Monday Bulletin: Undercover ‘Deliverista,’ 72nd Streep Station, Block Association Head ‘Shunned’ by Neighbors

There was a disco party at Lincoln Center, which is celebrating Pride. Photo by Toby Tenenbaum.

June 28, 2021 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 92 degrees.

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An Upper West Sider experienced for himself the challenges of those who deliver us our daily bread. “I knew the deliveristas were hard-working folks in a system that requires them to be fast if they have any hope of making a living…” Richard Robbins wrote in Streetsblog. “But the current conflict made me again start thinking about how economic necessity, rather than disregard for our traffic laws, drives the delivery workers’ behavior. When Manhattan Community Board 7 (he is a member) recently discussed the basic issue of delivery cyclists being denied bathroom access, I decided to sign up with DoorDash to try to better understand delivery riders’ challenges.”

The endless creativity of New Yorkers! Last week, two found an ingenious way to wish Meryl Streep a happy 72nd birthday, TimeOut reported. “NYC-based artist Adrian Wilson (@plannedalism) and Matt Duncan (@graycement) added a “p” to signs inside the Upper West Side 72nd Street subway station early Tuesday morning at 7:30am, making them read ‘72nd Streep.’”

Joseph Bolanos, a well-known UWS block association president, was at the Capitol on January 6th, but did that merit what happened to him — and his reputation — afterward? “He was raided in February by the FBI anti-terrorism task force, handcuffed, paraded and detained for three hours while his apartment was ransacked and all his devices confiscated,” according to an opinion piece in the New York Post. “Four months later, he hasn’t been charged and doesn’t have his devices back, but his neighbors are shunning him, and he’s had two strokes from the stress. ‘It’s destroyed my reputation,’ he says. ‘I’m not a violent invader … I do not condone the criminality and violence on [Jan. 6] whatsoever.’”

Residents of the Hotel Ellington, a shelter for women and children on 111th Street that is being phased out (as we first reported here), expressed frustration at the lack of information about their next move, City Limits reported. They were also hoping for better setups at future locations. “Privacy and boundaries were hard to come by in the tiny units, they agreed. Each room has its own bathroom and kitchenette, but women share bunk beds with their children, including teens.”

Fresh from a feud with school administrators about discussing pornography in health class, some parents at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory school, at 5 West 92nd Street, are now incensed because they believe “critical race theory” has been incorporated into the curriculum.” They made a video to prove it, including “an email from the school to parents announcing an ‘anti-racism’ statement, and audio of a purported interview with a ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ (DEI) coach consulted by the school. Columbia Grammar & Prep is instituting a DEI director this week over the objections of parents — and is one of the last private schools in the city to do so, one mom told the Post.

Graphic designer Milton Glaser, an Upper West Sider, died a year ago on Saturday. “As New York reemerges from a crisis, the logo he created in 1976, another tough period for the city, is as timely as ever. Here’s a brief account of how “I ❤️ NY” came to be,” according to The New York Times.

Finally, unaware that the UWS doubles as a movie set, a visitor had an encounter when her car broke down, chronicled in Metropolitan Diary. “I decided to call a friend who could, hopefully, come and get me. I saw a green phone booth outside a bar at the corner of 78th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Picking up the receiver, I noticed that it was unusually big and heavy. This is one really old phone, I thought to myself.”

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Joan says:

      Thanks for the article about the deliveristas. As a senior I have been angered by the disregard for traffic laws by delivery workers. However after reading the full article I feel they are a pawn in a system which exploits them and also jeopardizes pedestrians. How about forcing these companies to actually hire these workers and fairly compensate them and offer them protections. Hold these greedy companies responsible. And to customers, even if your delivery takes 15 minutes longer or the charge is a little more, we will all be safer crossing the street and walking on the sidewalks. Excellent story.

      • Peter says:

        Why not just ban the big bad greedy companies? It’s as plausible as “forcing” them to employ someone. Then we can force the restaurants to employ their delivery workers. Or we can force everyone who orders to pay a $25 minimum delivery fee.

        Then, when the deliveristas have started consistently making $50 / hour without any rush, we can watch them obey every rule, and never try to get to $100/hour by running red lights again. Because, of course, only big bad companies create economic incentives for people violating rules.

      • Ethan says:

        What the delivery guys need is a union. Like all workers.

      • Richard Robbins says:

        Joan – Thanks so much for this comment.

    2. UWS_lifer says:

      No sympathy at all, whatsoever for Mr. Bolanos.

      These Trump supporters ran around for 5 years antagonizing everyone, calling us snowflakes, telling us to “F%$# our feelings”, and culminating in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol, and now they are upset that no one wants to know from them?

      That whole article…scratch that….opinion piece, is like a delusional attempt at trying to rewrite history. Consequences for one’s actions…what’s more American than that?

      • Linda says:

        well said!

      • LL says:

        There were people who stormed the capital, who put people’s lives in danger. And should face consequences. But a lot of people went just to support Trump. They were not putting anyone’s life in danger and were not trying to stage a coup, while some obviously were.

        So if the guy was just there to protest, why should he face consequences? If he was there among the people who literally invaded Congress, then yes, there should be consequences

        • Sid says:

          He was there to protest a fair election, and protesting was a direct challenge to the legitimacy of our elections and country.

        • EdNY says:

          (1) Was he inside the building? That would warrant the FBI investigation.
          (2) I would have no problem shunning someone who went to DC to support Trump is his effort to delegitimize a fair election.

        • chuck d says:

          LL as soon as he cross the line onto the Capitol, he broke the law. He was no longer “protesting.” And let’s be real and honest: everyone knew what was going to happen. This was all over social media. Jan 6th was planned, premeditated, and was for one purpose : to “support Donald Trump …” just like you said. Support his desire to overthrow the election.

          Never, ever forgive that.

    3. Sid says:

      Is WSR an insurrection-apologist site now?

      • Steen says:

        I get that it’s a competitive market out there, even for local news blogs, but if WSR is going to spend half its roundups linking to the NY Post, I am afraid I am going to have to bid adieu to it. That tabloid loves nothing more than to normalize terrible people and try to destroy any one or institution trying to teach nuance or offer a non-right wing take on the world.
        I’m really disappointed that this is the direction WSR is taking.

    4. Dani says:

      Is critical race theory so terrible?

      • JSW0 says:

        I am sure there are many views on this, but my take is that as a deconstructivist framework for examining the history of black/white racial dynamics it is interesting, but like all decontructivist theory it is..not constructive. What do you do with it? Defund the police, for example – not very constructive. In schools, deconstruct the curriculum – also not constructive. And of course it’s roots are marxist, which many people consider not very fitting in the USA, let alone NYC. Those marxist roots emphasize outcomes, where typically our liberal democracy has emphasized opportunities. But specifically with regards to race, there is an argument to be made that black Americans are a special case – equalizing outcomes is the only path to more equal opportunities (think affirmative action), but of course this can be taken to absurd extremes in many situations, and surely within these NYC private schools that is currently the case. Note, I am very open to hearing other takes, am very discouraged by the unhelpful and often deliberately misleading public discourse around this issue.

        • Jess says:

          I think a huge issue with “critical race theory” is that the term has become so overused/misused as to be practically meaningless in these silly fights.

          Are these kids actually being taught quasi-Marxist social theory? Or are the parents just angry that the kids are being taught some of the ugly truths about the history of racism in this country, and how that history continues to shape our world? The fact that they’re up in arms about the school getting a DEI consultant – a standard, generally anodyne position in corporate America – suggests that it’s probably the former. If the school is one of the last in the city to hire a DEI director, then maybe a DEI director isn’t such a scary, leftist thing!

          If the parents are charging that the school is teaching “critical race theory” and the school is responding that it isn’t, that pretty strongly suggests that those words mean different things to both sides. Parents (and conservative politicians) need to stop whipping up controversy by inaccurately using hot-button terms for things that they just don’t like.

    5. Outraged says:

      Re: #’s 2 and 3:
      AGREE COMPLETELY! Thank G-d for the FBI’s pursuing these neo-Nazi’s (Herr Drumph IS their Fuhrer) who were hell-bent on:
      1. Disrupting the Electoral College Vote, nullifying the 2021 election, and destroying our democracy;
      2. Seeking to physically HURT V.P. Pence, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority-Leader Schumer (on the riot videos they can be heard shouting “where’s The Big JEW?”.
      How can any rational person condemn the FBI’s investigation?
      Sorry for Mr. Bolano, but WHY was he in the Capitol on THAT day when everyone knew that pro-Trumpers would be there to raise havoc?

      • EdNY says:

        In all fairness, there was nothing wrong with making the trip (although I would shun anyone who did). The bigger question is why the FBI pursued him: I have to assume he was identified as having been inside the building, which is far different that protesting, or observing, or whatever, outside the building. Is anyone aware of someone having been arrested who was NOT inside the Capitol?

        • Jane says:

          Far more than his presence at the Capitol, this makes my skin grow cold: “He was raided in February by the FBI anti-terrorism task force, handcuffed, paraded and detained for three hours while his apartment was ransacked and all his devices confiscated…” as does the shunning, although the woman who continues to fly her Trump flag – and a new one – Trump 2024 – how would one even consider the possibility of a “normal” conversation? Unless something is missing, the storm-trooper tactics visited on Bolanos are terrifying.

          • Sam Katz says:

            “Storm Trooper tactics?” In the 1940s, and most likely the 1950s, everyone who attempted a coup d’etat against the government and a presidential election and who stormed the Capitol would have been rounded up, locked up, and some put in front of a firing squad. Unfortunately, Miranda Devine is an apologist for everything Trump – and that means his 30,000 lies while in office, and his democracy-defying lie that the election was “stolen” from him, that he actually won, and that there was massive “fraud.” In case you missed it, Giuliani was just disbarred for spreading the same lies. She’s a Fox fed fool. Do I feel badly that Joe Bolanos had strokes from stress? Yes. Did Miranda Devine refute that P.O. Brian Sicknick’s strokes were caused by the attack at the Capitol? Yes. She keeps insisting he died from “natural causes” – as if it’s natural to beat back a screaming, violent mob of thousands and suffer TBI. You might consider that 1). Devine has a BS agenda, 2). The FBI knows more than Devine, 3). I know for a fact that Bolanos has a history of lying. I look forward to the rest of the story.

            • EdNY says:

              Minor correction: Giuliani has not been disbarred; his law license has been suspended.

          • chuck d says:

            Jane your comment is exactly why the US should not lighten up on the prosecutions. We need these things explained in court, under oath. To not pursue this fellow is to let his narrative flourish. Maybe he had an excuse. Maybe he was looking for a bathroom and just happened to go into the building at the same time as the insurrectionists.

            The facts need to be known.

    6. Carol says:

      Mr. Joseph Bolanos, if you see this, I’m appalled at how you’ve been treated and wish you all the best!

    7. Peter says:

      A 69-year-old registered Democrat, at heart really an Independent, effectively a full-time caretaker to a sick 94-year-old, decides to take a 4-hour train ride in the middle of winter and of a pandemic wave (risky regardless of vaccination status), to a mass gathering known in advance to often and primarily attract far-right marginals, neo-Nazis, and other questionable elements, who are there to “defend” and listen to some farfetched drivel by an outgoing president whom he doesn’t particularly care for.

      For the life of me, why would this man now expect logical and rational prosecution?

      • Josh says:

        Isnt this the guy who is president of a block association where he is the only member? Or maybe a few of his friends were “members” too.

    8. Leigh says:

      Innocent until proven guilty, right?! If he’s not charged with a crime, then he doesn’t deserve to be treated as though he did. I’m as anti-Trump as you can get, as I’m sure many of you are. Trump has done nothing but tear this country apart- to feed into the division and treat Mr. Bolanos so poorly just perpetuates the type of America Trump was gunning for. Get over yourselves and be the “bigger” person. Show some humanity.

    9. gm says:

      mr. bolanos ruined his own reputation!

    10. Sam Katz says:

      Miranda Devine’s article is hilarious! Anyone who had the nerve to print Joe Bolanos’ comment that the Trump rally was laid back and like “Woodstock” deserves the Leni Reifenstahl Award for Fascist Propagandist of the Year. Apparently Joe is still suffering medical issues as he’s confused tie-dye with full military regalia, the summer of love with the winter of hate, and rock music with chants of “Hang Pence!” I can’t wait to see how this plays out.