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V i s i t u s o n l i n e a t w w w .T h e V i l l a g e r. c o m



January 16, 2020 Volume 90 • Number 2

The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Little Italy, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, and Chinatown

LOOKING BACK Photo exhibit highlights the past & change in Lower Manhattan

Page 14

SoHo-NoHo plan protest Page 4

Hudson Yards backs off on wall proposal Page 10














Januar y 16, 2020

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14th St. Busway working, but residents still oppose it BY SOFÍA CERDA CAMPERO


ata on the 14th Street busway was presented at a Community Board 2 meeting on Jan. 9, indicating increased bus travel times and ridership, along with increased bike ridership, as some community members expressed disapproval of the new system. Members of CB2’s Traffic and ] Transportation Committee gathered with neighborhood residents to hear the preliminary report (Fall 2019) of the bus and truck priority pilot presented by Sam Schwartz Engineering and the NYC Department Of Transportation. The 14th Street initiative is designed to improve operations of the M14A/D Select Bus Service. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., only buses and trucks are permitted on 14th street between 3rd and 9th Avenues, forcing other vehicles to make a turn at the next available right. Although it was set to come into effect in July, a coalition of neighbors feared negative impacts it could bring to their neighborhoods and filed a lawsuit against the city’s Department of Transportation. The suit was overturned and the project was able to come into effect on October 3rd. According to data collected in the re-


A m14 bus makes its way on the new 14th Street busway

port by Sam Schwarz Engineering, the M14 A/D has had a 36% improvement in travel times, 5.3 minutes faster during weekdays, and a 24% increase in ridership from November 2018 to November 2019. Additionally, bicycle volumes on weekdays have gone up 26% on 12th street, and 50% on 13th street during peak hours. This, however, didn’t seem to be enough, as most neighbors expressed their concern and how their livelihood had been affected by traffic, noise, and lack of access. They found this specifi-

cally troublesome for the disabled and elderly. “I have my mother and in-laws living in my building, what if a car has to pick them up?” said one man who has been living in the neighborhood for over 20 years. “Cars must be able to make stops without getting tickets. Otherwise there is no access to many people who need it.” Additionally, four people argued that they had personally seen ambulances stuck between cars. “I was on Broadway and University

Probe continues in deadly shooting BY ROBERT POZARYCKI


olice are still investigating a shooting near Tompkins Square Park last week in which an armed man shot a hookah lounge patron dead — only to be gunned down by cops when he refused to drop his weapon on their orders. According to the NYPD, the trouble began at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 9, when two uniformed officers assigned to the 9th Precinct heard gunshots while patrolling inside the East Village park, near the corner of Avenue A and East 7th Street. Upon hearing the gunshots, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said, the officers exited the park and “tactically approached the location.” They then observed the suspect firing shots at another man — who was apparently shot and mortally wounded. “The two officers engaged the armed suspect and gave numerous commands for him to get on the ground,” Monahan said. “It was then that the officers fired three times at the man, striking him.” EMS rushed the injured suspect to Bellevue Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. During the preliminary investigation, police determined that the suspect got into a dispute with the other man moments earlier at the Hayaty hookah

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and saw how an ambulance ended up with all the traffic without being able to get out,” said a very concerned woman. “What if ambulances can’t get through? There are no divisions for emergencies, it is dangerous and not thoughtful.” The list of complaints also included business dying, taxis being unable to get in, and a dramatic increase in noise level. “You are using the neighborhood as a roadway without considering the people who live here,” said a 14th street resident. Despite an overall sense of discomfort, a few people said they were happy with the project. “I have been able to walk everywhere without any trouble, it’s so much nicer,” said another resident. “I used to run away from this spot but now I love it. Your plan has improved my life immensely.” Another man said that, as a bike user, he now enjoys being able to bike places without the fear of getting hit by a car. They were both confronted by the rest of the neighbors, who said they are determined to continue their opposition towards this project. Sam Schwartz and DOT have agreed to look into their complaints but have not made any promises of change.

Bigot plants hate symbol on subway elevator BY EMILY DAVENPORT


Police shot and killed an armed suspect who had traded shots with a patron at this hookah lounge near Tompkins Square Park early on Jan. 9.

lounge, located at 103 Avenue A. They apparently exchanged gunfire shortly after exiting the lounge, which prompted the police response. The other man also suffered gunshot wounds and was pronounced deceased; Monahan stated that he was not shot by police. Police officials did not disclose the dead men’s identities, nor the nature of their injuries, pending the results of the ongoing investigation. The man whom police shot did have a prior record; Monahan said he was out on parole after serving 8 years in

prison for an unrelated shooting. At the scene, Monahan reported, officers recovered two .22-caliber handguns — one located under the man whom police had shot, and the other recovered near the second man. The two officers involved in the shooting were not injured, but taken to a hospital for evaluation, Monahan said. Their bodycams were active, and the footage is being reviewed. The case is in the hands of the NYPD Force Investigation Division, which examines police-involved shootings.

ops are looking for a man who affixed a hate symbol on the elevator at a Manhattan subway station. Police say that at 6:20 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2019, an unknown man was seen using MTA service announcement flyers to mount a swastika on the outside of the elevator of the 96th Street subway station, serving the 1, 2 and 3 lines, in the Upper West Side. Once the suspect was done, he fled the scene to parts unknown. On Jan. 14, 2020, the NYPD released video of the suspect committing the crime: Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). All calls are kept confidential. Januar y 16, 2020


Board 7 gives thumbs down to First Church redesign BY CHRISS WILLIAMS


once sacred house of worship is in the process of transforming into a secular space — and it’s not going well. Community Board 7 voted to disapprove the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s (CMOM) proposed design plans for the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, at their Jan. 7, full-board meeting. The church was purchased by CMOM for $45 million back in 2018 with plans of moving in by 2023. This vote marks another community set back for the church, as the design firm’s first proposal was rejected by the community board’s preservation committee back in early December of 2019. The designers returned to the CB on Tuesday with a revised version of their 78-page-long proposal. The park-facing former First Church of Christ, Scientist sits at the corner of Central Park West and West 96th Street. and was built some seven years after Mary Baker Eddy founded the Church of Christian Science in Boston. Some of the early followers that built the first parish in the city include Laura Lathrop and Augusta Emma Stetson. Lathrop eventually left the first church to found the Second Church of Christ, Scientist less than 20 blocks away at Central Park West and West 68th Street. In 2005, services at the First Church of Christ, Scientist were folded into the Second church, a year after the building’s sale to the Crenshaw Christian Center East. The Crenshaw Christian Center, according to its website, is a Los Angeles-based, “non-denominational, nonsectarian, multi-racial church” and started holding services at 361 Central Park West in 2001. Crenshaw later purchased the sanctuary from the First Church of Christ, Scientist for $14 million in 2004. For the next decade, they held services in the


Lynda Starks, a member of Fresh Star t New Beginnings Christian Church, speaks in suppor t of having the church return to its original purpose, being house of worship at the Upper West Side’s Communit y Board 7 on Jan. 7, 2020.

7-story building including an auditorium designed to hold 2,000 people. In 2014, Crenshaw sold it to developers Ira Shapiro and Joseph Brunner who intended to turn the building into a condominium. Their proposed plans for the building were also disapproved by Community Board 7. The project eventually fell through and it changed hands once again to CMOM in 2018. In the modified design proposal, CMOM’s called

for roof reconstruction and the removal of all but one of the building’s stained-glass windows in lieu of clear glass. One of the windows will be kept, design firm reps said, in order to teach future visitors to the museum about the history of the building. As for the remainder of the windows, CMOM is negotiating with the National Building Arts Center in St. Louis to take one, while the others remain in on-site storage. Pastor Terry Starks, of the Fresh Start New Beginning Christian Church, implored the board to disapprove the resolution. Starks lead a congregation for several years at 361 Central Park West when the building was owned by Crenshaw Christian Center East and sought the board’s support in returning the building to its original purpose, a church. “It’s been a church for 117 years. They are trying to do everything they can to cover it up as a church,” Starks said. “That’s my assignment. My purpose is to stop it from being a museum.” Dr. Deborah White, a member of Starks current congregation, also pushed back against the proposed redesign describing the plan as “architectural vandalism.” Other Upper West Side residents expressed excitement over the museum’s presence in the neighborhood but were concerned that altering the roof and removing the stained-glass windows would affect the integrity of the building. The resolution was debated for several hours before being disapproved on the grounds that the roof reconstruction and stained-glass windows were not appropriate to the character of the historical landmark. Although the proposal was originally slated to be heard by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission on Jan. 14, it is in the process of being rescheduled, according to an LPC spokesperson.

SoHo/NoHo ‘Envision’ plan a no-go for many BY ALEJANDR A O'CONNELL-DOMENECH


oHo and NoHo residents packed into the auditorium of the Scholastic Building on Jan. 8 for the first of three meetings for community members to respond to the Envision SoHo/NoHo report, which could set the foundation for long-awaited zoning reforms in the area. Supporters and critics of the report were equally as vocal during the meeting. “This is an open process, it’s a transparent process and we intend to keep it that way,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The report — released in November by the City Department of Planning, Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin — came after six months of public input meetings and touches on how quality of life, diversity and economic vitality can be improved in the neighborhoods to meet modern-day challenges. The area has not seen a land use change since 1971 when it was a declining manufacturing neighborhood. Top recommendations from the report include increasing the amount of affordable housing, easing of the area’s residency laws and doing away with the 10,000 square foot cap in floor size for businesses. The neighborhood sits in an M1-5B zoning area which prohibits storefronts larger than 10,000 square feet from setting up shop. But over-sized stores have still been able to creep into the area by using loopholes and special permits via the city’s Uniform Land Use


Januar y 16, 2020


SoHo resident Linda Schrank listens to her neighbors promote or pushback against the Envision SoHo/NoHo repor t at the Scholastic Building on Jan. 8, 2020.

Review Process. Critics of changing the square footage for zoning allowed for stores, fear that the neighborhood will be overrun with big-box stores; increasing density and escalating rent prices. They argued the influx of larger-

scale retail would destroy the area’s identity as the artistic heart of the city. “We want to avoid the quality of life disasters we see moving into our community such as Showfields, Zara and Uniqlo,” said Laura Tenebaum, a SoHo resident and former chair of the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee. “Our buildings have already been re-purposed, let’s not re-purpose them again for that.” SoHo/NoHo would have plenty of affordable housing and diversity if the rents weren’t so high, some said. “If I had my way, it would be artists, it would be small box retail, it would be zone contextual,” said Brewer. “But we have to work as a movement, as a group, as a city.” Supporters of the report expressed a need to move with the times. Owners of apartment buildings and business reps charged that the report addressed the quality of life issues not directly linked to larger businesses in the area. Others argued that more development was needed in order to combat the city’s housing shortage. “Density is affordability,” said one pro-development meeting goer. SoHo/NoHo residents will have another opportunity to respond to the report at the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee meeting on Jan. 15 and for a third time at the full-board meeting on Jan. 23. Community members are also encouraged to submit questions and comments Schneps Media


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Januar y 16, 2020


Police Blotter Coffee shop theft on Mercer Street Attacker cuffed for There was a morning burglary at Think Coffee at 248 Mercer St., on Saturday, Dec. 14, police said. Around 7:15 a.m., a man gained entry to the shop through an unlocked door, ac-

cording to officials. Once inside, he allegedly entered an employees’ section and took $640 worth of transit checks, before fleeing. — Gabe Herman

subway assault

Smiling attacker stabs man in pk. BY ROBERT POZARYCKI

P Cyclist goes on attack in Union An e-bike rider attacked a pedestrian near Union Square last month, officials said. On Saturday, Dec. 7, around 4:30 p.m., a 29-year-old male victim was walking in a crosswalk at East 14th Street and Fourth Avenue. Another man, riding an e-bike, stopped in front of the pedestrian and allegedly said, “Why did you cut me off?” The bike rider then allegedly spat in the victim’s face, police said, before following the victim and striking him on the arm with a U-Lock, breaking the victim’s wrist and hand. The attacker then fled on foot, leaving the e-bike behind. The victim was taken by EMS to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, where he was treated and released. — Gabe Herman

Deli robbery on Avenue B There was a robbery at an East Village deli on Wednesday, Jan. 8, police said. Around 11:20 p.m., at 106 Ave. B, two men entered the location, with one allegedly displaying a knife and demanding cash from the 45-year-old employee behind the register. One of the robbers then took $200 in cash from the register, officials said, and they both fled uptown on Avenue B. There were no injuries reported. — Gabe Herman

olice need the public’s help in finding an amused assailant who brutally stabbed a man sleeping on a Manhattan park bench last month — then smiled at him before fleeing. Law enforcement sources said the dastardly attack happened at 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 inside of East River Park, near the intersection of East 10th Street and the FDR Drive. According to authorities, the 38year-old victim was sleeping on the bench when the culprit approached and repeatedly stabbed him in the back and left arm. When the victim woke up, cops said, he spotted the suspect putting on a black ski mask and head out of the park toward a footbridge. After getting to the crossing, authorities said, he took the mask off and smiled at the victim, then ran into the nearby Jacob Riis Housing Developments. The incident was reported to the 7th and 9th Precincts. Paramedics brought the victim to Bellevue Medical Center in stable condition. On Jan. 13, the NYPD released video footage of the perpetrator behind the Christmas Eve assault. Police

described him as a black man between 25 and 35 years of age, standing 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweater, gray sweatpants and light-colored sneakers. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA).

Violent attack in Hell’s Kitchen

A man was arrested after an assault inside the subway station at Eighth Avenue and West 14th Street, police said. On Friday, Jan. 10, around 12:40 a.m., a 24-year-old male victim told police that he was punched several times in the face by another man while walking on the platform. The punches caused bleeding and a laceration to the left side of the victim’s face, according to police. The victim approached a police officer in the station, and a canvass was conducted where the victim was able to identify the alleged attacker. Police said that Gregory Edwards Jr., 40, was arrested for misdemeanor assault. The victim refused medical attention at the scene. — Gabe Herman



olice released on Saturday disturbing video of a man pummeling a 63-yearold woman with his fists and luggage on a Manhattan street early New Year’s morning. Cops said the attack occurred at a minute past midnight on Jan. 1 in the area of 10th Avenue and West 51st Street in Hell’s Kitchen. According to authorities, the victim was walking through the area when the suspect approached and accosted her. The video shows the suspect knocking the woman to the ground, striking her with his rolling luggage and then throwing punches at her before walking away. The incident was reported to the NYPD Midtown South Precinct. The victim suffered facial injuries. Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA).

Delivery worker hits employee A delivery person assaulted an employee at Popeyes at 252 Eighth Ave., according to police. On Dec. 29, around 2:15 p.m., a 22-year-old male employee got into an argument with an Uber Eats delivery person, officials said. The dispute escalated and the delivery person allegedly put the employee in a choke hold and punched him on the side of the head. He then fled in an unknown direction. The victim refused medical attention. — 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.


Januar y 16, 2020

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The Benefits of Art for Older New Yorkers This month not only marks the start of a new decade but also International Creativity Month. For older adults, the benefits of engaging in art are essential to healthy aging. Through free and stimulating programming, the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) strives to make art accessible to older New Yorkers.

Art can also be essential to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Through Social Adult Day Services (SADS) that serve functionally impaired older adults, group art classes are often built into programming, which engages participants to help maintain and enhance their socialization skills.

members can avoid social isolation and increase their quality-of-life.

Art programs offered at hundreds of senior centers throughout the five boroughs include classes on painting, pottery, poetry and writing workshops, and more. Many older New Yorkers find that art becomes a celebrated passion in their silver years.

As we continue to explore the connection between healthy aging and art, we encourage older New Yorkers to let their creative juices flow, especially during International Creativity Month. There is no better place to celebrate creativity than in New York City, a mecca of art and culture.

SU-CASA is a community arts engagement program that pairs artists with senior centers and naturally occurring retirement communities, often called NORCS. Last year, through a partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, over 7,000 older adults participated in SU-CASA programs at 229 different locations. SU-CASA artists are selected each year and bring unique and individual artistic expression to their programs.

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging believe that flexing the creative muscles as we age can lead to overall improved health and well-being. Through participating in group art classes, senior center

To find free art classes offered at your local senior center, visit our website at or call 311 and ask for “senior centers.”

Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is Commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served in executive leadership roles with AARP, EmblemHealth and other organizations. She also served as New York’s first Latina Secretary of State.

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Januar y 16, 2020



Testing the country


t long last, the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump will finally begin, nearly a month after two articles of impeachment passed the House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had held the articles in limbo after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — Trump’s greatest ally in Washington — said publicly, in so many words, that he would work in concert with the White House to conduct a trial that ends with the president’s acquittal. Whether McConnell and Trump get away with this scheme to turn the Senate into a kangaroo court is up to each Senator. A two-thirds majority is required to convict a sitting president and remove him from office — very unlikely considering the Republican majority in place. The simple fact, however, is that just three Republican senators are needed to declare that McConnell ensure a fair trial, which would include the testimony of witnesses such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Is that too much to ask? It shouldn’t be. The Senators take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and its preservation. No one senator is obligated to the president; the law must come first, always. That hasn’t stopped the president and his most loyal servants from slandering the impeachment process and wanting it all swept under the rug. On Monday, he suggested that the Senate majority simply forego the impeachment trial and acquit him. To do that ignores the will of the House majority and the people it represents who believe the president abused his power. Last week, in response to Pelosi withholding the articles, one of his most loyal Senators introduced a resolution to change the Senate rules and automatically dismiss any impeachment article not presented to the Senate within 25 days of its House passage. The message there was even more nefarious: Let’s just ignore the Constitutional process itself, and the Legislative Branch, and allow the chief executive to do as he pleases. This impeachment is a test of our democracy. So far, the Senate majority has failed that test by rigging the game for Trump. At this point, most understand that there aren’t enough votes to convict Trump and remove him from office. But how the Senate conducts this trial will set a long-lasting precedent in holding other presidents accountable. If it isn’t conducted by the book, our democracy will be further eroded, our legislature further weakened.

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From the Jan. 14, 1988 issue of The Villager, legendary folk singer Pete Seeger sang, joked and told stories at a Sunday afternoon event at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson St. The article, by Richard Thompson, noted that Seeger and fans were supporting “Save the Village,” a group dedicated to preserving the neighborhood and protecting its Hudson River waterfront area from development.

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Letters to the Editor

Building school diversity and excellence together

MTA has eye toward progress in new year BY PAT FOYE




t’s time we all learned a lesson on school diversity. When the NYC School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG) released its recommendations for addressing the nation’s segregated school system, a 9,000 word report with a wide range of recommendations, most people read just three words – gifted and talented. When I met with the students teachers and parents who are members of the Advisory Group – it was a high school student who put it most succinctly. She said that reforms and reactions would always involve two components, data and experience. The data is clear – and along with many other students, I’ve had the experience. As a kid, I was in the Gifted and Talented program beginning in third grade, then at Philippa Schuyler Middle School. That experience helped prepare me for Brooklyn Tech, and ultimately where I am today. But right now, the barriers to that kind of enrichment are overwhelming, and the implementation unconstructive. The separation of ‘gifted and talented’ students is itself flawed — especially four year olds — as is the implicit idea that students outside the program lack certain abilities. As a student with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD — which went undiagnosed until high school — I could have been categorized ‘special education’ as needing additional support. Categorizations and labels cannot be so simple, nor can educational systems.

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Enrichment cannot be about privilege. Preparing for and passing an extensive verbal and nonverbal entry exam before a child can read and write is about privilege. Research shows that separating students by achievement levels at young ages hurts integration efforts, pulls down students in the “general population”, and does not help students who qualify as Gifted and Talented. The solution is not to eliminate the benefits of the gifted and talented program, but to remove barriers to them. Without argument, there should be a path for highly achieving students to advance. But those opportunities should be available to all students, all classrooms, all communities. Our elementary educational system needs a dynamic schoolwide enrichment model where elementary aged students are placed in modules based on achievement level – all contained within the same classroom. Each student would have their educational needs and opportunities met within the context of the classroom – not removed from it. We can have a differentiated curriculum that encompasses multiple learning levels, all within one classroom — and those modules can be fluid based on changes in student performance. New York City should be a model for progress, but we need a model that helps all students progress. Williams is the city’s public advocate.

t’s a new year, and while we’re still facing some challenges, the MTA is more committed than ever to delivering progress for New Yorkers. Our core mission is to provide safe, reliable transportation, and that remains the guiding principle in everything we do. The good news is our $51.5 billion Capital Plan was deemed approved on schedule for the first time since 1981, and we’re not wasting any time. Our new Construction and Development division has already begun on accessibility projects. On Jan. 2 — the day after the Capital Plan was approved — we started reaching out to contractors to find qualified candidates to complete this work. As you may have read, the plan calls for the addition of 70 new accessible stations. That will more than achieve our goal to ensure that no rider is ever more than two stations away from an accessible station. This year, we’ll also begin modernizing signal technology on six subway line segments. This will finally bring our outdated system into the 21st century, allowing us to deliver faster and more dependable service. We’re not only moving the ball forward in 2020, we’re also raising our standards. We expect our agencies to perform and deliver, and right now we’re seeing promising improvements in on-time performance on the subways and

commuter rails. On-time performance on the subways reached 83.4% in November, the sixth consecutive month with OTP above 80%. And Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North also saw gains overall in 2019, arriving on-time 92.4% and 94.4% of the time, respectively. On our buses, we’re pushing forward with borough-by-borough Bus Network Redesigns, with an ambitious proposal in Queens. Our draft plan envisions shorter and more direct routes, more links between the borough and the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and faster ways to get around within Queens. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to reimagine how buses can best serve the riding public, and we’re looking for your input every step of the way to make it a success. Agency-wide transformation is the final key to enacting lasting reform at the MTA. With new leadership in place, we’re streamlining operations to renew our focus on core service delivery. Our senior leaders are dedicated to creating the worldclass transit system New Yorkers deserve. We know there’s a lot of work to do, but we’re committed to showing our customers that it’s truly a new day at the MTA. Pat Foye is chairman and CEO of the MTA.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in all op-eds are those of the author, and are not necessarily the views of amNewYork Metro or its staff.

Local News Read all about it! Januar y 16, 2020


Hudson Yards wall plan gets stopped in tracks BY GABE HERMAN


t looks like part of Hudson Yards won’t be walled off after all. After an outcry earlier this week from Manhattan officials over reports that Hudson Yards was considering building a wall in its next phase of development, which would potentially block public access to its green space, Hudson Yards said on Wednesday that there will be no wall. Phase Two of Hudson Yards, dubbed the Western Yard and between 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway, from 30th to 33rd Streets, has not started construction yet. It’s set to include six residential buildings, a mixed-use building, a school, and have 50 percent reserved for open space. On Jan. 10, The New York Times reported, Related Companies, developer of Hudson Yards, was considering an idea for a deck to rise as it reaches the High Line Park on its western edge, instead of original plans for the deck to slope down. The rising deck would have allowed for a parking garage underneath and created a 20-foot-high wall next to the High Line, spanning 700 feet along the park and potentially obstructing access from the High Line and street into Hudson Yards green space. The idea received immediate and


The proposed wall would have been along the western edge of the Western Yard, according to the NY Times, and next to the High Line which borders the section to the west and south.

harsh condemnation from several officials, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of the High Line. Now, days later, Hudson Yards has said that there will be no wall.

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“Unfortunately, there currently appears to be a lot of misinformation in the public domain, which is disheartening. Our plan has always been to build an open space,� the statement continued, “and we are working to manage the technical challenges to achieve this. There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall.� The Hudson Yards statement was met with relief from officials. “This is good to hear,� tweeted Speaker Johnson. “The Western Yards must never be walled off from the High Line. Looking forward to working with my neighbors and my colleagues in government to develop a plan that prioritizes public access to the Highline.� State Senator Brad Hoylman was also glad about the news of no wall. “The High Line is—and always should be—a public space for all New Yorkers to enjoy,� Hoylman said in a statement. “I’m pleased to see Related backing down from their plan to build a 20-foot high concrete wall that would have cut off the High Line from new open space. “Too many billionaires want New York City to be their private playground,� Hoylman continued. “But when New Yorkers stand together, we can ensure there’s a place for all of us in this city.�

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Rally in Foley Square against war with Iran On Jan. 9, protesters turned out in the cold January weather to demonstrate against war with Iran, as hostilities have increased lately between the United

States and Iran. A simultaneous rally was held at Columbus Circle, and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was among those at the Foley Square event.


A scene at the Foley Square rally on Thursday evening.

Photos: Vigil at Union Square for Puerto Rico after series of

A vigil for Puerto Rico was held on Jan. 7 at Union Square, after a series of earthquakes struck the U.S. territory in recent days. The series included a 6.4-magnitude earthquake early Tuesday, and one death was reported along with multiple injuries, collapsed homes and widespread power outages.


Song is a form of healing during the vigil at Union Square.


Activists and members of the community come together in solidarit y with Puer to Rico. Schneps Media

Vigil at Union Square in suppor t of Puer to Rico.

Cit y Council Member Carlina Rivera, who is of Puer to Rican descent and has family on the island, speaks at the vigil.

In solidarity, vigil attendees walk in a circle.

A moment of prayer at the Union Square vigil for Puer to Rico and those affected by the ear thquake. Januar y 16, 2020


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Januar y 16, 2020


rom concerts to days of service, several places throughout the city are holding events to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here’s a look at what’s happening throughout the city on Monday, Jan. 20 in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Harlem Gospel Choir – Martin Luther King Jr. Day Matinee Show



1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sony Hall, 235 W 46th St 12:30 p.m. on Monday The Harlem Gospel Choir will be putting on a special show to honor Dr. King, singing joyful praises of love and unity. Tickets are available starting at $12.50.

Boys & Girls Club of Harlem Presents:

MLK Celebration Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, 521 West 145th Street 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Monday Honor Dr. King’s legacy of service by strengthening your awareness of service in your community. At the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem’s MLK Celebration, they’ll be discussing steps that can be taken to improving the community through acts of service.

MLK Now The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr. 2 to 6 p.m. on Monday Black Out for human Rights is hosting their fifth annual MLK Now event at the Riverside Church. The event will feature live music, spoken word performances, conversations and more. Doors open at 12 p.m. and there is no assigned seating, so make sure you get there early! Schneps Media

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A new look at the old Lower Manhattan BY GABE HERMAN


s rapid development has swept through the East Village and Lower East Side in recent years, a photo exhibit explores the one-story buildings in the neighborhoods, a dying breed trying to hold on amid all the new construction. “Single-Story Project,” by photographer Adam Friedberg, is showing in Greenwich Village at the Center for Architecture, at 536 LaGuardia Place. It includes 54 prints by Friedberg, a longtime East Village resident. The images are divided into categories, including storefronts, bars & restaurants, garages & warehouses, churches, and cultural & community buildings. Friedberg said the origin of the project was visual. When he saw a collection of low buildings at St. Marks Place and Third Avenue, including the Continental bar and a McDonald’s, he thought it looked strange, “like a broken tooth,” he said. “Visually it was very interesting to me,” he added. “The more I looked at it, I thought, ‘I don’t know why, but I should take a picture of this.’” Those buildings have come down to make way for an office building. The disappearing small buildings would be a recurring theme of the project, with Friedberg noting that he lost the chance to shoot about 15 buildings because they were knocked down first. After photographing that first corner at St. Marks, Friedberg noticed all

55 Pitt St.


Januar y 16, 2020


The single-stor y building at 52 Avenue A. the low buildings in the area. “It’s really weird that all these towers are going up because this area was always quite low,” he said. He was encouraged by people he knew to keep working on the project. “I didn’t realize quite how many there were,” Friedberg said of the low buildings. “I just kept finding more and more.” Along with trying to photograph buildings before they came down, another challenge was his insistence on taking photos with no people or cars blocking the buildings. He said viewers tend to look at people in photos, and he didn’t want the buildings to just become background. He researched parking times, checked weather and construction and movie shoots, and even then there were always unpredictable issues that came up. He had to shoot some photos at 5 a.m. to get his desired effect. The project took nearly five years and Friedberg photographed 97 buildings, and it was often the empty space above the structures that he found interesting. “Most of them are pretty bland,” he said of the buildings and their architecture. Friedberg, 53, is from Wisconsin and first came to New York City around age 18, after moving to Connecticut for college. He first lived in the city on the Upper West Side but soon moved Downtown and has been there ever since, saying he feels most

comfortable there. He doesn’t think of himself as a

preservationist, and said he takes no side on issues of development in the area. “I’m not aligning myself to one side or the other,” Friedberg said. “Things are always changing.” Friedberg said he often encountered business owners who saw him outside and hoped he was a developer looking to buy them out. He said they often told him they wanted to walk away, and that the city was making it difficult with tax laws. They were saying they can’t afford to stay in business, Friedberg noted. Friedberg said reactions to his project have been positive. “I think in general people are happy to see the pictures,” he said, and noted that since iPhones came along, many locals don’t look up too often anymore. “I think people just don’t notice these things.” The exhibit runs until Feb. 29.

25 Third Ave. at St. Marks Place.

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Underground comic Deitch talks ‘Reincarnation’ BY GABE HERMAN


im Deitch’s career goes back to the 1960s, but the underground comics legend continues publishing work — and his latest book has gotten critical acclaim. “Reincarnation Stories,” released in fall 2019, combines stories that range from the surreal to autobiographical, and with musings on reincarnation. It has received good reviews, including being named one of the best comics of 2019 by The New York Times. “I’m thrilled,” Deitch said of the good reviews, days before he would be appearing at a Jan. 15 event at the Museum of the City of New York on the Upper East Side, at 1220 Fifth Ave., where he will talk with jazz critic and historian Gary Giddins about his book. Deitch noted that reviews for “Reincarnation Stories” seemed to be unusually good. “I felt inspired,” he said of creating the work. “I felt like something was leading me along by the nose from story to story.” The comics in the book even continue after the appendix. “I was having too good a time,” he said. “I didn’t want to stop.”


The cover of “Reincarnation Stories,” and a photo of Kim Deitch. Deitch got his start in New York City in the underground newspaper the East Village Other. He started making comic strips for the paper in 1967, and two years later became the editor of its underground comics section. He has won several awards over the years for his work, and his 2002 book “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was named one of the 100 best graphic novels ever by Time. Deitch, now 75, says he was lucky to

get his chance in the East Village as a young man. “It was great, that was a wonderful break for me,” he said. He added that he was wild back then, and “Used to be the biggest bum in town.” But over the years, Deitch developed discipline and now commits himself to working 40 hours every week. If he misses some work time in a day, such as having to be interviewed by a journalist, he’s always sure to make up the

time. And he understands that interviews and giving talks are part of the job. “I want people to pay attention, so you gotta get the word out,” he said. “And I generally enjoy myself once it starts.” Up until the 1990s, Deitch was still living out of a suitcase, but he’s since married and settled down, and has now lived on East 86th Street for over 20 years. His wife Pam is included in “Reincarnation Stories”, as they go on a trip to the Museum of Natural History and Deitch ponders how the exhibit of stuffed monkeys hasn’t changed over time, and brings him back to a field trip there as a child. “There’s something timeless about those stuffed animal dioramas,” Deitch said, explaining how it inspired the story in his book. Deitch said he’s grateful that he’s still creative and working after so many years. “I’m kind of in shock about it. Supposedly I should be slowing down, but I’m not slowing down at all. It was as much fun as it ever was.” And he intends to keep going. “I still feel like I have things to say,” Deitch said, “And thank heavens for that.”

Wogies moves Philly taste closer to our world BY ALEX MITCHELL


pening up a Philly bar in the heart of New York was an ambitious move for Aaron Hoffman. The Philadelphia native and his wife, who’s a born a bred New Yorker, have operated Wogies for 15 years — and, just like Rocky Balboa, they’ve grown their business into a champion. After first opening shop in the West Village in 2004, Wogies expanded to a second location in the Financial District some years later. Today, they wear the crown as one of New York City’s best places for Philadelphia cheesesteaks and chicken wings. But there’s so much more than just a staple food in Hoffman’s oven — an industrial, German-imported baking one, to be exact. “We’re the only ones that bake like this in house,” Hoffman explained, mentioning the amount of experimentation that’s been done in his one-of-akind, basement bakery that produces the bread for Wogies cheesesteaks, along with pretzels and so many more

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leavened treats that marry It was rumored to be after an Eagles player in the Philly and New York tastes 1950s, though that wasn’t together. confirmed. That constant, fun experimentation has led to a “I was flipping through his new, collaborative menu old year book and a $100 bill item between Wogies and fell out underneath his nickname, so I took that a sign of this reporter — one that faith,” Hoffman said. also combines two flavors destined to be toSpecial orders, like custom cheesesteaks, don’t upgether. Our version of the set the staff at Wogies. cheesesteak merges some “If a customer wants it, chopped up steak with Bufwe’ll make it,” Hoffman said falo-style chicken, plus an — though he conceded that array of other goodies. custom orders have to be Wogies originated as inspiration from nearby Corwithin reason. Wogies Owner Aaron Hoffman and bar tender John with ner Bistro, where Hoffman Hoffman, who encourages an in house, fresh baked pretzel basket. and friends would spend creativity to the fullest, has many nights while he was taken a truly down-to-earth frequently from failed restaurants, Woworking as a bartender for swanky ho- gies finally became a literal downtown approach to running his bar. tel bars in the early 2000s. cornerstone. From letting regulars make custom “We thought, ‘Let’s be Corner Bistro, So, how did Hoffman settle on the cocktails to impress a date, or offering but with Philly stuff,” and like that it name Wogies? half-off deals to NYPD and FDNY percame to be,” Hoffman explained. “It was my dad’s nickname in high sonnel, Wogies has made customer satAfter finding a corner property on school, although none of my family, not isfaction a secret to success over their 15 years in operation. the avenue, one that had turned over even my mother, knows why,” he said. Januar y 16, 2020


MEET THE 2020 KINGS OF KINGS. A champions networking event that honors top Brooklyn men for their outstanding leadership and contributions to the community.

Thursday, January 23th, 2020 Grand Prospect Hall 263 Prospect Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 SHAWN V. AUSTIN

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Januar y 16, 2020

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Manhattan Happenings

Don’t let the winter blahs get you down, Jan. 16-26 Friday, Jan. 17 Netflix takes over Dolby SoHo Check out some of the coolest props, exhibits, and features from four Netflix blockbusters, The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, and Dolemite Is My Name at 477 Broadway for free.

Food & Cocktail crawl This disco party celebrates an icon from the 70s that was born right here in The Bronx. Starts at 6:30, $25 at 37 West 26th Street. . hustle-basics-tickets-87916750367?aff=ebdssbeditorialcollection

Seaport See Saws Head to the South Street Seesaw Port for this fun one. Right next to Pier 17, free of charge.


An exhibit from The Irishman.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Tuesday, Jan. 21

Saturday, Jan. 18 Hustle Basics Pizza making class Bryant Park Lounge Pizza time! Learn all about how to craft up your own crust at the Marriott Times Square. $45 from 6:30-8:30 at 1033 6th Ave. https://www.eventbrite. com/e/pizza-making-class-with-chefmaria-tickets-6077684919

Baby Yoda mural F train 2nd Ave

That iconic dance from the 70s is a product of the Bronx and can now be perfected at 158 Bleeker Street. $25 hustle-basics-tickets-87916750367?aff=ebdssbeditorialcollection

Monday, Jan. 20

Tompkins Square Green Market

Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan (at Henshaw Street and Dyckman Street); Forest Park, Queens (at Oak Ridge); Conference House Park, Staten Island (at the Conference House Park Visitor Center) 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (9:30 a.m. start for Staten Island) on Monday Give back to your local parks during this Martin Luther king Jr. Day. Those who stop by this event will learn how to identify and safely remove invasive plants from the parks in order to help create a healthier ecosystem.

Start your Sunday morning off fresh and healthy at this farmers market in Tompkins Square Park.

Columbia Carnival Party See this, you must. A temporary mural of the viral, to-be-named sensation of 2019 is up next to the Second Avenue Subway Station by Houston Street

Lenny Kravitz Ballet

Head to 158 Bleeker Street for the Columbian party of the week. Ticket prices vary, starts at 10:00 p.m. https://

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – NYC Parks

Head to the Complexions Contemporary Ballet at the Joyce Theatre at 175 8th Ave to see a performance like no other. Dates and tickets vary: performances/complexions-contemporary-ballet

Sunday, Jan. 26 Encompass New Opera Gala This musical festivity will honor Estelle parsons & Maury Yeston. Reception begins at 5:30. Call (718) 398-4675 for tickets

Tiffany’s flagship opens Whether you spend big or window shop, this new flagship location’s design is a must see. 6 E. 57th Street, you can’t miss it.

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What’s going on in your neighborhood? Tell us! Email your events for our calendar to

Januar y 16, 2020


City begins push for an accurate Census BY TODD MAISEL


t sounded more like a college prep rally as city leaders led chants at a New York University auditorium Tuesday morning of “Complete the Count.” This was New York City’s “Complete the Count Campaign”, the nation’s largest and most diverse coordinated municipal campaign to achieve a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census. Mayor Bill de Blasio led the rally, as he did when he was a student there in 1981 leading a protest for student equity and efforts to reduce tuition – ‘a rabble rouser’ he said of that era. This time, the Mayor said Washington D.C. and the Trump administration is focused on cutting federal funds and are even removing some congressional representatives should the census be under-counted. “This matters so much because it means the difference if we will be living in a democracy or not,” de Blasio said. “If we get an under-count, we can lose people in Congress, up to two representatives. The federal government will take billions of dollars from you.” “New York City has been on the front lines of the resistance against the Trump Administration and ensuring every New Yorker gets counted is central to that fight,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “No matter how hard the federal government tries to silence our diverse voices, we still stand up and be counted.” With just eight weeks until New York-


Mayor Bill de Blasio brought together people from all ethnic and religious background in a call to complete the census – the counting to begin soon. ers can begin completing the census online for the first time starting March 12, 2020, Mayor de Blasio and NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin also announced that the City will invest $3

million in community and ethnic media advertising to ensure participation among the city’s most historically undercounted communities. This figure represents the largest such investment by the City

in local and community media for any campaign to date. The census campaign will be advertising in a minimum of 16 languages, including several languages spoken by New Yorkers with high levels of limited proficiency in English. The city will be spending between $6-8 million on advertising to get residents to complete the census. Menin said they will be spending $3-4 million alone on print advertising to reach out to voters in all religious and cultural backgrounds. “When you threaten us, we fight back,” said the mayor to thunderous applause. Menin said up to 300 city programs will be threatened should there be an under-count of city residents, including Headstart, Medicaid. “This is the largest city investment in ads, both print and digital, ever done by the city and it will be done in 16 languages,” Menin said. “We must get a proper count or we lose federal funding and Congressional seats.” Among the organizations represented at this rally were: Association for a Better New York (ABNY); Asian American Federation; Asian Americans for Equality; Brooklyn NAACP; Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College; Chinese-American Planning Council; Community Resource Exchange; Hester Street; Hispanic Federation; Make the Road — New York; New York Immigration Coalition; NALEO Educational Fund; United Neighborhood House; The United Way of New York City.

City collects record number of trees for Mulchfest BY GABE HERMAN


ith the conclusion of NYC Parks’ Mulchfest, which collects peoples’ Christmas trees for recycling, Parks announced it had received a record number of trees this year, smashing its previous record by a 60 percent margin. Mulchfest 2020 collected 48,230 trees in the five boroughs, passing the previous record of 30,226 trees gathered in 2014. Last year, just over 28,000 trees were collected, with recent years mostly seeing similar collection numbers, according to Parks data. The trees are turned into mulch, which is used to help gardening and soil fertility. This year’s Mulchfest was from Dec. 26 through Jan. 11. There were 67 drop-off sites, including 32 chipping sites, throughout the five boroughs, at parks and GreenThumb gardens. “It gives me great pleasure to announce that our city’s residents have gone above and beyond as urban stewards this year, setting a new recycling record at Mulchfest 2020,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver in a statement. “I would like to thank


Januar y 16, 2020


A chipping machine at Manhattan’s Washington Square Park during Mulchfest 2020.

our partners at the Department of Sanitation, as well as every single individual who participated in this event, for

doing their part to make our city even more sustainable. Here’s to 50,000 trees at Mulchfest 2021!”

Parks cited several factors for the record-breaking year. The changed chipping schedule allowed for people to bring in trees on two consecutive Saturdays, instead of during one weekend like in past years. Also, the weather was unseasonably warm, Parks noted, and the program had an earlier start date this season. There were also more tree vendors who dropped off trees, with vendors contributing 9,000 trees this year instead of the typical 3,000 annually. The newly-created mulch will be distributed this spring, according to Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, to parks and community gardens that request them. When the data for Mulchfest tree contributions were broken down by borough, Manhattan collected the most, with 21,486 trees, according to Parks numbers. The Manhattan number includes trees dropped off by vendors. In Brooklyn, 15,867 trees were collected this year; Queens collected 4,912 trees; the Bronx received 4,795 trees; and 1,170 trees were collected in Staten Island. Schneps Media



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Extra! Extra!

Local News Read all about it!

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Januar y 16, 2020


Real Estate

Skin-crawling report: 60K NYCHA bug complaints BY EMILY DAVENPORT


ew data shows that there was a huge number of work orders were sent to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to take care of the creepy-crawly bugs that were infesting their homes. According to the new information released by the Legal Aid Society, within the first nine months of 2019 NYCHA residents filed over 59,770 work orders to handle cockroach and bedbug infestations. The Legal Aid Society released this information as a response to the Freedom of Information Law. “The high number of work orders filed by NYCHA residents to remediate insect infestation within their homes is indeed troubling,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit. “But it is telling that NYCHA has been able to fully close the majority of these complaints without significant delay.” According to data, residents at the Grant Houses in Manhattan filed the most work orders. With 981 in total, 877 of those reports were specifically roach complaints. Following close behind with the second and third most reports were the Linden Houses (Brooklyn) and the Edenwald Houses (Bronx), with 862 reports and 860 reports, respectively. The pair also had the second and third highest number of roach complaints, with 823 complaints from the Linden Houses and 814 from the Edenwald Houses. While the Grant Houses led the way in roach complaints, they had the second highest number of bedbug complaints with 104 in total. The highest number of bedbug complaints came


The Grant Houses were the leaders in roach complaints in 2019.

from the Pomonok Houses in Queens with 116 reports. It was reported that it took the Housing Authority an average of 9.5 days to address.

“This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources,” said Goldiner. “With the Legislature now in session, we again call for increased funding for public housing au-

thorities to address these problems and others facing tenants. Public housing is critical to so many New Yorkers and we must ensure that residents live safely and with dignity.”

NYC ranks 10 in affordability among U.S. cities: study BY EMILY DAVENPORT


new study sought to figure out where New York City stands compared to other cities in terms of affordability. A new report released by the Citizens Budget Commission sought to find out which cities across the country were the most affordable, not just through housing costs but also factoring in transportation costs. According to their findings from data in 2016, New York City is the tenth most affordable among the 20 cities that were examined for the study. New York City as a whole was the fifth most expensive in housing costs when compared to peer cities. While residents of the city have a median income of $69,211, the


Januar y 16, 2020

eighth-highest compared to the other cities examined, they are spending $1778 a month, or 30.8% of their salary, on housing alone. CBC noted that the high demand for housing in New York City puts the city at high risk for less affordability in the future. Despite the high cost of housing, New York City proved to be more inexpensive than other cities in terms of transportation costs. According to the data, city residents are only paying $832 a month, or 14.4% of their income, on transportation. When factoring this cost, the affordability of New York City compared to the others in this study increases. To read the full report, visit the CBC website,


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Profile for Schneps Media Digital Editions

The Villager Express - January 16, 2020  

January 16, 2020

The Villager Express - January 16, 2020  

January 16, 2020