Happy Saturday and welcome to the weekend! We’ve a packed weekend with tennis, buying a Christmas tree and a trip to Princeton all planned. What about you?

We will also be busy starting to count up the votes for the W42ST Best of Awards 2021 — sponsored by Wells Fargo and supported by HYHK Alliance and The Durst Organization.

Voting finishes at midnight tonight — so if you’ve not made your choices already. VOTE NOW!

Last year, we wrote an article about tipping building staff during the pandemic. What’s changed this year? Hit reply and we’ll update our story on west side tipping habits.

Here’s our roundup of what’s been happening in Hell’s Kitchen this week…

If you have noticed that “The Bottle” in Clinton Cove is missing — don’t worry, it’s on a planned journey to Virginia for conservation. Check out the time-lapse video of how it was removed from Hudson River Park — along with the artist Malcolm Cochran’s first visit inside “Private Passage” in 16 years. More here…


Tennis players got a shock on Monday morning as the bubble over Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club ripped, with a sound described by neighbors as an “explosion” and “mini earthquake”. Details here…

Thanks to Sandra for her photo of the W55th Street lights being switched on this week. Neighbors were encouraged to “bang pots, clap and give a shout or two to celebrate.”

Every year for the past 40+ years the West 55th Street Block Association, a 501c3, has raised the money needed to hang lights in the trees to brighten up the dreary winter nights. They still need support to hit the projected $15,000 budget. You can donate using the yellow PayPal donate link at their website: www.west55ba.org

Bulbap Grill didn’t open in time to be shortlisted as a newcomer in the W42ST Best of Awards. They are bringing their Korean Fusion to 10th Avenue. Read more…

It’s time to make a wish for the New Year — and what better way to make a statement than by sending it into New York’s sky as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve? Go write your message at the Times Square Confetti Wall. Details here…

With Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club closed after their bubble collapsed, it might be time to take “the journey from ping pong to table tennis.” We headed to Whiff Whaff Wednesday at PINGPOD on W37th Street. Check it out…

Crispin Mejia, the ex-chef and co-founder of Crispin’s at W52nd Street and 10th Avenue — which rebranded as Sesamo last month — is being sued by his former partners, who say that he ran the business into the ground. Details here…

What we’ve been reading

New York is back at the top of the tourism hotspot list. (NBC)

Department of Transportation creates a master plan — but doesn’t have the money to drive it forward. (Streetsblog)

Office leasing activity in Manhattan is growing. (Bisnow)

A remarkable photo essay by Gary He, documenting the pandemic story of 4 New York restaurants. (Eater)

Here’s what you can get up to on Governors Island this winter. (Gothamist)

Freeze Frame

Our eagle-eyed reader Sophie spotted this bird perching outside her highrise Silver Towers apartment this week.

Thank you to all the readers who helped to identify the bird. Many (including Google Lens) thought it was a Peregrine Falcon — but we can confirm that it is an American Kestrel.

Olivia Henderson was one follower who contacted us: “It’s an American Kestrel. They are so intriguing and beautiful, but vicious. Smallest of the falcons, I believe. They perch on our terrace sometimes as well, to hunt sparrows. We’ve seen them eat one — it’s intense! Ah, nature!”

She continued: “They are stunning! This kestrel couple (see the video on my Tweet) landed on our terrace for the first time, that I saw at least, while I had COVID in February of this year. I was so feverish and sick I thought I was hallucinating seeing pigeons in some weird Technicolor dimension or something! They are incredible looking!”