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NYC Crime Continues To Drop, Breaking Records

Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Discuss City Safety & Ongoing Improvements

February 7, 2017 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Government / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

public safety nyc crime rates queens crimeThis just came in on the heels of our coverage of the Public Safety discussion below. Mayor de Blasio and NY Police Commissioner O'Neill spoke in the Bronx regarding ongoing efforts and results in improving safety in the city. The following are some of the crime statistics noted in their meeting taken directly out of a press release sent by them.

 
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. As you’ve heard, we have begun a strong start to 2017 in terms of overall crime reduction. Strategies that have been put in place to address repeat offenders, illegal gun possession and gangs are having the desired effect. We’re building on the momentum of the last few years.

  • So, some of the highlights for crime statistics from this January – overall index crime is down 0.2 percent for the month of January. When you carry it over to this morning, we are now down 2.7 percent in overall index crime in New York City.
  • To note – with the overall index crime, January marks the tenth consecutive month of reduced index crime. That’s the momentum we’ve been talking about. Currently, four out of five boroughs in New York City – all but Queens – are down to start the year.
  • Homicides – we recorded 20 homicides in January. That’s down two from 22. That 20, as the Mayor alluded to, is the lowest January that we have ever recorded going back a minimum into the 1960s.
  • Shooting incidents – down 1.7 percent in January. Last January we hit the modern mark with 59 shooting incidents. We came in with 58 this January.
  • Talking about momentum again – nine of the last 13 months we’ve had a reduction in shooting incidents. Nine of the last 13.
  • Three months in a row we’ve had a reduction in shooting incidents in New York City. We have now, when you look at New York City as a whole, we now have 24-hour periods where we do not record a shooting incident in New York City. That kind of thinking was impossible in the not too distant past.
  • This is the new normal. We want to build on it and we feel that we will build on it but there’s still plenty of work to do.
  • Stabbings and slashings for January – down 7.2 percent.
  • Robberies – down 7.5 percent. Lowest January robbery number we’ve seen.
  • Felony assaults in New York City – down 5.4 percent.
  • Burglaries tied the lowest mark set last year.
  • Transit crime – down 1.4 percent.
  • And housing crime – not to be outdone – down 1.9 percent.
  • Clearly, a wide breath of crime across New York City – property and violent crime, down.
     
    But there is, I alluded to, there is still work to do – three categories we saw increases in January.
  • Rape was up 8.9 percent.
  • Grand larceny, specifically, credit card related skimming and forging of checks – those two drove grand larcenies. And grand larceny was up for the month of January 4.7 percent.
  • And lastly, rounding out the crime totals – stolen vehicles which we have seen drop to unprecedented lows saw an increase of ten cars for January. So, that’s 480 versus 470 – a two percent increase.

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, thanks, Dermot. We’ll take your questions.
 
Question: Do you think it’s possible, really to keep driving crime down further at this point? And how could you achieve that?

O'Neill's response was yes, with some added context.


Queens Library 'Scandal' - Where was the Beef?

Galante Seeks to Clear his Name as well as the Reputations of the Queens Library & Former Sacked Trustees

How Did Katz's, Stringer's & NY Daily News' Full Year of Accusations & Innuendo Fall So Far Short in Court?

thomas galante wins corruption case queens library scandal thomas galanteSeptember 6, 2016 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Media / News Analysis & Opinion / Manhattan Buzz.

 

Throughout 2014, we witnessed Billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz publicly attack President Thomas Galante and the Board of Trustees of the Queens Library. They appeared to individually and collectively insinuate that there was unforgivable malfeasance going on at the Queens Library.

 

In late January of 2014, only a day after Juan Gonzales published an EXCLUSIVE muckraking story about the Queens Library President's renovations to his office, in Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announced an audit of the Queens Library.

Juan Gonzales included in the story what I believe was leaked CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION of the Queens Library, such as the Queens Library President's salary and other confidential employment agreements. Former trustee(s) told me they believed that this information was leaked by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's ex-Officio Board of Trustees representative on the board, in violation of their fiduciary obligation to the Queens Library [to date this is an unproven allegation].

 

Katz, Stringer & Zuckerman's NY Daily News Accusations - Appear to Damage Queens Library Reputation - with a Year Long Barrage of, as yet Unproven, Allegations

 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News then regaled us for the rest of the year [2014] with all kinds of incredible detail about alleged wrongdoing at nyc comptroller scott stringer scandals corruption nycthe Queens Library. Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News published several editorials during the course of the year rousing Queens residents into a frenzy against Galante and the Queens Library trustees, while encouraging these two politicians / government officials to unleash their fury against the Queens Library President and Board of Trustees.

 

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz obliged by initiating legislation to change a state covenant with the library drafted by Andrew Carnegie over a century ago. Andrew Carnegie founded the library as part of his great philanthropic works. And NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer filed a lawsuit seeking complete access to the records of the private non-profit segment of the library, because he must not have found what he was looking for in the public portion representing 85% of the organizational budget. They appear to have done such a good job of damaging the reputation of the Queens Library, that in the following year [2015/ 2016] donations to the non-profit library fell by almost 40% or nearly $2 million.

 

Did NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Break the Law & Slander Thomas Galante & the Former Queens Library Trustees?

 

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer made a number of harsh statements during the course of the audit of the Queens Library alleging lies and theft. In a May 22, 2014 story published by the Queens Tribune, Stringer said,

queens library corruption scandal queens library"For them [Queens Library Board of Trustees] to mislead the public and tell the public that they are, in fact, cooperating, is nothing more than a bold-faced lie.”

In a July 8, 2015 story published in Newsday, Stringer charged Queens Library executives with using public funds as their

"personal piggy bank" ...

And later in the same story NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer says,

"As they were scaling back access to books, the Internet and vital programs and services, they were lining their own pockets."

These statements, if untrue, might constitute slander, particularly given the fact that many of the people NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer attacked are private citizens - not public officials like himself.

The title of his final audit report seems to negate his previously made assertions, as the title of the final NYC Comptroller's report is,

"REPORT OF THE COMPTROLLER’S INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE MISCONDUCT REVEALED BY THE AUDIT OF THE QUEENS BOROUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY"

The operative word is possible and this is after likely one of the most intense, year and a half long audits, of any library in the city, ever.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer referred his findings to the IRS and other legal entities for follow up. This is following an investigation by the FBI, the NYC Department of Investigations, Scott Stringer's own office of the NYC Comptroller, and following the initiation of legislation by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to change a 118 year old covenant between the Queens Library and the State of New York.

Lots of Smoke, but Still No Fire

As of this writing, nearly three years later, the allegations of wrongdoing by Thomas Galante have been all smoke and no fire.

So far, we've still heard nothing more than allegations and innuendo and possibly libelous and slanderous accusations by public officials and a billionaire NYC real estate developer's paper.

 

thomas galante queens library corruption scandalUnder Galante the Queens Library was a Top Rated Library in the Nation with an Unblemished Financial Record

 

Each of the accusers rarely, if ever, mentioned that the Queens Library was considered by its peers to be one of the finest libraries in the nation. That the Queens Library had won national awards which confirmed the library's national standing. And the accusers never mentioned that in all the years that Thomas Galante had been President of the jeweled Queens Library, that it had been run fiscally responsibly with a balanced budget and never a hint of scandal ... until they came along, in their newly elected positions, ALLEGING one.

 

The accusers accounts did not jibe with what I personally knew about the Queens Library, so I set about drafting an alternative narrative to what appeared to be biased accounts provided by Juan Gonzales and other writers of Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News.

 

Court Rules Against Accusers Katz & Stringer - but You'd Never Know it by Reading Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News

 

On August 31, 2016, in the ruling of United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, Thomas Galante got a first taste of what seemed to be a fair hearing. Judge Ross' ruling requires the Queens Library to pay Thomas juan gonzales ny daily news journalistGalante's legal fees to defend himself against accusations by the Queens Library regarding his stewardship of the non-profit.

The newly reconstituted Queens Library Board of Trustees had filed a suit against Galante after he had filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the library. One might interpret this as an intimidation tactic by the newly reconstituted Queens Library, as legal fees are very expensive and it will cost Galante hundreds of thousands (if not more) to enforce his rights. Galante will have to reimburse the Queens Library if the Queens Library's assertions against him hold up in court.

I wonder if the current members of the Queens Library Board of Trustees have to meet the same standard, in order to have the library pay for their legal fees.

It's worth mentioning that Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News took the lead in most or all of the stories to date about the Queens Library - crafting the storyline narrative about Queens Library 'corruption'. And yet, when I did a search for award-winning journalist Juan Gonzales' & Mortimer Zuckerman's NY Daily News follow on story announcing Thomas Galante's recent court victory against Katz's & Stringer's Queens Library - there was none to be found. This sort of information omission / biased reporting by one of NYC's three daily newspapers is more akin to self-serving propaganda than American journalism.

 

If Galante Succeeds He Will Clear Not Only His Own Name, but also the Queens Library's & its Former Trustees'

 

melinda katz queens library reform billIf Galante succeeds in clearing his own name, he will also succeed in restoring the stellar reputation of the Queens Library and the reputations of the former trustees sacked by current Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

 

Did the Queens Library Reform Act Enable Pols to Morph the Queens Library into a Political Patronage Parking Lot?

 

It's also worth mentioning that a couple of years ago interested observers expressed concern that the Queens Library would be morphed into a Political Patronage Parking Palace for under-employed or unemployed party apparatchiks. It's been just over two years since Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Katz-inspired legislation, entitled the Queens Library Reform Act, and it appears that this may already be happening.

Earlier this year, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's newly reconstituted Board of Trustees appointed former NYC Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, as the Queens Library President. Based on my research into Dennis Walcott's background, it appears that he has no formal higher education in library science, nor does he have any professional experience in it.

Quelle suprise.

Click here to view our complete coverage of the Queens Library 'corruption & scandals' accusing Thomas Galante of wrongdoing.


Dining on the Banks at the Boathouse

Central Park Boathouse Provides Bucolic Ambiance in Big Apple

bethesda fountain central parkJune 15, 2016 / Upper East Side Neighborhood UES / UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood / Manhattan Parks / Manhattan Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

About a month ago, I met an out-of-town guest for breakfast at the Central Park Boathouse. The Central Park Boathouse is one of the few venues that has remains a consistent treat not just to visiting guests, but resident hosts as well.

The Boathouse is located in the center of Central Park, north of the Great Lawn, just beyond Bethesda Fountain, along the winding roadway on the eastern side of the park. You can access it from 72nd Street, 76th or 79th Streets off Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side.

While I was there for brunch on this particular Sunday, my favorite time to visit the Central Park Boathouse is in the middle or late afternoon on a weekend for a glass or more of wine to wind down the day and the week with friends.

It's frequently crowded and takes a bit of patient waiting and strategic positioning, to get a seat to rest one's weary bones ... but once settled in ... it's an unbeatable venue for late afternoon relaxation. More later.


Nice Matin Restaurant in the Lucerne Hotel

Nice Matin is a Great Way to Start or Continue a 'Nice Morning'

nice matin restaurant lucerne hotel upper west side manhattanMay 16, 2016 / UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood / Upper West Side Restaurants / Manhattan Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

The Lucerne Hotel was designed by Harry Mulliken and Edgar Moeller, and opened in 1904. The Lucerne Hotel exhibits the architects' trademark facade which is a rich, brownish-red and pink, brick and terra cotta facade. The architects designed a number of other well known New York City buildings, which still stand today.

The Nice Matin French restaurant is located on the ground floor of the beautiful, 12-story building housing the Lucerne Hotel, which is located at the corner of Amsterdam and West 79th Street on the Upper West Side.

The Lucerne Hotel closed for a while in the last half of the 20th century, and the building was temporarily converted into Columbia University housing. In 1995 the Lucerne Hotel reopened. And it's worth noting that the building was landmarked sometime in the last half of the 20th century.

french restaurants upper west side uws french restaurantsBut I digress, as it's Nice Matin, the French restaurant that we're about to explore. I have eaten at Nice Matin on numerous occasions, and within the past month enjoyed yet another fun outing. I arrived embedded with a large party of just under a dozen at around half past noon on a Sunday. We weren't allowed to make reservations for the party because of its size, but we had called ahead and within about 15 minutes we were seated.

The ambiance has always been festive, as the 20 foot high ceilings, and the floor-to-ceiling windows along both the southern and western walls allow in ample light and a great feeling of space. While the ambient conversations fill the background with sound, it's not noise, but rather part of a melodious rhythm.

The photo at right shows the Lamb Sausage and Scrambled Eggs at the Nice Matin French restaurant on the Upper West Side. You'll be able to click here late this week for the rest of our report.


Architectural Digest Design Show

Provides Vignettes of Living Lovely at Piers 92 & 94

architectural digest design showMarch 21, 2016 / Midtown West Neighborhood /UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood / Fashion & Film Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I attended the Architectural Digest Design Show on Piers 92 & 94 on Thursday afternoon. The show ran through last weekend, providing the public with an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in urban living design and technology.

The show spanned both Piers and included sections dedicated to kitchen, bath, living and dining areas of the home and with a little imagination, possibly the office as well.

The show was well attended by designers, manufacturers, the media, salespeople, buyers and browsers. And the mood seemed buoyant.

Click here to read the rest of our report on the Architectural Digest Design Show incuding the DIFFA on Pier 92.


Columbia School of Journalism - Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker | columbia school of journalism manhattan nyc columbia university school of journalism gay Talese thomas Kunkel steve Coll pulitzer prize winning authors
Columbia School of Journalism - Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker

Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker

Columbia School of Journalism Dean Coll Moderates Conversation with Authors Gay Talese & Thomas Kunkel

January 18, 2016 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / Manhattan History / News Analysis & Opinion / Manhattan Buzz.

I received an invitation to attend a conversation at the Columbia School of Journalism about a new book covering the professional life of one of the most prominent writers of The New Yorker magazine. The Columbia University School of Journalism is easily one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the nation; and Columbia also hosts the judging for the Pulitzer Prize, which is considered one of the highest awards a journalist or author can receive.

It was a fairly warm October evening as I made my way north on the subway along the Upper West Side. I got off at 116th Street and walked east through the main campus to the Faculty House. The Faculty House sits atop the Morningside Heights ridge overlooking Harlem, the Upper West Side and the rest of Manhattan.

The entrance into the Faculty House was from an interior courtyard where Columbia University students were hanging around in casual conversations. Once inside, I was directed to an upper floor where the event was being held.

Seated at the head of the room was Gay Talese, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of numerous books including The Kingdom & The Power. He was in the company of the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Steve Coll, who is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning author having penned several tomes about issues in Asia, most notably the Middle East. And of course, there was the guest author of the evening, Thomas Kunkel, who is the President of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin and who had penned the book being discussed this evening entitled Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker.

Click here to read the rest of our report regarding a conversation about the recently published book Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker at the Columbia School of Journalism.



Off Broadway Theater NYC - West End Theatre UWS Manhattan | off broadway theater off off broadway theatre manhattan
Off Broadway Theater NYC - West End Theatre UWS Manhattan

Off Broadway Theater: Mourning Sun

West End Theatre Hosts New Work by Theatre 167

November 16, 2015 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / Manhattan Off Broadway Theater NYC / Manhattan Buzz.

I disembarked from the subway at West 86th Street on the Upper West Side. It was a relatively warm November evening as I got my bearings before heading west to the West End Theatre at 263 West 86th Street.

West End Theatre is not just the name of the locale, but it’s also a phrase taken from the London theatre district, that is similar in essence, to what Broadway means in New York City. A West End Theatre production in London means you’re attending one of the highest level of commercially produced shows. So the West End Theatre is a ‘play’ on words - but appropriate here - as in addition to the name of the theater it also communicates the quality of the new play entitled ‘Mourning Sun’.

West End Theatre on the Upper West Side UWS

The West End Theatre is located on the second floor of St. Paul & St. Andrew Methodist Church. The church is a large building, which was erected in 1897, at a time when the Upper West Side was being developed in great earnest.

I walked into the building, which had a spacious ambiance. I was directed to walk up the wide, worn, white marble steps that led up the antique wooden staircase to the second floor. There’s a karmic feel to the place that allows one to breathe freely, not knowing whether it’s attributable to an ancient, ample, allowance for space; or because its off broadway theatre nyc manhattan west end theatre photos uwsinhabitants’ free flowing energy silently and insidiously infects its welcomed wandering guests with their buoyant enjoyment of life.

I met Director Ari Laura Kreith and Jenny Lyn Bader upon my arrival. After a brief exchange of pleasantries I was escorted to the balcony where I had a box seat overlooking the stage so I could take photographs without disturbing the theater-goers.

It wasn’t long before Director Kreith came on stage to introduce the production, and after speaking a few short sentences, she let the show go on. Director Kreith is shown in the photos above.

Click here to read the rest of our report including a photo slide show of Mourning Sun, and off Broadway theater nyc produced by Theatre 167.



Century Bike Ride Manhattan

queens things to do queensSeptember 14, 2015 / UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood / Biking Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

The Sunday forecast included a high probability of scattered thunderstorms, but fortunately for the Century bike riders the weather appeared to favor them.

The Century Bike Ride is organized by Transportation Alternatives, an environmentally-friendly group that promotes non-carbon and low carbon 'transportation alternatives' to NYC residents. This is the bike ride they sponsor and the receipts go toward their efforts to ensure the various levels of government do what they can to help promote a safe and regenerative urban transportation environment.

The Century Bike Ride offers four biking alternatives that individuals and / or groups can pursue on their own during the most-of-the-day event. The first start time was at 5.30 am in Central Park [Manhattan] and at 6 am for a Prospect Park [Brooklyn] start and the last rest stops at the two parks closed at 6 pm.

The four bike routes included a 35 mile, 55 mile, 75 mile and 100 mile [hence the name century] loop.The 35 mile loop is called the East River Ride, which runs along the East River primarily in Brooklyn and Queens. The ride started at 7.30 am and was expected to last between 3.5 and 7.5 hours. The 55 mile loop is called the Waterfront Ride which includes the East River loop, but also the Verrazzanno Bridge, Coney Island and part of the Brooklyn Greenway. This ride started at 7 am / 7.30 am and was expected to take about 3.5 to 8.5 hours. The 75 mile loop is called the Rockaways Ride and it excludes the north / south run along the East River in Brooklyn / Queens in exchange for a haul out to the Fort Tilden Beach in the Rockaways then north through a number of Queens Greenways [parks] before turning westward back toward Manhattan. The Century Bike Ride, the 100 miler, starts at 6 am / 6.30 am and is expected to take between six and twelve hours.

The Century Bike Ride started in 1989 and is celebrating its 26th year.


Check It Dance Festival

5th Annual Dance Festival Moves To The Waterfront

check it dance festival nyc manhattanJuly 20, 2015 / UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood & Midtown Manhattan Neighborhood / Manhattan Dance / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Last year I stumbled upon the Check It Dance Festival on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The festival was performed at Summit Rock in Central Park. Summit Rock is hidden behind the greenery that one encounters when entering Central Park at West 82nd Street and Central Park West.

It was an idyllic location for the festival and both the dancers and the audience were surrounded by nature, surrounded by the dense concrete urban jungle. I sat for a while and enjoyed the performances which were a mix of aesthetic human form and beauty, and storytelling.

This year the Check It Dance Festival moved south to Solar One along the East River, just east of Stuyvesant Town. The cool openess of the East River helps mitigate the heat, which on Sunday was in the low 90's. The festival check it dance festival nyc manhattanincluded pieces created by eleven choreographers and in which over 40 dancers performed.

This year they held the performance on Sunday due to inclement weather earlier on Saturday, as there were predictions of more inclement weather to come. Since its inception, the Check It Dance Festival has showcased local dancers and choreographers, as well as visiting choreographers from the Netherlands and Dominican Republic.

I had an opportunity to speak with Allison Brzezinski, Founder and Artistic Director of Check It Dance Company. Allison is originally from Connecticut and holds a degree in both dance and theatre from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Shortly after she arrived in New York City, Allison set out to form Check It Out Dance Company and only a year later, she organized the first Check It Dance Festival at Summit Rock on the Upper West Side. She told me that the mission of Check It Dance Company and the Check It Dance Festival was to:

"... crack the stereotypical infrastructure of how women are seen in society today, by creating new works that seek to empower women ..."

check it dance festival nyc manhattanOne of the premier choreographed works that have come from Check It Dance is entitled, Is My Body?. Allison told me that this work is about taking care of a woman's body in a healthy way, instead of trying to attain the ideal of female beauty that is depicted in the media but that doesn't exist in reality. The work was a collaboration between Allison & Kendra Dushac who performed it at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland; as well as at several locations in the NYC metropolitan area.

The photo to your right shows the Check It Dance Festival at Solar One along the East River in Manhattan in 2015. The photo was taken by Allison Brzezinski.

To learn more about Check It Dance and future events, visit their website at www.checkitdance.com [cut & paste into your browser].


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West Side Community Garden Tulip Festival

Upper West Side Festival Celebrates Tulips

things to do uws upper west sideMay 4, 2015 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan Parks / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I attended the West Side Community Garden annual Tulip Festival this past weekend. The weather was near perfect with highs around 70 and no rain.

The West Side Community Garden is located on 89th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam and provides a throughway to 90th Street and green space for the surrounding area. The West Side Community Garden was legally recognized in the late 1980's, although the effort to transform it from a vacant lot / dumping ground began in the mid 1970's. According to the West Side Community Garden website this is their 41st year of operation, which means they started in some fashion in 1974.

It was hard to find any information about when the Tulip Festival actually began, but given the garden itself is only a few decades old, it probably wasn't too long ago. Anyhow, there were roughly about 12,000 tulips at the Tulip Festival. The festival is a two consecutive weekend affair.

bloemendaal bloomingdales upper west side uws tulips haarlemAlthough no specific mention was made of this, it is worth noting that New York was first settled by the Dutch as New Amsterdam. The Dutch homeland, Holland, is the European home of the tulip. The Dutch began settling the Upper West Side in the mid 1600's and they called the area Bloemendaal, likely after a town located in the tulip region of the Netherlands [see map].

Bloemendaal was later Anglicized to Bloomingdale which was a name given to the Upper West Side on either side of 96th Street. The department store Bloomingdales likely got its name from here, and although as yet unconfirmed, we believe this is the connection to this Upper West Side Tulip Festival.

It's not difficult to figure out where Harlem got its name by looking at the map at right, which shows a section of the Netherlands just west of Amsterdam, near the North Sea: Haarlem.

On the Saturday of the last weekend of the festival, waves of bystanders and enthusiasts attended the event. There were a couple of speakers scheduled over the two weekends, to talk about gardening, horticulture, photography and flower arrangement. Admission to the event was free and sponsored by the Greenacre Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and through the generosity of Upper West Side residents.

The West Side Community Garden has an open area where they plant flowers, an enclosed area where they plant vegetables, and they have a relationship with St. John The Divine which enables them access to the St. John Divine Greenhouse, and to which they donate the tulip bulbs after the season is over.

Over the course of the warm weather months, gardeners at the West Side Community Garden meet and work on various projects. To learn more about how to participate, visit their website at www.westsidecommunitygarden.org. Photos and story by Danveen.


Italian Restaurants Upper West Side - Cesca UWS | uws italian restaurants manhattan restaurants upper west side manhattan nyc
Italian Restaurants Upper West Side - Cesca UWS

Upper West Side Italian Restaurants : Cesca

Cesca Italian Restaurant On UWS Manhattan

Upper West Side UWS Neighborhood / UWS Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz.

It was a clear, cool Sunday evening as I made my way up Amsterdam Avenue to 75th Street. The sun was setting and the shadows had begun settling into the nooks and crannies of the cavernous streets, only to be whisked away by street lights and the lights of small businesses.

One member of our party had made reservations online through the Cesca website, and as it happens, this party member was also the last to arrive. But it was no wait and no big deal, as Cesca has a full sized bar in the front of the restaurant [capacity 40], that’s separate from the dining area. And while the bar was populated with soon-to-be diners, it wasn’t crowded. So I found myself a seat and shortly thereafter, the rest of my party arrived.

Casual, Comfortable Italian Restaurants: UWS

cesca italian restaurants uwsThe maitre d' escorted us into the back of the spacious upper west side Italian restaurant [capacity 175]. We walked past the open grill into the main dining area where we were seated. The restaurant was full this evening, as it has been the times I've dined here, but generally comfortably so. The staff is equipped to handle the pre-theater rush crowds prior to performances at the nearby Beacon Theatre, as well as for the folks heading south to Lincoln Center [although the latter is a ten block walk or taxi ride away], so tonight was a walk in the park for them.

The crowd generally appeared to reflect the surrounding UWS neighborhood. I spotted a Sunday night date couple or possibly young romance nestled along one of the walls, a family with twenty-somethings and their friends hosted by one of their parents, and a middle-aged couple with their teenage kids. Everyone seemed relaxed and comfortably seated.

Click here to read our review of one of the leading Italian restaurants on the Upper West Side UWS NYC.



Winter Ice Festival In Central Park

Valentine's Day Ice Carving & Silent Disco At Naumburg Bandshell

central park ice festival photosFebruary 17, 2015 / Upper East Side Neighborhood & Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan Parks / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

It was a cold Saturday afternoon as I made my way to Central Park to join the hundreds or more who came out to enjoy the annual Central Park Ice Festival at the Naumburg Bandshell.

The festival began with demonstrations of how to create ice sculptures like the one shown in the photo at right and was followed by a silent disco. The DJ also played the music at an audible level [but not loud] for the rest of us who didn't go through the trouble of using the free the headsets. A deposit for each headset was required in case they were not returned.

There were tents set up to provide information about the Central Park Conservancy which sponsored the event. And I believe, but can't confirm, that there was also at least one food truck. But that said, it was mostly a non-food, artistic, communal dance and theatrical event.

As it was also Valentine's Day, there were many couples who came to disco silently in the park as the sun set and the temperatures dropped. Just like the ice ice man and woman in the photo, as it got colder the couples leaned in closer together. I hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day Weekend.


Snow Storm Skirts Manhattan & NYC

manhattan snowstorm 2015January 29, 2015 /Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

On Monday evening NYC's mass transit system was shut down. It was announced that NYC public schools would be closed. And everyone was advised to prepare for a snowstorm that might bring 24 to 36 inches of snow to the city.

On Tuesday morning, things looked quite a bit brighter. The city received far less than a foot of snow. In most places the inches of snowfall didn't even break the single digits. And so it was, a snow day without too much snow.

NYC has a long history of under reacting and over reacting to weather conditions. When government officials under react they generally lose some face. When they over react, the proverbial political storm blows over.

And so it was on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 that NYC enjoyed an unscheduled day off, with all the shopping done. The photo to your right was taken around noontime Tuesday looking south on Broadway Street around 90th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.


Thanksgiving Day Parade Manhattan

88th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade NYC

thanksgiving day parade nycDecember 1, 2014 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan Parades NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

On Thursday November 27, 2014 the 88th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began at 9 am. The hydrogen-filled balloons are inflated and held along Central Park West around the Museum of Natural History on Wednesday evening. You can view them the night before Thanksgiving, as they are fastened securely to the ground, for free.

Sometime in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, folks from around the nation begin to camp out along the Thanksgiving Day Parade route to secure a good viewing location in advance of the parade. These intrepid members of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade audience braved the cold temperatures and precipitation. When I arrived between 7 and 8 am it was in the mid 30's.

I asked a few of them why they did this and they told me that they had traveled from distant states and may never see the parade in person again. Some of them also had friends or family marching in the parade and they didn't want to miss seeing and photographing them marching in the nationally televised parade.

The story and photo by Michael Wood.


Fashion Week Manhattan NYC

Beauty & Style on the Runway At Couture Fashion Week

couture fshion week nyc manhattan crowne plazaSeptember 8, 2014 / Manhattan Fashion Shows NYC / Midtown Neighborhood NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I attended a bathing suit and bridal gown runway show at Couture Fashion Week at the Crowne Plaza Sunday evening. It was one of many fashion programs going on around NYC during NYC Fashion Week.

The runway show was held on the fourth floor in the Crowne Plaza located at Broadway between 48th and 49th Streets near Times Square. About a half dozen designers were featured in the show which included a beautiful vocal performance by Maryann Connolly and a dance performance by Battle For Your Life Tour Dancers and In Da Clutch and the Hood Lockers.

The show was fully attended with a standing room only crowd. And it was a visual feast of the voluptuous vogue. In the photo at right are the models coming out for a bow at the end of the Maty Machado Swimwear segment of the show.


Fashion Week In Manhattan

fashion week manhattan nycSeptember 2, 2014 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Fashion NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

The summer has unofficially ended, school has started and Fall Fashion Week has arrived in NYC. There will be fashion events all over the city beginning Wednesday and running until Thursday September 11th.

New York Fashion Week is a collection of many independent events, but the showcase venue is at Lincoln Center where the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week occurs. The Mercedes Benz Fashion Week moved to Lincoln Center from Bryant Park in 2010. It had been held in tents in Bryant Park beginning in 1994.

So look around you this week at what folks are wearing. Temperatures will be in the mid to low 80's and the lows will be in the 60's, so you're not likely to see many fur coats.

Events start mid morning and run into the evening. You can buy tickets at mbfashionweek.com or by searching for the designers you wish to see. Several of them have begun to branch out onto their own, sponsoring their own events.

There will also be a number of parties and social gatherings. So wear your best for Manhattan's fashionista fest. Enjoy.


Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Ends

lincoln center photosFree Summer Music Events Featured Depth & Breadth Of Talented Artists

August 11, 2014 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Live Music NYC / Manhattan Things To Do / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

On August 2nd, I ventured over to Lincoln Center in the early evening. There were a number of people sitting along the fountain, resplendent in its cool wetness, enjoying a warm August day [see photo to right].

I headed into the plaza and veered off to the right into Hearst Plaza. I found an audience of several dozen, relaxing and waiting patiently as Lincoln Center Outdoors was setting up for the evening performance. There were three groups scheduled to perform: The Devil Makes Three, Old 97's and John Fullbright. In the photo below right, you can see the stage being prepared for the Lincoln Center Outdoors performances.

For about a month, in the depths of summer, Lincoln Center Outdoors provides free musical entertainment at various venues throughout Lincoln lincolm center outdoorsCenter in the afternoon and evening. The exact dates this year spanned Sunday, July 20th and ended this past weekend on Sunday, August 10th.

The venues include Damrosch Park which is off to the left behind the New York City Ballet Theater, Hearst Plaza - the location of which is described above, the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center along 65th Street, the David Rubenstein Atrium between 62nd & 63rd Streets on Broadway, the Walter Reade Theatre [also along 65th Street just west of the Julliard School], and Josie Robertson Plaza, which is the main plaza with the fountain surrounded by the New York City Ballet Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera House and the Avery Fisher Concert Hall.

In the photo on your left is the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center.




Check It Out Dance Festival Wins Audience

Female Choreographers Show Their Works In Central Park

check us out dance performance manhattan west side nycJuly 20, 2014 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Dance Performances NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I went to Summit Rock in Central Park late Saturday afternoon to watch several performances of the Check Us Out Dance Festival in Manhattan. This is the fourth year of the festival which is organized by ChEckiTDance of Manhattan.

The weather and locale were ideal. It was sunny, in the seventies and not humid. And Summit Rock is at about 83rd Street just inside the stone wall surrounding Central Park [enter at 81st and follow the pathways along the wall to your left up / north] in an elevated, generally shaded and secluded setting.

There was easy seating along a wall facing a stone stage with a green grass backdrop. And when I arrived one of the performances was already in session with dancers in costume accompanied by live music.

We'll post more at a later date including a photo slide show. The photo above was taken of one of the dance performances at ChEckiTDance Festival in Central Park on July 20th.


5 Boro Bike Ride In Manhattan

Next Sunday 32,000 Bikers Descend On Manhattan

5 boro bike ride manhattan nycApril 28, 2014 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Biking Manhattan / Things To Do In Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Next weekend the 5 Boro Bike Ride will come streaming through all five boroughs of NYC. It's a fun bike ride with about 32,000 bikers who come from all around the nation and some from other parts of the world.

 

The ride goes all day long, so if you're planning on doing any travel on the roadways, you'd best plan ahead and avoid the crowds and blocked streets. We'll post more about the event, including maps, times and viewing locations later this week.


Upper West Side Things To Do In NYC

Bicycle Laws / Bike Rules in NYC - Manhattan | nyc bicycle laws manhattan cyclists rights nyc manhattan laws pertaining to cycling in nyc midtown upper east side upper west side village nyc manhattan
Bicycle Laws / Bike Rules in NYC - Manhattan

Cyclists Rights In Manhattan NYC

Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities As An NYC Cyclist

November 7, 2013 / NYC Cylists Rights In Manhattan / Midtown Buzz. By Philip Papas. The introduction to the Cyclists' Rights Forum was given by Christina Vassallo, Executive Director, Flux Factory. She told us that the event came about after she and a friend were stopped for cycling violations, which they thought were not illegal, or had erroneously been applied as violation points to their motor vehicle driver’s license. As a result she saw the need for a forum to clarify laws, rights and proper procedures for cyclists to follow.

Click here to read our full report about NYC Bike Laws / NYC Biking Rules Forum in Queens at the Flux Factory across from Midtown Manhattan in LIC.




Upper West Side Things To Do - Parks - TBD

TBD - are plenty of other things to do besides go to the movies and eat out at restaurants on the Upper East Side of NYC. The upper east side is near Central Park from 59th Street to 110th Street. Central Park has the Great Lawn where folks go to sunbath and people watch. There's also the Central Park Zoo located in the southeast corner of the park, as well as Wollman Skating Rink which is just across from it.

There are also several Upper West Side Farmers Markets in NYC.


upper west side restaurants nyc

Upper West Side NYC Restaurants & Diners

Italian Restaurants Upper West Side - Cesca UWS | uws italian restaurants manhattan restaurants upper west side manhattan nyc
Italian Restaurants Upper West Side - Cesca UWS

Upper West Side Italian Restaurants : Cesca

Cesca Italian Restaurant On UWS Manhattan

Upper West Side UWS Neighborhood / UWS Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz.

It was a clear, cool Sunday evening as I made my way up Amsterdam Avenue to 75th Street. The sun was setting and the shadows had begun settling into the nooks and crannies of the cavernous streets, only to be whisked away by street lights and the lights of small businesses.

One member of our party had made reservations online through the Cesca website, and as it happens, this party member was also the last to arrive. But it was no wait and no big deal, as Cesca has a full sized bar in the front of the restaurant [capacity 40], that’s separate from the dining area. And while the bar was populated with soon-to-be diners, it wasn’t crowded. So I found myself a seat and shortly thereafter, the rest of my party arrived.

Casual, Comfortable Italian Restaurants: UWS

cesca italian restaurants uwsThe maitre d' escorted us into the back of the spacious upper west side Italian restaurant [capacity 175]. We walked past the open grill into the main dining area where we were seated. The restaurant was full this evening, as it has been the times I've dined here, but generally comfortably so. The staff is equipped to handle the pre-theater rush crowds prior to performances at the nearby Beacon Theatre, as well as for the folks heading south to Lincoln Center [although the latter is a ten block walk or taxi ride away], so tonight was a walk in the park for them.

The crowd generally appeared to reflect the surrounding UWS neighborhood. I spotted a Sunday night date couple or possibly young romance nestled along one of the walls, a family with twenty-somethings and their friends hosted by one of their parents, and a middle-aged couple with their teenage kids. Everyone seemed relaxed and comfortably seated.

Click here to read our review of one of the leading Italian restaurants on the Upper West Side UWS NYC.



Manhattan Farmers Markets & Street Fairs in Manhattan

manhattan farmers markets manhattanMarch 6, 2014 / Manhattan Farmers Markets / Manhattan Street Fairs / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Many Manhattan farmers markets are open year round, but there are also a number of them that are seasonal. Some of the seasonal Manhattan farmers markets begin opening in the Spring, with the rest of them opening no later than the first couple of weeks in July.

Click here to view the schedules of many of the farmers markets in Manhattan. Manhattan street fairs are entirely seasonal, with some of them hitting the streets as early as March. Manhattan street fairs rise markedly during the spring and lighten up during the dog days of summer [July / August], returning in the fall. Click here to view a full schedule of Manhattan street fairs.




The Upper West Side is home to a number of fine restaurants, ranging in scope from the high end restaurants to the more casual and comfortable diners open 24 hours per day in NYC. Click here to view our emerging section on the Upper West Side restaurants - coming at a later date.

Along Broadway, particularly as you head north, there are selections of restaurants of varied cuisines. Ditto along Columbus.

Down on Third Avenue at the corner of 55th Street you'll find P. J. Clarke's which has been around about a century. It's still a popular after work bar and in the back they have a dining area.


upper west side shops upper west side shopping manhattan

Upper West Side Shops & Shopping

Coming at a later date. Along Columbus and Broadway there are many brand name and boutique retailers selling clothing and food. Fairway Market and Citarella. The Gap, Banana Republic, a bookstore kiddy corner from Lincoln Center.



upper west side real estate upper west side real estate nyc

Real Estate Market Conditions In Manhattan

Expo Highlights Opportunities, Risks & Other Considerations

nyc finance expo 2014May 28, 2014 / Manhattan Real Estate NYC / Midtown Manhattan NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I attended the 2014 NYC Finance Expo at the Roosevelt Hotel on May 14th. The expo was well attended by Manhattan real estate professionals and Manhattan real estate lenders and banks.

The organizers had at least three seminars going simultaneously throughout the day. Most sessions ran between 20 minutes and an hour.

The topics of the seminars cut through a cross section of interests of those in the industry, from social marketing to real estate finance to real estate planning. We sat through a couple of sessions and I will post some of what we learned about where we are in the current economic cycle vis a vis Manhattan and NYC real esate prices.

A slide show of some of the sessions, a number of the exhibits and many of the attendees is also included.


Click here to view a web presence, if you're looking to rent apts on the upper east side nyc.



Upper West Side Real Estate - Buying & Renting Apts On The Upper West Side NYC

Real estate on the Upper West Side is very desirable. Not just because of the restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, Central Park and the many cultural attractions located conveniently in the neighborhood [keep scrolling down]. All of which in and of themselves would make it a great place to live.

Transportation / Access. It's conveniently located not just to Central Park, Midtown and the Upper East Side - but also to the West Side highway which takes East Siders north and south into the Bronx, Westchester, New Jersey or Connecticut.

It's also a reasonable taxi ride to LaGuardia Airport. And the 1, 2 & 3 subway lines provide easy public transit to destinations near and far within NYC.


Upper West Side NYC Neighbohood - Movie Theaters - TBD

There are several movie theaters along Broadway at about 68th Street, about 96th Street and possibly one in between. We'll update at a later date.



Upper West Side NYC - Manhattan Related Links


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