Looking North, from an Upper West Side rooftop. By Elisa Deljanin.

January 28, 2013 Weather: Wintry Mix, High of 36 Degrees.

Free British music, history talk about a local housing project and more on our calendar.

This week’s weather is all over the map: snow one day, rain another, warm weather, cold weather, possible freak thunderstorms, the whole gamut.

Ronnie Raymond, who uses a wheelchair, spearheaded a project to map wheelchair accessibility for UWS restaurants and businesses. Less than half of local buildings are accessible, she says. You can map a business to be included in the project here. CB& Chair Mark Diller said the board is looking into the issue, but he is wary of targeting businesses that could be subject to lawsuits (one woman has indeed filed numerous suits): “Still, Diller said that targeting less-than-accessible buildings would lead to issues with settlement lawsuits from “an opportunistic band of folks” who target non-compliant companies, requiring them to leave and pay money without actually fixing the inaccessibility problem. Diller suggested at the meeting that focusing on accessible buildings as role models would be smarter than targeting noncompliant businesses.” (Columbia Spectator)

More on the new Lincoln Square Synagogue on 68th and Amsterdam, the first new temple in the city in 50 years. Members of the Orthodox congregation were concerned that the design of the sanctuary didn’t adequately separate men and women. “The synagogue posed a challenge to the architects, John Cetra and Theresa M. Genovese, of CetraRuddy. The original sanctuary, designed by Hausman & Rosenberg and built in 1970, had tiered seating in the round, like a Greek amphitheater. The arrangement underscored the communal nature of the congregation. “This space had become part of their iconography,” Mr. Cetra said. But it did not — in the eyes of some members — provide sufficient visual separation of the sexes, even though the seating itself was divided by a partition known as a mechitza, as is common in Orthodox synagogues. While keeping the general form of a circle, or horse shoe, the new sanctuary replaced the high tiers with a much more gentle rake and deflected worshipers’ direct views of one another by focusing them more toward the ark.” (NY Times)

“New York City is experiencing its largest wave of homelessness since the Great Depression.” (CNN)

Barnes and Noble plans to close a many as a third of its stores in the next decade. No word yet on which stores will close. (Wall Street Journal)

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