By Carol Tannenhauser
2021 was supposed to be a turning-point year. The mood on the Upper West Side was buoyant as Donald Trump was defeated, making way for a new administration. And, after a brutal 2020, the vaccine was coming! Everyone was talking about the light at the end of the tunnel.
But the glimmer didn’t last; it was soon eclipsed by evidence that New York State and City didn’t have a clue about getting shots into arms, despite having had three months to prepare. Words like “glacial” were being used to describe the pace of the vaccination rollout. Anxiety was rising. The governor and mayor were fighting. We wrote about it on January 6th — the day of the Capitol Insurrection, when hopes for a unified and happier New Year were further dashed.
But there were moments.
The House impeached Trump a second time and our representative brought to the floor a little piece of us all. The penultimate most-viewed Rag story of 2021 was Jerry Nadler Brought a Zabar’s Bag Into the Impeachment Hearing; Here’s What Was in It. Click on the story — called by a reader, “The best Rag story of all time” — if you forgot.
The most viewed story of 2021 happened nine months later, after the vaccine had gone through permutations no one predicted: from scarcity to surplus; from “Get me vaccinated now!” to “Over my dead civil rights!”
Turns out, neither Trump nor the virus were gone — and a new group was added to the mix: “Anti Vaxxers.” By September, Mayor Bill de Blasio had implemented a vaccine mandate, requiring proof of vaccination to enter exercise and entertainment venues, and indoor dining.
On September 15, three tourists from Texas went for dinner at Carmine’s, the family-style Italian restaurant on 91st and Broadway. A brawl ensued. It was made of many ingredients that had been simmering all year — vaccine mandates, race relations, interstate animosities (Texas had just essentially banned abortion) — all taking place in front of one of the neighborhood’s most famous and favorite spots. The Rag was among the publications that broke the story: Three Texas Women Charged in Assault on Carmine’s Hostess Over Proof of Vaccination.
The third most-viewed story of the year had to do with the ill-fated “NYC Homecoming Concert” in Central Park. We reported on it, from the announcement to the shutdown, an unforgettable moment involving lightning, Barry Manilow…and a Mayor who refused to face reality. Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Saturday’s Central Park Concert Whether You’re Going or Not.
Below are just a smattering of other stories we’re proud to have run this year. Also click on the links within the articles for other memorable 2021 stories.
As for 2022, it comes again with renewed hope. New medicines to combat Covid are being approved, and the word is that Omicron, although highly contagious, causes milder illness, and may be short-lived. Whatever happens, the Rag will be there to cover it and its significance to the Upper West Side.
And let’s not forget the joys of 2021 — the babies who were born and the vows that were taken, the graduations and the brief periods of respite we had when we could more freely do the things and see the people we love.
Thanks so much to our readers, tipsters, subscribers, advertisers, commenters and other writers, and a happy and healthy New Year to us all!