Restaurants are vital civic nerve centers of Bay Ridge community!
BY CHARLES OTEY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn’t all that popular a year ago, viewed by many as a legacy officeholder who won his post essentially because he was the son of a former and admired — in most places — Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Bringing him some sort-of positive press was his ongoing public battle with increasingly unpopular Mayor Bill de Blasio, viewed by many as a soon-to-be-retired pol with no chance whatsoever to aim for a seat in the U.S. Senate, or any other place for that matter.
So when the historic pandemic broke out early this year, each man was given center stage to demonstrate character and concern to combat a mortal virus the likes of which we haven’t seen in more than a century.
President Donald Trump saw the pandemic as an opportunity to star at public sessions of a special pandemic task force, but demonstrated an inability to focus on the issues, or tell the truth (see Bob Woodward’s latest book) about the seriousness of the virus.
Enter Cuomo and, not so much, de Blasio.
Practically every mid-winter morning, the New York chief executive held his own nationally televised “counter” to the White House Task Force “show,” by then a disheartening display that demonstrated Trump was far out of his league dealing with the crisis. Cuomo, meanwhile, came across as a man who had not only escaped his eloquent father’s shadow, but indeed had seized his moment.
Cuomo made some errors along the way, but overall, he was viewed by many Trump supporters as a major threat to the incumbent’s re-election.
Cuomo’s candor and command of the concepts necessary to find a way to save lives earned him the top spot in the national anti-pandemic pantheon. He was smart; he never promised (as did Trump) that the pandemic would simply disappear, especially in the warmer months of oncoming summer.
Hoping 25 percent indoor dining will save our struggling restaurants
So, we offer this question: Why did it take so long to enable the safe reopening of our neighborhood restaurants — especially in Bay Ridge — which over the years have become warm, hospitable community centers at every end of this metropolis?
Why did it take so long for Cuomo to finally agree to a 25 percent indoor dining rate by Sept. 30?
As those of us in Greater Bay Ridge and other progressive urban communities know, our restaurants are much more than a place to just go and eat. They are where we meet and spend social time together, with friends and others.
In our community, we are literally blessed with honest, intelligent restaurateurs who deserve accolades like being named “Pioneers of Third Avenue” (even if they’re on Fifth Avenue!) or Bay Ridge Community Council civic awardees.
Today, we cite just a few: Steve Oliver and Gerry Morris, Chadwick’s Restaurant; John Keegan and Bob Daquara, Greenhouse Café; Gerard Bell, Skinflints; George Kabbez, Salty Dog; Joe Mancino, Peppino’s Brick Oven Pizza; Chris King, Ho’Brah; Jumana and Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen; Mike Esposito and Ted Nugent, Cebu; Tom Casatelli, Kettle Black; Abdul Elenani, Cocoa Grinder; and Manny Saviolakis, Anopoli.
There are so many more and we will do our best to recognize them all in the coming weeks as Bay Ridge — and the city at large — prepares to welcome patrons back inside our prized establishments for breakfast, lunch and dinner, albeit in limited capacity.