Monday Bulletin: Doctor Done Wrong, Sports Clubs Sued, Dog Runs Close

Photo by @travellieng.

April 6, 2020 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 66 degrees.

Of course, there are no in-person events anymore so our calendar has shifted to mostly tell people about ongoing events, and a few daily items. Enjoy and stay (mentally) active!

One idea for tonight’s #clapbecauseyoucare from reader Caroline Press. How about singing Lean on Me to honor Bill Withers, the brilliant musician who recently died. Here are the lyrics.

An Upper West Side co-op board refused to allow a resident’s brother, a doctor who had come down from New Hampshire to voluntarily care for New Yorkers suffering from the coronavirus, to use his apartment. Dr. Richard Levitan received a text from his older brother, who was letting him use an apartment on the Upper West Side, The New York Times reported, last Friday. “It read: “Hey Richard — We are so proud of you and your heroism. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but looks like our apartment building doesn’t want you staying in our apt.” The Times observed, “Fear can make ordinary people turn valorous or villainous or just unattractive.”

An Upper West Sider and customer of New York Sports Club filed a lawsuit against the fitness chain for continuing to charge her while its gyms are closed. “They have completely ignored any and all attempts to reach them,” said Mary Namorato, an Upper West Side customer who pays $70 a month for a fitness club she can’t access,” according to the Daily News. “They act as if we’re dead to them.” New York Sports Club has three locations on the UWS: 94th and Broadway, 248 West 80th Street, and 61 West 62nd Street.

Upper West Sider Marc Goodman, a real estate broker with Corcoran, died of Covid-19 complications. “Friends and colleagues remembered Goodman as a good-natured man who had a playful sense of humor,” The Real Deal reported.

Sociologist William Helmreich, who grew up on the UWS, also died of Covid-19. “William Helmreich’s love of urban life began as a kid. He was born in Switzerland in 1945 to parents who were fleeing the Nazis. When the family moved to New York’s Upper West Side, Helmreich and his father’s favorite pastime was a game called last stop, where they’d ride a subway to its endpoint, then hop off and explore that neighborhood. Helmreich’s son Jeff says the adventures continued when he was growing up,” NPR reported.

Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera expressed his mixed feelings about the streaming of opera and other performing arts, in response to the nearly worldwide lockdown. In an opinion piece in last Wednesday’s New York Times, Gelb explores the interaction between musicians — all artists — and their audiences. “It’s heartening to see how popular the performing arts remain amid a crisis. And yet even as we celebrate this proliferation of internet-based performances, it’s also worth stating that this can at best be only a temporary fix…artists and audiences need each other. Audiences long for great performers; playing in front of them is what causes an artist’s adrenaline to rush. This is the alchemy of the performing arts, the metaphysical energy that flows to and fro across the footlights. Or as LeBron James put it recently, ‘I ain’t playing if you don’t have the fans in the crowd.'”

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll made a splash on Broadway in 2016, when they brought their alter egos George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon, two Upper West Siders, to the Lyceum Theatre, wrote Playbill. “Now the duo is back with the podcast Oh, Hello: The Podcast, which dropped April 3.” St. Geegland and Faizon are fondly known as “two Upper West Side geezers.” Here’s how they begin: “Oh, hello. It’s George and Gil, your favorite guys in the world and also New York, which is an awesome city, but not as good as it used to be, because of Mayor DiBlasio and the Knicks, who stink. We are in mandatory self-quarantine right now, but we think what the world needs is a podcast from us, George and Gil: the bad boys of broadcast…We’re gonna win the quarantine. And one last thing: you’re welcome.”

Caregivers — home health aides — are considered essential workers in New York City. 200,000 of them show up for work every day, “despite the spread of the virus,” according New York City Lens, “many without protective gear.” One such worker takes the subway six days a week to her 71-year-old client on the Upper West Side. “The Honduran-born aide…worries about her patient getting infected, particularly during her dialysis treatments. ‘I give her my own gloves to wear to dialysis appointments,’ the aide said. (She would not reveal her named because she is undocumented.) “She is also scared, she says, that her patient’s hygiene is out of her control once she clocks out.” Read the rest of her heroic and harrowing story here.

Finally, sorry, dog owners to report, all dog runs are closed as of Monday, April 6th, until further notice, the Daily News reported. “The (Parks Department) said the pup parks are closing because officials have observed overcrowding at them and the city has received numerous complaints…‘Our parks remain open otherwise,” said Commissioner Mitchell Silver, in a statement announcing the news. ‘and they are great places to get fresh air and exercise for New York City pups, but it is very important to keep them on their leashes according to park rules and to social distance.’”

NEWS | 56 comments | permalink
    1. C says:

      Sidewalks are not urinals/toilets for dogs. Please. Our building workers hose down the sidewalk and it is important to keep things as clean as possible now especially as always.

      And. Also. Please. Keep dogs on short leashes so the rest of us can walk safely and distanced.

      Thank you.

      • Erica says:

        For some reason a lot of dog owners think they don’t need to pick up after them. And why do they allow them to pee and poop on the sidewalk in the first place. It’s mind boggling.

        • lcnyc says:

          Erica, dogs are trained to pee and poop outside. The sidewalks are outside. Yes, people should pick up the poop. Hosing down the sidewalks should take care of the rest.

          • AB says:

            Parks, gutters are outside. We all have to walk on public sidewalks where dog feces and urine are unsanitary.

          • Paul says:

            Dogs can be encouraged to use the curb, or the side of the sidewalk. Away from where people push strollers, carts, etc.
            Letting your dog “go” in mid-sidewalk stinks.

          • Pearl says:

            Years ago there were signs that said “Curb Your Dog.” People led their dogs to pee and poop near the curb so pedestrians did not have to walk through pee and poop. It’s just the considerate way to walk a dog. Not every building has staff to hose down sidewalks, Not everyone picks up after their dog.

      • alisitter says:

        C — clearly you don’t like dogs. Where do you propose they urinate if not on the sidewalk? I never let my dog pee by someone’s building but there are hydrants etc on the sidewalk which my dog uses.

        • eric says:

          alisitter, I love dogs and dearly miss my long-gone Alaskan malamute.

          For decades and decades New Yorkers have been familiar with and understood the signs that say “Curb Your Dog”. It means simply that you must steer your animal so they urinate or defecate in the gutter. This is the proper place for your pet to do their business, not on the sidewalk and certainly not against a building.

          • denton says:

            ‘Curb Your Dog’ is no longer a law, and the signs stating that are as rare as fallout shelter signs. Believe it or not, there was a time when dog owners did not have to pick up poop. In those times however, they were expected to move the dog to the curb so there wouldn’t be a pile of poop in the middle of the sidewalk. Hence’ ‘cub your dog’.

            Once dog owners were required to pick up the poop, there was no longer any reason to ‘curb’ the dog.

            The law was changed in 1978, btw.

            • eric says:

              Denton, Having lived in New York for 61 years I do indeed remember the bad ‘ol days before picking up after our dogs became the law.

              That said, the gutter remains the appropriate place for our dogs’ urine and feces (prior to picking them up). What possible argument can there be in favor of urination on walkways and hydrants (which firefighters need to touch)?

          • Rafaela says:

            Exactly!! What Eric said, “curb your dog”
            Thank you

          • Louisa Cabot says:

            Hear! Hear!
            I have had had dogs (Poodles of all size) my entire life here. I was born here 78 years ago.
            “CURB YOUR DOG” meant just that!
            I now have a rehomed 7 year old Champion black mini. She was raised in TX. In a house with a doggie door, had never been in a city or on sidewalks.
            After one week with us she was curb/gutter trained.
            Th city reeks of urine in the summer from dogs urine on sidewalks!
            The street cleaning trucks actually was it awai In The Street.

      • Clara Fication says:

        This makes no sense. Dogs cannot transmit the virus.

        Out-of-control young children on blade scooters, however…..

        • geoff says:

          My guess? That is an opinion that you made up.

          From the American Kennel Club website (

          “If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected. By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets.”

          As of March 25, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department “has conducted tests on 17 dogs and eight cats from households with confirmed COVID-19 cases or persons in close contact with confirmed patients, and only two dogs had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.”

          That is around 10% covid-19 infection rate of pets.

        • dw says:

          The question of whether or not a dog is – or can be – infected with coronavirus is irrelevant. Just as virus particles can be passed via doorknobs and elevator buttons, if virus particles wind up on a dog’s body (or any pet’s body) as a result of contact with an infected person, then in principle those particles can be transferred to anything else that might come in contact with the dog … such as people or other dogs.

          Every day I see people in the park, wearing masks and standing 6 feet apart, watching their dogs wrestle together. No one yet knows for sure about all the ways this virus can be transmitted, but we should follow the precautionary principle and take no chances. Please don’t let your dog come into contact with people or other dogs living outside your home.

    2. N says:

      I wish I knew the name of that aide so I could thank her for her dedication and loyalty in some way, maybe send her flowers. I’ve had experience with bad aides so I know a good one is worth the whole world.

      And if I knew the name of her agency I wouldn’t want to take her away from her current client(s) but I might call and ask if she has any free time in her schedule. I could use some help from a wonderful person like that. I think I would pay just to have her around to talk to or see a movie with or something like that.

      • ajp says:

        please consider LiLY or DOROT; there are lots of volunteers who would love to talk or see a movie too!

        • Cjberk says:

          The worst experience possible was using VNSNY. That’s Visiting Nurse Service NY. They sent me a series of aides who never showed up, were rude and hostile, or just refused to help me. Finally, I gave it up and ended the service. How they exist on donations is beyond belief. I don’t recommend them and I caution everyone…find a better charity that actually helps people.

    3. Kelsey says:

      No one is following leash laws in Riverside Park, making it impossible for me to even walk my dog there. It’s asinine.

      • Juan says:

        Totally agree – I am not sure why people think that leash laws have been lifted. I know it must be hard that dogs can’t run in dog runs. But it is still illegal to let your dog off leash in the middle of the day. If your dog needs more exercise, run with it while it is on the leash. And I believe the early morning off leash hours still apply so get yourself out of bed and get to the park early.

        Similarly, I have seen a lot more piles of dog poop on the sidewalk. A dog’s got to do what a dog’s got to do, but the law about cleaning up after your dog still stands.

        Some people just think that they are above the law and the rules don’t apply to them…

        • Jill says:

          Juan, you are absolutely right. I am seeing more and more dog poop left in the Middle of the sidewalk…
          I thought we were supposed to be coming a more caring population. I have yet to see it.

          • Carnival Canticle says:

            What happened to the sign on a lamppost at the corner of 83rd and Columbus, near Gristedes? It showed the classic silhouette of a man walking a dog but the caption– if you stopped long enough to read it — was “CURB YOUR EGO.” A good reminder for the entitled twits who allow their dogs to turn the sidewalks into latrines. Anyway, the sign was painted over a while back. A sign of our times?

    4. lynn says:

      Beautiful photo and very surreal! This is the first year since 1979 that I wasn’t in the park taking pics of the cherry blossoms. 🙁

      • WSR occasional photographic contributor says:

        Totally agree about that photo. It’s a pictorial poem. This is the time when I would be out there grabbing these gorgeous photographic opportunities. I’m just plain jealous. I’m out of town and am urged by family not to return until the virus threat abates. Who knows when that will ever happen?
        I miss the city. Stay well, all of you.

        • lynn says:

          I know families who went out to Utah and Colorado several weeks ago and they don’t feel safe coming back. Very distressing time. Stay well!

      • NotImpressed says:

        Sid, that link doesn’t say it was resolved.
        I was charged and didn’t get a refund or a response from NYSC.

        • Marsha says:

          People I know have been cancelling their credit cards and getting a new one, therefore they’re unable to keep charging. This may be time consuming advising other automatic charge companies, but worth it to them.

          • kayno says:

            I called my credit card company and blocked them. it’s absolutely not resolved in favor of members. read the latest letter on their site. they will offer elite membership to those who do not cancel at a reduced fee.

    5. Sly Fox says:

      At the Rocky Dog Run people are most conscientious about picking up after their dogs, in the main.
      Having said that, I have been noticing more dog poop recently indeed in certain parts of the Nabe,maybe some folks think nobody is looking, or they get away with it. It is a minority of people who do that, otherwise we would be up to necks, so to speak.
      we are well north of what is called the Upper Westside

    6. jsv says:

      New York Sports Club’s modus operandi is to ignore its members. It’s been that way for years, which is why my wife and I went to another gym. In every experience I’ve ever had with them, and there have been many, they’ve dropped the ball. 10 out of 10 times it required numerous emails and phone calls to just get a response in the first place. That entire company seemingly prides itself on not giving a damn.

      • C says:

        Jsv, I second this. Same here

        • Jen says:

          Same here. Awful experience

          • Jan says:

            Also they hire yoga teachers who are unqualified
            having no proper credentials who are unable to
            teach a good class. This is unacceptable as there are many many qualified yoga teachers who have a teacher training certificate.

            • BJK says:

              Equinox (the Reebok Club) stopped tapping credit cards as soon as they closed without charging cancellation or suspension fees. Members didn’t even have to call/argue about it. I thought that was very nice of them — and it also obviously avoided a legal and PR nightmare.

    7. Marci says:

      With fewer people on the streets, dog owners are more and more not cleaning up after their pets. This is crystal clear when walking down the street. I gave the eye to a guy whose dog pooped yesterday near the AMNH. He pretended he was going to pick up and when I turned around again to see if he had, he pretended again. I crossed the street and looked one more time, and he was watching me to see if I was looking. Really? You only clean up when you absolutely know you can’t get away with leaving it? I love dogs; love them and have a step dog. But come on, folks. Clean up after them. It takes 30 seconds.

      • Cs says:

        They’re also bringing their dogs into sheep meadow now. Where dogs are now allowed at all. And leaving the poop everywhere

      • Sue says:

        I wish I could tell you how many times that has happened to me. They see me standing there watching them so finally they pick it up. Another time a woman missed the garbage can when she tossed it. She knew. But I called out -to her – excuse me, but you missed the trash can. She apologized. But I think she wanted to slap me.

        Please folks, pick it up. If you’re not responsible enough to do this, you’re not responsible enough to have a dog

    8. Riverside says:

      Poor dogs living in a city. Cooped up all day. Bored. Taken out to mostly walk on concrete and be pulled at and controlled with a leash. Sad. It is not really the place for them. At all.

      • EricaC says:

        I’ve said this before – sorry to repeat myself – but I actually think city dogs have better lives than many suburban dogs. My dogs get three good walks a day and, in normal times, daycare. They get the chance to meet other dogs, and are rarely alone. They can run in the dog runs.

        When I had dogs as a kid, they spent days alone while we were out for the day, and they never really had the chance to socialize. They had only a very small world with a small range of smells.

        I think it is more complicated.

        Curbing a dog is also more complicated than many people want to pretend. I absolutely agree that letting your dog pee in the middle of the sidewalk or on a building (or bike, or other things people are going to have to touch or sit on) is unacceptable, and leaving poop even more so. But I cannot get one of my dogs to go on the street, since he was terrified by a car that didn’t stop and actually ran into us while we were off the curb (despite my standing with him and waving madly). (We were actually scrambling to get back on the sidewalk when it hit my hip and my dogs back leg.) He will go to the edge, but not off it. I’ve tried every suggestion, but at this point, I just keep him as close to the edge as I can.

        And, being biological creatures, sometimes they start to pee without warning. I pull my dog away if he does that, but there is still a telltale line. I don’t know how to prevent that.

      • Christine says:

        Fixed your typo, you’re welcome:

        Poor children living in a city. Cooped up all day. Bored. Taken out to mostly walk on concrete and be pulled at and controlled with a leash (or screaming nanny or frazzled parental unit). Sad. It is not really the place for them. At all.

        Send all the rugrats to the suburbs!

        Also, the parks were are much nicer place to walk my in the dead of the winter when said rugrats and weekend workout warriors were holed up with their Netflix and whatnot.


    9. Scott says:

      Why are you not reporting on Mark Levine talking about digging trenches in our parks to bury the dead? Seems like a big story. Or maybe not, maybe that podcast is the real story.

      • nycityny says:

        According to the NY Times Levine later tweeted he was given assurances by the city that no burials would take place in parks. As if that was really a thing (other than in DeBlasio’s and Levine’s imaginations):

      • AC says:

        @ Scott, don’t believe everything you read or here in social media. It was a prank tale, which snowballed into a story. Amazing how people are so gullible.

    10. John says:

      I empathize with lady who sued NYSC. I have emailed them twice and have received no response.

    11. SharpeyedLooker says:

      The “P’dcast” (their spelling: not ‘Pod-‘) sounds worth a try, but i see no way to get at it, with no link in the WSR text or at the Playbill story. Can you give us directions, or a link, please? Thanks.

    12. Chrispy says:

      I really wish people would be more upset at the co-op who threw out the doctor who came to help us. Dogs ? Really??

    13. Chris says:

      People, you really should be more upset over the co-op that threw out the doctor that came to help us rather than what dogs do or don’t do. I’m embarrassed that I even have to say that.

      • Danielle Remp says:

        I so agree with you. I kept reading on and on, waiting for someone to express, better than I could, how ashamed I was of this report.

        I do hope that one of the hotels presently housing medical professionals who come from far to give their hearts, their skills and talents, while risking their lives (and those medical professionals who have chosen those hotels, rather than the risk of infecting their loved-ones at home) have, by now, welcomed this doctor’s graciousness.

        I understand how a building might not want to expose its tenants, but medical professionals are more cautious than we are about protecting others.

        I know that we have a compassionate and grateful mayor. I hope that he hears of this story and apologizes to the doctor to somehow – somehow – erase the snub that he received.

      • jem says:

        In these unbelievable sad times, definitely depressing to hear of the building’s action.(However worth noting for context that the apt owner – the brother of the doctor – was out at his country home and not in the apartment. This may have been relevant?)

        Also worth mentioning there were no comments about the home care workers and caregivers who have little choice but to come to work.
        Home care workers risk their lives and work incredibly hard. They have long commutes, get paid low wages etc. (Similar for store staff, delivery workers etc)

        As for the increae in dog poop and pee…it is demoralizing to see. And it indicates that in tough times, there seem to be more West Siders unwilling to do the right thing for others/the community…

      • Martina says:

        Look how few people here spoke about the conditions the home health aide faces? Seriously. You all are more concerned about dog poop than human lives. Makes me wonder about my neighbors here on the UWS.

        And of course, the doctor being thrown out of the coop? They should give him free living space to thank him for his service. This is also not just “a doctor” (although that is sufficient). He is a rather famous and renowned medical professional.

        Dog poop trumps how home health aides are at risk during all this.

        Seriously, what is wrong here?

    14. Jenny says:

      What an absolutely beautiful picture of Central Park. So moving. Spring is here.

    15. pqdubya says:

      I had a dog in the City for 5 years. Sometimes on her walk she might need more than poop bag and I sometimes found I had used the last one from the dispenser from the first poop. I often wondered why the bag manufacturers don’t change the color of the last =/- 3 bags or put some stripe on the last few so I could pop a new one in my pocket if needed.

    16. Nancy Turner says:

      The Board of Directors of the westside coop board which denied the use of a shareholder’s home to his brother should be ashamed of themselves.
      Here is a doctor who is willing to risk his own life in order
      to help save the lives of others – a true hero – and they say “NIMBY”. It’s disgraceful. I am glad they aren’t my neighbors.

    17. Vince says:

      I knew Marc from the neighborhood. He was a very nice person. RIP Marc.

    18. jem says:

      More sad news.
      Christ & Saint Stephen’s Church

      My dear people,

      Today I have the sad duty to inform you that our longtime custodian Andres Pastrana succumbed to complications from the COVID-19 virus and died yesterday afternoon. Andres has served on our staff for more than twenty years. After arriving from West Side Campaign Against Hunger, where I came to know him, Andres quickly proved himself to be a faithful and very hardworking man. For a number of years, he served as assistant to the late George Johnson. After George died Andres stepped up and increased his duties without falter or complaint as he became ever more deeply woven into the fabric of our community. He will be deeply missed.
      I ask that you keep Andres, along with his son Daniel Ruiz (who serves as our sexton), Andres’ wife Florencia Azucena Ruiz, and his entire family in your prayers in the days ahead.