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NEWS: Russian Tea Room VP aims for West Side Council seat Page 10 March 8, 2012

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Notes from the Neighborhood Compiled by Megan Bungeroth

RENEWED CALL TO BAN CARRIAGE HORSES

BIZ GROUPS OPPOSE UWS ZONING City & State reports that three Manhattan business groups have come out against the city’s plan to restrict the growth of chain stores on the Upper West Side. The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the West Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Square BID announced their opposition to the City Planning Department’s proposal to limit storefronts on Columbus and Amsterdam avenues to 40 feet wide, 25 feet for banks. “The last thing we should do as a city is to regulate business, discourage investments in new endeavors and deter job growth and tax revenue,” said Nancy Ploeger, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. At least one business group, the Columbus Amsterdam

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BID, has come out in support of the plan. City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said the rezoning would maintain the soul of a neighborhood overtaken by chains. “We want the big drugstores. We all need banks. We just also need mom-and-pop stores,” she said. Community Board 7 will vote on a resolution approving the zoning plan this Tuesday.

IRISH MUSIC MEETS BLUEGRASS The American Irish Historical Society and the Glucksman Ireland House join to sponsor a most unusual-seeming St. Patrick’s Day event at Symphony Space Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m. Irish musicians Mick Moloney and The Green Fields of America will come together with musicians from Virginia bluegrass band Crooked Road to play a one-night concert entitled Celtic Appalachia. The musicians will celebrate and explore Irish and African influences on the music of the American mountain region through a night of singing and dancing to traditional music that most people have no idea is actually a fusion. Special guest Cheick Hamala Diabate, a storyteller and master of a West African instrument that preceding the modern banjo, will also join the crew. 2537 Broadway, tickets are $18 for students to $45. For more information, visit SymphonySpace.org or call 212-864-5400.

BUDGET SMACKDOWN Council Member Melissa MarkViverito found herself in a kerfuffle at a budget hearing on Monday. The Upper West Side and Harlem rep accused New York City budget director Mark Page of allowing a “double standard” to perpetuate in the city’s spending priorities, City & State reports. She assailed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration for opposing a cost-benefit analysis for outsourcing city services while insisting on fingerprinting food stamp recipients and criticized the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy even as the city launches its Young Men’s Initiative. “We want accountability for food stamp recipients who are low-income individuals in this city, but we cannot have accountability of our own mayor,” she said. When Page paused before responding, she suggested that he did

March 8, 2012

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Another accident involving a carriage horse last weekend has prompted renewed cries to disband the industry in the city. On Saturday, a horse pulling a carriage on the West Side got spooked and dashed into traffic, tipping its carriage, fortunately empty of passengers, and dragging it several blocks until it collapsed on 11th Avenue near 52nd Street. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal cited the incident in calling once again to pass her bill in the Legislature that would outlaw carriage horses. “Despite an increasing number of serious accidents involving horse-drawn carriages in the last several months, the city has refused to take any action to protect the public and the horses,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “It is just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of this industry.” Adding her voice to the celebrity fray, actress Anjelica Huston wrote a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in support of the legislation on behalf of PETA. Huston and other celebs have spoken in support of replacing the horses with old-fashioned electric cars, but others, including Council Member Gale Brewer, don’t want to add more cars to Central Park.

CELEBRATING THE FESTIvAL OF PURIM

Adam Wolt raises his arms in excitement as Loon Toony the Clown twirls a lasso around them during the Purim Carnival at the JCC in Manhattan Sunday, March 4. not want to respond. “That is absolutely not true,” Page snapped. “You have not given me an opportunity to respond. You have spoken at great length about a great number of issues that may or may not be connected to each other.” He countered that adding more reporting requirements for the outsourcing would bog it down. Eventually, at the end of the hearing, Page apologized for raising his voice and the two seemed to patch things up.

FREE HELP FOR SENIOR HOUSING BENEFITS Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and representatives from the departments of Finance and Housing Preservation are holding a free clinic to assist seniors applying for the Senior

Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program. If you are 62 or older and are a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled tenant or live in a Mitchell-Lama or other subsidized development, you may be eligible to have your rent frozen. Staff members will be on hand to help fill out applications and answer questions regarding the program and application process. Thursday, March 8, 3-7 p.m. at Rosenthal’s district office, 230 W. 72nd St., Ste. 2F. No appointment is necessary. Call 212-873-6368 or email rosenthall@assembly.state.ny.us with any questions. Correction: The West Side Spirit used a photo from westsiderag.com in our story on the “Sliver” building on page 10 of the Feb. 23 edition without properly attributing the source. The photo was taken by Avi Salzman. N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


Expand Your Mind at Fordham Lincoln Center. Think Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus for an information session, program, or conference. WNET’s Celebration of Teaching & Learning A Two-Day Conference Sponsored by the Graduate School of Education

Hiding Behind the Corporate Veil 12th Annual Albert A. DeStefano Lecture on Corporate, Securities and Financial Law

Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 | 6:30 p.m.

Hilton New York 1135 Avenue of the Americas | New York, N.Y. Register: thirteencelebration.org.

James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize winner, best-selling author, Bloomberg Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, business columnist, The New York Times, and reporter-at-large, The New Yorker.

Think Romance! Re-Conceptualizing a Medieval Genre 32nd Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies Saturday and Sunday, 31 March and 1 April 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. 12th-floor Lounge Register: www.fordham.edu/alumnievents.

McNally Amphitheatre

Fordham University’s Lowenstein Center, 12th-floor Lounge, and McNally Amphitheatre are located at 113 W. 60th Street, New York, NY 10023.

Free | Register: law.fordham.edu/destefano2012.

Nonprofit Leaders Executive Education Program The Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders

GSS MSW Information Session

April 14, 21, and 28 | 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 24 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Lowenstein Center

155 W 60th Street, Room 109 | New York, N.Y.

Proud to be a Yellow Ribbon University eeo/aa

Free | Information: (212) 636-6600.

Apply by Thursday, March 15. www.fordham.edu/nonprofits.

WestsideSpirit.com

March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

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news

Celebs on Celebs at Triad Show

OPEN THINKING | ON A NEW SCHOOL OF THOUGHT NO. 3 IN A SERIES

IS THE SKY THE LIMIT FOR TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOL? By Dirk DeLo Chief Technology Officer and Apple Distinguished Educator We all know technology can improve the way teachers teach and students learn. Yet every school has a unique philosophy when it comes to technology. Having been immersed in the technology of education for 20 years, I believe “the cloud” brings enormous potential. It both gives students and teachers access to their documents and projects wherever they go, on whatever device they’re using, and allows students to collaborate across cultural boundaries. For any school taking advantage of the cloud, now the sky truly is the limit. Read more about Dirk DeLo’s thoughts on technology at www.avenues.org/delo. You’ll find articles, video, interviews and details on parent information events hosted by the leadership team of Avenues: The World School.

Avenues is opening this fall in Chelsea. It will be the first of 20 campuses in major cities, educating children ages three to 18 with a global perspective.

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By Angela Barbuti Monday, March 5, stars gathered at The Triad Theater on 72nd Street between Columbus and Broadway to perform in Celebrity Autobiography. The show, which won a 2009 Drama Desk Award, is unique in that it has TV and film celebrities reading from other celebrities’ memoirs. Emmy AwardEugene Pack, Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Todd English nominated writer-performand Mario Cantone perform from Celebrity Autobiography. er Eugene Pack, who created the show, explained that every word “Sports Night” featured Cantone, Pack comes from actual autobiographies. “We and Danza. Cantone read from Arnold are not making any of this up; it’s going Schwarzenegger’s biography in an accent to be really hard to believe that,” he said. very close to Arnold’s. How I Play Golf, The first performer to grace the stage by Tiger Woods, was interpreted by Pack. was Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly, who “I can’t wait for tomorrow because I get entertained with The Best is Yet to Come better looking every day,” said Danza, by Ivana Trump. In dramatic and sarcas- speaking the words of Joe Namath. tic tones she read the chapter “My recipe The next part of the evening had perfor raising kids.” formers acting out love triangles. Ziebel Alan Zweibel read from Mike “The read an excerpt from Geraldo Rivera’s Situation” Sorrentino’s book, Here’s the biography, which dealt with his affair Situation. He began with, “Friends, bros with Liza Minnelli—with Cantone playing and countrymen, lend me your ears, for the part of Minnelli. The Situation has come to give you the Another interesting autobiography situation.” was written by Marilu Henner. She wrote Next was Mario Cantone, who made about her Taxi castmates, including the audience roar with laughter by act- Danza. With Danza standing on stage, ing out Susan Lucci’s prologue to All my Reyfel talked of Henner getting togethLife. The reading included Lucci stating er with Danza, who smiled and shook how Kelly Ripa screamed, “Don’t leave!” his head. Celebrity chef Todd English as she was giving her acceptance speech also made an appearance, reading from at the Emmys and was told to wrap up. George Hamilton’s book. Dayle Reyfel performed Secrets of a After the show, Peter Martin, owner of Sparrow, by Diana Ross. She talked about The Triad, invited the performers to his a concert she held in Central Park for VIP lounge. When asked about her expe400,000 people, which was plagued by a rience on stage, Tilly, who was happy to rainstorm. “I was safe, we all were—ain’t comment, said, “In Hollywood you’re no mountain high enough!” she proclaimed. always being typecast. They always want Tony Danza took the stage and read in you to play the same thing. But here, one his Brooklyn accent from The Way I Am, week I’m Ivana Trump, the next week by Eminem. The chapter he read from I’m Melissa Gilbert. People love doing focused on being at the MTV Video Music the show because you don’t have to Awards with Christina Aguilera. rehearse.” Gina Gershon was given Ecstasy and Pack and his wife, Reyfel, summed Me, by Hedy Lamarr. In an exaggerated up the best parts of the show. Pack said, voice, she shouted, “To be a star is to own “Jennifer and Gina sizzled up the stage the world and all the people in it.” Tips in a position no one can even imagine.” Lamarr gave in her memoir included that Celebrity Autobiography is held at The men are most attractive between the ages Triad once a month. The next show is of 35 and 55, because under 35, a man has April 9 at 7 p.m. and features Cantone, too much to learn. Jackie Hoffman, Brooke Shields, Steve The segment of the show entitled Schirripa and Zweibel. N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


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feature

Homeless Left Out in the Cold With city and state programs cut, more homeless flood West Side streets By Megan Bungeroth

less families priority for federal housing subsidies like Section 8. That decision, t’s no shock that a still-struggling econ- based on the idea that continuing to do so omy, an ever-more-expensive city and would give people incentives to use the a continually burgeoning population shelter system as a sure path to landing have combined to produce record-high cheap housing, has been loudly criticized rates of homelessness in New York. What in recent years as the homeless populamay shock some, however, is how diffi- tion grows. cult it is for the city to help its homeless Seth Diamond, commissioner of the population. In a time of fiscal cutbacks, Department for the Homeless (DHS), said the subsidies, grants and programs in in an interview that bringing back that place to help these most vulnerable peo- prioritization program wouldn’t be the ple have all but dried up, leaving advo- panacea that some groups claim. cates on all sides scrambling to find solu“The reality is that there are very long tions to keep New Yorkers off the streets waiting lists for the available programs,” and out of shelters. Diamond said. “The Section 8 program According to data from the most has a waiting list of 140,000 or more. For recent available census of homeless peo- public housing, the chairman of NYCHA ple in the municipal shelter system, con- [the New York City Housing Authority] ducted Dec. 31, 2011, there were 39,787 just testified, the waiting list is 160,000. individuals in the system, including 8,530 There is a seven-year waiting list for pubfamilies with children. An Oct. 31 count lic housing.” found 16,934 homeless children in the Diamond also spoke about how DHS shelter system, an all-time high number. has prepared for the effective end of the And these numbers don’t take into Advantage program, which previously account homeless people living on the provided rent subsidies for formerly street or outside the shelter system. The homeless families for up to two years. Homeless Outreach Population Estimate When the state cut funding for the prosurvey, conducted across the city earlier gram last year, the city determined that this year, aims to approximate those num- it could not sustain the program without bers, but results are still being processed. the roughly $68 million in state and fedLast year, it counted 2,648 individuals. eral aid they had lost. City officials, legislators and advocates The city was still paying the subsidized rents for about 16,000 “We can’t just scoop people up, formerly homeless families and individustick them in temporary housing, als up until last month, kick them out, move them somehowever, as a lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid where else. It just doesn’t work. Society was ongoing. A It’s not really a compassionate or judge recently ruled that practical approach,” said Assembly the city could stop paying its portion of these Member Linda Rosenthal. rents, and the fate of for the homeless have differing views on the families who had been benefiting is what has caused these high numbers as unclear. well as the best ways to address them. “We have been preparing for this for a “Setting aside the economy, which cer- while,” Diamond said. “We’ve done a lot tainly has contributed, one of the biggest of outreach to people who are Advantage factors is the policies of the Bloomberg recipients to help prepare, to talk to them administration, particularly cutting off about their individual situations. Most homeless families from receiving federal people have been in the program for subsidies,” said Giselle Routhier, policy at least a year. People have had time to analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless. establish themselves, look for options, “Right now, for the first time ever, there see what’s coming.” is actually no housing assistance whatsoDiamond said that close to 85 percent ever to help homeless families get out of of those who took part in the Advantage the shelter system.” program have not come back to the shelShe’s referring to the administration’s ter system and that it has been successful. decision in 2004 to stop giving home- But others dispute that characterization

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She pointed to a Department for the Aging program that pairs seniors facing eviction with legal counsel as one way the city can step in. “Maybe your landlord tried to evict you because you’re a hoarder,” she said, naming one example of the cases seniors might face. “Sometimes what happens with older people is they stop paying their bills because they get confused about what bills they’ve paid.” All of these problems are fixable with the right help, Lappin said, but it requires outreach on the part of the city. Many advocates echo the call to focus on keeping people in their homes and providing more affordable housing options. Manhattan A homeless person sits in Verde Square at 72nd Borough President Scott Stringer said in an email that the high numStreet and Broadway. bers of homelessness are “directly and say that the city and state need to not linked to scarcity of affordable housing.” only provide more assistance programs He cited a study his office conducted in but expand on the Advantage model to 2007 that found 2,228 vacant properties offer more long-term solutions. in Manhattan he says could be used to “We can’t just scoop people up, stick build more affordable housing, as well as them in temporary housing, kick them his suggestion that the city convert foreout, move them somewhere else. It just closed properties into affordable housing. doesn’t work. It’s not really a compassionStringer also contested the adminisate or practical approach,” said Assembly tration’s rescinding of priority status for Member Linda Rosenthal, whose Upper homeless families for public housing. West Side district contains several of the “Each year, approximately 5,313 NYCHA city’s shelters as well as housing for for- units are vacated; many of these units merly homeless individuals. Rosenthal have more than one bedroom and can said that one current priority in the accommodate families,” Stringer said. Assembly is to restore funding to several “By reinstating priority for the homeprograms that have been axed this year, less on the NYCHA waiting list, even if it all designed to provide emergency assis- was only done on a temporary basis, the tance or intervention for families facing city could take immediate steps toward homelessness. placing a substantial percentage of its City Council Member Jessica Lappin, homeless population into permanent who recently chaired a hearing of the housing,” he said. Committee for the Aging on the alarmWhile the city works to address the ing number of elderly New Yorkers facing immediate needs of the city’s homeless homelessness—up 18 percent between population—New York has a right-to2010 and 2011 for people over 65—said shelter law that requires the city to prothe best thing the city can do to curb vide a bed for every homeless person—it homelessness is to help people before also has to work on preventing and reducthey’re out of their homes. ing their numbers. This is especially true, she said, of oldIt’s a problem that won’t be going away er people who may have extra difficulty any time soon, and some say we won’t surviving in a shelter due to health issues. see any effective changes until the next “The most important thing for that popu- mayoral administration takes over. lation is to try to get them the services “Homelessness is a national probthey need as quickly as possible, to try to lem,” said Rosenthal. “But New York City, help them remain in their home as long as which has grappled with this problem for possible if that’s the right thing for them,” so many years, really ought to have some Lappin said. new ideas about how to deal with it.” N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


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Catskill Farms designs and builds new single-family homes that are customized for buyers, specializing in merging the historic feel of properties in Sullivan and Ulster Counties while providing the most modern amenities. Charles Petersheim founded the company in 2003 after working with families who were renovating their old homes pursuing what he refers to as a “this old house fantasy.” “I saw that the challenge was greater than they understood or appreciated,” the former Manhattan resident says. “So we thought we would build a ‘house that works’ that accurately and intimately parallels the emotional and architectural feedback that an old house provides.” Since then, the company has completed more than 100 homes with $32 million in sales. Homes range from around $300,000 to $500,000, starting at 1,300 square feet on five acres of land. Prices have stayed stable, with slight increases due to additional features like security systems, surround sound speakers and on-demand hot water. The majority of Catskill Farms’ homeowners are metropolitan professionals from Manhattan and Brooklyn, with an increasing number coming from New Jersey, Westchester and Connecticut. By using classic materials like cedar, local stone, plank walls and ceilings, the company not only emulated older neighbors, but exceeded them with energy efficient utilities and features. “We also use salvaged barn beams, locally harvested blue stone and reclaimed metal roofing materials,” Petersheim says. All homes feature high-efficiency heating systems, and on-demand water heaters that eliminate the wasted energy of storage water heaters. “We have small footprints, which keeps the impact low; we use very enhanced soy-based insulation, which results in energy savings of 50 percent; we use on-demand hot water heaters so zero energy is being used to store hot water (especially nice on a weekend home where it’s not being used that frequently), and we use high-efficiency gas boilers,” he explains.

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Calhoun and Trevor Jazz It Up at Boston Fest By Vatisha Smith Two Upper West Side bands are going head to head at the prestigious Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival, taking place March 10 in Boston. Trevor Day School’s ensemble and the Calhoun School Jazz Band are competing for top honors at the event, at which more than 3,000 artists and students will perform at the Hynes Convention Center. Participants will compete for more than $175,000 in scholarships to Berklee’s fiveweek summer program. This is Trevor Day School’s 10th time participating in the Festival. Tim Otto, music teacher and head of band at the school, said that the event has become a sort of tradition. There are seven students in the school’s band, chosen from various advanced players in the school. Music and art are a main focus of Trevor’s curriculum. “A lot of our kids who have been in the school since nursery school have had musical training throughout their whole lives,” he said. Otto has taught at the school for over 20 years and is a musician himself. He prepares his students with rehearsal time as well as encouraging

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them to listen to a lot of music. “The whole day [at the festival] is pretty exciting. It’s great to take the kids so they can be exposed to their peers.” The band will play three pieces: No Problem by Art Blakey and two Duke Ellington recordings, Caravan and Jeep’s Blues. Eric Marcus, a senior and band member, has been playing guitar since 3rd grade. This is his second trip to the festival. “It’s a lot of fun. After we’re done, we get to see some other really really talented bands from art-specific schools.” Victor Lin is the head of jazz studies at the Calhoun School. It’s a program he started five years ago. “When I first started here, there was no jazz program. We sort of started it from scratch.” He is a classical violinist and pianist and has been teaching for over 10 years. The band practices three times a week at 7:30 a.m. “Ostensibly we are supposed to be going up there for a competition, but really it’s just about the opportunity to travel someplace, play music as best they can, come back and say, ‘Yeah, I did that,’” he said. This is the band’s first appearance at the festival. The eight students will perform one original blues piece written

March 8, 2012

The Calhoun School Jazz Band. by a band member, Four on Six by Wes Montgomery and, venturing into pop culture, a jazz version of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Gabe Simon, a junior who plays bass, would love to be a professional musician. Learning how to play music by ear has challenged him. “One of my favorite things right now is to sit at home and put on the radio just to see if I can figure out the noted parts of the song,” he said.

Kyra Louie, a senior and the only female in the band, plays tenor saxophone and has been playing music since the 5th grade. She is growing more confident with the help of her band members, who push her with friendly competition. “Everyone pushes each other. It’s kind of like a second family,” she said. Founded in 1969, the Berklee High School Jazz Festival runs the entire day, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with the winning ensemble announced at 6 p.m.

N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


It’s happening at

Columbia March in

Monday, March 5–Friday, July 27 Exhibition: Illustrator Edward Gorey Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Morningside campus For more info, call (212) 854-7309 or visit https://alumni-friends.library.columbia.edu/ news.html.

Tuesday, March 6 Concert: Playing Games With Kurtág 5:30 p.m. Miller Theatre Bring a friend to enjoy the International Contemporary Ensemble’s daring pianist, Jacob Greenberg, as he takes on György Kurtág’s playful Játékok (“Games”), a series of experiments premised on the idea that “Playing is just playing.” For more info call (212) 854-7799 or visit www .millertheatre.com/events.

Thursday, March 8 The Money Series: Debt: The Long View 6:15 p.m. Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Center, Morningside campus Panelists: David Graeber, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Greta Kippner, University of Michigan; Louis Hyman, Cornell University; and moderators Peter Goodman, of the Huffington Post, and Daniel Immerwahr, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit www.heymancenter.org/events.php.

Wallace Shawn: Why I Call Myself a Socialist 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus Reading and book signing by playwright and actor Wallace Shawn. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard.edu/events.

Monday, March 19 Café humanities: Prisoners and Poets in the English Renaissance 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street Speaker: Molly Murray, associate professor of English and comparative literature, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 854-2586 or visit www.cafes .columbia.edu.

Wednesday, March 21 Vital Transformations: Fusion’s Young Discontents 8:00 p.m. 622 Dodge, Morningside campus Kevin Fellezs, assistant professor of music, Columbia University, will discuss the early formative years of fusion, outlining the rationales and aesthetics of young “fusioneers,” who were criticized by jazz writers and fans for merging jazz with rock and funk. For more info, call (212) 851-1633 or visit www.jazz.columbia.edu/events.

The Idea of Development: Development and Empire 4:00 p.m. Common Room, Heyman Center, East Campus, Morningside campus Speakers: Frederick Cooper, New York University; David Engerman, Brandeis University; Julian Go, Boston University; Odd Arne Westad, London School of Economics and Political Science; and moderator Daniel Immerwahr, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 8548443 or visit www.heymancenter.org/events.php.

Salon Magazine Series: Private Bodies, Public Texts 6:30 p.m. Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall, Barnard campus The second installation in Salon magazine’s series discusses Karla F.C. Holloway’s new book, Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard.edu/events.

Thursday, March 22 Dominican York Proyecto Gráfica 6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus

Thursday, March 22 Student Life During Wartime: World War II at Barnard College Noon Barnard Hall, Barnard campus Speaker: Karen Seeley, lecturer, anthropology, Columbia University. For more info, call (212) 8542037 or visit www.barnard.edu/events.

Friday, March 23 Film Screening: David Hockney: A Bigger Picture 7:00 p.m. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus The screening will be followed by a talk with director Bruno Wollheim. For more info, call (212) 854-2306 or visit www.italianacademy.columbia.edu.

Sunday, March 25

Monday, March 26

Speaker: Philippe Fargues, Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration, European University Institute. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit www .heymancenter.org/events.php.

Miller Theatre presents Glories of the Japanese Music Heritage: Sacred Gagaku Court Music and Secular Art Music. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or visit www.millertheatre .com/events.

Saturday, March 31 The Fitch Colloquium: Why Preserve Public Housing? 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, Avery, Morningside campus Speakers: Andrew Dolkart, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Dirk van den Heuvel, Delft University of Technology; and Levan Asabashvili, Urban Reactor. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www .arch.columbia.edu/events.

Wednesday, March 28

Friday, February 10– Saturday, March 31

An interdisciplinary panel with filmmaker Nora Bateson and Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www .barnard.edu/events.

The Money Series: An Anthropologist in Wall Street 6:15 p.m. Rennert Auditorium, Kraft Center, 606 W. 115th St., Morningside campus

Whitney Biennial Artist Talk: Georgia Sagri 7:30 p.m. Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St.

Music by Morton Feldman, Peter Garland, Marcello Panni and Giacinto Scelsi. For more info, call (212) 854-2306 or visit www.italianacademy.columbia.edu.

Speaker: Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor and assistant editor, Financial Times. For more info, call (212) 854-8443 or visit www.heymancenter .org/events.php.

Tickets $25. For more info, call (212) 854-7799 or visit www.millertheatre.com/events.

Ancient Soundscapes Reborn 8:00 p.m. Miller Theatre, Morningside campus

A New Look at Global Ecology 6:30 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus

Italian Academy Spring Concert Series: Emanuele Arciuli, Piano 6:00 p.m. The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave., Morningside campus

Composer Portraits: Karin Rehnqvist 8:00 p.m. Miller Theatre, Morningside campus

Friday, March 30

Tuesday, March 27

A panel and opening night reception for new art by the Dominican York Proyecto Gráfica. The exhibition runs through April 3. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard.edu/events.

Georgia Sagri’s work examines the way in which social structures, such as technology, transform and shape society’s perceptions and interactions. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit www.arts .columbia.edu.

Speaker: Raanan Rein, professor of Latin American and Spanish history, Tel Aviv University. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard .edu/events.

Speaker: Elazar Barkan, professor, international and public affairs, Columbia University. $10 per person. Seating is limited. For more info, call (877) 8542586 or visit www.cafes.columbia.edu.

Speaker: Gregory Mountain, adjunct senior research scientist, Rutgers University. For more info, call (845) 365-8998 or email events@ldeo.columbia.edu.

The Comic New York symposium brings together creators and academics to discuss the intertwined histories of New York City and the comics who were born here. For more info, call 212-854-7309 or email klg19@columbia.edu.

6:00 p.m. Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard campus

Café Social Science: Is Refugee Repatriation a Solution or a Problem? 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PicNic Café, 2665 Broadway at 102nd Street

Immigration and Demographic Crisis: A New Identity for Europe 5:30 p.m. 1219 International Affairs, Morningside campus

Comic New York 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Faculty Room, Low Library, Morningside campus

Sports & Ethnicity: Jewish and Palestinian Soccer Teams in Argentina and Chile

Speaker: Josep M. Fradera Barceló, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. For more info, call (212) 854-2037 or visit www.barnard.edu/events.

Landscapes Beneath Our Feet 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monell Building, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Lamont Campus

Saturday, March 24– Sunday, March 25

Thursday, March 29

Colonial Rights & Migration: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines in the 19th Century 6:00 p.m. Barnard Hall, Barnard campus

Exhibition: Felix Candela: 1910-2010 Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 826 Schermerhorn, Morningside campus The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery offers American audiences, for the first time, a comprehensive look at the architectural career of “the wizard of concrete shells.” For more info, call (212) 854-7288 or visit www.columbia.edu/cu/wallach.

Monday, March 26 Where is New York? Affordability at Via Verde 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wood Auditorium, Avery, Morningside campus Speakers Vincent Chang, Grimshaw Architects; Paul Freitag, Jonathan Rose Companies; William Stein, Dattner Architects; and Michael Wadman, Phipps Houses, will discuss the impact of this green housing project on its neighborhood. For more info, call (212) 854-3414 or visit www.arch.columbia.edu/events.

Getting to Columbia The Morningside Heights campus is located at 116th Street and Broadway. By subway: No. 1 train to 116th Street station. By bus: M4, M11, M60 or M104.

Thursday, March 29 The Scapegoating of Bradley Manning: Wikileaks and the Terror of the War Against Terror 7:30 p.m. Prentis Hall, 632 W. 125th St. Great Small Works, famous for their giant puppets, presents The Toy Theater of Terror as Usual: Episode 13. For more info, call (212) 854-2875 or visit www .arts.columbia.edu.

This is a small sampling of the public events at Columbia. For additional CUID events or general information visit www.columbia.edu or call (212) 854-2871. For Columbia sports info, visit www.gocolumbialions.com. Guests in need of disability services should call (212) 854-2284 prior to the event.

WestsideSpirit.com

March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

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Profile

Candidate Adds East European Flavor to Council Race “Once communism fell, it turned out that everybody was listening,” Biberaj said. “We grew up having this sense of public service, seeing what my father had done and the impact he had on other people’s lives.” It inspired Biberaj to attend American University, where he served twice as student body president and worked for a political consulting company. After graduation, he went straight to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, graduating in 2002, then went to work as the state research director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in Florida. After Kerry lost, Biberaj said he realized he didn’t want to just cycle in and out of national campaigns and decided to get some business experience. He moved to New York to work for his uncle’s commercial real estate firm, which had just purchased the Russian Tea Room out from under the U.S. Golf Association and re-opened it as the restaurant it had once been. Now, Biberaj serves as the vice-president of marketing at the West 57th Street restaurant while working with real estate clients. “We buy and sell buildings and do different transactions,” Biberaj said of his

andrew schwartz

By Megan Bungeroth In a City Council race already getting crowded with familiar neighborhood faces, Ken Biberaj is hoping Upper West Siders are willing to get to know one more. The latest candidate to declare a run for the 6th District seat (Council Member Gale Brewer will be out on term limits), Biberaj is also the youngest, at 32, and the least well-known in the community, a fact he readily embraces. “It’s a prime time for people in our generation to say, ‘You know what, we’re starting nonprofits, we’re starting startup technology companies, we’re working at high levels of finance and law and business, but we’re not stepping forward and putting ourselves out there to give back to the community as elected officials,’” Biberaj said. Biberaj has a diverse background that he thinks gives him an advantage. His parents emigrated from Albania to the Bronx in 1968. His father taught himself English and worked various jobs until earning a Ph.D. from Columbia and taking a position with the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, D.C. He became head of the Albanian service of a program called Voice of America, which broadcasts U.S. news into foreign countries.

Ken Biberaj is the youngest candidate running to replace Council Member Gale Brewer. day-to-day job. “We also do retail leasing, so I work with a lot of small local tenants. You’re constantly trying to deal with their issues as a small business—you deal with the city, you deal with watching how they have to go through the process.” Biberaj went to law school at night and got his real estate law degree in 2008. He volunteers as a mentor for college students through a program called New York Needs You, serves on the restaurant committee of New York’s tourism company, NYC & Co., works with the Food Bank of New York

and sits on the board of directors of a small community bank on Long Island. “I’ve been able to step back after seven years of doing all these interesting things. My goal has always been to find a way back to public service. It’s all timing,” Biberaj said. “It’s a real open opportunity.” Somehow during his time in New York, Biberaj found time to date and marry his wife. The pair met at an Albanian wedding, and their courtship was chronicled in the New York Times Vows column for their wedding in 2009. “My wife is super supportive,” he said. Biberaj, who is running in the Democratic primary, said he’ll be spending a lot of time in the coming months talking to people in the community to develop his positions on issues that affect the neighborhood. “My wife and I, we’re going to have kids in the community. We want to live here forever, so we want to make sure that in 10, 20 years, we can afford to live here, our kids can go to good schools here,” Biberaj said. “I’m young, but I’m energetic and I’m focused and I’m diligent. I’m going to really sit down and learn issues and get to the root of them and try to solve them.”

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March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

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ARTS

Sin-sational

NYCB mixes Brecht and Balanchine altogether. Seven Deadly Sins is unlike anything else in NYCB’s repertory, or any other ballet company’s, and it was riveting from beginning to end. Brecht’s lyrics curdled as they dropped from LuPone’s lips, while Whelan was vulnerable to a degree that was almost painful. That meant, of course, that she as a ballerina had studied with a dispassionate eye exactly how to position her body so that it registered as an avatar of unguarded revelation. Ballet is an outside-in sort of art form: putting herself in the positions, the ballerina triggers an appropriate emotion in herself and the audience. At the same time, a ballerina who can move her audience emotionally usually knows how to generate within herself a palpable simulation of those emotional conditions. Whelan’s performance registered as the most sophisticated kind of appraisal fueled by devastating emotional honesty. Taylor-Corbett’s choreography included adept people-moving, vignette delin-

eation and, for Whelan, the occasional extended sequence of dance. These combined the elongated, abstracted language of classical ballet with the crumpled and contracted emotional viscera of modern dance—made possible, or at least more viable, because Whelan was not en pointe. Also at NYCB this month, two performances of Balanchine’s simultaneously austere, athletic and curlicued 1941 masterpiece Concerto Barocco brought out the best in first-violin ballerina Teresa Reichlen and both Abi Stafford and Sara Mearns, who alternated as her second-violin ballerina co-star. Stafford maximized the possible length of her compact body without flailing in an attempt to make an authoritative statement; it was the best performance I’ve seen from her in a long time. Reichlen sometimes has trouble getting her exceptionally long limbs where they are supposed to be in requisite Balanchinean double-time without losing expression. Mearns knows how to keep her muscles

PHOTO BY PAUL KOLNIK

By Joel Lobenthal Thought-provokingly revived at New York City Ballet earlier this month, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 1933 The Seven Deadly Sins is mercilessly unsparing of its audience’s feelings. It parades before us every act of compromise and hypocrisy, both individual and collective, of which we—spectators, society—may have been guilty. Just as when it was new last year, in Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s staging, the conflicted heroine was sung by Patti LuPone and danced-pantomimed by Wendy Whelan. The dancing Anna—Anna 2— is nearly the final repository of human impulse, her stagemates reduced to money-grasping automatons. She is continuously brutalized by her doppelganger’s froggy-voiced insistence that she acquiesce to the ways of the world. In Brecht’s masterly inversion, the sins Anna 2 is accused of are often her manifestations of morality and idealism. Finally, Anna 2 and her humanistic propensities are defeated

Patti LuPone and Wendy Whelan in Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s The Seven Deadly Sins. breathing but is also sometimes flustered by speed. Here, both were varsity players and glamorous space-cushioners. When the ballerinas stood still, they were majestic. And when the symmetrically tall Mearns and Reichlen suddenly pivoted into a series of piqué arabesques in perfect unison—think of an extremely refined eggand-spoon sprint—they were electrifying. Read more by Joel Lobenthal at Lobenthal.com.

FILM

Occupied Comedy Marino waxes, Rudd wanes in ‘Wanderlust’

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George visits his successful older brother Rick (Ken Marino) making money in the potty business and living miserably in Southern middle-class suburbia, the jokiness sharpens and Wanderlust momentarily becomes about something tangible—sibling rivalry, class delusions, marital tension, parental neglect, plus racism and sexism as spiritual fall-backs for pathetically disillusioned Americans. All this is performed with incisive, pulse-raising conviction and psychological accuracy by Marino and Michaela Watkins, who not only achieve Brooks’ depth but steal the movie from Rudd and Aniston. The best scenes in Wanderlust are actually grounded in middle-class quicksand, a specialty that Marino (who co-wrote the film with Wain) also displayed during a brief scene in Role Models and was the subject of the under-recognized Diggers. In Wanderlust, Rudd and Aniston are adrift in post-hippie jokes; some are funny but most are so petty they keep losing the thread of class anxiety. Wanderlust might have been an ingenious satire of

March 8, 2012

PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL

By Armond White Wanderlust starts with an idea borrowed from Albert Brooks’ 1986 Lost in America—a yuppie couple responds to career setbacks by embarking on a crosscountry journey that tests their mettle. Here, George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) leave their tiny, expensive Manhattan studio apartment and fall in among a collective of retrograde slackers in an off-the-grid Georgia commune called Elysium. Where Brooks revealed Reagan-era acquisitiveness (climaxing symbolically in the existential absurdity of Las Vegas), Wanderlust drops metaphysics to oddly parody Clinton/Obama nostalgia about drugs and communes. It also seems like a retread of “it” director David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer, similarly fully of bland, self-amused in-jokes by inoffensive comic performers who enjoy each other’s company more than any audience will. But then something unexpected happens: in only a couple of scenes in which

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston in Wanderlust. the Occupy Wall Street mentality, where an idealized Utopia clashes with the economic realities of self-interest—that’s surely the essence connecting George to his brother and the sexy, terminally nostalgic cult leader of the Elysium commune, Seth (Justin Theroux). Imagine how Marino could lift contemporary comedy out of its current smugness if he was allowed to escape the

trend toward self-flattery that now traps his bankable colleague Rudd. The pettiness of Wanderlust hides an instinctively accurate satire of contemporary smugness; it could have been the Zuccotti Park satire we need, trading Elysium for Psychotic Park. Follow Armond White on Twitter @3xchair. N EW S YO U LIV E B Y


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new york family

Come Together

Six key ways to create a great parenting partnership By Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld

enting is all on her shoulders and Dad doesn’t feel left out.

W

hether it’s out of a desire for an equal and supportive relationship or out of necessity, families are recognizing that life is a lot more manageable when both parents are competent, caring and willing to share the load. Parenting in partnership isn’t always easy, of course. It requires regular communication and flexibility and usually involves a few moments every now and then when you have to bite your tongue. But in our experience as the co-founders of the social and educational group NYC Dads Group—and particularly in our weekly New Dad Boot Camps—we’ve found that there are certainly best practices—for moms and dads—that produce better partnerships at home.

2. Parent as a Team When both parents are competent, they have a better opportunity to parent as a team rather than as master and apprentice. For example, nursing is a struggle and often a time when moms feel like they are in it alone. Dads can be very supportive in the nursing process. Bringing the baby over at feeding time,

their own way and more can get done. In both of our families, we are the primary caregivers and we’ve both been known to give a skeptical look or comment when our wives don’t feed our kids the “right” snack or follow the “right” nap routine. We’ve recognized that doing this deprives us of the opportunity to have a capable parenting partner and deprives our wives of having the loving, caring relationship that they want to have with their children. Bite your tongue, leave the room…and let your partner be a parent!

4. Use Your Benefits Maternity workplace benefits have been in place for a long time and most new moms use them. Many companies

up to birth doing things you enjoy together—go to the movies, eat dinner out or see friends. After your baby is born, try to fit your new baby into your routines rather than imprison yourselves in a cocoon of worry and to-do lists. It may take several weeks or even a few months, but try to take back some of those moments that are just about the two of you, rather than the baby. For example, use the time your baby is napping in the stroller to take a walk, grab a cup of coffee or get a bite to eat together. Better yet, set baby up in a rocker next to the kitchen table and sit down with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Babies don’t require our attention constantly, and they’re often happy just sitting and watching you interact.

1. Beware the Gatekeeper Tradition, popular culture and unwitting parents have conspired for decades to make moms feel and act as if they are the only ones who can properly take care of the baby, pushing everyone else away—a phenomenon often called “gatekeeping.” In the earliest weeks especially, parenting is about practice more than instinct, and both parents need opportunities to change diapers, comfort the baby when she’s upset and enjoy the quiet moments when she’s sleeping on your chest. This is the time for Dad to assert his role, express his willingness to learn and to demonstrate some competence. When both parents develop a skill set, Mom doesn’t feel like the weight of par-

Hot Tip of the Week

Sleeping Beauty Goes to the Ballet Rounding out the New York Theatre Ballet’s family series, Sleeping Beauty takes to the stage this weekend for three one-hour performances. Prepare to be mesmerized by Tchaikovsky’s classic score while 14 dancers dazzle in a magical fairy kingdom setting. Find out what happens in Princess Aurora’s story! Tickets begin at $20. For information, visit nytb.org. And for even more family fun, visit newyorkfamily.com.

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changing the baby’s diaper and getting the baby back to sleep are all ways in which dads can be intimately involved. More generally, the spirit of the idea is this: team players take initiative, they are generous to one another and they have a plan, so they’re not always debating who does what. If there is a sink full of dishes, a pile of laundry and a baby to put to bed, you’ve got to divide and conquer. Developing a plan to share the to-do list at the end of the day gets you a lot closer to the moment when both of you can sink in to the couch together with a glass of wine and the remote control.

3. Be Flexible When both parents have the flexibility to parent in their own way, it’s much easier to have each other’s backs when things get overwhelming. Relinquishing control does mean things might not always be done your way. However, if both parents are capable, each can get things done in

March 8, 2012

are starting to offer new fathers benefits like paid paternity leave, flexible scheduling and telecommuting, but dads generally haven’t been taking advantage. We need a cultural shift in the workplace that allows mothers and fathers to be the parents they want to be while still being serious about their careers. As companies slowly institute family-friendly policies, we need more pioneering new fathers who can demonstrate that a two- or four-week leave has a huge impact at home and a minimal impact in the grand scheme of a 40-year career. Dads, figure out what benefits you have and use them! If you don’t have any, start asking for them. Companies are much more likely to consider instituting familyfriendly benefits when those of us with families step up and say we need them.

5. Enjoy Your New Family Parenting isn’t all about dirty diapers, feeding schedules and naptime. Expecting parents should spend the weeks leading

6. Remember Your Goals The transition from life as a couple to life with a baby may be the hardest road any of us will ever take (and we’re supposed to do it with a lot less sleep!). An awareness of these issues and an effort to engage in lots of communication will go a long way towards the three big goals: a happy child, happy partners and a happy partnership. Matt Schneider and Lance Somerfeld are the co-founders of the NYC Dads Group, a community of active fathers in the New York City area. Recently, they launched their New Dad Boot Camp, a three-hour workshop for expecting dads to learn from veteran dads. Find upcoming dates at nycdadsgroup.com. For more on the NYC Dads Group, check out the article “Moving Beyond Mr. Mom” at newyorkfamily.com. N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


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Dining

Preserving Culturally Relevant Food—At What Cost? The debate about banning the sale of shark fins should be a non-starter diction. The only way to have a real impact and protect the global ecosystem, legislators say, is to forbid the trade altogether, regardless of provenance. But the real question is not whether the fins should be banned—plenty of endangered or malevolently acquired animal products have been banned before, and there’s no scrimshaw lobby pushing for the return of the ivory trade—but why it’s up for debate in the first place. Unlike other uses for endangered animals, culturally significant foods are uniquely protected in the political sphere. It’s incredibly difficult to decry the practices specific to a single cultural group without deriding the group itself—but the risk needs to be taken. Across the board, opposition to the ban consists of restaurant owners and small business associations whose members include importers and specialty food shops and politicians who fear the perception of bias—during Toronto’s debate on the ban, which ultimately passed, City Council Member Doug Ford said, “I’m a big supporter of the Chinese community. If that’s part of their culture, we shouldn’t interfere

in that.” Like many traditional Chinese dishes with less-than-quotidian ingredients, shark’s fin soup remains popular for two reasons: perceived healthfulness and prestige. Chinese culture places a great emphasis on the medicinal qualities of foods, and shark fins are believed to aid kidney function, nourish the blood and boost sexual potency, among other benefits. While a perfectly reasonable purpose, there’s nothing a shark’s fin can do that other noted healing foods like oysters or ginseng can’t. The real value of the soup is its cultural capital. Fins are rare—each shark only has one, after all—and they’re expensive. Their gelatinous, cartilaginous texture is unique, making it hard to pass off cheaper substitutes as the real deal. Serving the soup to others shows that you’ve got plenty of cash to throw around; more importantly, it shows your guests that you think enough of them to spend your hard-earned cash on them. Grand Chinese banquets are amazing displays of generosity and creativity, with courses numbering in the double digits and an emphasis on intricate, time-consuming dishes not feasible for everyday fare. There

Montalcino’s More Affordable Cousin A terrific wine that mimics everything about a great brunello By Josh Perilo Every Friday night I make homemade pizza, which sounds much more involved and fancy-shmancy than it actually is. I started doing this because I’m the kind of cook who wants to try to make everything at least once, and I continued because it was cheap and better than the stuff from the pizza joints in my neighborhood. I tend to go inexpensive and ordinary with the wine I get to pair with it, too. I have gone the cheap chianti route many times, but I’ve found lots of great southern Italian wines that have also worked well with my tangy sauce. Nero d’Avola and aglianico are great go-to wines that have a lot of fruit but also a good balance of tannic and mouth-watering bitterness to balance out the pizza’s many flavors. Several Fridays ago, though, I had a special request from my wife. “Let’s do a special bottle this week,” she said. “Something fancy!”

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I got pretty excited. I hadn’t bought a really nice bottle of wine in months. I hopped across the street to our local wine merchant and started perusing the Italian section, ignoring the quaint, local varietals from Calabria and Apulia. I went straight for the really, really good stuff: brunello di Montalcino. Then reality set in. There wasn’t one price tag under $50. My heart sank. I couldn’t afford to blow that kind of dough on an ordinary Friday night. By Josh Perilo Thankfully, however, Italians don’t blow that kind of dough any just any Friday night either. They have a sort of built-in tiered system for the great wines of their many famous wine regions that allow regular Joes like me to enjoy fantastic wines from a great region at a fraction of the cost. In the area where brunello di Montalcino is made (in Tuscany, not far from where chianti comes from), pro-

March 8, 2012

ducers make the famous and expensive wines from that bear the brunello name. But the grapes that they don’t use for the brunello di Montalcinos they use for their rosso di Montalcinos. These wines are made from the same grapes in the same exact style; the only difference is that the grape selection is a tad more lenient and the rosso, once fermented and bottled, is not aged quite as long as the brunello. The result is a terrific wine that mimics everything an Italophile loves about a great brunello. And at a fraction of the cost, you can afford it on a regular Friday night. With that in mind, may I recommend to you the following rosso di Montalcinos that I have tasted myself and enjoyed with many a pizza. If you love brunello because of the heft, tannin and drama of a massively full-bodied Italian red, the Poggio Il Castellare Rosso di Montalcino 2008 ($18.95 @ Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits, 505 Park Ave. at 60th St., 212838-7500) is the rosso for you. It tastes

Photo courtesy of the humane society of new york

By Regan Hofmann A recently proposed bill would make New York the latest state to ban the possession and sale of shark fins, joining Hawaii, California and a handful of others. The Chinese delicacy shark’s fin soup is the only common application for the appendages, which has led to those who object to the bill calling its proposition culturally biased. The bill is sponsored by Assembly members Grace Meng of Flushing, Alan Maisel of Brooklyn and Linda Rosenthal of the Upper West Side, all of whom point to the cruelty of the way in which fins are acquired—by cutting them off, then tossing the dying, fin-less animal back into the water to save room on the boat, known as finning—and the ecological danger of depleting the world’s shark populations. “The quest for shark fin so that restaurants can sell shark fin soup is something that is doing dramatic damage to our oceanic system,” Rosenthal told the West Side Spirit’s Megan Bungeroth last week. Federal legislation exists that prohibits the practice of finning, but of course it only applies to those fisheries under U.S. juris-

A celebrant at Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Festival expresses her support of the ban. are enough other big-ticket ingredients that are de rigeur for any traditional celebration—abalone, lobster, dried scallops, to name a mere few—to more than make up for the lack of one soup tureen. Preserving traditional foodways is an important endeavor, one to be supported and lauded. But that work is meant to preserve the spirit and culture of the food, not exact recipes. Chinese banquet cuisine is not in danger of extinction—but sharks, as they are currently used, are. You do the math.

like you could stick a fork in it and it would stand straight up. Starting with wet earth and raw meat scents on the nose, the palate gives up plum skin and steak au poivre notes on the front of the palate. The finish is rife with mint, more wet earth and bracing tannin. This is a food wine, all the way. On the other end of the Montalcino spectrum there’s the Collosorbo Rosso di Montalcino 2009 ($29.99 at 67 Wine and Spirits, 179 Columbus Ave. at 68th St., 212-724-6767). It still has many of the hefty qualities you would expect from a full-on brunello, but it’s a tad more user-friendly right out of the bottle. Vanilla-laced pipe tobacco is the major scent here, and on the palate, the main event is fruit. Bright bing cherry pie filling is balanced on the finish with darker baked raspberry and smoky oak flavors. This is a generous wine that needs no companion but works great with pizza! So if you’re looking for a special treat for an ordinary night, don’t settle for a bargain bin quaffer. Look to Tuscany for affordable luxury and you’ll never be sorry! Follow Josh on Twitter: @joshperilo. N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


ARE YOU BEGINNING TO THINK ABOUT A FALL/2013 PRIVATE SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN PLACEMENT FOR YOUR CHILD? ANNOUNCING TWO EVENTS BY ROBIN ARONOW, PH.D. LIFE AFTER NURSERY SCHOOL: AN OVERVIEW OF THE PRIVATE SCHOOL ADMISSION PROCESS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14TH AND

LIFE AFTER NURSERY SCHOOL: A PANEL OF PRIVATE SCHOOL PARENTS TUESDAY, APRIL 24TH THE WEST SIDE YMCA MARJORIE S. DEANE LITTLE THEATER 5 West 63rd St. between Central Park West and Broadway

Subways: 1 to 66th or 59th; A,B,C,D to 59th; Buses: M5,M7,M10,M11,M20,M66,M72,M104

TIMING FOR BOTH: 6:00-6:25 SIGN IN; 6:30 TO 8:45 PRESENTATIONS EARLY COST FOR OVERVIEW WORKSHOP AND PARENT PANELÐ $95 Per Family EARLY COST FOR OVERVIEW WORKSHOP ONLYÐ $70 Per Family EARLY COST FOR PARENT PANEL ONLYÐ $55 Per Family Included in the cost of one or both events is one $15 information packet containing valuable articles, directories and worksheets for those beginning both the private and public school process.

Private School Workshop Presented by Robin Aronow *Getting Started; Valuable Resources *What to Look For When Touring *Private vs. Public *Applications and Interviews *School Reports

*Admission Facts, Procedures & Timelines * Coed vs. Single Sex; Progressive vs. Traditional *ERBs *Essays *Recommendations; First Choice Letters

Private School Panel Moderated by Robin Aronow

20 parent panelists will present the special features of the schools their children attend. Represented will be private schools that are co-ed & single-sex, progressive & traditional, urban & campus, established & new, with a sampling from the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Riverdale and Downtown schools.

To register visit www.schoolsearchnyc.com

Registration Deadline is March 13th for Overview Workshop and April 23rd for Parent Panel For information on Public School Overview Workshop and Panel visit www.schoolsearchnyc.com

Questions: 212-316-0186 or robin@schoolsearchnyc.com

Robin Aronow is an educational consultant in private practice, as well as a consultant to many nursery schools, elementary schools and the Blackboard Awards. WestsideSpirit.com

March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

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WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER?

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SATURDAY, MAR 10, 2012 Downtown Grace Church School 86 4th Ave 12PM - 3PM SUNDAY, MAR 31, 2012 Upper East Side St. Jean Baptiste School 173 E. 75th St. 12PM - 3PM

Renee Flax, the director of camper placement of the ACA NY & NJ, will be on hand to answer parents’ questions and help guide them in their search for the right camp!

SATURDAY, MAR 11, 2012 Park Slope Union Temple 17 Eastern Pkwy 12PM - 3PM SATURDAY, APR 1, 2012 Upper West Side Congregation Rodeph Sholom 7 W. 83rd St. 12PM - 3PM

Pre-register for a chance to win NJ Nets Tickets! New York Family magazine and the American Camp Association, NY & NJ are teaming up for their final fairs! Meet dozens of different camp directors from local DAY CAMPS and SLEEPAWAY CAMPS from across the region. Great for children ages 3 to 17! pre-register at:

Newyorkfamilycamps.com For more info on summer camps:

TheRightCamp.com

18•

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

March 8, 2012

NEWS YOU LIVE BY


arts

Greene Space Grows Artists By Lonnie Firestone WNYC is beloved by New Yorkers. For loyalists, the success of programs like This American Life, Fresh Air and The Brian Lehrer Show is measured not only by their reportage but also by their ability to inspire contemplation and conversation. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR is the public sphere, live performance manifestation of both radio stations. Executive Producer Indira Etwaroo weighs in on this year’s most in-demand events, the performers on her wish list and how The Greene Space is changing its neighborhood.

What has been the most in-demand event this year? That’s difficult to say. The Battle of the Boroughs and the 75th anniversary celebration of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God have been enthusiastically received, as well as WQXR’s China in New York Festival with pianist Lang Lang and WNYC’s event on women boxers in the Olympics hosted by Rosie Perez.

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The Greene Space is said to embody WNYC’s mission “to make the mind more curious, the heart more tolerant and the spirit more joyful.” How do live events enable this goal differently than radio? The Greene Space creates a visceral experience. It is powerful to hear Cornel West on The Brian Lehrer Show or hear the stars from Broadway’s Porgy and Bess with John Schaefer on-air at WQXR.

lifetime experience.

Indira Etwaroo. And yet, to sit in an intimate venue and experience these world-class artists and thinkers as up close and personal as you can in The Greene Space is a once-in-a-

How was the Battle of the Boroughs created? I was looking for a way to elevate the conversation of emerging artists in NYC. I also knew that we wanted to create deeper roots in communities throughout New York and reflect the exquisite diversity of the city. I was sitting with my pro-

Saturday & Sunday April 28th & 29th, 2012

Skylight SoHo, 275 Hudson Street, NYC 10am-7pm

The venue’s full title is The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, but the notion of a “green space” conjures a variety of ideas. What do you hope it evokes for audiences? It is not a coincidence that The Greene Space sounds like a place of growth, because that’s just what it is: a kind of hothouse for artists, thinkers and newsmakers to reimagine and cultivate new ways to relay information, report news and tell stories. In addition, we were awarded Gold LEED certification for our environmental efforts with the structure of the space: a bamboo stage, LED theatrical lighting system and programming that focuses on the environment and sustainability.

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PRESENTED BY:

duction manager, Nikki Johnson, and production coordinator, Brianna Stimpson, and we all started tossing around ideas about a contest and the five boroughs, and the brain meld happened. I received tremendous feedback from the host of the Battle, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and we’ve been building on that for the last three years.

MANHATTAN MEDIA’S ANNUAL BIKE-TASTIC EVENT RETURNS!

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March 8, 2012

• WeS t S id e S p ir it

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Healthy Manhattan a monthly advertising supplement

Eat Your Way to Better Sleep Bananas, almonds and oatmeal are natural ways to end insomnia

sleep. Foods that are high in tryptophan are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt and turkey. Remember how sleepy you were after Thanksgiving dinner? That was tryptophan being released into your body and creating a relaxed state. There are other sources of food you can take to help promote sleep.

By Dr. Cynthia Paulis

I

t is a well-known fact that you are what you eat. It’s also true that what you eat throughout the day can affect your sleep cycle. If you have been staring at the ceiling counting sheep and finding ways to turn them into tasty treats, you may be suffering from insomnia—but you are not alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. Some of these problems are related to weight, sleep apnea, anxiety or depression. And many of these issues can be resolved by eating the right foods. Koala bears have mastered the art of sleeping without any pills. They sleep close to 20 hours a day and eat eucalyptus leaves when they’re awake. The leaves are extremely hard to digest, which slows the koala’s metabolism to the point where they sleep all the time to conserve energy. The key ingredient for the human body to run at optimal capacity is sleep, and the recommended time is eight hours. Unfortunately, many of us can’t achieve this goal and often rely on sleeping pills, which come with a long list of side effects and can even cause death. The better option is to eat foods that will promote sleep and avoid the ones that lead to insomnia. There are two hormones for promoting sleep in the body: serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make serotonin, which slows traffic to the brain, inducing

20 

Foods to Aid sleep Bananas. This is one of the best sleep-inducing foods. Not only are bananas loaded with melatonin and serotonin, they also contain magnesium, which helps your muscles relax. Loaded with potassium and low in salt, bananas can help lower your blood pressure. They’re also a high source of vitamin B, which aids in calming your nerves. Bananas are also a great food to take for heartburn. Cherries. This pint-sized fruit is a powerhouse. Cherries are loaded with melatonin. Studies have proven that eating cherries lowers the risk of heart disease and inflammation, body fat and cholesterol. They have antioxidants that help fight cancer and improve memory and have been used to help with people suffering from arthritis. Tart cherries are the best ones to eat for sleep. Almonds. A handful of almonds pack a double punch of both tryptophan and magnesium, calming both the mind and the muscles. Almonds are also a good source of monounsaturated fats, which help prevent heart disease. Taken in moderation, almonds help regulate your blood sugar and can aid in weight loss. Peanuts. Unsalted peanuts are high in niacin, which helps release serotonin into the body, promoting sleep. This legume (peanuts are not actually nuts) has fats that are good for your heart. But keep in mind: they are also loaded with calories, so limit

e s tN sDi OW d e Nspirit • RMarch O•U RwTOW TOWN | MA C H 8 , 28, 0 1 22012

Not just for breakfast anymore, oatmeal and bananas can help you sleep if eaten at bedtime. your intake to just a few at bedtime. Oatmeal. Thought of as just a breakfast food, oatmeal works well in promoting sleep because it contains melatonin. It’s an excellent source of soluble fiber, which slows down the digestive process, making you feel fuller longer. Oatmeal is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It can help reduce your risk of heart disease and works to prevent diabetes. Add some milk and bananas and you have the perfect sleep potion. Many high-end hotels are sending up warm oatmeal cookies and milk to help their guests have a good night sleep. The key to a good night's sleep is not to go to bed hungry. Having a light snack before you go to bed will prevent you from waking up in the middle of the

night. Avoid having large, high-fat meals late in the day. Make your biggest meal at midday and have a lighter dinner. Also, steer clear of spicy foods, because they can keep you up all night with heartburn. Foods that produce gas, such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and green peppers, can cause you to lose sleep. Limit your caffeine intake. It can take as long as eight hours for the stimulating effects of caffeine to wear off. And restrict your alcohol intake. At first you may feel sleepy, but alcohol interferes with the REM stage of sleep. You will wake up feeling tired and exhausted. If the sandman still hasn’t come for a visit, have a nice cup of chamomile tea before bedtime. This tea has a mild sedative effect. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous, so leave them for the koala bears.

N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


The MoodyÕ s Foundation Center For Cardiovascular Health At New York Downtown Hospital

The Truth About Vein Care... It’s Really Not About Being Vain

Through the generosity of the MoodyÕ s Foundation, New York Downtown Hospital created a comprehensive, state-of-the-art center that focuses on the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cardiovascular disease through a holistic, integrative approach. Our team of physicians works with you to assess your cardiovascular risk and design individualized treatment plans that allow you to live a healthier, more active life. Our cardiovascular specialists can also perform procedures at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Ð Weill Cornell Medical Center, allowing our patients access to innovative treatment options. Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Center has been recognized for its high level of service, and we offer Cardiovascular Wellness Evaluations designed to attain a multi-faceted approach to achieving your best health. We are committed to providing a superior level of care and patient service, and invite you to learn more about the services we offer. Consultations and testing services are easily scheduled with a single phone call, and in most cases can be arranged and performed within 24 to 48 hours. Most major insurance plans are accepted, and convenient appointments are available, including early morning and late afternoon visits.

Wellness & Prevention Center

Visit either our Manhattan or Morristown office: New York, NY 530 First Avenue, Suite 6D 1-877-VEIN-NYU (834-6698) Morristown, NJ 95 Madison Avenue, Suite 415 1-973-538-2000

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WestsideSpirit.com

March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

21


New Site. New Content. Newly relevant.

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WEST SIDE SPIRIT

March 8, 2012

NEWS YOU LIVE BY


Resources to Beat Stress April is a National Stress Awareness month and no one knows stress better then busy New Yorkers. This issue will focus on Techniques and Services that can help you to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and get you on track to leading a less stressful and happier life.

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NEWS: Lappin and Garodnick Page 7 eye higher office

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Since 1970

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VENDORS UNITE Street merchants up in arms over $1,000 fines

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER?

SATURDAY, MAR 10 - Downtown Grace Church School - 86 4th Ave 12pm–3pm

(P6)

SUNDAY, MAR 11 - Park Slope Union Temple - 17 Eastern Pkwy 12pm–3pm

DRESSING DOWN FASHION WEEK

PHOTO BY JONATHAN HÖKKLO | HOKKLO.COM

TUNING UP FOR THE TUNE-IN MUSIC FESTIVAL Park Ave. Armory wishes Philip Glass a happy 75th

DAVID VAN ZANDT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEW SCHOOL / POKER PHOTO BY PATRICIA VOULGARIS

PHOTO BY ANDREW SCHWARTZ

Eighth Page: $830 (4.917” wide x 2.687”that deep) affecting the staggering of help autism Servicesgrowth that can you to is reduce stress, 1 in every 166 children. This issue will lower your blood pressure and get you on track th highlight Our MONTHLY Guide to Alternative Methods of health and beauty. Our MONTHLY Guide to Alternative Methods of fiadvertiser tness, health and beauty. Asthat aninfitness, you benefi t from: is new the services, support life. to leading aresearch, lessSide stressful and happier Nothing is more important than a person’s health. With what mind OurinTown, West Spirit, and Our Nothing is more than a person’s health. Withand that in mind newspapers, Ourautism Town,and West Spirit, and Our Townimportant Downtown Manhattan’s largest weekly community & independent publish aSide monthly products for other developmental • Special rates and packages. own Downtown largest & independent newspapers, publish a busy monthly guideManhattan’s to fitness, health, beauty &weekly wellness,community Healthy Manhattan. disorders. In addition, we will focus on how Alternative *Matching Methods of fitness, health beauty. editorial space for you, and • Targeting 180,000 health conscious New Yorkers. uide to fitness, health, beauty & wellness, Healthy Manhattan. New Yorkers can beat stress! As an advertiser you benefi t from: the advertiser, your a person’s health. With thattoindescribe mind Our Town, West Sideaccount Spirit, • Extended shelf-lifeand asexecutive: ourOur readers will keep th Forormore information contact your business service to our readers! COMING April 12 this issue around and refer back to it. rgest weekly community & independent newspapers, publish a monthly rates and packages. 212.268.0384 or advertising@manhattanmedia.com FREE INCLUDED As ARTICLE an• Special advertiser you benefi th t from: (P18)

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2012

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CAMP

DE-BUNKED:

A DIRECTOR,

A COUNSELOR, AN 11-YEAR-OLD AND CAMPER

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2012 ULTIMAT SUM MER E GUIDE TO CAM P

A card dealer tells his high stakes story (P8)

February 2, 2012

TALKING UP DOWNTOWN New School President David Van Zandt (P18)

Since 1983

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DAVID VAN ZANDT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEW SCHOOL / POKER PHOTO BY PATRICIA VOULGARIS

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NewYorkFamilyCamps.com

VENDORS UNITE Street merchants up in arms over $1,000 fines

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER? SATURDAY, MAR 10 - Downtown Grace Church School - 86 4th Ave 12pm–3pm

(P6)

SUNDAY, MAR 11 - Park Slope Union Temple - 17 Eastern Pkwy 12pm–3pm

FASHION WEEK

PHOTO BY JONATHAN HÖKKLO | HOKKLO.COM

Neighbors Say Met Plan is ‘No Picnic’ P.4

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NEWS: Lappin and Garodnick Page 7 eye higher office February 23, 2012

Since 1970

INSIDE: THE NEW YORK FAMILY 2012 ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUMMER CAMP

FEBRUARY 23, 2012 | WWW.OTDOWNTOWN.COM

THE U N DE RG ROU N D WORLD OF

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CAMP

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A card dealer tells his high stakes story (P8)

February 2, 2012

Since 1983

NEWS: Lappin and Garodnick Page 7 eye higher office Since 1970

TALKING UP DOWNTOWN New School President INSIDE: THE David Van Zandt

SECRET POKER

TUNING UP FOR THE TUNE-IN MUSIC FESTIVAL Park Ave. Armory wishes Philip Glass a happy 75th

A card dealer tells his high stakes story (P8)

(P12)

FAMILY CORNER The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee on breastfeeding, babies and balance (P14)

Pre-register at:

NewYorkFamilyCamps.com

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER?

VENDORS UNITE Street merchants up in arms over $1,000 fines

TALKING UP DOWNTOWN New School President David Van Zandt

SATURDAY, MAR 10 - Downtown Grace Church School - 86 4th Ave 12pm–3pm

(P6)

(P18)

Neighbors Say Met Plan is ‘No Picnic’ P.4

TUNING UP FOR THE TUNE-IN MUSIC FESTIVAL Park Ave. Armory wishes Philip Glass a happy 75th (P12)

FAMILY CORNER The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee on breastfeeding, babies and balance (P14)

Pre-register at:

NewYorkFamilyCamps.com

VENDORS UNITE Street merchants up in arms over $1,000 fines

WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS DOING THIS SUMMER?

SATURDAY, MAR 10 - Downtown Grace Church School - 86 4th Ave 12pm–3pm

(P6)

SUNDAY, MAR 11 - Park Slope Union Temple - 17 Eastern Pkwy 12pm–3pm

DAVID VAN ZANDT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEW SCHOOL / POKER PHOTO BY PATRICIA VOULGARIS

PHOTO BY ANDREW SCHWARTZ

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WEST SIDE SPIRIT

23


Healthy Manhattan

Treatments But No Cure for Narcolepsy Symptoms of the sleep disorder include temporary paralysis & hallucinations By Ashley Welch

Whether it’s from long workdays, noisy neighbors or crying newborns, we’ve all experienced feelings of tiredness. But what if that feeling never went away, even after a restful night’s sleep? That is the reality for individuals living with narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain’s inability to regulate a normal sleep-and-wake cycle. Though narcolepsy has several symptoms, the most prominent is constant tiredness. “People living with this disorder will feel excessive sleepiness at inappropriate times, such as when they are at work or school or even while having a conversation,” said Dr. Alcibiades Rodriguez, medical director at the New York Sleep Institute and assistant professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine. According to the American Sleep Association, as many as 200,000 Americans suffer from the sleep disorder. Its cause is not yet known, but scientists believe it is due to lower levels of the neurotransmitter hypocretin, the chemical responsible for the feeling of alertness that also aids in sleep regulation. Symptoms usually first show in patients in their late teens or early twenties. While taking quick naps often helps ease sleepiness, it may be difficult for people living with narcolepsy to perform in a normal work or school environment. “It is a struggle every day with being extremely sleepy,” said Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep–Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. “They have difficulty concentrating, multitasking and in almost every cognitive aspect of day-to-day life.” In addition to being tired, several other symptoms may present with narcolepsy, though not in every patient living with the disorder. People may experience hallucinations, either at the onset of sleep or while waking. This may or may not be accompanied by sleep paralysis, which is literally the paralysis brought on by one’s mind and body entering rapid eye movement (REM) sleep—the period of sleep in

 24

O U R TOW N D OW N TOWN | MA R C H 8 , 2 0 1 2 • w e s t s i d e spirit • March 8, 2012

which dreams occur. “We are all paralyzed every night when we dream or else we’d be up acting them out,” explained Rebecca Scott, a sleep disorders specialist at the New York Sleep Institute. “But with sleep paralysis, the person is clearly awake but cannot move or speak properly.” Scott said that although sleep paralysis usually passes after a few seconds, the experience can be terrifying, especially when coupled with hallucinations. Another symptom of narcolepsy is cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone that causes feelings of weakness and loss of voluntary muscle control. These attacks vary in severity, from a slight droop of the eyelids to the inability to stand. Patients are fully awake and conscious during even the most severe attacks. Strong emotions, such as laughter and anger are common stimuli of cataplexy. Though there is no cure for narcolepsy, all of its symptoms can be controlled through medication and behavioral modification. Specific medication works to reduce attacks of cataplexy, while other medications address the excessive sleepiness. People with narcolepsy may also be advised by their doctors to make some lifestyle changes. “Patients should follow good sleep hygiene,” said Rodriguez. “This includes getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, not taking on late shifts at work and taking it easy with alcohol.” Rodriguez also suggests patients take brief naps throughout the day if possible and said most can live a normal life if treated properly. However, some patients may be advised not to drive or operate heavy machinery, depending on the severity of their condition. Patients may find it difficult to cope with the condition because others may not understand their need for constant sleep. “Many people say they’re lazy because they’re always tired and fall asleep often, sometimes even in the middle of a conversation, but there really is something wrong,” said Scott. In fact, experts believe that narcolepsy is underdiagnosed because people may attribute their sleepiness to other causes. However, constant tiredness is not normal and should be looked into if it interferes with everyday activities. “If a person gets an adequate amount of sleep and still experiences excessive sleepiness during the day, he or she should see a doctor and get a sleep study done,” said Thorpy. “It is not normal, and steps can be taken to make people living with narcolepsy feel better and function properly in their day-to-day lives.”

N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


Are You Overweight? Interested in your health?

Overweight Men Needed For a blood draw

Volunteers are needed for a study looking at the effects of different dietary patterns on weight related conditions. This IS NOT a weight loss study. You may be eligible if you: • Are overweight, without recent weight loss • Are a non-smoking adult, age 18-65 • Have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol • Are not taking pills or insulin for diabetes

The Rockefeller University is seeking overweight men for a new study that could lead to new treatments for cancer.

**Female participants must be post-menopausal OR taking a continuous birth control (such as Depo Provera or Seasonale) and not having a regular period**

You may be eligible if you are: • Age 40-70 • Have a BMI >35 • Have no history of HIV or Hepatitis • Are NOT on medications for diabetes or cholesterol • Are NOT taking fish oil or Omega 3’s

The study includes a 32-day inpatient stay at our research hospital in Manhattan. Work and school are allowed during the study. Volunteers will receive: • All food and drinks during the 32 day stay • A private room with cable TV and DVD player • Compensation

Call 1.800.RUCARES (782.2737) or email RUCARES@Rockefeller.edu for more information. LNE-673_MMedia.indd 1

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Study participation includes: • 2 visits to our Outpatient Research Center • Blood work Compensation is provided for study participation.

To learn more or to see if you qualify, please contact our Recruitment Specialist at 1.800.RUCARES or email us at RUCARES@Rockefeller.edu T:10” PHO_0735_obese_MMedia.indd 1

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Neighborhood { find } World-class care is now right around the corner from where you live and work. NYU Langone Medical Center’s expanding footprint offers convenient access to all your healthcare needs, from routine office visits to outpatient surgery and specialized testing. To find a multi-specialty group practice in your neighborhood, or to see a full list of our group practices, visit www.NYULMC.org Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health | Upper East Side 646.754.3300 Trinity Center | Wall Street 212.263.9700 • The Miller Practice | Midtown 646.778.5555 Columbus Medical | Queens 718.261.9100 • NYU Langone at Great Neck | Nassau County 516.482.6747

WestsideSpirit.com

March 8, 2012

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

25


Healthy Manhattan

A 13th Opinion Saved My Life My fainting was repeatedly misdiagnosed until I found the right doctor By ShoShana DaviS I was 15 the first time I fainted. My doctor blamed the heat—living in Arizona, it made sense. For the next 11 years, I collapsed every few months; while sitting down eating lunch with my family or standing in a work meeting. My college roommates would find me bruised and bloodied in the shower. The list goes on. I was scared and confused, but not alone. According to a recent study by QuantiaMD, a digital community of physicians, “Nearly half (47 percent) of clinicians said they encounter diagnostic errors (i.e. missed, late or wrong diagnoses) at their practice at least monthly,” and “96 percent of clinicians say that they believe diagnostic errors are

26 

preventable at least some of the time.” The diagnosis for my collapsing was always vasovagal syncope, also known as the common faint. However, the slew of testing brought on even more illness conjectures; by the time I was 24, I had tested positive for celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and even hepatitis C. Each of these were false positives that created months of needless fear and hysteria. Not to mention that it was tough to budget a yearly health care cost of over $2,500 on a $26,000 television assistant’s salary while living in Manhattan. Luckily, my health insurance kicked in after the deductible and helped to cover the remainder of these pricey mistakes. After one particularly dangerous fainting incident, I was referred to a cardiologist who recommended that I practice standing against a wall to induce an episode and carry a bag of potato chips around to keep my blood pressure up. He figured I could teach myself how to anticipate fainting so I could learn to prevent it from happening. He also suggested that I have a friend around to call 911 if necessary and to keep

wTOW e s tNsDi d e Nspirit • RMarch O•U R OW TOWN | MA C H 8 , 28, 0 1 22012

something soft to fall on, just in case. He had no answers as to why I was collapsing on a monthly basis, but told me that I should come back in three months. As I left in tears, I asked for a copy of my records, and I watched the doctor give the folder to his secretary, who made a copy. I looked at documents as I was walking out; they weren’t even my test results. There was a man’s name, clearly one of his other patients, at the top of the page. He hadn’t even looked at my chart. Crying out of anger and frustration outside his office in Union Square, I didn’t know what to do. People grow up thinking physicians have all the answers, but my doctors had none. Taking my diagnosis into my own hands, I got the name of another cardiologist from a friend, and he was willing to see me the next day. Within hours, this new doctor sent me to an electrophysiologist, a specialist that focuses on the electricity of the heart. My electrophysiologist understood that I couldn’t carry a good luck charm and hope that I wouldn’t teeter off in front of the QM15 while crossing 6th Avenue. He noticed that my heart rate was dangerously low and diagnosed me with

bradycardia, which means your resting heartbeat is under 60 beats per minute. I was healthy; my heart just had its own beat. His first reaction was that I needed a pacemaker, but he did not want to put a device in someone my age without proof that it was completely necessary. I respected him for this, and saw a few other specialists to confirm this new hypothesis. After being through so many false conclusions, the last thing I wanted was a permanent mistake. He used an implanted heart monitor to demonstrate that a device was necessary, and confirmed that my heartbeat was just not slow but was stopping for long periods of time. At age 25, I had a pacemaker implanted. It’s been exactly two years since my procedure and I haven’t fainted once. Medicine is a science and doctors do not always know the answers; patients need to know that there are always other physicians with different treatment experiences or judgment calls out there. Without that second opinion, I might still be carrying around salty snacks and standing against a wall.

N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


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It’s Elementary: What to Do About 6th Grade?

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• w e s t s i d e spirit

By Micah Kellner shortly after being elected to the state Assembly five years ago, i attended the groundbreaking of the new east side Middle school with then-schools Chancellor Joel Klein. i had campaigned on creating new zoned elementary schools for the neighborhood, and i told Klein that all of the local schools were literally bursting at the seams, with each one at 150 percent capacity—or worse. the Upper east side had become a victim of its own success; with great principals, terrific teachers and engaged parents,

Unsurprisingly, few parents feel safe or comfortable at the prospect of their tweens or young teens traveling from the East 70s, 80s and 90s down to the Financial District every school day. families were choosing to stay in the city and send their children to public school. At first, Klein and the New York City department of education (dOe) refused to admit we needed at least one new elementary school. the community was determined not to allow the overcrowding to worsen, and elected officials organized with parents to keep pressure on the dOe. Ultimately, Klein came around and worked with the community to establish the new p.s. 151 in 2009. since then, two rezonings have led to the creation of two more elementary schools in the neighborhood: p.s. 267 and p.s. 527. Fast-forward five years: east side Middle school is already over capacity and those parents who fought for new elemen-

in fact, the very size of district 2 may pose an impediment to realizing a new Upper east side middle school. it may be time to break district 2 up into smaller and more manageable school districts, forcing the dOe to give more local middle school options to families throughout the diverse, far-flung neighborhoods currently located in district 2. While creating smaller, more responsive and accountable school districts is a worthy longterm goal, we cannot afford to let the dOe pass up the opportunity at hand to establish a middle school now. One promising proposal that could be implemented by the start of the 2012 school year is to allow p.s. 77, the Lower Lab school, to expand from an elementary school to a program for kindergarten through 8th grade. Lower Lab has an established principal and curriculum, and expanding the number of sections for sixth grade would give Upper east side families another quality middle school option on day 1. Whether the dOe lets p.s. 77 expand or simply incubates a new school, it should use the p.s. 158 annex as a middle school. Allowing the dOe to expand p.s. 158 into a giant elementary school would be a disservice to its staff and students, destroying its wonderful character. even worse would be to allow a charter school to assume the space. the community hopes the dOe will wake up and realize what is so evident to Upper east side families: all 5th graders eventually become 6th graders and they will need a place to go to school—soon. Micah Kellner is an assembly member who represents the Upper east side.

TWeeT Speak @RTorossian5wpr Wow—cops threatening to arrest people on #UWS for trying to get in and out of their homes on West 60s just because #obama is there? Wow… @BeatlesTweets Paying respect to John at his Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park. @grynbaum Georgina Bloomberg just moved to Central Park West, likes “shopping at Target for

tary schools are anxiously beginning to wonder where their children will attend middle school. With a limited number of academically rigorous middle schools, Upper east side parents are once again demanding more options from the dOe. A new middle school is desperately needed. With p.s. 267 scheduled to move out of the p.s. 158 annex, there will be suitable space on the Upper east side to open just such a school. We know the site would work, because east side Middle school used it for years and coexisted well with p.s. 158. the Community education Council for district 2, the body that replaced the local school board, has heeded the call from the community and recently passed a resolution calling on the dOe to create a new Upper east side middle school in the annex of p.s. 158. One might think dOe officials would have learned from the prior success associated with parents creating elementary schools and would work with them to devise a solution to the east side’s middle school dilemma. instead, the agency seems intent on making excuses and playing numbers games. the dOe likes to claim that there are more than enough middle school seats in district 2, yet most of those are located downtown. district 2 is one of the largest geographic school districts in the city, an unwieldy patchwork stretching from the Upper east side all the way to Lower Manhattan and over into Chelsea. Unsurprisingly, few parents feel safe or comfortable at the prospect of their tweens or young teens traveling from the east 70s, 80s and 90s down to the Financial district every school day.

March 8, 2012

clothes and home goods.” @ilanarantoe Running last-minute errands before I go to New York to hear the @BostonSymphony play at Carnegie Hall! @chrisruigomez How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Amtrak, a bus and on foot. BSO starts 4 concert series tonight, including a Boston Pops concert on Thurs.

@DennisBasso Good morning.Walking in Central Park and the daffodils are in bloom—spring is almost here! @WSJ Video games change your brain, often for the better. Gamers are faster decision makers, better multitaskers. @RubinReport Obama on the Upper West Side; I’m gonna grab my dog and see if he’d like to get a cup of coffee. Yes we can! #UWS N ew s YO U Li V e B Y


MOORe tHOuGHtS

Teachers: The New Bogeymen And why education looks different from the classroom By Christopher Moore The Department of Education’s release of teacher rankings could be just the beginning. Go further. Using the city Department of Health and its letter grades for eateries as inspiration, I propose two moves. First, clear up those confusing rankings and assign a letter grade to each city teacher. Then, to make things easier for parents and editorial writers, force each educator to wear a T-shirt—in the winter it could be a pullover sweater— with the appropriate personalized grade emblazoned across the fabric. This will save time for everybody. Is this crazy? Yes. Crazier than confused rankings, teaching to the test and using one set of criteria to judge a person’s career? Nah. This feels personal to me ever since I joined the family business last year. Eager to sign on to another hated minority, I became a teacher, just as my father and sister had done before me. They were or are full-timers. My new job, like way too many these days, is part-time. Very part-time.

The gig is at the college level, for a state university in New Jersey, so I don’t have to take it personally when my mayor, Michael Bloomberg, bashes the teachers union in the city. Which reminds me: When I became an adjunct communications professor, I went the whole nine yards and joined a teacher’s union, too. It’s been an amazing ride. Teaching college students has been a challenge; sometimes aggravating and occasionally thrilling. Aggravating because a dangerously high number of freshmen arrive at the university level without the basics in grammar and composition or even the notion that they should take notes in class. Thrilling because the good days are great, when I see someone grasping a concept for the first time. I have never done work that is more important. It matters whether I show up. This semester, I am in the classroom six hours a week. I’m in awe of anyone who spends the entire day in front of a class. The younger the students get, the more amazed I get. My sister teaches elementary school. How does she make it through an

entire day? After I do two college classes, I need a nap, two slices of pizza and an hour of Judge Judy. My lessons in the classroom have come, though, at a weird cultural moment. Teachers are the new bogeymen. They get the blame. They are increasingly seen as the reason our educational system is failing us. There has been a sea change over the years since my father became a teacher about five decades ago. Then, the assumption was that when something went wrong, the student was to blame. Now, it’s the teachers. Oh, I love the idea of firing bad teachers. As a student decades ago, I began to spot them and their lazily crafted lesson plans, lack of initiative and excessive mumbling about how many days until retirement. As a teacher now, I see them walking hallways like zombies. Sure, we need a way to dump them. But without the support of the people on the front lines, rebuilding and reinvigorating our school

system is a fantasy. These issues can be complex. I figured that out around the 6th grade, when a teacher with a fabulous reputation did not seem fabulous to me. This gets us to a notion largely missing from the discussion: different teachers are good for different students. That’s the kind of thing not accounted for in the new, public rankings. As a journalist, I value the free flow of information. I say release the data. As someone with a little fresh experience in the classroom, I believe the reports are deeply flawed. More than anything, though, I would like to see more recognition of the physically and psychologically demanding work being done by teachers. Let the mayor and other self-proclaimed experts on educational issues head into the classroom. You people think this is easy? Well, pick a gray winter morning, traipse in there and see those students packed into overcrowded classrooms all looking up at you. Go ahead and live through that experience. See if you can make the grade. Christopher Moore is a writer living in Manhattan. He is available on Twitter as @cmoorenyc.

citiquette

Sappy Birthday

The reliable, artificial heart of Facebook By Jeanne Martinet I am certainly not the first person to write about the relatively new social phenomenon of the Facebook birthday. On the other hand, I may be the last person to actually share my date of birth on Facebook (at least it feels that way to me). For years, I have eschewed what I felt was the insipid practice of posting birthday wishes on people’s Facebook walls. “It’s fake, it’s forced, it’s formulaic,” I would complain. After all, does it not nullify the entire purpose of wishing someone “Happy Birthday” if a machine is reminding you to say it—and that machine is only reminding you because the person having the birthday has, in essence, programmed it to remind you? If you are out with someone who demands, “Ask me how I am!” and you respond by asking, “So, how are you?” is that really satisfying to the other person? But this year I was too busy to nudge my friends about my approaching birthday, so I caved. Anyway, I am at my core an “if We st Si d e S p i r it . c o m

you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” type of gal, so I succumbed to the all-powerful god of Facebook. There seem to be three types of Facebook birthday well-wishers: the good, the bad and the boring. The good ones give you a little something personal but not too intimate (“Happy Birthday, good luck with your writing!” or “Have fun in Hawaii!”). The boring ones just write “Happy Birthday!!”—with the prerequisite double exclamation points. Boring in this situation is perfectly fine, in my opinion; if you think of Facebook as a big party, these are the people who raise their glasses to you when the host (in this case, Facebook’s notification) offers up a birthday toast. And the bad? The bad are the ones who act like 7th graders and typify everything I dislike about Facebook and the social networking universe in general. (I myself was

fortunate enough not to get any of the bad, but I have seen them around). The bad tend to post things like: “Happy Birthday!! Hope you don’t get drunk like last year, when I had to drive you home and then you sang really loud even though you were already in bed, remember?” or “Happy Birthday, maybe this year I will actually get to see your face, stranger! R U mad at me? Why don’t you call a person up some time?” In a perfect world, we might use Facebook as a tool for remembering people’s birthdays, then do something more personal to commemorate them—a phone call or a card. But in the real world, we seem to lack the time and wherewithal to do that for more than a very few close friends. Of course, this is what made birthday greetings so special in the old days. Now, the question of who wishes you a happy birthday has more to do with how much your friends keep up with Facebook than with how much they keep up with you. However, as much fun as it is to dis Facebook—and I admit it’s one of my favorite pastimes—I have to say that Facebook’s birthday reminder mechanism is on the whole a great boon.

When I was a child, I was sure that by the time we got to 2012, computers would be able to interact with us the way a servant would, like the overly maternal robot in The Jetsons. I imagined them as perfectly efficient, perfectly discreet personal assistants who would automatically remind us what we had to do and where we had to be. I have always kept a birthday reminder book next to my desk, a calendar of family and friends’ birthdays, but of course the system doesn’t work unless I remember to write people’s birthdays down and remember to look in the book on a regular basis. How different, really, is the Facebook notification system from my old-fashioned birthday book, except that it does all the work for me better than I can? Is it so bad, having an electronic birthday secretary? Isn’t that what computers are for? Does this mean I have become a social zombie? Perhaps. But as we all know from watching zombie movies, once you are a zombie, you are unlikely to care whether you are one or not. You just join the horde of flesh-eaters and have a good time. Jeanne Martinet, aka Miss Mingle, is the author of seven books on social interaction. Read her blog at MissMingle.com.

March 8, 2012

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