park lawn
The Great Lawn, via Central Park Conservancy.

October 26, 2015 Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 59 degrees.

A free “Celebrate Mexico Now” concert at Lincoln Center and dozens of other events are on our calendar.

This week also features several events dealing with the rezoning of PS 199, 191 and 452, including a town hall with Chancellor Carmen Farina on Wednesday. We’ll be publishing an update on that issue later today.

The 20th precinct’s community council is meeting tonight at the precinct at 7 and we hear that several residents intend to protest the street vendors that set up on the West side of Broadway between 72nd and 73rd  street. One tells us: “The street vendors on Broadway closest to 72nd St. have become more and more of a public safety issue…All residents who live in the vicinity are encouraged to join the discussion.”

In case there was any confusion, the free tenants’ workshops at Fordham are this Saturday not last Saturday. Apologies if we didn’t make that clear.

West Side Rag received more than 70 emails from people who would like to write for the site. It was wonderful to see the strong interest. Sorry if it’s taken a little while to get back to everyone, but we should be writing to you shortly if you haven’t heard back.

Another lost pet: “A beautiful cat was found wandering INSIDE A BUILDING on W 86th between West End and RSD. Right now, the cat stays with the super. Can you please ask if anyone knows him (the cat 🙂 or wants him?” Let us know if he might be yours and we’ll put you in touch with the right person.

Demolition is set to begin on the former American Bible Society on 61st and Broadway. The Times David Dunlap explained the site’s history, and revealed an interesting fact: the same architects who designed the building 50 years ago will design its replacement. “Benjamin Pattou, the engineer at Howard I. Shapiro & Associates who is overseeing the demolition job, said the load-bearing walls were not likely to present much trouble. But he added that the concrete girders forming the floors, which are more than 50 feet long, would be ‘challenging to dismantle.’ Nonetheless, he said, demolition should be finished next year. But one facet of 1865 Broadway will remain. The architects of the AvalonBay tower are to be Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, replacing their own work of a half-century ago.”

What does Woody Allen think about shooting a film in Central Park these days (he’s shooting in New York again!)? He has a few complaints… “I hate this steady noise interruption. And people think doing this is easy. Central Park has maddening problems. You really need police protection. We have a park permit and we give the park a donation, but you can’t shut it down nor ban walking pedestrians. Our crew keeps them away, but bystanders sometimes get into the shot.”

An Australian rugby player was arrested for allegedly chasing two women into an Upper West Side apartment while yelling “Tonight is the night that you die!”

NEWS | 73 comments | permalink
    1. wombatNYC says:

      Avalon Bay plus SOM = a building that looks like it should be in Charlotte NC or Dallas TX. They are bland ,corporate builders .. Oh Well

    2. Claire says:

      “The 20th precinct’s community council is meeting tonight at the precinct at 7 and we hear that several residents intend to protest the street vendors that set up on the West side of Broadway between 72nd and 73rd street. “The street vendors on Broadway closest to 72nd St. have become more and more of a public safety issue…All residents who live in the vicinity are encouraged to join the discussion.”

      -What does this even mean. I hope it isn’t people complaining about nothing simply because they don’t like the “look” of the vendors. We on the other side can raise a stink too, just try and get rid of them and see what happens. I refuse to give in to the demands of yuppies.

      • Sean says:

        Right on sister! The revolution will not be televised. Power to the people!

      • Mark says:

        Well, if Claire is an example looks like it may be impossible for a reasoned, calm discussion to take place.
        Innuendo and name calling in just one post.

        Some of us are frustrated because we live in that area and find that the vendors leave their items overnight which takes up space. They also leave behind lots of trash. At times, they say rude things to passersby and often play radios loudly.
        On some occasions I have seen them throw small items at dogs being walked by.

        Nothing to do with “yuppies” (have you seen the average age of this neighborhood?) or not liking the way people “look”.
        Perhaps you can reign in your own biases before accusing others of being driven by theirs.

        • Sean says:

          The average age is indeed over fifty. And the booksellers need to go. It isn’t quaint. The area is filthy.

      • Sophia says:

        I personally don’t think that the book tables contribute to any sort of safety issue; HOWEVER, the book tables seem to be a permanent fixture, and now some of the sellers have started to sell knick-knacks, old framed prints and other detritus that do convert this stretch of Broadway into a “mini Calcutta flea market”. This part of B’way is crowded enough, being a major transportation and market (Fairway & Trader Joe’s) hub. I think these sellers should have their own established flea market (although I’m at a loss at the moment as to suggest a site) or be limited some how to the amount of space they take up. Their coverage under “Freedom of the Press (or Speech) is a stretch.

    3. UWS-er says:

      That West side of Broadway between 72nd and 73rd street looks like a mine Calcutta

      • UWS-er says:

        that’s mini

        • UWS neighbor says:

          Why are these vendors permitted to sell more than books? This giant garage sale lowers the quality of life for residents of the Ansonia and the neighborhood.

          • UWSsurfer says:

            What about the Mister Softee Truck on 73rd with its generator spewing exhaust fumes and noise day and night?

            What about the doorman at the Beacon Hotel blowing an ear-piercing whistle in an annoying, unnecessary, theatrical display to hail cabs?

            Those things affect your neighbors’ quality of life.

      • UWS-er says:

        Sigh. I’m not the UWS-er posting above. I’m a longtime user of this site and really wish the new UWS-er would pick a different name. Anyhoo, a mini-Calcutta?? That’s a bit of a stretch. That said, I do think there need to be some regulations enforced here–leaving their things out all night shouldn’t be allowed, like Tom says below.

    4. Why exactly are people complaining about the street vendors located on Broadway between 72nd and 73rd? As far as I could tell last time I walked by things there were exactly the same as they have been for the past couple of decades and not at all offensive. Has something changed?

      • Glen says:

        The most amazing thing about those vendors is no one ever seems to buy anything from them. In all the years I have walked by there I have yet to see a financial transaction taking place.

      • guy_on_the_corner says:

        A decade ago these guys would pack up their wares and leave every night. Now they just put tarps on their stuff and it stays out all night.

        A decade ago these guys used about 5 or 6 feet from the curb. Now they use most of the 15 foot sidewalk for their products and then set up chairs at the building line which narrows the space for pedestrians to next to nothing for such a crowded area.

        A decade ago these guys sold mostly books and records. Now you can buy pretty much anything that was found in someone’s trash.

        I have no problem with them if they went back to their old boundaries.

    5. dannyboy says:

      I extend a warm welcome to the new writers coming on board. Just a little advice: Your readership is very “involved”, so don’t take our Comments personally.

    6. Eric says:

      Just curious as I am new to the area but why are these somewhat permanent vendors allowed to set up between 72nd and 74th on Broadway? I’m not necessarily complaining but it does seem very out of place.

    7. Tom says:

      Sell all the books you want. But at end of the day, pack ’em up and take them away till the next morning. This would prevent the ever larger pile of junk that naturally builds over time and hopefully will lead to a more edited (i.e. smaller) collection of books and the “abandoned” tables that sit uncovered for days can be discarded.

    8. Lucien says:

      The street vendors on 72nd street have been the same street vendors for years and years. I wonder if the people that are complaining are the ones that are new to the area. Another possibility is that the store moving in (Bloomingdale’s Outlet store) wants to get rid of the vendors in advance of opening.

      • Sean says:

        Wouldn’t you?

      • Riley says:

        The “I was here first” argument doesn’t fly in a grown up society. People pay a lot of money to live in a neighborhood like the UWS – what may have been tolerated in years past doesn’t necessarily mean it should continue.

        Broadway is an eye sore from 73rd down to what – 68th? That garbage belongs in a dump (it was headed their to begin with), not on the sidewalk of what could be a nice neighborhood where people pay some of the highest rent in the country in a city where we pay some of the highest taxes in the country.

    9. Joe says:

      As long as they’re selling books, art or media, those vendors between 72nd/74th St. will most likely stay — first amendment issues.

      I and others commented extensively about this some weeks back. Will not repeat here.

      I’m MORE CONCERNED about unlicensed vendors creating havoc as they pop up with their imported crap.

      Perfect example:

      On 10/21, about 7:45 p.m., two of these “merchants” quickly set up a rack of dresses on the Southeast corner of 72nd/B’way, about 20 feet from the TJ’s front door. A mob of people descended and began grabbing these dresses off the rack, as these two low-life vendors were shouting at the top of their lungs. It was right opposite a phone booth, leaving only about 3 feet of room to pass.

      An elderly lady on her way to shop nearly got knocked over.

      I was passing just at that point, helped steady her on her feet. Someone else called 911 and said while not an emergency, a squad car should be sent over right away to prevent any mishaps and clear the vendors.

      I came out of TJ’s about a half hour later. Clothing rack was still there. No sign of police.

      Conclusion: 20th Pct., like others on the UWS sucks… useless!

    10. neighbor says:

      The “vendors” in front of Chase are high as kites all the time, also drinking alcohol from open bottles, urinating between their tables – and never ever selling anything. The guy in front of Ansonia takes up 2/3 of the sidewalk, sells mostly junk and not just books, is pretty much naked during the summer, plays his radio really loud, is very aggressive, sometimes blocks the bus stop, and so on. And yes, all those tables are now permanent fixture on those blocks. Isn’t this exactly the issue that Ms. Elected Official/City Councilwoman has to address? What exactly does she do 9 to 5?
      So yes, those affected by this free for all on Broadway, go talk to the police. I just wander what the answer will be. And if Bloomingdales manages to clear off this nuisance, more power to them.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        You have mentioned the nearly “naked” bookseller in a previous thread.

        Are you talking about the senior guy with the silver hair next to the bus stop?

        He’s not nearly naked. Sometimes when it
        is hot in the summer he takes off his shirt.
        Big deal. He’s not in a thong for heavens sake.

        It’s not like he a Desnuda or something.

    11. MsLake says:

      Anybody who grew up on the UWS (like I did) knows the book tables bet. 72nd & 73rd have been there for 20 years at least (if not more) and back in the day the vendor at that time was a drug dealer. I personally witnessed transactions several times, called police several times, nothing ever happened. I’m not that’s the case now, but its the space looks awful. I don’t have a problem with any of the other neighborhood vendors. And the clothing racks outside TJ’s? Happens once a week, or every few weeks, and yes can be dangerous.

    12. jsf says:

      Woody Allen is one of my heroes. His legacy of New York City culture,photography,language (albeit of a limited group of NYer’s) is monumental. He deserves a permanent,large exhibit room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ergo, I find it very hard to criticize his work, work-in-progress, wherever! I’m sure he’ll find a unique way of incorporating strays (people,animals,debris) into his oeuvre. I’m really happy he’s doing a film in Central Park!

      • richard says:

        Wow JSF, nice choice in a hero. An accused pedophile, who then married his own barely legal step daughter. Hmmm, who else do you admire Jerry Sandusky, Roman Polanski?
        It’s unbelievable how people can overlook serious issues because they like someone’s “art”.

        • Mark says:

          Overreach much?

          • Sean says:

            There are more mailboxes in Woody Allen movies than there are black people. – Whoppi Goldberg

          • richard says:

            Nope, not overreaching at all. Facts are stubborn things that liberal progressives seem to ignore.

            • Mark says:

              Well, good thing you threw in your labels. It helps us determine the intellect of the person making the post.

            • UWS-er says:

              What on earth does this have to do with “liberal progressives”?? Loathing Woody Allen for being an alleged pedophile and all-around horrible human being isn’t exactly a political matter. I’m liberal, and I’m just as horrified as you are that someone would call the guy his “hero.” Honestly, it’s ok to make a comment without getting into some weird liberals-vs-conservatives fight. Try it sometime!

        • Zelda says:

          Sounds like to you and to UWS-er who posted below, “accused” and “alleged” and are as good as proven and convicted (at least when the subject-in-question is one you are not sympathetic to)

          As far as our dear friend Mark, is concerned, he seems to never miss an opportunity at condescension.

        • Zelda says:

          Corrected version of above post (apologies for not proofreading more carefully the first time):

          Sounds like to you and to UWS-er who posted below, “accused” and “alleged” are as good as proven and convicted (at least when the subject-in-question is one you are not sympathetic to).

          As to our dear friend Mark who also chimed-in below, he seems to never miss an opportunity at condescension.

        • Zelda says:

          Re: “accused pedophile”:

          A more accurate and appropriate phrasing of what you meant would have been, “sexual predator” or “accused of sexual misconduct with a minor”, or something similar. The word “pedophile” does not fit the case-in-question for at least two reasons. First, there is no actual crime in merely being a “pedophile”– i.e., having certain attractions or desires, per se (no matter how repugnant, disturbing and vile people may find such feelings); it is only when such feelings are acted-upon that the Law becomes relevant. Second, pedophilia, by definition, is limited to cases where the youths who are the object of desire are pre-pubescent. If I understand the facts of the case-in-question correctly, the female who was the object of Mr. Allen’s carnal interest was already clearly post-pubescent. Thus, the correct term for such an interest would be ephebophilia and/or hebephilia.

    13. neighbor says:

      Unfortunately, I think that nothing short of demonstrating in front of our supposed representative on Columbus will get any action. And why don’t we the subjects band together and set up a demonstration?
      The guys in front of former Urban Outfitters are on drugs. Once in a while one of three of their “overseers” comes over and sits with the seller in front of old Loehmann’s.
      So, how about getting some attention from Ms. Rosenthal?

      • Cato says:

        Get a group of people to advocate turning that stretch of sidewalk into a bike lane. (Never mind that the law prohibits riding bicycles on the sidewalk.)

        Or to complain that they need the space where the book people are to park their bikes. Or to fix their bikes.

        You’ll get her attention.

    14. Sean says:

      The only thing worse than a street vendor is a new Woody Allen movie.

    15. UWSsurfer says:

      The booksellers and other vendors have a legal right to sell their wares. There are over 700 vendors licensed to sell in NYC.

      I buy books all of the time from the vendors
      in front of the Ansonia and in front of Chase Bank.

      The bigger nuisances and things that affect property values for Ansonia residents
      are things that happen internally in the building not the war veterans trying to make a living out on the street.

      I buy dresses, scarves, tights and hats from the really nice vendor in front of North Face.

      “Low-life vendors” in front of TJ’s selling coats from a rack? I’ve bought 3 beautiful coats for $10 a piece. The sellers are not “low-life.” They are selling fashion samples.

      They are vendors who happen to be black.
      Is that why you call them low-life?

      The street vendors are the last vestige of
      a non-cookie cutter existence in the UWS.
      We are surrounded by
      ugly cement banks w/ their bright neon lights
      glaring 24/7, Starbucks, Duane Reades, cell phone companies, yoga pant stores & nail salons on every block?

      Is that how you want to live? I don’t!

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Correction: a period and not a question mark after …block.

      • Joe says:

        I called them low lifes not because of their skin color, rather their behavior and disdain for other people.

        If they would set up in a spot and in a manner that did NOT cause a near riot, blocking others passing by and maybe injuring the elderly, I wouldn’t have anything to say, even if they are unlicensed.

        BTW, since you’ve dealt with them, are they properly licensed by the city?

        “3 beautiful coats for $10 a piece.” Are you happy with the quality of your coats?

        I have no problem buying cheap stuff on the street. But you have to be careful.

        I once bought a “leather” belt for $2. Applied a little leather conditioner a few weeks later to soften it up… and it cracked and the fake leather coating started to peel off.

        • UWSsurfer says:

          I am very happy with the 3 coats that I bought
          from the vendor in from of TJs. They are very high quality. I wore one today.

          I’m not the police. I didn’t check for credentials. I would trust the vendor with the coats in front of the BofA more than I would ever trust BofA that is for sure.

      • Sean says:

        The 70s are over!

        • Mark says:

          If they’re over then why are all of you complaining about? If the 70’s are over, what do you all have to worry about? 🙂 Something must be changing, or all of the well to do shoots wouldn’t be so worked up over nothing.

    16. UWSsurfer says:

      Check out this website.
      It explains how street vendors are
      protected by law.

      The Street Vendor Project

      • neighbor says:

        Booksellers are protected. Junk sellers are not.
        Veterans are protected. Druggies, dealers and public urinators are not.
        The protected vendors are never to to take 3/4 of a sidewalk.
        But why am I talking to you. If you believe that a $10 coat is a fashion sample… keep believing.
        Ms. Rosenthal is a perfect example of the danger of a two-bit politician: useless, not too bright, a chair warmer waiting for a chance to be useless on the next step of a ladder. Despicable breed.

    17. neighbor says:

      Tom, that’s perfect.
      How to get the precinct to follow the law?
      “The sellers broke city rules by leaving their merchandise unattended overnight, having more than one table per vendor and selling non-permitted items like pornography and electronics.”
      How about 5 tables to a seller, for starters?

      • lynn9 says:

        Claire, how much time do you spend on the west side of the street? I’ve had to start crossing to the opposite side (your side) just to get home whenever I come from Fairway or the Westside Market. Twice now I’ve gotten out of a cab on the corner of 72nd and Broadway and the same book seller started cursing and throwing things at me because he imagined that I was knocking over his stack of books.

        There is also a LOT of aggression coming from the ‘sellers’ who are perched up against the building and they have caused near accidents by yelling at pedestrians and blocking them from getting through the crosswalk and on to the sidewalk. I don’t think that group is actually selling anything they’re only only there to panhandle.

        Surprisingly a bus stopped in the intersection so I could cross the street on the corner of 72nd and Broadway and a bike came zipping around the bus and knocked my bags out of my hand and then careened up onto the sidewalk and into a group of teens on their way home from school. Don’t even get me started on the racks of clothes and nasty looking furs parked there. I’m actually more concerned about the guy with the monkey and the menagerie of animals. What’s up with that anyway?

        I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere on this board, but is everyone aware that the police and soldiers were stationed at the McDonald’s on 71st and Broadway? The police said they were there to keep out students because of the escalating violence, and that the kids were now congregating on the mall by the subway station.

        There must be a solution to making this neighborhood a safer and more habitable place for everyone. :/

    18. UWSsurfer says:

      The same booksellers have been here for over 20 years.

      Why not try to come up with a solution
      by working with them?

      They have attorneys. If the police and city
      bully and harass the vendors, the taxpayer

      Yes, it’s not the 70s (whatever your point was with that remark), it’s the 90s —
      and we are in a bigger Depression than the Great Depression.

      Allow these vendors to make a living. Allow
      the residents of the neighborhood to buy
      books at a discount.

      Have you been the Greenflea lately?
      It’s horrible. Who cares if the book sellers
      sell other goods like a picture frame or trinkets?

    19. Gretchen says:

      Re the “booksellers” on Broadway from 72nd to 74th St. This has been going on for decades. I’ve been to many meetings at the 20th Pct. on this very topic. The problem is the way the laws are written that protect them via a bogus 1st amendment regulation. The police come and do a sweep, but they have to catalog every single book. The booksellers love it, because they hire a lawyer and come away with thousands of dollars in settlements. And that’s why Kirk’s still there in front of the Chase bank, folks. He cleans up either way.

      • neighbor says:

        1st amendment has nothing to do with NOT taking their wares with them for the night. The police pretend not to understand the difference and that’s how we get into this catch-22. Books or not, they cannot have a permanent store, or leave their stuff unattended. Even fleamarket vendors cannot just keep their tables unattended when the vendors are not there.

        • Tom says:

          The vast majority of vendors on uws play by the rules. They show up every morning, pushing a hand cart or unload a van, and set up biz for the day. At end of day, pack up, remove their items and do it again next day. I am sure they would love to get the same special treatment gentlemen in question receive, but choose to play by the rules. That’s all we ask.

          • Guy 47 says:

            You’re kidding right?

            Never been on the west side of Broadway between 72&74 after 11PM?
            Tables are still out, covered with tarp, “holding” their spots for the next day.

      • UWSsurfer says:

        Kirk sells interesting books. He’s got
        a nice collection of theater, musical, opera,& art. They are reminder of how fine arts and music used to mean something in this neighborhood.

        To say he’s “cleaning up” is ridiculous.
        He’s out in the cold weather for a good part of the year.

    20. JC says:

      Just confirmed. Food Emporium is closing on November 23rd. 🙁