February 1, 2016 Weather: Afternoon showers expected, with a high of 52 degrees.
Meditation, tango, meetings, and readings will calm your heart, or get it racing this week. Check out dozens of local events on our calendar.
Donate books to an under-resourced public school library through the JCC.
A death last year at the Comfort Inn on West 71st street has been ruled a homicide. “The death of a New Jersey man in an Upper West Side hotel has been ruled a homicide — and two men who used drugs with him during sex could be charged, police sources said Wednesday.”
The West End Secondary School on West 61st street has been able to arrange a lease extension, a win for prospective UWS middle school parents. “The School Construction Authority said it would not begin the $40 to $50 million in improvements needed to make the building appropriate as a shared space for middle and high schoolers until a lease was signed. A ‘handshake’ agreement was made to extend the lease until 2035, meaning construction can begin this summer, Rosenthal said. The official papers will be signed in the coming weeks, she added.”
Seniors told the mayor last week that they need affordable housing on the UWS as soon as possible. “Many of the seniors at the meeting told the mayor they are concerned they will be homeless long before the housing becomes available, because landlords are pushing them out now.”
Many Manhattan property owners, on the Upper West Side and elsewhere, wouldn’t rent to black people in the late 1950’s. Harry Belafonte, who is still an Upper West Sider, found a way around the discrimination. “Back in 1958, Mr. Belafonte, who was the first recording artist to sell more than a million LPs, was turned away from one Manhattan apartment after another. And he was furious. So he sent his publicist, who was white, to rent a four-bedroom apartment in the building at 300 West End Avenue. His publicist passed on the paperwork, and Mr. Belafonte signed the one-year lease in his own name. Within hours of moving in, Mr. Belafonte said, the building’s manager “became aware that he had a Negro as a tenant.” The building’s owner asked him to leave. Mr. Belafonte refused. Instead, he bought the building, using dummy real estate companies to cloak his identity.” Later he rented the penthouse to Lena Horne. Read the whole story here.
Shakespeare in the Park will feature “Taming of the Shrew” and “Troilus and Cressida” this summer. “The production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’ a comedy in which gender is central, and problematic, will feature an all-female cast, including Cush Jumbo, best known as Lucca Quinn on TV’s ‘The Good Wife,’ as Katherina, and Janet McTeer, who won a Tony Award for ‘A Doll’s House,’ as Petruchio.”
A film about Symphony Space co-founder and artistic director Isaiah Sheffer, who died in 2012, debuted at the Jewish Film Festival. “The documentary includes vintage interviews with Sheffer as he amusingly recalls the creation of his signature projects, which included Bloomsday on Broadway, an annual marathon reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses; Selected Shorts, featuring well-known authors and performers reading celebrated short stories; and the Thalia Follies, a political cabaret series. His ebullient personality shines through, especially in a television show segment in which he expertly demonstrates how to make the perfect egg cream.”