East Side: Notes From the Neighborhood

Written by Our Town on . Posted in Opinion and Column, Our Town.


Compiled by Megan Bungeroth

Vudu Lounge Closed
According to the 19th Precinct, the infamous Vudu Lounge on First Avenue between 77th and 78th streets is closing its doors for good and handed over its liquor license to the State Liquor Authority this week. The nightclub, which was popular with young partiers and reviled by neighborhood residents, has been plagued with problems over the past few years. The NYPD closed them down temporarily last May, but the club came back and was holding mandatory quarterly meetings with residents to address their concerns over the noise and late-night loitering.

“I was relieved to hear Vudu Lounge has finally closed its doors,” said State Sen. Liz Krueger, who has worked with other local officials to quell the problems coming from the establishment. “With numerous State Liquor Authority investigations and multiple counts of violent behavior and underage drinking to its name, Vudu Lounge simply didn’t belong in our neighborhood.”

Calls to manager Michael Stein for comment were not returned, but a source said that the owners were hoping to find a more amenable location downtown.

Bar Gets a Sports Fan Facelift
When the Giants face off against the Patriots this Sunday for a Super Bowl rematch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg can rest easy knowing he’s scrubbed as many references to the New England team as possible from the city. Just as they did four years ago, the mayor’s office is targeting establishments whose names might falsely belie an allegiance to the enemy (we’re guessing anything with the words patriots, Boston or Gisele Bundchen) and asking them to make a temporary moniker switch in support of the home team. On the Upper East Side, Brady’s Bar, on Second Avenue near 82nd Street, will again take up a new mantle for the weekend: Manning’s. The quarterback switch is fully supported by owner Dan Brady, a diehard Big Blue fan. He said that the mayor should be in attendance for the renaming ceremony on Friday afternoon; check their website bradysbar.comfor updates and the exact time.

Bill to Protect Jobs of Pregnant Women
State Sen. Liz Krueger is sponsoring a bill that would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant women on the job. Currently, employers are barred from discriminating against pregnant women and must make accommodations for disabled workers. Because pregnancy is not considered a disability, however, employers are not required to make any concessions for pregnant woman and can legally fire them for, say, taking too many bathroom breaks or requesting to sit. Krueger’s bill, which is being introduced in the assembly by upstate Democratic Assembly Member Aileen Gunther, would close that legal gap.

The bill’s language states that employers must take action to “allow pregnant women to perform in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held and include, but are not limited to, provision of an accessible worksite, acquisition or modification of equipment, support services for persons with impaired hearing or vision, job restructuring and modified work schedules; provided, however, that such actions do not impose an undue hardship on the business, program or enterprise of the entity from which action is requested.”
Dina Bakst, founder and president of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, wrote on Tuesday’s New York Times op-ed page that the law is a “public health necessity” and called it a necessary measure to ensure the safety of pregnant women who may not ask for accommodations if they fear being fired.

New Show Parodies Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is a popular home base for fictional characters, and now ABC has commissioned a new show set in the ritzy section—this time with a supernatural twist. The show, 666 Park Avenue, is based on a book series by Gabriella Pierce and revolves around a Midwestern couple who comes to live at and manage the eponymous address and soon discovers that the tenants have all made deals with the devil in order to attain their fantastic lives and have their darkest desires fulfilled.

Produced by the team that delivered Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, the show seems to be taking advantage of the most popular aspects of both of those successes. Something tells us that it won’t be portraying Upper East Siders in the best light, but then again, neither does Gossip Girl, and that’s been a hit.

Musical Open House for Kids
The 92nd Street Y is holding a free open house for its School of Music on Sunday, Feb. 5 from 1–4 p.m. Children ages 3 to 9 can take mini classes in the different styles offered and parents can meet instructors and discuss the methodologies of each class. Offerings include Delcroze, a program for toddlers that helps them develop rhythmic skills through musical interpretation of children’s stories, courses in using GarageBand to record original music and introductory violin instruction for little ones. At 1395 Lexington Ave. Visit 92Y.org for more information.

Local Doorman and Driver Made Richer
The New York Post reported earlier this week that millionaire music exec and high stakes poker player Alan Meltzer, who died at 67 this past Halloween, left a huge chunk of change in his will to his Park Avenue doorman and personal chauffeur. Meltzer was divorced and had no children, and both of his former employees, who received about $1 million and $500,000 respectively, told the Post that their boss was always kind and generous to them.

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