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Upper West Side

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When Brooklyn Commenters Attack

Boerum Hill: Brownstoner hates a Robert Scarano building, but commenters think the blogger has a grudge. [Brownstoner] Brooklyn Heights: Costume-makeup-sex-toy emporium Ricky's is promising nervous locals that, when it opens on staid Montague Street in September, it'll keep the dildos out of direct view. [Brooklyn Eagle via McBrooklyn] Dumbo: Transformation of the Pearl Street Triangle has sparked a heated local debate (check the comments) on homeless people in the ever-more-gentrified hood. [DumboNYC] Maspeth: Might St. Saviour's Church be saved from demolition on the grounds that the wreckers have broken federal law by cutting down trees harboring migrating birds? [Queens Crap] South Jamaica: "We're losing our capes!" No, it's not a superheroes' lament. Just locals in this Queens burg mourning the supplanting of cute, small-scale homes with plot-hogging McMansions. [Progressive Southside] Upper West Side: It's overpriced camp season again, which means a lot of bad chords coming from your kid's bedroom. [Copyranter]

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Look Past Retail on the Upper West Side

Haters will complain that this neighborhood has turned into a mall, and they're not that wrong. Broadway's dominated by Circuit City, P.C. Richards, Victoria's Secret, and Gap, among other chain retailers. But no matter how shopped out the main thoroughfare has become, there's no denying the singularly New York charm of this section of the Upper West Side. Sandwiched between Central Park and Riverside Park, it doesn't lack in green space and playgrounds. Columbus Avenue still retains that mom-and-pop flair (fossil store Maxilla & Mandible survives against all retail odds), the public schools are excellent, and of course, there's the enviable (and expensive!) housing stock: blocks of magnificent brownstones and prewar co-ops with canopied entrances. Traipse through them at open houses in the coming week, listed after the jump. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

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The Randy Opera Singer

Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek at what your friends and neighbors are doing behind doors left slightly ajar. Today, the Randy Opera Singer: female, 35, Upper West Side, married, and polyamorous. DAY ONE 9:30 a.m.: Got up briefly, went back to bed and spooned up against my husband's back, pressing up against him naked. Started feeling horny but still sleepy. 10 a.m.: Hubby rolled over on his back. I grabbed his morning stiffy; unfortunately, no time for sex because I had an audition. So I masturbated, trying not to wake him up. 1:30 p.m.: Admired a cute ass in jeans on the subway. 6:00 p.m.: Sent my boyfriend a text message telling him that I can't wait to satisfy all his pent-up desires when he returns in a few days. He's been gone a while. 6:30 p.m.: Told my husband he should surprise me sometime in his hot pants. I nuzzled, kissed, and licked his neck. 10:55 p.m.: Chatted with a platonic friend who is into BDSM and asked him why he wasn't out at a dungeon. I told him how excited I am to have my boyfriend — who will be very horny after a month without sex — return. 1:30 a.m.: Another text message to the boyfriend.

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Pat Kiernan Is Saving Up for a Slurpee Machine

Pat Kiernan
Name: Pat Kiernan
Age: 38
Job: Morning anchor, NY1 News and (as of July 9) host of VH1's World Series of Pop Culture.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Peter Jennings. He made it seem so easy.

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Murray Hill Is Tragically Misunderstood

Brooklyn Heights: A couple moved into a new building in 1901 and later passed the apartment on to their son. When he died in March, he was paying $451 a month for a two-bedroom. [Brooklyn Eagle via Brooklyn Heights Blog] Clinton Hill: Depending on which typo you follow, dumping at this building on Emerson will cost you either $3,000 or $3 million in fines. [Clinton Hill Blog] Fort Greene: Does a plywood fence at Carlton Mews mean work will finally begin there? [Brownstoner] Greenpoint: Oversize ads drilled into vinyl siding wouldn't last a second in Williamsburg or Park Slope. So why here? [newyorkshitty] Murray Hill: Unless the frat boys have all moved away, this is no "lagoon of calm." [Curbed] Prospect Lefferts Gardens: Miss the PLG house tours over the weekend? There's a slideshow to keep you sated. [Planet PLG] Upper West Side: Tonight, take a rare chance to complain about how cruddy the subway station is at 96th and Broadway. [Second Avenue Sagas]

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Upper West Side Middle-School Search Seeks Weapons, Phones

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As if middle school wasn't filled with enough drama — the cliques! The science projects! — students arriving at M.S. 54, the Booker T. Washington School, on the Upper West Side today were surprised to find cops using metal detectors to check their backpacks for weapons this morning. Was there a reason to be worried? Nope — a 311 operator says these "random, unannounced" visits are "a new safety initiative by the NYC police department." The non-weapon-toting kids weren't concerned about guns; they were worried about their cell phones, which are technically banned from schools and presumably would show up in the search — and, if found, won't be returned till Tuesday. It's one way to put the kibosh on excessive text messaging. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

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Don't Get Martha Plimpton Started on Duane Reade

Martha Plimpton
Name: Martha Plimpton
Age: 36
Job: Actress; Tony nominee for The Coast of Utopia; host of the 826 NYC fund-raising concert, Tiny Smooshy Sunday On Fire, on June 3.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Quentin Crisp and Holden Caulfield. What's the best meal you've eaten in New York? It's a tie, I think, between anything at Peter Luger and the insanely delish bacon death at Gramercy Tavern. In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? I put dead people's hair on my head and speak loudly in front of hundreds of strangers while pretending they are not there.

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Musicians, Pass Your Hat to Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono
Name: Yoko alias Ono alias Lennon
Age: Variable
Job: Being a woman. She will appear in conversation with Anthony DeCurtis on June 18 at the 92nd Street Y.
Neighborhood: The universe. Actually, I'm proud to be a West Sider.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Living. Me. What's the best meal you've eaten in New York? The breakfast omelette my son, Sean, cooked for me.

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Pegu Club Shaking More Than Just Cocktails in Soho

Forest Hills: The layout for Trader Joe’s coming to 90-30 Metropolitan Avenue. [Forest Hills 72] Midtown West: Sample cuisine from more than 50 restaurants including Aquavit, Buddakan, and Eleven Madison Park at tonight's Taste of the Nation at Roseland Ballroom; tickets are $200 and benefit the fight against childhood hunger. [Cakehead] Soho: Pegu Club accused of shaking down its customers by pouring drinks that haven’t been ordered. [Majikthise] South Hampton: Dune should pick up the slack where Cain left off. [Down by the Hipster] Upper West Side: The lobby lounge of the Mandarin Oriental now has a cart offering $75 flutes of Dom Perignon, but at least the price includes dried fruit. [NYS] Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe hopes to see a bidding war over Warner LeRoy’s Tavern on the Green between top “concessionaires” including Dean Poll of the Boathouse and Danny Meyer. [NYO] West Village: Awkward zoning prevents Camaje bistro on Macdougal Street from setting up outdoor seating, though it’s allowed for virtually all its dining neighbors. [NYP]

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Chodorow and Pelaccio Planning a ‘Malaysian Coffeehouse’

Fatty Crab may not be coming to the Upper West Side, but locals need not fret — we’ve learned that Jeffrey Chodorow and Zak Pelaccio are in discussion to do a Malaysian place called Kopi Tiam in the neighborhood. A kopi tiam is what Chodorow calls a “Malaysian coffeehouse,” and this one would occupy the 77th Street space that formerly housed Fishs Eddy. Kopi tiams, Chodorow tells us, “are popular throughout Malaysia and frequently serve both Malaysian and Western foods…this restaurant would be very different from Fatty Crab.”

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Fatty Crab, Upper West Side Edition?

Carroll Gardens: Faan has average food but festive décor, and it’s the only decent delivery in the neighborhood. [Brooklyn Record] But a new French bistro is coming to town. [Lost City] Fort Greene: The Greene Grape showcases its rosé selection with a series of tastings tonight through Sunday. [Clinton Hill Blog] Midtown East: A photomontage of Bon Chon’s Korean fried chicken. [Gothamist] Union Square : Mario Batali will team with Crocs, the maker of his trademark rubber clogs, and come up with an even more durable line to debut later this summer. Until then, the regular versions are available at Paragon Sports. [The Food Section] Upper West Side: Could the Chodorow-Pelaccio agreement culminate in a Fatty Crab taking over the old Fish’s Eddy space? [Eater]

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Morris Brothers No More

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And another landmark store bites the dust. Morris Brothers, the sportswear purveyor on 84th Street and Broadway, which has been selling the required T-shirts, tube socks, and name tapes to campgoing youngsters on the Upper West Side for the past six decades, unveiled new window displays this week and they're not pretty. Banners proclaiming final sales because of their imminent departure from the neighborhood were unfurled. According to local buzz, the rent for the 5,000-square-foot space has more than doubled, sending the owners packing. No word yet on what'll set up shop there once the sale ends in July, but we'd be happy to start a pool: bank branch, Starbucks, or nail salon? Heck, it's a big enough space, maybe all three! —S. Jhoanna Robledo

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No Frills But Value on the Upper West Side

314 W. 94th St.
The asking price of this two-bedroom, two-bath at 314 West 94th Street has just been marked down 11 percent to $995,000 after barely three weeks on the market. That places it well within bargain territory, at least for a neighborhood that routinely sees apartments of this size going for more than a million. It also means you won't have to pay the one percent mansion tax levied for properties that go for seven figures, which could garner a savings of at least $10,000. The building's no-frills — there's no doorman, only a video security intercom — and the kitchen may need some updating, says listing broker Tony Rivera of Prudential Douglas Elliman. But it's a pet-friendly condo with low common charges just a half-block away from Riverside Drive, he adds. The building's also investor-friendly, so if you want to buy and rent out, perhaps to students attending Columbia University twenty blocks north, you're good to go. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

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Scott Conant Soon to Be Very Busy; the New Shake Shack

Scott Conant has lots to keep him busy until his next major restaurant project, including a book, a Home Shopping Network deal, and a pilot for a cooking show. [The Strong Buzz] Earlier: Scott Conant Takes Leave of Alto, L’Impero [Grub Street] A customer sues Zen Palate for serving her jagged little pieces of metal along with her meal. [NYP] The lines at Grom have grown even beyond Shake Shack proportions, stretching a whole city block. [Serious Eats] Related: Grom’s Gelato Conquers New York for Italy [Grub Street]

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Grom’s Gelato Conquers New York For Italy

We wrote yesterday about Cones and their new potential gelato flavor, but the place may have bigger worries than making room in its display case. In this week’s Openings Rob and Robin introduce us to Grom, the first U.S. branch of an Italian chain. The menu, served up here first, shows this may soon be one of the city’s leading gelaterias. Along with some conventional American flavors, you’ll find cassata Siciliana (stuffed pound cake) with candied lemon, orange and cider; fiordilatte (whole milk); and sorbet and granita made with Sfusato lemon from Amalfi. Grom’s major rivals, il laboratorio del gelato and Cones, are from New York and Argentina, respectively. Will they be able to compete against the motherland? Only extensive trials on repeat visits, preferably on hot days, will tell. Restaurant Openings: Soto, Grom, and Vestry Wines. [NYM] Grom Menu

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Beard’s Finances Questioned; Restaurants Manipulate Zagat

The Beard Foundation, in the spotlight as Monday’s awards approach, is still on shaky ground financially, and questions still linger about the way it spends its money. [NYT] Restaurants are lobbying customers to vote for them in the Zagat survey, a trend nobody likes, but which few in the business can stop or resist. [NYP] The days of the fat chef seem to have been passed, leaving mostly whippet-slim cooks to inherit the world’s kitchens. [Waitrose via Serious Eats]

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Say Good Night, Alice, As Construction Work Starts

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It's been a big few days for the reconstruction of Lincoln Center, and last night Center president Reynold Levy and emcee Tom Brokaw hosted a "Good Night, Alice" party to mark the closure of Alice Tully Hall for renovation. Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass, and Kelli O'Hara performed, and there were fireworks, but otherwise this was simply a dressed-up version of college kids hosting one last blowout before they moved out of their rented apartment. There were flasks of cosmopolitans and dirty martinis distributed — and even allowed (gasp!) inside the theater — plus appetizers served in construction-themed lunch pails. (Surprisingly, the general letting-down-of-hair resulted in the audible shattering of only four martini glasses.) Over the next two years, crews will install fancy glass walls overlooking Broadway, weather-protected bleachers, and even a bar, which led Levy to pledge Lincoln Center wouldn't "close it until you do" each night. One important thing won't change about the hall, though: its cushy leg room. The six-foot-two Tully ensured there'd be at least one theater in Manhattan where she'd be comfortable, Levy promised. "Some people want Alice Tully back so she can design airplanes," he added. "Especially coach class." —Jocelyn Guest Earlier: Lincoln Center Holds a Press Conference on Overhaul, Tells Us Mostly What We Already Knew; Also: LEDs!

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Come and Listen to a Story 'Bout Williamsburg

Brooklyn Heights: A Remsen Street building catches fire for the second time in six months, and word is an older third-floor tenant is responsible for both. [Brooklyn Heights Blog] Clinton Hill: A new private school, Phyl's Academy, appears to be going up on the empty lot at Classon and Quincy. [Brooklyn Record] Park Slope: Times-reading neighbors want to know: Does "hipster" refer to all of Brooklyn, or just Williamsburg? [Brooklynian] Times Square: The buttons to the elevator in Renzo Piano's new Times building are actually … in the lobby! [Curbed] Upper West Side: Trying to avoid rabies shots, a Central Park jogger wants to know the identity of the dog that bit him. [Curbed] Williamsburg: Is there more black gold under Williamsburg? Monitoring wells at Roebling Street will find out. [Gowanus Lounge]

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Lincoln Center Holds a Press Conference on Overhaul, Tells Us Mostly What We Already Knew; Also: LEDs!

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Will LEDs and info displays seem as quaint in the 2050s as the white-walled, elevated Lincoln Center seems now? Not if architect Liz Diller has the touch her clients say she does. At a construction update today, Diller detailed how Diller Scofidio & Renfro, with FXFowle and other design specialists, plans to festoon every border of the twelve-institution center with a constant stream of showtimes and words as part of the $900 million effort to refresh the fifties-era complex. After recounting already-established plans at the press conference — a new lawn, outdoor restaurants, a sexed-up fountain — Diller told us more about the electronic displays, which, she said, will really grab passersby at key spots on 65th Street and on Broadway.

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