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.
In the morning of July 10, 2006, Dr. Nicholas Bartha, 66, took his own life by blowing up the townhouse he had resolved to live in until his death. The story of marital failure leading to lawsuits leading to the gas explosion is too sad to recount and beside the point of this post. The lot at 34 East 62nd St., on one of Manhattan’s wealthiest blocks, has been empty for a decade. The battle to build anew has pitted preservationists against each other, and exposes the preservation ethos at its worst.The New York Times and The Architect’s Newspaper reported on the battle over the most recent design proposal.The controversy reminds me of the 1845 Greek Revival townhouse in Greenwich Village that was demolished during a 1970 attempt by the Weather Underground to build a bomb. It was replaced in 1978 by a quasi-modernist townhouse of brick, designed by Hugh Hardy in the same style except that its three bays seem to swivel on a vertical access so that half of it swings in on the building facade and the other half swings out. Really quite an interesting response to the site’s history, much more ingeniously creative than might be expected of a modernist. Lovely, in fact.
Unlike the area surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, midtown was designed to be a public grid. We have shops, offices and residents living there. Forcing several blocks around Trump Tower into periodic lockdown seems highly unreasonable. It has already taken a toll on Tiffany’s, Gucci and other nearby Fifth Avenue merchants. Hence, the Christmas shopping season was painful.