Monday Bulletin: Seinfeld for the Win, Trump Mentions UWS, Rabbis Disagree, Pastry Profile

Photo by Jordan Cooper.

August 24, 2020 Weather: Rain expected, with a high of 89 degrees.

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

Reminder: a Community Board-led meeting about the homeless hotels is tonight — Monday, August 24.

Noted Upper West Sider Jerry Seinfeld destroyed all those “I’m-leaving-New-York” essays with a brilliant rebuttal in the Times. “Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City. Feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again. You found a place in Florida? Fine. We know the sharp focus and restless, resilient creative spirit that Florida is all about. You think Rome is going away too? London? Tokyo? The East Village?”

Has the Upper West Side become a Republican talking point? President Donald Trump and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson used it as one in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, earlier this month. “The crime and chaos in Democrat-run cities have gotten so bad that liberals are even getting out of Manhattan’s Upper West Side,” Trump and Carson wrote. “Rather than rethink their destructive policies, the left wants to make sure there is no escape. The plan is to remake the suburbs in their image so they resemble the dysfunctional cities they now govern. As usual, anyone who dares tell the truth about what the left is doing is smeared as a racist.”

Rabbis and congregants on the Upper West Side are divided about the equity and efficacy of transferring individuals experiencing homelessness from crowded shelters to private hotels to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, The Times of Israel reported. “The community response — evident in opposing Facebook groups each with thousands of members, dueling petitions, and countless calls and Zoom meetings with local politicians — touches upon several lightning rod issues, including racism, safety, privilege and the interpretation of the Jewish edict to help the poor.”

“I just want someone to fix the situation for my grandmother,” Shaquasia Harden told PIX11 News. Harden has been trying for years to get the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to repair her disabled grandmother’s bathroom in the De Hostos Apartments on West 93rd Street. “The 66-year-old grandmother uses a wheelchair and had a tracheotomy to help her breathe…Harden worries about her breathing in all the mold and dust from the bathroom. ‘I keep calling and no one comes,’” her grandmother said.

In a series about “New York institutions that have defined cool for decades,” The New York Times highlighted the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam Avenue and 111th Street. “This little pastry shop community is emblematic of an intensely tribal New York tradition where everyone is interconnected if only by virtue of being here over the years. Some regulars share a love for the cakes, others are joined by lives that revolve around the nearby university. I know a publisher who remembers the place with fondness from her Barnard years — how she was young there, how she waited for a boyfriend, how she wrote her thesis at one of the tables.”

And, finally, something we found funny:

Actually, one more thing… A few weeks ago a reader found a pebble painted with a little fellow wearing a mask. She snapped a photo and walked away, but lately she’s been pining for that pebble. Are you a pebble artist? If so, she’ll buy one from you or donate to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger in your name. You may think “it’s just a pebble,” but the heart wants what it wants. “I tried painting one, I should stick to writing,” she told us. Anyway, email us at westsiderag at gmail and we’ll put you in touch.

NEWS | 71 comments | permalink
    1. MQue says:

      What Jerry seems to not mention is how bad the crime has gotten o the UWS.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Jerry does not mention that he left his apartment at the legendary Beresford building on 81st and is staying at his Hamptons home. Can’t say I blame him, but he left the city beginning of March and has not been back. Who here seriously thinks he’ll even come back at all in 2020? It’s nice to write inspirational pieces when you’re not on the battlefield, but in your officers tent, watching the war from a safe distance.

        • Balebusta says:

          Exactly this. I don’t think Altucher’s original article was 100% on the mark, but he made a lot of good points. The ad hominem attack by Seinfeld while he lives safely in the Hamptons is absurd. I don’t think NYC is dead, but it’s not exactly great right now! I will never understand why people seem incapable of this nuance. Things are bad! It’s a reality. I hope for change, but people need to be in reality.

          • TrueTrue says:

            Yep, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Things have deteriorated and are bleak in the short-term, but long-term will likely bounce back. The NYC is dead articles are kind of ridiculous, but will it suffer in the short-term, sure.

        • jezbel says:

          Actually Jerry does specifically say he’s got a house on Long Island. He doesn’t mention if he’s there or not. But one can make assumptions. I still like what he wrote. He didn’t abandon the state, the area, he will be back is what he’s saying.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            You make it sound like Jerry was being honest / transparent by stating he has a house in Long Island. It’s common knowledge, as in April, he was promoting his Netflix special on multiple TV shows via webcam where he states he is in his Hamptons home. This includes The Tonight Show with Fallon. He has NOT been back to Manhattan. Ask the Beresford doormen, they’ll confirm it. Jerry preaching from his safe cocoon leaves me unimpressed. Better to keep quiet about the resiliency of NYC if you fled NYC.

      • UpperWest says:

        As much as I enjoy Seinfeld, I’m not sure he’s my go-to social scientist or economist. Sure, “city” is still a powerful model in general, but there are no guarantees ours will thrive. Many have not. I used to think (without a doubt) national leadership would be such that we’d avoid doing terribly by the US population in a pandemic; I was wrong, and in hindsight I chalk that up to arrogance. I used to think local NYC leadership “got it” sufficiently to preserve the economic health and viability of this city. I’m really no longer so sure. Is the confidence here really just an arrogance? Don’t take anything for granted.

        • UpperWest says:

          To be sure, when I say “national leadership would be such that” I’m not saying anything about Trump, of whom I’m not a fan, or anyone else. I just thought that leadership here, including our civic institutions and professional bureaucracies like the CDC would enable sensible, or at least reasonable, decisions to be taken here. That hasn’t happened. I thus am not sure we can ever take for granted that decent leadership at any level will lead to rational decisions.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Crime is about the same as usual. Stop believing what others post. Has there been an uptick? Sure, but not nearly as bad as some will have you believe. Homelessness does not equate to more crime.

    2. Rob G. says:

      The best thing that has happened to the Upper West Side is that it became a Republican talking point! The “progressives” that hijacked our neighborhood seem to relish in the havoc they are causing.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        reply to Rob G:

        “the progressives that hijacked our neighborhood”

        when was it that the UWS was a conservative neighborhood? When did this “hijacking” take place?

        imagine how much one must hate where they live in order to be happy to see Trump and Ben Carson smear the neighborhood, with a broad brush and many lies. I’m just wondering why you would stay in a place you so despise.

      • truechristianUWS says:

        to Rob G. The true Republicans are dead. The present Republican Party is a party of hatred, bigotry, selfishness and stupidity. Trump & Carson are examples of the anti-humanity doctrine this party has embraced. Your comment was absurd and offensive to the connected feeling us Upper West Siders have for each other. Liberal is not a dirty word…it only means we care about our fellow man. Shame on you.

        • Rob G. says:

          TrueChristian, why shame on me? I agree with you that the GOP has swung way to far to the right. But the Dems have been taken over by a radicals who call themselves “progressives.” Their destructive policies are destroying the city and driving out moderate liberals, especially from our neighborhood. So, my point is, if Trump, wants to bring attention to the plight of the UWS and it somehow wakes people up to change things, I’m okay with that. I’ll take all the help we can get.

    3. James Brummel says:

      this didn’t happen on the UWS, but there was a movie shooting on some east village block. Some guy walks by me and barks “screw you unless you aren’t in the film industry”

    4. Eric says:

      Well, Jerry has certainly put me in my place for worrying about trivialities like the explosion of homeless, addicts, sex offenders and violent felons on the streets of the UWS. Everyone needs to calm down and realize we all live in a multi million dollar, security sky mansions where none of those issues affect our daily lives just like he does.

    5. Bruce Bernstein says:

      from the owner of Nice Matin restaurant, NY Times, 8/18/20:

      “The owner of a well-known French bistro, Nice Matin, which adjoins the Lucerne, said he believed the harsh rhetoric among some in the neighborhood had hurt business.”

      “There was so much talk about here are 300 sex offenders who are going to attack you while you’re seated, so they’re not showing up,’’ said the owner, Simon Oren, who added that “so far we did not have even one situation with homeless from the hotel.”

      Havoc indeed.

      • CuriousCat says:

        How have things been over by you lately Bruce?

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          thanks for asking, CUriousCat.

          I live in the area near 96th and Bway. there are a few more homeless on the street and Bway median. None that i have seen is the least bit threatening: they are mostly docile and tired. I often come home from work late at night and feel totally safe walking to Riverside. There are almost always cops at 96th Street subway kiosk. I see a lot of men and women walking home late at night, and on Bway.

          In other words, no “havoc” and no “American Carnage.”

          • Ben David says:

            It’s interesting that people who live in the exact same area are seeing a very, very different reality—or they just feel like making up stories. And the NYPD cops that I speak to (off the record) also have a very different view than you. I wish I could walk around with blinders on my eyes and not see the huge surge in homeless encampments, public urination and more in the streets, drug use, alcohol use, vandalism, aggression, and scary “zombie-like” behavior.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              reply to Ben David:

              “huge surge in homeless encampments”

              In the 96th street area? can you please tell me where? I will gladly go check it out.

              In my experiene, there was one lady, and i feel pretty bad for her, who had an “encampment” for a week or two at 95th and Bway. She is gone now. I have seen no other encampments but maybe you know of some that i don’t. You can report any encampments to Goddard Riverside Homeless Outreach.

              Where was the vandalism in the area? Please let me know the location of incidents, and what was vandalized. Maybe you are tracking incidents. I have not seen any.

            • Ish Kabibble says:

              You poor thing.

          • w 71st resident says:

            Yeah– I don’t recognize the horror show that some folks are describing. Like you, I have noticed a slight uptick in homeless folks, but it’s certainly not in line with the stories I’ve been hearing from other commenters.

            • LL says:

              I wouod say it is a lot more than a slight tick in homelessness, but I attribute it more to there being a lot of empty storefronts, so it is a more comfoetable hangout. There is not a huge number of homeless, but it is a significant uptivk.

              It is not at early 90s levels. Or rrallly even late 90s levels. I don’t feel like it is dangerous. I am not afraid on Boradway anywhere in the 90s. I am not happy with all the construction going on – i feel like it is a good hiding place for someone dangerous. Bit the homeless are not scaring. However, the increase is signifivant.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          btw, I was coming home late at night (12 am or later) on 95th between W End and RSD when i had a conversation with a homeless man collecting cans. he had several huge filled bags and said that it was maybe $6-7 worth. We had a nice chat. Given his life circumstances, it was amazing how he has maintained his sanity.

          he was born and raised in Harlem and has been homeless for about a year, since he lost his job. he said he stays in Central Park near 110th, as it is “safer than the shelters.”

          its worthwhile to remember that the homeless get ripped off and attacked frequently… probably at a higher rate than any other group.

          Can you imagine scavenging all night to get $7?

          • CuriousCat says:

            Thanks for sharing, Bruce. That certainly is something to think about. Terrible circumstances.

          • Ish Kabibble says:

            Many of these folks think it’s the homeless guys fault that he’s homeless. Amazing the selfishness.

          • UWS Alan says:

            That woman who you think has gone is living under a scaffold under my window on 94th Street and Broadway..
            She is not causing any problems but clearly should be living elsewhere.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              reply to UWS Alan:

              yes, you are right. it is the same woman. This is the one “homeless encampment” i know of in the W 96th street area. She shouldn’t be there and it is probably a health hazard. But she is not aggressive nor in any other way a problem.

              Goddard Riverside Homeless Outreach has been responsive when i have emailed them asbout this or other homeless issues. Keri Goldwyn is in charge of the UWS outreach services.


      • UWS Parent says:

        That because there’s 24/7 private security right by the Lucerne. Can they hire security for every restaurant in the vicinity so people can dine outdoors in peace? Also street cleaners who can clean up the pee and poop everywhere?

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          so it’s your contention that the homeless are hassling diners in other outdoor restaurants in the area but not Nice Matin? can you please tell me which ones, so i can confirm, and maybe eat there?

          btw, a lot of the horror stories posted here clearly have nothing to do with Lucerne residents, who are under curfew. there were crazies on the street prior to homeless being temporarily sheltered at the Lucerne.

          • Lesley says:

            Bruce Bernstein, thank you for often being the compassionate voice of reason. I’ve eaten at Nice Matin, and have seen no problems. There have always been homeless people, which is sad, and now it worse because there is no possibility of working. There should be compassion, not disgust. There is not an uptick in crime in that area, and the non-profit that works with these people is excellent. The city needs to invest much more than they are, these are New Yorkers.

          • Ish Kabibble says:

            Thank you, Bruce. NIMBYS, SMH.

    6. Rent Be Gone You! says:

      That’s so easy for Jerry to say that. He has his famous or infamous hidden-in-plain-sight-and-unmarked fancy private streetfront parking garage right on one of the side streets on the UWS. He can just jump in his very fast new expensive sportscar and get out whenever he wants to the Hamptons! He doesn’t have to walk around these crazy streets and take the subway like us annoying middle class liberal rent stablized normal/crazy/boring folks like me and you! It’s enough to make me want to see you and me move to a New Jersey suburb and shop at Walmart and order Dominos for dinner already! Peace!

      • Deb says:

        If you stay on the UWS, you can still order Domino’s, but with your poor choices in pizza, maybe you belong in NJ (when most NY-ers think of pizza, Domino’s is probably not on their list).

    7. Atom says:

      2nd Stimulus Check
      I have no problem with the new stimulus check proposal.

    8. Steven says:

      If Trumps mentioning the UWS then we are really doomed.

    9. Jiimy says:

      Let’s look at year to date data in comparison to 2019 in the 20th precinct:

      Murder remains at 0
      Rape is down 50%
      Assault is down 26.1%
      Larceny is down 19.2%
      Car Theft down 33.3%
      Robbery is up 16.7% (49 v 42)
      Burglary is up 63.5% (85 v 52)

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        American Carnage!

      • NotToday222 says:

        Many UWSers are focused on the 24th Precinct having a 700% increase in murders (8 from 1). Burglaries are up 100%+. While some other statistics are down, rape -83% (1 from 6), I’ve heard a few attributing those declines to less people on the streets during April/May.
        Just because crime is up doesn’t mean NYC is over. Also, it shouldn’t spur hate. Most of these crime increases happened before the DHS took the local hotels. Let’s welcome those in need and help them become part of the fabric of the UWS. Let’s find them apartments here and proper help.

      • Stats says:

        Looking at the 24th Precinct:

        Murder: Up 700% (8 to 1)
        Rape: Down 83% (1 to 6)
        Assault: Down 1% (94 to 93)
        Grand Larceny: Down 35.6% (323 to 208)
        Petit Larceny: Up 3% (884 to 857)
        Car Theft: Up 35% (33 to 20)
        Robbery: Down 8.2% (97 to 89)
        Burglary: Up 103% (106 to 52)
        Shooting Incidents: Up 600% (7 to 1)
        Shooting Victims: Up 700% (8 to 1)

        • Anthony says:

          So other than a 700% rise in shootings and murders it’s looking pretty good. Don’t see what everyone’s so upset about.

    10. Bye Bye says:

      So a guys that’s worth an estimated $950 mil says I should keep paying high rent for 600 sqft. Ok guess I have to stay… 🙁

    11. UWS-er Scared says:

      Last night on the corner of 79th & Amsterdam (the opposite side of the street to the side where the now closed deli is a tad before where the first building on 79th street is) there was a man standing against the wall actually shooting up with a needle in his arm. As I came back past him 5 min later on my way back home, he was standing there high as a kite just staring up into space with his mouth hanging open. 2 others were standing a few feet away watching in horror and one said they have seen him leaving & entering the Lucern, so he is a resident there.

      • Sarah says:

        Whew, with reliable investigative reporting like this, who needs facts?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Sarah — the poster said what they saw with their own eyes, so those are FACTS. What else does a person publicly inject in their arm besides heroin. It ain’t diabetes meds.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            reply to UWSHebrew:

            My guess is that Sarah was calling into question whether there was actual evidence the guy was from the Lucerne:

            “2 others were standing a few feet away watching in horror and one said they have seen him leaving & entering the Lucern, so he is a resident there.”

            yup, a guy on the street said such and such. So it must be true.

            thank you Sarah.

      • Hello says:

        There was what looked like a similar incident on Saturday afternoon at the usual spot at 79th and Broadway. A man in a yellow shirt was rocking back and forth on a bench looking very messed up, several NYPD were standing around him.

        It wasn’t the regular guy who lives there and has been there for years (I’m sure you all know him). He was over in front of the Chase bank watching this looking very upset.

    12. Steve Downey says:

      I understand the urge that many people are having to leave NYC. I have just 2 requests: Could you please just leave already? Do you enjoy living in a place you have grown to hate? Just go. I’m sure you’ll be happier. Request two: Could you start commenting on the Miami Rag or Scottsdale Rag, not here? I wish you the best. I really do.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        reply to Steve Downey:


      • GG says:

        Couldn’t agree more!!

        And I, and many of my friends, family and neighbors can’t wait to buy (or rent) your apartments at a nice big discount.:)

        • NotToday222 says:

          It is my contention that concerned UWSers should be raising funds to purchase/rent apartments (as you say “at a nice big discount”) to help those less fortunate, in particular those who have been temporarily relocated to our neighborhood. Give them a permanent and secure home. Charity starts at home and what better way to take advantage of those quick to pack out of this great city. Sure, the DHS does its job, but what about direct and personal help from within the community?

          Are others here interested in helping those less fortunate join our wonderful neighborhood?

      • Sara says:

        Couldn’t agree more, Steve!! If your don’t want our city, we don’t want you 🙂

    13. Wijmlet says:

      And when do rabbis and congregants NOT disagree?

    14. LivableCity says:

      Re: drug use described above. Could the WSR report on – or could informed readers reply – what the Project Renewal folks suggest as to the most helpful response an everyday passer by can have for this? If an addict is using – does Project Renewal have a team to send out to talk to the person? See that he is safe? Ask him to move inside? Safely disposal of his needle?

      Same for people clearly in other kinds of distress and disorientation. Several responders have noted public defecation – I have seen nothing like this but if it is happening, what is the most constructive way to actually help the poor soul?

      I don’t think most of us want to call 911 these days. Hoping there is a better response.

    15. Paul Stanley says:

      The mayor of our city is beyond incompetent and represents an epic failure of leadership. His first term was terrible and rife with division and graft, yet he was reelected. Why? Only 14 percent of the eligible electorate actually voted for him. That’s hardly a mandate. In the next election, New Yorkers need to turn out and vote. This time vote for someone who actually wants the city to succeed, not remain a laboratory experiment for “progressive” policies that fail over and over again.

    16. Bob Lamm says:

      For Bruce Bernstein–Thanks for your many valuable comments in this discussion. There’s nothing quite like people who don’t use real names publishing vague stories about things they’ve allegedly heard from other unnamed people who allegedly saw whatever. Who could possibly doubt such testimony? Now we’re even being told that the Upper West Side, our famous right-wing neighborhood, was “hijacked” by progressives who’ve somehow won just about every local election in the last 40 years. Hilarious!!! Great work, Bruce, as always.

      • Born and Raised.... says:

        You have all missed one key factor. The homeless surge on our streets is also due to the closure of the subways after 1am. My guess is thousands rode back and forth on the trains overnight to stay safe and in an air-conditioned environment. They have been pushed elsewhere which is our streets. They are everywhere in the city not just the UWS.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          reply to Born and Raised:

          this is an excellent point. I often came back from work post 1 AM and the subways had many many homeless.

    17. Carmen says:

      Speaking of art on the UWS: famed graffiti muralist M Schorr’s beautiful colorful panels still cover what used to be Aldi’s shoe store on Bway/84. I wrote WSR about them a few weeks ago, but no one’s taken on the story. He also did the boards covering Victoria’s Secret on that street, but VA painted a dull gray over them; can you imagine? They’re gorgeous; walk by and have a look.

    18. Paige Harrison says:

      I Love that you printed this! Such a sweet and adorable relatable story. Thank you.