Memories and boundaries


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  • Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim, via flickr



EAST SIDE OBSERVER

by Arlene Kayatt

Manhattan moms’ memories: New Year’s Day, longtime neighbors standing in apartment building lobby. First neighbor reminiscing, “My daughter just got married at Tavern on the Green. Made me cry a little when I remembered her sitting in a high-chair in the Crystal Room.” Second neighbor, “Oh, do I remember her. She was a real little brat, always terrorizing my 3-year-old.” First mom, “I like my memory better. Happy New Year.”

In praise of public service ads: In a recent 2016 end of year issue, the Wall Street Journal took notice of The Best and The Worst in some advertising campaigns in an article headlined, “Ads Flirted With Boundaries of Taste.” They gave thumbs up to Sprint’s successful ads resulting from their having poached Verizon’s pitchman, and to Taco Bell’s ads with selfies transforming heads into giant tacos with drizzling Diablo sauce. And then there were The Worst. Will pass on those. Don’t know why a really effective public service ad wasn’t recognized among The Best. Other no-smoking ads have graphically emphasized the devastating physical consequences of smoking. Never being a smoker myself, I could only wonder how anyone could smoke after seeing those ads. Friends who are or were smokers found them a turn-off because, you know, that-wouldn’t/couldn’t-happen-to-me attitude. But the “Que Sera, Sera” no-smoking ad deserves recognition and takes the issue to another level. A couple, probably husband and wife, at home, and a young child sitting at a table probably doing homework is looking on. Husband, in his 40s, rises out of bed in hospital type PJs, oxygen tube through his nose circling his ears, into the arms of his wife. The couple hold each other, dance in place, and look soulfully, sadly into each other’s eyes as their child looks on. No talking. Just words and music of “Que Sera Sera” in the background with the public service announcer saying, as the words appear on screen, “What will be doesn’t have to be,” along with 1-866-NYQuits phone number on the screen. Tasteful. Powerful. Deserves recognition.

Online sales the old-fashioned way: Long lines are the dream of all businesses. Nowadays customers are willing to wait. You can’t sell iPads or Apples or iPods by giving them to those standing on line. But if you’re in the food business in a brick-and-mortar store, you can boost sales by enticing the on liners with a taste — maybe of lobster or shrimp salad or some gravlax or a chopped liver nosh — as they wait. That’s what happened at a local appetizing store during Christmas-Hanukkah week as behind-the-counter staff passed canape-sized servings to those waiting on line. It worked. Sales picked up. The immediate feedback, literally and figuratively, worked. And everyone was smiling. Doesn’t happen with Amazon. For sure.

Right of way: City street traffic needs an intervention. Some higher authority to let the public know who and what goes first. It’s maddening. A corner on almost any avenue is home to a supermarket or a CVS or a Duane Reade with a good deal of foot traffic going in and out of the establishments. Supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Fairway, Trader Joe’s and the like have food carts and delivery people as a continuing presence on the street. So what’s a pedestrian or cyclist or skateboarder or someone in a wheelchair or with a walker or a stroller or a dog to do? Or maybe a street vendor or two selling food or wares. Everybody’s got the right to be there. Right? But who goes first when they’re all there at the same time? Can’t ask the City Council because they’ll come up with someone or something else giving them the right to be there. Right? What’s a person to do?



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