UES demolition derby


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Tall story — There goes another Upper East Side block. The southeast corner of East 83rd Street and Third Avenue is losing the six 3- and 4-story buildings that line the avenue to the demolition crews that have become a part of the UES landscape in the East 70s and 80s since the completion and opening of the Second Avenue subway two years ago. While it may have taken over a hundred years (yes, construction of the UES section of the Second Avenue subway got underway sometime in the 1920s), for the subway to open, real estate developers will have their luxury condominiums up and running in a New York minute. Demolition plans for the 83rd Street site have been filed, the Real Deal and Patch report.

The buildings coming to First Avenue (between 79th-80th, northeast, and between 85th-86th, southwest) were scheduled for discussion at the Community Board 8 meeting on May 14th, where representatives of Extell Development were expected to attend. If the past is any prologue, the neighborhood can look forward to the commercial class that’s replacing small businesses — from the Equinoxes to the TD Banks to the Morton Williams’s et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And maybe a barber shop (they’ve made a comeback) and a gourmet coffee shop/patisserie. Definitely not a Glaser’s kind of bakery. That’s so yesteryear.

Reader readback — In a recent column I noted that Duane Reade on East 87th Street and Third Avenue was adding sales tax to the price of newspapers. A reader posted on my Facebook page asking,”Why WOULDN’T a newspaper get taxed? Books, magazines ... they all get taxed. Why would a newspaper be different?” They further inferred, in a separate post, about the pettiness of caring about paying maybe “17 cents” in tax. To which I say: First, newsprint is tax exempt in New York. Second, so vendors should not be charging tax. Third, some might say that ‘17 cents is 17 cents,’ but if you buy more than one newspaper on a daily basis — like the NY Times for $3, the Wall Street Journal for $3, the Daily News at $1.50, the New York Post at $1, the Washington Post for $3 — that comes to $11.50 a day. Tax is over 8 percent, so it’s a considerable multiple of “17 cents” to pay for tax-exempt newsprint five days a week. And that doesn’t include weekend editions, which cost considerably more.

While reading online is always an option, some people like reading both print and digital versions, and shouldn’t be punished because there’s newsprint’s in their DNA. Oh, I followed up with Duane Reade to find out why they sometimes taxed newspapers and sometimes didn’t. Response was that there were several registers for payment at Duane Reade and one of them was a Walgreen’s register which was programmed to include tax for newspapers. Cheaper to stick to the DR registers.

Looks familiar — Several restaurants, when their leases run out or the rent’s just too damn high, find themselves relocating. So Effy’s, a Mediterranean restaurant which was located on Third Avenue in the 90s, moved several years ago (the old location is still empty) to 100th Street and Lexington Avenue. They now have another restaurant on the northeast side of Second Avenue and East 72nd Street. Then there’s Pig Heaven, a forever neighborhood favorite which was on Second Avenue in the 80s and has now relocated to Third Avenue in the 80s. And Subway Inn, with its iconic sign, which was opposite Bloomingdale’s on East 60th Street, west of Lexington Avenue, now stands proudly — sign and all — at the entrance to the Ed Koch Bridge on East 60th Street. Good to have old places in new spaces. And Koch must be kvelling with all the attention “his” congestion pricing neighborhood is getting these days. Keeps him out there.





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