Monday Bulletin: Columbia Crushes College Bowl; Construction Advances; UWS Seceding?

An artist painted the statue of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History, which is expected to be taken down. Photo by Danny Daly.

September 13, 2021 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 83 degrees.

Our calendar has lots of local events!

Good luck to everyone on the first day of school today!

Hometown team Columbia University beat USC to win the inaugural tournament of the latest iteration of the classic TV trivia quiz show, College Bowl, Columbia Spectator reported.


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Speaking of reigning victorious, “In what has become a yearslong legal fight, 200 Amsterdam Avenue has won the most recent battle — and the war,” according to Commercial Observer. “Thanks to a recent court hearing, developer SJP Properties will maintain its 52-story perch on the Upper West Side, overcoming a judge’s former ruling to cut the development’s height…SJP has since relaunched sales, with penthouses currently in contract for $19.3 million and $17.5 million. The building is set to open for its first-ever residents in the near future.”

Two other real estate projects in the neighborhood are making “remarkable” progress, according to YIMBY.  At 2330 Broadway on the corner of 85th Street, “The reinforced concrete edifice now stands topped out at 18 stories tall and will eventually open as a senior living facility….The supportive programming will specifically focus on providing memory care, while half of the units will be reserved for seniors with memory and cognitive disorders.” And, at 251 West 91st Street  (Broadway), the controversial cantilevered condominum called Era is preparing for its sales launch. It will yield 57 residences, and has an outdoor pool on the roof. Click the links for photographs and renderings.

Streetsblog, which wants to “reduce dependence on private automobiles,” had a sharply critical piece on the UWS community board. Their story is headlined Will the UWS Secede From NYS?  “It’s a reasonable question, given that last night, the Upper West Side’s Jekyll-and-Hyde community board considered (but ultimately quietly backed away from) voting for its transportation committee’s proposed ban on electric bikes in bike lanes, but still called for enforcement against delivery workers’ e-bikes, which are legal in bike lanes.” There’s a chart of what is legal and not.

Corey Stoll is a local actor now co-starring in the Showtime series Billions. He talks about his UWS upbringing and how his weight as a child affected the development of his craft, in the Wall Street Journal. “I grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. We first lived on 79th and Amsterdam. When I was 7, we moved to 93rd and Central Park West…. I was always a big kid who just got bigger and bigger through junior high and high school, reaching 317 pounds. My low self-esteem had a lot to do with my weight…. As a performer, it forced me to focus on character development. Because of my weight, I didn’t get the Romeo roles….”

Could there be a better segue? With Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet) coming in December, Town & Country calls it “a great time to relive the 1961 original…. It’s worth noting that the 1961 film has come under fire in recent years for whitewashing its cast. A majority of the Puerto Rican characters were played by white actors, and in 2017 (Rita) Moreno revealed that some cast members’ skin was darkened using makeup. For their part, Spielberg and (writer Tony) Kushner have made a point of correcting the original film’s errors in this area, casting Latinx actors in all of the new movie’s Puerto Rican roles.” For now, you’ll have to rent or buy the original via services like Amazon Prime VideoApple TVVuduGoogle Play, or YouTube.

COLUMNS, NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 28 comments | permalink
    1. chuck d says:

      Totally off topic, but has WSR changed its default font size? Everything is so tiny

    2. Marky says:

      Talking about canterlevering…

      The construction nightmare at 2551 Broadway (@ 96) continued this weekend.

      To mark the solemn occasion of the 20 Year Remembrance of the WTC Attack, Extell brought in a 24-story crane and proceed to work 24 hours a day.

      Disrespectful, you think?

      • nemo paradise says:

        Grasping at straws?

        Actually, working on a new building seems an appropriate response to the savagery that destroyed the twin towers and murdered 3000 people.

        • Small Business Owner says:

          100% Agree. Also, small businesses need these new buildings to bring in more people to the neighborhood. The new buildings are a few here and there and very much needed and helpful to local businesses. NYC is in survival mode and this helps.

        • Marky says:

          Attempting to make it sound like I am against the construction of new residences, because I’m not.

          I wrote that it was disrespectful to bring in a crane and work 24 hours straight on 9/11.

          I saw the firefighters, who’d arrived at the 96 Street Subway Stations to attend the ceremony at the Firemens’ Memorial on RSD.

          They were in complete disbelief that this was going on as they were honoring their fallen heroes.

          Even their minute of silence was disturbed by the construction noise.

      • Peter says:

        Well, I guess a truly “respectful” Extell should stop work for every federal holiday, every solemn occasion, every religious holiday of all 4,000+ religions out there, etc.

        Guess what that will do to the length of your construction nightmare.

        • Marky says:

          Are you intentionally misconstruing what I wrote, or just a habit?

          You must know that I did not expect construction to stop. I wrote that they chose the 9/11 20 Year Anniversary TO WORK 24 HOURS A DAY.

          The “construction nightmare” was intentional, with our firefighters having a solemn ceremony at the time.

          So I DID NOT NEED TO: “Guess what that will do to the length of your construction nightmare.”

          They delivered the worst nightmare that weekend.

      • Jiminy says:

        love the sound of crickets!

        • Marky says:

          40 hours of construction in a 48 hour period is not “crickets”.

          I am an urban dweller, are you new?

    3. Give-it-a-rest says:

      Re: 200 Amsterdam’s alleged “faults”:
      1. “It’s too tall”…how would you notice unless you walk staring up…definitely unsafe;
      2. “the developer played games with air-rights”…happens all the time, welcome to New York;
      3. “it’s only for the wealthy”…happens all the time, welcome to New York!
      This “local”, who walks past the building almost daily, really DOES appreciate 200’s beautiful streetscape amenities: planters with trees and flowers, repaved sidewalk, and attractive entrance.

      • LivableCity says:

        A “Too tall” building in a densely built area is:
        1. Disproportionate to the buildings around it, thereby
        2. Frequently casting huge shadow at all times of day into areas previously open to sky and sun, from the playground and schools to the west of it, to the thousands of windows, plus balconies, homes business streets and parks in the area.
        3. Full of too many people for already crowded sidewalks, streets, subway stations, safety of movement in emergencies
        4. Taxing to all common resources, from water and electric to garbage processing in a neighborhood

        “Too tall” is just one specific version of “too big” and “too crowded” – nothing to do with looking up, no thanks for the snark. It is why cities have zoning and limits for livability, for enjoyable street life, for fresh air. It is why the first tenements were required to have windows and air wells, and why things like overdensity are important. Yes, many areas of NYC are overbuilt. This battle is lost but I am one who thinks it is worthwhile speaking up for great places to live in cities.

        • David says:

          Thanks LC. Too tall is a nice way of saying outrageous. We keep building taller buildings because they bring in revenue for a few. Where are our planners? I doubt our new mayor will care.

          • JE says:

            Tall buildings bring more neighbors, more tax dollars for our schools and public services, and more people shopping at our local businesses and restaurants. De-growth is not how to build a thriving community.

    4. eloise says:

      Unrelated, but, could WSR look into when the Target and Homegoods at 98th and Columbus Ave will reopen following the hurricane flooding damage? It’s so sad that Target basically closed as quickly as it opened.

      • Michelle says:

        Home Goods was open today as I pass this afternoon. Target must have sustained more damage as the cobblestones on the side of building still have the sink hole. Target missed out on the back to school crowd sales.

    5. Mark P says:

      Streetsblog’s reporting is FALSE and contradicts its own prior reporting.

      New York State Vehicle & Traffic CHAPTER 71, TITLE 7, ARTICLE 34, SECTION 1242 – Additional provisions applicable to bicycles with electric assist

      The governing body of any city, town or village may, by local law or ordinance, further regulate the time, place and manner of the operation of bicycles with electric assist.

      NYC Community Board Mandates

      The City Charter mandates that each Community Board: Consider the needs of the Community District that it serves.
      Cooperate with, consult, assist and advise elected governmental officials about any matter that “relates to the welfare of the Community District and its residents.”

      Justice Delivered: E-Bikes Legalized Statewide In Budget Bill | By Dave Colon, Streetsblog NYC, Apr 1, 2020

      The budget language, worked out among Gov. Cuomo and legislators, closely mirrored the governor’s January proposal, which legalized pedal-assist e-bikes, throttle e-bikes and e-scooters, but allowed municipalities to regulate their use to suit specific local conditions.

      Yes – throttle bikes are currently legal in bike lanes. That does not prevent community boards from asking elected officials to make them illegal. Which, given the wanton lawless behavior of many throttle bike riders – NOT their presence, but their running red lights at speed and riding the wrong way – I support. I am sympathetic to delivery workers despite not using their services myself. I am aware of the pressure they are under to get delivery orders to earn a living. But I am completely unsympathetic to their reckless behavior. Human life comes before takeout.

    6. Otis says:

      SJP Properties should sue all the malcontents who tried to block 200 Amsterdam’s construction with nuisance lawsuits.

      The only person who benefitted from this nonsense was Richard Emery, the lawyer who represented these clowns. He’s walking away with a fortune in legal fees.

      That said, I’m curious who will move into 200 Amsterdam. Even before the pandemic there was a glut of apartments in newly constructed luxury buildings. Many of these developers are having trouble selling and renting these apartments.

      • d says:

        200 Amsterdam is an eyesore and egregious disrespect of zoning laws. Its occupancy continues to be litigated.

        • UWS Dad says:

          Can you explain how and where this will continue to be litigated? The NY Court of Appeals is NY’s highest court not sure a zoning battle meets any of the requisite requirements to get the federal courts involved.

          At some point, people need to move on.

        • rick says:

          What makes it an eyesore?

          • Peter says:

            Their highly refined sense of aesthetics, offended so easily by a shiny new modern building but not by the nearby grimy, puke-colored Stalinist monstrosity called Lincoln Towers.

    7. Hugh Van Dusen says:

      have you covered the new 41 story condo which is going up in the quadrangle of Union Theological Seminary, 120th St and Broadway? It will be as high
      as Riverside Church, one block away. This is worth your notice.

    8. blacklikeu says:

      The new “West Side Story”.

      So, in 1961 some of the actors playing Puerto Rican roles were not Puerto Ricans.
      My oh my. What travesty – NOT!
      This was 1960-61. Life was a bit different than it is today. Remember?
      And, in the 60+ years since the original movie came out, how many times have we heard about this issue?
      Until a few years ago – zero times.
      Even the great Rita Moreno did not come out with her observation until 2017. A mere 56 years after the original was out and about.
      Next to do for the PC patrol is, I guess, to cancel the original.
      And even though I have not seen the newer version, I dare say it will not be as good as
      the original version, which in my book was and is – the greatest Hollywood musical of all times.

      • sg says:

        Excellent comment. I for one am sick and tired of the PC Patrol scouring the past and attacking anything they don’t like. Here’s a thought…you can’t assess the past using today’s legal, cultural, economic or social norms!