Migrating Manhattan

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Saturday night fervor — With the closing of the Third Avenue Garden on Third Avenue and 91st Street, another neighborhood mainstay has passed. The 24/7 bodega/supermarket/grocery store (a term of yore) carried the everyday food essentials along with flowers, plants, produce and newspapers. But it was near and dear to me for another reason as well. It was the go-to spot for picking up Sunday’s New York Times on Saturday night. For the uninitiated, there was a time when the Sunday Times, the Daily News and the New York Post were delivered on Saturday night. And the ritual wait took place at newsstands and candy stores throughout at least Manhattan.

Trucks carrying the Sunday night editions of the Times dropped off stacks of newspapers, bound with rope, on the sidewalk in front of the drop-off point. The proprietor would have the newspaper’s various sections (which were delivered earlier in the week) assembled for purchase. All I can do now is mourn the loss of Third Avenue Garden. And the Saturday night ritual of waiting for the Times. Eight o’clock on Saturday night will never be the same.

Giving a hoot — The Mandarin duck that found its way to Central Park may have started a trend for the migration of more animal species to Manhattan. Since the duck’s arrival, another out-of-towner, a tiny brown and white owl, has made its way to the streets of the city in Stuyvesant Town. The Town & Village newspaper reports the presence of the owl, identified by Anne Lazarus, a local “longtime birder who leads bird watching tours in Stuyvesant Town,” as a Northern Saw-whet Owl, which is known for its lack of ear tufts. Although the brown and white owl is tiny, it is said to be an adult. According to Ms. Lazarus, these owls have been “showing up this year” and several have been spotted in Central Park. Let’s not forget that New York’s the place for night owls — and they are welcome in the day, too.

Speaking of StuyTown — The streets of the sprawling enclave, in the vicinity east of First Avenue starting on 20th Street, have lost parking spots as part of a traffic safety project undertaken by the Department of Transportation to accommodate increased bike and pedestrian traffic once the L train is shut down in April next year. The lack of communication between the DOT and the NYPD has resulted in community residents being ticketed and towed from parking spots that were previously legal. According to the community, there was little notice given of the changes. Under the auspices of the project, two bike lanes were created on the north side of 20th Street and the bus stop on the street was moved to an island outside the bike lanes. Hardly a safety measure for pedestrians or for bus riders who have to pass through bike lanes to get to the bus.

Doesn’t ad up — Two TV commercials have caught my attention. The first one is the ad for Spectrum TV’s NY1 Noticias, which has been airing for awhile now. The other is more recent and is promoting the vegan life. The Noticias ad, celebrating Latino/a life, shows Hispanic men and women saying the things they associate with Hispanic life as they hug and shout about themselves, and sing and dance and herald their heritage. It’s high-spirited and attractive. As I’ve seen the ad over time, it has occurred to me that it’s celebrating a stereotype. Not sure how that plays out in the bigger picture when others may mime the ad’s characterization of “being Hispanic.” Would likely lead to criticism and controversy. The other ad — celebrating being a vegan — has celebrities and everyday types shouting “I’m a Vegan,” and is playfully advocating for changing lifestyles, or at least eating habits and values. I get the vegan concept. Not Noticias’s.

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