A NEIGHBORHOOD CURE-ALL

Written by admin on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, On Topic OTDT, Opinion and Column.


“Don’t agonize, organize!” was the Older Women’s League’s rallying cry when OWL was a true movement for change. Organize and act! Ah, that’s change we need to overcome injustice—the illegal, but also the legal kind, like the shutting down of everyday places we need, above all the neighborhood restaurants. And get healthcare professionals, like cardiologist Benjamin Zaremski and Jeff Gold, chair of Metro Health Care For All, and social scientist writers like Sherman Yellen, to go public with their acute awareness of just how vital these places are to both preventive and maintenance health care.

Bette Dewing

Bette Dewing

Zaremski, Gold and Yellen were just three of dozens of angry, and yes, even anguished reactors to the closing of Café 79, a diner-type restaurant that served the Yorkville community for 38 years. Gold recalls a man who “lunched there every day for 12 years!” Both Zaremski and his nurse, Shaku, report how, “Our patients can’t believe Café 79 is no longer!”

Ah, if only if more had gone public—to this paper, elected officials and Community Board 8. The community-concerned Norah Hickey tells the Crown Community exercise class held at St. Stephen’s of Hungary Church, “Café 79’s closing day was like a funeral. We should have done more to save it!” She too knows these neighborhood places are as vital to overall health as is the vastly touted physical exercise. Indeed, they provide the social impetus to get us to exercise and also resist false picker-uppers and escapes.

Next time we’ll heed Ellie Sankey’s urgent early-on call to picket: “Stand on that corner with ‘Save Café 79 Restaurant’ placards! Get media attention!”

Reportedly a vitamin shop will occupy the northwest corner of 79th and First, vacated after three years by the more upscale Agata restaurant. Again, it’s, “take a pill for whatever”—the quick fix which doesn’t really fix.

And yet another indispensable-to-many-area-residents place is going out with The Wicked Wolf Restaurant Bar owners’ retirement. This 75th and First neighborhood landmark serves meals all day in both a glassed-in-terrace and an emotionally comfortable wood-paneled and checker-table-clothed dining room considered “dated” by most designers.

But this mourned closing is covered in the brief New York Times City Room column, and only because the famed 2nd Avenue Deli, in its third incarnation, will now occupy “the current home of the Wicked Wolf bar” (“restaurant” word omitted). The deli won’t open before the September Jewish holidays because of all the construction involved. Yup, can’t have any old-timey emotionally comfortable ambience around.

If only the story had alluded to how Wicked Wolf patrons must feel losing yet another longtime neighborhood gathering place in a city growing ever more lacking in public places to comfortably gather, alone or in company. The paper of record’s editors need to get this message. Please!

And let’s check out The Wicked Wolf before its “no set date, but soon” closing, to say thanks and experience the emotionally comfortable and neighborly ambience so in need of a great revival. Hey, it not only makes us relate and feel better, but look better—this in a culture that, however unjustly, we (our leaders too!) are increasingly valued for our appearance than for the content of our character.

dewingbetter@aol.com

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