Seen & Heard: A marker for a Tribeca historian

Tribeca Trust, a neighborhood preservation organization, added a marker in honor of Oliver Allen in a tree pit in front of Morgan’s. Allen lived on Duane Park starting in 1982 and died in 2017, but in those four decades contributed 150 articles on the neighborhood’s history to the Tribeca Trib and published two books as well. (Thanks to Robert Ripps for the photo and update.) In his later years, Allen would walk to Morgan’s to get a paper and lamented the empty tree pit. So after his death, the Tribeca Trust had the tree planted with now a marker to memorialize him.

The Winter Garden will host four live performances of The Nutcracker presented by New York Theatre Ballet from Dec. 2 to 4. Each ballet is performed to Tchaikovsky’s score and set in Art Nouveau-style circa 1907 by long-time New York Theatre Ballet choreographer Keith Michael. Performances are free and should be reserved: Friday, December 2, at 7p; Saturday, December 3, at 1p and 7p; Sunday, December 4, at 1p. Reserve here.

Hudson River Park replaced the concrete bollards at the edge of the park at Stuy with concrete planters. All the bollards at all the crosswalks and entrances to the bikeway and walkway were installed in the park after the Halloween terrorist attack five years ago, in 2017.

JW sent this note about a Chambers Street encounter: Two weeks ago I was crossing Chambers Street at Broadway on my way to visit what I call “Last Chance” Mohamed’s discount vegetable stand on the sidewalk just down the street. Turning the corner, I saw a large Black man in a wheelchair sitting at a folding table selling various electronic gadgets. Just after I walked by he called out to me: “Hey, mister!” I stopped and turned around and he held out a Starbuck’s yogurt / granola / berry concoction in a plastic cup, new and perfectly sealed. He said “Not something I like but maybe you would.” So I retraced the few steps back, accepted it and thanked him. And I asked him “So what do you like?” He smiled and said, “Ice cream!”

I went on my way and later ate the treat – not bad, actually! But I thought what a nice thing for him to have done and why he signaled me out from all the other people walking by remains a total mystery. In any case four or five days later, on my way up Chambers, I stopped in at a Checkers and got a big plastic cup of vanilla ice cream. The guy was at his spot on the corner and when I walked up to him and set the ice cream down on his table he at first looked puzzled — and then he remembered and, thanking me, broke into the biggest smile I have ever seen. He held the ice cream with one hand and extended the other for a handshake. And when we shook hands he pulled me down close so we could have a hug. Ah, New York!



  1. Haven’t see Mohamed’s discount vegetable stand for the past few weeks. I walk by it everyday on my way to work. Wonder if he is on vacation because of the holidays. Hope he and his friends are ok.

  2. Kudos to the Tribeca Trust for memorializing Oliver Allen. As a “day resident” of Tribeca (a commuting worker) for more than 42 years, I have come to appreciate how the area has changed – and how it once was. He wrote a great column, and I have read one of his books. Required neighborhood reading!