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east side observer

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Alert: Missing bus stop and other rider hassles — Lexington between 88th and 89th. A page in any publication or blog detailing the outrageous conduct of the MTA as an entity and drivers as their agents would sure have a following. Including twits and tweets! While it’s understood, well-known and detested, riders know that construction happens in NY and for some reason there’s always a bus stop included in the construction site. But where’s the notice letting riders know where the replacement stop is? You won’t find out from the MTA. And don’t bother asking the bus driver when you arrive with bated breath at the next stop. He won’t tell you. “But what was the stop before this one?” asked the exasperated rider who sprinted several blocks to catch the bus she just missed. “You’re on the bus now, right?” Smarts 101. And then there’s the driver on the M55 route that travels along what starts as Church Street and becomes Sixth Ave and which was previously the M5. The route started at South Ferry and World Trade Center and ended in Washington Heights and was curtailed and now ends at 44th and Sixth. At the same stop you get what I think is still called M5 which continues on up to Washington Heights, just like old times. A rider unfamiliar with the change asked the driver if he could change at 44th Street without having to pay an additional fare on the continued route. “You’ll have to ask the next driver to find out.” Hmm. Just what the public needs, bus driver discretion to decide the fate of each passenger’s fare. Imagine the brouhahas and time wasted as the driver pronounces his/her decision about who pays and who doesn’t. Oy. No wonder neither Gov. Cuomo nor Mayor de Blasio claim ownership of the MTA. Can we talk, Joe Lohta?

Delivery by the ounce — It must be two years since Key Food replaced Associated Market on Second Ave in the 90s where it now stands in an upgraded physical condition. However, supermarkets like Key Food, Associated and Gristede’s are going the way of moms and pops. My take is that moms and pops are generally forced out by high rents and competition from CVSes and Duane Reades and that the big box supermarkets are prey to Amazon/Whole Foods. While I’ll stick with the locals — Key Food, C Town (which exists for now on First Ave in the 80s), Gristedes, D’Agostino’s (the latter two are too pricey) — I can’t really abide the $4.95 service charge for delivery at Key Food. With the diminishing number of food markets around and the higher costs, neighborhood residents opt to shop in quantity, but if you have to add $5 to your bill, it may not be worth it. Especially if you are a single person household. Nearly $5 is a hefty add-on even if you’re shopping at supermarkets with cheaper prices.

Halloween Boo Boo — Not much of a secret that the closely guarded townhouse on East 81st (Lex/Third) belongs to Madonna, who claims to cherish her privacy. So why would she decorate the enclosed sprawl — which she says she wants “hidden” from the hoi polloi — with ghosts and ghouls hanging out windows? The spooky types Madonna shuns were busily snapping pics and peeking between the opening in the gates, hoping maybe to see Madge in the surroundings of her one-woman gated community. Sorry, no sightings to report.

Bentornato, Il Carino — Nice to see the new canopy at Yorkville’s Il Carino Italian restaurant. It’s eye-catching, colorful and a stand-out. Welcome back, again. This time to stay.

CUNY’s got “Close Up” — Sam Roberts is back. His formerly erstwhile NY1 Sunday p.m./Monday a.m. hour has found a weekly home, albeit for a half-hour, early Sunday afternoons on the CUNY station. The New York-ey, well-informed reporters and other talking heads really have the pulse and beat of our town. Lively, acerbic real New York as it takes on the issues. The lively and chatty hour was a high point of the week in getting an overview of the week’s news by Times reporters — the newbies and the old-timers — holding forth about the ins and outs of mostly local and state news. Their no-holds-barred take on the week’s news is fun and informed. Breathing is more refreshing with Close Up on the CUNY Channel (75 on Spectrum). Great having the regulars back — Sam Roberts, Clyde Haberman, Eleanor Randolph. Cheers!





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