Compiled by Paul Bisceglio, Megan Bungeroth, Rebecca Harris, and Adel Manoukian
Tavern on the Renovation
The city will begin work on the renovation of Tavern on the Green this week, according to a Department of Design and Construction (DDC) spokesman. The “pre-construction” will involve removal of an underground fuel tank and other preliminary work; full-on construction won’t start until next month.
While this is good news to those anxious to see Tavern reborn as a new eatery, it’s bad news for parkgoers who currently use the temporary visitor center housed there, as it will close on June 20.
As construction continues, the DDC will restore the landmark structure and remove additions that don’t fit with the historic character of the building. They will also gut renovate the interior and upgrade the HVAC systems in preparation for the new, yet-to-be-announced tenant. The whole project is expected to cost $9.8 million.
Asphalt Green Olympics
Five young swimmers from the Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics team have qualified for this year’s U.S. Olympic team trials, which will be held June 25 in Omaha, Neb. The swimmers are 17-year-old Lia Neal, ranked fifth in the 200-meter women’s freestyle and sixth in the 100-meter women’s freestyle in the country; 16-year-old Michael Domagala, who has qualified in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter backstroke; En-Wei Hu-Van Wright, who will be swimming the 200-meter backstroke; Isla Hutchinson-Maddox, who will be swimming the 200-meter butterfly; and Griffin Schumacher, who will be swimming jointly for AGUA and Harvard in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle.
They will be competing with 2,000 other swimmers from around the country for a spot on the Olympic team, as well as for a place on the National Youth Team. Neal, Domagala, and Hu-Van Wright are recipients of the Swim for the Future scholarships, supported by a memorial fund for two Asphalt Green Masters swimmers—Andrew Fisher and Doug Irgang—who died in the World Trade Center attack. There will be a community send-off for the swimmers on June 22, 4-6 p.m. at 1750 York Ave.
Rent-a-Dog in Central Park
Graduate student Katherine Long has always enjoyed giving to charity, but sometimes she just comes up short. So Long decided to rent out her collie-retriever mix named Ocho to strangers for $5 for each 20-minute walk in Central Park. According to DNAinfo, she has already raised over $100 for Ruff Start Rescue, the Westchester-based no-kill shelter where she adopted Ocho. Only two hours after creating a sign and holding it up in the park, Long had received 12 walkers. So patrons won’t steal the pooch, Long fibs that she has a tracking device on him. She collects the walkers’ names and cell phone numbers, texting them reminders to come back. The next Rent-a-Dog event is scheduled for July 1, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
New UES Power Source
At a ceremony on June 11, Mayor Michael Bloomberg flipped the switch to activate a new wind turbine on the rooftop of The Town School, a private nursery and K-8 elementary school on the Upper East Side. The first to be installed at a New York City school, the turbine will convert wind power into electricity, providing the building with a renewable energy source. The Town School is a member of the Green Schools Alliance, which educates students about climate change and environmental sustainability.
Soccer Mom Madam’s Bail Cut
A New York appeals court reduced the bail last Tuesday for Manhattan’s so-called “Soccer Mom Madam” from $2 million to $250,000 after she spent more than three months in prison. Anna Gristina faces one felony count of promoting prostitution and has been detained at Rikers Island since she was arrested Feb. 22. Prosecutors allege that Gristina was running a high-end brothel out of an Upper East Side apartment and that she drew in millions of dollars catering to wealthy and connected Manhattan clients.
A panel of judges unanimously ruled last Tuesday that the original bail set by the trial court was “unreasonable and an abuse of discretion,” noting the single nonviolent charge and Gristina’s longtime residence with her four children in suburban Monroe, N.Y. Gristina, who pled not guilty, is working to raise the funds to post bail sometime next week. If released, she will be required to wear a monitoring bracelet at her own expense.
Council to Legalize Brunch
Add this to the list of laws you never knew you were breaking: outdoor brunch in the city is illegal on Sunday mornings.
The obscure 1971 law that forbids restaurants from serving customers outside on Sundays before noon has long been ignored citywide, but recent complaints of crowded sidewalks by residents in Greenpoint prompted the city to crack down on violators. According to CBS New York, the city ticketed one business and issued a summons to another.
In support of local business owners and lovers of breakfast burritos, lawmakers have introduced a bill to the City Council that would allow patrons to dine at sidewalk tables on Sundays starting at 10 a.m.
“New Yorkers will not be denied their Sunday brunch in the beautiful weather,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick in a statement. “This regulation is outdated, widely disregarded and hostile to business and brunch-loving New Yorkers. It needs to change.”
The pro-French toast al fresco bill is widely expected to pass the Council. The law that prohibits the sale of alcohol before 12 p.m. on Sundays—we’re looking at you, mimosas and bloody Marys—will still be in effect, though many restaurants casually flout that one as well.
In last week’s profile of one of our Blackboard Award honorees, Laurel Nyeboe of P.S. 40, there were a few incorrect references to the principal who hired her, Tanya Kaufman. Kaufman’s first name was misspelled, and it was Nyeboe, not Kaufman, who said: “One mother I’m still friends with claims I helped her raise her child.” Also, Kaufman is retired and will not be Nyeboe’s principal when the teacher moves to a new school next year.
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