On the Sidewalks of New York

| 12 Sep 2021 | 11:01

Dangers of Morton Williams - Between Bleecker St. in the Village to Broadway in Harlem, there are at least 16 Morton Williams supermarkets throughout Manhattan, some open 24/7. I speak here of the one between 48th-49th Streets on Second Ave, where, for at least the last month, there has been street construction which has narrowed the sidewalk making it unsafe and almost impassable. A violation was issued on Aug 27, 2021. There are barriers, weighted bags, cones along the sidewalk. In late night, there are piles of trash bags lining the sidewalk making it difficult to avoid taking the bike lane which, even without sidewalk impediments, can be a danger to pedestrians and other permissible sidewalk access. A local resident went to speak to Bob, MW’s manager. His retort was that “It’s the building’s [908 Second Ave high-rise] problem.” And blamed the fact that completion was delayed because of a “scarcity of parts” (whatever that means) and that “the trash must be put on the sidewalk to be picked up by the trash department, which is unionized” (whatever that means). He wasn’t finished, and added that “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t wearing a mask and heeding MW’s signs asking that masks be worn while in the store. Since this MW is open 24/7, the unsafe street condition is danger all day and all night. Bob’s blithely blaming the building doesn’t make it go away nor does his chastising those effected making it any less safe. Maybe he should see that MW stays on the problem so that it doesn’t get shut down and have to close its doors. And wear a mask.

A Twitter Bot from Texas - With rights and liberties gone and going awry in Texas, it was heartwarming to read in an online article in JTA Sunday Features about New York Jewish Week editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll’s stumbling upon “This Used to Be a Synagogue” (@OldShulSpots), a Twitter account that posts photos and addresses of locations in Manhattan that used to be synagogues or, as the name suggests, “used to be shuls.” While assuming that the account was run by an amateur historian of the Lower East Side, or a “Jewish conceptual artist who was making a point about gentrification,” Silow-Carroll discovered that it was Amy Shreeve, a 20-year-old, non-Jewish college student in Texas who has never been to NY. Good to get nice news from the Lone Star State. And welcome to NY when you get here.

Stuy Square street co-naming - The street sign on Third Ave - Rutherford Place and East 16th St - in the Stuyvesant Square Historic District has been co-named in honor of composer Henry (Harry) T. Burleigh. The project to change the name was initiated, as reported in amNewYork Metro, after calls to change the name by civil rights activist movements “decrying that Peter Stuyvesant was reportedly a slave owner centuries ago,” and after a profile of Burleigh appeared in Town and Village newspaper. According to Michelle D. Winfield, the 74th AD’s State Committeewoman, who chaired the Petitioning Committee to co-name the street, Burleigh is the influential African-American composer and founding member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Burleigh spent 25 years (1900 to 1925) as the first African-American soloist at Temple Emanu-El, desegregating the congregation. Before that, and concurrently, Burleigh was a soloist at Saint George’s Episcopal Church. After the co-naming ceremony on Sept 12th, there was a musical presentation by the Temple Emanu-El Choir. The cooperation of the civic and religious community allowed that Peter Stuyvesant’s name will remain on the Lower Manhattan street sign. A good thing.