In This Week’s “THIS WEEK IN CHELSEA”
In Order of Appearance:
Fountain House Gallery Group Exhibition / Manhattan Community Board 4’s Committee Meetings / 13th Pct. Community Council / Hudson Guild Gallery Exhibit / Participatory Budgeting is Back /
Thursday, January 20, 6-8pm: Opening Reception for “Futures” at Fountain House Gallery | Fountain House Gallery–representing artists with mental illness–presents this group exhibition on view through March 2, and curated by Barbara Pollack. “Post-2020, predicting the future is perhaps an antiquated game, given how the sudden onset of the pandemic surprised all prognosticators,” said Pollack, co-founder of Art at a Time Like This, a nonprofit platform serving artists and curators in the 21st century, as they live through crises and comment on social issues; she will serve as the lead curator of Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity, opening at Asia Society in June 2022. “Combining boundless imagination with low-tech materials, the nearly 20 artists of Futures create a new way of dealing with our hopes, fears and anxieties, conjuring visions that cannot be seen through telescopes or crystal balls. From apocalyptic nightmares to over-the-rainbow fantasies, the artworks in this exhibition underscore the limits of politicians, scientists and astrologers to find a new way of envisioning imminent change. Only artists, like these, seem capable of creating images that are dynamic and capture the diversity of the future, or more accurately, ‘futures,’ since this holds a different meaning for each.” To preview selected works, click here. Note: Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry to Fountain House Gallery. To learn more about the gallery (702 Ninth Ave. at W. 48th St.), click here.
Tuesday, January 18 through Thursday, January 20, 6:30pm Nightly via Zoom: Committee Meetings of Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4) | Observing maximum COVID protection protocol as per permission of New York State, CB4 is currently holding all of its meetings not in person, but online, via Zoom. This augmentation of the Open Meetings Law (which normally requires public bodies to conduct their business in a brick and mortar setting accessible to the general public) has been robustly observed by CB4 since it switched to online-only meetings at the outset of the pandemic. A YouTube channel, accessible by clicking here, contains the archived Zoom recordings of all committee and full board meetings from March 2020 onward—handy if you happen to miss a meeting in real time, or want to follow the arc of a particular issue.
On Tuesday, January 18, the Chelsea Land Use Committee (CLU) meets. Agenda Item #3 is the one to watch, as the committee takes up the matter of a NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) application for the restoration of building facade at 44-54 9th Avenue and 351-355 W. 14th Street. That’s the location of nine historically significant row houses, whose controversial partial demolition occurred when the NYC Department of Buildings and the property owners found the row houses were in such bad shape, they posed an immediate threat, hastening the process of partial demolition. A Nov. 12, 2021 meeting convened at the request of these various stakeholders brought them to the table alongside reps from the DOB and LPC–but the happening was, according to attendees, nothing more than a box to check on behalf of the city entities that facilitated the destruction of the row houses, which continued unabated. Preservationist group Save Chelsea, one of the unsatisfied parties at that meeting, has two members (David Holowka and Pamela Wolff) who sit on the CLU committee–which sets the tone for what one imagines will be a “lively” discussion of the LPC’s application. For the Zoom registration link, click here. To attend by using the conference call dial-in number, do so via 646-518-9805. On Wed., Jan. 19, the Transportation Planning Committee (whose “you really should change it to avoid confusion” abbreviated moniker, TRANS, predates the culture’s growing awareness of transgender identity) meets. Among the matters on agenda: A presentation by DoorDash regarding their desire for a “Dashmart” bicycle delivery site at West 25th Street. the TRANS committee (does it read as awkward on the page as it does in your head?) will vote on this matter, following the presentation. The committee will also see a presentation on Through-Running for Penn Station, followed by a discussion on the matter. For the Zoom registration link, click here. To attend by telephone, dial 646-518-9805. On Thursday, January 20, the Housing, Health & Human Services (HHHS) Committee meets. Ground covered includes Agenda Item #1: A presentation, then vote, on the matter of a Syringe Rubbish and Disposal Kiosk Installation Request on Dyer Avenue (the entrance road to the Lincoln Tunnel btw. 34th & 37th Sts.). Housing Works – Positive Health Projects will conduct the presentation. The closure of family shelters and the desire of the NYC Department of Homeless Services & Urban Pathways to establish a Drop-In Center at 771 Ninth Avenue will also be discussed by the committee. To register for Zoom attendance, click here.
NOTE: Held on the first Wed. of the month, full board meetings are where the letters generated from these committee meetings are voted on, by the entire membership of CB4–sometimes remaining in tact, other times with notable additions or deletions as per robust debate. January, 2022’s full board meeting saw new blood: Jeffrey LaFrancois took over the position of Chair from the great Lowell Kern. LaFrancois’ leadership team is comprised of First Vice Chair, Jessica Chait / Second Vice Chair, Leslie Boghosian Murphy / and Co-Secretaries Blake Kurisu and Katy Stokes. To visit the home page of Manhattan Community Board 4, click here.
Tuesday, January 18, 6pm via Zoom: The 13th Precinct Community Council meets | On the agenda for this meeting held with the general public in mind: A Precinct Report from Commanding Officer – Deputy Insp. Angel Figueroa Jr. followed by comments and questions from the community. To attend, get the Zoom link by emailing NYPDPrecinct13@gmail.com or sending your request to the Community Affairs office, via Vincent.Arlotta@nypd.org or Gregory.Creamer@nypd.org.
Through Wednesday, February 2 at Hudson Guild Gallery I (Hudson Guild Fulton Center, 119 Ninth Ave.): The Light Over The Horizon (Light Art by Tom Fitzgibbon)| Viewing hours are Tues.-Fri., 10am-5pm. See the below flyer for more details or click here. Hudson Guild Galleries are located in the Elliott-Chelsea Houses(W. 26th St.) and in the Fulton Houses (Ninth Ave.). The galleries partner with nearby neighbor Google, as part of the Google Arts & Culture online platform. In doing so, Hudson Guild shares works by artists whose work has appeared in the gallery spaces over the past two decades. “It also,” the Gallery curators note, “gives us the opportunity to create permanent records of many different kinds of shows which are presented each year in the galleries, while also advancing our mission to make the arts accessible to all.”
NOTE: Hudson Guild Galleries are free to attend, but you must observe these five points of protocol. #1: Visitors are asked to spend no more than 15 minutes inside the galleries. #2: Visitors who wish to stay in the galleries for more than 15 minutes must fill out the Hudson Guild Health Screener in advance before entering the galleries. To access the Health Screener, visit hudsonguild.org. At the top of the first page it says “Click Here for a Health Screen” which will take you directly to the registration page. #3: Visitors must have their temperature taken by reception staff before entering the theatre and will not be permitted to enter if their temperature is above 100 degrees. #4: Visitors must wear masks at all times while in the building. #5: Visitors will observe social distancing of three feet from other visitors while in the galleries.
Participatory Budgeting Returns to New York City Council District 3 | Sure, he recently handed out COVID tests recently, and spoke passionately on TV about the joys of Chelsea street corners bereft of huge piles of garbage… but what has Councilmember Erik Bottcher done for you lately? How about set aside a cool million, to be distributed among projects created by District 3 residents? Known as Participatory Budgeting (PB), the popular Cheddar/Lettuce Distribution program, which in its first year was responsible for creating West 20th Street’s beloved Chelsea Green pocket park, is set to return once again–End Date, April 22, 2022. Area residents (think Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, West SoHo, Hudson Square, Times Square, Garment District, Flatiron, Upper West Side) vote on a variety of proposals. The winning entry is fully funded, and what’s left after that gets distributed to the second, third, etc. winners until the money has been spent. To visit Bottcher’s Councilmember web page, click here. To visit the District 3 PB page, click here. There, among other nuggets, you’ll find this dandy: That $1 million, culled from the Councilmember’s budget allocation, “can be used for physical infrastructure projects that benefit the public, cost at least $50,000, and have a lifespan of at least 5 years. For example, projects such as local improvements to schools, parks, libraries, housing, and other public spaces can be funded. Ideas are then evaluated and voted on by residents of the district.”
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