t comment on its reason for firing Shane, residents have speculated that it was because O u r To w n NY. c o m

he was slow to move on privatizing the Mitchell-Lama buildings and revitalizing the decrepit retail zone on the island. Torres oversees about 135 staff members and says her years of experience working in state government (her last position with the Health and Hospitals Corporation earned just over $30,000 a year) is crucial to her position now. “I’ve worked with tenant organizations and owner organizations. I’ve worked with both sides of the equation to be fair and equitable, navigating between the different interests of constituents,” said

Torres. She said she’s aware that some board members advocate for residency requirements, but believes her experience is just as important. Some argue that it’s less important for the president of RIOC to be a resident, since the board ultimately checks how RIOC operates. While Ferrera hopes the dust will settle and he’ll be able to contribute as a board member, others are hoping to change the laws so similar appointments will not be able to be made in the future. Kellner passed a law requiring board elections a few years ago, but Paterson

vetoed it. He said that this time around, he and State Sen. José Serrano will go to the governor’s office first to hammer out the kinds of concessions they would be willing to make, like requiring approval from other elected officials for the appointments. Ultimately, though, he’d like to see much greater transparency and oversight of RIOC for the people who live on Roosevelt Island. “They’re running a small town,” said Kellner. “This is not something that should be done in the shadows behind closed doors.”

tHe NatioNal academy

Will Barnet, The Blue Robe, 1962, oil on canvas, (detail)

Newly ReNovated

FRee admissioN aNd aRt classes FRiday–suNday, septemBeR 16–18, 11am–6pm

ExpEriEncE AmEricA’s Art EXHIBITIONS September 16–December 31, 2011

An AmEricAn cOLLEctiOn Exhibitions from the permanent collection A Panorama of Great Artist Portraits National Academicians: Then and Now Parabolas to Post-Modern: Architecture from the Collection Aligning Abstraction

WiLL BArnEt At 100

A retrospective of the artist’s figurative and abstract paintings and prints Will Barnet in Conversation: October 12 Architects in Conversation: Thom Mayne: October 19 Will Barnet Symposium: November 5

1083 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10128 www.nationalacademy.org S e p t e mb e r 1 , 2 0 1 1

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Traveling the World, Together By Lisa Chen In 2003, Upper East Side couple Latifah Chinnery and Verl Thomas decided to turn their mutual love of travel into a career and founded Equator 3 Tours and Travel. The Yorkville-based agency operates group tours to Africa, South America and the Caribbean, as well as around New York City. We sat down with the couple to talk about how they met, their favorite travel destinations and the art of leading a good tour.

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Our Town: How did you get into the travel industry? Latifah Chinnery: I used to be a college professor of English—I’ve taught at City College, NYU and the University of the Virgin Islands. I took my students on trips abroad to Brazil and Morocco for writing assignments. I loved the experience and I decided I needed to get out of education. I wanted to travel and make a living at the same time, so at Verl’s encouragement I applied for the tour guide license in New York, and one thing led to another. Verl Thomas: When I joined the Marine Corps, I was exposed to traveling internationally and that was the catalyst to seeing travel as an integral part of learning. Afterward, I worked for WNEW and applied for the guide license as another way to find some income, and then started in earnest with destination management companies. Eventually, Latifah and I decided that we both loved traveling and had both traveled so much, why not do our own thing? How did you two meet? LC: Verl and his brothers owned a publishing company and I owned a bookstore in the Virgin Islands called Education Station. I used to order books from Verl’s company, so actually we met on the phone. VT: We’ve been together for 16 years, but

we’ve known each other for longer than that. What makes Equator 3 different? LC: Personal touch. We call ourselves Equator 3 because it’s just comprised of the two of us and all of the associates around the world whom we work closely with. They’re the “third member.” We hand pick all of the guides ourselves. Does your relationship add anything to your work dynamic? LC: Well, Verl is a very adventurous kind of person. When it comes to climbing mountains he’ll get the troops going, Marine that he is. I’m probably more the paper person. He also tends to details very well, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. I don’t care about the i’s or the t’s [laughs]. I care about the idea. So those skills work well together. VT: She’s the communicator among our clients. Latifah is also our fashionista. LC: Oh, come on. [laughs] What are Equator 3’s future destinations? LC: We’re planning to travel to the Panama Canal, as well as exploring Asia for cruising. We will be going back to Ghana in 2013 for Panafest, which is a celebration of the African Diaspora. VT: And we still do tours around New York—they are our mainstay. What’s your favorite travel destination? LC: Brazil—Bahia in particular. VT: The old cobblestone streets make you feel like you’re going back in time. Is there an art to giving a good tour? LC: Giving a good tour involves getting connected to the people. Like education, you have to start where the people are. You don’t just meet a group when they arrive—you have to do research and find out where they’re coming from so you have a point of connection. VT: You also need to have a good sense of their immediate needs. People travel very far to get here so you need to be prepared to provide them with amenities—kindness, patience, good food, the nearest bathroom. The human element is important. For more information, visit www.equator3.com. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


Manhattan MeMoir

When Yorkville Rocked on Steuben Day By Kathy Jolowicz Born and raised in Yorkville by Germanborn parents, I not only remember Germantown, alive from the 1930s through 1960s, but the parades that crossed 86th Street, ending in happy pandemonium between Second and First avenues. As a child I reveled in the music, color and excitement of the parades. You can imagine how thrilled I was when my GermanAmerican girlfriend and I, teens from Julia Richman High, marched in the first German-American Steuben Parade in 1957. I remember how the St. Patrick’s and Columbus Day parades brought every happy individual up to 86th Street, but the Steuben Parade was, of course, the most cherished in Yorkville’s Kleindeutschland—although a parade was always a happy occasion, regardless of the heritage. During the Steuben parade, throngs of people filled the streets along 86th Street, welcoming the marchers as they rounded the corner on Fifth Avenue. The old-timers brought out their folding chairs early in the morning and established their places by the grandstand in the heart of Yorkville so they would be able to hear the announce-

O u r To w n NY. c o m

ment of the names of each marching group. People hung out of windows and on rooftops, waving flags and singing. After those Steuben parades, the streets were packed with people dressed in the costumes of their regions; dirndls and lederhosen were the fashion of the time.

After those Steuben parades, the streets were packed with people dressed in the costumes of their regions; dirndls and lederhosen were the fashion of the time. Everyone seemed to know each other. Sauerbraten and beer, music and laughter filled the streets for hours. Everyone seemed to know each other. Sauerbraten and beer, music and laughter filled the streets for hours. One evening after the parades, we were walking by the Rhineland on 86th Street, whose bar was situated by the front window with the restaurant and dance floor

in the back. Two handsome Annapolis cadets in white uniforms were laughing and waved excitedly at us, beckoning us to join them. I can still see their faces as they jumped up from their barstools when they spotted us. After inviting us for a drink, they took us to dinner and dancing and we ended up in Café Wienecke for coffee and cake. What fun we had, laughing and joking with the polite gentlemen, who treated us like princesses. With all of the dance halls, bierstubes, restaurants and vereins lining 86th Street packed tightly together, the street rocked, as did its tributaries up and down the avenues. Yes, of course, there were those who had a few beers too many, but the merriment was taken in stride. I don’t remember any serious problems. Matter of fact, it was said that the police loved being assigned to Yorkville on parade days. Winking at the couples sneaking a kiss, moving along any rowdiness, humming with the melodies of the night, they soaked up the excitement of the neighborhood. On Saturday, Sept. 17, the 54th annual German-American Steuben Parade will take place again, rain or shine, starting at noon along Fifth Avenue from 67th Street

to 86th Street. The parade’s grand marshals will include Samantha Brown, host of the Travel Channel’s Passport to Europe, as well as Ilse Aigner, German secretary of food, agriculture and consumer protection, Erik Bettermann, director of Deutsche Welle, and Peter Ammon, the newly installed German ambassador to the United States. A special float will pay tribute to the famous German-American John Deutschendorf, better known as John Denver. A four-course banquet will be held at the Hilton the night before. Shortly before the parade, a magnificent free mass is held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the groups and bands gather in costumes before they prepare to march. After the parade is a giant Oktoberfest in Central Park with lots of good beer, food and entertainment. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Anyone interested in marching with The German Language Learning Club is more than welcome to join us. For further information, call 212249-0125 or email kaj133@aol.com. Kathy Jolowicz is the Yorkville historian and a member of The German Language Club.

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new york family

On the Write Track

An important but declining skill—the art of writing and how to cultivate it in our children By Melanie Dostis The start of a new school year brings with it an age-old question for many parents: Is my child on the right track? Odds are that the core subjects—math, reading and science—have already been drilled into your child’s brain. From spelling words out with blocks (thank you, nursery school) to investigating cells through a microscope lens, parents know it is their duty to teach their kids these essential

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skills as early as possible. Yet in the shadow of these educational building blocks lies a subject that receives too little attention and is anxiously approached by both parents and educators alike. We’re talking about writing. Author and educator Pam Allyn believes that every child is entitled to be both a writer and a reader. In her new book, Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age, we learn that writing development begins at birth. Think back to the first time you saw your child sprawled out on a cozy mat, knees bent upon half-broken crayons. There, he concocted his first masterpiece. Perhaps with carefully thought out Crayola strokes, he drew mommy, daddy, siblings and himself. The final touch—a scribble that legibly read “my family.” The moment was fleeting, but one thought should have resonated within you: How can my child go from writing such a simple phrase to writing a poem or even a story? What’s more, how can my child go from writing those two words to becoming a lifelong writer?

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Writing is everywhere. It is at the root of everyday tasks from text messaging and passing notes in class, to math problems and science labs. But to think that writing comes naturally to everyone is simply not true. Good writing skills do not manifest while a child is writing her SAT essay or fixating on that college paper for entrance into her dream school. Similarly, a child’s fear of the blank page will not dissolve during a class lesson crammed into one grade level. “Children are hungry for information. We need to cultivate that,” Allyn insisted. Similar to other subjects, a child’s knowledge of writing is boundless and there is a lesson that needs to be addressed at each new age bracket. Enter Allyn’s fine-tuned “Writer’s Ladder,” which outlines what parents should be doing of every step of the way, where a child should be in the learning process at each age, and what books are appropriate to foster the powerful connection between reading and writing in the minds of children. Starting with newborns, understand N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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that babies take in the information they hear within their surroundings—and this is especially true when they are making noise themselves. Those incoherent (albeit precious) sounds should be not ignored or passively giggled at. Instead, Allyn insists that parents join in on the “writer’s babble”—a term she coined to reference the babbling noises babies make—which can help foster two-way communication. For the toddler group, Allyn advises a big dose of free play—putting on shows, acting out favorite stories—and establishing a tradition of reading stories out loud. Since the toddler stage is also when a child is most observant, parents should join in on their curiosity and ask basic questions such as “What happens first/next/last?” when reading a bedtime tale. When your kiddo hits age 5, you should start sharing the thought process behind writing. Prompt your budding Whitman with phrases like: “My story is about...” and “I thought about this...” From ages 6-9, independence kicks in. Consider introducing them to a writer’s journal, which is the best way to remember moments such as making new friends and embarking upon a new school year. As parents work to cultivate their child’s writing skills, they should emphasize how much they really want to be there, working side by side. “I always felt from a very young age that my parents were interested in my world and what I had to say. That makes a child more willing to talk,” Allyn shared. Throughout her book and in her own family, she stresses the importance of the parent/child relationship—at all ages.

Where to Write 826NYC This nonprofit will boost your child’s writing confidence through its popular drop-in tutoring and workshops, as well as field trips—all for free. Ages 6-18. 826nyc.org The JCC in Manhattan Those with a serious love for words should check out The JCC’s advanced writing workshops which focus on craft, style, revision, clarification, and the ultimate writing prize—getting published. jccmanhattan.org Pencil Heads One-on-one tutoring at Pencil Heads will push your child to write and perfect her story in various genres: play, novel, short story, etc. pencilheads. com Scribble Press Scribbling is encouraged here; with “Parent and Me” classes for little ones and “Scribble Author and Scribes” classes for bigger kids, your child will surely be on the write path. scribblepress.com Writopia Lab These intense workshops are perfect for tween writers, during which they review each other’s work and possibly read them out loud at local venues. writopialab.org

As a child grows older, it’s important for parents to avoid being too critical and to remain attached to the learning process, even if they are unfamiliar with it after years outside of the classroom. “It is a profound thing that takes trust and risk on both sides,” Allyn advised. Strong, passionate writers are those who fell in love with words early on. Go ahead, slip a journal into their crib—we won’t tell a soul. Promise.

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you know a great doorman, porter orservice “handy-man” where you Is there an office cleaner, security officer or maintenance workerworkers wholive? helps Once again this Do year, Manhattan Media and 32BJ SEIU, property workers Once again this year, Manhattan Media andthe 32BJ SEIU, the property service

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The Death and Life of New York City By Mark Peikert No rivalry will ever serve as a better representation of New York City itself than that of the ruthlessly ambitious Robert Moses and the community-minded Jane Jacobs. Moses, the mercurial, all-powerful “master builder” responsible for everything from the Cross Bronx Expressway to Jones Beach, found his near-absolute power overthrown by

Jane Jacobs. urban activist Jacobs, whose book The Death and Life of Great American Cities and successful protest of Moses’ planned elevated thruway in Soho almost singlehandedly destroyed the vision of cities as characterless, efficiency-driven monoliths that Moses had successfully propagated. In The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs (out now in paperback), urban advocate—and longtime friend of Jacobs—Upper West Side resident Roberta Brandes Grazt examined the impact of Moses and Jacobs on the city in which she grew up and still resides, while also looking at the current state of New York City’s urban battles through the lens of both visions. You come down pretty strongly in favor of Jane Jacobs over Robert Moses in Battle for Gotham. They are totally incompatible, and the only people who find, “On the one hand this and on the other hand that,” are the people who don’t have the guts to find that they are incompatible. You have to fish or cut bait. People always cite Moses’ parks [as positive outcomes of Moses’ work], but my point is a) there are beautiful parks all over this country that were not built by Robert Moses and b) look at all the beautiful waterfront parks we’re O u r To w n NY. c o m

building today without Moses. Moses was about power, and not about design. Unlimited power. There’s no room in unlimited power for what Jacobs is about. If Moses was about the Big Idea, what was Jacobs about? Jacobs is about process, not just about short blocks and mixed use. Those are the easy concepts of Jacobs. I have no patience for people who try to do a little bit of each. And the only way to do a little bit of each is to misinterpret Jacobs. She’s not about small-scale, period. She had nothing wrong with big-scale if it’s done right and on the right thing. A skyscraper in the right place was fine! Is there nothing redeeming about Moses for you? Zip, zero, zilch. My main point is there was nothing Moses accomplished that couldn’t have been accomplished without the destruction and displacement of people, businesses and places with dictatorial power. Plenty of cities across this country wiped out neighborhoods with highways and city renewal. And they did it without Moses, but with Moses’ example. Moses helped write the early laws; he was first in line for all the big funding; New York got the lion’s share of the funding and then he was hired by cities across the country to design highways and systems—some of which got built and some that didn’t. He set the pattern for the country. The reality of how destructive it was is borne out in how many places are undoing that pattern today, and the vibrancy that is coming back because of that. The fact that we defeated Westway and have an over-the-top, highly developed, interestingly developed whole West Side. You can go to San Francisco, you can go to Milwaukee—I cite all these places in the book to show that the undoing of Moses’ pattern is what is helping cities today. The very undoing of it underscores the invalidity of it in its original form. What Moses projects here in NYC would you like to see undone? I think it would be a very interesting challenge to figure out how to reweave the isolated projects, like the towers in the

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It’s nice to be your neighbor.

Bruce’s

“ Nightwalk in New York”

From global trip planning to local events, our Upper West Side store is your new source for expert advice and inspiring ideas.

Sat., Sept. 24, 7 PM

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park public housing projects, into the urban fabrics so that people are connected and not isolated. The biggest sin of that era—and Moses was not the only one extolling it—was the separation of uses. I think there needs to be a way to bring back the corner store and mixed uses in the public spaces. And perhaps building some low-rise senior citizen housing on those sites so some tower residents can comfortably move in so they don’t have to leave the neighborhood. Undoing the BQE that so split South Brooklyn. These are big challenges! As far as power is concerned, we fool ourselves into thinking there’s no Robert Moses today. The big developers are the power, the partnership of big developers with city government. You can’t stand in the way of [Bruce] Ratner; our planning structure is an expediter for big development. It’s another form of overwhelming top-down power. What do you think about the proposed Upper East Side waste transfer station? Nobody wants those things in their own backyard. The fact is, they have been over-concentrated in neighborhoods, and until they are fairly distributed so that neighborhoods are responsible for their own garbage, where’s the equity? I also think that if people are so concerned

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about waste transfer in their neighborhood, what they should really be concerned about is a massive recycling program to sensitize people to the fact that if they aren’t more recycling-minded, they’re going to have more garbage trucks in their neighborhood. There are ways to diminish the garbage. And how do you feel about bike lanes? They’re the best thing to happen to this city since sliced bread! If you want to talk about undoing Moses! I’m always amused when I see Janette Sadik-Khan referred to as a Moses because she’s done bike lanes on a big scale. Well, excuse me, that’s Jane Jacobs on a big scale! Moses had no interest in any form of transportation other than cars. But streets were supposed to be for people. Transportation is a multimodal kind of thing and we have so let the population assume cars have the most important right that it’s very hard to accept. I find it particularly outrageous of areas in Brooklyn where former or present officials want their official car privileges and they live within walking distance of perfectly good subway service. They don’t have to ride bikes, they can ride the subway—they shouldn’t be so dependent on their car. I have no patience for people who think the car should be dominant. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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DINING

Root Beer Rapture

ate, there was an abundance of pumpkin pie spice. Mace, nutmeg and cinnamon ruled the roost. Then on the finish was the refreshing bitterness of sassafras and a hint of wintergreen. One of the best root beers I’ve ever tried. So, while I can’t promise that I’ll never write about root beer again (I mean, who am I going to brag to once I nail my recipe?), I can at least promise that I’ll write about wine next week. Probably.

Microbrews that will make you feel like a kid again

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of the absolutely stunning and delicious local root beers from the great state of Maine. The first two are from the same producer, but are completely different in style and flavor. The Maine Root Company Root Beer is a lighter-bodied root beer but is still incredibly complex. From Scarborough, Maine (right outside of Portland), this brew has a dark yellowish-brown hue, with a great, long-lasting, sudsy head. The main event in this bottle was licorice, both on the nose and palate. There were also strong notes of clove and nutmeg. Wintergreen played a supporting role in this soda, while sarsaparilla and sassafras were only background notes. More interesting, though, was the Maine Root Company Sarsaparilla. Pouring it out, the color was the first shock: it was a light, slightly cloudy blond, with a hefty head. Immediately, the overpowering scent of wintergreen took By Josh Perilo hold. Sarsaparilla and wintergreen were the two major players in this flavor profile. Not a root beer, per se, but a close cousin. Definitely worth a try. Hailing from Bar Harbor proper was the Atlantic Brewing Company Old Soaker Root Beer. This came out of the bottle a bit darker than the Maine Root Company’s root beer, with a color less yellow and more amber. Mild and vanilla-laden, the flavor of this brew was smooth and easy, with honey and bourbon notes on the finish. The real showstopper of the bunch, however, was Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer from Portland, Maine. Out of the bottle and into the glass, the dark color mimicked the hue of Guinness and held an impressive head with silky, small bubbles. When the dark, rich scents of molasses

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and wildflowers wafted from the glass, I knew I was in for something completely different. This is one of the few root beers I’ve tasted that has a discernable front, middle and end-of-palate differentiation. Up front, the Eli’s offered licorice and baked molasses flavors, much like that of shoofly pie. In the middle of the pal-

Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshperilo.

A Tacqueria Takes Me Back Over 20 years ago, my friend Lorraine and I went to the Yucatán peninsula. While I remember the impressive Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum, I mostly remember riding on rickety buses as children sold “cacahuates” (peanuts) and eating surprisingly good food at markets and fly-ridden bus stations. Oh to be young, carefree and in Mexico again! I thought of those days as my dear friend and I sat on stools at the new outpost of Cascabel Taqueria, the counyogurt-like lime crème sauce. ter nicely open to An ear of elote asado—grilled the cool autumcorn—was also more meal 2799 Broadway nal air and a view than snack: sweet yellow corn (near 108th St.) of passersby on dressed up with Mexican aioli, 212-665-1500 Broadway. hot cascabel chile and queso Cascabel is an upscale take on the cotija ($5). Clinking “pequeño” glasses of authentic Mexican taqueria, now ubiqui- beer ($4/9 oz.), we talked about the realitous in the city. I wasn’t about to pay what ties of middle-aged life—elderly parents, Lorraine did for three tacos ($11.75!), but errant children and home renovation. I found great value in the costilla de carne ($6), an enormous rib with succulent fatty —Nancy J. Brandwein beef slathered in cumin and pasilla chile puree. Served on a small aluminum tray, Got a snack attack to share? it rested on radish discs and a refreshing Contact nancybrandwein@gmail.com DANIEL S. BURNSTEIN

did start writing this week’s column about wine. I promise I did! As anyone who has read my recent columns knows, I’ve become completely obsessed with root beer, and specifically, with figuring out how to brew and ferment my own. This has led me to spend countless hours rummaging through obscure spice shops in out-of-the-way corners of Manhattan and drinking more small batch and microbrew root beer than any grown man should ever admit to. When my wife walked in on me with my nose buried deep in a pint glass of soda, “oohing” and “ahhing” to myself, she was confused, to say the least. “Oh, I’m writing an article about these for ‘Penniless,’” I explained. “Do you have to get permission to do that?” “What?” “I mean,” she said, raising an eyebrow, “they hired you to write a wine column and all you’ve been talking about lately is root beer.” “Yeah,” I said, returning to my dark, frothy elixir. “I’m hoping they’ll let this slide.” And as I packed our bags for our yearly vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine, I made sure to include my notebook of tasting notes on lesser-known Argentinean red varietals. Once we’d arrived and I was perusing the aisles of the small-town grocery store for hickory chips, I saw it: An entire section dedicated to local microbrew root beers. I asked the shopkeeper about the section, and he told me that root beer was its own cottage industry in this region. It had to be a sign. So, with a quick apology to my very lenient editor, I would like to profile some

Cascabel Taqueria

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Dining

Compass is Aging Gracefully By Tom Steele Blossom, a heady blend of vodka, Junmai I must say, Compass is aging very well. sake infused with Meyer lemon and St. It has been six years since my last visit, Germain elderflower liqueur. The drink and the sophisticated restaurant looks as has a remarkably clean finish, with lingerfresh as if it were brand new. The swanky ing St. Germain flavors. The Spice of Life 10,000-square-foot space includes three features Tanteo tequila, jalapeño, Canton highly glamorous private party rooms ginger liqueur, agave nectar and fresh and a beautiful, very well-stocked bar, all lime and delivers a nice kick without ever skillfully maneuvered by a highly profi- overwhelming. cient and friendly staff. Two sizes of raw seafood platters are Over the years, the menu has gone served. The Grand Platter is perfect for from French-American to two, with a small bowl of sweet New American, with occacrab meat at the top of the sional French, Italian and three icy tiers, followed by 208 W. 70th St. Spanish accents. Chef four jumbo shrimp (chilled, Milton Enriquez has been but not quite enough) and (betw. Amsterdam in Compass’s kitchen since and West End Aves.) six Bluepoint oysters. the restaurant opened in Spice-crusted beef car212-875-8600. 2002, first under founding paccio comes on a bed Entrées: $21-$34 chef Neil Annis and eventuof watercress, flanked by ally as executive chef himself. three slender garlic toasts Enriquez’s menu is refined and sensible, and topped with luscious lobster meat. with plenty of seafood options and up-to- The meat and lobster are room temperathe-minute entrées with contrasting fla- ture, and crumbled feta and verdant olive vors and textures. oil season the dish beautifully. Our friendly and very knowledgeable A wild mushroom tartlet is parked on a server, Kristine, steered us in all the right small pool of red bell pepper coulis for a culinary directions from cocktails to des- real blast of summer flavor. The puff passert. House cocktails include the Citrus try tart is lightly rich with wonderfully dark

Compass

New YorkÕ s Premier Enriched Community for Seniors

mushroom flavors, and deeply textured. For a pasta course, we split a bowl of lovely fresh angel hair stirred with a halfdozen cockles, lobster meat, basil pesto, sundried tomatoes and ParmigianoReggiano, garnished with fragrant fresh basil leaves. This was the most flavorful pasta I’ve had in months. Chef Enriquez is clearly in love with Italian dishes. Crispy braised veal sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s a dish that works very well. The veal shoulder and neck meat is fashioned into a four-by-two-inch pod that is breaded and lightly fried. It’s a bit underseasoned, but veal’s delicate flavor is so vulnerable that it’s often overseasoned. The plate is festooned with sautéed fiddlehead ferns, tender Hon Shimeji mushrooms and basmati rice. A three-pound lobster comes with a trio of variously seasoned drawn butters. The basil-flecked butter was particularly palatable. Three pounds is a lot of lobster, to be sure, and the chef grills it perfectly, filling the rich meat with all of that wonderful shell flavor. A fine bread pudding made with moist almond bread is served under a scoop of banana ice cream, all surrounded by a lus-

• • • •

Sunday, September 25th 11 Ð 1 PM Light Refreshments Will Be Served

RSVP by Wednesday, September 21st rmikhael@carnegieeast.org or call Roberta Mikhael at 646 438-8009 24

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Septem ber 15, 2011

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We know you can learn to speak Italian, to speak it fluently and with an excellent accent— and we prove it to you at your very first lesson!

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cious butterscotch sauce. And a deconstructed s’more flaunts a chocolate tuile, graham cracker cake, cube of marshmallow and a scoop of espresso ice cream. The restaurant gets very busy in prime time, and with good reason, but the space is so capacious that you can always hear yourself think. By all means, wend your way to Compass for your next special occasion meal.

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pets

Forever Friends

Promoting safe, long term, loving matches between people and companion animals

O u r To w n NY. c o m

vices that Bideawee provides: adoption, training, veterinary care, dog runs, accreditation for therapy dogs, pet memorials and even doga (that’s yoga for dogs!). These practices allow pets and owners to remain a part of the Bideawee family long after they’ve been paired up and settled in at home. Take Candice Alustiza and her three-legged dog, Joey, who have been with Bideawee every step of the way—from adoption to vet services. “For anyone who is looking for a vet practice or a place to adopt a dog, I always say come to Bideawee,” said Alustiza, who found Joey after searching for pets online. Despite missing Joey’s television debut on LX New York with Ashley Judd, Alustiza found the puppy in need and fell in love soon after. Since then, she’s taken Joey back to Bideawee for a number of X-rays and tests to find that he’s perfectly healthy, despite Nancy Taylor, president and chief executive officer at his three-legged status. awee, with a puppy for adoption. Alustiza and Joey went through the organization’s typical adop- their veterinary offices can identify, in tion process, which includes playing with a fully functional operating room and a the animals in interaction rooms and hav- cozy waiting area. Not to mention that ing all members of the family meet the cat Bideawee never euthanizes a pet unless or dog before adopting. it’s an incurable situation. And when “It’s all about finding the right pet for an animal is put down or passes away, the right family,” said Taylor, who refers Bideawee is still there to support the to Bideawee’s adoption associates as mourning family. matchmakers. “For instance, if we know “We want the whole end of life encounthat a person is a couch potato, we’re not ter to be dignified, to be respectful, to going to adopt a border collie who wants enable family members ample opporto run all day to that person. Conversely, tunity to grieve the loss of their famif somebody is a triathlete, we’re prob- ily member,” said Taylor, who notes that ably not going to match him with an over- Bideawee employees are given bereaveweight dachshund.” ment days for loss of pets. They also proThe result of this matchmaking pro- vide plots, cremation, viewings and grief cess is an extremely low return rate— counseling. only 4.5 percent, compared to the nationAnd the guidance doesn’t end there. al shelter rate, which can vary from Many Bideawee volunteers receive 15-20 percent of adopted pets. Usually, training for various tasks, like infection owners return pets because they have control while working with animals in an unforeseen health or behavioral isolation that have been picked up from problem. That’s why Bideawee guaran- municipal shelters and are often sick. The tees that every pet is spayed, neutered, organization has nearly 400 such volunmicrochipped and immunized. They teers who walk dogs, socialize cats, help also receive dentistry attention and are at fundraising events or work as pet thertreated for every medical condition that apy assistants at schools, nursing homes andrew schwartz

By Ally Hickson There’s a cat in the window. She’s curled up into a ball with a paw over her face, half asleep behind the glass. Her furry tummy subtly rises and falls as she breathes a restful sleep. But as comfortable as this kitty may be, the cozy nook she’s found to lie in is only temporary. In fact, she’s here to find a permanent home. This kitten is one of thousands of cats and dogs given refuge over the years at Bideawee, an animal welfare organization that provides temporary homes to cats and dogs before matching the animals to loving owners and families. “It’s about finding a match that will be forever,” said Nancy Taylor, president and chief executive officer at Bideawee, stroking a black cat named Opie on her desk. “Our goal is to get them adopted and keep them adopted.” This notion of finding “forever homes” and saving animals from cruelty is the same principle on which Flora Kibbe founded Bideawee in 1903, when she was saving dogs and keeping them in her Manhattan apartment. It was 1915 when she moved Bideawee—which means “stay awhile” in Scottish—to its current home in Murray Hill, where she could save unwanted animals from being drowned in the East River. Today, Bideawee has grown to three locations, including centers in Westhampton and Wantagh on Long Island. The organization adopts about 1,000 pets each year and saves animals from municipal shelters and from families that can no longer care for their pets. While based in New York City, Bideawee rescues cats and dogs from across the country and even Puerto Rico. The Manhattan offices are warm and friendly, which may have something to do with all the happy animals roaming the space. Pickles the cat is snuggled up in the corner of an office. Asha, a puppy who has been on TV, is affectionate when you come out of the elevator. Wonka, the cat downstairs, is eager to meet new visitors. In this five-story building, Bideawee is doing much more than just providing accommodations to unwanted pets. “The thing that sets us apart is that we’re able to stay with the pet and the owner. We love them through their entire life,” said Taylor. She’s referring to the plethora of ser-

and hospitals. “This is such a cohesive community. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a shelter environment with such a strong human-animal bond,” said Suzi Soloway-Andres, a third-year volunteer who cleans kennels and socializes cats. In fact, SolowayAndres experienced the loss of her own cats and volunteered to help her through the mourning process. Since she started with Bideawee, she’s adopted a new cat and found a home at the facility. After all, owning a pet is a commitment—a “lifetime commitment,” according to Taylor, who noted that cats often live 20-plus years. Before adopting a cat or dog, a potential owner needs to be ready for a decades-long commitment to animal care. And it’s more than just walking and feeding your pet. According to Taylor, a healthy cat or dog can cost between $1,000 and $1,400 annually. But it’s clear at Bideawee that the benefits of loving and being loved by an animal are priceless. “It brings so much warmth,” said Bide- Solloway-Andres, who feels like she can make a difference through her volunteer work in a very petfriendly town. “We see people every day who meet new people because of their animals,” said Taylor about New York City pet owners. “There’s a wonderful subculture that grows up around [owning a pet] that makes people resources to each other about where to find a great vet, a great groomer, a great place to board your animals.” As Taylor pointed out, owning a pet and going to pet hot spots around the city allows one to encounter all sorts of people they wouldn’t normally meet. But there’s more than just people and pets socializing. According to threelegged Joey’s adopter, we may have found the best part of owning a pet in New York City. “Everyone in New York is so busy, but it’s so nice to come home at the end of the day, open the door and see this little guy’s face,” says Alustiza as Joey wags his tail and licks her fingers. “That’s my favorite part of the day—coming home to him.” For more information, visit bideawee. org.

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travel

Peeping in the Valley

When it comes to foliage, the Hudson Valley leaves no trip option behind The Northeast on the whole is filled with a huge variety of broad-leaved trees whose foliage paints the region with a spectacular color range. But it is New York State in particular that boasts most of these trees—almost as many acres as the rest of the Northeast combined. The state’s tourism site, ILoveNY.com, provides leaf peepers with a gaggle of charts, figures and reports on up-to-date fall foliage color. A weekly report comes in the form of a detailed map charting fall color progress and listing the best vantage points for peepers in the state. With that said, finding the trees is not the hard part—it’s knowing where to go and how to get there. The Hudson Valley encompasses a wide area and is closer to New York City than the average urbanite might realize (The trip from Grand Central Station to Wassaic in the mid-Hudson takes a little over two hours). Westchester and Rockland counties mark the southern tip of the region, which passes through Dutchess and Ulster counties and stretches up through Albany.

For those with cars, it’s easy and convenient to make the two-hour drive up to Dutchess County, located in the middle of the region, and explore the surrounding farms, mountains, parks and nature trails. The county’s tourism site, DutchessCountyTourism.com, provides several itineraries for both day trips and overnighters. The site is a great tool for anyone planning a trip to the area, with lists of the best fall foliage spots, hiking trails, dining options and wineries. As for group tours, which can be found on the same website, the options are so extensive and far-ranging that the perfect fit is easily achievable. Whether you’re a foodie looking for an exceptional culinary experience, an adventurer looking to explore the outdoors or a history buff looking to learn about the region’s rich past, there’s something for every interest. Dutchess County Tourism has also partnered with MTA Metro-North Railroad to provide affordable group getaway day tours that allow tourists to not only survey the beautiful scenery but discover a bit of the local fare.

Danny T

By Annie Lubin The summer might be peak season for tourism in New York City, but venture a little further upstate and it’s all about the fall. The explosion of fall foliage that comes in early September and departs around November brings thousands of tourists and leaf peepers, those who travel to view and photograph the fall foliage, to the state’s Hudson River Valley, making it the busiest time of year for the area. Advertised as the “perfect antidote to urban stress,” tours of the Hudson Valley offer an extensive array of options for the city dweller who doesn’t want to venture too far afield. “We usually get around 1,500 people in the fall who participate in our day tours,” said Nancy Lutz, communications manager for Dutchess County Tourism. “By the time it’s October, we’re getting two to three buses a day on Saturdays and Sundays.” For these tourists, fall foliage is not just the backdrop. More often than not, the robust greens, oranges, reds and yellows that cover the area are the main attraction.

New York has almost as many acres of trees as the rest of the Northeast combined. And then there’s the Hudson River Valley Ramble, which takes place over three weekends, from Sept. 7 through Sept. 25, and celebrates the area’s vibrant history, communities, cultural attractions and natural resources. “It’s the perfect opportunity for people who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors but don’t know where to go,” said Lutz. With over 200 events it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so check out Hudsonrivervalleyramble. com for the complete list of events, which include guided walks, hikes, camping and kayaking trips and festivals. Go for the leaves but stay for any one of the dozens of reasons so many people flock upstate this time of year. With so much to see, you’ll be praying Monday never comes.

Don’t just go offline. Go off the beaten path. Reconnect with nature, with friends and family, with yourself.

Valley, for a rejuvenating, nature-inspired getaway and get more smiles per gallon.

Cycle along the Hudson River, or climb Mount Beacon. Follow the wine trail, or try fishing for striped bass. Give yourself a few more days for picnics in formal gardens, biking across the Walkway over the Hudson, or excursions on the river.

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Do wonders for your soul. Come to Dutchess County, less than two hours away in the Heart of the Hudson

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30

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Septem ber 15, 2011

800-445-3131 N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


Come and experience Columbia County. Beautifully nestled between the Catskill and Berkshire mountains with country roads, working farms and a small city that’s getting big attention-Hudson, NY! Its mile-long Warren Street boasts dozens of antique and home shops with an eclectic mix of art galleries, restaurants and performance spaces. Take a hike to the waterfall at Taconic State Park. Explore history at the Shaker Village and Museum. Tour the home and farm of our 8th President, Martin Van Buren. Only two hours from NYC by car or Amtrak.

Hudson Opera House

You’re Cordially Invited… ... “Anytime” Visit ColumbiaCountyLodging.com for the area’s preferred accommodations or call 800-558-8218 for information and availability assistance.

Metro-North & Dutchess County Farm Fresh Link: Great One-Day Getaways Weekend getaways visit charming villages, farms and wineries as a shuttle meets your train. Farm Fresh Food, Wine, Cheese and Fine Tea Weekend: From Wassaic for Millerton, Cascade Winery, and McEnroe Organic Farm, with cheese from Amazing Real Live Food Company, 9/7-18 and 24-25. Fall Harvest Wine, Cheese & Apple Picking Weekend: From Poughkeepsie, sample artisanal cheeses made at the creamery at Sprout Creek Farm. Explore charming Millbrook; known for its horse farms, also browse its gift and antique shops. Saturdays, meander in Millbrook Farmers’ Market. Your third stop is Clinton Vineyards, then off to Terhune Orchards for a hayride and to pick your own apples,10/1-2, 10/8-10/9 & 10/15. Packages include discounted, round-trip rail fare, shuttle; available at station offices; ticket machines. 800-445-3131 or http://dutchesstourism.com/agri-metronorth.asp. The programs provided by this agency are partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

G

Columbia County is the heart of the Hudson Valley and a welcome place to be any time of the year.

Fall – leaf peeping, hiking, apple picking and great antiquing. Winter – museums, holiday festivals and outdoor sports Spring - historic sites, wine tasting and local farm tours Summer - state parks, boating, swimming, bicycling and the arts Two hours from NYC by car or take Amtrak to Hudson, NY. Visit ColumbiaCountyLodging.com for accommodations or call 800-558-8218 for information and availability assistance.

A great place to come and experience “anytime”… And right now would be terrific!

 RAYMOOR :  HE  UDSON  ALLEY ’ S  PIRITUAL  REASURE

raymoor, often called the Holy Mountain, is home to the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement. nestled in Putnam county, 50 miles north of new york city, Graymoor’s picturesque grounds, shrines, and chapels are open to the public year-round. e summit of Graymoor’s Mount Atonement provides a sweeping hudson Valley view and a life-size replica of michelangelo’s Pieta. of special interest is the World Trade Center Memorial Cross. erected by ironworkers assisting at Ground Zero, the cross is made from steel girders and ash from the north and south towers. Located in the St. Jude Meditation Garden, with its statues, benches, water fountain and pond, this is a setting of serenity and remembrance. every June, thousands pilgrimage to Graymoor’s St. Anthony Shrine. summer beckons others who come to picnic or hike the appalachian trail which crosses through miles of Graymoor’s expansive grounds. autumn greets with breathtaking colors. roughout the year, the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center welcomes hundreds to spirituality retreats and workshops, recovery programs, and special events. many come for Bible study, centering prayer, and daily mass and reconciliation. While you are here, you will also find the perfect gift at the Graymoor Book & Gift Center, the Bethlehem Gift Shop, or the at Nothing Be Lost rift Shop.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

www.AtonementFriars.org 845.424.3671 Graymoor Spiritual Life Center 845.424.2111 That Nothing Be Lost Thrift Shop 845.424.3635 Graymoor Book & Gift Center 845.424.3671, ext. 3155

SUNDAY MASS: 11 AM, PILGRIM HALL

Franciscan Friars oF the atonement Graymoor 1350 route 9, Garrison, ny 10524 atonementFriars.orG O u r T o w n N Y. c o m

September 15, 2011

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Visit the Holy Mountain at Graymoor

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9/11 Balancing Act By Alan S. Chartock The events of 9/11 proved that New York really is the center of the universe. The miserable thugs who were behind the attack knew that. They didn’t choose Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles for their despicable attack. They chose New York because they wanted to inspire as much fear and terror as possible. They hijacked another plane and sent it to Washington, the seat of government, to make a different kind of point. They succeeded in creating the kind of reaction that the Japanese inspired among the American people after Pearl Harbor. They brought Americans and, for a brief time, the rest of the world together. We can argue about what came later—Iraq, waterboarding, torture and a Patriot Act that should make Americans shiver. But there can be no denying that if their intention was to depress and demoralize the American people, they did not succeed. The death and destruction caused by 9/11 was so terrible, so hateful, that they could only do themselves harm. Admiral Yamamoto was said to have worried that the attack on Pearl Harbor would awaken the sleeping giant. It did. When the American people woke up after Pearl Harbor, they did some things that history has recorded as being both unfair and stupid. Assuming that all Japanese people were so fanatical in

Political Garbage Talk

ernor, the explosion failed to do the kind of damage we saw on 9/11. The second time—we know what happened. I think most Americans are smart enough to know that this is going to be a difficult balancing act. We know that intelligence agencies can be used for partisan political purposes. Nixon wanted the Jews and arts people investigated. J. Edgar Hoover went after Martin Luther King Jr. in the most despicable of ways. The problem is that when you set up intelligence agencies with nobody looking over their shoulders, you can lose control. Years later, we are still looking at people’s files with horror. Bill Clinton stood next to George W. Bush the other day and thanked him for keeping America safe. If you were innocent of any crime and had been “rendered” to Guantanamo, you might not have been as appreciative. If you were the parent of a kid who was killed in the name of democracy, fighting in a war that, it turns out, was based on false information, you might tend to look at things differently. There are no easy answers here, just balancing—but every American ought to be thinking about what’s at stake. Alan S. Chartock is president and CEO of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and an executive publisher at The Legislative Gazette.

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this last-ditch effort by the community and the elected officials works. There have been so many lies by the Sanitation Department, and too many of the rules about the station’s distance from a park have been broken. Ecosystem information that is years old and needs to be updated was used to fake out those who need good information to make logical decisions. For years, I have been attending these meetings and rallies. I am not going to list the organizations that have fought hard and supported these politicians, who should have started using their clout a long time ago. Now, when our backs are to the wall after years of being left to fend for ourselves, they get together. I know they are September 8, 2011

Ten Years

Later

» Inside Mt. Sinai’s To the Editor: 9/11 Wing » The Documentary a Decade in the Making Re “Still Looking to » Hope From the Ashes Trash the Plan” (Tapped » Editorial: Never Again In, Aug. 25): I am somewhat upset about the way the article gives credit to only the elected officials. For years, there have been organizations fighting the reopening of the Marine Transfer Station. There have been lawsuits. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support from some elected officials who are not now in office, and others who chose not to use their influence, we are in the current position of having to fight Custer’s last stand. This project is one that everyone knows should not be happening in any case. This is an outrage. I only hope that

Septem ber 15, 2011

their obsequiousness to the emperor that they placed entire families in internment camps. Of course, in the case of Japan, we were at war with a nation, and in the 9/11 case, we were not. We were at war with some organized thugs who had a lot of people in the Muslim world believing in their cause. It turns out that many Americans have little patience for the Muslim community because the folks who are still trying to do us harm are Muslims. The case of what has been called “the Ground Zero Mosque” demonstrates this. With some regularity, we hear stories about racial profiling of Muslims in America by police and intelligence authorities. While these allegations are met with denial, there can be no doubt that intelligence is being collected in the more radical segments of the Muslim community. This is the way it has always been done. On several occasions, other attacks have been thwarted—sometimes because of our intelligence, sometimes because of just plain dumb luck, sometimes because of incompetence on the part of terrorists or would-be terrorists. One thing is certain: New York has always been the target and will continue to be so. Remember, the Twin Towers were attacked not once, but twice. The first time, when Mario Cuomo was gov-

Special 9/11 section, pages 4–17

We will always remember where we were a decade ago, when the world changed and made us realize that evil is a resilient foe. (Page 34)

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fighting for us, but it always seems as if they are just there for the photo opportunity and a letter. Where are they on a day-to-day basis? It is the community who is writing letters to the Army Corps of Engineers. I have personally talked to the project manager, Naomi Handell. When I asked her if one head of an organization and another so-called active person had contacted the corps, the answer was no. I was shocked. When an issue of this importance comes to the forefront, all of the local organizations and elected officials should have this on their agendas every day— some staff member who keeps up the pressure every day until we win the battle. John Blau Democratic District leaDer emeritus, 65th assembly District (retireD) Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


new york gal

Fashion’s Night Out Fatigue

Shopping for designer duds and celebrity spotting was anything but glamorous By Lorraine Duffy Merkl It had the masses-trolling-the-streets quality of Halloween but without the costumes, although Fashion’s Night Out (FNO), which kicks off Fashion Week, did attract those who had Lady Gaga-ed themselves out—after all, this is New York City, and there are always people who can’t go five minutes without attracting attention. Now in its third year, FNO—the brainchild of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour—is a nocturnal “pub crawl,” except instead of booze it’s for clothes, shoes and accessories. According to washingtonpost.com, “Last year’s extended hours and blitz of promotions and entertainment provided a measurable sales lift for merchants.” Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks cash as well as credit transactions, estimated that sales nationwide at department stores and clothing chains were up

2 percent on Fashion’s Night Out 2010 over the 2009 period, which was limited to events in New York, with shoes and teen clothing faring the best. As of this writing, it’s yet to be determined how sales did at the 2011 event. From what I could see, there weren’t a whole lot of shopping bags. I took my daughter Meg with me, and I must admit that being part of “an event” is fun. We met up with a couple of her friends and their moms (ah, the power of texting) and worked our way up Fifth, then Madison, together. The group started at Saks, hit Manolo Blahnik, Abercrombie, Gucci, Tiffany and the UGG store, to name a few. I’m not saying no one bought anything—in fact, our friends bought shoes and I got a pair of pants—but it looked like most people were out more for the party than to purchase. For the most part, everyone, shoppers

and salespeople alike, got into the spirit of the evening. There was music as well as live performances, models walking amongst us mere mortals (like a Sex in the City episode) and celebrities to meet and mingle with. But like any occasion that involves the celebrated, FNO had its high/low, frustrating, disappointing moments. Across the board, the evening was to begin at 6 p.m. and end at 11, with stores promoting personal appearances by singers, actors, designers, etc. As is often the case with these things, the famous show up for a fraction of the allotted time, so unless you can clone yourself to be at all activities at once, there’s little hope of glimpsing more than a couple of stars. At Saks, Meg and I joined a line to see Leah Michele & Co. then were turned away, along with the two dozen people behind us, because the store’s officious staff cut off the number of fans to meet

the Glee cast after the first 50 people. We found success two floors up, where Meg shot hoops with Kim Kardashian’s husband, pro basketball player Kris Humphries, as well as got a picture and autograph. He was as nice as he is tall. By the time we got to Blahnik’s at 8 p.m., de facto spokesperson Sarah Jessica Parker had “left 20 minutes ago.” Since proceeds from the evening’s purchases went to The Fund for Public Schools, you’d think she could have stuck around to encourage more spending. Ditto for the New York Housewives at New York & Co. We planned to end our night on a sweet note at Dylan’s Candy Bar, but they closed their doors at 9 p.m. Well, there’s always next year. I will know to spend my time, as well as money, more wisely then. Lorraine Duffy Merkl’s debut novel Fat Chick, from The Vineyard Press, is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Dewing Things BeTTer

Honoring the Fallen by Being Better Neighbors Imagining a city of smiles and helping hands By Bette Dewing This photo of a tree in Carl Schurz Park cruelly cut down by Hurricane Irene has great personal meaning, having been taken by my son, Todd Walter. The tree is located near the rocks where he and his brother, Jeff Joseph, played as children (before the bike and scooter explosion). But there would be a public meaning, too, if the stump, which remains, were to bear a plaque telling us to stop and reflect on these wonders of nature—to reflect, period. Reminding us to be grateful that our city was spared the wrath of Hurricane Irene, and for City Hall’s great preparedness effort. (Now we must make it defend us from everyday lawless and heedless wheelers, especially of the two-wheeled kind. But that’s for another column.) A plaque should also remind us to help those from whom the hurricane took such O u r To w n NY. c o m

horrendous tolls in upstate New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. And all of this hopefully relates to this column being written after attending the Sept. 11 service of remembrance held in front of 530 E. 84th St., where a designated tree honors all who were wrongfully and tragically lost on this nation’s most terrible day. Thank you, Judith Cutler and your building super, who began and continued this blessed neighborhood tradition with its heartfelt remembrances of those who were lost—so many of them heroes, all of them missed so profoundly. Lighted candles circled the fenced-in tree pit with its plaque of remembrance inside, and a bouquet of sunflowers was left there by a woman whose cherished son was one of the innocent victims. When asked for a comment, I said, “Perhaps we honor the lost and those who mourn

them best by being more neighborly throughout the year and, yes, exchanging more smiles on our dally rounds.” We sang “God Bless America.” Singing life enhancing songs together, especially “America the Beautiful,” is something this society desperately needs to revive. Some of all of that should be inscribed on that The damage done by Hurricane Irene reminds us to reflect dear Carl Schurz Park tree on the way we should treat our fellow New Yorkers. stump. But these thoughts need to get out there more often from dent and Minnesota Senator Hubert the pulpits, where people preach to “love Humphrey, a nonpartisan man who said: one another,” and, above all, through “The impersonal hand of government can those mediums that inordinately shape never replace the helping hand of a neighcustoms and views while more and more bor,” Smile, but not at wrongdoing—that preaching opposing doctrines. we must fiercely protest! And surely related is to make this magnificent dream of former vice presidewingbetter@aol.com S e p t e mb e r 1 5 , 2 0 1 1

O U R TO W N

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