Seen on the Streets

| 31 Jan 2021 | 04:55

    City street power - District 5’s City Council candidates are making the rounds, collecting endorsements from local Dem clubs, public officials, unions, community leaders, activists. Petitioning starts in February for a June primary. The growing list of endorsements for some of the candidates may require a second palm card. The candidates running, in alphabetical order, are Billy Freeland, Rebecca LaMorte, Julie Menin, Kim Moscaritolo, Chris Sosa, Tricia Shimamura. Menin, the most recent entry in the race, was hosted at a recent Zoom meeting by community and political activist David Menegon, and was held several days before the City Council voted on the vendor bill which would increase the number of permits for street vendors from 5,000 to 9,000. I was interested to hear Menin’s take on it since it’s the City Council that votes on passage. Unlike Borough President Brewer and BP candidates Ben Kallos and Mark Levine (both are term limited Council members who voted in favor of the bill), Menin’s view was that brick and mortar businesses are not protected and will continue to suffer dire consequences.

    It was particularly disheartening to read in Jason Cohen’s recent Our Town article, “Taking it to the Streets,” that Brewer, who purportedly advocates for small business protection, commented that “while some small businesses may feel shunned as indoor dining is still banned,” she “feels that by the time this bill is put into law, the restaurants will be fully operational.” Not very helpful, or prescient. There won’t be any restaurants left. With the new legislation’s adding food vendors on the street and setting up willy-nilly, and no relief for restaurants, those restaurants that are still around will end up having to close. I’m hoping that restaurants take the lead of Suzanne Hauptfleish, owner of Kaia Wine Bar, with a South African menu, in the 90s on Third Ave. On weekends, in addition to dining in the outside structure, Kaia has a Weekend Market selling veggies, baked goods, and other edibles. If our public officials insist on coming up with legislation that is short-sighted and doesn’t take into consideration brick and mortar restaurants, there aren’t going to be any small businesses left, only street commerce. And let’s see what happens to citizens and city life when they have to take that on.

    A NY State of law - Seems Trump can leave NY, but NY won’t leave him. This week NY County Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron added to the former president’s legal woes in a second decision relating to production of records to NYS investigators. In the latest ruling, he ordered Trump’s family business, and several associates to turn over to state investigators documents in a civil inquiry pertaining to alleged misinformation about assets in filings for bank loans and tax benefits. Back in November 2019, another NY County Supreme Court Judge Jennifer Schecter held that Trump would have to testify in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who was a contestant on the “The Apprentice.” Looks like Trump needs more than a change of zip code to escape being judged by NY.

    To be frank - One of the unforgettable, unforgivables in my world is the loss of Al Franken from the US Senate. So it’s always nice to know that he’s in town. A recent article and photo of him in the West Side Rag shows him shopping at Fairway on Broadway and West 75th St. He’s wearing the mandatory mask and holding a Harry’s Shoes shopping bag. According to the article’s “tipster,” Franken “couldn’t escape a steady stream of politically passionate Upper West Side well-wishers.” While the Harry Shoes bag may not be as trendy as Jerry Nadler’s Zabar’s bag filled with a babka and the Constitution, it’s nice to see Al Franken in our part of town.

    District 5’s City Council candidates are making the rounds ... The growing list of endorsements for some of the candidates may require a second palm card.