Monday Bulletin: Bag Ban Delay, Virus Restaurant Slowdown, Meet Cute at Jake’s Dilemma

Photo by Jennifer Haykin.

March 2, 2020 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 57 degrees.

This week’s concerts, readings and other local events are on our calendar!

It’s hard not to think of the famous line in the 1967 movie The Graduate — “Plastics.” — in light of the furor over the single-use plastic bag waste reduction law that went into effect in New York State on March 1st. Had the young Dustin Hoffman character gone into plastics as advised, he might today be suing the state, as are a plastics manufacturer from Long Island and 5,000 NYC bodega owners. As a result of the suit, “The Department of Environmental Conservation will not enforce penalties for store owners handing out single-use plastic bags until April 1st,” reported Politico. “The plaintiffs…argued the new ban is unconstitutional, overly vague, conflicts with other laws and is ‘arbitrary and capricious.’” The parties are due back in court on May 1st.

An NYC resident tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday. As the fear has spread, the virus has taken a toll on sales at Chinese restaurants throughout the city, despite no evidence that Chinese restaurants are high-risk. On the UWS, sales at Jing Fong are apparently down 20%, according to the New York Post. Still, that’s a smaller drop than at the restaurant’s Chinatown location. “Business is down there too, but not as much,” Leo said. “This tells you that people are still eating out but they are staying away from Chinatown.”

The developers of 200 Amsterdam Avenue are still building, despite a New York State Supreme Court ruling stating that the zoning lot of their 52-story building — the tallest in the neighborhood — is illegal, according to The Real Deal. “The real estate industry was stunned by (the) recent ruling that could force developers to chop off the top of a near-complete residential tower. But they should have known better than to continue construction during a legal challenge, the judge wrote in his ruling, which was made public Thursday.” They didn’t know better then and apparently don’t now. “Richard Emery, a lawyer representing the project’s opponents, said they would push for a halt on construction. ‘The more you build, the more difficult it is to take down,’ he said, “so the DOB should exercise its authority to discontinue building for that reason alone.”

“Sculptor Vinnie Bagwell was awarded the $1 million ‘Victory Beyond Sims’ public arts commission to replace the J. Marion Sims statue in Central Park,” abc7ny reported. Sims is the controversial gynecologist who experimented on enslaved black women without anesthesia. Bagwell speaks about her art and the “black angel” she is creating to replace the Sims statue, in this video.

Why were singer Billy Idol and City Councilperson Helen Rosenthal taking a selfie last week in front of City Hall? They were launching a new ad campaign to improve air quality by keeping commercial vehicles from idling, as per a law introduced by Rosenthal, effective last year. “Billy Never Idles,” says the ad, which ”aims to prevent trucks and buses from idling by getting New Yorkers to file complaints with environmental authorities,” according to The New York Times. “The program requires participants to capture several minutes of cellphone footage of the idling commercial vehicle in question and send it to the Department of Environmental Protection. If the information leads to a fine, the complainant is eligible to receive 25 percent of it….The city has already paid out at least $175,000 to informants, covering 2,000 violations,”  said the Times.

Congratulations to Lauren Hard and Ronald George Hernandez, who were married on Feb. 28th. They had known each other since high school, wrote The New York Times, “But it wasn’t until 2016 that they noticed each other at a mutual friend’s going-away party at Jake’s Dilemma, a bar on the Upper West Side.”

And New Yorkers have a new team to root for in the NCAA tournament (Division III), located just a few miles north of the Upper West Side: Yeshiva University. Go Maccabees!

NEWS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. MB/UWSer says:

      This is a stunning picture. Happy Monday!

      Thank you to the photographer!

      Stirring my imagination.

    2. ben says:

      tbf the 20% drop at Jing Fong could be due to people catching on that the place simply isn’t that good.

    3. Evan Bando says:

      Fining commercial vehicles for idling has always been an excellent idea, especially during the summer or at least it feels especially needed in the summer. But how do you prove a vehicle is idling with a three minute cell phone video? Zero in on the exhaust pipe smoke? Can you hold your breath that long? What if there is no visible exhaust? The sound of the motor running? How do you prove the sound is coming from the vehicle in question in such a noisy city? Maybe you can get a shot of the driver throwing his Red Bull at you while he is yelling, “Get away from my truck that is idling, spewing pollution into the air.” Seems like an important enforcement has gone off the road somewhere. Instead of John Q. Citizen getting a piece of the action in this dubious scheme, give the traffic police an incentive to write a ticket on the spot. Something real has to be done about the problem.

    4. F. Shtopp says:

      Congrats to Ms. Haykin on that great shot at top of page!

      It’s great because:
      a) it’s visually striking, a wonderful contrast of dark vs. light…the dark silhouette of Bethesda Terrace against BOTH its incandescent underside AND the fading sky above, plus the reflected light in puddles at the foreground;

      b) It’s definitely NOT a tourist snapshot…it’s a piece of art that makes one go “Wow, I’ve never seen that before”

      “Well seen!”…the complement for which every serious photographer strives.

    5. The line was not “There’s a great future in plastics.” The line was one word. A friend of Ben’s parents, a man named Mr. McGuire, takes Ben aside at the party and says he has one word of advice for him, just one word—and the word is “plastics.”

      • Carol Tannenhauser says:

        Changed. Believe it or not, both lines are correct, but you’re right about which was more famous. Thanks.

    6. janet says:

      expanding Ben’s comment regarding Jing Fong experiencing a 20% drop in customers….
      could also be due to people catching on that the place has a “B” rating by the NYC Department of Health.

    7. Marilyn says:

      How about the idling ambulances, that camp out on UWS in hopes of scooping up a lucrative ER visit. This is a fairly new practice and outrageous. This really should be outlawed.

    8. EcoJG says:

      Does anyone know of biodegradable or big compostable bags we can buy in lieu of not using the plastic bags that we no longer will get from supermarkets?
      I like the idea of not using plastic bags, but the City should give alternatives for throwing out garage that can be damp/wet and unsuitable for paper.
      I went to whole foods thinking they’d have a eco- minded bag, but they only had plastic garbage bags, which defeated the purpose of the ban.
      Any suggestions? If there are I think WSR should write an article about it! Thanks!!