PG. 21
A group of vocal North Moore
Street residents are afraid to walk to
the subway these days, partly due to
illegally parked vehicles in front of the
World Trade Center Command Center.
Police cars parked along Varick
Street between Ericsson Place and
North Moore Street, particularly those
that are parked near the northwest
corner of the street, are causing a
blind spot for pedestrians as they cross
the street, according to 25 N. Moore
resident Michael Marra, who appeared
before the Jan. 11 Community Board
1 Tribeca Committee to voice his con-
cerns. Some of the cars, Marra said, are
illegally double parked in front of fire
hydrants and even cross the boundaries
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
A construction worker applies some finishing touches to the new Fiterman Hall on West Broadway, which was
heavily damaged on 9/11. The building is slated for completion this fall.
For the last three years,
Robert Trentlyon, a pub-
lic member of Community
Board 4 and the former pub-
lisher of Downtown Express,
has been a man with a mis-
sion. He has been preoc-
cupied with the implications
of a sea level rise for New
York City’s 520 miles of
coastline and the possibility
of a disastrous storm surge
that could wreck large parts
of the city and cost billions
to clean up.
On Jan. 5, Trentlyon spoke
about the city’s vulnerabil-
ity to C.B. 1’s Planning and
Community Infrastructure
Committee, hoping that
the committee would join
C.B.s 2 and 4 in framing a
resolution asking the Army
Corps of Engineers to study
preventive measures against
“We’re in a lot of trouble
here,” Trentlyon told the
committee. “As we know,
the sea level is going to
be going higher and the
storms are going to get more
Trentlyon noted that the
city’s present mitigation pol-
icy is to create a “soft edge”
of marshes on the circumfer-
ence in order to lessen the
effects of flooding.
“This makes a lot of sense
if you’re living on Long
Island,” Trentlyon said. “If
you’re living in Manhattan,
which is really hard edge,
with giant buildings that go
to the waterfront, what you
really need are sea barri-
Trentlyon readily admits
that he is not an expert on
climate change, sea level rise
or storm surge technology,
but he consulted engineers
and oceanographers who
have studied these matters
for years and who recom-
mend storm surge barriers
as the most effective means
of defense. A storm surge
barrier is essentially a wall
with a gate that remains
open unless it is needed to
deflect a rush of water.
“Storm surge barriers
are not a new concept,”
Trentlyon said, and added
that in the United States, a
monster hurricane in 1938
that passed over Long Island
on its way to New England,
killing more than 700 peo-
ple and leaving a swath of
C.B. 1 comes to grips
with storm surge realities
W.T.C. Command Center hinders
more than it helps, says locals
Continued on page 7 Continued on page 16
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express

A romantic dinner at a neighborhood restaurant.
A walk along the promenade. A blind date that led to
a lifetime of happiness.
What’s your story?
Enter the Downtown Alliance’s “Lower Manhattan Love Story”
contest to win a dinner date at Wall & Water Restaurant, a night at
Scan here for details or visit
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Occupying MLK’s day
The Occupy Wall Street movement built upon the message behind Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. Day, last Monday, January16 by holding a rally in Union Square.
The demonstration was sponsored by a sub-group called “Occupy 4 Jobs” and
reminded everyone that on the day before Dr. King was shot, while standing on
a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, he had pledged to start a movement to
guarantee fair paying jobs for all people.
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 3
Join us for our Super Bowl Party
on February 5th!
Reserve a table now!
Drink specials throughout the game.
The TriBattery Pops, Downtown’s first all volunteer
community band in a century, is seeking out horn play-
ers for its ninth season. The band performs six commu-
nity events each season and records albums that have
international distribution and have been nominated
for Grammy awards. The band recently performed at
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and multiple nights
at an American masterwork dance organized by the
Trisha Brown Dance Company. This year, they will be
celebrating the end of the Mayan calendar by perform-
ing tunes such as ‘The End’ by the Beatles, ‘The End’
by the Doors, and ‘The End of the World’ by Skeeter
The band is looking specifically for additional horn
players, so if you have an ear for the apocalyptic and
possess a tuba, trombone, or saxophone, you might want
to consider hopping on the TriBattery Pops bandwagon.
“Being in the Pops is a lot of fun, requires little work,
and goes well with family, school, and work,” assures
Pops conductor Tom Goodkind. “As conductor, I would
never disallow cellular phone calls – even during record-
ing sessions!”
Band practice takes place starting at 7 p.m. on the
last two Fridays of every month between January and
May, at the Church Street School for Music and Art (74
Warren St.). For info, email Conductor Tom Goodkind at or visit
Rafael Hernandez, 49, an advocate for immigrant
workers exposed to dust at Ground Zero, died on
September 25th, 2011, according to an Associated Press
The cause of Hernandez’s death was obesity, obstruc-
tive sleep apnea and enlargement of the heart, according
to the city Medical Examiner’s office. However, friends
and family of the Queens resident are railing against the
city’s conclusion that Hernandez died of natural causes,
contending that, after doing three months of cleanup
work at the World Trade Center site, he developed seri-
ous respiratory issues including asthma that could have
bolstered his claim for victims’ medical compensation
and would have granted his name a spot at the National
Sept. 11 Memorial.
Hernandez came to the U.S. illegally in 1999 to sup-
port his family in Mexico, and later became a volunteer
firefighter for the city. Having partaken in the post-9/11
clean-up effort, Hernandez led a bi-weekly support group
called Frontiers of Hope for recovery workers to discuss
their illnesses and the long-term psychological effects of
working in and around Ground Zero.
Thousands of people affected by 9/11 have attributed
health problems to exposure to toxic dust at the disaster site,
NEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-9, 12-21
EDITORIAL PAGES . . . . . . . . . . 10-11
YOUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 - 27
CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
C.B. 1
A schedule of this week’s upcoming Community
Board 1 committee meetings is below. Unless otherwise
noted, all committee meetings are held at the board
office, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6
p.m. For a list of committee meetings next week and
beyond, visit the C.B. 1 website at

ON THURS., JAN. 19: The Quality of Life
Committee will meet.
ON MON., JAN. 23: The Housing Committee will
meet in room 709, and the Personnel Committee will
meet in room 715.
ON TUES., JAN. 24: C.B. 1 will convene for its
monthly calendar meeting at the Manhattan Youth
Downtown Community Center (120 Warren St.).

Continued on page 19
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Girl killed on Delancey St.
A 12-year-old girl on her way home from Castle Middle
School on Henry St. was struck and killed by a car around
2:40 p.m. Fri., Jan. 13 at Delancey and Clinton Sts, at the
Williamsburg Bridge ramp.
Dashane Santana, a resident with her family in the Jacob
Riis Houses between Avenue D and FDR Dr., had dropped
her book bag and bent down to retrieve it when the 2008
Toyota struck her. Witnesses said the driver, 58, was headed
onto the bridge when he hit the victim and might have run
over her again while backing up to investigate. Police said
there was no criminality and the driver was not charged.
Dashane, in the sixth grade in the school on Henry St.,
had phoned he mother to tell her she was going with friends
to the Dunkin Donuts before coming home. She was taken
to Downtown Hospital where she died later.
Delancey and Clinton Sts. is a notoriously dangerous
crossing. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said
in a news conference that fatal accidents had occurred in
May and August last year at the intersection.
At the nearby intersection of Delancey and Essex Sts.
there were 523 auto accidents between 2008 and 2010,
according to Transportation Alternatives, a civic group that
promotes pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Fragrant returns
Keith Andrews, who was arrested last week for shop-
lifting several bottles of Fierce, a men’s fragrance from
Abercrombie & Fitch, 199 Water St. was arrested again in
the high-end store at 7:05 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 12 when a store
security guard spotted him tucking 30 bottles of Fierce, val-
ued at $1,920, into a blue shopping bag and trying to walk
out without paying. Before his previous arrest at the store on
Jan. 7, he had been arrested for shoplifting the store on Aug.
22. Because of the prior arrests at the location, Andrews was
charged with burglary.
Beauty aids
An employee at Sephora, 555 Broadway, spotted a woman
stuffing 20 boxes of cosmetics valued at $1,168 at 7:35 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 14 and trying to walk out without paying. The sus-
pect, Alba Carrasquero, 26, was charged with larceny.
Greenhouse effects
Two patrons of Greenhouse, the club at 150 Varick St.,
had their wallets picked from their trouser back pockets this
week. A New Jersey man, 20, lost his wallet to a thief in the
crowded bar around 12:30 a.m. Mon., Jan. 16. Two hours
later, a Connecticut man, 21, had his pocket picked and
discovered later that the thief had made unauthorized pur-
chases of $87 at MacDonald’s and $80 at two gas stations.
On Fri., Jan. 13, a French resident of Manhattan walked into
the First Precinct police station and reported that he was at
a party at the club the night before New Years Eve when a
thief had made off with his jacket, which he had hung up.
There was no explanation for the delayed report.
Lost earring
A Tribeca resident told police that she put her bag on
a seat in a bus around 5:30p.m. Thurs., Jan. 12 while she
searched to floor for a lost earring. She did not find the ear-
ring and discovered when she got home on Duane St. that
her wallet had been picked from the bag.
Bag found empty
A Philadelphia woman.27, told police she had hung up
her bag while having a drink at Merce Bar, 151 Mercer St.
at 7:30 p.m. Wed., Jan. 11 and discovered 20 minutes later
that it had been stolen. Around 3 a.m. she got a phone call
from Fanelli’s at 94 Prince St. around the corner saying the
bag turned up there. However, her laptop computer was
gone and $200 in unauthorized charges had been made on
a bankcard.
Football distraction
A Brooklyn woman, 29, told police she hung her bag on the
back of her chair and was watching the Giants beat the Packers
in the Reade St. Pub, 135 Reade St. on Sunday night Jan. 15 and
discovered after the game that the bag was gone. She learned
later that two attempts to use her debit card had been denied.
At Starbucks, 195 Broadway, on Sunday afternoon, a
Swedish visitor, 38, had her bag stolen from the back of her
A woman shopping at the Old Navy sore, 503 Broadway,
forgot to pick up her wallet at the checkout counter around
8 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 12 and phoned the following morning
but the wallet with $40 cash and credit cards was gone.
An unauthorized charge of $150 had been made at Muji
USA, the discount chain branch two blocks away at 455
Car stolen
A Brooklyn man, 40, who parked his gray 2010 Hyundai
sedan at the curb in front of Film Forum on W. Houston St.
around 7p.m. Wed., Jan.12 returned three hours later to find
the car had been stolen.
— Alber t Amateau
88 Fulton Street
(Corner of 33 Gold St.)
New York, NY 10038
Free Delivery!
Min. $10
Authentic Thai
& Vegetarian
They were told to stop three weeks ago, but the buses
are still rolling.
In a report issued on December 23, 2011, the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration (F.M.C.S.A.), stated
that Double Happyness Travel posed an “imminent haz-
ard” to public safety. But, despite the federal government’s
Jan. 6 order to halt operations until safety concerns were
addressed, the company appears to have continued its long
distance bus service linking Chinatown to other cities.
Bright pink buses publicizing the ‘Double Happyness’
website picked up passengers Monday outside a terminal
near the intersection of East Broadway and Pike Street. A
driver and a passenger confirmed that the Pennsylvania-
based company was indeed operating the bus, which was
bound for Albany. Just minutes before, staff inside the termi-
nal said the company had shut down while other companies
that use the terminal were operating as usual.
David Lee, a representative of the company, said in a
phone interview that the company had ceased operations
Double Happyness still promoting bus service
Downtown Express photo by John Bayles
Curbside, cut-rate bus companies like the one above, operated by Phoenix Bus Company, have been under close
scrutiny following a slew of deadly crashes in 2011.
Continued on page 8
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 5
Canal remains hot for tourists seeking knock-off goods
On a recent afternoon, roughly 30 coun-
terfeit salesmen displaying handbags, watch-
es and other merchandise lined Canal Street
between Mercer Street and Broadway. As
pedestrians passed, some of the vendors
gestured to pocket-sized catalogs, while oth-
ers whispered, “Gucci,” “Louis Vitton,” or
simply “handbag.”
One of them succeeded in luring 18-year-
old Calvin Morley of Bradenton, Florida.
“They were trying to sell us G-Shock watches,
which are normally about $120 new. I bought
this one off a guy for $20,” said Morley as he
pointed to the watch on his wrist.
Psyched about his purchase, Morley
sought out another watch from a different
vendor. “He [the vendor] was sketchy about
it — he was about to open his briefcase, and
then he said, ‘Hold on, the cops are coming.’
I didn’t end up getting it.”
Thanks to Morley and scores of other
Canal Street shoppers, selling illegal,
counterfiet merchandise is a multi-billion
dollar industry in NYC, according to the
International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.
With the passing of yet another tourist-
packed holiday season Downtown, it is
continuing to thrive.
Local residents, meanwhile, are growing
increasingly fed up by the congestion it is
causing on their streets. The illicit activity
on Canal Street, in particular, is more preva-
lent than ever, some say, despite stepped up
enforcement by the local police precincts.
“It’s been a zoo. They’re everywhere,” said
Lispenard Street resident and Community
Board 1 member Paul Cantor, who often has
to contend with car traffic along Canal Street
when the sidewalk is inundated with vendors.
“I don’t see any reason why I should [be forced
to] walk on the street to try to get home.”
“We’re unable to enter our doorway at
certain times, because there are counterfeit
peddlers encroaching on our property, try-
ing to take over our threshold,” said David
Kapp, president of a co-operative at 305
Canal St. “These are not people that respect
the fact that we live there, because there is
so little enforcement by the N.Y.P.D.”
The cops however contend they have
increased enforcement. In spring 2010, the
NYPD launched a Canal Street initiative to more
effectively crack down on the criminal sales.
One approach the Department has explored
is having more eyes on the street to catch the
vendors in the act of selling counterfeit goods,
since mere possession of the goods isn’t a
crime unless the vendors have warehouses
full of them, according to Sergeant Gregory
LeRoy, a member of the Manhattan South ped-
dlers’ task force.
“I’d say between the 1st and 5th pre-
cincts, there is a continuous presence down
there at all times,” said LeRoy.
Another strategy is the collaboration with
brand-name merchandise companies in order
to identify the knock-off merchandise, since
the sale of imitation goods is allowed so long
as they aren’t direct knock-offs. Merchandise
is considered illegal when there is an actual
logo signifying a specific brand.
“When we’re looking to do certain
enforcements, companies would come with
us Downtown and do undercover purchas-
ing to identify merchandise,” said LeRoy.
“The goal for their own company is to see
how [counterfeit manufacturers] are repro-
ducing their products. They also train us on
how to identify the real [accessories] com-
pared to the counterfeits.”
But these enforcement tactics only go
Assemblyman Shelly Silver
If you need assistance, please contact my ofce at
(212) 312-1420 or email
Fighting to make
Lower Manhattan
the greatest place
to live, work, and
raise a family.
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Selling illegal, counterfeit merchandise is a multi-billion dollar industry in NYC and
Canal Street has always been a hot-spot for vendors. The NYPD launched a special
intitiative in Spring 2010 to try and curb the problem.
Continued on page 17
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
C.B. 1 denies proposals for two buildings in Tribeca
Two distinct proposals for multi-story
additions to landmarked buildings in Tribeca
have been unanimously shot down by mem-
bers of Community Board 1, since approv-
ing them, they said, would violate a well-
established precedent the board set in the
early 2000s.
Most recently was architect James
Schelkle’s plan to restore two vacant, dilap-
idated buildings along Lispenard Street.
Schelkle’s design was met with fierce oppo-
sition by the C.B. 1 Landmarks Committee,
who at its Jan. 12 meeting voted 7-0 against
Schelkle has proposed to tack on three
floors to an existing two-story building at 52
Lispenard St. and cover it with a terracotta
façade comprised of scalloped, gray tiles,
floor-by-floor planters and stone window
frames. The three upper floors of the original
19th century, five-story building had been
removed following a destructive fire in 1937,
leaving a giant void in the streetscape ever
since, according to Schelkle. The cast iron
façade of the adjacent five-story building
with the same address, meanwhile, would
be “meticulously restored” and repainted
light grey.
Schelkle’s client intends to eventually
combine the buildings and convert their
interior into residential condominiums,
according to the architect. The proposed
alterations, Schelkle argued, melds old archi-
tectural styles with new ones and “speaks to
Tribeca’s distinct architectural language and
Additionally, Schelkle plans to build a
two-story rooftop penthouse atop the two
buildings, which would also have a ter-
racotta façade and be set back from the
street to be visually unobtrusive, according
to Schelkle.
“There are two penthouses on the imme-
diately adjacent two buildings, so the pent-
house addition ties in with the scale of the
block,” said Schelkle.
Schelkle’s presentation didn’t come close
to passing muster amongst committee mem-
“I think the design they proposed is
extremely banal and is not in keeping with
the historic context of the neighborhood,”
said committee member and architect Corie
Sharples. “It does not reference or pay trib-
ute in any way to the original building …
and will detract from an otherwise almost
completely intact historical streetscape.”
Schelkle lacked a rendering to prove the
low visibility of the penthouse, Sharples
“It is our committee’s policy not to
approve additions over one story unless they
are completely invisible from the street,”
said Sharples, “which needs to be demon-
strated in a mock-up.”
Paul Cantor, whose apartment directly
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Museum of the City of New York curators
are busy preparing for the grand reopening
of the South Street Seaport Museum on
Fulton Street.
Starting Thursday, Jan. 26, the famed
maritime museum, which was on the brink
of closure last year, will be showcasing 16
galleries worth of furnishings, photography,
videos and relics from its permanent collec-
tion, according to the exhibit’s co-curator,
Donald Albrecht. Items on display will
include “Mannahatta,” a digital rendering
of Manhattan circa 1609, as well as an esti-
mated 4,000 images taken by a few hundred
Occupy Wall Street photographers docu-
menting the demonstration.
The Seaport Museum will also be show-
ing a 22-minute film depicting the history
of New York City, and another film about
Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International
Airport. Three other galleries, entitled “Made
in New York,” will be devoted to contempo-
rary costumes and furniture designed and
crafted in the city, while another exhibit
dubbed “Time and Tide” will focus on the
history of water and the Seaport.
“Our thinking was, we had to disprove
the naysayers who said, ‘the South Street
Seaport [museum] is not going to happen’
— so we decided to open it very quickly,”
said Albrecht. “It’s not meant to suggest this
is the ultimate shape the museum is going
to take.”
The museum’s opening hours will be 10
a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
For more information, visit
— Aline Reynolds
Seaport Museum prepares
for imminent reopening
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Architect James Schelkle’s plan to restore the building at 52 Lispenard Street
(above) was unanimously voted down by the C.B. 1 Landmarks Committee last
Continued on page 19
“We’re coming to this
addition through research,
and developing the design
based on what exists…
There must be a way to get
to a point where you can
do an addition that’s more
than one story.”
— Carlos Zapata
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 7
Planning for storm surge
destruction, was the wake-up call.
“In 1938 after the hurricane hit, three
cities — New Bedford, Providence and
Stamford — all built storm surge barriers,”
Trentlyon said. “The problem is that by the
time they built them, 30 years had passed.
London has them. Rotterdam has them.
Venice is building them.”
Trentlyon said that two of the experts
he had spoken to — Douglas Hill, a con-
sulting engineer and an adjunct lecturer at
Stony Brook University’s School of Marine
and Atmospheric Sciences and Malcolm J.
Bowman, a distinguished professor of ocean-
ography at the University’s School of Marine
& Atmospheric Sciences — recommended
two alternative placements for storm surge
barriers to protect New York City.
One idea would be to have three barri-
ers: at the Narrows, a tidal strait separat-
ing Staten Island and Brooklyn, below the
Throgs Neck Bridge, and at the Arthur Kill
strait at the far end of Staten Island. Another
proposal would be to have a single storm
surge barrier between Rockaway and Sandy
“That’s a long distance,” Trentlyon said,
“but most of the water level there is fairly
shallow at about 20 feet. The Ambrose
Channel — the main shipping channel — is
in the middle of it.”
Either way, Trentlyon said that the esti-
mated cost for the barriers would be around
$10 billion, with half the money going to fea-
sibility studies and design and half allocated
to construction.
Trentlyon’s presentation was initially
met with skepticism. “What do we know
already about the risk?” asked Jeff Galloway,
chairman of the Planning committee. “New
Orleans, Rotterdam, Venice — all those
places are under sea level already. That was
the problem with New Orleans. Once you’ve
breached the levees, you’re in a disaster
zone. We’re not below sea level. We’re above
sea level, though people like me who live in
Battery Park City are very close to sea level.
But I see the $5 billion price tag in the study,
which probably translates into $10 billion
before it’s actually built.”
Trentlyon replied that if New York City
experienced a Category 3 hurricane, the esti-
mated loss would be $200 billion between
property damage and loss of time going to
“I would imagine a good chunk of that
would be wind damage,” said Galloway.
“Part of it would be wind damage,”
Trentlyon replied, “but if you have a 20-foot-
high storm coming ashore, a lot of dam-
age would be [from water]. Another study,
which came out in August of 2011, was
done by the Federal Transit Administration.
They say a 20-foot storm surge would go
into the subway system and except where
the subways were elevated, the entire sys-
tem would be covered with at least four
feet [of water] within 40 minutes. You’re
talking about salt water coming in. That
means that everything’s damaged. All the
machinery would have to be taken apart and
cleaned. The estimate by the Federal Transit
Administration is that that would take three-
to-four weeks and, some engineers say, three-
to-four months.”
Committee member Ro Sheffe wanted to
know where Trentlyon got his data. “I was
a meteorologist for the U.S. Navy,” Sheffe
said, “and I’m curious about the source for
this climatology information. First of all, has
there ever been a 20-foot storm surge here?
There have been records kept in New York
City for 148 years.”
“I believe it was in 1821 the East River
and the Hudson River rose up and they
covered the entire island from Canal Street
south,” replied Trentlyon. “In 1893, a
Category 1 hurricane destroyed Hog Island,
a resort island off the Rockaways in south-
ern Queens. The storm hit. The island disap-
peared. It never came back. In 1938, a hur-
ricane hit here. It was called the Long Island
Express. It came up through Brooklyn and
Queens and demolished a lot of the frame
While this conversation was proceeding,
Galloway was reading the F.T.A. study. “It’s
talking about an eight-foot storm surge,”
he said. “It says at that level, the subways
would be flooded, and they estimated $58
billion in damage from just the flooding of
the subways alone from an eight-foot storm
surge at the current sea level height. And
if sea levels rise, it’s going to go up to $84
billion so, based on this study, a relatively
modest storm surge could have catastrophic
In the end, the committee was convinced
that something had to be done. It passed
a resolution asking the Army Corps of
Engineers to “expeditiously conduct a study
about the feasibility of installing storm surge
barriers to protect New York City.” It also
asked that elected officials at the city, state
and federal levels support such a study.
The resolution will go in front of C.B. 1’s
full board at its next meeting on Jan. 24.
Trentlyon’s messianic mission is far from
finished, but at least he was able to go home
that night knowing that a few more people
had come to grips with the perils on New
York’s horizon.
Continued from page 1
Based on this study,
a relatively modest
storm surge could have
catastrophic consequences.
— Jeff Galoway
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
following the report, claiming it would
not be “stupid” enough to flout the order.
He added that since many drivers do not
speak English, the F.M.C.S.A. had not
been able to properly evaluate the com-
pany whose fleet he admitted was “pretty
“At this point the owner is just trying to
rectify the problem,” said Lee.
The company must prove to the
F.M.C.S.A. that it has adopted new policies
aimed at addressing 21 violations of safety
regulations recorded in the report in order
to legally restart operations.
Alleged violations include failure to
ensure that all drivers submit to drug test-
ing before operating company buses and to
refrain from working beyond a maximum
amount of hours per day. Close to 50 falsi-
fied driver reports indicated the company
neglected to ensure that drivers were prop-
erly overseeing maintenance of their vehicle,
according to the report.
“Individually and cumulatively, these vio-
lations and these conditions of commer-
cial motor vehicle operation substantially
increase the likelihood of serious injury or
death to Double Happyness Travel, Inc. driv-
ers, passengers, and the motoring public,”
the report read.
The F.M.C.S.A. issued the cease-and-
desist order once it discovered that the com-
pany was still operating. Non-compliance
with the order could result in legal action
and fines of up to $16,000 per day and
could even lead to criminal charges if viola-
tions are found to be willful, according to
the report. “If Double Happyness continues
to operate illegally, the company will face
additional enforcement action”, according
to the order.
Officials from the federal agency did not
respond to requests for comment by press
Chinatown residents alleged their
travels on Double Happyness buses, at
least, were safe. However, accidents in
the last year involving Chinatown buses
from several companies have resulted in
multiple fatalities. A recent crackdown
by F.M.C.S.A. on curbside bus companies
is only the latest effort by the state and
federal governments to clamp down on
unlawful businesses.
A bus bound for New York City in
May crashed north of Richmond, Virginia,
after the driver allegedly fell asleep. An
accident last March in the Bronx killed 15
passengers that boarded a bus driven by a
convicted criminal with an invalid driver’s
license. Three days later, a bus headed from
Chinatown to Philadelphia crashed on the
New Jersey Turnpike, resulting in two deaths
and dozens of injuries.
Nonetheless, several Chinatown residents
said Double Happyness provides cheap
transportation. A woman working at a food
market near the terminal who only gave her
last name, Chen, said she was unperturbed
by the allegations that the company posed a
danger to passengers.
“It does not matter,” she said in
Last week, Rudin Management Co.
took complete ownership of the 35-story,
885,000-square-foot office building
at One Battery Park Plaza in Lower
Manhattan. This building was co-owned
with Rose Associates for 50 years up until
last week. The New York Post reported
the Rudin family paid $80 million for
the remaining half of the tower. Major
tenants in the building include Liberty
Mutual Insurance Co., Seward and Kissel,
and Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP.
The Rudin family also owns other down-
town buildings including 55 Broad St.,
One Whitehall St., 110 Wall St. and 32
Avenue of the Americas.
Downtown Express photo by Marshall James Kavanaugh
Rudin takes over
One Patter Park Plaza
Community Board 1 residents that live
east of Broadway are demanding a greater
number of fresh produce markets in their
neck of the woods.
The three greenmarkets that operate on
Lower Manhattan’s east side are simply not
enough to satisfy the growing residential
demand of the South Street Seaport and
the eastern portion of the Financial District,
according to C.B. 1 Financial District
Committee Chair Ro Sheffe, who conveyed
the message to GrowNYC at the committee
meeting earlier this month.
Sheffe argued that the current greenmar-
kets are unequally distributed around Lower
“If you take as a benchmark four green-
markets serving 22,000 residents on the
west side of Broadway,” said Sheffe, “we
need more than three serving 44,000 people
on the east side.”
Committee member and Southbridge
Towers resident Mariama James, for one, is
yearning for a greater variety of greenmar-
kets where she can purchase staple cooking
ingredients such as fresh salt, olive oil and
“Residential growth in the Financial
District is at its highest rate, but ameni-
ties are at its lowest rate,” said James. “We
should have something on this side [of
Broadway] other than the Sunday markets
at the Seaport.”
Michael Hurwitz, director of GrowNYC’s
greenmarket program, which runs four
Lower Manhattan greenmarkets west of
Broadway, said the nonprofit has come up
short thus far in an active search for new
sites that would be amenable to produce
“We have spent dozens and dozens
of hours looking for a locale east of
Broadway,” said Hurwitz, “and we really
haven’t found one that would work for a
great market.”
Hurwitz and his team are being selective
in their quest for new locations, since open-
ing a new market east of Broadway would
only be worthwhile if it were poised to be
successful, Hurwitz said.
“I wouldn’t want to over saturate the area
and take away from the farmers servicing
those locations unless it would be worth the
while of an extra trip down for a farmer,”
added Hurwitz.
GrowNYC appeared before the commit-
tee to request approval for a city permit that
would grant additional sidewalk space to its
market situated at West Broadway between
Barclay Street and Park Place. Last fall, the
market was transferred from Zuccotti Park,
where it had been stationed for seven of the
last ten years.
The market gets more foot traffic at the
West Broadway site due to its proximity to
the PATH station, and it is conveniently
located adjacent to the farmers’ parked
trucks, according to Hurwitz.
“We were limited to 70 feet at Zuccotti
— that doesn’t really provide for a thriving
marketplace,” explained Hurwitz. “Here,
we’re able to get a few more feet, spread out,
and make it a bit more user-friendly.”
In February, GrowNYC will begin to
identify new products to sell at the West
Broadway market, which now consists of
a selection of fruits, vegetables and baked
“Our ultimate goal is to have a pres-
ence when the new W.T.C. is opened,” said
Hurwitz. “We want to be there with the size
and type of market we had pre-9/11, when
we had between 18 and 22 tents every day.”
While GrowNYC’s market outside the
World Financial Center has struggled since
Continued on page 17
Calls for more greenmarkets
east of Broadway
Bus Co. still promoting service after halt order
Continued from page 4
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 9
Debate over Gov Island’s Liggett Terrace
An unused, asphalt parking lot on
Governors Island will soon be converted
into a public recreation space complete
with flowers, hedges and seating. While
Community Board 1 generally supports the
plan, a few members of its landmarks com-
mittee fear the renovation could take away
from the island’s architectural significance.
Governors Island’s parks and public
space master plan, which will be put into
action starting this spring. By 2013, Liggett
Terrace, which refers to the six-acre, 2,600
space parking lot and lawn adjacent to
Liggett Hall, will be fully ready for use by
the public, according to Leslie Koch, presi-
dent of the Trust for Governors Island. The
terrace sits next to the landmarked, brick-
and-limestone Liggett Hall, which, erected
in 1929, was the first permanent building
on the island’s landfill and will be preserved
by the Trust.
“There’s no need for the parking lot,”
said Koch, particularly since non-personnel
cars aren’t permitted onto the island. “We
thought it was more important to create a
beautiful public space.”
C.B. 1’s landmarks committee approved
the Trust’s design of the island’s historic
district with reservations it will outline in
a forthcoming resolution. Committee chair
Bruce Ehrmann, for one, would greatly
prefer to see the existing Liggett Terrace
retained as is.
The neoclassical qualities of Liggett Hall
reinforce the notion that the six acres should
adhere to the same architectural style,
according to Ehrmann. “The space in front
of the building looks rectilinear, and the
building’s design is rectilinear. This is a typi-
cal formal pattern that Beaux-Art architects
have used time and again,” he said.
“Now they’re putting in this trendy,
biomorphic planting space that absolutely
obscures all of that,” Ehrmann continued.
“There’s plenty of space to do that in the
acres [of park space] that aren’t landmark-
“The issue is, we’re a landmarks com-
mittee – we’re responsible for protecting
landmarks,” chimed in Jeff Ehrlich. “We’re
concerned that we lose something as this
gets covered up.”
To Ehrmann’s point, scant evidence has
been found that architect firm Mckim, Mead
and White had neoclassical intentions in
mind when designing the building, accord-
ing to Koch, who personally visited the NY
Historical Society to examine the original
drawings of Liggett Hall. “There was noth-
ing to suggest any sort of design for a Beaux-
Art plaza,” she said. “Instead what we felt
was important was to respect that beautiful
building, which is of course a landmark, and
encourage the new park and public space
uses [of the island].”
The name “Liggett Terrace” was only
conceived by the Trust a couple of years ago,
Koch noted. “It’s not historic,” she said.
Other committee members were
enthralled by Koch’s presentation. “I think
the design is just terrific,” said committee
member Susan Cole of the overall plan. “I
like the open space, the thoughtfulness of
the green, and how they’re trying to inte-
grate the Brooklyn ferry stop to make it a
more pleasant arrival.”
“It’s clearly a labor of love – you’ve put
so much thought and detail into it,” echoed
committee member Vera Sung.
family friday

Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies,
and community. Everyone is welcome.
Family Friday is sponsored by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in Lower Manhattan,
but you do not have to be part of the parish to attend. Donations to support Family Friday
are welcome.
Directions by subway: 4 Wall Street station Rector Street station
Charlotte’s Place s 109 Greenwich Street, between Rector & Carlisle Streets
212.602.0800 Ř
an Episcopal parish
in the city of New York
How to Train Your Dragon
A young Viking named Hiccup aspires to
become a dragon slayer.
Walt Disney’s Brother Bear
A young Inuit boy kills a bear for revenge
and is magically turned into a bear for
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 · 6-7:30PM
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Iost Dreams
Siblings Carmen and Juni Cortez must
save the world from a mad scientist.
A rendering of Liggett Terrace. Courtesy of the Trust for Governors Island.
Continued on page 20
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
John W. Sutter
John Bayles
Scott Stiffler
Aline Reynolds
Albert Amateau
Lincoln Anderson
Francesco Regini
Allison Greaker
Colin Gregory
Julius Harrison
Alex Morris
Julio Tumbaco
Vera Musa
Troy Masters
Mark Hasselberger
Vince Joy
Helaina N. Hovitz • Terese
Loeb Kreuzer • Jerry Tallmer
Milo Hess • Jefferson Siegel
• Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Published by
515 Canal St., Unit 1C, NY, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 229-1890
Fax: (212) 229-2790
Downtown Express is published every week by
Community Media LLC, 515 Canal St., Unit
1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890.
The entire contents of the newspaper, including
advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be
reproduced without the express permission of the
publisher - ©2011 Community Media LLC.
The Publisher shall not be liable for slight
changes or typographical errors that do not
lessen the value of an advertisement. The
publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions
in connection with an advertisement is strictly
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Bloomberg should
hold his horses
Lower Manhattan is growing in ways that only a
decade ago seemed not just improbable, but impossible.
Who would have thought that our neighborhood, in the
wake of 9/11, would rebound and rebuild so strongly
that it would end up serving as a beacon, as a model for
rebirth and as an example of a community dedicated to
healing, to exhibiting hope and resilience in the face of
Lower Manhattan needs many things right now to
support and balance this rapid growth, including more
school seats and affordable housing.
These pressing needs provide a context for our
endorsement of Manhattan Borough President Scott
Stringer’s pledge to fight Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s
plan, verbalized in his State of the City address given last
week, to sell off three publicly owned Lower Manhattan
buildings in a one-shot deal all in the name of closing a
budget gap that exists in the upcoming fiscal year. The
buildings in question are 49-51 Chambers, 22 Reade,
and 346 Broadway.
If we have one message for Mayor Bloomberg, it’s
“hold your horses.”
By no means are we against the city shedding cer-
tain assets in the name of streamlining government and
saving taxpayers’ dollars. But the city needs to ensure
essential services are provided to its residents that make
this city so great.
In 2009 in Lower Manhattan, 970 children were
born; in 2011, that number rose to 1,086. There is a
desperate need that everyone recognizes Downtown’s
necessity for new school seats, and great difficulty, as
we have seen, in finding them. Selling three publicly
owned buildings without first investigating whether
they can be used to address the school seat shortage is
irresponsible and shortsighted. And the same investiga-
tion is needed to see if these buildings can be developed
residentially as part of an affordable housing program
or incentive.
However if the city wants to put these buildings on
the auction block, there is still the question of public
review and input, and the need for the city to follow
its Unified Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP. All
buildings disposed of by the city must go through the
ULURP process — key participants in the ULURP pro-
cess are the Department of City Planning and the City
Planning Commission, local community boards, borough
presidents, the City Council and the Mayor.
Only one of the three buildings included in the
mayor’s proposal has been subjected to the ULURP
process: 346 Broadway. The Mayor made no mention of
a ULURP process for the other two buildings on Reade
and Chambers Sts. in his speech last week, which has led
many to believe that neither property will be converted
for residential use — specifically affordable housing
— an essential need in the eyes of a majority of C.B. 1
members and Lower Manhattan residents.
The mayor’s one shot proposal has given rise to fears
that there is a sweetheart private developer deal in the
making, one that may result in yet more hotel develop-
ment in an already dense tourist destination.
We hope the Mayor uses this opportunity to detract
from that perception.
We strongly support the borough president’s call for
transparency in the overall process and for the allowance
of public input. What is clearly necessary is a full public
review, where residents, stakeholders and local elected
officials can voice their opinions on what’s best for these
three properties.
Easy on your wallet
To the editor:
Earlier this month, the New York Times
raised its newsstand price from $2.00 to
$2.50. They are now the most expensive
daily newspaper in New York, if not the
nation. Others such as the Wall Street
Journal cost $2.00, USA Today and Newsday
$1.00 each along with the New York Daily
News or New York Post at 75 cents each.
Only our favorite Downtown Express is
still the best deal in town providing the best
coverage of news from lower Manhattan free
of charge!
Larry Penner
Apocalypse now
To the editor:
Re. “Villagers pack Town Hall, hoping to
stop N.Y.U. plan” (news article, Jan. 11):
New York University’s 2031 plan is the
death knell for Greenwich Village and its
neighbors. The plan’s impact on light, air
quality, traffic, density and health will be
catastrophic, and the University’s predatory
and grandiose request for rezoning changes
would alter the face of Greenwich Village
I’m reminded of what Robert
Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita,
said after the atomic detonation in New
Mexico: “Now I am become Death, the
destroyer of worlds.”
N.Y.U.’s plan, if approved, is death to our
neighborhood, the destroyer of worlds. The
plan must be stopped.
Rhoma Mostel

Cruise-ship safety
To the editor:
As a former naval officer; officer-of-the
deck underway, independent and formation
President Barack Obama returns to the
Big Apple on Thursday, meaning a Gridlock
Alert for that day. The president will likely
helicopter from JFK to an upper Manhattan
location and back, so Lower Manhattan
should be spared the worst of the traffic
If you venture uptown, however, be
warned: RFK-Triborough Bridge and FDR
Drive north of 59th Street will have tempo-
rary closures in both directions around 3-4
p.m and again around 10-11 p.m. During his
visit, the President will stop by fundraisers
at Daniel restaurant on E 65th St. between
Madison and Park avenues, Spike Lee’s
townhouse on E 63rd St. between Lexington
and Third avenues, and the Apollo Theater
on W 125th St. between Frederick Douglass
Blvd. and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.
Drivers should stay south of 59th Street and
west of Central Park, or use the West Side
Monday is the start of the Chinese Lunar
New Year and 2012 is the Year of the
Dragon. Alternate side parking is suspended
citywide, while all other parking regulations
remain in effect. (Remember to feed the
meters!) Chinatown marks the beginning of
the Lunar Year with festive dragons, dances,
and firecrackers. More than 200,000 people
are expected to witness the Lunar New Year
celebrations, which kick off with 600,000
rounds of firecrackers at 11 a.m. in Sara
Roosevelt Park between Grand and Hester
streets. A parade will wind around Mott,
Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard, Elizabeth,
and Pell streets until around 3 p.m. There
will be some intermittent lane closures dur-
ing that time frame. Drivers heading from
the Manhattan Bridge to the Holland Tunnel
or vice versa via Canal St. should expect
From the mailbag:
Dear Transit Sam,
What’s the story with the traffic light on
the corner of Vesey St. and Broadway in
Lower Manhattan? The green signal letting
traffic go from Vesey St. to the east side of
Broadway or to Park Row (toward Brooklyn
Bridge) only lasts for approximately 10
John via e-mail
Dear John,
The geometry of this intersection cre-
ates long crosswalks. As a result, the traffic
signal cycle includes an exclusive phase
for pedestrians to cross without turning
vehicles. The New York City Department of
Transportation has since studied the inter-
section and found that, although it might
be short, the green light is long enough to
allow the number of cars waiting at the light
to clear the intersection.
Transit Sam
Confused about ever changing traffic regu-
lations and transit operations? Need winter
driving tips or help navigating around lower
Manhattan? Want to know when the President
next comes to town, or which line is next for
the MTA’s new FASTRACK program? If so,
please e-mail TransitSam@downtownexpress.
com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway,
Suite 415, New York, NY 10012
Transit Sam
The Answer man
Continued on page 25
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 11
The restless spirits of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs were
hovering over the proceedings at the big town hall meeting
concerning N.Y.U.’s massive expansion plan and ULURP.
There, the Angry Buddhist, seeker only of truth, was labeled
a “heckler” by crack Villager reporter Al Amateau, when all I
loudly demanded of Councilmember Chin was to “state your
position!” The Villager editorial board should do so much.
This New York University proposal is not new. It has been
on Chin’s desk for the two years she has been councilmem-
ber of Chinatown. Chin’s cloying comment, “I feel your
passion and commitment to the issue” was disingenuous,
manipulative and insulting to the 500 adults in the room.
She was addressing us like first graders, in the same man-
ner ruthless power broker Robert Moses would chide Jane
Jacobs and Villagers, decades ago, for their opposition to
his urban renewal plans that would have flattened the West
Village; thus my “heckle” — “What is your position?”
Chin, coy as ever and in top form, refused to answer, but
claimed all 51 councilmembers will decide the matter. This is
bogus. Council protocol demands that if the councilmember
from the district impacted by a purely local land-use matter
vociferously opposes the proposal, the colleagues will fall
in line. This happened precisely last fall when Chin had her
colleagues, with no opposition save for Rosie Mendez, over-
turn the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation
of 135 Bowery, an 1817 Federal building, on behalf of her
friends at the First American International Bank. This N.Y.U.
ULURP is too important for vagueness.
Chin has used the same delaying and obfuscating strategy
regarding the proposed Soho Business Improvement District.
The Soho BID has been nearly unanimously opposed by
Community Board 2, as well as by Assemblymember Deborah
Glick, state Senator Daniel Squadron and several thousand
Soho residents, plus The Villager. And the Soho BID process
has clearly been marred by ballot fraud instituted by the BID
proponents. Yet, all this is still not enough for Chin to have
stated her clear, conclusive and final position, yea or nay, to
this day. What contemptuous, premeditated gall.
The Soho BID legislation now sits in the office of the
councilmember from Coney Island, Domenic Recchia, the
chairperson of the Council’s Finance Committee. Recchia
is the scoundrel who engineered the Coney Island upzoning
change from amusements to retail and the $94 million land
swindle that pocketed Thor Equities a $60 million profit at
taxpayer expense. This is New York City land-use politics at
its dirtiest.
Chin is certainly the linchpin, though, in this enormous
ULURP. Pro-real estate chum Speaker Christine Quinn will
certainly have enormous influence, though her power will
ebb in 2012, as does her 13th — I mean, third — and final
The implications of this ULURP are as enormous as the
ironies. Moses created the two N.Y.U. superblocks in the
early 1950s when existing 19th-century commercial build-
ings similar to the surrounding extant streets were deter-
mined “blighted.” As pointed out by Andrew Berman of
the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the
rationale of urban renewal was to demolish obsolete “slums”
deficient in light and air and to replace them with projects
including expanses of green space in perpetuity between new
towers that were allowed to exceed existing zoning height
limitations. This was a great boon to developers. Jane Jacobs
argued vehemently against urban renewal in her seminal
“The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Jacobs was
right most of the time, but in the case of the Le Corbusier-
inspired Washington Square Village and the handsome I.M.
Pei Silver Towers, the outcome, after 50 years, due in large
part to the verdant landscaping and mature trees, must be
determined a success. The housing projects in Red Hook are
another story.
So fast-forward 60 years and we have N.Y.U. trying to
infill these superblocks with massive commercial construc-
tion. Robert Moses would be aghast and so would Jane
Jacobs. Moses as Shiva, the master builder and destroyer,
and Jacobs as Brahma, the urban savior and creator, brought
together by destiny and locked for eternity in battle, would
be locked arm and arm protesting this proposal. Not only
because it would destroy the existence and rationale of this
rare urban renewal success, but also because it would open
the floodgates to ULURP for all the other superblocks around
the city. All of that open space. Big real estate is salivating.
This is the precedent they need. Something this big emanates
from the top. The mayor is surely involved deeply.
So, will Chin be a handmaiden for our imperial mayor
and the ambitious Council speaker, just another sordid bit
player trolling for bigger stakes in the real estate juggernaut
that has been choking the life and authenticity out of our
city for decades? Again, Councilmember Chin, “What is
your position?”
Unless the community leaders on C.B. 2 who “have our
back” demonstrate defiant integrity, and unless Borough
President Scott Stringer is a mensch and not a mouse, and
unless the sycophants of the D.I.D. — or Defeated and
Irrelevant Democrats — immediately field a candidate to
begin the critical 2013 campaign to unseat Chin, I am upping
the 10-to-1 odds I have been offering on Chin defaulting
to N.Y.U. to 25-to-1. Bets can be placed via Al Amateau.
And Prince Arjuna asked Krishna, “What makes man
“Greed, lust, anger. All is clouded by desire. Like a mirror
by dust and a fire by smoke.”
The Bhagavad Gita
Notes from a heckler: The Angry Buddhist returns
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Councilmember Margaret Chin, speaking at the recent “Community United Town Hall on N.Y.U. 2031,” is feeling
the heat — and not just from the Angry Buddhist — from constituents impatient to know where she stands on the
university’s superblocks mega-development plan.
Weekend limited-service stops can leave straphangers stranded.
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Battery Park City Authority’s Board of Directors
meeting on Dec. 20, 2011, B.P.C.A. chairman
William C. Thompson, Jr. announced that a
new severance policy for the Authority would
be developed within the next week to 10 days
and that it would apply retroactively to the
19 B.P.C.A. employees who were dismissed
on Nov. 9. “The Board is authorizing me to
approve that policy, and what we will do is
officially ratify that policy at the next board
meeting,” he said.
As of Jan. 17, 2012, a severance policy is
in place, but Matthew Monahan, a spokesman
for the Authority, said he was unable to reveal
the details until those directly affected had
received letters about their severance from the
Authority. “A policy was drafted,” Monahan
said, “and was approved by the Board.” He said
that letters about severance had been mailed to
the former 19 employees, but he did not know
when they had gone out.
RATS: On Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.,
representatives of the B.P.C.A. and the Battery
Park City Parks Conservancy will talk about rats
with Dr. Stephen Frantz, a professor of public
health at S.U.N.Y. Albany, who knows what can
be done to keep the rodents at bay. “It would
be foolhardy to suggest rats can be eliminated,”
the Authority said in a press release, “but by
reducing their food supply, we can reduce the
attractiveness of this area to them.” People who
feed squirrels and birds are also inadvertently
feeding rats, the Authority said.
The free meeting will be held at 6 River
Terrace, next to Le Pain Quotidien, across from
the Irish Hunger Memorial.
BOOKS: On Saturday of the Martin Luther
King, Jr. holiday weekend, a box of books
appeared at the corner of Rector Place and
South End Avenue in Battery Park City. Taped
to the lid was a sign that said, “Enjoy!” The
box contained such items as “Great Railway
Journeys of the World,” “The Annotated
Frankenstein” and “Let it Come Down” by
Paul Bowles along with an assortment of other
novels, homosexual erotica and reference
books. The next day, there were more books
with a sign that said, “Whole new batch! (Last
one).” Someone had scrawled, “Thank you!”
under the donor’s sign. This time there were
travel guides to London and the Yucatan and
a volume called “Italian Pride: 101 Reasons to
be Proud You’re Italian.” A few hours later,
some of these offerings had been snapped
up and a few new ones had appeared: “The
Elements of Style” by Strunk and White and
a law dictionary among them. Like the loaves
and fishes in the Bible, the box seemed to have
become an inexhaustible cornucopia, sprout-
ing new books even as old ones disappeared.
Monday, the box was still there. Someone had
arranged the books tidily, spines upward. A
cursory inspection revealed that a hardbound
copy of “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
had been added to the mix. Twenty minutes
later, it was gone. A guide to Portuguese wines
had been less popular. It had languished in the
box for several hours until an Italian tourist
spotted it. “Are these really free?” she won-
dered. A passer-by said, “Yes,” and the tourist
went down the street with her treasure.
By Tuesday morning the book box at the
corner of Rector Place and South End Avenue
was gone. Maybe that was just as well. It had
rained during the night and the books would
have become soggy, but it added a little mys-
tery and fun to the streetscape while it lasted.
Saturday, Jan. 14, Lower Manhattan’s
Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra under the
direction of Gary Fagin gave a knockout
performance of some hearty American music
in the Winter Garden of the World Financial
Center — owned by Brookfield Properties. The
free concert honored the 125th anniversary of
the Statue of Liberty and the 200th anniversa-
ry of Castle Clinton in Battery Park with pieces
such as “Liberty Fanfare” by John Williams
and “John Henry” by Aaron Copland. Judy
Kuhn, a Broadway star who has been nomi-
nated for Tony and Drama Desk awards and
who lives in Tribeca, was powerful and affect-
ing as she sang “Annie Laurie,” a traditional
Scottish ballad and “Ah! May the Red Rose
Live Alway” by Stephen Foster. These were
the kinds of songs that would have been sung
by Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,” who
in 1850 made her American debut in Castle
Clinton with the help of P.T. Barnum, — no
slouch at attracting crowds. Kuhn topped off
her set with a funny rendition of “I Said No”
from a 1942 Styne and Loesser musical called
“Sweater Girl.” The evening concluded with a
John Philip Sousa waltz, “La Reine de la Mer.”
Fagin invited the audience to get up and dance,
and many did.
Because of construction at 2 World
Financial Center, the hallway to the south of
the Winter Garden had been blocked off and
baffles had been hung on the mezzanine level.
This led to acoustics that were better than ever,
with a more robust sound from the orchestra
and little distracting noise from elsewhere in
the building. Debra Simon, vice president of
Brookfield, who is in charge of arts program-
ming, said that Brookfield would study the
acoustics as construction proceeds at 2 World
Financial Center.
The artists who perform in the Winter
Garden are paid by Brookfield and all the
programs are free to the public. This is a boon
to both the performers and the audience. The
arts groups get a paycheck and the public gets
arts programming of the highest quality. “It’s a
great gift!” said one audience member happily,
after the Knickerbocker concert.
Next up in the Winter Garden will be a
Chinese lunar New Year celebration on Jan.
28 with crafts, calligraphy and a variety of
dances and from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, a four-day
festival of the haunting films of Bill Morrison,
who uses re-edited silent film footage to tell
stories of communal and personal history. The
opening and closing nights of the Bill Morrison
festival will feature live musical accompani-
ments. For more information, go to http://
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or
to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Soprano Judy Kuhn and members of the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra during
a concert of American music at the Winter Garden in Battery Park City on Jan. 14.
The free concert was underwritten by Brookfield Properties, which owns the World
Financial Center
Over the M.L.K. Jr. holiday weekend, boxes of free books appeared at the corner of
Rector Place and South End Avenue. For several days, the ever-replenished supply
added a little mystery and fun to the streetscape.
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 13
277 Water St 212.444.9443
Photo by Marlis Momber
Electricity was in the air
Traffic was temporarily stopped on Avenue A between Fourth and Sixth Sts. Saturday
night, and a large crowd gathered to watch, as Con Ed removed a transformer from
the Fifth St. substation and loaded it onto a huge flatbed truck for removal. Sunday
morning the scene repeated, with a replacement transformer being hoisted into the
substation, above.
Jef ferson Siegel
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
My times with Taylor Mead
I first met Taylor Mead at the Limelight
nightclub in 1986. Randy Barbato and
Fenton Bailey of the band the The
Fabulous Pop Tarts had a Sunday night
cable TV show they shot at the Limelight.
They would interview underground and
nearly aboveground celebrities. Taylor
was one of the invited “superstars.”
I would photograph the striving-to-be-
mainstream celebrities before they went
on the program, and Nelson Sullivan, the
original 1980s creative video impresario,
with his handheld, state-of-the-art, com-
mercially available video camera, would
flush out the glamorous part of the wait-
ing characters.
My next Limelight recollection of Taylor
is when Screaming Rachael, Jeremiah
Newton and I created a cable award
show called “The Nelsons,” in memory of
Nelson Sullivan. The Nelsons were given
to people we thought made a significant
contribution to the kind of cable TV we
appreciated. Taylor was a recipient of one
of these awards.
In 1987 when Dennis Hopper had his
brilliant photo exhibition at the Tony
Shafrazi Gallery I videotaped the open-
ing. Even though Jim Jarmusch, Julian
Schnabel, Matt Dillon and other movie/
artist celebrities were there, one of the
most poignant moments in the video was
when Taylor came in and Dennis and
Taylor reunited again for the first time in
many years. A truly classic moment. You
could see Hopper was truly surprised and
appreciative to see his old friend.
On First St. between Avenue A and
First Ave. there was a tiny little jewel of
a store, Little Ricky’s, which sold almost
every kind of small item, masterpiece of
kitsch and just about any type of knick-
knack one could imagine as cool and a
must-have. This was before Little Ricky’s
moved to First Ave. and Third St. In this
mini-paradise I bought, for $5, a copy of
“Taylor Mead On Amphetamine and in
Europe” (Boss Books, 1968).
The Ludlow St. block my friend Taylor
lives on, pre-gentrification, was a danger-
ous war zone run by a crew called the
Ludlow Boys. The Ludlow Boys sold a
brand of heroin called Hell Raiser. The
block was treacherous for those who had
no business being there. But the Boys
were all local and Taylor was a known
and loved member of the community. One
quality that made him an endearing neigh-
borhood figure was his self-proclaimed
duty to feed the local feral cats. Taylor
was that hardly visible shadowy figure,
seen late in the night, dropping off open
cans of cat food under fences and in
vacant lots.
I used to wonder how Taylor stayed so
active and healthy. He told me he walked
80 blocks a day. The fact that he lived on
the top floor, five flights up, in an old ten-
ement building also helped to keep him in
shape. O.K., that kept him healthy, but
sometimes his drinking would interfere
with his physical fitness. I remember one
time he came home drunk and fell down
the stairs, fracturing his wrist. I photo-
graphed his injury and then contacted
his old friend and supporter Baird Jones.
Baird got a New York Post Page 6 item
on Taylor and people reached out to offer
him whatever kind of help they could
On numerous occasions I would pho-
tograph Taylor when I would see him on
the street, or in the JAE Bodega, at 99
Stanton St., buying cat food, or at one
of his favorite eating places, Lucien’s
Restaurant or the Pink Pony. Lucien and
his wife, Phyllis, and Zac, their son, love
and adore Taylor. When Taylor comes into
one of these two fine-dining establish-
ments they treat him like the Ludlow St.
Grand Poo-Bah. Lucien always has him sit
at his personal table. On Monday nights
at the Pink Pony, Zac and I ran a dine-
and-film club. Anton Perish came and
screened his “Candy and Daddy” movie,
staring Candy Darling and Taylor Mead.
One of the most important videos that
Elsa Rensaa, my wife, and I made for
Taylor was when his landlord was doing
everything in his power, legal and ille-
gal, to evict him from his rent-stabilized
apartment. Pre-gentrification it was hard
to rent these run-down dumps. Post-
gentrification the monthly rent for the
tiny, two-room hovel would cost more
than a two-week holiday in Spain.
Both Elsa and I were disgusted at
the landlord’s determination to evict his
octogenarian tenant. His apartment was
overrun with roaches, the plaster was fall-
ing off the walls, the place had not been
painted in decades, the bathroom had no
door, the faucets leaked, a large portion
of the plaster ceiling was bulging and
ready to fall. The building violation that
I felt was the most hazardous was a hole
in his bedroom ceiling. Above his bed
was an opening large enough that I could
stick my head through and see the great
outdoors. When it rained or snowed the
drops or flakes would fall onto Taylor’s
Thankfully, Amy Wallen, the direc-
tor of “The General Returns,” in which
Taylor had acted, took it on as her
mission to fight this case in court. She
satisfied all of the judge’s demands, like
cleaning up the apartment, getting rid
of the roaches, sweeping the floors and
cleaning up all the cat litter that Taylor’s
cats kicked onto the floor. She contacted
Cindy Carr, who wrote an exposé in the
Village Voice on this life-threatening
crime. And Elsa and I provided the
photographic and video evidence of the
disastrous living conditions. Amy was
diligent, she did the hard cleanup work
and spent the hours preparing the case
and going to the God-forbidden place
known as Housing Court. She won the
case and Taylor’s home was saved. Sadly,
prior to the cleanup, the landlord sent
some thugs to clean up the apartment
and they bagged up many of Taylor’s
artistic creations and personal belong-
ings and threw them out.
Shows I have had at the Clayton
Gallery and Outlaw Art Museum that
included Taylor include “The ’80s: 326
Years of Hip,” curated by Anne Loretto,
Clayton Patterson and James Rasin; “A
Group Exhibition of Four Octogenarian
Artists, With Boris Lurie, Mary Beach,
Herbert Huncke and Taylor Mead”; “Wild
Boys, Bad Boys, Outsiders and Originals,
The Heavyweights | Tompkins Square
Park Police Riots: 1988 to 1998, Then
’til Now,” curated by Chris Kelley and
Alfredo Martinez.
For more information, see “Twenty
Questions With Taylor Mead in Love,”
by Michael Bowen, as well as “Captured:
A Film Video History of the Lower East
Side, curated and produced by Clayton
Patterson, edited by Clayton Patterson,
Paul Bartlett and Urania Mylonas (Seven
Stories Press).
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Taylor Mead in a theater performance on the hopping Lower East Side.
Taylor Mead, left, and restaurateur Lucien, one of his biggest fans.
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 15
Chilly, quiet MLK Day in the hood. Were
people actually reflecting on the Dream or
hitting slopes and sales elsewhere? Hopefully
there are people dreaming and someday their
dreams will come true.
friends gather around and wish Markie Myers
a happy birthday. The fun lady and crew
hoisted a few at the “clubhouse” – Meade’s,
on Peck Slip and Water St. Festivities contin-
ued all week as friends and family joined her
and mate Dave Richter and their little Ellis
in celebrations. SR wishes lovely Markie
many, many more happy birthdays!
pretty woman graced the hood two nights
later. Actress Amy Carlson from the TV hit
show Blue Bloods brought some friends to
SamSara, 277 Water St., for fun and great
food. The pert blonde actress who plays
Linda Reagan on the family of cops show
shared food, drinks and laughs with a group
of friends.
JAM SESSION… While this is the quiet
season when most of us are trying to keep
the dopey New Year’s resolutions we made at
the beginning of the month (not!), some of
us still want to have fun. Check out Cowgirl
Seahorse, 259 Front St., on Monday, Jan.
23, 8 p.m., for some serious foot-stomping.
The Crusty Gentlemen get their swing on
and play their rocking bluegrass music for a
night of fun. When this quartet starts pluck-
ing, things heat up! What better way to get
the chill off in January?
WRITE A ROMANCE… And speaking
of heat… As reported by John Bayles in
Downtown Express last week, the Alliance
for Downtown for New York is sponsoring
a contest for the most romantic downtown
love story for Valentine’s Day. Enter the
Lower Manhattan Love Story contest and
you and yours could win dinner for two at
the lovely Wall & Water restaurant and a
romantic weekend night at the posh Andaz
Wall Street hotel. That’s not all; Greenwich
Jewelers is adding a $250 gift certificate to
its store. All you have to do is write in 500
words or less the story of how you fell in love
below Chambers Street, either with your
significant other or with the actual neighbor-
hood. Deadline is February 8. Email entries
to or mail to
Downtown Alliance, Att: Lower Manhattan
Love Story, 120 Broadway, Suite 3340, NY,
NY 10271 by 12:59 pm Feb. 8. For more
details and rules, visit www.downtownny.
PEACE OF MIND… If you are like
SR and already broke most of your New
Year’s resolutions, then you might want
to get some free mental focusing. Every
Wednesday through Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m.,
the Transcendental Meditation program of
Lower Manhattan, 80 Broad St., offers free
introductory talks about how meditation
releaves stress, develops happiness and cre-
ativity and improves health and well being.
Reservations required. For more info and to
reserve, go to
GET YOUR GAME ON… So who isn’t
excited that the Giants are possible contend-
ers for Super Bowl XLVI? Well, maybe SR
who watched the Packers fold and play their
worst game this season on Sunday. But, I
digress. We’re moving forward and if the
Gits make it, we’d be thrilled. So will almost
every bar in NYC. So where will you watch
the big game? If you aren’t having a party
or invited to one, the best bet is to visit one
of the great bars in our hood. SR took a
stroll the other day to check out big screens,
best seats and super snacks for Super Bowl
Sunday, Feb. 5. Here are our favs:
Best view & brew: Vino NYC Beer
& Wine, 3rd floor, Pier 17 Market, is at
the end of the pier with two medium TV
screens to watch the game and sweep-
ing 180-degree views of the East River,
Brooklyn and bridges. The big plus is that
you have your choice of snacks from the
many mall food shops – wings, dumplings,
burgers and more.
Best seaside sports bar: Fish Market, 111
South St. Several TV sets line the back bar
of this tiny old school dive-like pub/restau-
rant. Great for seafood grub like oysters,
clams and calamari, and a pint.
Best for a swill time: The Paris Café,
119 South St., is a premiere place to watch
sports with its horseshoe-shaped bar and
multiple large screens hung overhead; Not
to overlook their dynamite burger.
Best sports bar ever: Jeremy’s Ale House,
228 Front St. Okay so SR has a special place
in our hearts for one of the oldest, fun-
nest, grooviest, grimiest, craziest clubhouses
in the Port. Big, boisterous and badass,
Jeremy’s is a fave place to watch sports with
it frat-house feel and big screens everywhere.
Buckets of beer and lots of fried foods to
sop up the suds – a winner for watching the
home team.
During Mayor Bloomberg’s State of the
City address last Thursday, he again brought
up the city’s dedication to bring more
bicycles to city streets. The city originally
announced last year that in the summer of
2012 it would begin the nation’s largest bike
share program.
The program will be run by Alta Bicycle
Share, a company that already manages the
bicycle share programs in Washington D.C.,
Boston, and Melbourne, Australia. The pro-
gram will feature a total of 10,000 bicycles
available at stations throughout Manhattan
as well as in Long Island City, Greenpoint,
Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Park Slope,
downtown Brooklyn, and areas in between.
Alta Bicycle Share will raise a private
investment of $50 million to fund costs for
this program, and not use taxpayer dollars.
To become a member it will cost an annual
fee of $100. Members will be able to use
bikes for up to 30 minutes for no additional
charge. Alta has still not announced how
much it will cost beyond that time, but in
Washington DC users pay $1.50 for 30 min-
utes to one hour, $3.00 for up to 90 minutes,
and $6.00 for every 90 minutes after that.
There will also be daily and short-term rates
for first time users.
The city Department of Transportation
has set up a website for NYC residents to
vote on sites where the city should place bike
share stations. Tribeca proves to become a
very popular hub for bike share traffic with
plenty of stations voted on close to resi-
dences and workplaces. Weather permitting,
getting from point A to point B may become
a much easier task this summer for Tribeca
residents who need to travel short distances
across town.
On Monday some resident bicyclists
braving the cold January weather remarked
on the possibility of the Bike Share pro-
gram coming to their neighborhood. One
Tribeca resident, Debra, said she hoped
more people would be using the program
causing “cars to become more aware and
respectful of the increased amount of
riders.” She mentioned that she has her
own personal collection of bicycles spread
out across town already, which she uses
during her commute when outside of the
Another bicyclist, Phil, said he had used
bike share programs in other cities and
found them to be helpful. “It will be seasonal
though with more use likely in the summer,”
he predicted and then looked around at the
cold, wet weather conditions. “In the winter,
not so much.”
Though there were a few commuters who
were not already aware of the bike share
program, there was no one who had any-
thing negative to say about it. If everything
goes as planned, this summer the streets of
Tribeca will become full of bikes and bike
share patrons. Remember to bring a hel-
met though, as Alta Bicycle Share has not
announced any plans to include these as part
of the rental.
For more information and to vote on a
bike station near you,
Tribeca could be prime locale for bike share program
Downtown Express photo by Marshall James Kavanaugh
A bike rack at the corner of Greenwich and N. Moore Sts. in Tribeca is usually full
and is proof the city’s bike share program could be a hit in the bike-friendly neigh-
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
W.T.C. Command Center unpopular with locals
of the Varick Street pedestrian crosswalks.
The situation has gotten so bad, Marra said, that he has seen
the MTA M20 bus resort to unloading passangers in the middle
of Varick Street rather than at the nearby bus stop.
“From a community perspective, the unwise choice to put the
Command Center in a residential neighborhood is clear – police
cruisers, the civilian cars of officers, and the small interceptor
vehicles are too numerous to physically fit in the neighborhood,”
said Marra.
Short of the NYPD finding a local parking lot to park their
vehicles in, Marra said, “I think we have the right to expect that
at least those officers who park personal or official vehicles in the
neighborhood will stay will stay away from hydrants, not park in
places that cause visibility or other traffic dangers to pedestrians,
and keep sidewalks open.”
A police van routinely parked in the crosswalk makes the turn
especially dangerous, according to Marra, who frets about the
safety of his two young children.
“We taught the kids to walk against the North Moore pedes-
trian light, because it’s way more dangerous to cross when you
have the light with cars making a turn from Varick Street,” said
“It’s really hard to get visibility on that corner, and cars are
making sharp turns [onto North Moore Street] at relatively high
speeds,” echoed Allen Murabayashi, president of the board at 25
N. Moore St. “It’s just an unsafe atmsophere for what really is a
family-oriented block.”
Signage is in place to remind cops of the parking regulations,
and the Police Department would take internal disciplinary
action ranging from verbal warnings to summonses to the towing
of vehicles if the rules are violated, according to Sergeant George
Giga. Varick Street is especially packed with parked cars these
days because the space is shared between the Command Center,
the First Precinct and Transit District Two, he noted.
“Within the Police Department, there’s a big ‘no-no’ to park
vehicles in crosswalks or hydrants, unless it’s an emergency,”
said Giga.
The C.B. 1 Tribeca Committee is drafting a resolution
requesting that the Command Center and the NYPD take
additional enforcement steps to address the parking issue. “The
volume [of cars] doesn’t work in our neighborhood, so we’re
formally requesting that the NYPD take more action on this and
try to improve it,” said Committee Chair Peter Braus.
A dangerous intersection isn’t the only problem that came
with the Command Center’s creation last year; a stairwell the
Command Center constructed last summer has also caused
The stairs’ installation, which required the partial demolition
of a brick wall inside the landmarked First Precinct building,
is scheduled for review by the city Landmarks Preservation
Commission at a Feb. 7 hearing, according to L.P.C. Spokesperson
Lisi de Bourbon. The three-story building, constructed in the
early 1900s, is landmarked for its neo-Renaissance design,
according to data provided by the L.P.C.
“A permit was required prior to the installation of the stair-
case,” said de Bourbon, “but we issued no violations or warning
letters because the Police Department submitted an application
for a review of the work after we contacted them.”
Light and noise emanating from the stairwell was disturb-
ing residents that live in the adjacent building at 27 N. Moore
St., prompting complaints to the Police Department in the fall.
The Police Department made an effort to resolve the problem in
early December, when the Command Center removed half of the
stairwells’ light bulbs and painted the sides of the remaning light
fixtures black, according to Giga. Residents of 27 N. Moore St.
couldn’t be reached for comment.
“Neither [tactic] was satisfactory, so they put up a wall,” said
Giga. “I was in one of the [adjacent] apartments, so I definitely
understood their grief.”
The Command Center, which deploys more than 200 police
officers to monitor possible terrorism activity in and around the
W.T.C. site, is still slated to move to 4 W.T.C. in approximately
two years.
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Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
The new W.T.C. Command Center at the NYPD’s First
Precint in Tribeca is more of a pain and less of a com-
fort for nearby residents.
Continued from page 1
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 17
so far. While cops have handcuffed 2,764 salesmen since
the Canal Street initiative began, 85 percent of the arrests
led only to misdemeanor charges, according to N.Y.P.D.
“The charges are not sticking in court, and the vendors often
get a small [amount] of community service [as punishment],”
noted LeRoy. “No repeat offenders are being put in jail. You
arrest them one day, and they’ll be out the next.”
Councilmember Margaret Chin believes that to success-
fully tackle the problem the city needs to target the demand
side of the trade by educating and even penalizing counter-
feit purchasers. She introduced a bill in the City Council last
year that, if passed, would fine buyers up to $1,000 and carry
a jail sentence of up to one year.
“This is really the smart and cost-effective way to lessen
the demand,” said Chin of the law. “It gives [officers] anoth-
er tool when they see this kind of activity going on.”
However, Councilmember Pete Valone, who chairs the
City Council’s public safety committee, has reservations
about the proposed enforcement method. He nevertheless
plans to schedule a hearing for the bill in the early spring.
“I agree with [Councilmember Chin] that this is a serious
problem and that we need to do some oversight on this topic,”
said Valone. “But as a former prosecutor, I can tell you it
would be a very, very difficult law to enforce. You would need
proof beyond reasonable doubt, and I’m not sure that’s the
best use of our undercover [officers] in New York City.”
“It seems easy enough to make arrests of the sellers,”
Valone continued, “based on what’s going on.”
Both Cantor and Kapp support Chin’s bill and believe it
could lessen the demand for fake merchandise. Kapp, for
one, has often witnessed Canal Street vendors getting away
with the sales by playing “cat-and-mouse” with the cops.
“The cops swing by, they fold up the blankets, and then
they stand there,” said Kapp. “The cops go down the street,
they open up the blankets, and they put the merchandise
[back] out on the sidewalk.”
For now, though, shoppers such as Alex Vasquez from
Essex County, New Jersey, can continue to buy knock-off
merchandise without being penalized.
“I bought some colognes, some earrings and a chain for
a total of $80,” said Vasquez. Asked about the counterfeit
activity, he said, “I’m guessing if it’s going on, someone must
have noticed and [is] allowing it.”
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
Tourists on Canal Street huddle over a pile of knock-off handbags on a recent afternoon.
Despite NYPD intiative, illegal vendors still thriving
Continued from page 5
opening in 2010, its greenmarket at Bowling
Green has become a hotspot in the com-
munity — so much so that it will be
expanding in the coming months, accord-
ing to Hurwitz. Hanover Square resident
Renee Kopel, who frequents the market
twice a week, said she missed it “terri-
bly” during its one-week hiatus between
Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Kopel’s favorite snacks from the
Bowling Green market are the pumpkin
cupcakes and the apple cider donuts.
“We went in search of something decent
for breakfast, and everything [else] just
looks and tastes processed and is gener-
ally more expensive,” said Kopel.
GrowNYC operates year-round green-
markets at Broadway and Battery Place,
Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
and at Greenwich St. between Chambers
and Duane Sts., Wednesday and Saturday,
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. GrowNYC also runs
greenmarkets at West Broadway between
Barclay Street and Park Place every
Tuesday from April 5 to Dec. 20, 8 a.m. to
6 p.m.; and at South End Ave. at Liberty
St., inside the cul-de-sac, every Thursday
from April 7 to Dec. 22, 11 a.m. to 7
p.m. For more information, visit www.
Claims of unequal greenmarket distribution
Continued from page 8
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Residents east of Broadway are hoping their neighborhoods receive more greenmarkets in the coming year. Above, shoppers at
the GrowNYC greenmarket in Battery Park City last summer.
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, an environmental lawyer
and former New York region administrator of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency in the George H.W. Bush
administration, died at home in Manhattan at 81.
A Republican, he was a member of the M.T.A. board
of directors for 15 years, having been appointed by
New York Republican Governor Malcolm Wilson and
reappointed by Democratic Governors Hugh Carey and
Mario Cuomo. Sidamon-Eristoff championed protect-
ing land around the New York City watershed Upstate,
which ultimately saved the city from having to build a
$2 billion water-filtration plant.
Sidamon-Eristoff, a member of the Georgian aristo-
cratic family that emigrated from the Caucasus in the
1920s after the Soviet takeover of Russia, was born in
Manhattan and graduated from Princeton in 1952 with a
bachelor’s of science degree in geological engineering.
An officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, he served as
a second lieutenant in the artillery during the Korean
conflict, winning a Bronze Star and promotion to first
lieutenant. After discharge from active service, he
earned his law degree from Columbia in 1957.
He was chairman of the Audubon New York board of
trustees and a member of the National Audubon Society
board of trustees at his death.
He married Anne Phipps, a descendant of the family
that created Phipps Houses in 1905 to build and man-
age low-and-middle-income housing. Sidamon-Eristoff
was chairman emeritus and a member of Phipps
Houses, which provides homes to more than 15,000
people and is actively developing 400 more apartments
for low-and-middle-income residents.
In addition to his wife of 54 years, his son Andrew,
a member of the New York City Council from 1993 to
1999, also survives, as do another son, Simon, and a
daughter, Elizabeth, and eight grandchildren.
A public memorial service to be announced is
planned for mid-February. Donations may be made in
his memory to Audubon New York, 225 Varick St.,
N.Y., N.Y. 10014 or American Friends of Georgia, P.O.
Box 1200, Truro, Mass., 02666.
Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, city water protector
James J. Rizzi, a pop artist who was the first living art-
ist ever to be commissioned by the German government
to design postage stamps, died suddenly on Dec. 26 in
his Lafayette St. studio in Soho. He was 61.
Known for his 3D constructions, consisting of hand-
colored prints mounted on top of each other with wires,
he also designed the “Happy Rizzi House,” an exuber-
antly painted office building in Braunschweig, Germany.
He also designed the exterior painting of a Boeing 757,
the “Rizzi Bird” for Lufthansa’s charter Condor Airlines
in 1996 and designed the painting of three Volkswagen
New Beetles in 1999 for the German automaker.
Born to Dominick and Margaret Rizzi in Brooklyn,
where he was raised, he graduated from Erasmus Hall
High School and went to the University of Florida in
Gainesville, Fla.
“He started paining as a child,” said his sister,
Roberta Rizzi, “He drew all over his bedroom door,” she
James Rizzi developed his 3D constructions as a fine-
art student at the University of Florida, from which he
was graduated in 1973. He had his first exhibits that
year in the outdoor art shows around Washington Square
Park and in Brooklyn Heights. Two years later he painted
a 150-foot mural on the wall of a Sullivan St. building,
which has since been demolished.
In 1980 he designed the album cover artwork for the
Tom Tom Club, a music group, and later created anima-
tion for the Tom Tom Club’s music video. He also under-
took several design projects in Japan.
He was the official artist of the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., and the next year was official
artist for the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The
first day of a 1997 retrospective of his work in Brooklyn,
was officially declared James Rizzi Day in the borough.
A 2008 retrospective of his work included more than
1,000 of his pieces on display in the Rheingold Hall in
Mainz, Germany, and attracted more than 50,000 paid
His marriage to Gabrielle Hamill, a fashion designer,
ended in divorce.
In addition to his sister, his mother and an older brother,
William, also survive. A memorial was held at Perazzo
Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., on Tues., Jan. 3.
James Rizzi, pop artist known for his 3D creations
James Rizzi.
Elisabeth Alice Moser, a resident of Pen and Brush,
16 E. 10th St., for 40 years until 2003, died Dec. 4 in
Somers, N.Y., at age 85.
Born in Switzerland where she trained and worked as
a psychiatric nurse, she came to New York in 1962 when
she became a resident of Pen and Brush, a club dedicated
to women in the arts.
She moved to an assisted-living residence in Somers
in Westchester County eight years ago.
“My aunt loved the Village, attending plays and con-
certs and watching people in Washington Square Park,”
said her niece, Marianne DeBellis, of Malone, N.Y.
Elisabeth continued to work as a psychiatric nurse
in New York and in later years worked as a private-care
nurse until she retired in the 1990s, DeBellis said.
She was born in Arni, Switzerland, in the canton
of Bern where her mother and father, Elise and Ernest
Moser, were cheesemakers, her niece said.
“Elisabeth was incredibly generous,” recalled her
friend Jill Wright, a former fellow Pen and Brush resi-
dent. Once, when Elisabeth learned that a new resident
in the building had a relative who needed surgery, she
knocked on her door, introduced herself, and offered
financial help, recalled Wright, who moved from Pen and
Brush in 2008. The club no longer has residential tenants
and is selling its 1848 townhouse. Pen and Brush will
continue as a women’s arts club at another location, said
Dawn Delikat, director of the club’s art gallery.
Joan Barton DeCaro, another former Pen and Brush
resident and a friend of Elisabeth’s for nearly 30 years,
remembered her generous spirit and her love of theater.
“She was multilingual and spoke German, French and
Italian — the official languages of Switzerland,” DeCaro
In addition to her niece, two sisters, Ann Marie
Moser and Martine Gailloud, both of Switzerland, also
survive, as do a nephew, Peter Kueng of Logan, Utah,
three grandnephews and a great-grandniece. Two older
sisters, Marguerite Kueng of Somers and Verena Moser
of Switzerland, died earlier.
“At Elisabeth’s request, there were no formal funeral
arrangements, and her family, friends and caregivers are
celebrating the joys of Elisabeth’s life,” her niece said.
Elisabeth Moser, 85, longtime resident of arts club
Elisabeth Moser
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 19
Citing precedent, C.B. 1 denies props for Tribeca buildings
faces the aforementioned buildings, said
he would lose natural sunlight that streams
into his windows if the redesign plan were
“I’d nonetheless be supportive if they
were making something beautiful there,”
said Cantor, “but they’re destroying a beauti-
ful building and cladding it with something
that’s really not contextual. And the choice
of materials is poor.”
Schelkle insisted, however, that the exist-
ing façade of the two-story structure can’t be
saved. “It has been altered many times over
the years, and there are no records of what
the original looked like,” he said. “There’s no
way to restore it to what was there, because
you don’t know what was there.”
Schelkle plans to present his design to
the Landmarks Preservation Committee at
its Feb. 7 meeting.
The C.B. 1 committee also vetoed a
proposal to build a rooftop extension atop a
residential building on Reade Street, claim-
ing that endorsing the design would similarly
contradict C.B. 1 principles.
Architect Carlos Zapata, famous for his
design of the Cooper Square Hotel and
other New York City buildings, presented
a one-and-a-half story rooftop addition for
105-107 Reade St. and a modified design
for the building’s cast-iron façade at C.B. 1’s
Landmarks Committee meeting on Dec. 8.
The proposed rooftop addition would
jibe well with the buildings it is sandwiched
between, according to Zapata’s attorney,
Frank Angelino.
“There is a two-story rooftop addition
directly to the east, and another directly to
the west,” said Angelino. “We’re no higher
than those.”
The design comprises an outdoor pool
and terrace as well as a consolidation of the
building’s cooling machinery into a cooling
“We’re proposing to move [the cooling
equipment] into the rooftop addition in
a manner where it’s concealed and mini-
mizes the noise to the surroundings,” said
The committee, however, advised Zapata
and his team to go back to the drawing
board, recommending that they transform
the blueprint into a one-story rooftop addi-
tion so as to reduce the rooftop’s visibility
from street level. “Although your design is
lovely… it’s been our tradition that [the
landmarks committee] doesn’t accept pro-
posals for two-story additions,” said commit-
tee member Noel Jefferson.
Zapata committed to coming back to the
committee with a revised proposal once he
receives additional feedback on his design
from the L.P.C. at an upcoming hearing.
The landmarks committee stopped accept-
ing multi-story additions about a decade ago
under the belief that they are discordant
with the area’s historic buildings, according
to Michael Levine, C.B. 1’s director of land
use and planning.
“When they saw four-, five-, and six-story
additions on the south sides of Reade and
Chambers Street, they said, ‘we don’t want it
in the landmark district,’” said Levine. “The
idea is, putting a modern building on top of
an older building destroys the sense of the
Zapata pleaded with the committee to
approve the design, contending that the
rooftop would be minimally visible from the
street and that the proposed architectural
changes are in keeping with the other build-
ings on the block.
“We’re coming to this addition through
research, and developing the design based
on what exists,” said Zapata. “There must be
a way to get to a point where you can do an
addition that’s more than one story.”
“You’ll have to really struggle very hard,”
replied Jefferson.
Continued from page 6
but with respect to those who have died, the
city has rarely made the formal link.
Media giant Conde Nast will be expand-
ing its square footage at One World Trade
Center by more than 100,000 square feet on
floors 42 through 44, according to a report
first published in the New York Post.
Once the deal is finalized, the company,
which last spring signed a 25-year, $2 billion
lease with the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, will possess 24 floors -- or
1.2 million square feet – of space in the future
skyscraper. Conde Nast is expected to move
into the building in 2015, according to a pre-
vious report by the Downtown Express.
Neither a representative of Cushman &
Wakefield, the leasing agent of One W.T.C.,
nor a Port Authority spokesperson would
confirm the news. Both officials declined to
comment. Conde Nast, meanwhile, couldn’t
immediately be reached for comment.
Downtown Digest
Continued from page 6
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Architect Corie Sharples also applauded
the design. “It seems like your research
shows this wasn’t a formally planned, for-
mally designed space, so I feel like you’re
not detracting from the historic [element],”
she said.
On a separate note, new promising
initiatives mentioned by Mayor Michael
Bloomberg during his Jan. 12 State of the
City address may be brought to Governors
Island in the near future. “Out in the har-
bor, we’ll continue to be transforming the
island… with 30 new acres of parkland that
will make Governors Island one of the great
waterfront destinations in the world,” said
Bloomberg during his speech.
In particular, Bloomberg discussed
“Space Works,” a city-launched organiza-
tion that would secure long-term affordable
rehearsal and studio space for artists at loca-
tions around the city that would possibly
include Governors Island.
Koch said she would embrace the pro-
gram. “We’ve become an extra destination
for arts and culture – one of our tenants, the
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, runs
year-round – and we’d love to see even more
artist activity on the island, both as [part
of] our public access programming calendar
and our year-round tenancy,” said Koch.
“We’re excited about New York continuing
to be a capital for the creation of art, and
for Governors Island to play a leadership
role in that.”
Bloomberg also talked about a new joint
initiative between the city and AT&T that
would launch WiFi service in dozens of city
parks. Koch said of the initiative, “It’s not
an active project at this time, but it’s some-
thing we would welcome at some point in
the future.”
Debating history of Liggett Terrace
74 Warren Street
We at Church Street School
for Music and Art believe
that everyone has un|que
creative potential, and
that the development of
expression of this
creat|v|ty is essential to
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of the individual and the
Programs Ior st0deots
16 mooths to ad0|t
AIterschoo| Arts Academy
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FREE Open House February 11th, 10am - 4pm
Jazz on Sundays
8-11 pm
Gabriel’s Brunch
Sat & Sun 11am - 4pm
16 N. Moore St. (at Varick) • 212-941-0142
Open 7 days 11am - 4am
Continued from page 9
Keep on top
of local crime,
every week in
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 21
record, we have it on good authority that performers booked
for shows at the Canal Park Playhouse almost always show
up. But that’s not the case when The Piccolini Trio sits down
to enjoy a performance from a circus that never arrives. For-
tunately, clowns always travel with an antique trunk full of
all the props, costumes and surprises necessary for putting
on a show of their own. Combining contemporary as well
as classic European clowning, the Piccolinis (Joshua Shack,
John Stork and Joy Powers) also draw from the collective
experience of having performed with the likes of Circus
Smirkus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and the Mos-
cow State Circus. The result is a repertoire of routines that
use music, acrobatics, physical comedy, juggling and panto-
mime in unique and unexpected ways. Their show, “Circus
in a Trunk,” is part of Canal Park Playhouse’s Classic Brunch
Matinee series — at which audience members can enjoy
a selection of items from The Waffle Iron Café (open from
10am-6:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays, for ticket holders
only). Among the Café’s repertoire: Hot-off-the-waffle-iron
spinach, mushroom, smoked chicken sausage frittatas;
French toast and traditional Belgian waffles. Greek yogurt,
granola and fresh fruit provide a nice alternative to those
making good on their New Year’s resolution to live on slightly
less grease and sugar. Appropriate for all ages. Through
Sun., Jan. 29; Sat. and Sun., at 2pm and 4pm. At Canal Park
Playhouse (508 Canal St., btw. Greenwich and West Sts.).
General admission is $20, with a pre or post-show pre-fixe
brunch available for an additional $8 in advance or $10 at
the door. For reservations or more info, call 866-811-4111 or
visit For info on the artists, visit
THE BULLY This musical from Vital Children’s Theatre (part
of their touring repertoire since 2005) returns to NYC for an
extended run. “The Bully” tells the story of a bus mix-up
stranding Lenny (the nerd) and Steve (the bully) at the wrong
school — where they both get picked on for being “the new
kids.” When the boys are forced to work together to get
back to their school, they begin to learn that they might not
be so different after all. Appropriate for ages 4-12. Through
Feb. 26; Sat. & Sun. at 11am & 1pm. Weekday 11am & 1pm
school holiday performances on Jan. 27 and Feb. 20, 21, 22,
23. At Vital Theatre (2162 Broadway, 4th Floor, on the North
East Corner of 76th St. and Broadway). Tickets are $25 (seat-
ing in the first three rows, $30). For reservations, visit call
212-579-0528 or visit
“Sesame Street” and have seen the new Muppet reboot cur-
rently in theaters (“The Muppets”), then a seen visit to this
exhibit is a must. “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” has much
more to offer than just the chance to see Miss Piggy and Ker-
mit under glass. There are also drawings, storyboards, props
and a reel of witty commercials from the black and white era
of television. “Fantastic World” can be seen through March 4.
At the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave., Asto-
ria). Museum hours: Tues.-Thurs., 10:30am-5pm. Fri., 10:30am-
8pm. Sat. & Sun., 10:30am-7pm. Admission: $10 for adults;
$7.50 for college students and seniors; $5 for children under
18 (free for members and children under three). Free admission
every Fri., from 4-8pm. For info and a full schedule of events,
visit — or call 718-777-6888.
THE FROG PRINCE The Galli Theater’s season continues
with “The Frog Prince” (through Jan.29) and Aladdin (through
Feb. 26). These productions are appropriate for all ages. All
shows take place at 347 W. 36th St. (btw. 8th & 9th Aves.).
For tickets ($20 for adults, $15 for children), call 212-352-
3101 or visit Also visit gallitheaterny.
POETS HOUSE The Poets House Children’s Room gives
children and their parents a gateway to enter the world of
rhyme — through readings, group activities and interactive
performances. For children ages 1-3, the Children’s Room
offers “Tiny Poets Time” readings on Thursdays at 10am; for
those ages 4-10, “Weekly Poetry Readings” on Saturdays at
11am. Filled with poetry books, old-fashioned typewriters
and a card catalogue packed with poetic objects to trigger
inspiration, the Children’s Room is open Thurs.-Sat., 11am-
5pm. Free admission. At 10 River Terrace. Call 212-431-
7920 or visit
collage and sculpture through self-guided arts projects at
this museum dedicated to inspiring the artist within. Open
art stations are ongoing throughout the afternoon — giving
children the opportunity to experiment with materials such
as paint, clay, fabric, paper and found objects. Museum
hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs.-Fri., 12-6pm; Sat.-Sun.,
10am-6pm. Admission: $10; free for seniors and infants (0-12
months). Pay as you wish on Thurs., 4-6pm. At 103 Charlton
St. (btw. Hudson and Greenwich Sts.). Call 212-274-0986 or
visit For group tours, call 212-274-0986, ext. 31.
DOWNTOWN EXPRESS? Send information to scott@ Please provide the date, time, location,
price and a description of the event. Information may also
be mailed to 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, New York City, NY
10013. Requests must be received at least three weeks
before the event. Questions? Call 646-452-2497.
Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio
A Wise Choice for your child’s dance education!
Dance for Children and Teens
• Modern Ballet (ages 5-18) • Choreography (ages 8 & up)
• Creative Movement/Pre-Ballet (ages 3-5)
19 Murray St., 3rd Fl.
(Bet. Broadway and Church)
212-608-7681 (day)
ADULT CLASSES Yoga - Tai Chi • Chi/Dance/Exercise for Women
Photo courtesy of Chinese Theatre Works
January 28: The Chinese Theater Works performs the shadow puppet show
“Tiger Tales” as part of the Children’s Museum of the Arts’ Lunar New Year
On January 28, in celebration of the Lunar New Year, the Children’s Museum of the
Arts will explore the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community. The festival will
include a variety of visual art experiences to teach families and children about traditional
and contemporary arts in China. The Chinese Theater Works will perform “Tiger Tales”
— a shadow puppet show. The day will be capped off by a special performance of the
Chinese Lion Dancers of P.S.124! Events unfold from 10am-5pm, with special perfor-
mances between 1pm and 4pm. Regular museum admission fees apply. For more info on
the Children’s Museum of the Arts, see the listing on this page.
Photo courtesy of the Piccolini Trio
Don’t stop clowning around. See listing for “The Piccolini Trio: Circus in a Trunk.”
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Cate Ryan was strapping herself into a
homeward-bound aircraft on the runway in
Florida, waiting for takeoff to New York,
thinking of everything and nothing, “when
the engines started roaring,” she says, “and I
burst out crying. I realized I might never see
Mackie again.”
At that moment she decided to write a
play about him. She had written eight plays
and done a ton of writing for television.
“None of it came easy, but this one” —
started there and then, on the plane — “went
the fastest of all.”
Mackie, short for Masolinar Marks, was
the tall, handsome, soft-spoken, thoughtful
Negro who had gone to work for Ryan’s
mother on the north shore of Long Island
“when it was Protestant,” almost two decades
before Ryan was born.
It was Mackie who had taken the neglect-
ed little girl under his own wing.
“He was my mother, my father, my disci-
plinarian, my everything. Very, very nurtur-
ing and very kind. Taught me how to think,
how to love, how to plant my first garden.
On the wall he had a sign: ‘AS YE SEW, SO
A couple of years ago New Yorker Ryan
had gone down to West Palm Beach, Florida
to visit him, check on him.
“He was very frail,” says skinny, blonde,
intense Ryan, “In fact, he passed away, at
94, just this past May. Died reaching for a
cookie,” she says, waving her hands, her
long slim fingers. “That was the end of it.”
But it wasn’t, because now Mackie lives
on in “The Picture Box” (the play that Ryan
started to write in that airliner speeding back
north) and in the embodiment of Mackie by
the perfect actor for the part — brave, thought-
ful, dignified Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.
(NEC) veteran Arthur French.
This, by the way, is the same Arthur
French who a few years ago gave a lovely
performance as Doug, dignified old black
member of a white Texan household, in the
Broadway production of Horton Foote’s
deep-digging “Dividing the Estate.”
The Mackie of Ryan’s play is called just
that: Mackie. His story is told — up to and
including his third wife, Josephine (Elain
Graham) — with the assistance of a redis-
covered shoebox stuffed with old photo-
graphs of the living and the dead.
“The Picture Box” is at the Samuel Beckett
Theatre on West 42nd Street, through
January 29, in a staging by Charles Weldon
— the hard-hitting actor-director who, with
the help of the law firm of Proskauer Rose,
has brought the long-dormant NEC (the
great Douglas Turner Ward’s historic NEC)
debt-free and back to life.
“I’ve been working with Arthur for 40
years,” Weldon says. “I actually picked cot-
Mentor lives on, in ‘Picture Box’ words and deeds
Negro Ensemble Company preserves legacy of a beloved caretaker
67 Murray Street, NYC
T: 212-732-1592 F: 212-732-9446
Happy Hour: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.; Kitchen Open 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
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Photo by Carmen L. de Jesus
Left to right: Malachy Cleary and Arthur Frence as a Michigan hick and a Florida mentor.
Continued on page 23
Written by Cate Ryan
Directed by Charles Weldon
Produced by the Negro Ensemble Company
Through January 29
Tues. at 7:30pm; Wed.-Sat. at 8pm; Sat./Sun.
at 3pm
At the Samuel Beckett Theatre (410 W. 42nd
For tickets ($36.50), call 212-239-6200 or visit
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 23
ton as a kid. Nobody believes that. Just out
of high school in Bakersfield, California, I
had a number one doo-wop record. Nobody
believes that either.
“Arthur and I went to Broadway togeth-
er in Joseph A. Walker’s ‘The River Niger.’
We’d come to the NEC at the same time, in
Walker’s ‘Ododo,’ 1969-’70, before Walker
wrote ‘A Soldier’s Story.’ Here I was, on
stage with all these great actors but had no
idea who they were. The second play I was
in was Derek Walcott’s ‘Dream on Monkey
Mountain.’ Showed me I wasn’t an actor yet.”
Weldon went on to prove otherwise for all
these 40 years and more, and spent most
of the past five years — with Doug Ward
ill and almost 80 years old — resuscitat-
ing the brilliant Ward-Hooks-Krone Negro
Ensemble Company through which every
contemporary black American actor and
actress of consequence had achieved that
Ryan didn’t know if the NEC was inter-
ested in works by white playwrights. A
lawyer friend suggested she send a copy of
the script to Charles Weldon, and Weldon
started reading it at bedtime.
“Usually,” says Weldon, “if I can read
myself to sleep with a script, I no longer
have interest in it the next day. But this time
I woke up and thought: hmmm, a man of
color raising this white kid, and he not a
nanny. That’s interesting.”
There are two halves to the intermission-
less 80 minutes of “The Picture Box,” and
it’s the second, or reality, half — the life and
times of Masolinor (Mackie) Marks — that’s
the most amusing, interesting and moving. It
is preceded by a sort of comic book sequence
in which a stick-figured couple of home-pur-
chasing bigots from Michigan come down to
Florida to examine their purchase and toss
off vile anti-black clichés.
In just one half of one line — a few words
said in irrelevant jest (“I would have been
tied up by my neck”) — cool, calm Mackie
exposes the deep-dyed terrible reality that is
every American Negro’s inheritance at birth.
But then comes turnabout. In the fall of
the year 2008, the TV cameras scanning var-
ious crowds in these United States touched
momentarily, here and there, on black men
and women of a certain age wiping the tears
from their (and our) eyes. The Mackie of
Ryan’s “Picture Box” speaks for all who
shared such moments of jubilation:
Never thought in my lifetime I’d be
votin’ for a man with the same color
skin as me. Never in my lifetime. My
grandfather was a slave. A slave. Here I
am, Lord willin’, eighty years old. Lived
to vote for a young black man who
wants to be the President of the United
States of America. Somethin’ mighty
fine. Mighty fine.
Rounding out the cast of “The Picture
Box” are Elizabeth Norment and Malachy
Cleary (as those two Tea Party types from
Michigan) and Jennifer Van Dyck as a young
white woman named Carrie (which is pretty
close to Cate, yes?) who is forced to be civil
while selling them her mother’s house.
The real Cate Ryan lives on Manhattan’s
East Side, and says: “I do have a married
name, but you don’t want to know that.”
Charles Weldon lives in Harlem and
doesn’t pick cotton any more.
Mentor lives on
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Continued from page 22
Photo by Carmen L. de Jesus
Left to right: Arthur French and Jennifer Van Dyck as lifelong friends.
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Waiting List Open
Historic Front Street is pleased to announce the opening of the waiting list for affordable rental
apartments in the Seaport area of Manhattan. The size, rent, and income requirements for the
apartments are as follows:

To request an application, mail a POSTCARD to:
R. A. Cohen & Associates, Inc., Historic Front Street
Attention Fred Fragano
60 East 42nd Street, Suite 850
New York, New York 10165
Requests must be postmarked by February 20, 2012. Completed applications must be returned by
regular mail to a post office box that will be listed on the application, and must be postmarked by March
5, 2012. Applications not sent via regular mail or postmarked after March 5, 2012 will be logged in after
all other applications. Applications will be selected by lottery. Priority will be given to applicants who live
or work in New York City. No broker’s or application fee should be paid to anyone regarding these
Only the first 350 requests for an application will be honored.
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Just Do Art!
Founded in 1977 as a monthly gathering of
six friends, The Textile Study Group of New
York’s 2012 membership includes hundreds
of basketmakers, crocheters, dyers, embroi-
derers, felters, knitters, knotters, lacemakers,
papermakers, quilters, sculptors, spinners and
weavers. “Crossing Lines: The Many Faces of
Fiber” celebrates the group’s 35th anniver-
sary by displaying over 50 works by TSGNY
members which demonstrate the power and
versatility of fiber art. A quilted collage of
street signs, abstract art composed of sewing-
machine stitches and towering masks made
of threads are among the featured works.
Curated by Rebecca A.T. Stevens, author and
Consulting Curator of Contemporary Textiles
at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC,
the wildly diverse collection includes works
both large and small, two- and three-dimen-
sional, traditional and experimental.
Free. Through Feb. 19. Tues.-Sun.,
12-4pm, at World Financial Center Courtyard
Gallery. For more info, call 212-945-0505 or
Taking inspiration from (and liberties
with) the Robert Frost poem “Mending
Wall,” Flux Theatre Ensemble’s world pre-
miere of Erin Browne’s “Menders” is con-
cerned with the things we try to keep at bay
— and the lengths to which we’ll go to for a
sense of security. As new recruits Corey and
Aimes mend the wall that keeps their city
safe from an unnamed, unseen threat, they
begin to question their teacher Drew’s omi-
nous tales of the big, bad outside world.
Jan. 19-Feb. 11, at The Gym at Judson
(243 Thompson St., at Washington Square
South). Jan. 19, 20, 21 at 8pm; Jan. 22 & 24
at 7pm, Jan. 27 & 28 at 8pm, Feb. 1, 2, 3, 4 at
8pm; Feb. 5 at 3pm; Feb. 7 at 7pm; Feb. 9, 10,
11 at 8pm. For tickets ($18, $15 for students),
call 866-811-4111 or visit
The International Tai Chi Institute’s
action-packed, three-hour variety show cel-
ebrates the Year of the Dragon (which marks
the beginning of the 12-year cycle of the
Chinese horoscope). Over two dozen acts
are scheduled — including dancers, acro-
bats, musicians and demonstrations by Tai
Chi Chuan and martial artists.
Sat., Jan. 21, from 1-5pm. At Pace
University’s Michael Schimmel Center for the
Arts (3 Spruce St., near City Hall). Tickets
are $15 (no credit card payments accepted).
To make a phone reservation, call 212-966-
8830. Reserved tickets will be available at
the box office on the day of the performance,
but must be picked up by 12:45 p.m. The
box office will open at 12 noon.
Trinity Wall Street — the Lower Manhattan
Episcopal church that knows a little something
about what happens when Occupy Wall Street
storms the gates — isn’t shying away from
questioning our moral obligation to act upon
ethical issues raised by the OWS movement.
Presented by Trinity Institute and happen-
ing weekly through February 8, “Wall Street
Dialogues” challenges a pundit to confront the
audience with a provocative question whose
Biblical origins have modern implications.
Last week, Gary Dorrien of Union Theological
Seminary discussed the distribution of wealth
and power (“Economic Crisis, Social Ethics,
and Economic Democracy”).
On January 18, priest and business econo-
mist Barbara Crafton wonders whether Jesus
— who had a little table-tipping incident
involving money changers at the temple —
would pay taxes (“Paying Taxes: Privilege
or Confiscation?”). On January 25, James
Copland, of the Center for Legal Policy at
the Manhattan Institute, mulls over the moral
values of capitalism (“Capitalism, Inequality,
and Scripture?). On February 1, Ben Roberts
( asks what it feels like to
have enough (“Occupy as a Leap of Faith”).
The final installment, on February 8, has Yale
Divinity School’s Kathryn Tanner contemplat-
ing what the Bible has to say about econom-
ic disparity (“Thinking Theologically about
Income Disparity and the Gospel Response”).
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Photo by Leah Reddy
Gary Dorrien of Union Theological Seminary speaks at Jan. 11’s Wall Street
Dialogues event.
Image courtesy of Hyunju Kim
Fiber is good for you. See “Crossing
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 25
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steaming; and qualified marine navigator
and instructor, I have questions concern-
ing the grounding of the cruise ship Costa
Concordia off the coast of Italy.
Was the captain on the bridge exercising
control of the ship? If so, why was the ship
so close to the rocks? If not, who was on the
bridge conning the ship? What were their
qualifications? Was there a maritime pilot
on the bridge? The most dangerous period
in peacetime for a ship underway is when
it is leaving and entering port or traversing
in close proximity to land. This is when you
have to be on full alert.
Why did the Costa Concordia only hold
emergency evacuation drills once every fif-
teen days? During a fifteen-day period the
ship would normally visit a number of ports
and embark new passengers. A drill should
be held prior to leaving every port.
The maritime industry should evaluate
the viability of lifeboat systems, which fail
when a ship takes on a significant list that
makes it very difficult or impossible to
launch lifeboats.
More attention must be paid to the safety
of passengers and crew.
Donald A. Moskowitz

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The Editor. They must include the writer’s
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subject matter. Letters should be less than
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the right to edit letters for space, clarity,
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N.Y. 10013.
Letters to the Editor
Continued from page 10
Read the Archives
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express
Steampunk: The Victorian future is now
Tattoos, guitars, workstations: It all works, and it’s all good
You know how it is. Your electric guitar
emits a righteous sound — but it doesn’t have
an antique pressure gauge. Your computer
workstation is in desperate need of an aes-
thetic reboot by way of a tabletop crafted from
an 1870s cast iron buzz saw. Your submarine
is a sweet ride at 20,000 leagues — but it lacks
a dirigible for aerial warfare. That perfectly
functional tattoo machine you work with every
day…why isn’t it housed in a casing shaped
like a mosquito poised to draw blood?
Such thoroughly modern dilemmas —
which most of us will face at some point
— require the services of a forward-thinking
designer capable of dipping into the past (or,
more accurately, an alternate timeline) for
Bruce Rosenbaum is your man. His work,
and that of over a dozen likeminded artists, is
featured in “Mobilis in Mobili: An Exhibition
of Steampunk Art and Appliance” — on dis-
play through February 3 at the Wooster Street
Social Club. A dynamic work of art in its
own right, the SoHo tattoo parlor (location of
TLC channel’s reality show “NY Ink”) is a fit-
ting environment for the Rosenbaum-curated
exhibit. Like the steampunk movement itself,
tattooing requires imagination and ballsy acts
of hybrid reinvention. On Wooster Street,
dermal transformation is committed with the
help of machines whose whirling, droning
and buzzing recalls our industrial past. Done
right by a skilled practitioner, the object that
emerges from this declaration of permanence
invites stares and sparks conversation.
Traced all the way back to the steam
powered science fiction of Jules Verne and
H.G. Wells (and, more recently, the work of
cyberpunk daddy William Gibson), the term
“steampunk” is used rather liberally these
days. Much more than just a literary refer-
ence, it can refer to anything from cinematic
art direction (think “City of Lost Children”)
to music (Thomas Dolby’s recent CD and
online game for “A Map of the Floating City”)
to lifestyle (see to immersive
environments (2011’s Abrons Arts Center
haunted house had a steampunkish Alice in
Wonderland theme).
What all these variations have in common,
more or less, is an alternate universe/timeline
narrative that marries science fiction’s love of
futuristic technology with the fashion, archi-
tecture, gear and zeal for exploration found
during Britain’s Victorian era. But no matter
who’s doing the steampunking, and for what
purpose, Rosenbaum says it’s author K. W.
Jeter who gets credit for coining the term. Back
in the late 1980s, he tossed it off to describe
an emerging genre of literature he and a few
others were exploring. Instead of setting their
science fiction tales in the future, Rosenbaum
notes, “They were going into the industrial past
and imagining what kind of innovations people
would come up with if they had the technology
that we have today. With steampunk, there
is this functionality, a practical use for these
objects.” So when the ray gun of science fiction
gets a steampunk twist, notes Rosenbaum,
“It might have these beautiful Victorian com-
ponents made of brass and copper — but it
would still be able to stun people.”
Rosenbaum’s own take on the genre, he
says, comes at it from a much more practical
creative design solution perspective. His com-
pany, ModVic, is known for restoring Victorian
homes (1850s to early 1900s) back to their
original beauty while giving a steampunk
makeover to everything from the layout to the
home entertainment system.
Even though it’s how he makes his liv-
ing these days, Rosenbaum didn’t realize he
was a champion of the steampunk aesthetic
until somebody outed him. “My wife and I
have always been into architecture, history
and salvaging gadgets,” he explains. After
purchasing their own 1901 Victorian home
just over a decade ago, the Rosenbaums
embarked on a number of restoration proj-
ects. “We came up with this idea to bring in
period objects,” he recalls, “but give them a
modern use. Years later, when we finished,
a friend came in and told us we were steam-
punking because we were mashing these time
periods and making appliances that were also
functional art. At that point, we got obsessive
about it. Everything that came into the house
had to have this idea of being beautiful and
Their company ModVic (modern
Victorian) was founded in 2007 — and what
began as a way to add a few whimsical home
furnishings to their restoration project is
now a way of life — and a way to make a
living. Their clientele no longer includes just
those who want to give the old Victorian a
bit of futuristic sprucing up. Their designs,
he says, appeal to all kinds of people who
Photo by Scott Stiffler
This might sting a bit: Christopher Conte’s Dermbot (aka “Skin Crawler”) was cre-
ated specifically for the exhibit at Wooster Street Social Club. Constructed from
steel, bronze and brass, the biomechanical object is a fully functional miniature tat-
too machine. For more info on the artist, visit
Photo by Steve Brook
This 1964 Norma Guitar (reimagined by Steve Brook) features vintage gold foil
pickups, gages, working gears, gold leaf filigree and a turn of the century noodle
cutter handle. The controls cover is a solid brass door plate from the Book Cadillac
Building in Detroit.
On view daily, from 12-9pm, through Feb. 3
At the Wooster Street Social Club (43 Wooster
Free admission
Visit, and
Work from the exhibit is for sale through
Closing Reception: 8pm, Jan. 28 (for tickets,
Continued on page 27
downtown express January 18 - 24, 2012 27
love the beauty and craftsmanship that came
out of objects made during the industrial
age. “These things were meant to last for-
ever,” Rosenbaum observes. “There was no
such thing as planned obsolescence back
then.” So Rosenbaum takes those durable
objects and works them until they possess all
the traits of fully functional modern house-
wares. “A great example of that would be
what we did for a patent attorney in Boston.
He wanted a computer workstation that had
a story to tell, so he could use it as an exam-
ple for his clients. He gave us a conference
table that was his uncle’s. His father was a
woodworker. So I found an incredible seven-
foot cast iron band saw from the 1870s. It
had two 36-inch wooden wheels with steel
spokes; a beautiful sculptural form.” The
computer work station now sits on that
restored band saw — which, Rosenbaum
points out, has been modified in a way that
would allow the owner to bring it back to its
original wood-cutting purpose.
No such flexible fate seems to have
befallen the works in “Mobilis in Mobili:
An Exhibition of Steampunk Art and
Appliance.” Rosenbaum tasked himself and
his contributors with developing a range
of artistic works that incorporate authentic
vintage elements and salvage components
with modern functioning devices. The result:
bicycles, cell phones, guitars, timepieces and
entertainment systems that look as if they’ve
been left behind by a time traveling Victorian
with a knack for accessorizing.
Rosenbaum got a taste of his own edict
recently when he was approached by the
Revolving Museum (at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell). Their proposal: take the
latest hearing aids, wheelchairs and prosthetic
limbs and give them the steampunk treatment.
Says Rosenbaum (with gears in his head already
churning), “They want to celebrate the technol-
ogy, not hide it, and also give people who are
disabled a comfort level. If you see someone in a
wheelchair, sometimes you don’t know what to
say.” But if it’s a tricked out steampunk device,
he reasons, “Instead of asking them how they
lost the use of their legs, you’re asking them
where they got that cool wheelchair.”
Wooster Street Social Club hosts artful steampunk exhibit
Photo courtesy of ModVic, LLC
Bruce Rosenbaum’s “totally modern stove housed in a gorgeous 1890s cast iron
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Iron and steel worker Sam Olstroff created this object that reminds curator Bruce
Rosenbaum of something out of the film “City of Lost Children.” It does NOT elec-
trocute people (we asked).
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Roger Wood’s assemblage art takes Victorian hardware parts and pieces, then con-
structs an object that looks as if it’s more than the sum of its parts. Above: Three
clocks which tell time and look as if they might also be able to transport you into
the future. Visit
Continued from page 26
January 18 - 24, 2012
downtown express

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