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Meet The Former and Present Residents of Manhattan Plaza: James Vallely

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James Vallely originally started out as a comic. He became a television producer and screenwriter. He was a writer and consulting producer for Arrested Development, the multiple Emmy Award-winning television show on the FOX network. He was also an executive producer and co-creator of Running Wilde, also on FOX, along with Mitchell Hurwitz and Will Arnett.

His work on Arrested Development won him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Writers Guild Of America Award.

James Vallely and Mitchell Hurwitz accept the Emmy for Writing for a Comedy Series for Arrested Development at the 57th Emmy Awards

He wrote for a number of TV series, including ten episodes of The Golden Girls, which was his first paid work as a writer, The John Larroquette Show, and Ladies Man. His daughter is former child actor Tannis Vallely.

T2C: When did you first move to Manhattan Plaza and how did you get into the building?

James Vallely:  My wife and I had heard about Manhattan Plaza and we had just had a baby. We were about to be kicked out of our Weehawken apartment. We applied to Manhattan Plaza, but there was a 10 year waiting list. My wife Myra Turley, was an actress and she was in El Grande De Coca-Cola at the time. The building actually had a few apartments left and was looking to fulfill a quota for actors with kids. We got in immediately because we fit the bill. We received a 2 bedroom apartment for $300. That was in 1979.

I knew about the neighborhood and what I was getting into, but at 24, you have a “who cares” attitude. You’re not scared of anything.

T2C: What made you move out?

James Vallely:  I got divorced, though we are still friends. Also NBC offered me work on “Double Trouble”, which was was life changing. That was 1984. I was separated from my ex and child, but Myra and Tannis came out for pilot season. When Tannis booked the show “Head of the Class” we were all in the same state.

No-one leaves Manhattan Plaza. We wanted to give the chance to another family.

I since have carved out a nice career, my ex-wife did lots of film and TV and my daughter became a casting director.

Manhattan Plaza gives you ties you never forget. It is the perfect way to do section 8 housing. The building had an artistic kind of lightness. It nurtures actors, who are always broke.

T2C: What made Manhattan Plaza so special?

James Vallely: Immediately all the parents bonded. To make it easier my wife and others created a school in the building. It was called the Manhattan Plaza School For Young Artists. It was on the 3rd floor under Kenny Kramers apartment. It went from K – 6th grade. There were over 100 kids. Parents paid $50 and had to volunteer one day a week. To help out, there was also a babysitting co-op. Parents would swap each other kids out, so it became a family thing. Kenny Kramer ran the co-op. He had a daughter Melanie who was ten. Kramer was always at home. Across the hall was Larry David, who was a comedian. He worked at The Improve. I would follow him like a puppy dog. I was doing comedy as well. Manhattan Plaza had two shows, one for singer and the other for comedians. Larry Diamond would MC. Larry, Kenny and I were all kids working on our craft. There is a tape of its somewhere. Kenny always had something going on and at one point we all made electric jewelry called “Manhattan Jewelry”. In 1981 Kenny had a new video machine and we would make videos. One showed cream from China that helped with baldness. We used Wolf Blitzer catch phrase ” Mama Would Be Proud.”

T2C: Did Manhattan Plaza inspire you?

James Vallely: If I hadn’t lived there I wouldn’t have met Larry and Kenny. The creative atmosphere, the contacts and learning how to audition helped me carve out a niche. When you would tell people what you wanted to do, it seemed unattainable. They would call you Shakespeare. Because of Manhattan Plaza, it became attainable.

Jonathan Schmock and Jim Vallely Tony Edwards Photo

T2C: What did living in the building allow you to accomplish? 

James Vallely: My comedy partner and I spent several days creating a script. We were trying to do an act that basically ended up supporting us for eight years. We performed it at Good Times on 31st and 3rd. Other comedians on the line-up were, Andrew Dice Clay and Yakov Smirnoff. We performed at The Comic Strip, where Jerry Seinfeld was the MC. We became friends with Bill Mahr, and he got us on the line-up at Catch a Rising Star. In those days you couldn’t get reviewed at the uptown clubs because you weren’t getting paid, but you could get reviewed downtown. On the night we performed downtown, we got reviewed. A Daily News reviewer, Lorenzo Carcaterra gave us a great review and the next day NBC called. We auditioned on the same line-up as Jim Carrey and Richard Pryor. It was magical and happened way too quickly.

T2C: What are your fondest memories of living in the plaza?

James Vallely:  One summer Sunday, Larry David, who basically had no job except he MC’d at The Improve a couple of hours a few nights a week and I were sitting at the courtyard. Manhattan Plaza had this amazing pool which was a big deal because no other buildings had one. We were young and could not believe our luck. When I asked Larry if he was going to The Improve he stated “I’m on vacation” and I said for what?

I really enjoyed all of it. You would get into an elevator and there was Angela Lansbury or Tennessee Williams. You felt like you were in the business. It gave me a swagger.

James Vallely

T2C: What were the biggest changes to the neighborhood?

James Vallely: Theatre Row changed everything. It only took like 5 years for the neighborhood to improve. Good neighborhoods spread. Theatre people are disciplined. Artists take care of their stuff. In these abandoned buildings, we saw theatres. In rat infested bombed out store fronts, we saw cupcakes.

James Vallely

T2C: What did living in the building give you?

James Vallely: Amazing contacts who I still keep in touch with. I miss it. I know live in Hancock Park, which is great, but it ain’t Manhattan Plaza.

T2C: What would you change from your time living in Manhattan Plaza?

James Vallely: I was only there for a couple years. There isn’t a day that I don’t say why did I leave here. It was a perfect opportunity.

T2C: What is your fondest memory of New York?

James Vallely: I am nostalgic right now in this pandemic. I don’t think were ever going to see the bustling of over crowded restaurants or noisy crowds again. At least I was there when it was bustling.

T2C: What would you like us to know that we haven’t asked you?

James Vallely: Watch “Arrested Development” and “Golden Girl” reruns, I could use the bread. Also if you know of any shows where you can shoot stuff from 6 ft away, let me know.

I studied with Stella Adler and the great Larry Blyden, who stated, “everyone needs a style. Style comes from what you do bad. Jack Cole favored his left side, because he had polio and it became his style. Rex Harrison was bad at singing, so he talked his way through it. Find what makes you have style.”

The documentary Miracle on 42nd Street, is available on Amazon and will soon be available to stream. 

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

Family

How Many More People Have to Be Killed or Hurt Before This Madness Stops?

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The latest crime involves a 17-year-old Nicaragua migrant boy who was stabbed in the back in front of shocked tourists on 42nd Street near 8th Avenue. The attack took place at 5:30 pm/  Police are now hunting for 16 suspects all part of a gang that has infiltrated Manhattan. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital by EMS, and is listed in stable condition.

The police have five of the alleged attackers some more migrant teens. Michael Colome, 22, of Queens, has been arrested and charged with gang assault, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Three are 16 and one is just 14-year-old boy. There names are not being released because they are underage. Two are believed to be migrants from Venezuela.

This was on the same block where a group of migrants brutally attacked cops last month. Venezuelan Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, 19 was let go after the mob attack, but got arrested again on new charges. He allegedly participating in a coordinated robbery at a Macy’s store in Queens. Hopefully District Attorney Melinda Katz will make sure this teen criminal stays in jail since Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg seems to let this teenagers out with just a slap on the hand.

Bragg, doesn’t care that these teens do not have permanent address or community ties or are flight risks. Thank-God when it came to Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa, another migrant teen, who has since been charged as an adult, is being held at Rikers for allegedly shooting a tourist during an attempted robbery in Times Square. This kid also has priors.

And here is why this is happening….Yohenry Brito 24 who is accused of instigating the group assault on two NYPD officers in Times Square, was in court a second time for different charges. He’s being held on a $15,000 bail and a Brooklyn pastor paid that sum to set him free. More than a dozen immigration advocates also showed up to support this alleged criminal with a rap sheet. He is the main ringleader of this gang assault on our police officers. He has been arrested multiple times, has at least two open cases for shoplifting and pleaded guilty last year to disorderly conduct. Why do these people want this man free? What if it was one of their own family members who was shot? Will they change their bleeding heart’s if their own are attacked? When does this madness stop?

 

 

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News

Public Invited to Provide Comments Online, by Email, Mail, Phone and Fax Tomorrow Through March 11

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced details of a public comment period of the tolling structure that has been proposed for Central Business District Tolling, New York’s congestion pricing program. The agency will accept written and audio comments starting tomorrow and will hold four hybrid virtual/in-person public hearings in February and March.

The proposed tolling structure is available online. It is modeled on recommendations made by the Traffic Mobility Review Board on Nov. 30.

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, and continuing for 76 days through Monday, March 11, 2024, members of the public may submit written comments online and by email, mail and fax, and may submit audio comments by leaving a voicemail message. All comments will be recorded and submitted for review.

Online: https://contact.mta.info/s/forms/CBDTP
Email: cbdtp.feedback@mtabt.org
Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004
Phone: 646-252-7440
Fax: Send to (212) 504-3148 with Attention to CBDTP Team.

The hearings begin on Thursday, Feb. 29, and conclude on Monday, March 4. Members of the public who wish to speak at the hearings are required to register in advance online, by calling the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777, or in person. Registration will open one week before the start time of each hearing and will close 30 minutes after the beginning of the hearing. Speakers will be provided two minutes to speak. The hearings will be hosted in person at 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 in the William J. Ronan 20th Floor Board Room. People may also register to participate remotely via Zoom or telephone.

The hearings will be accessible online at mta.info/CBDTP at these dates and times:

  • Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 1, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Monday, March 4, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Monday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m.

Each public hearing will be livestreamed on the MTA YouTube channel at youtube.com/@mta-live and on the project website: mta.info/CBDTP.

Next Steps

The Central Business District Tolling Program was mandated by the State of New York in April 2019 and modeled on urban congestion pricing programs around the world to reduce traffic congestion and raise needed revenue to improve public transportation. Other cities around the world that have similar programs have also experienced improved air quality.

Following the public comment period, MTA Bridges and Tunnels (known legally as the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) will review the public comments. Then its Board, which is coterminous with the MTA Board, will consider adopting a ratemaking regulation that includes any updates that may follow the public comment period.

As with any proposed toll ratemaking, this  public comment period is being conducted in accordance with the State Administrative Procedure Act.

Accessibility and Interpreter Services

At the public hearings, American Sign Language and CART Captioning Services will be available.

Members of the public who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or the free 711 relay service, and then ask to be connected to the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777 to speak with an agent.

Members of the public who do not have access to a computer or who do not have access to the Internet can listen to each of the hearings by calling the Zoom meeting via a telephone number which will be provided at a later date.

If language assistance or any other accommodations are required, please submit a request at least five (5) business days before the scheduled hearing date in one of the following ways: e-mailing cbdtp.feedback@mtabt.org, calling the Public Hearing Hotline at (646) 252-6777, or by sending a letter to MTA Government & Community Relations, Attn: Central Business District Tolling Program Hearings, 2 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10004.

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Entertainment

You Are Invited to A Networking Event

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Fashion

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents And Our Guest Eddie Wunderlich

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Yesterday, T2C announced that starting this Friday from 5-6 “Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents” will launch its first podcast and show. Following the launch, “Live From The Hotel Edison” will commence on Wednesdays from 5-6. This first show is geared towards Fashion Week since it officially starts that day. We thought We’d give you a sneak peek at our guests. Our first guest is Eddie Wunderlich.

Eddie Wunderlich is native New Yorker with over twenty years of experience in the beauty business and has traveled internationally to obtain an avant garde perspective for creating unique hair styles.

Wunderlich possesses an intense passion for creating stunning makeovers for his clients. To achieve this, he engages in thorough consultations and dialogues, and he is renowned for investing time in building trust with his clients while they sit in his chair. His vibrant energy and talent for curating opportunities and fostering collaborations make his clients feel valued and appreciated on a personal level.

With a passion for fashion, Eddie’s experiences include working at New York Fashion Week as the Beauty Director for Raul Penaranda, Key Hair Stylist for Cesar Galindo, Key Hair Stylist for the Women’s Sports Foundation annual gala curating glam for celebrity female Olympian athletes as well as editorial work for his celebrity clientele.

Creating art has always been a means of self-expression. For Eddie, expressing oneself is tantamount to loving oneself. The statement “I’ve never looked in the mirror and loved myself this much in years” speaks to the transformative power of creating beauty from the inside out.

You can make appointments with Eddie at New Collective NY, 135 west 29th street suite 401

Tomorrow meet Friday Jones.

Come join us on Friday February 9th at The Hotel Edison228 West 47th St, in the hotel lobby from 5-6 for this new adventure and learn what the newest trends in fashion are. How to update any wardrobe to be on trend. Who decides how we should look and how do you create your own style. We look forward to having you join us.

 

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Events

Gang Violence is Back In NYC

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In January a brutal Venezuelan street gang that controls sex trafficking in South America by branding women and young girls with tattoos behind their ears is exporting its violence to the US. The gang is called Tren de Aragua.

Now a moped-riding migrant crew has been snatching cellphones right out of New Yorkers’ hands. Two suspects Cleyber Andrade, 19, and Juan Uzcatgui, 23 are allegedly part of a wide ring whose members are connected to 62 different instances of grand larceny. Their most recent heist dragged a 62-year-old woman down the street. This was caught on video and had gone viral. Andrade and Uzcatgui, apparently know each other from Colombia.

The ringleader, is a Venezuelan migrant named Victor Parra, 30, who was let go by a judge in December after getting picked up for grand larceny.

Also Cops identified were Yan Jimenez, 25, of Manhattan; Anthony Ramos, 21, of Manhattan; Richard Saledo, 21, of the Bronx; Beike Jimenez, 21, of the Bronx; Maria Manaura, 32, of Manhattan; and Samuel Castro, 27, of Queens. All have previous grand larceny arrests and have been terrorizing the city since about mid-November. All free without bail thanks to our DA Alvin Braggs. They are also all recently arrived immigrants.

Scooter drivers make $100 a day, and the phone snatcher could make $300 to $600 per stolen device, according to the police.

Once the phones were in-hand, Parra would have a hacker break into financial or banking apps.

This network of thieves predominantly live in the migrant shelter system and use social media platforms to organize and coordinate.

Although cops have these migrants linked to 62 incidents, the number is more like 150. This robbery ring along with other rings worry the police as the migrants often have multiple aliases and swap identities and birthdays, making them hard to track.

According to Mayor Adams, “We want to be extremely clear.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a migrant, an asylum seeker or the person is a long-term New Yorker — you break the law, you will be investigated and it will be handled by our criminal justice system.” What he forgot to say was the judges and DA Alvin Braggs will let them back out in less than 3 hours, at least that is what they did to the migrants that beat up the cops.

 

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