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The Quad Returns, Better Than Ever

Looking south at Quad Cinema 34 West 13 St on a sunny midday. Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson.

The past two years has been difficult without the Village art-film showcase the Quad. But now independent and foreign films get their palace back in a new, improved form.

The Quad Cinema re-opened on Friday, April 14 to much fanfare and excitement. One fan, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation said,

“The Village has changed a lot, but it being a center for independent and foreign films remains the same.”

The Quad Cinema first opened in 1972 as Manhattan’s first multiplex movie theater. Almost from inception the theater featured film’s most significant directors and producers, such as John Sayles, or New York icons like Andy Warhol, and revivals of classics and foreign films.

Despite not aging well, the theater still attracted many movie-goers who were loyal and dedicated to what the Quad offered.

The establishment has four screens to accommodate 430 seats. A new marquee was installed and the lobby is completely renovated with digital screens, vintage posters, and a 21.5 inch video wall displaying film-clips from classic movies.

The theater will continue to offer films that reflect the neighborhood’s interests. The theater is committed to classic programming, as evidenced by opening with a Lina Wertmuller retrospective in addition to first-run releases such as French film “heal the Living,” and the Emily Dickinson biographical film “A Quiet Passion.”


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Song Sways Judge that Elderly Woman is Fit to Live at Home

Broadway Tunes Helped Elderly Woman Get Back Home. Photo credit: Randy Lemoine

Broadway Tunes Helped Elderly Woman Get Back Home. Photo credit: Randy Lemoine

Ruth Berk, a 91-year-old former Broadway singer, used her singing abilities to convince a judge to let her return to her home after she had been sent to a nursing home against her will.

Berk persuaded Manhattan judge Tanya Kennedy that she could successfully live in her Greenwich Village apartment by singing the famous show tunes, “My Little Valentine” and “Summertime.”

Arthur Schwartz, Berk’s lawyer, stated in court papers that at her hearing, “although the justice refused to allow her to speak, [Berk] interrupted the court and told the court that she wanted to go home. She then began to sing for Justice Kennedy.”

Berk’s daughter, Jessica, 55, said that the judge was more than a little surprised by the unrehearsed performance. Jessica said her mother could be likened to a mixture of Bea Arthur and Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday.

“[The judge] stepped off the bench, took [her] robe off and shook her hand and said, ‘Mrs. Berk, that was wonderful. Thank you very much for honoring me with that,’?” Berk’s daughter stated.

After the hearing Berk was allowed to return to her home, where she has resided since 1960. But the dispute about where Berk is to live in the future is still not resolved. Lloyd Goldman, owner of Berk’s rent-stabilized apartment, has filed an eviction notice in an attempt to kick Berk and her daughter out of their $700/month penthouse. According to Goldman’s lawyer, Lawrence Wolf, the mother and daughter owe their landlord $27,000 in back rent for their two-bedroom apartment at 95 Christopher Street.

Berk’s lawyer as well as her guardian, Mr. Schwartz, explained that the two have withheld their rent payments because their apartment has been allowed to deteriorate by the landlord, who is guilty of multiple violations of the law as far as upkeep of their apartment is concerned. Schwartz asserted that Goldman has brought 21 unsuccessful landlord-tenant actions during the course of 20 years.

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Alec Baldwin “Outa Here”

Actor Alec Baldwin has decided to sell his one bedroom condo in Greenwich Village. He is apparently fed up with his fans and other paparazzi bothering him and his family. His disillusionment is so far-gone that he almost feels homesick for his old neighborhood in Southern California.

“Everything I hated about L.A., I’m beginning to crave,” he said. “L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that. But New York has changed. Manhattan is like Beverly Hills. And the soul of New York has moved to Brooklyn, where everything new and exciting seems to be.”

Baldwin is not too impressed with how the city is run, either. After expressing his outrage to police for being issued a ticket for riding his bicycle the wrong way down Fifth Avenue, he was handcuffed, thus prompting this diatribe on Twitter.

Baldwin described New York as “a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.”

So Baldwin is throwing in the towel and moving to somewhere more user-friendly. His 840-square-foot, one bedroom condo in the Devonshire building at East 10th Street is available for $2.35 million. According to the description in its listing the apartment was entirely renovated in 2012, and not often used by Baldwin.

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The Terminal Stores: Up and Coming Commercial Space in Chelsea

"Terminal Warehouse Central Stores Building closeup" by Beyond My Ken Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons -

“Terminal Warehouse Central Stores Building closeup” by Beyond My Ken Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons –

Ever since the High Line elevated railroad opened in 1934, the warehouse complex known as The Terminal Stores, along with the surrounding neighborhood, went into decline. Through the years the 1.2 million square-foot brick building was used mostly as a self-storage facility plus the home of a nightclub called The Tunnel.

Today the area is undergoing a sea-change: not from the ground up; but let’s say from the sky down. The uniquely elevated High Line Park draws over 5 million people a year, and its popularity is contributing to the desirability of the neighborhood for new retail enterprises to sprout up.

“Everybody loves this neighborhood, and it’s just going to become more spectacular each year,” said Coleman P. Burke, the managing partner of Waterfront NY, which owns the Terminal Stores property together with investment firm GreenOak Real Estate.

The building is now immersed in a huge renovation project expected to take three years at a cost of $50 million. With some parts of the building dating back to 1891, and its location within the boundaries of the West Chelsea Historic District, many changes to the building will have to pass muster with the historic neighborhoods board for approval.

Whatever special complications are involved in the renovations seem to have had no relevance to those seeking out space within The Terminal Store’s premises. Uber, the crowd-sourcing taxi company, is taking over a 54,000 space there, while a large array of bars, restaurants and cafes are making plans to move in when the renovations are completed. At the moment rents are quite reasonable in the area, priced at about $50 per square foot. That compares favorably with nearby Chelsea proper whose rents float at about $59 per foot.

According to Alexander Chudnoff, a vice chairman of the New York branch of the commercial brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, The Terminal Stores is hoping to attract a large percentage of high tech tenants, such as Uber, to transform the building into a kind of tech campus.

“They needed to be in a space that was hip, for lack of a better word,” Mr. Chudnoff said.

Mark Van Zandt of GreenOak, which has a 49 percent stake in the building, which GreenOak values at about $300 million, believes that more restaurants in the building will motivate more businesses to rent office space in The Terminal Stores.

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Hand-Made Hardware, but Not for Your PC

The P.E. Guerin foundry was established in 1857 by Pierre Emmanuel Guerin. Today the company specializes in ornate, 18th-century French and English hardware, such as door knockers and knobs, hooks and hinges, and much more. Everything is custom-made of the highest, hand-made quality.
The business is still owned and run by the family. Andrew F. Ward, Mr. Guerin’s great-grand-nephew, runs the company today.
A majority of the orders the company fills are for private customers, according to Martin Grubman, P.E. Guerin’s vice president. Although most items are custom-ordered, there are pieces kept in stock which range in price from about $100 to $625.

“Any important building, we’ve done,” said Mr. Grubman, including some hardware in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.

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Participants at NYC 2013 Spring Show

Between May 1 and May 5th 2013, 15 leading galleries from around America and abroad premiered their work at the NYC Spring Show’s third edition.  Some of the exciting participants present were: Phoenix Ancient Art (6th century BC to 14th century AD antiquities); Alexander Gallery (US and European paintings from the 18th to 20th century as well as Asian art, works on paper and antiquities); Gemini Antiques Ltd (Folk Art and Early American toys) and Lillian Nassau (Tiffany Studios lamps and glass; US sculpture and 20th Century design).  The five day arts fair, sponsored by 1stdibts and the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center, took place at the historic Park Avenue Armory.

The show opened with a benefit preview party for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which was by invitation only.  At that show, a variety of decorative objects and works of art depicting animal-motifs were gathered by Brett Beldock.  A $25 was made to the ASPCA for any item purchased from her works.

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Loving the Summer Farmers Markets!


The summer is a great time in the Village. It’s full of color, happy (or happier!) faces and people just seeming to want to have a good time.  The days are longer and thus the nights become more vibrant and the outside-area restaurants are teeming with people. 

For those who enjoy high quality produce, the summer is what it’s all about, in the Village. Check out White Plains that opened back in May and is around until November, from 8 in the morning ‘til 4 in the afternoon every Wednesday.  Located at Court Street, between Martine Avenue and Main Street, there is everything one would expect from a farmers market.  Enjoy the smells of fresh bread, smelly cheeses, baked goods and more.  Vendors come from Arch River Farm amongst other places with their delectable dishes to tempt those frequenting the market.

There is also the www.stjohnsfarmersmarket.blogspot.comthat opened just a few weeks ago on July 5.  Located in Downtown Yonkers, on South Broadway and Hudson Street, if you’re looking for something to do on a Thursday between 8 am and 4pm while benefiting a great cause, this is the place to be.

Set up to help people who were struggling financially in the local community, the coupons issued through the WIC program were able to be used exclusively at Farmers Markets.  Thus the entire community, it was deemed, would be able to benefit equally from the St. Johns Church Farmers Market, and at the same time, small, local farmers would be able to more easily sell their produce.

Since its humble beginnings it has expanded its services, selling coffee, snacks and more.  Later on, it went even further by opening a thrift store, proceeds of which also go to the upkeep of the Market, which, according to local architect Steve Byrns, is “the most interesting example of 19th century Church architecture in America.”

So, for those in the Village who want to get a real taste of New York, its produce, architecture and people, this Farmers Market has it all!

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