Monday Bulletin: Softball Coach Defects; ATVs ‘Terrorize’ Neighbors, Bee Hives Proliferate, School Lawsuit

A poem in Central Park. See text at the bottom of this post for the words. Photo by Brenda Berry. Poem by SR DR.

April 12, 2021 Weather: Cloudy and rainy, with a high of 51 degrees.

Our calendar has local and virtual events.

Baseball season has begun and the boys team from LaGuardia High School (65th and Amsterdam) is out practicing hard with their new coach, CBS reported. But the coach defected from the girls softball team, which is now sidelined. “We have no coach,” said Captain Shiloh Gonskay. The Department of Education promises they soon will, and the school will have both a baseball and a softball team this season.

The Upper West Side is flipping out” again, according to the New York Post. This time it’s over “lawless all-terrain vehicles terrorizing their neighborhood. They say illegal quad riders who ignore the rules of the road invade the UWS at all hours — particularly late at night and early in the morning — causing locals to lose sleep and their sense of safety.” 

About 200 beehives — each containing more than 12,000  Italian honey bees — were delivered to Upper West Side beekeepers last week, ABC reported. “High-rise gardens are an ideal place for people to put hives because the bees are far away from pesticides. The hives cost about $200. New York City legalized beekeeping back in 2010.”

An UWS mom started a GoFundMe to raise money for a lawyer to sue the city to return children to public schools five days a week, calling the current two-day-a-week blended option “alienating and depressing,” wrote the Post. “Stephanie Kokinos, whose children are also in the blended model in a different Upper West Side elementary school, said the days they do remote learning were not serving them. ‘It’s just impossible to make their little minds focus on something from a screen,” she said. “They just cannot learn efficiently through that route.’”

The city is doing away with rules that had caused many schools to close if two Covid cases were identified, the Times reports. “Starting on Monday, public schools will have to close for 10 days only if four or more coronavirus cases in separate classrooms are confirmed within a seven-day period, and only if the city’s contact tracing program determines that the infections originated inside the school.”

They were children, babies, during the Holocaust, whose families perished, but who somehow escaped and were sent to the same orphanage. Now, these unique “survivors” have reunited on Zoom, the Post recounted. “Michael Hartogs learned about his past life only 20 years ago. Now 82, the married father of four moved to his adoptive family’s home on the Upper West Side. “I remember nothing. I didn’t know anything about my life,” he said. But a chance phone call from the Red Cross in 2003 led him to his mysterious past. He was 3 years old when he and his older sister were taken to the Meisjeshuis orphanage.”

Finally, talk about comic relief! WSR thanks all the humorists in the house! We are combing last weeks comments for the winners of those five (or more!) West Side Rag T-shirts. We’ll let you know the judges’ picks soon.

The Poem:

Oh Cherry Tree

Of Central Park

We Welcome you each Spring

All gather round

To come and see

This truly lovely thing

You bring us smiles & happiness

For winter is now gone

So thank you tree

May long you stand

You are my favorite one.


NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. jms says:

      Regarding the sad plight of UWS mom Stephanie Kokinos and her children:

      It was even worse for me as youngster, Stephanie, growing up *without* any screens (not counting the TV). All I had was the printed word — books, magazines, newspapers, comics, telephone directories, assembly instruction pamphlets, backs of cereal boxes….

      Yet somehow, things worked out.

      • UWSider says:

        You obviously have no idea how bad the remote learning at public schools is. Children spend 2 to 3 days each week with ‘asynchronous’ learning, doing written assignments or playing math games on the computer without any teacher.

        With teachers having been eligible to take the vaccine for 3 months, it’s absurd that the teachers union insists in continuing with remote teaching of such poor quality. Everyone should be in class 5 days a week now.

        • sg says:

          Everyone know that the Unions don’t look after the best interests of the kids, but only theirs. They’ve collected full pay while performing part-time work. A travesty that will have a lasting effect on an already underperforming school system…what a shame.

      • Mommaknows says:

        You probably also had school. Thats the whole point. These kids are not being taught on the remote days. Its a joke. And its criminal.

      • For Real says:

        Your comment is absurd! I wish it was that easy. Kids have no real teachers and are forced to sit in front of computer all day. They want to go to school. Stop blaming parents and kids here.

      • Mom of Two says:

        JMS – you must be deliberating misunderstanding the problems with remote learning. Stephanie and other parents are suing the city because schools are closed, and asynchronous instruction (meaning the teaching makes an assignment but doesn’t offer instruction) throws the burden onto the parent. It’s bad enough for those with parents who speak & read English well, incredibly destructive for those who do not have English speaking family.

        Parents of very young children WANT them to read actual books, not spend all their time isolated with a screen.

    2. Crankypants says:

      The ATVs are not only on the street, theyre are on the Riverside Park bike paths, too. Someone is going to be seriously injured or killed.
      The “bad old days” are back, folks.

      • Jay says:


        First, there weren’t ATVs in the bad old days. The closest would be the very hard to drive 3 wheelers with big fat tires. And not many people owned 2 cycle engined dirt bikes within NYC in 1975.

        Second given the massive law breaking by bicyclists, even on bike paths in places like Riverside Park, there’s certain irony to see complaints about other vehicles breaking the law on such paths.

        But clearly, the ATVs and dirt bikes are a real problem and the NYPD, mayor+City Council, really haven’t done anything about them for more than a year. The only break came with cold weather.

        Nor did the problem exactly start with the virus. Young men riding illegal motorcycles and ATVs up and down the avenues of the west side of Manhattan have been a problem for years, though it was a smaller problem back in 2019,’18,’17. The packs were smaller, and it was a less frequent event.

    3. UWS_lifer says:

      Whoa!?! Wait a second here….people are keeping bees in their apartments on the UWS?

      I have been in this city for a long time and I have never even heard of this before. Are they on the roofs of the buildings or people’s balconies?

      Pretty cool if you ask me. Now I’m curious about this.:) I think I’m going to take a deep dive on Google and Youtube re: urban beekeeping.

      • leon says:

        I was going to look into it but decided to mind my own beeswax


      • Joey says:

        Pigeons too

        • UWS_lifer says:

          This I know about. Lots of coops in Brooklyn where my parents grew up.

          Remember that scene in On The Waterfront “A Pidgeon for a Pidgeon!”? Heartbreaking every time. Brando truly in his prime.

          Anyway, here’s the thing about pigeons vs bees, in my opinion….pigeons leave behind tons of, let’s call them “droppings”. Whereas bees leave behind sweet, sweet honey. Not much of a choice.:)

    4. W 71 resident says:

      Thank you for the lovely poem! The cherry blossoms have been so wonderful the last few days.

    5. There are only 11 weeks left says:

      “This lawsuit is necessary to help these children,” Mermigis said. “There are children that are not doing well. They’re not coping. They have regressed significantly because of the remote learning.”

      I get that it hasn’t been an ideal year for anyone but this lawsuit is exactly why UWS parents are berated for their entitled behavior. All children have regressed in some way this year.

      The fact is that after the latest opt-in 40% of public school children will be attending classes in buildings and many of the teachers teaching remotely are teaching the other 60% of students who opted to learn remotely. It’s the age old NYC debate : whose children deserve more of the resources?

    6. Marci says:

      The ATVs are a problem; no question about that. And someone is going to get hurt or worse because of the complete disregard for rules of the road. Pedestrians? Ha! Red light? Ha! Everyone knows about them, so why aren’t the police doing anything?

      • your_neighbor says:

        Due to an illegally ridden dirt bike being chased a few years ago in the Bronx where the rider and passenger were seriously injured or killed the police are no longer allowed to give chase.
        The only way these guys can get caught is if they crash themselves, their motorcycles break down or if the police are able to put up a roadblock preventing any vehicles to escape via street or sidewalk (which would be almost impossible).

        • Jay says:

          your_neighbor says:

          The police don’t need to give chase, they can use multiple police vehicles, coordinated by radio, to box in a pack of riders. There are usually more than 20 riders per pack. Only have to arrest 3 or 4, and impound the motorcycles and quads in SI, to discourage this behavior.

          Also up to date still cameras can readily capture images of the riders for ID, as long as they’re not masked, and not all are.

    7. Wijmlet says:

      O golly gee,
      They praised a tree.
      My joy is now complete.
      I write this ode
      to thank the poed
      and ask they not repeat.

    8. JerryV says:

      “The Upper West Side is “flipping out” again, according to the New York Post.” Typical nasty comment from the Trump-worshipping New York Com-Post.

    9. Carolyn B says:

      About those bee hives in the city: last summer some busy bees visited the flowering plant in my window boxes, and I was pleased to see them. However I had to discard the boxes as I could not get rid of a fungus in the in soil but want to plant some more flowers that would attract bees. Does anyone know which flowers (full sun window sill) would attract bees?

    10. Jo Baldwin says:

      As far as ATVs and other law-breaking vehicles are concerned, there would be no greater deterrent than a police blitz on them with tickets and confiscation of the vehicles. Any infraction would expose the rider to these penalties. Repeat violators should not be beneficiaries of the courts’ “catch & release” policy. This may sound like a return to Mayor Rudy’s “broken windows”, but come-on, that did help a little. When’s the last time you had a “squeegee man” do your windows?

      • JSW0 says:

        Broken Widows policing and similar policies through Stop-and-Frisk seem to have been effective at reducing crime, but disproportionately effect black and brown people. Anything that disproportionately effects black and brown people is no longer acceptable to much of the population of the city, regardless of considerations about which groups in the city are responsible for breaking the laws being enforced. This presents an impossible situation, and no public figures are discussing it responsibly. So now we have windows breaking (metaphorically) all over the city, and shootings/murders through the roof, but the narrative is “it’s the pandemic.” The pandemic is obviously contributing in some part – large or smaller – but it’s very obviously true that lack of enforcement is a factor – also large or smaller. There is no public intellectual honesty about these issues.

        The recent mayoral dust-up over street vendors shows a similar intellectual dishonesty. Yang correctly says the proliferation of unlicensed vendors means the city has to deal with the issue of street vendors, and other candidates say he is criminalizing poverty, without pointing out that those who break the law pay no rent, no taxes on their sales, and skirt all rules regarding food safety or counterfeiting. The whole environment around law enforcement now suggests that laws can no longer be “equitably” enforced, and that seems to mean not much enforcement at all. So here we are.