Monday Bulletin: Too Few Cooks, ‘Meg Ryan Fall’, The Cost of Aging, and Upper West Siders Wed!

Rabbi Jeremy Kalmonovsky led the congregation of Ansche Chesed through the seven processions of dancing with the Torah on Simchat Torah. Photo by Jeff French Segall.

October 4, 2021 Weather: Rainy, with a high of 70 degrees.

Our calendar has lots of local events!

The restaurant industry recovery is “sputtering,” according to Bloomberg. Two reasons cited are “surging costs for everything from salmon to uniforms, and labor shortages…the dearth of cooks and waiters, many of whom are unwilling to come back to the industry in spite of higher wages. ‘You still can’t find people,’ said Danny Abrams, owner of Mermaid Inn restaurants in Manhattan. ‘I had an Italian restaurant, Sirenetta, on the Upper West Side. I can’t reopen because I can’t find an Italian chef, I can’t find staff.’”

Construction continues to advance at 125 West End Avenue (65-66), a conversion of an eight-story building into a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art life sciences and research laboratory,” NYYIMBY reported. “The structure was originally completed in 1929 and was first used as an automotive facility by Chrysler Motor Company. Broadcasting company Walt Disney/ABC occupied the property since 1985 until its recent departure at the start of 2021.”

You can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. But can you display racist signs on a public sidewalk? “A hate-filled vagrant stews under scaffolding on Broadway between West 66th and 67th streets with signs that call for Jews and Chinese to burn in hell. The unidentified agitator — clad in a baseball cap, hoodie, sweats and sneakers — has been camping out at the location since the pandemic began, according to UWS tech exec John Jun, an Asian-American wounded by the spew,” he told the New York Post.

White people being annoyingly obsessed with autumn” is a syndrome that can be traced back to the Upper West Side, says Vox. “It’s Meg Ryan fall. You know, Meg Ryan, as in the actress who stars in such iconic autumn-set films as You’ve Got Mail. The one who owns a bookshop on the Upper West Side and is very particular about ordering salads but most importantly of all, wears jaunty loose-fitting trousers and irresistibly cozy-looking turtleneck sweaters. It’s that, but a whole season: Meg Ryan fall.”

Cordell Cleare “has won the Democratic nomination to appear on the special election ballot for the 30th Senate District seat, which had recently been vacated by Brian Benjamin after he became lieutenant governor. Her nomination all but guarantees she’ll be the next state senator representing the heavily Democratic neighborhoods of Harlem, parts of the Upper East Side, and Upper West Side,” Gothamist reported.

Just one day after its reopening on Broadway, Aladdin was shut down due to positive COVID-19 tests among the cast and crew. “With dozens of new shows upcoming, it raises concerns about whether other shows could also be put in COVID jeopardy.… ‘If it does affect any other Broadway musical, ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ it would be a real shock,'” Upper West Side theatergoer Brian Snipes told cbsnews.

What is the cost of aging? Manageable, if you are healthy like Sally Dorst, 82, “a retired magazine editor who lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. A committed museum visitor and concertgoer, she manages personal care and household tasks on her own.” But, should she need help, The New York Times cites a study showing that “36 percent of people in their late 60s could not cover even a year of minimal care without exhausting their resources; only 22 percent could cover severe needs.”

A pre-war near the 72nd Street subway? A post-war near Central Park or Lincoln Center? Accompany a formerly suburban empty-nester on her hunt for an Upper West Side apartment, in a Times interactive feature.

Lastly, we’d like to congratulate two Upper West Siders who were married this past Sunday. In an expression of love reminiscent of a Guy de Maupassant story, the bride wrote the following to WSR.

“I know this might be an unusual request and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a wedding announcement in the Rag, but my fiance & I bonded early in our relationship over our love for the WSR and I’d love to surprise him with a little blurb on the site, if that’s something you’d be open to! Here it is:

Caroline Lazar and Anthony Segna, engagement photograph by Melanie Wesslock

Upper West Siders Mr. Anthony Rudy Segna and Miss Caroline Francesca Lazar [were] married October 2, 2021 by Father Ciprian Bejan at St. Mary Church in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Miss Lazar, 28, works as a staff writer at the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in English and is the daughter of Mr. Andrew Sean Lazar and Mrs. Christine Febles Lazar of Greenwich, CT.

Miss Lazar has written a series of humorous haikus at the New Yorker’s Daily Shouts about her family’s intense desire for her to find love. Between publication of the first and second installments, she met Mr. Segna.

Mr. Segna, 35, is an attorney in the Wealth Management arm of Morgan Stanley in New York City. He graduated from Columbia University and received a JD from the University of Notre Dame. He is the son of Dr. Rudy Albert Segna and Mrs. Aracelly Segna of Mahwah, New Jersey. 

On their first date in Riverside Park, the couple bonded over a mutual love of the West Side Rag, the only news source that covers the stories that really matter. Like the case of the missing community garden chicken, profiles of beloved Upper West Siders like the great Theo Dixon, and those weird melons growing on the pedestrian median at 104th and Amsterdam. They would love a formal investigation of what really happened there. Mr. Segna and Miss Lazar look forward to making more happy memories together on the Upper West Side.”

COLUMNS, NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Steen says:

      that guy on 66th in front of the old Century 21 is vile and is completely spreading hate.

      • m.pipik says:

        He’s not spreading hate. Do you think most people are paying serious attention to what he says. If anyone is, then the UWS isn’t for them or they need to understand the difference between seriously mentally ill and the politically warped.

        I moved here in the 1970s when the mentally ill and addicts were all over the area because there was no services or housing for them.
        Verdi Sq at 72nd St was known as needle park.

        We survived and the area improved.

        All of the US and NYC are facing unprecedented challenges. Don’t spend too much time on the trivial stuff. You need to get NY tough.

        • Leon says:

          Congratulations on surviving the down days of NYC. Too bad Mayor Koch can’t give you a medal. I would get off your lawn if you had one.

          This man needs help. Just ignoring him and being “NY tough” is a lose-lose. It is a loss for those who have to listen to him, and more importantly it is a loss for him as he sits there and rots away.

          • ToM.Pipick says:

            You must not be Asian or Jewish to say something like that. How would you feel I’d an 8 year old saw that. Not to mention the numbers of antisemitic signs popping up EVERYWHERE comparing the vaccine to WWII. I saw 2 this weekend alone.

            • m.pipi54 says:

              I am a native NYer and Jewish.

              My point, or so I thought, was to have sympathy for the mentally ill person, not go on and on about him talking trash.

        • Barry Willis says:

          I got here in 1969 and it was damn scary. Maybe you don’t remember? We got through it because we had no where else to go we could afford! It was a slum and druggie heaven. On the plus side it was more livable because it was less dense and there were 4X as many buses on Broadway than there are now! It was ALL Mom and Pop stores. When I saw the first Coach Store move up here I said, ‘There goes the neighborhood!’

    2. Carlos says:

      I understand that an Italian chef is a specialized skill, but the inability to find wait staff and jobs that are less skilled than that while unemployment is allegedly high makes no sense. Businesses are raising salaries yet still can’t find workers. Where have all the workers gone? Someone should be going through the shelter system and finding all of those who are capable of working and matching them up with jobs.

      • B.B. says:

        Large number of wait/server staff came from same sources it has for ages; performing artists.

        During covid lockdown when everything from Broadway to concerts closed many actors, models, musicians, etc… were out of work. Worse because restaurants also were shut they lost their second jobs as well.

        Contrary to what many believe not every actor, musician and other performing artist received any unemployment, much less the enhanced extra $600 or $300 per week. As such many packed up and left NYC.

        Many also simply used the down time to learn another skill so they could find work not just while restaurants/theatre/performing arts venues were shut, but perhaps something they could build into a stable primary or secondary career.

        People took tech courses (such as coding boot camp, security, etc..), and have found jobs in NYC’s growing Big Tech industry. In short they don’t need nor want to return to waiting tables.

    3. Mark Moore says:

      Blockheads on Amsterdam and 91st must be having the same problems finding staff because they’ve been closed for a while.

    4. Seriously? says:

      What is with that garbage Vox anecdote? Come on WSR.

    5. bravo says:

      “White people being annoyingly obsessed with autumn” – when did snide race-baiting insult (and generalization) of your fellow Americans become normalized? Vox is garbage. Always was. Do not prop it, WSR.

      • Wayne Z. says:

        Second that. Caucasian self-loathing, however much in poor taste, is all the rage these days.

        • biffmeister says:

          Third that. It’s racist, not funny and doesn’t make sense. Was Ella Fitzgerald aware of that when she recorded “Autumn in New York”?

    6. NYYgirl says:

      Congratulations to the newlyweds! 🙂

    7. Frank Grimes says:

      We live in a world where the Columbus statue requires 24 hour Police presence, but a few blocks up the road a man can tell Asians and Jews to burn in hell and get sympathy…the selective outrage never ceases to amaze me.

    8. Prastuti Singh says:

      Congratulations to the couple!

      I want to know what’s going on with the melons too.

    9. Janet S says:

      Why is it necessary to make fun of white people? It would be very inappropriate to make fun of other races and I fully agree. But why is it OK to make constant fun of white women? It is so hypocritical!

      • Will says:

        Because white women possess the greatest threat and power to extinguish black and brown citizens I.E. Emmitt Till.

        • Seriously? says:

          Actually, statistically speaking, African American males are the greatest threat to fellow African American males, not white woman.

          Nice try though!

        • rs says:

          That’s really silly. How many Black and brown people have been killed by cops, and how many by white women?

          • Beth says:

            It may seem silly, but its part of the Black American sub-culture to displace anger at/blame from white men to white women.

          • Gerry valentine says:

            How come “black” is capitalized and “white” and “brown” are not ?

        • nemo paradise says:

          Actually, you may be right. But I’m thinking more along the lines of Nancy Pelosi et. al. than Meg Ryan.

          But good luck with the “white women are the devil” trope. Fits in nicely with the whole “existence is racist” argument.

        • mkmuws says:

          Timeless misogyny alive and well..

    10. michele streck says:

      Can WSR do a wedding a neighborhood wedding announcement section? Congrats to the happy couple. It’s nice to ready happy, celebratory news!

    11. Melissa Hurwitz says:

      “in spite of higher wages.” – – Please back this up. And with more than anecdotal evidence.

    12. Bill says:

      The Amsterdam Avenue Melon story is the greatest WSR article of all time. I just shared it last week with a fellow who is new to the neighborhood.

    13. AUTUMN is now the season of whew!

      Made it through another crazy summer, where a conga line of hurricanes n one tropical global warming storm after another WHOOSHED thru; taking numerous basement apt.-dwelling New Yorker families away with them.

      As a former kid I hate to say this to summer, my once adored chum, but as I said 50 times during September:

      How can I miss you when you just won’t go away???

      And here’s yer hats, mosquitoes n there’s the ding dong door!!!

      But I’m sure the city administration will claim the laurel wreath for an outstanding mosquito victory due to a cold OCTOBER spraying which (a day late and a dollar short) aside from poisoning the occasional pedestrian accomplished

    14. Sally Dorst says:

      Thanks for picking up Paula s

      span’s mention of me in her recent NY Times column on the cost of aging. As I told her, I know my situation could change in a flash and for that reason I’ve paid a heft sum every year since 2011 for a long term care policy., Sally

    15. Madeline R says:

      There is a myth that the UWS is progressive. It may have been once upon a time, but when you look at the prices and the demographic, it is clear that our large floor plates, great transportation, and good private schools are attracting young families with plenty of dough and little interest in social justice. Yes, we still vote Democrat, but watch this space … or think #limousineLiberals

    16. Dana Ivey says:

      Congratulations to Caroline and Anthony!

    17. Liz10024 says:

      Caroline Lazar sounds like lovely, talented woman and I wish the couple well. But I couldn’t help but be surprised and disconcerted to read that MISS Lazar refers to herself as Miss and not Ms., making her sound like the good little Catholic school girl she perhaps was, rather than the grown up, successful television writer she is. Why should women be labeled by their marital status when men are men not? And why has feminism gotten such a bad name that many young women today want to distance themselves from it?

    18. charles says:

      People do marry people who look like themselves. Studies have show there is a correlation down to the the size of ear lobes.
      When I first saw the picture of the happy couple,Caroline Lazar and Anthony Segna,I thought the remarkable resemblance was between a brother and a sister. Lots of luck to them.