Early Monday afternoon in Washington Square Park.
Early Monday afternoon in Washington Square Park.
On April 16, right after traditional Tax Day, the Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association, with help from 505 LaGuardia Place and the Washington Square Village Tenants Association, held its second annual Community Document Shred event. In addition, members of the Sixth Precinct were on hand to provide registration to protect personal items, such as laptops, tablets and cell phones.
BAMRA arranged to have a mobile shredding truck come to Bleecker St. near the Morton Williams supermarket, and more than 100 people watched on the truck’s monitor as their unwanted papers were turned into confetti to thwart identity thieves.
In addition, many signed up to have the serial numbers of their personal electronics added to the New York Police Department database, so the items could be returned if stolen and recovered.
Local resident Judith Walsh was also there, collecting signatures on a petition to new New York University President Andrew Hamilton, seeking to have him “Just Press Pause” on the N.Y.U. 2031 expansion plan. The petition urged him to take more time to study all aspects of the plan and receive input from local residents opposing the destruction of their neighborhood, rather than just hearing from N.Y.U. affiliates who support the expansion.
Terri Cude, who coordinated the event, said: “This year’s Community Shred was even better than last year’s! We had more people come by with bags, suitcases and even carts full of documents to get them appropriately destroyed. The event ran on time and very smoothly, and it became a terrific get-together for local residents on a lovely spring day.”
“The most often-asked question we got was ‘Will you do this again soon?’ ” said BAMRA Resident Chairperson Ray Cline. “We’re hoping to do this again next year, as tax time seems to be a great opportunity to get rid of old papers. Now we’re working on our May 14 event in Mercer Playground from noon to 2 p.m., when BAMRA members, working with Bike New York’s trainers, will teach kids how to ride their two-wheelers without training wheels.”
Maria Logis, who took this photo, says this sorry sinkhole, on Mercer St. between W. Houston and Bleecker Sts., is actually one of her favorite spots.
Not fit for sitting, the sorely sloped spot is at its best in April and May, when the cherry trees around it are in full bloom, blanketing the ground with their pink petals.
The site is situated outside New York University’s Coles gym. The gym, plus this spot and the Mercer-Houston Dog Run just to its south, are all slated for demolition to clear the way for a massive new university building, part of the school’s South Village expansion plan.
“It’s one of my favorite spots and is about to be demolished,” Logis said of the out-of-kilter sitting area. “It’s beautiful and worth seeing.
“The sinkhole has been gradually opening over the last 25 years, but in the last five years it has caused the area in front of the Coles center to drop about 3 to 4 feet.
“The result is a stunning spot with three magnificent cherry trees, three benches and the ground they stand on slowly sinking,” Logis said. “This space used to be open to the public but more recently has been locked.
“This is the last year to see this sight because it will all be demolished to make room for the new N.Y.U. building. The dog run was just closed and is filled with construction equipment. To the north of the three cherry trees spot is a playground that has also sunk.”
The ground on this strip of Mercer St. sunk and cracked over the years because, when the block was cleared in the mid-20th century for an urban renewal and street-widening project, the basements of the razed tenements and factory buildings were just piled full — apparently too loosely — with the demolition debris, not creating a firm foundation.
The city’s Department of Transportation maintained control of the strip for all these years, during which N.Y.U. never moved to fix the foundations. Now, however, N.Y.U. will be building on part of this strip — which it will now own, after finally purchasing it — as part of the new project.
While Will Smith was shooting a new movie, “Collateral Beauty,” on Bleecker St. last week, he dropped in at No. 9 to check out Overthrow Boxing.
He struck a fighter’s stance with Daniel Coleman, Overthrow’s trainer, then did some energetic gloveless sparring with Alicia
“The Empress” Napoleon, who recently won the W.B.C. superwelterweight title.
Smith also posed for a photo with Justin Tompkins, the place’s diminutive floor general. Also watching the action with Overthrow’s Joey Goodwin was June Leaf. She and her husband, Robert Franks — whose “The Americans” is considered perhaps the 20th century’s most influential photography book — are neighbors of the Yippie headquarters-turned-boxing gym.
“At first, Frank was grumpy as he is not keen on all the gentrification that is taking place on the Lower East Side,” said photographer Clayton Patterson. “But now that he has met Joey and the folks at Overthrow, they are good friends. Often June, Robert and Joey hang out. Robert goes into the gym and watches the fighters practice.”
A retrospective show of Leaf’s drawings, “June Leaf: Thought Is Infinite,” will be opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art, at 99 Gansevoort St., on April 27 and running through July 17. No doubt, it’s sure to be a knockout!
More than 2,000 people filled the Rubin Museum of Art on Friday night March 11 to experience the latest project by multidisciplinary “pandrogenic” artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
Entitled “Try To Altar Everything,” the work incorporates small objects that are being brought to the museum on an ongoing basis by patrons. The first 1,000 people who contribute to the piece will receive a limited edition “psychic cross” designed by P-Orridge and produced in Nepal.
“The objects around you are just as sacred as a 300-year-old relic in a museum,” the artist, who identifies as “h/er,” said, explaining project’s concept.
A founding member of the bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, P-Orridge plans to spend a fair amount of time at the museum, at 150 W. 17th St., throughout the show’s run, including a rare concert with Psychic TV.
For more information, see http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/genesis-breyer-p-orridge .
In its second edition, the Art on Paper fair returned to the Lower East Side’s Pier 36 at Montgomery St. last week. Normally, the pier is home to Basketball City, but for the four-day fair, from Thursday to Sunday, it was buzzing with gallerists and art lovers, more than 20,000 of them over the event’s duration. The fair featured the best in paper-based art — works on, about and from paper — from 65 top galleries from Downtown Manhattan to around the world. Among local artists featured were the late Larry Rivers and graffiti great LA II.
Singers Lady Gaga and Andra Day headlined Marc Jacobs’ catwalk show last Thursday at the Park Avenue Armory during New York’s Fashion Week. Gaga wore an oversized trench coat, a black fur shawl and silver python-skin platform shoes (no PETA protests were reported), with black lipstick and her hair done in 1920s-style waves. Day, who looks a bit like Rihanna, sat in the front row. Wearing a red head tie and large hoop earrings, she sported a cinematically themed top and skirt. Also on hand were the likes of Sandra Bernhard, Zosia Mamet, Christina Ricci, Debi Mazar, Kiernan Shipka, Amandla Stenberg…and Milk! For more photos of New York City events by Patrick McMullan, go to http://www.patrickmcmullan.com/site/index.aspx
HOWL! Happening gallery is currently hosting a month-long exhibition of Marcia Resnick’s photographs of counterculture heroes, “Punks, Poets and Provocateurs: New York City Bad Boys 1977–1982.” The show features signed contemporary silver prints and large archival pigment prints from Resnick’s photographic tour de force of what some call the counterculture’s final climax, with portraits of rockers Johnny Thunders, Joey Ramone, James Brown, Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Brian Eno and Mick Jagger; Beat poets and writers Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs; and provocateurs and raconteurs John Waters, Steve Rubell, Gary Indiana, Abbie Hoffman and Norman Mailer, plus Andy Warhol and the incomparable John Belushi. The show runs through March 2. For more photos of New York City events by Patrick McMullan, go to http://www.patrickmcmullan.com/site/index.aspx .
Howl Happening is presenting “Outside IN,” an exhibition of Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson’s photography and art. The opening reception is Fri., June 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the gallery, at 6 E. First St., between the Bowery and Second Ave. The exhibition runs through Aug. 14. Also in the show will be paintings by Elsa Rensaa.
The opening will be streamed live for free at @howlarts.org .
“The exhibition goes beyond Patterson’s work as a documentarian to examine the full range of his artistic practice, including sculpture, photographs, fashion, and books, as well as paintings by his wife and life long collaborator, Elsa Rensaa,” a press release for the show notes.
Patterson has been documenting the neighborhood since he and Rensaa moved from Canada to New York in 1979. They briefly lived in Soho, whose art scene Patterson found to be all about money and status, before moving to the freer-feeling Lower East Side.
“Like the works of Jacob Riis and Weegee before him, his photos capture moments of real life as they’re happening, unglamorized and unromanticized,” the gallery notes. “The ‘Front Door’ photo-portraits on view at the gallery present a kind of mosaic of the neighborhood as it was, one face at a time: tenement kids and homeless people, poets and politicians, drug dealers and drag queens, rabbis and santeros, beat cops, graffiti writers, hookers, junkies, punks, anarchists, squatters, mystics and crackpots.”
Patterson refers to this project — in which he took photos of people in front of his Essex St. home’s front door — as “the people’s photography.”
Also in the show are sculptural cabinets crafted from artifacts Patterson found on the street. Toys, teeth, bullets and scraps of posters, postcards and other urban archeological detritus find their way into these sculptures painted in bright, pinball colors,
“As an artist, you have to use what life offers you,” Patterson said. “Making sculpture, taking photographs, writing, painting — it’s about remaining creative and following that path.”
Also on view are the distinctive Clayton Caps he and Rensaa manufactured.
In addition, as the old, outlaw Lower East Side recedes, Patterson has turned from documentarian to historian, organizing and editing massive, information-packed books on the neighborhood’s “tragic, glorious, sometimes depressing” history as remembered and explained by people who lived it and shaped it. These include “Captured,” on the neighborhood as an incubator for underground film and avant-garde video; “Resistance,” on its radical political and social history; and the self-explanatory “Jews: A People’s History of the Lower East Side.”
As the Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei Wei said referring to Patterson, “His work is concerned with the truth, with facts. He has relentlessly devoted himself to a kind of culture that examines authority.”
Who are you?
Well, if you’re a fan of The Who, you probably know that one of rock’s most legendary and defining bands is currently on its The Who Hits 50! tour. The English rockers will be hitting town to play the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tues., May 26.
Adding to the high-wattage show for those who “love rock ’n’ roll” will be special guests Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
The Who Hits 50! tour kicked off in Glasgow, Scotland, last November with a set list featuring a slew of favorite songs (“Substitute,” “Squeeze Box,” “Magic Bus,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “I Can See For Miles,” “Who Are You,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “You Better You Bet,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Pinball Wizard,” among others).
The show — described by Pete Townshend as “Hits, Picks, Mixes and Misses” — will see the band play all their classic anthems, as well as tackling deeper cuts from their catalog.
“This is the beginning of the long goodbye,” said Roger Daltrey at the tour’s outset.
“Trying to stay young,” added Townshend. “Not wearing socks. Growing a great big woodcutter’s beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we’re lucky to be alive and still touring.”
The Who have sold more than 100 million records since forming in 1964.
Exclusive VIP packages for the “The Who Hits 50!” tour include reserved tickets with excellent seats, special access to The Who’s VIP pre-show soundcheck, pre-show VIP parties, autographed limited-edition memorabilia and much more.
Additional details on tickets and VIP packages can be found at www.thewho.com. In addition, $1 from each ticket sold on The Who Hits 50! tour will benefit Teen Cancer America.
— Lincoln Anderson
The Village Independent Democrats held their annual awards celebration at Tio Pepe restaurant, at 168 W. Fourth St., Thursday evening. Political buttons from campaigns past were among the items in a silent auction. So were two loaves of delicious home-baked bread by former club president Jonathan Geballe. Honorees included Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation; Kevin Finnegan, director of politics and legislation for 1199 SEIU United Hospital Workers East; Kate Linker, community organizer with Greater NYC for Change; and Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenants Political Action Committee. The guest speaker was John Strausbaugh, author of “The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, a History of Greenwich Village.”
BY SARAH FERGUSON | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 10, 2014 | After being fenced out for 10 months, members of the Children’s Magical Garden filed a claim of adverse possession on Mon., March 10, against Lower East Side developer Serge Hoyda and the development entity 157, LLC, seeking to reclaim the portion of the garden that Hoyda took over last May.
The gardeners say they staked their claim on “lot 19” and two others on the corner of Norfolk and Stanton Sts. more than 30 years ago, when it was just a vacant patch of land festering with trash, rats and used needles. They planted fruit trees and vegetables, transforming the parcel over the years into a vital green space and learning center for L.E.S. children.
“After Plaintiff’s claim and uninterrupted possession for thirty years, Defendants cannot now re-emerge to seize this land for themselves. Lot 19 belongs to the Children’s Magical Garden,” claims the lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court on March 10.
In June, the city transferred the garden’s other two lots to the Parks Department to preserve them as green space.
Whether this suit can put a halt to development plans already afoot for this sliver of land remains to be seen. In November, Hoyda’s firm filed plans to erect a six-story, six-unit residential building on the site, replete with penthouse and gym.
And in January, Hoyda sold the lot for $3.35 million to 157, LLC, a limited-liability corporation registered to David Marom, owner of the Horizon Group, a Yonkers-based real estate development and investment firm that is developing another luxury residence off Delancey St.
C.M.G. members planned a press conference and rally at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning to explain their legal strategy. They are promising “News, Justice and Donuts,” along with free hot chocolate to anyone who shows up on the way to work or school to show support.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Bethune St. apartment Sunday morning, the victim of an apparent heroin overdose.
The Police Department issued a statement, saying that at around 11:36 a.m., police responded to a 911 call for “an aided male” inside 35 Bethune St., the Pickwick House.
“Upon arrival, officers located a 46-year-old male, unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the bathroom floor,” the statement said. “E.M.S. also responded and pronounced the male DOA at the scene. An investigation is ongoing by the N.Y.P.D. The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death. Family has been notified.” Police identified the deceased as Hoffman.
Media reports stated that the famed actor was found with a needle in his arm and two glassine bags of heroin nearby. Eight other empty bags were reportedly also found in the apartment. CNN said that the bags were stamped with “Ace of Hearts” and “Ace of Spades,” street names for the drug.
Hoffman’s body was removed from the building in the early evening. The M.E. will perform an autopsy and toxicology tests to determine the cause of death.
The Daily News reported that Hoffman was found by screenwriter David Katz and another friend after he had failed to pick up his children.
The actor had three young children with his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell.
In his early 20s Hoffman had struggled with drugs and alcohol, and in recent years had relapsed. In 2011, he described his battle with substance abuse on “60 Minutes.” TMZ reported that he had fallen off the wagon and had started taking prescription pills and was slipping into snorting heroin. Last year, he revealed that he had checked into rehab.
Police are said to be investigating where Hoffman got the drugs responsible for his overdose.
CNN reported that after he got out of rehab, Hoffman — who had been a West Village resident for years — moved into the Bethune St. apartment, and that he resided there alone, while his family lives elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Hoffman grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and went on to study acting at New York University.
According to New York 1, he had dined the night before at nearby restaurant Automatic Slim’s, ordering a cheeseburger and no alcohol.
Hoffman won the Oscar for best actor for “Capote” in 2005. Among some of the many other films in which he starred were “The Master,” “Moneyball,” “Doubt,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Almost Famous” and “The Big Lebowski.”
There was a huge amount of media gathered Sunday afternoon outside Hoffman’s building on Bethune St., between Greenwich and Washington Sts., where he lived in a fourth-floor penthouse apartment.
John Anderson, 43, a newspaper editor from Rochester, happened to be in town to watch the Super Bowl with his brother Michael, who used to live nearby and would have drinks with Hoffman at the White Horse Tavern.
“They had a little kinship,” he said. “It’s a small world.”
In fact, their mother taught a teenaged Hoffman acting at Rochester Area Performing Arts, or RAPA.
“She thought he was just a very talented actor,” Anderson recalled, “not necessarily that he would win an Oscar, but that he was going places.”
He said Hoffman grew up in one of the nicer Rochester suburbs, and attended Fairport High School. He added that Hoffman, in his Oscar acceptance speech, had mentioned his hometown.
“Rochester is in mourning right now,” he said.
Anderson and his brother had met at the Corner Bistro on Sunday, and when he heard the news of Hoffman, he used his press pass to get past the police line on Bethune St., and filmed some video of the scene that he planned to upload for his newspaper chain.
Heddy O’Beil, 85, an abstract artist who lives just down the block in the Westbeth Artists Residence, was standing across the street from the building with her little Bichon Frisé/Havanese mix, Lilly.
“I walked out and saw the crowd,” she said, “and I’m just always curious.”
Had she ever seen Hoffman around the neighborhood?
“No, but there are many actors and performing people around here,” she said. “It’s an extremely quiet neighborhood.”
She noted she’d seen Joel Grey of “Cabaret” fame in the supermarket just a few months ago.
“I said hello,” she said. “He was very nice.”
Hoffman’s isn’t the only recent Downtown drug-related death of a famous Hollywood star. In January 2008, Australian actor Heather Ledger accidentally OD’d on prescription drugs in his Soho apartment.
The “think tent” at the “Lent Space” lot at Canal St. and Sixth Ave. keeps on rising as work continued into the night on Friday on the enigmatic structure. Hedge fund billionaire George Soros is funding the temporary “public engagement” effort, which is set to go live Wed., Nov. 6, the day after the election. In the tent, and via online, New Yorkers will be able to give voice to their concerns and priorities as a new administration is set to come in. More information will be available, as this sign, above, on the space’s fence states, on Facebook at “Talking Transition.” Trinity Real Estate owns the lot, and eventually plans to build a high-rise residential tower with a school in its base there.
Updated Sat., Nov. 2, 4:27 p.m.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | According to the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, the bill that would allow development-rights transfers from the Hudson River Park one block inland of the West Side Highway was rushed to Governor Cuomo for his signature on Friday.
The state Legislature approved the bill — an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act of 1998 — in June, but the governor still has not signed it.
An e-mail sent to Sierra Club members and supporters this past Friday said, “special interests have gone into overdrive in an all-out effort to get the Hudson River Park bill signed into law before it can be put before the public, reconsidered, and possibly stopped!
“The bill waiting for [Cuomo’s] signature, A.8031/S.5824, would make harmful changes to the Hudson River Park Act, allowing new construction in and over the river for non-water-dependent, view-blocking fills, structures and buildings — including but not limited to commercial office space and a new heliport in and along the river — while transferring liability for these risky developments to New York taxpayers.
“Superstorm Sandy made it more urgent than ever to stop building non-water-dependent development in this stretch of the Hudson River, since anything built there will be battered by powerful winds, tides and currents, and will be especially vulnerable to storm and hurricane damage,” the e-mail continued. “New York City’s new map of hurricane evacuation zones ranks the portion of the Hudson River governed by the Hudson River Park Act as Evacuation Zone #1 (out of 6), indicating the highest possible risk in any upcoming hurricane.”
The Sierra Club also fears the legislation, if passed, would lead to harm being done to the Hudson River marine environment and wildlife.
Lesley Doyel, of Save Chelsea, said, after four months of no action, the sudden urgency to sign the bill is “clearly” due to Tuesday’s important election, as well as this past week’s article in The Villager on community groups’ concerns over the air-rights transfers, plus growing “push-back” against the bill by local groups and some politicians.
The Sierra Club and Save Chelsea were urging people to call and e-mail the governor asking him not to sign the bill.
Laura Haight, senior environmental associate for NYPIRG, said it’s actually not necessary for Cuomo to sign the bill for it to become law: If he doesn’t sign it or veto it within 10 days of when it was submitted to him — meaning by around Nov. 13 — she said, it will automatically become law.
BY HEATHER DUBIN | Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, brought their Southern charm to the East Village last Thursday to commemorate 30 years of Habitat for Humanity service.
Housing has been a priority for Jimmy Carter, who has dedicated his post-presidential career to ensuring this basic right for thousands of families in need.
The couple celebrated the 30th Annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project last week with a return visit to a building called Mascot Flats, at 742 E. Sixth St., between Avenues C and D, which was the project’s first site. Before holding a press conference, the Carters met with 12 of the original tenants who still live in the 19-unit building, in the apartment of Don Kao.
In 1984, the Carters embarked on a renovation of the six-story building with local homesteaders and Habitat for Humanity. Built in 1902, the East Village tenement no longer had a roof, and fit in well amid the blown-out, abandoned buildings in the neighborhood in the ’80s when it was infested with drugs and crime.
The Carters were reflective as the two reminisced about the experience, and the powerful affects of helping people build their own homes. Jimmy Carter, 89, recalled jogging over to look at the site and finding it a “horrible mess.” While he has worked as a Habitat volunteer for 30 years, and been to about 85 different building sites, he dubbed Mascot Flats his most memorable.
“You could stand on the second floor, if you could get up there, and you could look up and see the sky,” he recalled. “The garbage was more than knee deep. And there were fires where people were living, and cooking up food and dope.”
Carter also mentioned that the buildings’ 370 windows were all broken and without frames.
“That’s what we had to start with, and it took us two years to finish it,” he said.
In a follow-up phone interview, Ann Rupel, 60, an original homesteader and president of the co-op board at Mascot Flats, claimed each tenant was required to devote 1,000 hours of manual labor — half on the building’s construction, and the rest on another project.
“We managed to put 1,000 hours on that building,” she said. “So did a lot of people.”
Rosalynn Carter, 86, was introduced by her husband as, “the boss of my work camp…who has been bossing me around now for 67 years.” She noted she was initially reluctant to swing a hammer at the site.
“Before we got here, I told Jimmy that I was not going to do any hammering,” she recalled. “The only thing I’d ever done was put a nail in the wall to hang a picture up.”
The former first lady spent her first day at Mascot Flats pulling linoleum up off the floor with some other women. Later that day, a man brought them some flooring with instructions from the former president to nail it in. Her earlier protest was for naught, and with a laugh, she exclaimed, “After 30 years, I’ve become a very accomplished carpenter.”
The Carters also spoke of how building homes across the world — Habitat for Humanity is in 75 countries — is a stabilizing force for families.
“We’ve seen their lives transform,” Jimmy Carter said. Under the program, a house — which is built and purchased by the families — becomes a point of pride, and a vehicle for change. Improvements in education, healthcare and safety are much more obtainable in a better home environment, they said.
“It’s almost always emotional when you meet someone who’s never had a home, or who’s never ever dreamed of having a home,” Rosalynn said. “Then you give them a home, and we always cry when we give them the keys.”
She referenced an original tenant named Jessica who was a dishwasher when they first met her at Mascot Flats.
“Next time we came back, she was an apprentice in the carpenters union, she had learned a trade,” Rosalynn said.
Habitat for Humanity also fosters new work experiences. For example, in a project in Nicaragua, participants made bricks and tiles for the houses, and then profited from doing the same thing for other villages.
The Carters’ international work has included the Philippines with 14,000 volunteers at their largest site yet. They built 293 homes in only five days. Also, the Carters have been in Haiti, where they constructed 300 homes in what had been the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake.
“The homes are now beautiful,” the former president said. “It’s an oasis in the middle of a still-devastated country.”
“It’s been a labor of love for us, as you can tell. We’re very proud to be here,” he added.
Kao, director of Project Reach, a youth program, and Rupel, a medical research writer and a musician, both addressed the crowd and expressed their gratitude to the Carters. Each raised a child in the building.
Kao, 62, disclosed he has been living with AIDS for almost 30 years. The building has been instrumental in his life. When he was sick, he needed someone to carry him three flights up to his apartment.
“All of that couldn’t have happened, and I couldn’t have been here today, in part, without that building behind me,” he said. “It allowed me to care of myself, take care of my health and run an organization.”
Meanwhile, Kao added that “prices have skyrocketed” in the neighborhood, and that the property next door “sold for almost $2 million and set the price for all around.” He said he had the Carters to thank for his being able to remain in the neighborhood.
This naturally led to the topic of gentrification when it came time for reporter questions. When asked about it, Jimmy Carter said, “It cuts both ways.” However, he did say gentrification was good. He noted that the second year Habitat for Humanity was at Mascot Flats, people in the neighborhood cleaned up empty lots and planted community gardens there.
“Once you build some decent homes that people actually own, it gentrifies every neighborhood,” he said.
He noted he has not returned to a former work site where upkeep is an issue.
“People are so proud of their own homes that they bought, and worked on for hundreds of hours, and paid for full price to let anybody do any damage to it,” he said.
The apartments at Mascot Flats were not given away. As Jimmy Carter stated, Habitat for Humanity only gives away “love and compassion.” He thought the people who first moved in paid $30,000 for an apartment, which they could have turned around and sold for almost six times the price.
“We put a restraint on the homes here as they sold, so Habitat would have partial ownership, and could use that money to build more homes,” he said.
However, another original tenant, “Doc” Aroyo, recalled that the purchase price for his apartment was $50,000, though the mortgage was interest-free.
When asked about the national mortgage crisis, the former president advocated for regulations to control banks.
“We do need a very strict law to be passed to prevent that profiting off of innocent borrowers who are given a loan that the bank knows they can’t repay, just so the bank can make a profit by reselling the mortgages,” he said. According to him, these protections were partially in place through a law passed a few years ago, but Congress is blocking the law from implementation by withholding funds.
“The average person making a loan to buy a house doesn’t have any lobbyist in Washington to protect his or her interests,” he said. “But the rich folks that are benefiting from this, they have lobbyists to protect their interests, and I think this changed dramatically in the last 30 years,” he said. Carter said he also feels there has been a lowering of expectations in the States, and a “stalemate” in social mobility.
As for Congress, and its current standstill, he had a few words of advice and a recommendation that its members all go work for a day on a Habitat site, where cooperation is key.
“We respect authority, and when we have a building superintendent or house leader, everybody that works on the Habitat site pays attention to instructions for the well-being of everybody,” he stated. “And secondly, there’s no distinction whether you’re Christian, Muslim or Jew, Democrat or Republican, man or a woman — you’re all working for the same goal.”
The Carter Project was also in Oakland, San Jose and Denver last week. The rest of the sites include Queens, Staten Island and Union Beach, N.J. There were 1,000 volunteers in New York to renovate and repair 15 homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy last year.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | That was fast! The city’s Department of Transportation has approved the implementation of a “Tompkins Square/Alphabet City Slow Zone” next year.
And, the year after that, the West Village’s streets, as well, are reportedly set to get the lower speed limits and other traffic-calming measures that create the so-called slow zones.
Community Board 3 member Chad Marlow, who originally proposed the idea to D.O.T., broke the news last Fri., Oct. 11.
That morning, Margaret Forgione, the agency’s Manhattan borough commissioner, wrote to Marlow announcing that D.O.T. has green-lighted the idea and that it would be put into effect by next year.
“For each slow zone application,” Forgione wrote, “D.O.T. considers a myriad of factors, including, but not limited to: crash rate (relative to the rest of the borough), size of the zone, zone boundaries, transit density, community support, and institutions of priority within the zone (schools, daycare, senior centers, etc.). Upon reviewing your application, we are happy to report your zone was selected for implementation.”
Marlow is also the founder of the Tompkins Square Park & Playgrounds Parents’ Association.
The Villager broke the story about Marlow’s slow-zone proposal a little over half a year ago, back in April, when the newspaper printed a talking point by him about it.
Per Marlow’s talking point: “The slow zone program, in short, takes a well-defined, relatively compact area, and reduces its speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour, with further reductions to 15 miles per hour near schools. These newly reduced speed limits are then promoted and enforced through the use of traffic-calming measures, such as specialized signage at zone entry points, painted speed limit information on streets and the selective use of speed humps (relatively flat, elongated speed bumps that are designed to be traversed at 15 to 20 miles per hour).”
Shortly after receiving Forgione’s letter last Friday, Marlow told The Villager, “I am beyond grateful to the Department of Transportation for approving the Tompkins Square / Alphabet City Slow Zone. I am equally filled with gratitude for all of the community groups, elected officials and members of Community Board 3 whose support for the proposal was instrumental in making it a reality. Most of all, I find myself thinking of my father, Richard Marlow, and how something positive has finally come out of the years of terrible pain and suffering he endured after being hit by a speeding, drunk driver in 1995. I dedicate this effort to his memory.”
According to StreetsBlog, there were 74 applications for slow zones. Fifteen were selected, to be rolled out over the course of the next three years.
“In what is an especially high honor,” Marlow said, “the Tompkins Square / Alphabet City Slow Zone is in the highest priority group, and is set for being rolled out in 2014.”
According to StreetsBlog, also set for 2014 rollout are slow zones in Norwood in the Bronx, Clinton Hill / Bedford Stuyvesant and Brownsville in Brooklyn, and Jackson Heights, Queens
Neighborhoods earmarked for slow zones in 2015 include Sunnyside Gardens / Woodside and Sunnyside in Queens; Crown Heights, Brooklyn; Parkchester in the Bronx; and the West Village.
In addition, traffic-calming measures are scheduled the year after that for Midland Beach in Staten Island; Brooklyn Heights and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn; Westchester Square in the Bronx; and Hudson Heights in Manhattan.
As for whether slow zones will be fast-tracked or parked in a new administration, it’s likely the former, since the predictive next mayor Bill de Blasio is a fan.
“De Blasio loves slow zones,” Marlow said. “He called for tripling the number of them during the campaign.”
Friends of Joel Pakela gathered for a HOWL at Tompkins Square Park / Memorial for L.E.S. Jewels in his honor on Friday evening. Pakela, a well-kn0wn East Village crusty punk who went by L.E.S. Jewels, died a week earlier after being found on the sidewalk on Avenue A across from the park, smelling of alcohol, and later died at Beth Israel Medical Center. He was 43. Amy Sanchez, who married Jewels when she was an 18-year-old School of Visual Art student, though later separated from him, read some of his poetry at the memorial.
Mick Jones of The Clash helped dedicate the newly painted mural to his former band mate Joe Strummer at E. Seventh St. and Avenue A on Thursday evening. As a crowd of a few hundred looked on, the mural was unveiled to cheers. After a quick pose in front of the mural for everyone’s camera, Jones used his own phone to take a photograph of the forearm of a woman whose tattoo he really liked. He posed for a few more snapshots with fans, before hopping into a black S.U.V. and driving off. Paul Simonon, The Clash’s bass player, was reportedly also in town, but didn’t make it for the mural unveiling. The previous Strummer mural had to be removed due to building repairs.
With surveillance the hot topic due to recent news stories about the N.S.A., East Village Internet pioneer Paul Garrin will be moderating a free panel discussion on “Ethics, Law and Surveillance Culture,” at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on Mon., Sept. 23. The press release for the event is below:
The Cooper Union Alumni Association
Cooper Union Entrepreneurs Society
in association with the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City
In light of recent revelations of pervasive digital surveillance, our panel will present the long history of domestic spying by government agencies, private sector cooperation, and the legal, ethical and business challenges of defending and preserving liberty and constitutionality in cyberspace.
Investigative Journalist, Expert on NSA and Author of “Puzzle Palace”, “Body of Secrets”, “Pretext to War”, and “The Shadow Factory”
Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union
Stanley L. Cohen
Human Rights Activist, Criminal Defense Attorney, Legal Counsel
to Anonymous “PayPal 14”
Journalist, Educator, Radio and TV host of “Let Them Talk”
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is located at Cooper Square (East 7th st and 3rd Avenue) New York, NY 10003.
This event is free and open to the public, and will be live streamed on the internet.
Please RSVP by sending an email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contributions are being accepted to help us fund the event .
Please pitch in what you can afford using our “CrowdTilt” campaign: http://tilt.tc/cIlM
Funding Goal: $900 To Fund: guest speaker transportation, meals and hotel, printing programs, post event dinner for guest speakers and staff.
LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) is holding its second annual Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens at the end of the month.
LUNGS was founded in spring 2012 by longtime East Village resident and gardener Charles Krezell, who is associated with De Colores Garden on E. Eighth St.
Within months, he united most area gardens around the concept of “local garden power” (many local gardeners belong to citywide garden coalitions) and by fall 2012, they had organized enough to hold their first annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens, which they funded through Kickstarter.
Last year 24 gardens participated. This year, 32 are participating. For more, check out LUNG’s info on the festival, below:
LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens)
SECOND ANNUAL HARVEST ARTS FESTIVAL IN THE GARDENS
Saturday, September 28 & Sunday, September 29, 2013
32 Community Gardens Across Loisaida / The East Village / The Lower East Side / The Village
WHAT TO EXPECT
WHERE TO GO
NEED TO KNOW MORE?
Press, performers, painters, philanthropists. Email info@LUNGSnyc.org
Event hashtag #lungsnyc
On Sun., Sept. 29, at 6 and B Garden, at E. Sixth St. and Avenue B, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Jim Power, the East Village’s “Mosaic Man,” will be holding a mosaic workshop and also creating a special sign for the garden.
“I’ll do the ‘6 and B,’ and everyone else can contribute and help fill in the rest,” he said. “I’m going to give a rundown on how to make the mosaic and how to use the glue.”
Bring some dishes — preferably not your best ones — to break up for use in the mosaic.
Also, Power, among his many current projects, is working on his new “People’s Pole” lamppost, at Avenue A and Ninth St. by Tompkins Square Park.
“It’s pictures of people from the neighborhood,” he said. “People donate $100 and they get their name on the pole.”
It’s part of “Mosaic Man” ’s new fundraising push, which he hopes will help him fill his eternal, elusive dream — to finally finish the legendary “Mosaic Trail” throughout the neighborhood.
Also, The Villager is honored to be getting a “pole position” on the People’s Pole, though we didn’t pay him anything.
“You’re the only one that covers me,” Power said.
In addition, his recently restored Astor Place pole will be getting some new names, including artist/blogger Suzannah B. Troy, Clayton Patterson and the late Taylor Mead.