Bodega Cats and a Rezoning Misstep

| 02 Mar 2020 | 11:46

Rezoning happens - I'm hoping that CB8's zoning committee's vote to reject the Mansion Restaurant's application for a rezoning isn't followed by the full board on March 18th. The 70-plus-years-old family-owned restaurant wants to rezone for an unenclosed outdoor cafe east of 86th St. and York Ave. The Mansion's been in the same location with the same family ownership since the 1940s. In the 1970s, when Our Town began publishing, the Mansion was a regular advertiser. Their ads were business-sized cards that appeared weekly along with 15 to 20 other restaurant and dining-related ads. Of all those restaurants, only the Mansion is still in business. And that's just a microcosm. How many countless other local businesses from those days are still around? Longevity and commitment to a community should be considered when deciding the merits of any rezoning application. Maz Mezcal, a Mexican restaurant on East 86th St., was previously granted a rezoning for an outdoor cafe. I have no doubt that the rezoned outdoor cafe has made it possible for them to still stand and stay in business. The same goodwill and faith consideration given to Maz Mezcal should be given to the Mansion. Small businesses along York Ave - between 86th and 87th - on the street where the Mansion is located - are mostly gone. And having a responsibly run unenclosed outdoor cafe off the corner, where the sidewalk is wide enough to accommodate local street traffic, will enhance and benefit the community.

Bodega cats - Gentrification takes its toll on pets as well as people. The NY Times's recent article about bodegas, included a photo op of a resident bodega cat curled up in front of a row of bodega/grocery shelves. I've always had a soft spot for these felines in residence, some in shoe repair shops, others in groceries and bodegas. Back in the '80s, when instant - maybe seconds or minutes - Polaroids were in vogue, I snapped a picture of bodega kitten snuggled on a shelf among the wares for sale at a bodega (not the photo above) . With mom and pop type businesses on the wane, cats no longer find homes on shelves. The pretty bodega kitty's shelf life has long since expired, as has the bodega, which was located in a now tony Bushwick. In its place, I'd bet, is a mega-supermarket like Morton Williams or Whole Foods where there's no shelf life for a resident cat.

Welcome back Clynes - Before being elected to the Civil Court, Upper East Sider Jim Clynes, now Judge Jim Clynes, served as Chair of CB8. His successor, Alida Camp, invited him to swear in Community Board 8's newly elected officers. The swearing-in was held at the full board meeting in January.

Cootie mom - Sharing has gone too far when a mom sits with her 8-year-oldish child in a Dunkin D's, seated in a counter seat facing the avenue, where passersby along with other customers, can see her with a tweezer in hand as she removes 'things' from her son's hair, then inspects, photographs and sends each 'thing' to whomever. It's not only gross and disgusting, but raises public health issues. There are ways to handle louse-y issues, mom, but not in public!

Brainstorming - Two guys, mid- to late-50's. Two cups of coffee and a spread of bagels at Tal's on East 86th. Seated a table away, I could hear their conversation. Sounded like talking points for dating - what to say if you're texting and what to say if you're on the phone. Sounded like dating for dummies. There's got to be an app in their future.

So sorry dept - Several readers advised that "I got it wrong." In a recent column, I wrote that POTUS's change of residence - from NY to Florida - would take effect after he left the presidency. Wrong. It's a done deal. POTUS is now a Floridian.