Chelsea VOLUME 11, ISSUE 40
YO U R W E E K LY C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R S E R V I N G C H E L S E A , H U D S O N YA R D S & H E L L’S K I T C H E N
OCTOBER 10-16, 2019
PINK and proud! W
e’re thrilled once again to bring you our annual “Pink Paper,” printed on this beautiful, bubble gum background in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In our business, whenever you want to highlight an issue critical to the lives of our readers, you try to do something special, like a special front page cover or a dynamic headline. In this case, we’re printing in all pink because this paper contains vital information that will help you save someone you love — or even yourself. Great advances have been made over the last few decades to help more breast cancer survivors live longer and healthier lives. Even so, the incidence rate of invasive female breast cancer increased slightly between 2006 and 2015, by 0.45 percent. And that number is expected to rise again this year. The American Cancer Society projects that the United States will see 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women this year. Another 62,930 women can expect to be diagnosed with in situ breast lesions. A common misconception is that breast cancer only affects women. But in fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that 2,670 men in the U.S. will also be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, there will be more deaths related to breast cancer. The ACS estimated that 42,260 Americans (41,760 women and 500 men) will likely succumb to the disease this year. More than 2,000 of these
deaths will occur here in New York. Despite these grim statistics, there remains plenty of hope. The five-year survival rate for women with invasive breast cancer is projected to be 91% in 2019; that’s far higher than the 75% five-year survival rate recorded between 1975 and 1977. That means more mothers, daughters, wives and aunts have had a second chance at life thanks to advances in detection and treatment. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better your odds are at beating it. This is especially true for women who have a family history of breast cancer cases — and as a result, are twice as likely to develop it. Women between 45 and 54 should get annual mammograms, the American Cancer Society advises. Women as young as 40 have the option of getting a mammogram every year, and women older than 54 should have the test performed at least every other year. Mammograms, along with ultrasound checks, are critical toward finding cancer in the earliest stages, and treating it before it metastasizes into something more serious. Beyond clinical tests, women should also conduct self-tests for any possible lumps. If you feel that something isn’t right, visit your doctor right away for a more professional opinion. For those who’ve survived breast cancer, and for
This Week’s Pink Newspaper in Recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Sponsored by
those who are battling it today, you should know that you’re not alone in the battle — and that all of us in this community will do whatever we can to support you. Everyone knows someone affected by this terrible illness, and everyone can do their part to help fight it. This month, across the city, the American Cancer Society will host “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks raising funds for cancer treatment and research. The thousands who participate in this effort will literally take steps to help eradicate breast cancer once and for all. Someday, we pray, breast cancer will become a thing of the past. We hope that this “Pink Paper” informs, inspires and empowers all of us to commit ourselves to that effort, however great or small the contribution. Keep up the fight! Robert Pozarycki, Editor-in-Chief
Partners in the fight against breast cancer.
Stop smoking + Limit alcohol + Be physically active + Watch your weight Women between 50 and 74 should get regular mammograms. But thereâ€™s more you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
MORE THAN MAMMOGRAMS MKT 16.190
October 10, 2019
Breast Cancer Awareness
SUPPORTING WHATEVER YOU NEED MetroPlus Health Plan president touts services for breast cancer survivors BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELLDOMENECH
hen it comes to helping breast cancer survivors, MetroPlus Health Plan is dedicated to ensuring that all of them receive the full care they deserve. “As an insurer we somewhat go against the current,” said Dr. Tayla Schwartz, president and CEO of MetroPlus Health Plan, which covers over half a million New Yorkers. “We want to focus on vulnerable populations that need health care, the populations that need support. We don’t shy away from them, we proactively try to bring them into MetroPlus . . . because we know that we can provide them with comprehensive support here, true hands on what we call 360 support with whatever they need.” In order to ensure that members are staying up to date with yearly exams, MetroPlus Health constantly checks member data to determine who are the women who qualify for or need breast cancer screenings. Once the company determines that a member should see a provider, they use all means of communication, phone calls, texts, e-mails, letters to get in touch. In order to best communicate with a diverse membership, the health plan tries to contact members in the language that they speak and boasts a multi-lingual staff along with easy access to language lines. If for some reason a member is unable to get in touch with her physician, a MetroPlus Health employee can call a provider and schedule and appointment for her. To encourage members to prioritize their health, MetroPlus incentivizes women to schedule a yearly mammogram by offering reward points which can be used to purchase items from the company’s rewards catalogue. In order to not just have the responsibility placed on the member, MetroPlus also fi nancially incentivizes doctors to make sure that their patients are up to date on their early exams. MetroPlus Health understands that it is not always easy for members to make to a doctor’s appointment and will bring health care to the community by holding public events where women can be screened on the spot. In 2018, there were 37, 403 mammograms performed on MetroPlus Health members. The health plan currently has 1,600 members undergoing treatment for breast cancer, a Schneps Media
PHOTO BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
Dr. Tayla Schwar tz, president and CEO of MetroPlus Health Plan, is a pediatrician by training.
number that has stayed stable over the last five years. During member data analysis and out in communities, MetroPlus Health takes special care to encourage higher risk demographics, especially African American women, to undergo breast cancer screenings. According to the Center for Disease Control, black women are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. “It’s very clear that any time you want to make a dent in a health issue, there isn’t one approach that works,” said Schwartz. “You have to attack it from multiple angles.”
A Doctor’s Passion MetroPlus Health Plan is not your typical health insurance program and that is in part because of the passion and care of Dr. Tayla Schwartz, president and CEO of MetroPlus Health Plan, a pediatrician by training. Dr. Schwartz has known that she wanted to be a physician since “the time she could speak” and brings her need to care for others into every position she holds. “We are tremendously lucky to be who we are,” said Dr. Schwartz. After serving in the military in her native Israel, Dr. Schwartz studied at the Sackler School of Medicine and came to New York for a residency
in Pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. Schwartz worked as a pediatrician at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. and simultaneously conducted basic research at the National Institute of Health. Two years after her fellowship, Schwartz began working for a healthcare consulting fi rm where she was fi rst able to view healthcare “through a different lens” and subsequently became more interested in the business side of healthcare. Schwartz has been president and CEO of MetroPlus Health Plan since 2006. October 10, 2019
First week of 14th St. Busway sees progress BY MARK HALLUM
uses reigned through the raindrops on the first morning of the 14th Street Busway on Oct. 3, as cops cleared the way for M14 buses — with few exceptions — to operate along six blocks of the bustling Manhattan thoroughfare. Police were directing traffic at each corner, diverting cars mistakenly turning left or right onto 14th Street to give priority to buses which one rider said cut 15 minutes off of his commute. Edward Jackson commutes from the Lower East Side to his studio in the Bronx, and said the longest part of his trek is now much less painstaking. “It’s been better since they rejiggered [the M14] into a Select Bus Service, my wife actually timed it and it cut about 15 minutes off my commute… We’re down on Grand Street and FDR Drive so for bus riders it’s a lot easier to get up to Union Square,” Jackson said. Prioritizing bus traffic between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily on 14th Street came with opposition from the surrounding community concerned that traffic would only be displaced onto side streets. Mayor Bill de Blasio, as with many of his traffic improvement projects, was not keen on backing down from the
PHOTO : MARK HALLUM/THE VILLAGER
It was a no-go for cars headed west after 3rd Avenue on Oct. 3.
proposal even in the face of a lawsuit that was struck down in court last week by an Appellate Court Judge who ruled against a coalition of local businesses led by advocate Arthur Schwartz. “The new 14th Street busway is now in effect – and bus riders will finally get moving,” de Blasio said on Thursday morning. “This smart project will speed up buses while allowing for the car drop-offs and deliveries the neighbor-
hood requires. Under our Better Buses plan, we are making changes citywide to fight congestion and to give people faster and more reliable transit.” The busway sits on the border between Chelsea and the East Village represented by Councilman Keith Powers and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. Both were optimistic the Busway would serve as a profound improvement on 14th Street.
“After months of delays, the implementation of the Department of Transportation’s busway is warmly welcomed,” Powers said. “This is a significant step forward for innovative ideas in transportation. Under this plan, the M14 bus will experience much-needed improvements in traffic flow and residents will have more efficient travel options. Many thanks to advocates and my neighbors who have worked in support of this busway pilot program, as well as DOT for their commitment to this initiative.” Although the traffic enforcement cameras placed to issue tickets to drivers violating the restrictions are already in place, the de Blasio administration said they will only issue warnings for the first 60 days of the pilot program. After that, the first violation will be $50. The fines will increase by $50 for each violation in a 12-month period, up to $250, according to the administration. Later this year, the buses themselves will play a role in enforcing the Busway, as cameras mounted to M14 SBS will photograph violators who will receive summonses through the mail. The same fine structure will be in place.
Here’s what you need to know about 14th St. Busway BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
he city sees the 14th Street Busway as the solution toward speeding things up on the M14 Select Bus Service (SBS) route. Opponents of the busway, however, believe the busway will cause greater congestion and a loss of parking spots on other neighborhood streets. For now, the busway plan is classified as a Department of Transportation Transit and Truck Priority (TTP) pilot project. It will be in effect a minimum of 18 months; the future of the busway beyond that period largely depends on how it performs. Here’s what you need to know about the 14th Street Busway, according to the mayor’s office: What vehicles are permitted on 14th Street? Only buses and trucks making through trips are now permitted to make trips along 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues during the appointed hours. Passenger cars and other vehicles can only make local trips along 14th Street, such as to reach garages or make drop-offs or pick-ups at
October 10, 2019
Police officers enforcing the 14th fect, Oct. 3.
the curb. These vehicles, however, must turn off 14th Street at the next available right (no left turns are permitted). Commercial vehicles are still permitted to access 14th Street,
the 14th Street Busway plan to ensure all regulations are followed. However, starting today (Oct. 3), the DOT has launched a 60-day warning period in which drivers who are caught on automated cameras violating the busway rules will receive a written warning, rather than a violation and fine. Once the 60-day grace period expires, however, any driver caught on camera violating the busway rules will be subject to fines starting at $50 for the first violation. Fines increase by $50 for each violation over a 12-month period, up to $250. In the near future, the MTA will also help enforce the busway rules by adding Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) cameras on buses running along the M14 SBS route. These cameras are similar to those that the MTA added to buses PHOTO BY MARK HALLUM Street Busway on its first day in ef- on the M15 route along First and Second Avenues. Violations issued from the ABLE but they can only load or unload in cameras are governed under the short-term metered zones. same bus lane law, but will have Enforcement of the busway a separate 60-day warning period The NYPD’s Traffic Bureau, once camera-equipped buses run along with automated cameras set along the M14 route. up along 14th Street, will enforce
October 10, 2019
Police Blotter 10th Precinct Chelsea
Apt. dispute leads to assault An argument among friends turned violent in an apartment at 225 West 23rd St., according to a police report. On Sunday, Oct. 6, at 8:15 p.m., a 30-year-old woman told police she was cleaning her apartment when she got into a dispute with a male friend because of missing property he said that he left in her husband’s apartment. Police said the man then punched the woman in her face and torso, she said, causing bruising and swelling to her left eye. She was also allegedly grabbed by the arm and neck, and he pulled her hair. The woman was treated at the scene by EMS and then taken to Lenox Health Greenwich Village. The woman told police that she fears for her safety. Luke Revell, 50, was arrested for misdemeanor assault, authorities said. -Gabe Herman
13th Precinct Union Square
Café gets blues after guitar theft
Reckless driver Domestic assault Thieves hit Union at bowling alley hits cop Sq. newsstand A driver hit a police officer after ignoring his traffic order at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue, police said. On Sunday, Oct. 6, around 6:15 p.m., the uniformed officer said that the driver entered the intersection against his orders, and in a dangerous and reckless manner. After entering the intersection, the driver of the black Mercedes Benz van then hit the officer with his car, causing bruising and pain. Naimet Fnu, 31, was arrested for the incident. -Gabe Herman
A woman was hit by her boyfriend while at Bowlmor Lanes, at 120 11th Ave., according to police. On Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 a.m., a 26 -year-old woman said she was checking on the bill, when her boyfriend pulled her hair and then slapped her. T he woman told police she had substantial pain in her head. Jelani Birkett, 26, was arrested for misdemeanor assault. -Gabe Herman
Wanted for gunfire outside Wendy’s
Police have released video footage of several individuals wanted for firing shots at a man in Noho last month. Law enforcement sources said the gunfire erupted at 11:10 p.m. on Sept. 26 near a Wendy’s restaurant located at 650 Broadway. According to authorities, the individuals approached a male victim and displayed firearms. They then began firing, blasting at least seven bullets at the victim, but did not injure him. Cops said the individuals and victim fled the scene shortly after the
shots rang out. Officers from the 9th Precinct responded to a 911 call regarding the incident. Through an investigation, law enforcement sources said, cops found 5 shell casings down the block from the Wendy’s, in front of 665 Broadway, and two more casings near 676 Broadway. The video footage police released on Oct. 4 shows the suspects inside the Wendy’s restaurant. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-577TIPS with info on the case. -Robert Pozarycki
Burglar went looking for backpacks
Cops are looking for a man who stole a guitar from Café Bocce at 20 Union Square West. Police said the burglar gained entry at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, and took a guitar valued at $150. On Oct. 5, the NYPD released surveillance images of the man wanted for burglary, and anyone with information about his identity is asked to contact Crime Stoppers. -Gabe Herman
Cops need the public’s help in finding a crook who recently went looking for backpacks out of basements in Soho and Midtown Manhattan. On Oct. 7, the NYPD released video footage of the perpetrator responsible for the burglary pattern, which began in August with a break-in at a building on 9th Avenue near West 39th Stree A month later, cops said, the cellar-bound crook got into the basement of Summers restaurant at 169 Thompson St. in Soho at 1 a.m. on Sept. 26. After entering the cellar through an open door, authorities said, he grabbed a 26-year-old employee’s backpack, which contained the victim’s property, and fled in an unknown direction. Officers from the 6th and 10th Precincts are investigating the incidents. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS with details. -Robert Pozarycki
Two young men are wanted by police for stealing cash from a newspaper stand near Union Square last month. Around 8:50 p.m. on Sept. 8, authorities said, the two men approached the kiosk on the corner of East 14th Street and University Place. One of them struck up a conversation with the employee inside. When the worker then exited to continue speaking with the man, police noted, the second person went into the kiosk and took around $400 in cash. The two thieves then fled and met up at the nearby Union Square subway station, according to an official familiar with the incident. Police described the cash-grabber as a male between 15 and 17 years old, who was last seen wearing a white tshirt and white track pants. He had tattoos on his right arm. Cops said the other suspect, who distracted the employee with conversation, was a black man between 18 to 20 years old last seen wearing a blue t-shirt, black and red track pants, while carrying a bookbag. Police released surveillance images of the two men wanted for the 6th Precinct burglary. Anyone with information about the incident can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 88857-PISTA), visit the Crime Stoppers website, nypdcrimestoppers.com, or send a direct message on Twitter @ NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential. -Gabe Herman
The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2019 by Schneps Media is published weekly by Schneps Media, One Metrotech North, 10th ﬂoor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Ofﬁces: One Metrotech North, 10th ﬂoor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Ofﬁces: Schneps Media, One Metrotech North, 10th ﬂoor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th ﬂoor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at ofﬁce and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2019 Schneps Media.
October 10, 2019
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October 10, 2019
Breast Cancer Awareness Three potential side effects of breast cancer treatments
ancer is a painful, potentially life-threatening disease. Though discomfort might be the first warning sign that compels people to visit their physicians on the road to receiving a cancer diagnosis, cancer treatments can produce a host of side effects, including pain, as well. According to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, breast-cancer treatments can create both long-term side effects and late side effects. Long-term side effects are those that begin during treatment and continue after all treatments have stopped, while late side effects refers to symptoms that can appear weeks, months, or even years after treatments have ended. The list of potential side effects of breast cancer treatments is lengthy, but may include the following conditions or issues: Fatigue The nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org notes that fatigue is the most common side effect of breast-cancer treatments, with some estimates suggesting it affects as many as 90 percent of all patients. Some breast-cancer patients may experience fatigue after treatment and find it’s worsening because they are
eating less and not getting enough nutrients. In such instances, the initial fatigue may make people too tired to cook, ultimately contributing to more fatigue when they are not eating or eating convenient yet potentially unhealthy foods. Cooking healthy foods in bulk when fatigue is not overwhelming and accepting others’ offers to cook is a great way for cancer patients to ensure their diets are helping them combat fatigue and not making fatigue worse. Lymphedema Johns Hopkins School of Medicine notes that, following breastcancer treatment, some patients may suffer from lymphedema, a condition characterized by the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues. Lym-
phedema most often occurs in the arms, but can contribute to swelling in other parts of the body as well. Why some people suffer from lymphedema after treatment and others don’t is a mystery, though surgeons at Johns Hopkins Breast Center have noticed a low occurrence of lymph e de m a in patients who have undergone sentinel node biopsies or axillary node dissection. Breast-cancer patients are at risk of lymphedema for the rest of their lives after treatment, and while there’s no way to prevent it, patients should avoid getting needle sticks or blood pressure tests in arms where lymph nodes were removed. In addition, any in-
juries or cuts in arms where lymph nodes were removed should be treated with vigilance. Infertility Many women will stop menstruating while undergoing chemotherapy or after chemo treatments, and that cessation is often temporary. These irregularities may be traced to hormonal therapies that make the ovaries stop producing eggs. However, in some instances, even premenopausal women may have trouble getting pregnant after hormonal therapy. Breastcancer.org notes that women whose periods do not return after treatment may still be fertile, but also notes that women who are close to menopause when beginning chemo may become permanently infertile. Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer who are concerned about post-treatment infertility should speak with their physicians immediately about their prospects of getting pregnant after treatment, including fertility treatments and the potential safety risks of getting pregnant after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast-cancer treatments save lives every day. When discussing treatments with their physicians, breast-cancer patients should ask questions about potential short- and long-term side effects.
October 10, 2019
October 10, 2019
LES keeps ﬁghting over East Side resiliency plan BY MARK HALLUM
he question of how to protect Lower Manhattan from the threat of rising sea levels is still up in the air, as activists and city officials debated raising East River Park to defend against sea level rise. An Oct. 3 hearing at City Hall saw no disagreement that something had to be done, but compromise on how to combat climate change was nonetheless hard to find. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project aims to protect 2.4 miles of coastline from Montgomery to East 25th Streets, according to the city, but there are plans to raise East River Park by 10 feet and provide additional buffering against 100-year storms and global sea-rise projected for 2050. Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said survival of the city depends on “bold solutions” considering how the city suffered through $19 billion of damage from Superstorm Sandy and that the project will mitigate future disasters. Rivera claims her decision on the project could be the most important of her career in consideration to climate change events currently taking place across the globe. “This is a stark reality we face as we consider the East Coast Resiliency Project,” Rivera said.
PHOTO : MARK HALLUM/THE VILLAGER
Lower East Side residents are fighting the cit y’s proposal to raise the East River Park by 10 feet to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The greenspace is over 60 acres in size with more than 100 trees, according to East River Park ACTION, a group which contends that it serves as a vital sanctuary for NYCHA residents who struggle with asthma. The group also argued that even phased construction of the resiliency effort would have physical and mental impacts on the nearby residents who claim to suffer enough living near the FDR Drive. Councilwoman Margaret Chin ac-
knowledged the impacts on her Chinatown-based district in voicing her support for the project. According to Chin, the administration assured her that 42 percent of the park would remain open during the construction effort. Lorraine Grillo, Commissioner of the city Department of Design and Construction, claimed access to recreation must be a priority while the city attempts to meet a 2023 deadline.
The crowd hissed at city Department of Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver as he argued that 258 trees were removed from the park recently because of their inability to cope with soil salinization already affecting the park. It was not the only outburst from the crowd during Silver’s address to the committee and the sergeant-at-arms walked down the aisle collecting protest signs. The 2.4 miles of waterfront is the lowest stretch along the East River and poses the greatest threat to up to 110,000 people in the adjacent communities, according to a project representative at the hearing. Delancey Street to Houston Street will remain open during the first phase of the project along with section including the amphitheater to the south. The section from East 10th to East 12th Street in the north will also remain open in the first 2 1/2-year period. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer urged the city to hold any major decisions on the project until after an independent environmental study is completed, stressing the importance of including residents in the future of their community. A community task force has still not been established as promised by the city, according to Brewer. Read more at thevillager.com
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October 10, 2019
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October 10, 2019
Time to meet the desperate needs of our city
hat kind of city have we become? Anyone who read about the senseless murder of four homeless men in Chinatown this past week — all of whom were brutally bludgeoned by another homeless individual — had to ask themselves that question this week. A deranged individual, for no known reason, destroyed four lives. He has a rap sheet reflecting a violent history. He spent time in and out of prison, and in and out of homeless shelters. Then he finally snapped, with deadly consequences. In one horrific incident, we saw the convergence of three of the city’s biggest problems: a homelessness crisis with no end in sight; a failing mental health care system that doesn’t reach every New Yorker; and a criminal justice system that allows violent individuals to somehow slip through the cracks. These problems have been building up for the better part of the last decade. As the skyline soared, so did the rents and overall cost of living. The fortunate ones scraped up enough cash to move somewhere more affordable; the less fortunate wound up in the shelter system, or
on the streets. The de Blasio administration has burned through more than a halfbillion dollars in taxpayer funds on programs such as ThriveNYC, which aims to expand mental health care. It’s also spent tens of millions more on criminal justice reform efforts to lower the jail population through supervised release, and eventually replace the jails on Rikers Island with borough-based facilities strongly opposed by many of those who live there. It’s still largely unclear whether ThriveNYC, or all of the criminal
justice reforms put in place, have truly been effective in making our city safer. Maybe all of this will pay off in the long run, but right now, the crises persist. Many will blame the de Blasio administration for the current state of our city, where the most vulnerable among us sleep out in the open,
endangered by the elements and by deranged individuals. But our collective, long-term ignorance toward the homeless, the mentally ill and the formerly incarcerated is largely to blame. It’s said that our government is often a reflection of who we are as a society. In this case, our society has come up with half-baked solutions to serious problems that only seem to address quality of life issues and property values — but completely disregard the human condition involved in these problems. It’s easy to write off a homeless person as a “bum”; it’s much harder to realize a homeless person is one of us. All of us must demand more from our government, and ourselves, when it comes to addressing homelessness, mental health and criminal justice. We can no longer look inward toward what we want; we must look outward toward what people need to live healthy, secure lives. Will our leaders step up and finally address our desperate needs?
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October 10, 2019
VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS JOSHUA SCHNEPS ROBERT POZARYCKI GABE HERMAN ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL MARK HALLUM MICHELE HERMAN BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY MARY REINHOLZ PAUL SCHINDLER MARCOS RAMOS CLIFFORD LUSTER (718) 260-2504 CLUSTER@CNGLOCAL.COM GAYLE GREENBURG JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO ELIZABETH POLLY
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This photo of the Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, is from 1910. The bridge had been completed just one year earlier, opening to the public on March 30, 1909 and having a ten-cent toll to drive over. At the time, the bridge was the fourth-longest in the world and was called the Blackwell’s Island Bridge, after an earlier name for Roosevelt Island, which it spans across from Manhattan to Queens. Today, the multinamed bridge is officially called the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. -Gabe Herman Schneps Media
Letters to the Editor
How could they let this happen? BY LEE BERMAN I am outraged at the Oct. 5 mass homicide in Chinatown — and am furious that neither the mayor, our local or state elected officials or even our community boards will be called out as being complicit in the murder of four defenseless people. A modern civilized society does not allow its most vulnerable citizens to live on the streets, in its parks, on its subways, under its highways or in its tunnels. A civilized society does not allow its drug addled or mentally ill to decide that it is ok to urinate and defecate in train cars, bathe in children’s playground sprinklers or eat from garbage cans. And a civilized society does not allow a revolving door criminal justice system where individuals repeatedly arrested for violent crimes, are allowed to reoffend with no repercussions. I pass by the area daily and saw the homeless encampment on East Broadway every morning. I began my career documenting and reporting on New York City in the late 1980s. Much of that coverage included the skyrocketing homeless situation which, at the time, helped define the crime and lawlessness in New York City - from the homeless encampments at Columbus Circle, to Tompkins Square Park, to the “Mole People” who lived in the railroad tunnels under Riverside Park and countless other areas. As bad as the homeless situation in the city was back then, it was a drop in the bucket compared to what we are currently experiencing under the present administration. Passing by the blood splattered homicide scene Monday morning, I recognized the location and description of the elderly homeless victim brutally killed as that of the gentleman I gave food and water to on one of this past summer’s hottest days Schneps Media
as he sat in that very spot, minding his own business. To argue that the root cause of the murder spree is a lack of affordable housing (as some politicians have already done) is disingenuous to the homeless as well as to everyday New Yorkers. This “homeless attacker” has a long rap sheet with 14 prior arrests, including violent assaults in a homeless shelter and on the subway. He even assaulted his own mother and grandfather. Had he encountered anyone else during his murderous spree, surely they too would have been part of his body count, whether they were homeless or just walking down the street. Kimlau Square, where 3 of the 4 murders occurred, is in the direct line of sight of, and only a few hundred feet from Police Headquarters. On Saturday night, police prevented the homeless from sleeping in Kimlau Square because it was a crime scene. Where were the police two nights ago, two months ago or even two years ago when Kimlau Square, like so many other parks, sidewalks and streets in our city, were taken over by the homeless? The city has let these people down. How many more must die before the mentally ill, drug and substance abusers and vulnerable others who live on the streets and are unable to care for themselves are finally afforded the treatment and compassion they so deserve? Lee Berman is a District Leader from the Lower East Side, a member of Community Board 3, a founding member of the Grand Street Democrats, former Democratic State Committee Member from the 65th Assembly District (which includes Chinatown) and a lifelong Lower East Side resident.
CHEERS FOR THE BUSWAY The new 14th Street travel plan has been in place for almost a week now. The only changes on West 16th Street that I have noticed are many fewer trucks, a few more autos, and a lot fewer horns. This is good news to me! And taking the bus on 14th Street has become a real treat!!! Paul J. Groncki I used to avoid walking on 14th Street when possible, because of the noise and fumes from all the traffic. Now with the busway, it’s much more pleasant to walk there (additional plantings and cleaner sidewalks would help). Most likely stores on 14th Street will experience an increase in business due to increased foot traffic. Ginny Donnelly AN INDICTMENT OF THE CITY Having grown up on 13th Street on the Lower East Side in a “railroad“ apartment, with the toilet in the hallway, I know firsthand about the lack of affordable housing. Gentrification in the neighborhood has only made matters worse as there is no low income housing opportunities at all. These residents have seen their communities disappear and many are one paycheck from joining the homeless. The continued lack of affordable housing in NYC is an indictment of our society! Luis Perez
FREEZE TAXES FOR LANDLORDS Regarding the rise of vacant storefronts in Chelsea and Greenwich Village: Why not allow landlords in landmark areas to freeze their taxes? They can’t increase the size of their buildings for they are in a landmark area, yet taxes and costs always go up while renting space can take a full year with free rent concessions. Then maybe they would lower rents. Freeze taxes in Landmark areas for ten years on buildings with less than ten apartments. Ralph Petrillo
SCREENING FOR ANEURYSMS Prevention is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But when it comes to abdominal aortic aneurysms, or AAA — a leading cause of sudden death in men over 60 — prevention isn’t just important; it’s lifesaving. That’s why Lenox Hill Hospital Vascular Surgery, in cooperation with Lenox Health Greenwich Village is offering free screenings on Nov. 2 at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, 200 West 13th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10011. Why is there a need for free screenings? Many people don’t know that smoking, and high blood pressure, for instance, can put them at risk for this deadly condition. By providing this free service, we hope that people will take advantage of this fast and easy ultrasound test, without having to take time off from
work, or make an appointment with a physician. AAA is a blood-filled bulge or ballooning of the abdominal aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. Over time, the bulge (known as an aneurysm) can become weak and the force of normal blood pressure can cause the aorta to rupture. Because most people do not experience symptoms, it’s estimated that more than one million people are living with an undiagnosed AAA. Even worse, for those who suffer a rupture, survival rates are about 10 to 25 percent. These deaths are preventable. There’s good news — a simple and painless ultrasound screening will detect a potentially life-threatening aneurysm early enough to take corrective action. Advance registration is required and space is limited. Call (888) 871-3801 for an appointment. The Division of Vascular Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital
Email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment to any story on our website at thevillager.com or write to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech Center, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for verification. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published, but writers may request that their names be withheld from publication.
October 10, 2019
Chinatown mourns murder victims BY GABE HERMAN
hey may have been without a home, but the four victims of Saturday’s murder spree in Chinatown were mourned at a Monday vigil as part of the community. The Oct. 7 vigil and rally took place at Chinatown’s Chatham Square, just steps away from where four homeless men were brutally bludgeoned to death while sleeping on the streets early on Oct. 5. “I just want to address how horrific and tragic this incident is,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, who hosted the event. Four homeless men were killed, and another was seriously hurt in the attacks. Police arrested another homeless man, Randy Rodriguez Santos, 24, for the alleged attacks with a metal pipe. “These men were our neighbors, part of our community,” Niou said. After a moment of silence, Niou spoke through tears about the city’s housing crisis and escalating homeless population. She stressed the need for changes on the city and state level to make housing more affordable for all, and increase services for homeless residents. “We need systemic change and we need it now,” Niou said. City Comptroller Scott Stringer said funds for homeless services have been cut in recent years. “The mayor’s housing policy is fundamentally wrong,” Stringer said, adding that affordable housing is actually unaffordable for people in communities. “The words ‘low-income housing’ must be part of our policy.” Other local officials at the vigil
MICHAEL APPLETON/MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
A man placed a flower in a memorial in Chatham Square for the homeless men who were killed near there on Oct. 5.
echoed calls for better housing policies and more compassion from society, including Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal. Jason Walker of Vocal New York, a social services organization, said there needs to be more compassion for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, and more attention to mental health issues that affect many people living on the streets. “We don’t have a homelessness crisis, we have a housing crisis in this city,” said Walker, who was formerly homeless himself. “[Governor] Cuomo and de Blasio failed people who rely on them to protect their lives.” Before the vigil began, Downtown resident Vicky Cameron told this paper
at Chatham Square that there are inherent problems in the political system that punish poor people. “We’re the richest country and we can’t take care of our own,” said Cameron, who is a member of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan. Cameron said things wouldn’t change even after these attacks. “We come out, we’re outraged,” she said. But similar to gun violence in America, she said, after people offer thoughts and prayers, nothing really changes. “When you’re mentally ill, you have nowhere to go,” Cameron said. “I’m so sad. This is such a travesty.” Read more at thevillager.com
‘Killer’ had history of violence: cops BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
24-year-old homeless man faces four counts of murder for going on a cold-hearted killing spree on the streets of Lower Manhattan Saturday morning. Police said that Randy Santos, 24, allegedly bludgeoned four homeless men to death with a metal object as they slept along Bowery and East Broadway in Chinatown. He’s also accused of attacking a fi fth sleeping man, who survived the assault and is now listed in critical condition. The New York Post reported that Santos’ rap sheet includes a November 2018 arrest for biting a man’s chest in Midtown and a March 2019 arrest in Queens for groping a woman. Cops had picked him up in May at a Brooklyn shelter, his last known
October 10, 2019
Tragedy spurs mayor to act for homeless
residence, for attacking a man with a metal object, according to the Post. In an interview with the suspect’s mother, the New York Daily News reported that she had thrown him out of her home three years ago because of a history of violent behavior. Cops from the 5th Precinct found one of the homeless victims unconscious with severe head trauma on Bowery near Doyers Street at 1:49 a.m. on Oct. 5. He was pronounced dead. The officers were approached at the scene by a second man who also suffered head trauma, Chief Stephen Hughes reported. EMS brought him to a local hospital in critical condition. “Two witnesses said that an unknown male wearing a black jacket and black pants had struck the victim numerous times in the head with metal object,” Hughes said. The
witnesses stated that they had seen the perpetrator running westbound along Doyers Street. Police then dispatched the suspect’s description and began a wider search. Officers later located Ramos, who fit the description, in the vicinity of Mulberry and Canal Streets. According to Hughes, the individual was seen carrying a metal object believed to have been used in the attacks. Police said the pipe is currently being analyzed by NYPD Crime Scene investigators. But during the canvass, Hughes noted, cops came across three other bludgeoned homeless men along East Broadway between Chatham Square and Catherine Street. Each of the victims had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead, Hughes said.
BY ALEJANDR A O’CONNELLDOMENECH
wo days after four homeless men were bludgeoned to death as they slept on Chinatown streets, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Oct. 7 a series of new homeless outreach initiatives in the Manhattan neighborhood. “What happened over the weekend shakes the conscience of who we are as New Yorkers,” said de Blasio in a statement. “We are sending experts to the neighborhood to provide support during this difficult time, and will continue to assess how to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.” As part of the new initiative, the city has dispatched mental health outreach teams through the Department of Health and Thrive. HOMESTAT teams will engage with those experiencing homelessness and offer services and assistance. The support teams in the area are also meant to provide emotional support for community members and connect people to mental health and others supportive social services, according to the release. The teams have access to licensed clinicians, psychiatrists and substance use resources such as naloxone, detox centers and rehabilitation centers. According to a press release, the mental health support teams will be on-site at “community locations” throughout the week. NYPD has sent additional officers to patrol the neighborhood as well. “Saturday’s terrible act of senseless violence has shocked Chinatown and forced a moral reckoning across our city,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “As we mourn the loss of four members of our community, we must embrace the moral duty we have to our fellow New Yorkers.” Read more at thevillager.com Schneps Media
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October 10, 2019
Breast Cancer Awareness
Self-exams can help save lives
October 10, 2019
n addition to scheduling clinical screenings and mammograms, women should routinely examine and massage their breasts to detect any abnormalities. These breast selfexams can be an important part of early breast cancer detection. Although many women are aware that they should become familiar with their bodies, many are unsure about just how frequently they should conduct breast examinations. Experts at Johns Hopkins Medical center advise adult women of all ages to perform self-examinations at least once a month. Thatâ€™s because 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are first detected by women who feel a lump. Establishing a regular breast self-exam schedule is very important. Begin by looking at the breasts in a mirror. Note the size and appearance of the breasts, and pay attention to any changes that are normal parts of hormonal changes associated with menstruation. Breasts should be evenly shaped without distortion or swelling. Changes that should cause concern include dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin. Inverted nipples or nipples that have changed position, as well as any rash or redness, should be noted. In addition, the same examination should be done with arms raised over the head. The breasts should be felt while both lying down and standing up. Use the right hand to manipulate the left breast and vice versa. Use a firm touch with the first few fingers of the hand. Cover the entire breast in circular motions. The pattern taken doesnâ€™t matter so long as it covers the entire breast. All tissue, from the front to the back of the breast, should be felt. The same pattern and procedure should be conducted while standing up. Many women find this easiest to do while in the shower. It is important not to panic if something is detected. Not every lump is breast cancer. And bumps may actually be normal parts of the breast, as certain areas can feel different than others. But bring any concerns to the attention of your doctor. Breast self-exams are a healthy habit to adopt. When used in conjunction with regular medical care and mammography, self-exams can be yet another tool in helping to detect breast abnormalities. Doctors and nurses will use similar breast examination techniques during routine examinations. Schneps Media
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Learn how at aarp.org/nyc October 10, 2019
NYC Homeless seek an elusive safe refuge in subways BY BEN FR ACTENBERG, GABRIEL SANDOVAL AND JOSE MARTINEZ, THE CIT Y This story was first published on Oct. 8 by THE CITY. he beating deaths of four homeless men sleeping on the streets of Chinatown early Saturday shocked the city. But for some New Yorkers without a permanent home, the killings confirmed an unease that has them avoiding city streets and shelters overnight, afraid for their safety. Many fi nd refuge in the subways. But life underground is getting tougher. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced plans to hire 500 new MTA cops to deal with various issues. Meanwhile, as THE CITY reported last week, the NYPD is now using surveillance cameras to keep tabs on the homeless in a dozen stations. Against this backdrop, THE CITY spoke with some people who regularly seek shelter in the subway system. Hereâ€™s what they told us: â€˜MY SAFE HAVENâ€™ Word about the killings of the four men didnâ€™t reach Joseph Brown until Monday. When the news spread Sunday, Brown was busy dealing with the loss of clothing he said was stolen while he was sleeping.
PHOTO : BEN FRACTENBERG/THE CITY
Joseph Brown seeks shelter in the Times Square station on Monday.
â€œNow Iâ€™ve got to start all over again,â€? said Brown, 52, who tugged a suitcase and a shopping cart at the 42nd St.-Port Authority station. He doesnâ€™t like shelters. And wonâ€™t sleep on sidewalks, like the men who lost their lives Saturday. â€œThatâ€™s unsafe,â€? Brown said. â€œI go on the train. Thatâ€™s my safe haven.â€? Still, he added: â€œThe subway is dangerous, too.â€?
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LESSONS FROM 35 YEARS Donna Moody-Scott, who said sheâ€™s been homeless for 35 years, noted it took her a decade to stop worrying about being hassled by cops. As she put it, she learned to say â€œthe hell with the police.â€? She said sheâ€™s been staying in Penn Station on and off for a quarter-century. The 60-year-old wonâ€™t go to a shelter, saying sheâ€™s through being harassed by homeless men and shelter workers. â€œThey say they want to protect you, but you can be raped in the shelter,â€? MoodyScott said.
his subway routine down. â€œI like to be off the street at night,â€? he said. â€˜ITâ€™S JUST A HOMEâ€™ Carl Robinson was glad to share his observations from a platform bench at the 34th Street-Herald Square station, but not his age. The burly, bearded man, who uses a cane, said he didnâ€™t want to deal with any â€œage discrimination.â€? Robinson, who noted heâ€™s been without a home since 1985, said homeless people became â€œpublic enemy No. 1â€? during former Mayor Rudy
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October 10, 2019
PHOTO : BEN FRACTENBERG/THE CITY
Donna Moody-Scott has been staying in Penn Station for 25 years.
â€˜ITâ€™S COLD OUT THEREâ€™ A man who goes by â€œTrillion Starâ€? said heâ€™s had mixed dealings with the police. But he said he appreciates the kindness of some officers heâ€™s met after falling asleep on the train and winding up at the end of the line. â€œThey just want to know if they can get me a coffee, something hot,â€? he said. â€œBecause itâ€™s cold out there sometimes.â€? The 38-year-old Queens native said he â€œcouldnâ€™t even dreamâ€? heâ€™d ever be without a home. But after nine years, heâ€™s got
Giulianiâ€™s administration. While he prefers the trains to the street or shelters, â€œNo place is safe in the world anymore.â€? Robinson said thereâ€™s â€œa very simple solutionâ€? to homelessness. â€œItâ€™s called a home,â€? he said. â€œItâ€™s just a home, nothing complicated.â€? This story was originally published by THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to hardhitting reporting that serves the people of New York. Schneps Media
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October 10, 2019
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ocal nonprofit Alliance for Positive Change, which provides health services, has launched a campaign called â€œAlliance on the Move,â€? which brings a mobile van to different neighborhoods for free tests and services. The bus primarily serves high-need areas in Manhattan, including the Lower East Side, Hellâ€™s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Washington Heights as well as East and Central Harlem. Starting in August, it has come to the West Village every Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., at Christopher and Weehawken Streets. The nonprofit was founded in 1990 during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to help New Yorkers find care and support. The organization remains focused on fighting HIV and AIDS, but has broadened its scope to include other health issues. The vanâ€™s staff offers free counseling and testing for HIV and Hepatitis C. People can also get screened for other sexually transmitted diseases, get free condoms and receive help in finding health insurance. Syringe exchange and naloxone training programs for people affected by the opioid crisis are also available, in partnership with the nonprofitâ€™s Harm Reduction Center on the Lower East Side. â€œThe beauty of the van is itâ€™s our strategy of taking harm reduction services out into the community and going where people are,â€? said Alliance Executive Director and CEO Sharen Duke. â€œWe make it easy and accessible.â€? Mobile Unit Coordinator Phillip Bermudez said the vanâ€™s outreach goals seem to be working and helping to spread the word about the services the nonprofit offers. It can be imposing for people to go into a building for services, he said, and the mobile unit bridges that gap. The Alliance for Positive Change serves over 6,000 people overall at its six office locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, including administering more than 1,200 free HIV tests. The Alliance reaches another 15,000 people through peer education and other community outreach programs. The West Village location is near the West Side Highway and was chosen because a lot of young people walk by on their way to Hudson River Park, according to Guy Williams, the Allianceâ€™s associate director of prevention. More information can be found at alliance.nyc. Schneps Media
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October 10, 2019
Breast Cancer Awareness
Menopause and breast-cancer risk M enopause occurs when a woman’s reproductive cycle is over and she can no longer produce offspring. For many women, menopause occurs around age 50. While menopause itself is not a risk for breast or other cancers, it’s important to know that some symptom treatments and other factors can increase the risk for cancer among menopausal women. The North American Menopause Society says that a woman going through perimenopause and menopause may experience various symptoms, which can range from hair loss to food cravings to hot flashes to vaginal dryness. The National Institutes of Health indicates some women undergo combined hormone therapy, also called hormone replacement therapy to help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and osteoporosis. This therapy replaces estrogen and progestin, which diminish in a woman’s body after menopause sets in. However, NIH’s Women’s Health Initiative Study has found that women undergoing this therapy have a higher risk of breast cancer, among
Menopause itself is not a risk for breast or other cancers, but it’s impor tant to know that some symptom treatments and other factors can increase the risk for cancer among menopausal women.
other conditions. WebMD says evidence suggests that the longer a woman is exposed to female hormones, whether it’s those
made by the body, taken as a drug, or delivered by a patch, the more likely she is to develop breast cancer. That means that hormone replacement therapy can
increase breast cancer risk and also indicates that the longer a woman remains fertile the greater her risk for certain cancers. Women who began menstruating before age 12 or entered menopause after age 55 will have had many ovulations. This increases the risk of uterine, breast, and ovarian cancers, states the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It also may impact a woman’s chances of developing endometrial cancer. Gaining weight after menopause can also increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, states the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight or even losing a little weight can be beneficial. Women who enter menopause are not necessarily at a higher risk for breast cancer, but some factors tied to menopause can play a role. Women who want to lower their risk for various cancers are urged to eat healthy diets, quit smoking and maintain healthy body weights.
Juggling work and breast cancer treatment
ge is a risk factor for breast cancer, and the organization Susan G. Komen notes that the older a woman is, the more likely she is to get breast cancer. However, data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that breast cancer rates in women begin to increase after age 40, meaning many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both their disease and their careers. The nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org says that breast cancer treatments can produce some cognitive side effects that affect thinking and memory. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating are two such side effects that can make it difficult for working women to do their jobs while being treated for breast cancer. Professional women diagnosed with breast cancer may be able to take advantage of short- and longterm disability programs that provide a percentage of their incomes if they are diagnosed with an illness that prevents them from doing their jobs. In addition, Breastcancer.org notes that, in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to maintain their benefits and keep their jobs while taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to heal from serious health conditions.
October 10, 2019
Data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that breast cancer rates in women begin to increase after age 40, meaning many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both their disease and their careers.
Despite those options, many women may want to continue working while receiving treatment for breast cancer. Such women can heed the following tips, courtesy of Breastcancer.org, to overcome any cognitive effects of treatment so they can continue to perform their jobs capably:
Start taking notes. Start taking notes during meetings, important work-related conversations, and even doctor’s appointments to counter any issues with memory. Keep such notes on a tablet or smartphone so they can be quickly and easily accessed throughout the day. Write down deadlines and work schedules. Accomplished profession-
als may keep lists of deadlines and work schedules in their heads, but that internal list might not be so reliable while women are being treated for breast cancer. Make use of the calendar function on your smartphone or tablet to note deadlines, even setting alerts so you receive routine reminders when important dates are coming up. Make and routinely update a todo list. Some professional women diagnosed with breast cancer may be juggling work, treatment, and their families. Keeping a to-do list and checking items off as they’re completed can help women effectively manage such juggling acts and save time. Set realistic goals. Breast cancer treatment can produce a host of side effects, including fatigue. So women who plan to continue working during treatment should be sure to set realistic goals that take into account the effects that treatment may have on their energy levels. If need be, delegate more tasks and ask for more help. Many women continue working while being treated for breast cancer. A few simple adjustments can help such women overcome many treatment-related obstacles. Schneps Media
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October 10, 2019
Enjoying autumn in The Village and Soho
Batter-up in Vesuvio Park
BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y
nder a sunny sky, with autumnperfect weather, local neighborhood community gardens, playgrounds and block associations in Greenwich Village and Soho celebrated the season this past weekend. PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Kat Minogue enter tains just outside Vesuvio Park, along Sullivan Street. Kat is “The Deputy” in the bi-weekly Thompson Street Chemists gig when The Sheriff and The Deputy and others play on Tuesdays a the local pharmacy.
The accordionist plays the favorites
In the Swedish clothing store Gudrun Sjödén on Greene Street, visitors added their own toppings — peanuts, chocolate chips, coconut and more to fresh warm caramel topped apples.
Painting and crafts par t of the Soho Block Par ty in Vesuvio Park
Neighborhood charmer, Friends of LaGuardia Board Member
Among activities in Vesuvio, playing with gigantic building blocks
Scenes from the Lower East Side CB Community Garden Har vest Festival
Painting and crafts par t of the Soho Block Par ty in Vesuvio Park
October 10, 2019
Larr y Goldberg and Lois Rakoff Board Members of “Friends of LaGuardia Place”
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East Village artist leads a rock-and-roll life at home BY BOB KR ASNER
money from Punk. In the 3 1/2 years in print, we lost money,” he admitted. “The book (a recent hardcover retrospective) lost money too, even though it’s almost sold out.” Holmstrom was actually supporting himself with a steady gig doing a comic strip for Bananas magazine, where his editor was Jovial Bob Stine (now known as RL Stine, of “Goosebumps” fame). Luckily his friend, Deerfrance, was giving up her apartment on East 10th Street. Holmstrom thought, “This will be a nice place to stay for a year.” At this point, he had some cash from doing the “Rocket to Russia” LP cover, so he could afford the move. But things began to change in the real estate situation. “It used to be that people would move when it was time to paint the apartment, but in 1979, apartments got scarce,” he said. And the 80s were rough on the block too. There were always pot dealers there, but the influx of cocaine dealers changed the scene.
ohn Holmstrom’s been there, done that and he’s still here — specifically, in the East Village, where he has resided in the same apartment for over 40 years. The artist — notable for his role as a founding editor of Punk magazine and as the artist whose work graces the covers of the Ramones classic albums “Rocket to Russia” and “Road to Ruin” — has seen a lot of changes but is still glad to be in the neighborhood where it all happened. “The first time I came to New York was in 1969,” he recalled. “We came to see Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys at the Fillmore East.” From then on, Holmstrom “loved NYC and always wanted to live here.” He made the move from Connecticut in 1972, when he enrolled in the School of Visual Arts. “I lived in eight different places from 1972 to 1977,” he recalled. Among those memorable residences was a luxury building on the Upper East Side with paper thin walls, a place on East 24th Street that was the site of a fire, a spot on East 3rd Street that was conveniently located across from the Hell’s Angels headquarters and an even more agreeable location above Stromboli Pizza, where he unfortunately could not afford the $145 a month rent. After couch-surfing for a bit, he ended up in a storefront at 10th Avenue and 30th Street, living and working with Legs McNeill and Ged Dunn to create Punk magazine, the now legendary publication that was the first devoted to the music scene that was thriving at CBGB’s on the Bowery. “If the Ramones were still here, they’d be filling Madison Square Garden,” he mused. “But back then they weren’t drawing big crowds. Talking Heads was considered a novelty act when they started. Blondie brought in the most people.” And Punk magazine was not exactly bringing in a lot of cash. “I never made any John Holmstrom in his East Village apar tment.
October 10, 2019
John Holmstrom in his East Village apar tment, holding a tote bag with a reproduction of one of his Punk magazine covers. PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
John Holmstrom freaking out in the Metropolis Vintage dressing room, which is filled with his ar twork
Aid McSpade, John Holmstrom with the dressing room door at Metropolis Vintage
Galleries closed, and there was at least one fatal shooting. The block where all four original members of the Velvet Underground once lived became less desirable, but Holmstrom stayed put. “At one point we had a crack den upstairs and a shooting gallery down the hall,” he said, “and when the dealers went crazy shooting off fireworks, you didn’t go outside.” As the years went by, Holmstrom worked with, among others, The Village Voice, Heavy Metal and High Times, where he went from managing editor to president and publisher (he left in 2000). Despite lapsed Japanese licensing
deals and movie options that never came to fruition, he remains optimistic about new projects. Nowadays, Holmstrom is working on reviving “Hep Cat,” the comic strip that he and his buddy Aid McSpade created for High Times magazine back in the day. Metropolis Vintage recently celebrated the launch of the new “Hep Cat” t-shirts with a party at their new space at 803 Broadway, which is adorned with a logo created by Holmstrom and a dressing room that features his artwork, wall-towall. Metropolis owner Richard Colligan began his relationship with the artist five years ago, when Holmstrom submitted a design for the logo. “We looked at a number of different ideas, and John’s was the best,” said Colligan, “and we knew his stuff would be great in the dressing room.” Having sold his archives to Yale a few years back, Holmstrom is assured a place in history – something that he does not take lightly, especially when it comes to his place of residence. “This is the most amazing neighborhood!” he exclaimed. “There’s a greater appreciation of history here. When you think about all the great things that happened here — it’s amazing.” Although there are plenty of places that he misses, such as Free Being Records (the site of the first Ramones record signing) and Paul’s Lounge (where he hung out with Joey Ramone), “I’m pretty happy here at this point,” he concluded. John’s show at the 72 Gallery, “All The Stuff I Did With The Ramones” ends on Oct. 18. For more information, visit 72gallery.com or johnholmstrom.com. Schneps Media
Village’s Lucky Lee’s survives controversy BY GABE HERMAN
hinese restaurant Lucky Lee’s got extensive media coverage when it opened in the Village this April, but not for the reasons it had hoped for. The owner Arielle Haspel, a Manhattan nutritionist who is white, advertised the eatery as a place for “clean” Chinese-American food that wouldn’t leave diners feeling “bloated and icky.” The name Lucky Lee’s had a stereotypical connotation, and the restaurant’s decorations included bamboo and jade aesthetics. There was instant backlash on social media and accusations of cultural appropriation. Haspel apologized soon after in a New York Times article, saying changes were being made after listening and learning, and she added, “Shame on us for not being smarter about cultural sensitivities.” Several months later, Lucky Lee’s is still serving to customers at 67 University Place, between East 10th and 11th Streets. The name is the same, but the controversy has
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
The vegan ‘Shrooms and Broccoli dish.
died down. As for the food, Lucky Lee’s offers a menu that is free of gluten, dairy, wheat and corn. Non-GMO oils are used, and there is no refined sugar, MSG or food coloring in the food. They also don’t cook with peanuts, cashews or pistachios. The limited menu includes chick-
en, beef, shrimp and veggie dishes. There’s baked sesame chicken, chicken and broccoli, baked General Tso’s chicken, kung pao shrimp and the vegan ‘shrooms and broccoli. There are jasmine rice and brown rice options, or riced cauliflower for the especially carb-averse. The food is tasty and clearly comes
from fresh ingredients, though too much sauce in the dishes can take away from other flavors. The portion sizes are rather small, based on a recent afternoon order. Main dish prices range from about $11-18, which isn’t too bad, but would be a better deal with bigger portions. Lucky Lee’s has decidedly mixed reviews on Yelp, having three stars out of five overall. Some reviewers really liked the food, and there are some five-star reviews. Others, however, found the dishes to be bland. “I wanted to like this place so much,” one woman wrote. “As someone who’s allergic to gluten and tries to eat well, I’m always excited by new gluten free options. But the food was actually inedible. Given the number of places that are now able to make things gluten free, I’d skip this one.” With the mix of good and bad reviews, however, Lucky Lee’s is worth a try for those interested in the food, now that the controversy has died down. More info can be found at luckyleesnyc.com.
Reporter tackles the Five-Boro Pizza Challenge disclosed to us racers. My objective was to scarf down slices at Puglsey Pizza in the Bronx, Paulie’s Pizzeria on Staten Island, Rizzo’s Fine Pizza in Queens, Norm’s Pizza in Brooklyn, and Sofia Pizza Shoppe, in the heart of Manhattan’s Sutton Place, all before a rendezvous at the Financial District’s Clinton Hall to cross the proverbial finish line. My strategy was to start in the Bronx, span southbound to Staten Island, then over to Brooklyn and Queens, finally returning to Manhattan hopefully
BY ALEX MITCHELL
he Five Borough Pizza Challenge is much more than just a foodie’s quest to slice out some territory in each corner of New York City — as a matter of fact having pizza time is the easiest part of the day. Its true contest is in traveling throughout the five boroughs without driving a single block, instead having to rely on a hybrid of public transit, walking, and even bicycling for many competitive triatha-eaters that signed up for this amazing race. Promoting use of the city’s public transit is actually why and how the annual challenge, which completed its fourth running on Saturday, Sept. 28, had originally begun. “A friend of mine and I thought one day, ‘Let’s see if we can hit each borough for a slice’ and we travelled around the city only using busses, ferries, subways, bikes, the works,” said Joe Cutrufo, the challenge’s organizer. After a few successful runs, he decided to open it up to the public, donating its proceeds to Transportation Alternatives (Cutrufo serves as its commuications director) to raise awareness of the car-less transit options in NYC. In the name of good and honest jourSchneps Media
by nightfall. They told me I finished in the top 60 contestants as I stood holding the challenge’s iconic, wooden pizza peel — feeling proud of my achievement as a first timer. “The top finishers actually bike most of the race,” Cutrufo explained, mentioning that this running was the Five Borough Pizza Challenge’s largest turnout yet. All in all, it was an exhilarating challenge and you can guarantee that I’ll be gunning for first place in 2020.
212 - 254 - 1109 | www.theaterforthenewcity.net | 155 First Ave. NY, NY 10003 PHOTO VIA TWITTER/@PEDESTRIANTOM
Shir ts given out at the star ting line of the race
nalism, I joined the 175 esteemed challengers on the prowl for pizza via public transit that weekend, ambitious to put my navigational skills to the test. The day began in Lower Manhattan at Isamu Noguchi’s iconic ‘Red Cube’ sculpture on Broadway; that’s where the unknown five pizzerias scattered throughout the boroughs were finally
To Life by Eve Lederman October 3 - Oct. 13, Tix $12 Thur, Fri, Sat 8PM, Sun 3PM Ludwig & Bertie by Douglas Lackey October 3 - Oct. 13, Tix $15 Thur, Fri, Sat 8PM, Sun 3PM
Singin’ in the E.R. by Ruby Lynn Reyner October 3 - Oct. 13, Tix $18 Thur, Fri, Sat 8PM
Theater for the New City’s Village Halloween Costume Ball
Thursday, October 31, 2019, Tix $20, 4PM - 1AM October 10, 2019
Turning coming out into performance art BY MATT TR ACY
hen Dubbs Weinblatt started a new show featuring discussions about coming out, the idea was partly inspired by their own story. Itâ€™s just one of the many ways Weinblatt, who identifies as trans, genderqueer, queer, and gay, has come to suffuse their life with queer-focused themes: During the day, they work at Keshet, a non-profit organization dedicated to LGBTQ Jewish folks; in their free time, they use performance art to take on queer topics. But it was not always this easy for Weinblatt to explore LGBTQ issues in the public light â€” or at all. Weinblatt grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s in a small, predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, where they â€œalways knew inside that I felt differentâ€Ś but I didnâ€™t know how to describe it.â€? They felt out of place, and during their early years at Ohio State alcohol and drugs helped them numb that feeling. Those feelings were compounded because Weinblatt did not feel they could turn to anyone to discuss how they felt. â€œI didnâ€™t talk to anyone, didnâ€™t confide in anyone, and didnâ€™t even write it in a journal because I was terrified somebody would find it,â€? they recalled. That loneliness lingered, and so did the drinking â€” so much so that Weinblattâ€™s college roommate confronted their drinking habits. That was when Weinblatt finally felt compelled to come
THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT
Dubbs Weinblatt (right) records a recent edition of the â€œThank You For Coming Outâ€? podcast with theater teacher and comedian Scott Austin.
out, but they couldnâ€™t bring themselves to say it out loud. They jotted down on a post-it note, â€œIâ€™m bi,â€? and handed it to their roommate. Their roommate was fine with that, and it was then that Weinblatt realized they had cleared a hurdle â€” except it
wouldnâ€™t be the final one. Years passed by, the drinking continued, and something still wasnâ€™t quite right. A decade later, however, they came to an entirely new understanding that their life still was not quite what they thought it was.
They realized they did not, in fact, identify with their name, pronouns, or body. Over time, they became more comfortable with their gender identity and reacclimated with their Jewish identity after grappling with it when they were not feeling comfortable with themselves. Weinblatt has since channeled their own coming out experience into their work. They created an onstage show, which they recently turned into a podcast hosted by Gay City News, called â€œThank You For Coming Out,â€? in which LGBTQ folks come on and discuss their own coming out story. â€œThank You For Coming Outâ€? â€” available at gaycitynews.com and on iTunes and other podcast platforms â€” has so far featured stand-up comic Jessica Henderson and theater teacher and comedian Scott Austin, among others. In a way, Weinblatt has always longed for that kind of a show. When recalling their isolated younger years, they acknowledged that they felt â€œlike a part ofâ€? the community on the rare occasion when they saw public representation of LGBTQ life in the media. On Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day 2019, however, Weinblatt is the one making others feel â€œlike a part ofâ€? the community by producing a show and podcast that relates to them. â€œWe all have similar, shared experiences and can use that to build empathy and support each other in a really special way,â€? they said.
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For more news & events happening now visit www.TheVillager.com 28
October 10, 2019
Your guide to Manhattan events, Oct. 10-16
PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK/FULTONSTALLMARKET
The Fulton Stall Market near South Street Seapor t hosts the New York City Public Markets Festival this Sunday, Oct. 13.
BY SAMANTHA WANDERER
Thursday, Oct. 10 Open Track Night Run at the world-class Icahn Stadium and participate in offered fitness programs. 6 to 8 p.m. at Icahn Stadium, Randall’s Island Park, www. nycgovparks.org. Free.
Friday, Oct. 11 New York Coffee Festival Indulge in as much coffee as you can stomach and experience workshops and seminars from world-class baristas. There will also be live music and street food. 100% of profits will be donated to Project Waterfall and charity. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Metropolitan Pavillion, 125 W. 18th St., www.newyorkcoffeefestival.com. $30 online, $40 at the door.
Jesse Baez: Amor en Español Tour Listen to Jesse Baez perform on his Amor en Español Tour at Sounds of Brazil in SOHO. 8 p.m. at SOB’s, 204 Varick St., www.sobs.com. $18.
Saturday, Oct. 12 Warm From Within Practice deep breathing techniques with Wim Hof/Tsa Lung-inspired techniques. Through this experience, you will learn about improving health and experiencing the “energy body.” 1 to 3 p.m. at Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring Streets, elizabethstreetgarden.com. Free. Central Park Conservatory Garden Tour This staff-led tour will take you through Conservatory Garden as you learn about its history, blooms, and design. Highlights of the tour include crabapple trees and a beautiful wroughtiron gate. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt Gate at Conservatory Garden, Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Sts., www.nycgovparks.org. $15/$10 for members. Movies Under the Stars: Hocus Pocus Halloween Celebration Come wearing your costume to see
the last screening of the season at Fort Tryon Park. There will be activities starting at 5, including face painting and popcorn, followed by the showing of Hocus Pocus. 5 to 10 p.m. at Dongan Lawn in Fort Tryon Park, Broadway and Dongan Place, www.broadwaycomedyclub.com. Free.
Sunday, Oct. 13 New York City Public Markets Festival Experience this showcase of NYC public markets and craft beverages. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 89 South St., www.fultonstallmarket.org. Free.
Tuesday, Oct. 15 Toe Tappin’ Tuesdays Presented by the Gotham Jazzmen Jazz favorites will be played weekly, lifting the spirits of all who attend. 12 p.m. at New York Public Library for the
Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, 65th St. and Columbus Ave., www.nypl.org. Free.
Wednesday, Oct. 16 Bryant Park Boot Camp The pop-up group The Rise NYC will bring boot camp to Bryant Park. Cardio and Strength training will occur through rotations of different, fun exercises, rain or shine. 6:30 to 7 a.m. at Fountain Terrace in Bryant Park, 6th Ave. and 41st St., www.unionsquarenyc.org. Free. Haunted Subway at Union Square Station NYPD Transit and MTA will host their second year of this spooky haunted train. Everyone aged seven and older are welcome. 4 p.m. at 14th St. Union Square Station, 15th Street and Union Square West Entrance.
What’s going on in your neighborhood? Tell us! Email your events for our calendar to email@example.com October 10, 2019
October 10, 2019
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October 10, 2019
Fighting new tenements on the Lower East Side BY MARK HALLUM
t was the second coming of the notorious tenement days in the Lower East Side this August when city officials discovered an apartment building split into half-floors — some of which not tall enough for an individual to stand upright in their own unit. Even more perilous than the ceiling height at the Henry Street buildings was the lack of proper ventilation and egress, as well as the absence of various fire safety measures. But the landlord was nice enough to put bubble wrap on the ceiling, according to the city Department of Buildings (DOB). Now, the DOB and FDNY is launching an outreach effort to warn renters of the dangers of illegally converted apartments in which unscrupulous landlords set aside the safety of tenants in favor of extra income. Starting Oct. 7, the city announced, it will be conducting outreach at the East Broadway Station, Delancey Street/Essex Street Station, New York Public Library Seward Park Branch and the Captain Jacob Joseph Playground. Educating residents on the dangers of illegal conversions is critical to ending dangerous living conditions, according to Buildings Commissioner Melanie LaRocca. “The Lower East Side has long been a historic hub for new immigrant communities coming to our city, and the tenants living there deserve safe and legal housing for themselves and their families,” LaRocca said. “Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to live, which is why we’re commit-
ted to rooting out dangerous firetraps wherever we find them and issuing strong enforcement actions against landlords who put their tenants lives at risk. Spotting and reporting an illegal conversion before moving in could end up saving your life – that’s why these community education campaigns with our partners at FDNY are so important.” Several condo owners on Henry Street were found Illegal conversions found to be violating city code by splitting their floors horizontally down the middle making single occupant units that could be seen from the outside of the building from the windows. Councilwoman Carlina Rivera chalked the illegal subdivision up to a lack of affordable housing in the city. The city warns renters to be weary of apartments listed at significantly lower rates than the surrounding area. “As we work to address our city’s affordability crisis, it’s important that we also ensure our
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS
on Henr y Street in August.
buildings are not being converted into dangerous and unsafe ‘half-floors’ and other types of illegal conversions. No tenant should be living in a home without proper egress, windows, ventilation and fire safety systems,” Rivera said. Renters should also be on the lookout for windows that are smaller than usual or if rooms and units do not have any windows at all. Renting basements and attics are also illegal forms of conversions, according to the city.
Deal to develop part of Morgan No. Post Ofﬁce BY GABE HERMAN
ew development projects continue in West Chelsea, as a deal has been reached for a real estate company to redevelop office space on the top six floors of the old Morgan North Post Office. Part of the massive Art Deco building, which was built in 1933, is still used as a postal facility. It takes up an entire city block, from Ninth to Tenth Avenues and West 29th to 30th Sts. Real estate company Tishman Speyer entered into a 99-year lease with the U.S. Postal Service for the deal, which includes developing 630,000 square feet of office space, according to the Oct. 2 announcement by the company. The building has Manhattan’s largest private green roof, which is 2.5 acres and will only be for use by Tishman Speyer’s future office tenants. The deal also includes the company creating over 5,000 square feet of retail on the street level along Ninth Avenue.
October 10, 2019
COURTESY TISHMAN SPEYER
A rendering of the new interior office space.
The postal building used to connect with the High Line train system. The High Line park recently opened the Spur, which runs east on West 30 St. from the main High
Line and follows the former tracks right up to the postal building’s western side. Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer said the de-
velopment deal was a good fit for the company in a changing neighborhood. “With its West Chelsea location on the High Line and just steps from the Meatpacking District, Morgan North resides at the crossroads of Manhattan’s most vibrant and dynamic neighborhoods,” said Speyer. “Just as importantly, this authentic New York City building, with its limestone and brick façade, high ceilings, massive open floors and countless outdoor amenity options, is ideally suited for today’s creative, tech-oriented workforce.” The USPS will continue operations on the bottom four floors of the building, which connects to the Morgan South facility via a bridge across West 29 Street. The twoblock complex is a combined 2.2 million square feet, making it one of the largest mail-processing facilities in the country. Tishman Speyer’s construction for the new office development is scheduled to start in late 2020 and finish in mid-2022.
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Take Your Taste Buds to Malaysia via Elmhurst’s Little House Cafe
BY JOE DISTEFANO
As the Culinary King of Queens, I’m so very fortunate to live in the most diverse and delicious destination in all of New York City. Really I’m not royalty though, I’m an ambassador, and a hungry one at that. Today, we examine a cuisine— Malaysian—found in a most unusual location an erstwhile Chinese bakery in Elmhurst. It’s not unusual to find a Malaysian eatery in Elmhurst, after all there several others in the neighborhood, which has had a Southeast presence for at least a decade. What sets Little House Cafe apart is that for most of its life it presented as a Chinese cafe specializing in various buns and cakes. When I first visited it thanks to intel from local Queens vloggers Food & Footprints, the yellow awning read, “Bubble Tea. Bakery. Teriyaki Express. Asian Cuisine,” and the only photos in the window were of hamburgers and bubble tea. Just inside the door was a pretty standard selection of Chinese buns and treats, with a few items, notably Malaysian brown sugar cake, that a gave a clue to the fact that the “Asian Cuisine” referenced in the awning was in fact Malaysian. On that first visit I had the aforementioned cake— spongy, sweet, and fragrant—along with a nice strong Malaysian style iced coffee while I waited an unusually long time for an order of chow keuh teow. The latter is a tangle of flat stir fried noodles shot through with shrimp, squid, fish cake, pork all cooked up with soy sauce and chili paste. Little House’s is excellent, the noodles a deep brown and slightly charred along with the seafood, a result of extra time in a blazing hot wok. Another tour de force of wok cookery from Chef Jeremy Lee and his son and sous chef, Jeremy Lee, is the prosaically named fried carrot. It’s actually chunks of daikon radish cake studded with dried shrimp. Known as chӽo luó bo gāo in Chinese, the crunchy salty burnished cubes are the most exciting way to eat your veggies in Elmhurst. The most amazing creation at Little House though is a sweet brownish bun. It’s not one of the fist-sized numbers, that fill the baskets by the door though. This one, known as the Golden Pillow, is a Singaporean style jumbo curry chicken bun the size of my head.
Curry mee with young tao fu, features tofu The chow keuh teow, stir fried noodles and other goodies in a spicy broth. with seafood, is the best in Queens. It must be ordered a day in advance and will set you back $16, but it's well worth it. Helen Bay, the family’s matriarch delivers it personally to your table for oohs and aahs before taking it to the kitchen to crack it open. A few moments later she returns. Cut open it resembles nothing so much as a flower whose sweet bready petals surround a reddish pool of chicken and potato, fragrant with coconut, chili, and curry. It may momentarily call to mind roti canai, but it’s way better. Noodle soups, notably the Malaysian classic curry mee with young tofu, are excellent as well. The
bowl consists of a cavalcade of textures and flavors: spicy green pepper, eggplant, and soft tofu blocks all stuffed with fish paste along with yellow noodles in a sinus clearing coconut curry lemongrass broth gone red from chilies. Topping it off are several crunchy sheets of tofu skin, filled with just a hint of the same fish paste. Thanks to a New York Times review in summer 2018 the folks are a little prouder of their cuisine. It sits in the window alongside photos of Malaysian dishes, nary a hamburger or bubble tea in sight. And that Golden Pillow now graces the front of the menu. They’ve even begun to offer rotating weekend specials. My favorite is chicken rendang, tender braised chicken was coated with a coconut curry a fair amount of heat and a nice hint of kaffir lime. There are many dessert options. My favorite is a blue and white number made from sticky rice with salted coconut milk. It comes with a little tub of light green pandan scented kaya for dipping. The combination of the rice cubes with the sweet green jam that carries a haunting scent of baking bread and cooking rice is a great way to cool the palate after a spicy meal. It’s also quite fitting for a restaurant whose Chinese name translates to jù xiāng yuán chá cān tīng or "Fragrant Garden Teahouse.”
The Golden Pillow, a giant Singaporean chicken bun, must be ordered a day in advance.
90-19 Corona Ave. Elmhurst, 718-592-0888
October 10, 2019
October 17, 2019 Tribeca Rooftop, New York City Join us for the largest and most important summit of its kind focused on building transatlantic ties for women in business. Find out how you can build your career and grow your business as well as expand your network of fellow change-makers in both regions.
Special ticket price only $99 with a discount code WE_Summit More information at www.usacewomen.com ORGANIZER
October 10, 2019
October 10, 2019