The current currency face-off

By Former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” That prose by William Shakespeare over 400 years ago was in reference to a life or death decision from Hamlet. In 2015 the same question is being posed about Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Jackson. This one deals with banishment! The United States Secretary of the Treasury has declared that it is time to have a woman’s face on American paper currency, and he is 100 percent correct. The question is which denomination, and consequently which American icon’s visage will be deleted in the year 2020.

Secretary Lew has said that it should be Alexander Hamilton who has graced the ten dollar bill for so many years. Others have weighed in saying drop Andrew Jackson from the twenty dollar bill to make way for a woman. Interesting debate.

Most Americans cannot say exactly who Hamilton was and why he was essential to the founding of our fledgling republic. As for Jackson, many remember he was a President, but few can say in what years, or what he accomplished. So who is gonna get the hook?

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GNA and friends clean up Augustus St. Gaudens

On May 16, the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates and friends and supporters of PS40 held a Clean and Green event aimed at cleaning up Augustus St. Gaudens, the playground next to PS40 on Second Avenue. Numerous kids from the neighborhood were among the volunteer crew and there was also a caricature artist and balloon artist at the event. Additionally, a Latin music band who’d been busking on the subway played an impromptu concert.

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ST Broadway performers launch kids’ theater studio

By Sabina Mollot

A Stuyvesant Town couple who’ve worked professionally as actors and dancers on Broadway and traveling productions have recently branched out to launch a school/studio aimed at teaching theater and dance to kids.

The company, I Can Do That NYC, will officially launch in the fall, but owners Jeffrey Schecter and Melissa Swender-Schecter have already been gauging local interest from parents by offering summer camp intensive workshops. The classes they’ve held so far have been at the Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street after the company moved to a space there from a studio in Chelsea.

The school was inspired mainly by Helena, the couple’s three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

“She loves to sing and dance although she’d rather be teaching the class than listen,” said Schecter. Because of Helena’s interest, her parents had taken her to a few different children’s classes, only to then feel like they could do better, both in lesson content and price.

What’s different about his concept, he explained, is that he works in the industry as do the other teachers he’s already recruited for classes. “The classes are being taught by working actors. We’re in the business. We’re living it. I’m auditioning for shows every week.”

Schecter noted that prior to launching the school, he’d already had some teaching experience. For years, he’d guest taught at numerous workshops, usually speaking about the business end of working on Broadway, and recently, he began volunteering as a jazz dance instructor to seniors at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center. His students, he noted, are “so freakin’ cute” and he hopes to have them perform for neighbors on the Oval at some point.

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