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EAST SIDE OBSERVER

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Read back — Would like to share and respond to reader reactions to recent columns: “Comings and Goings.” Inveterate East Sider that I am, a reader called me out for not knowing that Gabriela’s restaurant was on Columbus, not Amsterdam, Avenue. So sorry. Won’t happen again and be assured that I’ll revisit Gabriela’s on Columbus for their margaritas. Not their bean soup. Can’t fight the small spoon spillage... And a reader, Dr. Loosen, wants to know if there are reasons other than rising rents that are causing empty storefronts. Here’s my short list: higher costs, government regulations, higher wages, developers and hospitals that lust for Manhattan real estate and will pay big, big bucks for the privilege of razing blocks of residential and commercial tenancies so they can build, build, build. These buildings are fertile ground for massive construction. Like it or not, the age of moms and pops and small independent businesses are passé. Maybe it can be stopped on an ad hoc basis, but IMHO it’s a losing battle... Dr. Loosen also wanted to add, in response to the “Street Seens” column reporting on the classy closing of Hu’s paleo restaurant on East 86th Street, that Hu’s 14th Street location survives because trust fund students can afford it. I’d posit that Hu’s menu and preparations are more in sync with a student population whatever the price. Just saying.

From chair to bench — Community Board 8 recently bid farewell to James G. Clynes at Maz Mezcal restaurant on East 86th Street. In November, Clynes, who chaired CB8 for the last 3 years and was a member for 12 years, was elected to be a judge in Manhattan Civil Court. He will be inducted on January 25 in the Civil Court House at 111 Centre Street at 4:30 p.m.

It’s 9 p.m. ... no lights — It may be an old wives tale, but it seems to have resonance these days. If you look up at a low-rise building at about 9 p.m. and there’s the glow of maybe one TV flickering with all other windows gone black, it has come to mean that the building is going bye-bye. Think 79th/80th on First. And now it seems to be the fate of the block — buildings, storefronts — on Third Avenue between 76th/77th on the east side. The high-end, ever popular Atlantic Grill is shuttered. Bank closed. McCabes liquor store on the 77th Street corner is moving across Third Avenue. Explanation? See “Read back” item above.

Movie comeback — Was glad to see lines and “Sold Out” signs at Cinema 86 for the recent showings of “Phantom Thread,” “I, Tonya” and “Lady Bird.” Made me think that the upcoming demise of Lincoln Plaza on Broadway and the Landmark on East Houston doesn’t mean that there aren’t still moviegoers who like seeing films on a large silver screen in a movie house in addition to watching Netflix films at home and on hand-held devices.


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