Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Kosher Food Booth Nixed At New York State Fair

It’s called the Great New York State Fair, and for 180 years has been located near Syracuse. The Fair was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19, but this year the fair is back in business beginning August 20. There is one exception, however. After several years of The Oaks at Menorah Park offering kosher food at the fair, the Sodexo-run food vendor at the senior-living center decided not to renew their contract.


In 2016, The Oaks paid $9,220 for the 400 square-foot space. They served fried blintzes, fried matzah balls, fried knishes, citrus salmon lettuce wraps and Israeli chopped salad, among other standard Jewish fare.

At the time there was a lot of optimism for the kosher food booth to be a hit at the fair.

“We want to make it exciting we want to make it where everyone will want to try this,” Jarrod Charsky, general manager of The Oaks in Syracuse told The Jewish Press in 2016. “We want to go on the theme of deep-fried fun food for people who are willing to try new things. When I designed this menu I wanted to add to the fun and add to the fair theme. Deep-fried is always a great thing at the fair. Everyone always love deep-fried stuff, kind of like a nice little carnival menu.”

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Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is under several investigations by the state Attorney General, state Assembly Ethics Committee and the federal government, has been traveling the state to unveil various proposals regarding Covid-19 and community projects.

The probes involve sexual harassment allegations, the possibility of the governor’s staff not properly reporting deaths at nursing homes, as well as the governor ordering nursing home residents who were hospitalized with Covid-19 back to nursing homes to intermingle with healthy residents ultimately infecting the healthy residents with Covid-19. Another matter under investigation is the governor receiving $5.1 million for a book he wrote based on the leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and whether his staff edited the book as volunteers during official hours, misusing state resources. The governor has repeatedly said at news conferences this is just one side of the story and when he gets his chance to officially comment New Yorkers will agree he did nothing wrong.

When the governor addressed the nursing numbers and whether nursing home patients who died in hospitals should be counted as hospital deaths or nursing home deaths, he said, “What’s the difference where they died, they died.”

Many Democrats and Republicans have called for the governor to resign or to step aside and let the lieutenant governor take over temporarily until the probes are sorted out.

The governor’s public appearances have often turned into love-fests where the governor effusively praises those on stage with him and they in turn praise the governor for his leadership and handling of governmental matters.

Those hoisting vociferous praise on the governor are often people who are not in favor of the governor resigning over the accusations he’s charged with. One notable exception was a visit the governor made to Yonkers on April 21, where Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D – Yonkers), who has publicly called for the governor’s resignation, appeared with him to announce loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.

In recent months the governor has appeared in Buffalo, New York City, Long Island, Syracuse and many other locales, except notably Albany. The Capitol Press Corps, dealing with end of session issues and little money from newspaper publishers to reimburse reporters for trips across the state, are stymied. As a result the governor receives polite questions from respectful scribes who want to ask the same questions the rude, disrespectful reporters at the Capitol often ask.

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As the state legislative session draws to a close on June 10, there is little progress being made on any significant legislative action. Three state lawmakers who can’t wait for the session to end are Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D – Brooklyn), who is running for Brooklyn Borough President in a field of nine hopefuls; Assemblyman David Weprin (D – Queens), Senator Brian Benjamin (D – Manhattan) and Senator Kevin Parker (D – Brooklyn), who are all running for New York City Comptroller in a field of five. The primary is slated for June 22.

For the first time ranked-choice voting is in place for the New York City elections.

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Marc Gronich is the owner and news director of Statewide News Service. He has been covering government and politics for 44 years, since the administration of Hugh Carey. He is an award-winning journalist. His Albany Beat column appears monthly in The Jewish Press and his coverage about how Jewish life intersects with the happenings at the state Capitol appear weekly in the newspaper. You can reach Mr. Gronich at [email protected].