Shake Shack’s reputation was undeniably established following the success of its original Madison Square Park location. Since then, quite a few locations have sprouted up throughout the city, and Danny Meyer has just opened his latest venture in Battery Park City. READ MORE …
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via Downtown Express
BY HELAINA N. HOVITZ | Just one year after Myra Ianakieva, 8, was diagnosed with leukemia, her father lost his three-year battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Fighting to remain strong for her sick daughter while mourning the loss of her husband, Myra’s mother, Elena, also had to figure out how she was going to put food on the table and handle all of the medical expenses on her own. Thanks to Friends of Karen, she didn’t have to worry — and the organization offered her much more than money.
In addition to financial support, Friends of Karen, a 33-year-old New York nonprofit, provides long-term emotional support for families coping with a child’s life-threatening illness.
Last Tuesday, over 300 “friends” flocked to a rooftop at 2 Desbrosses Street in Tribeca to celebrate Myra’s good health and to raise funds so more families can benefit from the organization’s mission.
“When a child has cancer, it’s too big for any family to handle on their own,” said Nancy Mariano, regional director of the program. “Nobody is prepared to navigate the world of childhood cancer.”
What makes Friends of Karen unique is its focus on full-family support for as long as it is needed. Along with providing financial assistance for illness-related expenses as well as rent, utility and car payments, the organization offers emotional support for the whole family through counseling and art therapy. If the sick child does not make it, Friends of Karen helps the family through the grieving process and with funeral arrangements and continues to support the family on an as-needed basis.
“Other organizations are short term and focus solely on the child, but we’re here for the whole family for as long as they need us,” said Executive Director Judith Factor.
When parents become overwhelmed, siblings inadvertently become “forgotten,” even though they, too, have special needs. Friends of Karen’s Sibling Support Program helps children cope with the changes that take place when their brother or sister falls critically ill. Expressive art therapies, including painting, music, dance and drama, enable the child to identify feelings and fears and find effective ways to cope.
Michelle Paige Paterson was honored at the ceremony for her decade-long work with EmblemHealth, but was stuck at home sick.
Her husband, former governor David Paterson, accepted the award on her behalf, and was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the organization. He was especially impressed with the Sibling Support Program.
“When I was 11 years old, my brother was hit by a motorcycle and fell into a coma. His recovery was long and brutal,” Paterson explained. “I still get chills when I think about it.”
Also in attendance was Priscilla Goma, 32, a former child in the program diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age nine. She fondly remembers how programs like Holiday Adopt-A-Family helped provide presents for Christmas and food on Thanksgiving.
“We wouldn’t have been able to afford it without their help,” said Goma, who currently volunteers for Friends of Karen mentoring sick children and teenagers.
Myra finished three years of treatment in February and is now cancer-free. She made sure to thank Jessica Dunn, her family’s social worker, for her continued support.
“Thank you for taking care of me, bringing me presents, and playing with me,” Myra said. “And for talking to me about everything.”
Myra’s mother added that Jess’s advocacy had been “priceless.”
“There’s nothing Jess wouldn’t help us with, from health coverage to electric bills,” said Elena. “She is one of the most important people in our life.”
There to close out the ceremony was former American Idol contestant Robby Rosen, 17, who sang Myra an original song called “Make It Through.”
Friends of Karen was founded in 1978 by Sheila Petersen, a concerned neighbor who rallied community support for Karen MacInnes, 16, when she was diagnosed with Lafora’s disease, a rare genetic illness. Friends of Karen has helped thousands of terminally ill children and their families, 60 percent of which live in the city’s five boroughs, and currently provides support for 260 children in active treatment.
“We help keep families together and emotionally stable,” said Rhonda Ryan, who has been a social worker with the organization for over 20 years. “Whether the child lives or dies, 99 percent of families are survivors.”
Karen Barwick isn’t giving up on Boomerang Toys without a fight.
Barwick started a petition this week to save her beloved toy shop’s World Financial Center location, which is facing eviction this fall.
“We really want to stay here,” said Barwick, 39, a Battery Park City resident. “So many customers stop me on the street and say they can’t believe we’re leaving.”
Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center, is booting Boomerang and several other businesses south of the Winter Garden as part of a $250 million redevelopment that aims to attract 40 high-end fashion retailers and create a 25,000-square-foot fresh food marketplace.
Brookfield recently notified Boomerang Toys, along with Urban Athletics, SouthWest NY, Ciao Bella and others, that they have to leave their current spaces by the end of September.
Read more from DNAinfo.
By Julie Shapiro
A Battery Park City elementary school won top honors this week for using cafeteria trays made out of sugarcane rather than Styrofoam.
P.S. 89 earned a citywide elementary Golden Apple award from the Department of Sanitation and a Golden Shovel from the department’s NYC Compost Project after cutting its lunchtime trash output by more than half in just the last few months.
“We could see how dedicated your school was to reduce, reuse, recycle and to composting,” Carey Pulverman, a manager for the NYC Compost Project, told the students at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
“A lot of you changed your daily habits here in the lunchroom, and we’ve been very impressed by that.”
P.S. 89’s parent-led “Green Team” spearheaded the switch from Styrofoam trays to biodegradable trays made of sugarcane, starch and wood pulp earlier this year after becoming concerned about the school’s trash output, said Diana Biagioli, a P.S. 89 parent.
The PTA pays the extra two cents it costs to purchase each environmentally friendly tray and is working with Holton Farms in Vermont to compost them after they’re used. The school goes through about 350 to 400 trays per day, Biagioli said.
Rather than dumping everything, including the trays, into the trash after lunch, P.S. 89 students now carefully remove any leftover food from their trays and stack them on a table. They also pour out their extra milk and recycle the cardboard cartons.
Parent volunteers are on hand every day to supervise the process — but most students know the routine and say they didn’t mind the extra steps.
“If we don’t take care of our planet, it will become a big dump,” said 7-year-old Himani Sirsi, who lives in Battery Park City. “The Styrofoam trays release toxic gases, and they’re bad for the planet.”
Since switching to sugarcane trays in February, P.S. 89 has reduced its lunchtime trash output from eight to 12 bags of garbage a day to just four, parents said.
Michelle Lee, 7, a Battery Park City resident, said that after learning about the environment in school, she often reminds her parents to recycle at home, and now she hopes to spread the lesson to other schools as well.
“If every school in the universe does this, it’ll be happier [for] the planet,” she said.
See more from DNAinfo.
Last Saturday, 362 swimmers from as far west as California and Hawaii and from Ireland, England, Australia, Serbia, India, Canada and a few other places on the map jumped into the Hudson River at Christopher Street in Greenwich Village and swam to North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, 1.6 miles away. NYC Swim, which stages 17 races a year in New York harbor, sponsored the May 28 event. The winning time of 00:25:55:00 was posted by Jon Wilkinson, a 39-year-old attorney from Portsmouth, N.H.
The participants ranged in age from 13 to 80. Ken Thompson, 57, an accountant who lives in Greenwich Village, said he had swum in Hudson River races more than 20 times.
“To swim more than a mile when you’re 57 takes a lot of stamina,” he said. He also noted, “In open water, an older swimmer has an opportunity to beat a younger swimmer.” Unlike swimming pools, said Thompson, in open water there are a lot of “surprises.”
The fastest female swimmer in the race was Janet Harris, 45, of New York City with a time of 00:28:39:00. She arrived at the finish line simultaneously with Nathaniel Dean, 34, who trains with the BearCats Masters at Baruch College.
“When I get in the water, I’m a different person,” said Dean. “Everything else about the world absolutely disappears. It’s like Zen.”
Both Harris and Dean will be swimming in the next NYC Swim event, a 28.5-mile race around the island of Manhattan on June 18. The race will start and end at South Cove in Battery Park City. There will be 35 solo swimmers whose credentials include swimming the Catalina and English Channels, the Chesapeake Bay and the Strait of Gibraltar and several two-, four- and six-person relay teams. The participants will come from 10 countries and 13 states.
Read more news from Downtown Express.
The effort — “Get More NYC: Lower Manhattan,” which begins June 1 — extols the virtues of Lower Manhattan hotels, restaurants, shops, history, museums, and other attractions, including the 9/11 Memorial, which the city says will open on Sept. 12.
In addition to outdoor ads in the five boroughs, a taxicab monitor spot promoting Lower Manhattan, and an initiative to promote Lower Manhattan to meeting planners, the effort includes a media program at JFK International Airport’s Terminal 4 starting this summer. Posters, wall clings and column wraps showing imagery of the City with a particular emphasis on Lower Manhattan will festoon the terminal.
Read the full article from MediaPost.
“The Attendants,” allows viewers to text instructions to actors and runs Thursday to Saturday in the Winter Garden.
An interactive performance that conveys the frustration of being trapped in a cubicle is opening this week in the World Financial Center
Called “The Attendants,” the installation features two people stuck in an 8-foot, plexiglass cube, acting out their responses to text messages from the audience. The two actors will wear corporate-looking black suits and will respond only physically, not with words.
“It speaks to the way we live now,” said Chance Muehleck, co-founder of The Nerve Tank, which is producing the show. “The way we’re connected, and yet the distance that exists with all the technology.”
From Thursday through Saturday, the clear cube — which has an open top to allow the actors to breathe — will sit in the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, in the middle of one of the largest office complexes in the city.
“I think people will be intrigued by it,” said Debra Simon, artistic director of Arts World Financial Center. “I think they will be puzzled [at first] and then they will be intrigued.
Muehleck hopes the installation will attract tourists and residents in addition to the thousands of office workers who pass through the Winter Garden each day, because the more people interact with the cube, the more interesting it will be.
Read more from DNAinfo.
The coming weekend will be a busy one in B.P.C. On Fri., May 6 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the first of the year’s Sunset Singing Circles will take place in Wagner Park. Accompanied by guitars, people sit on the grass and sing folk songs and standards (song sheets provided) as the sun sets over the harbor. The event is free.
On Sat., May 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. will be the first of the season’s family dances on the Esplanade Plaza by North Cove Marina. The theme is “Bluegrass” and the Ebony Hillbillies, a band consisting of fiddle, banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar and washboard, will provide the music. Don Coy, from Louisville, Ky., will teach square dancing steps and call the dances — no partners or experience needed.
See more from Downtown Express.