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East Villager, 3-10-11

East Villager, 3-10-11

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145 SI XTH AVENUE • NYC 10013 • COPYRI GHT © 2011 COMMUNITY MEDI A, LLC

Volume 1, Number 33 FREE East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown March 10 - 16, 2011
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
With New York University poised
for a major March 15 media roll-
out of its revised development plans
for its two South Village superblocks,
the East Villager, last Friday, got an
exclusive preview of the university’s
latest open-space plan for its northern
superblock.
As in previously viewed versions of
the plan, the university’s intention is to
open up Washington Square Village’s
large, private, garden courtyard to pub-
lic use; the latest plans include details
about what that open space would
look like, including green areas, seat-
ing, reconfigured playgrounds and two
“light shafts” to underground classroom
space that would be added beneath the
block. Also, N.Y.U. still wants to get
ownership of some of the city-owned
“strips” of land edging the superblocks
— specifically, N.Y.U. wants four of the
remaining seven strips.
In total, N.Y.U. plans to increase
by 130,000 square feet, or 3 acres,
the amount of publicly accessible open
space on the two superblocks, which
are bounded by W. Third, Houston
and Mercer Sts. and LaGuardia Place.
Currently, the two behemoth blocks
have a total of about 50,000 square
feet of public open space.
In addition, on Monday, at
Community Board 2’s Landmarks and
Public Aesthetics Committee meeting,
N.Y.U. presented its plan for modifica-
tions to the grounds of the landmarked
1960’s University Village (Silver Towers)
complex on the southern superblock.
As part of its application to the city’s
Landmarks Preservation Commission,
N.Y.U. is proposing to shift the Mercer-
Houston Dog Run into the southeastern
corner of the landmarked site, so that
the university can incorporate the cur-
rent dog run site into a new building it
plans along Mercer St. on the spot of
the current Coles gym. But, at Monday
night’s meeting, Beth Gottlieb, the run’s
president, said the dog owners don’t
want to vacate their space.
“I think it’s an appropriate time to
say, We would decline the opportunity
to be moved,” she declared. “We’ve
been where we are for 30 years and we
want to stay there.” The run’s member-
ship numbers 300 families.
Speaking to this newspaper later,
Gottlieb added they are already taking
steps to block N.Y.U.’s efforts to relo-
cate them, namely, by seeking perma-
nent park status for the dog run from
the Parks Department. Asked if they
N.Y.U. gives a preview of its
superblocks open-space plan
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Soulful spirit of Mardi Gras
A Mardi Gras ball at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., on Fat Tuesday had it all, from brass bands direct from
New Orleans to dazzling costumes. Presented by Two Boots, it was a fundraiser for the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
Continued on page 12
BY ALBERT AMATEAU
A woman with a sprained
ankle hobbled into a brand-
new urgent-care center in
Chelsea around 8 p.m. Tues.,
March 8.
She was the first patient
in the center that North
Shore-Long Island Jewish
Health System opened an
hour earlier at 121A W.
20th St., in partnership with
VillageCare, to help fill the
void left by the closing of
St. Vincent’s Hospital last
April.
“She was in and out in
about 40 minutes — after
we X-rayed and gave her a
brace, pain meds and refer-
rals to local help,” said Dr.
Benjamin Greenblatt, medi-
cal director of the urgent-
care center, referring to the
center’s first patient.
“She was our prototypi-
cal patient. I was expecting
patients to find us through
the Internet, but she was
just hobbling around look-
Off on the right
foot, urgent-care
sees first patient
BY ALINE REYNOLDS
Soho residents are fight-
ing tooth and nail to prevent
a business improvement dis-
trict from being created in
the area and to keep their
neighborhood’s zoning
laws.
More than 100 area resi-
dents gathered in the Puffin
Room, at 435 Broome St.,
on Feb. 28 to voice their
reservations about the busi-
ness improvement district,
or BID. An anti-BID pro-
test is scheduled for April 2
in front of Councilmember
Margaret Chin’s Downtown
district office, at 165 Park
Row, when demonstrators
will hand-deliver letters to
Chin’s office contesting her
possible support of the BID.
The Feb. 28 discussion,
mediated by Puffin Gallery
owner and Soho resident
Carl Rosenstein, quickly
evolved into a series of indi-
vidual tirades against the
Soho residents
wrangle over BID,
artist-in-residence
Continued on page 10
Continued on page 2
EDITORIAL,
LETTERS
PAGE 14
ALPHIE McCOURT’S
ST. PATRICK’S DAYS
PAGE 15
Sweet! Cupcake crawl, p. 21
2 March 10 - 16, 2011
proposal. The BID, according to its oppo-
nents, would give commercial property own-
ers and ground-floor retail stores authority
over residents in neighborhood-wide deci-
sions.
“We each, in our own way, contributed
to the creation of Soho as a laissez-faire dis-
trict,” said Rosenstein. “The issue of being
obligated to be taxed by a private entity is
undemocratic.”
The setup, he and others fear, would be
inequitable, since people living in co-ops —
mainly longtime residents — might not have
as much say as condo dwellers in the alloca-
tion of funds to better the neighborhood.
“What they do is, they take over a lot of
the power that really should go to the people
that actually live and vote in the districts,”
said Broome St. resident Lora Tenenbaum,
a former Community Board 2 member. “It
really is, to a great extent, taxation without
representation,” she added. “It’s going back
to the days when the landowners got to vote,
and the workers didn’t.”
The BID organizers, however, are refut-
ing these allegations.
Barbara Cohen, a senior associate at
Robert B. Pauls consultancy, said of the
critics’ concerns, “They’re making the grand
jump to say” how much representation each
property will have in terms of voting on BID-
related matters — before the BID is even
formed and its bylaws are created. Cohen
— whose firm is assisting in the BID’s forma-
tion — pointed out that the BID’s steering
committee is made up of co-op residents as
well as property owners.
The opponents also argue that the need
to keep Broadway litter-free, a primary func-
tion of the proposed BID, does not justify
establishing a new group with an operating
budget of $700,000.
“Just because ACE says it can’t do it
anymore doesn’t mean this is the solu-
tion,” said Tenenbaum. “It’s killing a gnat
with a sledgehammer.” She was referring to
the Association of Community Employment,
which, up until now, has been providing
supplementary sanitation services in Soho.
They’re also against the potential rise in
tourism they fear the BID could bring.
“To attract more people — it’s just an
insane idea,” said Rosenstein. The neighbor-
hood, he said, has already turned into one
big shopping mall. “It’s kind of insulting to
say, ‘We’re going to officially turn it into a
mall.’ ”
Business interests are what’s driving the
BID, and as a result, residents’ needs will be
overlooked, according to John Rockville, a
Broadway resident.
“For me,” he said, “the problem is the
sheer density of street traffic. It’d get worse,
’cause they’re trying to maximize business.”
Councilmember Chin was invited to the
Feb. 28 meeting, but couldn’t attend due to
a scheduling conflict, according to her com-
munications director, Kelly Magee.
The councilmember is scheduling a meet-
ing with Soho residents — including those
living outside the BID’s boundaries — and
BID organizers for sometime before March
17, the date of the next BID steering com-
mittee meeting.
“We still think it would be good to get
everyone in a room together to discuss the
BID, and are working to make that happen,”
said Magee.
In her talking point published in this
newspaper’s Feb. 24 issue, the councilmem-
ber said she would not support the BID
unless she sees “substantial support” from
residents in the proposed district area. “To
date,” she said in her talking point, “that is
not the case. To date, I have not come out in
support of the Broadway BID.”
When the BID goes before the City
Council in the coming months, she wrote,
“I will base my decision on input from my
constituents,” hoping in the meantime to
“find compromise and reconcile disparate
perspectives.”
The councilmember was not available for
follow-up comment.
Another reason Chin and others have not
endorsed the BID is because residents in six
mixed-use co-op buildings (within the BID
boundaries) who own the buildings’ first-
floor commercial properties, will have to pay
an average annual fee of $52 per apartment
unit. (Residents in all other co-op buildings
will purportedly be reimbursed for any BID
assessments, and all other residents in the
BID will only pay a symbolic $1 per year.)
These six co-ops, which financially ben-
efit from the commercial businesses in their
buildings, “are treated no differently than
a mixed-use rental property,” according to
the BID steering committee. “The resident
shareholder, in this case, is truly the embodi-
ment of ‘mixed-use,’ as this resident is
also a commercial property owner, as they
own shares of a business co-operation that
owns commercial property,” according to the
steering committee.
Though these co-op residents could pos-
sibly become exempt from the annual BID
fee, it’s a complicated process that requires a
“full investigation” by the BID steering com-
mittee and the co-ops.
“If the BID was established, the BID
could certainly assist in looking into this
possibility with each co-op property,” said
Cohen.
Stakeholders are also lobbying for a mod-
ification of Soho’s manufacturing zoning
restrictions to usher in nonartist residents,
as well as artists, to the increasingly trendy
neighborhood. It’s the 40th anniversary of
the Soho zoning’s artist-in-residence regu-
lation, which only permits certified artists
to legally live in Soho lofts. The city has
stepped up enforcement of the rule in recent
years, which has weakened sales in the area,
according to several sources.
Margaret Baisley, a Soho-based real estate
attorney who opposes the artist-certification
requirement, plans to set up an organiza-
tion in support of a zoning change, which
she and other advocates are discussing with
city officials. The zoning they’re advocating
would replace joint-live-work quarters for
artists with ordinary apartment dwellings
available to any type of resident.
Longtime artist tenants, Baisley said,
would ideally be grandfathered into the new
zoning.
“I’ve never seen so much interest in this
question in the last 20 years — it’s affect-
ing sales, rentals, as well as alterations of
individual units,” she said of the impediment
posed by artist certification. Buildings eli-
gible for temporary certificates of occupancy,
Soho residents wrangle over BID and artists’ rule
Photo by Aline Reynolds
Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, speaking at the Feb. 28 meeting. The
wall’s message refers to Soho residents’ belief that a quasi-governmental agency,
the BID, should only be set up if residents support it.
Continued from page 1
Continued on page 9
Gay City News, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT-2-B
Committee & Marriage Equality New York present
The Economic Impact of
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Find out more from John Liu, NYC Comptroller, Christine C. Quinn,
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Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served. RSVP required.


when: March 14, 2011 • from 6-8 pm
where: Met Life, 1095 Avenue of the Americas
(between 41st & 42nd Streets)
how: RSVP www.ManhattanCC.org/marriage
$25 members / $35 non-members
Discussion moderated by Paul Schindler, Editor-In-Chief, Gay City News.
March 10 - 16, 2011 3
ANTI-TOPLESS SQUEEZE PLAY: Local Little Leagues
are calling foul on a topless nightspot — Mystique
Gentlemen’s Club — that’s trying to get a liquor license
reportedly to “expand” its operations at 75 Clarkson St.
That’s right near Pier 40 at West Houston St., hallowed
home of the co-ed kids’ leagues’ main playing field. The
presidents of both the Greenwich Village Little League
and the Downtown Little League wrote protest letters to
the State Liquor Authority earlier this month right before
an agency hearing on the license application. “Each and
every day, hundreds of children will walk by this estab-
lishment on their way to baseball practices, games and
clinics as part of our after-school baseball programs that
begin at 4 p.m. for the younger divisions and often end at
10 p.m. for the older divisions,” G.V.L.L.’s Daniel Miller
wrote, adding, “We are very concerned that granting a
liquor license to a strip club in the midst of the busiest
intersection of children’s outdoor activities in Downtown
Manhattan will make our family-oriented neighborhood
and, most importantly, our children less safe, many of
whom walk to and from practice at Pier 40 on their own.”
Added Bill Martino of D.L.L. in his own letter to the
S.L.A., “Expanding Mystique would expose those kids to
sexualized ‘red light district’ imagery, rowdy partygoers
and alcohol consumption. Surely there is a better location
for such an establishment than right across from a princi-
pal youth park and family recreation area.” We happened
to be walking down Clarkson St. ourselves a few weeks
ago (no, we weren’t planning to go see a strip show!) and
noticed that 75 Clarkson St. — which had been a strip
joint since a few years before the Pier 40 courtyard ball
field opened — was closed and its windows covered with
newspaper. It was called the Carousel club in its strip
club heyday, if we recall correctly, but the name on the
door was now “Santa’s Luncheonette.” We checked next
door at the XXX-rated video store to see what we could
find out. The cashier there told us she’d heard the plan is
indeed to have stripping at the new club — with separate
gay and straight nights — but only a few nights a week,
and that it would be “a normal dance club” the rest of
the time. She said the two partners behind the new hot
spot, “Matt and Carlos,” have gotten some good press as
“hip young entrepreneurs,” and suggested we check online
for articles about them. Well, it turns out Matt and Carlos
are none other than Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte,
the guys behind The Jane Ballroom, and that the name of
their planned quasi-nouveau burlesque club is Westway.
They’re known for a couple of things: namely, their places
being super-cool “destination clubs” — and also their
beards. Describing Westway’s intended vibe, Quirarte told
Women’s Wear Daily: “The fact that it is a topless, go-go
dance place is secondary. It’s the same way that music is
sort of in the background. That’s how we think of it.” Or
as Guest of a Guest New York Web site described it, they’re
just trying to do an ironic take on “the whole Bada Bing
T&A thing.” But the only “Bada Bing” you might hear at
Pier 40 is the wholesome baseball chatter when a batter’s
up and his or her teammates are cheering for a little “Bada
Bing,” as in a base hit. And the only “T&A” the Little
Leagues want to know from are T-ball and the A’s. In short,
Matt and Carlos could end up looking like real “boobs,” if
they follow through with this overly “titillating” plan.
CAN’T GET NO SCOOPY SATISFACTION: A Rolling
Stones fan begs to differ with Sean Sweeney’s dig in
last week’s Scoopy’s Notebook that “vandalizing public
walls must run in the family” for Keith Richards and his
model daughter Theodora, who was busted last week for
graffiti and drug possession in Soho. A California woman
posting a comment on our Facebook page (“The Villager
Newspaper”) as “rubytuesday” writes, “Au contraire,
Keith Richards wasn’t arrested for the petrol station
incident in 1964. Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Brian
Jones were.” Sweeney had been referring to Page 253 of
Victor Bockris’s 1993 “Keith Richards: The Biography,”
where Richards is quoted boasting, “We’re still the only
rock and roll band busted for peeing on a wall.” When
we told Soho activist Sweeney of “rubytuesday”’s com-
ments, he conceded, “Indeed it was a petrol station and
I don’t remember who was and who wasn’t specifically
arrested. Richards says ‘we’ in referring to the arrest in
his bio. But your commenter seems certain.”
TALKIN’ WITH TRIGGER: We were walking up the
Bowery around 2 a.m. a couple of Thursdays ago and
espied the distinctive hat of Trigger, as he was hanging
out in front of the Bowery Electric. He said he had just
stopped by to say hi to his pal rocker Jesse Malin, who is
a partner in the E. Second St. club. As we strolled with
the bamboo-hatted bar owner back to his Continental,
near St. Mark’s Place, he strenuously denied charges
that he has a racially discriminatory door policy. “I have
a dress code — I don’t discriminate,” he explained. “We
turn away white trash and ‘Jersey Shore’ types. I want my
bread-and-butter crowd — my college kids and neighbor-
hood people — to feel safe there. I don’t like extreme
machoism, the gangsterism — to me this is over the
top.” No-no’s as far as he’s concerned are “saggy, baggy
jeans…bling.” Trigger invited us into his bar and down
to the place’s former green room, where legendary punk
bands like the Ramones and the Dictators used to hang
out, where he fished out a letter from the city’s Human
Rights Commission stating that a previous, similar com-
plaint had been dismissed. Passing through the place,
we observed that the crowd of roughly 25 twentysome-
things was about 30 to 40 percent African-American.
“I can’t possibly have orchestrated it,” Trigger said of
the patrons’ racial diversity, adding, “There are always
people of color in my bar.” On a less serious subject,
we asked him the question that many, no doubt, have
wondered about: What’s the story of the hat? “I got it in
Vietnam 10 years ago. Stayed with it. Girls like it,” he
SCOOPY’S
NOTEBOOK
Photo by Scoopy
Trigger strikes a prayerful pose.
Continued on page 5
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Cat burglary suspect
Police arrested a suspect in a series of Village
rooftop burglaries on March 1. Christopher
Rodriguez, arrested in the Bronx, was charged
with six counts of burglary from Nov. 23 to
Jan. 25. Rodriquez gained access to most of
the apartments by climbing down fire escapes
from building roofs and entering via open or
unlocked windows, according to reports. Three
apartments in a single building on Thompson
St. near Bleecker St. were hit while the occu-
pants were away on Jan. 20, 24 and 25. The
suspect is also charged with entering two apart-
ments in a building on Sullivan St. near Prince
St., one in December and the other in January.
Mugged in school
Police are seeking a man suspected of rob-
bing a woman victim just after she entered the
school building at 345 E. 15th St. around 6:38
a.m. Wed., March 2. The suspect followed the
victim, 38, from an A.T.M. at the corner of E.
15th St. and First Ave., a short distance from
the school. Once inside, he threw her to the
floor, threatened to shoot her, and fled with her
bag, police said. The suspect was described as a
black man with a dark complexion, some facial
hair, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 160 pounds, wearing a
navy blue winter hat, a dark waist-length jacket
and dark jeans. Anyone with information should
phone Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477)
or report it online at www.nypdcrimestoppers.
com or text it to 274637 and enter TIP577.
Gunpoint robbery
Returning to his W. 19th St. apartment
between Eighth and Ninth Aves. around 10
p.m. Mon., Feb. 28, from grocery shopping,
a resident was stopped in the vestibule of the
building by a man who displayed a gun and
said, “Don’t make any noise. Give me your
f---ing money,” police said. The victim gave up
$20 and when the suspect demanded more,
the victim offered his credit card, police said.
The robber refused the card and fled on foot.
Falling steel beam
A man making deliveries at a film loca-
tion on Mulberry St. near Prince St. around
1:30 p.m. Wed., March 2, had a narrow
escape when a 20-foot-long steel beam fell
from a construction site and went through
his pickup truck’s roof. Mike Prisco, 29, was
in the truck’s cab when the beam fell into the
roof behind him, according to a New York
Post item. Prisco was working for a Robert
De Niro film that begins shooting later this
month, the Post said.
Bring back Segways!
Mounted police on weekend patrol on
Ludlow St. near Rivington St. to control the
crowds of bar and club patrons are getting
bad notices from neighbors and, inciden-
tally, from revelers, who have to negotiate
around steaming piles of horse manure.
The Times Square Business Improvement
District picks up in the Theater District
where horse cops are on regular patrol,
and the Mounted Unit brings a bucket on
parade duty. But the problem is neglected
on the Lower East Side horse patrol. A
March 7 New York Post item on the prob-
lem got a sympathetic but noncommittal
response from Mayor Bloomberg. However,
Department of Sanitation Commissioner
Vito Turso said that motorized litter patrols
could be assigned to clean up the Lower East
Side manure.
Wrestles peddler
A police officer, who began to arrest an
unlicensed peddler in front of 42 Howard
St. at Mercer St. at 8:10 p.m. Fri., March
4, was injured when the suspect struggled
against being handcuffed. The peddler, Ceesay
Mahamadou, 45, was charged with assaulting
the police officer, who sustained a bruised
right hand and a wrenched lower back.
W. Third St. roll
A police officer and the man he was
apprehending for disorderly conduct on
the northeast corner of Sixth Ave. and W.
Third St. around 3:45 a.m. Sat., March 5,
both rolled down the subway stairs during
the struggle. The suspect, Derrick Palmer,
28, was finally subdued and charged with
assaulting a police officer. Palmer’s female
companion, Shadae Spence, 24, was also
arrested. The officer sustained a swollen
right wrist and a bruised lower back.
Avenue D robbery
Police from the Manhattan South Street
Crime Unit arrested two brothers who held up
a man and a woman at gunpoint on Avenue
D near E. Sixth St. at 12:38 a.m. Sat., Feb.
26. Michael Talbot and his brother Quasem
Talbot, both 17, were with an accomplice
when they stopped the couple, police said.
The accomplice hit the woman in the face
with the gun, and the Talbots snatched an
iPod from the man, police said. The brothers,
both Brooklyn residents, were arrested near
F.D.R. Drive at E. Fifth St. but the accom-
plice escaped. The woman victim required
three stitches in her lips, police said.
Cell-phone snatch
Police arrested Michael Reid, 46, shortly
after 4:41 a.m. Fri., March 4, and charged
him with larceny for snatching a cell phone
from an unwary tourist. The suspect stopped
the victim at the corner of Cornelia and W.
Fourth Sts., asked if he could see the victim’s
cell phone, and snatched it when the victim
took it out of his pocket, police said.
Game-store lift
Police arrested Benjamin Villaronga, 33,
around 4 p.m. Wed., March 2, for stealing
a $480 electronic game from the GameStop
store, at 32 E. 14th St. The suspect entered
the area behind a cash register, opened a
drawer and took the game from it but was
apprehended with the goods just outside the
store, police said.
Makes the tackle
A police officer who saw a victim chas-
ing a suspect who had just robbed him,
joined the chase and tackled the suspect
on Thompson and Spring Sts. around 4:40
p.m. Thurs., March 3. Vaughn Brown, 19,
was charged with snatching a cell phone
from the victim, who was talking on it while
walking on Houston St. The victim tried to
get his phone back but Brown turned and
threatened to knife him, police said. Brown
dropped his knife during his struggle with
the arresting officer, police said.
Subway incidents
Two suspects approached a 16-year-old
victim in the Canal St. station of the A train
at 1 p.m. Sat., March 5, took $20 and his
school ID and fled on a northbound train,
police said.
A woman, 41, told police she was com-
ing up the stairs of the subway station at
Broadway and Prince St. at 10:45 a.m. Tues.,
Feb. 22, when she felt a push from behind.
She didn’t turn around to see who pushed
her but she discovered a short time later that
her wallet had been lifted from her bag.
A 13-year-old-boy told police a gang of
kids confronted him on a northbound C
train at 3:10 p.m. Sat., Feb. 19, when one of
them took off his belt and hit the victim with
the buckle end and cut his face. The gang
fled the train at Spring St. and Sixth Ave.
and the injured boy was treated at New York
Downtown Hospital.
Alber t Amateau
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March 10 - 16, 2011 5
explained. “I don’t have a whole calcu-
lated approach to it. I have no personality
— I need a prop. I still have a full head of
hair, thank God. I’ve thought about burn-
ing it at Burning Man, but I’ve never done
it. I may do it this year.” As we took pho-
tos of him — including the one of him in
a praying pose on Page 3 — he quipped to
us that we couldn’t come inside because
“Your jeans are too baggy!” Hey, man,
“Relaxed Fit,” c’mon!
CONGRATS! Jefferson Siegel was award-
ed third place in the Spot News category in
the 2010 New York Press Photographers
Association contest for his shot in the Daily
News last September “Jumper Up,” showing
a man threatening to leap from his 16th-
floor balcony on Clinton St. The man spent
a harrowing two hours on the ledge. A dif-
ferent photo by Siegel of the same incident
ran in the Sept. 9 issue of The Villager and
East Villager with the caption headline,
“Hanging out on Clinton St., man dangles
160 feet up.”
LOCATION, LOCATION: In the article
in last week’s issue on the Seward Park
Urban Renewal Area, the e-mail address
for residents to send comments to about
the ongoing urban design plan was incor-
rect. The right address is spura@cb3man-
hattan.org .
SCOOPY’S NOTEBOOK
Continued from page 3
Frederick Giunta, 25, was sentenced
to 3 1/2 to 5 years in prison on Tues.,
March 8, for the Oct. 11, 2010, assault
and attempted robbery of victims in two
Greenwich Village gay bars. Giunta plead-
ed guilty on Feb. 11 to punching one
victim and attempting to steal his wallet
at Ty’s, at 114 Christopher St., and punch-
ing the second victim later that night in
Julius’, 159 W. 12th St., after making
racist and antigay remarks. The victim at
Ty’s sustained serious injuries and had to
be hospitalized. The sentencing “serves
as a reminder that there is no tolerance
for bias-related violence,” said Manhattan
District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.
Up to 5 years for Village gay bashes
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6 March 10 - 16, 2011
BY JOHN BAYLES
If the predicted cuts to the New York State budget for
the upcoming fiscal year come to pass, more than 100 senior
centers throughout the city could be forced to slash services
or close altogether.
In Lower Manhattan, six senior centers would be affected,
including the Bowery Residents’ Committee Senior Nutrition
Program; Citizens Care Independence Plaza; Educational
Alliance; LaGuardia Senior Center; Smith Houses Senior
Center and University Settlement Nutrition.
According to City Councilmember Margaret Chin, her
District 1 in Lower Manhattan would see the highest number
of centers affected of any Council district in the city.
“I have reached out to my fellow elected officials at the
state and federal level and we will stand united in protecting
these six centers from being closed. Governor Cuomo’s bud-
get again and again targets the most vulnerable members of
our community,” Chin said in a statement.
State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “This is, in effect, a
$25 million cut. This was proposed a year ago, as well, and we
were able to fully restore the funds — there were no closures
as a result of the state budget.”
Squadron was then chairing the Senate Committee on
Social Services. That is no longer the case since Republicans
took control of the state Senate in last November’s election.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver also noted last
year’s proposed cuts, stating, “Our senior centers are a lifeline
for thousands of seniors across this community. Last year we
fought and won restorations to keep senior centers in our
neighborhoods open and I am committed to doing so again in
this year’s state budget.”
And Squadron alluded to the recent shift in Albany as one
reason the centers are once again on the chopping block.
“Social services do suffer when the Democrats are not in
the majority,” Squadron noted.
Within days of the announcement of the proposed cuts,
the consensus revenue forecast (an updated projection of rev-
enue coming into the state for the next fiscal year) found an
additional $155 million in revenue not reflected in the original
budget forecast.
“All we need is $16 million to save 105 senior centers in
New York City,” said Squadron.
That’s a “small” fraction, according to Squadron, of the
additional money that was uncovered — or roughly 10 per-
cent of the newfound revenue.
While it’s tough to predict exactly how many seniors
would be affected by the cuts, in the case of University
Settlement Nutrition, the cuts could mean closing its doors
and stopping all service to 750 seniors who use the center
for daily food, case assistance on all matters of basic living,
recreation, social networking, emotional support during cri-
ses and transitions, and support for their extended families.
Another 180 homebound seniors receive daily meals and
have relationships with staff, who serve as a direct line of
communication for more than just nutrition. An additional
125 seniors who attend the Bowery Residents’ Committee’s
senior center on Delancey St. every day have their meals
provided to them by University Settlement since the B.R.C.
center does not have a kitchen.
“These senior centers are home to some of the proudest
and most tenacious members of our community. Cutting funds
severs a lifeline to integral healthcare, nutrition and counsel-
ing services,” stated Chin.
And as for her own district, the councilmember noted,
“In District 1, these cuts disproportionately affect centers
that serve Asian-American, immigrant and other underserved
minority populations. It is because of this community’s wide-
spread dependency on senior centers that we face such a high
number of potential closures. It is textbook cutting services to
those who rely on them the most.”
Once again senior centers are on the chopping block
‘These senior centers are home
to some of the proudest
and most tenacious members
of our community.’
Margaret Chin
Oscar Fuller, 35, right,
was indicted for assault
on Mon., March 7, for
punching a woman and
knocking her uncon-
scious on Feb. 25 in
a dispute over an E.
14th St. curbside park-
ing space. The victim,
Lana Rosas, 25, who
was holding the space
outside 520 E. 14th St.
for her boyfriend when
the incident began at
11:40 p.m., has been
in a coma since then
and may have perma-
nent brain damage,
police said. Fuller drove
off after the incident, leaving Rosas on the pavement
bleeding from the head, police said. He was arrested
later that night at his Queens home. Fuller was freed
on $100,000 pending an April 7 court appearance.
He said he punched the 4-foot-11-inch-tall victim as a
reflex action after she punched first. Fuller has previous
arrests for weapons possession and felony assault.
Photo by J.B. Nicholas
Indicted in parking assault
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March 10 - 16, 2011 7
BY ALBERT AMATEAU
Frank Gonçalves, a longtime Chelsea res-
ident who worked as a barber in Greenwich
Village for more than 30 years, died at his
home in the Robert Fulton Houses on Sat.,
Feb. 26, at the age of 84.
Known as Frank G. where he worked
at Nick’s Hair Stylists on Horatio St. from
1976 until 2006, he was a man of irrepress-
ible spirits who loved to play banjo and
drums, said his youngest son, Khalid.
“He lived for the moment, putting on
shows and dancing at the Hudson Guild
Senior Center, but his greatest joy was
being with his family,” Khalid said.
He was born to Maria da Luz and
Antonio Gonçalves in Portugal, where he
grew up and married Gertrudes Pires in
1950. In Portugal, he was the leader of a
children’s music group and played drums
and banjo.
He emigrated with his wife and three
of his four children in 1968 to the U.S.
where his youngest son was born. Frank
was active in the Portuguese community in
Soho, organizing trips and variety shows in
St. Anthony’s Hall on Sullivan St.
“He was also the leader of a Portuguese
folk dance group that appeared on televi-
sion in the early 1970’s,” Khalid said.
The family moved to the Robert Fulton
Houses in 1976 when Frank began working
at Nick’s. Prior to that he worked as a bar-
ber in Midtown, according to his daughter,
Cristina.
After his wife died in 1992, their long-
haired Chihuahua named Cookie was his
constant companion.
“He and Cookie were inseparable; they
would take long walks together in the
Village,” Khalid said. Frank was first diag-
nosed with cancer in 2003 and the tumor
was removed successfully but the illness
recurred in 2006 and he began chemother-
apy soon after.
In addition to Khalid and Cristina, his
eldest son, Frank, and a daughter, Isabel,
survive. He also leaves eight grandchildren.
The funeral was at 10 a.m. Wed., March
2, at St. Anthony’s Church and burial was
in Hillside, N.J., in Evergreen Cemetery next
to his wife. Redden’s Funeral Home, on W.
14th St., was in charge of arrangements.
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In bedbug battle, the pros offer tips, and products
BY ALINE REYNOLDS
Bedbug infestations can be a nightmare,
which more and more New Yorkers have
recently learned the hard way.
What many victims didn’t know is how to
prevent bedbugs from entering their homes
in the first place. And, according to pest
management control experts, there are sev-
eral ways to do so.
Bedbug consultants hosted an event at
201 Mulberry St. in Soho last Wednesday to
provide tips on how to stop the blood-suck-
ing critters in their tracks before they become
a problem. About 75 people attended.
“There’s not one simple bullet that’s
going to kill or control them,” said Gretchen
Paluch, director of basic research at
EcoSmart, a nationwide pesticide-producing
company. The strategy she and the other
experts recommend is known as “integrative
pest management,” a multistep approach to
prevent and eliminate the spread of bedbugs
and other pests in one’s home.
The number of bedbug infestations in
New York City and other cities nationwide
is rapidly climbing. The New York City
hotline, 311, received 10,985 calls from resi-
dents reporting bedbug infestation in 2009,
up from 9,213 calls in 2008, according to
EcoSmart.
Bedbug experts expect the number to
continue to rise if New Yorkers don’t get up
to speed with prevention measures.
“Education and awareness is the number
one key component to helping prevent this
problem,” said Danny White, an account repre-
sentative of Bed Bug Central, an informational
resource company in Lawrenceville, N.J.
EcoSmart introduced three new federally
approved pest-repellent sprays to the market
last Wednesday, made with rosemary, cin-
namon, peppermint and other plant deriva-
tives. Their oil extracts attack the insects’
nervous system, killing them on contact, and
act as odor repellents, keeping the bugs away
from beds and other furniture.
The company collaborated with universi-
ties and labs around the country to test the
products’ safety and effectiveness before
bringing them to market. The sprays are
supposed to be applied to suitcases and beds’
headboards and legs.
Steve Bessette, EcoSmart’s president,
stressed that the products are complements,
not substitutes, to exterminators.
“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” he
said.
Starting in April, the sprays will be avail-
able in limited quantities at ShopRite, Grand
Union, Stop & Shop and other chain stores
in the tri-state area and around the country.
They are also for sale on EcoSmart’s Web site,
www.ecosmart.com.
Mattress encasements and climb-up insect
intersecters can also help detect bed bugs
early on before they multiply, according to
Bed Bug Central’s White.
“As bugs migrate to the bed, they fall in
the outer well, and this powder traps them,”
he said, demonstrating how the intersecter
works.
White and his brother, Jeffrey White, a
research entomologist for Bed Bug Central,
also showcased bedbug monitors, which
emit heat, carbon dioxide and chemicals that
attract the pests and eventually trap them
inside the devices. The monitors are meant
for use in office buildings, retail stores and
vacant space.
Genma Holmes, a Tennessee-based bed-
bug consultant, provided tips on how to
avoid bringing bedbugs home from hotels,
which have become popular nesting grounds
for the pests. Valises’ rough nylon surfaces
are hotbeds for the pests, since their eggs
easily stick to the material.
Holmes advises guests to store all luggage
items in the hotel bathroom, where bedbugs
don’t typically congregate, and discourages
the use of closet space, coat hangers and
other potential critter-hideout amenities the
hotel provides.
Holmes reported there was no sign of
bedbugs in her hotel room at the Hampton
Inn in Soho.
Another cautionary tactic is to encase
travel bags in vinyl zip-up cases, which the
company, BugZip, was advertising at the
Soho session.
“Just because the room looks clean,
doesn’t mean there aren’t bedbugs,” warned
the company’s president, Adam Greenberg.
The cases are sold at USBedbugs.com,
Amazon.com, Bed Bath and Beyond and
specialty travel stores.
Bedbugs tend to resurface in abundance
in warmer weather, in July, August and
September. The bedbug epidemic is par-
ticularly worsening in densely packed urban
areas such as New York City.
“The more people you have, the more
bugs you have, because people are living so
close together,” explained White. “And it’s
easier for bedbugs to make a resurgence each
year as they get more and more embedded in
a community.”
Bedbug bites can cause a variety of symp-
toms, ranging from itchy skin welts to more
serious allergic reactions. The skin irritations
typically vanish in a few weeks’ time, but
they can reappear at a later date.
Once a residence becomes infested, the
experts suggest immediate attention from
professionals and active monitoring there-
after. Mattresses and other furniture unpro-
tected by pest-repellent sprays or wrapping
material should be discarded immediately.
“If you let it go on for a long time, it turns
into a bigger problem than low-level infesta-
tion,” explained White.
Once the bedbugs disappear, the experts
also advise victims to observe their week-
ly lifestyle habits that could be conducive
to infestation, and modify their behavior
accordingly to keep the blood-thirsty pests
from returning.
March 10 - 16, 2011 9
Baisley noted, are now required to prove art-
ist certification of all of their units.
“Governments need to recognize that
most people in Soho and Noho are not art-
ists, and it doesn’t help anyone to enforce the
statute,” she stressed.
Baisley will meet with representatives
from managing companies and co-op boards
in the coming weeks to determine a prelimi-
nary budget for the fledgling organization,
whose rezoning efforts are projected to cost
around $1 million.
“We’re going to start raising funds to
establish a Web site, to gather additional
supporters of the zoning change, and to get
our message heard,” she said.
Eventually, the group will formulate an
environmental impact statement, a prereq-
uisite for such a community-driven zoning
change.
Many stakeholders maintain, though, that
the zoning modification should be handled
by the city rather than the community. Co-op
buildings, Baisley explained, are hampered
these days by increases in real estate taxes
and rising fuel and insurance charges, leav-
ing them with scant funds to contribute to
the zoning project.
“We believe it’s unfair to require deni-
zens to pay for a rezoning that should be
given to them as an ordinary matter of law,”
Baisley said, pointing to the city’s rezoning
of Tribeca in the 1990’s, which did not inflict
fees on area residents.
“Why must we be penalized and charged
for a long-overdue benefit that others in the
city receive without payment?” she asked.
Meg Siegel, a real estate broker in Soho,
said the artist-certification requirement has
recently slowed sales, since potential buyers
often question the language of the purchase
agreement.
“People have sold and bought and they
can’t resell, because there’s this supplement
on the books that’s antiquated,” she said,
calling it a discriminatory practice. “It makes
me feel uncomfortable living in my own
neighborhood that I love and respect.”
Michael Slattery, senior vice president of
the Real Estate Board of New York, which
represents brokerage firms in Soho, affirmed
that brokers have recently expressed concern
about the rule’s increased enforcement.
“We’ve been told that sales activity has
slowed down,” he said. “There are very few
certified artists eligible as purchasers, so you
just don’t have a pool of prospective buyers.”
The drop in demand, which has led to a
decline in the lofts’ asking prices, might be
particularly detrimental to elderly Soho resi-
dents looking to cash in on their lofts.
“They’re getting old, and they can’t live
in a walk-up anymore,” said Soho resident
Debra Feinn. “If they can’t sell their lofts,
they’re really in trouble.”
“That’s their nest egg,” chimed in
Rockville. “If the nest egg is destroyed,
they’re screwed.”
But others at the community meeting
argued for the preservation of current zon-
ing, including the artist-certification law.
Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho
Alliance, worried that eliminating the artist-
certification rule would attract more high-
maintenance corporate types into a neigh-
borhood full of old-time artists. A new
nonartist tenant in Sweeney’s building on
Greene St., for example, insisted on sig-
nificant renovations to the building’s lobby,
costing each unit $12,000.
Sweeney also argued that the rule protects
some artist tenants who face eviction by their
landlords. Since many of the loft owners lack
artist’s certification, he explained, they are
typically denied in their efforts to seize their
properties from their tenants.
However, Baisley assured, “We’re not
interested in throwing artists out on their
ear. We want everyone to live in peace in
their own homes, as they should.”
The debate, Sweeney countered, is a tem-
pest in a teapot.
“This is an urban myth that people are
having a hard time” due to the artist-certifi-
cation rule, he said. “You can’t find anyone
who is severely harmed by it.”
Sweeney said he visited the Soho branch
of HSBC, where a bank official denied
claims by Baisley and others that banks are
refusing to give mortgages to Soho residents
that lack artist certification.
“They said they have no idea what artist’s
certification is,” he said.
BID and A.I.R. in the air in Soho
Continued from page 2
Photo by Aline Reynolds
Soho residents hashed out the issues at their meeting two weeks ago.
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ing for someplace for help,” said Greenblatt,
a North Shore-L.I.J. doctor for the past nine
years and associate emergency room director
of Forest Hills Hospital, a North Shore-L.I.J.
affiliate in Queens.
The new urgent-care center occupies the
lower level of VillageCare’s primary-care
clinic between Sixth and Seventh Aves.
The center, open all night on weekdays and
Saturdays and 24 hours on Sundays, sees
walk-in patients, without appointments, 365
days a year.
During daytime hours on weekdays and
Saturdays, VillageCare serves urgent-care
patients when the new center is closed.
VillageCare is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 8
a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 a.m. to
5 p.m. Saturday. The new center picks up its
schedule when VillageCare is closed, provid-
ing 24/7 community healthcare.
“The clinical arrangement with
VillageCare is unique,” said Greenblatt.
“It provides continued care for urgent-care
patients who need ongoing treatment and
other services.”
The 4,000-square-foot downstairs space
includes a reception desk, six examination
rooms, and special testing and diagnostic
services, including electrocardiogram, digital
X-ray and lab facilities. The staff, in addition
to Greenblatt, includes certified emergen-
cy room physicians, radiology technicians,
office and medical assistants, security guards
and a driver.
“A North Shore-L.I.J. ambulance will
be outside the door and patients who need
another level of care after they are stabilized
will get to wherever it’s available as fast as
possible,” Greenblatt said.
The center was specially designed for
patients like the woman who came in with a
sprained ankle on opening night. In addition
to minor trauma, like sprains, strains, lacera-
tions and small broken or dislocated bones,
the center expects to handle problems like
ear infections, bronchitis, flu, urinary prob-
lems and food poisoning, as well as more
serious issues like pneumonia, allergic reac-
tions and children’s ailments, including sore
throat, nausea and vomiting and rashes.
The entire two-level VillageCare facility will
undergo a two-phase reconstruction beginning
at the end of this month. While the ground-lev-
el clinic is under construction, the VillageCare
clinic will share the recently reconstructed
downstairs space with the urgent-care center.
Urgent care will move to the ground-floor
level when the construction is complete and
VillageCare will continue in the lower level.
“I expect everything will be completed by
the end of this year,” said Nicholas Rossetti,
administrator of the VillageCare facility.
Greenblatt noted that he has first-hand
experience of a community affected by hos-
pital closings.
“The situation with St. Vincent’s clos-
ing is like the experience in Forest Hills in
Queens where there were multiple clos-
ings of Catholic hospitals in a single year,”
he said. “Forest Hills Hospital had a big
increase in emergency room patients. I have
friends in Bellevue [Hospital] who’ve told
me about the enormous increase in their
emergency room since St. Vincent’s closed.
This community really needs health services
like ours,” Greenblatt added.
State Senator Tom Duane, a member of
the state Senate’s Health Committee, who
toured the W. 20th St. urgent-care center,
said, “While it is not a substitute for the
full-service hospital and emergency room
for which we in the community continue to
fight, this 24/7 facility is a significant addi-
tion to the Lower West Side’s healthcare
infrastructure.”
New local urgent-care center opens on W. 20th St.
Continued from page 1
Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt, the urgent-care
center’s medical director.
Photo by Albert Amateau
During daytime hours, except Sundays, VillageCare operates the center on 20th St.
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March 10 - 16, 2011 11
BY AL BARBARINO
In less than four months, in late June,
the large wooden panels that cordon off the
corner building at 103 Orchard St. on the
Lower East Side will come down. Glass pan-
els will showcase the new Sadie Samuelson
Levy Immigrant Heritage Center — and
Ruth Abram will witness her dream.
Abram, former president of the Tenement
Museum, first caught a peek of the dilapi-
dated space as she led a walking tour in the
neighborhood several years ago. For Abram,
now retired, the Lower East Side repre-
sented a portal to the past.
“She felt these buildings tell the story
of how America got started,” said David
Eng, the Tenement Museum’s vice presi-
dent of public affairs.
The museum’s board was hesitant
about Abram’s desire to buy the build-
ing seven years ago, when she was still
president. But when she came through on
a one-week deadline to raise a $1 million
down payment, they were sold. The muse-
um bought the building for $7 million and
the $6 million reconstruction project got
underway in April 2010, Eng said.
The center, named after the grand-
mother of a project donor who was the
daughter of an immigrant merchant, will
host demonstration classes, food dem-
onstration programs, tenement talks and
lectures. The space will hold a museum
shop, as well as a performance space and
employee offices. It will serve the 40,000
students and 170,000 visitors who visit
the Tenement Museum each year, Eng
said.
Construction workers knocked down
the walls of three separate buildings dating
back to the late 1800’s to form the three-
story space that measures 10,000 square
feet. They gutted the inside through a
process that lead architect Nicholas Leahy
calls “forensic architecture.” The idea was
to capture the essence of the building
itself, and not a specific era, unlike the
museum at 97 Orchard St.
“We’re not taking you back to a cer-
tain time. We’re uncovering the DNA,”
the architect said as he led a guided tour
through what he called a “crazy, ‘Alice in
Wonderland’-type corridor.”
Leahy said that when he first arrived
on the site it was assembled like a set of
children’s blocks, held together by little
more than gravity. Almost nothing had
been done correctly. Building materials
had been stashed away secretly to avoid
a scolding, or worse, from the Buildings
Department, he believes. The “labyrinth
feel” of the interconnected spaces made it
especially difficult to work with.
Small, enclosed spaces were converted
into open areas to expose more of the
“DNA.” For instance, on the third floor,
which will house classrooms, segments of
the original brick will remain exposed, Leahy
said. A newly installed steel frame serves as
the brace for the building, and concrete
slabs on the ground floor give additional
reinforcement.
The current president of the Tenement
Museum, Morris J. Vogel, proud of the prog-
ress, jumped on the floorboards on the third
floor to demonstrate the structure’s stability
as he led his own tour of the building.
“See that?” he said.
Leahy is thankful that developers didn’t
get to the building first.
“If a developer had bought this it’d be
gone,” he said.
New Tenement Museum center
is taking shape on Orchard St.
Photo by Al Barbarino
Construction fencing on Orchard St. surrounds what will soon be the completed
Sadie Samuelson Levy Immigrant Heritage Center.
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would go so far as to sue to stop N.Y.U.’s plan, she said, “I
would certainly consider that — absolutely.”
Putting the dog run closer to the Silver Towers build-
ings would create problems because of barking from the
run, which is currently open 24 hours, she warned. Certain
breeds are the worst, she said, noting, “Some of the hounds
can be heard until Cleveland.”
OPEN-SPACE TOUR
On Friday, Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U.’s vice president for gov-
ernment and community relations, gave the East Villager’s
editorial staff a tour of the superblocks grounds, showing
exactly how the university intends to make them more open
and inviting to the public. (Hurley said the university is wait-
ing until next week to unveil its site plans for the grounds
and the latest designs for the four new buildings it intends to
construct on the two blocks.)
Under the plan, on the northern superblock, the low-rise
retail strip along LaGuardia Place would be removed to
open up the Washington Square Village courtyard for public
access on its western edge. The block’s underground park-
ing would remain underground, but would be shifted to the
block’s northeastern corner; the current amount of parking
spaces for residents, 380, would be kept, but 200 public
parking spaces would be eliminated. There would be no
underground parking added on the southern superblock.
The Washington Square Village courtyard garden —
which is only lightly used — would be lowered to grade
level and completely redone. There would be a large, circular
grass lawn at the center of the courtyard’s northern side,
and numerous, smaller green spaces, many of them ringed
by seating. The rest of the space would be paved with some
sort of stone surface. There would also be two “light shafts”
extending down to space that would be constructed below
ground for school facilities that don’t need to be above-
ground, like theaters, rehearsal space, dance studios and
libraries, as well as some classrooms. According to Hurley,
N.Y.U. doesn’t envision this new public space being gated
at night, yet, at the same time, doesn’t see it as a place for
musical performances or busking.
On Washington Square Village’s eastern side, the Mercer
Playground would be reconfigured into a sort of right-angle
macaroni shape, extending partly along Mercer St. and partly
into the courtyard’s interior at its north end, so as to open up
the courtyard to access along Mercer St.
These changes on the northern superblock wouldn’t
occur until 15 years from now, Hurley noted. The projects on
the southern superblock — including new buildings N.Y.U.
plans for its Morton Williams site and its current Coles site
— are what N.Y.U. is focusing on now, and work here could
start in three years, Hurley said.
N.Y.U. WANTS 4 STRIPS
Hurley said N.Y.U. still wants to take over the strips of
city-owned land along Mercer St. between Houston and
Bleecker Sts. (which includes the Mercer-Houston Dog
Run); Mercer St. between Bleecker and W. Third Sts. (which
includes Mercer Playground); Mercer St. between W. Third
and W. Fourth Sts. (which sits above part of N.Y.U.’s new
co-generation plant); and LaGuardia Place between Bleecker
St. and W. Third St. (which includes LaGuardia Park).
However, in early December, community residents and activ-
ists were joined by all the area’s local politicians in a rally at
the Fiorello LaGuardia statue in LaGuardia Park to protest
any university takeover of the city-owned strips, decrying it
as a blatant taking of public property.
Hurley said N.Y.U. decided it will no longer seek approv-
al to decrease the width of W. Third St. between LaGuardia
Place and Mercer St. The school had wanted to extend out
the sidewalk here, since this part of W. Third St. street is
extra-wide, turning it into a “speedway” for cars; narrowing
the street would slow down traffic, Hurley said.
All these strips of land are remnants of former planning
czar Robert Moses’s grand street-widening plans for the
Village half a century ago.
Hurley said N.Y.U. wants the strip on LaGuardia Place
N.Y.U. gives preview of superblocks open-space plan;
A rendering of how part of Washington Square Village’s courtyard would look under N.Y.U.’s latest renovation plan
for the northernmost of its two South Village superblocks. Green areas and seating would be interspersed among
paved walkways, and the currently private area would be made open to the public.
A partial view of Washington Square Village’s current courtyard, showing the driveway bisecting the courtyard and
also the walled edge of the garden area, which is elevated to accommodate an underground parking lot
Continued from page 1
N.Y.U. plans to increase by
130,000 square feet the public open
space on the two superblocks.
Continued on page 13
March 10 - 16, 2011 13
between Bleecker and W. Third Sts. because it
intends to build university space underground
there. N.Y.U. wants the strip on Mercer St.
between Houston and Bleecker Sts. so that it
can shift the current Coles gym footprint to the
east for the new building that it would build
there; by shifting this new project to the east,
the current little-known alley to the west of
Coles could be widened, so that it would be
a more inviting passageway between Bleecker
and Houston Sts. Hurley stressed that, under
the plan, “It’s not an expansion of Coles’s foot-
print — but a shift [onto the strip].”
BUILDINGS WOULD POKE OUT LESS
On the northern superblock, two infill build-
ings — dubbed the “boomerang buildings”
because of their shape — that N.Y.U. plans to
add in the Washington Square Village courtyard
would now extend less far onto the Mercer
and LaGuardia strips than in the plan’s earlier
incarnation. Previously, the “boomerang” that
bumped out onto LaGuardia Place would have
forced the LaGuardia statue’s relocation; but,
under the revised plan, moving “The Little
Flower” will no longer be necessary, Hurley
assured. Also, the site of the planned new
Adrienne’s Garden playground, which had for-
merly been north of the statue, will be shifted
to the south of it, Hurley said. The current play-
ground inside the Washington Square Village
grounds would be rebuilt as part of the plan for
the northern superblock, which would have a
total of three playgrounds.
On the southern superblock, the dog run
would be shifted from Mercer St. into the
site of the current toddlers’ playground in the
Silver Towers complex, and the playground
converted for canine use. The new dog run,
at 3,195 square feet, would be 20 square
feet larger than the existing one, according to
Hurley. A new playground would be built just
to the north, replacing the existing one. These
changes would have to be cleared by the
Landmarks Preservation Commission since
they are within the landmarked site. In addi-
tion, N.Y.U. wants to remove the 6-foot-high
metal fencing that has been added around the
complex’s edges and replace it with a lower
fence, as well as restore the complex’s origi-
nal lights with globe-style light bulbs, among
other things.
At Monday night’s C.B. 2 committee
meeting, Matthew Urbanski of Michael Van
Valkenburgh Associates, the landscape archi-
tects for N.Y.U.’s Plan 2031 expansion scheme,
made the presentation on the Silver Towers
grounds modifications.
Urbanski gave a PowerPoint presentation
to the audience of about 50 people, showing a
design rendering of how the university would
shift the Coles site onto Mercer St., while
shifting the dog run onto the Silver Towers
playground site. But local residents in the
audience — which included residents from
505 LaGuardia Place — several community
board members and Andrew Berman, director
of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic
Preservation, all voiced suspicion over why only
an illustration of N.Y.U.’s desired outcome was
being shown while there was no illustration
showing a scenario with the current dog run
and Coles footprint remaining in place.
“I’m confused about doing a total plan here
before we know what the destiny of that sports
center is,” said one board member, her com-
ments greeted with shouts of “Thank you!” and
applause from the audience.
Hurley said, “If you want us to redraw it,
to shift it, that’s fine,” but she added that the
new playground would be open to the public
(the current one is accessible only with a key),
and that, if Coles’s footprint isn’t shifted, then
the new playground would have to be smaller
because of the site’s space constraints.
DOG RUN DO’S AND DON’TS
Speaking to this newspaper later, Hurley
said, no dog run or playground in the city
is located right up against a building with
windows, which is the reason it would have
to be moved. Coles gym doesn’t have win-
dows, but the new building would. She said
she was confident that, since this would be
a “significant” new building, the Bloomberg
administration is already on the same page
with N.Y.U. in terms of where the dog run
should be situated in relation to it.
In a statement on Wednesday, Andrew
Brent, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office,
said, “It’s critical for New York City that
higher education institutions continue to
grow and succeed while meeting the needs
of the community. In some cases, the trans-
fer of land may be an important tool to
facilitate that, especially when it enables the
creation of more publicly accessible open
space than exists today. In N.Y.U.’s case,
it’s still very early in the process.” He added
that the dog run relocation would have “to
go through the Landmarks Preservation
Commission process.”
Berman called the university’s assumption
that the city would O.K. shifting the Coles
footprint onto the Mercer St. strip “incredibly
premature,” and said the building that N.Y.U.
plans to erect there would be “ginormous...
looming over the playground and dog run.”
Berman said “there’s good reason to believe”
the city won’t approve the footprint shift, but
didn’t give any specifics as to how he knew
that. (The most recent plan had called for a
17-story building, including a 1,400-bed fresh-
men dormitory, on the Coles site.)
Another resident cautioned that the spot
where N.Y.U. wants to put the dog run and
the new playground is “a very cold, windy
place — about the windiest place around.”
More to the point, audience members
stressed that they want assurance — in the
form of a letter from I.M. Pei or his col-
league, Henry Cobb — that legendary archi-
tect Pei definitely supports N.Y.U.’s latest
proposed modifications to the Silver Towers
complex. Hurley said Pei is onboard with
these current modifications, but said, yes,
N.Y.U. will get a letter stating this.
BIG ROLL-OUT COMING
On March 15, the university will unveil
its latest plans for the four new buildings it
intends to construct on the two superblocks,
which are part of the scheme to add a total of
1.5 million to 2 million square feet of space
both aboveground and underground. These
plans will include the latest details on a hotel
and public school that are part of the projects.
In November, N.Y.U. decided to scrap plans
for one of these planned four buildings, a
400-foot tower within the landmarked Silver
Towers site, after Cobb, a partner with Pei —
who designed the complex — sent Landmarks
a letter on Nov. 10 saying that Pei, 93, was
strongly opposed to adding the new building
within the landmarked, three-tower site.
The fourth tower, as then planned, would
have included N.Y.U. faculty residences and
also a hotel. As a result of Pei’s objection,
N.Y.U. subsequently announced it would shift
its development focus to its Morton Williams
supermarket site, at the southeastern corner
of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place — which
is just outside the Silver Towers landmarked
complex — as the site for this new build-
ing. Under the previous plan, the Morton
Williams site would have been converted
into open space as a playground, and north-
ern sightlines from 505 LaGuardia Place (a
Mitchell-Lama building which N.Y.U. does
not own but which is part of University
Village) would not have been blocked.
On Monday night, C.B. 2’s Landmarks and
Public Aesthetics Committee decided to put
off voting on the Silver Towers site modifica-
tion plan until its meeting next month. The
board’s vote is advisory only.
Later this month, on Mon., March 21,
the university will present its updated super-
blocks plans to Community Board 2’s Arts
and Institutions Committee, at 6:30 p.m., at
the Grace Church School, 86 Fourth Ave.,
auditorium.
Dog owners howl over idea of moving their dog run
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
N.Y.U. plans for this concrete-walled toddlers’ playground on Houston St. to undergo
a “canine conversion” into a dog run.
‘It’s critical for New York
City that higher education
institutions continue
to grow and succeed while
meeting the needs of the
community. In some cases,
the transfer of land may
be an important tool
to facilitate that, especially
when it enables the
creation of more publicly
accessible open space
than exists today.’
Andrew Brent,
Mayor’s Office spokesperson
Continued from page 12
14 March 10 - 16, 2011
That’s LIFO! Cuomo trips up Bloomberg on teacher tenure protection.
It’s all in the name
The news this week that the Lower Manhattan
Development Corporation will begin the lengthy pro-
cess of establishing a sunset plan is both welcome and
long awaited. This newspaper has long been advocat-
ing for such a scenario.
First we must acknowledge the vital role the agency
played in bringing the Lower Manhattan neighborhood
back to life. And second, we must congratulate the
Empire State Development Corporation, the L.M.D.C.’s
parent agency, for recognizing that the time has come to
set forth guidelines to pare down, and eventually elimi-
nate, a bureaucracy that no longer has a full mission.
As the L.M.D.C. begins to wind down, two impera-
tives need to move front and center. One is that the
sunsetting process needs to be completely transparent,
and undertaken with community input. All remaining
funds need to be fully accounted for, and procedures
must be carefully established for the monitoring of
existing initiatives and the transfer and oversight of
some of these initiatives to appropriate existing city
and state agencies where possible.
Second, all remaining monies need to be allocated to
their original catchment area, which is Lower Manhattan.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Community Board 1
Chairperson Julie Menin and state Senator Daniel
Squadron, among others, have all stated publicly that
any remaining funds should not end up filling a hole
in another city agency’s budget. While Peter Davidson,
the Empire State Development Corporation’s executive
director, did allude to the possibility of certain pitfalls
along the way, namely a contract being nullified or an
already allocated lump of funds becoming available due
to unforeseen circumstances, we believe it is vital that
in that case the funds should end up being spent in no
place but Lower Manhattan.
It is not called the Lower Manhattan Development
Corporation for nothing.
Notaro, Gallo: A must
Then-Governor Paterson made a good decision
last year when he nominated two Battery Park City
residents and leaders, Anthony Notaro and Martha
Gallo, to serve on the board of the Battery Park City
Authority. Because the state Senate did not act on the
nominations before Governor Cuomo took office, their
nominations are now void.
Notaro and Gallo’s nominations came about after a
long campaign to seek greater representation of local
residents on the B.P.C.A. board. Local voices are par-
ticularly important because B.P.C.A. is entering a new
and critical late phase of its remarkable life, in that
much of what it set out to do has been completed.
In its 43-year existence, B.P.C.A. has succeeded in
transforming its 92 acres of World Trader Center land-
fill into a vibrant neighborhood with 12,000 residents,
more than 10 million square feet of commercial space,
three schools, 35 acres of parks, ball fields, a library and
a resplendent esplanade. But there are still crucial issues
that remain to be resolved, a big one being the renego-
tiation of many of the neighborhood condominiums’
ground rents. And this is in the context of a possible
plan by the city to take over the authority by exercising
its $1 option and assuming the authority’s obligations.
Both Gallo and Notaro will give the neighborhood
a stronger say in these big discussions and decisions.
Both have demonstrated a strong understanding of
local issues and a commitment to their neighborhood.
They should be promptly renominated by Governor
Cuomo and confirmed by the Senate.
EDITORIAL
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Who you calling ‘Cappuccino’?
To The Editor:
Re “‘Cappuccino Party’ and its clout” (letter, by Zella
Jones, March 3):
I doubt Zella Jones took a survey of all the residents of
Little Italy, so it must be purely by her psychic powers that
she claims to know that 95 percent of the population feels
“bullied” by a few and are forced to “turn the other cheek.”
I also found it very enlightening that Zella is “quite sure” of
what happened back in the 1920’s when our neighborhood
changed from Irish to Italian. Was she there way back then?
How else could she be “quite sure” about anything that hap-
pened eight decades ago?
I especially want to comment on Zella’s use of the term
“The Cappuccino Party.” In her typical classless style, she has
once again shown her feelings toward the Italian people. The
label she chose is offensive and bigoted, and she owes all of
us an apology. In the past as a board member of Community
Board 2, Zella made rude, condescending and bigoted
remarks against the Italian community.
As for the 3,000 people signed on as members of a
Facebook group in support of the San Gennaro Feast, they
have every right to voice their concerns regarding Little
Italy and San Gennaro as others have done. The people on
Facebook have ties to Little Italy and San Gennaro. These
are people who used to live here, work here, own businesses
here; some of their family members still live here. These
are people from Italian families or who married into Italian
families. The Little Italy community and the San Gennaro
Feast are still important to them no matter where they cur-
rently live.
We have heard attacks against San Gennaro by people
who live nowhere near the feast; they do not live on Mulberry
St. but “somewhere” in Little Italy. Why is it O.K. for them
to attack the feast but not O.K. for others to voice their sup-
port of it? Why is Zella so disturbed by this Facebook page?
Is it because the number of people supporting San Gennaro
far and away outnumbers those who oppose it?
Some say we should thank Zella and people who think
like her. Thanks to them and the Internet, Italians, Italian-
Americans and people who love Italians all over the world
are united in support of, not only the San Gennaro Feast,
but of us fighting to retain our Italian heritage and culture.
It used to be that Italians and Catholics were easy groups
to attack because we never fought back. In case no one’s
noticed, those days are over.
Emily DePalo
DePalo is a board member, Figli di San Gennaro
Community and SPURA process
To The Editor:
Re “SPURA design will try to ‘maximize light and air’ ”
(news article, March 3):
Thanks for your ongoing reporting on the crucial issue
of SPURA. It should have been reported, though, that the
Economic Development Corporation official, when pressed,
stated that the city issued a request for proposals to only
a few select firms, from which Beyer Blinder Belle was
ultimately chosen — without input from either Community
Board 3 or the community. Not an auspicious approach to
engendering trust — or doesn’t government care to “maxi-
mize light and air” in the (lightning-fast) process marching
toward development?
If this is how E.D.C. approaches hiring an urban design
consultant, we have every reason to believe C.B. 3 and the com-
munity will be locked out of ULURP — our last, best chance
to exercise control over our community’s land — SPURA. C.B.
3 and the community have fought hard in countless meetings
(on a tight timeline dictated by the city) over myriad aspects
of developing this valuable, long-vacant, historically wounded
land precisely because too much is at stake for the Lower East
Side! And yet, government waltzes in, unilaterally making a
decision and taking action without notice, consultation or con-
cern for the community it’s mandated to serve.
SPURA is vacant only because 1,852 families were evicted
in 1967 — a wholly vibrant community obliterated, a neighbor-
hood forever scarred and haunted. If ever a compelling reason
for a thoroughly open, transparent, creative approach — reach-
ing out to all, bar none, to allow reasonable, unhurried space
and time for the unfettered flow and exchange of ideas, so as to
build the very best development, to do our utmost to somehow
ameliorate history’s grievous wrongs — SPURA is it! Wake up
people! No justice, no peace!
Adrienne M.Z. Chevrestt
The ‘wellness center’ alternative
To The Editor:
Re “As one-year mark looms, hospital activists fight on”
(news article, Feb. 28):
Over the summer of 2010, I attended a Community Board
2 meeting on the use of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital build-
ing. Practically every person who stood before the microphone
IRA BLUTREICH
Continued on page 23
March 10 - 16, 2011 15
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NEWS NEWSTM
PUBLISHER & EDITOR
John W. Sutter
ASSOCIATE EDITOR
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ARTS EDITOR
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REPORTER
Albert Amateau
BUSINESS MANAGER/
CONTROLLER
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CONTRIBUTORS
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Jerry Tallmer
BY ALPHIE MCCOURT
In Ireland, in the new millennium, the Celtic Tiger roared,
church attendance fell and the collection box pleaded for
mercy. More recently, the Tiger slipped into decline. At last
report he was spotted at the American Embassy in Dublin,
picking up a student visa. The people of Ireland are not
entirely surprised. There has been minimal unrest and not
much by way of protest. Over centuries, the Irish have
learned to be silent. Is it O’Merta? And, among the Irish,
fatalism is a blessing. In times of great joy, they say, an
Irishman is consoled by the knowledge, that around the next
corner, a great disaster awaits.
And yet, in March of last year, in a big surprise, Pope
Benedict apologized to the Irish people for decades of sexual
abuse at the hands of the Catholic clergy. The Vatican, at
last, was listening. (A cynic would see a connection between
empty collection boxes and the pope’s apology.) But the
pope made it personal. “I am truly sorry,” he said. (Recently,
in Dublin, in a Christlike gesture, two bishops knelt and
washed the feet of the abused.)
In a June surprise, the British prime minister apologized
for the events of January 30, 1972. On that day, Bloody
Sunday, in Derry City in Northern Ireland, a detachment
of elite British troops fired on the participants in a peaceful
demonstration. Fourteen people died. Some were teenagers;
some were shot in the back.
Public figures, politicians among them, sometimes apolo-
gize. They utter the usual tripe about their own possibly
“inappropriate behavior.” “Sorry” is beyond or beneath
them. Not so David Cameron, the British prime minister. On
behalf of his government, he apologized. And, on his own
behalf, “I am deeply sorry,” he said. No ifs, ands or buts, just
“deeply sorry.” Former Prime Minister Tony Blair initiated
the inquiry. David Cameron finished it.
No one apologized to Saint Patrick for being kidnapped,
and brought to Ireland as a teenaged slave. After years of
slavery, he escaped. In 432, a bishop now, he returned. He
could have sought an apology. Instead, he set out to convert
the Irish to Christianity. The Irish had their gods. He had
his. The High King could not accept the Holy Trinity. How
could there be three persons in one God? “King,” said Saint
Patrick, “look at this sprig of shamrock. There’s one stem
with three leaves.” “Got it,” said the king. “O.K.,” said
Patrick: In the same way, there are three persons — the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three go to make
up one God. Three leaves on one stem; three persons in one
God. “Got it?” “Got it,” said the king.
The shamrock became a symbol of all things Irish but,
nowadays, when you see a shamrock, you are sure to find
a bar, a beer or, at best, an Irish gift shop selling toora-
loora-loora. The three persons of the Trinity are hanging out
somewhere else.
Often abbreviated to Paddy’s Day and, sometimes, in a
gender bender, to Patty’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day in New
York brings green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and high
winds. For some it means being drunk in the rain, drunk in
the snow, and, with any luck, drunk by 4 p.m.
“Jeez, did we drink,” the adults will boast the next day,
and list their disastrous exploits, as if they’ve earned a
badge of honor. The catalyst for all this madness? The Saint
Patrick’s Day Parade.
I have had some significant Saint Patrick’s Days. On my
first Saint Patrick’s Day in New York, I had to earn my own
badge of honor. Not long on the job, I was working for the
First Boston Corporation, down in the Wall Street area, feed-
ing frames into a giant gloppiter-gloppiter mainframe com-
puter. On the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, I couldn’t face
the mainframe. I couldn’t even face the mirror, never mind
Saint Patrick, the banner, the hat and the F.B.I.
NOTEBOOK
Continued on page 23
On my first Saint Patrick’s Day in
New York, I had to earn my own
badge of honor
Illustration by Evan Forsch
16 March 10 - 16, 2011
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Photos by Clayton Patterson
So long to sidewalk A.T.M.’s?
Last year, the City Council unanimously
passed a bill banning sidewalk A.T.M.’s.
The mayor delayed signing the bill, saying
he didn’t want to be a “Grinch.” Apparently, the law may now be in effect. On Stanton
St. on the Lower East Side this past week, sidewalk A.T.M. machines were hastily
being removed. According to one bodega owner, the initial penalty is $300, with
an additional $100 for every two days the machine is not removed. However, news
reports last year said the fines — which are assessed against the landlords — were
much steeper than that. Stores can still have A.T.M.’s that serve the outside, but they
must be flush with the building’s window or wall. A mayoral spokesperson, called late
on deadline night, was unable to confirm if the law was indeed now being enforced.
CLAYTON’S PAGE
March 10 - 16, 2011 17
BY JERRY TALLMER
Was this the face that launch’d a thou-
sand ships,
And burnt the topless towers Ilium?
Helen, that is, daughter of Zeus, an
Olympus-class beauty, stolen away from hus-
band Menelaos of Greece by Paris, spoiled
playboy son of old King Priam of Troy.
“No,” says “Kings” director James
Milton — revoking Marlowe’s 500-year-
old poetic license, “Helen was just an
excuse” for the huge disastrous assault
on Priam’s walled stronghold, and those
thousand warships sailing toward Ilium
were actually full of ravenous Greeks
“hungry for Trojan land, for Trojan prop-
erty.”
And oh yes, hungry also for Trojan
women — another form of pirated prop-
erty, as serviceable and disposable as paper
cups or Kleenex. Women as bargaining
chips. Of so little actual human value that,
in British poet Christopher Logue’s star-
tlingly tough reworking of Homer’s Iliad
(adapted for the stage by Jim Milton), the
word for “woman” is always merely a flat,
jarring “she.” Like this, in the crucial clash
over sexual booty between those two great
egomaniac Greek heroes, Agamemnon and
Achilles:
….Until Achilles said:
‘Dear sir, where shall we get this she?
There is no pool.
We land. We fight. We kill. We load.
And then —
After your firstlings — we allot.
We do not ask things back’.
‘Boy Achilles,’ Agamemnon said,
‘I do not ask at all.
Myself un-she’d and in the bed furs,
thine?
Ditchmud!’
“Basically,” says Milton, “this section
is a prelude to the big fight between
Agamemnon and Achilles. Except that the
gods can’t kill Agamemnon yet because he
has to die at home in the bathtub, mur-
dered by his wife Clytemnestra and her
boyfriend. Leaving Achilles to sulk alone
in his tent.”
In that era, Milton reminds us, “Rape
was so common as to be hardly worth
mentioning. In fact I had to tone down
some passages, the language was so offen-
sive.
“Greece was then still a tribal society,
and each tribe had its own king. One
thinks of the ancient Greeks as the people
who built the Parthenon and all that.
These were not those Greeks. My job was
to make the best possible stage show out
of this very long poem.”
Here, for laughter, is a thumbnail por-
trait of one such tribal king: Zeus, king of
the gods, talking:
Priam of fountained Troy,
A stallion man — once taken for myself
Who serviced 50 strapping wives from 50
towns,
Without complaint — to unify my
Ilium…
New York will get a rare slap in the
face jolt of Homer-via-Logue-via-Milton
from “Kings. “It is considered important
enough for three poetry-minded theater
companies — the Handcart Ensemble,
the Verse Theater Manhattan and the
WorkShop — to join together in its presen-
tation. Important enough, too, for hard-
hitting Logue (born 1926 in Portsmouth,
Hampshire) to have been working on this
Variations on a Theme by Homer for going
on 50 years now.
Playing all the roles, in modern every-
day attire, are actors Dana Watkins and J.
Eric Cook.
There are all sorts of slaps in the face.
Here is one of the more enjoyable ones:
[Achilles still talking]
‘Well then, my lord,
You change the terms, I change the
tense.
Let is be was. Was the day on which
You lead your Greeks, necklaced with
spoil,
Capering along the road that tops Troy’s
wall
Because you cannot take that wall
without me.
Me. Peleus’ son.
Before tomorrow, I sail home. ‘
Silence.
Reverse the shot.
The kicker, of course, is in that throw-
away last line, as if on a movie set, an
anachronism if ever there was one.
“But everyone will immediately know
exactly what is meant,” says Milton.
Though “Kings” was and is written as a
poem, not a play, Logue has also done a
number of film and television scripts and
was one of the poets commissioned by the
BBC in the 1950s to reinvent the Iliad in
their own style.
“Kings” is but one of four linked works
intended to be read as books. The other
three are “War Music,” “The Husbands”
and “All Day Permanent Red.” Logue —
who is not afraid of rewriting--has altered
and republished several of them.
What kind of fellow is he, anyway, this
Christopher Logue?
“Well, he’s not tall,” says Milton, who
is quite lean and tall indeed. “He’s kind
of stocky. Very imposing, very gregarious
and social.
“You would kind of describe him as a
bad boy anti-establishment character. In
the army he did two years in the stockade.
Which I don’t think did much to improve
his mood.
“One of his good friends is Ken Russell,
another Bad Boy; they tend to clump
together.” Logue wrote “Savage Messiah”
for flamboyant motion picture director
Russell, and played Cardinal Richelieu in
Russell’s 1971 “The Devils.”
Milton took “War Music” on a two-
week tour of British universities with all
roles, of whatever gender, played by three
actresses. Logue came to see it — “and I
think he loved it.”
On a tiny stage at the Blue Heron, here
in New York on East 24th Street, Wilson
in 2000 introduced America to Logue’s
“Kings” and had just remounted it at
a somewhat larger Off-Broadway venue
“when world events intervened.”
That is to say: 9/11/2001. Topless tow-
ers indeed.
But where was our Achilles?
When we were Kings
Two actors, in modern attire, portray crucial clash
KINGS: THE SIEGE OF TROY
Adapted by Christopher Logue
Adapted for the stage and directed by James
Milton
Through April 3
At the Workshop Theater
312 W. 36th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves., 4th
floor)
For tickets, call 212-868-4444 or visit work-
shoptheater.org
Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Dana Watkins (left) and J. Eric Cook.
THEATER
EASTVILLAGERARTS&ENTERTAI NMENT
18 March 10 - 16, 2011
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
Have you ever sat back and watched the glut of hor-
rendous paranormal investigation-themed shows that
clog the cable airwaves and thought “I could do better
than that”? Of course, you have — and, of course, you
can. But unlike your TV counterparts, you don’t need
cheesy night vision cameras and a crew of jumpy cohorts
who see every temperature fluctuation as evidence that
We are Not Alone.
All you need, it turns out, is Rich Newman’s “The Ghost
Hunter’s Field Guide” — a state-by-state listing of over
1,000 haunted places ready and waiting for exploration.
What makes this book unique is the fact that all locations
listed are open to the public — and public scrutiny. The
destinations include battlefields, theaters, saloons, hotels,
museums, resorts, parks and other sites (“all of which are
safe and accessible”). This public access ethic also sets the
book apart from seen-on-TV investigative teams trying to
coax a reaction out of spirits who dwell in private resi-
dences or locations we’ll never be allowed into (abandoned
hospitals, cemeteries and jails — places where the lingering
residents aren’t exactly tourist-friendly).
Before its Alabama through Wyoming alphabetical
mystery tour, author Newman wisely includes a one-
page Activity Key of terms — some and occasionally all
of which you’ll find listed at the end of each location’s
description. “A,” for example, denotes the fact that an
Apparition is in residence. “T” for Telekinetic Activity…
and so on.
Preceding the Key page is a “How to Use This Guide”
section which covers the most basic of ghost hunting
tips (make reservations when visiting restaurants or
B&Bs and “Respect the Location”). This is all very help-
ful — but beginners will be left in the dark, so to speak,
if they expect this book to take them through the cor-
rect protocol for conducting a responsible investigation.
What readers will get, however, is an enormously helpful
“Sources” section, which gives state-by-state information
on paranormal groups scattered throughout the country.
The 1,000 listings are brief affairs — one-paragraph
descriptions of each location’s history and reputation,
followed by the address, a website and a listing of what
sort of paranormal activity the place is known for. In the
New York section, you’ll find an inexplicable concentra-
tion of activity between Ithaca and Rochester (courtesy
of a dotted map of the state, a smart technique repeated
throughout).
Good news, too, for Manhattan snobs: We’ve got five
places to choose from: The Algonquin Hotel, Bridge
Café, the Chelsea Hotel, Hotel Thirty Thirty and the
Merchant’s House Museum. Happy hunting!
THE FLEA THEATER PRESENTS
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INFALLIBILITY
Written by
MATTHEWBARBOT
Directed by
DAVID “ZEN” MANSLEY
Thursday - Sunday
March 3 - 13
Thu - Sat 8pm
Sun 3pm
All Seats $10/tdf
BIRDS ON FIRE
Written & Directed by
BARBARA KAHN
Music by
ALLISON TARTALIA
Thursday - Sunday
March 17 - May 3
Thu-Sat at 8pm
Sun at 3pm
All Seats $12/tdf
BEFORE GOD
WAS INVENTED
Book, Lyrics & Directed
by LISSA MOIRA
Music by
RICHARD WEST
Musical Arrangement &
Musical Direction by
CHRIS WADE
Thursday - Sunday
March 17 - April 3
Thu-Sat 8pm, Sun 3pm
All Seats $18/tdf
Image courtesy of Llewellyn Worldwide
1,000 spooky sites, for those who dare.
Ghostly guidebook features five Manhattan haunts
995 other spooky sites await, from Arizona to Wyoming
THE GHOST HUNTER’S FIELD GUIDE
By Rich Newman
Published by Llewellyn Publications (llewellyn.com)
413 pages. $17.95 U.S.; $20.95, Canada.
For info on the author, visit paranormalincorported.com
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March 10 - 16, 2011 19
BY GARY M. KRAMER
Gay Thai filmmaker Apichatpong
Weerasethakul’s Cannes award-winning
film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His
Past Lives” concerns a dying man who is
comforted by family and friends. As the
film unfolds in six chapters, Boonmee
(Thanapat Saisaymar) recalls his various
incarnations — as animals, including a
talking catfish, and as spirits.
The film does not contain any queer
content, but it is as infectious and hyp-
notic as the filmmaker’s 2004 gay romance
“Tropical Malady.” And despite the many
fantastic elements in “Uncle Boonmee,”
the film is quite accessible.
Weerasethakul met with us to discuss
his superb and supernatural films.
GARY KRAMER: I’m curious about
your past lives. Do you feel believe in
reincarnation? Do you have any memories
or knowledge of a past life?
APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL:
I have reached through, but I believe it’s
scientific — a natural, not supernatural
thing. It’s something that I think in the
future we will need an instrument to prove
it. I cannot say I believe, but I would say
I believe in the possibility of the future to
dream about it.
GMK: So, do you believe in karma?
AW: I don’t believe in karma, but it’s in
my system. I cannot shake it off. I always
keep it simple. In Thailand, the head is
very sacred and the feet are least sacred. If
someone is sitting over there [points] and if
I do this [he points his feet at them] it’s con-
sidered very rude. And when I do that, I feel
guilty, even though I know it is nonsense.
GMK: You are a gay man, but you don’t
make gay films. “Tropical Malady” is per-
haps the sole exception. Is this deliberate?
AW: I feel homosexuality is natural. I
don’t feel I need to underline it. You don’t
need to act up or make homosexuality
special. I am just talking about humans in
“Tropical Malady.” When there is a scene
where a guy is seduced by another guy, I
just treat it naturally. That is my approach
in life as well.
GMK: Your films are known for their
shift in their tone. “Uncle Boonmee” has
six distinct chapters. Why do you play
with narrative — dividing your films in
half, like “Tropical Malady,” or juxtapos-
ing two lives, as in “Syndromes and a
Century”? In “Blissfully Yours,” you inter-
rupt the film 45 minutes in with a credit
sequence.
AW: I am very sensitive about this kind
of disruption in movies. How do you make
the audiences feel comfortable? I don’t
like when the movie makes you feel the
filmmaker is above you. I want my movie
to be like I’m beside you, and I’m holding
your hand, and we go to the jungle or this
strange world together. This certain kind of
gentleness is what I am looking for.
And when you do this, it’s very tricky.
It can be viewed as pretentious, or just
put there for the sake of experimentation
or shock, but for me, that’s not my inten-
tion. My intention is to integrate how the
film can convey my feelings the best. And
I think that’s the limitation of mainstream
cinema.
Cinema is only 100 years old, and there
is more room to grow, but now, special
effects are very advanced — more advanced
than storytelling. The script-writing part is
still attached to the three-part structure, to
literature. Film has its own representation
that we need to explore.
GMK: What about the symbolism in
“Uncle Boonmee,” which is left up to the
viewer for interpretation?
AW: There are many references and
meanings, so I feel it’s awkward for me to
explain. Sometimes it’s very deep rooted in
Thai [lore]. I really prefer the idea of open
cinema, for people to interpret themselves.
It’s really about the experience. It’s not
about my experience. I have my movie.
I offer the movie so you can have your
own movie, too. I feel hesitant about it.
Of course, there is a symbolism at play in
contrast to the realistic representation.
GMK: Why do you juxtapose magical
realism with the realities of nature and
man?
AW: Because sometimes it’s a fact in
Thailand, even though some things are
in the past and gone — the same thing as
when I say, “My time is not your time.” My
movie is not your movie. My reality is dif-
ferent from your reality. There is a sense of
coexistence between the visible and ghosts
around us. Reality is different, so how I
present the film is different.
GMK: What was your reaction to win-
ning the Palme d’Or in Cannes?
AW: When I won the prize in Cannes,
it was unexpected, and in Thailand, it’s big
news. They not only asked me about my
film, but my political point of view. And that
has a great effect for me. I have to travel for
a year with this film — without working —
so it’s been quite an adjustment.
GMK: So how did making “Uncle
Boonmee” help you grow?
AW: I think I make small, personal films,
so I’m always making the same film. What
changed me is that I got more interested in
the northeast region of Thailand. I’d like to
set my next film there because there are so
many things to explore. I hope to go in a
new direction. When you work on a certain
formula, like what I did before with bifurca-
tion, it is like a trap, so I feel I shouldn’t put
myself in this. I should explore.
GMK: Given that you make small, inti-
mate art films, what do you like to watch?
AW: Hollywood disaster and catastro-
phe films. I like special effects — they are
marvelous. I liked “Inception” and “2012.”
These kinds of films have to be seen on
a big screen, so you can appreciate how
many people put so much labor into ten
seconds of the film. They dictate how we
make movies, and how they become really
magical.
Thai Filmmaker Talks Turkey
“Uncle Boonmee” director recalls past, plans future
Photo courtesy of Oscilliscope Laboratories
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, writer and
director of “Uncle Boonmee Who Can
Recall His Past Lives.”
UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN
RECALL HIS PAST LIVES
Written & Directed by Apichatpong
Weerasethakul.
Not Rated. 2010. 113 minutes.
In Thai, with English subtitles.
Through March 15 at Film Forum
(209 W. Houston St., W. of 6th Ave.)
Screenings daily at 1pm, 3:15pm,
5:40pm, 7:50pm, 10pm.
For info, call 212-727-8110 or
visit filmforum.org.
FILM
130 BLEECKER STREET
212-358-9597
Happy
St. Patrick’s Day!
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fare with us!!!
20 March 10 - 16, 2011
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It’s 1850 — and if you’re a domestic
servant in New York City, chances are you’re
female, Irish and a relatively new arrival who
came here to escape Ireland’s devastating
1845-1855 Potato Famine (and send money
home).
Known colloquially as “Bridgets” or
“Biddies,” these women (most in their late
teens and 20s) worked long hours and had
little or no job security — yet those who per-
formed their tasks well were often poached
from their employers by equally wealthy
families offering a more competitive wage.
No respectable household could function
without them, yet Irish servants were char-
acterized as lazy and dishonest. Tension in
the house was also magnified by the fact that
most employers were Protestant and most
servants were Catholic. Although many Irish
immigrants came to America with the goal
of servitude, it was not a logical progression
for them to marry and establish their own
domestic lives — rarely revealing their past
to children and new acquaintances.
The average wage of an Irish servant in
the mid-1800s was — $3-$4 a month, plus
room and board. In honor of St. Patrick’s
Day, the Merchant’s House Museum will
offer the public a rare glimpse into the
domestic lives of these Irish domestics.
Visit the rarely seen 4th floor servants’
quarters (“arguably the oldest intact site of
Irish habitation in Manhattan” according
to TimeOut New York) — and learn about
the Tredwell family’s Irish maids who lived
and did some of their work there. You’ll
also hear about plans to open the servants’
quarters to the public permanently later
this year. Tour guides will be on hand to
take small groups up and down the stairs,
and provide revealing insights that will shed
light on the daily routine and lifestyle of
these women.
The fourth floor servants’ room will be a
re-creation — unlike the rest of the house,
which features stunning original furnishings
and personal possessions — which offers a
rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life
from 1835-1865.
Thurs., March 17 through Sat., March
20, from 12-5pm (last tour begins at 4pm).
At the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E.
Fourth St. btw. Lafayette & Bowery). The
Servants’ Quarters Tour is included with
regular admission ($10; $5 for students
& seniors; free for MHM Members). For
info, call 212-777-1089 or visit merchant-
shouse.org/events. Regular hours are Thurs.
through Mon., 12-5pm — when you can take
a self-guided tour (with a booklet designed
to direct you through the house while reveal-
ing facts and anecdotes).
Photo by Bob Estremera
Upstairs, downstairs: MHM’s tour provides a rare glimpse of the servants’ quarters
— and, as seen above, the kitchen.
Tour: Irish servants’ quarters
PURIM AT THE CIRCUS
This fun, festive event will feature a
Chinese acrobat show, Megillah reading and
more. Dress up and receive a prize! Sun.,
March 20, 3pm. At P.S. 89 (201 Warren St.).
Admission: Free! For info, call 646-770-
3636 or email info@chabadbpc.com.
PURIM FESTIVITIES
The 14th Street Y and Storahtelling
present “Esther’s Crown” — an interactive
Purim play and costume parade for kids.
The show is part of StorahSteps (a program
featuring monthly events that fuse storytell-
ing, performing arts and education to help
young Jewish children and their families
better relate to their cultural heritage).
Later, partake in the Purim Carnival —
where children will have a chance to make
mishloach manot bags (traditional food
baskets) and enjoy live music, costumes
and snacks. Recommended for kids 2-6.
“Esther’s Crown” will begin at 11am, and
the Purim Carnival runs from 12-2pm.
Sun., March 20. At the 14th Street Y (344
E. 14th St.) Tickets for each of these two
separate events are $5 per ($20 per family).
Call 212-780-0800 or visit 14StreetY.org or
visit storahtelling.org.
THE PURIM CARNIVAL
EXTRAVAGANZA
Shalom TV is teaming up with
ISRAMERICA (a group of emerging Israeli
and Jewish-American artists) to put on a
mega event, which mixes Reality TV with a
seasonal celebration. “The Purim Carnival
Extravaganza” will see the folks from Shalom
TV taping the season finale of the satirical dat-
ing documentary “From Date to Mate” while
party goers enjoy the carnival-themed festivi-
ties (and maybe become part of the show). The
evening also features the girl band XELLE;
The Yoga Yenta — an 85-year-old contortion-
ist who bends herself into a pretzel while pro-
claiming: “Givalt” and “Mazel Tov”; jugglers,
stilt walkers, sword dancers DJs and more.
A Vodka Tasting sponsored by Grey Goose,
from 8-10pm, as well as a Purim Singles Mixer
from 9-10pm, gives you the chance to make
new friends and perhaps find that soulmate
mom keeps asking about. Thurs., March 17,
8-11pm at Libation (137 Ludlow St.). Tickets
are $25 in advance (boomset.com/apps/event-
page/101) or $30 at the door. A portion of
ticket sales will be donated to The Carmel Tree
Fund (helping to repair the Carmel forest in
Israel) and Beit Issie Shapiro, (assisting people
with disabilities in Israel). For more info, visit
isramerica.com.
Plenty of Purim
See “Purim Festivities.”
March 10 - 16, 2011 21
COMPILED BY SCOT STIFFLER
THE NY POPS HONOR JUDY
GARLAND
Fifty years after her Carnegie Hall
debut almost immediately became the
stuff of legend — and 67 years after
she sang “Zing! Went the Strings of My
Heart” on a trolley car while anticipat-
ing a memorable trip to St. Louis —
The New York Pops fondly (fawningly?)
recall Judy Garland with a song-for-song
re-creation of the 1961 performance
referred to by so many as “the greatest
night in show business history.” That’s a
high bar indeed for the performing artists
on this bill — but they’ll be given able
assistance from Music Director Steven
Reineke, who’ll be wielding the baton.
Among the promising talent likely to
make this a night to remember in its own
right: Lorna Luft; Broadway luminary
Ashley Brown; Grammy Award winner
Heather Headley; and “West Side Story”
star Karen Olivo. Among the selections
you just may know by heart: “Over the
Rainbow,” that above-mentioned trolley
song, “Come Rain or Come Shine” and
“The Man That Got Away.” Fri., March
11, 8pm, at Carnegie Hall (57th St.
& 7th Ave.). Tickets are $33 to $106.
Subscriptions to the 2010-2011 Carnegie
Hall are $145, $165, $210, $350, $460,
$510. Visit the Carnegie Hall Box Office
or call 212-247-7800. For more info,
carnegiehall.org.
CUPCAKE CRAWL
While others may be running around
town dressed in green and making the
rounds of Irish bars — with joyful inebria-
tion in mind — one neighborhood tour
wants to help you revel in debauchery of a
decidedly sweeter nature.
Walking Tours Manhattan’s “Spring
Cupcake Crawl” takes you on a sugar-
drenched tour during which you’ll sample
the frosted wares of “four of the best cup-
cakes bakers in Chelsea and Greenwich
Village.”
Event organizers note that “purchases
are optional” — but what kind of sick,
twisted individual would show up at such
an event and refuse to down at least one
(preferably two or three) cupcakes?
The tour begins at 11am on Sun.,
March 13, at stop #1: Billy’s (184 9th
Ave., btw. 21st & 22nd Sts.). Your tour
guide? He’ll be the one with the red ball
cap saying “Walking Tours Manhattan.”
Next, you’ll head to Amy’s at Chelsea
Market; then Cupcake Stop; and lastly,
Magnolia Bakery, which WTM describes
as, “the grandmommy of them all.”
Walking distance is one and a quarter
miles. Tour lasts 90 minutes (which is a
fraction of the distance it will take for you
to walk all of those cupcakes off — but
don’t let that stop you!).
Your donation of $5 will, in turn, be
donated to Food Bank for NYC (food-
banknyc.org). To donate online, go to Pay
Pal (paypal.com) and send your contri-
bution to sales@walkingtoursmanhattan.
com. Or just show up and hand over the
donation in cash. For info on WTM’s other
tours, visit walkingtoursmanhattan.com.
DANCE: CHAPTERS FROM A
BROKEN NOVEL
Doug Varone’s newest piece — “Chapters
from a Broken Novel” — was inspired by
a random collection of quotes from books,
films and overheard conversations between
people on the street. “Chapters” interprets
those nuggets of abstract, found truth
through the equally abstract truth-telling
medium of human movement. Twenty con-
tinuously unfolding sequences reveal a
world teeming with everyday moments
exposed for their beauty and rawness. If it
looks as fascinating as it sounds, this will
be one to watch — not miss. March 15-20,
at the Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave.
at W. 19th St.). Tues./Wed. at 7:30pm;
Thurs./Fri. at 8pm; Sat. at 2pm & 8pm;
and Sun. at 2pm & 7:30pm. For tickets
(starting at $10), call JoyceCharge at 212-
242-0800 or purchase online: joyce.org.
Following the Wed. performance, there
will be a free post-performance conversa-
tion with Varone.
THEATER: A SHOT AWAY
Red Fern Theatre Company’s docudra-
ma is based on interviews with American
soldiers who’ve been sexually assaulted
by their “fellow” soldiers. These experi-
ences were folded into the narrative of
“A Shot Away” — which addresses the
case of a woman’s suicide just weeks after
she was raped on her Army base in Iraq.
March 13 through April 17, at the LABA
Theatre at the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14th
St. btw. First and Second Aves.). For tick-
ets ($25), info and a schedule of perfor-
mances, redferntheatre.org. To purchase
tickets by phone, 866-811-4111.
THINGS AT THE DOORSTEP
Playwrights Greg Oliver Bodine and
Nat Cassidy have teamed up (through the
good graces of the Manhattan Theatre
Source Playground Development Series)
to present a dark and stormy double bill
of solo work adapted from, and inspired
by, horror tale master H.P. Lovecraft.
“The Hound” takes place at Midnight,
late December 1937 and involves a dis-
graced archeologist running for his life
after he steals an ancient amulet from
a grave. “I am Providence” a series of
Lovecraftian adaptations and musings
that explore mankind’s wants and fears.
Mon./Tues., March 14-15, 21-22 at 8pm;
Fri./Sat, March 18-19, 25-26 at 8pm;
Sun., March 20 at 7pm — at Manhattan
Theatre Source (177 MacDougal St. btw.
Waverly Place & W.8th St., 1 block north
of Washington Square Park). For tickets
($18), ovationtix.com.
Just Do Art!
Photo courtesy of Carnegie Hall
Judy, Judy, Judy: NY Pops celebrate the
life, the legend.
Photo by Phil Knott
Julie Burrer and Alex Springer. See
“Chapters.”
Photo by Filene Fellini
Hey, cupcake: Wanna go for a crawl?
Photo courtesy of Red Fern Theatre Company
Red Fern Theatre Co.’s docudrama addresses sexual assault in the military.
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Source
An evening of horror. See “Things at the
Doorstep.”
22 March 10 - 16, 2011
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THEVILLAGER
.com
March 10 - 16, 2011 23
— most of them residents age 55 or older —
expressed a genuine need for a primary-care
community hospital at the site.
I, however, believe the former hospital
building at Seventh and Greenwich Aves.
would best serve the Greenwich Village com-
munity if it were turned into a center of
wellness instead of sickness or disease. This
is what concerned neighborhood residents
should demand:
First, a group of city leaders, perhaps with
my participation, should apply for FEMA
(Federal Emergency Management Agency)
funds to buy the building out of bankruptcy
and relieve its creditors of the former hospi-
tal’s debts.
Next, 10 floors of the building should be
converted to office-type space for “business
and commerce arts education”-oriented class-
es and workshops, similar to those offered by
The Learning Annex.
Two primary floors should be converted to
an emergency first-aid care facility for Village
residents, restaurant workers, etc. An entire-
ly new, full-service, state-of-the-art hospital
should be built on property south of Seventh
Ave., ideally donated by the Trinity Real
Estate group — property that was bequeathed
by the British royal family centuries ago. The
new hospital would create a new tax base
and enable the rehiring of St. Vincent’s 3,500
terminated hospital workers.
Returning to the former St. Vincent’s site,
an outdoor cafe would be constructed and
managed along the southern portico, with an
open-air bar on the area’s east wall, with fabu-
lous chandeliers suspended from the ceiling.
There would be a TKTS sales booth along the
Seventh Ave. side — where the emergency
room waiting area used to be.
A “star”-shaped sculpture would be put
on the corner outcrop over the portico steps
facing Seventh Ave. South — thus, appearing
to create a visual tie to the lights further up
Broadway.
This “new” former St. Vincent’s facility
would create 3,500-plus jobs and would be
a positive, new, economically strong Village
landmark.
Once this is done, we can all be satisfied
knowing that — with a bit of common sense
and decision-making — good things can
happen in good communities, and that this
particular locale in the Village will maintain
its status as a great institution within a greater
New York City.
Chris Jarczynski
Pot providers are ‘angels’
To The Editor:
Re “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all
medical marijuana’ ” (news article, March 3):
I know people who are so sick, people
who have died and been brought back, who
are only feeling a little comfort due to mari-
juana. So many people are so sick, and truly
to bring them comfort is indeed the work of
an angel.
Lynn Tulumello
The soul of Little Italy
To The Editor:
Re “Anne Compoccia, former Downtown
leader, dies at 62” (obituary, March 3):
She was the soul of Little Italy. She will
be dearly missed. Rest in peace.
Ralph Tramontana
Heed ‘Tale of the Trees’
To The Editor:
Re “Soho residents strike back, slam
business district plan” (news article,
Feb. 10):
The BID (business improvement dis-
trict) has moved to capture Broadway from
Houston St. to Canal St. by creating a sepa-
rate governing body of real estate barons to
“improve” the lives of Soho residents. This
conquest will also be dangerous for residents
living in and out of the Broadway corridor.
Consider this:
A beautiful grove of trees lived in neigh-
borhood harmony until a woodsman came
with promises: “Give me one small tree and
I will give you a clean and secure forest.”
“No!” said the grandfather tree. “We are
content in our grove.”
“Give me only a very little one,” the
woodsman said, pointing to a sapling. The
grove looked at the little sapling and thought,
“What harm can it be? Let the woodsman
take her. She is not part of our grove.” And
the woodsman pulled the small tree from
the earth and took it to his woodshed and
made a handle for his ax. The next day, he
returned and cut down the grandfather tree.
Soon he had cut down all the old neighbor-
hood grove.
Ben Franklin, at the signing of the
Declaration of Independence, warned us:
“We must all hang together or assuredly we
shall all hang separately.”
Call the Soho Alliance, at 212-353-8466,
or call us at the 491 Co-op: Sally Lindsay,
212-431-3265, or Jim Hatch, 212-966-
3231.
James V. Hatch
E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words
in length, to news@thevillager.com or
fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to the East
Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth
Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please
include phone number for confirmation pur-
poses. The East Villager reserves the right to
edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and
libel. The East Villager does not publish
anonymous letters.
the ride to work. The following day was a
Friday so I made it a four-day weekend. On
Monday, I reported for work. “Go and see
personnel. And take your coat,” they said.
The woman who had hired me was disap-
pointed. She had foreseen a bright future for
me with First Boston. I was sorry to disap-
point her but a man must do his duty.
By 1973 I was living in Larkspur,
California, and working in a restaurant in the
town. As Saint Patrick’s Day approached, I
repeated my annual speech about the stupid-
ity of the whole thing, about professional
Irishmen and would-be Irishmen. Soon,
people stopped listening.
On the evening before the day, Jenny
walked into the bar. We had had a night
once.
“Will we go for a drink?” I asked her.
I finished work at seven o’clock. “Where
would you like to go?” I asked.
“Your place,” she murmured, and the
blood began to sing. Up through the canyon
we walked, to find the door to my apartment
slightly ajar. Cursing my own carelessness, I
pushed open the door.
“Surprise, surprise” rang out from the
small crowd gathered inside. They had had
to listen to my preachments against all the
Saint Patrick’s Day nonsense. Now I am to
be punished. With beer, tequila, Chinese
food and marijuana, we celebrated. We
spent the next day, Saint Patrick’s Day itself,
on Stinson Beach and, in the evening, we
went over to Sausalito to hear some music.
That was a fine Saint Patrick’s Day.
My one experience of marching in
the Fifth Avenue parade was in the early
’80’s. My young daughter, Allison, loved
parades, the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,
in particular. It would be a treat if we
could march. I had no connection with any
organized Irish group and you couldn’t just
join in and march. You had to belong. The
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy had not yet
been invented but I used it anyway. I didn’t
tell them that I come from Limerick.
As a wise man said, “What’s the use of
being Irish, if you can’t be thick?” Yes, the
members of the parade committee have the
right to be thick, to be stubborn, to say
no. Their forebears, and mine, had to fight
their way up. They suffered discrimination
aplenty, in jobs, in housing and in general.
“No Irish Need Apply” kept them out of
jobs and housing, but, somehow, they got
past it. Along the way they shoveled tons of
shite, built our bridges and tunnels, taught
our children, policed our streets, fought our
fires and performed, with distinction, in all
the wars. And they participated fully in gov-
ernment, all the way to the White House.
Now we have more or less arrived.
Why then, after all that, would the
parade committee slam the door behind
them? Is it a love of tradition? Is it fear
that certain groups will turn the parade
into their own version of carnival: that the
hard-earned dignity and respectability of
the organizers will go out the window?
With a workable peace process in place
in Northern Ireland and the “Don’t ask,
don’t tell” policy left in the dust, it is clear
that miracles do happen. Surely, one day,
the parade will be all-inclusive. And for
those who can’t get over it, there’s always
Irish Alzheimer’s. With Irish Alzheimer’s,
they say, we forget everything — “every-
thing but the grudge.”
As I said, at that time I had no official
Irish connections or affiliations, so I called
the United Irish Counties Association.
“Sure,” they say. “Come on and march
with us.”
The assembly point is at 38th and Fifth.
I am an Irishman, mind you, born and
bred, but I think they saw me comin’.
“Would you like to carry a banner?”
“I haven’t carried a banner since I was 12
but I’ll give it a shot.”
It’s a two-man banner. I am wearing a flat-
brimmed Stetson hat which I wear it when it
rains, when I travel and on ceremonial occa-
sions. The parade is televised. Pipe bands,
police contingents, firefighters, marching
bands, high school cheerleaders, all of them
are brilliant in uniform and costume, in
their contagious spirit and obvious pride.
I’m sure a tape of the parade still exists. And
I’m sure that there’s a special tape, stashed,
no doubt, in the files of certain government
agencies, with a clear image of the eejit in
the Stetson. This is during the early ’80’s.
Mine is the most inflammatory banner of all,
the one that proclaims: “England Get out of
Ireland.”
Meanwhile, up ahead, Allison grows tired
and sits down, among the marchers, in the
middle of 86th Street. My wife, Lynn, is
stuck, until willing hands and voices, from
behind and beside her, raise Allison to her
feet and cheer her the rest of the way.
In 2006 we four brothers — Frank,
Malachy, Michael and I — are invited to lead
the “alternative” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,
in Woodside, Queens. This is a terrific affair.
No matter your place of origin, your color,
belief or sexual orientation, you are wel-
come. Children are especially welcome. It’s a
festive, thoroughly enjoyable walk with great
music and dancing and a few welcoming
speeches. During the speeches, while stand-
ing next to a high elected official, I’m stuck
for something to say.
“We’re probably under surveillance, by
the F.B.I., right now,” I remark.
“The F.B.I.?” says the high official. “I
doubt that the F.B.I. could even find us.”
There’s hope for us yet.
Continued from page 15
Saint Patrick, the banner, the hat and the F.B.I.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Continued from page 14
24 March 10 - 16, 2011
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$
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9
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Not responsible for
typographical errors
Prices Effective
Friday, March 11
through Thursday,
March 17, 2011
We accept all major credit cards
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$
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$
3
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f
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$
1
0
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