Page 1

The local paper for the Upper per West Side p Sid IN THE KITCHEN AT MAREA < Q&A, P. 22

WEEK OF MAY

15 2014

NYPRESS.COM

WestSideSpirit @WestSideSpirit

DOWN TO THE WIRE FOR WEST SIDE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

UNEQUAL ACCESS RANKLES TENANTS

Lawmakers, parents and residents make one more push to kill the JHL nursing home development BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

To say that representatives of Jewish Home Lifecare were in enemy territory at last week’s hearing on their proposal to build a nursing home on the Upper West Side would be an understatement. During their 20-minute presentation, there were a half-dozen outbursts from the crowd, which occasionally led to a 30-second break for applause from the hundreds of parents, residents and elected leaders who attended the hearing to protest. JHL wants to build a 20-story nursing home at West 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues to replace its existing facility on West 106th Street, which they say has reached the end of its useful life and is a huge financial drain on the nonprofit organization. Problem is, say local residents and elected leaders, they want to build directly adjacent to P.S. 163 on a parking lot that is shot through with lead contamination. Opponents of the plan say construction will make it impossible for the elementary school children to concentrate over the two to three years it will take to build. They also complain about the impact the construction will have on traffic along the West 97th Street corridor, to say nothing of safety concerns that come with mounting a crane in close proximity to a school. JHL, for its part, has vowed to be a good neighbor and listen to the community’s concerns, mitigating the construction’s impact where it can. The lead in the parking lot will be removed in accordance with a remedial plan sanctioned by the state, and air

CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

In Brief NEW SCHOOL FOR WEST SIDE DISTRICT Department of Education officials and Upper West Side City Council Member Helen Rosenthal announced last week that District 3 will be getting a new school to serve grades 6-12. In September 2015 Beacon High School will move into its new home downtown, and 227 West 61st Street will be transformed into a new middle and high school. The district, which spans the West Side from 59th Street to 124th Street, has seen a huge population growth in recent years, prompting parents and elected officials to rally the Department of Education for more public school seats. Council Member Rosenthal announced that she will be working with a committee of DOE officials and community leaders in the coming months to establish more details about the new school, which will be listed in the Middle School Directory this fall.

DANIEL A. NIGRO APPOINTED FIRE CHIEF

845 West End Avenue is the latest apartment building on the Upper West Side to be added to the list of those that bar rentregulated tenants from accessing some amenities. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons

REAL ESTATE

U.W.S. BUILDINGS WITH UNEQUAL ACCESS TO AMENITIES

Another Upper West Side building denying rentregulated tenants access to amenities

• Stonehenge Village – West 97th Street • Lincoln Towers – 142 West End Avenue • 845 West End Avenue

BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

UPPER WEST SIDE In another example of high-end buildings giving some low-rate renters short shrift, rent-regulated tenants at 845 West End Avenue recently told the West Side Spirit they do not have access to the building’s fitness center like their market-rate co-op owning counterparts do. Gloria Zicht was born in the building, and after moving around in the years following college returned in the 1960s to her family’s rent-regulated apartment, living there ever since. About five years ago, many of the building’s 90 or so units were converted into co-ops, and tenants who did not have any rent protection were pushed

out. Those that do have protections said they’ve been barred access to amenities that have recently been built, including a fitness center and a children’s playroom. “It’s in the building, it shouldn’t be something that’s just set aside for condo owners,” said Zicht. “You have to have a card or a key or something.” Zicht said both she and her daughter, who lives with her, would use the gym if they were allowed to. Zicht showed a reporter down to the basement where, behind a locked door that appeared to open only with

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his appointment of Daniel Nigro, a 32-year veteran of the FDNY and former chief of department, to serve as New York City’s fire commissioner. Mayor de Blasio charged Nigro with ensuring the safety of New York City’s residents and firefighters, increasing diversity among the ranks, and maintaining the department’s commitment to swift FDNY response times in neighborhoods across the city. Appointed chief of department on the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Nigro led the FDNY through search, rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero, and provided operational leadership for FDNY and EMS response units and personnel. “Our courageous firefighters sacrifice to protect this city each day, and I will ensure these first responders are protected and cared for as well,” Nigro said.


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The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS CHECK The Rose Main Reading Room at the ďŹ&#x201A;agship branch of the New York Public Library; the library just scrapped plans to renovate the famed interior and underlying book stacks.

LIBRARY SHELVES REVAMP, WONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T MOVE 1.5M BOOKS The New York Public Library is shelving a $300 million plan to revamp its ďŹ&#x201A;agship midtown Manhattan building and move 1.5 million books to New Jersey, library officials said Wednesday. The plan had drawn widespread opposition from scholars

and was the target of four lawsuits. Library president Tony Marx didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t detail the reasons for the change in plans but said library officials and New York City officials are discussing alternatives. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the facts change the only right thing to do as a public-serving institution is to take a look with fresh eyes and see if there is a way to improve the plans and to stay on budget,â&#x20AC;?

Marx said in a statement. The plan involved closing and selling two midtown branch libraries. Their functions would have been consolidated inside the main research library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, which would have become a circulating library. The renovation would have involved moving 1.5 million books from stacks in the Fifth Avenue building to storage in New Jersey. AP

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ORIGINAL OWNER RETURNS TO WINE & ROSES BAR The West Side Rag reported that an original owner of Wine & Roses, a wine bar on Columbus Avenue between West 73rd and 74th Streets, will once again be taking the helm of the neighborhood spot, following a long legal battle. Jennifer Klein opened the bar with several other co-owners in 2006, and it attracted both locals and celebrities. An internal feud then led to Klein getting the boot, followed by legal wrangling, ďŹ ghts with the landlord and a nasty eviction battle. Now tipsters report that the locks have been changed and a sign appeared in the door, declaring â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jennifer Kleinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;originalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Wine & Roses opening again soon.â&#x20AC;? Klein is also the owner of Dakota Bar on 72nd Street and Columbus, which has become a popular joint since it opened last year. West Side Rag

COMMUNITY BOARD REJECTS BILL TO PENALIZE WRECKLESS DRIVERS In a surprising turnaround, Community Board 7 voted last week against supporting a bill proposed by Upper West Side Council Member Helen Rosenthal that would penalize taxi drivers who injure or kill pedestrians,

DNAinfo.com reported. The board, which only offers advisory resolutions, had previously supported the bill, known as Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Law, after the 9-year-old Upper West Side boy who was struck and killed by a cab earlier this year. Rosenthalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bill, Intro 171, calls for an immediate suspension of a cab driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s license if he or she is ticketed for a traffic violation that causes serious injury or death, followed by an investigation that could result in a permanent revocation of the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s TLC license. The board said that the language of the bill is too vague and could unfairly punish taxi drivers. DNAinfo.com

GOTHAM FOOD TO CLOSE DUE TO RENT HIKE Jeremiahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vanishing New York reported that Gotham Food on Columbus Avenue between West 72nd and 73rd Streets will be forced to close its doors. A reader reported that the deli, which has been selling the normal fare of sandwiches and snacks since 1970, is set to close this summer thanks to untenable rising rents. Residents have speculated that the Starbucks next door will expand into the space, but current owner Nick told the West Side Rag that he thinks itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more likely a clothing boutique will move in. Jeremiahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vanishing New York

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MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

CRIME WATCH BY JERRY DANZIG PURSEVERANCE A woman’s purse was snatched from a bar. At 7:15 PM on Wednesday, April 30, a 71-year-old woman became aware that her wallet was missing from her purse, which she had hung on the back of her chair in a bar on West 63rd Street. Her wallet had contained a variety of credit cards and her driver’s license. No video is available of the theft.

BODEGA BAD EGG

Police arrested a man who broke into a bodega. At 1:30 AM on Sunday, May 4, a 24-year-old man was seen breaking into a bodega on Central Park West. He was arrested by a patrol officer on a charge of breaking and entering.

REROUTED Someone stole a GPS system. At 1 PM on Sunday, May 4, an unknown person broke into a car parked on Riverside Drive

20TH PRECINCT Report covering the week 4/28/2014 through 5/4/2014 Week to Date

and stole a dash-mounted GPS valued at $1,100. There is no video of the incident.

A Beautiful Mother’s Day in the Park

SCHOOL MARK A female college student’s locker was broken into and her laptop stolen. At 3 PM on Sunday, May 4, a 21-year-old female college student left her laptop in a locker at a university facility on West 60th Street. Two hours later, she returned to find that the lock had been broken on the locker, and her Apple MacBook laptop valued at $1,700 was missing.

Year to Date

SHUFFLE OFF

2014 2013

% Change

2014

2013

% Change

Murder

0

0

n/a

0

1

-100

Rape

0

0

n/a

1

4

-75

Robbery

0

1

-100

23

22

4.5

Felony Assault

0

1

-100

12

17

-29.4

Burglary

4

1

300

40

26

53.8

Grand Larceny

16

10

60

240

221

8.6

Grand Larceny Auto

1

3

-66.7

11

7

57.1

A woman’s laptop and other property were removed from a yoga studio. At 3:30 PM on Friday, May 2, a 31-year-old woman left her backpack in an unlocked locker at a yoga studio on West 73rd street. When she returned after the class, she found the backpack was missing. Its contents included a laptop, an iPhone, and iPod Shuffle with a total value of $2,200.

City residents took advantage of the gorgeous warm weather on Sunday in Central Park. Photo by Eric J. Paparatto via Flickr

3


4

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

Useful Contacts

DOWN TO THE WIRE FOR WEST SIDE PROJECT

POLICE NYPD 20th Precinct

120 W. 82nd St.

212-580-6411

NYPD 24th Precinct

151 W. 100th St.

212-678-1811

NYPD Midtown North Precinct

306 W. 54th St.

212-760-8300

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 West 77 Street

311

Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

563 Columbus Ave.

212-873-0282

Councilmember Inez Dickens

163 W. 125th St.

FIRE

CITY COUNCIL 212-678-450

STATE LEGISLATORS State Senator Brad Hoylman

322 Eighth Ave. #1700

212-633-8052

State Sen. Jose M. Serrano

157 E. 104 St.

212-828-5829

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal 230 W. 72nd #2F

212-873-6368

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

212-866-3970

COMMUNITY BOARD 7 LIBRARIES

250 W. 87th St. #2

St. Agnes

444 Amsterdam Ave.

212-621-0619

Bloomingdale

150 W. 100th St.

212-222-8030

Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center

917-275-6975

Mt. Sinai – Roosevelt

1000 Tenth Ave.

212-523-4000

Mt. Sinai - St. Luke’s

1090 Amsterdam Ave.

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.

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

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 around the construction site will be monitored for contaminants. A robust watering plan will be in place for all demolition, excavation and transfer of soils during construction to minimize dust emissions. Stations will be established for washing the wheels of trucks exiting the construction zone. Noise suppressing equipment will be installed. Supply deliveries to the construction site will be made outside of the school’s peak commuting hours, says JHL. But residents have remained staunchly unconvinced by JHL’s overtures. Their dissatis-

faction came to a head over two days of hearings at P.S. 163 last week on the state Department of Health’s draft environmental impact statement. They’ve accused the DOH of being overly accommodating to the developer and papering over serious concerns from the community. At one point, P.S. 163 students were deployed with handmade signs to parade in front of the assembly. The moderator was booed into oblivion after he told one young student to move to the back of the room. State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell called JHL’s promises “a fiction” and said the traffic

mitigation efforts on West 97th Street are grossly inadequate. “You can’t build at this size and scale - at this level - without permanently impacting the quality of life of everyone who lives around it, and most importantly, potentially threatening the health of the children,” said O’Donnell. Councilman Mark Levine said the DOH’s draft environmental impact statement does nothing to allay residents’ fears that construction of the nursing home will have an adverse impact on their children’s learning and health. “Four people in this neighborhood have been killed since the beginning of this calendar year, including a nine-year-old. How did you take that into account with the extra traffic?”

said parent Josh Kross. “This construction plan has countless flaws in regards to safety and noise, contaminants, traffic and crowding. They’ve paid a lot of lip service to our concerns, but their actions have only reflected one: their bottom line.” The dozens of speakers who testified against JHL – including doctors, obstetricians, engineers, architects and other experts - gave a different variation on the same theme; the community doesn’t want construction of a 20-story building in a residential area directly adjacent to a school. The state DOH and JHL will now issue a final environmental impact statement, and the DOH will decide whether or not to grant final approval.

212-362-4008

HOSPITALS

HOW TO REACH US: 212-868-0190 nyoffice@strausnews.com westsidespirit.com

TO SUBSCRIBE: The West Side Spirit is available for free on the west side of Manhattan in select buildings, retail locations and news boxes. If you would like to subscribe it’s just $75 per year. Call 212-868-0190 or go online to Straus News.com and click on the photo of the paper or mail a check to Straus Media, 20 West Ave., Chester, NY 10918

NEWS ITEMS: To report a news story, call 212-8680190. News releases of general interest must be emailed to our offices by 12noon the Thursday prior to publication to be considered for the following week. Send releases to nyoffice@strausnews.com.

CALENDAR ITEMS: Information for inclusion in the Out and About section should be emailed to hoodhappenings@strausnews.com no later than two weeks before the event.

Students from P.S. 163 protesting construction plans by Jewish Home Lifecare near their school. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons

212-662-0355

for verification. Letters that cannot be verified will not be published. We reserve the right to editor or condense letters for libel, good taste, grammar and punctuation. Send your letter to nyoffice@strausnews.com

Met Council is accepting applications for the waiting list of affordable housing rental apartments in our building located at 231 East 77th Street, NY.

Met Council is accepting applications for the waiting list of affordable housing rental apartments in our building located at 334 East 92nd Street, NY.

For one person households, applicants must be 62 years old at the time of application; for two person households, the applicant must be 62 and the co-applicant 55 at the time of application.

For one person households, applicants must be 62 years old at the time of application; for two person households, the applicant must be 62 and the co-applicant 55 at the time of application.

Current Rent Range studio: $1014 - $1153 Income Range: $42,513 - $48,100 (1 person household)

Current Rent Range studio: $883 - $1153 Income Range: $37,257 - $48,100 (1 person household)

TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD:

Current Range 1 bedroom: $1065 - $1238 Income Range: $44,584 - $48,100 (1 person household) $44,584 - $55,000 (2 person household)

Current Range 1 bedroom: Income Range:

Call 212-868-0190. Classified ads must be in our office by 2pm the Friday before publication, except on holidays. All classified ads are payable in advance.

Monthly rent includes heat, hot water and gas for cooking. Seniors will be required to meet income guidelines and additional selection criteria to qualify. Income guidelines are subject to change. One application per household.

Monthly rent includes heat, hot water and gas for cooking. Seniors will be required to meet income guidelines and additional selection criteria to qualify. Income guidelines are subject to change. One application per household.

Applications may be downloaded from: www.metcouncil.org/housing or requested by mail from Met Council: 231 East 77th Street Residence 120 Broadway, 7th floor New York, NY 10271

Applications may be downloaded from: www.metcouncil.org/housing or requested by mail from Met Council: 334 East 92nd Street Residence 120 Broadway, 7th floor New York, NY 10271

Please include a self-addressed envelope.

Please include a self-addressed envelope.

No broker or application fee.

No broker or application fee.

BLOG COMMENTS: We invite your comments on stories and issues at westsidespirit.com. We do not edit those comments. We urge people to keep the discussion civil and the tone reflective of the best we each have to offer.

ABOUT US The West Side Spirit is published weekly by Straus Media-Manhattan. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Straus Media-Manhattan, 20 West Ave., Chester, NY 10918.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

PREVIOUS OWNERS HAVE INCLUDED:

Include your full name, address and day and evening telephone numbers

Tom Allon, Isis Ventures, Ed Kayatt, Russ Smith, Bob Trentlyon, Jerry Finkelstein

$989 - $1238 $41,538 - $48,100 (1 person household) $41,538 - $55,000 (2 person household)


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

Planned Service Changes

ACBD May 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 23 10 PM to 5 AM | Mon to Fri No A trains between 59 St and 207 St No D trains between 59 St and 161 St-Yankee Stadium B and C services end early each night Take 124 trains, free shuttle buses, Bx12, and special service on the Bx19. TRAVEL ALTERNATIVES A Customers - take the 1 for service between Midtown and Washington Heights/Inwood D Customers - take the 2 and 4 for service between the Bronx and Midtown s !LONGCentral Park West, use nearby 1 2STATIONSALONGBroadway instead s )NHarlem, use nearby 1 2STATIONSORTAKEFREESHUTTLEBUSESto/from the 110 St or 157 St 1 stations. Bx19BUSESRUNALONG145 St s )NWashington Heights/Inwood, use nearby 1STATIONSALONGSt Nicholas Av instead Stay Informed #ALLANDSAYh#URRENT3ERVICE3TATUS vLOOKFORINFORMATIONALPOSTERSINSTATIONS ORVISITMTAINFOn WHEREYOUCANACCESSTHELATEST0LANNED3ERVICE#HANGESINFORMATION USE4RIP0LANNER+ ANDSIGNUPFOR FREEEMAILANDTEXTALERTS

-ETROPOLITAN 4RANSPORTATION!UTHORITY

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The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

BardGraduateCenterGallery Alberto Baraya and Abel Rodriquez, Installation view. Photo: Bruce White

WAT ER WE AV ER S

The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture CUR ATED BY JOSĂ&#x2030; ROCA Ceci Arango

Jorge Lizarazo

Alberto Baraya

Susana MejĂ­a

Monika Bravo

Abel RodrĂ­guez

Alvaro CatalĂĄn de OcĂłn

MarĂ­a Isabel Rueda

David Consuegra

Lucy Salamanca

NicolĂĄs Consuegra

Tangrama

Olga de Amaral

Marcelo Villegas

Clemencia Echeverri

Carol Young

AIR BNB-EWARE PROPERTY Increasing number of eviction proceedings stemming from use of apartment-sharing websites BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

Many New Yorkers have probably noticed the apartmentsharing startup Air BnB in the news lately. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the company for records of users he believes are using it to illegally book apartments. Air BnB is fighting the subpoena, saying that users who abuse their platform are promptly kicked off and the AGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s move amounts to intrusive government snooping into the lives of its customers. But whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not at the forefront of the discussion surrounding Air BnB are the increasing numbers of customers who have had to fight eviction proceedings because they rented their apartment using the site, or a similar one like VRBO. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen in the last six months probably four of these cases that I personally handled,â&#x20AC;? said Samuel Himmelstein, a partner at Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue and Joseph. His ďŹ rm caters exclusively to tenants, and is the largest firm of its kind in New York. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before this, there was just a tiny little handful. The reason I think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s such an uptick is how publicly accessible Air BnB is.â&#x20AC;? Most lease agreements in New York stipulate that an apartment cannot be subletted - no matter the duration - without the landlordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prior approval,

THROUGH AUGUST 10, 2014 | GOOGLE GLASS APP: BGC.BARD.EDU/GLASS

Wednesday

May 21, 2014 9:00 am to 3:00 pm |

bgc.bard.edu

â&#x20AC;&#x153; Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really beneďŹ tting from a lot of actual law-breaking, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a morally gray area to be operating in. They really have to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their business model.â&#x20AC;? Tenantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; rights lawyer David Frazer

â&#x20AC;&#x153; I think Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen in the last six months probably four of these cases that I personally handled.â&#x20AC;? Samuel Himmelstein of the law ďŹ rm Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue and Joseph

Join us for National Senior Health and Fitness Day at Council House 241 W. 72nd Street. Sponsored in part by NCJW NY Section and our partner, New York Presbyterian Hospital. r'SFF)FBMUI4DSFFOJOHT8PSLTIPQT$MBTTFT r)FBMUI3FTPVSDF'BJS r4JMFOU"VDUJPOGBOUBTUJDHPPETBOETFSWJDFT r'VO3BGĂĄFT r)FBMUIZ-VODI

Juan Fernando HerrĂĄn

18 West 86th Street, New York City

and that the apartment cannot be used for business purposes, i.e., making money off of it. As a result, many New Yorkers who use apartment-sharing websites stand a good chance knowingly or not - of violating their leases. State Senator Liz Krueger who in 2010 passed the â&#x20AC;&#x153;illegal hotel lawâ&#x20AC;? to ďŹ ght the proliferation of apartments being used to capitalize on the transient tourist market, something Air BnB has been accused of enabling - said she knows of landlords who actively search for their properties on Air BnB

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212.501.3023

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and similar sites, looking for tenants who are renting their apartments in violation of their lease so they can start eviction proceedings against them. Air BnB has said that Kruegerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s law was never intended to be used against everyday people renting out their apartments and that the majority of Air BnB hosts in New York are â&#x20AC;&#x153;regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet.â&#x20AC;? They also claim to have helped New Yorkers stay in their apartments by functioning as an extra source of income, and said their New York community will contribute $768 million in economic activity this year alone. Economic forecasts aside, for those New Yorkers that share their rent-regulated or rent-stabilized apartments, using sites like Air BnB can be very dangerous, said Himmelstein. In a poll of lawyers at his firm, he said thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been 12-14 such cases in the last two years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments,â&#x20AC;? said Himmelstein. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mitchell-Lama, NYC Housing Authority, any apartment in New York City which is subject to some form of government ownership, involvement or regulation, this activity is illegal.â&#x20AC;? New York tenant lawyer David Frazer said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also handled several of these cases recently. In a case he took up just last week, the landlord bought the property in which his rent-regulated client - an Air BnB host - lives and is â&#x20AC;&#x153;very aggressively going after all the tenants for any reason that he can come up with to try and create turnover in the building.â&#x20AC;? Frazer said heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seeing these types of cases in Manhattan

/BUJPOBM$PVODJMPG+FXJTI8PNFO New York Section Council House 241 W. 72nd Street /FX:PSL /:

HEALTH FAIR


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

outs of their rent-regulated apartments from landlords to avoid the possibility of walking away empty handed if they lost in court. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of my clients had to give up his apartment because they had him dead to rights,â&#x20AC;? said Himmelstein. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing this youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re giving the landlord ammunition to come after you,â&#x20AC;? said Frazer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And even if ultimately you can succeed, it can be a very nerve-wracking and expensive proposition.â&#x20AC;?

Technology as a weapon A decade ago, said Himmelstein, landlords were cruising websites like propertyshark. com that provide in-depth

PUBLIC NOTICE NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, PURSUANT TO LAW, THAT THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON Wednesday, June 04, 2014 AT 2:00PM AT 66 JOHN STREET, 11TH FLOOR, ON A PETITION FOR 94 CORNER CAFĂ&#x2030; CORP., TO CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN AND OPERATE AN UNENCLOSED SIDEWALK CAFĂ&#x2030; AT 2518 BROADWAY IN THE BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN FOR A TERM OF TWO YEARS. REQUEST FOR COPIES OF THE REVOCABLE CONSENT AGREEMENT MAY BE ADDRESSED TO: DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS, ATTN: FOIL OFFICER, 42 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 1004

real estate data for properties across the country. Landlords were looking for other properties their rent-regulated tenants owned that they could argue are the tenantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s primary residence, and which they could use as the foundation for an eviction case. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All of the sudden there was an uptick in non-primary residence cases,â&#x20AC;? said Himmelstein. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was the big thing between 2000 and now, but now Air BnB is the latest thing where landlords can use technology against tenants.â&#x20AC;? In response to a series of questions posed to Air BnB, spokesperson Nick Papas replied with a link that was found on the bottom of the homepage

warning users to check local laws before listing their apartments. Papas also said New York users are presented with a message during the â&#x20AC;&#x153;listing ďŹ&#x201A;owâ&#x20AC;? reminding them to check local laws before they can make a listing appear on the website. In an experiment, a reporter successfully listed a faux apartment on Air BnB in the West Village and no such reminder presented itself. After a request for clarification, a different spokesperson revealed that in the ďŹ fth of six steps, the page where a host enters the street address of the apartment theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re listing, a reminder about New York regulations and leases is found after scrolling to the bottom of the page.

As for those measures being adequate, Frazer said theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re â&#x20AC;&#x153;several clicks away in the small print. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very lawyerly move on their part but it smacks of bad faith. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really beneďŹ tting from a lot of actual law-breaking, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

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7


8

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

Voices

< CHECKING THE CITY COUNCIL ON TRANSIT Dear Editor, Why not amend NYC Councilmember Dan Garodnick’s bill requiring employers with 20 or more workers to sign up for transit checks to also include all 51 NYC Councilmembers, along with sev-

Editorial

Every week, we hear, and publish, stories about small local businesses folding and packing up their storefronts, forced out by astronomical rent increases. While the ebb and flow of businesses based on community needs is a normal part of urban life, the closures of late go beyond supply-and-demand market forces. Even highly successful boutiques, restaurants and service shops are getting booted when landlords realize that a bank or national retail chain would happily fork over triple the current rent. The locally owned businesses are often places that the community loves and patronizes regularly – the bookstore with curated stacks and knowledgeable staff who will guide customers with their love of literature; the family-owned dry cleaners who know their customers by name, the diner that’s been serving cheap, delicious comfort food for decades. But even a thriving business can’t prevent these stores from being priced out if their rent doubles or triples overnight. Lawmakers and advocates have tried over the years to slow the loss of these mom-and-pop shops independently owned businesses, with little success. There are major complications, to be sure – giving tax incentives to landlords for renting to small, locally-owned commercial tenants, for example, requires approval from Albany that is difficult to obtain. But there must be other options, and it’s up to the new administration to make preserving small businesses a real priority. The new mayor and city council need to take a hard, realistic look at this problem and recognize it for the emergency that it is. In the past, just as the alarming residential rents and low vacancy rates - a crisis which continues unabated a half century later - led to the creation of rent control laws in the ‘40s, our current retail rent environment, toxic to small local businesses, should be mitigated. It’s not enough for the city and the local Business Improvement Districts to encourage residents to “shop local.” People already do that, and voting with our feet and our dollars isn’t doing enough to inspire landlords to forego raising rents to prodigious levels. And until they have tangible reasons to do otherwise, we can hardly blame them. Whether through zoning laws, tax credits, or other legal incentives, the city and state need to work together to find creative ways to allow small businesses stay put. Preserving small businesses in our communities isn’t a romantic, idealized notion. It’s absolutely crucial to every resident’s quality of life, and the city needs to act before every block is flanked by two drug store chains and a bank, with nary a local florist or diner in sight. We want to hear your ideas and suggestions for how the city can help keep small businesses in our neighborhoods. Please send your thoughts to news@ strausnews.com.

A reader's photo of a perennial pothole problem on West 107th Street.

The sidewalk, curb, and street in front of the construction site at 239 West 107th is a mess and very dangerous. Potholes, broken sidewalk slabs, dried concrete pours from construction, and more. The elderly, young kids, and even healthy middle-aged adults are constantly tripping through it. It’s been bad for months and getting worse. You’ll do a great service to the neighborhood by including this dangerous site in your compilation. Thank you! Timothy McInerney, 107th Street

STRAUS MEDIA-MANHATTAN Distribution Manager, Mark Lingerman

opportunity to join several million constituents who use public transportation on a daily basis and also contribute to a cleaner environment. Sincerely, Larry Penner

THE U.W.S.’S POTHOLE PROBLEM

Keeping Small Businesses Alive

President, Jeanne Straus nyoffice@strausnews.com

eral hundred Council staff? Councilmember Garodnick and his 50 colleagues can all give up their free parking spaces at City Hall. They and their staff can use transit checks to purchase Metro Cards. This will afford them the

Group Publisher - Manhattan Vincent A. Gardino advertising@strausnews.com Publisher, Gerry Gavin

Associate Publishers, Seth L. Miller, Ceil Ainsworth, Kate Walsh Classified Account Executive, Susan Wynn

This pothole is just east of Con Edison on 65th between West End Avenue and Amsterdam. It is a perennial (my son is 39 and he remembers orange cones stuffed in it when he walked to elementary school). Sometimes it’s repaired, but it returns. Now it has a large white deli container stuffed in it. ( It’s sinking.) The school bus stops for students in wheelchairs who deftly circle around it all school year, but one friend obviously new to this chasm, stepped into it. Good thing he was agile. Christine Forkner, Upper West Side Editor In Chief, Kyle Pope editor.ot@strausnews.com Editor, Megan Bungeroth editor.otdt@strausnews.com

Staff Reporters, Gabrielle Alfiero, Daniel Fitzsimmons Block Mayors, Ann Morris, Upper West Side

Jennifer Peterson, Upper East Side Gail Dubov, Upper West Side Edith Marks, Upper West Side


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

My Story

To Catch a Neighborhood Thief

Police responded to a fellow officerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s call for back-up during the arrest last week. Photo by Joseph Bolanos

CRIME Vigilance from neighbors and the swift action of the NYPD help apprehend a package thief on West 76th Street BY JOSEPH BOLANOS, PRESIDENT OF THE WEST 76TH STREET PARK BLOCK ASSOCIATION

UPPER WEST SIDE As some of you know, recently our area has been victimized by a serial burglary spree by a person, or persons, unknown. Last week, a couple of local police ofďŹ cers came by while I was sitting on my stoop to discuss the ongoing burglaries in the area. I was watching the block because some of the recent thefts have occurred on Wednesdays and Thursdays. As I was sitting on stoop, I noticed a Hispanic male who I had seen on the block previously, and I had noted his presence on the block as recently as two days ago. I had noted that he was pretending to be a â&#x20AC;&#x153;locksmith card dropperâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; someone who leaves locksmith cards in building lobbies as solicitations.

I watched the subject enter the 38 West 76th Street building near me. He had a back pack that was pretty ďŹ&#x201A;at (empty) as he entered building. When two minutes passed, I left my stoop to check the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vestibule from the sidewalk. I could see the subject trying to push the locked, inner door of the vestibule. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have time for the typical 911 time-consuming Q&A that you get when you call, so I called one of the ofďŹ cers who I had spoken with earlier directly. I told him what I had observed and suspected. The ofďŹ cer stated that he was on his way on his scooter. Meanwhile the suspect was now leaving the building and his backpack was full and sagging. Minutes later, police ofďŹ cer J. Vincek arrived in the area and approached and questioned the individual. The subject talked with the ofďŹ cer and presented ID. Then the subject began to feign some sort of seizure and the ofďŹ cer walked him onto the shady part of the sidewalk.

I was watching during the entire time. When the police ofďŹ cer opened the suspectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s backpack he pulled out a black package. After reading the label, the ofďŹ cer instructed the subject to turn around in order to handcuff him. The suspect started screaming and took off running at top speed towards Columbus Avenue. The ofďŹ cer, myself and two neighbors gave pursuit. On the corner of Columbus Avenue and 76th Street we caught up to the perp who, was resisting being handcuffed. We assisted the ofďŹ cer in subduing the man onto the ground where he was handcuffed. Minutes later, about six NYPD cars arrived in response to the call by the ofďŹ cer. The box in question turned out to be a package of a building resident that was delivered earlier that day. This was an amazing convergence of events. We were very lucky. And even luckier that this perp was on my radar since a few days ago and he caught my attention today. Kudos to PO Vincek for his amazingly fast response.

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9


10

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

Out & About 16

MARBLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH

FLEET WEEK WORSHIP

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 11:00am

DOS PUEBLOS SPRING SALSA West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 W. 86th St. 6:30 p.m.;Free A live salsa band playing and presentations about the organization’s sister-city partnership with Tipitapa, Nicaragua. info@tipitapa.org

ALL MY SONS BY ARTHUR MILLER PERFORMANCE

We will be joined by special guest Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, Chaplain of the Marine Corps and other guests from the United States Navy Dr. Michael B. Brown, Senior Minister 1 West 29th St. NYC, NY 10001 (212) 686-2770 www.MarbleChurch.org

27th Annual

OR ON F I T I OAL

SIDE BLE WEST A LIVA

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KETBA LL LE AGU E

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t cCour chy M a l a 1-5 PM M

Sunday May 25th 11AM - on Broadway 72nd-86th Sts.

allach Eli W

Author’s Corner Malachy McCourt & Eli Wallach Bway & 80th St

West 103rd Street btwn

The Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. at 9th Ave. 7 p.m.; $20

18

s

14 1-2 PM MAIN STAGE Bway & 86th St

WEST 102ND & 103RD STREETS BLOCK ASSOCIATION YARD SALE

Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center, 1941 Broadway 3 p.m.; Benefit Musicians Emergency Fund’s (MEF’s) Junior/Senior Concert Series will present a special concert, highlighting the cello in various chamber music settings. MEF’s highly successful series of Junior/Senior Concerts brings established, professional musicians together in ensemble with gifted members of the upand-coming generation. lincolncenter.org

THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND PERFORMANCE

2-5 PM MAIN STAGE Bway & 86th St.

Tenorric Hale Pat

17

MUSICIANS EMERGENCY FUND JUNIOR/SENIOR CONCERT

100 La Salle Street at 124th St. and Broadway 7:30 p.m.;$15 Presented by the AUDELCO nominated Morningside Players. Miller’s searing, explosive Broadway hit - love,scandal and redemption. Directed by Susanna Frazer. morningsideplayers.org

lbin e Ma Elain

usi ion c Festiv t i nual M t e p ario Lan om za & Elaine Malbin Vocal C

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the girls at the annual Shady Oaks Retirement Home Talent Show: if the women win, then no more sex parties; if the gays garner top prize, the sassy seniors must serve as the party’s clean-up crew. Singing, dancing and hilarity ensues! spincyclenyc.com

SUNDAYS AT SEVEN

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86th St.& Broadway 1 -2 PM.

A Golden Girls Parody. Four women over 60 (Blanchette, the varicose-veined vixen; Dorthea, the brainy ball-buster; Roz, the lovable airhead; and Sophie, the wisecracking spitfire) are spending their golden years together in a wicker-filled bungalow in Miami. But when gay pop superstar Ricky Martin moves next door, his loud outdoor sex parties keep the quartet of cheesecakeloving retirees awake. The solution pits the gays against

Irish Arts Center, 553 W. 51st St. West End Avenue and Riverside 7 p.m.; $12+ Drive Irish-born Fiona Walsh and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Free native New Yorker Ann Design This event is a great way to turn invite hilarious and edgy comics from HBO, Comedy Central, unwanted items into quick cash Letterman, and Conan O’Brien -- and have fun in the process! to perform stand-up, sketch and It’s also a great way to help the improv comedy. Past performers Block Association raise funds for of Sundays at Seven include Jim the many activities and services Gaffigan, Colin Quinn, Eddie Brill, we provide our Upper West Susan Prekel, Maureen Langan, Side community. Information Myk Kaplan, and Anthony Rapp. on vending opportunities at the website below. irishartscenter.org w102-103blockassn. org/2014-yard-sale.html


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

TROUBLEFUTURESONGS: TROUBLE IN TAHITI + TWO SHORTS Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. 2 p.m.; $45 An evening of Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” plus the staged premieres of two shorts: “Voice for a Future Nightingale” by Justine F. Chen and “Outerborough Songs” by Thomas Deneuville. The evening explores desire, denial and domestication in the context of these three short operas, each of which has a couple at its center. symphonyspace.com

19 THE LOOK OF FEELING – A ONE-WOMAN THEATRICAL SHOW Susan Batson Studio Theater, 300 W. 43rd St. near 8th Ave. 3 p.m.; $20 In her first solo theatrical production, Francesca Harper reveals the woman behind her mother, and her struggle with independence, feminism, single motherhood, civil rights, men, and ultimately, cancer. slices-of-lives.com

COMMUNITY BOARD 7 PARKS & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE Community Board 7 office, 250 West 87th Street 7 p.m.; Free 1. Discussion with Melissa Goldberg, DPR Director of Concession Compliance, about Manhattan food concessions operations and issues.

2. Update on committee discussions. nyc.gov/html/mancb7

20 THE BLACK FIVES New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, at 77th St. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; $18/$12 students

covers the pioneering history of the African-American basketball teams that existed in New York City and elsewhere from the early 1900s through 1950, the year the National Basketball Association became racially integrated. Just after the game of basketball was invented in 1891, teams were often called “fives” in reference to their five starting players. Teams made up entirely of African-American players were referred to as “colored fives,” “Negro fives,” or black fives—the period became known as the Black Fives Era. nyhistory.org

21 COMMUNITY BOARD 7 LAND USE COMMITTEE Community Board 7 office, 250 West 87th Street 7 p.m.; Free The Land Use Committee gives Upper West Side residents and businesses a role in molding the form and content of our urban space. The Committee considers proposed land development or enlargement of

existing projects which require permission of the Board of Standards and Appeals or the City Planning Commission. These include variances from permitted bulk, size or use rules, amendments to the Zoning Resolution, large scale projects, notifications to restrictive declarations, and the formulation and review of environmental impact studies. nyc.gov/html/mancb7

SPEAKING OF ETHICS: LIVING A HUMANIST LIFE New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St. (at Central Park West) 7 p.m.; Free Come for a book party celebrating the release of Ethical Culture Leader Dr. Joseph Chuman’s book, a collection of his Sunday platform addresses highlighting his main ethical concerns. For the past fortyfive years, Chuman has inspired his congregants through some of their toughest personal challenges. These experiences paired with his academic acumen, give him a fresh and astute perspective on ethics today. He takes a broad-view approach that addresses the conditions that create dilemmas, rather than focusing on oversimplified right/wrong situations. nysec.org

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22 NEW YORK WRITER’S WORKSHOP PRESENTS: HERMINE MEINHARD St. Agnes Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue 2:30 p.m.; Free Through images – a pear on a windowsill, a rain-slicked street—we not only see but enter into the world of a poem. Images have the capacity to hold feeling. In this workshop participants will experiment with ways to capture images from memories, dreams and the world around them. By meeting’s end they will have written a poem. Meinhard has published poems in American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, Drunken Boat, Luna, Verse Daly and many other journals and has given readings at venues such as Live from Prairie Lights Bookstore, the Hudson Valley Writers Center and The Kitchen. She also teaches at NYU. nypl.org

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12

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

INTO THE URBAN WILD LITERATURE New memoir by Ava Chin explores city foraging BY GABRIELLE ALFIERO

UPPER EAST SIDE About five years ago, Upper East Side resident and urban forager Ava Chin took a British man named Owen mushroom hunting on a second date. When they married in Chinatown this past September, they drank tea made from linden flowers she found on the Upper East Side during their traditional ceremony. “To understand and know a plant, you have to see it from all its different stages,” said Chin. “From what it looks like when it’s a little

sprout in the spring, to how it matures throughout the summer, and then the fall to when it dies back down in the winter again…To really be able to see a person who was going to be a potential partner, I had to be able to see that person through all those different stages.” Chin’s new memoir, “Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal,” explores her own life in a similar cycle, starting in Flushing, Queens, where she grew up with a single mother and under the watchful eyes of her grandparents, who taught her about food and traditional Chinese ingredients. Chin pairs stories about her tenuous relationship with her father, whom she met for the first time in her late twenties, and her grandmother’s declini n g hea lt h with her tales of hunts for wild plants in Fort Greene, Brooklyn a nd ed ible mushrooms in Prospect Park. “I was always searching for something, even as a child, I had this natural proclivity toward the quest,” said Chin,

44, whose first foraging success came when she accidentally pulled up field garlic in the courtyard of her Queens apartment building as a young girl. “A large part of my childhood was spent looking for clues of my father, wondering who he was. There was something about foraging, even as a kid, where I could actually find something that would sustain me; that I could eat; that I could capture.” As a child, Chin spent weekends in her Chinese grandparents’ home, taking in the aroma of her grandfather’s homemade Lobster Cantonese with scallions, and corn soup with pork and onions, but she didn’t seriously forage the city until her thirties. She read guidebooks and toured the city with foraging experts, which opened her up to a network of foragers, and met biologists who helped her distinguish poisonous mushrooms from those that were edible. She bought her first iPhone in order to download iPlant, a reference app for wild North American plants. Chin has foraged in city parks for plants like field garlic, which she likens to an “old friend,” and lambsquarters, a weed related to spinach and quinoa which tastes like “spinach turned up to 11,” but has also found edible plants in playgrounds and abandoned lots. She discovered violets growing in the parking lot of a Laundromat in Fort Greene and edible amaranth plants outside the Greek Consulate on the Upper East Side. “We tend to think of New York as being this concrete jungle,” she said. “But I think that’s a very limited viewpoint. As an urban forager, I’m most interested in seeing the ways in which edible weeds rub up against the structures of the city.” When she tells people she’s a forager, she’s most frequently

EXCERPT FROM EATING WILDLY “I climb aboard the log, which wobbles under my weight, and now I can just grab hold of the entire cluster of oysters. I rip

epticism or conmet with skepticism ty by those who asfused curiosity sume she rifles through dumpsters and eatss road kill, though ve about what she she’s selective takes home. She doesn’t forage on the street except to keep her n skills sharp, and identification ble plants on hills looks for edible and elevated areas, away from on. street pollution. Chin, who went to Queens College and has lived in every borough except the Bronx, teaches ing and journalism memoir writing e of Staten Island, at the College ently wrote an urand until recently g column for the ban foraging mes’ City Room New York Times’ ition to leading blog. In addition rs (her next tour foraging tours ay, May 15 in Fort is on Thursday, ), she also teaches Greene Park), -old daughter May her two-year-old uch like her grandto forage, much father taughtt her about cloud ms and the mediciear mushrooms ifferent teas. On a nal uses of diff o England to visit recent trip to ily, May pointed Owen’s family, ustard before Chin out garlic mustard spotted the plant. When walkity, Chin stores ing in the city, her foraged food in May’s stroller. u become a “When you parent, you can become very conservative and overprotective off your kids,” Chin said. s, as “Sometimes, u’re a parent you’re ng, always saying, at! ‘don’t eat that! Don’t put that in your mouth!’ But sometimes I say, ‘well, actually, she can eat that.’”

a section off with my fingers, separating the flesh from the bark of the tree, my chin pressed up against the trunk. I am so focused on getting this lovely hunk of Pleurotus ostreatus that I forget about

Ava Chin has been foraging for edible plants in the city's parks for years, and shares her stories in a memoir, Eating Wildly, out this month.

the blade in my knapsack or the precariousness of my footing. All of my tugging and pulling disturbs a spider the size of a quarter, which races out of the mushroom’s white folds. I laugh as it crawls on

delicate, spindly legs across my fingers, tickling me, and disappears into a peel of bark. I step off the log with over two pounds of oyster mushrooms heavy in my hands.”


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

13

TIMELESS BEAUTY AND A GLIMPSE OF THE PAST EXHIBITIONS The Met pairs carpets with their Dutch paintings BY MARY GREGORY

If you’ve been in a gallery of Dutch paintings, chances are you’ve seen them. Now, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has given them a gallery of their own. A concise, but fascinating look at the carpets of the near and far east and how they intersected with life in the Netherlands is presented in the exhibition, Carpets of the East in Paintings from the West. The curators have selected three carpets of specific types and exhibited them side-by-side with three paintings from the Dutch Baroque era. The figures in Bisschop’s A Young Woman and a Cavalier stand in front of a table covered with a Lotto carpet just like the Turkish example in the gallery. A “Floral and Cloudband” carpet from the Met’s collection matches the one Matthijs Naiveu painted in A Newborn Baby, and Gabriel Metsu’s A Musical Party is displayed next to a rare Syrian “Chessboard” carpet similar to the one he chose for his composition. It’s always wonderful to see, in real

life and real time, objects depicted in paint by earlier artists, even if they’re nothing but old brushes or swatches of fabric. But, the carpets in this exhibition are glorious works of art, and their presentation reminds viewers of that fact. Sometimes, carefully selected, intimate presentations reward those who visit with just a taste, but a taste that can be savored and lingers. The exhibition captures, in a small way, a glimpse of the forces that shaped 17th Century Holland, and through it, the world we live in, today. A little more than a century after Columbus journeyed to the east and discovered the west, global trade routes were just beginning to flourish in a serious, commercial way. And Holland--religiously tolerant, when other countries were having inquisitions; scientifically forward, when other countries imprisoned astronomers for proving that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe; and wealthy, from promoting openness and trade—was where it was all coming together. The world’s first middle class was emerging. Ship builders and merchants could afford to buy art, previously accessible to only heads of state and churches. They wanted the finest textiles, porcelains, jewels—and rugs. And, they sent ships out to find them

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is pairing intricate carpets from Eastern countries with the Baroqueera Dutch paintings in which they appear.

and bring them back. But, they also knew the value of the luxuries they’d worked so hard to acquire, and so, unlike the courts and palaces in Turkey, Persia, China and beyond, in Dutch homes, these carpets were displayed on table tops, not placed on floors to be walked on. Also, if you wanted a fabulous rug, or for that matter, the most prized tulip bulb, or exotic foods from far off lands, but could never hope to afford them, you could always hire a painter to make a picture of them for you—proving your good taste, despite your slender purse. That’s the source of all fabulous still life scenes of gorgeous flowers, feasts of champagne and lobsters, and opulent table settings of silver and blown glass we still love to see in Dutch painting.

IF YOU GO Carpets of the East in Paintings from the West The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gallery 458 Through June 29

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Tickets start at $35

A visit to Carpets of the East in Paintings from the West, which invites viewers to stop and consider the patterns, colors and geometric shapes of these exotic works, is even more powerful if followed by a stroll through the adjacent galleries. There, Arts of the Loom are more fully explored and displayed in a dazzling group of carpets densely packed with floral motifs. Elegant and evocative, Arts of the Loom brings you into a different time, and takes you out of time, entirely. Surrounded by the elemental and promising shapes of flowers, one realizes why they are so much part of our rites and rituals. They are harbingers of all that is good, and even though they fade quickly, they never die.

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The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

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'SJEBZ .BZ 1.t8UI$PM"WF Travel Channel's Adam Richman returns for the fourth consecutive year, along with Food Network star and Iron Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli of NYC's Butter Restaurant. The duo will oversee 40 restaurants from the Upper West Side showcasing their most innovative comfort dishes, and competing to win this year's "Best Comfort Food Dish". We'll be introducing you to new restaurants as well as the neighborhood favorites. The high-energy excitement of the evening will be amplified with renowned wines, creative cocktails, and the returning beats of NYC's DJ PHRESH.

Alex Guarnaschelli, Host Chef, Butter Restaurant

PRESENTED BY UI

4BU .BZt7*11.(FO"EN1.t8 $PM"WF Highlighting the best of the Upper West Side's culinary scene, Best of the West will showcase signature fare created by over 40 celebrated chefs and restaurateurs. Hosted by Jill Martin, Emmy award-winning TV personality and NY Knicks broadcaster, the evening will feature gourmet fare created by some of the Upper West Side's most talented chefs and restaurants. Honoring renowned chef and owner Daniel Boulud, culminating in a magical evening with music by the Silver Arrow Band, spectacular food, and enticing cocktails. VIP tickets are available for those who want early access to the chefs, food and drinks.

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MYTHOS PREMIERES AT NEW YORK CHILDRENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S THEATER FESTIVAL In new childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play MYTHOS, written by a husband and wife team from Long Island, a puppet learns the complexities of the human world from an ancient Greek poet, who uses myths to explain human plights and experiences. This world premiere, presented as part of New York Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Theater Festival, features both live actors and 20 different puppets, including shadow puppets, marionettes, and hand and rod puppetry.

Part of New York Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Theater Festival Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater 10 West 64th St. and Central Park West Friday, May 16-Sunday, May 18 Assorted show times; Ages 5 and up Tickets $18

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Steps Beyond, a performance-focused division of dance studio and professional training company Steps on Broadway, presents Performance Lab, a showcase for ten young choreographers. Among those selected to showcase their work are modern and jazz dancer Alyson Laury, who founded her own dance company in 2012, and Sarah Weber-Gallo, a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. The concert will also feature a performance by the Steps Repertory Ensemble, Steps on Broadwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in-house company. Steps Studio Theater 2121 Broadway, 3rd ďŹ&#x201A;oor Saturday, May 17, 8:00 p.m. Tickets $12

MUSIC THE COLLEGIATE SINGERS PERFORM MOZART AND CHARPENTIER The Collegiate Singers chorus presents two much-loved classical compositions for their annual spring recital: Mozartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Coronation Mass and Charpentierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Te Deum. The local ensemble, partly made up of parents, faculty and other adult members of the private Collegiate School community on the Upper West Side, will be accompanied by professional percussion, strings and woodwind instrumentation. Christ & St. Stephenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Episcopal Church 120 West 69th St. Sunday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20

Part of Life in Reel New York: An Historic District Council Film Series The 1978 ďŹ lm â&#x20AC;&#x153;An Unmarried Woman,â&#x20AC;? which garnered three Academy Award nominations, offers a glimpse into the lives and residences of New Yorkers during a time when large, once-industrial buildings were converted into large artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lofts. Starring Jill Clayburgh as a wealthy woman who dates a downtown painter after her husband leaves her for a younger woman, the ďŹ lm provides one of the ďŹ rst peeks at these then-new urban apartments. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An Unmarried Womanâ&#x20AC;? is the ďŹ nal presentation in a three-part ďŹ lm series that explores historic public and private spaces in the city, presented by the Historic Districts Council. Life in Reel New York: An Historic District Council Film Series Downtown Community Television Center 87 Lafayette St. Tuesday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $10 RSVP at 212-614-9107 or bharmon@hdc.org, or purchase online

IN CONVERSATION ARTIST KARA WALKER WITH RADIOLABâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S JAD ABUMRAD Jad Abumrad, host and creator of public radio program Radiolab, talks with artist Kara Walker, whose mixed media work explores Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history of slavery, racism and gender oppression through visual retellings of historic events. Walker, best known for her cutout paper silhouettes, opened her ďŹ rst large-scale project in the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg on May 10, and will talk with Abumrad about the history of sugar and the workers and slaves that were central to the industry. LIVE from the NYPL Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street Tuesday, May 20, 7:00 p.m. Tickets $25


15

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Research Study Enrolling for Ages 18 - 65 A research study is comparing topical investigational pain patches for ankle sprains. 0XVWEHVFUHHQHGLQRIÀFH within 48 hours of injury. Reprinted from www.ACAcamps.org by permission of the American Camp Association © 2014 American Camping Association, Inc.

SPORTS CAMP TRENDS CAMP Many camps offer a focus on sports that can benefit even non-athletic kids For children who have a passion for sports, specialty camp experiences with a sports focus can offer a variety of benefits. Regardless of a camp’s specialty area, it is the nature of camp to help children develop into caring, resilient, compassionate, independent people. But especially at sports camp, campers enjoy the community and friendships of peers and role models with similar interests. They are also able to concentrate on and gain confidence in the sport they love. Ten percent of American Camp Association-accredited camps offer a targeted sports focus. By comparison, in 2004, only three percent of ACA camps offered a targeted sport focus. That’s more than a threefold increase in ten years. You can even find sports at special needs camps, where the activities are geared to campers’ abilities. The diversity of camps today reflects the diversity of America — there is a camp for every ability level and interest, from horseback riding to soccer, race car driving to softball. According to ACA’s most recent Sites, Facilities, and Programs Report, ninety-eight percent of responding ACA camps reported offering at least one sport even if sports were not a targeted

focus. The top five sports activities offered are recreational swimming (87 percent), aquatic activities (76 percent), basketball (72 percent), archery (71 percent), and camping skills (67 percent). Unique offerings include fencing, lacrosse, SCUBA diving, windsurfing, and more. You and your child can search for the perfect camp experience on ACA’s Find a Camp database (http://find.acacamps.org). This resource allows families to search for camp programs based on location, price, session length, and more — including whether the camp focuses on just one sports activity or multiple activities. When searching for multiple-activity camps, families can also search by intensity level — recreational, instructional, or intense/competitive. Camps are able to serve campers who are just looking to try a new sport, campers who are looking for serious skill building, and everyone in between! Begin searching early. Camps begin taking registrations well before the “camp season” begins. Beyond the activities offered at a camp, it is also crucial to consider a camp’s philosophy. ACA encourages parents to ask camp representatives if the camp is ACA-accredited. If not, ask why. ACA-accredited camps meet up to 280 health and safety standards and are a parent’s best evidence that the camp is committed to the safety and well-being of their

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Rehabilitation Medicine & Sports Services 189 Montague Street Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201 child. A few other tips for learning more about the camp’s philosophy include: • Ask “What is the camp’s philosophy and program emphasis?” • Ask “How does the camp handle homesickness and other adjustment issues?” • Visit the camp if possible to see practices first-hand. • Ask for references. Quality sports camp experiences will not only improve a camper’s skills or allow them to explore a new interest, they will nourish a child’s social and emotional development as well. Camp experiences help children gain skills they’ll use for a lifetime — both on and off the field.

ABOUT ACA The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are more than 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 280 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www. ACAcamps.org or www. CampParents.org.


16

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

Food & Drink

JAMES BEARD AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED This year’s James Beard Awards were presented on Monday, May 5 during a black-tie ceremony at Lincoln Center, on a night that yielded only a handful of awards for New York City chefs and restaurateurs, the New York Times reported. While top awards went to chefs, owners and restaurants in New Orleans,

Boston and California (including the award for outstanding chef to Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles), April Bloomfield, head chef and co-owner at the Spotted Pig in the West Village, took home the award for best chef in the five boroughs, and 82-year-old Sirio Maccioni was recognized with a lifetime

achievement award for his nearly 40 years with iconic restaurant Le Cirque. Cronut creator Dominique Ansel was honored as this year’s outstanding pastry chef for his eponymous Spring Street bakery, an award that has previously gone to Brooks Headley of Del Posto and Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park.

In Brief THE CRONUT TURNS ONE Pastry chef Dominque Ansel has had a good year. Despite a much-publicized shutdown of his Spring Street bakery by the Department of Health in early April, the owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery hit it big in 2013 with his now-trademarked croissant and donut hybrid, the Cronut. The pastry celebrated its first birthday on Sunday, May 10, a year marked with hour-long lines and a rationing of the pastries (Ansel instituted a two-per-customer limit). To celebrate, Ansel, who took home the James Beard Award for outstanding pastry chef on May 5, passed out free Cronut holes to his customers every time his Spring Street shop played Happy Birthday. The bakery concocted miniature versions of the dessert in some of the featured flavors of the past year, including rose vanilla, fig mascarpone and blueberry lemon verbena.

A PRIMER FOR C.S.A. SEASON THE COMMUNITY KITCHEN It’s sign-up time for farmer coops across the city BY LIZ NEUMARK

FIRE AT A VOCE COLUMBUS CAUSES TWO-WEEK CLOSURE A kitchen fire broke out in the Columbus Circle Italian eatery A Voce on Friday, May 9, causing enough smoke and water damage in the kitchen to temporarily shutter the third-floor restaurant for repairs. According to a statement on the restaurant’s website, no one was injured and the dining room was untouched by the fire, and sister restaurant A Voce Madison, which offers a similar, seafood and homemade pasta heavy menu, will absorb the Columbus Circle location’s reservations for the duration of the closing. Eater reported that the restaurant, which also closed in January after a burst sprinkler flooded the dining room during dinner service, will remain closed for two weeks while undergoing kitchen repairs.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of being a member of a CSA is that you never know exactly what vegetables you’re going to get every week – until the moment you collect them. And for an estimated 44,000 New Yorkers who participate in Community Supported Agiculture programs across the city, that is just fine. CSA season is upon us. If you’re not familiar with the process, consumers pay an upfront fee entitling them to a 22-week-long weekly pickup of whatever is harvested on the farm each week. It’s a great system: the farmer gets paid upfront and can buy supplies, and consumers get farmfresh produce. Roxbury Farm started Man-

hattan’s first CSA in 1991. (They currently have four). According to Paula Lukats, the CSA Program Manager for Just Food, the non-profit organization that facilitated CSA growth in N.Y., the number has since grown to 150. City-based CSA organizers also plan farm trips, “meet the farmer” events, potluck dinners and food policy discussions. Carnegie Hill is home to one of the most robust CSA’s, with more than 100 members hosted at the Church of Heavenly Rest and provided by Stoneledge Farm in South Cairo, NY. The two largest, with 125 members in 2013 were Turtle Bay CSA (distributing at the Vanderbilt YMCA on E 47th Street) and the CSA at Ansche Chesed on 100th and West End Avenue. The Washington Square CSA, has a reputation for being one of the most dynamic groups. WSP Flack & Kurtz, a workplace CSA serviced by Katchkie Farm, pioneered the CSA Smack Down recipe competition, now going into its third year and hosted by

Just Food. The winning Smack Down recipe for 2013 was a Collard Napoleon Stuffed with Fall Ratatouille and Pear Chutney, from the Crown Heights Farm Share. For 2012 it was Reconstructionist Latkes with Apples and Honey and Kale Salad (add some kohlrabi and carrot to your traditional shredded potato!) For some, familiar veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant and zucchini are most welcome. Others rejoice when exotic items like garlic scapes, Jerusalem artichokes or Asian greens arrive. Purple potatoes, colored carrots can be a source of controversy. And corn, though much beloved, is extremely challenging to grow organically – so there is never enough to satisfy the demand. Some people can’t get enough kale while others cannot give it away fast enough. Some other important CSA facts to know: *A typical weekly share contains 7-10 varieties of produce weekly, enough for 2-4 people

depending of your veggie consumption. *Most CSA’s donate their unclaimed shares to soup kitchens, shelters or other organizations that feed the hungry. *The cost ranges from $450650/share; there are half shares and longer seasons. Many CSA’s have flexible payment options and accept food stamps. *Most CSA’s now offer optional fruit or egg shares; some offer meat, dairy, honey, syrup, wine or beer. Sign up season is now. Some CSA’s are maxed out, but there is plenty of capacity left. To find the CSA closest to you, go to justfood. org or localharvest.org. Finally, a confession: until recently, I was a CSA junkie, belonging to three different farms in one season. The cure? In 2006 I bought a 60-acre parcel in Kinderhook, NY and grew my own farm. So be warned. Liz Neumark is chief executive of the catering company Great Performances.


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS APRIL 30 - MAY 5, 2014 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. Mel’s Burger Bar

2850 Broadway

A

Cafe Roma Pizzeria

854 Amsterdam Avenue

A

Pie Pie Pizza

924 Columbus Ave

Not Graded Yet (18) No facilities available to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils and/or equipment.

Equinox

2465 Broadway

A

Koko Wings

248 West 106 Street

A

Tatz Gourmet Sweetz

844 Amsterdam Avenue

A

Big Daddy’s

2454 Broadway

Grade Pending (23) Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.

Ouest

2315 Broadway

Grade Pending (20) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.

The Tangled Vine

434 Amsterdam Avenue

A

La Caridad 78

21972199 Broadway

A

You Never Forget Who You Grew Up With. The rough touch of tree bark, the scent of freshly mowed grass, the gentle hum of pollinating bees as a flower blossoms — green spaces touch lives and all five senses. Green spaces are a vital part of growing up — they enhance lives, make memories and connect people with their neighborhoods and communities. Be a part of preserving and enhancing green spaces where we live, work and play. To volunteer, to learn how to help your community and to donate, visit ProjectEverGreen.org or call toll-free (877) 758-4835.

projectevergreen.org (877) 758-4835

17


18 8

The Spirit MAY 15 15, 5, 2014

< COMING SOON: ‘.NYC’ DOMAIN NAMES New York City-based businesses and organizations can now apply to register their web address with the “.nyc” domain name. According to the mayor’s office, the new web addresses will hit computer screens in October 2014. The initiative is part of an effort by the de Blasio administration to enable city-based busi-

Business

nesses and organizations to set themselves apart from the competition by digitally associating themselves with the Big Apple brand. In order to qualify for consideration, entities must have a physical address in New York City and already be registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse sponsored by the Internet Cor-

poration for Assigned Names and Numbers. The city will take a piece of the revenue generated from annual domain registration fees. NYC-based entities will have until June 20 to apply for a .nyc domain name. New York City will become the first city in the country with its own top-level domain name.

In Brief BREWER RESPONDS TO DE BLASIO HOUSING PLAN Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer reacted positively to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $41 billion affordable housing plan, but said there are still issues that remain to be addressed. De Blasio’s plan calls for doubling the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development’s budget, and creating/preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. “Still to be addressed is a way to create permanent housing in Single Room Occupancy buildings, many of which have vacant units. And I also have major concerns about ongoing efforts to downsize Section 8 residents,” said Brewer. “Overall, I look forward to working with the mayor on this ambitious and necessary plan.” The West Side Spirit previously reported on the hundreds of vacant SRO units in buildings on the Upper West Side. Some SRO building owners unlawfully operate them as hotels for transient tourists, while others are waiting for their buildings to completely empty out, which would exponentially increase their value. As for forced downsizings, last year HPD began moving Section 8 special voucher holders into smaller apartments in order to close a federal funding gap.

MALONEY PUSHES FOR NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM Manhattan Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney recently passed legislation in Congress that will establish a commission tasked with making recommendations for the establishment of a national women’s history museum. The legislation now goes to counterparts in the Senate, where all 20 female legislators have signed onto the bill. The eight-member commission would have 18 months to produce the report and submit it to Congress for approval. Several notable New Yorkers have signed on to the effort as well, including Emily Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “This undertaking will be critically important in telling the stories of countless women whose contributions to our nation’s past have helped develop the cornerstones of our nation,” said Rafferty. “Today we honor all that our mothers have done for us, and soon we’ll honor all of the contributions of our mothers and foremothers in a National Women’s History Museum in our nation’s capitol,” said Maloney. “The House has moved us one step closer, and I hope the Senate will follow suit. I’m thrilled that so many notable New Yorkers are getting behind the effort as well.”

Hair accessories and fascinators sold by vendor Dora Marra at last year’s Crafts on Columbus fair.

BOARD TO RECONSIDER CRAFTS ON COLUMBUS PERMIT STREET FAIRS The Upper West Side community board may reinstate the popular craft fair BY DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

UPPER WEST SIDE Two years after Community Board 7 asked the Parks Department not to renew the Request for Proposals for Crafts on Columbus, a 34-year-old craft fair on the Upper West Side, the board is reconsidering its position after an outpouring of support from the community.

The fair’s permit is set to expire at the end of May and not be renewed by parks, who acquiesced to CB7’s request in 2012. News of its impending demise sparked an effort, mainly by those who sell arts and crafts at the fair, to save it. Artist Peter Salwen began a Change.org petition calling on local elected leaders to save the fair, which has since garnered almost 2,000 signatures. At a recent CB7 full board meeting, testimony from supporters of the fair resulted in the board agreeing to reconsider its position at an upcoming meeting of its parks committee. The Parks

Department indicated that it would consider issuing a new RFP to Crafts on Columbus should the board vote to bring it back. Critics of the fair contend that it brings too much traffic to the already-dense stretch of Columbus Avenue between 77th Street and 81st Street. Salwen told the West Side Spirit that the decadesold fair actually has a tremendous amount of support in the community, and is one of the few craft fairs around that is curated by its organizers and isn’t merely a venue for hocking cheap goods. “Anybody that complains about [Crafts on Columbus] doesn’t

have the slightest understanding of this neighborhood or what it’s about,” said Salwen. Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal agreed at a recent town hall meeting she organized on the Upper West Side, saying that Crafts on Columbus is a rare true crafts fair. “I’ve been going there for years, it’s the only place you can get crafts,” said Rosenthal. “Otherwise, it’s funnel cakes and tube socks.” CB7 said they’d announce on their website the parks committee meeting at which they’d discuss the fate of Crafts on Columbus.


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

My Story

Secret shopping for designer clothes BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

RETAIL Confessions of a consignment junkie Chanel. Christian Louboutin. Manolo Blahnik. For decades these were names I knew from magazines, but didn’t own. In fact, I didn’t want to. “I don’t advertise,” I’d sniff, adding that I had no desire to be a walking sandwich board that helped some designer hawk his or her merchandise. About five years ago, though, I had a change of heart. Perhaps all the Manolo-madness from “Sex in the City” had finally seeped in? Or perhaps it was that suddenly I found myself surrounded by peers – in motherhood as well as business – carrying Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” totes or Chanel classic double-flap shoulder bags. Or maybe with my fiftieth birthday, I developed some taste. Whatever the reason, I wanted in, but felt out of luck. My son Luke was starting high school and my

daughter Meg was beginning middle school. Any fantasy about walking into Saks for a pair of Jimmy Choo heels was dashed when tuition invoices arrived. Then I discovered the world of consignment. I went to pick Meg up from her friend’s house on Madison and 79th Street. Just as I was about to approach the doorman, my cell rang: Meg wanted to stay a little longer. With an hour to kill, I considered my options. I didn’t want yet another cup of coffee or to hang around J. Crew, whose stock I already knew by heart. I started to walk uptown and not even half a block into my journey I saw women with shopping bags coming out of a doorway. I looked up and there on the second floor was Michael’s, The Consignment Shop for Women. I entered the store and found myself surrounded by so many labels I thought I was in Bergdorf’s. Everything was in mint condition, which dispelled my previous notions that pre-owned meant “other people’s old crap.” I hadn’t planned on buying anything, as I was not going anywhere any time soon that required a designer look. But sometimes, something in a store just calls your name. “Lorraine,” was being whispered in a French accent by a pair of Chanel loafers – shoes I could actually wear everyday around town and, for $100, a fraction of their retail price. And they were

my size! And so began my Loco For Coco phase, shopping at resale stores like Collette on Madison and 92nd, Margotta Consignment Shop on 81st between Second and Third Avenues, and Second Chances on Lexington between 77th and 78th Streets. There are many others on the Upper East Side I simply haven’t gotten to yet. Even though consignment is often a way to afford the usually unaffordable, not everything is, dare I say, cheap. Some designer items get more valuable with age, and can cost as much, if not more, than the retail store prices. Not to despair, though, because not everyone consigns their designer duds; some donate. Places like The Cancer Care Thrift Shop, the Society Boutique, which is the Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center thrift shop, and the Arthritis Gift Shop all on Third Avenue between 81st and 84 Streets often have a nice array of Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, Lily Pulizer and the like. And let’s not turn our nose up at Goodwill on Second and 88th. I dropped off a bag of non-label items and left with an AKRIS for Berdorf Goodman dress for $50. I may be a Designer Second Hand Rose, but I’m designer just the same.

“THE PERFECT FATHER’S DAY GIFT” DRAW YOUR DAD FOR FATHER’S DAY JUNE 15, 2014 Draw a picture of Dad, scan it (or send it to us)

and then order a mug or luggage tag with your child’s drawing on it. All kids drawings will appear on our website as they are received. Just go to westsidespirit.com Click on Fun & Games

Then order Dad’s portrait on a mug, totebag etc. DO NOT USE PENCIL

Use bold and bright colored pens, markers, crayons, etc. Light color and pencils will not reproduce on our website or newspapers.

PLEASE DO NOT FOLD YOUR DRAWING

Lorraine Duffy Merkl is a NYC freelance writer and author of the novel, “Back to Work She Goes.”

Dad’s Name: Your Name & Age:

Address:

City: Cell Phone:

State:

Zip:

19


20

The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

UNEQUAL ACCESS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 keycard access, several treadmills and weight machines could be seen through a square window at eye-level. Next to the fitness center was a playroom that had the same locking mechanism located next to the door. The prewar building, at 103rd Street and West End Avenue, is managed by Atlas Capital Management, who did not return requests for comment. Zicht said she approached a managing agent about opening up the fitness center to all the tenants but so far has seen no indication that they would do so. “It just has a nasty feel to it, to set it up this way,” said Zicht. Rent-regulated tenant Phyllis Dolgin said even though she goes to a nearby gym for free, it’s the principle that she disagrees with. “I’m just finding out about it now,” said Dolgin, who called the policy unfair. “I’d like management to be more open about it.” A rent-controlled tenant named Moncef Bensedrine confirmed that neither he nor his children are allowed access to the fitness center. When asked if the policy is upsetting to him, Bensedrine said, “very much so.”

“Of course I’m not happy, my kids also,” he said. “I live in the building and other people use the facilities and I can’t.” Bensedrine said he thinks the gym facility should be free for all the tenants to use. “The rent’s high enough already,” he said. A fourth tenant confirmed the practice to the West Side Spirit. “It’s a fact, I’m one of them,” said the tenant, who declined to give his name, when asked if he had heard of the policy. “It sort of separates out the people in the building,” he said. “I’ve only been in this building for about 10 years but when I moved in there was a real friendship and spirit among people in the building, and then they booted out all the people that weren’t regulated. Now, people don’t talk to each other in the elevator, it’s strange.” Eight-forty-five West End Avenue is the latest building on the Upper West Side where rent-regulated tenants said they’re treated differently than market-rate tenants. Last summer, it was revealed that a 270+ unit project being pursued by Extel Development at 40 Riverside Boulevard would include a separate entrance for tenants of the 55 affordable units that were to be included in the deal. Building owners sometimes use amenities such as pools, gyms

The door to the fitness center in the basement of 845 West End Avenue is locked to non-market rate tenants. Photo by Daniel Fitzsimmons

and gardens to lure market-rate tenants, preventing regulated tenants from enjoying the same luxuries as their neighbors. Critics say such practices amount to segregation and have no place in New York’s housing market. Stonehenge Village, an apartment building on West 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, also bars rent-regulated tenants from its gym, as does Lincoln Towers at 142 West End Avenue. Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal recently lent her support to a 1,189-unit apartment building on West 57th Street, provided that tenants in the 200 rent-regulated units have equal access to all the amenities offered in the building, among other concessions agreed to by developer TF Cornerstone. “Every single resident regardless of how much they pay in rent should have access to amenities in a building,” said Rosenthal. Rosenthal told the West Side Spirit that she and fellow council member Mark Levine are also exploring legislative options to prevent such practices. Do you live in a building with unequal access to amenities for rent-regulated tenants? What’s your opinion on such policies? Email news@strausnews. com and your letter could appear in the West Side Spirit.

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MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

DOWNTOWN MUSICAL THEATER WORK The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop has been nurturing musical theater talent for decades

BY MARK KENNEDY

FINANCIAL DISTRICT In a room in a lower Manhattan skyscraper, a musical is being born, song by song. Standing at a piano is an up-and-coming songwriting team, presenting a new tune called “Think of Cheese” from its fledgling show “Afterland,” which takes place outside post-apocalyptic Philadelphia. Composer and co-lyricist Benjamin Velez launches into a flamenco-flavored ditty. “See the cheese, see the cheese/See the Parmesan is snowing/On the trees/Ooh, la-la/Smell that pungent odor blowing,” sings Velez, as his co-writer Kathryn Hathaway looks on, somewhat nervously. Some two dozen fellow lyricists, playwrights and composers fill the seats, all hoping to join the list of musical heavyweights who have gone through this classroom process, including Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens, Steve Flaherty, Maury Yeston, Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey and Amanda Green. The song over, it’s time for the young composers to face the music. Hands go up in the class. One student complements the team on a song with spectacular music and clever lyrics but wonders who is making cheese in post-apocalyptic Philadelphia. Another wonders to whom exactly the song is being sung. Someone else wants to know what the song’s function is in the show. Still another hates the title. Velez and Hathaway graciously take the criticism and sit down. There are five more songs to be presented on this day, including a tune about a 12-year-old science-obsessed girl in the 1950s trying to be cool, and a song sung by a woman who has found foot-fetish porn on her husband’s computer. This class is part of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre

Workshop, and judging by its track record as a top-notch incubator of musicals, there’s a good chance that in a few years there will be a new Broadway show with a song about post-apocalyptic cheese. “It gives writers something that is very hard to come by: an audience every week,” says “The Book of Mormon” co-writer Bobby Lopez, who for the last three years has helped moderate the advanced group with his wife, composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez, whom he met at the workshop. Shows nurtured by the program include “A Chorus Line,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Nine,” “Once On This Island,” “Ragtime,” “Avenue Q” and “Next To Normal.” Six musicals currently playing on Broadway were authored or co-authored by members of the BMI Workshop: “Aladdin,” “Newsies,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Violet,” “If/Then” and “Rocky.” “We don’t tell people what to write or how to write or even what style to write in. But we do teach and talk a lot about how musicals are put together,” says writer and lyricist Patrick Cook, the program’s director, who is a former workshop student. “We’re one of the only places that actually talks about the craft of musical theater and how it’s a different craft than almost every other art form,” he adds. The BMI workshops started in 1961 and its three-year program goes from learning the basics of songwriting to the creation of fulllength musicals. Seasoned veterans attend the advanced workshop to present ongoing projects. New songs from a fresh batch of composers will be presented Thursday at a showcase at the BMI’s home at 7 World Trade Center. One early assignment is to write a song that is either a sad hello or a happy goodbye, which both turn out to be devilishly hard. “It forces people to write with some kind of subtext,” says Cook. Cook should know: He first joined the workshop as a student in 1984. “I thought I knew everything. And after the first class, I went, ‘Oh, I don’t know very much, do I?’” he says, laughing. Anderson-Lopez, who won an Oscar with her husband for the music to the smash film “Frozen,” says she owes a lot to the workshop. “For me, it was one-stop shopping for a life,” she says. She was pursuing a ho-hum career as a musical theater actress -- “I was playing a lot of nuns in New Hampshire” -- but doing a lot of rewriting of lyrics on the side. She couldn’t afford a master’s program but someone suggested the BMI, which is free to participants. “Within a month, I had realized: ‘I am a writer. This is what I need to do.’ The sky opened up and a hand reached down and said, ‘Follow this path.’ And then I met my future husband,” she says. “My life fell in place.” Robert Lopez, who also met his “Avenue Q” songwriting partner Jeff Marx at the workshop, says feedback from fellow writers is invaluable, particularly if they help identify recurring problems. You’re trying to help the person write the show they want to write -- not the show you would write and not steer them away from something that’s not your cup of tea,” he says. “You’re trying to help them do what they want to do.” Sometimes the results are good, sometimes poor. Sometimes,

A scene from the new hit musical “If/ Then,” which was written by past Workshop participants

21

though, they are sublime. Cook recalls being at a workshop in which Lopez and Marx presented the song “If You Were Gay” from what would become “Avenue Q.” “There is nothing like the magic when something is working. It’s what I live for. It’s what a lot of the writers live for,” he says. “All of a sudden, there’s going to be a song that stops the room dead and you can hear a pin drop. There’s going to be a moment of theater magic in that room.”


22

Our Town MAY 15, 2014

YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES [Laughs] When we first opened, there were a couple of people who asked for rare chicken. That was very off putting. Some people have come in and asked for just a plate of raw vegetables, including mushrooms. We’ve also had people come in and hand us their child’s meal - baby food, or a box of macaroni and cheese - and say, “Can you cook this?”

Do have interaction with your customers? I’m mostly in the kitchen, but here and there our general manager or our managing director will ask me to come out and meet people. We get all these tickets that come into the kitchen with customers’ names, so I know their eating habits, but I’ve never met them before. So I know that so-and-so doesn’t like salt or so-and-so likes ketchup with their oysters.

You went to The Culinary Institute. Who were your mentors there? It’s funny because when you’re in school, there are so many people who are hyperfocused on the bios of famous chefs. I was more focused on absorbing everything I could. But my first job was working for a catering company in New Jersey. It was owned by a woman and mostly women worked there. I think that was a great spot to start. We did a lot of events; it was very high volume. But it was fun, it wasn’t very serious. It was all very strong women and we had a great time.

A WOMAN WHOSE PLACE IS IN THE KITCHEN Q&A Marea’s Chef du Cuisine dishes on her no-frill approach to a successful culinary career BY ANGELA BARBUTI

At just eight years old, Lauren DeSteno knew she wanted to become a chef. One of her specialties was spaghetti and meatballs for her older siblings and their friends as they came home from college. Now, at 31, she has brought her talent to a much larger kitchen at Marea, one of the most buzzedabout restaurants in Manhattan. Although the Central Park South eatery is known for its celebrity guests like Beyonce and Jay-Z, DeSteno is still the happiest when she cooks for those who are closest to her heart. “I love when someone I know comes to the restaurant and I go out and say hello to them and get to see how happy they are. Those are the best moments for me.”

Explain your title of Chef du Cuisine. What responsibilities do you have? Running the restaurant on a daily basis and keeping an eye on the systems we have to help the restaurant run smoothly all the

time. Overseeing and helping with ordering, cost control, speaking to our purveyors if, for example, the cost of lobster all the sudden spikes up. Talking to our cooks and giving them advice. During service, I’m usually expediting. And if our executive chef is there, he’ll be expediting and I’ll be helping to plate.

Are you the only woman in the kitchen? I’m the only woman sous chef manager on the savory side. There are two women sous chefs in the pasty department. We do have a good number of women who work in our kitchen. I never felt that anything was off. As long as everyone has the right mentality, it doesn’t matter what they are. But there’s definitely sometimes when someone will make a joke and I’ll make a joke back and they’re like, “What?” and I’m like, “I work with all of them all day long! I have to be able to play this game too!”

How do you maintain calm and order on a busy night? I just tried to be very organized, especially if I’m expediting. I like all my tickets to be folded properly at the right spot and everything has to be lined up. I’ve tried to teach this to other people, that it doesn’t pay to get worked up and freaked out when we start to

get busy, because it doesn’t help anything. Everything goes smoother if you handle things calmly.

Do you change Marea’s menu for spring and summer? Once spring starts showing up, everyone is so antsy to get out of root vegetables, like the whites, browns, and tans of winter vegetables, or green kale. As soon as anything starts coming in for spring - peas, fava beans, pole beans - everyone is trying to get it on the menu.

MAREA

What’s your favorite dish there?

240 Central Park South 212-5825100 www.mareanyc.com

I would probably say it’s the gnocchetti pasta. It’s delicious. We started putting some vegan dishes on the menu and they’re both made with a macadamia nut “cheese” that we make. And they’re really good.

Marea’s chef du cuisine Lauren DeSteno in the kitchen

I interviewed Jean-Georges last summer and he told me that he comes to Marea for pasta. He does. He comes in frequently.

What are some crazy requests the kitchen has gotten? We get a good amount of crazy things.

The New York Times featured you in an article about female chefs. Did people ask to meet you after that? There were a couple of people over the course of a couple weeks - their server would come back and tell me they asked, “Is Lauren here?” Complete strangers have sent me letters. It’s flattering because it’s such a curveball in a way. It’s interesting when it’s not anything you’ve thought about prior. I never thought about this [women in the kitchen] being an issue in any way because I never had an issue with it.

On your days off, where do you go eat in the city? Oh, that’s hard. I really love Despana, on Broome, but it’s more of a food store. I remember when I came back to New York after studying abroad in Spain, I found all these things there that I had eaten in Spain or the Spanish side of my family would eat, that I hadn’t seen in such a long time. You can order a bunch of tapas that are reminiscent of being in a bar in Madrid. And you can order wine next door in their wine shop and bring it in. And Estela on Houston, that’s also great.


MAY 15, 2014 The Spirit

23

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The Spirit MAY 15, 2014

27th Annual

IDE S T S E W E L VAB I L A OR F N IO T I L COA

anza L o i Mar

&

SAFE HAVEN WEST

SIDE BAS

KETBA LL LE AGU E

lbin a M e Elain

M

u sic tiv n o s i F e t i nual M t e p m ario Lan o C l a za & Elaine Malbin Voc

s

14

th An

al

24

2-5 PM MAIN STAGE Bway & 86th St.

Tenorric Hale Pat

1-2 PM MAIN STAGE Bway & 86th St

pson o n m a o r h p So queline T Jac

ourt C c ch yM a l a 1-5 PM M

Sunday May 25th 11AM - on Broadway 72nd-86th Sts.

llach a W Eli

Author’s Corner Malachy McCourt & Eli Wallach Bway & 80th St

Dixon y r r e J

Sponsored by

ON THE AVENUE MARKETING & West Side Spirit

Jerry Dixon

86th St.& Broadway 1 -2 PM.

West Side Spirit May 15th, 2014  

The May 15th, 2014 issue of West Side Spirit.

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