Pick up lines - Walking past the 92nd Street Y on a late morning weekday, I smiled as I passed a lineup of moms, pops, nannies, some accompanied by kids and leashed ones. They were facing the Y’s 91st St. building entrance. For a second, I wondered why. And then I saw an adult holding the hand of a pre-schooler exiting the Y and escorting the little hand holder to the waiting grown up. A few blocks east at the entrance of a towering high rise complex there was a dog walker, surrounded by at least six patiently standing dogs, as one of the pack was handed over to the one waiting. Sights that make you smile but are poignant. In pre-pandemonium days, no need for line-ups or outdoor pickups. Today, that’s the new normal be it for kids, food or vaccines. Is there no end to this interesting time?
The Boathouse is back - Yes, the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park is back. After closing last March, they’re reopening this year starting on March 29. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends and noon to 4 p.m. during the week. And get ready to rent a rowboat when the weather gets warm.
From Desktop to Digital: Our Town @ 50 - Still standing and very much publishing. In 1970 Ed Kayatt, a Manhattan transplant from Massapequa, started printing The Manhattan Pennysaver, a newspaper filled with coupons with discounts at local businesses. A year later, in 1971, computer on his desk, he gave up on the coupon concept and used a new technology known as desktop publishing to start a newspaper. No printing presses. With just the computer keyboard and an untutored hunt-and-peck system of typing, he started turning out a weekly newspaper with local news and called it Our Town. The paper was free and distributed locally to banks, apartment buildings and mom-and-pop stores. And I recently just learned how distribution got its start. It happened by chance and unrelated to the paper’s anniversary. I got a Facebook message from a Bob Makarowski. I don’t know Bob. His post asked if I was related to Ed Kayatt. I responded and he posted that, when the paper’s office was on East 83rd St., he was going to high school and Ed hired him and other high school students to deliver Our Town to the vestibules of apartment buildings that didn’t have doormen. Ed would fill a shopping cart with bundles of Our Town and Bob would place small stacks of them in vestibules of apartment buildings that did not have doormen. In high rises with doormen, newspapers were usually delivered to the mailroom. Bob still lives in Yorkville and teaches at Baruch College and volunteers for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. After communicating with Bob, I got to thinking that I wanted to share remembrances of Our Town going back to the beginning. I was at the paper from 1973 until about the time it was sold in 1990. In 2016, when Straus Media was publisher and Kyle Pope was editor, I returned and began writing the East Side Observer column.
In upcoming columns I’ll be remembering and writing about the early years of Our Town. I’ve reached out to those who were around in those days and they’ve been sending their remembrances for me to write about. I’m sad and sorry that Bette Dewing is not here to share this golden year. She’d love to be writing about those times. Actually, she did. In all of her columns through the decades, Bette wrote about them. I’d love for readers to send me their remembrances so that I can write about them. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.