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MORNING BULLETIN: DESEGREGATING UWS SCHOOLS, BILLIE HOLIDAY’S LAST HOME IS SOLD


Zabar’s on Sunday morning. Photo by Stephen Harmon.

July 17, 2017 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 84 degrees.

Notices:
Learn about lots of local events this week on our calendar.

A pair of earrings clipped together was found early in the morning of 6/27 near the Sol Bloom Playground on 92nd street.  Contact Nicole.S.Conley@gmail.com if they’re yours.

News:
Education reporter Patrick Wall put together an oral history of the attempts to integrate PS 191 and PS 199 in the 1960’s and last year. Said one woman of the 1964 integration debate: “All these upper-income articulate professionals would shout. They couldn’t control their anger; they couldn’t wait their turn. It’s not tolerated in kindergarten, but when you’re grown up you can do it.”

And The Nation writes that last year’s rezoning effort shows how people support integration in theory but not in practice.

Billie Holiday’s former UWS home sold for $9.5 million after the price was reduced. “In the years prior to her untimely death in 1959 at the age of 44, jazz legend Billie Holiday lived in this Upper West Side brownstone at 26 West 87th Street, just steps from Central Park…Though the sale was significantly less than the original asking price, it’s still a good deal higher than the last sale in 2009 for $5.85 million.”

Vancouver, another city concerned that wealthy people are buying homes as investments and leaving them empty most of the year amidst a housing crunch, imposed a tax on them. The homeowners are now racing to rent them out, though some argue it won’t increase overall affordability. “Under the new rules, homes that are not occupied for at least six months of the year are subject to a tax of one per cent of the property’s assessed value.”

Read a succinct explanation of who really decides on whether new developments can be built in New York City.

Mt. Sinai just opened a new orthopedic center at its hospital on 59th Street (formerly Roosevelt Hospital). “The Orthopaedic Center at Mount Sinai West will be the Health System’s location for all orthopedic patient appointments on the West Side. The new facility offers a larger space to accommodate more patients and physicians specializing in all areas of orthopedics.”

And finally, a TripAdvisor reviewer from Cyprus writes that the Upper West Side is “literally something else” after visiting this month. This is literally true.

NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      what is the connection between the announcements stated in the “morning bulletin” and a photo of octogenarians eating at Zabar’s?

    2. Carlos says:

      I really hate to reopen a can of worms (but I will do it anyway) – the issue with the rezoning was primarily one of class, not race. I live further up on the UWS, but I really hate PS199 parents being labeled as racists. Many are classists, but 99% are not racists. I am not necessarily defending that either, but being a racist is much, much worse than being classist.

      They are motivated by having their children in the optimal educational environment. There are two major parts of this that rezoning potentially hurts: 1) they want their children surrounded by children from other families for whom education is their top priority; and 2) by sending their children to a wealthier school, there is a wealthier PTA that can fund more activities that enhance the learning environment. If each kid from the projects was accompanied by a $2,000 donation to the PTA and some sort of a guarantee that they would enter kindergarten ready to learn and would have two parents who would fully support them academically, PS199 parents would be much more willing to combine the schools, regardless of race, class or whatever else. But that’s not how the real world works.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        I’m curious as to why you feel that being racist is “much much worse” than being classist.

        being classist, as you aptly describe, is more accepted. I’m not sure it is “less worse.”

        • Juan says:

          I agree with Carlos that being a classist is a lot less worse than being a racist. Neither is good, but classism is less bad. I guarantee that though most will deny it, most people on WSR are at least a bit classist (if they will be honest with themselves, which many will not). But I’d like to think that very few are racist.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          ok, i see that you all agree that racism is “less worse” (I am not using the word “better”) than classism.

          i’m just interested in your arguments as to why.

          i’m not trolling… i’m legit interested in what the thinking is on this point.

      • Sherman says:

        Whether you call PS 199 parents “racists” or “classists” is just semantics.

        The important thing is that this whole school debacle proves the intolerance and hypocrisy of self-proclaimed NYC liberals and progressives and the pathetic Democratic politicians who represent them.

      • Figgy McJiggy says:

        Classism: Racism’s Fig Leaf.

      • Suck it up 199 says:

        Unfortunately when many people think of racism, they think of what is now coined “hostile racism”. But, for anyone who is familiar with the culture at 199 and/or attended any of the rezoning meetings I can assure you that “modern racism”

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_racism

        Is alive and well at 199. By definition the modern racism condemns racism and yet supports policies that can easily be explained away as non racist, but, as in this case, continues a pathway of segregation.

        ironically, this whole processed started when 199 turned on its own by trying to shut waitlisted kids out from within the zone. You reap what you sow. Tragedy of the commons.

      • EricaC says:

        It is too bad, though, that the “right” to attend the school comes with a price tag that is well beyond the abilities of many of the kids who are being kept out. There is something wrong when the public schools are so different depending on the financial ability of the parents. I think it is bad enough when a child loses out because the parent isn’t sufficiently attentive (though, of course, that can come from many factors other than parent motivation or concern), but $2k a head is a lot to ask of a lower income family, and their kids should not lose out on educational opportunity because of it.

        What it really comes down to is that we are absolutely comfortable with having public schools that are not adequate – as long as our own kids don’t have to attend them. That’s not a flattering thought.

      • Mark says:

        Segregationists

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      lots of good stuff here… great job on an eclectic roundup, much deeper than simply “openings and closings” of stores. thanks WSR.

    4. Kayson says:

      Re PS 191 and PS 199: Beneath the Upper West Side’s self-praising veneer of tolerance and inclusion, money is paramount and elitism runs deep. In my mixed residential building, co-op owners treat neighboring renters as if they were stupid, invisible or an affront. Yet these same property snobs are quick to grab the moral mouthpiece on discussions of race and class — all theoretical, of course.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “In my mixed residential building, co-op owners treat neighboring renters as if they were stupid, invisible or an affront.”

        Obviously the co-op “owners” (B/T/W: they ‘own’ just shares, NOT the physical apartment) must be wearing large O’s on their person, and renters large R’s…sort of a modern Scarlet Letter.

        Otherwise how can one tell? Happily, this Lincoln Towers building is quite ‘integrated’, with Renters and Owners often going out to dinner together and all paying the same ridiculous prices for nothing-special food.

        And we all hum that wonderful musical number from “Oklahoma”:
        “The farmer and the cowman should be friends
        Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends
        One man likes to push a plough, the other likes to chase a cow,
        But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends.
        🙂

    5. Bifmeister says:

      I went to public schools in NYC from kindergarten through college, from the early 60’s to late 70’s. In the 1970’s, liberal social engineers had the disastrous idea to bus students many miles out of their neighborhood to achieve school integration. I had the misfortune of attending Adlai E Stevenson High School in the Bronx. It was a brand new school and the desired racial composition was supposed to be 30% white, 30 % black, 30% Hispanic and 10% “other”. It was a complete failure. You had black students from the projects robbing middle class or blue-collar white or Asian students because of their race and/or perceived status. You had gang warfare. As a result, within 4 years, that school eventually became 99% black and Hispanic. Students do not receive a better education based on the racial and ethnic demographics of their school. They achieve a better education when all of the students and their parents take education seriously and they all have shared goals and values. I walked the walk and I talk the talk–straight talk.

      • Stuart says:

        NYC elementary students in the mid 1960s were also sent miles away from their neighborhood schools to achieve integration. I attended PS 156 in southeast Queens, which was located in a mostly white neighborhood, and black children from nearby towns were suddenly taking school buses to attend our school. I and my white friends do not recall any white kids being sent out of the area to segregate predominately black schools.

        Since one could not choose their junior high in those days, we were given MTA bus passes each month to use on NYC buses to attend our local junior high, which was not close enough to walk there. I would assume the rich kids went to private school. However, parents were not asked to give any money to the school or parents association to fund programs, nor were parents requested to buy basic supplies (pencils, notebooks, paper towels or other cleaning supplies, etc) for the entire class to share, which is what us happening these days (my kids went to PS 87, where my fifth grader had 32 kids in his class this past year).

        Can we assume that state and city funding for education was so much better in those days?

        Not necessarily. At PS 156, We had text books from the 1930s to teach us how to read. Boys in these books were wearing knickers. One story was about children who lived in Lapland (we didn’t know if that was a real place or a fictional place). The binding of these books was so worn that it appeared to have been nibbled by rodents.

        Echoing Bifmeister’ comment, I won’t discuss how our 7th grade home room class’ locked coat closet was broken into and belongings were missing, (there were no individual lockers in the school), or that I was “asked” for money almost every day in high school (once, I was “requested ” to hand over my gym sneakers that my dad had bought at the Keds factory outlet, and in 1968, what was sold at the factory outlet was either shoddy or unfit to be sold in a regular shoe store or department store).

        This is not an integration gone wrong story. Perhaps it’s a story of not enough neighborhood schools.

      • Sean says:

        Wasn’t MLK HS built with Lincoln Towers residents in mind? I heard that they wouldn’t send their kids there.

        • B.B. says:

          Don’t know about parents from Lincoln Towers, but the rest…..

          “Construction of the school took longer than anticipated, so the first students were temporarily housed on a floor of a junior high school in Chelsea that had a bad reputation. By the time the building finally opened… a number of middle-class parents had pulled their children out in disgust. Less than three years after the school opened, the Board of Education attempted to restructure it into a performing arts school with selective admissions. But the plan was scrapped when parents accused the board of trying to drive poor minority students out of the building and insulting the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Tensions mounted again in the early 1980’s [sic], when the board proposed merging King, which was underenrolled, and Brandeis, on West 84th Street, and creating a vocational curriculum. But again, parents revolted and the plan fell through. As the city created smaller, specialized high schools and magnet programs in the 1990’s [sic], King often drew students who were not motivated enough to apply to those. It remained an academic disappointment.…”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr._Educational_Campus