Page 1

The local paper for the Upper per West Side p Sid THE WOMAN WHO PIONEERED ABSTRACT PAINTING ◄ P.12

WEEK OF FEBRUARY

7-13 2019

WE’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BALLOT ELECTIONS They’re not exactly the magnificent 17. But the overcrowded public advocate’s race features plenty of liberal activists, some with rap sheets — and an upstart Republican who just might eke out a win BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

They have street cred and progressive bona fides. Several boast of encounters with the NYPD. Some have even been ar-

rested — repeatedly — during protests, sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience. Their outrage is directed at all things Trump. And they have something else in common: Each ranks among the leading candidates vying in the Feb. 26 special election for the post of public advocate. The cast is dizzying. The field is almost surreally oversized. There are 17 contenders on the ballot, including 15 Democrats, winnowed down from the 23 who originally submitted nominating petitions. No frontrunner has yet surfaced. Po-

I haven’t been arrested — I’m the guy they call to get out of jail when other people get arrested.” West Side Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell

litical clubhouses haven’t coalesced around anyone. So liberal are the hopefuls, so fractured their support, that if no Democrats break out, an underdog Republican could squeak in. At stake is a citywide office that is supposed to serve as a watchdog and ombudsman for New Yorkers — but that has traditionally functioned as a training ground and launching pad for ambitious pols on the make. While the position has few official responsibilities, its occupants have proved adept at holding press conferences, issuing reports, hiring staff and

A GOP CLUB DIVIDED POLITICS Ian Walsh Reilly is the new Metropolitan Republican Club president, emerging as victor in contested election in the aftermath of Proud Boys violence BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

The Metropolitan Republican Club was vandalized prior to an October 2018 event featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. Photo: Michael Garofalo

A hotly contested Jan. 30 election to determine the next president of the Metropolitan Republican Club highlighted tensions among members, returning the historic political organization to the public eye four months after chaotic street violence erupted on the Upper East Side following a club event featuring the founder of a far-right group. The bitterly fought campaign, which pitted two supporters of President Donald Trump against one another, divided the club’s membership and raised questions about the Republican Party’s future in Manhattan —

mirroring currents that have roiled the GOP nationally. Metropolitan Club members elected Ian Walsh Reilly, 38, to serve as president at the club’s annual meeting. Reilly defeated his opponent, Robert Morgan, 66, by a margin of 324 to 270. Some members cast the contest as a generational struggle between Morgan, a past club president who was supported by a number of notable figures within the Republican Party establishment, and Reilly, who is seen by some as representative of a more strident brand of far-right politics. Contested elections have been unheard of in recent decades at the storied Metropolitan Club, historically a bastion of establishment Republicanism stretching back to the days when it counted President Theodore Roosevelt as a member. Reilly, in a message to supporters on his campaign Facebook page, which features a sketch of President Donald Trump in profile and the slogan “Keeping the Met Club Great,”

generating press releases, often selfaggrandizing in nature. Expect abysmally low turnout. Voters aren’t accustomed to dead-of-winter balloting in arctic conditions. “You might see 12 to 15 percent,” said Democratic political strategist George Arzt, who served as Mayor Ed Koch’s press secretary in the late 1980s. Winning is not the sine qua non. Selfpromotion plays a key role. “A lot of people are in this campaign to raise their profiles for future races,” Arzt said.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

I don’t think that you can blame the victim.” Metropolitan Republican Club President Ian Walsh Reilly on the club’s role in the street violence that followed an Oct. 2018 event featuring Gavin McInnes warned of “anti-Trump forces of the Republican Establishment [...] reasserting themselves and plotting a takeover of the Metropolitan Republican Club.” Reilly’s campaign won public support from the right-wing agitator Milo Yiannopoulos, who denounced Morgan’s campaign against Reilly as an “anti-MAGA coup d’état” in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post to his 2.4 million followers. In a telephone interview with Our Town, Reilly said he does not consider his political views far-right. “I don’t think supporting the president is a far-right position, so I don’t characterize myself in that way,” he said.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

Westsider WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW

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Crime Watch Voices NYC Now City Arts

3 8 10 12

Restaurant Ratings 14 Business 16 Real Estate 17 15 Minutes 20

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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

29

WestSideSpirit

WESTSIDE SPIRIT COM

NEWS

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

Newscheck Crime Watch Voices Out & About

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

2 City Arts 3 Top 5 8 Real Estate 10 15 Minutes

12 13 14 18

variances

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR HOSPITALS AND CONSTRUCTION COSTS “The Metamorphosis of a Hospital” (January 17-23) is alarming from a medical viewpoint. The article fails to specify what medical facilities will be built, how they will be financed or whether or not they are needed. Construction of new health care facilities requires a certificate of need (CON) from the New York State Health Department. The rationale for this requirement is: excess and thus underutilized facilities give rise to increases in the cost of medical care. These increases are needed to cover maintenance costs for underutilized facilities. Initial construction costs may also be problematic. It appears that in this case Lenox Hill’s construction costs will be covered by the proceeds the from the sale of real estate already in its portfolio and/or profits from non medical commercial investments envisioned for the project. Given that institutions often satisfy construction-related debt by increasing the cost of medical care to its patients, it is important that the funding sources be made public. The requirement that no monies derived from patient-care delivery can

The local paper for the Upper West Side

be used for capital improvement projects is a staple in all robust progressive health care legislation. To this end, our state legislature is considering a single payer health care bill (New York Health) that — among other things — prohibits institutions from diverting income from health care delivery services to capital improvement projects. The notion that institutions devoted to health care delivery should function primarily as machines to generate profit is upsetting. Marc H Lavietes MD Soho

BACK AND FORTH ON THE L TRAIN The devil is in the details concerning Governor Cuomo’s proposed new design for the Canarsie L Line Subway Tunnel project. (“Averting the L-pocalypse,” January 10-16). Several hundred million dollars in funding was provided under a Federal Transit Administration Super Storm Sandy Recovery and Resiliency grant in 2016. What is the new design impact on budget, engineering, milestones, scope of work changes, useful life of the invest-

ment, overnight and weekend track outages along with more NYC Transit Force Account (employees) to protect private contractor workers, which nobody has seen? When will the MTA HQ, board members, NYC Transit, NYCDOT managers and engineers along with the Federal Transit Administration formally review and comment on this new design and budget impacts? Ditto for both the MTA & FTA independent oversight engineering consulting firms. The winning contractors’ Judlau and TC Electric $477 million bid was based on the original scope of work and design proposed by the MTA. This included included 24/7 site access to both tunnels with no active subway. This contract will now have to be renegotiated. They now have the basis to request additional reimbursement in the millions. These added costs will be far more than any credits given the contractor for deletion of work as a result of the new design. Contractors’ claims for additional financial reimbursement can be based upon delay claims due to limited site access and change orders for significant design and work scope changes to the original contract. Who will cover costs for

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The Park Avenue side of Lenox Hill Hospital on 77th Street in a recent photo. A portion of the super-expensive parcel is being eyed for possible sale and redevelopment. Photo: Douglas Feiden materials previously ordered by the contractor in preparation for initiation of work in April that may now not be needed? How will the MTA find additional funding to supplement previously approved federal Super Storm Sandy Relief and Resiliency grant dollars? How many more months

and even years will it take beyond 15 months to now complete all work? Don’t be surprised if it takes between two to three years. Larry Penner Great Neck, NY


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

3

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG WEST SIDE THUGGERY It was quite a week for late-night muggings on the UWS. At 3:20 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, a 55-year-old man was walking past 215 West 95th St. when two unknown men grabbed him from behind. One of the pair knocked him to his knees while the other searched his pockets and asked, “Where’s the phone?” They took a phone from his right front jacket pocket but apparently missed a second phone in the same pocket. Then the men fled westbound toward Broadway. The victim had minor injuries to both knees but refused medical attention at the scene. The items stolen included a phone valued at $1,099 and a pair of Beats headphones worth $300, for a total of $1,399. Two days later, a different man was mugged by three men in front of 196 West 108th St.. Around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, a 19-yearold man was confronted by three individuals who pushed him into an alley. One of the men discharged a yellow, handheld taser but missed the victim. Another man grabbed his satchel. The three men then fled north on Amsterdam Ave. and eventually split up. The victim refused medical attention. The stolen satchel was a Louis Vuitton, valued at $750.

with closed fists while yelling at him. Police arrived and arrested Adrian Gonzalez on charges of robbery. The cabbie said he had a pain in his chest but refused medical attention.

MOTHERS VS DAUGHTERS Mother and daughter relationships can be difficult, but these two turned violent. In the first incident, which took place on Monday, Dec. 10, police said Allison Fields, 50, went to her 82-yearold mother’s apartment at 345 West 88th St. to get some belongings. When the mother refused to let Fields take the property, the younger woman punched her mother, beaking her arm. Fields was arrested on Wednesday,

Jan. 23. The charges included assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. In the second incident, which took place on Friday afternoon, Jan. 25, a 25-year-old woman was walking up the steps at the West 103rd St. and Broadway subway station as her mother was walking down the same steps. According to police, the mother took her keys and scratched her daughter’s face with them before hitting her in the head with a beer bottle. Finally, police said, the mother jumped on top of her daughter, causing both women to fall down the stairs. The daughter refused medical attention at the scene.

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 24th precinct for the week endingJan 27 Week to Date

Year to Date

2019 2018

% Change

2019

2018

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

1

1

0.0

Robbery

4

2

100.0

8

10

-20.0

Felony Assault

2

6

-66.7

12

14

-14.3

Burglary

1

4

-75.0

8

9

-11.1

Grand Larceny

13

9

44.4

31

39

-20.5

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

0

1

-100.0

FARE-BEATER BUST Police said a man was arrested after refusing to pay a taxi fare and then assaulting the driver he tried to stiff. At 3:20 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, a 52-year-old male cabbie picked up a 49-year-old male passenger at Ninth Ave. and West 51st St.. When they arrived at the passenger’s destination, Columbus Ave. and West 90th St., the passenger refused to pay the $11 fare and walked away. When the cabbie called the police, the passenger returned and struck him on his chest

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TELL US ABOUT SOMEONE Making A Difference in the Neighborhood Once again this year The West Side Spirit will recognize West Siders making a difference in the neighborhood with a WESTY (West Side Spirit Thanks You) Award.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR SUGGESTIONS: who should we highlight and interview about their work in the neighborhood? Who’s making a difference? Please send your nominations to comm.engage@strausnews.com or call 212-868-0190 and ask for Aija


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TO SUBSCRIBE: The West Side Spirit is available for free on the west side in select buildings, retail locations and news boxes. To get a copy of west side neighborhood news mailed to you weekly, you may subscribe to The Westsider for just $49 per year. Call 212-868-0190 or go online to StrausNews.com and click on the photo of the paper or mail a check to Straus Media, 20 West Ave., Chester, NY 10918

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RALLY TO PROTECT ROOSEVELT PARK

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Billie Jean King was featured speaker at Saturday event on steps of the AMNH

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On Saturday, Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, which is contesting the planned expansion of the American Museum of Natural History into the park surrounding it, held a rally on the steps of the museum. At the event, supporters were updated on the status of the group’s challenge to the museum’s plans. Although AMNH received initial City approval to build its planned new science center out into a quarter acre of Theodore Roosevelt Park, cutting down seven large canopy trees in the process, Community United filed a lawsuit in the State’s Appellate Division, which then issued a temporary restraining order preventing the project from moving forward while arguments are prepared to litigate the appeal. Michael Hiller, Community United’s lawyer, said that if the City wants to give away public land it has to either go through the uniform land use review process (ULURP) or seek approval from the State Legislature, and it did neither. Hiller said that the City instead falsely maintained that an 1876 statute gave AMNH the rights to the entire park, when in fact it was for only one building, and that each time the Museum wanted to expand since then it went to the State for approval until now, when it claimed it didn’t have to do so. Hiller also said that an environmental review showed there were contaminants below the ground which would, if planned excavation took place, threaten the neighborhood. He said that the appeal papers are ready and he hoped the court will grant an expedited appeal process which will allow for arguments to be presented in May, unless the restraining order is vacated before then.

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Saving a Life EVERY 11 MINUTES Michael Hiller, attorney for Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, spoke at the protest on Saturday, Oct. 2. Photo: Richard Barr Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who joined Community United recently, was a featured speaker at the rally. She said that she has been living in the neighborhood of the Park since the mid-1970s. She first thought that there was no chance the Park would be impacted by Museum expansion, and that green space and public parks are critical for the

Upper West Side. She said she loves the museum but that this is about the park for her, and for conserving and saving our trees. “If the museum wants to build a science center for the education of young students,” King said, “why don’t they build it in a more underserved area, like the Bronx, for example?” Community United leader Bill

Raudenbush closed the rally, saying that it is improper to build in a public park when viable alternatives exist, and that the project was presented with no master plan. “Democracy dies in the shadows,” Raudenbush said. “We need transparency, not backroom deals.”

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‘IN A WORD, IT’S A HORROR.’ RELIGION Two elite Jesuit schools confront painful revelations about priests from their past BY EMILY HIGGINBOTHAM

Xavier High School reached out to students, parents and alumni in the wake of the release of the names of Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. Photo: Courtesy of Xavier High School

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The sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades has now reached two prominent Manhattan high schools. A list naming Jesuit priests, who were identified by the Society of Jesus as having credible allegations of sexual abuse, was published on January 15, revealing that Regis and Xavier high schools were among the institutions where some of these accused priests spent parts of their careers. The step toward transparency comes as the Catholic Church deals with new investigations by federal and state law enforcement. The release of the list has also forced local institutions to review how they communicate about the abuse crisis, especially when the accused were once a part of their community. Out of the 50 men on the list made public by the Northeastern Jesuit Province, four worked at Regis between the 1950s and 80s, and seven worked at Xavier between the 1940s and early 2000s. One priest spent time at both schools. The time the priests spent at either school varied, with some serving at the institutions for only a couple years and others for more than a decade. In some cases, priests had decades-long careers in which they spent time at several Jesuit schools in New York and the northeastern United States. Many of the priests are now deceased, while some have been defrocked, have left the ministry or have been restricted from service involving minors. Regis officials declined to be interviewed for this story, but provided Our Town with a statement. “There are four men on that list whose allegations pertain to incidents while at Regis. There is also one man who is on that list who worked at Regis at one time and has an allegation against him from some later time and place,” the statement said. “No abuse is acceptable, and we are horrified and distressed by each one of these al-

Xavier High School president Jack Raslowsky. Photo: Courtesy of Xavier High School legations. All victims of sexual abuse are in our prayers.” The accused abusers and their tenure at the Upper East Side school include: John Farrand, 1957-61; John Gallen, 1957-60; Edward Horgan, 1954-57, 6370; James Kuntz, 1983-84, 8994; and Robert Voelke 1969-80. All but Kuntz (who pleaded guilty to a child pornography offense after his time at Regis and Xavier) are dead. Officials at Regis have reviewed the school’s policies and continue to work to create a safe place for students, according to the statement. As for Xavier, none of the accusations of abuse against the priests stem from their time at the Chelsea prep school, according to its president, Jack Raslowsky. Raslowsky said the province gave him a week’s notice that Xavier would appear on the list, but he said he had been aware of some of the names on the list already. The priests include: Cornelius Carr, 198083; Thomas Denny, 1969-70; Raymond Fullam, 1946-48; John Garvey, 1989-2002; James Kuntz, 1971-74; Keith Picklers, 1984-87; William Scanlon, 197172; and Joseph Towle, 1960-63. Denny, Kuntz, Picklers and Scanlon are alive, according to the province’s list.

“In a word, it’s a horror,” Raslowsky told Our Town in a recent interview. He called the abuse crisis a failure in leadership, and a problem that encompasses the church at large. Since becoming the first lay president of Xavier in 2009, Raslowsky has sought to change the leadership culture by embracing transparency and establishing strict policies that aim to protect students from abuse. In anticipation of the province’s list, Raslowsky sent a letter to a network of 19,000 alumni, parents, past parents and other members of the Xavier community addressing what was to become public the following day. “No one has been more affected by the abuse crisis than victims and their families. Recognizing and acknowledging abuse often takes many years and can involve a lifetime of healing,” he wrote. “It is hoped that the release of the names of those credibly accused will help the healing of victims. Their healing and the prevention of future abuse must be our first priorities in word, deed, and action.” The letter provided the community with information about

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FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

GOP CLUB CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Morgan won the backing of many members of the city and state Republican Party establishment — including Manhattan Republican Party Chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis — as well as support from several recent Republican candidates for public office in New York, such as former mayoral candidate and current Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis and former East Side State Senate candidate Pete Holmberg.

‘A cancer that is growing within the club’ Morgan wrote of the need “to keep the club away from needless divisions and controversies” in a campaign message to members, apparently a reference to a now-infamous Oct. 12 event at the club featuring the right-wing provocateur Gavin McInnes. McInnes is the founder of the Proud Boys, a self-described “pro-Western fraternal organization”’ whose members have been involved in political violence in recent years Charlottesville, Va. and Portland, Ore., among other incidents. Following McInnes’s Oct. 12 speech, members of the Proud Boys engaged in violent clashes with anti-fascist protesters on the streets surrounding the Metropolitan Club’s stately East 83rd Street headquarters. The incident and ensuing fallout attracted national media attention and the club was widely criticized for hosting McInnes and allowing Proud Boys to attend the event. Some Morgan supporters claimed Reilly was responsible for inviting McInnes to the speak at the club, a charge Reilly and his supporters deny. McInnes spoke at the club the previous year without incident and was rescheduled by the club as a matter of course, Reilly said. The Metropolitan Club promoted the program as “an unforgettable evening with one of Liberty’s Loudest Voices” and hailed McInnes for having “taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values.” One club member, who supported Morgan and asked not to be identified, characterized the election as a referendum on the McInnes incident and the club’s response to the aftermath. “The Gavin McInnes incident was like a cancer that is growing within the club, and we were hoping to eradicate it by handing Ian Reilly a humiliating defeat,” the member said.

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com “It didn’t work, and we’re kind of screwed.” “There are a lot of issues that need to be worked out within the club, and within the Party overall,” the individual said, adding, “There could be a mass exodus from the club, and that would be a form of accountability.” Reilly said that the Metropolitan Club does not bear responsibility for the violence that followed the event. Instead, he noted that the club was vandalized prior to the event and blamed anti-fascist protesters for instigating the violence that followed McInnes’s speech. (The New York Times obtained surveillance footage of one violent incident on East 82nd Street that shows a Proud Boy charging at a group of left wing protesters, sparking a brawl that lasted less than a minute and broke up upon the arrival of NYPD officers, who made no arrests at the scene.) “That violence took place away from the club,” Reilly said. “I don’t think that you can blame the victim,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response.” McInnes distanced himself from the Proud Boys following the Metropolitan Club incident, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of at least 10 Proud Boys members and three antifascist protesters. McInnes has advocated for the use of violence against political opponents in the past, calling it “a really effective way to solve problems.” “Gavin is a performance artist, a satirist,” Reilly said. Reilly said that while McInnes will not be invited back to the Metropolitan Club anytime soon, as president he will continue to extend invitations to other controversial conservative speakers the club has hosted in the past, such as Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter.

A struggle for the party’s future John William Schiffbauer, a Republican campaign consultant and former deputy communications director for the state Republican Party, said that an embrace of the farright fringe at the club would not bode well for the party’s electoral fortunes in New York. “The Met Club comprises the large majority of people who vote in primaries and work on campaigns” in Manhattan, he said. “Anything that pushes the party further to the right and toward supporting extreme candidates hurts us statewide.” “If [Reilly] keeps going in the direction his campaign went in, I think it’s going to further

fracture and alienate the GOP in Manhattan.” Alexandra Sherer, a 23-yearold club member who worked on Morgan’s campaign, took issue with the notion that the divide between the candidates was split along generational or ideological lines. For her, the key issue was whose supporters were best prepared to do the work of grassroots organizing. “I have nothing against Ian personally,” Sherer said. “It’s more some of people he’s associated with that I’m not the biggest fans of,” referencing a “MAGA group” of “Facebook warrior-types” that supported Reilly, who she said were more interested in fighting online than being active in local party politics. Like a number of other Morgan supporters — including Catsimatidis, who issued a statement congratulating Reilly — Sherer said she is hopeful the club and party can unify following the election. “This was a very nasty, horrible fight that we’ve had among fellow Republicans and we want to find a way not to have this happen again,” Sherer said. Reilly downplayed frictions within the club and said he doesn’t expect the outcome of the election to result in lasting divisions within the membership. “Our membership is over 600 people,” he said. “Of course there are going to be members who don’t like someone who comes to speak or how something is done.” “And if it was a referendum, I’ve won,” he added. A handful members of the East River Democratic Club braved freezing temperatures to protest the Jan. 30 election outside the Republican clubhouse. Patrick Bobilin, vice president of the East River Democratic Club, said he was disappointed that more demonstrators didn’t turn up, given his view of what the club’s failure to “accept some accountability” for the Proud Boys incident represents. “I don’t think they want a discourse,” Bobilin said. “I think they want violence and aggression and trolling to be the de facto basis of politics in this country. And now it’s in Manhattan, and the absence of more protestors says to me that people are removed from the reality of it.” “Violence as an element of political discourse is something we can now expect in Manhattan and on the comfortable Upper East Side. I don’t know where we go from here.”

He loves solving problems. So he gives. William Donnell turned to The New York Community Trust to help him share his good fortune. Together, we preserve parks, support the LGBTQ community, and fight poverty. He also put The Trust in his will. “Long after I’m gone, The Trust will keep using my money to make New York better for everyone.”

What do you love? We can help with your charitable giving. (212) 686-0010 x363 or giving@nyct-cfi.org www.GiveTo.nyc


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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.

NO JUSTICE WITHOUT BAIL REFORM EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Bail’s out — The importance of criminal justice reform hasn’t been lost on the Upper East Side. What seemed to me to be an impromptu message — a Thursday email for a Saturday event — resulted in a large turnout at the Criminal Justice Panel held at the Church of Advent Hope on East 87th St.. The church, in partnership with UES Assembly Member Dan Quart, hosted panelists Marvin Mayfield from JustLeadershipUSA and Erin L. George from Citizen Action of New York. The discussion focused on the bail system and the fact that it is poverty-based — meaning that the poor who can’t make bail go to jail while the rich or those with the ability to borrow get to go free. And all while there’s a

presumption of innocence. The push for advocacy on the matter of bail in particular and criminal justice reform in general was reflected in the personal story of Mr. Mayfield, who couldn’t make bail and was subjected to gruesome experiences in the jail system. His case was ultimately dismissed. Quart addressed his experience as a legislator, and the antiquated and prejudicial laws which may hamstring judges from exercising their discretion with respect to statutorily mandated fees. The Assembly Member, who is on the 18B Assigned Counsel Plan and represents criminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney, told of his experiences in representing clients who were victims of the system because of their inability to either make bail or pay fees. One audience member, a prosecuting attorney in the Bronx DA’s office, spoke to what

he said was “progressive” prosecuting. That gave rise to an exchange with a man who identified himself as from the Community Board and who disagreed with the Bronx ADA about the progressiveness of the Bronx DA office. Game on. Bragging rites — With the onslaught of fast casual dining — if you want to stand-up-and-eat or join unaffiliated others at a communal table — it’s comforting to know that there are still some old-school restaurants with, as Tevye would say, “tradition.” So it was smile-worthy to see that Le Veau d’Or, the venerable French restaurant on East 60th St, now in its 82nd year, still serves such classic French cuisine as vichysoisse, grenouille, veal kidney, meringue dessert, and enjoys its status in the culinary world and the patronage of famed authors and eminent regulars. Le Veau d’Or shows it all off with two

stacks of books in its entrance-way window. The stack (or pile) pays homage to its regulars who either wrote about the restaurant or mentioned Monsieur Robert in their tomes. Monsieur Robert is Robert Treboux, the influential chef/owner who took over Le Veau d’Or in the mid-80s and ran it until his death in 2012. His daughter, Catherine Treboux, now runs the restaurant. The books by celebrated authors that bear witness include Floyd Abrams’s “Soul of the First Amendment,” Thomas Knight’s “Eloise in Paris,” Oleg Cassini’s “In My Own Fashion,” and A.E. Hotchner’s “Papa Hemingway.” Bragging rights, too, for such departed regulars as Grace Kelly, Truman Capote, and Liz Smith. A bygone time for sure. Note to newbies: Remember to write. Uppity and out — If you name a restaurant “Infirmary” where can you go from there? How far can you rise? Or fall? That’s my take on the recent demise of a restaurant with that name, which closed at the end of this January, and not because of rent.

Infirmary was meant to conjure up the food and flavor of New Orleans — one of the of owners was a Louisiana native. Word was that Infirmary was the go-to place for the New Orleans Saints and for a Happy Hourish millennial crowd. But Infirmary was no sports bar — save for the tv screens. And happy hour was happy because, hey, there’s wine and beer and cocktails. But not the prices. Bar snacks, menu dishes were overpriced. Po’Boys, sandwiches, and starters started at $20. The atmosphere was more UES upscale than down-home New Orleans. And the penchant for local organizations and political clubs to have events at Infirmary didn’t bring in followers or foodies. Service was poorly organized. And the “event” food, except for hummus, was assuredly packaged, maybe frozen. But who can blame the food and prices when the name set the pall, along with ambiance and attitude. Too bad the owners an investors ignored the basics. And for the record: No fun having another empty storefront.

FRIENDSHIP ACROSS THE GENERATIONS BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

“Millennials,” muttered the man behind me in line at Fairway on 86th Street, questioning the work ethic of the young cashier daring to go on her break and leaving customers to wait all of a minute for her replacement to start ringing up. The impatience with different age groups, of course, flows both ways. How many 20- and even 30-somethings roll their eyes when a Boomer is baffled by technology, specifically social media? I don’t get the us vs. them. I guess because I’ve always enjoyed the benefits of trans-generational relationships. Aside from friends my own age, I’ve had older companions, whose experience has enlightened me and younger pals who’ve I’ve mentored — as well as learned from. My mother and daughter, both about 40 years apart from me on either end of the spectrum, are my best examples; my 96-year-old has saved me from myself with her strength, perseverance and wisdom more times than

I can count, while my 21-year-old has kept me young by keeping me abreast of what’s au courant, and her feistiness has often awakened in me the gogetter I used to be. Hence, I read with interest “The Unexpected Connection,” the debut novel by Upper East Side writer, Dena Levin, about two women, separated by generations, who discover they are soul sisters. Manhattanites both, the unlikely pair meet in West Palm Beach where Michelle, a widow in her fifties, has retired, and Vanessa, a millennial professional, is vacationing solo to regroup after one of life’s double whammies: a breakup she initiated reluctantly with a job-loss chaser. Michelle would like to help her new, young pal redirect her life, but knows a lecture or gratuitous advice in the form of “and then there was the time” stories are usually all it takes to push people away. Instead, she asks Vanessa for her thoughts on her manuscript, which chronicles Michelle’s dating escapades since the unanticipated loss

of her husband. As the younger woman reads of her mature companion’s transition from grieving widow to mingling single, we too learn about men like The Joker, Another Bad Penny, and Mr. Rude, just to name a few. (You won’t find any of this bunch on those Our Time commercials, where all the silver studs are dashing, trim and apparently list boating as a hobby.) The book-within-a-book device offers not only comic relief, but insights into Gray Dating, while sparing us chapter after chapter of flashbacks. Michelle’s social bio becomes Vanessa’s bible for life as well as relationships. She takes away what most people forget: heartache knows no boundaries or, “Single is single,” as Michelle likes to say. The elder woman’s accounts also seal their friendship deal, showing Vanessa the synchronicity of events both women share. Most importantly, the younger of the two learns by her new mentor’s example to focus on liking herself instead of blaming herself.

When it’s time to return to NYC, Vanessa does so to a new position, and attitude toward her former love. With Michelle’s unofficial life coaching as her resource, it’s now up to Vanessa to implement all she’s learned. We live in the ultimate melting pot. So many of us are open to inclusion when it comes to races, religions, and nationalities, but stop short when it comes to those in other age groups. Most of what I know, for example, about where I live on the Upper East Side, is not from books or by taking a tour, but because of my mother who graduated from Yorkville High School, now P.S. 151 Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street. Her short-term memory may be fading, but she has no trouble recalling her youth when East 86th Street was the heart of “Germantown” with the bakeries, shops, and “new” beer gardens as the social hot spots. Then of course, the post-WWII demolishment of the Third Avenue El along with brownstones and tenements that made way for towering high-rises.

Photo via Amazon.com Sound familiar? A stroll around the UES, specifically across the street and around the corner from my building, shows charming old-world townhouses razed to make way for the new and modern. Including those of other generations into your New York experience offers an inkling of what’s coming, and when it comes to our elders, an idea of whether or not we want to relive what’s past. History and, as shown in “The Unexpected Connection,” relationships have a way of repeating themselves. Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels “Fat Chick” and “Bactk to Work She Goes.”

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SEX AFTER SIXTY AGING Hormonal and physical issues and a “partner gap” may present problems. But the effects of aging are often amenable to treatment BY CAROL ANN RINZLER

Type “sex after sixty” into your computer search bar and up pop lots of virtual pages documenting who’s doing what and how among the Golden Agers. No surprise there, really. Desire is in the brain and sex is in the body, but better meds and better living have kept both in tune for longer than previously expected, sustaining what was once considered a strictly youthful sport well into Granny Land. There may, of course, be a few bumps along the way. For men, “hydraulics is the biggest impediment to sex later in life,” says Dr. Walter Bortz, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, past president of the American Geriatrics Society and former co-chair of the American Medical Association’s Task Force on Aging. “For women, it’s opportunity and availability.” True: Older men do experience hormonal and physical issues that may interfere with sexual performance, and older women do have problems finding enough older men to go around. But as Barbara Chubak, Assistant Professor of Urolgy at Mt. Sinai’s Icahn

School of Medicine, correctly notes, women also “experience biological changes that can interfere with sexual arousal response and pleasurable sexual activity, and both men and women are troubled by unrealistic gendered expectations.” The difference, of course, is that the physical effects of aging are often amenable to treatment, which is why the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) reports that nearly one in seven men age 57 to 85 take little blue pills to improve sexual function. What’s not treatable is the significant gender difference in longevity that results in the “partner gap” certified when AARP ran a Sex, Romance, and Relationships Survey of Midlife and Older Adults study showing that only 32 percent of women 70 or older have partners, compared with 59 percent of men in the same age group. It’s not for lack of interest on the female side. The National Commission on Aging (NCOA) says that 62 percent of women over 70 find sex “at least as satisfying or more satisfying physically” than it was in their 40s. The problem is fewer older men, a difficult situation made more so by cultural norms which applaud guys who seek younger partners but laugh if you switch the genders. The men prove their virility with “trophy wives.” Older women? They’re “cougars” going tooth and claw after helpless “boy toys.” What no one mentions is that the boys might have

read Benjamin Franklin’s 1745 “Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress” urging them to “Prefer old Women to young ones ... the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.” Besides, unable to restrain himself, Franklin, added: “They are so grateful!!” Today, their younger sisters might be equally grateful for the attention. Contrary to common wisdom which sees youngsters hopping in and out of bed with abandon, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that from 1991 to 2017 the number of high-school students having actual sex dropped 14 percentage points. There are similar stats among the wider group of Americans younger than 35 perhaps because as many as one in three of them live with their parents, putting an obvious crimp in their romantic lives. And vice versa, too: Adult children may be less than pleased to see their aging parents and grandparents as sexual beings. In short, after 60, sex is as complicated as ever. But it’s worth the effort. As Bortz has written: “If you stay interested, stay healthy, stay off medications, and have a good mate, then you can have good sex all the way to the end of life.” Even faithful trophy wives and boy toys.

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Feed Their Souls & Fill Their Hearts

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

EDITOR’S PICK

Jan

31- Feb 24

SWEDISH COTTAGE PRESENTS YETI, SET, SNOW!

Join us any Sunday from 10:00am to 12:00pm for spiritual learning and creative outlets for children of all ages. Always free of charge!

children, youth & families ministry

For more information contact us at: 1 West 29th Street / New York, New York 10001 212 686 2770 / MarbleChurch.org

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre Central Park 10:30 a.m. $8 centralparknyc.org 212-988-9093 An original story and production from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Yeti, Set, Snow! is the story of a young girl named Widget, and her friend, Twig, who encounter a yeti named Pascetti on the first snow day of the winter season.

Thu 7

Fri 8

Sat 9

KUNI MIKAMI

▲ ETHICS IN FILM: THE BREAKFAST CLUB

► THE FRENETIC FOOL: LARRY SEMON

NY Society for Ethical Culture 2 West 64th St 6:30 p.m. $10 In Anna Ziegler’s smart, disturbing, and engrossing telling of her book “Actually” the answer is unclear, and justice uncertain. Come at 6:30 pm for a reception and after the reading participate in a discussion of the ethical issues of the film led by Betsy Ungar. light refreshments. ethical.nyc 212-874-5210

Library for the Performing Arts 40 Lincoln Center Plaza 2:30 p.m. Free Look up “silent movie clown” in the dictionary and you’re liable to see Larry Semon’s picture — the bowler hat, chest-high balloon trousers, wind-up toy movements, and pasty white face. Come watch a selection of his many classic films. Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model, pre-show Q&A with Steve Massa. nypl.org 917-275-6975

Cleopatra’s Needle 2485 Broadway 7:00 p.m. Free with Food Acclaimed musician Kuni Mikami will being playing his signature jazz piano at this wonderful food and drink venue. cleopatrasneedleny.com 212-769-6969


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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HEALTHY HEROIN ABUSERS (Men and women, ages 21-59) who drink alcohol regularly are needed for an 8-week inpatient study investigating medication effects at the NY State Psychiatric Institute. Earn approximately $6550-$7350.

Call the Substance Use Research Center at (646) 774-6243

Sun 10 Mon 11 Tue 12 SING-ALONG: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

▲ BASEBALL DYNASTIES

Symphony Space 2537 Broadway 11:00 a.m. $13 Join Toot Sweet Dick Van Dyke as a down-on-his-luck inventor as he turns his run down car into the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and takes his kids on a Truly Scrumptious adventure. Screenplay by Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) based on the book by Ian Fleming. symphonyspace.org 212-864-5400

92y 1395 Lexington Ave Noon $29 Join Peter Laskowich in an exploration of how both the Giants and the Yankees used New York City to make themselves champions, by exploring how the politics, ballparks, rules of the game, and the city itself were instrumental to the pennants the Giants won before their move to San Francisco and the championships the Yankees continue to bring home. 92y.org 212-415-5500

COLUMBUS: TOM HANSELL ON AFTER COAL Book Culture 450 Columbus Ave 7:00 p.m. Free Join Book Culture on Columbus for a reading and discussion with Jill Santopolo on her new novel, “More Than Words.” Jill will be joined in conversation by Tara Singh Carlson. bookculture.com 212-595-1962

westsidespirit.com ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Wed 13 THE NEW YORK CITY BALLET PRESENTS: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

Larry Semon in Who’s Who on the Screen, 1920. Photo: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Your neighborhood news source

20 Lincoln Center Plaza 7:30 p.m. $35 A classic fairy tale was transmuted into one of the seminal works in the international repertory when Marius Petipa first staged The Sleeping Beauty, to a score by Tschaikovsky that ranks among the finest ever composed for a ballet. Peter Martins paid tribute to Petipa’s choreography in creating his adaptation, which blends the majesty of the original with the velocity and energy that remain a hallmark of the Company. nycballet.com 212-496-0600

Real Love in New York: Nagarjuna’s Wisdom on Love with Geshe Michael Roach

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8TH, 7PM Lincoln Center | 111 Amsterdam Ave. | 212-875-5456 | lincolncenter.org An American non-traditional teacher of Tibetan Buddhism shares the 2nd century CE wisdom of classical author and Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (by donation + $5 ticketing fee).

Book Talk: The Death of Hitler

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13TH, 7PM Shakespeare & Co. UWS | 2020 Broadway | 212-738-0001 | shakeandco.com Hear from investigative journalists Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina, who spent years negotiating with the Russians for access to confidential Soviet files that reveal the truth behind the hunt for Hitler’s body. Their new book includes eyewitness accounts and forensic science (free).

Just Announced | Wrongfully Accused—Mindhunters

SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD, 4PM The Town Hall | 123 W. 43rd St. | 212-997-1003 | thetownhall.org Former FBI agent John E. Douglas, who pioneered criminal profiling (he’s been called the “serial killer whisperer”), spends an evening with Amanda Knox, who served nearly four years in jail in Italy, and Damien Echols, who did 18 years as one of the West Memphis Three ($47).

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

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


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In the High Gallery: An expansive view of works from the series “The Ten Largest” (1907) Photo: David Heald. © 2018 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Hilma af Klint. Stockholm, 1910s.Photo: Courtesy The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm

THE WOMAN WHO PIONEERED ABSTRACT PAINTING Hilma af Klint was ahead of her time, and of all the men who followed in her footsteps BY VAL CASTRONOVO

Until the last half of the last century, Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (18621944) was pretty much on no one’s radar. And that’s the way she wanted it. After she veered into abstraction in the early 1900s, she insisted that her works be kept under wraps — seen by very few, virtually hidden — until 20 years after her death. She was convinced they would not be understood. Even more oddly, she directed that two mathematical characters, + x, accompany her written legacy. Nearly all her notebooks display the symbols on the first page. “All works,” she wrote in a 1932 notebook, “should carry the sign shown above.” Okaaay. Af Klint is internationally celebrated today, but her oeuvre did not emerge from the shadows until 1986, when it was included in a groundbreaking show, “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It turns out af Klint, a woman, pioneered abstract painting. She took it

up years before Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich. But she did it on her own terms, in her own way. She produced more than 1,200 artworks during her career, including conventional landscapes, portraits and scientific illustrations that she sold to support herself. The retrospective here is exhaustive, with more than 170 drawings, paintings and notebooks, the bulk from 1906-20, lining the ramps. Prepare for a workout. A spiritualist, with an appetite for the occult and things that go bump in the night, af Klint was part of a group of women who styled themselves The Five. They held séances and communicated with spirits. Hilma became a medium, falling into trances and channeling invisible powers, known as “High Masters.” The spirits had names: Amaliel, Ananda, Clemens, Esther, Georg, and Gregor. A 1933 notebook includes a sketch by the artist of several sprites. They look like shooting stars. Think of af Klint and her cohorts as translators. They met regularly, kneeling around an altar and looking for the spirits to move them, to guide them. Automatic drawings — recordings of their contacts — that the women made

during these sessions are on display. In 1906, af Klint agreed to accept a “great commission” from the Masters to create a vast cycle, “The Paintings for the Temple” (1906-15). She produced 193 works for the sanctuary, though the holy place was never built. Her pivot to abstraction stemmed from a desire to understand the universe and how things work, cosmically speaking. She was a truth-seeker, in search of higher knowledge. The art was informed by occult philosophies like theosophy and the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, as well as scientific breakthroughs like Darwin’s theory of evolution and the discovery of subatomic particles — things that cannot be seen. Visitors to the show can tap into that spirit, beginning in the High Gallery, where 10 monumental, ecstatic paintings known as “The Ten Largest” (1907) are presented. This series charts the stages of human life — Childhood, Youth, Adulthood, Old Age — and looks like it could have been made today, or in the 1960s era of trippin’ and flower power. The works, which were painted on the floor (think Jackson Pollock, decades later), appear quite decorative, but they convey mystical messages.

The Ten were created in an astonishingly short period of time, around 60 days. They are a blast of color and free-floating forms; some of the forms are familiar, some not at all. There are flowers, tendrils, pinwheels, snails — lots of snails — swirls, curlicues, circles, overlapping circles that look like Venn diagrams, circles that look like eyeballs, and two bulbous yellow shapes that are connected and look like an hourglass (a hot-air balloon? squash?). And then there are the writings — individual letters and unrecognizable words sprinkled here and there, like code. These paintings are a wild spill, a window into altered states of consciousness. Af Klint described the process of painting The Ten this way: “It was not the case that I was to blindly obey the High Lords of the Mysteries but to imagine that they were always standing by my side.” In 1916, she quit channeling and assumed full control of her art. Near the top of the ramp, the exhibit achieves transcendence again with the showcasing of “Altarpieces” (1915), a trio of geometric works with triangles and gold orbs, the last leg of “The Paintings for the Temple.” Conceived to hang in the house of worship’s in-

ner sanctum, they radiate splendor and otherworldliness. Af Klint’s vision for the never-realized temple included a spiral staircase. The design was eerily similar to Guggenheim museum co-founder Hilla Rebay’s vision for the spiral monolith on Fifth Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. But the similarities were purely coincidental, curator Tracey Bashkoff writes in the catalog. It is no coincidence, however, that the ever-graceful edifice, founded as a “temple of spirit” to house non-objective art, is now hosting an exhibit by a pioneer of non-objective art, one who was enamored of the spiral motif (remember the snails?). As Bashkoff writes, “The spiral, symbol of evolution, progress, and growth, and linked to forces of nature, embodies and houses af Klint’s visions.”

IF YOU GO What: Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future Where: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York When: Through April 23 www.guggenheim.org


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RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS JAN 23 - 29, 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. Raenu Thai

844 Amsterdam Ave

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Grade Pending (34) 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. Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations. Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

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HEALTHY HEROIN ABUSERS (Men and women, ages 21-59) who drink alcohol regularly are needed for an 8-week inpatient study investigating medication effects at the NY State Psychiatric Institute. Earn approximately $5700.

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BALLOT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 But if multiple Democrats, each trying to out-progressive the other, fall below, say, a 10 percent threshold, they could effectively cancel each other out, creating a path to victory for Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a moderate, anti-Trump Republican. “I will be Bill de Blasio’s worst nightmare — the last person he’d ever want to see as public advocate,” Ulrich vowed in an interview. As of the Jan. 25 filing, he’d raised $100,462 for his campaign. “If Ulrich turns out his Queens base and wins Staten Island in a low-turnout race, he’s a player who can emerge from this mess and win,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who has worked on the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and Mike Bloomberg. The job, which is the first in line to succeed the mayor, is now vacant because, in typical fashion, the last public advocate, Letitia James, resigned on Jan. 1 after her election last year as state attorney general. She succeeded another ambitious pol, de Blasio, who was elected as advocate in 2009 and parlayed the post into a successful mayoral run in 2013. Mark Green had no such luck. In 2001, he’d also weaponized the position in a bid for Gracie Mansion, but was bested by Mike Bloomberg. Like all special elections, which are nonpartisan, the candidates cannot run on existing party lines. Instead, they have to mint their own unique party labels, which can be colorful, off-beat or attentiongrabbing. Whoever wins will only hold the post till Dec. 31 and will be a potential lame duck. Democratic and GOP primaries will be held in September, and on Nov. 5, the victors will square off in the general election to fill the rest of James’ unexpired term, which runs through 2021. Despite the prospect of a short 10-month reign, aspirants are locked in a spirited, big-bucks free-for-all — perhaps the first citywide race in New York history in which rap sheets for low-grade offenses are being leveraged to score political points with liberal constituents.

HANDCUFFS, FINGERPRINTS AND MUG SHOTS Consider the questionnaire the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, an influential Greenwich Village-based LGBT clubhouse,

sent to candidates seeking its endorsement: “Have you ever been arrested?” it asked. Twice, replied ex-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the East Harlem Democrat and senior adviser for the Latino Victory Fund who is running on the “Fix the MTA” ticket. She leads the pack in fundraising with $345,867 in contributions and would be the first Latina to hold citywide office. “Please explain why and the outcome of arrest,” the club asked. Turns out, Mark-Viverito was busted in Sept. 2017 for blocking traffic in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue during a protest over federal immigration policies. Then last October, she joined a Washington D.C. sit-in during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and was pinched a second time. Her twin arrests, however, are dwarfed by Washington Heights City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Transportation Committee, who is running on the “United for Immigrants” line and has raised $132,736 for his campaign as of Jan. 25. By his own reckoning, Rodriguez has been locked up “around 10 times” over a 30year period, starting six years after he came to the city as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic in 1983, he recalled in a Nov. 4 interview. His signature moment came on the night of Nov. 15, 2011 when cops forcibly cleared Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street protesters. Knocked to the ground, roughed up and thrown into a police van, he was detained for three hours for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, charges that were later voided. The ordeal gave Rodriguez a distinction no rival candidate can match: He was featured in Time Magazine’s coverage of its 2011 Person of the Year, “The Protester.” “Listen, I’ve been in this fight as long as I can remember, and that will always be a part of my life,” he said. Win or lose, “I’ll continue to use the beautiful, peaceful means of civil disobedience to seek social justice and march for our rights,” Rodriguez added. So who’s racked up the most arrests? It is a mantle claimed by three-term Brooklyn City Council Member Jumaane Williams, a former tenant activist who ran a strong, if ultimately unsuccessful, race for lieutenant governor last year and has collected $194,780 thus far in his current campaign.

Asked by activists at the Jim Owles Club if he had ever been arrested, Williams, whose ballot line is the “People’s Voice,” answered, “Yes, more than any other elected official in New York.” And he linked to pictures depicting him handcuffed by police, his body pressed down against the hood of a car, and to accounts of his brushes with the law at Trump Tower, Occupy Wall Street, the West Indian Day Parade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, and at multiple protests against stop-andfrisk, school closings, CUNY tuition hikes, federal deportation drives and immigration laws in Arizona. Unsurprisingly, it was Williams who ultimately won the endorsement of Jim Owles. He also scored backing from the Four Freedoms Democratic Club on the Upper East Side. But in a measure of how the public advocate’s race has so completely riven the city’s progressive clubhouses, two other influential East Side clubs voted to support two rival candidates: While the East River Democratic Club endorsed attorney Dawn Smalls, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner who is vying on the “No More Delays” ticket, the Lexington Democratic Club backed Queens State Assembly Member Ron Kim, who created the “No Amazon” line. Meanwhile, on the same week when Jim Owles threw its weight behind Williams, the city’s two other LGBT political strongholds also split their endorsements, with the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn rallying behind MarkViverito. At the same time, the Stonewall Democratic Club said it was supporting Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights and is the only openly gay candidate in the race. A self-proclaimed “opinionated loud mouth,” O’Donnell, the older brother of Rosie O’Donnell, is best known for a breakthrough piece of legislation, the Marriage Equality Act permitting same-sex unions, which he steered into law in 2011. He lives on West 111th Street and had raised $99,530 for his “Equality for All” ticket as of the most recent campaign filing. “I haven’t been arrested — I’m the guy they call to get out of jail when other people get arrested,” said O’Donnell, who is also an attorney who had worked as a public defender. invreporter@strausnews.com


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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TRAFFIC JAM ON THE BALLOT An unwieldy 17 candidates â&#x20AC;&#x201D; yes, you read that right, 17! â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are running for Public Advocate. The top 10 hopefuls, based on the amount they raised as of Jan. 25.

NEIGHBORHOODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEST To place an ad in this directory, Call Douglas at 212-868-0190 ext. 352.

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DINING Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of East Harlem, a Democrat running on the Fix the MTA ticket, raised $345,867. Photo: Mark-Viverito campaign Twitter account. Â

Bronx state Assembly Member and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee Michael Blake, running on the For the People line, raised $324,039. Photo: Blake campaign Twitter account.

Attorney and law partner Dawn Smalls, running on the No More Delays ticket, raised $243,754. Photo: Smalls campaign Twitter account.

Brooklyn City Council Member and former 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams, a Democrat running on the Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Voice ticket, raised $194,780. Photo: Williams campaign Twitter account.

Â&#x203A;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2014;Â?ČąÂ&#x2019;Â&#x2014;ČąÂ&#x2DC;Â&#x203A;Čą Â&#x2013;Â&#x17D;Â&#x2014;Â?Â&#x2019;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2014;ČąÂ?Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019;Â&#x153;ČąÂ&#x160;Â? Â?Â&#x2DC;Â&#x203A;ČąÂ&#x160;ȹȹÂ&#x17D;Â&#x153;Â&#x153;Â&#x17D;Â&#x203A;Â?ǡ Â&#x203A;Â&#x2019;Â&#x;Â&#x160;Â?Â&#x17D;ČąÂ&#x160;Â&#x203A;Â?¢ȹÂ&#x2DC;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2013;Â&#x153;ČąČ&#x160;ČąÂ&#x17D;Â&#x2022;Â&#x2022;¢ȹÂ&#x160;Â&#x2014;Â&#x152;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2014;Â?ČąČ&#x160;ČąÂ&#x160;Â?Â&#x17D;Â&#x203A;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2014;Â? Ĺ&#x2122;Ĺ&#x2014;Ĺ&#x2013;ČąÂ&#x17D;Â&#x153;Â?ČąĹ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x2122;Â&#x203A;Â?ČąÂ?Â&#x203A;Â&#x17D;Â&#x17D;Â?ČąČ&#x160;ČąĹ&#x2DC;Ĺ&#x2014;Ĺ&#x2DC;ČŹĹ&#x2DC;Ĺ&#x153;Ĺ&#x203A;ČŹĹ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x203A;Ĺ&#x2013;Ĺ&#x2013;    ǯÂ?Â&#x17E;Â&#x203A;Â&#x201D;Â&#x17E;Â&#x160;ÂŁÂ&#x203A;Â&#x17D;Â&#x153;Â?Â&#x160;Â&#x17E;Â&#x203A;Â&#x160;Â&#x2014;Â?ÇŻÂ&#x152;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2013;Čą

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Washington Heights City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democrat running on the United for Immigrants ticket, raised $132,736. Photo: Rodriguez campaign Twitter account.

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Upper West Side and Morningside Heights Assembly Member Danny Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell, a Democrat running on the Equality for All ticket, raised $99,530. Photo: Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell campaign Twitter account.

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WEST SIDE SIBLINGS SING THEIR WAY TO THE TOP MUSIC The Bailens, who grew up in a musical household, are winning fans with their heartfelt sound BY MICHELLE NAIM

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always nice to see siblings who actually get along. But Daniel, David and Julia Bailen are doing much more than that. Instead of pulling each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hair out, the Bailens, who have been singing since they were in diapers, brought their talents together in 2014 to form the Bailen band. Their refreshing three-part harmonies, folky style and original songs have them on a dream trajectory. They sold out the Bowery Ballroom last month and begin a three-month tour of the U.S. on February 20th. But before the rest of the country sees them, Bailen, accompanied by their parents, have a show February 7th at their childhood middle school, Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side. Julia, 22, is on vocals and acoustic guitar. Twins Daniel and David, 27, also sing and handle bass (Daniel) and drums (David). Their childhood friend, Pierre Piscitelli, their â&#x20AC;&#x153;brother from another mother,â&#x20AC;? as Daniel puts it, plays keyboards. Although the bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success

Bailen onstage during their sold-out show last month at Bowery Ballroom. Photo: Courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum is solely their own, they come from musical blood. Their parents, Eliot Bailen and Susan Rotholz, are freelance musicians who taught at Columbia University and the Manhattan School of Music while the siblings were growing up. The Bailenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s childhood home was a regular stop sophisticated instrumentalists, making the home â&#x20AC;&#x153;a cacophony of sounds,â&#x20AC;? said Daniel. He recalled one

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time when he had a friend over and â&#x20AC;&#x153;[he] went to use the bathroom and there was literally a violinist practicing in the bathroom. So thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the house we grew up in.â&#x20AC;? For the Bailen kids, a career in music seemed like the most normal thing in the world. Growing up, the Bailens lived in Morningside Heights, and Daniel spoke fondly of life on the Upper West Side. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a special place to be,â&#x20AC;? Daniel said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it was a wonderful place to grow up.â&#x20AC;? In fact, the cover of the bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debut record was shot in front of The Hungarian Pastry Shop, on Amsterdam Avenue, which is their favorite spot to write song lyrics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of amazing authors and writers go there and all the books that have been written there are on the wall.â&#x20AC;? Daniel said his little sister,

Julia, who went to Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts on the Upper West Side, is the leader of the band. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She just knows whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good and bad, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll let you know.â&#x20AC;? Although the siblings get along for the most part, Daniel said they all have strong personalities that can clash at times. He described his drumplaying twin brother, David, as â&#x20AC;&#x153;super organized and very detail oriented ... If thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a tour, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m like, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Yeah weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just driving twenty hours.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; [For David,] all the things that could go wrong are going wrong in his head and heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s planning for them ... If Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m working on a tune, [it] will be a complete mess and David will come organize it.â&#x20AC;? He also recognizes that their â&#x20AC;&#x153;little sis,â&#x20AC;? Julia, is â&#x20AC;&#x153;just

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Julia Bailen is the leader of the band, said big brother Daniel. Photo: Courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum

way cooler than us.â&#x20AC;? The twins began writing songs together when they were around 5. Their ďŹ rst composition was called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fire in the Kitchen.â&#x20AC;? Later, between the ages of 8 and 12, they started singing professionally in the Metropolitan Opera. In high school, Daniel said, that he and David â&#x20AC;&#x153;would go to Emmanuel Baptist Church [in Brooklyn] which is mostly a Haitian community, [a] beautiful place, where amazing music is created. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gospel music. Every Sunday we would go down there and play bass and drums.â&#x20AC;? The twins formed the Bailen Brothers in high school, and promised Julia she could join once she got her braces removed. Then, when the band began to get serious in 2015, they started performing with their sister. In 2016, they began working with Sofar Sounds, which arranges concerts in living rooms, retail shops and other small settings. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know that if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve heard about us itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve heard us live,â&#x20AC;? said Daniel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve probably heard us in a really intimate environment. I know that our followers ... are all people weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve met and not [people] who stumbled upon us on Instagram or ... Spotify, where everything is so quick and moves so fast. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something that is so much more valuable than discovering us on a playlist. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the ďŹ&#x201A;esh.â&#x20AC;?

Daniel called Bailenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s musical inďŹ&#x201A;uences â&#x20AC;&#x153;a very wide range ... Appalachian folk ... classical music ... [we sang] New York gospel music growing up ... New York City had a huge inďŹ&#x201A;uence on the eclectic sound that we have.â&#x20AC;? The bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sold-out Bowery Ballroom show (opened by Elliott Skinner) included a poignant moment when Daniel introduced a new song, called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eyelashes.â&#x20AC;? Daniel told a story of a girl, â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was our age. She grew up on the Lebanese border during the second Lebanon War in the 90s. She was a child in the 90s.â&#x20AC;? He said that she told him â&#x20AC;&#x153;Her mom was worried because she kept pulling out her eyelashes. So she asked â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Why do you keep pulling on your eyelashes?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And she said â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;because I want to make wishes.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; So her mom asked â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;What are you wishing for?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And she said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m wishing for the war to end.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I thought that was a really beautiful story so I wrote a song about it.â&#x20AC;? Towards the end of the performance, the band announced the midnight release of their ďŹ rst single, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Was Wrong.â&#x20AC;? As Daniel explained the idea behind the song: â&#x20AC;&#x153;When thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a problem, you never see anyone stepping back and saying â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Maybe thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s triggering this or starting the problem.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never right or wrong.â&#x20AC;? True enough. But Bailen is getting it right. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt about that.


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SCHOOLS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6

In the swing of things at Marie’s Crisis. Photo: Steam Pipe Distribution Venue, via Flckr

SINGING WITH STRANGERS NIGHTLIFE There’s music everywhere in Manhattan, and you can join in BY MEREDITH KURZ

There are no neon lights and the red door tucked in a corner is nondescript. “If you reach a place with Italian lights overhead, you’ve gone too far,” are a stranger’s vague directions. With a handful of steps down from the sidewalk, I bend down to peer in, make sure it’s the right spot, that they’re open on a Sunday at 5:30. In the dim interior I see a few Christmas lights and then the old upright piano. Behind the bar, Joseph O’Neill is on his eighth sticky note, scrawling out “must go” places in the Village for two women from Wales who are enjoying ‘Tea Time,’ in other words, a couple of beers, no glasses, please. O’Neill knows this neighborhood like he knows all the lyrics to “Don’t Rain on my Parade.” He’s giving them City Gold which you won’t find online. As I step up to the bar, he’s on pizza joints (only three worth mentioning) giving arcane details like, “Look for an old guy with a scruffy beard. If he isn’t there, don’t order”. There are no 60” monitors over the bar at Marie’s Crisis. A deceased TV that must have witnessed the moon landing is tucked under the rafters. When I tell Joseph I called the phone number to get a schedule he waves his hand. “That was disconnected ten years ago.” “They don’t exist anymore,” people tell me when hunting for a cozy neighborhood piano bar. “Most of them are gone,” O’Neill shrugs, almost agree-

ing. “This is the best one in the city and we’re able to stay because the bar owner also owns the building.” This gem’s hidden in plain sight at 59 Grove Street. Sure it’s given high stars for the late night crowd, but we’re enjoying an early evening weekend very happy hour. Pianist Kenney Green, who’s also Artistic Director for the Depot Theater, arrives. He sits down and pulls out an iPad and tells me he doesn’t miss the three suitcases of sheet music he used to lug around. People start to straggle in, order drinks, and you can tell they have their own stool, their spot around the piano. This crowd knows one another but pull me into their circle, into the magic. Taking a seat on a cracked red vinyl stool, I toss a dollar into the fish bowl. Another woman reaches over me and drops in two fivers. “My husband’s working next door,” she says. “He’s a trumpeter.” Turns out she plays piano and sings as well. A few others belly up to the piano, and I realize this is where musicians come to sing. Rubbing elbows with real musicians, trying out my rusty voice is a throat constricting, eye-misting treat. We work our way through “I Believe In You” (To see the cool clear, eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth), “Embraceable You” (Just one look at you, my heart grew tipsy in me. You and you alone bring out the gypsy in me), “American in Paris,” “‘S Wonderful,” Gershwin’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (You say potato ...) and Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to warm up. “People meet here, fall in love, and some get married,” O’Neill says. With songs like these, in a place like this, I can see why.

There are other places to sing with strangers. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has four weekly “Move and Groove” sing alongs. For seniors, the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side holds a free sing along every fourth Friday of the month. Symphony Space, also on the UWS, offers movie sing-alongs, and a calendar of Karaoke events at their Bar Thalia around the corner. My neighborhood forum offered their favorites; Iris G. likes the sing along of oldies at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue; Diane K. enjoys the Flying Ivories who play Manhattan-wide; Paul M. and others suggests Sid’s Gold, where Shelly Watson offers sing-alongs on the second Tuesday of every month. There are choruses and choirs all over town, and I enjoyed one semester of singing with the Riverside Church’s Inspiration Choir, whose director, Nedra Olds-Neal, the best director I’ve ever sung under, has produced with SONY and Arista Records. As for romance and Marie’s Crisis, I learn Kenney Green is filling in for Adam Tilford, his husband, who he met here. Kenney plays Wednesday and Friday nights from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m,, so getting to hear him in the early hours is a treat for me. I know I’ll return to sing with Adam. If you aren’t a late night person and you’re looking for that place you thought didn’t exist anymore in Manhattan, go to Marie’s Crisis. You don’t have to go at midnight, although they have a rollicking good time then. You may start singing with strangers, who become acquaintances, and then? On this day at this time this is a secret gem for New Yorkers.

Xavier’s current policies and procedures regarding the prevention of abuse and harassment. In 2012, for example, the school hired T&M Protection Resources, a private security, intelligence and investigations company, to revise procedures and policies and help implement yearly training for the faculty and the students. An ombudsman oversees policies, training and investigations into abuse, harassment and bullying. The letter, and a follow-up with a link to the list and information for survivors of abuse, prompted a broad spectrum of reactions from the Xavier community. “There was a lot of support for Xavier. There was gratitude for the letter, gratitude for confronting it honestly,” Raslowsky said. “In some cases there was great distrust of the church.” R a slowsk y sa id ma ny alumni had trouble coming to terms with the inclusion on the province’s list of John Garvey, who was at the school for more than a decade. “Many of the other guys were older or were here briefly. They [the alumni] knew John. For those folks, John did some very good work and was well loved by many,” he said. “For many of those folks they begin to question their relationship, they question their experience, they’re hurt for John, they’re hurt for victims.

There are a lot of complications there, but honest complications.” The release of the list prompted one survivor of abuse a chance to share his story with Xavier leadership. “I received one call from an alum who was the victim of abuse in 1961 by a lay person. We had a good conversation and he was relieved to tell his story,” Raslowsky said. “The person who committed the abuse is dead and has been for over ten years, and had been at Xavier for three years in that period.” Following the publication of the list, Xavier hosted a forum at the school as well as a conference call for alumni and parents to voice their thoughts and feelings. “It was very solemn; it was apparent those emotions were in that room, from dismay and disappointment to anger and frustration,” said Tom Weatherall, a 1986 Xavier graduate, who attended the forum. “I felt like there was compassion for the victims.” Weatherall said Xavier was the place where he accepted his Catholic faith and felt that it was his own, rather than something given to him by his parents. So when the abuse crisis become apparent in the early 2000s, Weatherall said he felt anger, disgust and deep sadness, and frustration with the church for the broader hierarchy that covered up the abuse. For him, the province’s release of the list and Xavier’s actions have been a welcome

start toward healing. “I appreciated [Raslowsky’s] and the Xavier community’s openness and willingness towards transparency,” Weatherall said. Paul Scariano, a 1990 graduate who has two sons enrolled in Xavier was proud and comforted by the way the school’s leadership handled the news. “My boys are aware of things. They talked about it in their religion class and were asked if they wanted to talk about anything,” said Scariano, who is also a member of the school’s board of trustee’s. “The administration got to the students in the right way.” Scariano said Xavier had also been a place where he fit in well, and most others fit in well, and he thinks the school’s culture continues to be a place that values communication and openness with students. “ Ever yone w ishes t he church was honest about it in the beginning. Now, I don’t know what else you can do but be honest about it,” he said. For the church to move forward, Raslowsky said it needs to continue to be transparent and open about the mistakes it has made along the way. “Here at Xavier we’re a place where we give voice to different people. Power comes from that ... to raise questions about how the church is the best church it can be in terms of power and voice and authority and leadership,” he said. “We are one very little part of the worldwide church, but we get it right, hopefully it inspires other people to get it right.”

In a statement, Regis High School said “No abuse is acceptable, and we are horrified and distressed by each one of these allegations. All victims of sexual abuse are in our prayers.”Photo: Emily Mason


FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

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FEBRUARY 7-13,2019

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

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

YOUR 15 MINUTES

BORN PURPLE, AND FUNNY BY JOSHUA NASSER

comedians from so many different worlds of the New York comedy scene. It was nice because I think it’s easy to be accepted in your college improv team, but it felt really nice when I was integrated into the New York comedy scene. There are so many pockets of it.

Leanne Velednitsky is a New Yorkbased actor, writer and comedian. She graduated from NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing in 2016, and has studied sketch/improv at UCB and the Magnet. She’s worked at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and the digital comedy company Above Average. She talked about her time in New York, the city’s different comedy “pockets” and what she thinks is next to come.

So, to start this off, I’m gonna ask an easy question, do you think funny people are born funny? Nah, funny people are born purple.

Okay, interesting, so do you think you weren’t born funny? Nah, when I was born, and I was purple.

So I’m gonna take that as a yes, people can be born funny. I will say I don’t think you have to be born funny to be funny. Haha sure I’d agree with that.

But after being born funny, I guess my next question would be how long have you been doing comedy? I’ve been enjoying comedy for a very long time. [Interviewer and subject both laugh.] Do you mean just mean doing comedy in New York?

Yeah that works. I was thinking overall, but how long have you been doing comedy before New York? I’ve been doing comedy for six years now! Although four of those were while I was attending college at NYU in the city, so I guess we’ll say two years in the big bad world!

What would you say has been the major difference between the two? I guess what I mean is, you feel a difference doing comedy within the singular institution of college for a built-in audience of college students and doing it on a larger scale of ... well, for anyone.

What do you mean? Audiences. You’re playing to your bubble or you’re playing for the world. But I don’t think that’s just a comedy thing. That’s the major difference between college and after college — nothing is guaranteed or handed to you. You have to put effort into making your community and seeing things through. Especially as a freelance artist/comedian/person. There are far less deadlines.

“My resume says I’m versatile, or at least that’s what I hope it gives off!” Photo: Katie Gehrmann

Oh what do you mean by pockets of it? Just like different crowds you could be with and stuff!

Comedian and actor Leanne Velednitsky is currently appearing Off Broadway in “Puffs,” at New World Stages. Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Velednitsky

Sure, that makes sense. And after all of that I’m doing it all over New York! Although I was taking improv classes outside of school when I was in college, so I was always kind of a part of that world.

And where would you say you are now? Or rather how has post-college comedy been? It’s been good! Right now I’m a cast member in Puffs which is playing Off Broadway!

Oh I’ve heard of that show. It’s from the perspective of the Hufflepuffs, all throughout Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts right? Yeah!

That concept is cool. What else? I host a monthly variety show in Brooklyn, and I make videos with my production team Bad Apples. I perform improv, characters and I was on a sketch team at The Magnet. I do all this at various venues and shows. I’m having fun.

What was the sketch team like? Was that one of your first post college comedy experiences? It wasn’t my first but it was one that I’m very happy I was on!

I’m just curious about what changed you from college comedian to comic in New York? I got on a team at the Magnet in August of 2017. You audition for teams there and they have a really great policy where women and POC don’t need to have trained at the Magnet to be able to audition. I was happy I was able to audition, then I got onto a team which is called The Nitro Girls. I was on that team for more than a year. The Magnet is such a wonderful community and it was nice to meet so many

I see. I always think those are kind of interesting. You may belong to a specific pocket, but comedy’s just so huge in general. Like you could be a comic in the club scene, or do improv, or alt comedy and still barely touch all of the social circles. I’m rambling. Anyways how do you feel about the pockets and such? I feel fine personally, I’ve always felt like a floater throughout life, whether it be socially or skill-wise. I like to do different things. My resume says I’m versatile, or at least that’s what i hope it gives off! [laughs] And that has led me to dip my toes into a lot of different comedic waters.

From being in these different pockets, in what ways have you seen comedy change and what do you think you’re looking forward to the most with comedy in New York or with comedy in general? I like the idea of more acceptance being pushed. People are caring for others in a very good way and it’s just nice to see. Recently you’ve been seeing more mics being run by women, LGBTQ, and people of color and that has been a huge shift from what the scene was like when I was in college. I was mainly doing improv and sketch back then, but I was on a stand up team at NYU, which was pretty much the only place I did stand up. NYU was nice but when I would venture out into the city you would see some mics that were run with a negative energy. Now that I’m out it’s been nice to see the changes that have happened in the meantime. There’s still a long way to go but it’s nice to know these spaces exist.

That’s great that such a positive shift has happened throughout your career. Well thanks so much Leanne this was really nice. Thanks for having me, this was fun! Check out more of Leanne’s work at her website www.leannevelednitsky.com

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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N U S T H F V O C F D U S S N

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H I T T E R K A Y V R X H X H

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Each Sudoku puzzle consists of a 9X9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3X3 squares. To solve the puzzle each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. Puzzles come in three grades: easy, medium and difficult.

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SUDOKU by Myles Mellor and Susan Flanagan

by Myles Mellor

50

2

CROSSWORD

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FEBRUARY 7-13,2019


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