Wine, before its time

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In plain sleight — Upper East Side electeds are great at keeping their constituents informed of their legislative efforts and work in and for the community. Their newsletters arrive monthly, primarily by email. A most recent one from Council Member Ben Kallos caught my attention. It was titled Ben Kallos Reform Democrat. It took me by surprise. There it was, front and center right on top of the mailing, but I’d never noticed or paid attention to the “Reform Democrat” part. So I checked the priors — and sure enough, all the same, always Ben Kallos Reform Democrat. Why the surprise? First, these days the operative adjective for most Democrats is “progressive.” And second, words like “liberal” and “reform” are not in fashion or are passe. Or verboten. So why reform?

MetroCard madness — Whether you’re for or against having to prepay for a Select Bus before you get on, the least the MTA or the Department of Transportation can do is maintain the prepay stations so that riders can get on the bus without running the risk of getting a $100 fine for not paying. On three occasions over the last month, riders were complaining that the reduced-rate station was out of order at two bus stops. Torrential rains didn’t make it easier. But riders fortunate enough to have been able to prepay at a working station may have been rewarded with transfers that expired 10 minutes later as happened on several uptown M15 bus routes. But that challenge is for another bus ride.

To whine or not to wine — Listen, I’m for wine, not whine. But if it’s red, serve mine in the time-honored way, at least at room temperature. And if I’m going to pay $10 for a glass, as I did at Eli’s on 87th and Lex — or anywhere else for that matter — I don’t want it frose-style. (Frose, the latest icy, slushy rose cocktail that’s all the rage this summer. If I want Frose, I’ll order it). When I told the server about the too, too cold red, she said that “That’s the way it’s served” and “since it’s before 5 o’clock and before the wine server arrives,” I could wait and let him know. No thanks. It was 3 in the afternoon. I’d already sipped and paid the 10 and wasn’t about to hang out for the wine to get warm and tell the wine server that he should clue in the staff about how to serve red wine. So I drank what tasted like an icy cherry soda. Not one to let the incident go unnoticed or unreported, I returned later in the week to see how the wine man served red wine after 5 and to share with him my pre-5 o’clock experience with Eli’s red wine. Sure enough, the wine man served the red at room temperature. When I told him what had happened earlier, he commiserated by letting me know that “That happens before 5. They don’t know.” Oh. If Eli’s is making a distinction in how their wines are served before and after 5 o’clock, or if they just don’t care, then the price should be adjusted and the consumer informed that red wine is best served cold at Eli’s. Without revenge. Or something like that. Ten bucks for a glass of cold cold red wine deserves an explanation better than the one I got from Eli’s.

Reader responses to East Side Observer columns — Dr. Loosen wants to know whether the Toy Store on East 86th Street between Third and Lex is going to move out now that Panera is gone. My information is that the toy store plans to stay. Although Toy Store has been somewhat of an eyesore — IMHO — from the outside, it’s been a mainstay in the community for many years and is always busy and lively with kids and accompanying adults. The same Dr. Loosen, and several other readers, want “stroller brigades” included in the list of sidewalk obstructions I’ve written about. So noted. Strollers seem to be purchased with family planning in mind. I’ve seen many a stroller with one infant in a seat. And two empties. Sure seems like a plan.

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