Monday Bulletin: Covid Battles, Congestion Pricing, Bowling in the Sky, Super’s Daughter Tells All, Haircuts in the Park

Photo by Jill at 71st and West End.

July 20, 2020 Weather: HOT, with a high of 98 degrees.

Our calendar is full of events you can enjoy from home.

The stories of two Upper West Siders who fought back against COVID-19 hit home the seriousness of the disease:

Lawrence Kelly had one of the earliest cases in the city and spent 51 days on a ventilator, The New York Times reported. “Dawn (his wife) last saw Larry 11 days earlier, in their apartment on the Upper West Side, on March 17 at 5 a.m….He texted her one last time from the hospital before he was put on a ventilator, which required being put into a drug-induced coma: ‘I promise I’ll never stop fighting.’”

Stephan Russo, the former executive director of Goddard Riverside, collapsed in his kitchen and was hospitalized for COVID-19 in late March. Russo recovered, but three months later, he relapsed. He tells his harrowing story in The Spirit. “The next day…I felt as if I was ‘hit by a truck.’ I called the doctor and decided to get checked out at an urgent care site. Could the virus have returned?”

The implementation of congestion pricing, which would tax motorists who drive below 60th Street in Manhattan, will be delayed by “roughly a year,” the Daily News reported, citing as the reason, the Trump Administration. “The new tolls were slated to go into effect at the start of 2021 — but the feds have since slow-walked an approval process and declined to tell Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders what kind of environmental review process is needed to give the program the green light.” The tolls were to be used to help fund the MTA’s capital plan.

A major joint venture and renderings of 50 West 66th Street, the proposed 775-foot building that would “wrest the title of tallest building in the neighborhood from 200 Amsterdam Avenue,” were presented in New York YIMBY. Tennor Holding B.V. was confirmed as the co-developer. “The residential component will comprise 127 condominiums and a suite of recreational amenities including an indoor pool, a full basketball court, a squash court, and a bowling alley. Additional amenity spaces on the 20th floor include a manicured lounge, a business center, a landscaped terrace with fire pits, and a spa.”

To mitigate lost revenue and the high cost of maintaining its building on Amsterdam and 76th Street, the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center of Manhattan — one of the largest JCCs in the country — was forced to lay off 32 employees and furlough 40 others last week. “Most of the furloughed positions are on the health and wellness staff. Rabbi Joy Levitt, the center’s executive director, said the plan is to bring back those employees as soon as the building, which includes an extensive fitness facility, is able to reopen fully,” wrote New York Jewish Week.

How intriguing: a novel based on the true experiences and observations of class and character, of the daughter of a live-in super in a co-op building on the Upper West Side. “Alternating between Ruby’s point of view and that of her father, ‘The Party Upstairs’ is a sharp novel about privilege and gentrification, and about the city’s vanishing middle class,” wrote the New York Post.

And finally, if you’re not ready to get your hair cut inside, you can have it done in Central Park by a barber who has set up shop near West 72nd Street, just north of Strawberry Fields. “Looking for a way to stay busy and help New Yorkers take ‘a step closer to normalcy,’ as he put it, Mr. (Herman) James started cutting hair in Central Park in mid-May. ‘I put my chair and tools out there to see how people would respond…’I waited 10 minutes and then one person jumped in the chair.’ Since then, according to The New York Times, “he has provided about 300 free haircuts (donations accepted).”

NEWS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. Bob Lamm says:

      It is very distressing to read that Stephan Russo is continuing to battle Covid-19. I was lucky enough to know him during his many years of extraordinary, caring leadership while running the Goddard-Riverside Community Center. I’m wishing all the best for this terrific guy.

    2. Frank says:

      I’m so excited for 50 W. 66th street. At this time particularly, the construction project will provide desperately-needed jobs. A beautiful building. (And no, I’m not in the real estate industry)

      • Jan says:

        R u serious? U r championing the destruction
        if our neighborhood? Drats and rats. Looking
        Forward to a glass and steel hi rise?
        So sad

      • Julie says:

        Oh, great! Another monster glass high rise to continue the ruin of the Upper West Side. Genius. As if he monster at 200 Amsterdam wasn’t bad enough. Soon the UWS will look like Hong Kong – nothing but glass towers.

    3. Sam says:

      If congestion pricing is on hold why am I still being charged for it when my walker and I take a cab?