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The Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group (BNHG) is a dynamic organization which sponsors a new lecture series each season. The BNHG’s Board consists of Win Armstrong, Peter Arndsten, Marjorie Cohen, Cynthia Doty, Hedda Fields, Alice Hudson, Ginger Lief, Paul Lindberg, Jim Mackin, Batya Miller, Gil Tauber, Pam Tice and Vita Wallace.
The BNHG Fall lecture series is now in place! Please mark your calendars as each series is sure to be informative and fun!
Tuesday, October 7, 6:30 pm:
“Goddard Riverside in its Second Century: A Work in Progress” with Stephan Russo, Executive Director in conversation with Ethan Sribnick, Urban Historian. Bernie Wohl Auditorium, 647 Columbus Avenue (W. 91st Street). Note: there is a lift but the auditorium is not wheelchair accessible.
Monday, October 27, 6:30 pm:
“Celebrate The IRTs 110th Birthday,” with John Tauranac, Urban Historian and Mapmaker, in discussion of its impact on the development of our neighborhood. Hostelling International, 891 Amsterdam Avenue (W. 103rd Street)
Wednesday, November 19, 6:30 pm:
Jim Mackin will present the first in a series of the histories of the remarkable medical institutions that started in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Hostelling International, 891 Amsterdam Ave (W. 103rd Street)
December Date TBA:
“Think Straus Park is just a name?” with Batya Miller who will reveal the backstory of this park at W. 106th and Broadway. Place TBA.
The Picasso Curtain is scheduled to be moved from the Four Seasons Restaurant on September 6 and 7—the first step toward its new home in The New-York Historical Society.
The elaborate move will involve some twenty experts from both Art Installation Design and Auer’s Rigging. Both companies have wide experience moving artwork for museums and private collectors.
The team will arrive at the restaurant closes on September 6. It will take about six hours to construct the scaffolding and rigging needed to handle the 20 by 18 foot Curtain. Then the Curtain will be very slowly and carefully rolled around a large, 24-inch diameter, specially designed, roller. This will take several more hours.
The Curtain will then be taken to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Williamstown, Mass. The respected Center has the expertise, and the space, required to handle this large and important piece. The Curtain will be cleaned and some minor surface tears repaired. We don’t expect any major work to be performed unless the conservators discover something when they inspect the Curtain.
Once conservation is completed, the Curtain will be taken to the Historical Society. It will be placed on public view next spring. Its new location will allow many more people to see “New York’s Picasso.”
The 1919 piece has hung in the Four Seasons since the restaurant opened in 1959. It has not been moved since the 1970s when it was temporarily taken down for comprehensive conservation. A backing was placed on the piece at that time which has held the weight of the Curtain but added some stiffness to the canvas surface.
The Curtain’s age and size make the upcoming move very tricky. In addition to the expert movers, Sarah Lowengard, the conservator who has cared for the Curtain since it was given to the Conservancy in 2005 will be on hand. She will be joined by the chief conservator of the Historical Society. Peg Breen and Conservancy Technical Director Alex Herrera will also be there.
The move was agreed to in a settlement after a very public legal battle over the Curtain. Under the terms of the settlement, RFR Holding, the owner of the Seagram Building where the Four Seasons is located, is paying for the conservation and both moves.
The Conservancy is very grateful to our board member Michael DeChiara and his partner James Rowland who represented us in Court and continue to offer advice and counsel.
The mission of the West 104th Block Association is to ensure our street is safe, secure, and beautiful. One of our block residents alerted us that a tree on the north side of West 104th Street had two very large, dead branches. The dead branches hung over the sidewalk and street where we walk and park our cars.
We immediately placed a request to the NYC Parks Department to have them removed. After a month of no action and fearing for our residents safety, we placed a call to Assemply Memmber Daniel O’Donnel’s office to expedite the request. Justin, from Mr. O’Donnell’s office had the Parks Department out the same day to assess the situation and one week later – the branches have been removed.
On behalf of our residents, we would like to thank Daniel O’Donnell and Justin for their quick response to what could have been a serious situation.
Our Riverside Park Conservancy’s mission is to restore, maintain, and improve Riverside Park. As part of a generous grant from Greenacre Foundation, The Conservancy is undertaking inoculation of all American Elm trees and the elm varieties.
Dutch Elm Disease is an incurable scourge that quickly kills the elm tree. The disease cannot be cured, but occasionally a tree can be saved if an infected limb is removed before the trunk becomes diseased. If not, the entire tree must be removed. Leaving an infected tree in place means the disease could spread to nearby trees.
Please support the Riverside Park Conservancy! Your donations help them restore and maintain our beautiful park.
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell is hosting the first of two Community Health Fairs on Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 12-3PM.
It will be held in conjunction with Grant Houses Family Day on LaSalle Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Free blood pressure and foot screenings, HIV and Hepatitis C tests, e-waste and textile recycling, and valuable information on a variety of health topics will be available!
Please visit Daniel O’Donnell’s website for more information on this event and other upcoming events.
Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell announced the New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) redesign of West End Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street at a meeting sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Community Board 7. The proposed redesigning is a result of the traffic fatalities on West End Avenue in recent months.
The plan includes the following measures designed to increase pedestrian safety:
1) West End Avenue from 72nd Street to 106th Street would become a three-lane road. It would comprise one north and one south lane, with a center turn lane, except at two problematic intersections – 95th Street and 97th Street – where there would be no left turn permitted and traffic safety islands would be installed.
2) There would be extra-wide parking lanes along West End Avenue to accommodate passenger and freight pick-ups and drop offs.
The idea behind the changes is that one lane in each direction, with a separate turn lane, avoids traffic flow disruptions. It also means that if the car in front of you is going slowly, you can’t speed up and pass them, encouraging everyone to abide by the speed limit.
In addition to these changes, DOT explained its decision to create “delayed green” lights that give pedestrians a head start crossing West End Avenue at both 95th and 97th Streets. It also discussed the change that bans left turns from 95th Street onto northbound West End Avenue from 7-9 AM.
Community Board 7 will be reviewing this plan at their Transportation Committee. Please check their website for more information.
The city has also developed a mechanism for reporting unsafe taxi drivers by calling 311. Please see The West Side Rag for details on how to report unsafe taxi drivers.
The Lower East Side Ecology Center will be sponsoring an electronic and textile recycling event in our neighborhood, The event will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at Amsterdam Ave. between 109th and 110th Streets. Here are guidelines on what items will and will not be accepted:
Accepted (unless otherwise noted):
Computers and peripherals (monitors, printers, faxes/scanners, keyboards, mice, wires, etc.); TVs; stereo and A/V equipment, VCRs, DVD players; cell and wall phones.
Not Accepted: Microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
Not accepted: Carpeting
A donated cell phone can become a lifeline for an isolated or otherwise vulnerable individual who needs to call 911. Secure the Call is a charity with a single mission: to collect and convert as many old cell phones as possible into 911 emergency access phones. Bring your used cell phones to Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Community Office, 245 West 104th Street (between Broadway and WEA) any time during the month of June. For more information, please visit www.securethecall.org.
<strong>Community Issues: Our Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell has been active on issues important to our community.</strong>
Assemblyman O’Donnell has introduced three bills which may interest you. First, Mr. O’Donnell introduced a bill that would protect vulnerable populations from damaging solitary confinement. This bill would reduce the use of solitary confinement for youth under the 21 years of age. Second, a bill was introduced that would limit solitary for pregnant inmates. These two types of populations are known to be harmed by the isolation and lack of sufficient medical care, exercise, and educational programming. Both bills await further action in the State Assembly.
In response to recent pedestrian fatalities in our area, Mr. O’Donnell introduced a bill to reduce NYC’s default speed to 20 mph, a speed at which traffic accidents are much less likely to be fatal. After negotiation with the Mayor’s Office and City Council, the bill was modified to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph, still providing the City Department of Transportation the authority to reduce it to 20 mph.
Rooftop additions have become a threat to Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has seen an increase in applications for rooftop additions due to the recent surge in the housing market. The additions are problematic because they will be highly visible from the street, block sightlines, create shadows, and drastically alter the essential character of the landmarked building. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal has called upon the LPC to require that the public should have an opportunity to provide comments and ensure the process of approving rooftop additions is as transparent as possible.