Impressions and opinions
EAST SIDE OBSERVER
BY ARLENE KAYATT
Seating for the Select only — Great news: the M15 bus stop at Second Avenue and 86th Street has been relocated to the newly widened block between 86th and 87th Street. The bus shelter on the 86th Street corner has seating. And it’s where the Select bus stops. The fare boxes are several feet north of the shelter. And there’s a pole designating where the local bus stops. Only problem is that the location of the shelter seating makes it difficult or impossible for a rider waiting for a local bus to walk or run quickly enough to make it to the local from the Select stop. A reasonable solution would be to have seating a few feet north of the fare boxes WITHOUT a shelter. That way all riders would be accommodated, including those with disabilities. Sound doable? Let the bureaucracy begin.
Millionaires in a row — The UES is having its share of high roller wins. The convenience store on Third between 91st/92nd had a million-dollar winner in Powerball in February. And the convenience store midblock on Lex between 89th/90th had a winner in the half-million-dollar range around the same time. As the ad goes, you have to be in it to win it. The UES is listening.
The house on 91st Street — You have to commend UESiders. No NIMBY attitude for them. With all the bad press about neighborhoods being unreceptive to supportive housing and shelters, the community has come out strong for the Win — Women in Need — permanent supportive housing for homeless women and their children, which is starting construction at 316 East 91st and should be completed in the next two years. It will be seven stories, and have 17 apartments for mothers and their kids; an early learning center for children; offices for social services support staff for the single-parent families; and commercial space, as well as amenities like an outside space (not sure if its for use of residents or school, both or something else). The community turnout to hear presenters from WIN was large on the rainy late March meeting of Community Board 8’s Health, Seniors and Social Services Committee, chaired by Barbara Rudder. After lengthy discussion, WIN received the committee’s unanimous go-ahead. Although in favor of the building, some residents expressed disappointment — some in fact were outraged — that adequate security measures were not included in WIN’S housing plan. The plan has no round-the-clock security guards and only vague descriptions about the location of surveillance cameras in elevators or in open spaces or within the school and commercial portions of the premises. There also is no full-time superintendent on the premises. This is a 24/7 residential, educational and commercial building. The school will be up and running at least five days a week, as will support services staff offices. And no security plan in place. Unbelievable. Jerry Mascuch, vice president of real estate for WIN, opined — make that complained — that he got calls “all the time” from security people — “but all they want is money.” Yes, security staffing costs money. You can’t have a multi-use premises and not have good security and protection for those who live and work in the building. Yet WIN hasn’t provided a security plan. The WIN presenters, including Mascuch, said they couldn’t make commitments concerning security. They could promise only that they would “advocate” for security. They must be kidding. An at-risk population; multi-use premises; Children who live and go to school in the building. Final approval by Board 8 at its April 19th meeting should be put on hold until Win presents a fully described security plan with adequate funding in their annual budget. It is a dereliction of duty to do otherwise. It’s a disservice to the tenants, their children, the school, commercial tenants and the community. Not all apartment buildings or complexes have doormen or concierges. But they do have other security measures including guards, surveillance cameras and a security desk. Safety matters and should not be ignored or given short shrift.
Cosmetic changes — Since 2015 Blue Mercury has been making its mark on cosmetics and our neighborhoods. The company started in 1999 and was taken over by Macy’s. The booming retailer is a presence throughout Manhattan — from SoHo to Yorkville to Broadway and other avenues. Stores are generally small in scale and carry upscale cosmetic products and services. Blue Mercury has become a new brand commercial retailer and their presence is starting to identify neighborhoods the way Gap once did. The way Dry Dock bank once did. And the way CVS, Duane Reade do now. Today, it’s big box and chain stores. BM’s look is spiffy and upscale. But it’s a chain. Where once cosmetics were relegated to sections of small stores, they now have their own storefront space in free standing locations. Sephora, which started it all in 1969 came to NY in 1998, is larger and more expansive in product brands than their new-kid-on-the-block competition. Both are front and center in 21st century commercial Manhattan. Corporate’s in, moms and pops are out.
Great decision — This just in: Manhattan Supreme Court Judge George J. Silver has been appointed deputy chief administrative judge for New York City courts. Silver is highly regarded by the judiciary for his expertise in settling cases, his administrative skills and the efficiency with which he runs his courtroom. Good news for the court system.
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