Arts Watch: La MaMa Hosts Christmas in Nickyland

Christmas in Nickyland. Photo: Courtesy La MaMa E.T.C

Just in time for the holidays, Nicky Paraiso, longtime Director of Programming at The Club at La MaMa dons his Santa hat to become the Master of Ceremonies for the ultimate holiday cabaret show, Christmas in Nickyland. Yes, Nicky is taking the stage–and it’s a good thing too!  A prolific actor in the downtown theater and performance scene since 1979, Nicky’s critically acclaimed one-man shows have played to packed houses at La MaMa ETC, Dixon Place, PS122, Dance Theater Workshop and on tour.  For nearly ten years, he toured throughout the United States, Europe and Japan as a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble. (I am happy to report that I toured with him once to Budapest with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks).

Editorial: City Must Bring Transparency Back to SPURA Process

Rendering: NYC Economic Development Corp.

As we have reported on several occasions in recent months, a community-based task force is working with the city to shape the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Seward Park development site (SPURA).  In our most recent story last week, we called that panel a “secret task force,” a characterization that didn’t go over too well with a few members of Community Board 3.

They point out that the group is not “secret” because we know of its existence.  Fair enough.  But here’s what we do not want to lose sight of in our ongoing coverage a a sweeping development project that will change the Lower East Side forever: the task force is completely lacking in transparency.

Chin Calls Verdict in Bronx Bus Crash Trial a “Travesty”

Bronx Bush Crash, March 2011.

On Friday  a jury found driver Ophadell Williams not guilty of most charges he faced in connection with the horrific bus crash in the Bronx last year that left 15 Chinatown residents dead. City Council member Margaret Chin released a statement following last week’s verdict:

This verdict is a travesty and it sends the wrong message: that there are no consequences for long-distance bus drivers who ignore the speed limit; forgo sleep, drive recklessly; and put people’s lives in danger. The Bronx bus crash was one of the deadliest in our nation’s history. It was one of the saddest days for Chinatown; and one of the most difficult in my term as a Council Member. I am sad to say that justice has not been served in this case. This verdict does nothing to further our goal of making the low-cost tour bus industry safer… Despite this setback, we will not be deterred. We will remain steadfast in our calls for stronger regulation of the intercity tour bus industry so that we can prevent such horrific losses of life in the future.

The 2011 crash was one of several deadly accidents that helped galvanize support for an intercity bus permit system; state legislation was passed earlier this year.  The NYC Department of Transportation expects to implement the new system in the next several months.  Federal legislation to regulate so-called “Chinatown buses” has been languishing in Washington for many years.


Police Search For Suspects Following Cab Driver Assault on Grand Street

NYPD photos.

Police are asking for help in tracking down three suspects accused of beating up a cab driver after refusing to pay their fare.  The incident happened Saturday, December 1, at about 4:10 a.m. near Grand and Lewis streets.

The driver picked up the suspects a few minutes earlier at Allen and East Houston streets.  Police say the suspects punched the 42-year old cab driver repeatedly, seriously injuring him. They also stole his cell phone.  The driver said they took off on Grand Street, heading west.

If you have information about this crime, call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).


Morning Reads: The Quiet Mogul, Willow Tree Campaign, Jewish LES in Pictures

  • A profile of Ruby Schron, the billionaire developer who plans to build a 25 story hotel on Chrystie Street (Real Deal).
  • A petition emerges to add willow trees to La Plaza Cultural Community Garden (EV Grieve).
  • Q&A with Terry McCoy and Bob Contant of St. Mark’s Bookshop (The Local).
  • Michael Chernow of the Meatball Shop talks about volunteering in the Rockaways after Sandy (Village Voice).
  • The Jewish Lower East Side through the eyes of photographer Danny Stein (NYT).


Good Morning!

Seward Park, looking towards Essex Street.

Cloudy skies with occasional showers and a high of 60.

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