Places, and Music, to save us My Story

| 25 Jul 2016 | 04:20

While losing neighborhood places which meet everyday needs is a forever loss, heat waves come and go but take a considerable toll which may be forever and fatal, especially for ill and elder people. But media, pols, wannabees seem unaware of the current nation-wide scorcher – or I’ve missed warnings for say, able-bodied citizens, to please look out for those who are not.

But co-manager of our lamentably now closed East End Gristedes, Ellen Ma, called to check on several customers. If ever there were a role model store work force it’s the one which worked for decades at East End Gristedes, co-managed by Joe Linn. The good news is several of them are working together in their new job assignment. “But it’s not the same!” And they will stay in touch with each other and with customers who especially need them -- above all those without doormen, who are often like family.

And about the heat wave, neighborhood stores and restaurants are also cooling centers, and yes, in this high tech age, not everyone has air conditioning. Old homes may need costly re-wiring – ACs are expensive to run. Another argument against LED street lights is that nearby windows must be shrouded with drapes to keep out their high intensity rays. Open window ventilation is out.

Before the heat wave, this column planned to be all about the two photos, one of another place we could not afford to lose - The East End Kitchen on 81st just east of East End. And the notices in the window express the owners, Diane and Alan Carlin’s “deep sadness” over the closing of the restaurant whose fifth birthday it would be on July 31. (Demolition of this building which also houses lost Gristedes seems fairly imminent). The Carlins are so thankful for the encouragement and support they’ve received and their letter so importantly ends with the words. “We must work together to save our neighborhoods.”

Maybe leave a message of thanks outside the Kitchen and also Gristedes, but organize we must! And elected officials and civic, faith and other groups too must speak out as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito does to save East Harlem’s City Fresh Market from closure;

“Taking away the only supermarket which serves the need of this community is heinous, immoral, and economically unsound!” This rally with a large crowd of protestors made the nightly news but all too briefly. H-m-m-m.

Of course, it’s worse when it’s the only market, but strong words must be said, and rallies held overall these so essential neighborhood place. If ever there were a city crisis...

And now so little space to wildly applaud the 7th annual Swingtime Big Band concert in Carl Schurz Park. This 18-piece great band with two fine vocalists led by Steve Shaiman who is so dedicated to keeping this music alive is what we especially needed in this year of so many poignant local losses. George Gershwin music was featured this year – doesn’t get better than that – and mostly up-tempo songs had the standing room-only audience tapping their toes, and some were dancing. But it’s the smiles and greetings exchanged, some for the first time like Peter Pereira, kindly taking this photo for me. Wannabees/policymakers please note – all of the above!

But dear readers, they must be reminded – must be reminded. It can be done if enough of us try – enough of us try.