a mystery on third avenue

| 29 May 2019 | 10:47

    Dancing girls — Who would think that Domino’s Pizza’s footprint would be filled — or followed — by dancing girls? Could happen, if you believe the rumor and trust your seeing eyes. At least a year ago, maybe more, the Domino’s Pizza located on Third Avenue between 88th and 89th Streets vacated the commercial space belonging to the condominium at 200 East 89th Street (located on 89th between Second and Third Avenues) and, if I recall correctly, moved to a location on Second Avenue in the 90s. The vacant space showed no sign of a new occupant until recently, when one of the workers readying the place for a new tenant offered, in response to a woman’s query, that “dancing girls” were coming. The shaken woman wanted to know more, but the man kept walking.

    Ensuing chatter among several passersby speculated about what would happen when these “dancing girls” arrived. Late night hours? Loud music? Liquor license? Dancing indoors and maybe on the street? And then the wait was over.

    One afternoon, some time in mid- to late- April this year, the entrance to what was once Domino’s was left open, literally, for all to see, and hear. Music came blaring out onto the street. Inside, dancing in place, were pre-teen, teen, and some post-teen girls, in a studio-cum-gym-like setting, in front of full-length mirrored walls, with an adult instructor leading them. The back wall displayed trophies spread across a shelf.

    Queries to the adults on the premises were met with mute silence. There were no signs indicating what type of facility it was. Only an address — 1581 Third Avenue. Could it be a permanent gym? A dance studio? A combination gym/dance studio? Or was it a lone pop-up awaiting a full-time tenant? Or another pop-up in a line of pop-ups to come? All that was known, at least to yours truly, was that the workman wasn’t fudging when he said that “dancing girls” were coming. But will they stay or will they go? Only time, or some other workman, will tell.

    Steppin’ on up — I don’t know if participatory budgeting contemplates awards for making repairs to damaged library steps so that the public can safely enter and exit. Whether it does or doesn’t make such awards, some public, private or governmental entity should take on the task of seeing to the repair of the dangerous, damaged, decrepit stairs leading to the Yorkville Library on East 79th Street. They are an accident waiting to happen — to say nothing of their being an eyesore and a blatant sign of disrespect for the relevance and importance of the library as an institution. In addition to the condition of the stairs, there is no accommodation for disability access. The library, which is surrounded by brownstones, old and recently-constructed luxury housing, as well as nearby Eli’s Tasting Table, deserves care, attention, and upgrading, and must be prioritized for immediate funding.

    Reader readback — Here are some reader responses to a recent column that lamented sidewalk congestion caused by some unenclosed sidewalk cafes. The comments first appeared in Our Town’s online edition. From Jules: No one ever mentions the fact that ‘sheds’ take up a lot of room and there’s one on every block on the West Side. (Almost none on the East Side.) No construction is being done on the buildings above them? Why aren’t landlords being made to fix whatever it is that needs work? Very unsightly. Old buildings in Europe and the rest of the world don’t have this issue. If pointing or alterations have to get done, go for it, or pay a very large fine.

    From Oxymoronic: Here’s an idea. Let’s widen the sidewalks and get rid of another lane of traffic. Plenty of space for both cafe and pedestrians. There is no need for a highway to be running through the neighborhood. This is not new. For example, we should restore Fifth Avenue to its pre-1909 status, when 15-feet of sidewalk was removed to make room for more cars! I’m sure there were similar moves to reduce the sidewalk widths for other avenues, too.