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At 7:30 in the morning of Monday, May 6, a 31-year-old man from Northvale, NJ parked his motorcycle on West End Avenue. When he returned after 5 p.m., he found his motorcycle was missing. The boosted bike was a red 2004 Yamaha with New Jersey plates, valued at $8,500.
At a little after 10 in the morning of Saturday, May 4, a 27-year-old woman was walking down the street at the intersection of Broadway and 66th Street when an unknown perpetrator approached her from behind. He thrust an object into her back, saying, “Be quiet and give me your wallet.” She surrendered her wallet to the perpetrator, who then fled southbound on Broadway. Police conducted a canvas of the area but were unable to locate the robber. There was a camera at the location, which police hope will enable them to identify the suspect. Items in the victim’s wallet included her New York State driver’s license, bank cards, and $62 in cash.
A 51-year-old man told police that some time between Friday, May 3 at 4:35 p.m. and Tuesday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m., TIRAK scaffolding motors valued at $18,000 were removed by unknown perpetrators from an elevated scaffolding area in front of a construction site on Riverside Drive. The location has video surveillance, and police are hopeful that a review of the footage will lead to an arrest.
Late in the afternoon of Thursday, May 2, a 64-year-old man living on West End Avenue reported that he had received a call from a luxury department store on Fifth Avenue stating that his credit card had been used multiple times for multiple purchases online. The amount of the purchases totaled $4,000.
At 2 a.m. on Thursday, May 2, a 55-year-old man from Windsor, CT returned to the spot on West 63rd Street where he thought he had parked his car at midnight and found his vehicle was gone. Police conducted a canvas of the area but were unable to locate the car. The tow pound also stated that they did not have the victim’s vehicle. The car stolen was a tan 2007 Lexus RX luxury crossover with Connecticut plates, valued at $35,000.
On Wednesday, May 1, a 36-year-old woman living on Amsterdam Avenue reported that an unknown perpetrator with an aristocratic-sounding name had opened an online account. He then took $3,700 from her account and transferred it into his new account. The perpetrator had also visited a branch of her bank in Queens and taken $890 from her account. She said she did not know how the perpetrator got her bank information and took out her money. Then on May 7, a 50-year-old man living on West End Avenue reported that he had been informed by his bank (the same as that of the first victim) that an unknown perpetrator (with the same assumed name as in the previous incident) had attempted to open a fraudulent joint account online using the victim’s personal information. The perpetrator had attempted to remove $3,900 from the victim’s existing account, but this time the bank blocked the attempt. The second victim also said that a debit card for which he had not applied had been mailed to his house address bearing the perpetrator’s name.
At 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, a 42-year-old man got into an argument with his 44-year-old girlfriend at their apartment on W. 72nd Street. As the argument escalated, the man threw multiple aluminum cans of food at his girlfriend. One of the cans struck her in her right arm, causing a bruise. The man then put his hands around her neck and tried to choke her. She managed to escape his grasp and called the police. When the police arrived and attempted to cuff the boyfriend, the man locked his arms and flailed in an attempt to prevent the cuffing. The bruiser was arrested on May 2 and charged with assault.
Community Board 7 Parks & Environment Committee meeting, Monday, May 20, 7 p.m., Community Board office, 250 West 87th Street.
Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, meeting, Tuesday, May 21, 7 p.m., Community Board office, 250 West 87th Street.
Community Board 7 Land Use Committee meeting, Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m., Community Board office, 250 West 87th Street.
Upper West Side City Council Member Gale Brewer is running for Manhattan Borough President, and her campaign recently announced that she has received endorsements in that race from Assemblymembers Dick Gottfried and Brian Kavanagh, feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem, former Council Member and Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, former Lieutenant Governor Mary Anne Krupsak, and former Assemblymember Ed Sullivan.
“Gale is a unique and prodigious worker. She has a long and consistent record of activism and involvement in a broad range of community issues,” Gottfried, who represents parts of the Upper West Side, Clinton/ Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, Chelsea, and the Flatiron neighborhoods, said.
“Gale’s four decades of service to New York City and progressive values are what set her apart in this race,” said Steinem. “Her Paid Sick Leave bill is a testament to her commitment to New York’s working families.”
“I am proud to receive the endorsements of these respected and remarkable leaders who have made a lasting mark throughout New York City and beyond,” Brewer said. “I am grateful for their support.”
Brewer is running in the Democratic primary against fellow Council Members Jessica Lappin, who represents the Upper East Side, and Robert Jackson, who represents Northern Manhattan, as well as former chair of community board 1 Julie Menin.
The Borough President released an open letter to neighbors and residents of Park West Village on Friday, May 10, concerning recent developments at the site of the future Jewish Home Lifecare elder care facility on West 97th Street. Excerpts from the letter are below:
As many of you know, a study sponsored by the Park West Village Tenants Association recently found potentially high levels of lead beneath the parking lot that is the planned future development site of the new Jewish Home Lifecare skilled nursing facility. Since this development plan was announced, I have urged Jewish Home to conduct an Environmental Assessment Study (EAS) in accordance with State Environmental Quality Review regulations (SEQR), and this recent finding underscores the necessity of such a study.
Today, representatives from Jewish Home Lifecare advised me that they will immediately begin conducting an EAS. This study will include all impact categories mandated by State law including the crucial areas of: Land Use and Zoning, Socioeconomic Conditions, Community Facilities and Services, Open Space, Hazardous Materials, Traffic and Parking, Transit and Pedestrians, Air Quality, Noise, Construction Impacts, and Public Health. Jewish Home Lifecare estimates that this study will be concluded in just a few weeks.
The importance of this development should not be underestimated. If a likely impact is found in any category, a “Positive Declaration” will be issued by the State Health Department and an Environment Impact Study (EIS) will be mandated. There will be a public hearing in Manhattan regarding the scope of the EIS, giving community members and elected officials the chance to submit testimony to comment on the breadth of the study. In the past, developments with similar land use and environmental conditions have almost always resulted in a Positive Declaration based on the EAS, and so a full-blown EIS is likely to follow.
This is a meaningful turn of events for Park West Village, PS 163 and the surrounding community. Many residents have expressed concerns about public health and safety during construction. The EAS and probable EIS will determine potential hazards and create a roadmap for appropriate mitigation.
If you have questions about this development or any other neighborhood concern, please contact Rebecca Godlewicz, my liaison to the Upper West Side, at (212) 669-4546 or email@example.com.
Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Borough President
Jersey Shore’s Vinny gets a new talk show
By Angela Barbuti
Vinny Guadagnino is living life vicariously through himself. At least that’s what the quote on his Twitter page’s background says. When asked about it, Guadagnino explains that he was only being sarcastic. But it does make a lot of sense that he would be content with his life. At 25, the Jersey Shore veteran was offered a talk show on MTV, where he literally opens the door of his Staten Island home to welcome celebrities for a family-style interview, complete with a home cooked meal by his mother Paola. The Show with Vinny, which airs Thursday nights on MTV, is just the beginning for the Italian-American entertainer. He wants to pursue stand-up comedy, acting, and maybe even get a law degree. But whatever he chooses, he has his family — and now a newfound bunch of celebrity friends — as his biggest fans.
How do you think your Italian heritage plays a role on the show?
We’re not sitting there waving Italian flags around. We like to eat, my mom likes to cook, my uncle likes to drink wine. We like to hang out like a family and keep it real, and I think that’s really what the culture’s all about. And that’s what the show is about too. People are hanging out with an Italian mom — they open up and act very casually.
Your mom is a big part of the show. How is she handling all the fame?
Well she’s been on Jersey Shore, so she’s recognized as Vinny’s mom. I can’t wait till she’s giving autographs — that’s gonna be great. She loves it. My Uncle Nino loves it a little too much — he’s like a fame whore. But my mom, she gets a kick out of it, so I just hope it continues for her.
I think one of the funniest parts of the first episode was when your mom fed Lil Wayne broccoli rabe. What have been your favorite moments on the show this season?
They don’t even know what Italian food is, it’s hilarious. Oh man. Every episode has a funny moment of its own, because you don’t know what each celebrity brings to the table. Little Wayne was awesome and cool; he taught me how to skateboard. With Mindless Behavior, we did a little dance thing. Which each guest, I try to do something funny that they like to do. And I end up failing at it miserably.
How do you prepare for the celebrity interviews?
I do a ton of research. My production company helps me out a lot. But I also go on my own and always try to Google, “things you didn’t know about” the person. Just so when I’m talking to someone, they know that I did my homework and am not just trying to use them for my success. That I’m thoroughly interested in them.
So your guests have no idea what to expect?
No, there’s no pre-interview that says what my questions are going to be. With me, you’re just going to go in there and hangout with a family. It’s all a regular conversation from the top of my head.
Who were you most nervous to interview?
Probably Mark Wahlberg. You know, it’s Mark Wahlberg. He’s a legend and one of my favorite actors. Just to be sitting down with him was an honorary experience for me.
You are very open about dealing with your anxiety and wrote a book about it called Control the Crazy. Does anxiety affect you on this show?
No, it’s actually a perfect cure for my anxiety. When I do a show like Jersey Shore, I don’t have a TV or radio; I can’t read or write. I can’t do anything. I just kind of sit there. But on a show like this, I have to prep, interview. I’m in the zone. I have to be on.
You took the LSAT on the day Jersey Shore premiered. Do you think you’ll ever go to law school?
Umm. I’m trying not to. I like entertaining and being on TV, but I love politics and government. So maybe one day I’ll go back and get the degree just to have it. I like accomplishing things. I liked getting my Bachelor’s degree. That would be another goal to accomplish — a law degree.
You take improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade.
I do that with standup comedy now, trying to mix that world into my career as well. It helps me a lot with being a talk show host and an actor, and everything in life.
I read you want to do more scripted TV.
Yeah I love scripted TV. That’s my dream job — acting on a regular series. But I also want to stay on MTV. I like this job and being part of that family. Also, I give speeches to students talking about my book. I want to keep that self help, motivation aspect a part of my career.
Where do you live on Staten Island? What are your favorite places there?
I’m in the middle of the island. There are some really good restaurants out here. There’s this little bar called Schaffer’s that’s right down the street from my house. You feel like you’re walking into the 1950’s. There’s this place called Royal Crown that has the best Italian subs you’ll ever have in your life.
I like the quote on your Twitter page. “I live vicariously through myself.”
Oh yeah. [Laughs] I’m just a smart ass and I hate when you go to people’s pages and they’re like, “I’m this, I’m that.” So I just said, “I live vicariously through myself,” which makes no sense at all.
I thought you meant that since you like your life and have such a cool job, you’re living vicariously through yourself.
You know what, I’m gonna go with that. Thank you. I’m gonna keep that. You made it deep for me.
Watch The Show with Vinny on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on MTV
Follow Vinny on Twitter: @VINNYGUADAGNINO
New exhibit judges an artist by his books
When I visit someone’s home I am drawn inevitably towards their bookshelf. You can always learn something about a person by the books they read. The idea of creating a portrait through books, or to be precise, through the covers of books that someone has read is the central conceit behind the seminal project by R.B. Kitaj entitled, “In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part.” It is a portfolio of 50 screen-prints produced in 1969, 33 of which are currently on display in “R.B. Kitaj: Personal Library”at The Jewish Museum.
Kitaj was an artist full of big ideas. He was an early British pop artist, working at the same time as David Hockney and Richard Hamilton. While Kitaj was primarily a figurative artist this specific project would later be seen as a sort of bridge from the 60’s into the era of 70’s conceptual art. While often sensual and emotional, Kitaj’s work was always overflowing with intellectual questions and riddles. The notion that a person is the sum total of the books they’ve read, the information they’ve taken in, and by extension the choices they’ve made, turns this set of prints into an artistic mystery game.
What are we to make of the man who has chosen to read both The City of Burbank Annual report for 1968/9 and the collected Articles and Pamphlets of Maxim Gorky, Coming of Age in Samoa and a textbook entitled The Wording of Police Charges? Hints are dropped by the inclusion of The Jewish Question and The Tower by W.B. Yeats. As you walk through the show each book adds another set of clues about the nature of the man portrayed. It is a fascinating and totally successful game; except for the fact that the curators have chosen only 33 of the 50 available images. One wonders why and how the choices were made of what to show and what to omit Pieces of the portrait are missing.
The project consists of large screen-prints based on photographically enlarged images of the book covers, bindings and dust jackets. Viewing the worn and torn edges of these mostly pre-World War Two editions, we see the history of Kitaj’s relationship with these books and the beauty that age and handling has added to their already luscious old-world book design. The enlarged discolorations, delicate scuff marks, and deep elegant colors force you to focus on how beautiful books used to be. By enlarging the scale of the book covers Kitaj has re-contextualized them as objects that carry the full weight of their original intent along with the bemused hipster coolness of Pop art. The mundane becomes precious.
The one jarring note to what is a strangely moving and beautiful show is a lackluster installation. The prints are hung on a dingy pale blue wall that feels institutional, making the room seem dull. One thing we know is that the man portrayed by “In Our Time” was anything but dull.
“R.B. Kitaj: Personal Library” runs through August 11 at The Jewish Museum. 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St.
Decoding Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha
Frances Ha runs a very long 84 minutes. It offers an obnoxiously self-satisfied portrait of a young white New Yorker — played by Greta Gerwig — running out her parent’s stipend, roommating with other New York hipsters, sometimes skipping the pond to Paris, all the time pursuing her goal to be a professional dancer, even though she demonstrates no aptitude for it.
You gotta love her, is writer-director Noah Baumbach’s privileged position. Frances Ha is Baumbach’s love letter to Gerwig, his current paramour, (she was the ingenue in his film Greenberg who replaces Jennifer Jason Leigh in the protagonist’s affections). Yet Baumbach is the one American filmmaker with the least aptitude for showing love on screen after William Friedkin — yet Friedkin has skills in the opposite direction. Once again aping the self-absorption made fashionable, (though never popular), by the Mumblecore indie film movement of young hipsters, Baumbach’s title refers to Andrew Bujalski’s early Mumblecore release Funny Ha Ha. Baumbach uses Gerwig, that movement’s female icon, to express his own confusion of artistic-pursuit with social-climbing — which here comes off as ambivalent misogyny.
Probably because Baumbach never examines his own hatefulness, he expects others to view it affectionately. The embarrassing spectacle of Frances/Gerwig gracelessly trotting across dance studios, flopping on beds and peeing in the subway, (she’s called “undatable” by a couple of dorks), is only comparable to grotesque females in Baumbach’s previous films. Frances/Gerwig’s “weird man-walk” might be intended to recall Cybill Shepherd’s gauche stomp in Daisy Miller, but Peter Bogdanovich made her sympathetic, (as Whit Stillman miraculously did with Gerwig in Damsels in Distress). Here, Frances/Greta’s lunatic personality crosses the parvenus of Woody Allen’s Manhattan with the Left Bank jeunne filles of the French New Wave.
While Frances Ha looks terrific, (cinematographer Sam Levy imitates the Nouvelle Vague’s sunlit black & white fairly well), its gloss lacks the New Wave sense of discovery. Everything’s so derivative, from using street addresses as chapter titles to lifting Georges Delerue’s King of Hearts score, it merely matches Allen’s unoriginality. Check out Criterion’s new Blu-Ray version of Godard’s Band of Outsiders to see the style of black and white chic that Baumbach simultaneously aspires to and disgraces. Godard made then-wife Anna Karina the disarming center of a still-stylish triangle, (with the irresistible Samy Frey and Claude Brasseur), and subjected them all to absolute moral scrutiny—whether racing through the Louvre, robbing a mansion or improvising an immortal line dance in a bar. But Baumbach only celebrates proud hateful retorts and transparent privilege (Frances/Greta’s Paris trip becomes the same nowhere as Tokyo in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.)
Baumbach can hardly get a fair review in this town where his personal spider-web network of family/media connections guarantees indulgent endorsements; so his deficient poison pen letter gets praised as a cinematic valentine by confreres who share his warped values — the private life exploitation and payback of New York’s Manhattan-Brooklyn boho/bourgeoisie, (same as with his detestable The Squid and the Whale). Private code is what Frances/Greta pines for when she describes a “secret world [shared with her best friend played by Mickey Sumner], that’s what I want in life.” Maybe you have to be a Mumblehattan elite to love this kind of self-love.
Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair
Metro-North's West Side Access plan gets boost from Bronx lawmakers
Aside from the four station stops in the Bronx, the project would require the construction of stations on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as well as one near Columbia University. A state comptroller's report has pegged the cost at $1.2 billion. The ...
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Timberlake defines himself and today’s pop
By Ben Kessler
Justin Timberlake’s enduring commercial, critical, and street-level success can perhaps best be explained with an insight from Sigmund Freud: There is no “negative” in the unconscious.
Ironically, though, in our messed-up culture JT’s shameless lack of negativity must be defined negatively. In other words, JT demands to be known by what he blessedly is NOT.
Ever since his emergence as a solo artist with Justified (2002), JT’s charisma has made for great showbiz by dramatizing the impact of black pop culture on the mainstream. At the beginning of his solo career, he certainly benefited from opposition to Eminem’s purely negative co-optation of hiphop.
Take Taylor Swift’s recent hit “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Swift’s succession of singles supposedly inspired by high-profile breakups follows the JT template that won him success with the kiss-off tracks “Cry Me a River” (2002) and “What Goes Around…Comes Around” (2007).
But Swift’s song’s breakup is both romantic and musical: She parts ways with the country-western milieu “Trouble” was clearly meant for and inspired by. Choosing impersonal Top 40 production over the rootsy instrumentation that might have made her sentiments relatable (if nowhere near as original as JT’s producer Timbaland’s ever-effervescent grooves), Swift ensures her hit is a zeitgeist affair, saturated in the ego-stroking love of disappointment that characterizes dominant youth culture.
Now consider JT’s epic love song “Mirrors.” Unlike other 20/20 tracks that pay explicit homage to black pop icons (Al Green on “That Girl,” Curtis Mayfield on “Pusher Love Girl”), “Mirrors” is, for most of its 8:06 running time, sonically untethered: a mix of beatboxing, handclaps, synths, strings, and guitars that shouldn’t create a pleasing sound but does. When JT sings, “It’s like you’re my mirror/My mirror staring back at me,” it doesn’t reflect narcissism but an awesome and awed faith in the mystery of human connection. And especially when JT sings the chorus with only handclaps and a swirling guitar riff behind him (a moment made for stadium gigs), “Mirrors” turns that faith into a participatory event.
The song’s coda achieves true genius as its melody — at the unlikeliest of times, five and a half minutes in!! — resolves into an r&b ballad. “Say goodbye to the old me, he’s already gone,” sings the multitracked JT over a chant that loops like a bassline: “You are, you are the love of my life.” No top-tier popstar has dared such a sweetly revealing moment in recent memory. Bad movies and boy bands aside, here JT lays bare the core of his true artistic calling. He earns full forgiveness for his participation in The Social Network. (Elsewhere on the album, “Tunnel Vision,” which describes how love and desire purify perception, could be JT’s calling-out of myopic Hollywood.)
JT brings pop artistry back by reminding us that the primary mission of a pop musician is to make us feel and dance. That’s both the power and subject of “Don’t Hold the Wall,” which contains what is possibly the album’s key lyric, addressed to a coy dancing partner: “You’re so far out/I had to come get you.” Against expectation, the song is not a banger, but insinuates with an exotic (bhangra-inspired), erotic aural rhetoric. No matter how far out the culture gets, JT and Timbaland will come get us.
Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby is not Great
The ad campaign for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is pretty snazzy, the movie itself not so much. The poster’s anachronistic Art Deco silver letters on a black grid evoke the chrome of shiny old Dusenberg’s plus the velvet casing of jewelry boxes. It’s about luxury and that’s what the media response, (foregrounding Luhrmann’s $125 million budget and hyping Jay-Z’s irritating hip-hop music score), respects above movie content.
When we talk about this Great Gatsby, the event and advertising hype are more meaningful than the film. It signifies a transfer in cinema’s cultural impact from narrative enjoyment to the artificial processes of commercialism. Interest in this film derives from political and cultural forces exemplified by advertising, not F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel which romanticized working class 1920s bootlegger Jay Gatsby, (played by an aged, agitated Leonardo DiCaprio), whose social-climbing obsession centers on Daisy (Carey Mulligan), the flame of his youth now married to rich, bigoted lout Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton, wasted).
Fitzgerald’s tale here loses its trenchant all-American subject. Luhrmann trades the story of Gatsby’s personal striving for another pointless exercise in excessive computer-generated gimmickry and pop-culture hodge-podge. Shill journalists, ignorant of film style, submit to this visual torture as if it were original or effective. Luhrmann’s signature camera move changes the zoom into a whoosh—a simulated evocation of cinema’s most glorious kinetic gesture. What an Italian film critic once described as “the bliss of camera movement” becomes a shrill, over-amped, unnatural sensation.
Scale and spatial logic disappear, so does any emotional dimension. Luhrmann bloats Fitzgerald’s slim, breezily-worded tale to a draggy, repetitious and pretentious epic. Ideas about class, (hidden points about ethnicity), details about desire, frustrated idealism and American history get both dragged-out and run-over. Luhrmann’s screen images whiz around Long Island and Manhattan just as they did Paris in his 2002 Moulin Rouge, destroying any realistic sense of place or experience. Luhrmann’s visual exaggeration is like is Gatsby’s corrupt aspirations: he asks “You think it’s too much?” after sending a roomful of flowers to Daisy yet doesn’t heed when told “I think its what you want.”
Instead of representing an authentic modern vision of class, Luhrmann’s lack of narrative skill destroys comprehension so completely that he inadvertently exposes the novel’s flaws. Luhrmann’s own opportunism reveals Fitzgerald’s. The important subtext of Gatsby’s (ne Jay Gatz) attempts at Wasp integration is lost. His mentor Meyer Wolfsheim in becomes an Indian Bollywood figure; Daisy and Tom’s friend Jordan Baker’s haunting line “We’re all white here” is omitted; and narrator Nick Carraway is turned into a sycophantic dolt, (miscast Tobey Maguire’s googly-eyed performance is one of the worst in recent screen history).
Carraway’s voice-over narration sounds like he just learned to read which may be the key to Luhrmann’s Attention Deficit Disorder directorial style; it replaces visual significance and precision. Making a Great Gatsby that looks like both a comic book movie and Peter Jackson’s King Kong reduces our culture to little more than a TV commercial marketing Hollywood product.
This Gatsby is only about the profit-making potential of what movie exhibitors used to call “film exploitation” and it confirms our news media’s surrender to that goal.
Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair
NCM Media Networks Shows Why Bigger Is Better At Cinema Upfront Event
Fort Mills Times
... the top national cinema network reaching moviegoers on-screen, on-site, online and on the go, showed brands “The Bigger Picture” in advertising today at its second annual upfront presentation at New York City's AMC Loews Lincoln Square movie theater.
NCM Partners with Twitter and Foursquare to Bring Social Advertising to ...Social Times (blog)
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NCM Media Networks Shows Why Bigger Is Better At Cinema Upfront Event
MarketWatch (press release)
... the top national cinema network reaching moviegoers on-screen, on-site, online and on the go, showed brands "The Bigger Picture" in advertising today at its second annual upfront presentation at New York City's AMC Loews Lincoln Square movie theater.
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Racked NY (blog)
The UWS Barneys Co-Op Begins Its Dramatic Renovation
Racked NY (blog)
My Upper West Side snapped the photo to the right of the windows (which dramatically boast: "The Renovation 2013") and report: "For the now, the store remains partially open despite the renovation. The photo above only shows half of the space—the ...