Sammy’s Law - On Dec. 8, which would have been the 20th birthday of Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old killed by a driver near his home in 2013, State Senator Brad Holyman introduced “Sammy’s Law,” a bill that would reduce speed limits on city streets. The bill would also repeal the current requirement that speed limits in NYC cannot be lower than 25 mph or lower than 15 mph in school zones. Hoylman’s bill would give the city another tool to achieve the Vision Zero initiative and reduce traffic fatalities. Westsider Joan Dean, who is Sammy’s grandmother and a member of Families for Safe Streets, has advocated with Transportation Alternatives and CHEKPEDS Pedestrian Advocacy Group for the legislation, said that “We are so grateful to Senator Hoylman for putting the lives of our family, friends and neighbors above the need to get to our destinations a few minutes sooner.” Hoylman emphasized the need for the bill’s passage, saying that “Reducing the traffic speed is not only critical due to the rising number of traffic fatalities, but also because of increased car use, bike ridership and outdoor dining and shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.” And concluded that “it makes absolutely no sense that Albany won’t let the City lower its speed limit.” Here’s to getting the bill passed in a better new year.
Good sign, bad sign - Restaurants and other food establishments couldn’t have been hit harder in 2020. The good news - when it’s good - is that outdoor dining and takeout and delivery have allowed some restaurants to stay in business. Jacques Brasserie on East 85th east of Third Ave., is open and has special holiday menus for Christmas and New Year’s in what they describe as “beautiful and cozy outdoor dining (with heat lamps available).” So bundle up for end of the year dining like crab cake cannelloni, halibut or Chilean sea bass, and pear tart with Champagne sorbet and get ready to dine out(side), maybe inside in restaurants getting ready to open in the new year: Tacombi on East 70th St - look for their crispy fish burritos and al pastor tacos; Lagos, on East 49th near the UN, with a West African menu; and Converso’s kosher Mexican fare, sharing Hummus Kitchen’s kitchen on Second Ave and 84th for takeout and delivery. And the bad, sad news was the sign taped to the window of a now closed pizzeria in Yorkville letting the world know that more than $200,000 was due in unpaid rent from May 2020 to Dec 2020 ... a bad sign in bad times.
Sable’s home - After writing about the return of Sable’s, the East Side’s favorite appetizing destination, my inbox was deluged with reader responses. From two civic-minded East Siders: “Great to read a small business story with a happy ending,” wrote Jerry Ferguson, president of the Four Freedoms Dem Club, and Evelyn Wilkens, who posted the Our Town article on Yorkville Buy Local. And from the more food-minded like Eustace the pup, who got to taste some chopped liver on his daily walk with dad Jeremy Berman, who stocked up on chocolate babka, rainbow cake, bagels and lox; and Midtowner Erica Sais who just loves Sable’s lobster rolls. And from the West Side’s Suzanne Jacobson, who promised that “If [the pandemic] ever ends, we will meet in Zabar’s where [she’ll] buy the goodies, maybe a knish or 2 and go back to [her] house to fress.” Sounds like an offense/defense? Maybe recently elected Supreme Court Justice David Cohen, who was seen looking in at the socially distanced Sable’s one morning, will take on the Sable’s v Zabar’s dispute? On second thought, he may have to recuse. He’s an Eastsider.