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downtown ® express A DECADE OF TRIBECA FILM FEST PGS. 15 - 25 VOLUME 23, NUMBER







APRIL 20 - 26, 2011

49 THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN APRIL 20 - 26, 2011 Downtown Express photo by John

Downtown Express photo by John Bayles

Spring is the season for hoops

Drew Mihalik and Dave Monnat, both seniors at Pace University, took advantage of the weather last Thursday and during a break between classes found their way to the basketball courts at West Thames Park.

Pols: Stop tour bus invasion


Residents near Ground Zero fear the worst as they anticipate height- ened congestion when the National September 11th Memorial and Museum opens in September. Approximately 1,500 people an hour are expected to visit the memo- rial, 20 percent of whom are likely to arrive at the site by tour bus, according to New York State Assembly Speaker

Sheldon Silver. Silver, along with other local elected officials, met with members of Community Boards 1 and 3, the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York Police Department last Friday, April 15, to discuss new parking regulations, enforcement for the tour buses and alternative means of transportation for World Trade Center visitors.

The memorial, which is expected to draw five to seven million people annually, will receive between six and eight busloads of visitors per hour. The resulting traffic congestion and air pol- lution could pose everyday hassles and safety risks for local residents if not properly dealt with, according to New York State Assemblywoman Deborah

Continued on page 8

School rezoning distresses Downtown community


Some Downtown young- sters may soon have lengthy bus rides to get to school each day if the city goes ahead with its plan to rezone the area south of 14th St. The School Construction Authority, a branch of the NYC Department of Education, announced last week that it would be funding new school seats based on newly designated sub-districts, rather than districts, for the first time. This system would divide Lower Manhattan into east and west at Broadway. To the community’s angst, the new plan groups “Lower Manhattan West” and Tribeca with the Village; and “Lower Manhattan East” with Chinatown. The Department’s new and existing resources for the two Downtown subdis- tricts are projected to be sufficient for the area’s seat capacity needs, according to the DOE’s latest projections. Liz Bergin, the department’s

vice president of capital plan management, presented the data to NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force on Thurs., April 14. The April amendment to the 2010-14 Capital Plan funds 1,301 new seats for Tribeca, the Village and Lower Manhattan West — greater than the 725 addi- tional seats needed in these neighborhoods by 2014, according to the DOE. The SCA overprotected the capacity needs of District Two, Bergin explained, because the area’s housing sector is not growing as quickly as previously antici- pated. (The Department did not immediately identify where they would secure the additional 225 needed seats in Chinatown and Lower Manhattan East.) Bergin assured that there are enough seats for Downtown youngsters in the pipeline — 518 seats, for example, at the Foundling Hospital (P.S. 340), which

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April 20 - 26, 2011

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Nurturing a green thumb, one mistake at a time

Phyllis Goldberg was tending her tiny plot in Liberty Gardens in Battery Park City last Thursday. Goldberg admits that her thumb might not be the greenest when it comes to some of the other gardeners who use the plots to grow everything from vegetables to flowers. But for Goldberg gardening is a hobby and she appreciates the chance to pick up tips from others who use the space.

“I’m basically uprooting a mistake,” Goldberg said as she tried to rip out one of old plants. “When I put this one in last year, I thought it was a perennial. But when I came out here today, it was dead as a doornail.”

Tribeca locals dash eatery’s live music hopes

A Tribeca restaurant’s petition to enliven its nightlife atmosphere was shot down at

a Community Board 1 meeting on Wed.,

April 13. In an advisory role, C.B. 1’s Tribeca Committee voted unanimously to deny the owner of Sazon additional forms of night-

time entertainment. “Live music is essential

to a Puerto Rican restaurant,” and will have

a make-or-break impact on the business,

according to its attorney, Martin Mehler. Live music, however, is prohibited by stipulations in the restaurant’s state-regu- lated liquor license, according to committee member Jeff Ehrlich. Several nearby residents cringed at the mere thought of the proposals. Amy Sewell, who lives at 99 Reade St., said she is often disturbed at night by rowdy patrons loitering on the street after they leave the restaurant. “We know you have intentions of being good neighbors, but it hasn’t worked,” she said. “Even if you’re [only] open until 1 or 2 a.m., people stay on the street partying until 3 or 4 a.m. It’s a problem.” “It’s horrifying that you’re thinking of

staying open later,” said Lisa Schiller, anoth- er resident of 99 Reade St. who also gets irritated by the noise. The restaurant is already in violation of State law, according to Sewell’s husband, Charlie Sewell. He said he regularly sees the restaurant’s windows open after 7 p.m. — a breach of the restaurant’s liquor license — and hears loud music streaming from inside. “Y ou basically operated a discotheque downstairs on a nightly basis,” Sewell said. Sazon’s owner, J.R. Morales, said in reply that he had hired a D.J. a few nights a week to play oldies music on the bottom floor of the venue. The eaterie, concluded Peter Braus, chair of the Tribeca Committee, would “have a bunch of work to do” before considering submitting an application with the owner’s desired changes. “I can’t see this committee considering any additional dispensation of the restau- rant,” said Braus. “I don’t think we’d be acting in the best interest of the neighbor- hood.

— Aline Reynolds


downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 3 D OWNTOWN DIGEST countries as one Islamic

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April 20 - 26, 2011


downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 3 D OWNTOWN DIGEST countries as one Islamic state.



countries as one Islamic state. After spending four years in prison as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, he reversed his ideology and now promotes counter-extrem- ist views. He also seeks to challenge the popular opinion that the West is out to destroy Islam. During his appearance on Thurs., April 28 at the 9/11 Memorial preview site (located at 20 Vesey St.), ut-Tahrir will discuss his experience with the radicalization process and the necessity for free societies to challenge erroneous narratives and promote pluralism. RSVP at to reserve a seat. Otherwise, seats are available at the door on a first-come first-serve basis.

Rotary Club campaigns to end Polio

The Rotary Club of Wall Street New York invites the public to listen to Paul Katz, founder and CEO of entertain- ment and social awareness company Commit Media, who will speak about the End Polio Now campaign. The Rotary Club is one of more than 30,000 clubs established globally to impact social change on a local and international level. The event is part of a larger campaign by Rotary International to eradicate polio across the world. “Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide,” according to the organization’s website. “Thanks to Rotary, Polio remains endemic in just four coun- tries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan.” Katz will speak at the Down Town Association, located at 60 Pine St.

Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour

The annual TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour (TOAST) allows residents and interested parties to take a behind- the-scenes look at the work of some of Tribeca’s most talented artists. Visitors will be take self-guided tours through the artists’ studios, where they will have the opportunity to speak directly to and purchase pieces from the artists. The four-day event will take place from Fri., April 29 to Mon., May 2, in 36 different locations across Tribeca. “We’re excited to offer a true glimpse behind the cur- tain that exposes where neighborhood artists create, what inspires them and how they do what they do,” said Ruth McLaughlin, treasurer of TOAST and a participating artist. “This is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in an open artistic atmosphere of discussion and enlightenment.” Now in its 15th year, the tour is at its largest since its creation, with close to 100 artists participating this season. For information on the event, and to view previews of the participating artists and download a tour map, visit

Confronting Islamist propaganda

A reformed ex-member of the Islamic group Hizb ut- Tahrir will speak in Tribeca at an event called “The Front Lines of Counter Terrorism:

Confronting Islamist Extremist Propaganda.” Maajid Nawaz is a former high-ranking member of the global political organization, which seeks to unite all Muslim
































.1-15, 18-19

























15 - 27


C.B. 1


The upcoming week’s schedule of Community Board 1 committee meetings is below. Unless other- wise noted, all committee meetings are held at the board office, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m.





Committee will meet.




ON THURS., APRIL 21: C.B. 1’s Quality of Life Committee will meet.


Review Task Force will meet.




C.B. 1’s SLA Process

ON TUE., APRIL 26: C.B. 1 will host its monthly full board meeting at Claremont Preparatory School, located at 41 Broad St.

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Police are looking for a man who sexually attacked two women at knifepoint in the elevators of their buildings on the Lower East Side. The suspect, described as Hispanic, 17 to 25 years old, between 5’8” and 5’10” with a dark com- plexion and heavy-set, followed his victims into elevators in the La Guardia Houses on Clinton Street, drew a knife and attacked them in stairwells, police said. The suspect attacked his first victim, 19, at 7:30 a.m. last Jan. 18. His recent vic- tim, 17, fought off the attack at 10 p.m. Thurs., April 14. Anyone with information should phone crime stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477), go online at 222nypdcrimestoppers. com or text to 274637 (crimes) and enter TIP577.

Holland Tunnel crash

Five people were injured in a four-car accident in the Holland Tunnel north tube near the New Jersey side around 1 p.m. Sat., April 16. The victims were treated at the Jersey City Medical Center. The north tube was closed until 2:45 a.m.

Close shave

Police arrested Adrian Wynn, 42, for stealing four Gillette fusion cartridges valued at $66 from the Rite Aid at 495 Broadway near Broome Street on Friday morning, April 15. The suspect was charged with robbery because he punched a security guard and another employee who tried to stop him from walking out of the store without paying for the shaving products.


Two men walked into American Apparel, 121 Spring St., at 6 p.m. Mon., April 11, and walked out with 18 men’s shirts with a total value of $1,068, police said. At closing time, employees discovered that 17 sweaters and 13 flannel shirts had also been stolen that day. Employees at Glory Chen boutique at 121 Greene St. told police that an unknown suspect walked off without paying for four handbags valued at $2,813 sometime before 4:30

pm. Thurs., April 14. An employee of Stella, 138 W. Broadway between Thomas and Duane Streets, saw a man who entered the shop at 12:40 p.m. Wed., April 13 fleeing from the place without paying for a blue cashmere throw valued at $1,245.

Stain scam

A visitor from Denmark told police that she was in Soho

on Sunday afternoon, April 17, when a stranger told her she had a stain on her jacket and led her to the outdoor café at Antique Garage, 41 Mercer St. near Broome to help her clean up. Before she knew it, the stranger fled with her bag that she had just put on a chair. She lost Danish credit cards and driver’s license, a camera, her hotel card key and $150 in U.S. currency.

Car gone

A Brooklyn man parked his Acura TSX model on the

southwest corner of Rector and Greenwich Streets at 4:20 a.m. Sat., April 16, and returned at 1:45 p.m. after finishing his work day to discover the car, valued at $25,000, had been stolen.

Three-card monte

An employee at J & R Music at 23 Park Row stopped a man as he was paying for a CD with three credit cards around 2 p.m. Sun., April 17 and discovered the suspect’s ID did not match the name on the credit cards. Irving Adams charged with ID theft, told police he found the cards.

Teen robberies

Police arrested Devante Scott, 17, and charged him with robbing seven teenage male victims between the ages of 15 and 18 in Manhattan subways in the East Village, Lower Manhattan, Harlem and on the Upper West Side in the past eight weeks. Scott confronted the victims with a knife or a handgun before stealing their cellphones and iPods, police said.

— Albert Amateau

Fighting to keep Seaport museum from sinking


Tourists hoping to catch an exhibit at the Seaport Museum are in for a disappointment, at least for the next month, and perhaps for good. The museum at 12 Fulton St., which has been struggling to keep its doors open in recent months, seems to be unof- ficially closed. Due to “a variety of scheduling and other issues,” the museum will not open its next exhibit until mid-May, at the earliest, according to a receptionist at the museum who wouldn’t disclose their name. Details about the forthcoming exhibit haven’t yet been released. “They’re working on it right now and are hoping to have more information soon,” said the receptionist. The only exhibits that are currently open to the public are on the Ambrose lightship and Peking four-masted barque, two of the museum’s eight historic ships. The Peking, which reportedly is up for sale, has deterio- rated substantially over the years, with restoration costs esti- mated at around $28 million, according to marine surveyor and consultant Joseph Lombardi. Mary Ellen Pelzer, the museum’s president, declined to comment about the museum’s finances, which have recently

been in dire shape. A museum spokesperson issued a written statement, saying, “The Seaport Museum [NY] continues to work to resolve its current fiscal challenges and place itself on a path to long-term sustainability.” Several sources once or currently affiliated with the museum, however, don’t believe that to be true. “It seems to me the museum is trying to somehow man- age to shut down,” said Michael Abegg, former chief mate of the museum’s schooner, the Lettie G. Howard, who was fired last week for violating a media policy. A clear indicator of this, Abegg said, is the museum’s decision to no longer advertise programming on its boats. “The current regime doesn’t really see the importance of the boat or the education program,” he said. Only two staff members remain in the museum’s educa- tion department, according to Abegg, and they’re not cur- rently booking trips on its sailing vessels. The captain of the Pioneer schooner, who ran a very suc- cessful volunteer program, was let go on Feb. 2 amid other recent layoffs and furloughs that have led to a loss of more than half the museum’s staff, according to sources.

Continued on page 28

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April 20 - 26, 2011


One year in, B.P.C. library fosters community spirit


Financial District resident Grace Tate considers her local public library to be her home office. Tate, who runs a paralegal outsourcing boutique, sets up shop at the same computer

every day, six days a week, on the first floor of the Battery Park City library, a branch of the New York Public Library, where she per- forms legal research, composes legal briefs, listens to music and watches movies. Tate will treat herself to a gyro sandwich from a vendor stationed in front of the nearby Whole Foods Market when she gets in a good day’s work. “The library has been indispensable” since May of last year, Tate said, when she began coming regularly. “At home, you can have all kinds of dis- tractions,” she said. “Here, I lose myself in what I’m doing. I like my routine.” The B.P.C. library, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in March, welcomed more than 173,200 patrons in its first year, and offered a whopping 375 programs for children, adults and seniors. Its busiest month was last July, when it served more than 17,000 patrons, according to the library’s manager, Billy Parrott. “All you have to do is open the doors and people come,” said Parrott, an employee of the New York Public Library system since


Between the influx of neighborhood

system since 2004. Between the influx of neighborhood Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds Battery Park

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

Battery Park City resident Tracey-Ann Spencer (middle) spends some quality reading time with her son Decklan (left) and daughter Bronwyn (right).

workers and youths, Parrott said, the library

is bustling all day long. Nannies and parents

flock to the facility in the morning and leave by lunchtime. Workers from the World Financial Center swing by during their lunch breaks, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., to borrow

a book or read a newspaper. And, from 3

p.m. to 5 p.m., teens from Stuyvesant High School, located a few blocks north of the library, come and hang out after their school day is finished. The library is the New York Public Library’s first “green” branch in Manhattan and is aiming for gold certification

in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which Parrott expects to receive in the next year. The lights on the facility’s second floor dim automatically when it gets bright out- side. Its carpeting is made of recycled truck tires and its wood is composed of discarded pieces of manufactured window frames. The environmentally friendly design of the building, Parrott said, has a particu- larly healthy influence on the youngsters that use the library. “The idea is to get the kids started young… and having a space like this shows [that] you don’t have to make compromises from a visual and design stand- point,” he said. The library is celebrating Earth Day the week of April 18 with an environmen- tally themed session of its weekly activity, “Picture Book Time” and a special session called “Earth Day Craft!” On Monday, April 18, Anne Barreca, the children’s librarian that handles “Picture Book Time,” read aloud “Let’s Save the Animals,” “On Meadoview Street,” and other environmental kids’ books to a group of wide-eyed children, ages two to eight. “There is more of a sense of community” at the Battery Park City library, Barreca said, than at the Seward Park Library, where she formerly worked. “There are more regulars and toddlers here. I like getting to know

Continued on page 30

Competing visions for South St. Seaport


The weather cooperated — predicted rain did not materialize. It was neither too hot nor too cold on April 9 as around 900 people crowded into a parking lot on South Street between Beekman and Fulton Streets for what was billed as an Oyster Saloon to benefit the New Amsterdam Market. They sampled delicacies such as pan- roasted oysters from renowned chef April Bloomfield of The John Dory Bar, oys- ters Rockefeller from Great Performances, grilled oysters from Luke’s Lobster, wild oysters from the deep waters of Long Island Sound, and farmed oysters from up and down the East Coast. They drank draught beer and freshly brewed coffee and snacked on moist, spicy gingerbread for dessert. The event raised around $30,000 for the New Amsterdam Market, a farmers’ market sell- ing regional produce and products that is scheduled to open for the season on May 1 with Sunday markets weekly in front of the closed stalls of the old Fulton Fish Market. Robert La Valva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market, was happy with the response to the Oyster Saloon. He said that it showed that people knew about the New Amsterdam Market and were eager to sup- port it. He would like to make it a permanent fixture in and around the historic Fulton Fish Market buildings, where, he said, there have been markets for centuries.

But the Howard Hughes Corp., which has a long-term lease on the South Street Seaport from Piers 16 and 17 to Water Street and from John Street to Beekman may have other ideas. When General Growth, the previous leaseholder of the area, filed bankruptcy in 2008, it spun off 34 assets that were not central to its operations. Shareholders of General Growth became shareholders of the Howard Hughes Corp., which was created

on Nov. 9, 2010 as an independent, publicly traded real estate company with assets span- ning 18 states from New York to Hawaii. One of those assets was the South Street Seaport. According to Howard Hughes Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer David R. Weinreb in a letter to shareholders dated April 7, 2011, Ward Centers, a 60-acre property in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the South Street Seaport “represent substantial redevelop- ment opportunities.” Weinreb notes that “South Street Seaport

is one of the top five most visited sites in

New York City.” He goes on to say that, “When the U.S. economy recovers, those assets that are best located will be primed for development.” William A. Ackman, chairman of Howard Hughes Corp., said that at $3.1 million — the book value of the South Street Seaport — the property is undervalued. “Last year,

Seaport — the property is undervalued. “Last year, Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer Around

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Around 900 people attended the Oyster Saloon fundraiser for the New Amsterdam Market, which was held on April 9 on South St. in front of the old Fulton Fish Market.

it generated more than $5 million in cash net operating income,” he said in a letter to shareholders, “and this number meaning- fully understates the future cash-generating potential of this property as G.G.P. [General Growth Properties] generally discontinued granting long-term leases to tenants as it

prepared the property for a major redevel- opment. Even using the $5 million N.O.I. number, one can get to values approaching $100 million using cap rates appropriate for New York City retail assets, and we would

Continued on page 30


April 20 - 26, 2011

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6 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express     Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds

P.S. 234 parent Tricia Joyce (right) challenges the Dept. of Education’s rezoning plan and enrollment projections for Downtown.

School rezoning distresses Downtown community

Continued from page 1

is slated to open in 2014; 476 seats in a new Downtown elementary school tentatively sited at One Peck Slip; and 307 seats in I.S. 868. “We recognize the need for seats [and] we’re trying to get them here as quickly as we possibly can,” Bergin told the task force. The data compiled by Community Board 1, “has validity just as ours has validity,” Bergin said. But while CB 1’s analysis looks at the total number of births in the board’s district, the DOE’s analysis is based on total number of births by ethnicity group within various districts, she noted. And, unlike CB1’s projections, which sets bound- aries by the community board’s district, CB 1 overlaps the new subdistricts in the Department’s analysis. Task force members, however, find the DOE’s rezoning plan to be illogical, and con- siders its enrollment projections unfounded. Eric Greenleaf, a professor at the New York University Stern School who has come up with his own overcrowding data for Downtown, objects to the way that the DOE is splitting Lower Manhattan down the mid- dle. “It makes no sense at all,” he said, “espe- cially given what’s happened Downtown in the last 10 years.” “9/11, if nothing else, drove the point home to our parents that they want their kids close to home,” echoed Paul Hovitz, co- chair of CB 1’s youth and education commit- tee. “To have youngsters sitting on a school bus in traffic, and spending what could be learning time in a school, is unacceptable.” The Village, Hovitz noted, “is not in our

neighborhood – it’s not even in our com- munity board.” Elizabeth Rose, director of portfolio plan- ning at the DOE, pointed out that the Department doesn’t consider community board districts to be the boundary lines that separate school zones. Shino Tanikawa, a member of District Two’s Community Education Council, deemed the Department’s rezoning proposal “bogus.” “There is no room north of Canal St. -- P.S. 3 is full, and P.S. 41 has a wait list,” she said. “What they’re trying to do is fix over- crowding by rezoning, but rezoning does not create seats.” The task force was equally opposed to the DOE’s enrollment numbers. The Department, Greenleaf said, is contradicting itself by claiming to have enough space for Downtown students when, at the same time, it is putting twice as many school children into Spruce St. next fall, for example, than it has capacity for. “You’ve underprojected, not overproject- ed… I’m not clear where you see all this space,” echoed Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, who found Bergin’s presentation difficult to understand. Task force members are particularly concerned that the fate of Spruce St.’s middle school might be doomed due to a forthcoming seat shortage. The Beekman Tower, Spruce’s permanent home, Task force member Tricia Joyce noted, only has eigh- teen available classrooms.

Continued on page 7

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April 20 - 26, 2011


School rezoning distresses

Continued from page 6

“With four classes per grade, by the time [the students] are in fourth grade, they will have filled the entire school meant as a K-to- 8,” said Joyce. “Clearly, you can see you’re borrowing rooms from your school, and the day will come when you fill the school well before that school was meant to be filled. This is not a logical approach to planning.” Hovitz also had qualms with the DOE’s ethnicity-based approach toward its enroll- ment projections. “The fact that they listed [ethnicity] as the key source as to how they project what groups stay and go, was very, very disconcerting to me,” he said, claiming the method to be “borderline bigoted.” During the task force meeting, Rose boasted Downtown’s slim waitlists, which she said are substantially lower this spring — at 34 students — than around the same time last spring — at 62 students. The smaller waitlists, the task force mem- bers countered, is misleading, since some of the Downtown schools added extra sections just to be able to take in additional students next fall. P.S. 276 and P.S. 89, for instance, will both have four kindergarten sections, with capacity for only three. “It puts pressure on our principals to keep accommodating all these extra kids just because they have extra elementary class-

rooms right now,” said Joyce. “That’s not a good strategy, and it’s going to be disastrous for our schools.” The task force also discussed the pos- sibility of expanding the Peck Slip school to fit more than the Department’s currently planned count of 476 students. “If you have space that has a greater capacity,” Silver sug- gested, “rather than to have to find another space that takes us years, I’d suggest we build out to the maximum that we can.” The Department, Rose assured, would occupy the entirety of the Peck Slip space that the DOE will acquire, which could pos- sibly translate into more seats. The SCA, she said, is proceeding with exclusive negotia- tions with the U.S. Postal Service to finalize the acquisition of the space. The school is still scheduled to open in Fall 2015. In other news, Silver praised Mayor Bloomberg’s choice to replace NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black with Dennis Walcott, the city’s former deputy mayor for Education and Community Development. “I expect a significant change in terms of the approach and attitude to parents,” said Silver. He said he hopes to see overcrowding in Lower Manhattan rise “to the top of the agenda, and that we get some real answers.” Walcott told Silver he would attend the Speaker’s next task force meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.

Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Fighting to make
Lower Manhattan
the greatest place
to live, work, and
raise a family.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver
If you need assistance, please contact my office at
(212) 312-1420 or email
Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email
Shelly Silver If you need assistance, please contact my office at (212) 312-1420 or email


April 20 - 26, 2011

8 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

downtown express

Curtailing the tour bus invasion

Continued from page 1

Glick. “We want to ensure that this very, very significant increase in our daily visitors is handled in a way that’s good for people who live here,” she said. “The goal here is to have as many visitors in Lower Manhattan as we can handle… without new tour buses,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron, adding that the City “needs to be ahead of the curve” in planning. The senator, along with C.B. 1 Chair Julie Menin, stressed the importance of encour- aging alternative transportation methods to the W.T.C. Rather than clutter the streets and increase air pollution around Ground Zero, the tour buses, Menin advised, should park across the river in New Jersey, and visitors should use the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train to get to the memorial. The D.O.T., NYC and Company (the City’s tourism arm) and the Downtown Alliance, plan to offer incentive packages for tour buses to encourage remote parking. The memorial, meanwhile, intends to partner with bus compa- nies and ferry operators to promote tourists’ use of mass transit. Public transportation use, the stakehold- ers said, could also help nurture Downtown’s economy, since visitors traveling via subway or ferry would be more likely to explore the neighborhood before or after their visit to the memorial.

“We don’t just want them to come into the memorial, leave, and go back to wherever they came from,” said Silver. “We want them in the restaurants and the shops… and to spend some money in Lower Manhattan.” To address the tour buses that will be shut- tling visitors to Downtown, the stakeholders agreed on establishing a permit system and designating specific drop-off and pick-up sites in the neighborhood. The D.O.T. will be implementing the city’s first metered parking program with maximum time limits for the buses, and is collaborating with the 9/11 memorial to devise a timed reservation sys- tem for its visitors. Luis Sanchez, the D.O.T.’s Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner, said the Department is considering Trinity Place and Church Street as drop-off and pick-up locations for buses during off-peak hours and Barclay and West Streets as layover and parking places. The stakeholders also asked that 100 per- cent of the revenue derived from the tour buses finance traffic regulation enforcement and the upkeep of the memorial park. “We’re opening on the memorial a park that is larger than Bryant Park; we need to make sure it is maintained for the five million people who are going to come into our community,” said Menin. The N.Y.P.D. indicated at the stakeholders meeting that it would be enforcing the new parking laws, though finances for the added services have yet to be identified. Squadron

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NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (at podium) was joined by local officials last Friday to discuss the upcoming opening of the 9/11 Memorial.

said he hopes the stakeholders will locate some funding sources by their next monthly meeting on May 19. “The process is far from finished, but we’re certainly off to a positive start,” said Silver. “We’ve established a basis for future discussions on how to develop and imple- ment an effective plan that limits the number

of buses that arrive in Lower Manhattan.” Nearby residents, however, are skeptical

that the city will be able to mitigate the negative impact of the large influx of tourists. “It’s just going to be a bigger nightmare than ever,” said Esther Regelson, who has lived two blocks south of the W.T.C. site, on Washington St. for nearly three decades. “We really have become a dumping ground for [traf- fic and tourists.]” Regelson, a biker, said she is fed up with the number of streets near the W.T.C. that are blocked off for construction, and with the amount of dust in her apartment. “I don’t think these streets are equipped to handle [tour buses],” she said. “We have to encourage alternate means of transportation, and discourage any vehicles larger than a taxi coming through.” Jason Perkal, who lives on Greenwich St.,

is concerned about both the bus and pedestrian

traffic the memorial’s opening will bring to the area. “I’m not looking forward to seeing huge buses getting stuck on my street just because they can’t make the turns properly, and then standing and idling all over,” he said. Perkal also fears noise pollution from the buses and envisions having to squeeze through large crowds congregating on the streets on

a daily basis.

“It’s all not pleasing,” he said. “It’s a resi- dential neighborhood and we’re trying to keep

it that way.”

“It’s all not pleasing,” he said. “It’s a resi- dential neighborhood and we’re trying to keep

“It’s all not pleasing,” he said. “It’s a resi- dential neighborhood and we’re trying to keep

“It’s all not pleasing,” he said. “It’s a resi- dential neighborhood and we’re trying to keep

downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 9

downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011


Pace’s Actors Studio stages repertory season


The scripts are interesting, the acting is compelling, the theater is well equipped and intimate, the sets, lighting and costumes are professional, and the cost is free. This describes the annual spring repertory season of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University during which the actors, directors and playwrights of the Master of Fine Arts graduat- ing class show what they have learned. Each week through May 14 brings a new set of three plays, which are staged in Dance New Amsterdam’s theater at 53 Chambers St. The famed Actors Studio founded in 1947, whose members have included many of America’s finest actors and directors, created the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University. The Actors Studio itself was established as a place where professional actors could continue to hone their skills. The Drama School, founded in 1994, was created in order to bring the Actors Studio methods, which are based on the work of Konstantin Stanislavksi, his disciple, Eugene Vakhtangov and the Group Theatre, to actors, directors and playwrights in fledgling stages of their careers. In 2006, the Actors Studio Drama School affiliated with Pace University to offer a three-year Master of Fine Arts program. “This degree gives a very deep theater education,” said Andreas Manolikakis, chair of the Actors Studio Drama School and a board member of the Actors Studio. All of the students train as actors, he said, “and after they leave here, can do all kinds of different things.” They go on to work in theater, film and television with credits that include Broadway and off-Broadway, regional theater, long-running television programs, big-budget Hollywood films and nation- al commercials. Some become teachers. The most famous recent graduate is probably Bradley Cooper, who had to skip his graduation ceremony from the

Cooper, who had to skip his graduation ceremony from the Photo courtesy of Scott Wynn The

Photo courtesy of Scott Wynn

The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is in the second week of its five-week MFA repertory season during which this year’s graduating class performs plays and excerpts from plays in order to earn their degrees.

Actors Studio Drama School in 2000 to star in his first fea- ture film. His newest films are “The Hangover Part II” and “Limitless.” This year’s graduating class has 27 members. They have interesting and diverse backgrounds. One played Young

Simba in “The Lion King” on Broadway. Another is a Fulbright scholar from Ecuador. A Grammy award winner is in the class as are a woman with a chemistry degree, a

Continued on page 30

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Countdown getting louder

We are only a few months away from the tenth anni- versary of the terrorist attacks that changed how we live and how we look at the world. At the granular level of our neighborhood, we now have to closely examine and forecast how we will deal with the dynamics such as traffic, tour bus parking, and in general coping with the influx of tourists and residents alike that will be flocking to the W.T.C. site in the coming months and the coming years. We applaud the Dept. of Transportation for finally including community members in their working group that had been meeting monthly, and now thanks to the pressure applied by our community representatives, are meeting weekly to consider all of the above and how our neighborhood will be affected. We commend the Community Board 1 W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee for unanimously passing a resolution to promote mass transit. Our transit system is more than capable of accommodating the visitors expected to flock to Lower Manhattan. This solution needs to be heavily promoted throughout the hospitality industry, particularly in this early phase when the vehicle security center is not operative. Within the mass transit system, planning needs to step on all of the issues dealing with moving more people downtown from the numerous nodes. We also commend C.B. 3’s Transportation Committee for passing a resolution supporting a metered parking scenario, advanced by D.O.T., that could play a major role in policing the tour buses and identifying appropri- ate parking areas for them. We would like to see what areas are proposed for these metered spaces and how many buses they can handle. The N.Y.P.D. has said they plan to enforce the metered parking, but we wonder to what extent that is truly possible. Anyone can park in front of a metered parking space, turn on their hazard lights and when a police officer approaches them, simply move on to another space or street without incurring a fine. These compliance problems need to be resolved. Of utmost importance in terms of making sure things go smoothly in the face of the inevitable influx of people and buses is the need for the public and private sectors to work together. The D.O.T., M.T.A. and other agencies should be coordinating with cultural institutions and with the tourism industry to create maps to assist those who will be traveling from all over the world to come see this memorial that has been ten years in the making. Social media should be utilized, advertisements should play a role and the tourism and hospitality industries need to become part of the dialogue and solutions. These issues will affect all of us living and working downtown, and the millions who visit. The countdown is getting louder.


Letter to the Editor





Read Huxley

To the Editor:

Re: “Renaming Southern Manhattan” (Downtown Digest, April 13) SoMa? A nickname to reflect a “vibrant and ever-changing neighborhood,” that is Southern Manhattan? Perhaps a little literary enlightenment is in order. Back in the last century, Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New World” was required reading for high school studies of dystopian literature, along with Orwell’s “1984.” Perhaps it should be reintroduced to the curriculum, and fast. In Huxley’s dystopia, the populace is encouraged to take, and is largely addicted to, a lovely little drug without hangovers, without guilt, and without side effects that keeps everyone in line, complacent, and obedient to the pow- ers that be: Soma. A muscle relaxant, Cardisoprodol, is also marketed as Soma. So I think SoMa is out of the running. May I suggest CoMa (Corporate Manhattan), a nickname to help keep the big financial corporations here? How about LoMan (Lower Manhattan) — but with a long A — to show solidarity with Chinatown? Or maybe BatMan, to indicate our his- torical association with the Battery? Could TriBeCaMan offer our com- munity the opportunity to establish a new superhero franchise? Perhaps the proceeds from blockbuster movies could fund our schools and reintroduce stu- dents to novels like “Brave New World.”

Jim Hopkins

Wrong solution

To the Editor:

Re: “The best health option” (editorial, April 13) It is understandable that Villagers are eager for a hospital in their neighbor- hood. Who wouldn’t be, especially in an emergency? However, the solution you endorse seems worse than no solution at all. E.M.T.s and paramedics will be asked to make a life-and-death judgment as to whether a patient needs real emergency treatment? Aren’t ambulances supposed to get patients to where any condition — even something the crew doesn’t have the resources to identify — can be treated? The proposed “emergency room” will then have to stabilize patients the ambu- lance crew might have been mistaken about so they can be taken elsewhere? How much critical time will be lost with the stopover? If I hit my head or have chest pains, I don’t want to be taken to an “ER” that might say, “We can’t treat that. Better take him to a full-service emergency department.”

Is this the best health option? From what I’ve heard at public meetings, the full-service ERs at nearby Beth Israel, Bellevue and New York Downtown assim- ilated the St. Vincent’s emergency patients and still have capacity. North Shore/LIJ has said publicly that it expects that 1,700 patients will have to be admitted to the hospital from among those who come to their “ER.” Where would they be taken? It certainly seems likely they’d be taken to the Upper East Side, where North Shore/ LIJ owns the long financially strapped Lenox Hill Hospital – rather far from Downtown West Side communities for the patients and their loved ones. With St. Vincent’s inpatients having been readily absorbed by Beth Israel, Bellevue and New York Downtown, the resources we need already exist right in our own community. Downtown West residents deserve the best health option, but your proposal seems more like a marketing plan than good medicine.

Jude V. Goldin

My mistake

To the Editor:

As one important part of its rezon- ing plan for Hudson Square, Trinity has proposed to build, at its cost, a K-5 public school containing 420 seats in a new development at Duarte Square. In response to a question from a Downtown Express reporter, I erroneously estimated that the physical size of the school would be approximately 100,000 sq.ft. The fact is, I had not concentrated on the exact physical size of the space, because we were always focused on how many students we could serve — which has consistently been 420 kids, enough to accommodate all the grade-school-aged children generated by the proposed rezoning, and then some. The capacity of the Duarte Square school has not shrunk. The physical size of the school has not shrunk. The only thing that has shrunk was my own origi- nal faulty estimate of the physical size.

Carl Weisbrod

Letters policy

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affil- iation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress. com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.

downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 1 1 TALKING POINT Facebook opens a window

downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011



Facebook opens a window onto a lush, lost Egypt


NYONS, France — Growing up, I knew my father had 21 first cousins we’d never met. This would have meant I’d also have numerous second cousins. For reasons too complicated for this space, anyone named Fieldsteel has to be descended from one of the younger seven siblings and mother of my paternal

grandfather. The father and six older siblings had a different, long-forgotten, last name. So when I joined Facebook, I began

a Fieldsteel search.

First I found Adam, a mathematician and son of Ira, the judge who presided over the John Lennon pot trial. We exchanged e-mails, trying to fill in the blanks. After Ira died, Adam’s mom,

a psychoanalyst, located Ira’s late brother Harold’s two adult

children. (There’d been a feud, no one knows why, and none of the original siblings and their offspring spoke.) Adam said Laura

(Fieldsteel) Behar was a gifted artist and exceptional human being, as was her husband Ray. Next I found her. We began a daily correspondence more than two years ago. We’re the same age, have much in common and grew up 12 miles apart, never knowing of each other’s exis- tence. Ray Behar, Laura’s husband, was born in Cairo and lived there until he was 10, when Nasser forced the family to flee to Paris and then Brooklyn. Ray and I and the other Behars became FB “friends,” with an occasional note back and forth. Laura had mentioned how much she’d enjoyed hearing her late in-laws’

recollections of Egypt. She’d talk about Ray’s family, their luxu- riant former life and brutal forced departure with Egypt’s other 75,000 to 80,000 Jews. Then the Egyptian “Facebook Revolution” began. I followed it avidly and naturally thought of my cousin-in-law Ray. He began sending me e-mails titled “Fractured Memories” about his childhood. Like many Egyptian Jews, Ray’s family were Sephardim, forced to flee Spain during the Inquisition. His mother, also Sephardic, was born in Lebanon. Ray, his siblings, father and grandparents were born in Egypt. His paternal great- great-grandfather came from Turkey, where many expelled Spanish Jews also settled. The family spoke French among themselves, Arabic to the servants and knew basic biblical (syna- gogue) Hebrew. Ray’s father spoke Italian, English, Spanish and

a little Greek as well. Ray went to the Lycée Français in Cairo

until their final year, when he attended Hebrew school. His descriptions of his Egyptian childhood are dreamlike and lush. “There is a reason why Egypt is called the ‘land of the eter- nal smile,’ ” he said. “I didn’t know that growing up, but I felt it. Egypt for me was a magical place where time stood still. I remember waking to the sound of the call to prayer ‘Allahu Akbar’ from the nearby mosque, and looking out of our balcony to a clear blue sky with eagles gliding in the rising heat.” The family lived in an apartment building that also housed non-Egyptians from France, Greece, Italy, Great Britain and Germany. His grandmother ran the family with an “iron fist,”

supervising the three servants, going to market and cooking. Mornings were cool and crisp; the apartment brimming with the aromas of toast, eggs and the Turkish coffee — “strong enough to take the enamel off a car” — that she boiled in a copper pot. Ray and his nanny would stroll together along the banks of the Nile, with its immaculately tended gardens, trees and privet mazes where he would play. “I was also aware of the throngs of people riding the trams, the hustle and bustle of people going to work, smoking hookahs in the cafes and playing backgammon,” he recalled. Old Cairo was an overflowing bazaar of nationalities and religions; exotic spices, foods, flowers and plants; colors, patterns and sounds all weaving an opulent tapestry with threads stretching back to one of the most ancient, sophisticated civilizations on earth. The family’s home cuisine — Egyptian, Spanish, Italian, Sephardic, Turkish and Greek — reflected the richness of Egypt before Nasser and his ilk expelled the country’s “foreign unde- sirables.” At lunchtime, vendors with coal-filled carts prepared grilled durra, a type of sorghum known as Egyptian corn, and ful

durra, a type of sorghum known as Egyptian corn, and ful Photo by Q. Sakamaki Egyptian

Photo by Q. Sakamaki

Egyptian boys passing the ruins of a house in a run-down section of Cairo in February shortly after Mubarak had stepped down from Egypt’s presidency.

medames, the national dish of Egypt — slow-cooked fava beans mashed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and scallions, served with hard-boiled eggs and pickled turnips. Men with large silver urns would pour tamarind juice, and Ray’s all-time favorite, sugar-cane juice. Lunch and dinner could be kobeba (cracked wheat mixed with beef); moussaka; shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce with yellow sheep’s milk kashaval cheese); or Ray’s favor- ite, spaghetti with kofta. For dessert there were delicate pastries:

melt-in-your mouth ghorayebah, a butter cookie that goes back thousands of years, or maybe loukoumades, deep-fried honey- cinnamon dough balls. And in the background, as the family ate, the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages and ever-present scent of jasmine that “sweetened everything.” Weekends, the Behars would go to the legendary Mena House (now a luxurious hotel) in Giza overlooking the pyra- mids. Originally built in 1869 when the Suez Canal opened, it was a Khedive hunting lodge, later converted to a magnificent hotel. The Mena House catered to royalty, the international “jet set,” writers, movie stars and world leaders, such as Roosevelt, Montgomery, Chiang-Kai-shek, Carter, Begin and Sadat. In 1890, it opened the first hotel swimming pool in Egypt. Ray loved to swim there and explore while his parents were with their friends. He would walk over to the pyramids — there were no restric- tions then. “There was hardly anyone there,” he recalled. “I would play among the stones and once I climbed all the way to the top [of the Great Pyramid of Cheops]. There was a rebar someone had put there, and I remember holding on to it as I looked over the horizon, feeling this incredible rush as the wind, rising along the sides, seemed to lift me upwards.” Summers he and his sister would spend with his aunt and cousins at their small beach house on stilts in Alexandria. “I had great freedom for a little guy, exploring the beaches, rock caves and stone piers on my own,” he said. “During the 1956 [Suez Canal] War we had to paper our windows and make sure the lights were out during air raids.” The Behars, except for Ray’s Aunt Vicky who kept kosher, weren’t particularly observant except for Passover and Yom Kippur. Ray accompanied her often to the Great Synagogue of Cairo, HaShamayim (the Heavens). Built in the 19th century, the synagogue’s origins go back to Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimonides), the world-renowned 12th century scholar, physi- cian, healer and leader of the Egyptian Jewish community, which dates back to approximately 1,800 B.C., making it the world’s oldest outside Israel. The climate was one of tolerance and acceptance. Jews mingled with the other cultures, often intermarrying, and were

less isolated and more cosmopolitan than many European and other Middle Eastern Jews who remained within their own communities and were subject to persecution, pogroms and the Holocaust. Egypt remained a haven. Ray’s father was in the printing business. He learned the trade from a German engineer who blindfolded him, making him disassemble and reassemble the machines until he knew them perfectly. An uncle worked for a large pharmaceutical company, and other family members were in the cotton and paper industries. If there was anti-Semitism, as a child Ray wasn’t aware of it. The family mingled freely with Arab friends, sharing holidays and special occasions. Ray spoke, read and wrote fluent Arabic. The hate that came later, Ray says in retrospect, was “a political weapon used by Nasser to galvanize power.” One day his father came home and sat in one of the living-room chairs, his hand across his face. Ray found out later his business partner, who was Egyptian, had forced him out of the company, seizing his father’s share. His dad was powerless to do anything because he was Jewish. Suddenly, he was broke. It was 1956. All Jews with assets were forced to leave the country overnight. Ray’s family had a little more time because they had no money. Nasser’s government used the Sinai cam- paign as an excuse to expel 25,000 Egyptian Jews, forcing them to sign over all their property as a “donation” to the state. Another 1,000 were sent to detention camps or prison. In November, the Minister of Religious Affairs signed a proclama- tion to be read aloud in all mosques declaring all Jews to be enemies of the state and evil Zionists. The process of eliminating Egypt’s 80,000 Jews that had begun with the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 accelerated. Jews were each permitted one suitcase with clothing and items of no monetary value, plus a small amount of cash: Thirty-four thousand left for Israel; the rest scattered mainly to America, Canada, France and Brazil. Ray, his siblings and parents boarded a Greek ship to Marseilles, taking a train to Paris, where most of the family had fled. “We were given a temporary home lent to us by a Jewish woman, a kind soul, who let us live in her studio,” he told me. “She was an artist and the studio was quite large. We eventually moved to a hotel with two rooms [in a working-class neighbor- hood]. What to me was a marvelous adventure was for my parents a tragedy.” In Paris, his dad, who had owned a company and had always

Continued on page 13

downtown express 12 April 20 - 26, 2011 SEAPORT REPORT BY JANEL BLADOW Crowds are

downtown express


April 20 - 26, 2011



Crowds are back on weekends enjoying

a stroll around the neighborhood, like the

rest of us, undoubtedly looking forward to the warmer, sunnier weather to come. But some couldn’t wait. A mere glimpse of sunshine and blue skies and the outdoor tables at Acqua are filled with chilly fresh air enthusiasts.

SPOTLIGHT… The Celebrity Apprentice segment that taped in the Seaport aired last week. The “box” built on Pier 17 by the guys for Australian Gold sunscreen played well with

tourists and fans, and the Peking was prominent

in the background. But viewers really couldn’t

tell that the winning women’s team was at the

Seaport. What a shame.

SPRING SALES… Floral prints and lace and pastels on the shelves — a sure sign spring is in the stores. The Gap has peach sweaters and soft scarves, Ann Taylor is cel- ebrating the dress and the racks at Kara are full of sexy, lacy sheer tops.


Kathleen Joyce, our favorite

female bartender at Meade’s (Peck Slip & Water St.), was back behind the bar Monday night wearing a “stylish” piece of footwear. Week before last some knucklehead speared her foot with a bar stool late one night at Keg 229 and smashed her big toe so badly she lost the nail. Yuck! She told SR that even though she’s still hobbling, she’s glad to be back. Big Foot Bootie and all. Feel better Katie.

OUR CHORUS GIRL… Ellen McDonald of Southbridge Towers tells SR that she’s thrilled to be a member of the Downtown Chorus. “I’m having a blast,” she says. “I’ve learned how to be part of an ensemble and get my voice to blend.” Singing with the group has opened this retired teacher to all kinds of new experiences, including one only a few can say: “I never thought I would sing in Carnegie Hall. But there I am in the photo!” See Ellen and the rest of the group at the Borough of Manhattan Community College Spring concert, “Simple Gifts.” They’ll perform Shaker-style choral pieces by Mack Wilberg, musical director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The concert

is free, Tuesday, May 3, 7:30 pm, at BMCC Theater II, 199 Chambers St.

WOOF AND (ALMOST) READY… After testing by several local four-footed experts, The East River Waterfront dog run has gone back to the drawing board for some tweak- ing. Seems the hills designed for dogs to climb proved too slippery a slope. The Parks Department has been anticipating opening the park since January. But now build- ers expect to have the puppy playground between Maiden Lane and Wall St. open by May 31. Part of the $150 million renovation of the waterfront from Battery Park to the Lower East Side, the run is a 4,300-square- foot oval with a doghouse, a sculpted tree trunk and, in warmer months, a water fea- ture for furry fun.

FLEET FOOTED… Come out and sup- port thousands of walkers from nearly 80 communities around the country as they walk to raise money and awareness about mental illness. The 5K NAMIWalks NYC event kicks off at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 7, on Piers 16 & 17. If you want to

participate in the event, contact Sarah Sheahan,

SLURPING SUCCESS… The first South St. Oyster Saloon fundraiser sold out well ahead of the party last Saturday night. The hot ticket event raised more than $25,000. That means with the 2011 season opener on Sunday, May 1, the weekly New Amsterdam Market on South St. will continue through December. Stop by South St. between Fulton and Peck Slip and tell the vendors SR sent ya!

SMOKIN’… Cigar Landing relocated to a new storefront last week. Stop by 150 Beekman St. for a stogie and some hot talk.


Downtown Express detailed how entrepre- neur Sundeep Bhan wants to “nickname” downtown “SoMa” for Southern Manhattan. Really? Do we really need another cutesy slang name for the Financial District (FiDi)? Has our need for acronyms for everything gotten out of hand? SoMa? Really? It sounds like a sleeping pill from a Woody Allen movie.





pill from a Woody Allen movie. DO WE, REALLY? Last Photo by Milo Hess Getting a

Photo by Milo Hess

Getting a kick out of pedestrians passing a mural

Showing that timing is everything, the photographer had fun with people passing by a mural on Prince St. in Soho last week.

downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 1 3

downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011


Facebook and Egypt

Continued from page 11

had servants, became a mechanic working only for tips. His mother, “who had never washed her own hair, cooked a meal or taken care of her children without help, was suddenly in a cramped space and trying to learn how to take care of herself and her children at the age of 37. There was only a toilet and sink at our hotel; we had to shower in a public place. This was humili- ating for my parents and sister. My mother was ashamed we were on Jewish relief and made me go for the checks. She started to work, making dresses for people who used to be her friends.” His older sister should have been preparing to enter college but had to work to help the family instead. Ray’s younger brother didn’t have sufficient food and nutrition and remained tiny until the family had settled in America. Ray continued at the Lycée Français in Paris. His favorite pastime was to take the métro for several stops and “pop up from underground to discover a new world.” He also began to understand anti-Semitism. There was another Jewish family in their hotel, and the mother, a concentration camp survivor, was very secre- tive about her Jewishness. He often played at the home of a school friend, not knowing he, too, was Jewish. One day when they were look- ing for his dad’s stamp collection, Ray saw a mezuzah hidden in a drawer. After a year and a half, American visas

came through. They landed in Brooklyn and stayed with relatives until his dad found a job. They rented the top floor of a two-family house in a mixed neighborhood. Ray felt right at home, even though he didn’t speak a word of English. Between TV, comics, cereal boxes and the need to fit in, he picked it up quickly. His dad’s job and ability with languages led him to travel the world troubleshooting and teaching engineers to assemble the enormous printing machines his company made. He returned to Egypt once after 20 years absence, but what he saw left him sad and disappointed. Ray has no desire to return. “I have such beautiful memories of Egypt that I don’t want to disturb that part of me,” he explained. Today the world, even Obama, seems to have forgotten the Jews of Egypt, despite an out- cry against the persecution of Coptic Christians. There are fewer than 50 Jews left; all are elderly. Soon there will be none. Egypt less than flour- ished under Nasser and Mubarak. Any society that expels, represses or tries to exterminate groups of people because of their gender, reli- gion, race, sexuality, ethnic or national origins has to suffer: Those very same “undesirables” of the moment are also any country’s present and future, its talent and richness. Egypt overthrew Mubarak, a miracle in itself, but like the Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land, Egypt has a long way to go.

they reached the Promised Land, Egypt has a long way to go. Holy Week & Easter
Holy Week & Easter trinity church st. paul’s chapel tenebrae easter eve wednesday, april 20
Holy Week
& Easter
trinity church
st. paul’s chapel
easter eve
wednesday, april 20
saturday, april 23
Trinity Church, 6pm
The Great Vigil of Easter
with Holy Baptism
maundy thursday
St. Paul’s Chapel, 8pm
thursday, april 21
easter day
Holy Eucharist
sunday, april 24
Trinity Church, 6pm
Festive Eucharist
All-Night Vigil Before
the Blessed Sacrament
St. Paul’s Chapel, 8am and 10am
Trinity Church, 9am
and 11:15am
All Saints’ Chapel in Trinity Church
Thursday, April 21, 8pm to
Friday, April 22, Noon
Easter Fun Fest
good friday
friday, april 22
Trinity churchyard, 12:30-3pm
Easter egg and scavenger hunts,
a visit from the Easter bunny, and
lots of other family fun. Free and
all are welcome.
Liturgy of Good Friday
and Veneration of the Cross
St. Paul’s Chapel, 8pm
Trinity Church, Noon-3pm
A Liturgy of Good Friday
for Children and Families
Watch live webcast at
Trinity Church, 4:30pm
trinity church
Broadway at Wall Street
st. paul’s chapel
Broadway and Fulton Street | 212.602.0800
Image detail: Enclosed Field With Rising Sun in Saint-Remy, Vincent van Gogh, 1889 · Getty Images


April 20 - 26, 2011

14 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

downtown express

14 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER CHERRY TREES: Every year,


CHERRY TREES: Every year, around the second week in April, Battery Park City’s cherry trees on the oval lawn south of 2 World Financial Center burst into bloom. The canopy of white blossoms seems to cast a spell: people sit quietly on park benches, taking in the spectacle, mothers hold their toddlers aloft to get closer to the blooms, lovers lie close to each other on the lawn, strewn with petals. These trees are the Yoshino species (Prunus yedoensis), according to James Morrisey, general manager of the World Financial Center complex, which is owned by Brookfield Properties. He said the trees are around 24 to 26 years old, and will decline after 30 to 35 years. Trees of this kind “rarely remain healthy for more than 40 years,” he said. He said that when the time comes, Brookfield would replace the trees with mature specimens that would approximate the current luxuriant display. Yoshino cherry trees are hybrids that occur naturally in Japan and have been exported to many parts of the world. They were introduced to Europe and the United States in 1902. Most of the trees surround- ing the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. are Yoshino cherries, a gift to the United States from Japan. The first Tidal Basin trees were planted a century ago; additional trees have been planted in Washington since then, most recently between 1986 and 1988. Washington, D.C.’s famed Cherry Blossom Festival is over for this year, but Battery Park’s City’s cherry tree display should last a little longer, depending on the wind and weather. The trees will have finished their bloom- ing by April 30 when the Battery Park City Community Network is sponsoring a benefit at SouthWest NY to raise money for charitable aid to Japan. The event will take place between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on SouthWest NY’s outdoor dining area, at 2 World Financial Center, facing North Cove Marina. A $20 admission fee will cover food and a donation. Margaritas will be half price. Additional money will be raised via a raffle. The Battery Park City Community Network comprises Battery Park City Cares, the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) and its affiliate, Animal Search and Rescue, TimeBank, the Gateway Tenants

Association, the B.P.C. Dog Association, B.P.C. Seniors, the TriBattery Pops and the P.T.A. from P.S./I.S. 276.


1 to the end of October, the Battery Park

City Parks Conservancy offers programs for people of all ages, most of them free. There will be art classes, sports, story telling, fish- ing bird watching, concerts, garden tours, community dances and more, all taking place in Battery Park City’s beautiful parks and gardens. However, a few of the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy’s programs do require pre-registration and incur a fee. Here’s a brief rundown on the fee-based programs for young people:

Green Adventure is for students enter- ing sixth to eighth grades who are inter- ested in nature and environmental stew- ardship. The group visits parks, gardens, organic farms and farmers’ markets and fishes, sails and rows under the leader- ship of Ellen McCarthy, the former chil- dren’s garden manager at the New York Botanical Garden. Mon.-Fri., July 11-July 29; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $575. Gardening Club for children in first through fifth grades. Ellen McCarthy and Doug van Horn teach gardening skills in the Children’s Garden in Rockefeller Park. Tuesdays from May

3 to Oct. 25; 4 p.m.-5 p.m. $80 per two-

month cycle. Explorers’ Club is for first, second and third graders, who learn about plants, animals and the environment as they explore B.P.C.’s parks with Doug van Horn. Mondays, May 2 to June 20 (except May 30); 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. $84. For more information about these programs or to register, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 348 or visit the B.P.C. Conservancy office at 75 Battery Place.


Spring in Battery Park City is marked not just by a profusion of flowers but by menu changes at Merchants River House, which has two outdoor plazas overlooking the Hudson River and at SouthWest NY, with seating under a shady canopy of London plane trees facing North Cove Marina. Both are favorite places to enjoy warm spring and summer evenings. At Merchants River House, look for chicken Alfredo pasta, made with cavatapi (corkscrew-shaped pasta), portabella mushrooms, grilled chicken, peas,

pasta), portabella mushrooms, grilled chicken, peas, Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer Battery Park

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Battery Park City’s cherry trees have been blooming every April for more than two decades on the periphery of the oval lawn at the World Financial Center.

bacon and Parmesan cheese ($16) and miso broiled salmon with wasabi mashed pota- toes and baby bok choy ($18.25). Mahi mahi tamales are new at SouthWest NY. They’re made with brown rice, ginger, cilan- tro and coconut milk wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed ($20). The new dessert at Merchants River House is a chocolate mousse pie ($5.25) made by Mike Martin, who opened Mike’s Pies in Tampa, Fla. after he finished playing football for the Bears and the Patriots. Wade Burch, executive chef for the Merchants Hospitality restaurants,

says he met Mike around seven years ago at a food show and liked both the man and his pies. Merchants River House is on the Battery Park City esplanade between Albany and Liberty Streets and SouthWest NY is at 2 World Financial Center. Both are open daily and both deliver. For more informa- tion, go to and to

To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@

Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@ Cavatapi Chicken Alfredo Pasta with portabella mushrooms,

Cavatapi Chicken Alfredo Pasta with portabella mushrooms, grilled chicken, peas, bacon and Parmesan cheese is on the spring/summer menu at Merchants River House.

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downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 1 5 Tribeca Film Festival: A Decade of Downtown

Tribeca Film Festival: A Decade of Downtown Film

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On screen and in the streets, TFF focuses on the family

Tribeca Film Institute nurtures young filmmakers


This year’s Tribeca Film Festival dedi- cates much energy to family entertainment, films focusing on family concerns and forums for teenage filmmakers. Events range from one of New York’s largest and most unique street festivals to screenings of independent films exploring complex family matters. Crucial space has also been allotted to projects by local students — whose efforts have been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute (www.tribecafilm- Founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, TFI empowers profession- al filmmakers through grants, and its education- al programming enables underserved New York City public middle and high school students to express themselves in film. Since its launching in 2006, the Institute’s education program has grown from serving 30 to 12,000 students — providing them with the opportunity to create their own documentaries based on the theme of change and progress. Each year, the Institute selects 20 teenagers, who receive an all-access look at the film industry through a series of workshops, creative filmmaking exercises, screenings, panels and mentoring by Tribeca Film Festival film directors. Students create short films that tackle local concerns. The results are screened as part of the TFF’s annual “Our City, My Story” event — which celebrates the vision, excel- lence and diversity of New York City youth- made media. When asked about how last year’s participation in “Our City, My Story” affected them, José Velez (“Little Dominica NYC”) said, “It changed my life complete- ly,” and Ashley Turizo (“The Image of My Perception”) stated, “It has definitely had a great impact. It opened up my eyes to all the possibilities of my future — I do want to con- tinue my career in filmmaking, and it is just a great experience. I never thought I would be chosen to show my film at the Tribeca Film Festival. The experience speaks for itself! It made me want to continue to create films.” In “Violence in the Lower East Side” (by Cecilia Bonilla, David Evans, Aaron Farooqi, Samantha King, Kiralie Mogollon, Tristan Reginato and Jeremy Santana), for example, the audience encounters Bonilla’s conflicted view of her neighborhood and life in general — which has been shaped by the acts of violence she has witnessed in her envi- ronment. The documentary “Growing Food Justice in Brooklyn” (by Stevenson Catul, Christian Filus, Alfonso Francois Gonzalez, Jerry Joseph and Luishka Roberts), makes a case for the necessary creation of new healthy food options in some Brooklyn communities, where obesity rates are high and fast food pre- dominates. In a film that could serve as an interesting companion piece to the acclaimed “Waiting for Superman,” “Isa’s Final Draft” (by Jesus Villalba, Kadiatou Diallo, Nataly Garzon and Rayhan Islam), follows the path of Isabella — a promising student who dreams of attending college. When her guidance coun- selor discovers that she is an undocumented resident, Isabella and her family are forced to face unimaginable challenges.

The TFF narrative film, “Janie Jones” (one of 93 features) sheds light on family dynam- ics and psychology. A talented but strug- gling musician learns that he has a 13-year- old daughter. Instantly, his rock-and-roll life- style (which in part involves a much younger girlfriend) is turned upside down and then around. The daughter, Janie, turns out to be an aspiring musician herself — and they bond on a road trip during which both father and daughter grow as artists. The feature documentary “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia” describes the sobering reality of the White family of

I do want to continue my

career in filmmaking, and it is just a great experience.

I never thought I would

be chosen to show my film at the Tribeca Film Festival. It made me want to continue to create films.

— Ashley Turizo (director, “The Image of My Perception”)

Boone County, West Virginia. Far from a tradi- tional family unit, the Whites are as legendary for their criminal ways as they are for their most famous member, Jesco White, star of the documentary “Dancing Outlaw.” Staying true to the spirit of executive producers Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine (of TV’s infamous “Jackass”), the film is a shocking, highly eccen- tric, humorous and sometimes moving account of a year in the Whites’ life. Shoot-outs, rob- beries, gas huffing, drug dealing and consum- ing (and especially tap-dancing) are only some of the everyday activities at hand. This film provides a fascinating portrait of a family existing on the other side of the law, while addressing some of the corruption, poverty, and environmental devastation found in the coal mining culture of West Virginia. For the first time, the TFF will debut NYFEST, on April 23. The city’s first Film and Entertainment Soccer Tournament will allow New York youth to interact with celebrities and industry professionals from the worlds of film, music, sports and entertain- ment. Soccer legend Pelé will kick off the game with a coin toss. For info, visit www. On April 30, the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair puts on “the ultimate street fair and family celebration” by showcasing a vari- ety of activities and performances (10am- 6pm, Greenwich Street from Hubert to

and performances (10am- 6pm, Greenwich Street from Hubert to Ashley Turizo (The Image of My Perception).

Ashley Turizo (The Image of My Perception).

Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Institute

Chambers Streets). In contrast to last year, when road repairs forced organizers to modify the overall set up last, this edition will truly be back on the street. The Street Fair is produced by Peter Downing — whose time spent on Broadway as an actor and stage manager has allowed him to, as he acknowledges, “build relationships over the years with theatrical press and marketing reps who recognize the great opportunity that the Family Festival provides for exposure and promotion for family-friendly shows.” This year, stages will highlight special seg- ments from Broadway shows and emerging talents from the neighborhood. The New York Philharmonic’s Credit Suisse Very Young Composers will present original works cre- ated by young musicians. Popular family- friendly bands will also perform (includ-

ing The Fuzzy Lemons and Hot Peas N’ Butter). Local restaurants and merchants will offer samples of their fare, ranging from gour- met treats to simple refreshments. As the Festival also serves as a fundrais- er, various local schools will organize activi- ties, such as Taekwondo lessons or hairspray painting, to help the cause. “This Festival was founded as a response to the tragic events of 9/11,” explained Downing. “The key to the mission of our founders was to support the local community and help drive people back Downtown. Nothing serves this objective bet- ter than to offer free public events in and for the neighborhood.”

For more info on family-friendly films, events and activities, visit www.tribecafilm. com.

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April 20 - 26, 2011


Early reviews, final verdicts: Troll, trip, terrorists

Three out of three ain’t bad


Written & Directed by André Ovredal. 103 minutes. In Norwegian, with English subtitles.

Tues., Apr. 26, 11:30pm at AMC Loews Village 7 (66 Third Ave. at 11th St.). Thurs., Apr. 28, 9pm & Sat., Apr. 30, 11:59pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves). For tickets ($16 evenings/weekends; $8 matinees), purchase at the Box Office or call 646-502-5296 or visit www.tribe-


The final credits of “Trollhunter” announce, “No trolls were harmed during

the making of this movie.” By the end of this fanciful mockumentary, I was ready

to believe in their existence. Norwegians,

with troll folklore part of their DNA, were in on the joke from the beginning. For those on this side of the pond, whose only experience with the critters involves the garden-variety lawn statues and elec- tric socket-haired big-eyed rubber baby gnomes (both scary in their own right), the movie is fun as adventure — with a bit of stalking and slaying combined with lovely landscape. The story begins with reports of strange goings on in the mountains and forests of Norway. A trio of local students from Volda College decide to investigate for their school project. With serious doubts

that a bear did the damage (as the Wildlife Board claims), they doggedly pursue a poacher named Hans. In their first foray into the woods, they find a massive, lum- bering three-headed “Tosserlad” — which Hans turns into stone with the flash of

a bright light. Other troll facts: They

explode in sunlight due to their lack of Vitamin D and have the ability to smell the blood of practicing Christians. From then on, it’s Road Trip of Trolling for Trolls (many kinds) — with Hans, now revealed as the head of Norway’s TSS (Troll Security Service), and the three eager students recording the entire gory venture. Hans, who has an impres- sive scar running down his left cheek, is a Norwegian in the finest Western cowboy anti-hero tradition. He is an outsider and loner — a man of few words and swift action who plays country and western music in his RV. He is burnt out and fed up with all the duplicity and bureaucracy (filling out an extensive “Slayed Troll Form,” for example), which is why he is ready to tell all. While the opening scene is shaky, à la

“The Blair Witch Project,” the movie quick-

ly transforms into smooth, professional

handheld camerawork, as seen through

the lens of the ill-fated Kalle (remember that Christian thing?). With this engag- ing tongue-in-cheek tale, Ovredal, one

of Norway’s most successful directors of

Ovredal, one of Norway’s most successful directors of Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival Three

Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

Three students earn college credit the hard (and deadly) way, in “Trollhunter.”

commercials, is making his feature film debut. He wisely cast three well-known Norwegian comedians — Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen (as Finn, the govern- ment’s director of the TSS) and Robert Stoltenberg (as a doltish Polish thief who delivers Russian bears to the crime scenes) — and three relative newcom- ers, who all expertly improvise the entire film with deadpan seriousness and droll (troll?) humor. The gigantic, repulsive trolls, playing themselves, were convinc- ingly constructed digitally. As the trollhunter says, “Fairy tales don’t always match reality.” Oh, my.


Directed by Michael Winterbottom. 100 minutes. Not rated.

Screening: Thurs., April 21, 6pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea. Sat., April 23, 12pm, at AMC Loews Village-7. Tues., April 26, 6pm and Sat., April 30, 1:30pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea. For tickets ($16 evenings/weekends; $8 matinees), purchase at the Box Office or call 646-502-5296 or visit


Michael Winterbottom’s uproarious British highbrow comedy “The Trip” follows comics Steve Coogan and Rob

Elite dining and literary references inform the humor in the six-episode British television series that has been edited into a feature film.

Brydon on a culinary tour of northern England. Elite dining and literary refer- ences inform the humor in the six-episode British television series that has been edit- ed into a feature film. The two men play semi-fictionalized versions of themselves in a continuation of their performances in Winterbottom’s “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” (2005) — where they joked, bickered and jockeyed for

superiority. In “The Trip,” Coogan plays a pomp- ous movie actor who accepts a newspaper assignment to review a few fancy restau- rants that serve (sometimes bizarre) cut- ting-edge cuisine. His hope is to impress his American girlfriend with a paid vaca- tion dining in the beautiful English coun- tryside. When she dumps him, he recruits his friend, Rob Brydon (a happily mar- ried television personality), to journey from one Bed and Breakfast to the next, critiquing the gourmet eateries along the way. The two embark on a midlife male bonding road trip, like “Sideways” on English Lit. They eat, drink, discuss movies, music, Lord Byron and his ilk — but their mission is to outdo each other with over-the-top impressions of Michael Caine, Woody Allen, Michael Sheen and many others. Along the way, each man defends his lifestyle — Coogan as a self-involved womanizer with lofty career aspirations, and Brydon as a warm- hearted and stable family man. I have to admit that because I’m not familiar with Coogan and Brydon’s televi- sion work, and because “The Trip” is an English production, I probably missed

Continued on page 18


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Reviews: Troll, trip, terrorists

Continued from page 17

some of the country-specific humor and references. But it didn’t matter. I was doubled over laughing the entire time.


Screenplay by Simon Moutaïrou Directed by Julien Leclercq. 95 minutes. In French and some Arabic, with English subtitles.

Thurs., Apr. 21, 9pm & Sat., Apr. 23, 10pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves). Sun., Apr. 24, 8:30pm & Thurs., Apr. 28, 3om at AMC Loews Village 7 (66 Third Ave. at 11th St.). For tickets ($16 evenings/weekends; $8 matinees), purchase at the Box Office or call 646-502-5296 or visit


With the Middle East and North Africa in turmoil — and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 looming — this harrowing retelling of the

1994 hijacking of an Air France airplane in

Algiers, is timely (and was prescient). On Christmas Eve of that year, four Islamic fundamentalists, members of the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) boarded the Paris-bound plane with 227 passengers on board, and demanded the release of two of their jailed comrades. They also wanted the pilots to fly the plane to Paris. But to what end?

The hijacking and suicide mission in “The Assault” was meant as payback for the West’s support of the military-backed president.

Algeria is a vague geographical blip in the

States. An essential introduction to its history would be Gillo Pontecorvo’s seminal “Battle of Algiers” (1966), a brilliantly reconstructed account of urban guerilla events during the brutal war of independence against French rule (1954-62). While documentary in style, no archival stock was used. Since independence, the beleaguered North African country, nestled between Morocco and Libya, has been ruled by a series of des- pots. (I traveled through the country’s back- water villages and the Sahara in a nine-seat van in spring 1986 during a time of relative quiet — except for Ronald Reagan’s bombing of nearby Tripoli.) A devastating civil war in

1992 — when the Algerian army cancelled

an election that the Islamist party was win- ning — lasted until 1998 (although clashes are ongoing). The hijacking and suicide mis- sion in “The Assault” was meant as payback

suicide mis- sion in “The Assault” was meant as payback “The Assault” director Julien Leclercq. for

“The Assault” director Julien Leclercq.

for the West’s support of the military-backed president. Director Julien Leclercq explains that his

narrative is “liberally inspired” by the three- day hostage standoff. The dramatic rescue in Marseilles, where the plane landed to refuel, was broadcast live on TV and viewed by over

21 million people — and the filmmaker makes

use of the chilling you-are-there footage. The action shifts seamlessly back and forth from each group of major players. Inside the airplane, filmed with tight, claustrophobic shots, the increasingly desperate and out of control leader (Aymen Saidi) rants, threatens,

praises Allah and kills three hostages. As the French ministers in Paris rationally discuss alternatives like ransom money, rescue and body count, a convoy truck is offloaded with

30 empty wooden coffins (the estimated body

count from a rescue attempt). The precision training of the GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group), France’s special ops and counter-terrorism and hostage rescue unit, is especially gripping. Thierry (Vincent Elbaz, with his expressive, world-weary eyes), a tough unit member, comes to represent and human- ize this well-oiled killing machine. He is por- trayed as a loving husband and father, despite his deadly and deadening profession. His wife’s emotional rollercoaster embodies the fear that gripped the nation. I toast this well-crafted edge-of-the-seat saga with a bottle of French wine. Santé. Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t known until after the rescue that the hijackers had a cache of explosives aboard — they told passengers they were planning to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower. While they did not succeed, a few months later, terrorists did bomb a Paris metro station.

Continued on page 22

Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

on page 22 Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film

Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

Two Brits go for an extended taste test, in “The Trip.” See page 17.

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April 20 - 26, 2011


Online, bringing the TFF experience to wider audiences

Free screenings — but with limited (cyber) seating


This year, everything is free at the newly named Tribeca Online Film Festival, where you can follow the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival from the comfort of home. Jon Patricof, chief operating officer of the festival, spearheaded the multi-faceted digital strategy. The initia- tive includes online streaming of films, web access to events, Q&As with key players, an industry blog and live social media updates by filmmakers. Easily located on the main website, the

There is a limit of 500 attendees per online screening to control the release of these films, which are available to be acquired commercially. Tribeca is just the exhibitor, not the distributor here, said Patricof.

Festival Streaming Room presents six features and nine shorts from the official film lineup. Viewers can register to “reserve a seat” for one of the 24-hour online screening windows that commence with the first live theater screen- ing.

“I’m excited about ‘Donor Unknown’ because it’s about technology and how the web allows families to connect,” Patricof said, in a discussion of the films available for streaming. Directed by Jerry Rothwell, the documentary explores the definition of family as it follows a young woman conceived in the first genera- tion of “test-tube babies” who searches for her siblings and prolific sperm donor father. A stand-out short on the streaming list is “The Dungeon Master,” written and directed by brothers Rider and Shiloh Strong, who are recognizable from their many television acting credits. The film takes on Dungeons & Dragons, a game often favored by geeky obsessives, in a tale of friends revisiting the role-playing pastime of their youth. There is a limit of 500 attendees per online screening to control the release of these films, which are available to be acquired commer- cially. Tribeca is just the exhibitor, not the distributor here, said Patricof. Audience mem- bers can vote for the best online feature, which will be awarded $25,000, and the best online short, which will receive $5,000. Statistics on audience size and viewing trends will be shared with the filmmakers. Tribeca’s chief creative officer, Geoff Gilmore, launched last year’s pilot online

effort, Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, which cost $45 for an entry pass. “We’re still in the experimental phase of this new frontier,” said Patricof. “I’m focused, along with Geoff, to continue to innovate and make this as strong

a platform as it can be. This is how festivals

are evolving now, to gain broader audiences. I hope we get it close to right.” Like last year, a Live From… section allows

web viewers inside invitation-only and ticketed events. On tap are opening night festivities, red carpet premieres, panel discussions and the awards show. Similar to the “Quora” or “Yahoo! Answers” models, Tribeca Q&A offers online visitors the opportunity to ask questions to

a selection of filmmakers and festival brass.

According to Patricof, “Some respond in real time, others in 24 hours, still others respond in one swoop.” Gilmore and festival juror Whoopi Goldberg have answered queries via video clip. Writer/directors Rider and Shiloh Strong have responded to a number of questions, such as “Is writing/directing/photography full-time jobs for each of you? Do you do other things to make ends meet between proj- ects?” Shiloh answered, “Full-time job for me is the endless mission to get a job in act- ing/writing/directing or photography. I guess my ‘day job’ is photography. I get some gigs shooting events, or portraits at my studio here

and there. I also assist and digital tech (work the computer) on some high-end commercial photography jobs to pay the bills. Somehow

it seems to work itself out every month, but I

never know what is coming next. The life of the freelancer.” A customized page on Filmmaker Feed lets directors promote their work with state- ments, bios, links, videos, and Facebook and Twitter updates. In addition to social media feeds, European-born David Dusa, direc- tor of “Flowers of Evil,” included a link to his YouTube channel and to the Sciapode production company — founded in 2003 to produce European films — as well as an embedded trailer for his film, in which a young girl moves to Paris from Tehran during political unrest. There is a notably high ratio of blogger responses to comments left on entries in the Future of Film blog (written by experts in film, media and technology). Topping the list of comments is “Movie Theaters Should Think Like Netflix” — a plan of action to save the movie-going experience by digital media consultant Chris Dorr. He asks, “What if we could create a new model for going to the movies at your local theater that is as consumer-friendly as Netflix? Could this dramatically increase attendance?” More than 80 comments to date have been followed by quick responses by Dorr. Among the other bloggers are Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, and Brad Wechsler, Chairman of IMAX. The Tribeca Online Film Festival website is so visually striking, the designer deserves applause. Patricof used his mother’s experi- ence to gauge its navigability. “Was it easy or

was it hard?” he asked her, and made modifi- cations accordingly. As an adjunct to the online festival,

The Tribeca Online Film Festival website is so visually striking, the designer deserves applause. Patricof used his mother’s experience to gauge its navigability. “Was it easy or was it hard?” he asked her, and made modifications accordingly.

Tribeca Film, the comprehensive distribution label under the Tribeca Enterprises umbrella,

has made four selections from the official festival lineup available nationwide via televi- sion and web on-demand services, from the start of the festival on April 20. According to Patricof, filmmakers received a “minimum guarantee” or advance from Tribeca Film, which acquired all rights. The cost to watch a film on-demand is determined by the price structure of the platform, such as cable VOD, Netflix Watch Instantly and iTunes, he said. On Time Warner Cable in Manhattan, the films are available on channel 1000. One highlight in the group is “The Bang Bang Club,” a drama based on the true story of four risk-taking photojournalists in South Africa — starring Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch — who capture the turmoil in the final days of apartheid from 1990-1994. The Canadian-South African co-production is writ- ten and directed by Steven Silver, based on the memoir of two of the photojournalists. Another pick is “Last Night,” a U.S. produc- tion directed by Iranian-born Massy Tadjedin that stars Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes, in a New York story about marriage and sexual temptation. As part of the distribution plan, films in this program will screen in theaters across the country after the film festival. Beginning in June, Tribeca Film will begin releasing films year-round, concur- rently in theaters and on-demand.

Beginning in June, Tribeca Film will begin releasing films year-round, concur- rently in theaters and on-demand.


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20 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

downtown express

Crafting a ‘more concise and approachable’ festival

As digital reach expands, a vow to retain brick and mortar appeal


Originally designed to revive a neighbor- hood traumatized by 9/11, the Tribeca Film Festival has become a global phenomenon that draws film lovers from around the world — and now reaches countless others on the web. Founded in 2002, the festival started out as a five-day local affair with less than 150 screenings. “It was just a celebration to get people down here, and to bring new life [to Downtown],” said Genna Terranova (a senior programmer who joined the curato- rial team in 2008). “People didn’t know what Tribeca was about,” recalled David Kwok, the festival’s director of programming and one of its origi- nal full-time staff members. “[The festival] is something that, through a lot of relation- ships and just general growth and exposure, began gaining its own reputation.”

The festival’s future, Kwok explained, is unpredictable, since it is inextricably tied to technological advances. “Who knows what’ll happen in two years — not just in terms of us, but in terms of how we’ll watch movies,” he said.

In its 10th season, the festival will pres- ent more than 500 screenings of feature films, documentaries and shorts. Last year, the festival stretched its tentacles into the digital realm by introducing a selection of films to cable and Internet viewers who can’t attend a live screening or who simply prefer watching movies at home. But will the festival’s manifold expan- sions spoil the local, neighborhood vibe it once championed? Has the initial aim of helping out a shattered community been forgotten? “The community is first and foremost one of the most important things of the festival,” said Terranova. “As you grow, there are other aspects that are important. But [9/11] is still a part of who we are. I don’t think that’ll ever change.” In an effort to serve Downtown residents, Terranova and her team are kick- starting the 10th season with a free public screening, at the World Financial Center, of Cameron Crowe’s documentary “The Union” — about the collaboration of legendary musi- cians Elton John and Leon Russell in produc- ing the 2010 album of that name.

and Leon Russell in produc- ing the 2010 album of that name. Photo courtesy of the

Photo courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival

TFF programmer David Kwok: Ready to roll with the unpredictable punches of brick and mortal festivals in an increasingly digital age.

“It’s a good way for us to kind of come back in our 10th year and remind everybody that this is where we started,” said Kwok. In order to streamline the line-up, the programmers decided to consolidate the films into fewer sections this year, accord- ing to type — Spotlight, Viewpoints, World Documentary Feature Competition, World Narrative Feature Competition and Cinemania. “We really want to celebrate the films and filmmaking and didn’t want to put [as many] lines between them,” explained Kwok. The festival booklet was significantly pared down in 2008, when the curators slashed the title count from nearly 200 to less than 100 movies in an effort to make the program more manageable for both the staff and the viewers. “I think it makes the program more concise and approachable,” said Terranova. But it makes the programmers’ job more chal- lenging, forcing the team to be more selective when judging the more-than 5,600 submis- sions this year in just six months. “The program has to be molded in such a way that we’re picking the strongest mov- ies possible available to us at this time. It’s tough to make those decisions,” said Terranova, acknowledging — and perhaps comforted by – the imperfect nature of the task. “Sometimes, you miss things. It’s part

of human nature,” she said. Terranova was previously a film buyer for The Weinstein Company and Miramax. “As a programmer, you have to use more of a fine-tooth comb in the process — you have first eyes on it, and no one already validated it for you,” she said of her new position. Curating the festival, she added, has refined her palette and deepened her appreciation of global cinema. The programmers don’t have a set agenda when choosing the films for the festival — rather, they notice recurring themes fol- lowing the decisions. This year, the team discovered that many of the movies are about subordinates contending with insti- tutions (“Semper Fi: Always Faithful” recounts individual marines’ struggle for justice against the Marine Corps; and “Black Butterflies” tells the story of South African poet Ingrid Jonker, who bravely protests against Apartheid in her personal, expres- sive verse). Several other films feature musi- cal icons, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Harry Belafonte and the Kings of Leon. The festival is offering four films on vid- eo-on-demand this year, and 24 others with timed virtual screenings on the Internet. The movies chosen for cable TV and the Internet target a different audience than do those shown at the venues, the program-

9/11 in particular, Terranova maintained, is still an integral part of the festival’s identity. “New York Says Thank You,” for example, tracks the journey of New York firefighters and volunteers helping communities nationwide revive from disasters. And the short “Current (Reprise)” documents New York City’s first ticker-tape parade following the World Trade Center attacks.

mers said, and illustrate the power of social media. (“Flowers of Evil,” for example, demonstrates how citizens can coordinate social uprisings — and staying tuned to them remotely — via YouTube and Twitter.) The festival’s new distribution division, the programmers assured, is not solely a profit-making venture. “I think it comes more from filmmakers [who wish] to give other filmmakers another platform,” said Terranova. “As a purely financial model, who knows if it’ll survive.” “We wanted to figure out how we could extend this outside of 12 days, to expand the idea of what a festival can do,” Kwok explained. The digital venture, he noted, is still a work in progress. “We want to see how people react to it,” said Kwok, “and see what works and what doesn’t.” As they do each year, the programmers will convene at the end of the festival to discuss how things went. Irrespective of the distribution service’s success, Kwok and his team are intent on keeping the brick and mortar festival not only alive but developing and thriving. “I don’t think demand of the festival itself will change,” he said. “There’s nothing you can really do to replicate the experience of going to the cinema with festival-goers.” “If there were an unlimited amount of

Continued on page 23

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April 20 - 26, 2011


Tribeca Film Fest directory

TO ORDER TICKETS:, or call 646-502-5296.

The Presale Ticket Outlets are: Venues #1, 2 and 5.

1 Clearview Cinemas Chelsea (CCC), 260 W. 23rd St.

(btw. 7th & 8th Aves.)


AMC Loews Village 7 (AV7), 66 Third Ave. (at 11th



SVA Theater (SVA), 333 W. 23rd St. (btw. 8th &

9th Aves.).

4 BMCC Tribeca PAC (BMCC), 199 Chambers St. (btw. Greenwich & West Sts.).

5 Tribeca Cinemas (TC), 54 Varick St. (at Laight St.).

6 Apple Store, SoHo, 103 Prince St. (at Greene St.).

7 Chanel Art Awards Gallery at NYAA, 111 Franklin


8 Barnes & Noble Union Square, 33 E. 17th St.

9 Tribeca Film Center (TFC), 375 Greenwich St. (2nd

floor, btw. N. Moore & Franklin Sts.).

10 Tribeca Drive-In, at the World Financial Center Plaza, West St. (btw. Vesey & Liberty Sts.).

11 Apple Store, 401 West 14th St. (at 9th Ave.).

Sts.). 11 Apple Store, 401 West 14th St. (at 9th Ave.). 12 Hudson River Park’s Pier

12 Hudson River Park’s Pier 40, 353 West St. (Houston at West Side Highway).


As of April 17, single tickets on sale to Downtown residents (Ticket Outlets only, with proof of zip code below Canal St.). As of April 18, single tickets are on sale to general public. Evening & Weekend screenings (after 6pm Mon.-Fri. and Sat./Sun. prior to 11pm) are $16. Matinee/Late Night screenings (prior to 6pm Mon.- Fri. or after 11pm daily) are $8.

A HUDSON PASS costs $1,200 and includes access for one to all evening, weekend and matinee/late night priced screenings, Tribeca Talks and Filmmaker/Industry Lounge.

DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE for students, seniors and select Downtown Manhattan residents (Ticket Outlet locations only). Service charges and fulfillment fees may apply. For more ticketing information, visit

TICKET PACKAGES are sold online and by phone only. Opening Weekend Ticket Package is $100. Two general screening tickets each to one film on Fri., April 22, two films on Sat., April 23, and one film on Sun., April 24.

CHELSEA TICKET PACKAGE is $75 for six general screening tickets to films showing at SVA Theater and Clearview Cinemas Chelsea (two per screening).

DOCUMENTARY FILM FAN PACKAGE is $75 for six general screening tickets (two per screening).

LATE NIGHT FILMS TICKET PACKAGE is $39 for six late night screening tickets (two per screening) and two invitations to the Cinemaniac party (Sun., April 24, at Tribeca Cinemas).

MATINEE FILMS TICKET PACKAGE is $39 for six mati- nee screening tickets (two per screening).

RUSH TICKETS: Screenings and panels that have no more advance tickets available will be listed as Rush Tickets. Rush ticket lines will form approximately 45 minutes prior to scheduled event times at the venue. Admission will begin approximately 15 minutes before program start time based on availability. Rush tickets are priced as noted above, except at the BMCC Tribeca PAC Theater, where all Rush tickets will be $8. No discounts apply and admission is not guaranteed.

at the BMCC Tribeca PAC Theater, where all Rush tickets will be $8. No discounts apply


April 20 - 26, 2011

22 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

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Hot cakes: Hector Morales (left) Roberto Farias can’t quite go the distance, in the tepid homo boxing flick “My Last Round.”

Continued from page 18


87 minutes. Screenwriter and Director: Julio Jorquera. In Spanish, with English subtitles.

Sun., Apr. 24, 5:30pm & Tues., Apr. 26, 10:30pm, at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves). Fri., Apr. 29, 6pm, at AMC Loews Village 7 (66 Third Ave. at 11th St.). For tickets ($16 evenings/weekends; $8 matinees), purchase at the Box Office or call 646-502-5296 or visit


As even the most casual observer will tell you, there’s nothing remotely sexy, or sexual, or homosexy, about boxing. Two muscular, sweaty brutes wailing on each other while a man in a white shirt and a bow tie periodically separates them when the holding becomes too prolonged and intense? No, sir, admirers of the male form will find nothing to lick their lips over within the state-sanctioned confines of a boxing ring. Too much polite restraint regarding the sexy gay elephant in the room is what makes the competent but tepid queer boxing flick “My Last Round” such a letdown. It’s like the shock and hurt you experience when you’ve shelled out half your paycheck for dining, dancing, popcorn and a movie only to be rebuffed by a complete and total lack of delivery on certain implied promises. It’s not fair. Although there’s some skin on display, very few are likely to get all hot — but many will surely be bothered — by the sheer magnitude of lost potential and roads not taken (nar- ratively speaking). What should have been a queer “Rocky” worth cheering for turns out to be a polite stab at merging the classic narrative of a boxer in search of one last victory with an equally classic tale of forbidden love that triumphs over adversity. So move over, Ang “Brokeback Mountain” Lee. There’s a new director whose melo- dramatic tale of doomed gay romance and homophobic violence and peace achieved only on the other side of the grave is set to take America by storm — or at the very least, per-

sistent rainfall. Steeped in decay and seemingly cursed by an endless stretch of overcast days and stormy nights, director Julio Jorquera’s Chile is an ugly/ beautiful world where everything from the sputtering cars to the peeling wallpaper to the scuffed-up mirrors are on their last legs. Add to that list two very damaged people. Middle-aged Octavio is a closeted boxing champ who has the admiration of those in his small town. Young, sad-eyed and recently unemployed dishwasher Hugo throws some subtle flirtations Octavio’s way — but when the pudgy pugilist acts on them while the two take a wizz during a rainswept camping trip, Hugo rebuffs the advances he seemingly invited. Eventually, the two get together and take the bus to the capital city of Santiago — with Octavio working as a barber and (literally) directionless Hugo finding employment driv- ing the delivery truck for a pet shop. It’s not long before Octavio succumbs to the siren call of the boxing ring once more. Also hap- pening in short order is Hugo’s naïve flirta- tions with a clueless girl at work who thinks the clumsy kiss he pulled back from on Lookout Point means they’re going steady. Newsflash, Jenny: That double bed he shares with Octavio in their cramped apartment? It’s not just a space-saving strategy. Well, if you can’t see where this one is going, you’ll probably think those seizures Octavio hides from all concerned are just going to level off. Savvy queer moviegoers will soon tire of the predictable plot and thor- oughly unempowering narrative arc. That’s too bad; because there are things to admire here, mostly found in the moody cinematography and the economy of scale employed by both lead actors. Nothing except perceived betrayal seems to justify reactions that surpass the rais- ing of eyebrows. But that stoicism in the face of an increasingly hopeless love story has an odd cumulative effect. As the film lurches towards its utterly predictable ending, the feelings you’re hooked on are too little, too late — but they nevertheless catch you on the chin like a cruel and unexpected southpaw punch. Spoiler Alert, boxing fans: Ring scenes are few and far between and bereft of any erotic appeal. The first truly great queer boxer’s love story has yet to be made — at least on film. Swishy Spielbergs, are you listening?

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downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011


Crafting a concise festival

Continued from page 20

people watching the movies [from home], that might be cause for concern,” echoed

Terranova, pointing out the limited options of the digital services. “We’re careful to want to preserve the event of being inside

a cinema with a group of people. It’s one of

the reasons why festivals continue to exist,

because people want the communal experi- ence.” And this “communal” appeal has undoubtedly contributed to its success and

fame. However, the festival still doesn’t have

a place to call home. It lacks a central hub

for its screenings and operations — some- thing, Kwok said, that the staff has wanted from the get-go. “We wish we could have

a whole complex for ourselves, where you

have 20-25 screens, plus a place for our premieres and hospitality. That would be amazing,” said Kwok. Instead, it hosts screenings in ven- ues scattered around Lower Manhattan. Spreading outside of the triangular-shaped area below Canal Street was something the founders intentionally avoided early on. In the first season, they held screenings at Pace University, Stuyvesant High School and other local venues so as not to expand above 14th Street. The current programmers, however, see an advantage in stretching north. “It helps different neighborhoods to sort of have the benefit of having the festival nearby,” said Terranova, in what she referred to as “spreading the love.” And, while the fes- tival caters to an audience far wider than Downtown Manhattan, Kwok said he and

his crew have not lost sight of its roots and its faithful neighborhood viewers. “We’re very conscious of films that are set in New York or Downtown,” said Kwok, such as “Limelight” — a documentary about the New York club scene; and “Newlyweds,” which was shot entirely in Tribeca. 9/11 in particular, Terranova maintained, is still an integral part of the festival’s identity. “New York Says Thank You,” for example, tracks the journey of New York firefighters and volunteers helping commu- nities nationwide revive from disasters. And the short “Current (Reprise)” documents New York City’s first ticker-tape parade fol- lowing the World Trade Center attacks. The festival is also showing a free screening of “The Second Day,” a documentary highlight- ing interviews with teachers and students from Lower Manhattan schools about their harrowing experiences on 9/11. The festival’s future, Kwok explained, is unpredictable, since it is inextricably tied to technological advances. “Who knows what’ll happen in two years — not just in terms of us, but in terms of how we’ll watch movies,” he said. After all, the iPad, which was intro- duced last April, within months became a popular movie-watching device and further discouraged the need to leave one’s home to watch a film. Kwok, however, is confident the festival will survive these changes. “The great thing about being a young festival,” he said, “is that we can adapt very easily.” The festival occurs from April 20 through May 1. For screening dates/times, ticket purchase and other festival-related information, visit festival.

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April 20 - 26, 2011

24 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

downtown express

screening, and admission is first-come, first-served.






EASTER FUN FEST AT TRINITY CHURCH Hop down to Historic Trinity Church on Easter Sunday for (pardon the pun) an egg-citing afternoon of egg hunts and other family fun at Trinity Church. Expect candy-filled eggs, prizes, and a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny, along with games, crafts, a puppet parade and music. Older children can test their detective skills in a super scavenger hunt that goes on throughout afternoon. Sun., April 24, 12:30pm-3pm at Trinity Church (Broadway & Wall St.). The egg hunt, for children under 6 years old, begins at 12:30pm in the South Churchyard. Sign up for the hunt near the Root sculpture in front of the church. In the North Churchyard, from 12:30pm, there will be events for kids 6 years and older (among then, that afore- mentioned scavenger hunt and bunny photo op). FREE. For more info, call 212-602-0800 or visit

MANHATTAN CHILDREN’S THEATER MCT is upping the ante in their presentation of “The Completed Works of the Brothers Grimm (Abridged).” When four actors attempt to tell every single story from the expansive collection of classic tales in only one hour, you’ll literally get more for than you bargained for — with inventive presentations of favorites like “Sleeping Beauty,” “Tom Thumb,” “Snow White” and “Cinderella.” April 23–May 30. Sat./ Sun., 12pm and 2pm. At Manhattan’s Children Theater (52 White St. btw. Broadway & Church). For tickets ($20, $50 for premium seats), call 212-352-3101 or visit

A PLAYDATE WITH IVAN Join Ivan Ulz — children’s singer/

As part of the Tribeca

Film Festival’s Tribeca Drive-in, the Muppets team up for another delightful adventure that families will enjoy watching under the stars. Join Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the Muppets, who come to New York City to launch their Broadway musical, “Man- hattan Melodies,” but soon realize it’s not as easy as they thought. Cleverly directed by Frank Oz — and featuring Dabney Coleman, Joan Rivers, Elliott Gould, Liza Minnelli, and Gregory Hines — “The Muppets Take Manhattan” is brimming with cuteness and fun for all ages! Stop by before the show to participate in activi- ties like face-painting, Muppet-themed trivia, sing-alongs, and fuzzy surprise guests. Sat., April 23. Tribeca Drive-in opens at 6pm; pre-show activities begin at 6:30pm; and film screenings begin at 8:15pm. At World Financial Center Plaza (220 Vesey St.). Admis- sion: Free.


DOWNTOWN GIANTS YOUTH PROGRAM The Downtown Giants Youth Football Program has opened registration for their summer camps and fall tackle football season. The program includes divisions for all ages; peanut division (5-9), junior pee wee (10 and 11), junior midget (12 and under, max weight) and midget division (14 and under). A cheerleading program is also available. To register, visit

SNOW WHITE This modern adaptation of the classic tale is presented by a cast of professional actors and up-and-coming performers trained at the New Acting Company. Fris., 7pm, Sats., 3pm and 7pm (no 3pm matinee on May 7), and Suns, 1pm and 5pm. April 15 through May 15. At the Phillip Coltoff Center (219 Sullivan St.) For tickets ($18, $20 at the door), call 212-868-4444 or visit Recommended for children ages 4 and up (infants will not be admitted).

KARMA KIDS YOGA Karma Kids Yoga Studio offers classes that gets kids stretching — in group sessions for every age (from babies of 6 weeks to teens). Their fun exercises promote physi- cal strength and flexibility, and are especially helpful for children’s developing bodies. Kids will build concentration and focus through breathing and visualization exercises. Parents can choose from a number of rates (including drop-in prices and special bundle pack- ages). At 104 W. 14th St. (btw. 6th and 7th Aves.). For rates and schedule, call 646-638-1444 or visit

BRING YOUR OWN KID Every Sunday at 11am, 92YTribeca’s B.Y.O.K. (Bring Your Own Kid) series features live performances by children’s bands and entertainers. Recommended for ages 6 and under. At 92YTribeca (200 Hudson St.) For tickets ($15, free for children under 2), call 212-601-1000 or visit

EARTH CELEBRATIONS PUPPET & COSTUME WORK- SHOPS As concerns about global warming and the environ- ment continue to mount, Earth Celebrations is hoping to use art to address some of these issues. In several workshops, both teens

Continued on page 25


This modern, multimedia adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s classic tale “The Adventures of Pinocchio” features video projections, confetti cannons, falling snow, long-nosed masks, surround sound and psychedelic original music. Presented by Immediate Medium and the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, “The Assassins Chase Pinocchio” turns the Disney’s version of the tale on its head by revisiting original story details such as a mischievous young Pinocchio, an asthmatic shark and other

elements unknown to modern audiences. Performances run from April 29-May 14. Thurs./Fri., 8pm; Sat., 3pm & 7pm and Suns, 3pm. At the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk St.). Tickets ($20 for adults; $10 for kids) are half price for Sunday matinees. To purchase, visit theatermania. com and

purchase, visit theatermania. com and Photo by Maki Takenouchi Liz Vacco as the Beautiful Blue

Photo by Maki Takenouchi

Liz Vacco as the Beautiful Blue Fairy with the Blue Hair.

songwriter and author of the “Fire Truck!” song (a YouTube hit for quite some time now). Good friend Leah Wells will join Ulz, for an intimate family music program that will be the perfect start to your weekend. Every seat is front and center, and there’s plenty of room for dancing and moving. At 11am, every Sat./Sun. through May 22.

At the Metropolitan Playhouse Theater (220 E. 4th St., btw. Aves.

A and B). For reservations ($12, $10 for children 12 and under), call

212-995-5302 or visit For more info,


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION The Battery Park City Library helps celebrate Earth Day with a workshop that will help your children bring out their inner tree hugger. Kids will create their very own dream catcher using recycled materials such as plastic container tops, yarn and thread — all provided for free. Recommended for children ages 4-10. At 3:30pm, Fri., April 22. At the Battery Park City Library (175 North End Ave.)

TIRBECA FAMILY FESTIVAL STREET FAIR The Tribeca Film Festival is back again — and with family-friendly happenings like this street fair, you and your kids won’t miss out on the fun. This free event features tons of activities and special performances. Partake in fundraising activities from taekwondo lessons to hair- spray painting; create life-size bubbles in the Bubble Garden; and get creative in the Arts & Crafts Pavillions. Sat., April 30, 10am– 6pm. For those looking for some big screen action, there are two free film screenings. “The Second Day” (a documentary about 9/11 through a child’s eyes) at 2:30pm; and “NKO” (a lively anima- tion film) 4pm. Screenings will be shown at BMCC TribecaPac (199 Chambers St). Lines begin 30 minutes prior to the start of each

St). Lines begin 30 minutes prior to the start of each Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio
Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio A Wise C hoice for your child’s dance education! Dance
Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio A Wise C hoice for your child’s dance education! Dance

Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio

A Wise C hoice for your child’s dance education!

Dance for Children and Teens

• Modern Ballet (ages 5-18)

• Creative Movement/Pre-Ballet (ages 3-5)

Choreography (ages 8 & up)


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19 Murray St., 3rd Fl.

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212-608-7681 (day)

downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 2 5

downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011


Photo by Erina Mavrina Sketching a crime scene, as part of the “Junior Police Academy
Photo by Erina Mavrina
Sketching a crime scene, as part of the “Junior Police Academy Spring Recess
Drop-Off Program.”
At the “Junior Police Academy Spring Recess Drop-Off Program,” children will learn
what it takes to be a police officer — whose daily activities combine arts, science and history.
At 1-3pm, April 18-22. Recommended for ages 6-12. Registration is required as space is
limited ($15; free for members). Call 212-480-3100 ext. 116. “The Junior Officers Discovery
Zone” is an exhibit designed for ages 2-10. It’s divided into four areas (Police Academy; the
Park and Precinct; Emergency Services Unit; and a Multi-Purpose Area), each with interac-
tive and imaginary play experiences designed to help children understand the role of police
officers in our community (by, among other things, driving and taking care of a police car).
For older children, there’s a crime scene observation activity that will challenge them to
remember relevant parts of city street scenes; a physical challenge similar to those at the
Police Academy; and a model Emergency Services Unit vehicle where children can climb in,
use the steering wheel and lights, hear radio calls with police codes and see some of the actual
equipment carried by The Emergency Services Unit. At 100 Old Slip. For info, call 212-
480-3100 or visit Hours: Mon. through Sat., 10am-5pm and Sun., noon-5pm.
Admission: $8 ($5 for students, seniors and children. Free for children under 2).



Continued from page 24

and adults will draw inspiration from the diverse marine species and habitats of the Hudson River to create costumes and giant puppets for the upcoming Hudson River Pageant. Costume work- shops with artist Soule Golden: Weds., 6-9pm. Puppet workshops with artist Lucrecia Novoa: Sats., 12-4pm. Admission: Free. At the Church Street School for Music and Art (74 Warren St.), through May 18. The Hudson River Pageant takes place May 21.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS Explore painting, col- lage and sculpture through self-guided arts projects. 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. “Art Within Reach: from the WPA to the Present” — on display through June 5 — is an intergenera- tional exhibit connecting the artistic and intellectual dots between those who grew up in NYC during the Great Depression and those who are growing up in the city today. Museum hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-5pm; Thurs., 12-6pm (Pay as You Wish, from 4-6pm). Admis- sion: $10. At the Children’s Museum of the Arts (182 Lafayette St. btw. Broome & Grand). Call 212-274-0986 or visit For group tours, call 212-274-0986, ext. 31.

SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE SCHOLASTIC STORE Every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities

are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. The Scholastic Store is located at 557 Broadway (btw. Prince & Spring). Store hours are Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm, and Sun., 11am-6pm. For info about store events, call 212-343-6166. Visit

POETS HOUSE The Poets House “Tiny Poets Time” program offers children ages 1-3 and their parents a chance to enter the world of rhyme — through readings, group activities and interac- tive performances. Thursdays at 10am (at 10 River Terrace and Murray St.). Call 212-431-7920 or visit

FAMILY HOUR EVENT AT STRAND Every Thursday at 3:30pm, the Strand Book Store hosts family hour — where staff members read their favorite books and lead kids and their caregivers in themed activities. The Strand Book Store is located at 828 Broad- way (near 12th St). Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 9:30am-10:30pm, and Sun., 11am-10:30pm. For info, call 212-473-1452 or visit strand-


DOWNTOWN EXPRESS? Please provide the date, time, location, price and a description of the event. Information may also be mailed to 145 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-

Listing requests may be sent to

1548. Requests must be received at least three weeks before the event. Questions? Call 646-452-2497.

Sunday, April 24,12:30-3pm Trinity Churchyard, Broadway at Wall Street Come celebrate Easter with egg and
Sunday, April 24,12:30-3pm
Trinity Churchyard, Broadway at Wall Street
Come celebrate Easter with egg and
scavenger hunts, a puppet parade, a visit
from the easter bunny
lots of other family fun. | 212.602.0800


April 20 - 26, 2011

26 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

downtown express

For Aussie author, second act victories are sweet

Breakthrough bio chronicles the best of women’s boxing


So hot off the press that the ink is barely dry, Aussie artist/journalist (and Australian national women’s boxing champion) Mischa Merz’s odyssey through the scuffed looking glass of America’s best boxing gyms is already one for the history books. Written as a humble, keenly observed and utterly obsessive chronicle of women’s boxing (from the post-“Million Dollar Baby” boom to the present), “The Sweetest Thing:

A Boxer’s Memoir” wryly time stamps this unique moment when the sport is poised to make its debut in the 2012 Olympics. So determined is Merz to tell that story, she often jettisons her own formidable late in life redemption tale to the back burner — in favor of standing in awe when witnessing (often during sparring sessions) the skill and determination of others. The result is an autobiography full of character sketches that crackles and sparks with the ring of truth. Of the contemporary pioneers who will never see Olympic gold hanging from their necks, Merz fires off a preemptive challenge to 2012’s first female boxing champion: “These amazing women should never be forgotten or allowed to slip under history’s rug as the sport gathers pace and grows. I feel honored to have met them, to have been in the presence of

honored to have met them, to have been in the presence of Photo courtesy of the

Photo courtesy of the author

Caught in a trance: Mischa Merz, in closed eyes and sweet reflection mode.

their courage and their commitment.” Referencing her own career trajectory, Merz nails the personal greed and univer- sal glory that could very well represent the distilled essence of anyone’s path to self-discovery: “Maybe that’s what I like most about the culture of this particular sport. It is all about me, baby, that’s for sure. But no one does it alone.”

As for what that “it” is: Merz rose to the top of the Australian boxing ladder, then found herself at age 45 deciding to give it one last go in the USA. Much of the attention she lavishes on female box- ers comes from her time spent observing, participating, learning and building on her already impressive skills. The best of the best (and some of the rest) in box-

skills. The best of the best (and some of the rest) in box- BOOKS THE SWEETEST



By Mischa Merz

Release date: April 30, 2011


pp 288

Visit, and

ing gyms in California, Georgia, Florida and NYC left indelible marks, impressions, scrapes and scars. Makes you want to meet her, right? Well, you already missed the April 12 book launch at Brooklyn’s famed Gleason’s Gym ( But Merz will be back there — to train, advise and fight — at their Women’s Boxing Clinic (April 28-30). She’ll also be appearing at Bluestockings Bookstore (172 Allen St., NYC) at 7pm on Wednesday, April 27. Merz will read from her book and, in the process (forgive the pun) knock you out. For info on that free event, visit

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April 20 - 26, 2011


Fundraisers for friends in need

April 20 - 26, 2011 2 7 Fundraisers for friends in need BENEFITS COMPILED BY SCOTT



for friends in need BENEFITS COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER Anthology Film Archives founder Jonas Mekas, circa

Anthology Film Archives founder Jonas Mekas, circa 1984.

Photo courtesy of Anthology Film Archives


Check out the name of that event…what a mouthful! But do what Anthology Film Archives does for 40 years, and we’ll gladly publish the name of your event in caps and bold print. Proceeds from this benefit will support Anthology’s operations, film pres- ervation work and capital improvements. If you admire the Anthologies mission (preserve, study and exhibition film and video, with a particular focus on indepen- dent, experimental and avant-garde cin- ema), then you’ll also have a soft spot for the night’s honorees. Performances, music and tributes will cast a deserving (although, we suppose, not harsh) klieg light on film- maker Albert Maysles; Vlada Petric (found- ing director of the Harvard Film Archive); film scholar Tony Pipolo; Technicolor; and the Library of Congress (for creating the National Film Registry). Featured perform- ers and speakers include Harmony Korine, Marina Abramovic, Richard Barone and Transgendered Jesus. April 27, at City Winery (155 Varick St.). Proving you should never be late for an event, even in NYC, Anthology says the schedule will be as follows:

Doors open at 7pm. Performances start at 7:30pm. At 8pm,the Presentation of Honors begins. At 8:45pm the Auction of

custom-made “Anthology Film Archives” wines and DVD sales of the Maysles film “The Gates” happens. At 9pm, perfor-

mances continue. For tickets ($40 general admission; table seats with light dinner & wine, $200), visit

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The WOW Café Theatre presents this visionary all-female version of playwright Christopher Marlowe’s equally unconven- tional “Edward II” — a historical fictional account of King Edward II’s fall from grace (caused in no small part by his failure to court popular support by butching it up and otherwise playing down his sexual preferences). Masks, interpretive dance and heightened theatricality are used to take you on a journey of power, privilege and forbidden desires. Your journey to into Edward II’s heart of darkness will help oth- ers provide a light at the end of the tunnel for queer and homeless youth. The proceeds will benefit Chelsea Now’s favorite cause:

The Ali Forney Center(see page 19 for more info on AFC). Visit aliforneycenter. org, and wowcafe. org. April 21-23 and April 28-30, at 8pm. At WOW Café Theatre (59-61 E. 4th St.). Tickets ($20) available at the door ($15 pre-sale online at fabnyc.orb). Student and senior discounts available at the door.


Unlike the last few months of “Spiderman” performances, the fat trimmed off of some Broadway experiences shouldn’t wind up in landfills. Compost heaps, perhaps. But land- fills? What kind of monster (or investor; or producer) would throw out a perfectly good song? Earth Day gets the musical theatre muffin treatment, in this imaginative fund- raising concert comprised of songs cut from musicals that shouldn’t go to waste. Proceeds from the event go to benefit the nonprofit At Hand Theater Company. Their mission, to produce original work using environmental- ly conscious means, is the perfect cause for Earth Day (and the other 364). Concertgoers can expect to hear songs cut from old growth classics like “Hair” and “Chicago,” plus more obscure musicals such as “Betty Boop” and “Working.” The free range and fresh cast includes Sean Bradford (“The Lion King”), Gideon Glick (“Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark”) and Kate Pazakis (“South Pacific”). Mon., April 25, 7pm & 9:30pm. At Joe’s Pub (located in The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette St. at Astor Place). Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, subject to availability. A limited number of $60 tickets, which include preferred table seating and a poster autographed by the cast, are avail- able. To purchase, call 212-967-7555 or visit joespubcom. Also visit





April 20 - 26, 2011

28 April 20 - 26, 2011 downtown express

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Fighting to keep Seaport museum from sinking

Continued from page 4

The museum is thinking about doing away with its entire fleet, according to Abegg and other museum advocates. Three of the ships — the Pioneer, the Lettie G. Howard schooner and the W.O. Decker tugboat – have been leased at no cost for a year, according to Abegg. The museum’s spokesperson wouldn’t con- firm, this, however, and only said, “Seaport Museum [NY] is exploring various options regarding the maintenance of its historic ves- sels.”

“It would be a tremendous loss to the memory and the cultural fabric of New York.”

Walter Rybka

But the mere thought of the ships leaving the harbor distresses many Seaport museum lovers. “The [Economic Development Corporation] is telling the museum to cut costs, get rid of anything they can, and basically hunker down until they can somehow restructure the place,” said Robert Ferraro, the first president of the Friends of the South Street Seaport Museum, a volunteer group that helped get the museum up and running in its first years of existence. The city, the museum’s landlord, declined to comment. Ferraro, along with other advocates, has joined forces with the museum’s founder, first president and volunteer staff consultant, Peter Stanford, to devise a plan to salvage the muse- um. They held their first meeting with Pier 16 volunteers two Saturdays ago and are working on a written proposal asking that the museum take certain immediate steps to resuscitate itself. “The whole purpose is to get the City, or whoever it is that’s running the museum, to take a look at what we’re suggesting,” said Ferraro. “We just want to be heard, ’cause we think we have something important and valu- able to say.” The museum used to be a thriving institu- tion, Ferraro, added, and there is no reason why it can’t prosper once again. First, the proposal advises the museum’s staff to rededicate itself to the public through a comprehensive program of meetings, newslet- ters and public events centered on the history of New York City and the South Street Seaport. It also recommends that the staff organize public demonstrations of its ship operations and redevelop an active membership group and an accountable, elected board of trustees. Rather than sell off or give away its boats,

the museum should do the exact opposite

— restore them and expand programming

on them, according to the advocates. “The

strategy of the museum is entirely backward

— instead of going out and using the ships

as appropriate vehicles to encourage public support, they’re seen as liabilities,” said Ferraro. “They’re not liabilities — they’re its very heart and soul. It’s got to use those great assets as a way to support itself.” The proposal calls for the museum to “bring our ships to life, with sail-handling and sailorly arts used in crew training” and “with visitors helping to handle line, telling their own stories and advancing a cultural heritage vital to the city’s story.” To succeed, Stanford said, the museum must also rely wholeheartedly on its volunteers, “pick the rhythms of what people are interested in” and “campaign aggressively to get people involved” in fundraising. “I don’t think the basic New Yorker has changed that much,” Stanford said of the recent decline in philanthropy. “They just haven’t been invited in an open, generous way.” Stanford is faulting Pelzer, in particular, for failing to engage donors and visitors. He is call- ing for her resignation and for an interim direc- tor to be appointed and guided by the leaders of the Erie Maritime Museum, the Mystic Seaport, and other successful maritime museums around the country. “Mary should have never held this job… she didn’t have enough experience, nor the generosity of spirit or willingness to learn,” said Stanford. Abegg said Pelzer’s announcement of the museum’s troubles to its staff seemed “inau- thentic,” and attributed the institution’s finan- cial meltdown to her “autocratic” ruling style. The advocates group has scheduled a phone conference for Thursday to continue the dia- logue and to figure out a way to reach Mayor Michael Bloomberg with its messages. The City, they argue, should be responsible for supplying the funds to keep the museum alive. “A hidden factor in all this is that the Mayor, in ways we don’t know, is really calling the shots around here,” said Stanford. “I’d like the City to rebuild and restructure the museum, and stop the nonsense.” Abegg is co-leading a group of about 150 Pier 16 volunteers that has launched saveo- to get the word out about the museum’s troubles and solicit aid. The museum is an irreplaceable aspect of the history of New York City, according to Walter Rybka, president of the Council of American Maritime Museums, a collegial association of maritime museums of which Seaport Museum New York is a member. “It would be a tremendous loss to the memory and the cultural fabric of New York to have that close,” said Rybka. The museum he said, “lets people come and just experience the closest thing they can to the environment of the early- and mid-19th century.”

downtown express April 20 - 26, 2011 2 9

downtown express

April 20 - 26, 2011



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April 20 - 26, 2011

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downtown express

Seaport market moving

Continued from page 5

likely leave a lot of money on the table if we sold it for this price.” He said that if the South Street Seaport were sold, the sale could generate “large amounts of income” because the book value

“It’s important just to keep the market going because it’s its own best spokesperson.”

— Robert La Valva

is so much less than market value, but such a sale “might be destroying long-term shareholder value…particularly if we believe materially more value can be created through redeveloping and releasing these assets over time.” Grant Herlitz, president of Howard Hughes Corp. said that the company is “assessing and reassessing” what should become of the South Street Seaport. “We’re not yet a point where we’re ready to make a

recommendation,” he said. “We’re working closely with the City to come to a resolu- tion that will reenergize the South Street Seaport and once we do that, everybody will be pleased.” The plan that General Growth Properties had floated, which included putting up a 495-foot-tall hotel and apartment building, demolishing the mall on Pier 17, moving the Tin Building to that site and erecting a low- rise, boutique hotel is still on the table. “That’s one of the options,” said Herlitz, “but it’s not the only option.” He said that he was aware that many in the Lower Manhattan community had opposed the G.G.P. plan. “Once we come up with the options that we think are most viable, we will absolutely try to get as much community support as we can get,” he said. “After all, the Seaport has to serve the com- munity so it wouldn’t do us any good to try to serve a community that is opposed.” He said that Howard Hughes Corp. hopes to release a plan for the Seaport later in 2011. Meanwhile, Robert La Valva is round- ing up 40 to 50 vendors for each of his weekly markets. “It’s important just to keep the market going because it’s its own best spokesperson as the market,” La Valva said, “and the more we do it….” He did not com- plete the sentence. But he said the market will definitely open on May 1, “and we’ll be putting up a Maypole!”

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Pace program surprises

Continued from page 9

former Fortune 500 banker and a musician with a double Platinum album. Students have ranged in age from their early twenties to their late sixties. “We have all kinds of ages, all kinds of backgrounds,” said Manolikakis, “and this is the beauty of it, because one learns from the other.”

“I’ve always performed but didn’t realize I could make a career out of it.”

— Shareen Macklin

The curriculum was designed by Actors Studio leaders, including Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. In weekly workshops, students learn about script anal- ysis, design, stage combat, directing and auditioning for plays, musicals, film and television. A new workshop this year covers writing for film and television. The students take weekly dance classes at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. The program costs $33,000 a year. Some students are supported by their families. Others like Shariffa Wilson, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University and was planning to go to law school, have taken out loans to attend. “Coming into this I knew the sacrifice that I

would make,” she said. “I left a job where I was getting paid every two weeks and I had amazing medical coverage but I didn’t want

to have any regrets. I’m the happiest I’ve

ever been in my life.” Wilson went on to say that, “the most amazing thing about being an artist is that you feel everything and everything that

you’ve experienced, you turn into your art. Things that could have broken you down, you use to feed your art, and it’s amazing.” “It’s been a life-changing experience,” said another student, Desiree Elle from Montreal. “Being in New York and sur- rounded by so many different people, so many different cultures, so many different artists.” “I’ve always performed but didn’t real- ize I could make a career out of it,” said Shareen Macklin, who has an undergradu- ate degree in chemistry from North Carolina

A & T State University. She will be going to

Fort Peck Summer Theatre in Montana this summer to do “Hairspray,” “Chicago” and “Big River” and to teach in a performing arts camp. ““I get to create my own class! Hopefully that will establish me as a teach- ing artist when I come back here,” she said. The Actors Studio Drama School is still accepting audition applications for next year’s incoming class. For information, go to departments-and-programs/asds

For reservations to see the plays in this year’s repertory season call (212) 346-1665 or email The free per- formances are Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Library bolsters community

Continued from page 5

crafts activities. Decklan devours several books in a few days’ time and says he is always itching to

everyone,” she said. The B.P.C. patrons, Barreca added, are

return to the library to replenish his stock. Often, Barreca or another librarian has a list

especially well-versed in children’s literature.


suggested reads prepared for him when

She visits the Battery Park City Day


comes in.

Nursery, P.S. 276, I.S. 89 and other local schools on a regular basis to conduct “story

“It’s really fun coming here,” Decklan said. “I really like how Anne [tells] the

time” sessions and talk to the youngsters about the library. In the 13 months they’ve been living in New York, the library “has become an exten- sion of our family,” said Tracey-Ann Spencer, mother of eight-year-old Decklan and five- year-old Bronwyn, who attended the April

stories.” The librarians, Tracey-Ann said, seem to have a passion for what they do. “They really get to know the people who come into the branch and are always willing to help.” “It’s a real team effort,” she continued. “It is a wonderful thing for a community

18 “Picture Book Time” session.


have such a friendly, fun place in their

The Spencer family moved from southern


Australia to South End Avenue in Battery Park