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The local paper for the Upper per West Side p Sid

2019

WEEK OF APRIL

AWARDS

11-17

WESTY

2019

P. 11

CHECKING IN ON RIVERSIDE PARK MAN OF THE MOMENT Rep. Jerrold Nadler talks about his political journey – from high school campaigns to chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

Also inside:

GREEN SPACES As spring blooms in New York City, the Riverside Park Conservancy looks ahead to launching new forest management initiative — and securing funding to meet other challenges BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

PAGE 20

DESPITE COURT DEFEAT, TOWER’S RISE CONTINUES DEVELOPMENT Elected officials call on city to stop construction on 200 Amsterdam Avenue BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Last month’s state Supreme Court decision against the developers behind 200 Amsterdam Avenue has done nothing to slow the rise of the planned 668-foot residential building. Construction on the tower has continued apace since the March 14 ruling — which found that the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals’ decision last year to uphold plans for the project was “unreasonable and inconsistent with the plain language” of city zoning law — prompting local elected officials to call on the city to halt work immediately. The legal challenge, filed by two nonprofit advocacy groups and supported

The Riverside Park Conservancy’s stewardship of its four-mile stretch of green space along the West Side waterfront encompasses a host of responsibilities — from the brilliant seasonal flower plantings now blossoming throughout the park to the upkeep of public tennis courts and playing fields to the youth camps and free programming that enliven the park throughout the summer. But one aspect of the conservancy’s work that even avid users of the park may not have considered is forest management. Riverside Park contains 60 acres of natural woodlands, the ecological health of which are threatened by invasive species, as well as increased heat and drought driven by climate change. “Right now we have many stately canopy trees that are getting choked out by invasives that just don’t belong in the park.” Dan Garodnick, the president and chief executive officer of the Riverside Park Conservancy, told Straus News. “They have the potential to keep the native trees from regenerating.” The Riverside Park Conservancy is seeking to bolster its efforts and secure the long-term health of its forests through a new partnership with the Natural Areas Conservancy, or NAC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, restoring and managing the 7,300 acres of forested parkland throughout New York City, among

MEDS AND MEMORY ▲P.2

NOTHING STOPS THESE ATHLETES ▲P.7

The Riverside Park Conservancy and the Natural Areas Conservancy are launching a new initiative to promote the health of Riverside Park’s 60 acres of forests. Photo: Russell Bernice, via Flickr

The [Soldiers and Sailors] monument has been allowed to fall into disrepair. We believe that the city should step up and fix what has become very embarrassing, to say the least.” Dan Garodnick, president and CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy

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‘A PERPETUAL WORK IN PROGRESS’ ▲P.31

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 Westsider WEEK OF APRIL

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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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APRIL 11-17,2019

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REMEMBER THIS HEALTH Some drugs that heal the body can mess with the brain BY CAROL ANN RINZLER

Where are they? Vital process, complicated detail.

Quick: Where are your keys? Not sure? No surprise. Remembering that small but vital detail is a complicated process that involves both the part of your brain that enables you to think and the parts associated with emotion. It’s a process that seems to slow with age. The old news was that after a certain age, perhaps around 30, your brain began to shrink until over the years it shriveled into nothing. taking your memory along with it. The new news is that scientists who have actually taken the time to sit down and count brain cells find practically no age-related loss of cells responsible for thinking and remembering. There may, however, be less activity in your synapses, the pathways between brain cells that allow you to access what you’re stored in your brain, so it can take a little lon-

ger to find those keys, especially if you take your medicine as directed, because the newest news is that some meds that heal the body can mess with the brain. This can happen at any age, but it’s more common among older folk who may be taking multiple prescriptions to treat multiple problems. In fact, it’s so common that AARP, the champion of all aging, has compiled a list of the drugs most likely to do the dirty. First up are anti-anxiety meds such as Xanax and Valium and sleep aids such Ambien which can slow your brain’s ability to transfer what you see and learn from short term memory (something you just saw) to long term memory (something you saw a few years ago). Statins such as Lipitor and Zocor reduce the amount of arteryclogging cholesterol in your blood, but they also reduce the levels of cholesterol in your brain. That matters because your brain, which contains 25 percent of all the cholesterol in your body, uses the fatty substance when forming links between nerve cells that create memory. Happily, there are substitutes for some medical memory busters. For

MEMORY-BUSTING MEDS: AARP’S LIST example, “first generation” antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) may block the action of chemical messengers in your memory and learning centers. Newer ones such as loratadine (Claritin) cetirizine (Zyrtec) and SSRI antidepressants such as paroxetine (Paxil) don’t seem to. You don’t need a memory doctor to tell you that lifestyle choices such as alcohol and drug abuse or problems such as insomnia can also impact memory. On the other hand, curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can keep your brain and your memory zipping along at relative speed even into old age. As Richard C. Mohs, the chief science officer for the Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP) Foundation, writes, “Evidence from animal studies suggests that stimulating the brain can stop cells from shrinking and even increase brain size in some cases.” Which means that learning a new language or visiting a museum is not only fun, in the long run it may also help you find those darned keys which the last time you saw them were ... where?

1. Antianxiety drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) 2. Cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simivastatin (Zocor) 3. Antiseizure drugs such as gabapentin (Neurontin) 4. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) 5. Narcotic painkillers such as fentanyl (Duragesic) and hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin) 6. Parkinson’s drugs such as apomorphine (Apokyn) 7. Hypertension drugs such as metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol) and propranolol (Inderal) 8. Sleep aids such as zolpidem (Ambien) 9. Incontinence drugs such as oxybutynin (Ditropan XL, Gelnique, Oxytrol) 10. First-generation antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) CAUTION: Do not stop or reduce the dosage of any of these meds without first checking with your doctor, the person best qualified to evaluate your memory.

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG VIOLENT SUPERMARKET INCIDENT At 1:55 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 31, a 55-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman entered the Key Food store at 530 Amsterdam Ave., removed items and placed them in a bag before attempting to leave the location without paying, police said. As they tried to exit the store, three male employees attempted to stop them. According to police, the male supect punched, pushed and bit the workers, causing injuries, One employee refused medical attention at the scene, but the other two were transported to Roosevelt Hospital for treatment. Police arrested Phillip Sanchez and Gwendolyn Cherry and charged them with robbery. The recovered merchandise consisted of two beef rib steaks valued at $28.

DISAPPEARING MIRRORS Bits and pieces of parked cars have been disappearing from city streets. At noon on Monday, Mar. 25, a man parked his 2019 Mercedes sedan at the corner of Riverside Dr. and West 73rd St. When he returned at 9 a.m. on March 28 he discovered that both side-view mirrors, valued at $500, had been removed.

STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 20th precinct for the week ending Mar 31 Week to Date

Photo by Tony Webster, via Flickr

SENTRY PROTECTS CENTURY

YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE

A sharp-eyed loss prevention officer foiled an alleged tag-switching scheme at the Century 21 store at 1972 Broadway. According to police, on Sunday, Mar. 24, the female store employee a observed a woman removing original sales tags from several items and replacing them with lower-priced tags before attempting to purchase them. The items included a black lace dress valued at $1,359 and a women’s leather jacket selling for $500. Police arrested Sirine Sentissi and charged her with grand larceny.

Apple iPhones keep getting snatched from the hands of unfortunate users. At 7:29 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 24, a 51-year-old woman was walking in front of 140 West 73rd St. when a man came from behind and grabbed her phone out of her hand, police said. The suspect fled west on 73rd as a second man, an apparent accomplice, tried to start a conversation with the victim before fleeing east on 73rd. Police later searched the neighborhood but did not find the suspects. The stolen phone was an iPhone X valued at $1,000.

Year to Date

2019 2018

% Change

2019

2018

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

0

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

2

0

n/a

Robbery

3

0

n/a

14

23

-39.1

Felony Assault

1

2

-50.0

16

20

-20.0

Burglary

2

1

100.0

28

18

55.6

Grand Larceny

6

8

-25.0

112

183

-38.8

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

1

3

-66.7

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Talk to a banker for details. ÃøÓàÓæÞ×àÓáÁÏça_`^_g¶ãá×ÜÓááÝåÜÓàAsk about our business savings rates. ÃøÓàáÏäÏ×ÚÏÐÚÓ×ܵƷȸ·ºÀ»µÁ¸ÁÇ·¾ÂÍÇ·ÈÌÏÜÒʵPortfolio by Wells Fargo]ÑãáâÝÛÓàáÏàÓÓÚ×Õ×ÐÚÓâÝàÓÑÓ×äÓÏÜÏÒÒ×â×ÝÜÏÚÐÝÜãá×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓÝÜâÖÓáÓÏÑÑÝãÜâá3 _ÈÝßãÏÚ×ÔçÔÝàâÖ×áÝøÓàçÝãÛãáâÖÏäÓÏÜÓåÝàÓæ×áâ×ÜÕÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâÏÜÒÓÜàÝÚÚâÖÓÏÑÑÝãÜâ×ÜâÖ×áÝøÓàÐÓâåÓÓÜ^a*`c*`^_gÏÜÒ^c*a_*`^_gÈÖ×áÝøÓà×ááãÐØÓÑââÝÑÖÏÜÕÓÏâÏÜçâ×ÛÓå×âÖÝãâÜÝâ×ÑÓÈÖ×áÝøÓà×áÏäÏ×ÚÏÐÚÓÝÜÚçâÝÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÑãáâÝÛÓàá×ÜâÖÓÔÝÚÚÝå×ÜÕáâÏâÓáµÆ·È ¸·ºÀ»µÁ¸ÁÇ·¾ÂÍÇ·ÈÌÏÜÒʵ½ÜÝàÒÓàâÝÓÏàÜâÖÓÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚ½ÜâÓàÓáâÆÏâÓÝÔ`^f°(ÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓ)çÝãÛãáâÒÓÞÝá×âr`c^^^×ÜÜÓåÛÝÜÓç(ÔàÝÛáÝãàÑÓáÝãâá×ÒÓÝÔËÓÚÚáºÏàÕݶÏÜÙµÝà×âáÏûÚ×ÏâÓá)âÝâÖÓÓÜàÝÚÚÓÒáÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâÏÜÒÛÏ×ÜâÏ×ÜÏÛ×Ü×ÛãÛÒÏ×ÚçÏÑÑÝãÜâÐÏÚÏÜÑÓÝÔr`c^^^ âÖàÝãÕÖÝãââÖÓâÓàÛÝÔâÖ×áÝøÓàÈÖÓÑÝààÓáÞÝÜÒ×ÜÕµÜÜãÏÚÄÓàÑÓÜâÏÕÓÍ×ÓÚÒ(µÄÍ)ÔÝàâÖ×áÝøÓà×á`_^°ÈÖÓÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓå×ÚÚÐÓÏÞÞÚ×ÓÒâÝâÖÓÓÜàÝÚÚÓÒáÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâÔÝàÏÞÓà×ÝÒÝÔ_`ÛÝÜâÖááâÏàâ×ÜÕÝÜâÖÓÒÏâÓâÖÓÏÑÑÝãÜâ×áÓÜàÝÚÚÓÒ×ÜâÖÓÝøÓà¼ÝåÓäÓàÔÝàÏÜçÒÏçÒãà×ÜÕâÖÏâ_`ÛÝÜâÖÞÓà×ÝÒ âÖÏââÖÓÒÏ×ÚçÏÑÑÝãÜâÐÏÚÏÜÑÓ×áÚÓááâÖÏÜâÖÓr`c^^^Û×Ü×ÛãÛâÖÓÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓå×ÚÚÜÝâÏÞÞÚçÏÜÒâÖÓ×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓå×ÚÚàÓäÓàââÝâÖÓáâÏÜÒÏàÒ×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓÏÞÞÚ×ÑÏÐÚÓâÝçÝãàÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâµáÝÔ^`*_c*`^_gâÖÓáâÏÜÒÏàÒ×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓÏÜÒµÄÍÔÝàÏÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâ×ܵƷȸ·ºÀ »µÁ¸ÁÇ·¾ÂÍÇ·ÈÌÏÜÒʵå×âÖÏÜÏÑÑÝãÜâÐÏÚÏÜÑÓÝÔr^^_ÏÜÒÏÐÝäÓ×á^^c°(^^c°µÄÍ)¹ÏÑÖâ×ÓàáÖÝåÜàÓúÓÑâáâÖÓÑãààÓÜâÛ×Ü×ÛãÛÒÏ×ÚçÑÝÚÚÓÑâÓÒÐÏÚÏÜÑÓàÓßã×àÓÒâÝÝÐâÏ×ÜâÖÓÏÞÞÚ×ÑÏÐÚÓµÄͽÜâÓàÓáâ×áÑÝÛÞÝãÜÒÓÒÒÏ×ÚçÏÜÒÞÏ×ÒÛÝÜâÖÚçÈÖÓÏÛÝãÜâÝÔ×ÜâÓàÓáâÓÏàÜÓÒ×áÐÏáÓÒÝÜâÖÓ ÒÏ×ÚçÑÝÚÚÓÑâÓÒÐÏÚÏÜÑÓá×ÜâÖÓÏÑÑÝãÜâÉÞÝÜâÖÓÓæÞ×àÏâ×ÝÜÝÔâÖÓ_`ÛÝÜâÖÞàÝÛÝâ×ÝÜÏÚÞÓà×ÝÒáâÏÜÒÏàÒ×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓáÏÞÞÚçÁ×Ü×ÛãÛâÝÝÞÓÜÏÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâ×ár`cµÛÝÜâÖÚçáÓàä×ÑÓÔÓÓÝÔr_`ÏÞÞÚ×Óá×ÜÏÜçÛÝÜâÖâÖÓÏÑÑÝãÜâÔÏÚÚáÐÓÚÝåÏrac^^Û×Ü×ÛãÛÒÏ×ÚçÐÏÚÏÜÑÓºÓÓáÛÏçàÓÒãÑÓ ÓÏàÜ×ÜÕá½ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓáÏàÓäÏà×ÏÐÚÓÏÜÒáãÐØÓÑââÝÑÖÏÜÕÓå×âÖÝãâÜÝâ×ÑÓËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝÛÏçÚ×Û×ââÖÓÏÛÝãÜâçÝãÒÓÞÝá×ââÝÏÄÚÏâ×ÜãÛÇÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜââÝÏÜÏÕÕàÓÕÏâÓÝÔr_Û×ÚÚ×ÝÜÃøÓàÜÝâÏäÏ×ÚÏÐÚÓâÝÄà×äÏâÓ¶ÏÜÙ×ÜÕÝàËÓÏÚâÖÑãáâÝÛÓàá`µÜÜãÏÚÄÓàÑÓÜâÏÕÓÍ×ÓÚÒ(µÄÍ)×áÓøÓÑâ×äÓÔÝàÏÑÑÝãÜâáÝÞÓÜÓÒ ÐÓâåÓÓÜ^a*`c*`^_gâÝ^c*a_*`^_gÈÖÓ__#ÛÝÜâÖÂÓå¸ÝÚÚÏà·¸áÞÓÑ×ÏÚàÓßã×àÓáÏÛ×Ü×ÛãÛÝÔr`c^^^ÐàÝãÕÖââÝËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝÔàÝÛáÝãàÑÓáÝãâá×ÒÓÝÔËÓÚÚáºÏàÕݶÏÜÙµÝà×âáÏûÚ×ÏâÓáâÝÓÏàÜâÖÓÏÒäÓàâ×áÓÒµÄÍÄãÐÚ×ѺãÜÒáÏÜÒËÖÝÚÓáÏÚÓÏÑÑÝãÜâáÏàÓÜÝâÓÚ×Õ×ÐÚÓÔÝàâÖ×áÝøÓàµÄÍÏááãÛÓá×ÜâÓàÓáâ àÓÛÏ×ÜáÝÜÒÓÞÝá×âãÜâ×ÚÛÏâãà×âç½ÜâÓàÓáâ×áÑÝÛÞÝãÜÒÓÒÒÏ×ÚçÄÏçÛÓÜâÝÔ×ÜâÓàÓáâÝÜ·¸á×áÐÏáÓÒÝÜâÓàÛºÝàâÓàÛáÚÓááâÖÏÜ_`ÛÝÜâÖá(adcÒÏçá)×ÜâÓàÓáâÛÏçÐÓÞÏ×ÒÛÝÜâÖÚçßãÏàâÓàÚçáÓÛ×#ÏÜÜãÏÚÚçÝàÏâÛÏâãà×âç(âÖÓÓÜÒÝÔâÖÓâÓàÛ)ºÝàâÓàÛáÝÔ_`ÛÝÜâÖáÝàÛÝàÓ×ÜâÓàÓáâÛÏçÐÓÞÏ×ÒÛÝÜâÖÚç ßãÏàâÓàÚçáÓÛ×#ÏÜÜãÏÚÚçÝàÏÜÜãÏÚÚçµÔÓÓÔÝàÓÏàÚçå×âÖÒàÏåÏÚå×ÚÚÐÓ×ÛÞÝáÓÒÏÜÒÑÝãÚÒàÓÒãÑÓÓÏàÜ×ÜÕáÝÜâÖ×áÏÑÑÝãÜâÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓáÏàÓÏÞÞÚ×ÑÏÐÚÓâÝâÖÓ×Ü×â×ÏÚâÓàÛÝÔâÖÓ·¸ÝÜÚçµâÛÏâãà×âçâÖÓÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓ·¸å×ÚÚÏãâÝÛÏâ×ÑÏÚÚçàÓÜÓåÔÝàÏâÓàÛÝÔdÛÝÜâÖáÏââÖÓ×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓÏÜÒµÄÍ×ÜÓøÓÑâÔÝà ·¸áÝÜàÓÜÓåÏÚÒÏâÓÜÝâáãÐØÓÑââÝÏÇÞÓÑ×ÏÚÆÏâÓãÜÚÓááâÖÓ¶ÏÜÙÖÏáÜÝâ×ùÓÒçÝãÝâÖÓàå×áÓ_`¸ãÓâÝâÖÓÜÓåÛÝÜÓçàÓßã×àÓÛÓÜâÏÑÑÝãÜâáÛÏçÝÜÚçÐÓÝÞÓÜÓÒÏâçÝãàÚÝÑÏÚÐàÏÜÑÖËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝàÓáÓàäÓáâÖÓà×ÕÖââÝÛÝÒ×ÔçÝàÒ×áÑÝÜâ×ÜãÓâÖÓÝøÓàÏâÏÜçâ×ÛÓå×âÖÝãâÜÝâ×ÑÓÁ×Ü×ÛãÛÜÓåÛÝÜÓçÒÓÞÝá×â àÓßã×àÓÛÓÜâÝÔÏâÚÓÏáâr`c^^^×áÔÝàâÖ×áÝøÓàÝÜÚçÏÜÒÑÏÜÜÝâÐÓâàÏÜáÔÓààÓÒâÝÏÜÝâÖÓàÏÑÑÝãÜââÝßãÏÚ×ÔçÔÝàÏÜçÝâÖÓàÑÝÜáãÛÓàÒÓÞÝá×âÝøÓà½ÔçÝãå×áÖâÝâÏÙÓÏÒäÏÜâÏÕÓÝÔÏÜÝâÖÓàÑÝÜáãÛÓàÒÓÞÝá×âÝøÓààÓßã×à×ÜÕÏÛ×Ü×ÛãÛÜÓåÛÝÜÓçÒÓÞÝá×âçÝãå×ÚÚÐÓàÓßã×àÓÒâÝÒÝáÝå×âÖÏÜÝâÖÓàÜÓåÛÝÜÓç ÒÓÞÝá×âÏááâÏâÓÒ×ÜâÖÓÝøÓààÓßã×àÓÛÓÜâáÏÜÒßãÏÚ×ùÑÏâ×ÝÜáÃøÓàÑÏÜÜÝâÐÓÑÝÛÐ×ÜÓÒå×âÖÏÜçÝâÖÓàÑÝÜáãÛÓàÒÓÞÝá×âÝøÓàÓæÑÓÞââÖÓÄÝàâÔÝÚ×ÝÐçËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝrc^^ÝøÓàÏäÏ×ÚÏÐÚÓÔàÝÛÁÏàÑÖ`c`^_gãÜâ×ÚÁÏça_`^_gÃøÓàÑÏÜÜÝâÐÓàÓÞàÝÒãÑÓÒÞãàÑÖÏáÓÒáÝÚÒâàÏÜáÔÓààÓÒÝàâàÏÒÓÒaÈÖÓÄÝàâÔÝÚ×Ý ÐçËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝÞàÝÕàÏÛÖÏáÏra^ÛÝÜâÖÚçáÓàä×ÑÓÔÓÓåÖ×ÑÖÑÏÜÐÓÏäÝ×ÒÓÒåÖÓÜçÝãÖÏäÓÝÜÓÝÔâÖÓÔÝÚÚÝå×ÜÕßãÏÚ×Ôç×ÜÕÐÏÚÏÜÑÓár`c^^^ÝàÛÝàÓ×ÜßãÏÚ×Ôç×ÜÕÚ×ÜÙÓÒÐÏÜÙÒÓÞÝá×âÏÑÑÝãÜâá(ÑÖÓÑÙ×ÜÕáÏä×ÜÕ᷸Ẹ½·#×ÜáãàÓҽƵá)Ýàrc^^^^ÝàÛÝàÓ×ÜÏÜçÑÝÛÐ×ÜÏâ×ÝÜÝÔßãÏÚ×Ôç×ÜÕÚ×ÜÙÓÒÐÏÜÙ×ÜÕ ÐàÝÙÓàÏÕÓ(ÏäÏ×ÚÏÐÚÓâÖàÝãÕÖËÓÚÚáºÏàÕݵÒä×áÝàáÀÀ·)ÏÜÒÑàÓÒ×âÐÏÚÏÜÑÓá(×ÜÑÚãÒ×ÜÕ_^°ÝÔÛÝàâÕÏÕÓÐÏÚÏÜÑÓáÑÓàâÏ×ÜÛÝàâÕÏÕÓáÜÝâÓÚ×Õ×ÐÚÓ)½ÔâÖÓÄÝàâÔÝÚ×ÝÐçËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝàÓÚÏâ×ÝÜáÖ×Þ×áâÓàÛ×ÜÏâÓÒâÖÓÐÝÜãá×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓÝÜÏÚÚÓÚ×Õ×ÐÚÓáÏä×ÜÕáÏÑÑÝãÜâáÏÜÒÒ×áÑÝãÜâáÝàÔÓÓåÏ×äÓàáÝÜÝâÖÓàÞàÝÒãÑâáÏÜÒ áÓàä×ÑÓáå×ÚÚÒ×áÑÝÜâ×ÜãÓÏÜÒàÓäÓàââÝâÖÓ¶ÏÜÙáâÖÓÜ#ÑãààÓÜâÏÞÞÚ×ÑÏÐÚÓàÏâÓÝàÔÓÓºÝàÐÝÜãá×ÜâÓàÓáâàÏâÓáÝÜâ×ÛÓÏÑÑÝãÜâáâÖ×áÑÖÏÜÕÓå×ÚÚÝÑÑãàãÞÝÜàÓÜÓåÏÚ½ÔâÖÓÄÝàâÔÝÚ×ÝÐçËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝàÓÚÏâ×ÝÜáÖ×Þ×áâÓàÛ×ÜÏâÓÒâÖÓàÓÛÏ×Ü×ÜÕãÜÚ×ÜÙÓÒËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝÄÝàâÔÝÚ×Ý·ÖÓÑÙ×ÜÕÝàËÓÚÚáºÏàÕÝÄà×ÛÓ·ÖÓÑÙ×ÜÕ ÏÑÑÝãÜâå×ÚÚÐÓÑÝÜäÓàâÓÒâÝÏÜÝâÖÓàÑÖÓÑÙ×ÜÕÞàÝÒãÑâÝàÑÚÝáÓÒ \`^_gËÓÚÚáºÏàÕݶÏÜÙµµÚÚà×ÕÖâáàÓáÓàäÓÒ¸ÓÞÝá×âÞàÝÒãÑâáÝøÓàÓÒÐçËÓÚÚáºÏàÕݶÏÜÙµÁÓÛÐÓຸ½·ÂÁÀÇƽ¸aggf^_


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APRIL 11-17,2019


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APRIL 11-17,2019

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

Voices

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

BUILDING HOSPITAL CARE! BY BETTE DEWING

So how was your hospital experience? Hope you didn’t have one, but if so, you likely received a hospital questionnaire posing that question. Mine is filled out with my often out-of-the-box thoughts on how the experience could be better — much better. Stay tuned.

Ask the Patients I also think patients should be consulted about Lenox Hill Hospital’s massive renovation plans. Those who live in the neighborhood will surely object to the sky-high physical expansion, and astute patients in general might say the expansion needed is the number of on-hands

medical care — doctors, nurses and aides. Now, they report, you may wait for hours between any such inperson visits, and isolation is very unhealthy. And while the hospital’s plan to shift to single rooms surely has merit — to be “family-centric” they explain, and no noisy roommates to impede the healing. Ah, but family need should always be stressed, regardless of room size, when it exists along with the need for quiet rooms. As for expanding hospital empathy, all medical personnel need lessons from Dr. Sarah Flannery, who said on my recent visit to Lenox Hill Hospital, “I am really sorry this accident happened to you.” Ah, and expand empathetic and compas-

sionate response teaching not only in medical schools, but in every school, starting from pre-K on out. So many societal ills would be prevented. And don’t we need that.

Change The Lights And this former patient would love to see Lenox Hill and all medical places have sunny-colored rooms and hallways. Forget all that white white. And no super-bright lights except in operating rooms. Ah, incandescent light is surely the healthiest kind, but let the energyefficients they’re obliged to use be the warm-white, not the cold-white kind. Ironically, policymakers have not done their homework on LED lights, which can interfere with

sleep cycles and do visual as well as other potential physical harm. Spea k in g of t h in gs wh ich shouldn’t have been invented — do a search. A search also finds it’s not simplistic for infinitely more smiling, not only in hospitals. Smiling is contagious — and it makes us feel better as well as look better — can’t say that too often. What else do hospitals need? Well for the growing elder population — personnel who speak loudly and distinctly enough. Is that too much to ask, or to be stressed in medical schools what with an aging population and patients whose English is not proficient? Ah, and it surely helps the quality of care if patients commend exceptionally caring hospital personnel. I did that, but unfortunately did not report a disrespectful aide; a potential problem with all personnel in need of more discussion and reporting.

How About a Chapel?

Oh, and volunteers couldn’t be more needed, especially for patients without family or other caring people around. More attention must be paid for the care patients need later at home, not only the “hired help” but the community and the neighborly kind. So in need of a mighty revival is Hubert Humphrey’s great belief that “The impersonal hand of government can never replace the caring hand and of a neighbor,” if enough Include it in Easter and Passover sermons and prayers. And how could I forget — the hospital sure needs a chapel, yes. even for non-believers who need a serene and quiet place to rest and yes, to meditate. Meditation also needs a great revival to prevent illness and expand the caring. Expand the caring — that’s what we need most. And it can be done if enough of us try ... if enough of us try ... dewingbetter@aol.com

SILENT CITY

most of the sightseers away, and you can watch the pond by the Dakota in silence. If you saunter in far enough, the sounds of the city slowly dissipate until all you can hear are your shoes beating against the asphalt. The skeletal trees stand tall in the wind, their disfigured branches reaching up to touch the gray sky. There is only the soft rustle of their fingers brushing together to keep you company. You walk for as long as it takes to catch up with yourself again. Seclusion can be found in the darkest corner of the Museum of Natural History. Past the Hall of Biodiversity is the Hall of Ocean Life. Though there are school field trips being led in single file lines, and toddlers running amok around the carpeted floor, all noise disappears as you stand and stare at the behemoth of an exhibit in front of you. The giant sperm whale seems to be swimming right out of the wall. He is satisfied, a smug grin on his mammoth face as he clamps down on the red squid resting in his mouth. The kids stay away from this corner — in the dim light of the room, the squid and the whale are terrifying monsters lurking in the dark. It is quiet enough that you can finally hear yourself think. You ponder how small we truly

BY CARLY TAGEN-DYE

You are quiet, and you know that. It has been pointed out to you more times than you can count, often by teachers irritated by the fact you don’t participate in class, or by peers who act surprised you can even talk at all. New York City might not be the best place to move if you are anxious and introverted. To you, however, it is the only place big enough to swallow a person whole. So you go. Despite the cabs honking at all hours of the night and the ever-present sounds of rush hour traffic — despite the crowds, the congestion, and the chaos — New York is not as loud as you anticipated it would be. This city can be silent when you want it to. You can make it as peaceful as you need. There is an abundance of serenity right in the middle of Manhattan. Take the C train to West 72nd Street, and enter Central Park through Strawberry Fields. Make sure to go on a Sunday morning in January, though, when the bitter cold is enough to keep

Photo: Andres Alvarado via Flickr

are when there are creatures of this size roaming the depths of the ocean. All other sounds fade. Silence comes in the first snowfall you’ve seen all season. It starts slowly, a single flake flurrying to the ground, until its friends follow suit. They twist and twirl, like delicate dancers performing a routine. The world is coated in white; peaceful, for a few swift seconds. People push past you on the sidewalk, in a hurry to get to their apartments, offices, or nearest subway stations to escape the biting cold. Within minutes, the sidewalks are much emptier. For a moment, you feel as if you are the only person on earth, caught up in the sudden storm. The trees, bare branches dusted by frost, look like the ones outside your childhood bedroom window. For a split second, you are back in the town you grew up in; ever-silent and still. The snow reminds you of home. Through these gentle glimpses, you begin to see New York as home too. You are quiet, and you know that. Perhaps this city is just like you. Carly Tagen-Dye is a freshman in the Writing B.F.A. Program at Pratt Institute

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Director of Digital Pete Pinto Director, Arts & Entertainment Alizah Salario


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

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NEIGHBORHOODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEST Dick Traum started the Achilles International handcycle program. Photo: Meredith Kurz

NOTHING STOPS THESE ATHLETES ACTIVITIES Achilles International provides people with disabilities the opportunity to compete and the support they need to achieve their goals BY MEREDITH KURZ

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hydraulic fuel leak,â&#x20AC;? Lou Chinal heard in his helmet radio. His colonel, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d seen the fluid coming out of Louâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Navy jet while ďŹ&#x201A;ying nearby, continued, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to jettison.â&#x20AC;?

I assumed parachutes were parked on a jet pilotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back, and up and out theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d go. I was wrong, as Lou explained on a recent morning. The Martin Baker (MB) is an ejection seat kit. When you deploy your MB, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep your elbows in,â&#x20AC;? Lou told me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep them in, when you eject youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll either lose â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;em or break â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;em.â&#x20AC;? Lou showed me the correct way to eject from a jet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reach your arms up overhead, like this,â&#x20AC;? he said, looking like he was doing a tight pull up from a seated position. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elbows in, then pull down.â&#x20AC;?

The ejection seat kits come with an inďŹ&#x201A;atable life raft, and oxygen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three different kinds of oxygen on an aircraft carrier,â&#x20AC;? Lou told me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pilots get the one thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completely dry, no moisture, so it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t freeze up in high altitude.â&#x20AC;? During ejection, the clear canopy over the cockpit blows off and the pilot is ďŹ&#x201A;ung into the air. Louâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s canopy came off, his parachute unfurled, but, twisting, got caught in its own lines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was a partial open,â&#x20AC;? he explained.

Features select Business & Services catering to residents in Manhattan. Neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best appears weekly and is distributed to 60,000 households throughout. Space is limited so please contact Douglas at 212.868.0190 ext. 352 to discuss availability.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;No judgment to ďŹ t in or be the sameâ&#x20AC;Ś. As soon as I came to Oakwood I felt welcome. The seniors talk to the freshmen, and this sense of community creates an environment in which we are encouraged to push ourselves and try new things. I learned right away that Oakwood would give me the help and attention with my classes that other schools could not. Oakwood has challenged me and expanded my view of what is possible and I am becoming a more confident learner each day!â&#x20AC;? Liza E., Hopewell Junction, NY

April 11 - May 30 NEW YORK EXPERIENCED American Folk Art Museum 2 Lincoln Square 11:30 a.m. Free folkartmuseum.org 212-595-9533 This exhibit explores the connection between self-taught art and the New York spirit through a selection of works from the American Folk Art Museumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collection of art made in the greater New York City area.

On a picturesque coed campus, infused with nature, Oakwood Friends School, guided by Quaker principles, prepares students for lives of achievement, accomplishment, compassion and conscience. Upper School Day & Boarding Programs (5 and 7-day) Middle School Day Program Middle and Upper Schools Open House Student-led campus tours and meetings with faculty and Head of School Sat/Sun April 27 & 28 at Noon Sat/Sun May 4 & 5 at Noon For more info or to join us, write or call: admissions@oakwoodfriends.org â&#x20AC;˘ (845) 462-4200 22 Spackenkill Road, Poughkeepsie, NY

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Your neighborhood news source

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Thu 11

Fri 12

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LA CLEMENZA DI TITO

â&#x2013;˛ WHEN MICHELANGELO WAS MODERN: THE ART MARKET AND COLLECTING IN ITALY, 1450â&#x20AC;&#x201C;1650

START A REVOLUTION FILM SERIES: KADDISH (1984)

The Metropolitan Opera 30 Lincoln Center Plaza 8:00 p.m. $30 Mozartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opera of vengeance and forgiveness, set during the Roman Empire, stars Elza van den Heever as Vitellia, with Ying Fang, Emily Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Angelo, and Christian Van Horn completing the principal cast. Lothar Koenigs conducts. metopera.org 212-362-6000

The Frick 1 East 70th St 3:15 p.m. $35 This event examines the forces that motivated Italian collectors and patrons of the 15th, 16th and early 17th centuries to support artists and encourage innovative ideas that today are recognized as having transformed the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s status from craftsman to celebrity. frick.org 212-288-0700

Webster Library 1465 York Ave 2:00 p.m. Free This documentary, ďŹ lmed over a ďŹ ve-year period, uses interviews, period footage and home movies to follow Yossi Kleinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s odyssey as writer/ activist battling fear and uncertainty and endeavoring to come to terms with his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s traumatic legacy. nypl.org 212-288-5049


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ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL

Sun 14 Mon 15 Tue 16 OPEN STUDIO FOR FAMILIES The Guggenheim 1071 Fifth Ave 1:00 p.m Free with museum admission For families with children ages 3 and up. Explore the themes and materials seen in the works on view at our drop-in studio art-making program. guggenheim.org 212-423-3500

▲ SKYE & MASSIMO’S PHILOSOPHY CAFE: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TIME New York Society for Ethical Culture 2 West 64th St 6:00 p.m. $5 This café is run by philosophers Skye Cleary and Massimo Pigliucci. It is based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. The meeting features an open discussion among participants, facilitated by Skye and Massimo, aiming at sharpening our thinking about whatever subject matter is being examined. nysec.org 212-874-5210

EMMET COHEN TRIO Dizzy’s Club 10 Columbus Circle 7:30 p.m. $45 This set features this jazz trio, who have recently been named the winners of the American Pianists Association Competition. jazz.org 212-258-9595

Wed 17 ◄ JANNY SCOTT ON THE BENEFICIARY Book Culture 450 Columbus Ave 7:00 p.m. Free Join as Janny Scott discusses her new book, “The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father.” nypl.org 212-595-1962

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Portrait of a woman holding a spindle and distaff and flanked by lion handles (c. 120 A.D.) came from Palmyra, and is on loan from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Photo: Adel Gorgy

A startlingly modern looking face on a stele from Southwestern Arabia (early first century) is on loan from the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Adel Gorgy.

VOICES PAST AND PRESENT Art and objects from the ancient Middle East embody both the fleeting nature of time and the enduring impact of long-ago cultures BY MARY GREGORY

Even goddesses can be hard to recognize. This alabaster statuette has been identified by curators as an image of Ishtar. Photo: Adel Gorgy

Entering the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition, “The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East,” filled with images of deities, war paraphernalia, funerary objects, coins, and relics of everyday life, one feels the presence of two millennia filled with history, spirituality, culture and conflict. Names and borders are different, but the timeless gazes of portraits and the surprisingly familiar aesthetic of the works remind us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Close to 200 works, including many important international loans, come together to give a sense of ancient places like Petra, Mesopotamia, and Palmyra, and of cultures like the Nabataeans and Phoenicians. Separate sections of the exhibition focus on areas of the Middle East, stretching from Yemen to Syria, from 100 B.C. to 250 A.D. Along with art and artifacts are photographs, maps, and video bringing the

past and present together. “In focusing on an area of the world that has been deeply affected by recent conflicts and the destruction of sites, monuments, and objects, this show also engages with complex questions about the preservation of cultural heritage,” stated Max Hollein, director of The Met.

A Ruby-Eyed, Alabaster Beauty The exhibition organizers, Michael Seymour and Blair Fowlkes-Childs, highlight a three-century long contest between the powerful Roman and Parthian empires for control of the trade routes of the ancient Middle East, and the ways that local cultures evaded their influences. Distinct societies and diverse religions flourished. The diminutive work that opens the exhibition is stunning and challenging. It’s a small alabaster statuette, about the size of a hand, on loan from the Louvre. Delicately modeled, with articulating arms, the female figure wears a gold necklace, earrings and crown and has inlaid rubies in her eyes and navel. FowlkesChilds remarks in the audio accompanying the work that the sculpture came from a grave in ancient Mesopotamia. While the portrayal might seem simi-

lar to Aphrodite or Venus, she says “these questions of divine identity are not always easy to solve.” Seymour later adds that they believe the statue depicts Ishtar of Babylon. But, he points out, “She is being represented in new ways.” Among the highlights is a beautiful wall plaque of a cheetah with charming incised circles indicating its spotted fur, from Palmyra in the third century. In the gallery featuring works from southwestern Arabia, the vivid realism of an elegant bronze horse contrasts with an extraordinarily modern-looking, abstracted face carved in a stele of stone, though they come from about the same place and time (first to second century).

The Push and Pull of Time Some of the things in the exhibition are startling because we know them, but never imagined we’d see them, like the humble unglazed pottery jar that once held the Dead Sea Scrolls. Others are astonishing because of their anonymity. Who knew that two extremely rare early paintings of Jesus on view here belong to the collection of nearby Yale University? Still others are compelling because, despite the 2,000 years that have passed, they seem so

familiar, like glasses and jars from Tyre and Sidon. The cities, the wall texts explain, had particularly fine sand for glassmaking, and became famous for their glassware. There’s a constant sense of the push and pull of time as one passes through the galleries. At one moment it all seems so distant, at another, so near. And that seems to be part of the point. Wall texts throughout the exhibition discuss the destruction of cultural heritage so problematic today. A group of experts appear in videos discussing the tragic losses of artworks across the region. But they also present ideas for the future, offering hope. A particularly poignant carved wall plaque remains in memory after walking among treasures from cultures enduring and long forgotten. It’s an altar, praising the goodness, mercy and power of god, but leaving that god unnamed.

IF YOU GO WHAT: The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East WHERE: The Met 1000 Fifth Avenue, Gallery 899 WHEN: Through June 23, 2019


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2019

WESTY

WEST SIDE SPIRIT

AWARDS THANKS YOU Barbara Adler Columbus Ave BID

Norma Levy New Plaza Cinema

Nathalie Le Douaron Cadou & Loic Cadou

Marie Carmel Garcon

La Mirabelle

Columbia School of Nursing

Deputy Inspector Timothy J. Malin

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

NYPD

U.S. Congress

Sean Khorsandi

Kathy Landau

Mark Levine

Landmark West

Symphony Space

NY City Council

Liana Pai

Eduardo Vilaro

Rev. Schuyler Vogel

Liana

Ballet Hispanico

Fourth Universalist Society


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AN AVENUE TRANSFORMED As she starts a new chapter in her life of community service, Barbara Adler, founding executive director of Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, can take great pride in the reinvigorated, and flowerlined, corridor

just seems like it’s time,” she said. Under Adler’s leadership, the Columbus Avenue BID has grown from a nascent local coalition to a small but formidable organization that can claim a large measure of credit for the welcoming atmosphere that defines the avenue.

Cleaner, Shadier and More Colorful BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

As Upper West Siders enjoy Columbus Avenue this spring — taking in the scent of blooming daffodils while ambling from store to store or soaking up sun while enjoying lunch in an outdoor café — they would do well to reflect for a few moments on the many contributions of Barbara Adler. After dedicating the last 20 years to the beautification and betterment of this beloved thoroughfare, Adler will soon step down as executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID). “It

The BID maintains the 120 tree beds and 22 pedestrian mall planters that line Columbus Avenue between West 67th and West 82nd Streets, providing shade and floral splendor to the throngs that flood the avenue’s sidewalks. It is also responsible for the Doe Fund sanitation teams that regularly patrol the avenue, cleaning up litter and graffiti and painting benches and tree guards. “The idea is to make Columbus Avenue as green and sustainable and attractive as we possibly can,” Adler said. This commitment to creating an inviting, well-maintained

avenue resulted in the wholesale transformation of the formerly drab block of fence-lined sidewalk between West 76th and West 77th Streets along the O’Shea School Complex schoolyard. The BID’s sustainable streetscape project, designed in collaboration with the Department of Transportation, added new trees, lush plantings, benches, solar-powered lighting and a bioswale water retention system. These efforts have paid dividends for residents, landlords and merchants alike. When Adler joined the BID as its founding executive director in 1999, Columbus Avenue was in the midst of an extensive street reconstruction project that disrupted pedestrian traffic and retail patterns, leading to vacancies and high turnover among local businesses. “The challenge was bringing Columbus Avenue back to all that it could be,” she said.

The idea is to make Columbus Avenue as green and sustainable and attractive as we possibly can.” Barbara Adler, founding executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District

Barbara Adler has been working to improve Columbus Avenue since 1999. Photo: Courtesy Columbus Avenue BID

A Healthy Retail Community Now, during an era in which empty storefronts have become a central feature of many of Manhattan’s signature shopping districts, Columbus Avenue enjoys a 95 percent occupancy rate within the BID’s territory. “We have a group of property owners who understand what sells here on Columbus Avenue,” Adler said. With its distinctive blend of storefronts housed in historic buildings, Columbus Avenue has maintained a cohesive neighborhood feel that makes it a vital resource for locals as well as a shopping destination for visitors drawn by the American Museum of Natural History. The BID’s Taste of the Upper

West Side fund-raiser, now in its 12th year, has become a yearly showcase for the vibrant local dining scene that serves to benefit the neighborhood. “We dedicate every penny from the event back to the community either in the form of projects or donations,” Adler said. With proceeds from Taste of the Upper West Side, she said, the BID purchased Bigbelly trash cans that have helped curb the rat population in Theodore Roosevelt Park, and makes annual contributions to the nonprofit Wellness in the Schools.

Preserving the Best of the Past One of the BID’s latest undertakings has been to formally catalogue Columbus Avenue’s past. The BID is working with a Columbia-educated oral his-

torian who has conducted dozens of hours of interviews with notable local figures, such as former Council Member Ronnie Eldridge and Michael Weinstein, the restaurateur behind longtime neighborhood favorite Museum Café. The collection will be housed for posterity at the New-York Historical Society, and Adler hopes that locals will contribute memorabilia for an eventual exhibit. “This is probably our most exciting project right now,” Adler said, adding that the interviews are halfway completed. Though she’ll be leaving her post as executive director in the months to come, she plans to stay involved in the oral history project, which holds special significance to her as an Upper West Side native. So what’s next for Barbara Adler? She’s reapplied to Community Board 7, which she served on for 22 years, and she’ll continue her work on the board of Friends of Roosevelt Park. But she’s also keeping an open mind to new possibilities. “I don’t think of it as retiring,” Adler said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I do know that I’m going to do something.”

CONGRATULATIONS, CONGRESSMAN NADLER THIS YEAR'S WESTY HONOREE, OUR CHAMPION AND FEARLESS LEADER FOR THE WEST SIDE The Board of Directors of the Columbus Avenue BID congratulates

Barbara Adler, Executive Director & all the 2019 WESTY Award Recipients


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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE 2019 â&#x20AC;&#x153;WESTYâ&#x20AC;? WINNERS:

Barbara Adler Nathalie Le Douaron Cadou & Loic Cadou Marie Carmel Garcon Sean Khorsandi Kathy Landau Mark Levine Norma Levy Deputy Inspector Timothy J. Malin Rep. Jerrold Nadler Liana Pai

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ALL IN THE FAMILY Nathalie le Douaron Cadou started in the coat room as a teenager in the restaurant her mother owned. Now she and her husband Loic Cadou run La Mirabelle BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

The story of La Mirabelle restaurant on West 86th Street is the story of a family. It began in France, where Nathalie le Douaron Cadou’s mother Annick was from. Her mother moved to New York in her 20’s and, like many of her compatriots, opened a restaurant. Though they moved locations in 1988, La Mirabelle is largely the same place it was 35 years ago. It has a homey feel, with pastoral paintings by one of the staff adorning the walls. Nathalie runs the place now, with her husband Loic, working alongside many of the same people and seeing the same customers she has seen since she started in the coat room as a teenager. “We’re just trying to keep her legacy going,” Nathalie says. The menu boasts the same French

dishes — escargots, pâté, sweetbreads — that, while classic, are hard to find these days. One of the waitresses, who sings Edith Piaf to diners on request, was there when Nathalie was born. Nathalie’s cousins work there; her aunt used to work there; Loic’s mother used to work there; each of their brothers was the chef at one point; their daughter just started working there. “We’re either related or we’ve known each other so long that we consider each other family,” Nathalie says. Loic estimates that 85 percent of the customers are regulars. What has changed since 1984, Nathalie says, is the rent: “For small businesses like us it’s very hard to survive.” She recalls looking for the current location with her mother, who passed away in 2015, and wanting to stay on the Upper West Side so they could stay in the community they’d built. They got lucky with the current spot, where they’ve been since 1988, and its supportive landlord. Nathalie and Loic still consider themselves lucky to have lasted this long. They got an influx of customers

APRIL 11-17,2019

I was lucky enough that Loic came to work for my mom and that’s where we met.” Nathalie le Douaron Cadou, of her husband Loic Cadou

Loic and Nathalie le Douaron Cadou at La Mirabelle. Photo: Madeleine Thompson last summer when one of their peers, who had been around almost as long, closed down. “If you don’t own the building,” Loic says. La Mirabelle owns its space — not its building — and has eight years left on its lease. Nathalie isn’t sure if they’ll be able to stick around when it’s up, though she has no plans to close. Nathalie didn’t plan to take over her mother’s business. She went to college and was expecting to go back for

her master’s, but after taking a year off to help out at the restaurant she never left. “It took me going to college, maybe, to find out that this is what I wanted to do,” she says. “I was lucky enough that Loic came to work for my mom and that’s where we met.” Loic joined was in high-end restaurant service when the place he worked closed, and in 2005 joined La Mirabelle while looking for another high-end restaurant job. He, too, never left.

Nathalie and Loic make a strong, efficient team, tackling everything from accounting to plumbing. Between the two they’ve held most of the jobs there, both front- and back-of-house, and have found their experiences only benefit their ability to manage. Together they have two daughters and a son. One of their daughters buses tables and the other helps out in the coat room. “They both think that they want to take over the restaurant,” Nathalie says, laughing. Their son is only 10 but Loic joked they’ll soon put him to work washing dishes. The family spends time together on Sundays and Monday evenings, when Nathalie’s cousin manages the restaurant. To those considering opening a restaurant on the Upper West Side, the pair advises them to own their own space. “And have a good chef,” Loic adds.


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SHE BRINGS THE HEALING TO PATIENTS Nurse practitioner Marie Carmel Garcon makes house calls to those who can’t get to hospital visits BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

Marie Carmel Garcon is not in a hurry. When she shows up at a patient’s house, she has no plans for how long she’ll stay or what time she’ll leave. That’s part of what makes her a miracle in the eyes of her patients and their families. Garcon has been a nurse practitioner for 31 years and at ColumbiaDoctors’ Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group for 17 of those. For the past two years, Garcon has founded and run a program that makes house calls to patients who can’t get to hospital visits. The program is her dream, and it makes every day of work “priceless,” she says. “To me nursing is a vocation. All these years I’ve been doing great, but this one is my niche.” Born in Haiti, Garcon moved to New York as a teenager. Though she couldn’t speak English at the time, she was an excellent student — always reading and hanging out with

[Patients] always have stories to tell you. Stories that you don’t have time to go sit in the library to learn. They tell you the story of the community, the building where they live.” Nurse practitioner Marie Carmel Garcon nurses to learn more — and got a job at New York-Presbyterian after graduating from community college. She has worked in infectious diseases, hemodialysis and heart transplants, among many others, and gotten two masters degrees as well as a doctorate. Throughout her career, Garcon had always been perplexed by the puzzle of patients who made multiple hospital visits, sometimes with vague symptoms that were hard to diagnose. “My goal was always, let me see

what’s going on at home that’s stopping them from taking care of themself,” she said. Sure enough, upon visiting elderly patients Garcon would discover that they were often confused about their medication and didn’t take it. Or they lived on a high floor in a building with no elevator and were too frail to make their follow-up appointments. So she decided to bring the healing to them.

Assembling a team Garcon brings the lab tests and xrays to her 121 patients, deliberately cycling her way through them over and over, visiting up to six patients in a day. “I assess them, diagnose them and treat them at home,” she says. But she gets something out of it, too: a rich oral history of her patients’ lives. “They always have stories to tell you,” she says. “Stories that you don’t have time to go sit in the library to learn. They tell you the story of the community, the building where they live.” Perhaps her most difficult feat is coordinating care between all of a patients’ providers. Garcon will assemble a team of social workers, doc-

LEADING THE CHARGE When a good preservation fight is brewing, Sean Khorsandi of Landmark West! is likely to be there BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

Sean Khorsandi at Landmark West! offices on West 67th Street. Photo: Madeleine Thompson

The offices of Landmark West! on West 67th Street are a time capsule. Over the cabinets in the kitchen area there’s a huge sign reading “Eclair” in loopy script that was saved from the dumpster; it used to hang above the beloved 72nd Street coffee shop that closed down. There’s a wall covered in accolades and proclamations, including one from former mayor Rudy Giuliani congratulating the organization on its 15th anniversary. Even the hulking metal file cabinets were salvaged from the offices of ABC when its was headquartered nearby — some still have their news-related label stickers. At 37 years old, Sean Khorsandi might be one of the youngest things in the room. Khorsandi is the executive director of Landmark West!, a nonprofit that works to protect the Upper West Side’s architectural and cultural icons. Between 59th and 110th Streets

it oversees three scenic landmarks (Central Park, Riverside Park and Verdi Square), around 60 individual landmarks and a network of historic districts. That may seem like a lot, but the organization has plenty of work yet to do. “All of Lincoln Center could be torn down if they felt like it because it has no historic district protections,” Khorsandi says. The performing arts complex is on the organization’s “wish list” of places for which it hopes to win landmark status. Other wish-list items include the Amsterdam Houses, West End Presbyterian Church and IRT electrical substation number 14 on West 96th Street. Landmark West! was founded to create the Central Park West-76th Street Historic District, which it achieved in 1973. That was eight years after the Landmarks Law passed, creating the Landmarks Preservation Commission to prevent major alteration of the city’s character.

Politics and architecture Khorsandi is a native New Yorker who grew up in Queens, where he still lives. Asked why he feels so drawn to the Upper West Side, he says the UWS

tors and supporting aid like Meals on Wheels to ensure her patients are cared for even when she’s not around. She speaks to those team members at all hours of the day, often when walking between her patients’ homes. Garcon’s program operates mostly in Upper Manhattan and Washington Heights. Dana Minaya, whose husband Frank has heart failure, has been working with Garcon for a little over a year after finding out about her through a social worker. “When I talk about it with friends they think it’s a miracle, and it is,” Minaya says. “[Frank] is a person that has very, very low energy levels, and you would almost want to deny yourself certain appointments because it’s so difficult for him, but she’s been able to have blood work drawn here.” Minaya is now able to continue her community responsibilities like maintaining the gardens and organizing exercise programs for neighborhood seniors. “I’ve lost a lot of my anxiety,” Minaya says. Anyone who’s ever been in Garcon’s presence feels the glow of her attention right away. With a warm smile

As a society we have a right to a neighborhood or a cohesive sense of place.” Sean Khorsandi, executive director, Landmark West!

is the second-densest neighborhood in the country, so “there’s a lot at stake.” Trained in architecture at Cooper Union and then at Yale, Khorsandi also has an eye for the structures that make a place stand out. He worked on a lot of art conservation labs and had the chance to explore a massive archive of files of the famed architect Eero Saarinen. “I got to work with all this original documentation that had been sleeping for four decades in the attic,” he remembers. He loved knowing there were more secrets out there. His education also included a push to get involved in politics in order to “truly have a sense of shaping” the field of architecture. “So much of what you do on a day-to-day is based in code, is based in policy, based in local zoning,” he says. “It’s so much more bureaucratic that one would ever imagine. So one might say I doubled down

“To me nursing is a vocation,” says Marie Carmel Garcon. Photo: Madeleine Thompson and an air of kind efficiency, Garcon combines thorough care with attentiveness in a manner rare for today’s age of the hustle. She brings the same approach to her life outside of work, in which she is collecting her patients’ stories for an eventual memoir that she writes bits of whenever she has a free moment. She lives in New City, NY and likes to travel, volunteer at church and spend time with her two children, ages 22 and 19, whom she sometimes brings with her on patient visits.

on the bureaucracy.” But Khorsandi brings a different, more nuanced perspective to his job that prevents him from seeing those who want to make their mark on New York as villains. In fact, he insists Landmark West! isn’t “anti development.” “We’re pro smart development, we’re pro community planning, we’re pro community involvement,” he says. “We want the city to be the best it can be.” So wherever there’s a good preservation fight brewing, even if it’s not on the Upper West Side, you’re likely to find Khorsandi and Landmark West! leading the charge. “As a society we have a right to a neighborhood or a cohesive sense of place,” he says. One building the organization is fighting for is 200 Amsterdam Ave., a 52-story residential tower that will take the place of the former Lincoln Square Synagogue. A court recently ruled that the developers should not have been issued a permit — a promising move for opponents of the controversial project. When he’s not rallying New Yorkers around one landmark or another, Khorsandi can be found in Queens with a feral cat he helped rescue. He also teaches history and architecture theory at the New York Institute of Technology. He’s working on a book about a famous architect.


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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ALL INâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; AT SYMPHONY SPACE Kathy Landau creates a sense of community at the UWS cultural center that attracts audiences from around the world BY CHRISTOPHER MOORE

Kathy Landau is coming home. Landau, the executive director of Symphony Space, was born on the Upper West Side, and grew up in New York and in Los Angeles. She and husband Michael Kantor, an executive producer of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;American Mastersâ&#x20AC;? series on PBS moved to Westchester County 12 years ago so that their three children could have a shared experience in the same schools. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We moved for the children and it was wonderful,â&#x20AC;? she says, recounting how the family held movie parties on the lawn for neighbors. But things change. The kids are 23, 21 and 18 now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our children are not coming back to live in the suburbs,â&#x20AC;? she says. So she and Kantor have just put the Edgemont house up for sale. A new life in the city awaits. She certainly already has a job here. Landau, 54, has been at Symphony

Space for two and a half years. She sits in her upstairs office, the old vintage numbers that used to be on the outside of the theater decorating the wall to her left. To her right, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a container full of Tab, the beverage she fell in love with in high school. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not a throwback. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a loyalist,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a difference. When I believe in something, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m all in.â&#x20AC;? She sounds like sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all in at Symphony Space, where 160,000 people come through the doors each year. The largest portion of the cultural centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s audience comes from the Upper West Side, but visitors arrive from around the globe, too. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing is that we have audience members from all 50 states and 45 countries,â&#x20AC;? she says.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Assume Best Intentions Alwaysâ&#x20AC;? In its 41st year, Symphony Space presents literature, ďŹ lm, theater and an ahead-of-its-time educational program, which back in the 1980s underscored that multiple histories should be told. The curriculum hits on Africa, Asia, Latin America and Native America. Landau recounts how the multidisciplinary and multi-venue platform began when Symphony Space threw

open the doors of an abandoned theater and invited the community in. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And that sense of community is our DNA,â&#x20AC;? she says, giving credit to Isaiah Sheffer, the founder and longtime artistic director who died in 2012. For her part, Landau is proud of her role in bringing together â&#x20AC;&#x153;the staff, board and key stakeholders to deďŹ ne who we are, clarify the mission and set a path to the future.â&#x20AC;? She and her team decided against replacing the last artistic director, Andrew Byrne, who returned about a year ago to Australia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We decided we were going to build strength within the genres themselves instead of expecting one person to have strength in all of them,â&#x20AC;? she says, explaining how many organizations are single-art-form endeavors, concentrating in theater, dance or opera. Are there ďŹ ghts over programming, like when the desires of longstanding patrons come up against initiatives for new audiences? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fight. We have healthy discourse,â&#x20AC;? she says, laughing. Then she gets serious. Her two management tips: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Assume best intentions alwaysâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Be kinder than you have to be.â&#x20AC;?

I get to say I love what I do, because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m learning all the time.â&#x20AC;? Kathy Landau, executive director, Symphony Space Landau in her Symphony Space office, with Tab. Photo: Christopher Moore

An artistic family There are challenges, and the old subscription model is â&#x20AC;&#x153;waning â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s putting it mildly.â&#x20AC;? She doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like having to say no to coworkers or artists with good ideas that just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ďŹ t the current plan. But she maintains she has the best job in the world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am around smart, creative, interesting, passionate people doing smart, creative, passionate work all the time ... Not everyone gets to say they love what they do. And I get to say I love what I do, because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m learning all the time.â&#x20AC;? The Brown graduate grew up in an artistic family. Her parents were ďŹ lm producers. Her sister Tina Landau is a famous playwright; brother Jon Landau produced â&#x20AC;&#x153;Titanic,â&#x20AC;? among other ďŹ lms.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m the black sheep of the family,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every artist needs an audience. I am behind the scenesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;head cheerleader and advocate.â&#x20AC;? Clearly she advocates for Symphony Space. The organization hosts â&#x20AC;&#x153;Selected Shorts,â&#x20AC;? readings of short stories by famous actors, and the series plays on 150 public radio stations across the nation. The show travels too. Landau says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have three people on an airplane right now going to L.A. because this weekend we have three shows at the Getty Museum.â&#x20AC;? In a digital age, customers in search of culture can find options on their phones. But Landau believes deeply in live performance, and she stresses that Symphony Space productions give artists time and space to do things they do not do anywhere else. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are not another stop on the tour,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pretty much everything we produce is one-night-only and only at Symphony Space.â&#x20AC;?

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APRIL 11-17,2019

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

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As a proud West Side institution, the Museum congratulates all the winners of the 2019 WESTY Awards.

17


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APRIL 11-17,2019

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

A FOCUS ON â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;HUMAN CONNECTIONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; City Council Member Mark Levine on his â&#x20AC;&#x153;dream-come-trueâ&#x20AC;? job â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and exploring a run for borough president BY CHRISTOPHER MOORE

The switch saved money, which is good. But even without the ďŹ nancial beneďŹ ts, it was the right thing to do. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how City Council Member Mark Levine describes his ďŹ rst-in-thenation law guaranteeing New Yorkers a right to counsel in housing court. He was a lead sponsor of the legislation, which is rolling out over a ďŹ ve-year period. The law will cost $150 million a year eventually, but spending $2,000 up front for an attorney costs less than the average $40,000 a year needed to shelter a family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Honestly, even if it werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t for that, this is a question of justice,â&#x20AC;? Levine says in an interview at the table in his district office on West 141st Street, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and I believe that no one who is facing a life-altering judgment should have to confront that fate without an attorney.â&#x20AC;? He would like to see the right to a city-paid attorney extended to com-

mercial tenants threatened with eviction proceedings. Levine sees the legal aid legislation as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;game-changer for tenants.â&#x20AC;? He heralds the 37 percent decline in eviction rates, and argues landlords are bringing fewer cases in court. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s certainly my biggest accomplishment in my ďŹ ve years,â&#x20AC;? says Levine, who will be turning 50 this month. He won his District 7 seat in 2013 and again in 2017. Levine, a graduate of Haverford College with a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, began his career as a math and science teacher in the South Bronx. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a longtime Washington Heights resident, married with two boys, 19 and 15. He and his wife, Ivelisse Suarez, have a â&#x20AC;&#x153;trilingualâ&#x20AC;? home, starting with Spanish and including English and Hebrew. He says itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been â&#x20AC;&#x153;life-changing to learn another languageâ&#x20AC;? and maintains he would have no political career without the lingual dexterity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It opens up a whole new world of understanding, of relationships, or professional opportunities, identity. And to be able to read the Torah in the original lan-

Development should be consistent with the scale and character and history of existing neighborhoods.â&#x20AC;?

guage is a profoundly powerful and spiritual experience.â&#x20AC;?

Bringing People Together As a candidate, he was able to knock on doors in his plurality-Latino district and then talk easily about issues to his would-be constituents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you remove the communication barriers, the opportunity for human connection is really profound,â&#x20AC;? he says. District 7 ranges from Washington Heights to West Harlem to Morningside Heights to a piece of the West Side. While diverse, the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s different areas share common concerns. Levine says tenants face rising rents and overly aggressive landlords from 96th to 165th streets. Mass transportation is slow and streets can be difficult to navigate quickly. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been heartening to me to see the number of common interests in a district thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so diverse,â&#x20AC;? he says. Political observers looking to the future wonder where Levine might work in the future. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s widely expected to run for Manhattan borough president when incumbent Gale Brewer is termlimited in 2021. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am very seriously exploring a

Council Member Mark Levine

Levine heralds the 37 percent decline in eviction rates as â&#x20AC;&#x153;my biggest accomplishment in my ďŹ ve years.â&#x20AC;? Photo: Christopher Moore campaign for borough president,â&#x20AC;? he acknowledges. The job is appealing, he says, because he could help shape whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s built across the borough. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Development should be consistent with the scale and character and history of existing neighborhoods,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to see 45-story glass towers going up in Morningside Heights ... [or] 100-story towers going up on 57th Street that are casting mile-long shadows into Central Park.â&#x20AC;?

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APRIL 11-17,2019

SAVING WEST SIDE CINEMA When a neighborhood temple of foreign and independent film closed down, Norma Levy rallied her fellow movie lovers BY EMILY HIGGENBOTHAM

At about the same time Norma Levy was falling for the man who would become her husband, she also was falling in love with cinema. In Denver, where she grew up, independent films were not widely accessible. There was only one theater showing those types of films and you needed a car to get there. But for her husband, Anthony, growing up in New York, cinema was everywhere. As a boy, he’d often see foreign films and he developed an admiration for filmmakers and actors Levy had never heard of. When the pair met in New York, after she finished law school at Yale and moved to the city, she was exposed to film in a serious way for the first time in her life. “He took me to these wonderful cinema films, old films and art films,” Levy said in a recent interview. “And he brought me to great theaters like the Regency and the New Yorker, and

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

This was something that could be doable. This is something a community getting together could do for itself.”

others that don’t exist anymore.” With cinema, her world expanded.

A Heartbreak, and a Solution Now, about 40 years later, Levy is trying to pay forward all of what independent film has given her by keeping the culture alive on the Upper West Side, following the sudden closing of the beloved Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in January 2018. With her leadership, and the help of a roster of more than 100 volunteers, New Plaza Cinema — a part-time nonprofit theater at the New York Institute for Technology — is following in Lincoln Plaza’s footsteps. For Levy, and so many others, Lincoln Plaza had been an important pillar of art in their lives. “It was a place you could go to in order to see these wonderful films that you couldn’t find anywhere else,” Levy said of the West Side fixture, which opened in 1981. She loved the warmth and comfort she experience there — as well as the quirky concession stand that served coffee cake and lox sandwiches. But what made it such a special place for Levy was the sense of community she felt when she waked through the door.

New Plaza Cinema founder Norma Levy

Moving to New York after law school at Yale was a dream come true for film fan Levy. Photo: Courtesy of Norma Levy “You would hear everybody talking about the film in the ladies room when it was over,” Levy said. “It was very collegial, and not overwhelming or intimidating.” That feeling of community gave way to heartbreak in December 2017 when the news broke about its closing, as well as the news of the death of its owner Dan Talbot.

“Oh my god, it was horror,” Levy said. “I mean this was an important part of our lives being forever taken away from us.” To her, the closure didn’t make sense. She thought about what a loss it would leave in the community, and she kept on thinking about it. “You know, you think about this era and you think about the people who loved to go there, and you see that there’s something that could be done,” she said. “I’m not sure why I thought that ... the idea just started creeping into my mind and I couldn’t drop it. This was something that could be doable. This is something a community getting together could do for itself.”

Keeping the Tradition Alive At the Lincoln Plaza Cinema’s closing ceremony, Levy passed out flyers to

the 600 people who showed uo to say goodbye to the beloved movie house. The flyer listed Levy’s email and a call to action. “A few weeks later I had forty people in our apartment, and that’s how it started.” Without a permanent home, New Plaza Cinema doesn’t follow a traditional box office schedule. They can show films as often as the institute has an open weekend. (The institute is at 1855 Broadway, across the street from and just a block south of the old Lincoln Plaza location.) The cinema’s next run of shows is slated for April 5 through 7 with a line-up of awardwinning films. “Roma,” “Green Book,” and “Diane,” which placed first at the Tribeca Film Festival, as will all be showing that weekend. Levy hopes to have a longer run this summer and to feature more filmmakers talking about their craft for audiences. But the long-term goal is to create a multi-screen theater on the Upper West Side so that the cinema experience that has become such a significant part of her life can live on in the neighborhood. “[Customers] are so happy when they come out of our films. They tell us whether it was a good film or if they didn’t like it at all,” she said. “It’s a very personal environment, and a very powerful way of learning about the world.”

Congratulations to the 2019 WESTY AWARD WINNERS From

Central Park Conservancy We restore, manage, and enhance Central Park.


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His mood was relaxed, his manner contemplative. He was formidable, to be sure, but didn’t lack a sense of humor either. He showed flashes of outrage. And above all, a consequential sense of duty to nation and founding Constitutional principles. “Why me?” he repeats. “I don’t think so — I’m in the right place at the right time. And it’s a place I wanted, it’s a place I think I’m well trained for, it’s a place I think I’m well suited for ... “My original motive in politics, from the time I was probably 12 years old, was civil rights and civil liberties and due process,” he adds. “I have always concentrated on them, and that has never changed.” What has changed? “I now have a lot of responsibility, which I didn’t have, and a lot of power, which I didn’t have, and I’m in the middle of a lot of things I care very deeply about as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and people look to me for leadership and guidance by virtue of this position,” Nadler says.

The Picture in the Lobby

Rep. Jerrold Nadler was photographed in his Manhattan office on March 21, 2019. Photo: Steven Strasser

MAN OF THE MOMENT As he takes on the most important role of his political life, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, the ultimate Upper West Sider, follows the neighborhood principles that have guided him throughout his career BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

Forty-five years after Watergate, the nation is once again engulfed in Constitutional turmoil, and history has chosen as the man of the moment an urban progressive, beloved in his district, who sees his mission, in no small part, as the defense of democracy. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, universally known as “Jerry,” the Brooklyn-born, yeshiva-educated, son of a failed New Jersey chicken farmer, has been a

household name on the Upper West Side since his student-activist days at Columbia University in the late 1960s. He’s served 26 years in Congress, wins elections by landslides, assumed the helm of the House Judiciary Committee only in January, and has forged a reputation for patience, judiciousness – and unflinching firmness. And unlike New Jersey congressman Peter Rodino, who led the same committee during Watergate and never stopped asking himself, “Why me?”, Nadler embraces the role. “If we’re going to have a Constitutional crisis, then we need someone to defend against it, and I’m just happy to be in that position,” Nadler said during a 98-minute interview with The West Side Spirit.

The 71-year-old, lower West 70s resident was seated in his Manhattan district office at 201 Varick St., a 12-story, 1929 Art Deco federal office building that members of the public cannot enter without walking past a grinning, government-issue color photo of President Donald Trump. Not that Nadler needs any reminders: “We have now under President Trump the most sustained attack on our democratic values and our democratic norms and the rule of law since the Civil War,” he said. “And that we have to defend against by making sure our fundamental liberties are intact, our Constitutional structure is intact, and the rule of law itself is intact.” It was the afternoon of March 21 – exactly 24 hours before the Mueller Report dropped, with less of a bang and more of a whimper – and Nadler was elucidating the personal, political, historical, intellectual, sociological and Constitutional context to his half-century-plus of public service. In two interview sessions, sandwiched around a brief meeting with the Australian consul general, he also described the character, ethos and moral principles of a neighborhood he’s embodied since his time as a young political reformer who bucked, and vanquished, the entrenched Democratic political establishment back in 1969. “I would define it as liberal and generous, believing that government should be open and activist and help people who need help – to do for them what they cannot do for themselves – combined with a strong respect for civil liberties and civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights,” he said. “Those are the quintessential West Side values,” he said. “Those are the good, progressive West Side values,” he repeated. Of course, there were national phe-

nomena that the local body politic despised: “The West Side hated McCarthyism, hated HUAC [the House Un-American Activities Committee], hated our endless, unnecessary wars in Vietnam and Iraq,” Nadler said.

An Early Close Encounter And it also didn’t cotton to a 150-story tower – hyped as the “tallest building in the history of the world” and the centerpiece of the “biggest project in the history of New York” – that an audacious developer named Donald J. Trump was proposing to erect along the old Hudson River rail yards between West 59th and 72nd Streets.

I’m in the right place at the right time. And it’s a place I wanted, it’s a place I think I’m well trained for.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

It was the mid-1980s, and the stage was set for the first showdown between Nadler, then a state Assembly member, and Trump, who was reveling in the 1983 success of Trump Tower – and out to conquer a broad swath of the West Side. Score it as a knockout victory for Nadler. The complex was initially dubbed “Television City” because NBC was a target tenant. But the network soon dropped out, and it was inevitably rebranded “Trump City,” and Nadler was invited to view the models. There it was, a 150-floor monstrosity, surrounded by what he describes as a bunch of “75-story Chrysler buildings,” and, as he tells the story, “I thought it was grotesque…But I was too polite to say that.” So he asked about the tower’s residential component, and suddenly, Trump was getting animated as he riffed on high-rise living, and Nadler quotes him asking, “Did you know, did you know, that the people living on the top stories, before they go out in the morning, have to call down to the concierge to find out what the weather is like because they can’t see it because they’re above the clouds?” “I’m thinking, ‘What a drag,’” Nadler recalls. “But he’s getting more and more excited, and I realized that he’s living on the 68th floor at the top of the Trump Tower, and all of a sudden, I got it, and I asked if he would be living on the 150th floor, and he said, ‘Yeah.’” His conclusion? “Trump wanted to be the highest person in the highest apartment in the world,” he said. It didn’t happen. Nadler rallied the opposition. The project’s grandiosity

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vanished. It withered in size, scope and density. By 1991, a compromise was thrashed out, though Nadler still opposed it because it precluded the continuing operation of the railyards. Bottom line: Trump City was dead. A much smaller Riverside South rose in its stead. Six more modestly sized buildings bore the name “Trump Place.”

The Boys Who Wore Neckties Highly selective Stuyvesant High School, which Nadler entered in 1961, was an incubator for political prodigies. Here, he joined the debating team, launched his first five campaigns for electoral office, all of them successful, and mastered the fine art of constituent service and trust-building. “I spent four years in high school trying to figure out how to combine a career in politics with either molecular biology or astrophysics,” he said. “I never quite figured it out.” He quickly came under the tutelage of two other precocious political dynamos, each a year ahead of him at Stuyvesant – Dick Gottfried, who went on to become the state’s longest serving Assembly member, and Dick Morris, who became reelection campaign strategist for President Bill Clinton in 1996 and has since drifted over to right-wing fringe politics. After winning two elections, as freshman vice president and sophomore president, Nadler got a boost from Gottfried, who wrote his campaign literature, and Morris, who served as campaign manager, for his next three triumphs, as class secretary, vice president and then student government president. “I’m very good with a magic marker, so I hand-lettered all his campaign posters!” Gottfried recalled. “Even back then, his political skills showed strongly.” Stuyvesant was and is a place where a student can be hugely popular – even without playing on the football team, he said. “And Jerry and I and our friends were very much NOT on the football team,” Gottfried added. “If you look in the yearbook, we’re the only kids wearing neckties…We were all nerds back then, maybe we still are, and our nerdiness has served us well over time.” Nadler graduated Stuy, as everyone called it, in 1965, and Morris had already devised a plan for his future: “Dick said we ought to recruit a bunch of bright young liberal kids to go to Columbia and go into politics together on the West Side and not wait until we graduate from college,” he said. “This sounded wonderful to me.”

The Columbia Crucible The idea was to establish a group and attract a political following, “like the Kennedy brothers,” Nadler said, and thus was born the “West Side Kids,” or “those damned kids,” as they were


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sometimes branded. Between 1965 and 1967, drawing from Columbia, NYU and Stuyvesant and Hunter High Schools, they organized roughly 200 to 300 students who campaigned for liberal, reform anti-war candidates, delivering the vote via canvassing and phone banks. “Very old-fashioned political work,” he said. Established politicians took note. In 1967, when Nadler was only 20 years old, Percy Sutton, then the Manhattan Borough President, appointed him to Community Board 7. Meanwhile, anti-Vietnam sentiment was feverish, President Lyndon B. Johnson had become a pariah on the West Side, and Nadler, Morris and Gottfried all got involved in the “Dump Johnson” movement. They helped start the “Clean for Gene” campaign in New Hampshire, in which bearded, long-haired students were asked to “clean up their acts” – meaning shave and get haircuts – as they went door to door for Sen. Eugene McCarthy in the state’s decisive Democratic presidential primary in 1968. Just three weeks later, LBJ dropped out of the race. Closer to home, Columbia University was exploding, the Students for a Democratic Society began occupying buildings, and Nadler stayed away: “I thought it was an invasion of the civil liberties of students and faculty who wanted to attend classes to forcibly prevent them from doing so,” he said.

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After an initial police bust radicalized the campus, he got involved – as leader of the “right wing of the strike committee,” so called because it favored negotiations and didn’t believe, as the SDS did, that anyone trying to cross a picket line should be “physically stopped by whatever means necessary,” he recalled. “I thought they were crazy,” Nadler said of the SDS extremists. “Haven’t you ever heard of civil liberties?” he demanded. “Have you forgotten that you’re on strike against the university’s use of coercive tactics?” His faction won the votes. But it didn’t matter. SDS-controlled “strike central” only implemented the votes they wanted to implement, he said. So Nadler called for the right wing to walk out and form its own strike committee. No, he was told, that would break strike unity. “You can’t have unity with people who ignore the votes!” he countered. “But I couldn’t persuade people, so finally, I got disgusted and left and went back to the McCarthy campaign… “Ending the war was the be-all and the end-all – that and running our political group,” he said. By the time Nadler graduated from Columbia in 1969, the West Side Kids were ready to take on the “Adults,” as the upstart reformers referred to the older, cautious established Democratic power structure that had dithered as the Dump Johnson bandwagon picked up steam. So Nadler, 21, and Gottfried, 22,

and five like-minded outsiders ran for Democratic district leader posts against seven organization incumbents – and upset every single one. Their rallying cry? “Harass your local politician!” The coup was completed that year. Nadler founded a new reform club, Community Free Democrats. Other clubhouses were either taken over from the old clique or created anew. His faction now held sway over most of the political universe of the Upper West Side and ushered in a more representative, egalitarian and left-ofcenter Democratic Party.

“America’s Most Important Person” The Kids came of age pretty fast. But amazingly, their values and belief systems did not bend. Nadler served seven years as district leader, then was elected to the state Assembly in 1976, following Gottfried, who got there in 1970. He prevailed in a seven-way Democratic primary race, beating the other frontrunner by a mere 73 votes. That candidate was another household name on the UWS, Ruth Messinger, the future borough president of Manhattan and Democratic mayoral nominee who lost to Rudy Giuliani in 1997. “I’ve been telling people that once upon a time, I lost an election to Jerry Nadler – and the good news is that I lost to the most important person or one of the most important people in the United States,” Messinger said in a phone interview. From 1977 to 1992, Nadler served in the Assembly, helping to write state law on transportation, housing and consumer protection policy and passing a package of landmark legislation on domestic violence and enforcement of child support payments. Among the bills he’s most proud of was a measure that was radical at the time: “If there’s an order of child support and you don’t pay, it’s automatically withheld from your pay like income taxes,” he said. “The first time we introduced it, we got zero votes in committee. It took six years before it finally passed.” Nadler’s political life may be charmed, but there were two stinging defeats along the way. In 1985, he ran for Manhattan Borough President, and got clobbered by David Dinkins, and in 1989, he ran for comptroller, ran out of money and was bested by Elizabeth Holtzman. Holtzman, former Congress member who sat on Rodino’s Judiciary Committee as it passed the articles of impeachment against Nixon, has remained a friend for decades, and in the current crisis, Nadler says, he often turns to her for counsel.

National Clamor, Local Focus Rep. Jerrold Nadler with his granddaughter at the Community Free Democrats political club on Sunday, March 7. Photo: Emiily Goodman

After 16 years in the Assembly, Nadler suddenly had a chance to move up in 1992 when U.S. Rep. Ted Weiss, who for 15 years held the West Side

Congressional seat, died suddenly on the day before the primary, which he won handily anyway. That paved the way for the Democratic County Committee, made up of district leaders and clubhouse members, to nominate a candidate to run in his place, a designation all-but certain to lead to victory in the special election that followed.

There he was at a recent local meeting in Hell’s Kitchen ... He didn’t have to be there. He’s right in the middle of all these huge national issues. But he still shows up.” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Five contenders swiftly surfaced, including Bella Abzug, along with the two old buddies from Stuy, Nadler and Gottfried. There was a bit of tension between the two men. It lasted barely a week as the backroom politicking played out. “Jerry had it wrapped up from Day One,” Gottfried recalls. For years, he had cultivated relationship with local pols and clubhouses, and now, it would pay off. “He is a superb one-on-one politician. Ultimately, it was a tidal wave,” he added. In Congress, Nadler worked to secure federal dollars – sometimes in the millions, sometimes in the billions -- for mass transit, harbor dredging, rail freight and other mega-transportation and infrastructure projects. He supported gays in the military, introduced legislation to permit gays to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration, fought to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and campaigned for equal treatment for all married couples. And in 1998, he coined and popularized a phrase that Trump-defenders in the GOP might well adopt politically should his Judiciary Committee eventually decide to pursue impeachment proceedings against the president: “Partisan coup d’état.” With those three words – in impassioned defense of Bill Clinton, and in ardent opposition to impeachment managers on Judiciary who were seeking to bring him down – Nadler vaulted to the national stage for the first time. An impeachable offense is an abuse of presidential power that undermines the function of government, he argued then, saying the framers of the Constitution didn’t intend impeachment to punish mere wrongdoing. “Rather they saw it as a protection of constitutional liberties and of the

structure of the government they were establishing against a president who might seek to become a tyrant,” he said in 1998. Nadler was just a junior minority member of the committee in his sixth year in the House. But so seriously did he take his duties that he found himself reading the works of Sir William Blackstone, an 18th-century British judge and legal scholar who wrote about impeachment in English law. “I still think that the best summary of what is an impeachable offense is the majority staff report of the Judiciary Committee written ironically in February of 1974 by Hillary Rodham as a young former Yale student,” he said in the interview with The Spirit.

A Historic Showdown Now, Nadler is preparing once again, devouring “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment,” by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, whose message can be summed up in two words: Tread carefully. “The first half of the book is the terrible fate that would befall the republic if you don’t impeach a president when you should,” he said. “The second half of the book is the terrible fate that would befall the republic if you do impeach a president when you shouldn’t.” He also polished off “How Democracies Die” by two Harvard political scientists. “Very frightening,” Nadler said. “[The book] goes through Peron and Mussolini and various strongmen in other countries, and you see a lot of this in Trump – he really checks all the boxes. “Attacking the press and the judiciary, threatening violence against reporters and others, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election, even when he won the election, delegitimizing the electoral process,” he said. “We have better institutional safeguards – we hope – than some of these other countries, but they don’t operate automatically.” So Nadler these days has his hands full as he presses Attorney General William Barr to release a complete copy of the Mueller Report and all its supporting documentation under threat of subpoena. …And yet, as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer tells the story, “There he was at a recent local meeting about a New York City Housing Authority infill site in Community Board 4 in Hell’s Kitchen.” “I’ve never seen anything like this,” she marveled. “He didn’t have to be there. He’s right in the middle of all these huge national issues. But he still shows up at all the meetings.” What motivates him? “It’s all about keeping a local focus on local issues and local housing and local concerns, and that has never changed,” Brewer said. invreporter@strausnews.com


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A COMMITMENT TO SERVICE Thank you Congressman Nadler for 40+ years of steadfast support of DOROT and the UWS Community!

With a focus on communication and transparency, the NYPD’s Timothy Malin has won Upper West Siders’ trust and respect BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Congratulations to Council Member Mark Levine and the 2019 Honorees! DOROT addresses social isolation and brings the generations together in a mutually beneficial relationship. dorotusa.org

MARK LEVINE

Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin already adored the Upper West Side when he took command of the NYPD’s 20th precinct one year ago. “I fell in love with the two-oh when I was in the two-four,” Malin said, reflecting fondly on his stint four years earlier serving the 24th precinct, which patrols the northern half of the Upper West Side. During his time as the 24th precinct’s executive officer, Malin paid regular visits to his colleagues to the south in the 20th precinct, which covers the area from West 59th to West 86th Streets. The neighborhood left a lasting impression, and Malin leapt at the chance to return when his current position opened. “It’s just such a wonderful place — wonderful people, wonderful cops,” he said. “It’s such a good place to both work and also really enjoy the neighborhood.”

The Challenge of High Expectations

Council Member Mark Levine would like to thank Westside Spirit Newspaper for recognizing 2019 WESTY Award honorees. “We all share a commitment to making the Upper West Side an even better place to live.”

Malin is a regular presence at community board meetings and other public gatherings, where he provides updates on the precinct’s efforts and candidly responds to feedback from residents. This open, solutions-oriented approach is a message he emphasizes to the 130 officers under his command. “The people on the Upper West Side are very nice and they’re very laid back, but they have high expectations when it comes to customer service,” he said. “They want good service and transparency. And frankly, that’s the best thing for policing.” It helps, Malin said, that the precinct has a “good cop culture” that long preceded his tenure. “The police officers here understand the Upper West Side,” he said. “They listen, they care, they try and solve people’s problems and they’re courteous about doing it.”

Putting a Theory into Action Prior to joining the 20th pre-

Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin, commander of the 20th precinct, helped design the NYPD’s neighborhood policing program. Photo: Courtesy NYPD

Being back here — this precinct, this community, these cops — it’s the best.” Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin, commander of the 20th precinct

tion officers focused on working with the community to solve problems, patrol officers are now assigned to specific sectors of the neighborhood, with which they become intimately familiar. “I’m seeing the patrol cops get really invested in the little area of the precinct that they police,” he said. “It’s been really fun to see.”

Weekends in the Neighborhood cinct in April 2018, Malin spent three years at NYPD headquarters working under Chief Terence Monahan to craft the department’s neighborhood policing program. The Upper West Side command post represented an opportunity to apply a policy he helped create. “I’d been practicing this in theory and supporting the other commanding officers, and I wanted to try to do it myself and implement what we’d been working on behind the scenes,” he said. Neig hborhood pol ici n g launched in the 20th precinct in July 2018, and results have been positive. In addition to new neighborhood coordina-

As the father of three boys under five (“The last five years I can say I have not gotten a lot of sleep,” he said with a laugh), Malin has shared his love of the neighborhood he serves with his family on weekend trips to Central Park and visits to local museums. “Not only do I like it professionally ... but this is also the kind of place, from a personal standpoint, where I can integrate my family life and my professional life,” Malin said. “I have to say, the past year has been the best of my career,” he continued. “Being back here — this precinct, this community, these cops — it’s the best.”


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Liana Pai and Eunsook Pai in their store on Columbus Avenue. Photo: Madeleine Thompson

DRESSING WEST SIDE WOMEN At Liana, a family business started in 1982, the secret to longevity is customer loyalty BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

It all started with a white linen jacket. Liana Pai’s aunt and her mother Eunsook wanted to start a retail business despite having no experience whatsoever, so they used to go to department stores and write down the labels of the clothes on sale to see what was in demand. In 1979 Pai’s aunt saw a white linen jacket she thought she could reproduce, copied it using a sewing machine she bought for $10 and successfully sold an order of them. That was how the duo discovered they did not want to be in manufacturing. Three years later they opened the clothing store Liana on Columbus Avenue selling items curated with class and precision — and made far away. Thirty-seven years later, it’s still a neighborhood staple. “We thought fashion might be the right thing to do because we are women and we have interest in fashion,” Eunsook said. “We were so naive.” All the same Eunsook recalls the time fondly, even the months of working around the clock to get the fledgling business off the ground. Liana, 51, and Eunsook, 77, continue to run the store together today — her aunt retired in 2014 — styling women of the Upper West Side for weddings, graduations and lounging at home. An actor by trade, Liana had no intention of becoming a business partner. But after shifting her focus to her kids, Liana joined her mother full time at the store that bears

We talk to each other several times a day, and we have for our whole lives.” Liana Pai, about her mother, Eunsook Pai her name about 15 years ago. She had always helped out as a teenager and when she was between acting jobs, and she came to love hearing customers’ stories. It has not been an easy road. The Upper West Side is a drastically different place now, with more similar-looking banks and coffee shops edging out family businesses each year. Indeed, a Bank of America and a Starbucks share the block with Liana. The store’s footprint has doubled from the humble 300 square feet of its beginning, and it carries far more than the barely two-dozen items it boasted on opening day on February 21, 1982. “Very few stores are left like us,” Eunsook said. Their rent has skyrocketed from $800 per month, though she expressed gratitude to a great landlord who has stuck with them all these years. The rise of Internet shopping has presented a challenge that they are hoping to meet soon with an online store of their own.

Sharing Stories in the Dressing Rooms Above all, the secret to the store’s longevity is customer loyalty. Some have shopped there for everything from

their bat mitzvah dress to their mother-of-the-bride outfit. But the reason people keep coming back is not just the careful curation and range of prices, but the good conversation and space to engage with neighbors. “One of the things that you’ll see is all the dressing rooms are filled, women are talking to each other, it’s a real community,” Liana said. “They’re all kind of getting involved in encouraging one another and also hearing and sharing stories.” Shopping can be a dull, disappointing task, but Liana said she’s proud of how often customers will leave happier than when they came in. The occasional celebrity appearance hasn’t hurt, either. The store has been graced with the presences of Julie Andrews, Maria Shriver and Madonna. “Sean Penn came in to buy a dress for Madonna,” Liana says, her mother chiming in. “He bought it in two colors and my mom thought he was giving a fake credit card.” She and Eunsook talk over each other and fill in gaps with such loving familiarity that it’s tempting to break that cardinal rule not to do business with family. “We talk to each other several times a day, and we have for our whole lives,” Liana says. On a chilly Thursday afternoon, Liana is running late because a friend of hers has dropped by. Well, she started as a customer, but has become a friend. Liana heard she recently suffered a loss and was discussing how best to deliver her an eggplant parmesan. “Maybe I’ll come over and bring it,” Liana told her. The customer left smiling. Just another day at the store.

NOW OPEN | Free Admission

Smithsonian

National Museum of the American Indian AmericanIndian.si.edu

T.C. Cannon: (1946–1978, Caddo/Kioma), Soldiers (detail), 1970. Oil on canvas. Collection of Arnold and Karen Blair. © 2019 Estate of T.C. Cannon. Photo by Scott Geffert.

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DANCE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Eduardo Vilaro followed his American dream to become artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispanico BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

Eduardo Vilaro, 54, fell in love with dance when he played Linus in his eighth grade production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and made up a routine involving a towel for the part. “I was hooked,” he says. After that, he pulled his “Billy Elliott stunt” and began telling his parents he was going to Brazilian martial arts class when in fact he was sneaking into the ballet studio next door. “You do what you do and it’s in your heart,” he says. Vilaro is now approaching is 10year anniversary as artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispanico, a dance school and performing arts troupe that showcases Latin styles. The organization itself will turn 50 in 2020. Vilaro’s family immigrated from Cuba in 1969 and settled in the Bronx. He says he has always been influenced by the immigrant experience. “It was about trying to be a professional and

following that American dream,” he says. He found Cuban music very intoxicating as a child and loved the connection it forget to his roots. Buoyed by the urgency embedded in his DNA, Vilaro pursued his American dream with vigor. He was accepted into the Alvin Ailey summer program, worked at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and ultimately got a scholarship to Adelphi University. “I had to come out to my parents” as a dancer, he says, laughing. “My mother really embraced it. It was great.” Vilaro was about to graduate from college when he picked up a copy of Dance magazine and found out about Ballet Hispanico. He auditioned for them in 1985 and, for the first time, saw himself represented in the company. Founder Tina Ramirez offered Vilaro a job right away, and he left Adelphi with a month of school remaining. “It was one of those, ‘do it now or don’t do it,” he recalls. Vilaro spent a few years in Chicago, where he founded Luna Negra Dance Theater, and then returned to New York and Ballet Hispanico in 2009. The fact that, as a young dancer, he’d never heard of Ballet Hispanico con-

tinues to inspire him today. “It’s one of the things that spurs my leadership with this organization, to make it known for what it has given to our arts landscape,” he says. “Erasure and visibility are things that now we can talk about.”

Responsibility to the Community New Yorkers may no longer think of the Upper West Side as a Latino community, but when Ballet Hispanico was founded in 1970 on West 89th Street, it was a completely different, more diverse, more unstable neighborhood. “We stayed because it was right,” Vilaro says. “And we stay now as a reminder that this wasn’t always, you know, specialized schools for the wealthy in the neighborhood and speciality restaurants. I think it’s important to stay and remind everyone that there is a cultural organization. It’s culturally relevant to the history of this great city.” Unlike many Upper West Side businesses, Ballet Hispanico has not had a particularly difficult time of it. They own the building’s two carriage houses and a tower that they share with some condominiums. “For a

Eduardo Vilaro on West 89th Street. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Vilaro

Erasure and visibility are things that now we can talk about.” Eduardo Vilaro of Ballet Hispanico

Latino-founded organization to have real estate in New York City: Wow,” Vilaro says. That comes with its own challenges, however. In 2016 a nearby water main break flooded their basement and first-floor studios. The water badly damaged costumes and sets, but a flood recovery fundraiser on their website raised over $20,000. The Upper West Side has always been welcoming to Ballet Hispanico, so the organization tries to honor its responsibility to the community in return — for example, by throwing an annual block party during Hispanic Heritage Month. “We close the street up, we have performances and there’s loud Latin music,” Vilaro said. “Everybody comes out and loves it.” Ballet Hispanico also redid its facade to be “friendlier,” so passersby could look into the studios and see what was going on. About 1,000 children take classes at the school every year, and 19,000 kids across the country participate in Ballet Hispanico’s education programs. Vilaro, who no longer performs with the company, lives in Irvington with his husband and son. “When I’m not directing I’m a soccer mom,” Vilaro jokes. “My family life really balances me.” He loves to cook and go birdwatching, though he has yet to see Central Park’s famous Mandarin duck.

Congratulations to Sean Khorsandi of LandmarksWest! Your work preserving the historic upper west side historic district is vital to our community.


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TO HEAL AND UNITE Offering his church’s space as a sanctuary, the Rev. Schuyler Vogel focuses on “the experience of being a human being”

be a good minister.’ Which I thought was absurd at the time.”

Becoming a Religious Person

There are people out there who have very strong and sometimes hateful feelings about what we’re doing.” The Rev. Schuyler Vogel, Fourth Universalist Society Vogel grew up in Milwaukee, WI as a Unitarian Universalist but never intended to make a career out of his faith. In fact, he never considered himself a religious person. He attended Carleton College and majored in history, intending to be a teacher, but took a job at the college chaplain’s office. “I was kind of expecting to be more of an anthropologist, so I could learn about stuff and talk to people about their faith and their religion, but it turns out it was actually leading discussion groups and services” he says. “So that was sort of my first taste, and the chaplain suggested, ‘oh, you might

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Vogel says his congregation is “able to do things that we weren’t able to do before, so that feels very rewarding.” Photo: Madeleine Thompson

like

The Rev. Schuyler Vogel, 34, looks the part of the reverend — suit and tie, inviting demeanor, confident speaking voice — and has the historic church to go with it. But his take on religion, and the kind of congregation he leads, are probably not what you’re imagining. Vogel is senior minister at Fourth Universalist Society on Central Park West at 76th Street, where people from all backgrounds and faith traditions are welcome to practice Unitarian Universalism. This belief system has no creed and does not revolve around a central text, but rather seven principles including the inherent worth of every person and a free search for truth. “I really couldn’t be a minister in any other tradition,” he says. “I wouldn’t bet that there’s a God, if I had to bet on it.” Since Vogel took the reins two and a half years ago, the Fourth Universalist Society has made headlines for sheltering a Guatemalan immigrant family from deportation. After the 2016 presidential election, Vogel describes his community as “disappointed,” so the choice to offer their space as a sanctuary was an easy one that was confirmed with a unanimous vote. It became less easy when the church had swastikas and hate speech carved into its doors a few weeks later. “That really reminded us that ... there are people out there who have very strong and sometimes hateful feelings about what we’re doing,” Vogel says. Then, in 2018, Aura Hernandez and her family moved into the church. Members helped freshen up their living space and care for Hernandez’s daughter. “Because we have all this theological diversity, where you have people who believe in God and those who don’t ... part of the challenge of that is what brings us all together,” he says. “What does ground us is the experience of being a human being.” Vogel can’t share details of Hernandez’s current situation, but says it’s in the best place it can be.

But he graduated in the midst of the Great Recession, and after a long search the first job he was offered was at a small church in Florida. He took it, and then one at another church in Chicago, and then wound up at Harvard Divinity School. “In some ways the push to be a minister, particularly to start working for churches, came more out of economic need,” he says. That said, Vogel has always been interested in religion conceptually, and it shows when he talks about the origins of Unitarian Universalism and the history of the Fourth Universalist Society. He has become a religious person after all. The Fourth Universalist Society Vogel helms has struggled for about a century, he says. In 1838 it was the — you guessed it — fourth Universalist community to be established in New York City, and is one of only two remaining. The congregation now counts around 150 people — twice as many as there were before Vogel began. The minister before Vogel left amidst some controversy, but Vogel says the work the congregation has been doing to heal and unite since then has been paying off. “The feeling in the congregation is that we are growing and being able to do things that we weren’t able to do before, so that feels very rewarding,” he says. One of those is a capital campaign to restore and repair the church itself. So far the community has raised $1.3 million of a needed $1.5 million to replace the roof and preserve the historic building. Outside of work, Vogel likes doing classic New York City things, like visiting museums with his fiancée and having dinner parties with his friends. He describes himself as an “architecture nerd” and is a big fan of Central Park. He carries his beliefs and principles with him everywhere, and encourages others to do the same. “How we define religion is living intentionally to make ourselves and the world a more kind, loving and just place,” he says. “If you can kind of buy into that, you have a place within our sort of religious world.”

have

BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

you You’d look

Email us at news@strausnews.com


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l l A r o F P A e r o m s n mea d n a g n i k a t kids P A g n i s s pa exams.

MAYORAL ACCOUNTABILITY MEANS EQUITY, EXCELLENCE & EMPOWERMENT.

Public schools under MAYORAL ACCOUNTABILITY give more kids a head start because parents have someone to hold accountable for results. Learn more at nyc.gov/mayoralaccountability

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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?

PARK CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 other natural areas. Beginning this year, NAC scientists will work with Riverside Park Conservancy staff and volunteers to provide training and on-theground support, implement best practices and produce a five-year management plan for the park’s forests. “We’ve been giving our own attention to our natural woodland area with private philanthropic support,” Garodnick said. “But at the end of the day we are practitioners and they are scientists, so we will benefit from getting a master class in forest management from the Natural Areas Conservancy.” Helen Forgione, senior ecologist with the Natural Areas Conservancy, said that some of Riverside Park’s characteristics — in particular, it’s long, narrow shape — pose unique ecological challenges. “Along the edge you have a lot of wind and light exposure, and invasive plants that are spread by wind can get a foothold there,” she said. The NAC, she said, will work with the Riverside Park Conservancy to remove invasive vines and encourage healthy native undergrowth that prevents soil erosion and pro-

motes the forest’s sustainability. “You want those young trees that will replace the older ones as they get to the end of their lifespan,” Forgione said. The forest management project aligns with the Parks Department’s 2016 master plan for Riverside Park, which identified improved care for the park’s woodlands as a top priority.

Capital Needs and Upcoming Projects The Conservancy is hopeful that this year’s city budget will include funding to rectify another major issue highlighted in the master plan — persistent flooding that affects large portions of the park on a regular basis, particularly between 105th and 119th Streets. “Parts of this park are simply flooded year-round, inaccessible to walkers and bikers, and it demands urgent attention,” Garodnick said, adding, “You can see with your own eyes how problematic it is.” Garodnick, whose 12 years of experience in the City Council were a key qualification when the conservancy tapped him to fill its leadership role last year, said that the conservancy’s advocacy during ongoing city budget negotiations is focused on securing capital funding to improve Riverside Park’s

drainage infrastructure. “The Parks Department certainly shares our concern, and our hope is that that will result in an investment this year to repair this huge problem,” he said. A significant infusion of city capital will also be necessary to restore the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which is now fenced off from public access due to the risk of falling debris. “It is a result of decades of neglect, and the monument has been allowed to fall into disrepair,” Garodnick said. The cost estimate for the necessary repairs is $32 million. “We believe that the city should step up and fix what has become very embarrassing, to say the least,” he added. While repairs to the monument are likely far on the horizon, work is expected to begin later this year on the reconstruction of the 79th Street Rotunda, a major project with a target completion date of 2022. The city has discussed using nearby ballfields in Riverside Park as a staging area for construction equipment. “We are going to ask for the city and the contractors to respect the activities that we have going on in the park and to be as minimally disruptive as they can in the context of a very complicated project,” Garodnick said.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Jazz and the Neuroscience of Decision Making: A Celebration of Mind and Soul

MONDAY, APRIL 15TH, 6:30PM

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

Columbia University | 116th St. & Broadway | 212-854-1754 | columbia.edu Explore “prediction, anticipation, exploration, and freedom” as a panel jams on emerging concepts in neuroscience with the Zuckerman Institute’s jazz first artist-in-residence, Helen Sung (free).

Panel: Anti-Science & the Crisis of Contemporary Democracy

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17TH, 7PM NY Society for Ethical Culture | 2 W. 64th St. | 212-874-5210 | nysec.org The editors of the new book Anti-Science and the Assault on Democracy: Defending Reason in a Free Society will lend support to an entire way of approaching and solving problems. They’ll delve into the contradiction of our science-dependent world and science denial, and ways forward (free).

Just Announced | Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Laurie Anderson

TUESDAY, MAY 7TH, 7:30PM Murmrr | 17 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn | 516-510-1477 | murmrr.com Tibetan Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingur Rinpoche shares his near-death experience and what it taught him about life. Find him in conversation on his forthcoming book, In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying ($20 balcony tickets; $37 with book).

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

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


APRIL 11-17,2019

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

TOWER CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 by a number of local politicians, focused on the large, irregularly shaped zoning lot used to justify the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s height, which critics have likened to a gerrymandered electoral district. The court ordered the BSA to revisit the case under a new interpretation that would seem to require the agency to reverse its earlier ďŹ nding that the 39-sided parcel, which encompasses pieces of several tax lots and snakes across much of the Lincoln Towers superblock, constitutes a properly formed zoning lot. But Judge W. Franc Perry stopped short of ordering the Department of Buildings to revoke the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s building permit, instead leaving it to the BSA to reevaluate the matter and issue its own decision. The BSA has not yet scheduled a new hearing date for the case. A BSA spokesperson said the agency anticipates a hearing will likely be held in â&#x20AC;&#x153;late May or June.â&#x20AC;? For the time being, nothing prevents developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan from continuing work on the planned 55-story tower, which now exceeds 20 ďŹ&#x201A;oors in height. A DOB spokesperson directed inquiries to the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Law Department. In an emailed statement, Law Department Spokesman Nick Paolucci wrote that the courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision â&#x20AC;&#x153;does not invalidate the construction permits for this project.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Construction is allowed to proceed under the current permits,â&#x20AC;? Paolucci continued.

Health & Wellness Seminar Series QŸ¿Â&#x2122;ÂŹÂ&#x201C;ùïðø

Ÿ¿Â&#x2122;ÂĽ Ă°Ăľ

:Â&#x2122;Ă&#x2014;Â&#x2030;Â&#x2030;JÄ&#x201D;ÂŤÂ&#x2122;ÂŹÄ?9 9tÂżÂ&#x2122;t1tÂżtĂ&#x192;Ä?9 3Ă&#x17D;ÂŁÂ&#x2030;1Â&#x2122;ÂŤÄ?9 Construction on the planned 55-story tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue is ongoing. The tower now rises roughly 22 stories over the Upper West Side. Photo: Vincent A. Gardino

Hearing on April 30 The plaintiffs in the case â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, a local volunteer advocacy group, and the Municipal Art Society of New York, a prominent preservation and land use advocacy nonproďŹ t â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are seeking a court order that would stop work on the tower until the BSA reaches its decision. The court will hold a hearing April 30 on the plaintiffsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; request for a preliminary injunction, but denied the plaintiffsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; request for a temporary restraining order that would have halted construction immediately. Since the March 14 Supreme Court ruling, the plaintiffsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attorney alleged in a court ďŹ ling, the developers have â&#x20AC;&#x153;continued to construct the illegal 55-story tower at a breakneck pace,â&#x20AC;? adding more than one story per week. The plaintiffs believe

3²Ă&#x2014;Â&#x2030;k²Ă&#x17D;Âż&Â&#x2030;tÂżĂ&#x2030;Ä&#x17D;[ÂŹÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2030;ÂżĂ&#x192;Ă&#x2030;tÂŹÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2122;ÂŹÂ&#x201C; tÂŹÂ&#x2026;JÂżÂ&#x2030;Ă&#x2014;Â&#x2030;ÂŹĂ&#x2030;Â&#x2122;ÂŹÂ&#x201C;&Â&#x2030;tÂżĂ&#x2030;Â&#x2122;Ă&#x192;Â&#x2030;tĂ&#x192;Â&#x2030;

Ongoing process delays could make an illegal project inevitable. This should not be allowed.â&#x20AC;? Council Member Helen Rosenthal

that the building is already taller than would be permitted under the zoning interpretation endorsed by the court. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If the BSA takes even six months to decide the case on remand, the building will almost certainly be complete,â&#x20AC;? the plaintiffs wrote in a ďŹ ling. The developers may also elect to appeal the Supreme Courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision. Representatives for developer SJP Properties did

not respond to requests for comment. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is calling on DOB to rescind the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s permits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Construction should not continue while there is still a viable challenge to this development,â&#x20AC;? Brewer wrote in an April 3 letter to acting DOB Commissioner Thomas Fariello. Brewer and Council Member Helen Rosenthal, whose Upper West Side district includes the building site, planned a rally for April 9 in support of an immediate work stoppage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ongoing process delays could make an illegal project inevitable,â&#x20AC;? Rosenthal said in an emailed statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This should not be allowed. No developer should be permitted to violate zoning law â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it undermines what is supposed to be a transparent and consistent land use process across the city.â&#x20AC;?

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JÂżÂ&#x2030;ĤÂ&#x2122;tÂ&#x2030;Ă&#x2030;Â&#x2030;Ă&#x192;Ĺ?Â&#x2122;tÂ&#x2030;Ă&#x2030;Â&#x2030;Ă&#x192;tÂżÂ&#x2030;Ä&#x17D; 9Â&#x2030;tÂĽĂ&#x192;Ä?9²Â&#x2122;Ă&#x2030;²¿Â&#x2122;ÂŹÂ&#x201C;Ä?9Â&#x2030;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2122;Â&#x20AC;tĂ&#x2030;Â&#x2122;²Ĺ? 9²¿Â&#x2030; !Â&#x2030;ÂĽÂ&#x2122;Â&#x20AC;Â&#x2122;t9Â&#x2030;ÂŹÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2030;ÂĽĂ&#x192;²Â&#x2014;ÂŹĂ&#x17D;ÂżtÂŹt¢Ä?9 0tÂŹÂ&#x2030;0Â&#x2030;Â&#x2019;Â&#x2019;ÂżÂ&#x2122;Â&#x2030;QÂ&#x2030;ÂĽÂ&#x2030;Ă&#x17E;Ä?:J MtÂ&#x20AC;Â&#x2014;Â&#x2030;ÂĽQĂ&#x2030;tÂ&#x2014;ÂĽÄ?M

Time 6:30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8:00 pm Place All seminars held at Uris Auditorium Meyer Research and Education Building Weill Cornell Medicine 1300 York Avenue (at 69th St.)

All seminars are FREEand open to the public. Seating is available for 250 people on a firstcome, first-served basis. American Sign Language interpretive services will be provided at all seminars.

If you require a disability-related accommodation please call 212-821-0888 and leave a message.


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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS MAR 27 - APR 2, 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.

Bettola

412 Amsterdam Ave

A

Pick-A-Bagel / Dumpling Room

35 West End Avenue

A

Forty Carrots

2085 Broadway

A

Coco Fresh Tea & Juice

124 W 72nd St

A

Leyla

108 W 74th St

Not Yet Graded (20) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Columbus Gourmet Food

261 Columbus Ave Store #2

A

Salumeria Rosi

283 Amsterdam Ave

Grade pending (17) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

La Dinastia Latin-Chinese Cuisine

145 W 72nd St

A

Perfecto Pizzeria

2479 Broadway

A

Cafe Roma Pizzeria

854 Amsterdam Ave

A

Plowshares Coffee

2730 Broadway

A

New Kam Lai

890 Amsterdam Ave

A

Warren Hall Coffee Bar

1125 Amsterdam Ave

A

Tea Magic

2878 Broadway

A

Pret a Manger

2955 Broadway

A

Fumo

2791 Broadway

A

Flor De Mayo Restaurant

2651 Broadway

Grade Pending (2)

Kirsh Bakery and Kitchen

551 Amsterdam Ave

A

Good Enough To Eat (A.G. Bistro)

520 Columbus Ave

A

Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish

273 Columbus Ave

A

Matsu Japanese Cuisine

483 Columbus Ave

Grade Pending (39) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. 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 not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Burrito Mariachi

146 W 72nd St

Grade Pending (26) 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. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

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APRIL 11-17,2019

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The West Side Spirit is again happy to sponsor the following Mort & Ray Productions festivals

MORT & RAY PRODUCTIONS 2019 STREET FESTIVAL SCHEDULE Sun. April 28

28th Annual West Side Spring Festival Broadway, 96-106 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Samaritan Daytop Village, Duke Ellington Blvd Neighborhood Association, 24th Precinct Community Council

Sun., May 5

31st Annual Broadway Spring Festival Broadway, 86-93 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by The Broadway Mall Center

Sun. May 26

32nd Annual Livable West Side Festival Broadway, 72-86 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Coalition for a Livable West Side & Safe Haven West Side Basketball League

Sun. June 2

26th Annual Spring Crafts Festival Broadway, 65-72 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Project Open at Lincoln Towers & Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition

Sun. June 9

42nd Annual Plantathon & Crafts Fair Broadway, 73-86 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by West Side Federation of Neighborhood & Block Associations & The Broadway Mall Association

Sat. Oct. 5

27th Annual Upper Broadway Fall Festival Broadway, 110-116 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Upper West Side Recycling Center, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing, The Broadway Mall Association

Sun. Oct. 13

31st Annual Upper Broadway Harvest Festival Broadway, 96-106 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Bloomingdale Area Coalition

Sun. Oct. 20

28th Annual Broadway Fall Festival Broadway, 86-96 Streets 11AM-6PM Sponsored by Roy Wilkins Center N.A.A.C.P. & Symphony Space

A gallery space in the Shed main building. Photo: Emily Mason

‘A PERPETUAL WORK IN PROGRESS’ CULTURE Designed with the emphasis on flexibility, the Shed at Hudson Yards is a shapeshifting arts complex intended to meet the everchanging demands of contemporary — and future — artists from all disciplines BY EMILY MASON

Construction was still rumbling along last Wednesday as Hudson Yards’ newest attraction, the Shed, made its debut. Workers were installing the last section of escalator inside the main building as the press got its first look at the $500 million arts complex. The dream of its creators is that the Shed will fulfill the two goals laid out by Michael Bloomberg at the onset of the project in 2013: that it be an artistic Mecca to keep New York City at the cutting edge of culture, and that it be different from anything else in the city. The Shed’s board answered this call by putting flexibility at the core of their project. Chairman and President of the Shed, Daniel L. Doctoroff, explained the rationale behind this design priority. “We kept hearing similar things from everybody, which is that in this era of the internet which gives people the capacity to communicate and collaborate, the cultural ecosystem was beginning to shift,” Doctoroff said. “Artists were producing work that didn’t fit into traditional institutions.

We want to be able to accommodate artists, but also to inspire artists to do things they otherwise might not be able to do.” Daniel L. Doctoroff, chairman and president of the Shed And out of that idea was the notion of extreme flexibility and adaptability.”

The Magic of the McCourt One of the building’s architects, Elizabeth Diller, discussed how the design was created to embody this ideal of flexibility. The main building contains a theater, galleries, and an impressive top floor with skylights and a large dance floor offering a view of Hudson Yards’ other main attraction, the Vessel. But it is the McCourt that is the most versatile space in the design. The McCourt is created when the large latticed-steel and plastic polymer shell that surrounds the eight-floor main building is rolled back on its six giant wheels. This forms an enormous, adaptable space with moveable walls and seemingly unlimited possible combinations of seating, staging and lighting, allowing artists to use the space in a variety of ways. At the press preview, the expansive venue of the McCourt smelled of the fresh wood

used to construct the tiered levels for attendees. It felt a little chilly, as well, after the warmth of the well-heated main building. And one could see the grooves on the interior of the walls which allow them to morph and change the shape of the space. “This is a perpetual work in progress, always getting smarter, always more agile,” Diller said. “This building will respond in real time to the challenges brought to it by artists, and hopefully it will challenge artists back.” The other motivation for creating a space that can adapt to different types of installations is to ensure that the Shed will be able to stand the test of time as art continues to evolve.

With the Future in Mind “We don’t know what art is going to be or what artists are going to produce in two years, or ten years, or 100 years,” Doctoroff said. “We want to be able to accommodate artists, but also to inspire artists to do things they otherwise might not be able to do.” Alex Poots, the founding chief and artistic director of the Shed discussed some of the opening events, which feature an eclectic mix of works including a five-day African American concert series, a concert by Bjork, and even a kung fu musical from the screenwriters of Kung Fu Panda that features songs by Sia. “This shows the range of artistry that is welcome and that can be present at the Shed,” Poots said.

For further information please call 212-764-6330 or visit us on the web @ www.mortandray.com


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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS NYC fitness studios are adding new training classes just for women BY MICHELLE NAIM

What could be better than a gym membership on-the-go for the fitnessclass junkies among us? Welcome to ClassPass. In 2013, the small start-up hit the App Store and online markets, allowing users to choose from a crowd of boutique studios and fitness classes. Members gain access to a wide range of classes — boxing or cycling class if they’re looking for something fastpaced and intense or, they can opt for a slow-paced yoga class to get a nice stretch in — all for a monthly fee. With all of these options, ClassPass is allow-

ing women to break into the world of strength training, an exercise routine that was once largely the domain of men until recently. “I think there’s such a stigma around strength being for men and only for men,” said Heather Gunn-Rivera, coowner of Grassroots Fitness Project on the Upper West Side. In the middle of her passionate reply, the clock hit 9:29 a.m. (the women’s strength training class begins at 9:30am), “Let’s go,” she said. The studio only added an allwomen’s strength training class to its schedule a year-and-a-half ago. A Flatiron women’s-only studio called Uplift Studio, has begun to introduce strength training classes to their class schedules as well. “Strength is our signature class and

Weight training with instructor Heather Gunn-Rivera (right) of Grassroots Fitness Project. Photo courtesy of Jesse Herndon

APRIL 11-17,2019

Business

the most popular,” said Leanne Shear, the studio owner. She initially branded herself as a women-only trainer from the start of her career. “When one of our early group classes got rained out in Central Park, instead of canceling, we herded everyone across the street to a bar to hang out. For hours, women who had never met before were sipping wine, networking, hanging out, and becoming friends and workout buddies. Men have historically created these opportunities (and advantages) for themselves, while until recently, women have not. I saw that and ran with it in the creation of Uplift.”

Empowerment within classes Shear has also recently begun a #MeToo workshop to serve the community of trainers and instructors on how best to deal with sexual harassment from clients along with Megan Eiss-Proctor, a New York attorney and founder of Heddy Consulting, The workshop is also geared towards male instructors who have wanted to step in to the aid of their female colleagues but didn’t know how. Neither of the studios would ever think about adding on a men’s-only class, saying that would defeat their entire purpose. Right now, Uplift holds all of their classes in an all-women’s setting although Shear said her trainers would be willing to work with men at special events. And, for GunnRivera, “It’s not just about bringing

Class at Grassroots Fitness Project on the Upper West Side. Photo courtesy of Jesse Herndon women together ... because we want to say no-males. It’s about giving the women a safe place to figure out what [strength is] for women — how are we going to define that?” Gunn-Rivera added that the empowerment within the classes is different than classes which have both men and women, “The way they lead, the way they support each other has a different attitude, has a different air, has a different feeling, you know. It’s so new to everybody. Were in such a time now where the confidence of women has grown.” The beginning of an ordinary allwomen’s strength class at The Grassroots Project feels like a therapy session. It’s a vulnerable space and is almost like a support group getting together to talk about their insecurities. Topics of conversation include questions Gunn-Rivera asks like, “When were times in your life when you lost

and gained your strength?” Gunn-Rivera said teaching women has been personally eye-opening to her, “It’s learning how to coach women in a strength environment because the wording is different, the language is different ... we’re not allowed to make disclaimers in the class: ‘Oh I can’t do it.’ You hear the disclaimers come out all the time and I just stop it in its tracks ... because we become what we say. We become what we think.” She continued, “I feel like I have to become somebody in order to teach a male [but] I don’t have to become [anybody] ... to teach a female.” Shear, on the other hand, does not believe there is any substantial difference between the way women and men are taught: “Women are incredibly strong and train incredibly smart. A good instructor ... is going to bring the best out of any student/client no matter who they are!”

THE IDEAL AGES FOR FINANCIAL MILESTONES A new study shows consensus about the right time to open credit card accounts, buy a home — and retire When it comes to money, life is a series of financial milestones. Opening your first credit card account, buying your first home and retiring (no more paychecks!) all feel like very significant events — and they are. But what age is the right age to reach each of these milestones? Of course, it depends on who you ask. But according to a new study from Bankrate. com, there’s some consensus among people on the ideal age for life’s major financial events. What does this mean for you? The results of this study could help you adjust your expectations or reconsider your plans for reaching wa-

tershed financial moments depending on where you are in life.

reality, the median first-time home buyer in the U.S. is 32 years old.

Most people agree on the ideal age to become a home owner. The study,

Young Americans are warming up to credit cards. All respondents across all

which consisted of interviews with about 1,000 respondents, showed that most people think 28 is the right age to buy a home for the first time. In fact, a majority of every age group cited age 28 except for the Silent Generation — people born between 1925 and 1942 — and their most common answer was similar, age 26. Of course, it’s not uncommon for the concept of “ideal” to conflict with realities on the ground. For example, there is consensus among Americans who make less than $30,000 a year, as well as those who live in expensive regions such as the Northeast, that it’s best to wait to buy a home until you’re at least 30. In

age groups agreed that 21 is the ideal age to buy or lease your first car, but there was no such consensus when it comes to opening your first credit card account. The most commonly cited ideal age for that financial milestone was 22, but millennials, who have historically shunned taking on credit card debt, are now largely in favor of paying with plastic as early as possible. About 53 percent of millennials cited 18 to 20 as the ideal age to get your first credit card. It’s important to note that the Credit Card Act of 2009 made 21 the minimum age to acquire a credit card without a cosigner or verifiable proof of enough income to

pay debts. What does this mean for you? If you have college-age kids, keep in mind that it’s now probable that they’re nearly twice as likely as you or your parents to think it’s a good idea to open a credit card account as soon as they reach adulthood.

The young want to retire earlier than those at retirement age. The survey’s younger respondents think the ideal retirement age is in one’s very early 60s — ages 61 and 60 for millennials and Gen Xers, respectively. That optimism, however, often collides with learned reality for older adults who are at or near retirement age. Half of baby boomers think it’s best to wait until at least age 65, and nearly one in five respondents age 73 or older believe that waiting until age 70 or older is better. What’s actually happening?

The average age of new retirees in the U.S. is about 63, although that varies by state, with four states in New England plus New Jersey averaging 65, the oldest average. If you’re a Gen Xer who has lofty goals of early retirement, or you’re the parent of an optimistic millennial, keep in mind that there’s a direct correlation between getting an early jump on aggressively saving for retirement, as well as limiting debt, and actually being able to retire early. Source: A Bankrate.com survey, conducted by SSRS on its Omnibus platform, of 1,001 respondents. The data were weighted to ensure accuracy. Date: August 8, 2018 Publication: Bottom Line Personal Copyright © 2018 by Bottom Line Inc., 3 Landmark Square, Suite 201, Stamford, Connecticut 06901. www.BottomLineInc. com


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ATHLETES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 “How far did you fall?” I asked. People nearby had been semi-ignoring us. At this point, all pretense was dropped. They leaned in. “About 13-5,” Lou replied, then clarified, “13,500 feet. “If you’re in that situation,” he told me, “inflate your life raft between your legs and use it as a cushion.” It was a hard landing, cushion notwithstanding. After nine weeks in an induced coma, followed by three years in a nursing home, Lou walked out. A retired Naval Air Reservist, Lou continues to walk — he doesn’t even use a cane — with Achilles International, a non-profit organization that provides support to athletes with disabilities.

Inspiration and Determination It was Saturday morning and I was at the group’s weekly walkrun workout, which meets at Central Park’s Engineer’s Gate at 10 a.m. in the spring. Over one hundred people had gathered, all shapes, ages, and abilities. There were also volunteers on hand who would be

APRIL 11-17,2019

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

Runners and guides (the folks in the neon yellow shirts) gather in Central Park before a weekly run organized by Achilles International. Photo: Meredith Kurz divvied up among the runners who needed guides. “I used to always start my weekend workout from Engineer’s Gate,” one young volunteer told me. “I was so inspired to see everyone out here every Saturday morning, I just joined up!” I met Dave, who’s volunteered with Achilles for four years, and helps out with the guide dogs that many visually impaired runners rely on. When they run, they leave their dogs with volunteers like Dave, and are tethered to volunteers who run with them. Nishat is a New York Cares volunteer who discovered the Achilles pro-

gram, and brought her friend Madeleine. Michael Anderson, Achilles’ New York director, had to stand on a bench and throw his voice so all could hear. There were upcoming activities to announce, not only through Achilles, but with the Marlene Meyerson JCC, on Amsterdam Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets, which has been hosting Achilles events for over ten years. The next big Achilles event is the 17th Annual Hope and Possibility 4 Mile, to be held on Sunday, June 23rd. (For more info and to sign up or donate

go here: www.achillesinternational.org/hope-possibility) The run, the largest of its kind, brings together “athletes with disabilities and able-bodied athletes in a celebration of running.” There will be prizes, free t-shirts for kids and of course, lots of competition. There are several categories, including handcycles, push-rim wheelchairs and the Achilles Freedom Team.

A Variety of Programs Achilles Freedom Team brings “running and marathon opportunities to veterans who suffered trauma while serving

in a branch of the United States military, predominantly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Stefan LeRoy a Freedom Team runner, recently made news running a 5K, 10K, halfmarathon and a marathon in one weekend, running with, among others, Achilles guide David Cordani. Here’s the link: www.achillesinternational. org/freedom-team Achilles Kids has been helping kids with disabilities for over 23 years to exercise regularly and “compete with other runners, helping them become stronger and healthier.” They offer two weekend programs in NYC. www.achillesinternational.org/achilles-kids or call 212-354-0300 x305. Tri Achilles Team is for athletes with disabilities interested in multi-sport competitions. There is a wide range of experience and abilities for the competitors, and they receive training and coaching in swimming, biking, and running. www.achillesinternational. org/paratriathlon-team The Handcycle Program was started by Dick Traum, who, after knee surgery, discovered handcycling was not only a great alternative exercise, handcycles could be used to compete. Achilles presented

DISCOVERY DAY Saturday, April 27, 2019 Discover Bard College at Simon’s Rock, a place of purpose-driven curiosity and self-expression where highly motivated young scholars start college after the 10th or 11th grade.

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the idea of handcycling to wounded veterans who lost limbs in conflicts. The program became the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. Achilles was able to offer “wounded military personnel a seemingly ‘impossible’ goal of completing marathons because they could use a handcycle.” To learn more about the handcycle program contact Joe Traum (Dick’s son), director of operations and wheelchair logistics at jtraum@achillesinternational.org. Marlene Meyerson JCC also offers exercise opportunities in their facilities on the Upper West Side. The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs offers aquatics and gymnastic programming for children. The Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program offers “exercise, support groups, and events designed to keep those impacted by Parkinson’s and their families active, connected, and empowered.” For these and other programs, go to www.jccmanhattan.org The Achilles guides, in their neon yellow shirts headed over to the reservoir track with their athletic partners. As I watched Lou walking with his comrades, all I could think was, 13-5.


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ART AND MIGRATION ISSUES An UES exhibition of work by undocumented immigrants explores themes of place and culture BY JASON COHEN

A nonprofit that turns real estate into spaces for artists unveiled an exhibit on the Upper East Side featuring work by two undocumented immigrants. “Esperanza de Otro Mundo Posible/ Hope of Another Possible World,” focuses on work by artists Francisco Donoso and Maria De Los Angeles and runs at 340 East 64th St. through April 18. The nonprofit group Chashama supports artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate into exhibition spaces. In the last year, the organization awarded $8.6 million worth of empty space to artists and gave 150 artists free space to present their work. The artists presenting at East 64th St. are part of Chashama’s Space to Connect program, which provides free community public art classes and is funded in part through a Cultural Immigrant Initiative grant from Councilman Ben Kallos. “To me, art is simple, it is filling a space with something beautiful,” Kallos said in a statement. “And that is exactly what Chashama has once again managed to do here; display great artwork for people to see ... The Upper East Side welcomes the installation and appreciates the dedication it took for the artists to complete it.” Chashama was founded in 1995 by

Anita Durst, and its initial focus was on the production and presentation of new theater. Since then, it has expanded from midtown Manhattan to all five boroughs and beyond. Currently, it holds 150 events a year, has workspaces for 120 artists and has developed 80 workshops in underserved communities. “We’re thrilled to present the works of these diverse artists,” said Durst. “This gallery is a beautiful example of what happens when we elevate and celebrate the art of the immigrants who live in our city.” Donoso and De Los Angeles were born in Ecuador and Mexico respectively and both are DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. Their work explores ideas of place, migration and the experience of being an undocumented immigrant in the United States. Through their work as artists and educators, they investigate the problems with immigration, touching on how conversations surrounding this issue are often intertwined with racism, xenophobia and colonialism. De Los Angeles, 30, teaches art at the Pratt Institute and lives in Jersey City. She immigrated from Mexico to California at the age of 12 with her family, and in 2011, came to New York City to study at Pratt Institute. She recalled that she was shy growing up and often a had a book with her where she would draw. In 2006, a high school teacher of hers encouraged her to do art and helped her develop her passion. “I really like painting and drawing,” she said. “My first love was to make pictures and draw things.”

Francisco Donoso, “Release Me Into Orbit,” installation/mixed media, 2019 .

Maria de Los Angeles, from “En El Jardín,” Acrylic or Gouache on wall. Photos courtesy of Chashama

Maria de Los Angeles, “En el Jardín de Las Rosas,” acrylic on canvas, 2019. In 2013 she received a bachelor’s in fine art in painting from Pratt Institute, and in 2015 she obtained her master’s in fine arts in painting and printmaking from Yale School of Art. Looking back on how far she has come from being a young girl in Mexico to a successful artist in New York

City, she is humbled and proud. It has been a long road for her family, but it was worth it. “My work kind of blends who I am culturally,” she said. Donoso, 30, who lives in Inwood, was born in Quito, Ecuador and immigrated to Miami as a five-year-old. He moved to New York City in 2011, where he obtained his bachelor’s in fine arts from the School of Art+Design at Purchase College. Although he is undocumented, he has spent most of his life in America. “The transition to the U.S. was not difficult for me,” he said. “It was more difficult for my parents. I have always known the U.S. as my home. I have

sense of connection to my culture and the country where I was born, Ecuador, but I also have a deep sense of connection to this country.” He recalled how he found his passion for art at a young age. At the age of four, he received an Etch a Sketch for Christmas and became obsessed with drawing Ursula from the Little Mermaid on it. As he got older, he began to hone his craft. He attended specialized schools for art in elementary, middle and high school. “I think it’s something I’ve always been drawn to,” he said. When he graduated from college, he realized he could make a career in art, though he knew it would not be easy. Donoso works in abstract art and uses mixed media and installations to tell stories. In mixed media, he combines acrylic painting with spray paint and cartography. “As an immigrant, there are things where you are constantly oscillating between spaces and those spaces can be between mental, physical or financial,” he said. “The sense of back and forth of movement in between spaces is what guides my work.” This is the first of four shows that will run through mid-July featuring the work of immigrant artists. The next three shows, at the same location, will include performances, workshops and screenings.

Francisco Donoso, “Otro Mundo” mixed media collages, 2019. Photos courtesy of Chashama


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