Parts of the East Side of Manhattan can be so congested, there’s often not space on the sidewalks to walk. At times, crossing the street, even in the crosswalk with the “walk” sign lit, can seem a stressful neck exercise as our eyes scout every possible direction. But our neighborhoods are amazingly safe for the pedestrian, if recent city statistics are to be believed.
Back in the ‘60’s, when I was a teenager and then a young adult, New York City was a big draw for certain young people, primarily or entirely because the drinking age was 18. It was, as now, 21 in New Jersey and Connecticut. New York raised it to 19 in 1982 and then to 21 in 1985, under pressure from the not-fun-loving Feds.
The New York City Police Department reports that New York City is en route to recording the lowest number of murders in a year since the 1950s. And how many of those murders occurred on the Upper East Side? Zero would be the correct answer.
An apartment in a co-op on Park Avenue has been owned by a family member for over seventy years.
The unit was first owned by a cranky bachelor uncle, then it was taken over by his brother, my father. The place was then sold as part of my father’s estate, and, finally, a lesser unit was bought in the same building by a sister.
The argument has become tiresome. To make themselves “affordable,” so-called elite cities must plow down their old neighborhoods for new forests of sterile towers. To argue otherwise is to open one to charges of NIMBYism. In our opinion, the people who live in these places have every right to influence what does and what does not go in their backyard.
What made me start to think about the demise of New York coffee shops was the surprise closure of Gene’s Coffee Shop (pictured above), a favorite local institution on East 60th Street between Madison and Park. An eviction sign in the window suggested that the owners were forced out, at least in part, by the rent.