In with the new

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by Arlene Kayatt

Czech in, French out — Some olds are in, some not. Before celebrating a new Eastern European ethnic restaurant on the UES, have to bid adieu to Le Perigord French restaurant on East 52nd and First Avenue. Owner Georges Briguet had to close the doors of his cherished Le Perigord after 52 years — and not because the rent’s too high. Reasonable rent and only high praise for the landlord. Word has it that the forced closing comes in the wake of the high cost of a union contract. Never fun to lose a great New York restaurant. Impeccable service. Tasteful menu. Le Perigord served the rich, the famous, and locals forever. Locals in that part of town include Le Perigord regulars Henry Kissinger, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and husband Alan Greenspan. In the late 90s NY’s then Chief Judge Judith Kaye performed CBS News’ Marcia Kramer’s wedding in the garden room. On the upside of today’s restaurant scene, it was exhilarating to find Bohemian Spirit, a Czech restaurant bringing back the sights and ethnic food of old Yorkville in a modern room with recipes and a menu from the homeland. Think beef goulash, sour red cabbage, potato pancakes, dumplings, schnitzel, rye bread and apple strudel to die for. And let’s not forget Pilsner Urquell beer. And terrific Czech red wine. Owned by Vit and Vlasta Stuchl, both Czech natives, the husband and wife moved to the city and opened Bohemian Spirit on the Upper East Side where they had lived earlier on. Spanning the walls are full-sized black-and-white portraits of celebrated Czechs, and others. Nice to know that Eastern European food and flavor is making a resurgence in Yorkville. Opened about a year ago and located on East 73rd Street between First and Second Avenues in Bohemian National Hall (formerly home to Manhattan Theatre Club), Bohemian Spirit has a strong millennial and family following for dining and drinking night after night. True Bohemian spirit. Na zdravi!

Cornered — Milano’s Market, corner store with two entrances/exits, one on Third Avenue, the other on 89th Street. The Third Ave. entrance has a step up. Mid weekday afternoon, a sweet Labrador collie was tethered to the door handle on Third Ave. waiting patiently as his owner/walker/whatever went shopping. Along came a woman, two beautiful leashed standard poodles in tow. Smiling brightly, she tethered the pretty poodles to the 89th Street door entrance and left them waiting patiently as she went shopping. Get the picture — three catty-cornered dogs in a row. No way to get in or out of Milano’s without brushing by the collie or the two poodles. A passerby, disturbed at the sight, motioned to the smiling lady that she would stand vigil with the three dogs (so they wouldn’t bolt, get kidnapped, or have an encounter with someone trying to get in or out of Milano’s). One customer leaving Milano’s had to stop to figure out how she could leave with a hot container of coffee in each hand and not cause a dog day afternoon. A wheelchair-bound man with an aide luckily arrived as the collie leasher was leaving. The man, leash and dog in hand, wanted to know why everyone was standing around. Give me a break. Nobody bothered to tell him. Nor did they say anything to the still smiling woman who thanked the passerby for watching her dogs. Why bother? They’ll do it again, and again. Clueless.

Color coordinated — To celebrate the newly opened Second Avenue subway — after more than a hundred years! — some local businesses have taken to livening up their look on the avenue. Take Rathbones and Genesis, both pub/restaurants on Second Avenue between 88th and 89th — where they seem to have coordinated their sidewalk cafes with the same tables and chairs in different colors: green slat tables and chairs for Rathbones, and red slat tables and chairs for Genesis. Standing between the two is Goodwill Thrift Shop in same old same old. No change there — but it’s great to see that the Second Avenue subway is finally bringing joy and goodwill to businesses and residents on the UES. Took a century, but it’s welcome.

Stop skipping — The bus stop at 90th and Second Avenue was removed well over a year ago, never to return. Strange, because local bus stops are usually located within two blocks of each other. That’s not the case on Second Avenue There are local stops at 94th and 86th Streets. The immediate neighborhood includes high rises, walk ups, senior housing, schools, a hotel, and never-ending building construction. The street at 90th and Second is wide. There are new steel benches at the location probably placed there when there was a bus stop. And a Ruppert Park spans the street from corner to corner. Where’s the old bus stop? Bring it back. Too many blocks between stops.

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On the block

east side observer


What’s missing — When a local business goes out, my thoughts are generally about the loss to the...


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