Page 1

On Record: Corey Johnson 02

Children’s Museum Heads North 05

In Public Health, Words Matter 08


A graphic developed by Revolting Lesbians for their January 21 protest of Rebekah Mercer’s role as a board member at the American Museum of Natural History.

AMNH Gets Flak for Breitbart Funder Role BY PAUL SCHINDLER An activist group formed this past November is criticizing the role that Rebekah Mercer — a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump whose family foundation has donated millions of dollars to climate change deniers — as a board member at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The group, Revolting Lesbians, is planning a January 21 protest outside the museum and is also drawing up a letter to each member of the AMNH board calling for the resignation of Mercer, whose family, according to Politico, has given the museum $2.9 million. “We think it is outrageous that someone who pours millions of dollars into climate change denial is sitting on the board of a preeminent scientific institution in New York City,” Jo Macellaro, one of the organizers of the January 21 action, said in an email message. Mercer, who lives on the Upper West Side, is the daughter of Robert Mercer, whom Forbes magazine identifies as among the nation’s 25 highest-earning hedge fund managers, and she directs the Mercer Family Foundation, which is a major supporter of conservative causes. Newsmax Media owner Christopher Ruddy, who is a close confidante of President Donald Trump, has called Mercer “the First Lady of the altright.” Last spring, the Washington Post reported on the father and daughter’s participation at a Heartland Institute conference in Washington, where speakers ripped into the overwhelming scientific consensus surrounding climate change and applauded the Trump MERCER continued on p. 4

January 11 – 24, 2018 | Vol. 04 No. 1

Photo by William Alatriste/ New York City Council

New City Council Speaker Corey Johnson acknowledges the applause of his colleagues and others who jammed the Council’s chambers on January 3.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE One thing was said over and over again about Corey Johnson as the City Council convened to elect its new speaker — the 35-year-old works hard. “Everybody in this body cannot deny that Corey Johnson worked harder to be the speaker of this body than anybody else in this body,” said Laurie Cumbo, who represents parts of Brooklyn in the 51-member City Council, as she nominated the West Side’s Johnson to be the speaker on Jan. 3. Beginning with a field of eight candidates, the speaker’s race was winnowed to two by Jan. 3. The other contender, Inez Barron, who also represents Brooklyn neighborhoods, was reduced to nominating herself. Johnson’s nomination was seconded four times and the final vote was a lopsided 48-1, with two members not attending the Council’s first meeting of 2018. Upper West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, noting that she had originally supported her neighboring councilmember, Mark Levine, said, “I have to tell you, Corey, over the last month I’ve learned more about you than I have known about you over the last four years and I’ve come to understand and

truly appreciate your hard work and your amazing abilities.” Levine himself said of Johnson, “I know the Council will benefit from his passion, from his fighting spirit, and from his smarts. We need your talents, Corey.” Other members who took time to explain why they were supporting Johnson, who is openly gay and HIV-positive, talked about how he aided their campaigns or how he reached across the ideological spectrum to talk to them. “Corey Johnson is not a consolation,” said Daneek Miller, a Queens councilmember who first noted that he originally wanted to see an African-American speaker. “Corey Johnson is an ally. Corey Johnson is the cream that rises to the top and became speaker of this body. I will be honored and privileged to serve with my neighbor and little brother over the next four years.” Carlos Menchaca, an out gay incumbent who faced a determined primary opponent last fall in his Brooklyn district, said, “He came out and he helped SPEAKER ELECTION continued on p. 4


As Speaker, Corey Johnson Faces the Daunting Budget Realities of Trump’s America BY DUNCAN OSBORNE As Corey Johnson assumes the role of speaker of the City Council, he has made some important and expensive promises that multiple constituencies are expecting him to keep. But he is also facing the prospect of cuts in federal and state dollars that could make fulfilling those promises difficult. “Almost a third of our budget is from the state and federal governments,” said the 35-year-old, who is beginning his second term representing a district that includes the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen. “Until we have a better picture of what the impact is going to be from the state and federal level, we need to be even more fiscally prudent.” On Jan. 3, the day Johnson won the speaker’s job in a lopsided 48-1 vote in the 51-member City Council, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his annual State of the State speech that New York was facing a $4 billion SPEAKER continued on p. 10

Photo by Donna Aceto

Elected on Jan. 3, Council Speaker Corey Johnson inherited a presidential administration and state deficit that impose fiscal prudence, for the moment, on his ambitious agenda.

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NYC Community Media

Electeds Thirst for End to State Liquor Authority Dry Spell BY REBECCA FIORE With a vacant seat on the State Liquor Authority (SLA) board, State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced a bill to the State Senate requiring at least one member of the board be a resident of New York City. Along with Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Hoylman penned a letter on Jan. 3 urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint someone who lives in the five boroughs, since the city “has the largest concentration of SLA-licensed businesses in New York State,� the letter reads. The SLA is from the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, part of the New York State Executive Department, which services the administrative department for Cuomo. There are two commissioners and one chair, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The current chair, appointed on June 24, 2015, is Vincent Bradley, a native and resident of Ulster County, in upstate New York. Commissioner Greeley T. Ford was confirmed June 17, 2016, and lives in Camden, NY, just outside of Syracuse. The SLA board spokesperson noted

File photo by Winnie McCroy

Appearing before one’s community board is a compulsory step for liquor license applicants on the road to SLA approval. Seen here, a July 2017 meeting of CB4’s Business Licenses & Permits Committee.

that Chairman Bradley has lived and worked in New York City for well over a decade and still owns an apartment in Manhattan. Hoylman’s bill was introduced in March of 2017 — nearly seven months after Commissioner Kevin Kim, who previously served on Manhattan’s Community Board 5 from 2010-2011,

stepped down after completing a twoyear term. Terms are normally three years, but Kim was completing the previous commissioner’s term. When the time came, he chose not to be reappointed. Kim lived in Manhattan during his time on the SLA board. “In general we have never had a

vacancy in recent years for this law. We never, in my memory, [didn’t have a] New York City representative,� Hoylman said. “So it’s a double whammy for residents in our neighborhoods with an SLA seat vacant. That’s a burden on the SLA itself.� Hoylman said he believes having a commissioner from the community brings a better perspective to the unique problems that arise in neighborhoods with high concentrations of restaurants and bars. “The idea has been generated by the fact that more than half of the state’s 3,000 plus license applications originated in New York City,� Hoylman said. “It makes sense that this very important authority have at least one city resident who understands our neighborhoods from a first person perspective.� Assemblymember Glick said she feels that Chairman Bradley hasn’t been as understanding as previous chairs. “The new chair seems quite indifferent to neighborhood concerns and that’s why we would like to request a meeting, but also would like the governor to appoint someone who comes from New SLA continued on p. 15

photo credit: William Alatriste


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Januar y 11, 2018


MERCER continued from p. 1

administration’s hobbling of the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Post, the family’s foundation has given more than $5 million to the Heartland Institute since 2008. The Heartland conference received financial backing from other groups that the Mercer Family Foundation also supports, including the Media Research Center, the Heritage Foundation, and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, the Post reported. Desmog, a website that bills itself as “clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science,” reported that Robert Mercer gave $1.25 million to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which is led by Art Robinson, a biochemist who formerly taught at the University of California at San Diego and has become a leading climate change denier. The Oregonian reported that the elder Mercer also spent millions to support several challenges Robinson launched against Democratic Congressmember Peter DeFazio. According to Politico, the Mercers have also invested $10 million in Breitbart News and $5 million in Cambridge Analytica, the data research firm that has figured prominently in reporting on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a rare public statement last week, Rebekah Mercer denounced Steve Bannon for stinging comments he made about the Trump White House in Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” and days later Bannon was forced out of his role as executive chairman of Breitbart. The low public profile that both Mercer and her father have consistently maintained personally has enabled them to defy precise characterization, though the millions of dollars in foundation expenditures and multiples of that in political spending — $25 million in the 2016 election alone, first for Texas Senator Ted Cruz and later for

Trump, according to USA Today — paint a picture of them as among the most lavish of right-wing patrons. In its story about the Heartland conference, however, the Washington Post noted that the Mercer Foundation, in 2014 and 2015, gave $500,000 to Berkeley Earth, a research group founded by physicist Richard Muller, who was once a climate change skeptic but since 2012 has argued that human activity is at the foundation of global warming trends. Muller described Robert Mercer as “very open” to his group’s research. On the Facebook page calling for the January 21 protest at AMNH, Revolting Lesbians argue that their research indicates that the total commitment by the Mercer Family Foundation to climate change denial amounts to $22 million. The Heartland Institute, it notes, bragged in promoting last spring’s conference that it “persuaded Trump that manmade global warming is not a crisis.” Explaining the objectives of the planned protest, the group’s Macellaro wrote, “Our main goals for this action (and follow-up actions) are to expose Rebekah Mercer and make the general public aware of who she is and what she does (including, of course, her role in getting Trump into the White House), and ultimately to have her removed from the board of the museum.” The founders of Revolting Lesbians includes longtime activists from ACT UP, the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization that launched to battle to open up the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to LGBTQ participation, and the Lesbian Avengers as well as from Trump resistance groups such as Rise and Resist. A museum spokesperson, in an emailed message, wrote, “At the Museum, decisions about research, exhibitions, and public programs are made by scientists and educators. That is not a role that donors or Trustees take on.” A message left at a phone number in Rebekah Mercer’s name was not returned as of press time.

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Januar y 11, 2018

EDITOR IN-CHIEF Paul Schindler editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc ART DIRECTOR John Napoli

COREY JOHNSON continued from p. 1

me win my race. He walked the walk with me.” When Ruben Diaz, Sr., a former state senator who now represents Bronx neighborhoods in the City Council, was in the hospital following major surgery, Johnson paid him a visit. Diaz is a well-known opponent of the LGBTQ community and voted against same-sex marriage in the State Senate in 2011 and 2009. “A man that doesn’t agree with what I say, this person, Corey Johnson, came to see me in the hospital,” Diaz said as he cast his vote for Johnson. Similarly, Fernando Cabrera, who also represents parts of the Bronx, traveled with Johnson to Israel in February 2017. Cabrera has a history of working with anti-LGBTQ groups and like Diaz is an opponent of same-sex marriage. Cabrera traveled to Uganda when that country was weighing a law that imposed the death penalty for homosexuality. During the Uganda visit, Cabrera made a YouTube video praising the nation’s anti-gay forces. Johnson also distributed a lot of campaign cash to his fellow councilmembers during the 2017 election cycle. He donated to 26 candidates who now hold Council seats. He did not donate to Diaz or Cabrera. He also supported a large number of city Democratic political clubs and donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. Johnson arrived in New York City from Massachusetts in 2001. He was known then as the high school athlete who came out on national television. He held various jobs and volunteered for the political campaigns of Mark Green and Carl McCall. Johnson learned about the intricacies of city law on housing and development while serving on Community Board 4 in Manhattan. He eventually chaired the board. His knowledge of housing and development issues was apparent when he first ran for the City Council in 2013 for a Manhattan district that includes the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen. He defeated attorney Yetta Kurland in the Democratic primary, though that race was known for its acrimony and one or two

CONTRIBUTORS Rebecca Fiore Donna Aceto Lincoln Anderson Nathan DiCamillo Bill Egbert Dusica Sue Malesevic Colin Mixson Lenore Skenazy Scott Stiffler Eileen Stukane

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embarrassing conflicts between the candidates. Johnson faced no serious opposition in 2017 in the primary or general elections. The degree to which he has cultivated kingmakers and the politically connected was evident when he spoke following the vote. He acknowledged Congressmember Joe Crowley, who represents a Queens district in the House and chairs that county’s Democratic Party, and Keith Wright, a former member of the State Assembly who chairs the New York County Democratic Committee. Crowley and Wright were sitting in the balcony of the Council chamber watching the proceedings. They were joined by Yvette Clarke, who represents a Brooklyn district in the House. Also sitting in the balcony and recognized by Johnson was the president of New York City’s Central Labor Council, an AFL-CIO umbrella group comprised of multiple union locals, and the heads of three locals in the Central Labor Council. One thing that dogged Johnson’s race for speaker was that he is a white man heading a City Council that has a majority of members who are Latinx, AfricanAmerican, and Asian. This matter came up when Barron nominated herself. “White men, a white woman, and a Latina have been speaker, but we’ve never had a black speaker,” she said. “I think you have to recognize that I am not white and I’m not male and I’m not going to get the blessing of the power structure.” Charles Barron, who represents a Brooklyn district in the State Assembly and previously served in the City Council, was in the Council chamber to support his wife. When it became apparent that she had lost the race, he noisily exited with a small group of friends. “My real view is that I am never going to compare my experience to that of a person of color in New York City because we all have our own unique experiences,” Johnson said during a press conference following the vote when asked about Barron’s comments. “I recognize the privilege in the color of my skin… I’m going to ensure that the leadership structure of the Council, that the committee chairs of the Council are represented by women, by people of color, by LGBT people, and ensure that all voices are heard.”

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Children’s Museum Headed to Historic UWS Church BY REBECCA FIORE The Children’s Museum of Manhattan recently purchased an historic house of worship for its new location, increasing the museum’s current capacity, with plans to open in late 2021, according to a museum representative. The museum, along with Sterling National Bank, bought the 361 Central Park West location, at W. 96th St., for $15 million, according to public records filed on Jan. 2 in the Office of the City Register. The site, which originally housed the First Church of Christ, Scientist, has been a point of interest and contention for real estate developers over the past few years. In June 2016, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals rejected a plan by two developers to turn the building into a 34-unit residential condominium project. The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated its exterior in July 1974. The inside was never protected and was subsequently gutted. Deirdre Lurie, director of strategic communications for the museum, said its current location at 212 W. 83rd St. is 38,000 square feet. The new space is significantly larger at 50,000 square feet, though Lurie noted that the basement and other spaces have yet to be included in the final square foot count and the potential benefits of the structure’s high ceilings have not been fully assessed. “We are so pleased and proud to be able to keep this architectural gem for public use,” she said. Lurie explained that the additional space would help the museum to better push its mission along. “We focus on four key areas that we think are important on how children develop,” she said. “They include arts and creativity, early childhood programming, health education, and cultural literacy. In the current space we can’t necessarily have exhibits on all those things at one time, but we think [with the added space] we can cross-pollinate between exhibits and have more exhibits going on at the same time.” She said the museum, which has been around since 1973, is moving less than 15 blocks uptown, still remaining on the Upper West Side. The location, she said, is convenient for families, as it is right outside of the 96 St. subway stop, which serves the B and C trains, and is directly across from Central Park. “It’s right near the subway station, which is great for our audiences,” she said. “We serve all five boroughs, as NYC Community Media

Photo by Emily Munro

The future home of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan at the former home of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at 96th St. and Central Park West.

Courtesy Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The museum’s current home on W. 83rd St.

well as tourists.” Over the years, attendance at the museum has increased, with it now serving about 350,000 people annually, Lurie said. “There’s always a lot going on but we can’t do all that we want, it can get very crowded, we don’t have some of the amenities we would like,” she said. “In the new space we hope to reach a slightly older audience, as well, relative to children.” In the current space, which the museum has occupied since 1989, there isn’t a permanent performance space.

“We do performances all the time with world-class groups, but we don’t have a specific stage area so we are limited on whom we can bring in,” she said. Lurie explained that one of the museum’s more popular exhibits, Dynamic H20, which focuses on how the city gets water, is currently staged outdoors and so is seasonal, while in the new space it can be indoors and year-round. With more gallery space, Lurie said, the museum will be able to display children’s works from their Collage Collaborations program, where a pro-

fessional artist comes in and works with kids and families to create a wall-sized collage. “Right now, it’s in the stairwell, but in the new building we could have a gallery and feature it, which would be great for children to see their work displayed in a professional matter,” she said. Lurie explained that some of the museum’s most groundbreaking exhibits have been ones focused on culture, including “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,” “Monkey King: A Story from China,” and currently “Hello From Japan.” “Given the diversity of the city, we talked how wonderful it would be to have a variety of exhibits to represent that,” she said. While an architectural firm hasn’t been hired yet, Lurie said, the museum will be choosing a New York-based firm with experience in landmarked buildings for the 144-year-old structure. “We are thrilled to have this space and so the expectation is that some of the church’s elements will be preserved. Some of that is because we want [the children] to learn about art and architecture,” Lurie said. “The fun and learning will continue,” however, at the 83rd St. location until the new space is ready, she added. Januar y 11, 2018


Platinum Certification is ‘LEED’ Hudson Yards Story

Courtesy Related-Oxford

After eight months of construction, Vessel, the centerpiece of Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens, was put into place.

Photo by Geoff Butler

On track to be finished this year, 55 Hudson Yards is more than 90 percent leased.

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BY WINNIE McCROY With a number of recent milestones in the construction process and the announcement of new tenants, Hudson Yards is gathering momentum in its quest to become the city’s most connected and sustainable neighborhood. The massive West Side project will feature more than 18M square feet of mixed-use development including shops, residences, offices, open space, a public school, and a luxury hotel. The first commercial building, 10 Hudson Yards, is fully occupied and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified. Several large companies will relocate their headquarters to 55 Hudson Yards, which is now 90 percent leased. And the final pieces of Vessel, the 150-foot high centerpiece of Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens, were recently bolted into place. The bulk of the Eastern Rail Yard buildings are on schedule to be finished in time for a 2019 opening, with 50 Hudson Yards to follow by 2022 and the Western Rail Yards residential properties and public school set for completion by 2025.

10 HUDSON YARDS DESIGNATED LEED PLATINUM Related Companies and Oxford Properties kicked off the New Year by announcing that their first Hudson Yards commercial property, 10 Hudson Yards, has earned a LEED Platinum certification — the first commercial office building in the city to earn this status since the LEED v2009 rating system went into effect. The 52-story building, which opened

in May 2016, is now fully occupied with 6,000 employees working at the global headquarters of Tapestry, L’Oréal USA, SAP, The Boston Consulting Group, VaynerMedia, Intersection and Sidewalk Labs. Recently moving their offices to the location were Crescent Capital Group, Ardea Partners, Chain Bridge Asset Management and Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Top brass said they were proud they’d set the bar so high by creating this industry benchmark. “Building an entire new neighborhood from the ground up afforded us the opportunity to recalibrate every aspect of a 21st century, urban mixeduse neighborhood,” said L. Jay Cross, President of Related Hudson Yards. “The designation of 10 Hudson Yards as LEED Platinum is a testament to our commitment to resiliency, a reflection of the innovative design features and exemplifies our vision to design and develop the most connected, measured and technologically advanced digital community ever.” Among these technological advances are 1.2MW of gas-fired micro turbines that will generate power and hot/cold water, even in a power outage; a storm water retention tank to harvest 10M gallons of rainwater a year; convenient trash and recycling chutes as well as organic waste collection; fiber loop-supported communications for continuous access via wired and wireless broadband; and an Operation and Energy Control Center to gather data that will help coordinate security, building performance, and visitor experience. Data gathering will begin in early 2019, so that Operations can monitor what’s happening and make real-time changes to achieve optimal air quality, temperature, and pedestrian flow NYC Community Media

for the expected 125,000 visitors, residents, and employees passing through every day.

RENOWNED FIRMS MOVE TO 55 HUDSON YARDS In December, a passel of businesses announced they would be moving their headquarters to 55 Hudson Yards. This means that the anticipated-LEED Gold 1.3M gross-square-foot building scheduled to open later this year is now 90 percent leased or committed. Positioned at the intersection of Hudson Yards, the High Line, and Hudson Park & Boulevard, 55 Hudson Yards is one of the few office buildings in the entire city to open directly onto a park. It will now be occupied by HealthCor Management, a premier investment firm in global healthcare and life science; and Arosa Capital Management, an alternative investment management firm focused on investments in energy and energy-related sectors. “Hudson Yards is a world-class project,” said Till Bechtolsheimer, Co-Founder, Portfolio Manager and CEO of Arosa Capital Management. “The state-of-theart facilities, infrastructure and mixed-use design offered here are unparalleled in New York, and Arosa Capital is excited to become a part of this premier development.” Also relocating to 55 Hudson Yards is Engineers Gate, a proprietary quantitative trading company. Renowned French bakery and café Maison Kayser will also open in the building, so that visitors and employees can enjoy an authentic artisanal French boulangerie. Glenn Dubin, Founder of Engineers Gate said, “We’re excited to be moving our offices to Hudson Yards. Related Companies has an enlightened vision, and Engineers Gate is happy to be a part of it.” Related President Jay Cross said they were thrilled to welcome the businesses to New York City’s newest neighborhood.

HUDSON YARDS CENTERPIECE VESSEL COMPLETED On Dec. 6, after eight months of construction, the last structural piece of Vessel was put into place. The innovative urban landmark that will serve as the centerpiece of Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens now stands its full 150-foot height. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio, Vessel was fabricated by Cimolai S.p.A. in Monfalcone, Italy, the specialized facNYC Community Media

Photo: Jensen Dental

Courtesy Related-Oxford

L to R, looking northeast: 30 Hudson Yards and 10 Hudson Yards — the first commercial building in NYC to earn LEED Platinum certification.

tory that also constructed components for The Shed, the 120-foot-high multiarts center with a telescoping outer shell located adjacent to 15 Hudson Yards. Vessel arrived on Manhattan’s West Side in six separate shipments of 75 prefabricated pieces, each traveling 15 days across the sea from Italy before taking a five-hour barge trip across the Hudson from Port Newark. Thomas Heatherwick lauded the design, calling it one of the most complex pieces of steelwork ever created. It is composed of a structural steel frame covered by polished, copper-colored cladding. Reminiscent of an M.C. Escher print, Vessel features 154 intricately-interconnected flights of stairs with 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings, all rising from a base that is 50 feet in diameter. Additional mechanical and finishing components such as balustrades, lighting, cladding and paving, as well as landscaping elements, will be installed over the next year. Once it opens to the public in the spring of 2019, Vessel will offer the public one vertical mile of climbing, to enjoy amazing views of Manhattan’s West Side. It can accommodate about 700 people at a time, and could be used for special events, if acoustics and lighting prove suitable. Stephen M. Ross, Chairman of Related Companies, said, “Great public spaces bring people together and define neighborhoods. The Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens and its centerpiece Vessel, a new kind of vertical public space, will become the new gathering place for Manhattan’s West Side and a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike. I look forward to early 2019 when we all can enjoy Manhattan’s newest public space and experience, interact with and climb Vessel.”

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Januar y 11, 2018



Words Matter BY PAUL SCHINDLER As with so many revelations about the Trump administration, the storm over seven words that staff members at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were warned last month not to include in budget proposals began with an unsettling news report, followed by a bewildering, nontransparent mix of official pushback, denials, and non-denials. At the end of it all, we can’t avoid the conclusion that the alarm occasioned by the initial reporting was by and large justified. The Washington Post on Dec. 15 reported, “The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including ‘fetus’ and ‘transgender’ — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.” CDC policy analysts told the Post that in a 90-minute meeting the day before senior officials “responsible for the budget” advised experts — whose careers are about actually battling to protect the public’s health — that the

following words or phrases should not be used in any budget documents: • • • • • • •

Transgender Fetus Diversity Vulnerable Entitlement Science-based Evidence-based

The following day, the Post reported that other agencies that, like the CDC, report to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had recently received similar directives. One telling detail in the Post’s reporting was that CDC staff were advised that in lieu of using the phrases “science-based” and “evidence-based,” they might instead say, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” a construction suggesting that facts must be mediated through a political strainer to remove unpopular, uncomfortable, or inconvenient truths. So for example, we might imagine

scenarios where for people — and polluting industries — who don’t want to hear that climate change is caused by human activity, our government instead says that there are many studies, and they suggest a wide array of explanations for the increasingly volatile weather patterns. Or if people refuse to accept that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic rather than a chosen lifestyle, the government talks about how complicated it is to come to any definitive conclusions about what “causes” people to act homosexually. Officials at HHS immediately pushed back against the conclusions many Post readers rushed online to talk about, with its spokesperson, Matt Lloyd, telling the newspaper that the department “will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.” For a Dec. 16 story, Lloyd told the New York Times, “The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process.”

Other, unnamed officials told the Times that the directive to the CDC policy analysts was, in the newspaper’s formulation, “not so much a ban on words but recommendations to avoid some language to ease the path toward budget approval by Republicans.” Still, nobody, at HHS or elsewhere, denied the substance of the Post’s reporting, and the Times’ sources confirmed the essentials of the initial Post story. Science Magazine, in fact, documented how resistance to the seven words had already taken hold in the first Trump budget request laid out early last year. The word “transgender” appeared 10 times in the CDC’s final budget request under President Barack Obama, but only once in the first Trump proposal. “Evidence-based” declined from 125 instances under Obama to 38 under Trump. “Diversity” declined from 10 instances to two, while “vulnerable” fell from 24 to nine. LGBTQ, pro-choice, and other social justice advocates are right to be alarmed. In a press teleconference on December 19, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for TALKING POINT continued on p. 16


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SPEAKER continued from p. 2

Photo by Donna Aceto

Corey Johnson at his Jan. 9 interview with NYC Community Media publications. At left is Paul Schindler, editor of Manhattan Express and founding editor-in-chief of Gay City News.

deficit in the fiscal year that begins on April 1 and the possibility of another $2 billion in cuts in federal aid. Those cuts will inevitably fi nd their way into the city’s budget — which is $86 billion in the current fiscal year — in state aid cuts and in reduced direct federal aid to the city. Other reductions in revenue could result from the recently enacted federal tax reform law that allows taxpayers to deduct only the first $10,000 in state and local taxes on their federal returns. That could prompt some wealthier New York taxpayers who pay a large portion of city and state income taxes to decamp for lower tax states.

“I believe we’ve done a good job so far at spending money on big picture things that are important to the city while at the same time by putting money away in reserves for when the downturn comes,” Johnson said during an hour-long Jan. 9 interview with the NYC Community Media newspapers Chelsea Now, Gay City News, Manhattan Express, and the Villager. “The downturn is coming.” There is no shortage of demands on the city’s budget. There are all the usual items that every politician must fund, such as police, the fire department, sanitation, and the schools. Then there are the big-ticket items. AIDS groups have successfully lobbied the state and the city to implement the Plan to End AIDS, an ambitious undertaking that proposes to reduce new HIV infections across the state to 750 a year by 2020. The city has said it will get to 600 new HIV infections annually by 2020. The plan uses anti-HIV drugs to keep HIVnegative people uninfected and HIVpositive people uninfectious. It also expanded services, such as housing and nutrition, for both groups to keep them healthy and taking their antiHIV drugs. The de Blasio administration and the City Council are committed to creating 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, with just six years left now to achieve that goal. The administration and the City Council support closing Rikers Island, the city jail, by 2027, which would likely mean opening additional jails elsewhere in the city, or at least upgrading existing facilities. The city has at best a limited ability to raise revenues on its own. “Most of the city taxes except the property tax are not within the purview of the City Council,” said Johnson, who is openly gay and HIV-positive. “I wish the city had more taxing authority, but under the State Constitution, we don’t.” On affordable housing, at least part of the solution is not building new housing, which is expensive, but keeping the affordable units, such as rentstabilized units, in place, restoring those illegally taken out of rent-stabilization, and pushing back against legal and illegal efforts to convert those homes to market-rate housing. “Number 1, it is cheaper in a very significant way to preserve the affordable housing that currently exists in New York City,” Johnson said. “The biggest way to do that is to strengthSPEAKER continued on p. 17


Januar y 11, 2018

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NYC Community Media

SLA continued from p. 3

York City,” Glick said. She added that while the vacant seat would ideally be filled with someone from Manhattan, someone from a densely populated neighborhood in another borough would also be welcomed (citing Williamsburg, Brooklyn as an example). Establishments apply for a liquor license and are required to give the local community board a 30-day notice. The board has the applicant fill out a stipulation form, including how big the place will be, level of music, hours, outdoor seating, and so on. The board meets with the applicant, and encourages them to meet with appropriate block associations or co-ops and tries to come up with an agreement, and then the board sends a letter of recommendation to the SLA. Frank Holozubiec, co-chair of Community Board 4’s Business Licenses & Permits (BPL) Committee, said the SLA often agrees with the community board’s recommendation. He did say, however, that there are rare cases when the board doesn’t want an establishment, but isn’t certain the SLA will see it their way. “There are situations where the community may think a new license is undesirable, but we are concerned that if we recommend outright denial to the SLA, the SLA may disagree and grant a license where the applicant can be open until 4 a.m.,” Holozubiec said. “Because we don’t have any certainty that the SLA will side with us if there’s an actual battle, we try to avoid those situations.” Hoylman noted the community boards “carry great weight with the SLA, particularly in recent years. Boards are savvy enough to know that outright denials often fall on deaf ears with the SLA.” Having a commissioner from the city would be helpful in understanding the differences between city life and upstate living, Holozubiec said. “A patio surrounded by a parking lot in a bar in an upstate town presents different noise concerns than a rear yard in a residential block that is surrounded by dozens of apartments,” he said. “If you live in NYC, you understand, for example, that the tenement buildings on Ninth Ave. are over 100 years old and not soundproofed to modern standards. If you replaced a hardware store with a bar, there will be noise issues for the residents upstairs.” Holozubiec added that he doesn’t feel there has been a lack of communication with the SLA, but that representation matters. NYC Community Media

Courtesy Office of State Senator Brad Hoylman

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ing the iconic Chelsea Hotel (222 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eight Aves.) a liquor license, with additional stipulations that there will be no rooftop bar and no alcohol sold in outdoor spaces. The committee will present this to the full board at their next monthly meeting (Feb. 7), for a final recommendation to the SLA. Liquor license applicants are often small business owners, Hoylman said, whose workers and families are “people trying to make it.” “There are more license holders than ever in New York City and that’s a good thing generally speaking,” he said. “We have a vibrant local economy as a result. For the most part, license holders respect their neighbors, but there’s a lot of work to be done. The commission should have its full members to make sure they can do the job.” Courtesy Council of Chelsea Block Associations

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TALKING POINT continued from p. 8

Transgender Equality (NCTE), said the argument that the discussion about the seven words was only a political expediency focused on the budgeting process ignores the inescapable link between what gets funded in the budget and what policy and scientific issues researchers and other experts spend their time on. “There’s no reason to think that the ban is limited to the budget, other than that’s all that was brought up at the meeting,” Keisling said. “Even if it is just limited to the budget, that is catastrophic for public health, catastrophic for trans people… It would be a weird world, indeed, where people were not allowed to talk about things in the budget process but were then allowed to do studies and do good public health about those topics.” Noting that across the board, transgender Americans have worse access to quality care, including primary care physicians, and experience worse health outcomes, including higher rates of HIV infection and lower rates of connection to care, Keisling said, “If public health does not look at transgender people, it is putting trans people and all people at risk… Layering political decisions over public health is not a good public health system and it will cause death.” The administration’s obfuscation about what it is and isn’t doing regarding the seven words at issue and any other words or lines of scientific inquiry, she added, imperils another pillar of good public health policy — public trust. “It is horrifying that this administration would add

incredibility onto the system, holding a meeting with scientists and then denying it… People have reason to believe they are not hearing the truth from the CDC, and that will cause death.” On the same call, Gretchen Goldman, the research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, explaining she has studied “scientific integrity” for years, said, “I can tell you the CDC is a scientific institution.” Warnings about how the use of bureaucratically forbidden words will affect their funding, however, compromises integrity. “Scientists shouldn’t be scared that their work won’t be funded because political appointees don’t like science,” she said. Shannon Minter, the legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, warned that the CDC directive risked “effectively eras[ing] transgender individuals” in health policymaking and ominously pointed to the staggering consequences of AIDS’ invisibility during the Reagan administration. Erica Sackin, Planned Parenthood’s director of political communication, noted that it would be impossible for the nation to have effectively responded to the Zika virus outbreak without using the word fetus. Since Trump took office, the LGBTQ community has been fighting efforts to make it less visible in the government arena. Though the Census Bureau’s original plan to drop any questions related to sexual orientation in 2020 was beat back, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) has been in an extended battle to keep questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in several major surveys conducted annually of the nation’s elder population.

As SAGE and NCTE and any other health, housing, or social service advocacy group knows well, if a community cannot document its existence, it cannot demonstrate its needs, and as a result money to address those needs will never materialize. NCLR’s Minter put his finger on a more fundamental concern raised by the controversy over banned words. “We have been given a very clear warning,” he said. “What happened was really extraordinary. It is right out of the textbook in terms of authoritarianism.” Strongmen leaders in the modern age have learned how control of information and language are key to maintaining power, and Donald Trump’s extraordinarily inflammatory showmanship has allowed him to finesse difficult hurdles he’s faced with simplistic nostrums. He daily does damage to the credibility of hard-working news organizations with his habitual wielding of “fake news” charges, confusing public discourse to the point where a weary public shrugs its shoulders and concludes there is no discernible truth to be found. The effort to disqualify facts and scientific evidence and to erase certain communities and constituencies poses a danger to the foundations of democracy itself. Transgender people are obviously at risk, as is women’s health. Communities of color are clearly the political targets in the elimination of the words “diversity” and “vulnerability.” But if politicians dictate what words scientists and researchers can use and what questions they can pursue, there is potentially no limit to how those in power can harness the expertise of those on the ground whose purse strings they control.


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Januar y 11, 2018

NYC Community Media

SPEAKER continued from p. 10

en the rent laws, which sadly the City Council has a very limited say over. It’s done by the State Legislature.” The city Rent Guidelines Board has approved small or no rent increases for rent-stabilized units in recent years. And the city can and has pushed back against landlords who have illegally converted rent-stabilized units to market rate, though some of that effort has relied on the city’s district attorneys, notably Cy Vance in Manhattan and Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn. The state Division of Housing & Community Renewal, the primary agency that regulates housing, has been less effective in that work. “New construction is very expensive,” Johnson said. “Construction costs for new housing have gone up dramatically over the past four years.” At the same time, like the mayor, Johnson favors a focus on supportive housing, which can be even more expensive than just building affordable units because supportive housing has the ongoing costs of providing social and health services to residents. “I really, really want to prioritize supportive housing,” he said. “Housing equals healthcare, as our friends in the HIV community always said.” All of this means more costs and more pressure on the city budget. “There are going to be difficult choices to make,” Johnson said. “We are going to have a fi nite amount of tax dollars, and we’re going to have to figure out where we spend them.” These are the big picture matters that the new speaker will have to attend to, but he cannot forget the district that first elected him to the Council in 2013 and elected him a second time last year. It appears he is keenly aware of that. On Jan. 3, he was running on little sleep and noted at least twice during the Council vote and at a later press conference how tired he was. Still, he appeared at the Community Board 4 (CB4), an advisory body that he once served on and chaired, that evening. “My district office is going to continue to be a place for constituents to come when they need help with an issue, and I look forward to a continued partnership over the next four years,” he said at that meeting. “As your councilmember, I want to thank you for your friendship. I also want to let you know that I’m not going anywhere. I still live in Chelsea.” During his interview with NYC Community Media, Johnson brandished several sheets of paper that listed 50 items of importance to his district. He also had his deputy chief of staff for community affairs and his Council office chief of staff attend. He was careful to note stories or issues that had been covered in Chelsea Now and the Villager. There is all of this, and then there is politics. Johnson still seems young, but the arc of his career shows ambition and thought. His service on CB4 shows he planned to run for his current Council seat well before the election, and he clearly began running for speaker several years ago. Term limits mean he is out of the Council in four years. So what is next? “I do want to serve in public office,” he said. “Four years from now is 60 political lifetimes from now. I don’t know what’s going to happen… I will run for something.” NYC Community Media


Januar y 11, 2018


New Name, Next Chapter for Refurbished PS122 ‘Coil’ poised to shuffle off; ‘East Village Series’ set to debut

Photo by Christian Miles

New name, same great location: PS122 is now Performance Space New York, at First Ave. and E. Ninth St.

Photo by Zan Wimberley

Angela Goh’s “Desert Body Creep” (Jan. 16 & 17) “makes a case for transformation through a fantasy of decay.”


Januar y 11, 2018

BY TRAV S.D. January is a traditional time of regeneration, renewal and reinvention, when good news of any sort is widely celebrated. Longtime Downtown arts fans have much to cheer in that department now that PS122 has opened its doors to the public, for the fi rst time in six years, for the 13th and fi nal edition of their Coil Festival. With its welcome return to First Ave. and E. Ninth St. comes a new name: Performance Space New York. The East Village performance institution, shuttered since 2011, has received a top to bottom renovation, and since 2017, has been headed by a new executive artistic director, Jenny Schlenzka, formerly of MoMa PS1. In a time when the news cycle has been dominated by negative bulletins on nearly every front, here’s a potential hopeful development. Newcomers to New York may be forgiven for not even knowing that PS122 even existed, but it happens to be one of New York’s historically pivotal arts organizations. Founded in an abandoned school building by a bunch of artists in 1980 (the “PS” originally stood for “Public School”), the repurposed First Ave. building was transformed into Performance Space 122. Over the decades, the organization presented such groundbreaking performers as John Leguizamo, Eddie Izzard, Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, Karen Finley, Penny Arcade, Ethyl Eichelberger, Holly Hughes, Carmelita Tropicana, John Kelly, Elevator Repair Service, Reggie Watts, Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, Julie Atlas Muz, Richard Maxwell and Adrienne Truscott, among countless others. Its most legendary days happened under the artistic leadership of Mark Russell, who left in 2004 and now runs the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival (happening through Jan. 15; see publictheater.org). Over the ensuing decade, the organization was run by Vallejo Gantner, under whose watch the Coil Festival was started in 2006. The new Executive Artistic Director, Jenny Schlenzka, was hired early last NYC Community Media

year, becoming the fi rst female to head the organization. Originally from Berlin, Schlenzka was the Assistant Curator for Performance in the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art from 2008 to 2012, and then Associate Curator at MoMa PS1, where she established the interdisciplinary live program Sunday Sessions. “As a curator, I saw many shows at PS122 before it closed in 2011, and also in the Coil Festival in the years since,” said Schlenzka, who spoke with us before the organization’s updated name was announced. “But the more I learn about its history, the more and more I am amazed by what’s gone on here. I want the new PS122 to be the 2020 version of the original organization.” She added in a public statement, “What I have considered my job as a curator and now as a director of an institution is to create spaces for new things to happen, things that are of the here and now.” Central to the realization of these goals is their newly renovated facility, accomplished with the help and support of the City of New York, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Design and Construction over a period of six years. Among the most radical changes is that Performance Space New York’s performance spaces have been moved to the top floor. The two spaces, designed by Deborah Berke Partners, both feature lots of windows overlooking vistas below, and are designed to be flexible with regard to audience and performance configurations. The building has been made wheelchair accessible, has been brought into compliance with safety codes, and the theatres have been outfitted with state-of-the-art production equipment. The larger of the two theatres seats 199; the smaller one, 87. The building’s lower floors will be occupied by Mabou Mines, The Alliance for Positive Change, Painting Space 122, and a fi fth tenant to be announced soon. “What’s especially nice about the architecture is that they managed to keep the spirit of how it used to look,” said Schlenzka, “The architect Deborah Berke was sensitive to that fact, that we wanted to keep the integrity of what was here before. You still believe it was a school building. As you walk through, there are different moments where they’ve reclaimed the old space. People have had high hopes, and when they’ve come in to see the spaces, their minds are blown. People NYC Community Media

Photo by Peter Born

David Thomson’s “he his own mythical beast” (Jan. 31, Feb. 1-4) is “a meditation on the mythologies and contradictions of identity, race, gender, and the black body in post-modern American culture.”

Photo by Christian Miles

Performance Space New York’s new look retains the integrity of its previous life as a school building.

have cried when they’ve seen it.” Both of the new performance spaces will be open to the public for the fi rst time for the Coil Festival. In addition, some of the Coil shows have been programmed in the Mabou Mines space, which is now where one of the old PS122 theaters used to be, on the ground floor. In conjunction with the unveiling of the renovated building and the launch of the Coil Festival, the organization is also rolling out a new branding initiative, including a new website undertaken by Performance Space New York Creative Technologist Alex Reeves. The lynchpin event of all this, the

2018 Coil Festival, takes place through Feb. 4, and will feature work by Seattle-based choreographer Heather Kravas and her company of nine dancers; Ethyl Eichelberger Award winner, composer/performer Dane Terry; Dean Moss and Gametophyte Inc. (his interdisciplinary company); Australian dancer/artist Atlanta Eke; multi-media dancer/performer David Thomson and company; and Sydney-based dancer/performance artist Angela Goh. As for why this will be the fi nal Coil Festival, Schlenzka pointed out, “Now that we have the building, we can program all year long. The festival was great, as it gave us a presence in New York when the building was closed. It

was just that all of our programming happened in one month. Now we’ll have something every week, although we’ll likely always do special programming in January.” And there are big things in store immediately after Coil. Schlenzka has planned semi-annual themed performance series. The inaugural series, focusing on the East Village itself (aptly named the East Village Series), is slated to kick off next month and go until June. “Times have changed, the neighborhood has changed,” said Schlenzka. “PS122 was originally created by artists, for artists. Our budget is much bigger now. Not so many of the artists live here any more. But it’s still about community, and the East Village is still the epicenter of that community. We’re in the unique position to be both relevant on an international level, and hyperlocal. I want people from the neighborhood to come in and socialize and see shows, but I want someone surfi ng the web in Australia to see what we do, too. This can be the place where they come together.” Performance Space New York is located at 150 First Ave., at E. Ninth St. For the Coil Festival tickets ($15-25), call 212-352-3101 or visit performancespacenewyork.org. Januar y 11, 2018


Tantrums and Tyranny An all access account of cut-rate leadership BY MAX BURBANK Breaking News! Michael Wolff ignites a media firestorm and turns Washington, DC on its head with the release of his scathing, tell-all indictment of a pathological Liar-in-Chief surrounded by la-la-la-la-la, etc. Well, it’s all crap. I don’t mean the book is inaccurate. It’s dead-on. I just mean A) The administration’s complete incompetence and utter amorality isn’t news, and B) It’s MY DAMN BOOK! It was supposed to be, anyway. All anyone can talk about is how Wolff has been sitting on a West Wing couch for months! You know when he sat on that couch? Once every couple of weeks when I got up to get a cup of coffee and forgot to call “fives!” I lived on that damn couch! On it, under it. I hid in the curtains with Comey, stood in the bushes like a pervert with Spicer. Hope Hicks used to call me “Mr. Access” — admittedly because she had no idea who I was, but that’s hardly the point! I’ve been lurking near Trump since the transition, working on an extremely obvious, certain best-seller, and that bald weasel Wolff wrote it first because he’s a schmooze-meister; an oily backstabber; and, also, I’m kind of unreliable when it comes to deadlines on account of laziness. I get that you doubt me. Why would the Trump camp give me access when I’ve never done anything but write poorly sourced smack about them since the Iowa Caucuses? I’ve got a simple secret. None of them know anything about what they do, and there’s no chain of command. I just walked into Trump Tower and told the guy at the security desk I was supposed to be there. They asked who approved me. I said, “You know that weird-ass looking guy? The uncomfortable one nobody likes, with the irritating voice and the ill-fitting suit? He’s, like, in charge of a whole bunch of different stuff?” That could have been anybody on staff, so the security guy shrugs and points me to the elevator. So I’m in, and when the whole gang of creeps moved to Pennsylvania Avenue, I went with them. Well, it was all for nothing. Michael Wolff got there first, and now I have to write what I personally observed in this column like it’s any other week — when I should be swimming in mountains of gold coins like Scrooge Frickin’ McDuck. Whatever. Here’s the gems:


Januar y 11, 2018

Illustration by Max Burbank

THEY NEVER MEANT TO WIN: According to human-shaped leather bag of whiskey Steve Bannon, “Look, losing meant we were the guys who almost pulled off the biggest upset in American history. I’d end up owning the Tea Party, add ’em to my White Supremacist dirtbag army. Kellyanne gets her own show on the cable network Trump walks straight into, Ivanka peddles her Made in China shoe, bag, and trinket lines there instead of QVC, no middleman. Okay, 8 p.m. on election night, it’s starting to look like Trump could actually win. Mike Flynn’s racing around the room shrieking about how he took 45 grand for a speech to the Russians. Who woulda given a crap if we lost? But now he’s screaming, “I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail!” Melania’s crying like a Slovenian SpongeBob, you know? Like her eyes are fire hoses? Trump sicks up all down his shirtfront. Jared’s trying to clean it off with these alcohol wipes he

always carries, ’cause Trump’s a germ freak, and the first to wipe him gets points. But Trump’s falsetto-screaming, ‘Don’t touch me, keep your hands off me!’ It was hilarious! I look over at Priebus and he’s not even cracking a smile. That’s when I knew if either of us made it four months without getting fired, I’d have to kill him.” FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF PRIEBUS DIDN’T GET IT: He’s just about the only inner circle guy who comes from semi-legit politics. So Roger Ailes, ex-CEO of Fox News? Totally disgraced, but Trump likes having him around ’cause they have shared interests: golf, sexual harassment, rich old white guy stuff. Ailes takes Priebus aside, and says, “Listen: When you have an hour meeting with Trump? It’s gonna be him telling five-minute stories the whole time, and it’s only gonna be two stories on repeat, then just one, then bits of one. The last 10 minutes,

he’s just gonna stare at you and say one word over and over, probably hamburger.” And then Priebus laughs, and Ailes goes, “Not joking. You’re gonna find that out.” TRUMP CAN’T READ: His daily intelligence briefing is delivered in the form of a connect-the-dots puzzle. It has to have less than 50 dots, or he throws a coffee pot. IVANKA COMES OFF AS SMART, BUT ONLY BECAUSE SHE’S USUALLY STANDING NEXT TO A FAMILY MEMBER: Ivanka talked to me constantly, said she liked me because I was a “little Jew” and pretty women never talk to us, so it makes us squirmy and terrified and that is so fun. One day she tells me, “The best thing about daddy being King of America is, when he dies? I get to be King. I mean, you know, Queen. Jared and I agreed it would be me, because he can’t talk in public. His voice is like a little boy cartoon mouse that likes other boy cartoon mice. My daddy is so old. He has to wear lots of foundation, because he’s really old. And repulsive. He can’t stand people who aren’t white. Isn’t that so cute?” AS BAD AS YOU THINK THINGS ARE WITH TRUMP? WAY WORSE: He calls Hope Hicks “Wigvanka” because he thinks she’s Ivanka wearing a brunette wig for some kind of disturbing, role-playing thing. He frequently doesn’t recognize Melania and had a trap door installed in his private bedroom for “that scary Slavic woman who might come for me one night.” In fact, Melania has never tried to enter the room, but two Secret Service agents have been given medical leave for shattered ankles. CURRENT CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY DOESN’T GET IT AND CRIES A LOT: Pretty much any time he’s not on camera, he’s softly weeping. He can also be found facing various West Wing walls whispering, “The horror… the horror.” That’s about all I got. No wonder Wolff beat me to the punch. Kind of surprising, considering I’ve been hanging out with the administration for over a year. Turns out this White House isn’t really an environment conducive to accomplishing anything. Bad for me personally, but pretty lucky for all of us collectively, I guess. Hey, we made it a year. Maybe our luck will hold up, right? NYC Community Media

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Januar y 11, 2018



Januar y 11, 2018

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Buhmann on Art ‘Cabinet of Horrors’ calls for waking up to resistance

Courtesy The Drawing Center

In the foreground of this installation shot, one of the drawn “dollar bills.”

Courtesy the artist

Judith Bernstein: “Seal of Disbelief” (2017. Mixed media on paper. 96 x 96 inches).

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Born in 1942, Judith Bernstein has long created radical drawings that address her feminist and anti-war activism. However, it was only recently, at the age of 72, that she finally achieved massive critical acclaim. Today, her oeuvre does not only seem as current as ever, but her unabashed, fearless outspokenness is much-needed. This well-timed exhibition presents a new body of work, made after last year’s elections, which was specifically commissioned by The Drawing Center. Eighteen new drawings, four large-scale paper panel NYC Community Media

Courtesy The Drawing Center

An installation shot of vintage piggy banks.

murals, a series of drawn “dollar bills,” and vintage piggy banks in vitrines make up the installation, while a series of free political campaign pins designed by Bernstein are available to all at the museum entrance. Like the painter Marilyn Minter, who recently curated a fantastic pop-up store with protest-inspired objects designed by various artists for the Brooklyn Museum, Bernstein calls for waking up to resistance. For Bernstein, engagement has never stopped. In fact, she began addressing social issues in her work in the 1960s, beginning with anti-Vietnam drawings and by creating monumental phalluses. Serving as a nod

to these roots, one of Bernstein’s earliest political drawings from 1969 opens “Cabinet of Horrors.” However, the core of the installation manifests as one powerful and outspoken critique of the current administration, in many cases by utilizing Trump’s own language. Through Feb. 4 at The Drawing Center (35 Wooster St., btw. Grand & Broome Sts.). Hours: Wed., Fri., Sat. & Sun., 12–6pm & Thurs., 12–8pm (free every Thurs., 6–8pm). General admission, $5 ($3 for students/ seniors, free for children under 12). Call 212-219-2166 or visit drawingcenter.org. Januar y 11, 2018



TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


Januar y 11, 2018

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

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.

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

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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Profile for Paul Schindler

Mex jan 11 combined file  

Manhattan Express January 11, 2018

Mex jan 11 combined file  

Manhattan Express January 11, 2018