Covid, Bad Food, Worse Politics

So, my youngest daughter and I went out for Indian food for lunch today. We went to our favorite place on the Upper West Side, which is on Amsterdam between 79th and 80th. It is a small restaurant that has always been very good. At the moment it has a few tables outdoors, since New Yorkers cannot be trusted inside of restaurants. When we got there at 2 p.m. no customers were present, but they appeared to be doing a decent takeout and delivery business, suggesting that things are okay for them.

We ordered enough for us, and to bring home a meal for the middle daughter. But today, all of our favorite dishes were mediocre. Or worse. The saag paneer seemed old, as if it had been made the day before. The naan, of all things you can’t screw up, was bland and tasteless. Nothing was great.

Meanwhile, the exhaust fan from the pizza place next door was blowing a very different warm ‘scent palate’ on us. The sky clouded over and seemed a bit darker than it has all summer. And there is a bus stop at the corner, which is loud and gaseous.

This restaurant is across the street from one of the hotels at which New York’s much despised mayor is putting up mentally ill and addicted homeless men. Because this is a very nice neighborhood, that decision has created much pushback among people who pay a lot to live here. Mayor De Blasio has finally agreed to remove them, after a very credible lawsuit was filed. Or perhaps that process has already begun, because I only saw one or two such men on the street. This morning I read in the Daily News, a paper that is pure advocacy these days, that the Mayor will be displacing homeless families who are just starting school next week, so he can push the mentally ill into wherever the single mothers and their kids are currently housed. This seems like a classic New York Politician plan: It’s gamed to create maximum blame for Upper West Side residents who didn’t appreciate the needles, feces, masturbating men, and screamers and arm wavers dominating the sidewalks. So, solid citizens, not duplicitous left wing politicians, get the blame for displaced children.

Just as we were leaving our disappointing meal, there arose a small but loud protest march, coming from further west on 79th St. It was about half a block’s worth of straggling young people with some older activist types of men and women. All white. My daughter thought that the young ones looked like students at the more expensive private schools looking for something to write about in their college essays. (Perhaps she is cynical.) They were all marching in support of the homeless. Most of the signs were some variant of “Housing is a Right.” Some were harder core. Others were parodic: “White Supremacy is Violence,” carried by an old female commie who has never lived anywhere where white supremacy had any purchase.

There were almost as many reporters from both the networks and cable channels tagging along, as there were marchers.

We crossed the avenue, to see that there were a dozen cameras in front of the Lucerne Hotel, interviewing a bunch of “protestors.” (“Fauxtestors”) My car was parked nearby and it was boxed in by news trucks. I went over to one of the guys with a microphone, pointed to my car and asked who I needed to speak to, to get out.

A burly guy came over to me and said hi, by name, with an elbow bump. He was someone I had worked with at the Manhattan Institute, back in the day, who had been a smart young gay conservative about town. Now he is a lefty, and he was there with the State Assemblyman from an adjacent district, Richard Gottfried, who has been in the NY State Assembly for literally 50 years. They were there supporting the march, and supporting keeping the addicted and mentally ill homeless in this upper class neighborhood at $175/night per, because …. well, covid. And the revolution. Or something.

When I asked what the point was, and why they were not interested in the views of the taxpaying residents, the Assemblyman seemed stunned…and said, ‘oh, keeping down the deaths from a little thing called Covid.” Deep. “No,” I persisted. “Why are you people trying to destroy the city…” Gottfried turned away. Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, who had represented me for a long time, walked off.

Not one single politician on the West Side of Manhattan is in favor of moving the mentally ill homeless, despite the filth and menace they have brought to the neighborhood. Residents, mostly liberal, have finally come to understand this. Their comments at the Upper West Siders for Safer Streets page ( are insightful.

It was amazing how fast the news trucks pulled away and let my car out, once I began my little critique. (Dear non-New Yorkers, this is why we do it. Being nice gets you nothing here.)

Mostly I remain annoyed because the food was really not worth the effort or money, and now I am going to end up tossing it. And instead of a nice break it was just more politics.

This is the way the world ends. With a really stupid protest march, and ethnic restaurants cutting corners.

1 thought on “Covid, Bad Food, Worse Politics”

  1. Bess, it is good to know that at least some Manhattan “Residents, mostly liberal, have finally come to understand” the connection between City Hall’s “woke” policies and their degraded quality of life. Absent any major change in their behavior at polling places (and on school boards), though, there seems little chance of City Hall changing its ways. Upper West Siders only voted for Giuliani in 1993 after exhausting virtually every other political possibility in NYC and seeing the equity in their townhouses, co-ops, and condos vanish before their eyes under the Dinkins administration. Why things have to reach that point before residents draw obvious conclusions is frightening. -GM

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