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Turtle Bay Newsletter, Winter 2005
Neighborhood Walking Tour Highlights Historic Sites

Just as Turtle Bay residents are starting to yearn for springtime walks in the neighborhood, the Turtle Bay Association plans to send each of its members a copy of “A Day in Turtle Bay,” a 30-page pocket guide featuring 20 area sites organized as an easy-to-follow walking tour.  

Street to be Named ‘Hepburn Place’

The block on which Katharine Hepburn lived for more than 60 years – 49th Street between Second and Third Avenues – will be named Katharine Hepburn Place. Legislation to make the change, originally recommended by the Turtle Bay Association, was signed by Mayor Bloomberg in December. New street signs will be unveiled at a public ceremony in the coming weeks.

by Walt McGovern

Turtle Bay’s ‘Own’ Rated in 2005 Zagat

A wide sampling of Turtle Bay Association member-restaurants – from classic New York steakhouses to Italian, Chinese, French and Mexican eateries – are included in the 2005 Zagat Survey of New York City Restaurants. The Zagat Survey, now in its 26th year, summarizes opinions of restaurant-goers and prints many of their exact quotes. The Newsletter is proud to list the TBA restaurants that are rated in the new guide, along with some of the surveyors’ verbatim remarks:

Annual Meeting Returns to Amster Yard

A touch of nostalgia was in the air when Turtle Bay Association President Bill Curtis opened TBA’s annual meeting last fall. The meeting was held at Amster Yard, named for the founder and first chairman of the TBA, James Amster.

Of Note...

  • Arriving in Beekman Style.
  • Watch for the ‘Wrap.’
  • Patio Café Stays Open in Winter.
  • Signs of Spring.
  • Leaf Clean-up.
  • Date Change for “The Interpreter”.

Volunteers Help the 17th Precinct

There are times when the cliché “win-win” fits a situation just about right. The 17th Precinct’s Civilian Receptionist Program – in which neighbors volunteer to help out at the East 51st Street station house – seems to be one of those. It provides welcome support for busy officers in the bustling midtown precinct and, at the same time, is hugely satisfying for the participants.

East 54th Street Recreation Center Reopens

The East 54th Street Recreation Center reopened in December after a three-year, $6 million “re-do” that returns the historic 1911 building to its original luster – and adds some welcome new touches.

Turtle Bay Celebrates the Holiday Season

The TBA Holiday Toy Drive and Party, along with a tree-lighting ceremony and Santa’s visit to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park, topped the list of neighborhood festivities during December. The Toy Drive was the most successful in the 18 years the TBA has been sponsoring the event, says Barbara Connolly, TBA Special Events Chairwoman.  Some 150 neighbors and friends attended the party and nearly 1,000 toys and more than $2,600 were donated. 

U.N. Expansion: What Comes Next?

By Bruce A. Silberblatt

State legislation needed before the United Nations can move ahead with plans for office construction on the Moses Playground space is currently in “limbo,” after State Senate leaders refused to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.  It is uncertain when, or if, the legislation – originally submitted by State Assemblyman Steve Sanders – will be resubmitted. Therefore the United Nations Development Corporation’s takeover of Moses Playground is currently stalemated.



New ‘Dangerous Dog’ Law Now in Effect

A state law providing recourse for owners of companion animals attacked by other dogs went into effect on Dec. 15, 2004. The issue gained community attention early last fall with news reports of neighborhood pit bull attacks on other dogs.



…Featuring neighborhood establishments
that help make Turtle Bay a special place to live and work

 L. Simchick Prime Meats & Fresh Poultry

Leonard Simchick’s butcher shop is a tiny, unpretentious-looking place – 400 square feet in an 1850s corner building at First Avenue and 52nd Street.  But his meats and poultry are served at some very big, important tables.

Box Tree Closes

Another long-time Turtle Bay restaurant is gone:  the Box Tree at 250-252 East 49th Street.  The two brownstones it occupied are now empty, their windows boarded up. It’s entirely possible that the developer who acquired them may try to obtain the remaining properties on the corner of Second Avenue and build a residential building of 20 stories or so.  Such a structure would abut the existing apartment building on the northwest corner of Second Avenue and 48th Street, conceivably blocking its north-facing windows.

Turtle Bay Happenings...

Flamenco on 49th Street.  As part of its Flamenco Festival, Instituto Cervantes, 211 East 49th Street, will hold a talk and demonstration of “Classical versus Flamenco Guitar,” by guitarist Jose Maria Gallardo, Friday, February 11, at 7 p.m. Free admission.  Also in conjunction with the Festival, a series of lectures and English/Spanish films throughout February. Free admission. And on Thursday, February 24, 7 p.m., a concert by the musical group Barcino Baroque, “Early Music of Spain.” Admission: $15 (reservations suggested). For information, and reservations: 212-308-7720;

Concerts at German House.  A piano and violin concert featuring violinist Oskar Jezior, Thursday, February 10, 6 p.m., in the German House auditorium at 871 United Nations Plaza, between 48th and 49th Streets.  Free admission.  A classical concert, “The Late Romantics,” by the Mannes College of Music, Wednesday, March 16, 6 p.m., in the auditorium.  Free admission. Information: or 212-610-9719.  For security reasons, all attendees must register in advance.  Automated RSVP line is 212-610-9759 or e-mail consulate-ku@

Japan Society.  “Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture,” exhibit of painting and sculpture by contemporary Japanese neo-pop artists, will open April 8 in the Society’s gallery, 333 East 47th Street. Admission: $5; $3 for seniors.  Information: 212-832-1155;

Swedish Artists.  “Young Swedish Voices,” exhibit of the art of three young Swedish artists, runs January 25-February 25 at the Trygve Lie Gallery, 317 East 52nd Street.  Free admission. Gallery opens at noon daily. Information: 212-319-0540 91; www.

Midtown Jazz at Midday.  Jazz performances every Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Saint Peter’s Church at Lexington Avenue and 54th Street.  Admission: $5.  Information: 212-935-2200;

National Council of Jewish Women.  The New York Section periodically offers  lectures and films at its headquarters at 820 Second Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets. Information: 212-687-5030;

Mark Your Calendar

17th Precinct Community Council Open Meeting
Last Tuesday every month, 6 p.m.
Except July, August, December
Sutton Place Synagogue
225 East 51st Street

Community Board 6
Full Board Meeting
Second Wednesday every month, 7 p.m.
NYU Medical Center
550 First Avenue
(between 30th and 31st Streets)

TBA Valentine Party
Tuesday, February 15, 6-9 p.m.
La Maganette Restaurant
825 Third Avenue at 50th Street

Editor’s Note: Organizations wishing to list events in the Newsletter should contact the TBA at 212-751-5465 or e-mail

Letters to the Editor

In our continued efforts to reach out to the community and get to know you better, we are initiating a “Letters to the Editor” segment.  So write to us, e-mail us, as we want to hear from you.  And, yes, we do welcome your suggestions.

TBA 2004 Discount Directory Changes

New TBA Member Discounts

CK Chinese Restaurant
936 Second Avenue
Free glass of wine

Mrs. Georgette Braha
French Instruction
136 East 55th Street
10% discount

Turtle Bay Newsletter
Editor: Pamela Hanlon
Contributors:  Mary Beierle, Leah Gadlow, Marie-Louise Handal, Terri Heveran,  Olga Hoffmann, Bill Huxley, Millie Margiotta, Patricia Q. McDougald, Bruce Silberblatt
Cartoonist: Walt McGovern
Photography: Vivian Gordon


Turtle Bay Association
President:  William E. Curtis
Vice Presidents:  Millie Margiotta, Dolores Marsh, Bruce Silberblatt
Treasurer:  Francine Mohink
Secretary:  Barbara Connolly

Directors:  Jed Abrams, Ethel Bendove, Meryl Brodsky, Michael Butler, Ralph Compagnone, Barbara Connolly, William E. Curtis, Denise Hamilton, Marie-Louise Handal, Olga Hoffmann, Bill Huxley, Richard Irwin, Millie Margiotta, Dolores Marsh, Patricia Q. McDougald,
Francine Mohink, Michael Resnick, Carol Rinzler, Jeannie Sakol, Helen Shapiro, Bruce Silberblatt, Kirk Swanson

Check the TBA Bulletin Board
On the east side of Second Avenue, 48-49th Streets,
on outside wall of the supermarket.


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The Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community organization.

224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
(212) 751-5465
Fax (212) 751-4941



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