Today Ben Stiller announced the death of his father Jerry at age 92. With a career that spanned from the 1960’s , Jerry Stiller was a comic staple in our generation,
In the 60’s , Jerry paired up with wife Anne Meara on many TV shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show.Later in his career, a new generation enjoyed his work on The Seinfeld show as Frank Costanza. Jerry also worked in The King of Queens.
Movie credit to his name are ,The Taking of Pelham one,two,three, Hairspray, and The Heartbreak Kid. He is survived by actor son, Ben, daughter Amy, and two grandchildren. His wife Anne of 62 years passed in 2015.
The numbers are indicating there is a decline of the bad news we have been accustomed to hearing the last eight weeks during this pandemic. That optimism has seen more take to the streets and parks. Sunday, Mother’s Day, the weather made it ideal to go out and stretch.
It was also free giveaway of facial protection in New York City Parks This is the necessity, facial protection, as called for by the health authorities, and like a good giveaway at the ballparks, a hot item as one of those hard to get.
In conjunction with the office of Mayor deBlasio, and city council leaders, rangers at parks situated areas with lines of distance for the public to receive a packet of five facial masks per person.
They were not the surgical masks that are needed more for those heroes of first responders, nurses, doctors. and essential workers. They are a perfect fit and sufficient to help and keep the coronavirus from spreading through contact with others.
So here we were in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Park, noted as the largest open space in the five boroughs with a wide landscape that extends to nearby Orchard Beach. Plenty of residents that live nearby and from other areas took a walk around the mile track.
They sat on the grass with chairs or got some needed exercise. The football was thrown as some high school players that would be in spring practice sessions took advantage of the good weather.
More important, and so essential, social distancing was practiced. And facial protection was in place.
Mid afternoon and it was a brief walk and the line of coordinated cones indicated this was the new norm of social distancing. Rangers were stationed at tables and the distribution went without a hitch.
“We distributed many in the first hour,” said one of the park officials.When I asked for another one, this for a neighbor, he said, “Sorry, one per person.”
No problem here. We walked the track a few times and wore the comfortable protection that is sufficient for the face and nose areas. We stopped and took in some of the needed sun that felt good and everything seemed to be normal.
But this was not normal. Distancing as you walk and talk is not something we in New York are accustomed to doing, and yes, there were some who ignored the guidelines and did their thing as if a pandemic did not exist.
A space used for exercise and stretching was blocked for use. Nearby, a fitness guru was conducting a private session and using distance the best he could.
The nearby and dirt ballfields, that would see pickup games, they were not in use on this day. Instead, on the sidelines, one or two would throw the ball back and forth.
Yes, on a day when baseball would have been played at Yankee Stadium, this was a day to get out and enjoy with social distancing and wearing that proper face protection.
DENTAL PROCEDURE IN A PANDEMIC: Many have inquired about seeing a doctor for annual checkups or procedures that have been put on hold due to the pandemic.
Dental work has also been restricted with the exception of emergency care.
So, last week this columnist had that emergency with severe tooth pain and the probability of teeth extractions. Who to call, where to go? The private dentist was not available and cancelled all office visits and emergencies.
The good people at Montefiore Dental clinic, affiliated with the reputed hospital, are one of the private facilities that are open and available for emergency visits at a few locations and nearby in the Bronx.
First step:Make the phone call and hope to get the proper reply. Appointments were available from 8am-1pm. A few questions and late Friday morning it was a go.
Social distancing was the norm here. Enter the lobby, answer a few questions, and after a temperature check for clearance it was sitting in the waiting room.
Normally, this would be a long wait and seats occupied one after another, but this is a pandemic and five patients was the limit. Seats with signs saying not available and plenty of space for distancing.
Reception area was also cordoned off for distance between the receptionist and patient. Present your health card, information, and you stretch the arm to avoid contact.
Wait time? Because of the limited number of patients, organized, that agony of getting an x-ray and sitting in the chair was rapid and not expected.
The entire time, with exception of getting the x-ray and procedure, the face mask was in place.
After a brief consultation, as expected, the teeth were extracted. Minimal pain and like a fighter, I took the punch. Prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and to the nearby pharmacy on site.
So there is help when needed for a dental emergency. You need to do the research and all medical insurance is accepted. Those, to my understanding, with limited or no health coverage, will not be denied.
Point here is we are in a pandemic, though in normal times this procedure may have been more difficult towards waiting time and understanding your medical coverage.
More so, every person in the medical profession needs to get those accolades from you and me. They have been tested. They deserve the praise. They need to be recognized and honored for taking care of those in need during this time.
And for yours truly, slowly getting back to recovery. Though, when you look at it, things could be worse as we continue to offer our condolences to those who have passed and pray for those who are battling COVID-19.
The first weekend of May has arrived blessing us with lovely weather and bringing with it hope for better times. Hope for a more “normal” existence, hope that the coronavirus will abate and let us live again. The beautiful weather brought the people outside, to the beaches, the parks, around the neighborhoods or anywhere besides their home where they could be out yet still feel safe.
Noontime Saturday May 8, 2020 Jones Beach field 6 closed at about 50% capacity. Town of Babylon Cedar Beach had about 20 cars in the parking lot. A family was set up in the sand with chairs, blankets, food and fun games for the kids, others were close to shore safely apart. Tobay Beach open to Town of Oyster Bay residents only had around 50 cars in their parking lot along with a food truck selling goodies! The bike path that runs besides Wantagh and Ocean parkways had people walking, biking and skating, enough space for everyone, some masked, some not but all looking happy to be out and about.
Sunday at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, all parking fields were utilized. People were out doing the same, families were biking, picnicking, playing various games and some sporting activities. There was even a larger family group, all were masked and spread apart having fun celebrating someone’s birthday. Many older couples, masked, enjoyed a peaceful walk through the park.
Wow Lowe’s home improvement store in Hicksville was super busy! Customers were purchasing their spring and summer needs, including lawn and yard care, gardening, flowers, plants, vegetables, Barbeques, pavers etc. preparing for summer. The cool thing was Lowe’s abided by the rules, masked employees maintained social distancing on lines both in and out of the store. At one point the line in the parking lot had about 50 customers on it, all wore their masks and were keeping apart from one another. Timing of when to enter was controlled by employees who kept track of the occupancy.
If you took a walk around your neighborhood you could smell the wood burning in fire pits, the aroma of yummy burgers and steaks cooking on the barbeque, you could actually hear sounds of fun, of laughter, of life. There wasn’t that eerie quietness of the past several weeks. The world is eager to awake and smell the roses, but do so in a safe manner. Regardless of the conflicting information concerning COVID-19, the reality is the coronavirus is highly contagious. It can be deadly to those with underlying health issues and to those age 70 and above, of course there are always exceptions to the rules. The scary part, of those who tested positive about half were asymptomatic. This is a new learning experience for all of us and yes, we want to move forward, but we must not let foolishness and selfishness override our own health or the safety of those near and dear to us. The world is hopeful, ready to awaken, to seize the day, but we must do so in a manner which is suitable for the well being and protection of us all.
Spring is here and with that comes the anticipation of enjoying some of Long Islands favorite outdoor venues such as Salt Shack, The Boatyard, Dublin Deck and The Surf Shack. All hot summer spots where hard working Long Islanders come to play. Whether that be to relax, have a drink, eat, enjoy the view, beautiful sunsets and of course listen to the many talented LI bands out there.
Owner Mark Miller, along with his partner in Patchogues Dublin Deck Scott Campbell both expressed positive attitudes about the upcoming summer season. As responsible business owners they are prepared to adhere to the governors mandates. The main objective being to open as soon as permissible while maintaining a safe environment for staff and customers. What does that entail? Though we would all like a rapid conclusion to the COVID-19 shutdown, at the moment no one really knows. Scott Campbell said they are ready to “follow the rules” as put forth by the governor. Staff would be “gloved and masked”, also they were discussing possibly taking the temperature of staff members before work as a precautionary measure. He said “we’ll get through this” and is keeping a “positive attitude”.
Mark Miller expressed he’s “ready to go” and just waiting “for the powers that be” to give the okay. He’s “optimistically” looking forward to a Phase 1 opening. They will probably open at 50% occupancy, there will be no wait service, you’ll be able to get drinks at the bar while maintaining social distance. Safety for guests as well as staff. Mark and Scott both say they are “taking things 2 weeks at a time” allowing and adjusting for new mandates.
A learning experience for us all, no one will come out of this unchanged. No, we cannot go back to “normal”, we can go forward to something better, we can be smarter, stronger, and we can live post COVID-19. LI social life and music scene will return, not as we knew it but with a twist and as resilient people we will embrace the necessary changes, we will adapt.
Good Luck and cheers to Mark and Scott, may all your businesses prosper (safely)!! Be positive, be smart, be well!
From all of us at The New York Extra, to those who lost their life to COVID-19, their family members and all those struggling, we pray for you.
Long Islanders are truly blessed to have some of the most beautiful beaches and waterfront views anywhere.Today we take you to Tobay Beach in the Town of Oyster Bay on the Ocean Parkway. Either on the bayside or the ocean, few locations on the Island are as pretty.
The fight to overcome the Coronavirus is ongoing and by no means are we out of the woods. For the sport of boxing the fight continues as promoters are in a holding pattern and many not certain about the future.
For now, though, boxing is losing the fight and the loss of revenue is extreme. Among the big four promotions that comprise Top Rank, Matchroom. PBC, and Golden Boy, there have been furloughs of employees that are support staff.
Shows, until further notice are on hold and have been cancelled through the month of June. The fighters, many who depend on trading fists as their income, they sit on the sidelines as gyms and facilities have shut their doors.
Those in boxing say, they will always fight. However, the fight to open doors again for boxing gyms could have seen the last round. This global pandemic has hit hard and caused economic hardship to those who own and operate training facilities.
Basically, a boxing gym and the fighters need each other. They work as a team and inside those gyms is where it all begins for the beginner and established professional.
For now, and until further notice, pro and amateur fighters are finding other alternatives to stay in condition. They use makeshift space in a room or garage as they isolate at home. They are in contact with their coaches that are utilizing technology as remote sessions if and when the sport resumes.
But, this is so much different than being in the gym where the sparring and proper tools for the sport are conducted. The bond with the boxing trainer and the fighter is not the same without a presence in the gym.
Many of those trainers are also out of work. They pay the rent and bills putting in their time from morning until evening as they continue to develop skills for their fighters.
Last week, headquartered in Colorado Spring, CO, USA Boxing, a non-profit organization responsible for the administration, development and promotion of Olympic style boxing in the United States, sent an email to over 50 registered boxing gyms located in the five boroughs of NYC and tri-state area.
The emails were also sent to gyms that are registered with USA Boxing around the country.
Their findings did not paint a bright picture for the future. Most, if not all responded, it will be difficult or almost impossible to open their doors again without appropriate financial assistance from the Federal government.
And as each day passes, with no end in sight with this pandemic, the days of the boxing gym could have seen their last fight.
“Nobody gets rich running a boxing gym,” said John Guapo Maresca.
Maresca, self-employed and in the boxing business for a longtime, opened the doors of Big Time Bouts in his hometown of Cartert, New Jersey last May. Simply put, 35-to 50 aspiring fighters could be shut out from their sanctuary.
He said, the owners of a boxing facility are facing a difficult and tough road, They may never reopen their doors and the government assistance has not been very receptive to his small business.
“The people who need it the most can’t afford it now, Maresca said about the fighters.” The gym owners who can help them out, can’t afford it.”
Gleason’s Gym, in Brooklyn, a boxing facility with history since 1937. Is one of the last of New York City’s thriving boxing gyms and has been the training headquarters for such legends as Jake LaMotta, Muhammad Ali and Roberto Duran.
Over 131 World Champions have trained inside the gym that was originally situated in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden. That establishment could last another round as a ton of investors and promoters have been involved there over the years.
Mendez Boxing, located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, is another of the main boxing facilities. Not like Gleason’s, that situation is totally different and self supported. Sole partnerships, sponsors. monthly and daily fees from the fighters also assist with keeping the doors open.
Gleason’s and Mendez, because of their reputations and with an array of good trainers, also have become a home for promoters. They use the gym as a venue and promotional outlet with open workouts of fighters that are in town for major promotions at Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.
Mendez, according to sources, and with a hefty rent, may have gone down for the count. It is nearly impossible to recover from the financial losses that are attributed to the pandemic which forced closure of all gyms last month in New York City.
On the other hand, Pat Russo, a retired NYPD sergeant and founder of Cops & Kids, is optimistic to keep the doors open with two gyms in Staten Island and one in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn.
The gym in Brooklyn is under reconstruction and that has been pushed back which caused another setback for the kids.
The goal has always been to keep kids off the street after the PAL ceased their boxing programs in 2009.
Russo, too, depends on funding and fundraisers. His annual event for amatuer fighters, in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, was cancelled last month. He is at home and applying for the small business assistance.
Though that process of applying for assistance is difficult to navigate, and it could be a long time before any of that money comes to the rescue.
“This is our busiest time, our worst possible time to happen,” he said. For now, 1,000 kids are also at home and looking forward to returning back to the gym.
“We’re very lucky in that we have very generous landlords who donate the space,” Russo said. “ Our landlord gives us the space. We don’t have to worry about rent and utilities. “
Coaches at Cops & Kids are reciprocated for their time with stipends. But the goal, as Russo says, is to keep the kids busy and off the streets.
“I don’t Know how you can possibly survive, you go month to month,’ Russo said. “You don’t have a surplus account. It’s so important that we remain open. Our kids are the poorest that come only because it’s free.”
He added, “It puts them in a better place. We have to remain open.”
And the gyms hope to remain open. But this will be the biggest fight for the sport and everyday is crucial for the boxing gym.
“When this is over I’m done if the government gives nothing,” Maresca said. “Unless somebody comes out of somewhere to keep me afloat there is no way. “
On Saturday April 19 2020 Gov. Coumo announced the loosening of the restrictions on marinas and boaters. The following day I went looking for every day families working on their boats, happy for the opportunity to be getting ready for the upcoming boating and fishing season.
This lead me to a popular South Shore location at Wantagh State Park, south of Merrick Road, right off the Wantagh Parkway. A busy State park that hosts a large aquatic center, ball fields, a roller hockey rink, miniature golf, picnic and barbeque areas, room for families to fish and crab, a launching ramp for boats, as well as one of the best public docking facilities on the South Shore.
I was lucky to be able to get a brief interview with a father and his 2 sons, and another man prepping his boat. Dean Prainito, from Bellmore N.Y., with his two boys, Luke and Mark, expressed how happy they were to be able to start preparing for a summer on the water, and a chance to get out of the house. Dean was fortunate to get his boat in the water before the lockdown, but unable to do anything else after that point.
Mark Sanders from Wantagh N.Y. was cleaning up his vessel, happy to be able to get some work done on a clear but chilly day on the dock.
We hope that this action by the governor opening the waterways to the public is a small but sure sign of life returning to “normal” post COVID-19.