The local paper for the Upper er East Side
THE BEAUTY OF THE GODS: TIBETAN ART AT THE ASIA SOCIETY < P.13
WEEK OF MARCH
TWO SIDES MEET ON TRASH PROJECT, BUT NEITHER BUDGES
MOSKOWITZ’S HALFMILLION-DOLLAR PAYCHECK With the city and the Success Academy charter schools locked in an ongoing legal battle, attention has inevitably turned to the two public faces of the ﬁght -- and to their salaries. In a much-discussed piece last week, the Times reported that Eva Moskowitz, the head of the Success chain, makes $485,000 a year -- more than double what schools Chancellor Carmen Farina pulls in to run the the NYC school system, which has 1 million students. The Success schools, which operate rent-free, are locked in a battle with Mayor de Blasio, who moved to block three of the schools from co-locating in New York public schools. Moskowitz is ﬁghting to reinstate them.
WASTE TRANSFER STATION Little progress is cited in meeting between administration and East side officials BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS
UPPER EAST SIDE Representatives of elected officials on the Upper East Side met with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration late last week to discuss the city’s plan to build a marine transfer station on East 91st Street -- but neither side seemed to move much. According to someone briefed on the meeting, the administration presented initiatives it would undertake to mitigate the impact of the station – known locally as “the dump” – but its position that construction should go ahead remained largely unchanged. Details of the mitigation efforts weren’t immediately available. By contrast, nearly every other elected official and community group on the East Side is opposed to the project, citing environmental concerns, fears about how the station would fare in another hurricane, and the fact that school children play at the nearby Asphalt Green recreational area.
The pothole on the Upper East Side that snagged Louise Grunwald. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons
THE POTHOLE AND THE SOCIALITE POTHOLES The winter has been brutal for the roadways, as well. BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS
Three weeks ago Louise Grunwald fell into a pothole on the East Side and fractured her ankle. “It was noon on a beautiful day, I guess I wasn’t paying attention,” said Grunwald, an Upper East Side
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socialite who was married to the diplomat and former Time managing editor Henry Anatole Grunwald. Three days later she was telling the story to friends over dinner at her home on East 70th Street. Among her guests: Amanda “Binky” Urban, the literary agent who has represented authors like Cormac McCarthy and Brett Easton Ellis. “The next morning she was walking to work and she fell into a different pothole,” said Grunwald. “I sent her to the same doctor, she had an X-
ray, and ironically she had the same fracture.” Both potholes happen to be on the Upper East Side, but the problem is everywhere. And while potholes have always been a constant of city life, particularly after a brutal winter, their spread has fed a perception, particularly on the East Side, that some city services have frayed in the transition from mayors Bloomberg to de Blasio. “I was born in New York, there’s always been
THE CITY’S AGING INFRASTRUCTURE The gas explosion in East Harlem focused attention on a NYC infrastructure that is literally crumbling beneath us. A report from the Center for an Urban Future notes that many of the city’s roads, bridges, and subways are more than a halfcentury old. Utility systems are even worseoff. The report says that more than 1,000 miles of New York City water mains are more than 100 years old, “leading to frequent and disruptive breaks,” and more than 160 bridges were built a century ago or longer.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
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MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS CHECK U.E.S. BUILDING ALLOWED TO DETERIORATE, ACCORDING TO TENANTS
MANAGING DIRECTOR SUES FIRM, ALLEGES â€˜MAD MENâ€™ HELL A managing director on the Upper East Side is claiming that her boss at Steven Hall & Partners fostered a hostile, sexually aggressive work environment in her new suit. Among the allegations are claims that female employees were encouraged to do everything possible to land accounts, including performing oral sex. On top of that are numerous alleged instances of sexual harassment in the work place. Steven Hall & Partners does not have a sexual harassment policy in their HR handbook. â€œSeveral managing directors â€Ś expressed concern that if SH&P adopted a sexual harassment policy Hall would violate the policy immediately upon its implementation,â€? the suit states. NY Post
In October 2010, Stahl Real Estate ďŹ led a hardship application with the cityâ€™s Landmark Preservation Commission, claiming that its building between East 64th Street and East 65th Street was unable to turn a proďŹ t and requesting permission to demolish and rebuild. Now, tenants are claiming that the building was purposefully neglected. â€œThey donâ€™t do anything,â€? said Elizabeth Pearce, who has lived in the building for 31 years. â€œThey donâ€™t even clean the halls anymore. They used to mop the ďŹ‚oors every Friday, but even that has stopped.â€? DNAinfo.com
DE BLASIO ALLY PAID TO FIGHT TRANSFER STATION
PRE-WAR THROWBACKS ON U.E.S.
Bertha Lewis, leader of the nonproďŹ t Black Institute, is being paid by Pledge 2 Protect to ďŹ ght the East 91st Street waste Transfer Station. Lewis has long been an ally of de Blasioâ€™s. They helped form the Working Families Party together and they both supported Bruce Ratnerâ€™s Atlantic Yards Project. â€œBertha Lewis has been opposed to the E. 91st [transfer station] since 2003,â€? said spokeswoman Eve McGrath. â€œLewis is guiding the grass-roots efforts of P2P and is giving voice to the always overlooked residents of the lowincome housing, which neighbors the project,â€? she added. Thanks in part to Lewisâ€™s support, Pledge 2 Protect has been able to rally grassroots support on the East side to kill the project. NY Daily News
429 East 64th Street, which tenants say has been deliberately allowed to fall into disrepair by the landlord.
GRACEâ€™S MARKETPLACE RECEIVES PASSING GRADE DESPITE MICE Despite being ďŹ lmed by the Daily News with a massive mice problem only the day before, Graceâ€™s Marketplace has received a passing grade from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. â€œThe store passed inspection with a few general
deďŹ ciencies but nothing critical to endanger public health,â€? said agency spokesman Joseph Morrissey. â€œWe found what appeared to be older mouse droppings and a couple rodent entryways but nothing new.â€? The state said it would monitor the store until all signs of the rodents were gone. NY Daily News
The New York Times reports of a growing real estate trend on the Upper East Side. Renovating pre-war buildings has long been the norm, but now developers are eying creating these pre-war treasures from the ground up. 151 East 78th Street, 135 East 79th Street, 200 East 79th Street and 110 Park Avenue, are all condominiums that have taken on such a design. â€œIf there was a pivotal moment,â€? James Lansill, senior managing director of the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, said, â€œit was 15 Central Park West, which is a contemporary building, meaning itâ€™s new, but at the same time, it has considerable vocabulary that relates to more historic, prewar styling and detailing. It really captured the imagination of New Yorkers.â€? New York Times
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MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
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District 5 residents will vote on how to use $1 million of discretionary budget funding BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS
UPPER EAST SIDE Residents of District 5 have just been handed a blank check. Councilman Ben Kallos announced his office is taking part in an abbreviated participatory budgeting program with $1 million available to spend. Under normal circumstances, a council member taking part in participatory budgeting – where constituents vote on how to spend a certain amount of money in the district – gets seven months to hear and vote on proposals from the community. Because Kallos took office in January, however, the process is being expedited. “The process is shorter and includes preapproved city projects awaiting funding rather than the usual process of community members conceiving of projects, which then go through the city approval process,” said spokesperson Sarah Anders. “Most ﬁrst-term council members are not including a participatory element of their discretionary funds this cycle.” Kallos’ office received 14 proposals from the parks, environmental protection, transportation, education, consumer af-
fairs and health departments, as well as the city’s School Construction Authority, the New York Public Library and the New York City Housing Authority. Residents in City Council District 5, provided they are 16 years of age or older, will get ﬁve votes to use on different proposals. Voting is open from March 31 to April 5, and residents can vote at the district office at East 93rd Street and 2nd Avenue from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Other voting times and locations are available on www.BenKallos.com. Anders said another round of participatory budgeting will take place next budget cycle. Policy Director Paul Westrick said that process will begin this summer and will feature proposal expos where the community can present their ideas. At the Lexington Houses, a 448-unit NYCHA-administrated development on East 98th Street where representatives from Kallos’ office gave a presentation on participatory budgeting, a proposal is up to replace each tenants’ refrigerator and oven. Rebecca Mead, treasurer of the tenants’ association, said she’s been working to mobilize residents to vote in favor of the proposal as new appliances are sorely needed in the development. “They’re out of date and half of them are broken,” said Mead of tenants’ refrigerators and ovens. “It’s a big issue for us.” Mead said she called as many people as
she could to come to the participatory budgeting presentation, and was heartened by the turnout of about 15 tenants. “It’s a little hard. But when you tell people that maybe there’s a chance for them to become involved in their own well-being they will come out,” said Mead. “We’re trying to get people out here and take part and make a difference in their own community.”
How should $1 million be spent in your community? Below are the 14 proposals for community projects in City Council District 5. The number of proposals that can pass is as many as possible until the $1 million is accounted for. For more information on the proposals, and when and where to vote, visit www.BenKallos.com. • Renovate the basketball courts at John Jay Park - $400,000 • Replace the sprinklers at St. Catherine’s Park - $200,000 • Install new irrigation system to water Ruppert Park’s greenery - $100,000 • Install handrails at Carl Schurz Park $80,000 • Upgrade the New York Public Library 67th Street branch security system $40,000 • Replace the New York Public Library 67th Street branch cooling system $500,000 • Replace the New York Public Library 67th Street branch heating system $500,000 • Upgrade the Webster Library electrical system for higher capacity, more access to computers - $300,000 • Replace the Webster Library heating and cooling system - $500,000 • Purchase Toolcat multi-purpose maintenance machine for district parks - $65,000 • Improve street safety along East 86th Street corridor – Unknown • Replace and install play area equipment, plantings and seating at Isaacs Houses - $700,000 • New fridges and stoves for residents of Lexington Houses - $430,000 • Improvements to Robbins Plaza: security system, automatic entrance, new fridges and stoves for residents - $370,000
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
AT BIDEAWEE THIS MoNTH
Getting Lucky means something different to everyone. To Bideawee and animal lovers everywhere, it means long walks in the park, lots of kisses in the morning and a warm snuggle when you get home. In March, we’ve made getting Lucky as easy as possible by changing the names of all our loving dogs and cats that are 6 months and older to “Lucky.” And as luck would have it, Bideawee is letting pet lovers make Lucky a part of their family for free. Of course, you’re also free to choose your own name once you adopt one of these Lucky ones. Once you bring them home…we consider you both Lucky.
animal people for people who love animals ® Manhattan · Westhampton · 866.262.8133 · bideawee.org
MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
Hunter College The Writing Center- Continuing Education
Invites You to Join Our 4th Annual
:5,7(56&21)(5(1&( Saturday, June 7th, 2014 8:30am-5:30pm
Featuring Keynote Speakers
James McBride & Nicholson Baker 12 Panels with distinguished writers, editors, publishers and literary agents Plus Luncheon and Networking Reception
AN IRISH BREAKFAST Manhattan’s Democratic establishment held their annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast this year at the T.G.I. Fridays on East 42nd Street. The event was organized by the McManus Democratic Club and the Riese Organization, and boasted such attendees as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Borough President Gale Brewer. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons
Registration Fee $225 For more information, visit our website: www.hunter.cuny.edu/thewritingcenter-ce/conference 212.650.3850
695 Park Avenue East Building, Room 1022 NY, NY 10065
The Writing Center Writing | Literature | Culture
WELCOME TO NYC! Kerry Harrild wrote us from London to say that she wants to surprise her husband Luke with a picture of the two of them in Our Town for their ﬁrst wedding anniversary. Consider it done. The two of them will be visiting the city this week for their anniversary and she thought that since a traditional ﬁrst-anniversary gift is paper, a newspaper photo would ﬁt the bill. This will be Luke’s ﬁrst trip to the city.
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 potholes, but I’ve never been injured by one,” said Grunwald. “The roadways are in very bad shape, in all neighborhoods.” A review of 311 data from the city shows exactly where the pothole problem on the East Side is concentrated. In Community Board 8’s territory, which has about 220,000 residents, there were 1,031 complaints to 311 regarding streets and sidewalks in the last six months. Such complaints include everything from sidewalk conditions and sewer maintenance to street light issues and potholes. • There were six pothole complaints on 3rd Avenue between 65th Street and 67th Street. • There were nine pothole complaints on 2nd Avenue between 71st Street and 72nd Street, six of which originate at the intersection of 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue. • There were eight pothole complaints on East 86th Street
between 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue. Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side in District 5, is a co-sponsor of legislation that would require the city to ﬁx potholes within ﬁve days of receiving a complaint. “So far this year, we’ve only received complaints from two people on pothole-speciﬁc matters, and one was in regards to how potholes are cleared up citywide,” said a Kallos spokesperson. “We are taking a proactive stance because we know it’s a concern in the neighborhood despite not getting much outreach on it.” Nicholas Mosquera, a Department of Transportation spokesman, said the city’s roadways experienced “significant wear-and-tear due to the winter weather.” He said the DOT plans to resurface 1,000 lane miles as part of a comprehensive roadway maintenance plan developed in response to this year’s record-setting winter. Since Jan. 1, DOT crews “have been hard at work repairing more than 207,100 potholes citywide,” said Mosquera.
Two Sides Meet on Trash Project, But Neither Budges CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Assembly Micah Kellner with the letters he sent to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. On Friday, State Assemblyman Micah Kellner sent more than 900 letters from constituents to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation,
urging the agency to hold a public hearing on New York City’s effort to renew its fiveyear permit to build and operate the station.
According to the DOT, 177,413 potholes were repaired in 2013. It takes DOT crews an average of 2.5 days to respond to a report of a pothole. “As you know, the cold, wet winter weather also contributed to increased pothole formation compared to years when the winter has been mild,” said Mosquera. “This is the sixth snowiest winter on record and the agency is working hard to address potholes on residential streets and arterials as quickly and efficiently as it can.” Some complaints are addressed and closed, according to the 311 service request map. However, the map doesn’t always accurately reflect the reality on the ground. For instance, the six pothole complaints originating at the intersection of 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue have since been addressed, according to Mosquera, but don’t show up on the map. As for Grunwald’s pothole, he doesn’t know if it’s since been fixed. “I haven’t been back to check,” she said. We did, and, as of press time, it’s still there.
The letters, distributed by Kellner’s office and signed by constituents, call for the hearing, “particularly in light of the city’s apparent intent to modify its proposal for the site; new federal guidelines for waterfront infrastructure promulgated after Superstorm Sandy; and the signiﬁcant changes in the surrounding community since the first permit was issued to the City ﬁve years ago, including the opening of five new local schools.” In a statement about the letters, Kellner said, “The reality is that the proposed MTS does not comply with new federal guidelines for waterfront infrastructure and does not take into account the significant changes that have taken place in the community since the permit was first issued five years ago. The community’s voices demand to be heard, and we deserve the ability to weigh in on a matter of intense public concern.” Kellner is also involved in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the construction of the MTS. The suit alleges that the corps violated the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act in granting the New York City Department of Sanitation a permit necessary to begin construction on the MTS.
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The Pothole and the Socialite
MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
A REASON TO KEEP PUSHING FOR PEDESTRIAN PLAZAS EDITORIAL In a story we excerpted in this week’s paper, “Why Cars Are Killing People,” (p. 12), writer Hunter Oatman-Stanford delves into the history of vehicle-pedestrian collisions in urban areas, and reveals that they weren’t always seen as the tragic and unavoidable accidents they are often categorized as
today. In the early days of automobiles, drivers were solely responsible for keeping their machines out of the way of walkers, and they paid stiff penalties when they hit someone, regardless of the pedestrian’s behavior and adherence to the rules. Of course it’s impossible to go back to that
time, but there are ways that New Yorkers can and should resurrect a small piece of the mentality that the city streets are shared spaces, not just for cars and trucks and buses. The de Blasio administration can help by picking up where Bloomberg left off and continuing to create new pedestrian plazas in the
midst of busy traffic areas, and maintain those already implemented. These small havens for the fast-walkers, stroller-pushers, and scooterriders among us contribute to the city’s overall attitude toward traffic and pedestrians, and they send the signal that we can create safe spaces, even in the middle of the street.
WHAT NEIGHBORS ARE SAYING: BEN KALLOS ON HIS FIRST FEW MONTHS
Feedback IN AWE OF A DEDICATED TEACHER Re “12,000 Classes, One Absence” (March 6, 2014), about a music teacher on the Upper East Side with an unparalleled dedication to her students: “I always knew she was a great teacher. She was always patient and encouraging with my little one. When my kid was 4, she taught her how to write music and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I can’t even make her sit still, yet Nancy was able to teach her the whole lesson. And she actually came home and played it from the beginning to the end! My kid is now 14 and in a special high school for arts & music, thanks to her.” Renee Baker
FIGHTING FOR PRE-K, AGAINST THE M.T.S.
Do you think potholes are a problem in your neighborhood? “ It depends on where you look. There’s a lot of roads. You start shutting areas and people are going to get upset.” Ryan O.
“Incredible dedication! Very inspiring. Especially these days, when most teachers care more about their paid vacations, and to hear a story like this, is beyond amazing! She single handedly regained my faith in the teaching profession. We need more teachers like her.” Jane Taylor “This is remarkable! I’ve known Nancy for many many years and always knew that she is very loving and compassionate! She’s a very gifted and talented music teacher and I believe that this special achievement truly comes from within. She loves what she does and she loves to see children learn music; she’s passionate, she’s extremely patient and most of all, it’s simply because she cares wholeheartedly! Congratulations Nancy! We should all model after you and your spirit!” Angela “I rarely hear a story like this in my everyday life...A freelancer who ALWAYS shows up for work? This woman must really love what she does!” Dana Yetugal
Letters can be sent to us at news@strausnews. com. We reserve the right to edit for length or content.
“ There’s always some The city councilmember lists his early priorities BY BEN KALLOS
Since taking office in January, I have been working to ensure you have the services you need, while also working to expand pre-k and afterschool programs to all children, opening up government for public participation, and ﬁghting the marine transfer station slated to be built in our neighborhood. A new report from Pledge 2 Protect has offered further evidence that the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station will hurt our city. I oppose the marine transfer station and support instead a modern approach that will reduce waste,
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increase recycling and protect residential neighborhoods – and I am working to spread the word in city government. As a public school graduate and a child of a single mother, I have also been fighting for the type of fully-funded pre-k and after school program that can make a real difference for families like mine. New York City will be better if we can make life easier for working parents and give every child a fair start. I have been out in the community, sharing ideas on early education with you. A small investment in pre-k can reduce drop-out rates and crime later in life, helping all New Yorkers thrive.
I have enjoyed getting the chance to meet many of you at community events such as monthly First Fridays at my office from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. I have also been holding Policy Committees on the First Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., which allow you to lend your expertise and join our team. Please RSVP to email@example.com or call 212-860-1950 to join us for either event. Finally, I hope you will vote on projects that are important in our neighborhood through participatory budgeting, which I am bringing to our community this year. Please visit BenKallos.com/ pb for more details and a voting schedule.
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construction. It always creates a problem. Even when I’m on my bike it’s a problem.” Marley G.
“ It is a problem, my street has a lot of pot holes on it.” Peter R.
“ I do think it’s a signiﬁcant problem, I swear I step in one every day on the way to work.” Brady G. Jennifer Peterson, Upper East Side Gail Dubov, Upper West Side Edith Marks, Upper West Side
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
Lives Entwined in East Harlem BY BETTE DEWING
oo often it takes a loss or just now, a terrible tragedy, to learn about something we needed to know, such as the community way of life enjoyed in the East Harlem’s two buildings decimated by a gas explosion. Of course, we care most about the at least eight peeople killed, and those who mourn them, and the many severe injuries, and the lost homes. But, so all important to believers in reviving neighborly connections was the ground-ﬂoor Spanish Christian Church mostly responsible for this connected way of life. All this and more was so thankfully brought to light by the March 14 Times front page story, “In Two Build-
ings, Lives Entwined as in a Bygone Era.” Naturally, I protest its being a bygone era, but rather a semblance of one we desperately need to revive in a society with so many too much alone or/and going it alone. Some of us call it “the new smoking” public health hazard - and then some. Ah, but nobody heeded the warnings, say, in Vance Packard’s early 1970s best seller, “A Nation of Strangers,” or the late 1970’s James Lynch’s “The Broken Heart, the Medical Consequences of Loneliness.” And there are other related books by Christopher Lasch, Daniel Goleman, and many others who warned about the growing lack of vital human connections. And now there is cyberspace where the connections are often trivial, selﬁedirected (“me deep in conversation”) and hateful. And some people don’t even talk on the phone much anymore. Ever wish cyberspace had not been invented? Some accredited social scientists like Neil Postman surely leans that way in in his book, “Technopoly.” But, again, do read the Times story which could be
considered a Lenten reading or pre-Passover reading and required reading for all concerned with, say, “The Caring Society,” sought by the Menninger Foundation some decades ago. Somehow, the mayor must realize that it’s not just housing desperately needed by those displaced (or anyone else), but a caring and connected community. A related digression, this also makes for a safe community, which Msgr. Harry Bryne called “The Fist Civil Liberty” in his Times op ed, published in high crime times. His pertinent homilies in this paper and his dedicated multi-faith work in affordable housing on the Upper East Side (and East Harlem too, I think) were also invaluable. Ah, but, oh so universally needed for harmonious shared housing, shared lives, and communication in general, was the Epiphany Church series of workshops planned by Sister Margaret and its then pastor, Msgr. Byrne, based on Haim Ginnott’s bestselling communication-skill books. Speaking of Lenten and
Photo by Randy Le’Moine Photography pre-Passover reading and all who care about building caring communities, the books included were “Between Parent and Child” and “Between Parent and Teenager.” Their lessons apply to all relationships.
But again, great and lasting good must come out of this terrible tragedy in East Harlem, and I can’t help but remember the poignant last line of Virginia Scott Miner’s little poem which Karl Menninger said he read every
morning. It said, “Fear only the not caring – oh my dear, fear this - fear this.” Fear the forgetting. firstname.lastname@example.org
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MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
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Out & About 21 GET YOUR RESUME RIGHT 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Free This hands-on class will guide you through formatting your resume in Microsoft Word. Please bring a written draft of your resume and a USB drive to save and/or print your resume. Please call to register beforehand. 212-734-1717
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to work directly with a 2014 Biennial artist. Suzanne McClelland’s expressive abstract compositions are inspired by the relationship between numerical measurements and the body. Join McClelland for this workshop and create your own artworks inspired by her process and ideas. Registration required. 212-570-3600
IN THE NEWS WITH JEFF GREENFIELD: A CONVERSATION WITH CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Kaufmann Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Avenue 7:30 p.m., From $29 A veteran political, media and culture reporter and analyst, Jeff Greenﬁeld most recently served as CBS Senior Political Correspondent and is currently a columnist for Yahoo! News and the anchor for PBS’ “Need to Know.” Don’t wait for an edited clip to show up online—be there when the news happens and ask your own questions. 212-415-5782
96th Street Library, 112 East 96th Street near Lexington Avenue 2 – 3:30 p.m., Free Discover Free eBooks at The New York Public Library and explore the digital reading world. In this class you’ll learn how to access eBooks and Audiobooks through the library’s web site and download them to your eReader device. We’ll also discuss different PINOCCHIO THE PLAY eBook formats for Kindle, Apple, Android and Nook 67th Street Library, 328 East devices. 67th Street 212-289-0908 4 p.m., Free A little wooden marionette is lovingly created by a master craftsmen... but what a bad little puppet he turns out to be! He’s selﬁsh and greedy, and he lies. He doesn’t listen to the good council of anyone: his father Gepetto, a philosopher Cricket, SPEEDING DOWN THE or a Blue Fairy. After many hair SPIRAL BOOK READING raising adventures, Pinocchio ﬁnally learns what it takes to become human... kindness, Guggenheim Museum, 1071 compassion, loyalty, hard work Fifth Avenue and selﬂessness. Presented by 1 p.m., $20 the Traveling Lantern Theatre Author Deborah Goodman Company. Recommended for Davis for hourly readings of the children ages 4 and older. Guggenheim-inspired book 212-734-1717 Speeding Down the Spiral: An Artful Adventure. Stop by the Open Studio to make art and READING: IN THE WAKE meet the book’s illustrator Sophy Naess. Price of admission Barnes & Noble, 150 East includes one copy of the book. 86th Street 212-423-3788 7 p.m., Free Obie-winning author Lisa Kron presents a reading of In the Wake, a play that takes on the question of our country’s character and politics with plenty of humor and passion. This event is co-sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. 212-369-2180
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FAMILY NIGHT AT JODI’S GYM 244 East 84th Street 5 – 7 p.m., $60 for ﬁrst child, $30 for siblings Children will enjoy the incredible gym, bouncy castle, sing along circle time, parachute play, story time and crafts. You will enjoy quality time with your little ones. Top it off with a yummy pizza dinner for the entire family. 212-772-7633
ARTIST’S CHOICE: SUZANNE MCCLELLAND Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., $10 per family This series of art workshops offers families the opportunity
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
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Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, Menâ€™s Health Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders, Male Sexual Dysfunction, Low Testosterone, Male Infertility, Obesity, Osteoporosis, High Cholesterol & High Blood Pressure, Calcium Disorders, Adrenal Disorders
CLASSICAL MUSIC: THE ROMANTICS 555 East 90th Street 12 â€“ 1 p.m., $22 Learn how Beethoven, Brahms and other 19th- century composers broke with classical tradition to develop a new style known for large ensembles and wild orchestrations. Presenter Jessica Davy, a clarinetist, composer and educator, teaches music appreciation classes throughout the tri-state area and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Merkin Concert Hall in NYC. She is the visibility until now. founder and executive director of 212-369-2180 Leora Chamber Orchestra. 212-369-8890
BALLET EXERCISE CLASS FOR ADULTS 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street 3 p.m., Free Learn basic ballet steps and experience the joy of dancing in a class that combines ballet and exercise speciďŹ cally for older adults. As you dance, see for yourself the beneďŹ ts of ballet for good balance, agility and grace. Wear comfortable clothes. No experience necessary. 212-734-1717
MICROSOFT WORD ADVANCED 96th Street Library, 112 East 96th Street near Lexington Avenue 12 â€“ 1:30 p.m., Free Learn the more advanced features of Microsoft Word. Topics include how to insert an object, printing, opening a
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WINE & CHEESEâ€”SIP & SOCIALIZE 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue 7 p.m., from $40 Mix and socialize over a robust selection of wines. Wine expert Stefani Jackenthal guides you through various offerings and some basic snack matching. Mingle, relax and enjoy. 212-415-5500
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ADOPT A PET Petco Union Square 860 Broadway at E. 17th Street New York, NY SUN MARCH 23#
NEW PARENT GETTOGETHERS Weill Art Gallery 1395 Lexington Avenue 10:30 a.m., $10 Bring your baby and join Sally Tannen, director of 92Yâ€™s Parenting Center for a lively, weekly get-together to share, learn and make new friends. Come when you can. No registration required. 212-415-5782
OTHERHOOD: MODERN WOMEN FINDING A NEW KIND OF HAPPINESS Barnes & Noble, 150 East 86th Street 7 p.m., Free More American women are childless than ever before, nearly half those of childbearing age make up the Otherhood, a growing demographic that has gone without deďŹ nition or
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MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
WHY CARS ARE KILLING PEOPLE A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY Approximately 30,000 Americans will die from automobile collisions this year but it doesn’t have to be this way BY HUNTER OATMAN-STANFORD
There’s an open secret in America: If you want to kill someone, do it with a car. Today, despite the efforts of major public-health agencies and grassroots safety campaigns, few are aware that car crashes are the number one cause of death for Americans under 35. But it wasn’t always this way.
History of Cars Vs. Pedestrians “If you look at newspapers from American cities in the 1910s and ’20s, you’ll find a lot of anger at cars and drivers, really an incredible amount,” says Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. “My impression is that you’d ﬁnd more caricatures of the Grim Reaper driving a car over innocent children than you would images of Uncle Sam.” Though various automobiles powered by steam, gas, and electricity were produced in the late 19th century, only a handful of these cars actually made it onto the roads due to high costs and unreliable technologies. That changed in 1908, when Ford’s famous Model T standardized manufacturing methods and allowed for true mass production, making the car affordable to those without extreme wealth. By 1915, the number of registered motor vehicles was in the millions. Within a decade, the number of car collisions and fatalities skyrocketed. In the ﬁrst four years after World War I, more Americans died in auto accidents than had been killed during battle in Europe, but our legal system wasn’t catching on. The negative effects of this unprecedented shift in transportation were especially felt in urban areas, where road space was limited and pedestrian habits were powerfully ingrained.
crowded city park, where everybody’s moving around, and everybody’s got business to do,” says Norton. “Pedestrians favored the sidewalk because that was cleaner and you were less likely to have a vehicle bump against you, but pedestrians also went anywhere they wanted in the street, and there were no crosswalks and very few signs. It was a real freefor-all.” Roads were seen as a public space, which all citizens had an equal right to, even children at play. “Common law tended to pin responsibility on the person operating the heavier or more dangerous vehicle,” says Norton, “so there was a bias in favor of the pedestrian.” Since people on foot ruled the road, collisions weren’t a major issue: Streetcars and horsedrawn carriages yielded right of way to pedestrians and slowed to a human pace. The fastest traffic went around 10 to 12 miles per hour, and few vehicles even had the capacity to reach higher speeds. In an effort to keep traffic ﬂowing and solve legal disputes, New York City became the first municipality in America to adopt an official traffic code in 1903, when most roadways had no signage or traffic controls whatsoever. Speed limits were gradually adopted in urban areas across the country, typically with a maximum of 10 mph that dropped to 8 mph at intersections. By the end of the 1920s, more than 200,000 Americans had been killed by automobiles. Most of these fatalities were pedestrians in cities, and the majority of these were children. “If a kid is hit in a street in 2014, I think our ﬁrst reaction would be to ask, ‘What parent is so neglectful that they let their child play in the street?,’” says Norton. “In 1914, it was pretty much the opposite. It was more like, ‘What evil bastard would drive their speeding car where a kid might be playing?’ That tells us how much our outlook on the public street has changed—blaming the driver was really automatic then.
A Shift to Protection - and Blame When Walkers Ruled For those of us who grew up with cars, it’s difficult to conceptualize American streets before automobiles were everywhere. “Imagine a busy corridor in an airport, or a
In 1924, recognizing the crisis on America’s streets, Herbert Hoover launched the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety from his position as Commerce Secretary (he would become
A typical busy street scene on Sixth Avenue shows how pedestrians ruled the roadways before automobiles arrived, circa 1903. Via Shorpy. President in 1929). Any organizations interested or invested in transportation planning were invited to discuss street safety and help establish standardized traffic regulations that could be implemented across the country. Since the conference’s biggest players all represented the auto industry, the group’s recommendations prioritized private motor vehicles over all other transit modes. Meanwhile, the auto industry continued to improve its public image by encouraging licensing to give drivers legitimacy, even though most early licenses required no testing. Working with local police and civic groups like the Boy Scouts, auto clubs pushed to socialize new pedestrian behavior, often by shaming or ostracizing people who entered the street on foot. Part of this effort was the adoption of the term “jaywalker,” which originally referred to a clueless person unaccustomed to busy city life (“jay” was slang for a hayseed or country bumpkin). “Drivers ﬁrst used the word ‘jaywalker’ to criticize pedestrians,” says Norton, “and eventually, it became an organized campaign.
They had people dressed up like idiots with sandwich board signs that said ‘jaywalker’ or men wearing women’s dresses pretending to be jaywalkers.”
Today’s Perspective “The real battle is for people’s minds, and this mental model of what a street is for,” Norton says.
“That’s the main obstacle for people who imagine alternatives— and it’s very much something in the mind.” This piece was adapted from “Murder Machines: Why Cars Will Kill 30,000 Americans This Year,” originally published by Collectors Weekly and printed here with permission. Read the full article at www.collectorsweekly.
“ At some point, we decided that somebody on a bike or on foot is not traffic, but an obstruction to traffic.”
Left, a cartoon from 1923 mocks jaywalking behavior. Via the National Safety Council. Right, a 1937 WPA poster emphasizes jaywalking dangers.
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
BLUES BRUNCH ACROSS THE PARK
A SECRET HAVEN FOR POETRY < LITERATURE, P.15
< MUSIC, P.14
DANCING GIRLS AND WRATHFUL GODS ART Asia Society pieces together the remains of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in a groundbreaking new show BY VAL CASTRONOVO
Some time back in the 12th century, Jigten Gopto, a disciple of Tibetan Buddhist master Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170), had a vision. He saw a Tantric deity in a palace, ith a ﬂock on a sacred mountain, with of 2,800 lesser deities. The crow wd conﬁguration of the crowd inspired him to design a e special structure to house st the remains of Buddhis Buddhist holy men. Called tashi gomang g (“Many Doors of Auspi-ciousness”) stupas, these elaborate, tiered memorial reliquaries later became the h distinctive feafea ature of Densatil Monaste ery, Monastery, a sacred place erected in 1198 by followers of the late Phagmo Drupa in a remote, mountainous area of central Tibet. The monastery was pillaged centuries later during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Now fragments have been gathered from museums and private collections and are being exhibited for the ﬁrst time at Asia Society in a glittering show, Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, y on view through May 18. Be prepared for a spiritual journey, as the physical layout of the exhibit mirrors the physical organization of an actual stupa, moving from lowly layers of deities that will help devotees with earthly matters to higher-level deities that have eschewed the material . A large, quite helpful diagram of a Densatil g stupa kicks off the show, illustashi gomang trating the six tiers of these sculpture-laden t (thi k offth ddi cakes), k ) monuments (think them as wedding
w with the sixth tier being the lowliest, physica cally and spiritually speaking. Other visual ai aids include pictures of the monastery’s artw works taken by Italian photographer Pietro Fr Francesco Mele, who accompanied the scholar Giuseppe Tucci to Tibet in 1948. The stupa is topped by a reliquary that conta tains the remains of the enlightened follower to whom the shrine is dedicated (to continue th the cake analogy, think of it as the cake toppe per); a bell-shaped, domed metal reliquary, lik likely the style of the one that housed the rem mains of the holy Phagmo Drupa, is on loan fr from the Rubin Museum . Some of the most delightful and artistic ar artifacts on display hewed to the bottommost tiers, which were crowded with literal thousands of sculptures literally of ffierce deities and other exp pressive protectors of the tteachings still conscious of e earthly desires. Consider the complex iconography of Dhumavati S Shri Devi (early 15th cent tury), a wrathful deity who inh inhabited the southern side of the sixth tier and is part of A Asia Society’s permanent colle collection. Made of gilt copper alloy, with turquoise and lapis lazuli inlays, she sits on a reclining mule at a lotus ﬂower and has four arms—the upatop pe two wield swords, while her lower right per ha cradles a skull cup. She is ﬂanked by ten hand sm smaller ﬁgures, seated on lotus blossoms and en encircled with swirling tendrils. One step up leads to the offering goddesses, si sixteen in all. The fragments on view are richly detailed and full of whimsy, with musicians an and a line of ladies with bent legs in a formati tion that would make the Rockettes proud. Fast forward to the higher, more esoteric le levels of the tashi gomang stupa—and the sh show. The meditational ﬁgures here evince a supreme calm. The reliquary (Kadam stupa pa; 14th century) that tops the stupa—that’s ri right, a stupa on top of a stupa—symbolizes th the end of the path and the attainment of enli lightenment.
IF YOU GO Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th St.) Now through May 18
Center: Dhumavati Shri Devi. Central Tibet. Early 15th century. Gilt copper alloy with inlays of semiprecious stones. 18 x 19 x 7 in. (45.7 x 48.3 x 17.8 cm). Asia Society, New York: Asia Society Museum Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert H. Kinney in honor of Vishakha Desai, 2012.4. © 2013 John Bigelow Taylor, Asia Society Left: Nagaraja. Central Tibet. 15th century. Gilt copper alloy with inlays of semiprecious stones. H. 15½ in. (39.4 cm). The Kronos Collections. Richard Goodbody
MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
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WEST SIDE WOMAN LAUNCHES BLUESY BRUNCH
JAZZ Eileen Howard has experienced music in every shape and form and she’s bringing it all to her favorite neighborhood BY ALISSA FLECK
UPPER WEST SIDE Jazz and blues singer Eileen Howard’s eccentric background no doubt played a role in who she is today, and she’ll be the ﬁrst to tell you so. When Howard was in the fourth grade, her parents got involved with a group of ecumenical Christians in an allblack community on the west side of Chicago.. Howard says what started as a community development project eventually became an international organization. “Like many organizations in the 60s,” Howard said, “it was very communal—we shared resources, ate together, and all lived in a building where we worked.” The group was highly involved in the civil rights movement; Howard’s family even marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Howard’s time in Chicago was not only formative on a social level; it also furthered her
childhood love for music. “I fell in love with soul and R&B, and I learned to dance,” she said. When she was growing up, Howard’s father was a concert pianist and her mother a classical singer. To Howard’s enjoyment, a new sort of music was always wafting through their house. Not only was Howard exposed to music on a regular basis, her parents were also involved with a musical theater company. Eventually, she could sing all of “Oklahoma” by heart. Howard listened to everything and loved it all, though jazz would be a later discovery for her.
The Bluesy Brunch When a man named John Forslund purchased the former Underground Lounge (107th and Broadway), he fixed the place up in his own image. Howard, alongside a duo act, performed a very successful concert at the new joint, renamed the West Side Lounge, and Forslund and Howard struck up a friendship. From there, the Bluesy Brunch was born. What can one expect from the monthly Bluesy Brunch, which will officially launch on March 23rd? Howard gives us a taste: “The blues is upbeat—we tell stories
and people sing along. I do empowering and fun blues. One of my favorite songs, ‘Wild Women Don’t Sing the Blues’ is about not being a victim, but getting out there and being empowered, being wild.” Howard is now a resident as well as a local fixture in the neighborhood in which she performs. “[My husband and I] love the Upper West Side,” she said, “I mean, we really love it.” Howard is also, naturally, overjoyed by the music scene in the area. In some senses, however, the Ohio transplant is still settling in. “New York is a raging river that sweeps you along,” said Howard, adding you must focus on what it is you truly want to do. For awhile she got wrapped up in her acting career, but knew she had to take a step back. “I missed blues and jazz,” Howard said. “I really want to focus on that right now and just give it my all and see what happens and this partnership has been so encouraging.” The Bluesy Brunch will have no cover charge for the first four months. More info can be found at www.singouteileen. com.
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
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Top, Alia Meyerovich frequents the children’s room at Poets House with her dad in tow. Above, managing director Jane Preston. Photo by Mary Newman
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Tucked away in a corner of Battery Park City, ﬂanking the Hudson, a literary refuge awaits. Poets House, founded in 1985 and in its current home at 10 River Terrace since 2008, is a non-proﬁt institution that provides a home for both poets and poetry. The two-story facility was constructed specifically as a permanent home for Poets House, which secured a rent-free lease until 2069 from the Battery Park City Authority. Vistors enter through a light-ﬁlled, atrium-like lobby, and can venture into the ﬁrst-ﬂoor children’s room, which holds hundreds of books along with a massive pile of whimsical stuffed animals, ancient typewriters, and an old card catalogue, the drawers of which reveal tiny shadowbox art projects when slid open. “It’s an amazing spot, it’s free, it’s so rich in every sense,” said Arthur Meyerovich, and brought his 4-yearold daughter, Alia, to romp around the
BY MEGAN BUNGEROTH
Poets House works to promote poetry and provide free resources for New Yorkers
children’s room. e Upstairs is home to the true stars off Poets House - overr ks. 60,000 poetry books. des The collection includes ies editions, anthologies rom and chapbooks from every poetic genre and era imaginable. Admission is free, and readers are welcome to bring coffee, lunch and laptops and sit for a few minutes or a few hours. “Poets House is very widely known among some people who really care about poetry,” said managing director Jane Preston. Programs includes outreach to schools, teaching poetry to kids, as well as progams that highlight lesserknown poets, like the current project Poetic Voices of the Muslim World. Preston explained that the mission is to create a home for poetry and readers, but also to broaden public access to the art form. “How do we help people gain access to this secret treasure that they have, which is their language, and the freedom to use it artistically, to express and experience stuff that they’re never going to get on TV,” she said. “We are helping people to understand and enjoy poetry.”
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MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
Food & Drink
< THE SIMONE MAKES NEW YORK MAGAZINE’S BEST OF NEW YORK LIST UPPER EAST SIDE New York magazine’s 30th-annual Best of New York list hit newsstands this week, and U.E.S. restaurant The Simone (151 E. 82nd St., between Lexington and Third Avenues) made the cut, thanks to its wine pairings. Chef Chip Smith runs the kitchen at this
In Brief BUTTERFISH RESTAURANT OPENS New sushi restaurant Butterﬁsh (550 Madison Ave. at 55 Street) opened earlier this month. The restaurant specializes in omakase-style sushi, meaning diners leave it to the chef to prepare the courses as he chooses.According to the restaurant’s website, Chef Hitoshi serves his ﬁsh with warm rice, and has long wanted to create an affordable dining option for sushi-lovers. At Butterﬁsh, prices range from $20 to $42 for a full omakasestyle meal, though diners looking for a more individual experience can reserve a seat at the chef’s table and enjoy an exclusive omasake menu for $95 each. Butterﬁsh opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday.
ENJOY FREE MACARONS ON MACARON DAY NYC The start of spring just got a bit sweeter, thanks to the return of Macaron Day NYC. On Thursday, March 20, participating bakeries throughout the city will give away free macarons to customers, including Upper East Side shops Butterﬁeld Market (1114 Lexington Ave., near E. 78 Street) and FP Patisserie (1293 Third Ave., between E E. 74 and E. 75 Streets). Started in 2010 by chef Francois Payard, owner of FP Patisserie and Payard Bakery, Macaron Day NYC corresponds to the similar Jour du Macaron in Paris. For a map of all participating locations, visit macarondaynyc.com.
new French restaurant, and the magazine praises his wife Tina Vaughn’s wine pairings. “Not so much a stodgy sommelier as a giddy grape nut,” the magazine wrote, “Vaughn has a knack for ﬂavor combinations and a desire to please—even customers who’ll only drink red with ﬂounder paupiettes.”
Diners could find a pinot gris paired with sweetbreads in mustard beurre blanc, the magazine said, and flounder with a “floral white.” The Simone opens nightly at 5:45 p.m.
FOOD & MUSIC U.E.S. authors get their turn in the spotlight BY GABRIELLE ALFIERO
UPPER EAST SIDE In many ways, 11-year-old Carrie Berk is a normal sixth grader. She takes ballet classes after school and goes to summer camp in Scarsdale, where she played Sandy in a production of “Grease” a few years ago. She left P.S. 6 on the Upper East Side for Trevor Day School this fall, and she’s learning to balance her new friendships with the old. She loves the musical Wicked, the movie Frozen, and the TV show Glee. And like many kids her age, she’s a big fan of dessert, especially cupcakes. But Carrie, who lives on the Upper East Side, has a rather adult résumé. An experienced baker and seasoned food critic, she reviews cupcakes from all over the world for her blog, Carrie’s Cupcake Critique. She has nearly 90,000 Facebook followers, and along with her mother, best-selling author Sheryl Berk, Carrie created “The Cupcake Club,” a children’s book series about a group of friends who form a baking club. Carrie cooked up the idea while at a sleepover in second grade. She wrote a two-page story about cupcakes, and Sheryl showed it to her literary agent. Publishers were interested. A Sweet Media Empire Carrie’s short story formed the plot of the ﬁrst book in the series, Peace, Love and Cupcakes, about Kylie, a new girl in school who battles bullies and struggles to make friends until she starts a cupcake club. Many of the characters are based on Carrie’s friends and teachers from P.S. 6. The
Carrie Berk celebrates the opening of “Peace, Love and Cupcakes: The Musical.” Photo by Rosalie O’Connor Photography
PEACE LOVE AND CUPCAKES book was published in 2012 and inspired a new musical from off-Broadway children’s playhouse Vital Theatre (2162 Broadway, near 76th Street). “Peace, Love and Cupcakes: The Musical,” opened Saturday, March 15 and is scheduled to run through April 26. “We’re big Broadway geeks,” said Sheryl. “The idea of a musical was so exciting for us.” Rehearsals for the show began last month, but even before casting, Carrie made sure that Rick Hip-Flores, who wrote the script, music and lyrics, knew what she had in
mind. “I wanted Wicked and Frozen mixed together,” Carrie said as she ﬁnished a dish of cookies and cream ice cream at Sugar and Plumm on the Upper West Side. “I didn’t want it to be babyish.” A fter watching a runthrough of the show, she told Hip-Flores she thought a scene in which the actors talked directly to the audience seemed too young for her age group, and she asked him to change it. He did. Director Jennifer Curfman said Carrie offered a valuable
voice throughout the show’s development. “It was very important to Carrie that the show appealed to her peer group,” Curfman said a few days before opening night. “Appealing to that audience has been what her eye has been on all along.” Keeping up with Carrie’s creative vision sometimes requires last-minute changes. After Sheryl sent the manuscript for the fourth book in the series, Icing on the Cake, to her editor, Carrie asked to incorporate her new Havanese puppy, Maddie, into the story.
“She said, ‘we’ve got to rewrite the whole book,” said Sheryl. “They gave us two weeks, and we made an entire subplot about Jenna, who’s the lead character in that book, adopting a Havanese puppy named Dulce.” Carrie hasn’t always felt so bold, she said. Like Kylie in the books, she used to be shy, but winning the lead role in Grease at camp made her more conﬁdent, much like the cupcake club boosted Kylie’s selfesteem. “She’s kind of progressing with me,” Carrie said.
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS MARCH 5 - 11, 2014 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygieneâ€™s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml.
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST The local paper for the Upper West Side
New York Post WHATâ€™S UP WITH THAT?
Highlands Cafe Restaurant
1505 Third Avenue
1248 Lexington Avenue
1593 1 Avenue
303 East 85 Street
Not Graded Yet (30) Cold food item held above 41Âş F (smoked ďŹ sh and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ÂşF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facilityâ€™s food and/or non-food areas. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.
Is the West Side Fairway Cheaper? A reader wrote asking why some groceries cost more at the Upper East Side location than the Upper West Side
can of Bumble Bee wild Alaskan salmon at the Fairway on East 86th Street is priced at $7.19 a can â€“ but the same exact product is only $5.49 at the Upper West Side Fairway on Broadway and 74th Street. J. Rubin, a local shopper, wrote to Fairway, and to us, to try to get to the bottom of this discrepancy. We decided to see for ourselves. We sent a reporter to compare prices for a host of products (see chart) at the West Side and East Side locations. Prices were checked on Thursday, May 23, and do not include any sales or specials. Hereâ€™s what we found: While a few prices were indeed higher on the East Side (Frosted Flakes and Twinning tea will set you
.com STRAUS MEDIA ďšş MANHATTAN PRESIDENT Jeanne Straus ACTING EDITOR Megan Bungeroth â€˘ firstname.lastname@example.org CITYARTS EDITOR Armond White â€˘ email@example.com STAFF REPORTER Joanna Fantozzi FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS Alan S. Chartock, Bette Dewing,Jeanne Martinet, Malachy McCourt, Angela Barbuti, Casey Ward, Laura Shanahan PUBLISHER Gerry Gavin â€˘ firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny & Eddies
1643 1 Avenue
1261 Lexington Avenue
H & H Midtown Bagels East
1551 2 Avenue
1410 3 Avenue
Adam Chinese Cottage
1748 2 Avenue
Grade Pending (21) Cold food item held above 41Âş F (smoked ďŹ sh and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ÂşF) except during necessary preparation. Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided.
1830 2 Avenue
Ghiradelli Premium Hot Chocolate
Ben & Jerryâ€™s Cherry Garcia
CLASSIFIED ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Stephanie Patsiner DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Joe Bendik
Filet Mignon, per pound
Fairway Organic Dark Roast CoďŹ€ee Twinning English Breakfast Tea
Oreos Double StuďŹ€ed, family size
Chips Ahoy, family size
Fairway Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Naked Juice Green Machine
Applegate Organic Beef Hot Dogs
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Simply Heinz Ketchup
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1744 First Avenue
Our summer course begins July 29, 2013 and meets every Monday and Thursday evening until August 29. Fall courses begin either September 7th or 8th, 2013 Ten 3-hour classes A progress report is sent home to parents each week 6 complete practice exams provided Test taking techniques taught
*5)7(6735(3$5$7,21&/$66(6 THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013
1725 2 Avenue
The Writing Room
1703 2 Avenue
Not Graded Yet (21) Cold food item held above 41Âş F (smoked ďŹ sh and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ÂşF) except during necessary preparation. Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140Âş F to 70Âş F or less within 2 hours, and from 70Âş F to 41Âş F or less within 4 additional hours. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
1670 1 Avenue
1776 2 Avenue
Lox At Cafe Weissman
1109 5 Avenue
Closed by Health Department (40) Cold food item held above 41Âş F (smoked ďŹ sh and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ÂşF) except during necessary preparation. Insufficient or no refrigerated or hot holding equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at required temperatures.
Genesis Bar & Restaurant
1708 2 Avenue
El Paso Taqueria
64 East 97 Street
Grade Pending (2)
Steak & Hoagies
1657 Madison Avenue
Grade Pending (36) Hot food item not held at or above 140Âş F. Cold food item held above 41Âş F (smoked ďŹ sh and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ÂşF) except during necessary preparation. Food Protection CertiďŹ cate not held by supervisor of food operations. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared.
Lechonera Tropical & Grill
172 East 103 Street
June 2, 2013
The local paper for the Upper East Side
NY Times Hunter, The Saddest Smartest School Around Elite East side high school ranks last in happiness study By Adam Janos
unter College High School, at 71st East 94th Street, is a school of superlatives. Itâ€™s regularly recognized as one of (if not the) most successful public schools in the city and nationwide, and is an ivy feeder, putting its graduates on the fast track to a life amongst the intellectual elite. Now, itâ€™s been saddled with a less-stellar distinction: saddest spot in New York. A new study by the New England Complex Systems Institute
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released August 20 took a measure of mood in the city using geo-tagged tweets. Twitter users are known for their informal, concise language, and tweets are frequently accented by the use of emoticons like â€œ:)â€? or â€œ:(â€œ). After researchers established a correlation between the emoticons and the words that would accompany them, they divided all the chosen tweets by location and mapped the cityâ€™s mood. Yaneer Bar-Yam, the studyâ€™s principal investigator, notes that high-density traffic spots like the midtown tunnel are associated with more negative emotions, while Central Park and Fort Tyron Park â€“ the peaceful, green lungs of Manhattan â€“ are associated with positive sentiment. â€œWe looked at the locations with strong positive or negative sentiment, and the results are intuitive, which is strong confirmation that weâ€™re doing the right thing,â€? he said. And, according to the study, in all of New York City, the most negative place to be is Hunter College High School. Several Hunter grads rushed to defend the institution. â€œI had a really great time there,â€? Mynette Louie, an independent film producer from the class of â€™93 says. â€œI wasnâ€™t happy about commuting over an hour to get to schoolâ€Ś but I had a good time, because I was surrounded by all these smart peopleâ€Ś it was pretty nerdy, but it was also just fun.â€? Caroline Friedman, class of â€™06, thinks the atmosphere was
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WEST SIDE SPIRT
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Fairway Cheese Ravioli
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Bumble Bee Wild Alaskan Red Salmon
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back a couple extra dimes) there were also a few items more expensive on the West Side, like Chips Ahoy and Ghiradelli hot chocolate. Many prices, however, were the exact same. But what about that glaringly high mark-up on the salmon? Fairway did not respond to our email, but did respond to Rubinâ€™s email, apologizing for what turns out to be a pricing error, which the store said they have since corrected. â€œThe retail for the Bumble Bee Wild Salmon should be $6.49 at our 86th Street location, and $5.99 at Broadway, and these retails were corrected,â€? said a customer service representative in an email. â€œThe difference in these retails is due to promotional pricing we received from our vendor at our Broadway location. We are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and we thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.â€? It seems that Fairway is offering a fairly even grocery shopping experience for both the Upper East and West Sides.
intense, but never cutthroat competitive. â€œIâ€™m in law school now, and when I was applying Iâ€™d hear stories that at some law schools, people will rip out the relevant pages from the library books so other people couldnâ€™t read it. It was nothing like that,â€? Friedman says. â€œAt Hunter, there was a lot of cooperation: people were sharing notes, people were copying homework.â€? Still, Friedman notes that there was limited sunlight in the classrooms (the students refer to the building itself as â€œthe brick prisonâ€?), and advises current Hunter College High School students to, â€œgo to the park during lunch. spend some time in the courtyard.â€? Other alumni are less glowing in their reviews of the Hunter community; Sachi Ezura, class of â€™04, remembers high school as one of the most difficult times in her life. â€œOne thing I remember, is that everyone would go home and write in their Xanga or their Livejournal [online blogs]. And this one kid, all the popular kids used to pass around his blogâ€Ś people reveled in each othersâ€™ sadness.â€? Ezura herself spent considerable time in the nurseâ€™s office when she would get upset, and she notes that in her classâ€™s yearbook, thereâ€™s a drawing of her crying on a page entitled, â€œA Day in the Life of the Senior Class at Hunterâ€?. Michelle Kang, class of â€™02, thinks a large part of the stress was related to the high pressure of the school combined with the inherent stress of living in New York. â€œI mean, you think all the typical things American kids get to do in high school: driving around, going to football gamesâ€Ś I was in the middle of this dense, dirty place, trying to catch a train.â€? Kang has since moved to Seattle, and is getting her masterâ€™s degree in architecture. Still, all Hunter alumni seem to agree that the experience, however painful or enjoyable, was indispensible. And when asked, all maintain that their closest friends in adulthood are people they met while at Hunter. â€œI think if people can step away from [the academic pressure] and appreciate that this is the time in your life when youâ€™re surrounded by the most intelligent, special people, that thereâ€™s a lot to be gained by that,â€? Benjamin Axelrod, class of â€™02 says. â€œItâ€™s a really good group.â€?
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2013
September 25, 2013
September 5, 2013 The local paper for Downtown
NY Times cityArts
COMMUNITY NEWS BELOW 14TH STREET t 0$50#&3
Village Halloween Parade Faces Obstacles in Comeback The Town & Village Synagogue
Churches and synagogues throughout Manhattan are ďŹ nding their ďŹ nancial plans thwarted by preservation eďŹ€orts By Megan Bungeroth
tâ€™s hard to argue against preserving the cityâ€™s historic, soaring monuments to God. Churches and synagogues throughout Manhattan have been targeted by preservation enthusiasts since the city first created the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. They have good reason: without landmark status protection, surely many of these places, which give religious congregations a home and neighborhoods an inimitable character and sense of history, would have been torn down
long ago. The side not often heard above the rallying cries of well-meaning preservationists, however, is that of the actual church or synagogue members. The landmark process, meant to protect and preserve historical assets that theoretically belong to everyone, can sometimes end up displacing the very people who hold the actual deeds to these properties and destroying the community that resides within the building in order to preserve its facade. On the Lower East Side, a well-known synagogue is hoping to avoid a landmark designation that some in the community are eager to obtain. The Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street has occupied a building for decades that has been technically calendared (meaning that a vote was already taken to schedule a hearing) by the Landmarks Preservation Commission since 1966, though a hearing was never Continued on page 8
ALSO INSIDE WHATâ€™S HAPPENING IN HELL SQUARE? P.4
RESTAURANT HEALTH GRADES P.13
After its ďŹ rst cancellation in a three-decade history last year, the parade is struggling to ďŹ nd enough money to raise itself from the dead By Omar Crespo
he Village Halloween Parade has had quite the rough year. Last year, hurricane Sandy left the costumes, floats, and music inoperable. This year, organizers have been forced to turn to Internet crowd funding in hopes of keeping the event going. Sandy left the parade in dire need of donations and funding, which left its organizers in a state of limbo. Jeanne Fleming, the paradeâ€™s head coordinator for the past 33 years, is optimistic the event will come together for this yearâ€™s Halloween. â€œWe hope so,â€? she said. Because of the unintended shutdown of the parade last year, the event coordinators have had to try and recoup the losses suffered. The parade committee turned to the popular crowd-sourcing website
Kickstarter, which helps artists fund their creative pursuits through public monetary pledges. The Kickstarter campaign, which began on September 16, has been slowly making its way to the $50,000 green-light goal. If the full amount isnâ€™t pledged by a October 21 deadline, the parade wonâ€™t get any of the funds. Fleming said that compared to the hundreds of thousands of people who have attended and enthusiastically supported the parade over the decades, â€œthe Kickstarter response has been lukewarm.â€? As of press time, the campaign had raised $41,975 from 732 backers, and five days left. The $50,000 collected this year will go to investment insurance for the businesses and individuals who donated last year but did not get a parade. Before this new digital venture, support for the parade came in the form of sponsorship from companies, businesses and TV licenses, as well as from grassroots-level funding such as children selling cookies or restaurants donating food. Recently, the Greenwich VillageChelsea Chamber of Commerce, which represents small businesses in the downtown area, announced that the Rudin Family Foundations and the Association for a Better New York will give a $15,000 matching fund if the parade Continued on page 8
October 29, 2013
October 17, 2013
FIRST IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD The local paper for the Upper East Side
The local paper for the Upper West Side
The local paper for Downtown
MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town
<DOORMAN, BUILDING OWNER TALKS HEAT UP The Realty Advisory Board, the industry association representing most building owners in New York City, and 32BJ SEIU, the largest private sector union in New York, formally sat down for contract talks covering 30,000 building workers in the city. Failure to reach an agreement by April 20 could lead to a strike directly affecting more than two
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Strength on the U.E.S. urrently the real estate market is very active in all areas of the Upper East Side. There is a shortage of inventory across all apartment sizes and price ranges. The classic apartments along Fifth and Park Avenue continue to attract well-heeled buyers. Foreigners have conﬁdence in our city and many want to own on the Upper East Side, especially BY SUSAN in close proximity to Central LANDAU ABRAMS Park. New construction condominiums are being snapped up at a record pace and even condominiums along First Avenue, once a more challenging area for luxury apartment sales, are attracting buyers at record prices. It is not uncommon to see 20 prospective buyers line up at a Sunday open house. These apartments go into contract within days, sometimes at prices over the asking price. Of course, apartments that are overpriced and those in need of TLC still linger on the market. But the Upper East Side is broadening its appeal as transportation improves, particularly along Second Avenue. In the past, the eastern reaches of the neighborhood, with wonderful parks and quieter streets, were far from subway transportation and as such potential residents sometimes were hesitant about the area. This perception is rapidly changing in large part due to the Second Avenue Subway. In Phase 1 it will run from 63rd to 96th Street along Second Avenue. Initially the development of the subway brought unwelcome noise, construction debris and turmoil to the neighborhood. Residents would tell me “I avoid Second Avenue as much as possible” and commerce struggled. As the construction is farther along, new stores, bars and restaurants have opened along First Avenue with new locations emerging on Second Avenue as well. Graces Marketplace, a longtime tenant on Third Avenue, is moving to bigger space on Second Avenue and Whole Foods, known as a neighborhood game changer, is opening at 87th Street and Third Avenue. We expect prices to rise especially along East End, York, First and Second Avenue.
Susan Landau Abrams is an associate broker at Warburg Realty. You can reach her at 212-439-4537
million New Yorkers living in 3,300 apartment buildings. The next bargaining session will be on March 24. The union has highlighted the fact that these negotiations are taking place in a different climate than the last one in 2010, when the economic recovery was still in its beginning phase. Today the
real estate industry is thriving. “This contract is an opportunity to maintain a middle class in this city,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “We will continue to talk with the RAB to make sure that we have the same understanding of what it takes to live in such an expensive city..”
THESE STREETS WERE MADE FOR TALKING A program helps takes the emotional temperature of the city’s neighborhoods BY GABRIELLE ALFIERO
A new research project from Microsoft Research Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs is giving New York City’s neighborhoods a voice. HereHere NYC (herehere.co) displays the daily emotional temperatures of 42 neighborhoods on an interactive map. Led by Microsoft senior researcher Kati London, the project, which debuted publicly on March 10, uses 311 data to build stories and personalities for each neighborhood. Based on the 311 information, each community posts a daily mood. The Upper East Side might feel ‘worried’ about handicap access and rodent sightings. Greenwich Village could feel so frustrated it wants to flip a table because of ﬁre alarms and broken traffic lights. Without ‘oversharing’—there are typically a few updates per day, as new 311 data comes in— London wants to examine how assigning human traits to neighborhoods can create conversation around local issues and neighborhood dynamics. “We take a reaction or response and make it human,” said Lon-
don, who lives in Chelsea. “You can see an account of how many homeless assistance requests are in a neighborhood, but what happens when your neighborhood tells you that it feels bad about that? How does that change our interaction with that data?” Users can tap in to neighborhood concerns on the map, which features corresponding cartoons—headphones suggest noise complaints, a flattened squirrel denotes road kill sightings—or neighborhood-speciﬁc email lists and Twitter feeds. The map also includes links to community board contact information. HereHere NYC also notes what issues were relevant one year prior, and awards daily superlatives; the neighborhood with the most transportation concerns is dubbed ‘Friendliest Commuter,’
while the one with the most grafﬁti reports wins ‘Most Artistic.’ “Superlatives are super cute and funny, but you dig down one level deeper, and you look at ‘Biggest Trash Talker,’” London said. “That’s really the neighborhood that has the biggest issues around garbage, recycling and litter. We’re trying to use a playful thing that’s recognizable to people as a way of driving home information.”
HereHere NYC could easily read as a virtual complaint box, but doesn’t post solely negative comments: neighborhoods can feel ‘amused’ by reports of dead trees or ‘satisﬁed’ by a decline in sewage complaints. “You don’t want to hang out with your friend who’s always depressed,” London said. “We want to make a healthy relationship for the users, so we want to celebrate things that are going well.” London and her colleagues will continue to analyze if cute cartoons, characters and shareability more deeply connect New Yorkers to the neighborhoods they call home, while working to improve the program based on user feedback (email hhinfo@ microsoft.com with comments). London has already been approached by other cities interested in similar projects.
Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
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A NEW SCHOOL FOR SOHO NEWS The brother-sister team that runs the Montessori school in Flatiron is adding a downtown campus BY MARY NEWMAN
Angela Ciocca is committed to the Montessori philosophy of approaching education. She worked as a Montessori student teacher, earned her International Montessori Degree at an 18-month program in Perugia, Italy, and taught at different Montessori schools until opening her own, La Prima Casa in Miami. Now, Ciocca and her brother, Marco, are moving to expand the Montessori footprint in Manhattan, opening a school in SoHo this fall, to add to their existing school in the Flatiron. The new SoHo location is much bigger than the Flatiron space, and will include an outdoor play area and three ﬂoors of classrooms. It will have the same natural aesthetic, framed with large windows and wooden furniture. Since there is no outdoor area at the Flatiron location, students take daily trips to Madison Square Park. With the additional space that the SoHo school is providing, the Cioccas plan on expanding the existing space at Flatiron. They will add a spiral staircase to increase the space to two ﬂoors, allowing the enrollment to grow from 60 students to 180. With the addition of the SoHo school, they hope to bring their total enrollment to around 365 students in New York City. The head of the new school, Nick Combemale, has already been approached by parents who hope to enroll their toddlers in the new SoHo location. “Nick and Siri (Panday, assistant head of school) have already interviewed over 200 families this admissions season for the two campuses,” Marco Ciacco explained. While staffing their new school, they are looking for teachers across the country that have finished their Association Montessori International training. AMI teachers are referred to as guides, since the style of teaching allows students to develop at their own pace. “We have the highest level of expectation from our guides, but we also are here to support each other,” explained Panday. “Entertainment is like cotton candy for the brain. Our goal is to stretch the child’s ability one attainable step at a time.”
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Our Town MARCH 20, 2014
COMMUNITY BOARD REMEMBERS HELENE SIMON OBITUARY Simon, a dedicated member of the board who cared deeply about serving her community, died last month at age 81 BY NICK MARTINEZ
At the time of her death, Helene Simon was the longest serving member of Community Board 8. In her 40
years of service to the Upper East Side community district, she helped raise money for improvements to the Tramway Park and Andrew Haswell Green Park, as well as serving on the Parks and Transportation Committees and CUNY/MSK Task Force. “It would have been hard to miss Helene if you attended one of our meetings,” said Nick Viest, chair of Community Board 8. “She was forthright in her views and not reluctant to express
them. But, with that strong voice she also had a very big heart and was a large presence on our Board. It’s hard for me to imagine a Community Board meeting without her.” Other members pointed out that while she was always passionate about her beliefs, she was also funny, intelligent and kind in how she approached each issue. One member remembered that “she had a big heart, and was a large presence on the board.”
During her time with CB8, Simon worked as a paralegal for State Attorney General Robert Abrams, from 1979-1993 before taking an early retirement. Outside of her dedication to her community, Simon had two passions: politics and baseball. Viest opined that Simon had seen more Mets games in person than most have seen on TV. She was also very active in the Democratic Party, even attending the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Simon was raised in the Bronx and his survived by her brother and sister. Her sister, Linda Wolfson, noted that “she was a very caring person who took care of our parents until their death.” Simon died last month at the age of 81, due to complications from a stroke. Viest, along with many others, still remembers her strongly. “I think it is fair to say she was an in-
stitution on our Board and I will miss her very much,” he said.
STRENGTH TRAINING — THE POWER OF CAMP CAMPS
Why is Camp So Good for Children?
Why the structure of a camp setting helps children with crucial development BY ETHAN SCHAFER, PH.D.
When I was ﬁfteen, I was in my sixth summer at a traditional camp for boys in New Hampshire. One night after dinner, my counselor from the year before (a sixfoot, ﬁve-inch English rugby player) asked me if I wanted to throw a baseball around. We spent an hour or two playing catch and talking about whatever came up. I don’t remember the specifics of our conversation, who else was there, or what was going on around us. What I do remember, and still enjoy thinking about, are the positive feelings that resulted from having the undivided attention of someone I essentially worshipped. For some reason, this particular event stands out in my mind, though there were hundreds more like it over the course of my camp career. As a former counselor with fifteen years of experience, and now as a mental health professional specializing in working with children, I am convinced that the cumulative power of small moments like these illustrate the unique manner in which camp helps children reach their full potential.
Many camp professionals will describe their camp community as a family. I can’t think of a more accurate description. One of the reasons that well-run camps are so good for children is that they emulate the processes found in what psychologists call authoritative families. Parents who are authoritative provide their children with a great deal of structure and have high expectations of their children, while simultaneously providing a high degree of emotional warmth and encouragement. They can be distinguished from parents who are permissive (high emotional availability, but little structure and low expectations), or authoritarian (high expectations and structure, but low on emotional warmth and encouragement). When I work with parents, I often describe permissive parents as the “spoilers,” and authoritarian parents as the “dictators.” There are literally decades of psychological research supporting the conclusion that authoritative parenting is most likely to result in children who are happy, independent, and secure in themselves. Good camps are like good families: clear expectations are given, rules are enforced in a fair and sensitive manner, and campers are given warmth, respect, and encouragement. Substitute “camp counselor” for “parent,” and we get the “big picture”
reason for why camp is so good for children.
The Summer and Beyond Camp allows children to be exposed to a diverse group of people, interests, and activities where they are given the opportunity to try, fail, try again, and succeed in
the context of a supportive environment. Challenges at camp are real and they require sustained effort to master. The sense of accomplishment children get from mastering these challenges is therefore also real, and enduring. Campers can develop a personal sense of security and self-confi-
dence that will help them be comfortable in their own skin for the rest of their lives. Originally printed in CAMP Magazine, reprinted by permission of the American Camp Association.
MARCH 20, 2014 Our Town 22
YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES
ON POINTE IN NEW YORK CITY
To learn more about Misty, visit www.mistycopeland.com Follow her on Twitter: @ mistyonpointe She will be at Hue Man Bookstore on April 23rd for a book signing and discussion.
Q&A ABT’s Misty Copeland on living in a convent, Café Luxembourg, and Taye Diggs BY ANGELA BARBUTI
Misty Copeland took her ﬁrst ballet class in gym shorts, a t-shirt, and socks because she could not afford a leotard and tights. The 31-year-old American Ballet Theater soloist has come a long way from her 13-year-old self, and she’s chronicled her journey in her new book Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. As the only African American soloist in the prestigious company, Copeland exempliﬁes true perseverance in the face of adversity. The Upper West Side resident credits New York City, where she moved as teenager to pursue her childhood dream of dancing with ABT, with making her feel as though she belonged. “In the ballet world, you’re forced to look a certain way. And in New York, I felt I could be me and it was great,” she said.
At 16, you moved here from California. What did you think of the city at ﬁrst? I was terriﬁed and hated it. It was the summer, so it was super hot and muggy. I was used to California which is not so humid. It was overwhelming- all the people, seeing trash outside on the streets. But by the end of the summer, I had fallen in love with it and can’t imagine living anywhere else now.
You’ve been living on the Upper West Side for 13 years. It’s referred to as “the dance belt,” right? Yes, that’s what we all call it. New York City Ballet, ABT dancers, and a lot of people come up here because there’s Steps dance studio, where we take classes. And of course, Lincoln Center is here so it’s just easy to be near the theater. There are so many dancers on the Upper West Side. You run into them on every block.
What are your favorite places in your neighborhood? There are so many restaurants that I love. There’s Café Luxemburg which is on my block. I love Chowder House. I just love being on Columbus Avenue. Intermix is my favorite store, and Helmut Lang. I love to shop and love to eat.
Photo by Gregg Delman my race. At the time, that’s really how we felt. I was young and had the perfect ballet body. I was gifted and New York City Ballet didn’t take me into their summer intensive. I can’t even fathom how that happened when I was getting full scholarships to every elite ballet summer intensive. My teacher said to me, “I really think that it was because of the color of your skin.” But, obviously, that wasn’t said to me by them, so it’s hard to really know if that was the truth or not. Race is a huge part of my experience as a ballerina and I hear it from other dancers of color as well who really dealt with it ﬁrsthand. They had it said to their face, “You don’t belong in ballet. You won’t make it. You might as well do another form of dance.”
ABT accepted you into their summer intensive, and you lived in a convent with other ballerinas. Yeah, a lot of dancers experience that. It’s a safe place to be and it’s cheap. When you go away to most summer intensives, they have dorms, but being in Manhattan, it’s not practical. So you have to ﬁnd your own housing. The convent that I stayed at was on 14th Street and 7th Ave. It was a scary area then. I remember a shooting happening one night while we were sleeping and seeing blood outside the front door.
I’ve been to ABT’s rehearsal space on Broadway. Describe it to our readers. It’s literally like my second home. We’re in the studios from 10:15 a.m. to 7 p.m., ﬁve days a week. So I know every little part of that studio like the back of my hand. We have ﬁve studios on the two ﬂoors that we have. It’s in a building that we share with Broadway people, so we see a lot of interesting people coming in and out of the building. It’s actually very different from a lot of professional ballet companies’ studios. It’s really old. It’s very much like classic New York. The heaters make so much noise in the winter and when we have people come in who have never been in the studios, they get so frustrated with the noise of the radiators because they can barely hear the piano playing. As dancers, we’re not at all used to luxury. We’re in there; we’re working; we’re sweating. The luxuriousness comes out on stage.
Describe your ﬁrst ballet class at the Boys & Girls Club in San Pedro. I started at 13 and was in my gym clothes for those ﬁrst couple of classes. I had no idea what ballet really was, and I didn’t have the means to have a leotard and tights. I thought it was important to share those really intimate parts of my upbringing because I know that so many young people experience lives like that. They feel like they have no chance to be a part of something like classical ballet.
Since you were young, you knew you wanted to dance with ABT. I always knew that was the company I wanted to dance for. I just felt that they represent what America stands for more than any other ballet company. I felt that who I am as a person and as a dancer ﬁt in very well with the company. They have a very diverse repertoire. I enjoy doing more than just classical ballet and I get to do that at ABT. I always saw that vision for myself.
Race is a theme in the book; you think that the New York City Ballet didn’t offer you a spot because of the color of your skin. It’s hard to really say whether or not things happen because of
Your mother believed in your talent, even though she was struggling in her own life. My mother was extremely supportive and loving. She was a great mother. It was just extremely difficult coming from where she came from, and having to raise all of us kids, pretty much without a father. I think she did an amazing job.
There were many mentors who guided you along the way. One in particular, your dance teacher, Cindy, took you in as a foster daughter. Do you still see her? Yeah, I still see her. Everyone tries to get to New York during my spring season. She’ll be coming out with a lot of other family members. I see her when I’m home in California as well. I think it’s important to keep those people in my life.
You mentioned that you’re starting a dancewear line. I’m still in the process of making that happen. I started working on it four years ago. It’s going to be a dancewear line for curvy
women, so it’s really about support in the bust area, stuff that doesn’t really exist for ballet dancers.
I like the part of the book where you meet your boyfriend through Taye Diggs at Lotus. [Laughs] Yes, he was his cousin. I tried as best as I could to be a normal girl living in New York City. I wanted to really live life and not regret being a young woman stuck in a ballet studio. I deﬁnitely found comfort in being out and about in the city. I frequented Lotus nightclub a lot and that’s how I met my boyfriend. I met him on his last night in New York City before he returned to Atlanta where he was in law school. We ended up in a long-distance relationship for a year before he moved to New York where he’s an attorney.
You still take ballet classes seven days a week and say you will never perfect the technique. Explain that. As a professional dancer, being in class is our way of ﬁne-tuning our bodies. It’s not something you can just learn and forget about. Class is something that we do every morning to warm our bodies up for rehearsal and to keep our technique crisp and clean, the same way you would ﬁne-tune an instrument. For me, personally, I feel that my body is in the best shape it can be in if I take class every day.
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The March 20th, 2014 issue of Our Town.