September 28, 2020 Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 76 degrees.
Our calendar is full of local events, including free talks with filmmakers at the New York Film Festival.
Help scientists: “Are you 55+ and open to sharing your experience living through COVID-19 and extreme heat events? A team of University of Kansas and Weill Cornell Medicine researchers are seeking New York City residents who are in possession of smartphones and willing to participate in a short phone interview/ surveys this October. The study will not be a time-heavy commitment, will be conducted safely distanced from home, and is a wonderful way for you to contribute to research that hopes to inform policy and improve societal wellbeing. For more information or any questions, please contact So Min Cheong (email@example.com).”
Trash produced on the Upper West Side was down by 500 tons — or 6.5% — this August as compared to last August, according to an interactive map in a story by THE CITY, which delves into the trash situation in New York City. “As THE CITY reported this spring, numerous Manhattan neighborhoods saw trash tons picked up decline in March and April, a sign many residents had fled the borough. That drop continues.” In other parts of the city, trash loads are higher even as sanitation staff has declined.
A “nerd” from the neighborhood is in charge of the election decision desk at Fox News, and will have some power over when to call states for one candidate or another, the Times reports. “‘There will be no one putting their finger on the scale in either direction,’ he told me with matter-of-fact confidence in an interview on Friday from his Upper West Side home.”
The owner of The Lucerne went through “corrupt donors” to reach out to the mayor year ago, the Daily News reports. “The owner of an Upper West Side hotel sought access to City Hall through a pair of notorious government insiders six years before inking a deal with Mayor de Blasio to house homeless people during the pandemic, infuriating Upper West Side residents, documents obtained by the Daily News show.”
Homelessness is what the Hotel Belleclaire is known for nowadays, but for the past 40 years, Alice Eve Cohen has called it home. She describes the experience of having it converted to a homeless shelter in the Daily News, as “chaotic” at first. Since then, she says “My family has found the building to be a safe, comfortable place to live. That is, until Upper West Siders for Safer Streets (UWSSS) entered the picture. In July, two more Upper West Side hotels became temporary homeless shelters. UWSSS has demanded that the homeless residents be kicked out of the neighborhood, citing safety concerns, which seem to be unsubstantiated rumors driven by thinly veiled racism. I live in the eye of the storm, as it were, and I haven’t experienced any increased safety issues in the neighborhood. But posts on the UWSSS Facebook group scapegoat mentally ill and homeless people, inciting fear and hostility, and suggesting violence.”
A survivor of sexual assault as a child, Fariha Róisín, a poet and writer raised in Australia and Canada by Bangladeshi parents, has written a novel about a young girl with the same heritage and experience, raised on the Upper West Side. The New York Times reviewed it. “After Taylia is sexually assaulted, her family disowns her, and she is left to find her own way, emotionally, physically and financially. Guided by the spirit of her grandmother, and with the help of new friends and lovers, she gradually comes to terms with what she has experienced and what it means to heal. Róisín dedicated the book to survivors.”
An FDNY member was charged with assault for allegedly choking his ex-girlfriend, the Daily News reported. “An off-duty city firefighter was arrested Sunday after allegedly grabbing an ex-girlfriend by the neck and then tossing her out the door of his Upper West Side apartment, authorities said. FDNY member Abraham Kasner, 32, was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing/assault at 1 p.m., police said.”
The Trader Joe’s on Broadway and West 72nd Street features prominently in a new podcast from comedian Gary Gulman. “Gary Gulman’s Trader Joe’s” is about a “meltdown” he had there. It’s funny and revealing, with characters you’ll recognize. According to the episode notes, “The joke is about an experience Gary had at Trader Joe’s, but it’s way, waaaaaaaay bigger than that. Gary takes his audience through TJ’s snack selection and into Narnia, making companions of old women on the Upper West Side, finally culminating in a rumination on the nature of New Yorkers and taking a stand when injustice rears its ugly head.”
May the pandemic go the way of the Jewish year 5780. Onward to ‘81!