Teen with cancer co-directs ‘Farewell to Hollywood,’ with her as a subject

Reggie Nicholson and Henry Corra, co-directors and subjects of “Farewell to Hollywood.”

Reggie Nicholson and Henry Corra, co-directors and subjects of “Farewell to Hollywood.”

By Seth Shire

A part of me wants to say that I enjoyed “Farewell to Hollywood,” a new documentary co-directed by New York based documentarian Henry Corra and Regina Diane Nicholson (Reggie).

However, I do not think that “enjoyed” is the correct term for my reaction to this very moving, honest, frank, poignant and life affirming, personal documentary about a teenaged filmmaker’s final, two-year struggle with cancer.

“It’s kind of an ordeal, isn’t it?” Corra said to me, empathizing with my reaction to this heartfelt documentary which opened at Cinema Village on February 25 (Reggie’s birthday). Reggie, the film’s subject as well as its co-director, was a filmmaker whose goal was to make a feature film. As Reggie’s mother says, in the documentary, Reggie “won’t make her mark on the world until she’s done that.”

Corra recalled meeting Reggie at the 2010 Silver Docs Film Festival. He said that Reggie approached him about the idea of making a documentary about her. Corra said he told Reggie that, “If she was interested in collaborating on an unscripted, non-fiction project, where we were equal partners, then we’d be in business. And she was like ‘Yeah, I like that idea.’”

Corra added that at first, “I have to admit I was quite terrified at taking on the tragedy of a young person that we all knew was going to die, including Reggie. It was daunting for me.” After receiving encouragement from Reggie and her mother, Corra decided to proceed with the film.

Corra and Reggie formed a close attachment to the point where Corra actually wound up being her caretaker, all while he and Reggie continued making the film. Corra explained, “It’s coming of age while dying as an artist and as a young woman and it’s in hyper drive because of the circumstances.”

Corra, a student of the late documentary filmmaker David Maysles, explained that his approach to documentary filmmaking, influenced by Maysles, is about “collapsing the boundaries between art and life, subject and author.” Corra added that, “In a sense ‘Farewell to Hollywood’ is the ultimate master class in achieving this.”

When I asked Corra about his hope for “Farewell to Hollywood” he said, “Our hope for the film has already come true. When you make these unscripted, personal films the rules of the film are made up and established as you go along. Over a two-year period we developed this really amazingly interesting creative working relationship of a young person at the beginning of their career and a seasoned director working together. We actually were great collaborators. We made the film for ourselves. The film became synonymous with life for Reggie as well as for me. It became synonymous with her being alive and happy, doing the thing she wanted to do the most. Our goal was to make the most amazing film that the two of us, as well as our friends, loved. Whatever happens beyond that is to be determined.”

Corra explained that fame and fortune were not goals for Reggie, adding that, “She was very mature as an artist, to understand that.”

Cinema Village is located at 22 East 12th Street.

 

Petitioning for ST-PCV TA board starts tomorrow

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is holding an election for three seats on its Board of Directors in May, 2015. Residents who believe they can commit time and skills to the community can petition for a place on the ballot starting Saturday, February 28.

Following rules that were posted in all ST and PCV buildings, the application process for interviews by the Nominating Committee and Board endorsement ended on Friday, February 20, 2015. Residents who are current in their Tenants Association dues as of April 4, 2015, and are 18 years of age or older are eligible to seek a place on the Board and to vote in the election.

Petition forms will be available on the Tenants Association website the morning of February 28. Interested members must submit a petition signed by at least 45 members of the TA. (For the purpose of the petition process, any resident of an apartment that is current in its dues as of April 4, 2015, is a TA member.) No more than one candidate’s name can be on any one petition.

Completed petitions may be sent by mail to: Nominating Committee, ST/PCV Tenants Association, P.O. Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202. Petitions are due in the TA post office box no later than Saturday, March 14, 2015. They may also be delivered in person to the Community Center at 449 East 14th Street (First Avenue Loop) between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2015. The petition should be accompanied by the petitioner’s name, full address, telephone, and email, along with a statement that he or she is 18 years of age or older. Petitioners should also include a 100-word summary of their qualifications.

Tenants Association President John Marsh advised would-be directors, “Anyone seeking a place on the Board should understand that these are not honorary positions. Directors must be willing to devote at least 20 and up to 50 or more hours each month to TA business. They are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in ad hoc phone or in-person meetings as needed, serve on committees that utilize their skills, and to participate actively in all TA public activities.”

How volunteers are helping New Yorkers manage their debt

A volunteer helps a client at an FCC center.

A volunteer helps a client at an FCC center.

By Sabina Mollot

In 2007, when low-income New Yorkers began turning to sub-prime lenders and check-cashing services as well as other high-risk practices due to a lack of traditional available bank services, a local nonprofit organization responded by launching a program aimed at getting those people out of the financial holes they inevitably ended up in.

The program, called Financial Coaching Corps (FCC), was launched by Community Service Society of New York, an organization that’s headquartered at 105 East 22nd Street near Park Avenue South. Community Service Society (CSS), for its endeavors aimed at fighting poverty, uses a team of volunteers who are 55 years old or older.

Its volunteer recruitment program is called RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) and those volunteers, following a rigorous training program, become financial coaches who then offer free assistance to clients who have credit or debt issues.

Reyes Irizarry, project director of Financial Coaching Corps of Community Service Society of New York, recently spoke with Town & Village about the program and how it helps New Yorkers in financial crisis situations.

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NAC gets packed for GNA art show

East Midtown Plaza residents Shelley and Claude Winfield stand by Claude’s portraits of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, which were made out of beads.

East Midtown Plaza residents Shelley and Claude Winfield stand by Claude’s portraits of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, which were made out of beads. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday night, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates kicked off its annual community art show at the National Arts Club, featuring 85 works by nearly as many artists. The art included paintings, drawings, prints and photos as well as some multi-media pieces.

At a reception packed with over 300 people on Tuesday night, GNA President Alan Krevis said he was “thrilled by the turnout and the quality of work is amazing.”

Most of the artists were residents of Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy and many were members of local civic groups.

One artist, Claude Winfield, also a Community Board 6 and Tilden Club member, had created beaded portraits of John Coltrane and Duke Ellington.

Winfield, of East Midtown Plaza, said his beaded works take anywhere from 20-40 days “over a span of time” to create. He uses African seed beads, explaining that various colors have different meanings. “Like a teacher would wear beads that are yellow and green,” he said. Winfield discovered the art form when he worked as head docent at the Museum for African Art and became inspired by a show there.

“Before that I did lithographs,” he said.

Also in attendance was former GNA President Edith Charlton, who said she’d been the one to start the event, although she couldn’t quite remember when. She believes it’s been running for at least 10 years though. She recalled how the club’s president at the time when she pitched the idea, O. Aldon James, was very receptive to it.

“It worked well and they’re even selling pictures now,” said Charlton. “I’m pleased it’s continuing.”

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Rally and City Council Hearing on Monday on Rent Stabilization Laws

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, via an email blast sent out late Thursday, is urging residents to attend a rally at City Hall on Monday at 9 a.m. Read on for details.

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg with politicians including Council Member Dan Garodnick, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Senator Charles Schumer, at a rally at City Hall in June (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Is your rent more than $4,000 . . . less than $2,500 . . . or anywhere in between?

THIS AFFECTS YOU

On June 15–less than four months from now–all rent protections will end unless renewed by the state legislature and the governor. By March 11, New York City needs to renew the rent laws too. Without renewal, you may not be able to afford your rent. Every one of us is affected.

Ambushed by a massive rent increase on renewal?
Tired of paying MCIs forever?
Want this to change?

Kickoff event: Monday, March 2, at 9 a.m.
Rally on the steps of City Hall.
Attend hearing afterward, City Council chambers, 2nd floor.

Next step: Pressure the state legislature, the new Speaker of the Assembly, and the Governor:

  • write letters (by hand, if you can-it shows politicians you care)
  • sign postcards
  • complete online and hand-signed petitions
  • attend rallies and hearings

We’ll be sending you more information soon.

If you don’t act . . .

  • Without rent stabilization, there will be no limits on rent increases and no automatic right to a lease renewal. We could all face eviction at the landlord’s whim.
  • Without renewal of rent stabilization, Roberts means nothing and SCRIE/DRIE will disappear.

We can win only if you participate. Want to do even more? Let us know by phone or email.

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Have you considered volunteering with us? If you have special skills or want to help distribute flyers and talk to neighbors in your building, let us know by calling the Message Center at (866) 290-9036 or signing up at: http://stpcvta.org/neighbor.network.

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Please consider additional financial support to help bolster our legal fund by donating at http://stpcvta.org/donate

Con Ed employees win industry award for East River fish protection project

Workers install equipment in the East River that reduces the plant’s impact on the  marine life. (Photo courtesy of Con Ed.)

Workers install equipment in the East River that reduces the plant’s impact on the marine life. (Photo courtesy of Con Ed)

By Sabina Mollot

Two Con Ed employees have been recognized for developing a system that protects the fish in the East River from the utility’s steam and electric plant operations.

Gary Thorn, a section manager in Central Engineering, and Brian Brush, senior scientist in Environmental Health and Safety, were the winners of an industry award called the Technology Transfer Award from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The pair led a $36 million project to design a system of five screens with fine mesh panels to filter fish, eggs and larvae from the water cooling intake at the East River generating station off East 14th Street. Additionally, while the work had initially been expected to be completed by the end of 2014, it wound up being done over a year ahead of schedule, by the end of 2013. The project started in 2006 with testing and site evaluation and review of technologies.

“A lot of the early work consisted of collection of data like how many fish there were,” said Brush. “It was a good deal of fish, but it’s importance to distinguish that when we say fish the technology also protects eggs and larvae and they’re more abundant than actual fish.”

The screens, along with a fish-return system, reduce the plant’s impact on the river. The fish-return system uses a low-pressure spray to gently remove any aquatic organisms trapped on the screens and return them to the river.

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Man fatally struck by L train

Emergency personnel head into the First Avenue L station. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Emergency personnel head into the First Avenue L station. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A man was killed after being hit by an L train at the First Avenue station, police said.

He had laid down on the southbound roadbed at around 12:45 p.m. and has been declared dead, according to a spokesperson for the department.

The victim was born in 1948 but police didn’t provide any further information about him. He has been identified.

It was around 1 p.m. when fire trucks and ambulances swarmed the 14th Street and First Avenue intersection and shut down train service. A man walking at that corner said he’d been kicked out of the L train he’d been on at Union Square. Meanwhile, an MTA employee stood at the entrance of the subway directing those looking to get in that they’d have to take the M14 to Union Square.

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Teen arrested for fake checks from Waterside Tenants Association

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An 18-year-old, Lionel Burton, was arrested last Thursday after two fraudulent checks belonging to the Waterside Plaza Tenants Association were deposited into his Bank of America account, the District Attorney’s office said.

The amount of the checks totaled $1,956.50 and once deposited, at the beginning of January, Burton allegedly withdrew $930 from his account. Police said that he later withdrew an additional $505.59 with his ATM card in four separate transactions.

Burton had allegedly provided access to his online banking information to someone that he met on Instagram and he told police that the person he gave his banking information to was known as “Vanilla Bada$$,” but no additional information about this person was available. Police said that after Burton provided his banking information, the fraudulent checks were deposited into his online banking account via cell phone. No information was available about how the checks were deposited into Burton’s banking account or who deposited them.

Waterside Plaza Tenants Association President Janet Handal said that the incident happened after the TA had given out holiday gratuity checks to the Waterside Plaza staff at the end of last year, as they have in the past.

“This is the first year that this has happened,” she said.

Handal said that police told her whoever deposited the checks is associated with Waterside Plaza in some way, because the fraudulent checks that were deposited had the correct account numbers, which means that the person had seen a copy of a valid check from the TA.

“There’s a connection to Waterside somewhere but (the NYPD doesn’t) know where yet,” she said.

Handal added that there had also been an attempt to deposit another fraudulent check for almost $5,000.

“That was the thing that alerted us to the problem,” she noted. “We would have seen the problem anyway but that was our heads up.”

Burton’s Legal Aid attorney didn’t return a call for comment by Town & Village’s deadline.

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 26

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Remembering JFK’s magical effect on crowd

Dear T&V,

Thank you for publishing that picture of the John F. Kennedy rally (from the Nov. 3, 1960 issue).

I was standing 20-30 feet directly in front of him in the densely packed crowd, and there, standing right there, was the handsomest human anyone had ever seen in person. The partially angled sun was streaming through his crown of glorious hair, the color of which was a glowing rose gold. He was so handsome that it was breathtaking. To this day, I have yet to see any picture or image that looked as good as the man I saw that day. Charisma emanated off of him in waves like he was exhaling it to the entire crowd.

I don’t remember a word he said, and I doubt anyone there ever did. He truly could have been reading from the phone book for all that it mattered.

This was magic incarnate!

It is no discredit that the black and white photo you printed didn’t really capture what that day really looked like — I’m not sure any picture could, but it did rekindle very deep memories of that day in 1960. It took me back to a really magical experience. I wish everyone could have been there that day.

He cut an imposing figure, the like of which I’ve never seen since in politics. It set the mold for Democrats seeking high-ranking public office should look like and try to emulate the kind of charm that’s needed. Only Bill Clinton captured it somewhat successfully.

It was written in the history/sociology/political books that JFK was selected by a coalition of Democrat/Catholic/Jewish and Labor voters, which is partially true. What was said and what was apparent at the time of the election was that the vote that won him the presidency was the female vote. Look at the man. Look at the picture of Nixon circa 1960 and then one of JFK smiling and you’ll see why women (and men) voted for him. He looked like the man you wanted representing America to the world and to America itself. It was obvious then, but no longer mentioned.

Richard Luksin,
Minneapolis, MN

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Police Watch: Man killed on Avenue D, Woman wanted for burglary on E. 33rd

Shaquille Fuller

Shaquille Fuller

HOMICIDE ON AVENUE D
Police said that 33-year-old Shemrod Isaac was shot and killed in front of the Lillian Wald Houses at 20 Avenue D on Monday around 4:33 p.m. Officers were responding to an assault in front of the location and upon arrival, they determined that Isaac was shot four times by an unknown suspect. EMS responded and transported Isaac to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said that Isaac was a resident at the Lillian Wald Houses.
Police are looking for 21-year-old Shaquille Fuller, also a resident in the Lillian Wald Houses, in connection with this incident. Anyone with information about Fuller’s whereabouts is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting TIP577 and their tips to 274637(CRIMES).

POLICE LOOKING FOR WOMAN IN CONNECTION WITH EAST 33RD ST. BURGLARY
The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a suspect wanted for a burglary within the confines of the 17th Precinct. On Thursday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m., the suspect walked into the apartment building located at 330 East 33rd Street, entered an unlocked apartment and took a Macbook Air, assorted jewelry and an undetermined amount of money. Detectives are hoping to speak to the woman seen on surveillance cameras inside the building at the time of the burglary. She is a black woman with long black hair.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

Police are hoping to speak with this woman.

Police are hoping to speak with this woman.

MAN ‘THREATENED’ TO SHOOT UP R TRAIN
Police arrested 34-year-old Gregory McNeil for criminal nuisance inside the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 9:35 p.m. A witness told police that McNeil was on an uptown R train and when it was pulling into the station, he allegedly threatened to shoot numerous passengers on the train. When an officer arrived, the train was being held inn the station and a witness identified McNeil.
When police approached him to tell him to exit the train, he allegedly had both hands in his pockets and was immediately uncooperative and verbally abusive. There were about 30 people on the train and police said that McNeil had alarmed all of them. He was also charged with an unclassified violation of New York State laws and disorderly conduct. No weapon was recovered at the scene.

SALON WORKER BUSTED FOR PROSTITUTION
Police arrested 21-year-old Esther Rodriguez for prostitution inside Cheryl Beauty and Nail Salon at 133 Lexington Avenue last Saturday at 2:15 p.m. Rodriguez performed a massage on an undercover officer and allegedly agreed manually stimulate his penis in exchange for $100.

FIGHT IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 22-year-olds Leslie Walker and Darryl Davis for a fight at the corner of Fourth Avenue and East 14th Street last Friday at 4:44 a.m. Walker allegedly engaged in a fight with Davis using obscene language, causing a crowd to form. Police said that the fight moved into the Union Square subway station and Walker allegedly became more irate, flailing his arms while yelling and pushing the officers. Police said that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
Davis allegedly engaged with Walker both verbally and physically, throwing a glass bottle in Walker’s direction. Police said that Walker had a cut above his left eye and was removed to the hospital for stitches. Davis allegedly said that he threw the bottle at Walker to defend himself.
Walker was charged with resisting arrested, an unclassified public administration misdemeanor and disorderly conduct and Davis was charged with assault.

MAN ARRESTED FOR MACE AT WATERSIDE
Police arrested 36-year-old Michael Kim for assault inside 25 Waterside Plaza last Saturday at 1:54 a.m. The victim told police that while waiting for the bus, he and Kim got into an argument, which resulted in Kim allegedly spraying the victims in the face with mace, causing injury to his face and eyes. Kim allegedly pepper-sprayed two other people at the bus stop. Police said that none of the victims knew each other or Kim before the incident.

MAN ARRESTED FOR REPORTING ‘FAKE’ MUGGING
James Renshaw, 25, was arrested last Tuesday at 12:40 p.m. for perjury at East 14th Street and Union Square East. Renshaw allegedly told police that when he was leaving the subway station at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, a man asked for a MetroCard swipe and when he took out his wallet, the man snatched it. Upon further investigation, police said that he recanted his story and said that he had lost his wallet and the incident hadn’t occurred. He told police that he realized he no longer had his wallet when he was leaving the train at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Renshaw was also charged with filing a false report.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘STOLEN’ WALLET AT RAYMI
Police arrested 24-year-old Kevin McDonald for grand larceny last Tuesday at 10:33 p.m. in front of Raymi at 43 West 24th Street. The victim told police that she was looking through her backpack and realized that her wallet was missing. She said that she had put her bag inside the employee locker room on top of a grease trap at 6 p.m. and realized that it was gone at 10:10 p.m. McDonald was allegedly on surveillance video taking the victim’s wallet at 9:45 p.m. Police said that he walked back into the restaurant at 10:15 p.m. and admitted that he took the wallet. McDonald was also charged with possession of stolen property.

TIRE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED AT EAST 27TH AND LEX
Police arrested 51-year-old Francis Camilleri for burglar’s tools at the corner of East 27th Street and Lexington Avenue last Wednesday at 11:09 p.m. Camilleri was allegedly attempting to break the lock on a bicycle at the location. Police said that he removed the front tire from a chained bicycle and left with the stolen tire.

ASSAULT AT BELLEVUE HOSPITAL
Eighteen-year-old Sean Kelly was arrested for assault in front of Bellevue Hospital last Monday at 11:15 a.m. Police said that punched another man in the face, causing redness and swelling.

TWO ARRESTED IN ASSAULT ON THIRD AVENUE
Police arrested 25-year-olds Vincent Kalman and Christopher Judd in connection with an assault in front of 395 Third Avenue, which is home to a 7-Eleven and an AT&T store. They were arrested last Saturday at 7:46 p.m. after Kalman and Judd allegedly hit the victim on the top of the head, causing a cut. The three people involved in the fight didn’t know each other, police said.

MAN NABBED FOR ‘KNIFE’ IN UNION SQUARE
Twenty-year-old Matthew Perez was arrested inside the Union Square subway station last Saturday at 11:46 a.m. for possession of a weapon. Police said that Perez was carrying a gravity knife on the right side of his cargo pants pocket.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘TRIPLING’ UP IN TURNSTILE
Police arrested 24-year-old Espartaco Albornoz for theft of services inside the Union Square subway station last Sunday at 4:30 a.m. Police said that Albornoz tripled up with two other people to avoid paying the fare. He allegedly stayed in the station without the authority to be there and was also charged with criminal trespassing. The two other people Albornoz entered the station with were not arrested.

Cops warn of spike in scams, larcenies: Crime down overall, but scam calls, pick-pocketings and assaults are up

By Maria Rocha-Buschel 

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector Dave Ehrenberg at the 13th Precinct (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

At the 13th Precinct Community Council’s most recent monthly meeting this past Tuesday, Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg told residents about the slight decrease in overall crime for the area in the last month, although there has been a spike in larcenies.

The number of grand larcenies jumped by 7.7 percent in the last month, although Ehrenberg noted that the precinct is still down 4.9 percent for the year. He said that there has been an increase in pickpockets, as well as an increase in cons.

“There’s a new scam that criminals have been trying, where they use information about people’s family and medical conditions,” the commanding officer said. “There have been phone calls from people that the victims know.”

He noted that the phone calls are not actually from people known to the victim but are criminals who have managed to fake a phone number and manipulate the caller ID.

Ehrenberg added that there has also been an increase in ransom call scams, where criminals will call a victim and demand money for a ransom, but he noted that this was a known scam and that anyone receiving such a call should notify 911 immediately.

The commanding officer also noted that there has been a specific increase in grand larcenies of unattended property in restaurants and despite the recent arrest of suspects thought to be responsible for some of these crimes, he warned residents not to be careless with their property while sitting in restaurants in the neighborhood, specifically in eating establishments around Union Square.

“You have to be aware of your personal belongings,” he said.

There has also been an increase in murder for the precinct, which Ehrenberg said was due to the shooting that took place at Home Depot at the end of January ahead of the season’s first big snow storm. A former employee had gone in to confront one of the store managers, shot him and ultimately shot himself.

Inspector Ehrenberg said that the scene was especially chaotic because the store was so busy with people who were preparing for the snow, but commended both civilians and officers for their quick response. Before police arrived, witnesses had taken it upon themselves to perform CPR on the shooting victim and police continued until EMS arrived.

Felony assaults also increased 18.2 percent in the past month, and Inspector Ehrenberg said this was especially notable because half of these incidents were domestic violence. In two of the cases, Ehrenberg said that the suspects had been involved in domestic violence previously with other partners. He added that the increases were also due to an assault on a lieutenant and on nurses at Bellevue who were assaulted while attending to patients.

Robberies were down 14.3 percent for the precinct in the last month and burglaries were down 63 percent.

Inspector Ehrenberg honored the Cop of the Month from both last month and this month, since the officer last month wasn’t able to attend the meeting to be recognized for his work. Officer Phil McGovern was given the award for January for work that he did last December when a child was choking at Blue Smoke on East 27th Street. He was able to dislodge what was blocking the child’s airway before the EMS arrived by using the version of the Heimlich maneuver that is performed on children.

The commanding officer noted that some of the bad press the police department has been receiving in the last few months has overshadowed the officers who have been working hard, so he wanted to acknowledge the good work that McGovern had done.

Officer Jason Negron was given the honor for this month for making an arrest on a suspect who had been noted on a “wanted” poster and was responsible for a number of grand larcenies in various precincts throughout the city.

Detective Ray Dorrian announced at the meeting that the Citizens Police Academy would be starting up soon and the precinct is now accepting applications. He noted that anyone interested in the program can get an application by contacting him at (212) 477-7427.

Community Council President Frank Scala encouraged those at the meeting to take the course, saying that he had taken it before and had found it very useful.

“For that week you are a police officer and you learn a lot of things in it,” he said.

Glowing globes of tech debris lighting up Madison Square Park

One of the globes lit up in the park at dusk (Photo by Yasunori Matsui)

One of the globes lit up in the park at dusk (Photo by Yasunori Matsui)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Madison Square Park Conservancy will be debuting sparkling transparent glass globes filled with discarded bits of technology in its next public art installation, opening in the park today. The sculptures come from artist Paula Hayes in her first outdoor exhibition, which will be on view in the southwest gravel area through April 19.

“Gazing Globes” features 18 transparent spheres filled with various media debris, including old radio parts, discarded computer parts, glass vacuum tubes, micro glass beads and shredded rubber tires, all covered in shimmering dust from pulverized CDs.

The Conservancy said that the spheres, which are 16, 18 and 24 inches in diameter, will be on fiberglass pedestals ranging from 24 to 47 inches off the ground and the globes will be lit from within.

Hayes, an American visual artist based in New York who has also worked as a landscape designer, usually works with plants and has previously created terrariums. The installation in Madison Square Park looks like a collection of traditional terrariums on first glance but Hayes made a crucial switch with the project.

“The sculptures are being installed during the winter and they’re in a park surrounded by a city, so I thought of the park itself as the terrarium,” she said.

“It’s like I turned it inside out and I thought of these bubbles as the world outside the plants so it was kind of an inverse approach.”

She added that she was also mindful of the wintry conditions, so the lighting from the shining up from bottom of the globes is an attempt to brighten up the park during the dreary weather.

“The illumination was important,” she said. “This is very much a nighttime experience. In the darkness of winter, it becomes very enchanted. So instead of only the sun, the light is shining up from below.”

Hayes was pleased that she was able to work in Madison Square Park for her first foray into public art.

“It’s one of the premiere and beautiful parks in the city and it has a very Victorian feeling. It’s laid out extremely beautifully,” she said. “I really appreciate the amount of liveliness it has and the programming they do. It’s one of the great hearts of the city. It’s a great, lively place to engage with the public.”

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David Axelrod, former Obama adviser and Stuy Town native, releases memoir

President Barack Obama (right) with David Axelrod (second to left) and others in the Oval Office (Photo by Pete Souza/ White House)

President Barack Obama (right) with David Axelrod (second to left) and others in the Oval Office (Photo by Pete Souza/ White House)

By Sabina Mollot

David Axelrod, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, who’d also helped strategize campaigns for him and a slew of other elected officials, and who worked as an adviser to President Bill Clinton, has recently written a book about his professional experiences. The Stuyvesant Town native, whose introduction to the world of politics began with a historic visit from then-Senator John F. Kennedy to the street where he lived, has called the memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics ($35, Penguin). While in the midst of a multi-state media tour, Axelrod, now the director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, discussed his book, his background and his career with Town & Village.

What was growing up in Stuyvesant Town like for you?

I grew up reading your newspaper. It was a great experience. It was a different kind of community than it is now. It was pretty modest. A lot of World War II veterans and families, and it was really an oasis in the city. We all got together in the playground. I’m still friends with a lot of people I grew up with. Some of them came to my book event in New York and some of them are coming to my event in Boston. Back then there was a real sense of community in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper. The people you grew up with you stuck with from nursery to high school and ultimately through life. I have a great association with Stuyvesant Town and growing up there.

I was just there a week ago to film a piece for CBS about my book. We walked on 20th. My first address was 622 East 20th Street. We talked about the day in 1960 when JFK came and campaigned in Stuyvesant Town. I was noticing the change in the community, all the high end kind of stores and air conditioners in every window, because we didn’t have that back then. It looked like a very upgraded version of what I remember. When we lived at 622, my parents were mostly still married, but they did split up when I was eight. Then my mom and I moved to 15 Stuyvesant Oval. My mother was a writer and worked in advertising and my father was a psychologist. I had an older sister, Joan. At 622, it was a two-bedroom, so Joan and I shared a bedroom with a wooden divider.

As you know, Stuyvesant Town apartments are small, small kitchens, small bathrooms. By today’s standards, the apartments were very modest, but it seemed comfortable to me. My parents got divorced when I was 13 and my mom and I went to live at 15 Stuyvesant Oval. My sister was gone by then. My mom moved in 1948 and moved out in 2006 to an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. She died last year. (Axelrod’s father committed suicide in 1977.)

There was a lot of activity and my group was the Playground 10 group. There were parts of Stuyvesant Town that were predominantly Jewish and parts of Stuyvesant Town that were predominantly Catholic and parts that were predominantly Protestant, and the playgrounds roughly followed those ethnic divisions. Like Playground 9 was where the Catholic kids hung out. There were very few minorities back then.

I went to PS 40 and Junior High School 104 and Stuyvesant High School when it was still on 16th Street. In my day they were excellent public schools. I still have a teacher in my head who played a formative role in my life. It was at PS 40 and her name was Lee Roth. She brought poets to our classroom, well-known poets of the day, like Ogden Nash. In the classroom, she would engage us in discussions on current events. It really enriched my life and I feel a debt of gratitude to all the people like her.

JFK crowd at 1st ave

When JFK came to Stuyvesant Town in 1960, David Axelrod was in attendance. This photo, originally published in Town & Village, also appears in his book.

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The road to reform in Albany

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

The King is dead. Long live the King!

By now you have heard, ad nauseum, about the indictments and resignation of Sheldon Silver as speaker of the New York State Assembly. Assemblyman Carl Heastie from the Bronx has been elected as speaker.

The stunning downfall of Mr. Silver is very sad on many levels. On a personal note he has been a friend and an ally. I believe that as the leader of the Assembly for 21 years he accomplished much. Notwithstanding the charges of personal corruption alleged against him which a court must ultimately decide, I believe that from a public policy standpoint, Silver leaves his post and the state better off than he found it. But if his arrest and fall from grace is the ultimate result and legacy of this year’s legislative session in Albany that will be sadder still. Reform is needed and badly. And if not now, when?

The public needs to have confidence in its elected officials and its government institutions. Plainly said, today they do not.

The road to reform does not begin and end with the State Assembly; it must go through the State Senate as well as the governor’s office. Reform does not mean replacing one leader for another; it means systemic and enduring changes that will hold public officials to a higher standard of conduct. And it will mean that current office holders, including the governor, will have to sacrifice some of their current and cherished prerogatives.

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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 19

Feb19 Toon Capitol gray

Bank policy less than user friendly

Many years ago my lawyer suggested a durable power of attorney document for me and my husband. I put our durable power of attorney documents away until I felt that I might need to use it to pay the ongoing bills.

Recently he was hospitalized and I went to the Chase Bank on First Avenue directly across from Stuyvesant Town on Fifteenth Street. After two days of being asked questions, I was told that it would be in action the next day. The next day, I was told by the bank officer that the document had been refused because it had not been written up in the last six months.

I then said that people do not do this every six months, but only get it done to use in an emergency. She said there was nothing she could do, for that was the rule.

I have my own checking account there and have been a customer for about 20-30 years and even when I brought that up I was still not someone passing through New York City, she still could not do anything for me. I called my lawyer who said that it was just the policy of Chase Bank and did not know of a six-month limit in other cases.

My husband has since recovered and I am going to update this document. I am writing to advise and to warn my neighbors of this ruling by Chase. It might be time to look around for another bank, for I always thought that I could use it whenever an emergency arose.

Mary Devers, ST

Tenants’ subletting is none of TA’s business

Re: “Subletting requires more than just matchmaking,” letter, T&V., Jan. 15, which was written in response to the T&V Jan. 8 article, “New business aims to find sublets for students in Stuyvesant Town”

To the editor:

In years past, the Tenants Association used to stand with tenants. However, in Susan Steinberg’s letter lambasting the sublet matchmaking service, the TA is standing with the property owner. Whose side are they really on?

They are focused on outing the tenants who may need to sublet their apartment for totally valid and legitimate reasons, and may not wish to go to the landlord for approval.

Legally speaking, a tenant who overcharges a sub-letter can be liable for treble damages. And, whether or not they sublet is provided in the terms of their lease with landlords, which is construed liberally in favor of tenants by state courts. Tenants are responsible for knowing the rules.

It seems like the TA is taking an “anti-youth” position here. Tenants do not need the Tenants Association providing “helicopter parenting” to lecture them on what they may or not do.

Name Withheld, ST