Manhattan West Side Spirit

Manhattan West Side Spirit Community newspaper covering the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We cover people, local businesses, schools, and stories that make the neighborhood unique.

Could Park Avenue Summer be on your summer reading list? It's about office sabotage is the subject of “Park Avenue Sum...
06/03/2019
When Andy Sachs met Don Draper

Could Park Avenue Summer be on your summer reading list? It's about office sabotage is the subject of “Park Avenue Summer,” a historical novel that places “The Devil Wears Prada” in the “Mad Men” era📖

As colleges wrap up spring semester, our graduated native sons and daughters will be returning to the Upper East Side; some to strictly paycheck positions (“Would you like to hear our specials for this evening?”) while they seek F/T employment, and others to positions in their chosen fields. The...

Upper Westsider Noah Waxman on the “very old art” of designing shoes 👞
05/31/2019
Of soles and soul

Upper Westsider Noah Waxman on the “very old art” of designing shoes 👞

A pair of shoes is a basic part of everyday life: to traverse concrete and asphalt, New Yorkers need them to get from A to B. Shoes, of course, can mean more than just protection for your feet. They can give you the confidence to step into that big job interview, walk down the aisle at your wedding....

Can an optical store and an accountant succeed in a shared office? Well, two people on the Upper West Side are showing t...
05/30/2019
Unlikely partners

Can an optical store and an accountant succeed in a shared office? Well, two people on the Upper West Side are showing this can be done. 💪

Can an optical store and an accountant succeed in a shared office? Well, two people on the Upper West Side are showing this can be done. Angel Eyes Optical and MID Tax Service, located at 2662 Broadway at 101st Street, have proven over the past decade that two different businesses can thrive under o...

05/29/2019
“I love the kids”

A school safety officer with more than 40 years on the job is recognized for her dedication and warm-hearted approach 🎉

People have a lot of ideas about how to make schools safe, especially in the age of school shootings. There’s a reflex to install metal detectors, add guards and put up armor. But for 43 years, school safety agent Candi Rodriguez has used a different approach — one grounded in love, empathy and ...

Looking to do some good this summer? Check out these different volunteer programs! 🌻
05/28/2019
Volunteer

Looking to do some good this summer? Check out these different volunteer programs! 🌻

An Instinct for AnimalsAnimal Care Centers of NYCManhattan: 326 East 110th Street, between First and Second Avenuesnycacc.org/get-involved/volunteerNo room for a pet in the apartment? Animal lovers who can’t adopt — and even those who have — can carve out time to help the city’s always overw...

The buds may be in full bloom, but your nose shouldn’t be🌷
05/27/2019
Signs of spring: daffodils and allergies

The buds may be in full bloom, but your nose shouldn’t be🌷

The story is the same every spring — this could be the worst allergy season of all time. It sounds alarmist, but there’s some truth to the idea. As the climate gets warmer, tree pollen becomes more prolific. So for the person who may be suffering for the first time, or for the seasoned allergy-f...

What’s so funny about a dark, dystopian future? Ask the woman who created a musical parody of “The Handmaid’s Tale...
05/24/2019
“It was all a bit of a crazy idea’

What’s so funny about a dark, dystopian future? Ask the woman who created a musical parody of “The Handmaid’s Tale” 🎭

Samantha Stevens moved to New York from London in 2016 to continue her acting career and soon established herself here in the theater scene. She trained at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and eventually came up with an idea for a show — a musical parody of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Th...

Participatory Budgeting winners announced for UWS council districts 🗳
05/23/2019
West Side votes funding to trees, schools and more

Participatory Budgeting winners announced for UWS council districts 🗳

Results are in for the 2019 edition of the City Council’s Participatory Budgeting program, which lets New Yorkers vote on how to allocate $1 million in discretionary funding in their neighborhood. Residents of Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s sixth district, which covers most of the Upper West S...

The extraordinary power of the human imagination is on display in “Masters of the Fantastic,” an exhibit organized b...
05/23/2019
Visions of other worlds

The extraordinary power of the human imagination is on display in “Masters of the Fantastic,” an exhibit organized by The Society of Illustrators ☄

Just in time for the final season of “Game of Thrones,” The Society of Illustrators, that vest-pocket charmer on East 63rd Street, a mere Prada purse’s throw from Bloomingdale’s, is hosting “Masters of the Fantastic,” a comprehensive show about sci-fi and fantasy. Open until June 8, this...

A community garden in Morningside Heights is now home to an art installation by one of its own. 🎨
05/22/2019
Art wall in the People’s Garden

A community garden in Morningside Heights is now home to an art installation by one of its own. 🎨

A community garden in Morningside Heights is now home to an art installation by one of its own. On May 18, a welcoming ceremony was held for the Re-Material Wall by Leander Knust at the West 111th Street People’s Garden. Knust, 27, lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but spent the first 10 years of his l...

Musical instruments of all kinds — even a lone sitar — have found their way into the hallowed halls of Metropolitan ...
05/21/2019
So you want to be a rock and roll star

Musical instruments of all kinds — even a lone sitar — have found their way into the hallowed halls of Metropolitan Museum of Art for a new must-see exhibit entitled “Play It Loud.” In all, about 130 instruments are featured. 🎸

You don’t come face to face with greatness too often. But there it was, right in front of my eyes: Ringo Starr’s iconic Ludwig drum kit from his days in The Beatles. A few feet away, I spied the guitar that Buddy Holly (probably) used to write “Everyday” and other hits. Guitars played by the...

#ThrowbackTueasday for this Ivy League Athlete in the midst of the College Admission Scandal 🏉
05/21/2019
Reflections of an Ivy League athlete

#ThrowbackTueasday for this Ivy League Athlete in the midst of the College Admission Scandal 🏉

The college admissions scandal took another explosive turn last week with the news that a Chinese family had paid the private college counselor William Singer $6.5 million to get their daughter into Stanford, claiming she was a competitive sailor. As I’ve followed the news, I confess to feeling a ...

Four NYCHA brownstones have been without cooking gas for months — and housing officials have yet to share a timetable ...
05/20/2019
No gas for UWS NYCHA residents

Four NYCHA brownstones have been without cooking gas for months — and housing officials have yet to share a timetable for when service might be restored 🏙

Residents of three New York City Housing Authority brownstones on West 90th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West haven’t been able to use their stoves since just before Thanksgiving. Gas service in the three neighboring brownstones at 38, 40 and 42 West 90th St. was suspended in No...

She always thought “Hadestown” was destined for greatness, and she was right! 🎭
05/20/2019
A star (producer) is born

She always thought “Hadestown” was destined for greatness, and she was right! 🎭

April Lavalle is an actor, writer, comedian, and Tony nominated co-producer of “Hadestown.” The production garnered a total of 14 Tony nominations, the most of any show, including the big one — Best Musical. It’s the hottest show in town, in every sense, and it represents Lavalle’s first f...

Female fighter pilots — and other U.S. Air Force personnel — talk about their roles and challenges.  💪✈
05/17/2019
Women Warriors at the Intrepid

Female fighter pilots — and other U.S. Air Force personnel — talk about their roles and challenges. 💪✈

By Leida Snow We may have heard about women warriors, but it’s still a jolt to meet the nation’s first female fighter pilot, Brigadier General Jeannie Leavitt. With her blond, loosely upswept hair and bangs, and her warm smile, Leavitt is disarming. But her no-nonsense, take-control voice assure...

Here is a #FeelGoodFriday article for you!  A gifted high school teacher is recognized for his unique ability to inspire...
05/17/2019
Helping young scientists succeed

Here is a #FeelGoodFriday article for you! A gifted high school teacher is recognized for his unique ability to inspire his students 👨‍🏫

Vincent Joralemon teaches science at Frank McCourt High School on the Upper West Side. Among the challenging topics he covers with his students are genetic barcoding, bioengineering and neuroscience. But to hear him tell it, Joralemon isn’t exactly Einstein. “I don’t think I’m very good at s...

Legislation would require DOT to consider installing protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands on all major projects 🚧...
05/16/2019
Council to move on Vision Zero checklist bill

Legislation would require DOT to consider installing protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands on all major projects 🚧🚲

Amid an uptick in fatalities on New York City roadways, the City Council is poised to pass legislation that would place new requirements on safety features the Department of Transportation must consider as it redesigns streets. Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced last week that he will hold a vo...

The groundbreaking crime analysis tool, which changed the way policing works in the city, continues to play a central ro...
05/15/2019
The NYPD’s CompStat at 25

The groundbreaking crime analysis tool, which changed the way policing works in the city, continues to play a central role in keeping New Yorkers safe

From nearly the moment CompStat was introduced in 1994, the New York City Police Department’s cutting-edge crime tracking and performance management system became an instrument of unparalleled influence in law enforcement.CompStat’s implementation here coincided with an unprecedented drop in cri...

It's the setting of iconic sitcoms, home to “Saturday Night Live,” the talk shows of Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon a...
05/15/2019
What's so funny about New York?

It's the setting of iconic sitcoms, home to “Saturday Night Live,” the talk shows of Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, legendary comedy clubs and enough comedians and comedy writers to fill the L train, if it ever arrives. The joke's on us, America, and you're welcome

I was walking down Broadway one sunny afternoon on the Upper West Side in 1978 when I noticed a woman up ahead of me, walking in the same direction. There were other people walking down Broadway that afternoon, but the woman I noticed was the only one wearing a bowler hat. And it wasn't just any bow...

Amid push to reform mechanical void loophole, City Club of New York backs effort to block Extell Development’s void-fi...
05/14/2019
66th Street tower faces lawsuit

Amid push to reform mechanical void loophole, City Club of New York backs effort to block Extell Development’s void-filled UWS project 🚧🚧

By Michael GarofaloWeeks after Extell Development resolved safety concerns that prompted city regulators to threaten revoking building permits for the company’s 775-foot residential building under construction at 36 West 66th St., the contentious project has encountered another hurdle in its path ...

A high school student argues that the industry is trying to hook young people with flavored “starter kits" 🚫
05/13/2019
Stop Big Tobacco’s kids menu

A high school student argues that the industry is trying to hook young people with flavored “starter kits" 🚫

The tobacco industry has a kids menu. Death, disease and addiction now come in new imaginative electronic cigarette flavors like sour candy worms, unicorn milk, and smurf cake. It is no surprise that these companies are tapping into the imaginations of youth and luring them into a candy-coated addic...

Special shout-out to our 2019 WESTY Award winners! We had a great time this Tuesday honoring all of the hard work you've...
04/18/2019
WESTY Awards: Celebrating the spirit of the UWS

Special shout-out to our 2019 WESTY Award winners! We had a great time this Tuesday honoring all of the hard work you've done for the Upper West Side Community.

Also, a huge thank you to Brewer Gale A Councilmember, Gottfried Richard N Asmblymn, Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Rosenthal Linda B Asmblywmn for helping us present the awards ❤️

Last but not least, our emcee of the night, Kristen Shaughnessy, was absolutely fantastic!!

Thanks to all who came out.

Deputy Inspector Malin is the commander of the 20th Precinct and says: “Not only do I like it professionally ... but t...
04/15/2019
WESTY 2019 Honoree: A commitment to service

Deputy Inspector Malin is the commander of the 20th Precinct and says: “Not only do I like it professionally ... but this is also the kind of place, from a personal standpoint, where I can integrate my family life and my professional life."

Read more about his career with the NYPD here:

Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin already adored the Upper West Side when he took command of the NYPD’s 20th precinct one year ago. “I fell in love with the two-oh when I was in the two-four,” Malin said, reflecting fondly on his stint four years earlier serving the 24th precinct, which patrols t...

We're super excited for the upcoming WESTY (West Side Spirit Thanks You) Awards! This year it's being hosted by Kristen ...
04/12/2019
WESTYs Awards 2019

We're super excited for the upcoming WESTY (West Side Spirit Thanks You) Awards! This year it's being hosted by Kristen Shaughnessy and we have some fantastic honorees.

Read all about them here:

Click here to read this year's awardee profiles.

As spring blooms in New York City, the Riverside Park Conservancy looks towards the future of the park. Read more here:
04/11/2019
Checking in on Riverside Park

As spring blooms in New York City, the Riverside Park Conservancy looks towards the future of the park.

Read more here:

The Riverside Park Conservancy’s stewardship of its four-mile stretch of green space along the West Side waterfront encompasses a host of responsibilities — from the brilliant seasonal flower plantings now blossoming throughout the park to the upkeep of public tennis courts and playing fields to...

A breathtaking production at the David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center tells the story of an iconic Chinese heroine fro...
04/08/2019
Princess Zhaojun: a timeless tale

A breathtaking production at the David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center tells the story of an iconic Chinese heroine from 36 B.C., a story about peace and the power of the individual that is still relevant today.

Find out more about The Chinese Orchestra of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater and this performance here:

The wedding dance alone was worth the trip. A row of richly-costumed, superbly choreographed women dancing as they wore candle-topped hats was dazzling. Their fluttering skirts seemed borne on air, while in reality, it’s the mastery of the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater that carried .....

Manhattan drivers will soon face a new toll as part of a congestion pricing plan included in the state budget deal reach...
04/05/2019
Key details unclear in congestion plan

Manhattan drivers will soon face a new toll as part of a congestion pricing plan included in the state budget deal reached early the morning of March 31.

But crucial pieces of the plan have yet to be determined.

Manhattan drivers will soon face a new toll as part of a congestion pricing plan included in the state budget deal reached early the morning of March 31. But crucial pieces of the plan — including how much the toll will cost and who will be eligible for exemptions or relief — have yet to be dete...

"Stars of David" author Abigail Pogrebin interviewed over 50 Jewish A-listers. Read more about her here:
04/03/2019
Talking faith and celebrity

"Stars of David" author Abigail Pogrebin interviewed over 50 Jewish A-listers.

Read more about her here:

When Abigail Pogrebin first had the idea to collect the stories of prominent Jewish celebrities and interview them about their spiritual lives for a book, her husband said what most people might have said: “Why would they talk to you about that?” Nevertheless, Pogrebin began reaching out through...

"You no doubt heard about the recent scandal, in which crooked, well-heeled parents schemed to get their undeserving chi...
04/01/2019
No scandal here! In praise of CUNY

"You no doubt heard about the recent scandal, in which crooked, well-heeled parents schemed to get their undeserving children enrolled at such campuses on the hill as Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California."

I have been proud to teach journalism courses at Stony Brook University and Hunter College — especially right now. And while we’re on the subject of local diamonds in the rough, good on you, too, to the likes of City College of New York (CCNY), Hunter, Pace, Lehman, LaGuardia, Brooklyn and Queen...

“When you’re working with young people,” NYPD's Rabbi Kass says, “you stay young." At 83, he’s the city’s lo...
03/29/2019
The force is with Rabbi Kass

“When you’re working with young people,” NYPD's Rabbi Kass says, “you stay young." At 83, he’s the city’s longest-serving police chaplain ever. Read more about him here:

Clearly the force is with him — maybe because he’s been with them for so long.Rabbi Alvin Kass, the chief chaplain of the New York Police Department, has offered spiritual counsel to cops and their families for 53 years. At 83, he’s the city’s longest-serving police chaplain ever. “To do t...

Access to affordable healthy options should be a right of all New Yorkers.
02/26/2019
Danger in the food deserts

Access to affordable healthy options should be a right of all New Yorkers.

In his annual State of the City address earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a plan to provide affordable health care to all New Yorkers. “Health care is a human right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it,” said the Mayor. While we could not agree more with the Mayo...

How David Jones and the The Bowery Mission give hope to the homeless.
02/22/2019
From cold streets to warm hearts

How David Jones and the The Bowery Mission give hope to the homeless.

You exit the downtown 6 train and pass the trendy boutiques along Spring Street. The shops and the street are frequented by tourists in search of the latest fashions and local millennials stealing some time from jobs in the nearby technology hub that now exists in this neighborhood. This is one view...

Holes in plan to limit tower voids
02/21/2019
Holes in plan to limit tower voids

Holes in plan to limit tower voids

The Department of City Planning last month issued its long-awaited proposal to reign in the development industry’s controversial practice of inflating building heights through the use of largely empty mechanical voids. But some observers worry that the city’s fix doesn’t go far enough to addre...

Don’t mess with the District 9 seniors.
02/20/2019
Once upon a community board meeting

Don’t mess with the District 9 seniors.

I did not wear a coat to work on Tuesday. February 5. The temperature was in the 40s that morning, but for someone from Los Angeles, who spent the previous week in her room with the heat on full blast and her feet wrapped in fuzzy socks, it felt like a beautiful summer day. (Which it almost was — ...

“[We} really go out of our way to try and say yes. Whatever a customer wants, we try to figure out how to do that.”-...
02/18/2019
St. Mark’s Comics closing after 36 years

“[We} really go out of our way to try and say yes. Whatever a customer wants, we try to figure out how to do that.”
-
Mitch Cutler, owner of St. Mark’s Comics

By Jason CohenWith the impending development on St. Mark’s and Third Avenue in the East Village, the culture is definitely changing. Now another longtime business has announced it will be shuttering its doors.At the end of the month, St. Mark’s Comics will be closing after 36 years. Located at 1...

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