Why couldn’t we have a nighttime farmer’s market, like this one in Phoenix?
Upper West Siders expend so much energy trying to prevent changes they consider detrimental, from out-of-character buildings to noisy restaurants.
Today, let’s try something new. Let’s consider some ideas that might improve the neighborhood. Positivity! Yay! Weigh in on these ideas, or your own ideas, in the comments.
These ideas would need grassroots support, but they’d also probably need some institutional backing. In italics at the bottom of each idea, we’ve included the names of organizations and people who could help make it happen.
- A Nighttime Farmer’s Market: Farmer’s markets on the UWS are great, but I’m always at work when they’re open! What about a farmer’s market at night? They tried it in Harlem a few years ago and it sounded very cool. There could also be music! Yes, music and local produce! Okay, too many exclamation points. GrowNYC, the owner of a vacant lot or plaza.
- A Bagel Museum: This was something I thought about after H&H Bagels closed. Wouldn’t it be great if some vacant storefront in the neighborhood could be turned into a bagel museum, where you could learn the history of the bagel. It’s a fascinating history, and it can be traced back to ancient Egypt. And there would be a gift shop where you could buy fresh bagels and bagel key chains and such. Peter Kim (Director of NY Museum of Food and Drink), Gale Brewer.
- Murals on Store Gates: On the Lower East Side, small businesses and local artists have teamed up for the 100 Gates project to beautify store gates. How awesome is that? Very awesome. Why can’t we do it here? Columbus Avenue BID, Lincoln Square BID, Columbus-Amsterdam BID, CityARTS.
- Central Park Soapbox Derby: Wouldn’t it be fun to have an annual soapbox derby with local kids racing around the Central Park loop in homemade machines? Yes, it would be fun. Don’t argue. Kids need more do-it-yourself events like this. Central Park Conservancy, local schools and afterschool programs, local carpenters and hardware stores could sponsor.
- First Fridays: On the first Friday of the month, restaurants and cafes would allow local artists to set up art shows of their work, and maybe serve some wine and cheese and such. It would bring in business and help bring the neighborhood together. It’s worked in other cities (and it doesn’t have to be on Friday). Local restaurants, some of the Business Improvement Districts.
If anyone can help make any of these ideas happen, we will be enthusiastic supporters!
Love the Murals on Store Gates idea.
So do graffiti writers. By all means though, it’ll be way more interesting than that color the officer from the 24th precinct chooses to paint over graffiti with. How’s that going by the way? She’s out there every week, but the kids keep doing what kids do. At least it’s better than that crazy guy who puts ripped up pieces of postal labels over everything.
Man, you are a sour puss. I work in the Village and most of the painted gates do NOT get tagged. It’s the blank spaces that are appealing.
There is a wonderful mural arts project up in Hamilton Heights sponsored by the Audubon Society and Gittler & ________
I have been a resident of the UWS for most of my relatively young life (I’m 26), but this neighborhood is so attractive to me because of its strong sense of community.
I own a digital media and event production company called Our Name Is Farm, and we work exclusively with sustainable food producers and supporters. I am really interested in curating a nighttime farmers and artisanal products market or First Friday’s (it worked wonderfully when I lived in Austin, TX for 2 years), and already have an established network of craftspeople and sustainable producers to choose from. All we need is a space! The backyard of a school, an extra-wide sidewalk, but even better (because winter is coming) – an enclosed space like the banquet room of a hotel or school or community space. We could offer themed days, and workshops as well, to enrich and engage the community and all of its members – seniors to babies, and maybe even pets!
Looking forward to hearing more thoughts and possibly learning about any leads that may be available. Community members with empty storefront space – please consider offering your space temporarily to house what could be an incredibly fun contribution to our neighborhood.
Sounds like a great idea. Patience to build the consumer base is required, because it takes a while for people to realize a new ‘gift’ in their neighborhood.
Such a great idea! that Duane Reade on 84th and broadway that rents to Spirit halloween shop every fall would be a good spot. I bet they even have a sink area in place because of the pharmacy.
If I had the money, I would purchase a building with retail space on broadway (I dream of the staples-old Children’s Television Workshop space) and create an shopping hall with stalls consisting of old west side favorites like Star Magic and Pandemonium, Fowad, and have room for small businesses that are being pushed out to continue to sell their wares in a cooperative way with less overhead and shared expenses. It would be a little like Paris with the passages and galleries and a little like a peddlers village. If anyone wants to ante up the cash, I would manage it!
Love the idea of a Parisian Arcade featuring Fowad! How bout a replica of the old Party Cake featuring transvestite hookers outside and a miniature Blue Rose Bar? (very ancient UWSers may know what I’m talking about).
I remember Party Cake on 89th st…refresh my memory on Blue Rose
Glen, below, has the Blue Rose – can never remember which stop exactly but it was on the east side of Bway between 105 and 106. Our Party Cake was at 110 and Bway, across the street from the late lamented Woolworth’s – but the activity was the same. What was it about Party Cake exactly that attracted that business? Was it some kind of code?
I too recall Party Cake on Bway and 89th Street and the hot dog stand directly across the street on the south side of 89th St. Area always smelled of rotating hot dogs.
As for the tranny hookers, they were my late night watch when I would get home late and walk to the apartment on W97/WEA. We always exchanged pleasantries. The ladies would take up post at the NW corner of 96/WEA to get the evening traffic heading to the West Side Highway.
There was a steakhouse/bar a few doors west of Party Cake named Wilby’s..when it went out I believe Docks seafood restaurant opened up…The hot dog stand was called Benny’s and upstairs was the New Yorker book store and a band rehearsal hall.
Oh, and the Blue Rose Bar was on 106th/Bway.
Have Donald Trump’s name removed from his properties on the UWS. Whadda ya think?
Agreed!! Something needs to be done! I’m especially upset about ‘TRUMP’ and Wollman rink. It’s such a beautiful rink, an escape from the city that is supposed to bring people together….what a stark contrast to Trump’s bigotry. People have to stop putting $$$ in his pockets.
After his latest round of hateful comments, I do have to wonder whether the various buildings on Riverside Boulevard are considering removing their giant golden Trump placards from their facades. If I were living in one of those buildings, I sure would reconsider my choice to do so.
Nice ideas WSR! I especially dig the murals concept – that sort of art really adds to neighborhood vibrancy and draws eyes to businesses after closing time. The LES pharmacy at the page you linked to looks really nice: http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2015/01/lower-east-side-bid-awarded-grant-for-100-gates-program.html
And it would cost virtually nothing — I’m sure many artists would happily donate their talents to any willing store gate.
MORE political diversity
How broad is your vision of “political diversity”?
Is there room in it for those on the Dissident Right?
What about dissident, anti-buggery homosexuals such as Man2Man Alliance founder Bill Weintraub? Or blogger Rob McGee? (Sites linked above contain graphic content.)
Is there room for such unorthodox views in your vision of “political diversity”?
How about a bagel museum that also sold good bagels? Warm from the oven ….
I love all of these ideas! Let’s make them happen! Have really been looking for a way to help out more in the neighborhood… Where do I go?
Poop-free sidewalks would be great for the UWS.
Maybe the cops can start ticketing people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop. Other ideas?
I’d prefer they start with the adults riding their bikes on the sidewalk.
I am totally with you on poop-free sidewalks. Full disclosure: I have dogs, I walk them, I pick up after them.
As I walk them at night, trying to get them to “go” where I want them to, I keep trying to figure out how I would set things up for dog owners and others to coexist peacefully and comfortably for both. Dogs pooping on sidewalks, peeing on buildings and on things that people want to sit on or have to touch, is unsanitary and disgusting. At the same time, it is very difficult to persuade a dog to always “do their business” off the curb. So, if I were queen, I think I might have a designated area of dirt somewhere on each block for dogs only, like an empty tree planting square – so dog owners would be expected to bring their dogs there to do their thing, and the mess would be more or less contained. Maybe a wall around it so others don’t have to deal with it. It really can’t work, because they would become completely disgusting when people don’t bother to pick up after their dogs, and the density of dogs is probably too high to be supported by such a limited area. Still . . .
In the real world, it is entirely up to the dog owners to clean up and I think ticketing would be fair if it could be done (I think most of the perpetrators make sure no one sees them). But it would be so nice if it were not so hard to find somewhere that the dog could go comfortably, and that would not make things unpleasant for everyone else.
And about adults riding bikes on sidewalks. Again, clearly right. But I wish there were a safe place for a not that brilliant bike rider to ride that isn’t on the sidewalk. I just don’t ride my bike in the city, because I am afraid to ride in the street, and I obviously can’t ride on the sidewalk. It’s a real pity not to be able to ride or to use the bike as a mode of transportation unless you are willing to brave actual NYC traffic. I keep wishing we could have separate streets for bikes, so more of us could use them to get around.
And I also find the sirens WAY too loud. Very painful.
How about these five ideas: 1) No more weekend street fairs. At a minimum cut back by 50% and move them to areas that need foot traffic and need attention. Don’t hold them in midtown or on the UWS where there are already plenty of merchants and plenty of people/cars. 2) Crack down on street vendors who do not have a license/permit. They are taking away tax income from the city and sales from the merchants paying high rents two feet away from them. 3) Lower the decibels on ambulances and fire trucks from the current insane levels to those more sane as used in every other city around the world. No need to hear an ambulance on 73rd when it’s still on 87th. 4) Cut back on the absurd need for scaffolding. This was a law passed to without rhyme or reason and all it does is line the pockets of those in the business. If cities like Paris, London, Madrid, Stockholm, Berlin, LA…can do without it so should NYC. 5) Open more schools. Building after building keeps going up yet few if any new public schools are being built. The public education in NYC is absolutely atrocious across 90% of its schools.
Maybe we can build a wall around the UWS to keep the riff raff out?
Sensational ideas every one, Mr. Collins! These would do so much to make life more bearable here. I would add a cutback on tourist helicopters. However, the noise from sirens is a much greater assault on our sanity. Why can’t there be a decibel limit here? The EPA regulates mechanical noise emanating from buildings, but sirens are far far worse.
David: consider this comment my shaking your hand in gratitude.
NO more streetfairs!
NO more sidewalk vendors without permits- especially the book vendors who leave all the books out in the rain and their tables chained to the lamp posts!
and mostly, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE lower the volume of the ambulance and police sirens- it has gotten to the point of PAINFUL- and I live on the 9th floor!
For those who can’t get to weekday farmers markets, there are weekend markets. On the UWS alone:
> Saturdays: Richard Tucker Square, 66th between Broadway and Columbus
> Saturdays: Ninth Ave between 57th & 56th Sts,
> Sundays: 114th and Broadway on Sundays.
> Sundays: Columbus Avenue between 78th & 81st Streets
For other neighborhoods see http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/ourmarkets.
I really love all of these ideas!
Funny you show the farmers market in Phoenix. Is it the one on Central Ave? An First Friday’s downtown in Phoenix has grown from this small groovy artsy thing to this huge groovy artsy thing. Literally thousands converge downtown to this. I lived downtown phx when it was crackheads and heroin addicts. Rent for a large one bedroom was $350/month! Now it’s a thousand. And cheap by nyc standards. But the sense of community is huge. One of the only things I miss about there. But the UWS has that feel only on a larger scale. I do wish we had a more regular farmers market. The one on Columbus is nice but limited.