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Demand Your Right to Quality of Life in Hell’s Kitchen! Close the Homeless Shelters in Our Neighborhood Now!

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This petition was from my next-door neighbor letter.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Nick Accardi. I am the owner of Tavola, Tavolino (formerly Jax BBQ), Vito’s Slices and Ices, and Rocco’s Pizza.

I am also the initiator of the Hudson Yards Grass Roots Movement in response to the unruly and unlawful conditions of late in the neighborhood where I work and reside. The decision by the Mayor of the City of New York to house up to 2000 homeless unfortunates, drug/heroin addicts, and mental patients concentrated in a three-block area has made the lives of both business owners and local residents a nightmare.

Our neighborhood has recently had to endure everything from numerous break-ins, burglaries, public defecation, urination, indecent exposure and physical and verbal threats. As you can see from the attached photo file, many of these have been performed in full view of, and towards, customers at the same outdoor dining tables that the city allowed restaurants to install as compensation for the absence of indoor seating.

I have also drafted and circulated a Community Petition addressed to the Mayor and City Council that included the signatures of many local business owners and residents alike. A copy of the Petition is attached. I have participated in a couple of Zoom conferences with neighborhood business owners, community coordinators and activists, public advocates and representatives from the Mayor’s office and that of Councilman Corey Johnson.

In a recent Crain’s magazine, it was suggested that these same businesses lacked compassion and empathy for the homeless. This is far from the truth. Since as far back as 1990, members of the Tavola family have not only contributed time and money, but cooked and served meals regularly in soup kitchens and Holiday Welcome Tables for churches such as St. Xavier and Holy Apostle, so it is particularly disheartening to be vilified as “Unsympathetic” to the plight of the homeless.

The issue here is not the homeless, but the violent, aggressive, mentally ill and criminal element that was dropped into our midst without a word of warning from the city. In addition, the area already houses a needle exchange and methadone clinic, both of which should be removed so that the gentrification of this once rundown neighborhood can continue to thrive. The combination of these two elements has created a pervasive atmosphere that is unsafe and, at times, very dangerous.

We, as a neighborhood coalition, have been gaining strength on a daily basis due to the lack of response from the local police and elected officials. We come to you in good faith, but we will do whatever is necessary to protect our homes, our families, our employees and our livelihood and see that these contracts with local hotels are terminated at the earliest possible date.

WE, THE RESTAURANTS, SMALL BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS OF THE HUDSON YARDS/HELL’S KITCHEN COMMUNITY, HEREBY PETITION NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO AND NYC COUNCIL SPEAKER COREY JOHNSON to address the increased level of homelessness and ensuing criminal behavior that has recently affected our New York neighborhoods.

WE STATE OR BELIEVE: 
1. That the petitioners are residents and business owners in New York City. 

2. That there has been a surge of illegal activity in the neighborhood since the city began housing the indigent and criminal element at hotels within close range of our homes and businesses. 

3. That the activity, especially in the evening hours, has become increasingly aggressive, and often violent, with no regard for social distancing or COVID-19 protection. There have been incidents of public urination and defecation, often in full view of diners or customers. The neighborhood has begun to smell like a public toilet. 

4. That several of the petitioning businesses have experienced break-ins, stolen merchandise, random vandalism and shattered storefront windows. 

5. That the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening strategy to add outdoor seating has only backfired in that customers are being harassed as they dine, which results in complaints to the business owner and further loss of business. 

6. That these neighborhoods have become stages for overt drug deals, drug use, and “shooting galleries” for heroin addicts. 

7. That the local police are hindered and rendered ineffectual in their enforcement attempts due to the current restrictions posed by the pandemic. Often, the perpetrators are identified and apprehended, only to be freed the following day to repeat similar offences. 

8. That since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many local business have struggled to stay alive. Several have failed. To have this activity undermine the efforts of the city to come back to life is like throwing gasoline on an already raging fire.

9. That until the homeless/criminal element is removed from the area, a stronger police presence could possibly prevent most of these offences from recurring and our community can actually begin to heal.

To sign click here

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Richard M. Sherman Songwriter for Mary Poppins and Jungle Book Passes On

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Richard M. Sherman, was a nine-time Academy Award nominee along with his brother Robert. The Sherman Brothers wrote more than 200 songs for some 27 films and 24 television productions. Their film credits include Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Summer Magic tv, The Sword in the Stone, That Darn Cat!, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Happiest Millionaire, The Aristocats, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, taking home the trophies for Best Score – Substantially Original and Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”). They won three Grammy awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.

They also wrote the score on Broadway for Over Here.

The brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Sherman died of age-related illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. His brother Robert died in 2012.

 

 

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Cabaret

My View: Jimmie Herrod….America’s Got Talent!

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Our table of four “judges” at 54 Below (Steven Reineke, Eric Gabbard, Storm Large, Eda Sorokoff) didn’t have a Golden Buzzer to ring for “America’s Got Talent” winner Jimmie Herrod last night, but we all gave this super singer a standing ovation and a thumbs up at the conclusion of his solo Cabaret debut in Broadway’s Supper Club.

Jimmie’s tonal dexterity, vocal chords that have no limits, and imaginative jazz interpretations of Broadway and Pop standards  thrilled a room full of music lovers.

Not everyone in America has talent, but Jimmie Herrod sure has!

From blowing the judges away as a finalist on “America’s Got Talent” to playing Angel in the symphonic version of Rent at The Kennedy Center, and touring the world as a member of Pink Martini, Jimmie shared his favorite songs and stories in an unforgettable intimate and personal show. 

Alex Boniello (Dear Evan Hansen, Deaf West Spring Awakening) was Jimmie’s special guest

About Jimmie Herrod

Jimmie is a vocalist who brings singular power an expressivity to his global career as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer on stage and screen. As a solo artist with a uniquely high vocal range, Jimmie has appeared to critical and audience acclaim multiple times with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, including on the nationally broadcast “Joni Mitchell Songbook,” and alongside luminaries such as Renee Fleming and Raul Midon.

Recent appearances include solo debuts with the St. Louis, Nashville, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, starring alongside vocalist Storm Large in a weekend of concerts with the Oregon Symphony, and touring the globe as a member of the band Pink Martini.  Herrod first came to worldwide prominence as a finalist on the NBC nationally broadcast television show, “America’s Got Talent,” earning the rare “Golden Buzzer recognition from actress Sofia Vergara and returning the following year on the AGT All-Star series. IN 2024 Jimmie launches his first national tour as a solo artist, in support of his forthcoming full-length album.

JIMMIE HERROD, STEVEN REINEKE, The New York Pops, ERIC GABBARD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

ALEX BONIELLO

JIMMIE HERROD & ALEX BONIELLO

STANDING OVATION

EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, STORM LARGE, ERIC GABBARD

STORM LARGE & EDA SOROKOFF

STORM LARGE & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

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Cabaret

My View: Julie Wilson Honored By The Mabel Mercer Foundation at The Pierre Hotel

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Cabaret luminaries, supporters, and officers of The Mabel Mercer Foundation gathered at The Pierre Hotel last night to celebrate the100th anniversary of the birth year of cabaret legend Julie Wilson.  Julie’s dominant presence in the cabaret world over the many decades led her to be called “The Queen of Cabaret”. Cabaret’s current guiding light, KT Sullivan, the artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation hosted the evening’s celebration which included a gourmet buffet followed by performances from some of cabaret’s most beloved artists and friends of Julie Wilson.  Entertaining the Gala audience of music connoisseurs and honoring the legacy of Julie Wilson were: Karen Akers, Carole J. Bufford, Melissa Errico, Jeff Harnar, Sue Matsuki, MOIPEI ( Mary, Maggy & Marta), Sidney Myer, Craig Rubano, KT Sullivan and Amra-Faye Wright…. John Weber (piano) and Steve Doyle (Bass).

An especially emotional moment of the evening was actor Holt McCallany (son of Julie Wilson) paying tribute to his mother and singing “I’m Becoming My Mother”.

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

KT SULLIVAN, artistic director The Mabel Mercer Foundation

KT SULLIVAN

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

JEFF HARNAR

JEFF HARNAR

SUE MATSUKI

SUE MATSUKI

CRAIG RUBANO

CRAIG RUBANO

KAREN AKERS

KAREN AKERS

SIDNEY MYER

SIDNEY MYER

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

MOIPEI

MOIPEI

PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN,MELISSA ERRICO,MOIPEI

HOLT McCALLANY & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MOIPEI & HOLT McCALLANY

EDA SOROKOFF & ELIZABETH SULLIVAN (Happy 94th Birthday)

MELISSA ERRICO PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN

JEFF HARNAR & MOIPEI

HEATHER SULLIVAN, HOWARD MORGAN, Chairman of the board Mabel Mercer Foundation, ELANOR MORGAN

KT SULLIVAN, ELIZABETH SULLIVAN, HEATHER SULLIVAN,Dr. Patrick Sullivan

KT SULLIVAN

KT SULLIVAN, PETER HANSON, Linda Hanson

EDA SOROKOFF & CRHRISTEL IBSEN

MONAH GETTNER,KT SULLIVAN, ALAN GETTNER

BRIAN KALTNER, Board Member Mabel Mercer Foundation & DEBBIE DAMP

HOWARD MORGAN, KT SULLIVAN, CAROLE J. BUFFORD,MOIPEI, MATHEW INGE

PATRICK McENROE & MELISSA ERRICO

KT SULLIVAN & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

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Cabaret

My View: Why CAN’T A Woman…? This Woman Can…Lianne Marie Dobbs

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The actor Lianne Marie Dobbs played a 1900’s woman in the HBO series The Gilded Age. You also might have seen her in Law & Order, The Equalizer and F.B.I., but yesterday at Chelsea Tables + Stage she wasn’t just playing the part of a Cabaret singer!  Ms. Dobbs is the real deal, and she captivated an audience of music connoisseurs with her formidable vocal talents and wit in her show titled “Why CAN’T a Woman…? 

Lianne’s cabaret act utilizes Broadway leading men’s songs and sassy standards, served up with a twist of SHE, to celebrate all the hats that women wear, and she answered the shows question authoritatively….This woman sure can!

Lianne Marie Dobbs was named one of the Best Vocalists of the Decade (BroadwayWorld, 2020) and has filled The Green Room 42, 54Below, Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael, Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Blue Strawberry in St. Louis, and will be featured in Chicago’s Cabaret Week later in May.  “Why CAN’T a Woman…?” was named one of the best cabaret shows of the year (2022) by BroadwayWorld, and called “an honest to goodness emerging work of art”.  She has appeared in leading roles Off-Broadway, in National Tours, and at renowned theaters such as Denver Center, Repertory of St. Louis, Ogunquit Playhouse, Goodspeed and many more.

Ron Abel is Lianne’s music director and arranger, whose accolades include: LA Critics Circle Award Winner and L.A. Weekly Award Winner for his original compositions and unique arrangements of Broadway hits for orchestras and singers. He has been the music director for acclaimed vocalists such as Lucie Arnaz, Peter Allen, Joely Fisher, Valarie Pettiford, Julia Migenes, Helen Reddy, and John Lloyd Young.

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

STANDING OVATION

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

PAUL KREPPEL, RON ABEL, EDA SOROKOFF, MURPHY CROSS

EDA SOROKOFF & TAKAKO HARKNESS

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Columns

My View: An Evening With Jason Robert Brown…One Evening Isn’t Enough

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The 92NY Lyrics & Lyricists presented An Evening with Jason Robert Brown last night.  Although it would take many evenings to appreciate the totality and brilliance of the triple Tony Award winner’s body of work, Mr. Brown together with his exceptional band of musicians and guest artists Mykal Kilgore and Heidi Blickenstaff thrilled an overflow audience in it’s Kaufman Concert Hall during the 2 hour show.  In contrast to many great composer/lyricists who have minimal performance capabilities, JRB is an exciting personality on stage both vocally and conversationally, and his fearless technique on the piano is reminiscent of  George Gershwin or Marvin Hamlisch when playing their own works.

Full Disclosure:

I’ve been a JRB fan since my daughter Caroline in the 1980’s wrote us a letter from Camp French Woods saying..”I can’t wait for you to come on Visiting day and hear my friend Jason play the piano.

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

DANIELLE LEE GREAVES, TASHA MICHELLE, JASON ROBERT BROWN

MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BORWN & MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BORWN & MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BROWN & MYKAL KILGORE

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN & HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN & HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF, JASON ROBERT BROWN, MYKAL KILGORE

AN EVENING WITH JASON ROBERT BROWN at 92NY

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