Tapped In: Notes from the Neighborhood

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Compiled by Megan Bungeroth


Several weeks ago, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat denied any interest in running in a primary against Rep. Charlie Rangel, who currently occupies the northern Manhattan congressional seat, in an interview with City and State. "He's a well-liked guy and he's a legend. It's tough to run against a legend," he said. Several weeks later, Espaillat opened a congressional exploratory committee. Now, sources close to Espaillat confirm that the state senator has begun circling petitions to collect signatures for a run for Congress.

He testified in federal court last week in support of a congressional district that solidifies an African-American voting block as well as the creation of a new Latino seat. After all his advocacy for a Latino-majority district, Espaillat had little choice but to put his money where his mouth is. Rangel responded by releasing a laundry list of his 30-plus-year career in Congress and reaffirmed his intent to run for re-election.


Last week we reported on the labor dispute that may force neighborhood favorite Food City, on Amsterdam Avenue between 94th and 95th streets, to close its doors. Now we've discovered that another nearby grocery store may be on its way out. A neighbor reports that the shelves of the Associated Supermarket on Amsterdam Avenue near West 99th Street are looking mighty bare, and a person answering the phone at the store on Tuesday said that they may indeed be closing for good. The store is slated to get the final word on its fate from the bigwigs this Friday.


Last week, on International World Water Day, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal highlighted this year's theme of "Water and Food Security" by emphasizing the link between access to and maintenance of sustainable fresh water resources and the security of the global food supply.

"We live in an increasingly interconnected, globalized society, and we must be aware of how our consumption patterns, combined with the impact of global climate change, affect the availability of fresh water and food around the world," said Rosenthal.

She cited the fact that climate change is expected to reduce the amount of rainwater available for agriculture, creating an increasingly competitive fight for resources in developing countries.

Joining in the public awareness campaign, Upper West Side company Rubicon Property invited people to walk through the still-unfinished doors of its new storefront on Columbus Avenue hauling jerricans, the containers that many people in developing countries use to carry fresh water long distances. The company donated $1 for every person who did so to Charity:Water, the international organization that digs fresh-water wells in developing countries. Rubicon confirmed that they raised about $600 during the event, including donations from curious passersby who wandered in, to be donated to the charity, and that they plan to host similar community events when their office is fully functional.

caption id="attachment_38574" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Health Care Plea: Patients from the St. Mary's s Healthcare System for Children gather to deliver handmade cards to the district office of State Assembly Member and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, asking him to protect Medicaid for the growing number of medically fragile children across the state. Photo by Andrew Schwartz."][[/caption]


Some tenants of the The Brockholst Apartments, at 101 W. 85th St., are once again decrying their landlord's alleged disregard for safety. Resident and president of the tenants' association Marta White says that the building's management, a company called 85th Columbus Corp, is aiming to rent their improperly modified basement space to a preschool this fall, which the company's website confirms. White claims that the backyard the company purports to offer the little tykes is nothing more than a fire trap and is actually just the rear holding area for the building. White is also concerned about the noise and safety concerns that might result from having kids running around the very small, concrete-covered area.

"The yard is around my whole apartment," White wrote in an email. "It also, of course, faces the whole of the interior block with the adjoining brownstones and big apartments on West 86th Street."

The building has come under local scrutiny in the past, from elected officials as well as the Department of Buildings (DOB), for making illegal and unsafe modifications to the landmarked building. City Council Member Gale Brewer told the West Side Spirit last year that she didn't "understand how the city can allow this kind of enterprise," and the DOB continues to issue violations and stop work orders. It's unclear who the supposed new tenant will be or if they really will move the little charges into the space this fall, but until they do, the tenants' committee is fighting against it.


Upper West Side group The Carbon Squeeze is hosting its second community event designed to educate and inspire locals to reduce their carbon footprints. On Monday, April 2, 7 p.m., the group will welcome Colin Beavan, also known as No Impact Man, to speak about his experience living in Manhattan totally "unplugged." Beavan led his family to produce no trash, consume no power from the grid, travel only by human power and buy nothing except local food for an entire year. He will share his experiences and tips for cutting back (though probably not as drastically) to reduce individual environmental impact.

The event is free, but an RSVP is required to carbonsqueeze@gmail.com. It will take place at Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Ave.

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