By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
Playday, an art center for kids, is opening at 469 Amsterdam between 82nd and 83rd Streets. Playday offers creative classes — including everything from sculpture and weaving to knitting and graphic design — for children in different age groups, from toddlers through high schoolers. There will be programs during the day, after school, birthday parties on weekends, and camp during the summer.
“The idea [for Playday] came from not being happy with the art my children were doing in school,” said founder and CEO Gregory Okshteyn, who went to high school nearby at the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, and has a background in architecture. He opened the first Playday in Long Island City in 2017 — the Upper West Side will be its fifth location (he noticed families from the UWS were making the trek to LIC). Playday will host an open house on May 20th and 21st and classes are already available to book starting the following day (reservations are made online). Class sizes range from 15 to 20 students, said Gergory. “All of our instructors are highly trained, professional artists [and] very passionate about education.”
Aquarius Hardware, the longtime supply store at 601 Amsterdam (between 89th and 90th Streets), is closing this August. Aquarius has been at this location for 25 years and seven more at 86th Street, Leo, the manager, told the Rag. He said that slow business and high rent – plus the challenge of being in a space that’s large for a hardware store – are the reasons for the closing. He mentioned that the landlord might split the space into two storefronts after the closing. (Thanks to Ken for the tip.)
Ellington in the Park, the seasonal outdoor restaurant in Riverside Park, reopened on April 26th. The cafe overlooks the sand volleyball courts and monkey rings on 105th Street (the closest entrance is the stairs on 103rd Street and Riverside Drive). Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., though they may be adjusted due to weather. “We’re excited to reopen Ellington in the Park and look forward to serving-up our comfort-food-driven dishes as well as our list of refreshing cocktails, wines and spirits,” said owner Glenda Sansone, who also runs its sister restaurant, Ellington on Broadway. “We will also introduce live music for June/July/August and guests can look forward to exciting performances from up-and-coming artists.” (Thanks to Karen for the tip.)
Cologo Nail Spa at 2566 Broadway between 96th and 97th Streets has closed due to a disagreement about the lease, the manager told West Side Rag. The owner is looking for a new spot in the area and has identified a space just a few blocks away but has not yet signed a new lease, the manager said. They hope to reopen at the new space within the next few months. (Thanks to Valoree for the tip.)
Pop’s Pizza has opened at Turnstyle, the underground market in the Columbus Circle subway station. “Pop’s Pizza is bringing some of the most unique square pizza pies,” owner Nav Singh wrote in an email to West Side Rag. In addition to classic square pies, Pop’s Pizza offers specialty pizzas such as classic ravioli, fig and honey, and spicy chicken parmesan. There is also a vegan pizza. All pizza sauces – including marinara, buffalo and vodka sauces – are made from scratch, Singh told the Rag. The pizza shop’s original location at 301 West 57th Street remains open and serves only traditional thin crust pizza.
Chick’nCone, a chain that serves handheld chicken and waffles, has also opened at Turnstyle. Chick’nCone’s signature dish puts a twist on a classic by putting chicken nuggets inside of waffle cones, owner Valerissa wrote to the Rag. They also serve chick’nSandwiches on a brioche bun, Caj’nFries (shoestring French fries with Cajun seasoning), kid’s meals and a variety of side dishes, including Caj’n Corn and baked macaroni and cheese.
Cologo is one of the very best and most reliable nail salons in the neighborhood! I hope they find a new location ASAP.
Sad there are no hardware stores left in the area.
Mike’s Lumber & Hardware, just west of Broadway on 88th St. Oriented to supers/janitors & contractors, but carries most items,
Mike’s is going to close because the new owner of the building is converting it back to housing. Mega is around the corner.
Gartners is on 72nd between Broadway and Columbus. Super knowledgeable and they pack a lot into a small space.
Nope, no hardware stores left in the area at all. Except for Brickmans an avenue away on Columbus. And C&S 7 blocks north on 98th. Oh, and Beakman on 78th (granted this is a little further).
But very sorry to see Aquarius go. They were my go-to when I needed glue or a drill bit or the like.
A huge new one, Mega, has opened on Broadway between 87 and 88 and siphoned customers from Aquarius. They ate not open Saturdays.
Sorry to say but I was disappointed by Mega. I like Basics (I think that’s the name) on the west side of Broadway near 84th. They have a lot of housewares and a whole lot of hardware downstairs.
Basics Plus has knowledgeable and helpful hardware staff plus a good inventory downstairs including hard to find screws etc. Love them upstairs and down!
BasicsPlus, it is called. I like them a lot.
Also closed, Oasis Nails on Bway between 97-98!
I’m so sad about this. I’ve gone there regularly for 8-9 years and I thought that once they made it through the pandemic they’d be okay. I was just there 4 weeks ago and it was packed. I hope the women who work there are able to find other jobs quickly.
I was hoping this wasn’t the case!! I loved them and also thought they seemed like they were doing okay. So sad.
Too bad about Aquarius, it’s a good store.
Aquarius is my go-to hardware store, too. I will miss them a lot.
So sorry to hear about Aquarius Hardware. It’s sad to lose such a good store.
Ellington in the Park does not need live music to attract clients. The park and the sunset do that. In fact, music, along with their hideous public address system for delivering orders seriously detract from what should be a quiet, bucolic experience. Why would you treat us like fast food patrons? And why import into nature the urban culture of the city? Forget entertainment! We come to sip wine and enjoy the setting.
The cafe at Lincoln Center uses a number system for the delivery of food to the tables. Silent. No need to get up. And runners have to bring the food upstairs anyway.
The cacophony at the boat basin make the space intolerable.
There are so many interesting perspectives on silence and its policing in urban areas. Make no mistake that a park in a borough with a population density of over 70,000 per square mile is an urban area. With that many people, there are bound to be those that enjoy music with their dinner and their sunset.
Yes. It’s so odd when parks try to be urban. Like the 2 story building they are proposing in Riverside and the music here. NYC already has lots of buildings and sound; these are exactly what we’re trying to briefly escape.
The turnstyle food options might actually be appealing if that corridor had a decent seating area and didn’t smell weird
Omg, yes, it smells so terribly of that soap/bath products!
Aquarius will be a huge loss! Well-stocked store with knowledgeable and friendly staff.
So disappointed to hear about Aquarius Hardware closing. The convenience, along with the knowledgeable and personable employees will be missed. Whether it was light bulbs to Flush-o-meters to window blinds, you could always count on Aquarius to have it.
Best wishes to Leo and his crew and thanks for always having the exact merchandise that I needed.
Too bad about Aquarius Hardware, it’s good to have places that sell individual screws/bolts/nuts.
Yes, I realize Brickman’s does, but the new Beacon doesn’t.
You forgot the new smoke shop at the former e-bike store on 87th and Amsterdam.
There are multiple new ones since the last Openings and Closings, at least 3 or 4.
That’s a real tragedy about Aquarius Hardware… they literally stock everything you would need to fix things around the house, offer great free and friendly advice, have moderate prices, and have a liberal return policy and nice guys to boot!. It seems their business has indeed been slow, so I don’t know where people are going to get these necessities. A real loss for the neighborhood.
Well, there’s that new hardware store Mega Building Supply on Broadway @ 88th, and Brickman’s at 89th and Columbus is a vast improvement over late-stage AJO, which was having stock troubles in its final years. And Brickman’s is open Saturdays where AJO wasn’t. So, that’s more competition than ever, really.
I will be really sad to see Aquarius go. They have been our go-to since we moved into the neighborhood in ’95. They have all the weird things other places don’t. And lots of the little items around the apartment came from there.
Most cool. Think abouddit: a pizza place (pizza is Italian in origin) run by a person whose family name harkens back to India. Yup, only a world-class city like ours could boast of that.
An excellent book that describes our diversity is “The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of New York ” by Joseph Berger