Upper West Side: Jobs, Affordable Housing and… Etiquette?

Aaron Short, City & State |

In order to gain a microcosmic perspective on the actual opinions of New Yorkers about the upcoming election, City & State and City Limits, in partnership with MetroFocus, present a new series: “The Five Borough Ballot.”


Going out to a delicatessen for brunch is a distinctly New York City tradition.The ritual survives on the Upper West Side despite the financial pressures of the moment—worries about the city’s rising costs of living and stagnant wages, the slow reduction of entitlements for seniors, and a sense that under the next mayor—whoever it might be—the grime and chaos of yore could return to the streets after 12 years of Bloombergian order.

That being said, the customers at Artie’s Deli on Broadway and 83rd Street aren’t so thrilled with Mayor Michael Bloomberg either. “I would like to see some of what Mayor Bloomberg has done reversed—that’s why I won’t be voting for Christine Quinn,” said Artie’s diner Linda Tsakonas. “He’s congested the city terribly with bike lanes, he’s trying to make the city cleaner with less cars—I think he doesn’t want any cars in the city. Also pedestrian plazas are inappropriate in a Mecca like Manhattan. You need to have roadways open.”

Her friend, Evelyn Bourricaud, agrees. “This is New York, you don’t need to have New York look like Europe,” she said. “[Bloomberg] goes to Germany, London, France, and he tries to bring what he sees there, but this is New York. The mayor gets involved in silly issues.”

Artie’s patrons, like many Upper West Siders, tend to consume a lot of news and vote Democratic, though Artie’s will serve you its famous matzoh ball soup and pastrami sandwiches no matter which way you lean politically. In interviews conducted last week, the health of the economy and fiscal negotiations in Congress were generally the patrons’ foremost concerns. Most of the customers were not particularly tuned into the mayor’s race yet; few could name more than one or two candidates among nearly a dozen running.

Continue reading this week’s Five Borough Ballot coverage on the City & State website..

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