Monday Bulletin: Death at the Meer, Abstract Apartment; ‘Copter Clamor

Photo by Susan F. on West 73rd between Broadway and West End, by a woman honoring her dearly departed dog Lovie.

July 26, 2021 Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 89 degrees.

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“A dead man was found floating in the Harlem Meer in Central Park Saturday evening, according to police sources,” the New York Post reported. “The medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.”

The Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park production of Merry Wives, “which had already pushed back its opening night by nearly two weeks after its leading man was injured, announced on Friday that it would cancel its third consecutive performance after learning a production member had tested positive for the coronavirus,” according to The New York Times. Before noon the next day, The Public tweeted that Saturday’s performance was on — but the in-person standby line that had just been reinstated was off. As Shakespeare noted, “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece”! (Macbeth)

With the return of Merry Wives comes the issue of tourist helicopters hovering over the open-air Delacorte Theater during performances. “…Upper West Sider Ajit Thomas called the copter clamor a ‘slap in the face,’ especially when the noise drowned out emotional remarks from the stage about finally performing in front of a live audience and thanking essential workers,” wrote the NY Post.

An Upper West Side apartment was designed around a single abstract painting, Gotham magazine explained. “The common denominator of the residence is color, as it continues to one of the children’s rooms, which features a kaleidoscopic, geometric ceiling wallpaper…. The primary bedroom is equally radiant, with rich purple tones and accents like the handblown art deco chandelier….” Note: the unwoke “master bedroom” has been supplanted by a radiant “primary bedroom.”

There was no bedroom at all in the studio apartment a couple chose to rent over a two-bedroom on the UWS, Curbed reported. “It was actually more expensive than the Upper West Side two-bedroom, which was beautiful….we just liked the space more. We’re drawn to this Polly Pocket living…. I think this is where we’re going as a society.”

Residents on the Upper West Side have never been shy about their opposition to new developments that they believe clash with the area’s prewar sensibilities,” according to The New York Times. “The neighborhood’s latest real estate battles include three luxury condos that have prompted petitions, opposition groups and lawsuits…. The three contested buildings include: a 69-story condo at 50 West 66th Street where construction has been stalled by legal challenges since 2019; a 52-story condo at 200 Amsterdam where a judge ordered the developer last year to remove the top 20 floors, but is now slated to open at full height this summer; and a 20-story cantilevered building on 91st Street that neighbors oppose for its mass and design.” The Times covers the status of all three developments.

COLUMNS, NEWS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Juan says:

      Rather than going after each of these troubling buildings, why don’t those who strongly oppose them do something about the laws to pre-empt the problem? I feel like this has been going on forever.

      I have mixed feelings about these buildings, particularly those about 72nd Street (at this point below 72nd is midtown north with all tall buildings so we just need to accept that), but find the whole thing absurd.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        You had me up until your ‘below 72nd is midtown’ comment. Couldn’t disagree with you more about that.

      • Christina says:

        In some ways below 72nd St may be “Like” midtown because of all the high rise construction but it’s certainly NOT midtown!!!

        • Juan says:

          That’s why I wrote “midtown north” – it is the transition between midtown and the UWS. There are obviously pockets of exceptions but that is increasingly how it feels. Perhaps I should start my boundary slightly below 72nd but I stick with my point.

      • Danielle Remp Remp says:

        Agree that it’s not the “Upper West Side”.
        How about changing its name to “Lincoln Square North”?

    2. Eric says:

      As Fred Babb said “Good art won’t match your sofa”

    3. Line Me Line Me Not says:

      For the love. They are having a line. They aren’t having a line. We are well enough past the “things are changing quickly” stage of this pandemic to be at the “get your sh*t together” stage. Geez.

    4. Dani says:

      Aren’t there faux prewar buildings in the city? Couldn’t they just build a new old-looking building that will blend in with the area?

      • Eric says:

        Dani, they certainly could but to do so utterly misses the point. Most architects did not choose the profession so that they could spend their careers duplicating the work of previous generations. That work is called theme park design, not architecture.

        The pre-war buildings many, including myself, love and inhabit did not “blend in with the area” when they were built. The brownstones that preceded them did not “blend in” with the farms they displaced. The essential nature of neighborhoods and cities is to grow and change. The Upper West Side is not a museum exhibit – captured in time to preserve the preferences of one or two generations’ idea of how they think it should stay. It mutates and evolves with the city around it and the changing preferences of newer generations.

        Of course that can be upsetting to people who want a place to stay the way it was when they grew up in or moved to it. If one is looking for a town that stays the same forever then the best I can offer is to recommend a trip to Colonial Williamsburg or a pleasant evening spent watching and singing along with “Brigadoon”.

        • EGF says:

          Not to mention the cost to build these often ornate exteriors would be prohibitively expensive.

        • Le Flaneur says:

          Re: “The essential nature of neighborhoods and cities is to grow and change. The Upper West Side is not a museum exhibit….”
          Exactly! And, for this city-lover, just one of Manhattan’s many charms is its incredible DIVERSITY of architecture, a constant visual delight.
          Compare it to the mind-deadening VISUAL BOREDOM of suburbia with its look-alike homes, strip-malls, etc.

          • lynn says:

            I’ve never understood why New Yorkers think they have to defend the way they live by tossing around the word suburbia. It’s not all pre-fabs and strip malls. 🙁

      • Carlos says:

        The very high end building at 535 WEA was marketed as “21st century pre-war living” when it opened about ten years ago. Its architecture fits in with the neighborhood much better than many other new buildings. The Harrison on West 76th is huge but tasteful.

      • nemo paradise says:

        Sure. Maybe the UWS could have its own Parthenon, or we could tear down all those awful highrises and replace them with adobe pueblos.

        Wait a minute — what if we rebuilt Angkor Wat where the Trump International Hotel is?

    5. Wackadoo says:

      A higher price for the 600 foot studio rather than the 2 BR on the UWS – alrighty then!

    6. Steven says:

      The helicopter issue is outrageous and out of control. Most of these joy rides fly out of New Jersey.

      Go to “Stop the Chop” website and sign the petition to have these obnoxious helicopter banded from flying over NYC.

    7. Please sign the petition to ban nonessential (tourist and commuter helicopters) over NYC by going to
      We are an all-volunteer, 501c3 grassroots organization and we are seeking more volunteers and donations to help us move forward with our mission. A federal bill is pending in Congress that would ban said helicopters over NYC. NY Congressmembers Nadler. Maloney and Velasquez introduced the Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2021 in March (HR 1643). That legislation and other relevant legislation are on our website as well as much helpful information and resources.

      • Lady Di says:

        thanks for this info. Will happily sign the petition but hope it doesn’t mean sending even more copters into my west bronx neighborhood; their presence and lower and lower flying heights seem to be growing like rabbits.

    8. Christian says:

      Pretty soon we will be inundated with “modern” glass towers (albeit it with “quirky” designs like those that have polluted Hudson Yards, west Chelsea, etc) blocking the sun to our parks, streets, and apartments. Progress is inevitable but these towers are totally unnecessary. Let’s think outside the box and stop solving housing problems with gigantic buildings that at this point are hard to tell apart. How many people will the UWS hold before we’re a huge urban mess?

      • World Peacenik says:

        I agree with all you have written with the exception of “stop solving housing problems with gigantic buildings that at this point are hard to tell apart.”

        None of this is aimed at solving housing problems. None