Monday Bulletin: Head Start Hero; Opera Tragedy; Fruit Man Gets the Jab

Photo by Stephen Harmon.

March 1, 2021 Weather: Rainy, with a high of 46 degrees.

Our calendar has local and virtual events.

The groundbreaking Head Start program for underprivileged preschoolers, launched in the 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, was modeled in part on a group that had been formed in the Bloomingdale section of the Upper West Side by Susan Feingold, who died last fall at the age of 95. “It began with their creation of an urban oasis — an outdoor preschool classroom — in Riverside Park at West 103rd Street,” wrote The New York Times. “Racial divisions loomed large, and Ms. Feingold strove for inclusivity, handing out fliers about Bloomingdale to families on Riverside Drive and throughout the Frederick Douglass housing project nearby. ‘It just grew and grew,’ Ms. Feingold said. ‘We all wanted a free, racially integrated play group…which was unusual in those days, because there wasn’t such a thing. And so we all came together, and we learned to know one another, and it was quite a revelation.”

Nursing home visitation guidelines were expanded by the state on Friday, using positivity rates and rapid testing, but it is still “nearly impossible for residents to visit with their loved ones,” CBS reported. “Despite the expanded guidelines, many nursing homes are frustrated – angry because the state did not eliminate an existing rule that requires facilities be free of COVID-19 for 14 days before any visits can take place. ‘We’re testing hundreds of staff twice a week, thousands per week. We’re going to have positive results,’ said President and CEO of the New Jewish Home Dr. Jeffrey Farber.” This comes amid continuing controversy about the state’s reporting of nursing home COVID-19 deaths.

Lindsey Boylan, the Upper West Sider who ran against Jerry Nadler for Congress last year and is now running for Borough President, detailed allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Cuomo in a Medium post. Among other revelations, she wrote that the governor had suddenly kissed her after a meeting, and had suggested a game of strip poker. The governor denied Boylan’s allegations but he’s now under investigation after another woman described another troubling incident.

Shake Shack is “getting serious” about driving delivery customers through its own app, CEO Randy Garutti said during a call with analysts Thursday, from his home on the Upper West Side. “App-based delivery is now available at more than 100 of Shake Shack’s 186 locations, with a systemwide rollout planned by the end of Q2, restaurantbusiness reported. “The chain is testing a 5% menu price increase on third-party platforms to incentivize consumers to shift to Shake Shack’s app. ‘I’m actually ordering delivery tonight, myself, from my local Upper West Side Shack in New York City through our app,’ Garutti said.”

Sadly, Metropolitan Opera singer Antoine Hodge has died after an extended struggle with the coronavirus, ABC reported. “He had performed in the Met’s blockbuster ‘Porgy and Bess’ during the 2019-2020 season…The Met will dedicate the opening night of the ‘Porgy and Bess’ revival to his memory.” Two member of the Met Orchestra also succumbed to the virus last year.

If you have ever wondered how the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) works, consider its handling of the design and construction of a new townhouse at 110 W. 88th Street, reported by newyorkyimby. “In January, the LPC reviewed and preliminarily rejected the proposals and instructed the architect to revisit the coloration of the structure’s limestone façade, cornice details, fenestration, and spandrel proportions. The design team responded to each of the LPC’s critiques and successfully achieved a certificate of appropriateness. The most noticeable modification to the façade is a warmer toned travertine panels with exaggerated striations.” Before and after renderings are included.

And in some hopeful news, the Fruit Man who has brought good cheer and healthy snacks to locals through the pandemic, has gotten his first dose of a Covid vaccine:

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NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Sue says:

      Nice picture but aren’t the things like the guy is riding actually illegal in NYC?

    2. westsidesally says:

      Happy for many people to get the vaccine, esp a nice guy like that, but wondering what has him qualified at this stage?

    3. Mark Moore says:

      Good for Shake Shack. Fight back against Uber and Doordash and Seamless and other delivery apps. If I can’t call the restaurant and order over the phone I don’t get delivery from them. And even then you have to be tricky because the delivery app companies are scammers who create fake websites for restaurants and sometimes fake numbers as well.

      • Helen says:

        I don’t understand your comment. How has the existence of online delivery services ever stopped you from ordering directly from any restaurant?

    4. chris says:

      westsidesally re fruit man. Unless you know his personal medical history, you may never know why he is qualified. But there are also a range of occupations where people are eligible. Those were widely recovered in the news reports when this latest phase went into effect and include restaurant workers and cabbies.