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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 5   March 16, 2019   

"Recovering slowly with lots of love to you and our wonderful community."
      -  E-mail from Tom Goodkind, Jan. 31, 2019

WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.
Go to for breaking news and for updated  Downtown Post NYC bulletin board and calendar information.

MASTHEAD PHOTO: Tom Goodkind at the Battery Park City Block Party. Sept. 17, 2011 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2011) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Long-time Battery Park City resident Tom Goodkind usually celebrated his birthday (Dec. 7, 1953) with a party. His wife, Jill Goodkind, orchestrated the festivities. The guest list was always long, the food, ample. But for Tom's 65th birthday, there was no party. Lots of people wondered why. On Jan. 27, 2019, Tom sent out an email to explain.

"Folks," he wrote. "While in New York Presbyterian in the middle of four serious operations, I missed my annual opportunity for a great gathering of old friends in early December and I'm sorry - but so happy to still be around and recovering."

He went on to say, "I miss you all and wish you a great 2019."

I had heard that Tom was ill and sent him an email immediately to say that I was very glad to hear from him and hoped he would be "up and about before long." In that email, I asked him about his pal, Abbie Hoffman.

Tom wrote back to me on Jan. 31. "Yeah - he was a good friend," Tom wrote. "What a fast wit, which I loved." He said that he and Abbie had written a song together. "Abbie was thrilled at the idea of being a rocker," Tom commented, "which was nothing but cute."

He sent me a photo of himself performing at the Palladium for Abbie's memorial service and ended his email with the line, "Recovering slowly with lots of love to you and our wonderful community."

That was the last time I heard from Tom. He didn't recover. He died on Feb. 28, 2019.

I can't write those words without tearing up again.

Tom, who was a passionate musician and the irrepressible conductor of Battery Park City's house band, the TriBattery Pops, was also an accountant by profession and had held senior positions in large financial services and real estate organizations. For years, he served on Community Board 1, hammering away at the need for affordable housing in the neighborhood so that young people could afford to live where they had grown up and the elderly wouldn't be driven out of the neighborhood by apartments whose rents had skyrocketed.

In fact, from his hospital bed, he sent a resolution to the Community Board about the need to renew and strengthen New York State's rent stabilization laws, which will expire on June 15, 2019. The Community Board passed Tom's resolution at its full board meeting on Feb. 26.

But as serious as Tom was about what the Community Board could and should do, he was usually also droll in his outlook. After his death, I looked back over the many emails that he and I had exchanged over the years and found some of them to be so funny that I laughed out loud.

In one from March 16, 2009, he replied to a question from me about what had happened at Sen. Dan Squadron's annual community convention, which I had been unable to attend.

Tom's account was worthy of Monty Python. I would do it a disservice by printing excerpts from it here. Tom wrote it with a musician's sense of timing. I've placed it on the Downtown Post NYC website. Here's a link.

I think Tom would want us to remember him with laughter rather than tears. He had fun. He wanted us to have fun, too.

He was a fine man - both good and kind. He is missed.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The emailed Downtown Post NYC newsletter is appearing less frequently than formerly, however, Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check  for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.

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Motorists lined up on Canal Street in Tribeca so that they can enter the Holland Tunnel, which links New York with New Jersey. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Although many people have only a vague understanding of what it would mean, the term "congestion pricing" has been in New York City's vocabulary since the 1970s, when it first surfaced as a fix for Manhattan's traffic headaches. As often as it was proposed, it was shot down. This year, it seems to have a chance, mostly because it will take approximately $40 billion to repair the city's century-old subway system and that kind of money is scarce.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a congestion zone in Manhattan south of 61st Street. Drivers entering through already-tolled tunnels or bridges would receive a credit, and drivers crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and headed north on the FDR Drive past 60th Street would be exempt.

Much of the rest of the proposal is short on detail. Fees would vary by the kind of vehicle, the time of the day and day of the week and other factors. A similar plan proposed by a state task force in 2018 suggested a charge of $11.52 for passenger cars and $25.34 for trucks.

Even if New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agree on a plan, it would still have to be approved by the New York State legislature and up until now, the legislature has not been enthusiastic about helping New York City with its transportation woes. During the 2018 election, control of the Senate passed to the Democrats, who may be more sympathetic than their (mostly upstate) Republican colleagues had been.

On March 13, 2019, Mayor de Blasio, appearing on Fox 5's "Good Day New York," was quizzed by Rosanna Scotto as to exactly what "congestion pricing" would entail. Would everybody have to pay the price? she asked him.

De Blasio replied that he thought that congestion pricing should have a "hardship provision" for lower income people and for those who have to go to a Manhattan hospital on a regular basis. "What really matters," he added, "is that there needs to be a lockbox to make sure that the money stays where it's supposed to be - fixing the subways, fixing the buses, getting the city to move again. And we have to make sure that a lot of that money goes to transit deserts in Brooklyn and Queens."

The mayor, the governor and the New York State legislature have until April 1 to work this out. That's the deadline for approving the state budget for the next fiscal year.

"Congestion pricing is a volatile issue and while it intends to solve some problems, very few details are known about the current proposal," commented Community Board 1 chairperson, Anthony Notaro. "This is also very emotional for many since it affects daily life. But we need to separate emotion from effective analysis."

On Thursday, March 21, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer will hold a public hearing on the preliminary congestion pricing plan that Cuomo and de Blasio have proposed. Brewer will bring experts, elected officials, agency leaders, and the public together to debate the merits of a potential congestion pricing plan. The public is encouraged to testify. The hearing will be held at The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square, 3rd Avenue (between 6th and 7th Streets) and will begin at 6 p.m.

Brewer asks that those who wish to speak submit written testimony for the record and prepare a two-minute synopsis for delivery at the hearing. Written testimony can be submitted to with the phrase "Congestion Testimony" in the subject line.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bits & Bytes
According to a recent report, Tribeca is the wealthiest neighborhood in New York City.  The residents of Tribeca have an average annual income of $879,000, according to tax returns analyzed by Bloomberg. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

"The richest NYC neighborhood isn't where you'd think," New York Post, 3/4/19. Citing a "new report," the New York Post states that "Tribeca beat out such well-heeled areas as the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village to score the title of wealthiest neighborhood in the city - and fifth-richest in the entire country. It was the first time the star-studded former industrial 'hood landed on Bloomberg News' annual list of the country's 20 richest zip codes - and the only one in the city this time to make its ranks, which once included Scarsdale and Bronxville in Westchester County. Tribeca, where celebs such as Justin Timberlake, Meg Ryan and Harry Styles own homes, has an average annual income of $879,000, according to tax returns analyzed by Bloomberg." For the complete article, click here.

"Anish Kapoor's Long-Awaited Bean Sculpture At 56 Leonard Street Gets Outlined, In Tribeca," New York YIMBY, 3/4/19. "Currently the tallest skyscraper in Tribeca is 56 Leonard Street, designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Its cantilevered balconies have created a distinctive and new architectural icon for Lower Manhattan," says New York YIMBY. "With the building complete, residents get to enjoy uninterrupted views of the Financial District to the south and the Midtown skyline to the north. But while most eyes are looking up at the Jenga-esque structure, something just as exciting was recently spotted down at street level. Orange-colored arrows spray painted on the sidewalk along with a continuous curvilinear outline have showed up in front of the skyscraper, next to the main lobby of the development. This can only mean one thing, the Anish Kapoor metallic bean-shaped sculpture will (finally) arrive and on-site installation will hopefully begin sometime soon." For the complete article (with photographs), click here.

"Calls To Tax Rich People's Second Homes In NYC Grow Louder," Gothamist, 2/26/19. "Capitalizing on public outrage over a billionaire's purchase of a $238 million Manhattan penthouse as a part-time pad last month, City Council members are urging the state to pass a pied-à-terre tax, which would levy annual fees on secondary homes worth $5 million and up," says Gothamist. "Council members Mark Levine and Margaret Chin on Monday said they planned to introduce a council resolution supporting a state bill that was originally introduced by State Senator Brad Hoylman in 2014....Interest in the tax, which has been floated by City Council members over the years, surged almost immediately following hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin's record-breaking purchase at the exclusive luxury building at 220 Central Park South. To deal with the crises around affordable housing, the New York City Housing Authority, and the subway system, there has been increased urgency for the city to create additional revenue streams. ....The plan would impose a graduated tax starting at 0.5 percent on non-primary residences valued at more than $5 million and increasing to as much as 4 percent on those worth more than $25 million." For the complete article, click here.

"28 Liberty St. deal adds to busy leasing activity downtown," Crain's New York Business, 3/5/19. "Scor, a Paris-based reinsurance firm, has struck a deal to relocate in Lower Manhattan," says Crain's New York Business. "The company, which has an office at 199 Water St. totaling about 90,000 square feet, according to real estate database CoStar, will move to 28 Liberty St. when its lease expires next year, sources say. Scor has committed to floors 53 and 54 in the 60-story Financial District tower, which together comprise about 75,000 square feet. Asking rents for the space were in the $70s per square foot....The lease is part of a pickup in leasing activity downtown. Last week Jack Resnick & Sons, the owner of 199 Water St., announced it had attracted a trio of tenants to the tower, including WeWork, which committed to about 200,000 square feet on the top five floors of the 35-story building." For the complete article, click here.

"Famed Chicago Burger Joint Au Cheval Lands in Tribeca Next Week,", 3/1/19. "It's a good time to be a burger fiend in NYC: Next week Tribeca welcomes its own location of Au Cheval, a wildly popular Chicago diner whose burger has risen to national acclaim," says "Opening Tuesday [March 5] at 33 Cortlandt Alley, between White and Walker streets, the modernized diner is bound to draw lines down the block - in Chicago, it's one of the toughest restaurants to get into, with diners waiting hours to get their hands on that burger. It's a simple American classic, made of two griddled four-ounce patties with American cheese, dijonnaise, and pickles on a toasted bun. Some say it's the best in the country." For the complete article, click here.

"Much-hyped Au Cheval burger is a flavorless disappointment," New York Post, 3/12/19. "Hey, burger freaks: Were you planning to wait two hours-plus cooling your heels for Au Cheval's crazypants patty? Hold your horses," advises the New York Post. "The fabled Chicago eatery - which bills itself as a diner and is French for 'by horse' - just hitched up to 33 Cortlandt Alley after a year of hype. The Windy City has swooned over chef/owner Brendan Sodikoff's Au Cheval for seven years. His burger's been called America's best. Maybe it was once. The NYC location does serve tasty burgers - but this town's full of tasty burgers that don't cost you half a day. And tastier burgers that don't cost $17 and up, before $8 fries." For the complete diss, click here.

"Where to Eat in Manhattan's Chinatown,", 2/25/19. Once New York City's only place to eat Chinese food, Manhattan's Chinatown is still a leading destination for the varying and flavorful cuisine. Cantonese fare and dim sum dominate the neighborhood, though there are plenty of styles to be found from Shanghainese to Teochew. Soup dumplings, noodle soup, stir fries, and fresh whole steamed fish are in abundance in this historic neighborhood, and not only are they some of the city's best, they're also highly affordable." For the complete article, click here.

On March 7, City Lore turned its attention to New York City's maritime heritage with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to eight "Waterfront Heroes." The exhibition runs through June 21. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
City Lore, New York City's center for urban folk culture, has a gallery on Manhattan's Lower East Side, once a hotspot for the city's multicultural immigrant population. Steve
Steve Zeitlin
Zeitlin, who holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, founded City Lore in 1986 to preserve and foster the city's living cultural heritage through education and public programs.

On Thursday, March 7, City Lore turned its attention to New York City's maritime heritage with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to eight "Waterfront Heroes." Selected for their work in sustaining and preserving the city's waterfronts, maritime-related commerce and nautical traditions, their contributions were depicted in photographs and videos and some artifacts. Artist Naima Rauam, for instance, who spent decades painting
Artist Naima Rauam talking with bassist Bill Doerge during the opening reception for the "Waterfront Heroes" exhibition
the boisterous Fulton Fish Market, created a painting of the market just for the exhibition. Conrad Milster, a collector of steam whistles and bells from ships that have long since gone to the nautical graveyard, lent one of his bells to the exhibition. It was accompanied by a sign inviting people to ring it - and they did.

In addition to Rauam and Milster, the honorees included Samir Farag, founder and chairman of the board of the Museum of Maritime Navigation & Communication on Staten Island; Ray Keenan of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association; Waterfront Museum founder David Sharps; Adam Green, founder and executive director of Rocking the Boat, which teaches young people boatbuilding and environmental stewardship; the South Shore Bay House Owners Association; North Oyster Bay Baymen's Association; the South Shore Waterfowlers Association; Hurricane Sandy hero and kavi singer Seetha Wickramasuriya; and Carolina Salgeuro, the founder and president of PortSide NewYork. Salgeuro rescued a historic coastal/harbor oil tanker, now named the Mary A. Whalen and turned the Mary A. Whalen into a lab for promoting better urban waterways and a focal point for preserving Red Hook, the 19th-century maritime neighborhood where the tanker is berthed.

The City Lore exhibition runs through June 21. The gallery is at 56 East 1st Street. It's open Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free.

The City Lore website ( has links to photographs, videos, slide shows and other resources related to New York City's ethnic heritage and communities.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Conrad Milster, until recently the chief engineer of the Pratt Institute and caretaker of its century-old steam plant, with a ship's bell that he loaned to the City Lore exhibition.

Downtown Post Arts
Steven Skybell, Bruce Sabath, and company members in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, now playing Off-Broadway after a sold-out run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. (Photo: Matthew Murphy)
"'Fiddler on the Roof?' I've seen it with Zero Mostel (Topol, Theodore Bikel, Herschel Bernardi, Alfred fill in the blanks.) I loved it, of course, but I don't need to see it again." That was what some people must have thought when the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene announced a new production of "Fiddler," opening on July 4, 2018 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. Except that this Fiddler was in Yiddish - "Fidler afn Dakh," with English and Russian supertitles, and it turned out to be more touching, more authentic, more passionate, more intimate, funnier and sadder than the Fiddler's that played to huge crowds on Broadway.
The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Fiddler was originally supposed to close on Aug. 26, 2018 but the run was extended again and again. Finally the last show in the Museum's auditorium closed on Dec. 30, 2018 after having been sold out night after night.   
But that was not the end. In February 2019, it reopened at Stage 42, an Off-Broadway theater at 422 West 42nd St. with previews starting on Feb. 11 and opening night on Feb. 21. Many people must have wondered, Would it be as good in an Off-Broadway theater as it was downtown?  
The answer is yes! A resounding yes! Nothing was lost. Is it possible that it was better? Or is it only that this Fiddler is so powerful that despite numerous viewings, each time is like the first, bringing a lump to the throat and maybe even tears to the eyes when the fiddler (Lauren Jeanne Thomas) conjures up the village of Anatevka with her haunting song and
Steven Skybell as Tevye
Tevye, the milkman (Steven Skybell) appears to explain that it's "Tradition!" that holds the community together.  
The cast, most of it brought from the downtown production, is uniformly excellent. The major additions are Jennifer Babiak as Tevye's wife, Golde, Lisa Fishman as Bobe Tsaytel and Drew Seigla as Pertshik. Jackie Hoffman is back as Yente, the matchmaker who wasn't so thrilled with her own late husband ("May he rest in peace!") but who nevertheless diligently attempts to pair couples with a pragmatic eye and no sentimentality.  
Skybell's Tevye is a wonder. Until his three eldest daughters decide to marry for love, a word not previously in his vocabulary, his life consisted of working hard, talking frequently with God, living according to the "good book" and viewing the world with realism, amusement and wit. But even though he didn't think of that word, he loved abundantly. He loved his family and his village and his neighbors despite their idiosyncrasies and flaws, making the loss of Anatevka heartbreaking. All of this Skybell conveys with energy and emotional honesty.  
The Off-Broadway Fiddler was supposed to close in mid-July. The run has now been extended until Sept. 1. See it. See it again.  
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer   
Credits: The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's "Fiddler on the Roof" was directed by Joel Grey with a book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The thrilling choreography is by Jerome Robbins with musical staging and new choreography by Stas Kmiec. Zalmen Mlotek is the music director. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

For Downtown Post NYC's review of the production of "Fiddler on the Roof," that played at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
 A Firehouse Chili Party on Thursday, April 25, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the rescue of the fireboat John J. Harvey from the scrapyard and the start of her second life as an iconic presence in New York harbor. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Firehouse Chili Party to benefit the John J. Harvey: Fireboat John J. Harvey, launched in 1931, served the City of New York and New York Harbor until she was retired in 1994. She would have been scrapped had not a dedicated group of volunteers purchased her in 1999 and refurbished her for public use as an operational museum and education center. Marking the 20th anniversary of John J. Harvey's second career, a Firehouse Chili Party will take place on Thursday, April 25, at the New York City Fire Museum on Spring Street. The party will raise funds to keep the John J. Harvey going for another 20 years. There will be a chance to tour the museum, refreshments and appetizers, dinner, music and raffles. Place: 278 Spring St. Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets: $125. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Women's History Month observance: Women in prison: In recognition of Women's History Month, on March 20, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is leading a discussion about women in prison.

The incarceration rate for women and girls in state prisons has skyrocketed for decades. Many of them have been ensnared in the criminal justice system by mandatory minimums as part of the failed war on drugs - or have faced domestic or sexual abuse, mental illness, or other challenges during their lifetime.

The discussion will focus on the work being done to support, protect, and rehabilitate currently incarcerated and newly released women. Panelists will include Ronnie Eldridge, who represented the Upper West Side on New York City Council for 12 years and who served as the first executive director of the Ms. Foundation for Women among many other roles; Rev. Diane Lacey, pastor of The Church of Gethsamane, whose Project Connect reaches out to incarcerated people and helps them transition back into their home and community after release; and Sara Bennett, an attorney and a photographer who has documented women prisoners after their release in a series called "Life After Life in Prison." A reception will follow the panel. Place: Gibney Dance, 53 A Chambers St.; Time 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free (but RSVP by clicking here).

Battery Conservancy seeks gardening volunteers: The Battery, a 25-acre park at the southern end of Manhattan, has perennial gardens designed by the renowned Dutch horticulturalist Piet Oudolf. With spring about to begin, it's time to cut back the plantings to allow for new growth. The Battery Conservancy is seeking volunteers to work alongside the Conservancy's experienced gardeners on this and other gardening projects. Volunteers must attend an orientation session offered on Tuesdays and on the first Saturdays of the month from March through September. For more information about volunteering and to fill out an application form, click here.

Whitney open daily in March: Ordinarily closed on Tuesdays, the Whitney Museum of American Art at 99 Gansevoort St. will be open daily in March, the final month of the museum's acclaimed retrospective "Andy Warhol-From A to B and Back Again." Extended hours continue on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Admission on Friday evenings is "pay-what-you-wish" from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s," an exhibition of paintings from the Whitney's collection that use bold, saturated, and even hallucinatory color to activate perception will open on March 29. The 2019 Whitney Biennial will open on May 17. For more information about the Whitney, click here.

Manhattan Youth 2019 Community Awards: On April 11, Manhattan Youth will honor Community Board 1's Youth & Education Chair, Tricia Joyce, for her steadfast advocacy; Save PS150's parent leaders, Jonah Benton, Buxton and Lisa Midyette and Anshal Purohit; Manhattan Youth's own Mona Lombard for her years of service, and the Manhattan Youth Teen volunteers for their outstanding community service. Come have a bite to eat and share a moment with neighbors. Place: 120 Warren St. Time: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $10 to $100. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Digital Innovation Grants: Faced with increasing competition from online retailers, the Downtown Alliance is sponsoring two $10,000 grants, each of which will be awarded to a Lower Manhattan storefront business to help it compete more effectively online. The Alliance, which is the manager of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, will work with the winning stores to select and hire a consultant to fulfill a critical digital need such as growing the store's online presence or increasing its technological capacity. Only businesses that are located within the boundaries of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District will be eligible for this grant. To win a grant, store owners must share a compelling vision for how this funding will help their business attract more customers and increase profits.

To apply for the grant, click here. Mail-in paper applications may be requested from Heather Ducharme, the Downtown Alliance Director of Storefront Business Engagement. The deadline for submitting an application is Wednesday, March 20 at 11:59 p.m.
Free event space for non-profits: LMHQ, a co-working space at 150 Broadway sponsored by the Alliance for Downtown New York, is partnering with Con Edison for the third year to offer free event space and meeting rooms to New York City nonprofits. LMHQ's 12,500 square-foot space at 150 Broadway offers individual and company memberships, drop-in opportunities for visitors, and regular public programming across disciplines. LMHQ also extends a 25 percent year-round discount to nonprofits on all meeting room and event bookings.
Applications for 2019 will be accepted on a quarterly basis per the schedule below for weekday evening use of LMHQ's 120-seat event space and/or its Tesla meeting room, which can accommodate up to 30 people. Grantees may be awarded each room once per calendar year and will be notified within five business days of the application close date if their proposal has been accepted.

July-September bookings: Apply May 1-10; October-December bookings: Apply August 1-12.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Most of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.

calendar CALENDAR: March 2019
Spotlight: March, past, present and future 

On March 10, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presented a concert of music and film clips depicting the trajectory of the Yiddish theatre from Manhattan's Lower East Side to Hollywood. The concert was curated by Motl Didner, who narrated parts of it, and by Zalmen Mlotek, who conducted it. Daniella Rabbani was one of the vocalists, here accompanied by Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch on saxophone and Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin on viola.  (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
March, past:
Between March 5 and March 9, Trinity Wall Street presented seven free concerts at St. Paul's Chapel under the title "Time's Arrow." Four of those concerts revolved around the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Biblical Book of Daniel. The story is brutal and as contemporary as recent news. It's about a would-be rape by two men who are respected members of a community and about the victim's protestations of innocence, which were not believed by those who judged her.

Briefly, Susanna, the beautiful and virtuous wife of a man named Joachim, is framed by the two elders who lust after her and waylay her in her garden, where she has gone to bathe. They proposition her and she turns them down. Their revenge is to falsely accuse her of adultery and promiscuity, the punishment for which is death. Susanna, who is as devout as she is beautiful, asks the Lord's help and he sends a young man named Daniel to interrogate the elders. Daniel's astute questioning shows that the elders were lying. Susanna is saved and Daniel, later known as a prophet, is recognized for his brilliance.

George Frideric Handel wrote an oratorio about "Susanna" that was first presented in 1749. During Time's Arrow, Julian Wachner conducted the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra in a performance that was captivating and moving. Lauren Snouffer as Susanna was outstanding both vocally and as an actress. Most memorably, in the scene with the menacing elders (well sung by Oliver Mercer and Christopher Burchett) on either side of her, she conveyed her fear, her faith and her resolution not to give into their lust regardless of the consequences.

On March 7 and March 9, an opera entitled "Artemisia" presented a different version of the Susanna story. The fully staged opera by Laura Schwendinger interwove the story of Susanna with that of Artemisia Gentileschi, a renowned painter of the Baroque period who was distinguished not only by her skill but by her sex. Few women of that time became artists, much less artists whose work was respected and coveted.

"Susanna and the Elders" by Artemisia Gentileschi (1610)
Artemisia's first signed and dated work depicted "Susanna and the Elders." She painted it around 1610 when she was 17 years old. She had, herself, recently been the victim of a rape. One of her father's colleagues, her art teacher Agostino Tassi, assaulted her. Artemisia's father sued Tassi for "property damage," because as a raped woman, Artemisia had lost "bartering value." A seven-month trial ensued during which Artemisia was tortured in order to see if she changed her story. She did not recant. Ultimately, Tassi was convicted.

Artemisia, who could neither read nor write, expressed her rage in her paintings which included not only "Susanna and the Elders" but "Judith Slaying Holofernes," a bloody work in which the Jewish heroine Judith cut off the head of the Assyrian general Holofernes, dispatched by Nebuchadnezzar to subjugate the nations that resisted his reign.

Both of those paintings and plenty of blood and rage permeate Schwendinger's opera, which featured Heather Buck as the young Susanna and Augusta Caso as the old and nearly blind Artemisia reflecting bitterly on what she had had to endure, and proudly on the strength with which she resisted being diminished by what men expected and demanded of her.

Videos of all of these performances and others that were part of the Time's Arrow festival are on the Trinity Wall Street website. To see them, click here.

From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen: The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), ensconced at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, is a treasure. This is the theater company that gave us the marvelous "Fiddler on the Roof" ("Fidler afn Dakh") in Yiddish. On March 10, the NYTF presented "From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen," with songs married to film clips showing the stars of Yiddish cinema, beginning with the beloved and redoubtable Molly Picon.

The "Yiddish Rialto" referred to the theater district centered on Manhattan's Lower East Side between the mid-19th and early 20th-centuries. Night after night, first- and second-generation Eastern European immigrants filled the theaters that lined Second Avenue to watch dramas, operettas and musical comedies. The people in the audience worked long hours in low-paying jobs, but in the theaters and movie houses, they could escape from the hardships of their lives with stories that evoked their homelands and with schmaltzy tales of love.

Most of the singers who performed in "From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen" had previously appeared in other NYTF productions such as the 1923 Rumshinsky operetta "The Golden Bride" (nominated for Drama Desk awards) and "Amerike: The Golden Land." Zalmen Mlotek, NYTF's artistic director, conducted.

"From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen" presented the culture from which "Fiddler on the Roof" was created. There was only one performance but maybe it will return another year. Look for it! In the meantime, anything that the NYTF does is worth seeing.

March future:
Purim Simkhe: On March 20, Purim will be celebrated at the Museum of Jewish Heritage with a festive reading of Megiles Ester (the Book of Esther) in Yiddish with English supertitles, followed by a klezmer dance party. There will be a cash bar and Hamantashen. Graggers (noisemakers) and "wild costumes" are welcomed. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 7 p.m. (Bar opens at 6:30 p.m.) Tickets: $25 or get two tickets for $25 by clicking here.

A complete list of all programs and activities is on the Battery Park City Authority website. To see and download the winter calendar, click here.

For more calendar listings, go to the Downtown Post NYC website. Click here.

Zalmen Mlotek, artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, conducting the orchestra that performed for "From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen."


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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