Page 1

The local paper for the Upper per West Side p Sid

FALL 2017

WEEK OF AUGUST

EDUCATION P.11

24-30 2017

2-year-olds through seventh-graders can take robotics classes at the Brooklyn Robot Foundry in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Foundry offers weeklong summer sessions, after-school programs and one-time classes. Photo: Josh Brechner

SHAPING ENGINEERS LEARNING The Brooklyn Robot Foundry teaches children to build machines and confidence BY ARIANA REICHLER

Alex, 9, described the the light saber-wielding robot he was building using words like “microchips” and “hummingbirds” and engineering terminology that would make an adult’s head spin. His knowledge was impressive, but par for the course at the Brooklyn Robot Foundry. For parents struggling to find a meaningful way to occupy their young children during the summer and beyond, the Robot Foundry makes the task a little easier, providing a selection of robotics, engineering, circuitry, design and programming classes. Started in 2011, it offers weeklong summer sessions,

after-school programs and one-time classes for 2-year-olds through seventh graders. The original Brooklyn location has quickly grown into studios in Brooklyn, Tribeca and the Upper East Side. Each class focuses on building a certain project — a puppet, a car or a boat, for example — and each project is associated with a real world lesson, introducing concepts like magnet switches, parallel circuits and water pumps. In addition to being educational, sessions are also designed to be fun. Builders have access to any creative child’s dream: an abundance of colored paper, glitter, markers and, of course, googly eyes. “All of the kids make the same skeleton of their robots, but then we decorate and the kids turn it into their own thing,” said Josh Brechner, who works in marketing and design, but also leads classes.

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Two classroom water fountains at P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School on West 89th Street had elevated lead levels, including one several times the recommended action level. Photo: Adam Fagen, via flickr

LEAD IN WATER WAS COMMON IN CITY SCHOOLS INFRASTRUCTURE DOE says remediation of outlets was immediate BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Department of Education testing showed that drinking water in a number of Upper West Side schools, including P.S. 165 Robert E. Simon and P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School, contained lead at concentrations many times greater than state-mandated action levels for the toxic metal

during the last school year. The Department of Education completed lead testing on drinking and cooking water outlets in every public school in the city during the 20162017 school year. Results showed that 83 percent of school buildings had at least one water sample with lead levels above the action level of 15 parts per billion. Elevated lead levels were found in roughly 8 percent of all samples. After testing, the DOE sent letters notifying parents and staff of their individual school’s results. Results for each building were made available on schools’ individual websites, but

a single, comprehensive database of results for each outlet tested in every school was not made available by the DOE until recently, following a freedom of information law request filed by Straus News. The DOE’s remediation protocol calls for outlets with elevated lead results to be immediately removed from service and replaced. Outlets are not returned to service until follow-up testing shows that lead levels are below the 15 ppb action level.

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Westsider WEEK OF APRIL

SPRING ARTS PREVIEW

WestSideSpirit

WESTSIDE SPIRIT.COM @WestSideSpirit

Crime Watch NYC Now Voices City Arts

3 6 8 10

Restaurant Ratings 23 Business 24 Real Estate 25 15 Minutes 27

< CITYARTS, P.12

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

Newscheck Crime Watch Voices Out & About

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

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

12 13 14 18

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

BATTERED BRONZE SPHERE RETURNS TO WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE The Fritz Koenig sculpture will have a permanent home overlooking the 9/11 memorial A 25-ton, bronze sphere damaged by the collapsing World Trade Center is finally being returned to a spot overlooking the rebuilt site. Workers last Wednesday began hoisting sections of the Koenig Sphere into its permanent home at the new Liberty Park overlooking the 9/11 memorial. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last year approved plans to move the sculpture from its temporary place in Battery Park at Manhattan’s southern tip. The sphere once stood between the trade center’s two towers. The late German artist Fritz Koenig created the work commissioned by the Port Authority, which lost 84 employees. It was dedicated in Battery Park in 2002, with an eternal flame honoring the more than 2,700 people who died at the trade center a year earlier. — The Associated Press

Recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers, the Koenig sphere was relocated to a temporary home in Battery Park. Photo: Harvey Barrison, via flickr

Was your life impacted by Nazi persecution because of your Jewish identity?b Did you hide or flee? Were you separated from your parents?b Were you unable to return home? Did you disguise your Jewish identity?

bYou are a survivor of the Holocaust.b You may be eligible for services.b For more than 80 years, Selfhelpbhas bettered the lives of Holocaust survivors through home care, socialization, and social work services.

For us, this is personal. We're here to listen and help.b

bContact us at 212-971-7795 or hspoutreach@selfhelp.net Photo from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Shraga Wainer


AUGUST 24-30,2017

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CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG STATS FOR THE WEEK Reported crimes from the 24th precinct for Week to Date 2017 2016

% Change

2017

2016

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

1

0

n/a

Rape

0

0

n/a

8

3

166.7

Robbery

5

4

25.0

75

77

-2.6

Felony Assault

3

0

n/a

81

76

6.6

ACQUAINTANCE CHOKED, ROBBED

Burglary

2

1

100.0

93

72

29.2

Grand Larceny

13

14

-7.1

397 402 -1.2

At 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 19, a 42-year-old man met an unknown individual at West 107th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and went back to the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Central Park West apartment. When they got into the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apartment, they talked about the rental or sales of that apartment, when the apartment owner felt somebody choking him from behind and lost consciousness. When the victim woke up at around 1:45 a.m., he found a number of his possessions missing, including a Rolex watch, a gold chain necklace, and a blue Gucci document bag and wallet, totaling $1,040 in value.

Grand Larceny Auto

0

0

n/a

20

Tony Webster, via ďŹ&#x201A;ickr

ARRESTS FOLLOWING RIVERSIDE PARK MUGGING A woman walking in Riverside Park near West 98th Street was approached by three teenagers late on Sunday, August 13, and told to hand over her property. According to the 25-year-old womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s account to police, one of the youths, about 14 to 16, said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You know whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening. Give us your sh*t, or youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get stabbed.â&#x20AC;? The young muggers then took the victimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s property: a book bag, iPhone7, iPhone 6S, credit card, MetroCard and earbuds. Darien Shipman and Haneef Davis were arrested August 13 and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property.

LIVERY DRIVER ROBBED At 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday, August 15, a 39-year-old livery driver picked up a passenger on West 102nd Street and drove to West 110th Street and Nicolas Avenue. There the passenger told the driver to wait. The passenger then exited the vehicle, spoke to a third party, got back in the vehicle, and asked to be driven back home, telling the driver what route to take. At West 104th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the passenger then placed a simulated ďŹ rearm to the back of the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head and demanded money. The driver handed over $150 and the passenger left, running south and into the Douglass Houses complex.

Year to Date

ALTERED SPATES Because of a recent crime pattern, police remind area residents again to write checks using unalterable permanent ink and mail checks either at a post office or just before collection time at street mailboxes. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, a 56-year-old woman mailed a check to her building management using the mailbox at West 98th Street and Columbus Avenue. On Friday, August 18 she learned that her building management had never received her check and that an unknown person had altered it,

20

0.0

cashing it with a different recipient name and amount ($2,950) entered.

HUSBAND CHOKES WIFE At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, a 25-year-old woman had a verbal argument with her husband inside 840 Columbus Ave. He then choked her and she lost consciousness. She also told police that her husband had violated both an order of protection and a stay-away order. She refused medical attention at the precinct house.

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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Useful Contacts NYPD 20th Precinct

120 W. 82nd St.

212-580-6411

WHERE INSPIRATION STRIKES

NYPD 24th Precinct

151 W. 100th St.

212-678-1811

BY PETER PEREIRA

NYPD Midtown North Precinct

306 W. 54th St.

212-760-8300

FDNY Engine 76/Ladder 22

145 W. 100th St.

311

FDNY Engine 40/Ladder 35

W. 66th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

311

FDNY Engine 74

120 W. 83rd St.

311

Ladder 25 Fire House

205 W. 77th St.

311

POLICE

FIRE

CITY COUNCIL Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

563 Columbus Ave.

212-873-0282

Councilmember Inez Dickens

163 W. 125th St.

212-678-4505

State Senator Brad Hoylman

322 Eighth Ave. #1700

212-633-8052

State Sen. Jose M. Serrano

1916 Park Ave. #202

212-828-5829

STATE LEGISLATORS

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

212-873-6368

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

212-866-3970

COMMUNITY BOARD 7 LIBRARIES

250 W. 87th St. #2

212-362-4008

St. Agnes

444 Amsterdam Ave.

212-621-0619

Bloomingdale

150 W. 100th St.

212-222-8030

Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center

917-275-6975

HOSPITALS Mt. Sinai – Roosevelt

1000 10th Ave.

Mt. Sinai - St. Luke’s

1090 Amsterdam Ave.

212-523-4000 212-523-5898

CON ED TIME WARNER CABLE POST OFFICES

4 Irving Place

212-460-4600

2554 Broadway

212-358-0900

US Post Office

215 W. 104th St.

212-662-0355

US Post Office

700 Columbus Ave.

212-866-1981

US Post Office

127 W. 83rd St.

212-873-3991

Ansonia Post Office

178 Columbus Ave.

212-362-1697

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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How would you end educational apartheid in our schools if you were our City Council member? ☐ Engage the parents of white, Black, Hispanic and Asian students ☐ Involve the teachers and principals ☐ Mobilize the clergy to combat prejudice ☐ All the above The Upper West Side is the most severely segregated school district in New York City, and one of the worst in the country. White and Asian students go to great schools; Black and Hispanic students attend inferior schools. Separate and Unequal. The incumbent council member has never been a teacher and sends her own children to private schools. She’s never led a citywide, school reform campaign or a campaign against educational apartheid. The same is true of the other candidate. I am a former public school teacher and parent (PS9, 84 and The Computer School) who was named Teacher of the Year. I led a citywide school reform campaign to curb the dropout epidemic. And, I received an award from the UN for my role in ending apartheid.

VOTE GOODMAN AND STOP SEGREGATION VOTE GOODMAN WWW.VOTECARYGOODMAN.COM SEPTEMBER 12 Paid for by: Vote Goodman

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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Central Park Conservancy Kiosk at Merchant’s Gate 11 a.m. Free Even seasoned explorers will discover new secrets on this walking of tour of southwest Central Park. Highlights include the Maine Monument, the Children’s District, Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green and Strawberry Fields. 212-794-4064. nycgovparks.org/events

26

Sat

THE MAGIC FLUTE IN HD

GET CREATIVE WITH KANDINSKY & MORE

The Metropolitan Opera, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza 8 p.m. Free Be transported by Ingmar Bergman’s classic 1975 film version of Mozart’s operatic masterpiece “Die Zauberflote.” The screening kicks off the Met’s Summer HD Festival, which runs from Aug. 26 to Sep. 4. More than 3,000 seats will be set up in front of the opera house each night. 212-362-6000. metopera.org

Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave. 9 a.m. Free with museum admission Get up close and personal with famous works of art like Kandinsky’s “Black Lines” and Edouard Manet’s “Before the Mirror,” then record your perspective via drawing. Shinsuke Aso, gallery educator,leads the group through conversation and activities. 212-423-3500. guggenheim.org/event

EMILSEN PACHECO WITH BULLA EN EL BARRIO

MARIONETTE THEATRE IN CENTRAL PARK

Lincoln Center, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza 7:30 p.m. Free, seating is first come, first serve Bullerengue, a cumbia-based musical style and dance, is perhaps the oldest AfricanAmerican musical tradition in Colombia. Emilsen Pacheco joins the New York-based collective “Bulla en el Barrio” to bring this evocative music to Lincoln Center. 212-721-6500. lincolncenter. org/show

Central Park, Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, West 79th Street & West Drive Noon. $8 children/$12 adults Come for the enchanting Swedish architecture, stay for a delightful performance of “The Princess, The Emperor, and The Duck.” Set in Africa, China and Central Park, this owl-narrated performance recounts Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tales. 212-988-9093. nycgovparks. org/events

MARCH WITH SUFFRAGISTS New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West 11 a.m. Free with museum admission In honor of the Society’s centennial exhibition “World War I Beyond the Trenches,” the year 1917 comes to life. On the 26th, meet suffragists portrayed by living historians and learn how they fought for women's rights and marched for the vote. 212-873-3400. nyhistory.org


AUGUST 24-30,2017

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FERTILE MIND

thoughtgallery.org NEW YORK CITY

Distant Lives, Forbidden Voices

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 6:30PM The High Line | High Line @ 30th St. | 212-500-6035 | thehighline.org Catch an evening of readings presented by PEN America through The Artists at Risk Connection, a project designed to safeguard the right to artistic freedom of expression. It’s hosted in a sitespecific gathering space that’s part of the pen-air group exhibition Mutations (free).

Screening: Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 6:30PM N-Y Historical Society | 170 Central Park West | 212-873-3400 | nyhistory.org The N-YHS’s Centennial Summer continues with this screening of the story of George M. Cohan, starring James Cagney (free). Photo by Dave Doe via Flickr

Sun 27 RUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY NYRR Run Center, 320 West 57th St. 10 a.m. Free Lace up those sneakers and join the New York Road Runners youth staff for a one-hour coach-led session combining exercise and education for families with runners ages 6 to 10. Registration required. 855-569-6977. nyrr.org

VALERIE JUNE AT SUMMERSTAGE SummerStage, Central Park 5 p.m. Free Your ears will thank you for experiencing this colossal talent up close. June’s unique voice blurs the lines between genres, fusing folk, soul and country, The Tennessee-raised singersongwriter is joined by Aloysius 3, Jalen N’Gonda and DJ Boogie Blind. cityparksfoundation.org/ summerstage

Mon 28 ‘L'AMOUR DE LOIN’ The Metropolitan Opera, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza 8 p.m. Free Witness an HD screening under the stars of the Met’s premiere production of the

spellbinding opera. Featuring staging by Robert Lepage and starring Susanna Phillips, Tamara Mumford and Eric Owens. 212-362-6000. metopera.org

LEARN ENGLISH WITH ‘WE ARE NEW YORK’ St. Agnes Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. 5:30 p.m. Free The Emmy Award-winning TV show “We Are New York” was created to help adults practice English. Each story is about an everyday situation, and the characters speak slowly and clearly. Come watch episodes and discuss them with other English learners from around the world. 212-621-0619. nypl.org/events

Tue 29 ▲ BUDGETING 101 FOR ARTISTS El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave. 6:30 p.m. Free If you’re a creative type who needs to raise and manage resources, this workshop is for you. Participants learn how to construct a line item budget that represents anticipated expenses and income for artistic projects. RSVP required. 212-219-9401. lmcc.net/ event/budgeting-101

admission What’s better than sliding down bannisters at The Plaza? Viewing the “Eloise at the Museum” exhibition, then cuddling up in the story corner and listening to the exploits of the Plaza’s most famous resident, of course. 212-873-3400. nyhistory.org

Just Announced | Music and Meaning—Seminars in Society and Neuroscience

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 4:15PM Columbia University | 116th St. & Broadway | 212-854-1754 | columbia.edu A conversation between scholars representing the humanities and cognitive science examines the power of music to communicate both emotions and ideas (free).

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

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

Wed30 WALLACE SHAWN’S NIGHT THOUGHTS Barnes & Noble Upper West Side, 2289 Broadway 7 p.m. Free Writer and playwright Wallace Shawn presents a thoughtful discussion on inequality, blame, revenge, 11th-century Japanese court poetry, decadence and more. 212-362-8835. stores. barnesandnoble.com/event

CITIZENSHIP PROJECT INFO SESSION New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West 6 p.m. Free This is America: Green card holders are invited to attend civics and history classes to help prepare for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam. 212-873-3400. nyhistory.org

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THE CHALLENGE: Eat only food that’s grown, raised, produced or caught within 250 miles of your home in the bountiful month of September with five exceptions of your choosing The hope is that we will not only have a positive impact on the environment, local economy and your own health, but also that we’ll build community.

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‘ELOISE!’ STORYTIME New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West 2 p.m. Free with museum

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AUGUST 24-30,2017

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Voices

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

ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS EAST SIDE OBSERVER BY ARLENE KAYATT

Little shops on the corner — Add to the commercial mix of midManhattan the Lex Shopping Court at the northwest corner of Lex and 56th on the street level of what’s rumored to be the site of a high-end residence for senior living. The businesses in the neighborhood have been shuttered and shuttering in droves. Entire blocks of businesses are gone — from small retailers to Friday’s to either a T-Mobile or AT&T on the east side of Lex between 57th and 56th. A souvenir shop on the southwest corner bears a recent Marshal’s Notice. The yet-to-open court was described to me by one of

the tenants as a “Christmas store, you know like Bryant Park” and Columbus Circle in Central Park and at least one near where the Bull and Fearless Girl stand in the Financial District. Not sure that the new Lex location is bringing smiles to some of the existing storefront businesses that are paying high rents and will be competing with the year-round Christmas shops. According to Lex Shopping Court tenants, who were busily stocking their shelves before the opening, they will be there for at least two years. The foot traffic in the area and along the street will be seriously impacted — it’s a busy commercial and residential district with a bus stop between 55th and 56th Streets. And let us not forget that 56th and Lex, an eastbound street, is in the direct path of traf-

Photo: David, via Flickr fic of our president’s Fifth Avenue home and is subject to closure at any time. So what does the new permanently temporary shopping court do for local residents and businesses? Did anyone ask? Did anyone care? Fixe mix — Prix fixe menus usually consist of an entree, soup or salad, and dessert. Now, at some restau-

rants, you can swap out one of the above for a glass of wine. Happened on the UES at Parlor restaurant and at Little Frog. Nice to have good wine as part of the pickings. Sound off — Speech is free. But not on T-shirts where you get to pay to print what you have to say. Literally, of course, when you buy the

shirt. It’s too bad when you don’t share the sentiment and have to pay the price of standing behind two people — make that idiots — who are standing alongside each other with one wearing a T-shirt that says “I Have the Right to Be Violent,” and the other saying, “Yes He Does and I Like It.” Can’t tell them to shut up. And sure won’t tell them to take off their shirts. Outfoxing — Yes, Fox News is leaning in and taking “fake news” and its not-so-great press seriously when it comes to gender, with its new noon entry, Outnumbered, on Channel 44, where the grid promotes and describes the programming: “Four female panelists and one male colleague share their perspective of the day’s top new stories.” Odd characterization of the talking heads. Sounds as if they’re talking about ABC’s The View without the Fox News’s good guy, Juan Williams.

HOW TO BE A CLASS MOM A new book is a reminder of the experiences one NYC mother had with other school parents BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

Back-to-school is only weeks away, and for many NYC mothers it will be their child’s first academic experience. Whether you’re a 9-to-5er, freelancer as I was, or SAHM (stay at home mom), you will be expected to be a participating parent in your school community. One way to do that: class mom. With my son Luke, 22, I held the post in nursery school and first grade; for my daughter Meg, 19, it was third and fourth grades. It’s no wonder I read with interest Laurie Gelman’s new novel, “Class Mom.” (FYI: The Manhattan author set the story — much of which is told via unconventional class emails — in Missouri, because, according to her interview on “Live with Kelly & Ryan,” she was tired of people beating up on Upper East Side moms.) Although most parents appreciate the efforts of the class mom, it takes only one to turn the job into what main character “Jennifer Dixon” acknowl-

edges as “thankless.” I’d love to tell all the newbies that Gelman exaggerates for comic relief, but alas her book is an all too real trigger of my own experiences with: Allergy Mom: Class mom catches a break if the school has a no-nut policy that makes all parents responsible for being hyper-vigilant about no PB&J lunches and packaged snacks with nut ingredients. If, however, the school has no such policy, when class mom organizes parties, she is expected to echo relentlessly this mom’s demands that the other parents be mindful of what treats they send in, or a child’s possible lethal reaction will be on whom? Class mom. Busy Mom: She always has tons to do (unlike the rest of us), so there’s no time to volunteer. There’s always time though to advise class mom on how to run the latest event. On the back end, she’ll make it known how much better things coulda-shoulda-woulda been if she’d been in charge — an impossibility, of course, because she’s (all together now for the back of the house) too busy. Socialite Mom: A member of café

In the class mom days: Merkl with son (left) and daughter(right). Photo courtesy of Lorraine Duffy Merkl society — in her mind, she keeps up appearances by declaring everything class mom has chosen for the parent cocktail party — from hors d’oeuvres/ beverages to music/decorations — “basic.” To class mom’s face, however, that term is substituted with the passive-aggressive “cute.” A cheese cube sighting has her one plastic wine glass away from transferring schools. Boho Hippie Chick Mom: With her flouncy skirts and peasant blouses, she’s as relaxed as a broken-in pair of Levi’s, as long as class mom is sensitive to her beliefs that the contributions for the toy drive be gender nonspecific, an alternative menu of vegan fare also be offered at both adult and child functions, and there be no “violent” games, like Whac-A-Mole, at the class booth at the school carnival. If not, peace and love means war.

Rabble Rouser Mom: She views class mom as a champion who wields Game of Thrones-like power over the administration, and who will get her suggestions (aka better way of doing things) addressed. When explained that this is beyond the scope of the volunteer position, but she herself is free to discuss matters with the principal, this mom questions the point of having a class mom, if the person’s not going to do anything. (Organizing events, assisting the teacher with scheduling, and being everyone’s goto when there’s a question, apparently doesn’t count.) Plain Inconsiderate Mom: At teacher gift-giving time, class mom puts the call out for funds to buy a group gift. Because many don’t pony up til the last minute, the item is usually purchased in advance and class mom

gets reimbursed. However, there are those who choose to opt out of the purely voluntary activity. This is fine — if their intentions are made known upfront, as opposed to on the eve of the presentation, meaning class mom not only makes her own contribution, but is then in the hole for that of the thoughtless. Despite the many personalities as well as requests (often made a dinnertime), this is a coveted position that has people like Jennifer and me making repeat performances. If I had to do it over again, though, I’d make sure my missives were as feisty and acerbic as hers. Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of “Back To Work She Goes,” that has a SAHM reentering the workforce.

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P.S. 163 Alfred E. Smith on West 97th Street was among the Upper West Side schools with drinking fountains with elevated lead results. Photo: NYC Department of Education

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of the elevated water samples came from ďŹ xtures that are not typically used for drinking, including bathrooms, slop sinks, and laboratories,â&#x20AC;? read one DOE letter to parents and staff. Faucet-level test results, however, show that elevated samples were found in drinking fountains at many schools. Results from a water fountain in a play area at P.S. 165 Robert E. Simon on West 109th Street showed lead at a level of 432 ppb, nearly 30 times greater than the 15 ppb action level. At P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School on West 89th Street, which serves about 600 children in kindergarten to ďŹ fth grade, two classroom water fountains had elevated lead levels, including one with results of 134 ppb. Six other outlets at the school had elevated sample results as well, ďŹ ve of them cold water faucets in classrooms and one a cold water faucet in an office. Testing was performed on January 14 of this year and the elevated outlets were taken out of service on January 27 for remediation. On August 21, the DOE notiďŹ ed P.S. 166 parents and staff that remediation had been completed and retests showed all previously elevated outlets

levels found during testing are not necessarily reflective of actual lead levels students and staff are likely to encounter during the day, as testing was performed on water that had sat in pipes overnight. The DOE says that lead levels drop sharply after faucets are ďŹ rst used each day and stagnant water is cleared from the pipes. Lead enters drinking water primarily through the corrosion of lead plumbing materials, which are now banned but were once widely used. For adults, exposure to lead over time can result in a number of harmful effects, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney disease. Young children, who absorb ingested lead at a higher rate than adults, are particularly susceptible to harmful effects of lead exposure, which can have permanent negative impacts on the development of the brain and nervous system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emphasizes that there is no safe level of lead exposure. The 15 ppb action level is not a health-based benchmark; rather, it is an action level for implementing treatment techniques aimed at reducing lead levels at the tap. According to the World Health Organization, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There appears to be no threshold level below which lead causes no injury to the developing human brain.â&#x20AC;?

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now had results below the 15 ppb action level. The DOE said it would continue to ďŹ&#x201A;ush the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water systems on Monday mornings to remove stagnant water â&#x20AC;&#x153;[o]ut of an abundance of cautionâ&#x20AC;?. Other Upper West Side schools that had drinking fountains with elevated results include P.S. 163 Alfred E. Smith on West 97th Street and P.S. 145 The Bloomingdale School on West 105th Street. A higher proportion of elevated results in a given building did not necessarily correlate with higher lead levels in the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s individual water outlets. For example, only two of the 176 samples tested at P.S. 087 William Sherman on West 78th Street turned up elevated results, but one was a cold water faucet in a ďŹ rst ďŹ&#x201A;oor classroom with test results of 1,191 ppb, nearly 80 times greater than the action level. DOE Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth A. Rose wrote in an April 2017 letter to families and staff that the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s testing â&#x20AC;&#x153;demonstrates that we do not have any systemic issues with water in our school buildings and our remediation protocol is effective.â&#x20AC;? Lead poisoning rates among New York City children have declined in recent years, and according to the DOE there has never been a known case of lead poisoning due to water in city schools. The DOE has said that elevated lead

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WEAVING A TALE Bamboo arts at The Met BY MARY GREGORY

Entering The Met Fifth Avenue’s Arts of Japan galleries, many visitors can’t help but gasp. We did. The guard on duty said it’s a common response. The exhibition title and signage promised bamboo baskets. It didn’t say anything about a floor-to-ceiling twisting mass of frenetic energy in a site-specific installation by Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. The Gate, woven of tiger bamboo, torques and twirls like a funnel cloud, or the tendrils of a great vine, or the circulatory system of some unseen giant. It’s at once ethereal and overpowering, weightless and crushing. It’s extraordinary. At home, our kitchen counter usually holds two or three bamboo bas-

IF YOU GO WHAT: Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection WHERE: The Met Fifth Avenue WHEN: Through February 4 www.metmuseum.org/ kets filled with bananas and apples or unsorted mail. It was clear from this introduction that the work in the exhibition that followed would have little to do with our everyday experience of bamboo. Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection highlights some 90 works in bamboo, from functional baskets to abstract sculptures, that date from the late 1800s to the present. It’s The Met’s first exhibition focusing on

“Tide,” a 1978 work by Fujitsuka Shosei, who was trained by an earlier master of bamboo form. Photo: Adel Gorgy

“Dragon in the Clouds Flower Basket” by Iizuka Shokansai holds an ikebana floral display created by the Ikebana International New York Chapter. Photo: Adel Gorgy

basketry, and most of the works have never been on public view before. New York residents Diane and Arthur Abbey have amassed one of the most comprehensive and exquisite collections of a form that has only recently been considered fine art. Yet, six of the artists whose work is on view have been recognized in Japan as Living National Treasures. From delicate grasses to timber towering five stories high, the more than 60 varieties of bamboo that are native to Japan have become woven into the arts, culture and daily lives of the society for hundreds of years. Its shoots are a dietary staple, and it’s been used to make kitchen utensils, furniture, hats and shoes, transportation devices for everything from medicine to travelers, and even bridges, roads and buildings. Called one of the “three friends of winter,” along with pine and plum trees, bamboo doesn’t succumb to cold, grows quickly, and bestows its gifts to animals and humans with grace. It bends without breaking and is thought of as steadfast and loyal. For all these reasons, the venerable and venerated plant has been depicted and utilized by artists for ages. One of the pleasures of the exhibition is the engaging way that curator, Monika Bincsik, has woven the Abbeys’s baskets through a presentation of The

“Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V” carries a bamboo helmet in this 1774 woodblock print. Photo: Adel Gorgy Met’s superb collection of screens, woodblock prints, Inrō containers, manuscripts and ceramics. Each gallery contains conversations between basketry and other objects, expressed in the language of bamboo, but with almost infinite dialects and inflections. One case presenting a glorious

painted manuscript had me wondering what it was doing there, until I read the title of the story: “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” Bamboo imagery throughout the galleries decorates delicate fans, massive folding screens and antique porcelains. But it’s the baskets that carry the exhibition. Many were created to hold ikebana floral arrangements, a classical art of spiritual refinement. They range from minutely detailed to radically abstract, and from traditional to uncompromisingly contemporary. “Tide,” a 1978 work by Fujitsuka Shōsei, displaying the “thousand line” technique is beautifully placed in front of a screen decorated with painted bamboo leaves. Nagakura Ken’ichi’s “Woman Flower Basket,” tall and spindly, recalls a Giacometti figure. A dramatically lit, black-lined case holding two objects is a show stopper. In “Wave,” created by Monden Kōgyoku in 1981, a rolling mass of energy coils in on itself. Next to it is the 2000 work, “Dance,” by Honda Shōryū. It pliés and twirls with elegance, precision and grace. “Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection” presents a sweeping view across centuries and media with spectacular forms expressing a humble and hardy, but hardly plain plant.


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FALL 2017

EDUCATION

STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE BY DOUGLAS FEIDEN

WHAT’S INSIDE • Joy in Science ...13 • A School’s Secret Formula...17 • Urban Studies...14 • The Admissions Specialists...18 • Civility in the Classroom...14 • Why Reading Hard Copy Books • After High School...16 Gets Results...20

The range of educational choices is staggering, the sheer diversity of options unparalleled. Nothing on the planet can match the pedagogical menus offered to the vast learning communities of Manhattan. Consider that a child might enroll in the Finger Painted Hands Preschool on West 83rd Street and learn by “playing, exploring, making mistakes, getting messy” and “leaving handprints all over the Upper West Side!” Then flash forward two or three decades: That same student might now venture across the park to the biomedical research laboratories of Rockefeller University on York Avenue to study with the five Nobel Prize laureates on its faculty. Pick a topic from A to Z. Our universities have it covered. The ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus? Try the classics department at New York University. The Iranian religious prophet Zoroaster? Go to the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University. Pick a topic from A to Z. Our universities have it covered. The ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus? Try the classics department at New York University. The Iranian religious prophet Zoroaster? Go to the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University. But let’s not sugarcoat the shortcomings, even the horrors, of the city’s educational system. Before you can achieve erudition and scholarship and vault to professional heights, you have to learn to read and write. A bit of civility helps, too. It can be strikingly absent from the classroom. And yes, that makes it awfully tough to pick up basic literary and arithmetical skills. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


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INTRO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 City Hall boasts that college readiness rates for city students climbed in 2016. True. It inched up a bit. But the boast is hollow: Now, just 37.2 percent of students meet the City University of New York standards for incoming college freshmen. High school graduation rates also rose last year, hitting a record 72.5 percent, up from 70.5 percent in 2015. Naturally, that’s great news. But it’s not as great as it sounds: An analysis in September 2016 by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office found that the growth was driven largely by gains at the city’s highest performing schools. High schools in the best performing quintile saw graduation rates climb to an impressive 97 percent, up from 93 percent the year before. For schools in the lowest performing quintile, however, rates plummeted to an abysmal 50 percent, Stringer’s auditors found. Still, opportunities abound. Offerings are unmatched. As the largest school district in America, the city’s Department of Education serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools. That includes 400 high schools offering some 700-plus specialized programs, of which 109 high schools are in Manhattan, which itself boasts 151 programs with more on the way. To name a few, in alphabetical order, the program offerings include studies in architecture, business, communications, computer science and technology, culinary arts, engineering, environmental science, film and video, health and hospitality.

The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers’ garden at West 84th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Photo courtesy of UAGC To name a few more, specialized programs for Manhattan students include travel and tourism, humanities, law and government, performing arts, science and math, teaching, visuals arts and design, the list goes on and on. Interested in the interplay of food and finance? Take a look at the Food and Finance High School at 525 West 50th St. Know a young woman who wants to lead the city, state or nation? Enroll her

BREAK FROM THE STANDARD EDUCATIONAL TRACK

in the Young Women’s Leadership School at 105 East 106th St. Want to communicate with the deaf? Try the American Sign Language and English Secondary School at 223 East 23rd St. Eager to explore what makes a global citizen? Keen to engage with the environment? Consider the Global Learning Collaborative or the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers respectively.

They share a building at 145 West 84th St. And when it comes to artistic and creative talent, look no further than the Talent Unlimited High School, at 317 East 67th St., which celebrates the bond between the performing and liberal arts, or the Professional Performing Arts High School, 328 West 48th St., which will train you in tap dancing, ballet, acting and musical theater. Other options include Manhattan’s 52 charter schools, many with long waiting lists, from the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School at 17 Battery Place to the multiple Success Academy Charter Schools, which can be found from Union Square to West 49th Street to Harlem. Religiously oriented schools also abound. Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York was launched in St. Peter’s Parish in lower Manhattan in 1800. Today, Catholic educators run a couple of dozen elementary schools and 13 high schools on the island, including Xavier High School, at 30 West 16th St., and Regis High School, at 55 East 84th St. Meanwhile, Jewish students have long found an educational home at the Manhattan Day School, at 310 West 75th St., and Ramaz, which divides it campus between locations on East 85th Street and East 78th Street. Bottom line: Yes, there are pitfalls. They can be very daunting. But there are glories, too. And there are grand opportunities for learning and scholarship and erudition and fulfillment and growth in the city’s vast, complex, diverse — and every once in a while, embracing — educational system.

For 50 years, Bard College at Simon’s Rock has brought the benefits of a liberal arts college education to younger students. Our core philosophy is that many high school students are ready, now, to take on meaningful, serious academic challenges. This guiding principle has earned us a 99% academic rating from the Princeton Review, and 78% of our students go on to graduate study. With the addition of Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, we now welcome 9th and 10th graders to our beautiful Berkshire campus. Here they pursue an intensive two-year high school curriculum (taught by college faculty) specially designed to prepare them to enter college at Simon’s Rock after the second year.

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JOY IN SCIENCE An educator’s take on teaching science in the 21st Century BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

So far in 2017, scientists for the first time edited genes in human embryos to remove a diseasecausing mutation, located seven planets 235 trillion miles from Earth that could potentially support life, and discovered 300,000 year-old fossils in Morocco that alter our understanding of the origins of Homo sapiens. For science educators, this era of rapid discovery across so many fields presents challenges about how to keep up with and make sense of the latest developments. But it also offers new opportunities to foster excitement in students. Paula Cuello, a science teacher at an Upper East Side private school, often draws upon reports from science publications to help convey the real world relevance of classroom concepts. “If it’s too abstract, then it’s meaningless,” she says. When students can explain what’s going in in the world around them using what they’ve learned in school, she says, “That’s when joy can come in.” Bringing joy into the classroom is among Cuello’s chief objectives as an educator — she says that it’s too often missing in schools, particularly when it comes to science. Being joyful means sometimes being willing to do some silly things in the service of learning — after all, she

says, “they’ll remember that stuff because it’s fun” — and never taking herself too seriously. “If we lose joy and humility, we lose what makes us good scientists,” says Cuello, who holds a doctorate in molecular biology and became a teacher after a career as a research scientist. Cuello has found that humility is a trait often shared by good scientists and good teachers. Despite her expertise and experience, Cuello says it’s not uncommon for students to ask insightful questions that she simply doesn’t know the answers to. Rather than dreading these moments, she embraces them as opportunities. “Saying ‘I don’t know’ is very powerful,” she says, explaining that when teachers acknowledge the limits of their own understanding and then work together with students to discover answers, it creates a collegial atmosphere, building what she refers to as a “partnership in learning” between teacher and students. Cuello believes that the skills students learn in the science classroom — learning how to read graphs and interpret data, distinguishing between sound research and questionable studies — are essential tools they’ll need to become active, informed citizens, whether they go on to careers in science or not. “Before, teachers were the font of knowledge, but now knowledge is everywhere and we need to teach students how to sift through it,” Cuello says, adding, “You need to be able to tell the dif-

Photo: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, via Wikimedia

ference between good and bad science.” Cuello, who teaches students at various levels, from fifth graders to high school seniors, says that she’ll often spend time in class looking up and addressing common misconceptions about a topic as she introduces it, explaining to students, “These are the mistakes that some people make, but we’re not going to make those same mistakes.” Cuello, who comes from a family of scientists and educators, stresses that memorizing facts is less important than developing thinking skills and curiosity. Too much memorization, she says, “makes people think that being a scientist isn’t creative,” when, in fact, scientists need the originality to think of approaches and ideas that others haven’t. In practice, this approach includes letting students design their own experiments rather than simply following along with predesigned lab instructions from a book. “You can do an experiment really mindlessly and not get much out of it if you don’t have to struggle through it,” Cuello

says. This iterative, experimental process is time consuming, but key in reinforcing concepts and the importance of a scientific mindset. “It takes more time to let kids think,” she says. “They come out with fewer facts, but they have the skills to teach themselves and evaluate sources.” There are tradeoffs to this approach — students studying for the fact-intensive SAT subject tests have to put in extra work on their own, for example — but Cuello feels that the thinking skills students develop are more valuable in the long run. “At the end of the day, what we’re teaching in schools may change completely down the line,” she says. “They need to have the skills and curiosity to teach themselves. It’s on us as educators to make it joyful, interesting and relevant.”

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URBAN STUDIES In such a city of so many accomplishments, the schools, you’d think, would be one more BY BILL GUNLOCKE

The ad on the radio for one of the giant phone companies says “New Yorkers demand the very best.” Once that notion seemed cool. I guess. Maybe in an old movie. Or in a full page ad in Life magazine with someone hailing a cab almost on their tip toes, and then, in your imagination, telling the cab to get someplace in a hurry. Now all you can think of are stockbrokers being demanding of the waitstaff in an overpriced restaurant where the brokers get to go all the time even though brokers don’t work weekends or take work home with them. The city’s rigged for them and their foreign counterparts who are also demanding of the waitstaff and love those restaurants too. It always has been rigged for them. Worse now.

You wish it was rigged for school kids. The ones in the public schools in the parts of town where it’s tough to find a cab. You wonder why all the city’s schools aren’t excellent. With the rents people here pay, they should be as good as Palo Alto’s schools. Better even, when you think about what New York has: Scholastic, The Times, Time Warner, Conde Nast, Broadway, Off-Broadway, great museum after great museum, Random House, Joan Didion, Spike Lee. How can all that written energy and creative ambition not enhance the city’s schools? What’s gone wrong? Is New York a real bastion of liberalism in a Grace Paley way or is it a place where the refined educated class’ most vivid liberal fantasy is to have a weekend getaway home designed by Maya Lin? To make the schools better, maybe great, why not convince Columbia English majors to stay here and teach kids about books and reading? Convince Fordham English majors and NYU English majors. They could live in Brooklyn. It would solve two big problems. Where are English majors going to find a job that involves books and isn’t behind a cash register at Strand? And where is the city going to find bright literate types to teach students in poor areas of town about how to decipher and be expressive in language? The city should go whole-hog on getting smart English majors to stay and teach here. You want teachers who have a passion for their subject. English majors are also socially and politically liberal. A city classroom would be a good fit for them.

The way it is now is not working. The poor kids can’t read well. What chance do they have at a fulfilled future? There are many books on the poor parts of town. Crime stories galore. Drugs. Guns. Projects. There’s a new book that has all that, but it’s set not in a city, but in a tough town in Arkansas. Racially it’s like a city ghetto. Michelle Kuo, a Taiwanese-American with a still-wet Ivy League degree, goes there to teach English. Her book is “Reading with Patrick.” She’s candid, determined, smart, sometimes disheartened. You think you already know the story. But you don’t. She tells it better than the one you think you know with Jonathan Kozol and Michelle Pfeiffer as the leads. She’s unflinching, you might say. You should read it. It’s the type of book, when they’d show Obama and his daughters buying books in a good independent bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard, he’d have gotten. Sometimes no matter how long you’ve lived here, you’ll look up, at an avenue going north usually, and for a moment it looks impersonally impressive. Massive, in its one-right-after-another office buildings or apartment houses with their awnings pointed toward the busy street filled with cabs. You’re like a tourist when you see the city that way. It’s intimidating, alienating even. The endlessness of its commerce, the vastness of its wealthy living spaces. You would never think, as you look at it in one of those moments, that it would be a city with public schools not very good at all.

CIVILITY IN THE CLASSROOM What happens when college students show little respect for their classmates’ points of view? A professor reflects on playing the heavy — and getting positive results BY JON FRIEDMAN

As someone who spends a good deal of time teaching and conversing with college students, I’ve begun worrying about something we don’t think enough about: Is civility dead? (NO! I insist.) It’s a legitimate question and an important issue, bubbling up in our society and culture. Consider it a corollary to another hot-button item among civilized people who fret that Facebook and Twitter have effectively put out to pasture such antiquated obsessions as grammar, punctuation and spelling. (Feel free to smirk and shout: “Oh professor, those are so twentieth century!”)

Civility has been on my mind a lot these days. I’ve presided over discussion-based classes over the past few semesters about such key societal concepts as leadership and diversity. The students were largely pre-med candidates and the courses were often given on a pass-fail basis. Therefore, the emphasis was on classroom discussions, not necessarily homework assignments or — gasp! — exams. I made it clear in the syllabus that I wanted these high achievers to speak up. Well, Professor Friedman, let me tell you: Be careful what you wish for! Yes, indeed, the students laid it on the line in the classroom. The negative point was that they occasionally showed little respect for one another. I had to resort to playing the heavy and sending out a class-wide note reminding them that they had to show respect for their classmates’ opposing views.

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Snapshot #2: Two male stuâ&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tolerate hazing or bullydents were arguing a fine point ing or intimidation of any kind,â&#x20AC;? I about Apple and Google in anwarned them. It worked. Things other class and things got heated. calmed down right away â&#x20AC;&#x201D; until I I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tolerate hazing Again, I reminded the class to cool had to send out a follow-up memo. it. (I am a remnant of the 20th cenWell, I asked for it, right? or bullying or intimitury, after all!) Before the start of I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t taken a poll but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll sugdation of any kind,â&#x20AC;? the next class, I spied the two belgest that discourse has grown I warned. Things licose students out in the hallway more challenging since Donald shaking hands. They later became Trump was elected president. Imcalmed down right roommates. migration and the proposed Musaway â&#x20AC;&#x201D; until I had to Finally, my favorite case of all: lim ban were the issues that most send out a follow-up I was teaching a class not long afaffected my students of all ethniciter Trump announced his candities during the spring semester, memo. dacy in 2015 and became the most which coincided with the start of sought after â&#x20AC;&#x153;getâ&#x20AC;? interview on Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s administration. Trump Jon Friedman the planet, especially for the rabid often gets blamed for the decline of television news networks. When I civility, and not only because he has mentioned Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name, an exemerged as Twitterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 140-character poster boy. The chaos at Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign ral- change student scrunched up her face and asked lies frequently made its way to the television news in a shaky voice, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Who is Donald Trump?â&#x20AC;? Sadly, but inevitably, many kids in the class snickered, titprograms. tered and guffawed. She was mortified at her gaffe. And yet I say that civility is not dead, right? I am cheered by a few snapshots that occurred in After class, she almost tearfully pledged to drop the course at once. â&#x20AC;?Why?â&#x20AC;? I kidded. â&#x20AC;?Do you dislike my classroom over the past year or so: Snapshot #1 involves one of my brightest stu- me that much already?â&#x20AC;? She launched into a selfdents, a graduate of an acclaimed New York City loathing diatribe about not knowing who Trump high school, whose family recently emigrated to was. I told her not to drop the class. Instead, when I the United States. She was quiet, almost with- or a student said something she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand, drawn, in our first few classroom discussions about she should immediately raise her hand high and leadership and diversity. I made it a point to remind ask me to stop the class and explain the fine point the students that I wanted them to speak up. That to her. The upshot: She stuck with it and became the unleashed a floodgate in this young woman. She biggest chatterbox â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and most popular student became energized and focused â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and, happily, â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in the classroom. She later went back home to reoutspoken. After the end of the semester, she went sume her undergraduate studies and subsequently so far as to send me an email to say thanks for en- asked me to write a recommendation for her to get couraging her. The class had changed her life. (Next into the University of Southern Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s busitime you encounter me in Whole Foods, a New York ness school. No, civility is not dead. Sports Club, Gristedeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s or on the platform of the F It just needs a kick in the butt now and then. train, ask me to show you the email).

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AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, LAW SCHOOL OR MED SCHOOL? A high school senior’s thoughts on parents who dictate their children’s futures BY OSCAR KIM BAUMAN

“So, how can my son apply directly to medical school?” says the man at the back of the auditorium. It’s a question I’ve heard time and time again during the past year. The details vary, sometimes they ask about law school or business school rather than medical school, but the core message is always the same. At nearly every college I’ve visited, and even in my own social circles at my Upper East Side high school, I’ve found that with the college application process comes an upsetting trend of overbearing parents attempting to micromanage their children’s futures into what they think is an ideal. When it comes to applying to college, I’ve been incredibly fortunate with regard to the degree of personal freedom I’ve had. I’ve chosen my own dates to take the SATs and made my own decisions about where I want to apply, and what I want to major in. That’s certainly not true for many of my peers. I’ve heard tell of kids who,

Harvard Medical School Quadrangle. Photo: SBAmin, via Wikimedia Commons since elementary school, have known they were going to be doctors, and when asked why, repeat the same points about job stability and practicality without a hint of passion. I realize that their parents had a much greater degree of control over their children in their formative years than mine did over me, and that’s fine. I’m

not about to engage in a debate over parenting methods, but there’s a difference between making choices for children that impact them in the short term and deciding a child’s future, giving a soon-to-be adult no say in the matter of how he or she will spend a good portion of the rest of their life. Consider, for example, a parent who

wants their child to become a doctor. There are obvious reasons that this career path has become a favorite of controlling parents. In the United States, at least, the health care industry is immensely lucrative, and a career as a doctor carries a certain prestige. But pushing your kid to be a doctor may not be a sure bet. As re-

cent events have shown, the nature of our health care system can quickly change, and though it seems unlikely at the moment, a future move towards single-payer healthcare, already adopted by most other developed nations, would make a career as a doctor much less lucrative. In addition, speaking from a purely selfish point of view, I’d rather have a doctor who genuinely cares about my health than one who was pushed into their field and is only in it for the money. So what overall point am I trying to make? While it pains me to see my peers pushed into careers chosen by their parents, I realize they all have their reasons, and it’s hard to criticize people who, in their own way, just want the best for their kids. That being said, I yearn for the day that every teen approaching adulthood will be allowed to choose their own path in life, to succeed and fail pursuing their passions the way I have. Although the future certainly will include its fair share of doctors and lawyers, I’d greatly prefer if all of them are there by their own volition, rather than because of a decision foisted upon them at 17.

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A SCHOOL’S ‘SECRET FORMULA’ The principal oof PS/IS 171 in East Harlem sa ays y a practice of “systems and protocols” says helps students succeed BY DIMITRES PANTELIDIS

PS/IS 171 is a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8 public school located in East Harlem with l an ethnically diverse population of 740 studi dents, including 65% Hispanic, 27% AfricanAmerican, 4% Asian, 3% Caucasian and 1% A American Indian. According to New York City and State reports reports, students at 171 have demonstrated consist consistently high performance on yearly New York State St ELA (English Language Arts), math, and science tests for the past ten sc years. Our eighth-grade students have the opeighth-g portunity to take accelerated courses in matha ematics, science scienc and foreign languages, leading to acceptances at top-tier and ac competitive competiti specialized high schools such as a Bronx High School of Science, enc Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and LaGuardia PerformT ing Arts. Knowing that a significant number of inner-city schools are struggling to support their students and meet proficiency goals, many educators who visit

Principal Dimitres Pantelidis with a student. Photo courtesy of PS/IS 171

our school want to know exactly what “secret formula” the school follows to ensure that our students receive a high-quality education that results in meaningful learning and consistent levels of excellence in student performance. Teachers, students, parents and administration believe that the strong set of systems and protocols that govern the daily life of the 171 community provides the necessary structure to promote and maximize student learning in six key areas: Curriculum/Instruction, Assessment/Data Analysis, Teacher Teams, Teachers and Leadership Education, Behavior/Safety and Partnerships. The systems are intricately connected through the lens of student achievement. Teachers at 171 work collaboratively in teams to develop and refine units of study across the grade levels. All units of study are based on state standards and the results of both formal and informal assessment of student work. Teachers discuss effective teaching strategies and monitor student progress using the Student Work Protocol, which provides the framework to understand and assess student learning. All lessons help build student understanding and application of new skills and concepts, including differentiated strategies to meet the individual needs of learners. The goal is always to engage students through discussion, higher-level questions and visual supports. To ensure consistency, there is a designated daily schedule for each grade level. Teachers emphasize close-reading strategies to build comprehension, and the “I.C.E.” strategy to promote conceptual understanding in mathematics: students identify necessary Information, complete required Computation and offer an Explanation of the reasoning they used to solve the problem. At 171, there is a school-wide Interim Assess-

ment Cycle inspired by the work of Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, whose book, “Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction” has been touted as a key framework for increasing student achievement. His suggestions have helped our school implement a culture focused on data and rigorous instruction. As part of our data focus, students in second through eighth grade are given interim assessments in English language arts and math four times a year. Prior to the assessments, teacher teams give students an understanding of the question types and specific components. After the tests, teachers organize the student data to determine patterns and trends in skill strengths, and come up with a strategy to provide feedback and next steps for instruction. Teacher teams discuss appropriate instructional initiatives and/or interventions to address student needs. Within each classroom, teachers utilize the assessment results to confer with students. At the end of each conference, students set goals which target specific skills they want to improve upon based on their test results. As shared in our goals for the 2017-2018 school year, “We will maintain highly effective, collaborative learning communities that engage in professional learning using school-wide coherent protocols and data to inform inquiry and make adjustments to instruction. We will also provide students with timely and effective feedback so that they are fully aware of next steps leading to high achievement.” We believe that it is essential to help our students become independent life-long learners so that they are ready to meet the challenges and achieve success as they enter highly selective high schools, college and career. It gives me a great sense of pride to know that through our diligent efforts, our students can fulfill their dreams.

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THE ADMISSIONS SPECIALISTS Education advisers on finding the right private school — and getting in BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Parents navigating applications to private schools in New York City, where admissions rates can rival those of Ivy League universities, have long searched for ways to gain any competitive edge for their children, from investing in hours of tutoring to leveraging personal connections with trustees and parents of current students. Fierce competition to gain entrance to the city’s elite private schools has spawned a sub-industry of admissions advisers offering various services aimed at increasing students’ odds of getting in to their top choice. Parents about to pay upwards of $40,000 annually on tuition are often willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to private consultants for help with the stressful and time-consuming process of applying to as many as a dozen schools. These consultants, who often boast of previous experience in admissions departments, coach parents and students on all aspects of the process — matching students with the right schools to apply to, nailing the interview, avoiding faux pas during tours and meetings, and editing admissions essays and even thank you notes. We spoke with three consultants to get their perspectives on the private school admissions landscape.

From the admissions person’s perspective, you’re not the enemy. They want to love you and they want you in their school, but they’re also overwhelmed with so many applicants for so few spots.” Jennifer Brozost

What should parents and applicants keep in mind as they navigate the application process? Jennifer Brozost, co-founder of Private Education Advisory Service: “From the admissions person’s perspective, you’re not the enemy. They want to love you and they want you in their school, but they’re also overwhelmed with so many applicants for so few spots. They’re really looking for families that are the right fit for their schools. If you look at the numbers it seems very daunting, but the reality is that all those people that are applying are probably also applying to nine other schools. Yes, there are certain schools


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C R E A T I V E

I N N O V A T I V E

Admissions consultants say they can help students get in to the city’s elite private schools, such as Trinity School on the Upper West Side, where the acceptance rate for kindergarteners was 8.2 percent one recent year. Photo: Jim.henderson via Wikimedia Commons that are harder to get into than others, but it’s not impossible. All schools are looking for great families who fit who they are and can add to their community.”

end-all be-all, nor should it be — because if it’s not the right fit for your child you’re doing them a disservice. It’s important to use connections if you have them, but it’s important that you have connections at the right school for your child.”

How can families make themselves stand out? Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting: “Schools are looking for a diverse group of students and parents, and diversity is not just ethnic — it’s also where parents live and what their jobs and experiences are. When I work with my clients, I try to help them identify what’s really interesting about them and teach them how to trumpet that both in their essays and their interviews.”

What do students need to know as they apply to middle schools and high schools? Dana Haddad, founder and CEO of New York Admissions: “It’s very important that applicants understand that there’s a lot of work involved. We’re very up front with them. I tell them what it’s going to take and that we’re going to help along the way, but you have to do the work. Parents can’t write the essays for the kids.”

How important are personal connections? Emily Glickman: “I find that personal connections are more important at the kindergarten and lower school level. Once you get to middle school and high school, the balance shifts more toward the individual applicant’s qualifications. I don’t think judging one 4-year-old against another is a nice or accurate business to be in, but given that that is in fact what schools are doing, they do rely on what they think of the parents and who the parents know.” Dana Haddad: “Families work their connections to maximize their chances, but it’s not an

Do people sometimes have misconceptions about the work you do? Jennifer Brozost: “We’re really advocates for the family behind the scenes. We’re not calling schools to get them in. Sometimes people will call us and say, ‘We want to go to this school, do you have a connection there?’ We don’t work that way at all.”

Who can benefit most from hiring an admissions consultant? Jennifer Brozost: “For clients that know nothing about the process, a consultant can be hugely helpful because there are so many small nuances that get lost and mistakes that parents make. For example, thinking the school’s philosophy is one thing when it’s really not, and then bringing that up during an interview.”

What should parents look for in an admissions consultant? Dana Haddad: “You need to decide how much help you want. Ideally, you want a consultant that can be flexible and that’s willing to work with a family on an hourly basis if they just have a few questions, or, if the family needs more support, that they’re capable and ready to do that. To me, the most important thing is to find an educational consultant that you’re comfortable with and that’s willing to take the time to get to know you and your child. You also want someone who’s familiar with the process.”

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WHY READING HARD COPY BOOKS GETS RESULTS Shiny covers and sticky notes: an English teacher on the advantages of physical texts over e-books BY NICOLE DIXON

I teach 7th grade English in a school obsessed with reading. In New York City, where more than 60 percent of kids are “reading below grade level,” it makes sense to focus on boosting literacy. All teachers, regardless of subject, have signs on their doors with what they are reading, the principal hosts near-weekly book club lunches, and 30 minutes of my double block class are devoted to kids reading absolutely anything they want independently. It’s working. The library is the beating heart of our school, almost as popular as the cafeteria at lunchtime and even the spot where kids cutting class often turn up. When I help students clean out their backpacks, I see more books than notebooks or other academic materials, extras stashed away “just in case.” I’m not one to bash e-books. During reading time, some students have Kindles and others enjoy books on tape. We read some nonfiction online, learning about news the way most adults do today. But hard copies help transform classrooms of readers into a reading community. One

Photo: Nicole Dixon

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Open House: Thursday, November 16, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802

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Photo: Nicole Dixon of the big skills my students learn is annotation, which is invaluable in helping them synthesize ideas. My students go through thousands of sticky notes; a classroom photo features reading partners, with their annotations from one book spread out and completely covering three desks. As they are planning a literary essay, students are eager to bring me back to the page where they realized something important. During classroom discussions, they ďŹ&#x201A;ip wildly through their ďŹ&#x201A;agged pages to ďŹ nd the perfect quote. My classroom library also makes the process of choosing a book organic and student-centered. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organized into bins from genre (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Horrorâ&#x20AC;?) to whim (â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the mood for something quick and wacky?â&#x20AC;?) to audience (â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you loved The Lightning Thiefâ&#x20AC;?) that are inspired and rearranged by the students. Students who ďŹ nd that simply shelving a book in the favorites bin wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do

might put sticky note recommendations right on the back cover along with the professional reviewers. I particularly enjoy the rare treat of younger siblings ďŹ nding old annotations from siblings in years past. The draw to well-worn spines or shiny covers is as powerful in the age of smart phones as it was when I was a kid. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve almost started a riot opening a new box of books for our classroom library. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve watched kids hug and kiss old favorites when they discover them on my shelves. When the latest book of a hot series is released, the hand-off from one reader to the next is ďŹ lled with suspense and promise. And Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve caught as many kids sneaking â&#x20AC;&#x153;just one more chapter!â&#x20AC;? inside their desks as I have texting or snapchatting. From Dirt magazine, dirt-mag.com

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RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS AUG 11-18, 2017 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. Famous Famiglia Pizzeria

2859 Broadway

A

Shiny Tea New York

2667 Broadway

A

Bareburger

795 Columbus Ave

Grade Pending (25) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. Toxic chemical improperly labeled, stored or used such that food contamination may occur. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Subway

731 Columbus Avenue Closed By Health Department (39) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

Vive La Crepe

532 Columbus Ave

A

Chop’t

345 Amsterdam Ave

A

Starbucks

2394 Broadway

A

Polpette

483 Amsterdam Ave

Grade Pending (27) 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. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.

Carmine’s

2450 Broadway

A

Caridad

588 Amsterdam Avenue

Grade Pending (19) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. 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.

Amy’s Bread Cafe

40 Lincoln Center Plz

A

Gebhard’s Beer Culture

228 W 72Nd St

A

Domino’s

148 West 72 Street

A

Olympic Flame Diner

200 West 60 Street

A

Walter Reade Theater

70 Lincoln Center Plaza

A

Starbucks

2140 Broadway

A

Santa Fe

73 West 71 Street

A

American Table Cafe And Bar (Allice Tully Hall)

132 West 65 Street

A

BLESSING OF THE DOGS FETCHING A church on Mott Street marks the Feast of St. Rocco with its first celebration of the love of animals BY ESTELLE PYPER

Penelope, a hefty pit bull-terrier mix, sauntered through the gates of The Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mott Street last Wednesday evening with her owner in tow. Little did she know, she would exit those gates a blessed dog. August 16th marked the Feast of St. Rocco — the little-known Catholic patron saint of dogs. The story goes that Rocco (who also represents knee problems and other diseases) was heavily involved in tending to those who had the plague. So much so that he acquired the plague himself. He retreated into the forest where he found a spring to drink from, but had no food. But it was a dog that brought him bread and licked his wounds until they healed. Thus Rocco is an emblem of the bond between humans and dogs, solidifying their place as “man’s best friend.” When Kathleen Brady learned that St. Patrick’s has a stained glass window and a statue of a dog (accompanying St. Rocco), she knew it had to be celebrated. She was there for an event at the end of July with her friend and member of the church, Anne Riccitelli, listening to the Rev. Monsignor Don-

The Rev. Monsignor Donald Sakano at the Blessing of the Dogs. Photo: Estelle Pyper. ald Sakano speak. “Monsignor said, ‘I like to tell people that we are a church that has a statue of a dog,’” Brady recalled, “and I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, ‘We should have a blessing of the dogs on the feast of St. Rocco!’” Sakano loved the idea. The only hitch? August 16th was only two weeks away, but they spread the word

and threw together the church’s first Blessing of the Dogs. The informal event lasted from 6 to 8 that evening in the courtyard. Dogs and owners could come and go as they pleased. Animals waiting to be blessed sat (distractedly) in front of Sakano while he read a prayer and blessed them (and their owners) with holy water. “I say a prayer that acknowledges the role of dogs in our lives, ‘God we offer every gift, animals and dogs are a way you provide help for our needs,’” said Sakano. “They’re very special. You know, a dog is the only animal that looks a human being in the eye. No other animal does that in a meaningful way.” Sakano was accompanied by a large statue of St. Rocco with the little dog at his feet: there is a lesion on his knee, and the dog carries bread. Being a saint of knee issues as well, St. Rocco served a second purpose for Sakano: “I just had double knee surgery,” he said. “But I’m doing pretty good — due to St. Rocco.” The low-key event well-received by parishioners, with smiles all around. Water and doggie treats were available for the blessed animals. The church hopes this is the first of many annual dog blessings to come. Neither Brady nor Sakano have dogs themselves (although Sakano spends a lot of time looking at beagle videos on YouTube), but for an evening, they united a community through the love of animals.

Pit bull-terrier mix Penelope at the church with her owner. Photo: Estelle Pyper


24

AUGUST 24-30,2017

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

Business

TIMING MATTERS (BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK) Think percentages as you contemplate your next sale BY FREDERICK W. PETERS

Is there a right time to sell your property? Yes, but maybe not exactly when you thought it was. More than anything, timing the sale of your home or investment depends on what you plan to do next. Depending on your longerterm plans, different spots along the moving graph of market performance will either save or cost you money, regardless of the sale price of your currently owned property. Here’s why: Even the most sophisticated sellers can become hung up on their absolute selling price. Unless you are exiting the market, however, your selling price is not a relevant number. The relevant number is the DIFFERENCE between what you sell for and what you buy for. As a smart buyer, you want that number to be as small as possible when you are trading up. And as a smart seller, you want that difference to be as large as possible when you are trading down. To say it another way, you always want to trade up when the market is slow and depressed, and you always want trade down when the market is hot and frothy. Here’s how it works: you always need to contemplate your next trade in terms of the percentages. If you currently own a two-bedroom, but you need a three-bedroom, a little research will usually indicate how much more in percentage terms you will need to spend. Will it be 30 percent more, or in order to get what you want

Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman, via flickr do you have to spend 50 percent more? Once you have that figured out, then it’s just a matter of the numbers. If the market is hot, and your current place comps out at a value of $2,000,000, then the next place at 50 percent more will cost you $3,000,000. But if the market is down 10 percent, your current place is only worth $1,800,000. Which means that your new place will cost you around $2,700,000. See?

Without doing a thing except for trading up in a down market, you have saved yourself $300,000! Of course, the opposite holds true when you trade down. Let’s take the same example but look at it the other way. Your current two-bedroom is worth $2,000,000 because the market is hot, and the one-bedroom down to which you want to trade is worth 70 percent of that. You are putting

$600,000 in your pocket with the trade. If on the other hand the market has dropped 10 percent and your current place is only worth $1,800,000, then the cost of your new place will be around $1,260,000 and only $540,000 goes into your pocket. Success in the market does not always mean obtaining the highest price for what you currently own. It can equally well mean paying the

smallest increment for what you want to buy next. Figure out the final impact on your pocketbook in terms of dollars saved or dollars earned after the dust settles on both a purchase and a sale — THAT is when you will know whether or not you made a smart deal for yourself. Frederick W. Peters is chief executive officer of Warburg Realty Partnership

ON THE SIDE STREETS OF NEW YORK EMERALD INN — 250 WEST 72ND STREET Charlie, the owner of Emerald Inn, has tried to maintain the Gaelic charm that his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have brought to the place as owners since 1943. Each man shares the same sense of humor and geniality. The menu

Photo: Tom Arena, Manhattan Sideways

continues to include Irish favorites like corned beef, fish and chips, and bangers and mash, but also offers some American classics like burgers and Reubens. To read more, visit Manhattan Sideways (sideways.nyc), created by Betsy Bober Polivy.


AUGUST 24-30,2017

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The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

ENGINEERS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re making cars, one kid may make the Batmobile, one will make a limo, and one will turn it into a subway.... Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole other world in terms of what the kids create.â&#x20AC;? The Brooklyn Robot Foundry is the brainchild of owner Jenny Young and co-founder David Van Esselstyn, both of whom grew up building small projects in their free time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was always in the garage making things with my dad with little scraps of wood and leftover things,â&#x20AC;? Young said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think I look at the world slightly differently than people who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have that same upbringing. I think a lot about taking things apart and putting them back together.... Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s made me have a questioning personality.â&#x20AC;? Noticing that children in New York City often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a space to work with their hands in the same way as those growing up in suburbs or small towns, Young and Van Esselstyn set out to create â&#x20AC;&#x153;a garage for city kids to take things apart, learn how things go together, and build free-form things.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The goal of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry is to make kids feel comfortable and excited about failure,â&#x20AC;? said Young, citing the focus on standardized testing and the emphasis on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;rightâ&#x20AC;? answer as ďŹ&#x201A;aws in the public school system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never met one engineer whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designed [a product] once, thrown it out on the assembly line and just manufactured it. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not how it works.â&#x20AC;? Young wants the Robot Foundryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s classes to demonstrate the importance of trial and error, and stand in contrast to less dynamic and more traditional lessons. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afraid of failure

The Brooklyn Robot Foundry teaches young children robotics, engineering, program, design and circuity by building projects ranging from cars to puppets. Photo: Ariana Reichler

you will do things that are outside your comfort zone, and that ... makes smarter, more free individuals,â&#x20AC;? she said. Nine-year-old Alexâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enthusiasm validates this approach. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here you get to build stuff,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In school you only get to learn.â&#x20AC;? He likes the Brooklyn Robot Foundry because he can learn while using his hands and being creative. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to be an engineer or a scientist or an astronaut,â&#x20AC;? he said. The emphasis on experimentation makes the institution a particularly friendly environment for children with special needs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a lot of kids who are on the spectrum or who have ADD or ADHD, and when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in a typical classroom itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really hard for a child with any type of special needs to be able to sit down and listen and answer questions when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re told,â&#x20AC;? Young said. She recalled a conversation with the mother of

a boy who had struggled in mainstream classrooms: â&#x20AC;&#x153;His mother said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You have made him feel more conďŹ dent in his own ability as a little person, and, because of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry, he is doing so much better in school because he is feeling happier about himself.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Another goal of the program is to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young girls. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a female and I deďŹ nitely get treated as if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no way that I can be an engineer, and it feels awful,â&#x20AC;? Young said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was thinking, what can I do to combat this and show people that there are women who are in STEM and do really fascinating and awesome things?â&#x20AC;? Her solution was to launch a monthly family lecture series that showcases women with careers in STEM. Ultimately, Young and her colleagues want to encourage children to pursue whatever interests

The Brooklyn Robot Foundry offers classes for 2-year-olds through seventh-graders in Tribeca and the Upper East Side, as well as in Brooklyn, providing instruction in robotics, engineering, circuitry, design and programming. Photo: Josh Brechner them without fear of failure. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we have a new group of kids we ask them if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever built a robot before and if they think that they could build a robot. I think that, through film and media, we often have an idea that robots are very high-tech and sci-ďŹ and very complicated, but the reality is that robots are very simple and easy to make,â&#x20AC;? Brechner said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really important to show kids at an early age that they have that built-in capacity, so that when they consider learning more in STEM ďŹ elds they know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real possibility for them.â&#x20AC;?

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

YOUR 15 MINUTES

A PASSION FOR FASHION Fashion-tech expert Katlean DeMonchy returns to Fashion Week BY ANGELA BARBUTI

“The fashion industry alone is a 1.2 trillion global industry and they haven’t really changed at all. So it’s really ready for disruption,” said Katlean DeMonchy. As a fashion journalist in her early career, she attended every fashion show in New York, Milan and Paris, but wasn’t feeling challenged enough in her work. “It got to the point where I could almost predict what the designers were going to say to me,” she said. Around that same time, she started to realize how important it was for the fashion and technology industries to be more interconnected. “Fashion companies were needing to adapt to digital ways and technology compa companies were needing to go beyond thinking that pink was what represented females,” DeMonchy, who is a frequent guest fashion expert on talk shows, explained. So, in September 2014 she launched StyleX, which will celebrate its second year at Fashion Week on Sept. 11. The StyleX Experience “showcases innovative and emerging designers, makers, brands and sponsors with a full schedule of events, leadership panels and demo experience

lounges.”

Did you always know you wanted to go into the fashion industry? I always had a passion for fashion; there’s no doubt about that. My dad was a diplomat, so I lived all over the world. When I was little, I would look at magazines and interpret clothes and design and make my own clothes. I’m both right and left brain, so at one point, thought I was actually going to design clothes. Then I realized I liked people, putting people together. So that’s how that evolved. What is your background in the fashion and tech industry? I’ve been reporting on brands for the last 15 to 20 years. I started off as a reporter at Reuters and covered everything in fashion, every fashion show in Paris, Milan, London and New York.... I wasn’t as challenged. So I started seeing that technology was really inter inter-

Katlean DeMonchy. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Katlean DeMonchy, left, with colleagues. esting and had gone to CES and there weren’t a lot of women in the process. Martha Stewart was there the same year I was. I was told that some of the companies weren’t really targeting women, which was kind of shocking since we have so much buying power. But that changed really quickly and I’ve been at CES now every single year and have to say that the equation now is very different and there are lots of women in all areas.

And I guess with Hudson Yards, we will find a central place.

Give us a glimpse into your Fashion Week events. Who are some of the speakers on the panel?

It’s a pioneering platform that provides a way for people to discover game changing technologies. Some of them will have huge impacts and some will be transition technology. But some will have major breakthroughs in the fashion, beauty and wellness area.

We work with people like Francis Bitonti, a world-renowned 3-D printing artist. He created the first 3-D-printed dress that Dita Von Teese wore. He’s the actual guy who made the dress and there’s another guy who designed it. It’s really very innovative. We’re seeing 3-D used in a way that someone like Tory Burch can create a button in America and get it tested and see the form of it and have it duplicated in Asia without any errors. That’s the simplest form of how 3-D can help. But we’re also seeing it be used for limbsnew arms, new legs, ways of integrating design in very necessary and practical ways as well.

What is the atmosphere at Fashion Week?

You are also offering a beauty and wellness lounge there. What is that?

Fashion Week right now is a bit of a circus because there isn’t a central point. But at the same time, it’s really interesting because there are so many different people expressing themselves. The biggest challenge for the press is where to go and access because the venues have become smaller than the interest. And also the fact that people are still physically moving from space to space. We can also work on becoming more digital in our presence as well. I envision a time where people will be able to join us. And we can do that now through Facebook Live and other interactive ways where we can go beyond the breadth of who’s there. And that’s why we’re seeing people like Tommy Hilfiger take Fashion Week out of New York and into other places. So it is a challenge for the city right now to find a place.

The idea came from the fact that when I was running around, I always wanted to feel refreshed. So we wanted to pamper the fashionistas between shows. That’s where it started. And of course, wellness is now the new luxury. Everyone is almost more interested in how to live a longer and better life. That can become a show of its own. There is just so much now happening in that category. So we anticipate a lot of growth in the wellness sector.

How can you explain Style X’s concept and mission?

cused on the tech. They tend to be affluent early enough, so we sort of think of them as people with influence who like to see new things and have access to them sometimes more than others. So we’re delighted to have them. And being in New York, a lot of celebrities come to the city at that time.

You’ve been a guest on talk shows as a fashion expert. Any memorable moments on television? Yes, the first time I ever went on TV, a very famous person whose name I won’t say, asked me, “What are you doing here?” And then the lights went on. The person was very famous and made me feel so little at that moment. And I smiled and am like, “Of course I’m supposed to here.” And then I noticed, from that moment on, that I developed some very resourceful tools that, no matter what, I could be in the moment and go on TV. That was really interesting out of the gate that that happened. Never happened again. TV is an interesting process because you have a short amount of time to get across whatever you’re there to say. And sometimes there are collaborative hosts, and sometimes there’s not, so it’s really up to you to have fun and be very focused on what it is you’re there to accomplish. Otherwise, you go on TV and are like, “The time went by and I wasn’t able to say anything.” www.stylex2017.com

Who are some celebrities you’ve worked with? We’ve had quite a few “Housewives.” Ramona Singer, Aviva Drescher, Camille Grammer. Andi Dorfman from “The Bachelorette.” We’re very flattered that celebrities come to the event, but we’re not just focused on the celebrities per se. We’re more fo-

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


I H R T E S L A E L U Y C G V

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POLICY NOTICE: We make every eďŹ&#x20AC;ort to avoid mistakes in your classiďŹ ed ads. Check your ad the ďŹ rst week it runs. The publication will only accept responsibility for the ďŹ rst incorrect insertion. The publication assumes no ďŹ nancial responsibility for errors or omissions. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or re-classify any ad. Contact your sales rep directly for any copy changes. All classiďŹ ed ads are pre-paid.

PUBLIC NOTICES

Directory of Business & Services To advertise in this directory Call #BSSZ (212)-868-0190 ext.4 CBSSZMFXJT@strausnews.com

Antiques Wanted

Antique, Flea & Farmers Market

TOP PRICES PAID t1SFDJPVT $PTUVNF+FXFMSZ (PMEt4JMWFS 1BJOUJOHTt.PEFSOt&UD

(between First & York Avenues)

Entire Estates Purchased

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OFFICE SPACE

AVAILABLE IN MANHATTAN

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Elliot Forest, Licensed R.E. Broker

212-447-5400

SINCE 1979

East 67th Street Market Open EVERY Saturday 6am-5pm Rain or Shine Indoor & Outdoor FREE Admission Questions? Bob 718.897.5992 Proceeds BeneďŹ t PS 183

ways to re-use

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#

11

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ADVERTISING SALESPERSON WANTED!!! The Jewish Week Media Group is looking for an advertising salesperson to work full time (36 hours per week) selling print and digital advertising in various categories such as synagogues and schools in Manhattan, Westchester, and the Bronx for The Jewish Week and its websites. We are looking for a self-motivated go-getter who has experience in print and digital media sales. However, we would interview a recent college graduate looking to break into media sales. QualiďŹ ed candidates must be well-organized, detail-oriented multitaskers. In addition, prospective candidates must have a college degree, strong presentation skills and tremendous initiative. Knowledge of Word, PowerPoint and social media are a must. Compensation includes beneďŹ ts and salary plus commission. Potential candidates should email their resume and cover letter to ruth@jewishweek.org

THE JEWISH WEEK MEDIA GROUP

J WMG


32

AUGUST 24-30,2017

The Spirit|Westsider westsidespirit.com

What Would You Ask The Candidates for City Council?

Hyman Drusin

Cary Goodman

Helen Rosenthal

(Republican)

(Democrat)

(incumbent, Democrat)

Mel Wymore

David Owens

Bill Raudenbush

(Democrat)

(Independent)

(Independent)

Send us your questions to editor.wssp@strausnews.com We’ll be asking your questions and others when our Editorial Board Meets with the Distict 6 candidates

Friday Morning Sept 1 Watch it on Facebook Live @ facebook.com/westsidespirit

Our Town Editorial Board

Alexis Gelber

Richard Khavkine

Doug Feiden

Michael Garofalo

Editor in Chief

Deputy Editor

Investigative Reporter

Reporter

A photo in this space last week incorrectly identified Philip Rosenthal, a former candidate for New York’s 10th congressional district, as current city council candidate Hyman Drusin. An accurate photo of Drusin is included here. We regret the error.

West Side Spirit - August 24, 2017