Spring 2013 Newsletter

  New to Columbus  
Alexis Bittar

One of the newest additions to the Columbus Avenue BID (410 Columbus Avenue) is Alexis Bittar, one of the 9 worldwide stores of the jewelry designer and Brooklyn native.

Mr. Bittar began hand-carving Lucite jewelry at age 22, and his work was picked up by MOMA a short time later. His jewelry was soon carried at major fashion stores across the city and the world. His choice of Lucite (a man-made material) has become his signature because it allows Alexis to focus on the design, explained store manager Veronica Pankratova. His jewelry is handcrafted in Brooklyn, lending his creations a uniqueness of their own. For example, no two rings are exactly the same. The clientele for Bittar’s work greatly ranges from celebrities (notably First Lady Michelle Obama) to everyday customers. People who like his work can be from “ages 13-92,” and even mothers and daughters come in together and both walk out with jewelry they like. The Upper West Side has a noticeable focus on family, which elicited, warm and welcoming feelings to staff members at the store.

Each Alexis Bittar store has a different animal prominently on display. The one on Columbus Avenue has been nicknamed “Mumford the Musk Ox” and we invite you to see him, as well as the locally-produced and beautiful work of Alexis Bittar.

410 Columbus Ave (between W.79th St & W.80th St)
(646) 590-4142


From the owners of Columbus Avenue’s popular Pomodoro Rosso, ParkWest is a new bar/restaurant featuring a wide regional American menu with international influences. For example the Crawdad Soup features freshly flown-in crayfish from New Orleans with kim chee and Colorado Lamb Chops are accompanied by maitake mushrooms.

The space has attractive touches such as comfortable seating, an outdoor dining area with a glass roof, and even a large television installed behind a two-way mirror. A comprehensive sound system has been installed throughout its space, allowing diners and bar-goers to enjoy the music without having to raise their voice for conversation.

103 W. 70th St. (corner of W. 70th St. and Columbus Avenue)
646) 596-9700

Photo courtesy DNAinfo/Emily Frost

The Dakota Bar

No stranger to the Upper West Side, Jennifer Klein has lived on the same block for thirty-two years and describes the area as “very community-driven, interesting, and educational.” She has seen it change over the years and observes that the neighborhood lacks places for locals to socialize, relax and celebrate. “People are always celebrating,” Jennifer stated, and that’s the niche that The Dakota Bar wants to fill on West 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue. Though it boasts an extensive wine list, it’s not just a “wine bar” (although it would put many so-called establishments to shame). The Dakota Bar also features classic cocktails with a twist and fresh ingredients, and the menu will soon expand to include wine-based cocktails as well. The Dakota Bar also offers a full menu to accompany your drink selection including artisanal cheeses from all over the world.

The world of wine is always changing: there are always new varieties of grapes from up-and-coming regions and climates. Tastes in other liquors are also in flux. “Who would have imagined that chocolate-infused vodka would have existed?” noted Jennifer. Indeed, the Upper West Side is not immune to change either.

Jennifer feels people crave more fabulous places right here on the Upper West Side, and she has certainly provided this at her Dakota Bar. Once the weather starts getting better, you can expect the Dakota Bar to have open doors and outdoor seating for a great and relaxing experience.

53 W.72nd Street (corner of W.72nd St. and Columbus Avenue)
(212) 787-0700

Photo courtesy DNAinfo/Emily Frost

Upcoming Events  
Columbus Avenue Streetscape Project, Phase One

Following five years of saving money raised from the BID’s annual Whole Foods Market New Taste of the Upper West events, construction is almost completed on Phase One of our long-awaited Streetscape Project. Visitors to the block between W.76th and W.77th Streets can relax on six newly installed CityBenches, designed by industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini, made from domestic steel and manufactured in the United States. Additionally, we've installed new tree guards in the newly expanded tree pits, providing more space for flowers, plants, and other beautiful greenery! Several white oak trees have already been planted, and additional holly trees and flowers will be planted on May 1st, 2013. The project also features in-ground solar lighting for enhanced safety and way-finding capabilities in addition to a bioswale, a water capture system that will save water from being wasted and going into the sewers through filtration that reabsorbs it into the soil. Already in place on the street is a beautiful, wrapped Big Belly solar-compacting trash container on the southwest corner, which was sponsored by Shake Shack, the restaurant directly across the street on the northwest corner of W.77th Street. It is the first of many that the BID hopes to install down the avenue, along with recycling containers.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan will be held on Monday, May 13th, from 11-11:30AM. All are welcome to attend.

Columbus Avenue between. W.76th and W.77th Streets
(212) 877-2678

ADA Update: It’s Good News!

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been law for many years. Under this law, non-compliant businesses are responsible for legal fees incurred when sued or fined. As a result of this, certain lawyers have been incentivized to seek more cases, not in an attempt to ameliorate the violations, but instead to make easy, big-buck income.

Columbus Avenue has been plagued by a number of these lawsuits despite many of the shopkeepers on the Avenue having portable ramps and doorbells, and are happy to provide assistance if alerted.

United States District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. for the Eastern District of New York has recently ruled against attorney B. Bradley Weitz of the Weitz Law Firm. Mr. Weitz had recently been bringing lawsuits against local businesses under the Americans with Disabilities Act in an attempt to garner legal fees via settlements. Judge Johnson noted that "many of the violations cited in lawsuits filed by the plaintiff Mr. Costello did not even exist," and denied Mr. Weitz legal fees and ordered him to "stop filing such cases." We hope this will come as good news to our merchants and restaurateurs.

The link to the relevant New York Times article is below.

New York Times article, 3/30/2013: "Judge Rebukes 2 Lawyers Profiting From U.S. Disability Law"
The 6th Annual Whole Foods New Taste of the Upper West Side

The 2013 Whole Foods Market New Taste of the Upper West Side is back celebrating its sixth year with top-name chefs, A-list hosts, renowned honorees and new and exciting participating restaurants. Proceeds from the weekend will continue to benefit the BID’s beautification projects as well as support the Wellness in Schools program at the O’Shea School complex and at PS 87.

“For six years, we’ve championed the amazing community and culinary culture of the Upper West Side. New Taste is always a spectacular event and this year we’re excited to show off the transformational work the BID has done with the proceeds raised from the last five years on the block where our event is held. “Thanks to all the chefs who made our events the great success they’ve become through their participation in New Taste each year,” adds BID executive director Barbara Adler.

To purchase tickets or for complete information about our events, please visit our website at www.newtasteuws.com.

New Taste of the Upper West Side has three events from May 29, 2013 to June 1, 2013.

In a grand tent on Columbus Avenue between W.76th St. & W.77th St.
(212) 877-2678
  Spotlight on Local Business  

Bit'z Kids

With an entire line of Japanese-designed clothing for kids, Bit'z Kids has become very popular among both locals and tourists. Their cute Asian-themed apparel includes t-shirts with dragons and samurai designs on them - unique styles that aren't available elsewhere in New York.

410 Columbus Avenue (on the corner of W.80th St.)
(212) 724-1415


With fresh spring-themed decorations in their display window, KTcollection is certainly ready for spring. They're offering an Earth Day deal where you can opt for recycled packaging online or in-store with the code KTEARTH to receive 10% off through Monday, April 22nd. They also have monthly wine and treats events in the evening and customers who provide their birthdays receive a special gift from the shop.

315 Columbus Avenue (corner of W.75th St. and Columbus Avenue)
(212) 875-8700


The Sensuous Bean

Be sure to stop by neighborhood fixture The Sensuous Bean for free tastings of coffee or tea daily. Patrons can enjoy free refills on cups of coffee throughout April and May. Start using their Customer Loyalty Card and for every five pounds of coffee or tea you purchase, you receive a half-pound free! They also provide free shipping on all orders purchased on their website.

66 W.70th St. (corner of W.70th & Columbus Avenue)
(212) 724-7725

SEE Eyewear

SEE Eyewear always has a large and fabulous collection of eyeglass frames. They will be holding a trunk show at their store, featuring exclusive new looks in their lineup, for one week ending April 21st. Come in to see what new styles they have in store!

207 Columbus Avenue (bet. W.69th & W.70th St.)
(646) 335-4203



Straight from the Spanish island of Menorca, GiBlack will be offering their unique European-crafted sandals at their pop-up store on Columbus Avenue. Handmade from leather, the shop even allows shoppers to custom design their own footwear with their own favorite colors and materials.

228 Columbus Avenue (bet. W.70th & W.71st St.)
(212) 787-7066


Palais des Thés

Palais des Thés is introducing a new line of boxed sets, with teas for the morning, while at work, and in the evening. Each boxed set comes with a variety of teas from all over the world, packaged in biodegradable cotton tea bags. As an example, their morning tea set includes Thé des Moines, Grand Yannan Imperiel, Sencha Ariake, Big Ben, Thé des Lords, and a Russian Blend with 7 citrus fruits.

194 Columbus Avenue (between W.68th St. & W.69th Sts.)
(646) 664-1902

Supreme Hardware

Supreme Hardware has been a neighborhood fixture for 34 years! After an especially bleak winter, spring has finally arrived and Supreme has everything you need to take advantage of it, including vegetable seeds and seed starter kits, soil, planters, pots, rakes, watering cans, and more. Want to open your windows to let fresh spring air into your apartment? Supreme has what you need to fix your screens yourself or, bring your broken screen to them and they’ll fix it for you. And lots more. Check out your local hardware store!

65 W 73rd St. (corner of W.73rd St. & Columbus Avenue)
(212) 362-3555



The Columbus Avenue BID
Phone: (212) 721-5048 or (212) 877-2678
Fax: (212) 721-4070

The Columbus Avenue BID is a
501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.


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