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COURTESY: OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER

Surging Senior Population Prompts Stringer Blueprint

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Farewell to Beloved Man Allegedly Killed by Hate

UES Facebook Forum v. Spitting Homeless Woman

Coining Homophobia, He Fought It All His Life

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Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 07

MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC


At CB5, Critics Rip Garment District Rezoning BY JACKSON CHEN

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he city is proposing to revise the zoning framework of the Garment District, which has seen a steady drop of manufacturing availability and a spike in hotel developments. However, ma ny of t he a rea’s rema i n i ng workers a nd business owners are finding the city’s approach to be rushed and flawed. Dur ing a Communit y Boa rd 5 presentation on March 22, the cit y ’s E conom ic Development Corporation (EDC), alongside the Department of City Planning, presented a proposal for reworking the Garment District zoning. The special section of Midtown Manhattan is bordered roughly by West 35th and 40th Streets and Broadway and Ninth Avenue. The Garment District’s current zoning allows for building types categorized as manufacturing space, commercial use, residential, or mixed-use. Unique to the Garment District, property owners looking to convert their manufacturing space into office use have to date been subject to a 1:1 preservation requirement that says that every new square foot of office space must be matched by the preservation of a square foot of manufacturing space. T hat f ra mework, created i n 1987, has clearly not achieved its objective. According to the EDC’s numbers, the 9 million square feet of production space in the 1980s has shrunk to just 830,000 square feet. Even while more than 8 million square feet of manufacturing space have disappeared, the amount of space preserved under the 1:1 requirement amounts to only 2 percent of the original 1987 manufacturing inventory, or about 175,000 square feet, the EDC said. While manufacturing was heading south, hotels were sprouting up around the neighborhood, with 12 dotting the district today and another 10 in the works, accord-

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JACKSON CHEN

Uddin Hasina, owner of Ayazmoon Fabric, has run his business out of 214B West 39th Street for 25 years.

ing to the EDC. The stated goals of the rezoning are to allow what garment industry manufacturing that remains to stay over the next decade, while accommodating the area’s trend toward smaller companies, like startups and nonprofits, moving into office space. To accomplish this, the zoning proposal would maintain the current manufacturing and commercial zones, but in recognition of the failure of the 1:1 space preservation requirement, eliminating that. In response to the proliferation of hotel development, the zoning change would require new hotels to seek a specia l per mit first, which should prioritize new office and residential creation where allowed. While not part of the rezoning proposal regarding Manhattan’s Garment District, the EDC pointed out that the city is currently creating two garment hubs in Brooklyn, one at the Brooklyn Army Terminal that will have 500,000 square feet opening this coming summer and another at Bush Terminal, with 200,000 square feet opening by spring 2020. The agency also mentioned that there is currently about 2.4 million square feet of industrial space managed by private companies available in

Brooklyn. Regarding the Garment District rezoning proposal, the agency noted its efforts are still early in the process and have prioritized hea r i ng com mu n it y feedback before moving forward. But for many in the garment industry, the plan already seems misguided and not informed by those familiar with the district’s manufacturing opportunities. Borough President Gale Brewer, who spoke at the CB5 meeting, agreed with many of those who packed the meeting upset about the proposal. Brewer said that she doesn’t agree with lifting the 1:1 manufacturing preservation requirement in the current zoning, nor the incentives for moving business to Brooklyn. “ This plan does not include, in my opinion, a serious effort to maintain a garment manufacturing hub in the current district,” she said. T he boroug h president sa id she’s been very vocal about her criticisms to the EDC, which, she felt, presented disputable statistics. The agency numbers show that more than 34 percent of the garment industry workers live in Brooklyn, with Queens housing roughly 22 percent of its workers, and then Manhattan with 15 per-

cent and New Jersey with a little over 12 percent. Brewer said she wasn’t “convinced the research is correct,” noting how many industry workers have voiced u n happi ness about the plan. Meanwhile, an industry expert a rgued t hat 80 percent of his w o r k e r s c o m e f r o m Q ue e n s . Joseph Ferrara, president of the New York Garment Center Suppliers Association, a trade group that represents more 7,000 city industry workers, said that his workers would have to sw itch from a 30-minute commute from Queens to the Garment District to an hour-and-45-minute commute down to a new Sunset Park garment hub in Brooklyn. W h i le t he ED C s a id it h ad reached out to more t ha n 100 affected companies, individuals, and organizations in developing its plan, Ferrara claimed otherwise. “The direct stakeholders, the workers, the manufacturers, and the landlords, the city should be talking to them,” Ferrara said at CB5. “The city has not spoken to the manufacturers… [the EDC] already baked a plan and did not include two direct stakeholders, the workers and the manufacturers.”

 GARMENT DISTRICT, continued on p.3

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


   

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Two local designers, Rosie Turner (left) and Alisa Nicole, voice their concerns to members of CB5 (at right) as well as to the New York City Economic Development Corporation..

 GARMENT DISTRICT, from p.2 Newcomer designer Alisa Nicole said it feels like the city is actively pressing longtime Garment District manufacturers to move to Brooklyn where, in her view, their businesses could be negatively affected. “I feel like they’re trying to move the transition by offering something shiny,� Nicole said. “A nd then once [the manufacturers] get over there, it’s not going to be the same, the business might just crumble.� Nicole, who has been running Alisa Nicole Swimwear for more than a year, said she values the working relationship she has with a nea rby ma nufacturer, RCW Grading & Marking. The manufacturing prices are reasonable, she said, but as valuable are its expertise and willingness to teach her hands-on. “It would be really sad overall if the Garment District lost the manufacturers in this way,� Nicole said. “More people actually want the Garment District to be hoist up and given more support. We need to give them more of a shining light.� Robin Sokoloff, the founder and executive director of Loft227 — a Swiss Army knife of an incubator company that caters to all creative and production needs — said the zoning issues the agencies are confronting are beyond the control of the “garmentos.� Sokoloff, who’s visited more than 200 sites in the Garment District, said that around 85 percent of

them were vacant. She said she’s been rejected over and over again by the landlords who control the Garment District properties. She believes that the landlords are “icing outâ€? her business and other garment industry enterprises with ever-increasing rents and refusals to negotiate leases. Not everyone in attendance was dismissive of the rezoning proposal. The Garment District Alliance’s president, Barbara Blair, said the current zoning was not effective for the sustainability of the garment industr y. She said the alliance supports the city’s pr op o s a l a nd c om me nd s t he agencies trying to steer the area’s changing landscape in a positive direction. “Our largest stakeholder in the neighborhood are fashion designers,â€? Blair said. “And if fashion designers don’t have some place in the city of New York that can manufacture their goods, that ecosystem will fall apart.â€? But the overwhelming majority of those who spoke up at CB5 said the city really needs to reach out to the industry’s manufacturers and workers before moving forward. In fact, Brewer argued the city should start the process over. “This is way too important in this region in Manhattan and to the entire city, to rush out with a text amendment without having a robust discussion‌ and considering all the options and any potential adverse consequences,â€? she said at the meeting. “Once a delicate ecosystem is disturbed, there may be no putting it back together.â€?

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

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Surging Senior Population

Prompts Stringer Blueprint BY JACKSON CHEN

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n an effort to address the needs of a surging senior population, City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released a blueprint of policies for ensuring their welfare and supporting the work of those who provide care for them. At a March 21 press conference at the Greenwich House Senior Center at Washington Square, Stringer unveiled a new report, “Aging with Dignity: A Blueprint for Serving NYC’s Growing Senior Population,” that calls on the city to examine where neighborhoods housing seniors and agencies serving them could be buttressed. “We need to act today — not tomorrow,” Stringer said. “Seniors are the anchors of our communities, and we must ensure they have the support they deserve.” According to Stringer’s report, the city senior population rose 19 percent over the past decade from about 947,000 in 2005 to 1.13 million in 2015, representing about 13 percent of New York’s total population. The number of those 65 and older is expected to hit 1.4 million by 2020. Borough-wide, 14.6 percent of Manhattanites were 65 and older as of 2015. Only Staten Island, at 15 percent, exceeded that concentration of seniors. The Upper West Side’s Community Board 7 coverage area is home to more than 37,000 seniors, while the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8 district has nearly 43,000 seniors. T hose a re a mong t he highest tallies in the city, with several community boards representing Queens neighborhoods being the only others with senior populations exceeding 30,000. But as the city’s senior population rises, their overall support seems to be dropping according to Stringer’s report — a serious concern given that more than 40 percent of seniors depend on gov-

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COURTESY: OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, joined by United Neighborhood Houses of NY’s Nora Moran (left) and LiveON NY’s Bobbie Sackman at the Greenwich House Senior Center on March 21.

COURTESY: OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER

Comptroller Scott Stringer’s blueprint report on aging issues in New York.

ernment programs for half of their income and that 60 percent of them spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. For groups working on issues i nvolv i ng sen iors, t he t rends Stringer’s report laid out are not surprising but they do increasingly merit prompt attention. “The trend of aging will not go

away until that last boomer turns 65,” said Chris Widelo, A AR P’s associate state director for New York. “And people are living much longer, healthier lives. We see it right now as a crisis on the horizon.” Stringer’s report laid out a threepronged approach to add ress the most important challenges,

focused on affordable housing, senior-friendly communities, and supportive services. L ook ing at a ffordable housing for seniors, the comptroller’s report recommended that the city automatically enroll eligible New Yorkers in the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption program that provides a rent freeze for those 62 and older whose household income is $50,000 or less. The report predicted that automatic enrollment would capture 26,000 beneficiaries not currently enjoying the rental assistance. For those who own, the report recommends expanding the Senior Citizens Homeow ner’s Exemption, which grants a property tax exemption to those 65 and older, by raising the maximum household income from $ 37,399 to a $50,000 threshold. Stringer also urged the city to create a program that would offer more incentives for seniors or their landlords to install safety measures like widened doors, grab bars in bathrooms, and no-slip surfaces. T he c o mpt r ol l e r ’s r e p o r t endorsed expanding “Age-Friendly Neighborhood” programs across the city, as well. Launched in 2010, the initiative aims to draw on input from local seniors to enhance services, safety, transportation, business discounts, and other benefits available to those 65 and older. Currently, only 12 of the city’s 51 Council districts have such programs, but that list includes Manhattan Districts 6, 8, and 9, which together cover the portions of the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights, as well as East and Central Harlem. Separate from that program, the report also calls for an overall strengthening in the city’s senior center network and a range of transportation improvements from

 SENIOR BLUEPRINT, continued on p.13

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


City’s Farewell to Beloved Man Allegedly Targeted for His Race BY PATRICK DONACHIE

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imothy Caughman was remembered at his April 1 funeral by friends, well-wishers, and elected officials as a generous and warm individual who loved conversing with fellow New Yorkers. Caughman, 66, a West Side resident was allegedly murdered on Ninth Avenue by Baltimore resident James Harris Jackson, 28, with law enforcement officials attributing the motivation to racial hatred and a desire for publicity. Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to speak to parishioners at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Jamaica, Queens. Caughman was born in Jamaica and grew up in the South Jamaica Houses. He was living in Manhattan in a transitional housing facility at the Barbour Hotel on West 36th Street — very close to where he was stabbed with a 26-inch sword — at the time of his murder. “He was attacked because of who he was, plain and simple,” de Blasio said during his remarks. “And don’t think for a moment it was an attack on one stray man, because it was an attack on all of us. It was a racist attack. It was an act of domestic terrorism. We have to call it what it is, but it was also an attack on all of us because this city stands for something. So, it’s no surprise that evil came calling here.” Referring to previous remarks made during the service — with a number of speakers noting his customary helpfulness to passersby in Midtown — the mayor said Caughman’s success at living in “a state of joy” can be difficult to maintain in a city as frenzied as New York. “We all have to work hard to try and find the joy sometimes even when it’s staring us in the face,” de Blasio said. “Timothy understood something that maybe a lot of us don’t understand well enough. He understood what was good around us and he obviously had a love for his fellow human being.”

NAT VALENTINE

Mayor Bill de Blasio offers a tribute to Timothy Caughman.

Though not explicitly mentioning President Donald Trump, the mayor did allude to a need to “understand the forces of hate that have been unleashed in recent months.” He also chastised some media outlets that focused on long-ago arrests of Caughman rather than the fact he had been killed in a racist attack. “He was a black man killed by a white man whose goal was to find black people and kill them. Period,” the mayor said. “And it was noted, and then quickly the media, and our society in general, moved onto other topics. Let me be straightforward: What if it had been a black man who traveled to another city with the sole purpose of killing white people?” Caughman earned an associate’s degree from Brooklyn College and had earlier been a social service worker in Queens antipoverty programs, including the Neighborhood Youth Corps. According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., Jackson traveled to New York City and walked the streets of New York for three days, seeking a black person to murder. “James Jackson wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man,” Vance said shortly after the

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

NAT VALENTINE

Childhood friends of Timothy Caughman gathered to celebrate his life.

NAT VALENTINE

The Reverend Christopher Howard, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Jamaica, presiding over the funeral of Timothy Caughman on April 1, as Mayor Bill de Blasio looks on.

suspect’s arrest. “He chose Midtown as his crime scene because Manhattan is the media capital of the world and a place where people of different races live together and love one another. We must never take for granted New York’s remarkable diversity. We must celebrate it, protect it, and refuse to let violence and hate undermine the progress we have made as a city, a state, and a nation.” Vance said Jackson allegedly found his victim in front of 462 Ninth Avenue, just below 36th Street, at about 11:25 p.m. on March 20, repeatedly stabbing Caughman before fleeing. Wounded, the victim was able to make it to the nearby Midtown South Precinct, but died shortly thereafter at

Bellevue Hospital. In the early morning hours of March 22, after video of the suspect circulated, Jackson turned himself in to police at the Times Square subway station, confessing to the killing. According to police, he said he intended to use the slaying of Caughman as “practice” for a larger-scale assault on black men in Times Square. Having been captured on video appearing to stalk other black men in Midtown, the suspect is reported to have had simmering rage about interracial marriage between black men and white women. Jackson has been arraigned on charges of murder as a hate crime, murder as an act of terror, and assorted weapons-related charges.

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Early Harlem Obama Backer Seeks Open Senate Seat BY JACKSON CHEN

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rian Benjamin, a real estate developer a nd t he cha ir of Manhattan Community Board 10, is now looking to serve his community by going to Albany, with his announcement he is seeking the vacant State Senate District 30 seat. He will be the Democratic Party’s nominee in the May 23 special election. Benjamin, 40, has been a member of CB10 for the past six years, and became chair a year ago. Outside of the volunteer position, the Harlem resident is the managing director for Genesis Companies, a real estate firm with projects in New York and New Jersey. Benjamin said in his years on the community board he has confronted the district’s encroaching gentrification and the consequent squeeze on affordable housing, which has given him the experience to be an effective advocate in the Senate. District 30, which encompasses

portions of the Upper West Side and Central and East Harlem, was vacated when incumbent Bill Perkins secured a special election victory for the City Council District 9 vacancy on February 14. After being in Albany for roughly a decade, Perkins felt that returning to the Council, where he served from 1998 until 2005, would afford him more opportunities to deliver benefits for his neighborhood. The seat Benjamin is vying for roughly matches CB10’s coverage area, though the East Harlem portion of District 30 is outside of his community board’s jurisdiction. The Democratic contender said he expects to focus on four major issues: affordable housing, funding for education, reforming criminal justice, and promoting job diversity. “In Central Harlem, I am very familiar with those concerns, I’ve been dealing with them for the last six years,” Benjamin said. “I have a track record of solutions and joint ventures that give me an instant credibility... people know I have

BRIANBENJAMIN.ORG

Brian Benjamin, the Community Board 10 chair, is seeking the State Senate seat vacated when Bill Perkins won February’s City Council special election in Harlem.

value and care about issues in our district.” Beyond his community board work, another major volunteer initiative of Benjamin’s was his work in founding Harlem for Obama, a grassroots group launched in 2007 to build support for the Illinois senator in his match-up against

New York Senator Hillar y Clinton. Though the former president would go on to win a significant edge among Harlem voters in the 2008 Democratic primary, a year earlier he remained a relatively little known figure in New York, even

 BRIAN BENJAMIN, continued on p.7

UES Refuge Planned For Homeless Women, Their Families BY JACKSON CHEN

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WOMEN IN NEED: WIN

A rendering of a supportive housing development for 17 families headed by women planned for East 91st Street.

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seven-stor y suppor t ive housi ng development is coming to East 91st Street and, once complete d at t he end of 2018, will become a refuge for 17 women and their children. The mixed-use building at 316 East 91st Street would provide 17 supportive housing units — w it h 16 t wo -b e d ro om s a nd a one-bedroom plus a unit for an i n-house sup er — a day c a re center, outdoor space, and office space. The 30,000-square-foot buildi n g w i l l b e r u n by Women i n Need: WIN, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and supp or t i ve housi n g to homeless families headed by women. The organization, led by former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, has numerous scattered site housing locations throughout the city, with three already operating in Manhattan.

“ You c a n’t s ol ve t he home less crisis without providing the transitional ser vices and supports necessar y to keep people leaving shelters, out of shelter,” Q u i n n , W I N ’s p r e s i de nt a n d CEO, said in a release. “Permanent suppor t ive housi ng prov ides t he k i nd of w rapa round ser v ices that w ill help [moms] gain greater skills, more independence, and keep them from sliding back from their gains.” S e c u r i n g s c at t e r e d a f for dable housing stock in t he cit y has proven diff icult t hese days, accordi ng to W IN’s v ice president of suppor t ive housi n g Nad i a S ad lo sk i. I n ste ad, the organization is looking to a “congregate” model, where they can offer housing and ser vices in the same building. “ This offers us the ability to p ut ou r o w n q u a l it y c o nt r ol measures in place so we make

 UES REFUGE, continued on p.7

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 BRIAN BENJAMIN, from p.6 among African Americans. The experience Benjamin gained there, he explained, taught him a lot about organizing through small fundraisers and registering people to vote. With that grassroots know-how, his current campaign is now focused on door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and reaching out to block and tenant associations. Benja m i n ack nowledged he would be entering a State Senate where Republicans stubbornly hold on to the leadership, with the eightmember Independent Democratic Conference and one conservative Democrat from Brooklyn lending their votes to the 31 GOP senators in the 63-seat chamber. Despite the allure the IDC offers of Democrats sharing in the Republican leadership spoils, Benjamin insists that, if elected, he would remain loyal to his mainline party colleagues. “It’s not a great situation, that’s a fact,” he said of the Senate’s current leadership structure. “But I think it’s important to focus less on being hostile with each other as Democrats and focus more on how do we bring our coalition back together.”

 UES REFUGE, from p.6 sure people a re liv ing in rea lly good apa r tments,” Sadlosk i said. “We’ll handle the property ma nagement so i f t here’s a ny sor t of faci l it ies issues, we’re there to make sure we’re maint a i n i ng it to t he level t hat we think our clients deserve.” T he mot hers who w i l l l ive in t he 91st St reet apa r t ments would never pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to WIN. As the maximum legal regulated rent for the apartments were set at $1,320 a month for the one-bedroom and $1,591 for t he t wo-bedrooms, WIN would make up the difference on top of what the tenants can pay. Sadloski said the group is currently in the process of selecting the 17 applicants for the building. She added those chosen will most likely be families who have a l r e ad y b e en l i v i n g i n W I N ’s supportive housing. W I N ’s ph i lo s oph y i s t h at a new, convenient apartment complex can ser ve as a benchmark

Benjamin added, “What’s clear is that we need to come back together sooner than later, and I want to be a part of the efforts to bring us back together.” Benjamin will face off against Republican Daw n Simmons, a charter school advocate who was an alternate Trump delegate at last summer’s GOP National Convention. Simmons also ran against Perkins in the February City Council contest. A c c or d i n g t o a M a n h at t a n Republican Party release, Simmons was endorsed on March 11 and said she was “proud to garner the Republican line for this important role.” “One of the reasons why Democrat Bill Perkins left was because he felt he didn’t have a voice,” Simmons said in the statement, alluding to the Democrats’ minority position in the Senate. “I will be that voice that our residents need.” Simmons did not respond to Manhattan Express’ request for an interview. The May special election will decide who holds Perkins’ former seat through the end of 2018.

of progress for women and their families who have climbed out of homelessness and aim for full independence. “ M o st of ou r c l ie nt s, w he n they’re coming out of the shelter system, the first thing they dream about is their own place,” Sadloski said. “The incentive for moving on from our program or finding employ ment is getting us a little bit out of their hair. Nobody wants to feel like a client for life.” A fter W IN presented its f loor pla ns a nd render ings to Commu n it y B o a r d 8 ’s He a lt h , S en ior s, a nd S o ci a l S er v ices Committees on March 28, memb er s of t he b oa rd a nd publ ic o f fe r e d s u g g e s t i o n s a b o ut a project that was largely viewed i n a posit ive l ig ht. CB8 member David Rosenstein and others suggested the building have onsite security due to the tena nts’ v ulnerabilit y given t heir h i st or y of homele s sne s s a nd other challenges. Board member Hattie Quarn-

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

 UES REFUGE, continued on p.18

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Facebook, NYPD Unlikely to Solve Problem of

Spitting Homeless Woman BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he infamous “Spitting Lady of the Upper East Side,” arrested on charges of endangering a child and stalking on March 30, was soon released and is back traversing the blocks of the East 70s and 80s. The women, identified by police as Hilda Del Valle Barrionuevo, 65, is said by residents cited in media reports to have spit on a seven-year-old child on three occasions — in June and December of 2016 and in January of this year. According to the NYPD, Barrionuevo was arrested around 4:30 a.m. on March 30 in front of 328 East 78th Street. Barrionuevo is facing charges of stalking and “acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17.” In a change.org petition organized by Upper East Side residents that has drawn more than 1,500 signatures, Barrionuevo is described as a neighborhood menace going back years as she strolls around an area roughly bounded by East 74th and 82nd Streets and First and Lexington Avenues. According to the petition, Barrionuevo wanders the streets, yelling and spitting at people on a daily basis. Tired of inaction from authorities, neighbors banded together and formed a Facebook group, “Spitting Lady of the Upper East Side: For um for spott ings,” to keep track of her and garner more official attention. Media outlets picked up the story in late March and soon after she was arrested. According to the New York Post and Daily News, she was carrying $19,133 in cash when arrested, but police wouldn’t confirm that when asked. Pol ice a lso sa id t hat Gabr iel Uno, 4 4, was a r rested a nd cha rged w it h menacing, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon after an incident on March 18 where he

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FACEBOOK.COM

Nearly 1,000 people follow a forum aimed at tracking a homeless woman alleged to harass Upper East Siders by spitting and yelling at them; more than 1,500 have signed a change.org petition to take action against her.

threw a metal table at someone on East 81st Street. Police said they weren’t certain if there was a ny relationship bet ween Uno and Barrionuevo, but conf licting media reports have identified Uno alternately as her son and nephew. As early as April 1, neighbors posting on the Facebook forum noted sight ings of t he a lleged spitt i ng lady. T he cha nge.org petition, addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Councilmembers Da n Ga rodn ick a nd Ben K a l los, ch a rge d t h at B a r r io nuevo had been released without bail and was continuing with her nuisance behavior. According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, she was released without bail but is under “police supervision.” K a llos is awa re of t he ongoing situation and said in a statement that his office has been in “constant consultation” with the N Y PD a nd t he Depa r t ment of Homeless Services. According to the councilmember’s statement, B a r r ionue vo h a s i n t he p a st declined help from the 19th Precinct and the DHS. While mak-

ing clear that spitting on someone should not be tolerated, Kallos expressed concern about the woman’s wellbeing. For those who work w ith the homeless population, cases like Barrionuevo’s are peculiar and tough to address. Rob Byrnes, president of the East Midtow n Partnership, said his organizat ion offers homeless out reach ser v ices a nd often dea ls w it h people who are persistently on the streets. W hile By rnes was familiar w ith the Barrionuevo story from reading media reports, he said he couldn’t offer any specific solutions because neither he nor his group has interacted with her. He did note, however, that the situation as described in the press is not the norm among homeless people he comes in contact with, many of whom try hard to stay out of other people’s way. “Nobody would be t a l k i ng about involving police if the spitting woman was staying quietly in a city bus shelter or atrium,” By r nes sa id. “Instead, she’s a threat to public safety and quality of life.” Byrnes said, in general, when

someone presents a da nger to themselves or others, it’s appropriate to get police involved. But, he added, police a re not often c a l le d on to de a l w it h homeless people, while there’s a whole cit y net work of professiona ls equipped to handle the problems they encounter and present. Ba r r ionuevo’s case, B y r nes said, is a bit more complex. “If you have someone like the spitting woman, you have a legitimate reason for the police to get involved,” he said. “And you have to meet the needs of her and her nephew. In this case, obviously a mental health need that goes beyond law enforcement.” Susan Wiviott, the CEO of the Bridge, an East Harlem-based organization that provides supportive housing, substance abuse t reatment, a nd menta l hea lt h services, said she would recommend taking a step back in looking at the situation. W hile she a nd her g roup have not dea lt persona l ly w it h Ba r r ionuevo, Wiviott said they have encountered similar cases where clients

 SPITTING LADY, continued on p.18

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Better Access, Facelift For Belvedere Castle BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he Central Park Conservancy is at work on a plan to improve the accessibility of Belvedere Castle, its most popular visitor center, as well as complete a comprehensive interior and exterior renovation of the 1869 structure. The castle was created by Calvert Vaux, co-designer with Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park, as a “whimsical structure” that provided views of the Croton Reservoir, which has since been partially replaced by the Great Lawn. Since a 1983 renovation of Belvedere, the conservancy has used it as a visitor center and gift shop. In the face of the popular demands on the structure, however, the conservancy says it’s time for another round of upgrades. “The accessibility is a big change,” Christopher Nolan, the conservancy’s chief operating officer, said. “This is our most heavily visited visitor center in the park, and it is not accessible.” Nolan explained that there are three routes to the castle. Visitors can either come from the West Drive, which has a 50-feet grade change, or via the East Drive or the Ramble, both of which have a 25-foot grade change. To provide accessibility, the conservancy will create a pathway of roughly 400 feet to provide a slight slope that doesn’t require handrails. The accessible path will run between Turtle Pond and the 79th Street Transverse, making use of the old reservoir wall and Lovers’ Lane. That approach would provide pedestrians with a smooth transition to Belvedere Castle while affording them views “evocative of what the experience would’ve been on the old promenade,” Nolan said. The restoration of the castle’s exteriors will include cleaning and repointing the exterior masonry, installing new drainage and waterproofing systems, and restoring wood pavilions on the main plaza and upper terraces. Inside Belvedere Castle, the conservancy plans to replace the existing pavements, windows, doors, bluestone floors, and ceilings. The castle will also have modern mechanical systems and upgraded utilities as part of the renovation. According to the conservancy, the construction will start in late summer and take place in phases. Community Board 5’s Landmarks Committee approved the plans following the Community Board 7 Parks Committee’s approval. The renovations will also go before Community Board 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee and Community Board 11’s Environment, Open Space and Parks Committee before moving onto to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Public Design Commission. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

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Police Blotter BURGLARY: CANE-WIELDING CROOK (19th Precinct) Police are looking for a male suspect who broke into an East 83rd Street apartment on March 21. According to police, the suspect got into the house between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., taking a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, a charger, and jewelry. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as an Hispanic male, around 50 to 60 years old, and carrying a cane.

BURGLARY: DESIGNER DESPERADOS (19th Precinct) On March 21, between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., police said suspects entered into apartments at East 91st Street and took an Apple laptop, a Louis Vuitton bag, a watch, jewelry, a MacBook, Beats headphones, and a checkbook. Police said the suspects entered another apartment in the same building but left with nothing. Police released photos of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as Hispanic males.

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Police are looking for a man on a bank robbery spree starting in late February that includes three banks so far. According to police, the first incident occurred on February 27 at around 3:30 p.m., when a male suspect walked into a Santander Bank at 330 Madison Avenue, between East 42nd and 43rd Streets, and passed a note to the teller saying he had a gun and wanted money. Police said the suspect never brandished a gun and the teller gave him an undetermined amount of cash. On March 13 at around 2:30 p.m., police were informed of another incident where the suspect went into the Bank of America at 750 Third Avenue, between East 46th and 47th Streets. Police said the suspect repeated the same scheme with the note, but the teller ignored him and walked away, causing the suspect to flee empty-handed. And most recently on March 27 at around 2 p.m., police said that the suspect entered a Santander Bank on 1062 Third Avenue, between East 62nd and 63rd Streets, again passing a note demanding money to the teller. According to police, the teller complied and the suspect made off with an unspecified amount of money. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male in his 40s, 5’10” with a heavyset build, and last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, a black knit cap, and black gloves.

tugging at it aboard a northbound E train, police said. The victim was able to keep hold of her purse and the suspect left when it stopped at Lexington Avenue/ 53rd Street station. Police said the victim saw the suspect again riding the E train on a different day at 5 a.m. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they don’t otherwise describe.

ASSAULT: MORNING MENACE (28th Precinct) Police are looking for a duo that pistolwhipped a man and frightened several others on March 20 at around 7:15 a.m. According to police, two men waited outside the apartment of a 29-year-old woman around West 111th Street and Seventh Avenue. As she stepped out with her two small children, the suspects pushed their way in and took out a gun, police said. The woman’s screams woke up a 33-year-old man in the apartment, and he came out and tussled with the guntoting suspects. The man was pistol-whipped by the suspects, who then fled, police said, adding that the woman and children were not hurt. Police released photos of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as black males between 40 and 50 years old, 5’10”, 220 pounds, and with medium complexions. Police said one of the suspects had salt and pepper hair and was last seen wearing a gray coat, a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and black shoes, while the other was wearing a black coat, a black hooded jacket, a black hat, black jeans, and black shoes.

LOCAL POLICE CONTACTS Midtown North Precinct 306 West 54th Street / 212-767-8400

Midtown South Precinct 357 West 35th Street/ 212-239-9811

17th Precinct 167 East 51st Street/ 212-826-3211

19th Precinct 153 East 67th Street/ 212-452-0600

20th Precinct 120 West 82nd Street/ 212-580-6411

23rd Precinct 162 East 102nd Street/ 212-860-6411

24th Precinct 151 West 100th Street/ 212-678-1811

26th Precinct

ROBBERY: OPPORTUNIST (17th Precinct)

520 West 126th Street/ 212-678-1311

Central Park Precinct

On March 10 at around 5 a.m., a male suspect demanded a 58-year-old female’s purse before

86th Street and Transverse Road/ 212-570-4820

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


On St. Pat’s, Irish Stand Up to Trump BY ANDY HUMM

W

hile A mer ica was reeling from the election results, AodhĂĄn Ă“ RĂ­ordĂĄin took the floor of the Irish Senate on November 11 and said with passion, “America has just elected a fascist, and the best thing that the good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him, ‘Is it okay to still bring the shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day?’â€? It rang so true and clear, while many elected officials in the US were saying they would try to find common ground with Trump, that the video has gotten — in aggregate, across numerous platforms — 45 million views. Ă“ RĂ­ordĂĄin, of the Labour Party, did not let his disgust for Fine Gael Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s normalization of Trump end there. When Kenny went through with a White House visit for St. Patrick’s Day, Ă“ RĂ­ordĂĄin threw together with American allies from a broad range of communities a threehour St. Patrick’s Day evening celebration of social justice called Irish Stand at the historic Riverside Church on West 120th Street where 50 years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his declaration against the Vietnam War. (Kenny must have been feeling the heat because standing next to Trump the day before he delivered a proimmigration message that was interpreted as a challenge to him, calling St. Patrick “the patron of immigrantsâ€? and saying, “Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and became Americans.â€?) The invitation to the Riverside packed event read, “Let us remind this new administration, many of whom are Irish-American descendants of immigrants themselves, that the international community rejects the politics of division and fear. By working together, we can lead by example and make a difference in America and across the world.â€? A mong t he 30 spea kers a nd artists was State Assemblymem-

BRYAN MOORE

Irish Senator Aodhån Ó Ríordåin addresses the crowd at Riverside Church on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

ber Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan who said that his mother died when he was 12 on Ma rch 17, 1973 and it was “the hardest day of my life,� so “I don’t do St. Patrick’s Day.� But he spoke this night “in the face of fascism in my own nation� and called Trump’s “narcissism a very serious disease. It eats at your soul and you lose all capacity for sympathy.� Niall Connolly sang a song based on a Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.� Aut hor Colum McCa nn read Yeats’ “Second Coming,� whichspeaks of a time when “The best lack a l l conv ict ion, wh i le t he worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.� “All stories are too late,� he said, “otherwise they wouldn’t be needed.� Terr y McGovern, lesbian and AIDS activist on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union, talked about how her “Irish American mother died on 9/11� and how she and the N YCLU “w ill fight vouchers for public education, fight for reproductive freedom, and defend justice. We will not stand for this.� Joy Reid of MSNBC quoted Dr. King: “The time has come when silence is betrayal.� A nd A isling Reidy of Human Rights Watch invoked King’s dictum: “Our lives begin to end when we are silent about things that matter.�

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, of St. Pat’s for All and Lavender & Green, the LGBTQ group that marched that day in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the second time joined by Ă“ RĂ­ordĂĄin, said of Trump, “Irish American people will not sit down and take this kind of

abuse from our government.â€? Imam Shamsi Ali said, “Help us to break the walls that separate usâ€? and condemned the “racistâ€? campaign of Trump against immigrants. Daniel Altschuler of Make the Road New York urged the assembled to call Irish American Republican Congressmembers Dan Donovan of Staten Island and Peter King of Long Island “who support the Muslim ban.â€? Ă“ RĂ­ordĂĄin wrapped up the long but spirited evening, saying that when he gave his Senate speech, “I thought it wouldn’t go further than the room. I called the president a fascist and I think I was proved right.â€? He spoke of how “we need each otherâ€? and how important it was for LGBTQ people and Muslims and others “not to be in the shadows.â€? And he added, “Those who stand for an immigrant ban have no Irish lived experience.â€? “There is unity in strength and strength in unity,â€? Ă“ R Ă­ordĂĄin said.

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UWS Psychotherapist Coined “Homophobia,”

Fought It All His Life BY ANDY HUMM

P

sychotherapist George Weinberg, who coined t he word “homophobia” in 1966 — turning the tables on anti-gay people by branding them as the sick ones — died in Manhattan on March 20 at age 87. Weinberg, who lived and worked on the Upper West Side for decades — seeing patients up until the time of his death— had just completed an article for Gay City News, sister publication to Manhattan Express, on the origins of his famous word. In his groundbreaking “Society and the Healthy Homosexual” in 1972 — a year before the American Psychiatric Association dropped homosexuality from its Index of Mental Disorders — Weinberg’s first line was: “I would never consider a patient healthy unless he had overcome his prejudice against homosexuality.” Weinberg himself was heterosexual and understood their fears and prejudices well. Almost all that was available in libraries from people in his profession at the time were what now have to be considered quack tracts on how homosexual desire was per verted and that prescribed deeply harmful “treatments” such as lobotomies and electroshock to overcome it. Weinberg’s approach encouraging self-acceptance — and telling gay and non-gay people to overcome their fears of homosexuality — was revolutionary and gave solace and dignity to millions. While Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 represented a defiant act of self-liberation that catalyzed the LGBTQ m o v e m e nt , We i n b e r g ’s b o o k reached bookstores and libraries across the country with a message that transformed gay psyches and greatly expanded the numbers demanding equality. Early activists picked up the term “homophobia” and popularized it. Jim F. Brinning, a longtime Boston gay and AIDS activist, related a typical experience with Weinberg’s

12

GEORGEWEINBERG.COM

Dr. George Weinberg, a longtime Upper West Side psychotherapist, died on March 20 at age 87.

work. “Dr. George Weinberg saved my life,” he wrote on Facebook. “He was a big reason I came out. I struggled with who I was as a kid, bullied at school and at home. In the early ‘70s I had to figure out if I was sick or not because I felt like I would explode. In the early ‘70s I’d go to the library in my hometown of Montclair, NJ, and looked up everything I could about homosexuality. Everything was so negative. Then I found listed ‘Society and the Healthy Homosexual.’ I couldn’t believe what it was saying, it told me everything I had been feeling since a little boy was normal. Trying to repress who I am was abnormal. I took the book home and read it several times. It was an anchor. I didn’t check the book out of the library because I was too embarrassed, so I hid it in my jacket. That was in 1973, the year I came out.” Dr. Jack Drescher, MD, an out gay psychoanalyst and emeritus editor of the Journal of Gay and L esbia n Menta l Hea lt h, w rote

in his “Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man,” “George Weinberg has left an indelible mark on the world. His formulation of ‘homophobia’ transposed the medical model in a novel way: If samesex attractions are not a mental illness, then perhaps intolerance of homosexuality might be considered one instead. George ingeniously demonstrated how a 20thcentury theorist could construct a new clinical syndrome in the same way that 19th-century scientists created a disease called ‘homosexuality.’ For this and so many other things he will be missed.” Chapters in Weinberg’s ‘72 book included “The Bias of Psychoanalysis,” where he described and then destroyed the offensive theories on homosexuality held by Freud and his own contemporaries, including Dr. Lawrence Hatterer who had written, “I’ve seen some very dest royed huma n bei ngs who have felt the ravages of attempts to sustain a permanent homosexual relationship.” Of course,

all of these charlatans based their diagnoses on the troubled gay men and women who came to them in a society almost universally hostile to them. Many of these people did indeed seek to “change” in order to sur vive in the pre-liberation days. But despite claims that they could alter sexual orientation, the consensus is that such changes are impossible. Indeed, Weinberg devotes another chapter to “The Case against Trying to Convert” and in recent years supported laws to ban so-called “conversion therapy.” Weinberg often said that many in his profession never let go of their deep-seated feelings that there was something wrong with homosexuality, even though the official position of their professional associations is that homosexuality is a normal variation in human sexuality. Weinberg was aided in his formulations in the pre-Stonewall era by having self-accepting gay friends — and knowing other gay people who were hindered in life by their lack of self-acceptance. In his training as a psychotherapist, he refused to go along with the accepted clinical practice of trying to “change” homosexual patients — going so far as to turn off the tape recorder his superiors would review when evaluating him in order to encourage a gay patient to embrace his or her orientation. It was at the 1965 conference of the Eastern Homophile Movement in Manhattan that he really connected to the pioneers of the movement. There, he befriended and began working with activists including Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols, who had co-founded the Washington chapter of Mattachine Society in 1961, and Lilli Vincenz, the group’s first lesbian member. Vetera n New York gay act ivist Steve Ashkinazy wrote in an email, “When that book came out

 WEINBERG, continued on p.18

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 SENIOR BLUEPRINT, from p.4 bus shelters and benches to subway accessibility upgrades. And to help those who care for seniors, Stringer is also calling for more funding for the Department for the Aging (DFTA) as well as for non-profit senior service providers throughout the city. The comptroller hopes that additional funding would eliminate the waitlist of 750 seniors currently looking for homecare and the 1,700 still looking for social services case management. Stringer’s report acknowledged that his recommendations would involve additional cost — unspecified in the report — but asserted, “The cost of inaction would mean more seniors living in dangerous and unsafe conditions, and greater longterm strains on city programs as a result of higher demands for service.” Widelo and other senior advocates were on hand with Stringer to voice support for solutions to problems t hey sa id have gone unaddressed for years. Just to return senior programs like Meals on Wheels to a stable footing, Widelo said, about $15 million would be needed, and he recommended another $44 million on top of that to give senior services momentum to tackle the growing needs. However, Widelo said, the problem is more than just money. “It’s not necessarily something you can throw money at, but I think we know there are certain problems that aren’t adequately funded,” he argued. Support from the federal government is a particularly worrisome topic for those who work with seniors. The fate of the Affordable Care Act, for example, remains in limbo despite the Trump administration’s first-round failure at eliminating President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, and healthcare is just one area threatened by potential cuts. Bobbie Sackman, the associate executive director of public policy for LiveON NY, a group that does both advocacy work and program development, worries that senior access to healthcare and affordable housing in the city is at risk. “There’s a war on old people in Washington,” she said, pointing out that seniors are part of every c om mu n it y a nd de m o g r a phic group within the city. “Aging needs to be looked at as a women’s

issue, an immigrant’s issue, an affordable housing issue, because seniors can often get siloed out.” In line with that perspective, Stringer, on April 2, drew attention to an online survey that SAGE — Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders — and the Stonewall Community Development Corporation are currently conducting to assess the needs of LGBTQ New Yorkers 50 and older. Sackman warned that the reliance New York seniors have on the city’s Department for the Aging poses another risk given that the agency, in her words, is “limping into a bad economic time.” If funding sources tighten up further, the

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

department could go from limping to crawling, she said. Sackman’s view of DF TA was echoed by Nora Moran, a policy analyst with United Neighborhood Houses of NY, a coalition of 38 settlement houses and community centers. “Older adults are the fastest growing population in New York City, yet services from the Department for the Aging remain underfunded,” she said. “It is time for New York City to take leadership over this issue and support older adults so they can age in their own neighborhoods.” “When you get to a certain age, you’re invisible and don’t matter

anymore,” Sackman said of the experience too many seniors face in the city. “Where are the resources? In many cases, it’ll end up with seniors getting hurt.” The LiveON NY official acknowledged that the city has a robust infrastructure of services and service providers, but that the system is in urgent need of greater support. For her, Stringer’s report spells out how the senior services sector can be restored to a healthy position. “We’re trying to get the word out,” Sackman said. “Don’t leave seniors aside and invisible in this because it’ll be to their detriment — and to the city’s detriment, as well.”

13


Deco Details: First Peek at Waldorf Restorations BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he team behind the renovations at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel offered a glimpse into the hotel’s finished look with several renderings released on March 29. The renderings were part of the package of proposed changes to the historic Art Deco treasure that was submitted to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for review. The Waldorf Astoria at 301 Park Avenue, between East 49th and 50th Streets, is currently undergoing its renovations after closing its doors about a month ago. Managed by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and the interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, the process is expected to take up to three years. The project will restore the landmarked interior spaces that earned LPC designation on March 7. Before the interior landmarking, preservationists had been keeping their eye on the property following its purchase by the Chinese insurance group Anbang in 2014. After reports of gut renovations surfaced, the Waldorf advocates worked to quickly secure the interior designation of several spaces inside the hotel, including the Grand Ballroom, the Main Lobby, the Astor Gallery, and many more from the ground to the third floors. After an initial outcr y, Anbang began actively cooperating with the LPC and preservationists to ensure restoration of these spaces in their original state. “We have assembled a worldclass design team with unparalleled experience restoring and revitalizing historic properties to create a proposed plan that treats the Waldorf Astoria New York’s history with respect and dedication to detail,” said Brandon Dong, Anbang’s managing director. “The restoration of the beautiful landmarked spaces is central to the Waldorf Astoria New York’s future as a New York City icon and global

14

SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP RENDERING BY METHANOIA INC.

A rendering of the Park Avenue foyer at the Waldorf.

SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP RENDERING BY METHANOIA INC.

Design for the Lexington Avenue entry.

SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL LLP RENDERING BY METHANOIA INC.

A lobby rendering shows the preservation of the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition World’s Fair Clock.

destination.” Once the renovations are complete, the Waldorf will have restored public and event spaces, but also a new configuration of guest rooms, suites, and condominiums. “We are at an exciting and transformative point in Waldorf Astoria’s renowned history, during which time Waldorf Astoria New York will be restored to its original grandeur while maintaining a modern and inspirational look and feel,” John Vanderslice, the Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts global head, said in a release. Those who rallied for the landmarking of the hotel’s interiors said they were pleased with the renderings recently released. The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s manager of special projects, Glen

Umberger, said that while they’d like to see the finished project, nothing major stood out as “overtly bad” about the renderings. “It’s keeping in the spirit of the building,” Umberger said. “They’re thoughtful and tasteful. For a first design, they’re overall pretty good.” A we ek fol low i n g A nba n g ’s release of its renderings, the project went before Community Board 5’s Landmarks Committee regarding the application submitted to the LPC. The lengthy April 4 presentation by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill detailed changes to both the exterior and interior landmarked spaces that would restore the Waldorf to its original design. Frank Mahan, SOM’s associate director, said they’re planning to clean the building’s exterior,

replace thousands of windows, and restore damaged architectural elements. The renovations will also include a smaller Park Avenue marquee for condominium tenants next to the main entrance that leads into the Park Avenue Lobby. “The building is going to have a presence in the city that hasn’t been there in decades,” Mahan said. “It’s going to be a revelation when you’re walking dow n the street.” A s for t he inter iors, most of SOM’s work to restore the original 1930s design will involve stripping away lighting elements that were added over the years and replacing them with softer lights. CB5 members overall expressed satisfaction with the application, but some made minor arguments about issues such as the removal of the Grand Ballroom’s non-original chandelier and the creation of the small marquee on Park Avenue, which they said would throw off the building’s symmetry. The committee’s una nimous approval with some conditions will go before CB5’s full board on April 13. The LPC said the hearing date for discussion of the Waldorf’s plans has not yet been determined.

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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EXPRESS YOURSELVES

What A Small — and Amazing — World! PUBLISHER

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new airport is about to open on 44th Street, just west of Times Square. It has 17 gates, plenty of parking, 34 gift shops, and, of course, planes taking off and landing day and night. Best of all, a ticket only costs $25. That’s because this airport is the jewel in the crown of Gulliver’s Gate, a mind-boggling scale model of the world, unlike anything I’d ever seen (including that cool model of New York City at the Queens Museum). Buildings the size of luggage, paperclip-high people, dogs no bigger than jellybeans, and hats the size of cake crumbs — the place is a riot of minutiae. But equally thrilling is the fact that as you walk though this world in miniature you take a couple of steps to tour Grand Central Station (peering at the 4, 5, and 6 subways underneath), then a few feet later you’re in Paris, with a stopover in Rome. Then it is on to Beijing, Buenos Aires, Stonehenge, and Angkor Wat. Can the Pyramids at Giza be far behind? Of course not. They’re right across from Red Square. And all along the way, jokes and juxtapositions await anyone who looks a little closer: Who is crossing London’s Abbey Road? Four mini mop-topped musicians. And look over there, below sea level: a yellow submarine! The exhibit, the size of a city block, opens April 6 and represents the work of 600 artists. It is expected to welcome up to 4,000 people — real ones, lifesize — daily, and take 90 minutes to walk around. The adult ticket price becomes $36 after about a month of previews, with the place poised to become a Times Square attraction every bit as quintessential as a Broadway show or hug from a slightly drunk Elmo. “And all the while, things are happening,” said Gulliver’s marketing director, Jason Hackett, as he toured me around the world, still being assembled. “Lights and bells — constant motion — it’s an amazing symphony of interaction.”

GULLIVERSGATE.COM

Even a tiny Grand Central Terminal has a stunning star-lit ceiling.

GULLIVERSGATE.COM

Finishing touches are put on the Middle East at Gulliver’s Gate.

Ca rs hon k a nd t ra i ns toot above the hum of ambient sound r e c or de d i n w h at e ve r c ou ntry you’re looking at. And then there are 137 different keyholes you can put your key in to make something else happen: Your face appears in the pounding water of Niagara Falls or a volcano erupts. What’s more, if you want to add yourself as a citizen of the world, you can have an itsy-bitsy 3D print of yourself placed in one of 15 crowd scenes — for instance, in front of the Louvre. The day I visited, two sculptors were busy carving a mountain for Guangzhou, China, while boxes of parsley-sized trees were being

GULLIVER’S GATE 216 W. 44th Street Daily, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; last entry at 8:30 Admission is $25, Apr. 6-May 8 After May 8, $36 for adults $27 for seniors, children 12 & under gulliversgate.com

unloaded into Europe. South America had been held up at customs — all the overseas countries were actually made overseas. And Melanie Jelacic, a model maker, was working on the airport.

 GULLIVER’S GATE, continued on p.17

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Our Perspective For Working People, Progress and Resistance By Stuart Appelbaum, President Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW

GULLIVERSGATE.COM

The North Cove Yacht Harbor at the World Financial Center.

GULLIVERSGATE.COM

A Russian model builder from Gran Maket creates a miniaturized scene from his country.

 GULLIVER’S GATE, from p.16 “We want it to look very modern,” said Jelacic, who’d previously created window displays at stores including Macy’s and Tiffany’s. The Gulliver airport is hyperrealistic. That means that in the shops you can see — if you squint — candy, cosmetics, souvenirs, even a rack of neck pillows. “Each pillow is so tiny, smaller than a sequin,” said Jelacic. And then there are the Gulliver’s Gate mugs. “They’re smaller than an ant — they’re like the back end of an ant. A lot of the times, if you drop them on the floor, they just disappear. I’ve dropped chairs, which are a little easier to find, but I also dropped a tray of vases that just rolled onto the floor and I lost them.” Although we’re talking about a scale model airport, it is still bigger than most Manhattan apartments — 2,000 square feet, with 11 workers weaving around each other. “Our team has to climb under

and over the table,” said Jelacic. “ That’s a knee-killer. It’s a big dance trying to stay out of engineering and electrical’s way.” Inside the airport, there will be mini people sleeping in chairs, re-charging their phones, and, of course, racing to catch their planes. To add to the real-feel, the model makers even built an Art Deco abandoned terminal, surrounded by a pockmarked roadway and dead grass. Meantime, the “in use” tarmac will be buzzing with luggage trucks and littered with tire rubber from the planes constantly taking to the sky. Even after the exhibit opens, Jelanic and crew will be adding, tweaking, fixing, perhaps forever. Visitors will be able to watch it change. W hich is pretty much how it works in the actual-size world, too. Lenore Skenazy is the author and founder of the book and blog “FreeRange Kids” and a contributor at Reason.com.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

orkers at three Babeland stores in New York City a mission-driven, queer-owned sex toy boutique – have made history by ratifying their first union contract after organizing with the RWDSU last year. Workers will receive general wage increases and adjustments, We will fight any attempts to marginalize working people. as well as signing bonuses and post-probationary wage increases. Most significantly, it’s the first union contract that includes added safety and security trainings and protocols to protect Babeland’s predominately LGBTQ and women workforce in this highly emotionally intimate industry. It’s a contract that shows the value of unions, and how union contracts can help workers in any industry and any workplace. Babeland workers have unique, job-specific concerns, and by winning a voice and the power that comes with it they were able to win a contract that will significantly improve their jobs and their work lives. And, it will help protect them in the workplace, which was one of the driving reasons behind their desire to organize. In the era of Trump, it’s In the era of Trump, significant that these workers with those who have proved the power we can all win when we stand together. traditionally been marginalized by society facing uncertain times and an increasingly hostile environment, it’s significant that these workers proved the power we can all win when we stand together. It’s significant because we all deserve to be treated with dignity, justice and respect. Working men and women – regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status – refuse to recede back into the shadows, or succumb to the fear being stoked by our current presidential leadership. We will fight any attempts to marginalize working people. We see it in victories like those at Babeland, and we see it in the emphatic rejection of Andrew Puzder, who would have been the most anti-worker Labor Secretary we have ever known. Even in difficult times, there is power in unity. Across America, people are fighting back, and we in the labor movement are proud to be an integral part of it.

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www.rwdsu.org 17


 WEINBERG, from p.12 in 1972, Dr. Weinberg agreed to help the Gay Activist Alliance hold the very first serious, professional gay fundraising event ever — a book signing cocktail party” at Weinberg’s home on Central Park West where he also practiced... They asked people to write checks. But NO ONE would. They gave up their pocket change: 5 and 10-dollar bills. But no one would write a real check, for fear of the paper trail that could potentially identify them and publicly out them.” Weinberg was involved in the early LGBTQ rights movement, testifying for the New York city gay rights bill the year it was the first one to be introduced any where in 1971. He participated in the first march in 1970 commemorating the Stonewall Rebellion, telling Drescher, “I even tried to get a therapist friend of mine to go to the first gay march. He finally went with me to Sheep’s Meadow, where t he pa rade ended up. A world famous therapist — I thought he was going to pass out. All those people coming up to me saying, ‘Let me give you a hug.’ I thought he was going to die.” In 2012, the Associated Press

 UES REFUGE, from p.7 strom-Figueroa requested that W IN look into the affordability of the daycare that’s offered on t he f i rst f loor. T he dayca re is expected to be operated by Sunsh i ne E a rl y L e a r n i n g C enter and would be open to both the tenants and the public. Despite t he suppor t ive tone

 SPITTING LADY, from p.8 have either presented a threat or refused services. “You have to get somebody’s t r ust , you don’t k now wh at ’s happened to somebody before,” Wiv iott sa id. “ T here a re ma ny people w ith serious mental illnesses who have had ver y traum at ic t h i n gs happen i n t hei r life.” Only hearing about Barrionuevo through the media, Wiviott said she sy mpathized w ith bot h her a nd t he neig hbors who say she’s been an ongoing

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officially discouraged its reporters from using “homophobia” in its stories (a policy recently discarded) and Weinberg took them on in Gay City News, writing, “The AP’s recent dislike of the word because it is ‘political’ makes no sense. It is political because a large number of people have brought it to light and are opposing abuse. If one man beats up his wife nightly because he’s a drunk, it isn’t political. It is personal. If a million do and women organize in protest, it’s political. But it is still personal and psychological. ‘Political’ just means that many people are trying to do something about it. Homophobia doesn’t lose its status as a phobia just because many people are now on to it and are trying to cure it or to live in spite of it.” George Weinberg was born May 17, 1929 in Manhattan to a father who quickly abandoned him and a mother, Lillia n Hy ma n, who raised him well on her own. He often joked that he was a “disturbed child” because he was sent to a special private school and told Drescher in an interview that he “did very badly in school in everything except math and English” at DeWitt Clinton High School in the

Bronx and City College, where “as a lover of poetry” he “first met gay men.” He went on to a graduate work in psychology at Columbia and in English from NYU, starting a private psychotherapy practice in the 1960s. “The gay issue tormented me,” he told Drescher, “not only because I was making gay friends who were suffering hideous, marginal lives, and the police weren’t doing anything to help them, but I was also learning that many of my heroes throughout history had been gay. I thought about Houseman, Shakespeare, probably Jonathan Swift. I didn’t yet know about Newton. So many of these people had to have lived fearful, guarded lives. I think my having been labeled ‘disturbed’ in my own childhood had greatly increased my sympathy and understanding. The minute someone was called ‘disturbed’ or ‘abnormal,’ it became fascinating to me because it meant that this person was being was marginalized.” Weinberg was the author of 14 books on a range of topics, from popular psychology to William Shakespeare, from whose work he could quote extensively from

memory and who he had no doubt was gay. He wrote “Will Power: Using Shakespeare’s Insights to Transform Your Life” with his wife Dianne Rowe, who survives him. The Los Angeles Times reviewed Weinberg’s “Invisible Masters,” calling him “the kind of psychotherapist one might like to have — engaging, animated, mindful of the part his own personality plays in any exchange, sensitive, and thoughtful.” I had the honor of getting close to him as a friend and editor over the last 12 years and can testify to all of those qualities. Even as his health declined in recent years, he never stopped writing or seeing patients, or engaging in the controversies of the day. “I’ve always subscribed to Nietzsche’s line,” he told Drescher. “Society is advanced by those who oppose it.” Rowe sa id, “One of George’s favorite phrases was from Keats [‘When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be’]: ‘The faery power of unreflecting love.’ ‘Faery’ meaning magical. He loved with great immediacy and never judged or reevaluated people. He loved his patients and his friends all of his life.”

of most of the comments during CB8’s meeting, some neighbors noted the slow progress of work at the construction site. Accordi ng to t he pla ns presented last week, the first f loor will accommodate a small lobby, the WIN offices, and the daycare center. The outdoor space w ill i nclude a reas for t he tena nts and for the children in daycare.

The building’s second through seventh f loors w ill be all-residential. Sadloski said her group is still in the early stages of planning, but is looking to continue working with the community with an advisory group established once the project is closer to complet ion. A f ter t he fa m i l ie s h ave moved in, she added, the group

w ill be work ing on oppor tunities for integrating the tenants into the wider Upper East Side community. Construction for the project is being managed by R iverOak, a Connecticut-based investment company, and Azimuth Development, which specializes in the development of affordable housing projects.

nuisance. She added that while putt i ng Ba r r ionuevo i n ha ndcuffs wasn’t going to solve the problem, she u nder sto o d t he frustration and concerns of the residents who encounter her. “I t h i n k wh at pe ople fa i l to understa nd somet imes is how long it can take,” Wiviott said of the outreach process to engage reca lcit ra nt homeless people. “It’s not like you sit somebody dow n i n a ch a i r i n f r ont of a psychiatrist and say take your medicine and get better. It can be a really, really long process that can take years.”

F rom her ex per ience, t he Br idge CE O sa id, it wou ld be safe to assume ser vice provide r s h av e r e p e at e d l y r e a c he d out to Ba r r ionuevo. A nd i f someone does present a danger to t hemselves or ot hers, Wiv iott sa id, ser v ice prov iders do involve police. A lon g-t er m s olut ion, howe v e r, i s o f t e n c o m p l e x a n d requ i res e x tensive work w it h t he i nd iv idua l, she emphasized. W it h B a r r i o nue v o b a c k o n the streets and neighbors still dema nding action in t heir

Facebook g roup, it seems t he problem has not been solved. “ W hen it comes to t his k i nd of t h i n g, t he qu ick B a nd-A id i s t h e a r r e s t ,” B y r n e s s a i d . “But u n less t he problem is addressed, people are going to ke ep r et u r n i n g t o t ho s e p atterns.” Ba r r ioneuvo is due back i n cou r t on Apr i l 24, wh i le Uno, at a n Apr il 4 appea ra nce, had h is case adjou r ned u nt i l May 31. T ho s e a d m i n i st e r i n g t he Facebook page on Barrionuevo sightings declined to comment on the developing situation.

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

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a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

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A French Icon Passes from the Stage BY STEVE ERICKSON

THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV

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n cinema, death usually means a gunshot and a dime-sized spot of blood or a photogenic elderly person lying in bed and giving one final sigh. Some horror movies have delved further into the weaknesses of the body, especially the possibility of becoming a victim of violence in excruciating ways. There are a handful of films devoted to the process of slow death — Maurice Pialat’s “The Mouth Agape,” Todd Haynes’ “Safe,” Frederick Wiseman’s lengthy documentary “Near Death,” Cristi Puiu’s “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” — and they’re not easy viewing, particularly the Pialat film. Spanish director Albert Serra’s “The Death of Louis XIV,” made in France, joins their company. The title lets you know upfront what it’s about, and it would be almost impossible to give spoilers for this film. It’s about a man lying in bed and dying for 110 minutes. He finally passes away about five minutes from the end. “The Death of Louis XIV” begins in Versailles in August 1715. Following a hunting trip, Louis XIV (Jean-Pierre Léaud) discovers a painful black spot on his leg. It soon bothers him so much that he becomes bedridden. As the spot spreads, he develops a fever and it becomes obvious that his leg has developed gangrene. Doctors treat him with exotic but useless elixirs made of donkey milk and frogs’ sperm and blood. The king tries to hold on to political power, but clinging to life itself is becoming increasingly hard for him. The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents “The Death of Louis XIV” in conjunction with a retrospective of the films of Jean-Pierre Léaud. Making his debut at age 12 in Fran-

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Directed by Albert Serra In French with English subtitles The Cinema Guild Through Apr. 13 Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Howard Gilman Theater 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com

CINEMA GUILD

Jean-Pierre Lèaud in the title role in Albert Serra’s “The Death of Louis XIV,” at Lincoln Center through April 13.

çois Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” he became that director’s alter ego in a cycle of films and quickly incarnated the rebellious spirit of the French New Wave. This series includes the expected Godard and Truffaut classics, but also offers opportunities to see lesser-known gems like gay director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Porcile” and Jacques Rivette’s “Out One: Spectre,” as well as Philippe Garrel’s extremely rare “La Concentration.” But there’s something a bit sinister about Serra’s casting of an actor so central to French film history in a film completely devoted to mortality. After the ‘60s, parts didn’t dry up for Léaud, but his innocence faded. In Jean Eustache’s “The Mother and the Whore,” he essentially held center stage in a requiem for the hopes raised by the French New Wave and the leftists who rebelled in May ’68. In real life, he suffered from mental illness and attacked his landlady. Olivier Assayas’ “Irma Vep” cast him as a

washed-up director who couldn’t complete a film. Once the image of youth, he’s now an old man whose real mortality is in sight. Watching “The Death of Louis XIV,” it’s impossible not to think about this. Serra makes the kind of hardcore art cinema that’s unfashionable these days if you want to get distribution: long takes, minimal narrative, slow pacing, extremely dark cinematography, and dim lighting. While he doesn’t aim for the complete austerity of the duo of Jean-Marie Straub and the late Daniele Huillet, he’s obviously influenced by them, even if he gets more full-blooded performances from his cast. “The Death of Louis XIV” demands to be seen on the big screen because of its formal qualities; paradoxically, that same rigor will probably ensure that it will only play theaters in about a dozen American cities. This is a film to sink into, not to watch on a laptop or TV monitor. Serra looks

beyond cinema, aspiring to the vision of Rembrandt. There are some unintentional bits of humor along the way: Léaud’s enormous curly wig makes him look like a member of an ‘80s hair metal band whose stylist had an accident while giving him a perm. Even so, I can’t help wondering if the death being mourned here isn’t just one man’s. Jean-Luc Godard and Agnès Varda are the only surviving major French New Wave directors. The tradition they participated in threatens to get lost as Luc Besson makes action films in English that efface all traces of their French nature in order to pass as Hollywood product all over the world. French cinema isn’t dead, as films like Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” Julia Ducournau’s “Raw,” and Serra’ s own funeral rite show. But the space for the kind of unabashedly serious filmmaking represented by “The Death of Louis XIV” is shrinking all over the world and disappearing into one-night appearances at festivals and museums. The fact that “The Death of Louis XIV” is playing for two weeks in New York may be the best argument against its relentless focus on death.

Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Art Exploding Mental Health Stigma BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

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new city arts program is looking to build connections and spur discussions between communities and those living with mental illness. The New York City Mural Arts Project is in its pilot year and is work ing w ith a r tists, community groups, and the community at large to use art to tackle issues such as the stigma surrounding mental illness. The project is an initiative of the city’s Department of Hea lt h a nd Menta l Hygiene (DOHMH) and collaborates with community organizations. At Fountain House Gallery in Hell’s Kitchen, located at 702 Ninth Avenue, between West 48th and 49th Streets, the community is invited to participate in the muralmaking process, whose elements include open studios and opportunities for reviewing the design concept, as well as drop-in painting and drawing sessions during which participants contribute their thoughts about their neighborhood and what mental illness looks like to them. “A lot of people haven’t bought a watercolor set since they were nine, and so this is liberating. It’s about expressing yourself,” said lead muralist Andrew Frank Baer (andrewfrankbaer.tumblr.com). The nonprofit gallery — established by Fountain House, an organization that helps those with mental illness — serves artists living with mental illness. Gallery director Ariel Willmott said the mural arts project is in line with its mission. “A huge part of what we do is trying to address the stigma around mental illness through art, so this truly felt like a perfect fit since it would be utilizing the talents of our artists and general Fountain House members to create an artistic vision that would be challenging the stigma around mental illness,” she said. The gallery has done outreach to the community before, hosting events — art openings, curator and artists talks, book swaps — that are open to the public, and Willmott said that a lot of its foot traffic comes from people who live and

COURTESY: NEW YORK CITY MURAL ARTS PROJECT

A new city arts program encourages community members to contribute their drawing and painting efforts to create a mural addressing mental illness and stigma.

DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

Vanessa Smith, project manager of New York City Mural Arts Project, Ariel Willmott, director of Fountain House Gallery, and Andrew Frank Baer, lead muralist, in front of artwork by members of the Hell’s Kitchen community.

work in Hell’s Kitchen. Vanessa Smith, project manager of the New York City Mural Arts Project, said working with community-based organizations, such as the Fountain House, is helping “to spread the word about some of the goals of DOHMH through this project, specifically around stigma reduction for mental illness, and then starting to create new type of dialogues through our events.” She added, “A big goal of ours [is] this sort of idea of creating new opportunities for social connection and connectivity.” Dr. Gary Belkin, executive deputy commissioner of mental hygiene at the DOHMH, said in a phone interview that the project learned much from a Philadelphia mural arts program called Porch Light.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

The Hell’s Kitchen, East Tremont, and West Bronx neighborhoods have been chosen for the community mural project — based, noted Belkin, on the DOHMH’s assessment of areas that had providers and places with higher need. Out of the city’s 59 community districts, Clinton and Chelsea ranked 12th highest for psychiatric hospitalizations and 16th for alcohol-related hospitalizations, according to a 2015 Community Health Profile for the neighborhoods. The city put out a request for proposal for artists, looking for those whose past work “seemed similar in scope and approach,” Belkin said. The city chose Baer for the Manhattan mural, and Tova Snyder for the two Bronx murals (the project is partnered with VIP Com-

munity Services in the Bronx). T here have been ot her public murals that focus on mental health, Belkin said, but this is the first program that is part of the “public mental health strategy.” The New York City Mural Arts Project received $500,000 in funding, which the DOHMH got from the New York State Office of Mental Health. Next year, the project aims to do five community murals. Smith said the project’s steering committee included Community Board 4, and said that the boards a re cr it ic a l to get t i n g t h i n gs launched in any community. During this reporter’s visit on March 23, community-made drawings and paintings abounded,

 ART & STIGMA, continued on p.23 21


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Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Canada Welcoming USA’s Temporary Refugees BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

COME FROM AWAY

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or all of us despairing about the indifference, blatant selfserving, and divisive hatred that define the current political regime, there is a welcome balm on the New York stage today in the form of the musical “Come From Away.” This show will make you feel good, if not euphoric, but it achieves that end not by being escapist entertainment but that by reminding us that there is goodness in people, that the desire to provide help and comfort in a times of crisis can transcend superficial differences between people. Most wonderfully, the show does this in a lighthearted, celebratory mode, made all the more moving because it’s based on a true story. Planes in the air on 9/11 in the hours after the attacks in New York and Washington were not allowed to land in US airports, and so for nearly 40 aircraft and approximately 7,000 passengers, this meant being diverted to the airport at Gander, Newfoundland. Built largely as a refueling stop decades earlier, the advent of long haul carriers meant that Gander and its large airport were largely forgotten. This small town insulated from the world was thrown into chaos as it nearly doubled in size with the people from all over the world

 ART & STIGMA, from p.21 and tempting markers and paints waited patiently to be used. A “Community Wall” was dedicated to people’s thoughts about their neighborhood and what mental illness looks like to them. Among the messages, written on Post-It notes: “broken but full of love,” “a struggle to understand,” and “seeing the unseen.” Baer emphasized that he wanted to hear from the community at large. “In the past few weeks if I saw someone come in and seem engaged with the work, I would try to introduce myself and encourage them to interact with it,” he said, noting that he is at the gallery frequently. “There’s no need to feel inhibited when making art.”

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre 236 W. 45th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. $47-$167; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 One hr., 40 mins., no intermission

who, in local parlance, came from away. How the town responded by embracing the strangers and helping to ease their pain and disorientation is what makes up the plot. With book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the show interweaves the stories of the people — and animals — displaced and scared by events with those of the town folk. The company’s 12 actors play multiple roles, adroitly juxtaposing individual stories against the larger issues of how a crisis of this magnitude is managed. In the end, the townspeople welcome the visitors into their homes and lives, regardless of whether they are gay, Muslim, or

can’t speak English. Relationships are formed and some are broken, with humor and tragedy existing side-by-side. Sankoff and Hein have an uncanny ability to balance complex and disquieting emotions with comedy and also an evident belief in the power of the human spirit to overcome prejudices and fears. The score is a synthesis of styles — Celtic, folk, countr y — that consistently works. The lyrics are inspired, cleverly capturing the way real people would talk and so achieving a level of everyday poetry that beautifully reveals characters. The company is uniformly excellent. They work together as a flaw-

less ensemble. In particular, Chad Kimball as one half of a gay couple and as a townsperson imbues both roles with heart and depth. Jenn Colella as an American Airlines pilot is a standout. I’ve long been a fan of hers, and her rendition of “Me and the Sky,” about how the thing she loves most, flying airplanes, has been irrevocably changed, soars. Under Christopher Ashley’s direction, the fast-paced story is masterfully told, making brilliant use of even the smallest details, clearly delineating each character, and leaving no heart untouched. If the current political climate is causing you anxiety, you must see this show to be reminded that not everyone is as selfishly misanthropic as our current president. I just might need to go once a week for the next four years.

While this is the first time he is lead muralist, Baer has worked on similar projects, volunteering at Groundswell — a community arts group that has painted almost 500 murals — and working with Los Muralistas de el Puente, an artist collective that has created more than 20 community murals. Last November, Baer started weekly workshops with Fountain House Gallery artists where “we would gather ideas, gather words, gather images — see what’s important to them,” he said. Willmott noted it was important the artists came together to build a relationship and explore ideas before embarking on the mural process. The public was invited to give input and meet Baer at the mural project’s March 8 “Open Studio” inaugural event. “I definitely love the aspect of the

[Fountain House Gallery] members being able to directly engage with the community on something — like, they’re working together on a project,” Willmott said. “I think that changes the energy. This space being an active space as opposed to a more passive, viewing, and conversation experience. If you look around, there’s art supplies and people can just draw and add their work to the exhibit — that makes this very unique.” Baer added, “Honestly, I think a lot of community engagement comes from people coming in, talking to people every day; seeing a mother look at the wall and talk to her kid about stigma. It can be really touching to encourage them to contribute.” Smith explained that there were two types of stigma: the stigma one

has against oneself that can create a negative mindset and the stigma of how the public views mental illness in certain ways. “It’s hard for individuals — and then also [for] people that don’t live with mental illness — to grapple with those two,” Smith said. “These open studios have been really powerful for us to talk about stigma in a way that you just don’t see that often.” The mural is still in the design phase, as Baer works on threading the themes together. Smith said once the mural is finalized and approved, it will be converted into a black and white image that will be put on a thin material called polytab –– or parachute –– cloth. It “becomes a coloring book in a lot of ways,” she said. “So it’s very easy for people to engage with this project.”

MATTHEW MURPHY

Jenn Colella and the cast of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s “Come From Away,” now at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017

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Apr. 06–Apr. 19, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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