Monday Bulletin: Pain in the Propane, Prewar Problems, Photographer’s Statue

Photo by Rob Godley.

October 25, 2021 Weather: Heavy rain coming tonight and tomorrow.

Our calendar has lots of local events!

“The city has come to a chilling conclusion: No propane heaters will be permitted for outdoor dining this fall and winter,CrainsNY reported. “To warm up the news, the de Blasio’s administration is offering $5,000 grants to reimburse some restaurants for the money they will spend on new natural gas or electric-powered heaters. Only businesses with revenue less than $1 million in 2019 will qualify for the reimbursement. The city said that the move was a fire-safety measure not meant to stifle outdoor dining.”

It’s unthinkable! There’s a chance that Alice’s Tea Cup will not be run by the Fox sisters, “who grew up in the neighborhood, opened Alice’s on a whim in 2001, with the hope that the restaurant would add stability in their lives,” The New York Times reported. “And it did, for 20 years,” as it provided a portal to Wonderland — a rabbit hole — a few steps down on 73rd Street, just west of Columbus Avenue, for children and adults alike to enjoy a cup of tea, a scone, and some fairy dust. “But these days, the Fox sisters, feeling the brunt of the pandemic, have made the emotionally difficult decision that it may be time to sell the family business.”

Speaking of family businesses, Lady Gaga’s father, Joe Germanotta has been running Joanne Trattoria, an Italian spot on 68th Street, just east of Columbus, for 11 years. In an interview with FoxBusiness Germanotta opines about the continuing challenges of the pandemic, including mandates — “It’s time to let people make their own decisions. Business owners are responsible and they understand” — and outdoor dining sheds — “The City looks like hell….They don’t clean the streets underneath them, so what’s living under there? It’s time to get rid of them.”

Are the UWS’s classic pre-war buildings — no matter how prestigious — uncomfortable and out of date? So says Forbes, in a piece about “a rising crop of ground-up, brand-new condominium buildings across the Upper West Side, each offering an element of modern luxury lacking in the celebrated historic buildings. It might be sustainable design, private outdoor space, in-unit elevator entry or an innovative amenity selection. The newcomers include 200 Amsterdam, ERA, 212 West 93rd Street, 212 West 72nd Street, Charlotte of the Upper West Side, and Waterline Square.”

A life-sized statue of legendary photographer Diane Arbus will stand in the southeast corner of Central Park through August, 2022, Gothamist reported. “Arbus…was a New York City native who grew up on Central Park West…. and shot some of her best-known work while holding court in Central Park, including “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, 1962“…. Arbus is only the fourth nonfictional woman to be depicted in bronze in Central Park. The other three — Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony — comprise the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, located mid-park around 68th Street.

Regarding the community blood drive we wrote about here, organized by four local real estate brokers: we heard from one of them: “Nina Hennessey, from Collaborative THKS, following up with info on the Blood Drive. It is Monday, 10/25. There was such terrific response to this article that 20 more spots were added last week and now there are 5 left.You can still sign up through the link in the article. Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

Happy Halloween! We will publish the nine winning true ghost stories sent in by readers– each of whom will earn a (small or medium) WSR T-shirt — on October 30th. Send any entries in by Wednesday, October 27th.

Lost and Found
“My name is Amelie,” a recent email to the Rag began. “I have been an Upper West Sider for 7 years. I came from Paris, France with my family in 2015 and started a new life in New York that we adore. I lost a bracelet in September, between my home (97th and Amsterdam), my kids’ school (PS84 – 92nd and Columbus), Plantshed (87th and Columbus), and Staples (82nd and Broadway). This is a bracelet my grandmother gave me shortly before she died as a present for my new job. It is so meaningful to me. It is a golden bracelet (but brass not gold) with a sculpted knot. Thank you for anything you can do to help! Warmest regards.”

The lost bracelet.

No one has yet claimed the gold wedding ring that Max found last week. If you have information about either piece of jewelry, write to westsiderag at


ART, COLUMNS, FOOD, NEWS | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Patrick says:

      Alice’s Tea Cup owners took 800k in Grants for each of their locations. If they sell do they have to pay those grants back? Seems only fair they’d have to.

      • Ida says:

        Not totally sure of when they got them but there’s this idea in business of sunk cost. Just sayin’

    2. Anna says:

      Kind of funny to ask if pre-war buildings are “out of date.” Of course they are – they’re vintage.
      If you want all the modern amenities, you should definitely move into a new building. Pre-war buildings are for those of us willing to exchange convenience for character. Understand what makes you happy and choose accordingly.

      • Leon says:

        Great point. We have a few owners in our pre-war co-op who keep complaining that it isn’t keeping up with the brand new buildings that their friends live in, and they want to spend a fortune and destroy the character of the building to make that happen.

        Several of us have politely told them that if that is what they want, move to a brand new building. We make sure to keep our building in good shape but comparing the types of buildings is apples and oranges.

        • Boris says:

          What are the improvements that would destroy the character of the building?

        • Patrick says:

          What sorts of amenities do these folks want?

        • dc says:

          I have a sunken living room and a window in every room. I think that’s rare in a new building.

          • B.B. says:

            Sunken living or other rooms aren’t ADA compliant, so long fell by wayside in new construction.

            You’d think government would allow certain percentage of units in multifamily not to be fully compliant with ADA, but that isn’t how law works.

            Worse it only takes one attorney scouting around for some easy money to bring a case against a building for non-compliance. So developers ensure everything meets ADA standards, period.

      • lcnyc says:

        It’s not just character, it’s the amount of space you get for your money. Dollar for dollar, buying a prewar apartment will typically get you more space, a more gracious layout and higher ceilings vs buying a modern condo. I’ll take that over common amenities any day of the week.

      • Ian Alterman says:

        IMHO, almost all of the new condominium buildings are cookie cutter, boring architecture, with ZERO character of any type. Once in a while a building like the Laureate is built. But most are similar in architectural style – if you can use the word “style” at all. Give me a pre-war building any time – not just the larger rooms, higher ceilings, and beautiful moldings and internal details, but also the brick, cornices, and other external architectural details.

      • Sarah says:

        Well said. I live in new construction now and it definitely has its advantages, but there are times when I fairly yearn for character instead of adjacent white boxes. No one moves into one of these buildings by mistake, not knowing what it is, so…

    3. Brenda says:

      “Time to let people make their own decisions”???

      Why is the concept of public health and pandemic control so opaque for so many?

      • Charles says:

        Probably because the U.S. Constitution does not cease under any conditions.

        It memorializes our God-Given rights; our free-will. If you loose your freedoms, you never re-gain them.

        The anti-vaccine and anti-mask mandate rallies are protecting the rights of 330 Million people. 12,000 NYFD & NYPD rallied on Monday to protest the vaccine mandates.

        • GG says:

          When you have to choose between protecting rights and protecting lives, you choose life. Period.

          I thought all of the conservatives and/or Republicans were “pro-life”?? What happened to that?

        • Peter says:

          What Constitutional rights did you lose when you got the Polio vaccine? MMR? Hep B?

        • Sarah says:

          I’d be embarrassed to have made such an ill-informed statement in public, as the Supreme Court has LONG held that vaccine mandates by the states are constitutional. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905). The Constitution isn’t a “I get to do what I want, no matter how much it hurts everyone around me” permission slip.

          And the cops? Shouldn’t they be complying with the law?

    4. Bill Williams says:

      A statue of Ruth Orkin in Central Park would have been a better choice.

    5. RL says:

      Um yes – has anyone seen the price of said 2 bed 2 bath in the new buildings with amenities – case in point – broadway and 92nd – over 3 million?? Yes, nice indoor lap pool, children’s stage, etc. etc. but worth that much? And judging by recent stories – who’s to say how well built they are?

      • Paul says:

        Forget the asking prices. The issue is what will people pay for them?
        Will the Rag follow these buildings and see what the price points are?

        • joe_the_accountant says:

          Condo sales are public record. Look at the NYC ACRIS database online if you are interested in sales prices.
          I’m pretty sure that the new buildings don’t budge much on price.

        • chuck d says:

          BUying into a co-op is always about 30% less than buying a comparable condo.

          • B.B. says:

            Maybe, but then again maybe not. It all depends upon property in question.

            That being said major factor atm driving down co-op prices for some buildings is the approval process. More and more people are resisting what they feel is an intrusive process (co-op board approval package).

            Years ago when there was little else available people had no other choice. But now they do and that is putting pressure on co-op .

            Other points in condo favor..

            Easier ability to finance all or part of purchase.

            Easier ability to sell (condo boards only have right of first refusal).

            For new construction largely buying something that is turn key ready. Instead of paying a few to many millions for an older co-op unit, then huge sums to renovate and modernize.

            • chuck d says:

              Yeah, but look at that condo in Miami that fell down. Having an intrusive board is how you know you’re buying into a (hopefully) financially sound building that the tenants are keeping up.

    6. B.B. says:

      Putting things in perspective, UES has seen several new luxury condo or rental buildings go up in past few years, and more are coming. All have been so far well received and either sold out or are near.

      200 East 83rd, 109 East 79th and others are seeing up to or more than one-third of units in contract. This sometimes even before official sales began or begin.

      • ratso rizzo says:

        the upper east side, as we all know, also looks like hell thanks to the high-rise monoliths that went up from Lexington further east in the 1960s onwards. These newer buildings just add to that effect. If you wanna live over there, no one is stopping you, but there are many good reasons why the west side doesn’t all look like that stretch from 96 to 90th on columbus…

        • B.B. says:

          UWS has a huge amount of historical districts and or blocks and buildings that are otherwise protected such as landmarks. That is one big reason so much of UWS has remained frozen in time.

          On off chance a property doesn’t fall into a historical district, and or is landmarked once locals get wind of possible development they spring into action.

          The children of our great-grandchildren will have to deal with scaffolding around West Park Presbyterian church as that building slowly crumbles down. There isn’t money to ever restore that place, but residents on either side of 86th and Amsterdam helped get place landmarked (and thus preserve their lot line views), so that was that.

          Finally UWS has a ton of rent regulated tenants who basically cannot be touched. So many old to ancient buildings that should come down and be replaced with something modern, won’t.

    7. JBN says:

      Interesting that Mr. Germanotta’s interview was with Fox Business and I can’t help but wonder if his comments are sour grapes. Food used to be quite good; not so much any more. I was hugely disappointed when they took what used to be an excellent liver and onions off the menu. Last time I had the fried calamari, it was only mediocre. And they’ve stopped serving lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays. Guess business is down. I also wonder if his intense dislike of outdoor dining sheds may have something to do with the popularity of the very busy La Boîte en Bois directly across the street. Maybe he’s not happy about the competition?

    8. charles says:

      My building was built during the building boom of the 1920’s.My apartment has very few electrical outlets I suppose that in the 1920’s
      people had much fewer devices and appliances than today.