Early Voting is Here at Last

| 30 Sep 2019 | 10:26

    Vote early, not often - 2019 is the first year that New York will have early voting - from October 26th to November 3rd, registered voters can cast their ballots before the designated election day. Manhattan will have seven poll sites for early voting. Voters will be assigned to early voting poll sites based on their addresses. The location will be different from their usual poll site. Voters can only vote at these assigned early voting poll sites during early voting. On election day, November 5th, voters must go to their assigned poll site. Presumably, the Board of Elections will provide advance notice of the early poll sites and give notice of the assigned election day poll site.

    In the usual course of civic life, some Stuyesant Town residents learned from the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Assocation that their election day polling sites had changed to a location outside of Stuy Town, at East 14th Street, as reported in Town & Village. The change effects voters from as far away as East 20th Street. Early voting may be an option for them and others at one of the early voting sites, such as Borough of Manhattan Community College, Columbia University, George Washington High School, Jackie Robinson High School, Park Avenue Armory, and several other sites. During the early voting period, voting times at all locations are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Stuy Town's Council Member Keith Powers has been working with the Board of Elections to find spaces in Stuy Town to be used as polling sites, which must be ADA compliant. Voting is a duty. Shouldn't be an option. Early voting gives us more time to get to a polling site. It's a must-do. Do it.

    Crying over spilt wine - It didn't have to be Happy Hour at the bar for a glass of red wine. Just some sips before the woman went to her next event. Sitting at Sumela Mediterranean Bar and Grill, on First Avenue in the 80's at four in the afternoon seemed a good choice. Maybe not. The manager, who was running between the kitchen to the bar to a car parked in front of the restaurant, managed to pour the wine on his way out the door to talk to the man in the car. He didn't place a coaster or little something beneath the wine glass to stop any sliding on the metal counter top. The woman, after a sip or two, put down the glass; it slid and the wine spilled onto the counter. No wait staff to clean up. And the manager was otherwise engaged in the car outside, car door open. When a server arrived, she came behind the bar and wiped away the wine. No replacement offered for the spilt wine so the woman ordered another. When the check came, there was a charge for two wines. Something to whine about.

    The blame game - Everybody and everything gets blamed for the rise in empty storefronts. It's de rigeur to bemoan the loss of moms and pops, the influx of big box and chain stores, the internet and online shopping for upending retail businesses. The list goes on. But at the end of the day, the rent's too damn high and not affordable for small and not-so-small businesses. Yes, online shopping's a cause. Big boxes and chain stores add to the problem, but they aren't the cause. They can pay the rent. So let's lay the blame at the feet of the landlords who hold out for the highest paying renters. And at the feet of the builders who can't build high enough except for the highest bidder. Costs are high, for sure. So don't build so high. Don't build to graze the stratosphere with miles and miles of sky-high footage. Let there be light. And let there be retail at the street level - commercial businesses that serve the community besides, or in addition to, Equinoxes, Lululemons, Soul Cycles, Duane Reades, Morton Williamses. I'm wondering if it's true that that some seemingly "local" neighborhood restaurants and bars are actually a part of a chain. It wouldn't surprise. Nor would it surprise if their conglomerate offices were located around the corner in one of the sky-high towers, or maybe someplace in Hong Kong or wherever. Just not the small business types we had in mind.