Skinny Buildings and Stopped Clocks

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Slivery slot on a vacant lot - Brick, mortar and bucks are what it takes to build. And build they will, no matter how slim the space. That vacant lot on East 93rd Street between First and Second Avenues, located between two old Yorkville five-story buildings, is getting a six-story residential building with one apartment unit per floor - translation: six apartments in the 60-foot tall building. Older buildings in the immediate vicinity, which were built in the early 1900’s, have five stories and a total of about 20 units per building. The new building’s plans, filed with the Department of Buildings for the slivery site, include bike storage, storage rooms for tenants, and a rooftop space for recreation. Doesn’t sound like affordable housing to me.

Where time stands still - It’s 2 o’clock twice a day. We all know that. But for the early 20th century Yorkville clock standing on Third Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets on Third Avenue, it’s that time all the time. The 17-foot tall clock was designated a city landmark and in 1996 Our Town wrote about its 100th anniversary and the clock’s restoration. Fortunately, the fire that broke out earlier this month, and possibly destroyed the Highlands Cafe diner on the corner of 85th Street, didn’t damage the clock or other businesses on the avenue. However, Jacques Bistro, located next to Highlands on its 85th Street side, was also affected by the fire. Occupied apartments above Highlands were evacuated and reports are that there were no injuries or fatalities. Time will tell the fate of the restaurants. And time will continue to stand still on the Yorkville clock, unless there’s a landmark intervention.

Lucky Luna - Luna, an upstate dog who faced death because of a dog bite incident, was spared the death penalty by Governor Cuomo. Luna was confined to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society after she bit another dog and its owner. Under the city’s dangerous dog law, Luna was ordered to be put down. Although the law has since changed, Luna was still subject to the old law’s death penalty. It took a judge’s order to stay Luna’s execution and the governor’s pardon to spare the six-year-old pit bull. Lucky for Luna, she had the sympathy and support of upstate Senator Jim Tedisco, who advocated for sparing Luna the death penalty. The senator reached out to the governor last week to pardon Luna. He did so after Luna’s owners entered into an agreement with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. The agreement requires that Luna be kept on a leash, wear a muzzle while off her owner’s property and that she be spayed and microchipped before departing the Humane Society. In addition, the owners must pay a $1,500 fine. After two years, if there is full compliance, Luna’s case will be dismissed. Lucky for Luna that she’ll be home for Christmas.

Bad news maybe not so bad - Turns out the Third Avenue Garden, which I reported was closing in my last column, isn’t closing after all. The good news is it’s still open for business. But it still looks like it’s going out of business. Maybe. Maybe not. This time nobody’s talking. Except for fresh produce, flowers and perhaps deli meats and unpackaged breads, empty shelves are not replenished. And daily and weekend newspapers are not delivered. While the fate of the market/bodega/grocery remains unknown to the public, I’ll keep shopping the Garden.

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