Good morning and welcome to another hazy day in Hell’s Kitchen. Last night there were so many people looking to the sky and photographing the orange marble of the sun caused by western wildfires. The other noticeable thing was that the air quality warning was real — did you feel that?

For some reason, I’m drawn to Thornless Honey Locusts; my friend, Alexis — who sent me down this path — has taken to writing about the Callery Pear; and I’ve realized that Restaurant Row has an amazing Ginkgo!

These are not imaginative names for cocktails — they are the names of trees on the sidewalks of our Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. They’re good for so many things (including water drainage and air quality — both relevant in recent weeks). We discovered that every single New York street tree is mapped and identified. More details here…

Catie Savage met Sal Solomon in August of 2020 during a Litter Legion event. “We had taken a break outside a corner store and he was leaning on a mailbox with a sandwich, asking us what we were doing. After chatting for a bit, he mentioned that he had been living in a shelter for the past year but had just moved into a small studio apartment that a distant relative owned,” she recalls.

Sal has been through a lot; several family members passed away in a short period and he sunk into a depression that ended his marriage. With nowhere to turn, he ended up in the NYC shelter system. Along the way, he found a passion and talent for singing Frank Sinatra-style music and has been making a living performing on street corners, in Central Park, and at some local restaurants. You can read more of his story in this interview from last year.

“Just as he was starting to rebound and get on a better path, the relative who was renting to him let him know she is planning to sell the apartment and he must move out by August 14. Sal now has just under a month to find a new place to live. To make matters worse, he is currently unable to perform due to a back injury. With performing live as his only means of income, Sal is in need of assistance to help pay for moving costs and a deposit on his next apartment,” shared Catie on a GoFundMe page that she’s created to help Sal.


What we’ve been reading

MTA delays fare increases and instead focuses on getting riders back. (New York Times)

An NYPD beekeeper has been in action in Times Square again. (New York Post)

Thinking of traveling abroad again? Get planning — because passport backlogs are 18 weeks. (Gothamist)

A study has identified Ninth Avenue as one of America’s deadliest streets. (Patch)

The historic Paris Theater will open again in August. (Secret NYC)

Freeze Frame

Reading W42ST’s daily newsletter has its benefits. W42ST fan Michael William G headed over to Times Square to watch Jeff Bezos’s flight into space after reading yesterday’s early-morning email. He featured on local TV last night!

Meanwhile, if you missed the launch, we caught a cute video of a family watching at the Crossroads of the World. After the flight, Bezos awarded $100m to Chef Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen, to continue his food relief non-profit work.

What’s next for Jeff? Maybe sorting out the CD sellers in Times Square?