A whole new Yorkville

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  • Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray at the inaugural ride of the Second Avenue subway. Photo: Edwin J Torres/ Mayoral Photo Office.

East Side Observer

by Arlene Kayatt

No fair there — Say what you will, and like it or not, street fairs have become a part of NY summers and early fall. Kvetch about the sameness of what’s there, the street closings, the traffic diversions, whatever. For bigger or smaller, better or worse, I love them. What I don’t love is when streets where the fair begins and/or ends are misidentified. Most recently the fair scheduled for Lexington between 57th and 42nd started at 53rd Street. No vendors from 57th to 53rd. It’s one thing to walk the walk and look/see/shop the stalls along the way. Quite another to walk the empty streets with no vendors in sight. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s the weekend and I don’t want to complain.

Mayor NIMBY — Mayor de Blasio and his UES neighbors/constituents just don’t like each other. Never have. The mayor doesn’t deny it. Nor do the voters in those districts. In the last mayoral election, Republican Joe Lhota beat de Blasio on the UES. (Citywide Lhota got only 24 percent of the vote.) And it’s not a love-hate relationship between de Blasio and two of three local Democrat clubs on the Upper East Side. It’s all hate. So much so that the mayor refuses to show up at club events of two local clubs — Four Freedoms and Lenox Hill Democratic Club — but will show up for the third UES club — Lexington Democratic Club. All three are progressive clubs. The mayor does show up at West Side Democratic club events. When asked at an UWS club event about the antipathy of his closest neighbors on the East Side, de Blasio candidly said that he wasn’t “comfortable on the Upper East Side,” and didn’t like living there. So it wasn’t surprising that Four Freedoms and LHDC voted “No Endorsement” in the upcoming mayoral primary race and the Lexington club voted to endorse the mayor. The other candidates seeking to run in the primary are Sal Albanese and Robert Gangi. Only when a candidate is endorsed by a club does his or her name appear on the club petitions seeking to get candidates on the ballot. So when you see those green colored petitions on the streets and de Blasio’s name does not appear, you’ll know it’s because he doesn’t like his UES neighbors.

Beauty, beans, and burgers — The 86th Street commercial district, including 2nd and 3rd Avenues and several streets north and south, will soon be home to the cosmetic industry with stores in varying sizes. Right now, there are the small and boutique-y Sabon and L’Occitane. There’s the medium-sized Bluemercury. The even bigger, maybe ginormous Sephora. And roll out the carpet for Ulta, the uber/mega beauty emporium coming to the southwest corner of 86th and Third to the location last occupied by HSBC Bank. That’s the beauty part. Now comes the coffee beans. Already in residence are two Starbucks — one on Lexington, one on Third, both on 87th Street — and a FIKA on Lex and 88th. And the sit-down-and-be-served coffee at Maison Kayser. The newbies to be added to the brew are Very Truly, a sliver of a shop on Third between 88th and 89th, and Birch Upper East Side on 88th Street between 3rd and Lex. And let’s not forget that burgers are in the mix, too — from Shake Shack to Burger King to McDonald’s to the recently opened Wahlburgers on 2nd and 85th, and the not-so-old, not-so-new-in-the-nabe Bareburger on 87th and 2nd. It’s a whole new Yorkville.

It’s cracked — Is it okay, or is it a health-code violation, for a restaurant or coffee shop to serve coffee in a cracked cup? On two separate occasions, in two different establishments, hot coffee was served in a cup that had a crack. When told about it, one barista said, “Oh, it won’t spill. We use it all the time.” Another said, “Don’t worry, it won’t cut your lip or tongue.” Huh?

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