Good grounds for coffee - The days of a Starbucks on every corner are no longer. Just a few here and there, but that doesn’t mean that casual coffee stops are on the way out. Quite the opposite. They’re cropping up all over the UES and most are within a few blocks of each other. There’s Paris Baguette, Le Pain Quotidian, Birch, The Bagel Shop on East 94th, Marathon, Eli’s, Dunkin’ Donuts. Except for Le Pain, all are self-serve. Most are grab and go for coffee, pastry, bagels. Some have sit-down table menus. Most have indoor seating at counters or tables or both. Some have outside seating. Some have more than one location. I’m hearing that Le Pain is adding to their food menu and will be serving wine.
Reader readback - A recent column about Curtis Sliwa remembered the early years of Our Town. Now in its golden year at 50, and as one who was around in the early days, I found it interesting to look back and tell some of the stories and backstories about people and places who are still on the scene and those either in the news or making news. And so it was with forever Guardian Angel and current NYC mayoral candidate, Curtis Sliwa. The column told the tale of Our Town’s founder and then publisher Ed Kayatt working with Sliwa to raise money for tokens for the young Angels to use to enter the subway to protect riders from subway crime. At the time and today, the role of the Guardian Angels in law enforcement is a subject of controversy. Back to writing about candidate Sliwa. To me, it’s an Our Town story. Not to all readers, however. Some thought it wasn’t worthy of print and told me so. Others liked the look back. Here’s two views. Yorkville’s Frank Wilkinson was vehement and said “I have no interest in Sliwa. If I opposed the Democrat, I would write someone in - useless I know, but I am entitled to express an opinion.” And so he is. FYI, Wilkinson’s a stalwart Democrat and involved in Dem Party politics. Another true Dem, West Sider Alan Flacks, was more sanguine in his take on the Sliwa column, simply noting in a sentence in the subject line of his email: “Wished I had saved my old subway tokens.” A good enough takeaway.
P.S. on Morton Williams sidewalk story - A resident in the neighborhood of MW on Second Ave and 49th St. spoke to another manager at the location (not to Manager Bob who was referred to in the column) and I was advised that he said the following: The building (where MW is located) was intending to replace all of the sidewalk around the premises. The exposed part that we see is the top of the “vault” space, that portion of the basement that extends under the sidewalk. There were problems when it came to replacing the fill and, because of the pandemic and supply chain issues, the contractor has not been able to acquire the kind of fill that will pass inspection. As a result, the street condition remains. As for the trash out on the street, MW says they are going to place the trash in the parking lane (street), claiming they couldn’t put it around the corner on East 48th St. because of space constrictions. Doesn’t sound like it’s over. Stay tuned.