Monday Bulletin: Postal Driver Charged, Alteration Altercation, ‘Gingkos Stink’

Birdbath in Riverside Park. Photo by Gretchen Berger.

November 15, 2021 Weather: Chance of rain, with a high of 47 degrees.

Our calendar has lots of local events!

The driver of a United States Postal Service truck who police say hit and killed a cyclist on Central Park West and West 86th Street last June has been charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to yield and a traffic summons for failure to exercise due caution, according to StreetsBlog. “’I’m happy he was charged with something, but a misdemeanor takes almost no consideration that my husband died,’ said [Jeffrey] Williamson’s widow…. “

“City Council veteran Gale Brewer is running for speaker with the promise that she’d only serve one term in the top spot if picked, the Daily News has learned. Brewer, the Manhattan borough president who was elected to an Upper West Side Council seat on Nov. 2, started meeting last week with labor leaders, local political power brokers and fellow incoming Council members to let them know of her speaker aspirations.”

What would the UWS be without a good landmark alteration altercation, with attorney Michael Hiller (who was involved in disputes about the AMNH and Lucerne) defending “mere millionaires” against a billionaire who wants to build a glass penthouse atop a prewar building on West 77th Street? According to Curbed, “Several residents [said] members of the co-op board have been too cowed by [Bill Ackman’s] wealth to stop the plan — and have been hoping CB7 and the Landmarks Commission will deny the proposal so they won’t have to.”

The Master, a 28-story Art Deco building on Riverside Drive (103rd-104th), is the subject of another Curbed story, chronicling the history of this studios-only, part-museum, part-residence, up to the present day. “When you have all these studios in one place…you wind up with a lot of loners. Some by choice…and others who have been, fatefully, destined to be alone — and not to their liking. The result is that we have a disproportionate number of screwballs around this place.”

The world’s most profitable condominium — 220 Central Park South — “is approaching $3 billion in sales,” according to The Real Deal.

Goddard Riverside’s 35th Annual Book Fair will be held in person this year on Saturday, November 20th, and Sunday, November 21st at 593 Columbus Avenue (88th and Columbus) from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. “…thousands of brand-new books donated by publishers [will be] sold at the Book Fair for 50% off, with proceeds going to support the programs at Goddard Riverside.”

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine named Muriel Rukeyser the 2021 inductee to the American Poets Corner, Harlem World reported. “Her poetry of womanhood and Jewishness celebrate difference and decry injustice….Previous inductees include Emily Dickinson, e. e. cummings, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Zora Neale Hurston, and last year’s dual honorees, Harriet Jacobs and Ralph Ellison.”

“…with all due respect, ginkgos stink,” writes Allan Ripp (whose words have graced the Rag), in the Wall Street Journal. “There is an unpleasant odor in Central Park these days—and I’m not talking about the marijuana smoke wafting everywhere. It is the offensive smell of ginkgo nuts blanketing the ground, an annual fall event….Amazingly, some chefs regard the cherry-sized nuts inside the fruit as a delicacy….The smell supposedly fades when they are cooked….”

On the subject of cooking, Here’s the Dish, our Wednesday column featuring readers’ favorite local dishes, is in need of submissions. Last week, the Rag was Dish-less (there’s a pun on dish rag in there somewhere.) The column can’t continue without reader participation. All it takes is a paragraph and a photograph! Check out prior columns here for examples, then send your favorite dish to It helps UWS residents and restaurants!

    1. Paul says:

      Our penalties for negligent driving are too low. In New Jersey if you kill someone while texting, 10 years.
      We need laws like that here.

    2. GG says:

      A couple of things…

      Is there really that much marijuana smoke wafting all over Central Park these days? I haven’t smelled anything and I’m pretty sure smoking anything is not permitted in the park. And for some reason this is actually enforced with tickets by “NY’s Finest”.

      I guess us UWSiders aren’t the foodies that we think we are if we can’t even come up with a couple of favorite dishes in the neighborhood to highlight…

      And finally, did all the dog owners in the neighborhood just give up on the whole “picking up after your dogs” thing?? What is going on? I’m looking at you 85th street (and 86th, 87th, etc.). It’s really getting bad out there. What happened to common courtesy?

      • Rob says:

        Also 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th 78th, 79, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, Broadway, West End, Riverside. Just to name a few more. It’s really everywhere!

      • good humor says:

        “I haven’t smelled anything and I’m pretty sure smoking anything is not permitted in the park”

        -This is the funniest sentence I’ve read in weeks. Thank you.

        • GG says:

          Glad I could provide some comic relief. Remember to tip your waitresses…

          But seriously, I’m in Central Park almost every day, for hours, and I never really notice any smoke. I did, however, see three police officers pounce on a couple of kids smoking a joint on the Great Lawn and write them some tickets. And I never see people inside the park smoking cigarettes anymore.

          I guess everyone’s experience is different. Take it for what it’s worth.

          • Ian Alterman says:

            As per NYS law, marijuana is legal wherever cigarettes are legal. As for parks, the police usually only ticket if you are near a playground or otherwise near children. So places like the Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow (which usually have children around) would be places where they would give out tickets.

      • Ll says:

        Not in Central Park bit I have definitely smelt marijuana in Riverside Park, though I smell it much more often on Riverside Drive. I loathe it. Like no smells of cigarettes for so long. But bow we get pot. The smell I find almost as noxious.

        And yeah the dog poop – I dont know why. It is annoying. But yes. My dog enjoys stopping a bd smelling the poop. So at least because of her I dont have to worry about stepping in it

      • Bob says:

        Strawberry Fields has long been a good place to go if you wanted to smell a bit of the old wacky tobaccky. It’s not terrible, mind you, but it’s certainly there.

        • A says:

          WANTED to?? You can’t get away from it.
          Pot smells like super strong manure marinated in vinegar. It’s especially annoying in the park, one of the few places we can smell seasonal nature in this city. That beautiful damp autumn leaf smell and cold, crisp autumn air? Nope. Mostly just pot wafting everywhere.
          I wish they’d stick to edibles.

      • chuck d says:

        I think we should get a Weed Index report the same way they do with pollen and UV rays.

        “Today’s weed index is very high, especially near Summerstage and also by Strawberry Fields…”

      • Rochelle says:

        Are you kidding the smell is everywhere! Perhaps I’m more conscious of it because I’m pregnant and have young kids but I notice it pretty much anywhere we go on the UWS as well as the Park. Cigarette smokers much less prevalent but I’ve noticed when we do pass them, especially with the kids in tow, they usually turn away or hold the cigarette behind their back out of courtesy so thank you to those people!

        And don’t get me started on the people who don’t clear up after their dogs. Particularly vile are the huge piles regularly left outside the kids’ school – nothing worse than seeing half a dozen kids tread in it on their way in in the mornings, makes my blood boil!

    3. Bob Lamm says:

      Outrageous that recklessly KILLING someone is a misdemeanor. Our car culture is sick.

    4. ben says:

      Ginko smell sucks indeed. Though not nearly as much as the driver getting away with a misdemeanor for running over a cyclist who had the right of way.

    5. RAL says:

      If it had been a pedestrian run over the WSR readers would have flooded this with rants about out of control bike riders etc. Run over a cyclist – who cares.
      The reader who can’t smell weed in the park – what to say. Pretty hysterical that this seems to be the only thing NYPD are ticketing – but they clearly don’t hang out near Strawberry Field – you can get high standing 50 feet away in the evening.

    6. Mark Moore says:

      We call them stinkos.

    7. Charles says:

      So you go from a $91 million “for fun” purchase at One57 to a fixer-upper on the UWS?

      What exactly is in the crosshairs?

      And, a cautionary tale: Should the Board be forced to eat the stew they left unattended?

    8. babrarus says:

      City Council veteran Gale Brewer is running for speaker.
      She just got elected, 2 weeks ago to represent us, the UWS.
      Not good enough for this lifer.
      She should have been retired years ago.
      Term limits!

      • Boris says:

        The Speaker of the City Council comes from the ranks of the council members. All of whom have just been elected to represent their districts. Don’t know if you know what you’re complaining about.

        • Josh says:

          If one dislikes a person politically, they will find any reason possible to speak badly about said person, even if that reason is plausible only to them and doesn’t make rational sense to free thinking people. And it happens on both sides of the aisle, while but one side definitely does it more tha n the other.

        • babrarus says:

          I am not complaining.
          I am pointing out the fact that she is a lifer, bent or running again and again and again and again.
          She has not made much of a difference wherever she landed, and she seems to need to keep on going – on our dime.
          Enough with politicians that stay in office for decades upon decades.
          Term limit anyone?

          • B.B. says:

            Knew this was going to happen, it was Ms. Brewer’s MO from start.

            First we heard Gale Brewer was some sort of repository of institutional knowledge about city council. As such with nearly entire body being voted out due to term limits she should return to give them the benefit of her experience.

            Now comes part two; that Ms. Brewer as said repository of vast knowledge must be speaker because she knows how to stand up to a mayor.

            If anyone believes her promise will only remain speaker for four years, I have a bridge the crosses East River am looking to sell.

    9. Dave says:

      I called 911 on a post office truck driving crazy dipping in and out of traffic before Covid. They asked for a lisc plate I said which they don’t have and wouldn’t take the call. Told me to call the post office.

    10. Nancy says:

      As a Central Park volunteer, here’s the “official” line. Smoking-period- is not permitted in any of the city parks. While volunteering, I saw very few cigarette smokers throughout the park. Those smoking were typically visitors from outside the US. Now, about smoking weed? It’s everywhere. Do I try to find where it’s coming from? No. It’s all over the city, in every neighborhood. And dog owners, please just put your phones down and pay attention to your dogs needs. Too many of you are still walking while your dog is trying to poop. It’s so sad.

    11. Cintra says:

      No wonder why my Geico Auto insurance rate on the UWS had almost reached $500 every 6 month. Geico said it’s because of the increase in accidents in my 10024 zip area. I’m retired with an excellent driving record.

    12. Holding my nose and wiping my feet says:

      The ginkos smell just awful and are planted on many streets. Any gov agency that promotes or even allows them to be planted should be disbanded for incompetence.

    13. B.B. says:

      Ginkgo biloba trees adapt well to urban environments, tolerating pollution and confined soil spaces.

      They rarely suffer disease problems, even in urban conditions, and are attacked by few insects. All of which explains why they are so heavily planted along NYC streets.