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The local paper for the Upper per West Side p Sid

WEEK OF JANUARY

Healthy Manhattan

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• 2019 SPECIAL REPORT • PAGE 13 •

2019 201

Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? Actually, no one. The general is entombed, not buried. But you won’t be able to see the answer to the old joke until the U.S. government reopens. The national memorial, seen in a recent photo, remains closed. Photo courtesy of City Council Member Mark Levine

CASUALTIES OF THE SHUTDOWN GOVERNMENT As venomous politics and dysfunction in Washington bring federal governance screeching to a halt, Manhattan absorbs a body slam BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

At least four former presidents historically and inextricably linked to New York have been officially dissed. The culprit: The record-shattering federal government shutdown that’s largely the handiwork of the current president. “Grant’s Tomb is closed!” lamented City Council Member Mark Levine.

What did Teddy Roosevelt ever do to deserve this?” Alair Buckley, 24, tourist from Montana “And the trash has been overflowing.” West Siders don’t typically enter the mausoleum at 122nd Street to visit the sarcophagus where the 18th president and his wife are entombed. But General Ulysses S. Grant’s permanent perch on Riverside Drive has been a worldwide magnet for tourists

since it was dedicated in 1897. Or at least it was. Then last month the National Park Service was forced to shutter the site due to the abrupt cutoff in federal funding. Overnight, the visitors vanished. In turn, that spotlighted the corrosive impact the shutdown has had on the micro-economies of Manhattan: “Our local businesses are hurting,” said Levine, whose West Side district takes in the national memorial. “The tourists who commonly walk over to Broadway to shop or have lunch after visiting aren’t here anymore.” The longest government closure in U.S. history has lasted 25 days, as

The pizza in question. Photo courtesy Made in New York Pizza

A MANHATTAN PIZZA WAR DISPUTES UWS pizzeria accused of stealing a recipe from Soho restaurant BY JASON COHEN

A battle over a pizza recipe is heating up in the city between two men named Frank.

Frank Morano, owner of Prince Street Pizza in Soho, is alleging that his former employee and longtime chef, Frank Badali, is using the recipe for Prince Street’s renowned spicy pepperoni slice at his new job at Made In New York Pizza on Amsterdam Avenue and West 80th Street.

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CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 Westsider WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW

WestSideSpirit

WESTSIDE SPIRIT.COM @WestSideSpirit

Crime Watch Voices City Arts NYC Now

3 6 8 10

Business 12 Restaurant Ratings 2 Real Estate 22 15 Minutes 23

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NEWS residents A vocal group of U.W.S. Transportation isn’t convinced the doing enough is Committee of CB7 BY LISA BROWN

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MANHATTAN'S APARTMENT BOOM, > PROPERTY, P.20

2015

In Brief MORE HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS

PROTESTING THE COMMUNITY BOARD OVER TRAFFIC DEATHS

Zero, Mayor Bill One year into Visionreducing trafficfor de Blasio’s plan traffic the number of has related deaths, Upper West Side fatalities on the compared to last actually increased, year’s figures. Upper West Siders -That has some needs to be done convinced more of the Transstarting with members of the local comportation Committee munity board. West mother, Upper Lisa Sladkus, a member of TransSide resident and said she’s fed at portation Alternatives a silent protest up, and organized 7’s February board Community Board residents dozens of meeting, where Committee called for Transportation leaders to step down. against incredible “We have run up imto get safe street trying just problems said. “This was provements,” she our point across get another way to dissatisfied.” that we are very involved with Sladkus has been Alternatives since Transportation served as director 2002 and formerly Streets’ RenaisSide of Upper West She says becoming sance Campaign. really got her into a mother is what activism. streets around me “Just noticing the as a pedestrian I felt and how unsafe she said. “I wanted and as a cyclist,”

9-15

The effort to help small seems to businesses in the city be gathering steam. Two city councilmembers, Robert Margaret Chin and Cornegy, have introduced create legislation that wouldSmall a new “Office of the within Business Advocate” of Small the city’s Department Business Services. Chin The new post, which have up told us she’d like to would and running this year, for serve as an ombudsman city small businesses within them clear government, helping to get bureaucracy the through things done. Perhaps even more also importantly, the ombudsman and number will tally the type small business of complaints by taken in owners, the actions policy response, and somefor ways to recommendations If done well, begin to fix things. report would the ombudsman’s give us the first quantitative with taste of what’s wrong the city, an small businesses in towards step rst fi important fixing the problem. of To really make a difference, for developers will have to is a mere formality their projects course, the advocaterising rents, are the work complete precinct, but chances-- thanks to a looking to find a way to tackle business’ legally quickly. is being done which remain many While Chin their own hours,” of after-hours “They pick out boom in the number throughout who lives on most vexing problem. gauge what said Mildred Angelo,of the Ruppert construction permits said it’s too early tocould have Buildings one the 19th floor in The Department of the city. role the advocate number three years, the Houses on 92nd Street between on the She Over the past is handing out a record there, more information work perThird avenues. permits, bad thing. of Second and an ongoing all-hours number of after-hours of after-hours work problem can’t be a the city’s Dept. with the said there’s where mits granted by This step, combinedBorough according to new data project nearby jumped 30 percent, noise in construction Buildings has efforts by Manhattan to mediate data provided constantly make BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS according to DOB from trucks. President Gale Brewer of Informa- workers offer transferring cement response to a Freedom the rent renewal process, they want. They city classifies knows the signs Act request. The between 6 “They do whateverthey please. They Every New Yorker some early, tangible small clang, the tion work come and go as of progress. For many sound: the metal-on-metal beeps of a any construction weekend, can can’t come piercing a.m., or on the have no respect.” at p.m. and 7 business owners, that hollow boom, the issuance of these reverse. A glance The increased a correspond after-hours. soon enough. truck moving in has generated can hardly as has led to

SLEEPS, THANKS TO THE CITY THAT NEVER UCTION A BOOM IN LATE-NIGHT CONSTR

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and you the alarm clock middle of the night, believe it: it’s the carries on fulland yet construction tilt. or your local police You can call 311

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The surge in permitsfees for the city in millions of dollars consome residents agency, and left application process vinced that the

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JANUARY 17-23,2019

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RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS JAN 2 - 8, 2018 The following listings were collected from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website and include the most recent inspection and grade reports listed. We have included every restaurant listed during this time within the zip codes of our neighborhoods. Some reports list numbers with their explanations; these are the number of violation points a restaurant has received. To see more information on restaurant grades, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml. Tom’s Restaurant

2880 Broadway

A

The Heights Bar & Grill

2867 Broadway

Grade Pending (24) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Don Ramon Restaurant

973 Columbus Ave

A

New Asia

666 Amsterdam Ave

Grade Pending

Broadway Restaurant

2664 Broadway

A

Symposium Greek Restaurant

544 West 113 Street

Grade Pending (38) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/ sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

The Halal Guys

720 Amsterdam Ave

A

Shake Shack

2957 Broadway

Grade Pending (17) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewageassociated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Roasted Masala

914 Columbus Ave

A

Starbucks

540 Columbus Ave

A

Elea

217 W 85th St

A

Uno Chicago Grill

432 Columbus Ave

Grade Pending (2)

Amsterdam Cafe

481 Amsterdam Ave

Grade Pending (21) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or nonfood areas.

Chalait

461 Amsterdam Ave

A

Sugar Factory

1991 Broadway

Not Yet Graded (32) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

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Drakopoulos’s car after the accident. Photo courtesy of Mansion Restaurant

‘WE TRULY ARE LIKE A FAMILY’ COMMUNITY UES restaurant raising money for medical costs of manager hurt in car crash BY JASON COHEN

Tragedy struck an Upper East Side restaurant on New Year’s Eve weekend when its general manager was injured in a severe car accident. Today, the owner of the eatery is raising money to offset the manager’s medical costs. John Philips, the owner of Mansion Restaurant on York Avenue and East 86th Street, created a GoFundMe campaign for John Drakopoulos, his friend and longtime general manager. Drakopoulos, 49, of Brooklyn, has been with the diner for 15 years. “John is very close to my family as I am his,” Philips said. “John helped me build the restaurant to where it is. When we are here, we truly are like a family.” On Dec. 30, Drakopoulos was on his way to work early in the morning. According to Philips, Drakopoulos took an off-ramp where there was an underpass from the Long Island Expressway to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and as he was exiting lost control of his car. Drakopoulos hit a short embankment, then a light post. The car flipped over, the roof caved in on his head and he slid about 150 feet while trapped in the car. “He’s the most injured person

John Drakopoulos and his son, from the GoFundMe site. Photo courtesy of Mansion Restaurant I’ve ever seen,” Philips said. Drakopoulos is in an induced coma, with a traumatic brain injury. Among other problems, he suffered a fractured skull, severely injured his right eye and right eardrum, smashed bones behind his sinuses, fractured three vertebrae and had glass fragments near his brain. Philips, who visits every day, explained that Drakopoulos has not been taken out of the coma because the brain needs time to heal. Doctors have confirmed that his spinal cord is intact and also performed facial reconstruction surgery. The hope is that they can take him out of the coma by the end of the month. “When you have traumatic brain injury you have to be as incapacitated as possible,” Philips said. An emotional Philips noted

that Drakopoulos’ injury is not just affecting the diner. His wife, Magdalena, is finishing dental hygienist school soon and his son Jacob is 5 years old. With the two of them in mind, along with Drakopoulos’ rising medical bills, Philips knew how important it was to start a GoFundMe for his friend. As this paper went to press, the campaign had raised $39,313. “John made some serious sacrifices so his wife could go back to school to be a dental hygienist,” Philips said. “He’s the breadwinner of the family.” Since the accident, Philips said, the outpouring of love for Drakopoulos has been tremendous. From the NYPD to customers, people have asked how he is doing and dropped off get-well cards. Philips reminisced about his first impressions of his friend. While the restaurant has been there since 1945, it was Drakopoulos and a few others who helped revitalize it 15 years ago. Philips said Drakopoulos knows all of the customers on a first-name basis, greets everyone with a smile and always crack jokes with the staff. Additionally, he is godfather to Philips’ son Max. “John has been an integral part of this rebirth of Mansion,” Philips emphasized. “It’s kind of beyond sad. The system has been irreparably changed in a way. We’re trying to fill the gaps. The customers definitely feel it.”


JANUARY 17-23,2019

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG AN INSIDE JOB

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 20th precinct for the week ending Jan 6

Police remind the public to secure valuables whenever strangers are working in your home. A 41-year-old woman living at 322 W. 72nd Street told police that sometime between Tuesday, Jan. 1 and Saturday, Jan. 5, her maid, her building super and workers repairing ďŹ&#x201A;oors all had access to her apartment. On the evening of the 5th, after the work was ďŹ nished, she noticed that items of jewelry were missing. The value of the missing items, including a gold watch and two gold rings, totaled $3,000.

Week to Date

ANOTHER RESTAURANT THEFT TO SNIFF A THIEF

DO NOT DO THIS!

In what might be called a fragrant violation of the law. an unknown man entered the Sephora store at 2103 Broadway on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and made off with three Tom Ford fragrances valued at $525, two Chanel fragrances totaling $204, and a third Chanel fragrance worth $135, for a total of $864. This was the second shoplifting incident at the same store within two days.

At 11:50 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, a 23-year-old woman was having a meal in the Rosa Mexicano restaurant at 61 Columbus Avenue when she got up and left her wallet on the table. When she returned, the table had been cleared and her wallet was gone. The busboy said he had not seen the wallet. The items stolen included a black Ferragamo wallet valued at $450, $500 in cash, a Long Island Rail Road

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No-Kill Action and Compassion A PET TODAY!

A C O O P E R AT I V E A D O P T I O N E V E N T:

MUDDY PAWS RESCUE, K9 KASTLE & NORTH SHORE ANIMAL LEAGUE AMERICA

&CXKU#XG2QTV9CUJKPIVQP0;ranimalleague.orgrr44

monthly ticket worth $229, a monthly MetroCard valued at $121 and a New York State driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s license, along with various debit and credit cards. The total stolen came to $1,325.

VEHICLE SMASH & GRAB The neighborhood has experienced a number of automobile break-ins

recently. At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2, a man parked his black 2013 Lexus SUV on Riverside Drive near West 75th Street. When he returned the following, afternoon, the right-side rear window had been smashed and the window frame was damaged. The damage to the window was estimated at less than $250, but a $600 pair of Prada glasses was missing.

 

   

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2019 2018

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

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On Saturday afternoon, Dec. 22, a 69-year-old woman placed her backpack on the ďŹ&#x201A;oor while she dined at the Le Pain Quotidien at 50 W. 72nd Street. Later, she discovered that her bag had been taken from inside the backpack. Using the Find My iPhone app, the woman and the police recovered all her property, except for $700 in cash, near a garbage can outside 121 W. 88th Street. No unauthorized usage turned up on her credit cards, but she canceled them to be safe.

Year to Date

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  RENTAL STUDIO & ONE BEDROOM WAITING LISTS BEING OPENED FOR COMMUNITY BOARD 4 RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY BOARD 4 ELDERLY RESIDENTS To be eligible to receive Section 8 Housing Assistance, at the time of admission applicants cannot earn more than:

1 Person: 2 Persons: 3 Persons:

INCOME LIMIT $78,908 $90,180 $101,453

COMMUNITY BOARD 4 BOUNDARIES: Southern Border: North Side of West 14th St. Eastern Border: 6th Ave. until 26th St. where the border travels west and goes up 8th Ave. Northern Border: 56th St. between 8th & 10th, 54th St. between 10th & 11th, 55th St. between 11th and the River, then up the West Side Hwy to 59th St. OCCUPANCY STANDARDS: STUDIO: One to Two Persons ONE BEDROOM: Two to Three Persons IMPORTANT NOTICE: (FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION) â&#x20AC;˘ Applicant must be residents of Community Board 4. â&#x20AC;˘ For the Community Elderly list, applicant must be at least 62 years old at the time of lottery. â&#x20AC;˘ Preference will be given to documented veterans selected in the lottery. â&#x20AC;˘ Any applicant that does not have the proper family composition will automatically be disqualified. â&#x20AC;˘ ONE REQUEST ONLY PER APPLICANT. Any person placing a duplicate request will not be entered into the lottery. An applicant can only submit a paper entry or an on-line entry. If applicants enter on-line and also mail in a letter or postcard, they have submitted a duplicate request and will not be eligible for the lottery. Please note: applicants can apply to only ONE of these lotteries. Entries in more than one of these Manhattan Plaza lotteries will result in disqualification of all entries. â&#x20AC;˘ Applications are not transferable. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The waiting list will be established by a limited lottery. There will be a limit of 500 applicants drawn from each supervised lottery. Only applicants that are drawn will be notified. HOW TO APPLY: ONLINE You can now apply to a lottery online through Mitchell-Lama Connect. Applying is fast, easy and you will be able to check the status of your entry to see if you have been selected. To apply on line go to: https://a806-housingconnect.nyc.gov/nyclottery/lottery.html#ml-home BY MAIL Mail post card or envelope by regular mail. Registered and Certified Mail will not be accepted. Clearly print your full first and last name, current address and last 4 digits of your social security number. If you do not include the last 4 digits of your social security number, you will not be entered into the lottery. Mail post card or envelope to:

MANHATTAN PLAZA â&#x20AC;˘ Community Studio List â&#x20AC;˘ P.O. BOX 68 â&#x20AC;˘ Peck Slip Post Office â&#x20AC;˘ New York, NY 10038 MANHATTAN PLAZA â&#x20AC;˘ Community Studio Elderly List â&#x20AC;˘ P.O. BOX 76 â&#x20AC;˘ Peck Slip Post Office â&#x20AC;˘ New York, NY 10038 MANHATTAN PLAZA â&#x20AC;˘ Community One-Bedroom List â&#x20AC;˘ P.O. BOX 1038 â&#x20AC;˘ Peck Slip Post Office â&#x20AC;˘ New York, NY 10038 MANHATTAN PLAZA â&#x20AC;˘ Community One-Bedroom Elderly List â&#x20AC;˘ P.O. BOX 1065 â&#x20AC;˘ Peck Slip Post Office â&#x20AC;˘ New York, NY 10038 DEADLINE: Request must be received by: January 31, 2019 YOU CANNOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE DEVELOPMENT EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY SUPERVISED BY THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT Bill de Blasio, Mayor â&#x20AC;˘ Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner www.nyc.gov/hpd


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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

Useful Contacts

JANUARY 17-23,2019

Drawing Board

POLICE NYPD 20th Precinct

120 W. 82nd St.

212-580-6411

NYPD 24th Precinct

151 W. 100th St.

212-678-1811

NYPD Midtown North Precinct

306 W. 54th St.

212-767-8400

FDNY Engine 76/Ladder 22

145 W. 100th St.

311

FDNY Engine 40/Ladder 35

W. 66th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

311

FDNY Engine 74

120 W. 83rd St.

311

Ladder 25 Fire House

205 W. 77th St.

311

FIRE

CITY COUNCIL Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

563 Columbus Ave.

212-873-0282

Councilmember Mark Levine

500 West 141st St.

212-928-6814

State Senator Brad Hoylman

322 Eighth Ave. #1700

212-633-8052

State Sen. Jose M. Serrano

1916 Park Ave. #202

212-828-5829

STATE LEGISLATORS

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal 230 W. 72nd St. #2F

212-873-6368

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell 245 W. 104th St.

212-866-3970

COMMUNITY BOARD 7 LIBRARIES

250 W. 87th St. #2

212-362-4008

St. Agnes

444 Amsterdam Ave.

212-621-0619

Bloomingdale

150 W. 100th St.

212-222-8030

Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center

917-275-6975

HOSPITALS Mt. Sinai – Roosevelt

1000 10th Ave.

Mt. Sinai - St. Luke’s

1090 Amsterdam Ave.

212-523-4000 212-523-5898

CON ED TIME WARNER CABLE POST OFFICES

4 Irving Place

212-460-4600

2554 Broadway

212-358-0900

US Post Office

215 W. 104th St.

212-662-0355

US Post Office

700 Columbus Ave.

212-866-1981

US Post Office

127 W. 83rd St.

212-873-3991

Ansonia Post Office

178 Columbus Ave.

212-362-1697

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JANUARY 17-23,2019

SHUTDOWN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 of press time on Jan. 15. And as the fiery standoff between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats over funding a southern border wall abides, the toll on New Yorkers has been intensifying. Profits have plunged for immigrant coffee vendors stationed outside federal offices in Foley Square and Hudson Square. Wall Street is in limbo with only a skeleton staff operating the nerve center of the Securities and Exchange Commission on Vesey Street. Paychecks have stopped for Coast Guard recruiters at the Battery Park Maritime Building on South Street. New Yorkers canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t access passenger ship arrival records, federal court documents or naturalization records because the National Archives on Bowling Green has closed its doors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People who want to take out loans or reďŹ nance are already running into problems,â&#x20AC;? said State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents the East Side and Midtown East including Trump Tower. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And worryingly, the MTA gets about $150 million from the Federal Transit Administration every month, which we know is desperately needed. Obviously, the longer the shutdown lasts, the more we will all feel the knock-on effects,â&#x20AC;? Krueger added. Mayor Bill de Blasio put it starkly: â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are 50,000 federal workers based in New York City, and these folks have been going through hell,â&#x20AC;? he said. Even recipients of federal government services who remain unaffected â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Social Security beneficiaries, for instance â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are facing high anxiety and fears, say staffers at Assembly Member Rebecca Seawrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s East Side office. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Between Christmas and New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, we had a stream of seniors come into our district ofďŹ ce worried their Social Security checks could cut off, and even though we reassured them, the anxiety still remained,â&#x20AC;? said Audrey Berman Tannen, Seawrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief of staff. The protracted shutdown, should it continue till next week, could have a ruinous impact over the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend as hundreds of Transportation Security Administration employees, asked to work without pay, call in sick, walk off the job or quit outright at all three area airports. â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Yorkers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like to stay still for very long, but anyone looking to get away or

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com come in for a long weekend will have a rough start and end to such plans,â&#x20AC;? said East Side City Council Member Ben Kallos, who notes his district is a mere 15 minutes away from LaGuardia Airport. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outraged that funding cuts could potentially imperil constituents who are food insecure and play havoc with MTA operations on the 4, 5, 6 and Q trains. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s troubled that local food safety could be impaired as the Food and Drug Administration curtails most routine inspections of fruits, vegetables and other products with a high risk of contamination. But Kallos, like legions of other Manhattanites, also has good reason to take the shutdown personally: His family is a member of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in the landmark Carnegie Mansion â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and like the National Museum of the American Indian and all other Smithsonian treasures, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been forced to lock the public out. Kallosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; daughter is approaching her ďŹ rst birthday, and she takes great delight in Cooper Hewittâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interactive displays, where she can go into a room to interface with digital displays and make interesting noises by pressing different buttons and ringing different bells. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun for infants like my daughter â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or children at heart like me,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a huge loss for our community to have this institution closed.â&#x20AC;? Among the casualties of the closure: American history itself. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The African Burial Ground is

closed during the government shutdown,â&#x20AC;? says the website of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest and oldest known excavated burial site for free and enslaved Africans in the U.S. Located at 290 Broadway, it contains remains dating from the 1630s to the 1790s. As for the presidents historically associated with New York, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re likely rolling over in their graves. In addition to Grant, they include: â&#x20AC;˘ George Washington, who took the oath of office in 1789 at Federal Hall National Memorial at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. The site, now closed, was also home to the ďŹ rst Congress and ďŹ rst Supreme Court. â&#x20AC;˘ Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose home, presidential library and museum in upstate Hyde Park is a national historic site. It will also stay shuttered for the duration of the shutdown. FDRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s city home on East 65th Street, now a Hunter College public policy institute, is not affected. â&#x20AC;˘ Theodore Roosevelt, who was born in 1858 in a townhouse at 28 East 20th St. and lived there until age 14. Like most sites run by the National Park Service, the birthplace and boyhood home of the ďŹ rst president born in New York City is also barred to the public. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why?â&#x20AC;? asked Alair Buckley, a 24-year-old tourist from Montana who looked at the closed house from the sidewalk during her first visit to the city. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What did Teddy Roosevelt ever do to deserve this?â&#x20AC;?

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Voices

Write to us: To share your thoughts and comments go to westsidespirit.com and click on submit a letter to the editor.

LETTERS ARE WONDERFUL THINGS BY BETTE DEWING

First, a little letter-to-the-editor history. My first letter to this paper led to covering local events like 19th Pct. community council meetings. Eventually, with a big assist from then publisher’s wife and Our Town editor Arlene Kayatt, a column was granted. Wow! That letter, which, incidentally, urged New Yorkers to cover fenced tree pits with Christmas tree branches, surely did change my life. And before getting on with molto kudos for three recent letter writers, let me say how inordinately grateful I am for the privilege, and for subsequent publishers and editors letting me cntinue to sound off. And I couldn’t be more grateful for you dear read-

ers, especially those who thankfully respond. Ah. response, such a general human need — the constructive kind of course. And these communication skills need to be learned and used from pre-K on. O-o-o-p-s, just a bit of a sidetrack from a salute to three recent letters to the editor, published in the issue dated Dec. 27 — Jan. 2. They deserve to be reprinted and sent to every legislator, with a “Now see and learn this, this is what makes a safe and livable city.” I almost said “you blockheads.” But that’s the gist of Ian Alterman, Sandy Jaffe and Michael Kearney’s letters’ — total vision. And yes, they relate to two of my most basic concerns — more like crusades — which I find a great many New Yorkers share, but most,

regrettably, don’t go public about. Here’s social activst Ian Alterman’s epic response to the news piece, An End to E Bike Ban in Sight? “This has to be the most insane, bone-headed and dangerous proposal in years.” He goes on about how the city council law now banning e-bikes was not nearly strong or inclusive enough. And I add, all these years since Ian had me speak to the 23rd Pct community council about this growing city-wide danger, that his concern also applies to the habitual traffic law-breaking of regular cyclists. And do relish Ian’s 2019 epic conclusion: “...this proposal should die on the vine, and any official who supports it will be complicit in the injuries and possible deaths almost

certain to occur if it is passed.” And don’t forget the harmful stress engendered by near-misses, and being always on alert for their silent, lawbreaking habits. Keep saying it, Ian. Michael Keaney’s safe travel vision urges walkers using north and south avenues to walk so the traffic is coming toward you. That way, you face the cars as they turn into the side streets you are crossing. Indeed. whenever possible avoid crossing where they can turn into you. Failure to yield is the crime most deadly to pedestrians. Keep reminding us, Michael. And the third letter, from Sandy Jaffe, ruefully laments the killing off of the iconic Lord & Taylor department store, including its humanscale, humane architecture. It’s another people gathering place lost — along with neighborhood stores that meet everyday needs. Sandy’s concern is also for the enormous pile of Amazon merchandise in her

lobby. And think of all the additional delivery trucks on these high-density streets, potentiially dangerous traffic, congesting and air polluting. Surely, this is a city crisis unaddressed, incredibly enough, by elected officials’ lengthy newsletters, or in the mayor’s recent state of the city address. What to do!? Well we must say something, do something. For starters, repeatedly call elected officials whose numbers are found in this paper’s Useful Contacts column. Write letters to editors, of course, and keep trying, even if they’re not printed. At least they are noted by the editors. And you with computers, do send these three letters around -get them on “social media” - go viral, whatever. And help those without computers share. Heartfelt thanks again Ian, Sandy and Michael for helping to make it a total vision 2019 city. It can be done if enough of us try!

MEETING OF THE MINDS AT MEETUP WEST SIDE STORIES BY MEREDITH KURZ

Four years ago, my husband and I moved to the Upper West Side, shedding suburbia like a wool coat in August. Since then it’s been one long delicious film reel: Sitting at a restaurant post-Broadway, all the actors walk in en masse, some of the women holding their tossed bouquets; everyone stays past midnight. Walking home afterward, because, hey, it’s only twenty-five blocks or so. Winched into a bleacher seat, watching an open-air play at the Delacorte looking over a castle (a castle!), a nearby pond reflecting deepening shadows in purple with hints of light as the performance begins. Who wouldn’t foist off Grandma’s china and nine-foot velvet Elvis poster for this? There was one thing missing — buddies. Sure, old neighbors venture in to ooh, aah, kvetch about parking, prices and perverts, then leave, but making new connections requires trial, error, and legwork. I’ve volunteered, cam-

paigned and covered neighborhood news. Good enough. Then, last year I discovered Meetups, a free membership social calendar with 500 plus get-togethers each week. I’ll show you mine, and further down, I hope, I’ll show you yours. The author’s Meetup “Shut Up and Write” has several metropolitan-wide groups. Ed Anderson, a full-time freelance author, and group co-leader has written over 1500 articles, from a CNN report to true crime coverage to an account of Megyn Kelly’s juicy fall from grace. He introduces newbies into the fold, beta reads snippets if pressed, and reins us in when it’s time to stop socializing and, well, shut up and write. After one hour of silent writing, some of us trot over to the Flame Diner or Fluffy’s for a nosh. In our group is a screenwriter working on a Hallmark movie, a glass menagerie of playwrights working on everything from a musical to a “Me Too” thing, humor writers who are our most anxious, a graphic novelist (I love to eavesdrop when my attention wanes from my own work, watching him draw a story instead of just writ-

ing it), copywriters, travel writers, students writing resumes and their inept friends’ cover letters, a professor writing an academic piece on prisons in New York during the Civil War, children’s story writers, horror story writers (a 20-something Fordhamite explains, “I write cannibalism fiction, but it’s in New Orleans.” I guess that makes it, well, kosher.) Young Adult fiction and yes, I’ll say it, erotica. I began writing in earnest during a brief two-young-children-at-home span. I wrote a historic play for a local church, then was commissioned to write a children’s play which was performed all over the place; and yes, I earned a sweet $6 in royalties every time it was performed. I wrote a children’s musical about believing in yourself called “Casey at the Bat” which now rests in a grave in the back of my closet. I thought I was going to write a sci-fi novel until I discovered there are only three that I ever really enjoyed reading. Love the science; hate the genre, I guess. I recently was featured in a short story anthology, and short stories and essays are where I’m coziest outside of journalism. If

Shut Up and Write. Photo: Edward Anderson you’ve read what you think are the greatest books in English literature, and then attempt to write, you’re going to feel intimidated. So if you’re feeling a need to connect to more people who love what you love, or to improve or reassure yourself you’re not a total loser, try a Meetup. There are Meetups for everything; e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. If you have an interest, there’s a Meetup. You can’t find it? Make one. You can go on a MOMA scavenger hunt or hit a bar with “Dharma Drink:” the hangout for Buddhists (“and like-minded”), or strum with a ukulele jam. People with Pomeranians

have their own meetups, and there’s a (Can’t make up my mind. Creepy? Not creepy?) “Photographing Strangers on the Street” class, (like where do you meet? In a hidden alley?) There are the Supper West Siders, the Lesbian Book Club, and if you are too smart for your own good, an Artificial Intelligence “Deep Bayesian Networks” get-together. I’d like to write an article on every single one of these. If you’ve done an annual review of your social calendar and found it sagging, do something about it! Head over to Meetup.com and change your friendship destiny.

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JANUARY 17-23,2019

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

PIZZA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Chef Frank Badali, formerly of Prince Street Pizza, now at Made in New York Pizza. Photo courtesy Made in New York Pizza

Badali worked at Prince Street for seven years, where he developed the recipe for the Spicy Spring slice, a Sicilian-style pizza with pepperoni, garlic and tomato sauce. In September, he left Prince Street and a few months later joined Eytan Sugarman, who opened Made in New York Pizza in December. Morano contends that Made in New York Pizzaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spicy Pepperoni slice is a knockoff of theirs and has hired attorney Charlie Baxley to represent him. Baxley declined to comment on the ongoing litigation. However, Sugarman disagrees with the notion that the recipe was copied. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Frank developed the recipes while he was there {at Prince Street],â&#x20AC;? Sugarman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having said that, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it their recipes.â&#x20AC;? According to Sugarman, the recipe has been changed and now uses different sauces and a thicker crust. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not sure why all of this is happening,â&#x20AC;? Sugarman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a great fan of theirs. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great brand. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a single bad thing to say about them. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a pizza aďŹ cionado you will be able to taste the difference.â&#x20AC;? Sugarman said that he has not been served any legal papers and to his knowledge, the only thing Badali received was a letter in September right after he quit telling him he could not use the recipes at other restaurants. Sugarman, who has never met Morano, feels this will blow over and people will go back to simply just enjoying pizza. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to have a good relationship with them,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny how itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone so super viral and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s become such a big funny story. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made more people try our great wonderful pizza.â&#x20AC;?

Made in New York Pizza opened on Amsterdam Avenue in December. Photo courtesy Made in New York Pizza

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

NATIVE AMERICAN ART, AND STORIES BY MARY GREGORY

There are many stories in the Metropolitan Museum’s “Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection.” One of them is the story of the exhibition’s location. For the first time, New York’s great encyclopedic museum is exhibiting Native American work in the American Wing. Previously, it’s been shown in the galleries for Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. “The presentation in the American Wing of these exceptional works by indigenous artists marks a critical moment in which conventional narratives of history are being expanded to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of cultures that have long been marginalized,” stated Max Hollein, the museum’s director. The Dikers, whose collection of Native American works of art is deep and exquisite, donated 91 of the 116 works on view. They did so with the stipulation that the works be placed within the context and galleries of American art, to reflect the work’s place in our culture. It’s an important, inclusive move for a multicultural society’s flagship museum, reversing decades of conceptual

and artistic separation. But that’s just one of the stories here. The others are within the works themselves, in the voices they carry and the lives they represent. They’ve been collected from some 50 cultures across North America and include masks and implements from the Northwest Coast, basketry from California, drawings and clothing from Plains peoples, pottery from the Southwest, and carvings and ornamental dress from the eastern Woodlands cultures. Artists from the 2nd to the 20th centuries created these humble, powerful, sacred and quotidian objects that transcend time and place, and speak to personal and universal truths. Northwest Coast and Arctic cultures were blessed with plentiful fishing and hunting. They settled in communities and created stunning, abstract images of the natural world around them, decorating spoons and spears, boats, buildings and masks that opened portals of spiritual communication. Ancestors and animal guides were invoked in rituals to heal, bless, teach and protect. Shamanic performances were enhanced by elaborate theatrical masks with moving parts. To see the layers of imagery in a Yup‘ik

An artist from the Delaware people in Kansas, ca. 1840, created this vibrantly designed beaded bag used in formal men’s attire. Photo: Adel Gorgy.

JANUARY 17-23,2019

IF YOU GO What: Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection Where: American Wing, The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 5th Ave, New York When: Through October 6, 2019 www.metmuseum.org

artist’s mask from Alaska (c. 1900) with a bent branch representing the borders of the universe, a kayak filled with images of seals, birds and fish surrounded by reaching hands, is to feel the power of the hunt. To picture these parts shaking as a dancer moved in flickering firelight is to conjure a sublime experience. Stories can be found in the materials utilized as well. Forests provided wood for Northwest Coast and Eastern Woodlands communities. Nomadic hunting peoples of the Plains and Plateau regions made spectacular domiciles, drums, garments, and accoutrements from leather. A cradleboard to welcome and protect a new member of the Ute community in Colorado or Utah around 1890 was like a stiff-walled backpack. It could be worn by a mother on horseback or propped against the sloping walls of a tipi. A hood of thin wooden rods that shielded the baby’s eyes from the sun also functioned as an awning, protecting her face if the cradleboard tipped forwards. The attention to functional details attests to the care expressed by these artists for the newborn; the extraordinary beauty of the buttery yellow background, decorated with bright curvilinear forms and intricate beadwork, speaks of their joy in new life. Another story comes through in beadwork. An Anishinaabe shoulder bag from 1780 is decorated with dyed, flattened woven porcupine quills. A Nez Perce War Shirt, circa 1850, made use of both quills and glass beads, which, by then, had been made available through trading with settlers. Ledger drawings made by Plains artists around the 1860s present complex histories and imagery. With pencils and sheets of paper from ledger books, often captured from the U.S. military, these artists depicted their victories on their adversary’s own materials. From stunning monochromatic abstraction on pottery from pueblos in New Mexico, created over a thousand years ago, to baskets made by the 20th century master Louisa Keyser, known also as Datsolalee, the works in the show tell stories that are ancient, re-

A Chilkat Tlingit woman wove this tunic and pants from softened cedar bark and mountain goat wool in an arduous process that was both spiritually and artistically driven. Photo: Adel Gorgy. cent and evolving. “Our ancestors must have had an inner strength. As Native peoples seemed to reach the nadir of their existence, they did not die off or disappear into the larger American society. Instead, they experienced a renewed sense of creativity,” states a wall text by Emma I. Hansen, a Pawnee scholar and curator. “Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection” is a quiet blockbuster that challenges and changes history by presenting vividly voiced works by great American artists, whether known and documented or lost to history.

A cradleboard by Ute artists, from around 1890, expresses exquisite functional and artistic precision, detail and elegance. Photo: Adel Gorgy.


JANUARY 17-23,2019

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Neighborhood Scrapbook

Discover the world around the corner. Find community events, gallery openings, book launches and much more: Go to nycnow.com

EDITOR’S PICK

Sat 19 THE JOURNEY TOWARDS FREEDOM: A SHABBAT SHIRAH CONCERT WITH NICOLE PHIFER AND FRIENDS International Academy of New York students in performance at the China General Chamber of Commerce gala. Photo courtesy IANY

ONSTAGE, IN CHINESE Chinese language learners at the International Academy of New York (IANY) were invited by the China General Chamber of Commerce to perform at their annual awards gala last Monday. The event promotes meaningful relationships between the U.S. and China, something that IANY, a bilingual school, values. The students, ages 5 to 8, opened the event

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun 257 West 88th St 7:00 p.m. $25 bj.org 212-787-7600 Join us for a powerful evening of uplifting song with gospel artist Nicole Phifer. Journeying through narrative of the Exodus from Egypt, we’ll explore the themes of Shabbat Shirah— redemption, liberation, and the journey towards freedom—as seen in the gospel musical tradition.

in front of some 400+ attendees by performing several songs in Chinese, exhibiting not only their Chinese language skills, but their confidence and poise as performers. At IANY’s language program, children work toward fluency in either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.

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Symphony Space 2537 Broadway 7:30 p.m. $30 Modeled in the funk and soul tradition, Aztec Sun’s boisterous crew of performers will perform using what they’re best known for: infectious songwriting, rhythmic versatility, and energetic performances. symphonyspace.org 212-864-5400

On the red carpet at the China General Chamber of Commerce gala. Photo courtesy IANY

NY Society for Ethical Culture 2 West 64th St 7 p.m. $15 With her debut album Do Right released in 2016, Sari Kessler has quickly become a singular force in jazz, praised by critics for her recorded material and live performances alike. Join Sari on an exciting musical journey of jazz, soul, and originals as she celebrates her debut at the Jazz Café at Ethical. Following Kessler is the Open Mic hour. ethical.nyc 212-874-5210

Library for the Performing Arts 40 Lincoln Center Plaza 2:30 p.m. Free Virtuoso violinist Naho Parrini performs Dirty Music, Richard Pearson Thomas’ electrifying concert for violin and burlesque band on a program that also includes chamber music for strings and piano, and the premiere of new cabaret songs sung by Amy Gluck with the band. nypl.org 917-275-6975


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Sun 20

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org

▼ WINTER TREE WALK: THE NORTH WOODS

NEW YORK CITY

One Day University | Making Better Choices: The Art and Science of Rational Decision Making

Central Park 103rd St and Central Park West 11:00 a.m. $15 This special guided tree walk will offer visitors an opportunity to learn about the landscapes, easy tips for identifying trees using bark, buds, leaf scars, and other characteristics. Conservancy Guides will lead this walk from the Pool through the North Woods’ Ravine. centralparknyc.org 212-310-6600

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19TH, 10AM Watson Hotel | 440 W. 57th St. | onedayu.com Sonia Marciano, a Clinical Full Professor of Management and Organizations at NYU Stern, leads a session on “enterprise literacy” and the interconnections within personal economies ($95).

Riyaaz Qawwali

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19TH, 7:30PM St. John the Divine | 1047 Amsterdam Ave. | 212-316-7540 | stjohndivine.org Musicians from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, representing multiple spiritual backgrounds, come together in this ensemble. The influence of Eastern and Western classical music will be present in an evening of devotional songs ($35).

Just Announced | A Night of Philosophy & Ideas

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 7PM

Mon 21 Tue 22 Wed 23 BE MORE CHILL BY JOE ICONIS AND JOE TRACZ, WITH STEPHEN BRACKETT, CHASE BROCK, AND ROBERT KLITZMAN

The Guggenheim 1071 Fifth Ave 2:00 p.m. $45 Be More Chill creators, Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz will discuss their creative process and, in a twist, Dr. Robert Klitzman, Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program at Columbia University, will explore the bioethical implications of the musical. Cast members will perform highlights prior to the production’s Broadway premiere. guggenheim.org 212-423-3500

▲ LYNDA COHEN LOIGMAN ON THE WARTIME SISTERS Book Culture 450 Columbus Ave 7:00 p.m. Free Lynda Cohen Loigman celebrates the release of her new novel, The Wartime Sisters, on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7pm! Bestselling author Fiona Davis will be joining Lynda in conversation. bookculture.com 212-595-1962

Brooklyn Library | 10 Grand Army Pl. | 718-230-2100 | bklynlibrary.org It’s time again to stay up all night with ideas. Top philosophers from around the world will again gather for a 12-hour sleepover, complete with philosophical debates, screenings, readings, and music. The events runs until past sunrise Sunday morning (free).

For more information about lectures, readings and other intellectually stimulating events throughout NYC,

SONATENABEND Juilliard 60 Lincoln Center Plaza 6:00 p.m. Free Pianists from Juilliard Collaborative Piano department perform sonata repertoire in partnership with student instrumentalists. juilliard.edu 212-799-5000

sign up for the weekly Thought Gallery newsletter at thoughtgallery.org.

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Business

On Park Avenue. Photo: Steven Strasser

LET’S DO THE MATH REAL ESTATE Buyers fear high maintenance costs — which sometimes can lead to a better deal BY FREDERICK W. PETERS

How much does it cost each year to live in New York? For apartment owners, that answer contains two elements: what you pay to buy the place and what you pay each month to carry it. These two factors, in theory, exist on a sliding scale to one another relative to other comparable properties. In other words, if your maintenance is higher than that of everyone else who lives in a property the same size, then your price should be lower. And vice versa. Of course, the advent of the ultra-luxury condo, with high monthly costs but extraordinary amenities, has thrown an additional data point into the equation. What is the monthly value of access to an in-house dining room, or maid service, or a screening room, or a pool? It varies of course from buyer to buyer, with some for whom it adds nothing and others for whom these amenities are critical to

their well-being and happiness in the property they buy. At the most basic level, the trade off between price and maintenance is easy to figure. These days we calculate the average maintenance on an upper end co-op to be between $2.00 and and $2.50 per square foot. On a higher floor, you may be looking at a bit more, on a lower floor, a bit less (maintenance always goes up by floor, although the percentage of increase varies from building to building.) Another issue: the bigger the apartments in the building, the higher the maintenance on a per square foot basis. Why? Simply because certain fixed costs, like labor, are divided between fewer units in the building. A 12 unit building of full-floor apartments still needs three shifts of doormen, just as a 25 unit building does. But there are a lot fewer people between whom to divide that cost. Here’s an example: let’s look at a big (5500) square foot, high floor apartment. I am thinking of Warburg’s listing at 4 Sutton Place; it’s one of the most beautiful river view duplex apartments, designed by Rosario Candela, that I have ever seen. Since the apartment occupies two full floors in

the building, the maintenance seems high at $20,000 per month, or $3.65 per month per foot. At $2.50 per foot, the maintenance would be $13,750 per month or $6,250 less. That $6,250, annualized, equals $75,000. How much would a buyer need to invest at 4 percent (liberal in today’s environment) to earn that $75,000? Answer: $1,875,000. So buying this exquisitely renovated 5 bedroom unit in the mid-$9 million range (it is priced at $9,995,000) has an equivalent value to buying a similarly sized apartment, with the more typical $13,750 monthly cost, for a little over $11 million. Just try finding that anywhere else! Here’s the interesting point — buyers fear high maintenance costs. They rarely stop to make the calculation which enables them understand that sometimes these maintenances can lead to a better deal, in terms of the overall cost of money, than paying a lot more up front for an apartment with a lower maintenance. We all just have to remember to do the math. Frederick W. Peters is Chief Executive Officer of Warburg Realty Partnership.

LANDMARK ON THE MARKET SKYLINE Abu Dhabi fund, developer seek to sell Chrysler Building

The owners of New York City’s Chrysler Building are putting the landmark Art Deco skyscraper on the market. The building’s owners, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and New York developer Tishman Speyer, have hired commercial real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. to market the office tower, CBRE spokesman Aaron Richardson confirmed Wednesday. The 77-story skyscraper was built between 1928 and 1930 and was the world’s tallest building until the Empire State Building claimed the title in 1931. Originally the headquarters of

the Chrysler Corp., the midtown Manhattan tower with its distinctive tiered crown has long been a favorite with architecture critics and the public. It is familiar to viewers of many films including “Independence Day” and “SpiderMan.” But the nearly 90-year-old Chrysler Building is competing for tenants with new skyscrapers that boast large floor plates and modern amenities like sweeping outdoor terraces. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council paid $800 million for a 90 percent stake in the Chrysler Building in 2008, shortly before the financial crisis sent real estate prices plunging. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the planned sale of the building, said estimates of the property’s current value vary widely. —The Associated Press


• 2019 SPECIAL REPORT •

Healthy Manhattan westsidespirit.com BY DAVID NOONAN

It’s January, a time for reflection and resolution, with 12 unsullied months ahead of us to work on improving our lives and outlooks. Naturally, health is a hot topic at this time of year. People are thinking about it, talking about it, and some are even doing something about it. At the government level, city elected officials recently announced a trio of initiatives that could have a significant impact on the health of New Yorkers. The de Blasio administration released plans to guarantee health care for every New Yorker, including the undocumented among us. One of the goals of the $100 million proposal, which targets the 600,00 New Yorkers who lack health insurance, is to take the pressure off city ERs by encouraging preventive care. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Mark Treyger, chairman of the council education committee, are pushing new legislation to improve nutritional edu-

cation in the city’s public schools. The idea is that the more our 1.1 million students learn about healthy eating, the better off they will be for the rest of their lives. And some of the city’s kindergartners and first graders will be seeing more clearly thanks to a joint project from the Education department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Warby Parker, the eyeglass company. The effort, an expansion of an existing program, is expected to involve over new 140,000 eye exams and new glasses for 33,000 young students. At the local level, the graphics in this section, based on 2018 data from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, offer a snapshot of the city’s health on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. At the personal level, there’s something for everyone in this year’s Healthy Manhattan, including the 10 best foods to eat in 2019. Enjoy.


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PERCENTAGE OF ADULTS WHO... ENGAGED IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN LAST 30 DAYS UES

SELF-REPORTED THEIR OWN HEALTH AS EXCELLENT, VERY GOOD OR GOOD

UWS CHELSEA & CLINTON VILLAGE & SOHO ALL OF NYC UES UES

HAVE HYPERTENSION

11 UWS CHELSEA & CLINTON

ARE OBESE

UWS

10

UES

CHELSEA & CLINTON

UWS

CHELSEA & CLINTON

10 VILLAGE & SOHO

4

VILLAGE & SOHO

VILLAGE & SOHO

ALL OF NYC

ALL OF NYC

24 ALL OF NYC

AND THE AIR THEY BREATHE AIR POLLUTION MICROGRAMS OF FINE PARTICULATE MATTER PER CUBIC METER

UES

UWS

CHELSEA & CLINTON

VILLAGE & SOHO

SOURCE: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 2018 Data, organized by the 59 NYC Community Districts â&#x20AC;¢ INFOGRAPHICS: Caitlin Ryther

ALL OF NYC


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THE REAL COST OF SMOKING IN NEW YORK STATE The health costs of smoking are well known, the links to disease and death have been established beyond all doubt by decades of scientiďŹ c research and epidemiological data. Now, the personal ďŹ nance website WalletHub.com has done a thorough analysis of the potential financial impact of smoking on individual, pack-a-day smokers in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bad news is, New York state smokers have the second highest total annual and lifetime costs in the United States. Only Connecticut smokers have higher total costs. So, the next time you see someone puffing away outside of a Manhattan restaurant or office buildings, picture them burning cash instead of tobacco. Complete report at WalletHub .com

PER YEAR $55,911 TOTAL COST PER SMOKER $42,056 FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY COST $5,021 INCOME LOSS PER SMOKER $4,725 HEALTH CARE COST PER SMOKER $3,822 OUT OF POCKET COST $287

OTHER COSTS PER SMOKER

LIFETIME* $2,851,475 TOTAL COST PER SMOKER $2,144,875 FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY COST $256,081 INCOME LOSS PER SMOKER $240,981 HEALTH CARE COST PER SMOKER $194,899 OUT OF POCKET COST $14,638 OTHER COSTS PER SMOKER *Age 18 to age 69, the average age at which a smoker dies SOURCE: Personal finance website WalletHub.com â&#x20AC;˘ INFOGRAPHIC: Caitlin Ryther

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10 FOODS TO EAT IN 2019 NUTRITION This year’s magical, medical, very good foods BY CAROL ANN RINZLER

Once upon a time, Hippocrates (430–427 B.C.E.) urged the people of Athens to “Let food be thy medicine ...” and each year since then sees a new and improved list of magical medical dishes. Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” a guide to food labels, says “plant-based eating” is a really hot trend right now, so it’s no surprise that most very good foods for 2019 are fruits and veggies. But look closely: One fish has made the grade. Carol Ann Rinzler is the author of “Nutrition for Dummies (6th edition).”

AVOCADO. This crea my si n g leseeded berry, aka the alligator pear, is practically an entire alphabet of good nutrition from the B vi-tamins (B6, folate, niacin, panan tothenic acid, riboflavin), through C, E, and K, plus minerals (magnesium and potassium), lutein (a pigment that protections your vision), 6 to 7 grams of dietary fiber per fruit and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado toast, anyone?

CELERY. Hate kale? Loathe lettuce? Try celery. Like other leafy greens, it has naturally occurring inorganic nitrate, a substance that scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden say reduces the th buildup of fat in the livers of lab mice — thus preventing nonalcoholic liver disease, a condition that in humans is a major cause of chronic liver disease with no approved treatments. Crunch. CHEESE. Bring on the Brie: New data from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston finds zero “signifi ficant evidence” evidence that dairy fats are linked to heart disease and nd stroke. In fact, says ys the study’s correesponding author M a rc i a O t to, heptadecanoic fatty acid, one off several found in dairy foods including uding full-fat cheeses, “may lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke.”

DITCH THE STEAK KNIVES: RED MEAT STILL CAN’T CUT IT At the very end of 2018, the Cleveland Clinic released data showing that bodies belonging to people who eat a diet rich in red meat have three times more trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical linked to heart disease, than is found in bodies of those who eat only white meat (think chicken or turkey breast and fish) or mostly plant-based proteins.

ORANGE JUICE. In November, scienBANANAS. Melatonin is a natural hormone that promotes healthy sleep. A 2017 report in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” showed a 180 percent jump in body melatonin levels among volunteers eating one banana at bedtime. That’s a sweet dream for the one-inthree Americans who suffer from insomnia at some point.

BUTTER. It’s baaaaaack. Butter boasts fat soluble vitamins including the little known K2 which is intimately involved in calcium metabolism. It’s also got butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid produced when good gut bacteria digest dietary fiber. Those may be two reasons r Clinic’s Carwhy the Cleveland Clinic diovascular Medicine chair Steven Nissen ssays it’s “not a sin to use a bit of butter to flavo flavor your foods.”

COFFEE. Everyone knows that caffeine fires up neurotransmitters that help you think faster. Now, some studies suggest that coffee might also protect against Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine alone doesn’t do the trick, but when researchers at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics fed lab mice caffeine and eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT), a fatty acid found in the waxy coating of coffee beans, the combination seemed to reduce the buildup of proteins in the brain linked to Parkinson’s. Will this good news prove rove to be good? Right now, your guess is as good as any nutrition expert’s, s, but for the moment, java’s ’s jake.

tists at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported that men who drank orange juice every day were 47 percent less likely to develop poor thinking skills than the men who drank less than one serving per month. The research says this shows a relationship but not definite proof of a link. Good enough.

PEARS. Apples are more popular, but pears are more nutritious. True, one average 5-ounce fresh pear has 9 more calories than an average 5-ounce apple, but the pear has 25 percent more protein, 40 percent more iron, and 30 percent more dietary fiber including those tiny gritty particles that crunch unch when you chew the pear. ear. Time to say, “As American rican as Mom and perfect erfect pear pie.”

SARDINES. A 3.5 oz/100 g serving of canned tuna in water has a few less calories than sardines and a bit more protein. The heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid content is pretty much equal, but sardines eaten with skin and bones shine with 240 mg bone-protective calcium vs. a measly 34 for the tuna. And for the enviro record, dolphins swimming alongside tuna are sometimes “accidentally” netted and killed, but not a single one ever went to his reward to make a sardine sandwich.

SWEET POTATOES. The folks at the Harvard School of Public Health want you to know that sweet potatoes, rich in potassium and vitamins A, B6 and C, can be baked or boiled, refrigerated, and, like pumpkin (also rich in A and C), added to everything from waffles to soup even when it’s not Thanksgiving.


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YOU AND YOUR THYROID: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW HORMONES A small organ in the neck plays a big role in health BY STEPHANIE BEHRINGER-MASSERA, MD

We all know the holidays can be exhausting. Between stressful office parties, hosting in-laws, and keeping the kids entertained, this time of year can be particularly tiring. But if you are still dragging after the New Year revelry has ended, it may be time to check your thyroid. The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ found in the front of your neck, below the Adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormone, which is vital for the regulation of your metabolism. It is important that your thyroid hormone level is neither too high nor too low. That level is controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in your brain, which monitor the thyroid hormone n your blood and can tell your thyroid gland to make more or less, as necessary. When your thyroid gland is underactive and unable to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone, the condition is called hypothyroidism. Although hypothyroidism may be congenital, it is usually acquired in life. The most common cause in adults is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. Women be-

gain tween the ages 30-50 are most common• Weight g Problems with memory and mental ly affected. An estimated 14 million • Proble people in the U.S. have the disease, sease, health making it one of the most common mmon • Dry sskin Heart disease thyroid disorders. • Hea Other common causes of hypoypo• Infertility Infe • Com Complications of pregnancy thyroidism are radiation therapy rapy to the head and neck, thyroid surFortunately, hypothyroidism gery with removal of a large porFor tions of the thyroid gland, certain ain can be easily detected with blood tests. Always let you doctor medications and treatment know if you are taking any with radioactive iodine. supplements and what ingreLess common causes of hydients they contain, as they pothyroidism are recent can skew the results of your child birth (postpartum Stephanie Behringer-Massera, MD blood work. thyroiditis), pituitary gland Photo: Courtesy of Mt. Sinai When diagnosed, hypodisorders and iodine defithyroidism is treated with ciency. People over the age tablets of synthetic thyroid of 60, tend to develop mild hormone (levothyroxine) forms of hypothyroidism as which is identical to the horwell, without those causes. You should have your thyroid mone made by your thyroid Initial symptoms of hypohormone levels checked at gland. Treatment starts thyroidism, such as a lack of with a low dose, which is energy, are often subtle and least once a year.” gradually increased as needcan be mistaken for the efStephanie Behringer-Massera, MD ed. Most people require lifefects of aging or a sedentary long replacement of thyroid lifestyle. However, because your thyroid function affects almost every organ hormone, with occasional dose adjustments. The in the body, a lack of thyroid hormone may pro- medication should always be taken in the mornduce a variety of health problems. These include: ing on an empty stomach with some water, a halfhour before breakfast and other medications. • Fatigue

Age, weight, pregnancy, breastfeeding and other health conditions influence the amount of thyroid hormone needed. But the good news is that your overall well-being should improve within just a few days of starting the medication. When they receive proper treatment, people with hypothyroidism can lead completely normal, healthy lives. If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, there is a slightly increased risk of developing a rare form of thyroid cancer known as primary thyroid lymphoma. Other, more common forms of thyroid cancer are not associated with hypothyroidism. Patients may note an enlarging mass in their neck or a nodule may incidentally be detected on CT scan or ultrasound. A biopsy will usually confirm this diagnosis. You should have your endocrinologist or primary care physician check your thyroid hormone levels at least once a year, especially if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, if your thyroid hormone levels have been close to abnormal before, or if you’re feeling particularly fatigued and cannot seem to recover from things like holiday celebrations. Dr. Stephanie Behringer-Massera is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, The Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. She is accepting new patients at the Thyroid Center in Union Square.

NEW YORK! SAVE YOUR WALLET FROM THE HEALTHCARE MOB! As I was rushed to NYU Medical Center on May 13th 2014, the worst news was not that I had an incurable grapefruitsized cancer in my head, but that Oxford had canceled my insurance. That happened again in 2016. And with that, I was labeled not only “high-risk” but a “pre-existing condition” twice-over. I had to laugh, twice. Here’s the problem: Being human is a pre-existing condition. We will ALL get sick, many of us, VERY sick. And who banks on that? Health insurers. Much like the mob, their monthly “protection” is limited and expensive and doublesdown the sicker we get, (read: the more we need it, the less we have it). We pay the premiums, but in our darkest hour, are punished for terminal illness. Insurers are truly sick. Conservatives refer to Medicare and Medicaid as “ entitlements”, as if healthcare were a charitable gift. But Congress declared healthcare a right in 1986 when it passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), an unfunded mandate signed by Reagan ensuring EVERYONE, regardless of income, status or citizenship, received care at federally funded hospitals (nearly all of them). See? We already pay the bill. So why not pay a smarter, more fiscally

sound bill that actually covers our pre-existing human condition, and that of our aging loved-ones? In fact, single-payer is the most fiscally conservative healthcare plan. We already pay more than any other country, and experts warn it could become a 5th of our economy. So trust me, we pay for universal healthcare; we just don’t get it. So, when Bernie championed “Medicare For All” and skeptics yelled: Too expensive! Fiscally irresponsible! Hospitals and business will suffer! Care will decline! I was intrigued. The New York Health Act, a single-payer plan to be introduced in the next State legislative session, promises even more comprehensive coverage than Medicare for all New Yorkers by including mental and long-term care. Most importantly, it takes insurers out of the transaction – a profound savings for individuals, business and the state. A recent study by the Rand Corporation declared it would provide universal coverage, billions in net healthcare savings and around 200,000 new jobs. “The RAND study makes it clear that the New York Health Act is not only feasible, but the most fiscally responsible

option for our State,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Ranking Member of the State Senate Health Committee and bill co-sponsor. “This is an important validation of the New York Health Act by one of the most prestigious analytical firms in the country,”  said Assemblyman and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, another legislative sponsor.  “RAND shows we can make sure every New Yorker gets the care they need…save billions every year by cutting administrative costs, insurance company profit, and outrageous drug prices; and pay for it all more fairly.” So, what should YOU do? Tell your state representatives you want healthcare for all New Yorkers! Get the facts at the Campaign for New York Health https://www.nyhcampaign.org.


JANUARY 17-23,2019

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Research assistant professor Erin Norris (left) and graduate student Anna Amelianchik at work in Sidney Strickland’s lab. Photo: Mario Morgado

AGAINST THE GRAIN of New York at Stony Brook. It was a new idea, a question that had not been asked before. But over the past two decades, How a determined scientist opened up a new Strickland’s ongoing efforts to answer it have front in the war on Alzheimer’s disease opened up whole new avenues of research into the nature and causes of Alzheimer’s, which curBY DAVID NOONAN rently affects 5.7 million Americans, and is expected to reach nearly 14 million by 2050. Unlike most people in the field, Strickland has Good news is rare in the field of Alzheimer’s. Sidney Strickland knew what he was up against no formal training in brain disease or neurosciwhen he began working on the disease more ence. He is a developmental biologist who has than two decades ago, and little has changed: climbed a steep learning curve, motivated in Alzheimer’s remains a deadly health threat part by his concern that a single disease pathway and among the most feared diseases on the had come to dominate an entire field. “I think Alzheimer’s has sufplanet, unchecked in its power fered from oversimplification,” to destroy brain cells and erase he says. minds. To this day, most Alzheimer’s In the last 15 years, more than research focuses on a sticky pro400 new Alzheimer’s drugs tein called amyloid-beta, the achave failed clinical testing in I think Alzheimer’s cumulation of which leads to the humans. That’s 400 times that has suffered from formation of gummy plaques in the hopes of scientists and docthe brain. To be sure, amyloidtors, along with those of paoversimplification. beta deserves the attention: tients and their families, have Sidney Strickland, It has been shown to drive the been squashed. Rockefeller University development and progression But if the harsh reality of scientist of Alzheimer’s and scientists Alzheimer’s hasn’t changed, have found that the plaques can something else has. Scientists interfere with neurons’ abilare finding new ways of thinking about the disease and studying its biology, ity to send signals, as well as sentence them to thanks in part to a question that Strickland be- an early death. The question is whether other types of brain changes help fuel the disease as gan asking in the 1990s. What role, Strickland wanted to know, do im- well, and Strickland thinks there is much to be pairments in the brain’s blood supply play in Al- gained from thinking more broadly. Like cancer, zheimer’s? At the time, Strickland, now a Rocke- he says, Alzheimer’s is fundamentally complex feller University scientist and head of the Patricia and may arise from multiple pathogenic pathand John Rosenwald Laboratory of Neurobiology ways. And one mechanism that has been largely and Genetics, was working on problems related overlooked involves irregularities in the brain’s to the circulatory system at the State University vascular system.

RESEARCH

In particular, Strickland has zeroed in on the brain-damaging effects of fibrinogen, a protein that gives rise to blood clots. Under normal circumstances, fibrinogen, which circulates in the bloodstream at high concentrations, is beneficial: Whenever a blood vessel gets damaged, a cascade of molecular events is triggered to convert it into fibrin, a mesh-like substance that stops bleeding and initiates repair of the vessel wall. However, as Strickland has discovered, fibrinogen can sometimes leak into the brain, where it does not belong, and cause fibrin to accumulate. In an analysis of postmortem brain tissue, Strickland found fibrin buildups in multiple areas of the brains of people with Alzheimer’s— much more fibrin than would be expected in healthy brains. In the hippocampus, a part of the brain essential for memory, Strickland and his colleagues discovered more than 20 times as much fibrin, and in the superior frontal cortex, which is involved in many higher cortical functions, 100 times as much. Exactly how fibrinogen seeps into the brain is something of a mystery. To get there, the protein needs to cross the blood-brain barrier, the brain’s primary defense system. It’s also unclear at this point exactly when in the course of Alzheimer’s fibrin deposits become a factor and whether they are a primary cause of the disease or a consequence of other, earlier disease mechanisms. What they are not, says Strickland, is a separate condition that happens to accompany aging. Leaking fibrinogen and fibrin clot formation contribute to Alzheimer’s, he says, by increasing neurovascular damage, neuroinflammation, and neuronal degeneration, as well as contributing to the deposit of amyloidbeta in and around blood vessels. That assertion is supported by a set of observations his lab made in mouse models of the disease—mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s. In those experiments, they found that fibrin deposits in the brain increased over time and correlated with the level of amyloid-beta plaques. Conversely, decreasing fibrinogen levels in the Alzheimer’s mice reduced neuronal death in the hippocampus. Though it left him well outside the mainstream of Alzheimer’s research, Strickland’s decision in the 1990s to investigate the role of cerebrovascular dysfunction in the disease was based on more than mere intuition. As he points out, other types of dementia have long been associated with abnormal blood flow in the brain, often caused by stroke, that deprives neurons of oxygen and nu-

JANUARY 17-23,2019 trients. In addition, half of all Alzheimer’s patients were known to have some kind of impaired cerebral circulation. And multiple studies have shown that physical exercise, which improves cerebrovascular health, can decrease the risk of developing dementia and delay the progression of age-related cognitive decline. Nevertheless, it took many years for Strickland’s lab to be recognized as an important front in the war on Alzheimer’s. Howard Fillit, a neuroscientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and executive director of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, has tracked developments in Alzheimer’s for decades. “When research started back in the eighties,” he says, “it was totally focused on amyloid and similar proteins because those were the only clues we had.” So today, the majority of drugs being developed are focused on those proteins. “There was no research on vascular pathology. But Sid was persistent and he did really good work.” So it’s something of a new era for Strickland. “I think the pendulum is swinging,” he says. “About 10 years ago I was describing our ideas to the head of an Alzheimer’s foundation. He said I was barking up the wrong tree. Now he supports our work.” In Fillit’s view, one of the most important aspects of Strickland’s research is the way it establishes cerebrovascular abnormalities— including common aging disorders such as hypertension and atherosclerosis—as part of the pathology of Alzheimer’s. This way of understanding the disease expands the number of possible therapeutic targets and invigorates the search for new drugs. “Just as treating multiple disease mechanisms in cancer has improved outcomes, a similar evolution of therapy can be envisaged for Alzheimer’s,” Strickland says. Strickland’s research could also contribute to new methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s sooner—such as testing patients experiencing cognitive impairment for vascular abnormalities and inflammation—and new ways to track its progression. The disease has so far managed to resist all efforts to disrupt its lethal course, and Strickland may or may not find success where so many others have failed. Whatever happens, he has already succeeded at broadening the scope of Alzheimer’s research and changing the way we think about this maddeningly complex disease. That’s a breakthrough by any measure. Reprinted with permission from The Rockefeller University/Seek magazine.

Research professor Sidney Strickland is head of the Patricia and John Rosenwald Laboratory of Neurobiology and Genetics at The Rockefeller University. Photo: Courtesy of The Rockefeller University


JANUARY 17-23,2019

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YOUR 15 MINUTES

To read about other people who have had their “15 Minutes” go to westsidespirit.com/15 minutes

THE UNSUNG ART OF BEING READY Behind every great Broadway star there is another type of actor — the understudy BY MARK NIMAR

New York actor Brian Miskell is currently understudying two actors, Michael Cera and Lucas Hedges, in Kenneth Lonergan’s play “The Waverly Gallery,” on Broadway at the Golden Theatre. He has to know all of the stars’ cues and lines, and be ready to go onstage for one or the other at any time, with little or no advance notice. He talked to Our Town about what understudies do, his unforgettable chat with co-star Elaine May, and what it was like to finally go onstage for a live performance.

How did you get involved with this production? I’ve worked with Lila [director Lila Neugebauer] a number of times over the years. And when I saw this was coming up ... I thought it’d be a good fit for me ... so I asked her if she might keep me in mind. We were all hired in August, and our first day of rehearsal

was in September. So we all went into the theater at the same time, the principal actors and the understudies as well. I met Lucas as we were walking in and we were like, “Oh, It’s your Broadway debut? It’s my Broadway debut!” We were running into the theater with that giddy first day of school energy. Getting to share that at the same time was really fun. And there was this excitement of being in a Broadway theater for the first time ... in this old historic building where “Waiting for Godot” premiered on Broadway, and where Mike Nichols and Elaine May did their Broadway show 50 years ago.

at with the process. It was up to us to make sure we were prepared. The week before they opened, as soon as daytime rehearsals stopped for the principals, once a week as a group of understudies we’d meet onstage, and work with the stage manager to rehearse different parts of the play. There’s a lot of time for us to try to prepare ourselves, and be as prepared as possible. It bears mentioning that the understudies in this play are all pros. They have created roles in Tom Stoppard plays, Edward Albee plays on Broadway, and all of them are virtuosic Shakespearean actors.

What does an understudy do exactly? What are your day-to-day duties?

You recently went onstage for a performance, stepping in for Lucas Hedges. What was that experience like?

We were all asked to arrive off book [know all lines and cues]. Or to at least be close enough that by the first preview, we’d be off book. So while we were in rehearsals, the responsibility fell on us to be on top of that for ourselves. We’d meet as a group of understudies and run lines together, talk through scenes together, and occasionally we’d work with our assistant director, who’d see where we were

Because Lucas is an incredibly thoughtful and generous person, in addition to being an incredibly talented actor, he gave me some notice. When he knew he was going to be going to The Golden Globes, he pulled me into his dressing room [and told me] “you’re getting to do a show” ... which was so lovely of him. It was nice to have some warning, and that my fam-

Brian Miskell made his Broadway debut as an understudy for Lucas Hedges in Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery.” Photo: J. Demetrie Photography

Brian Miskell shares the stage with Elaine May and Joan Allen. Photo: Claire Yenson

ily and friends were able to be there for the show. I had a little bit of time ... and I got to [rehearse] with the principals, David Cromer, Joan Allen, and Michael Cera, so we could feel out what the scenes would be like as a company. Elaine May, interestingly enough, she thought it’d be really exciting if we didn’t practice and went for it on the day. So instead, we sat down and talked for 20 minutes, which I will never forget for the rest of my life. She comes from this world of improv. She’s this comic genius from the past 50 years, and she had the instinct that wouldn’t it be really exciting to try it for the first time with the audience. I had felt nervous about it, and then when I sat down and started talking with her, I got kind of excited about the idea. I was like “I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” but I feel like she trusted me. On the day ... They pull up the curtain and the audience applauds her, and I could feel that energy, that they’re all rooting for her. And from that point forward, as nervous as I had been to do this, never having acted on a Broadway stage before for an audience ... I could feel where the audience was, I could feel they were on our side. I

could have a laugh line and feel them respond, I could feel them listening. I remembered, “Oh I know how to do this, it’s just a bigger theater than I’ve worked with before. But I know how to do this. I’ve been doing this a while. And it’s a play. And I know how to do plays.”

What’s the best thing about being on Broadway? What has made this experience outstanding? Every time I go to the theater, and I see how many people are lined up outside just waiting to pick up their tickets and go in, I’m reminded of the fact that people come all over the world to be here right now ... And the streets are packed, and you can barely make it down the block. I just am so aware of the fact that I am standing in the middle of the place that like everybody in the world wants to be right now ... I feel incredibly lucky.

Know somebody who deserves their 15 Minutes of fame? Go to westsidespirit.com and click on submit a press release or announcement.


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JANUARY 17-23,2019

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