By Carol Tannenhauser
Monday, September 21, 2022
Partly cloudy. Thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 86 degrees.
Our calendar has lots of local events! Click on the link or the lady in the upper righthand corner.
Talk Trash With Commissioner Tisch: On Wednesday, September 21, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch will discuss sanitation issues on the Upper West Side, and answer questions from the audience, at a virtual forum starting at 6:30 pm. Click here to watch the YouTube live stream or copy/paste this URL into your browser: https://youtu.be/WtXJwiFvQQo (advance registration not required).
There will be a celebration of the life and work of Joan Didion at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Wednesday, September 21, from 5-7 pm. Speakers will include Hilton Als, Jerry Brown, Griffin Dunne, Anthony Kennedy, Susanna Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Patti Smith, Jia Tolentino, and Calvin Trillin. No reservations are needed to attend, but your RSVP is encouraged. The celebration will also be available to livestream. The video will appear on this page at 5 pm on September 21, and will also be streamed on the Cathedral’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. More information and directions to the Cathedral here.
Tickets are still available for Taste of the Upper West Side: This annual festival of food and entertainment takes place this year on Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1. For information and tickets, click here. Proceeds go to benefit the neighborhood.
College rankings, specifically, the influential US News & World Report rankings, are only as valid as the data provided by colleges and universities.
“On Monday, US News relegated Columbia from second to 18th in the latest rankings after the college admitted to ‘outdated and/or incorrect methodologies’ in some of its previous claims about the quality of the education the university provides,” The Guardian reported, in an interview with the whistle-blower who exposed the inaccuracies in Columbia’s data.
Columbia math professor, Michael Thaddeus, “embarrassed Columbia and shocked the academic world in February when he published a lengthy analysis accusing the university of submitting ‘inaccurate, dubious or highly misleading’ statistics for the US News rankings. Among other things, he took issue with claims about class sizes, which [he] said he knew from experience were not accurate, and the assertion that all of the university’s faculty held the highest degrees in their fields. Thaddeus also said the university hugely overstated spending on instruction, claiming it far exceeded other Ivy League universities, by adding in the cost of patient care in the medical school.”
* * *
A 70-year-old man has been making 911 calls for years, reporting crimes taking place at 312 Riverside Drive — an address that does not exist. In 2021, Walter Reed made 2,336 such calls. In a New York Times profile, Michael Wilson tells Reed’s story, weaving together the worlds of social services, criminal justice, and mental illness. “In Mr. Reed’s mind, 312 Riverside Drive is chillingly real. He sees it as if standing outside on West 103rd Street. ‘You see the big numbers right on the stone wall,’ he said in an interview this summer. There is a revolving door to a lobby, and on the other side, in his quietly urgent telling in call after call after call, lurks a cast of violent predators.” WSR covered this story in January, 2021.
* * *
“Construction is nearing topping out on The Rockwell, a 13-story residential building [on Broadway and West 103rd Street],” YIMBY reported. “The structure will yield 81 condominium units in studio to three-bedroom layouts as well as ground-floor commercial retail space to be occupied by a CVS Pharmacy. Amenities…include a 24-hour attended lobby, residential lounge, landscaped outdoor terrace, private dining room, fitness center, children’s playroom, screening room, music room, pet spa, and an outdoor rooftop terrace furnished with barbecue grills and a fire pit.” The article has a string of great shots of the construction in progress.
* * *
Rebecca Kennedy, a.k.a. Dr. Becky, who TIME magazine called “the Millennial Parenting Whisperer,” lives on the Upper West Side, and shares how she spends her Sundays in this week’s New York Times. The parenting expert’s schedule may sound familiar. “After lunch we’ll meet some good family friends at River Run Playground or Hippo Playground or Elephant Playground, all in Riverside Park. My kids will usually scoot there. My husband and I will walk behind them. We get a little downtime. I also generally do a farmers’ market shop with one or two of my kids.”
* * *
Upper West Side illustrator “Steve Brodner felt lives were overlooked amid the pandemic’s toll. In his new book, ‘Living & Dying in America,’ he illuminates what we’ve lost,” wrote the Washington Post. “…a heartfelt portfolio of ink and paint snapshots…a real-time remembrance of how the pandemic brought out the best and worst of us during its first 22 months.”
* * *
Finally, out of left field: “The City Council is said to be dragging its paws on a bill that would ban the sale of guinea pigs, as local shelters have been inundated with the four-legged pets in the pandemic,” THE CITY reported. “The number of the rodents being surrendered by owners has more than doubled since 2019….Some 600 guinea pigs have been brought to city-funded animal shelters so far this year. Just 282 were brought during the same time period in 2019. In 2021, over 480 of the domesticated rodents were surrendered between Jan. 1 and Sept. 12, data shows. “We see so many pregnant piggies, it’s not even funny,” said Juli Cialone, who runs Rock n’ Rescue.”
On that note, have a great week!