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Manhattan’s 86th Street isn’t what it used to be

The fix is in and uptown

When phones had operators and women wore underwear, 86th Street was big.

Called Yorkville or Germantown. European restaurants, entertainment, theaters, the country’s oldest “art” motion picture palace.

Now — cheerless buildings. Historic Casino Theatre demolished to put up another building. Apartments. Yorkshire Towers, the Ventura, Harper, Alyn, Hayworth, Lucida, Arloparc, 1931’s landmarked Papaya King. Old, older, some new.

Residents once: Marilyn, Brando, Matt Damon, Zero Mostel, Renée Fleming, Isaac Bashevis Singer. The street’s now lost its mojo.

Like Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda, 86th Street is getting a makeover. Rejuicing it creates more talk than Rikers. Our Town columnist Arlene Kayatt says an Asian market’s coming. Plans include a performing arts venue, places to please young’uns, redo the Met into a cultural center. Up the whole corridor. Remember what it once was.

I can smell the wiener schnitzel now.


Listen, enough with Awards. Oscars, Tonys, SAGs, Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, Golden Peacocks, Silver Peacocks, BAFTAs, Obies, DGAs, Palme d’Ors, Critics Choices, Olympics, Codas, Gothams, People’s Choices, Junos, Peabodys, Nobels, Best Dresseds, Indie Spirits, whatever Cannes’ thing is, MTV Video Awards, Film Independent something somethings, National Board of Review.

What’s next: Cheapest Plumber? Shortest Exterminator? Lousiest Landlord? Dumbest President?

Dave Bautista, Abby Quinn and Nikki Amuka-Bird in a scene from "Knock at the Cabin."
Universal Pictures via AP

Logging in

M. Night Shyamalan’s produced, directed creepy “Knock at the Cabin.” Rupert Grint kidnaps a family. He says, “It’s two nightmares. Home invasion plus the apocalypse. Disturbing, fevered, plus the cabin’s isolated. It forces thinking, ‘What would you do?’”

Question: What award might this thing get? The International Celluloid Shiver? The World Movie Barf? North American’s Cinema Crapola?

New pols ruling from the bench

Sol Wachtler, former New York Court of Appeals chief judge now Touro Law Center adjunct professor, about Hochul’s rejected nominee for chief judge:

“The Court of Appeals has little concern if a candidate’s ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive.’ 1974, 127 years after creating the court, Harold Stevens — first African American, from a dirt-floor Jim Crow shack, to serve there — was named chief.

Albany progressives blocked Hector LaSalle from becoming the chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

“Appraising Hector LaSalle just on his record destroys the nonpolitical Court of Appeals’ merit selection process.

“In Wisconsin judicial candidates campaign on abortion, redistricting, same-sex marriage, Affordable Care Act. The final word — no longer by executive and legislative branches — is by Wisconsin Supreme Court’s elected seven members.

“Legislation predicated on populist notions? Selecting a next chief judge based on bumper-sticker mentality? Ideology invites judicial abuse and tyranny.”

Also: “Cannibals’ advantage over politicians is cannibals don’t eat members of their own family.” 

As whispered on Tremont Avenue: “Listen, I’m all for prayer in school — as long as they teach algebra in church.”

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.