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  • Photo: Andrij Bulba, via flickr



east side observer

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Church and a state of mind — Standing on Lex near 89th waiting for a local bus. Construction worker in a hard hat walks out of the convenience store. Standing in the portal of the store, he crosses himself. Couldn’t understand why he would do that. There was a church on the next corner, but he wouldn’t see it until he exited the store. Noticed that he was holding something in his hand. Lifting it to his lips, he kissed it. A stack of lottery tickets. Kisses and crosses. Hoping they worked.

The whole world’s in their hands — Whole Foods is taking over the city. UES, LES, crosstown, Uptown. Everywhere. The latest encounter I’ve had with the behemoth is the newly opened Bryant Park location. Looks spiffy, but as you enter the vertical-horizontal sprawl mid-block between 42nd and 43rd Streets on Sixth Ave, it feels like you’re in maybe Grand Central Station, Penn Station or Union Station. Off to the right is News Agency — love the name and its promise of maybe a newspaper (they do carry The New York Times) — a coffee hub with pastries, pre-made, packaged sandwiches, salads. To the left is the entrance to the world of produce, dairy. In the middle are stairs and escalators leading to the food court. Unlike any other Whole Foods stores I’ve been to or am aware of, this one has vendors and kiosks and a food hall where you can eat-in, take-out, or sit-down and dine. As I recall, the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle had a wine shop at one point. No more. Well at Bryant Park location, there’s Harbor Bar where you can have cocktails, and Frankie’s Spuntino’s where you can have wine. Seems that Frankie’s also may be taking over the town. In addition to their several Court Street locations in that outer borough, they have a Hudson Street restaurant. We’re in a Whole Foods evolving world.

Post haste — The promise of haste — Don’t even think about it at the post office — Post-lunchtime on a Tuesday afternoon. Man standing on line holding two overnight “priority” envelopes in his hand at the FDR Post Office on Third Avenue and 54th-55th Streets. Medium to long line. He was standing, tapping his foot. Obviously in a hurry. A smile crossed his face when a postal worker looking to shorten the line said to him, “Come with me. You’ll be out in no time.” She escorted him over to the side. Took out her phone with all of the accoutrements to input information for the mailing label and to accept credit card payment in “1-2-3,” she said, and we’re done. As luck would have it, life intervened. The ZIP code wasn’t matching. The label wasn’t printing. Tried again. Same thing. Along came a manager. Similar problem until he said “OK, it went through” — “IT” meant the two envelopes the man was holding, and IT was taken to the counter for mailing as the man implored the manager to recall it and he (the man) would start all over at the counter. “No, it’s being mailed. Can’t do anything about it.” Until the manager had second thoughts and hurried the man over to the counter. Had the mailing recalled. The man started all over again which meant that the postal worker behind the counter had to remove the labels and replace them with new ones. A surgical procedure to be sure, but a huge success. Nodding his head in disbelief and looking at his watch, the man’s parting words to those still on line, “Wait. Wait your turn. No shortcuts, trust me.”

Dems not the only ones — Seems Manhattan Republicans are feeling the heat of the Trump presidency. The Metropolitan Republican Club on East 83rd Street, which has tripled its membership in the last two years, is having its own internecine battles. Seems former executive committee members who supported Trump weren’t re-nominated to the executive committee and they’re blaming it on their support of the president. The club’s saying that there are other “valid reasons” for their not being voted in. And that new blood keeps them (the Met Club) “vibrant.” Out with the old. In with the new. Nothing new about that. But when it happens, it’s real, not fake, news.


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