Saturday, December 15, 2018

Today in random birthday wishes: Paul Simonon of the Clash

This interview with Simonon from 2011 has more about him smashing his bass at the Palladium (now an NYU dorm) on 14th Street between Third Avenue and Irving. That bit starts at the 3:10 mark...

... and an undated photo (without a credit) looking west on 14th Street at Third Avenue with the Palladium on the left...

... and why not, again...

The 27th annual Unsilent Night is tomorrow (Sunday!)

[Photo in Tompkins Square Park via Instagram]

Via the official website:

Composer Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village in the 27th annual holiday presentation of UNSILENT NIGHT. People gather at the arch in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.

Kline will hand out a limited number of vintage boomboxes from his collection—and cassettes for those who bring their own. The public is strongly encouraged to bring their own boomboxes or sound-blasters, and to pre-download the track. Find out more about how to participate and download the tracks at this link.

Participants will meet at 5:45 p.m. in Washington Square Park ... the approximate end time is 6:45 p.m. in Tompkins Square Park.

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's this week's NY See, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's comic series — an observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around the neighborhood ... and NYC.

NY See will return in mid-January.

Time for the Neighborhood School's Holiday Fair

The Neighborhood School's annual Holiday Fair take place tomorrow (Sunday!) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The holiday fair features an artisan market with items like soaps, jewelry and screenprinted T-shirts. There will be food, a photo booth, games and activities for kids ... as well as a book fair run by McNally Jackson.

The school is at 121 E. Third St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Going down: So long 6-shots-of-anything-for-$12 signage

The Continental ends its 27-year run tonight at 23 Third Avenue at St. Mark's Place. (Final night details here.)

Ahead of that, workers removed the iconic 6-shots-of-anything-for-$12 signage this morning. (And if you want to see an 11-second video clip, this is on Twitter.)

The special evolved from $10 for five-shots-of-anything ... then $12 for five-shots-of-anything... to $12 for six-shots-of-anything. (Documented here.)

As you likely know, a five-story office building with ground-floor retail will eventually rise on this northeast corner.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Shake Shack effect? McDonald's on 3rd Avenue at St. Mark's Place has closed after 20 years

Report: Northeast corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Ave. fetching $50 million for development site

Report: NE corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue will yield to a 7-story office building

Demolition permits filed for northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

End is nearing for the businesses on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

The Continental gets a 3-month reprieve

New building plans revealed for 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

Friday, December 14, 2018

So it goes

Joy As An Act of Resistance, the second record by the UK-based IDLES, has made some year-end top-10 lists.

The video here is for "Colossus." Look for IDLES around these parts in the spring.

Saturday: Santa at the 9th Precinct; pet adoption at Boris & Horton; cookies at the Girls Club

Three activities tomorrow via the EVG inbox...


The Community Council of the 9th Precinct is holding its annual Children's Christmas Party tomorrow outside on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue from 9 a.m. to noon. (Rain or shine...)


The Animal Care Centers of NYC will be at Boris and Horton, 195 Avenue A at 12th Street, "with great cats and dogs available for adoption" from noon to 4 p.m. ACC adoptions include vaccinations, spay/neuter, a pre-registered microchip, an identification tag, a collar and a certificate for a free initial exam at a participating veterinarian. Details at this link.


The Lower Eastside Girls Club is hosting the Cookie Bake-Off and Holiday Sweet Sale from noon to 3 p.m. at Girls Club HQ, 402 E. Eighth St. at Avenue D.

Per the invite: "We have over 20 bakers competing for the best holiday cookie, and guests get to take them home. Just fill an empty tin ($20, $35 or $50) with delicious “Angel Baked” homemade cookies while our celebrity judges (including Amy Sedaris, Amirah Kassem and Connie Girl Fleming, to name a few) taste the cookies and crown the Cookie Queen."

L-pocalypse now: Recap of Tuesday's rally outside the MTA offices

[Assembly Member Harvey Epstein on Tuesday]

On Tuesday, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein along with residents and advocates rallied outside the MTA HQ on Broadway to call for greater community input to mitigate the ongoing impact of the L-train renovations underway on 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

The work here on this part of 14th Street started in July 2017 ahead of the L-train closure that commences April 27, 2019.

This past summer, residents learned that this corridor is not only the main construction zone leading up to the L-train closure, but also during the 15 months the MTA expects the trains to be offline between Bedford Avenue and Eight Avenue.

As one 14th Street resident told me about Epstein's press conference: "He got really annoyed with the MTA's intransigence about the ongoing work. Same issues: loud noise, accessibility issues, late hours — going to 24/7 — and general horribleness."

Here's part of the press statement released by Epstein's office (and NY1 has a recap here ... and Town & Village here)...

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein advocated with residents and business owners of 14th Street to draw attention to concerns over air quality, noise, and dust mitigation as a result of the L Train renovations. Tenants, business owners, community groups, elected officials, and others gathered to hold the MTA accountable to the repercussions of ongoing construction, which have hurt small businesses and created innumerable nuisances for local tenants.

Local residents have raised concerns about the MTA’s limited engagement. Without any input from the community, the L Train construction has created huge impediments on 14th Street. Small businesses are obstructed by sidewalk closures and barriers, and many local owners have reported a decrease in business since construction began. Tenants have been harangued by constant white noise, traffic jams, and dust and debris that have impacted air quality. There’s also been little consideration for accessibility, and sidewalk closures have made it difficult for people with disabilities to access the affected area.

The press conference was held to highlight these ongoing issues and bring the stories of 14th Street residents to the forefront. With the support of Assembly Member Epstein, advocates demanded that the MTA take definitive steps to address community concerns, including: holding monthly meetings with 14th Street residents; implementing shorter hours of construction, including prohibiting work on Sundays; instituting an independent monitor for air quality and environmental concerns.

“We're calling on the MTA to be a better neighbor to folks on 14th Street” Epstein said. “We're not trying to stop the MTA from doing the necessary work to improve the L train line and the 14th Street and First Avenue, but we do expect the MTA to seek community input in order to minimize the impact of ongoing construction on local residents."

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera also called for more accountability from the MTA.

MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek provided this statement to Gothamist:

"We have had dozens of meetings with neighbors of the L Project, have developed extensive procedures to minimize the impact of construction, and welcome practical ideas on how we can further protect local quality of life," Tarek said. "We require our contractors to uphold strict guidelines regarding noise, vibration, air quality, and safety, are monitoring all of these impacts, and any suggestion otherwise is just false."

Meanwhile, Gothamist has a piece from Wednesday focusing on the green stuff (upper-left-hand corner in that photo above) that workers are dredging up from the bowels of the L tube.

Transit Authority President Andy Byford had pledged to be transparent about what materials workers would dispose of and how. As for the green substance, officials said that it was water, concrete and dirt, per Gothamist.

"I don't believe anything the MTA says," resident Penny Pennline said Tuesday. "I'm not buying it, they also said 9/11 was safe for the first responders, where are those people now?"

L-train gunk aside, there are other quality-of-life issues, such as the constant noise. A resident who lives adjacent to the construction site shared this video from Wednesday...

Here's 14th Street resident Patrick Ryan from Tuesday: "Everyone who lives on East 14th Street understands the L train has to be repaired, but the conditions that the residents and schools and small businesses are living under are untenable and dangerous. The air quality in our area has suffered immensely due to the continuous use of diesel run machinery, a constant flow of trucks, and fifteen uncovered industrial dumpsters regularly being filled and emptied and overflowing into the streets.”

In another development, Gov. Cuomo was scheduled (at the last minute) to tour the Canarsie tube overnight "so that he and his experts can decide if repair work really needs to take 15 months," the Post reported.

Updated 6:13 a.m.

The Post has a story on Cuomo's tube tour:

“This is a vital and complicated project. We’re talking about a hundred year old tunnel. This is highly disruptive to New Yorkers,” Cuomo said after the tour. “I want to be able to look New Yorkers in the face and tell them that this is the best possible way to have done this.”

All photos courtesy of the 542 E. 14th St Tenants' Association

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction

A look at the new L-train renderings along 14th Street

There's improved pedestrian access for businesses along the L-train construction corridor

Harassed by Steve Croman? Checks in the mail

New York AG Barbara Underwood announced yesterday that the first checks are in the mail to eligible current or former tenants of buildings owned by Steve Croman who submitted claims to the Croman Tenant Restitution Fund.

The restitution fund is part of the settlement that arose out of an investigation and lawsuit filed by the AG against Croman for — among other things — harassment, coercion and fraud, to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments.

Here's more from the AG's press office:

The consent decree requires Croman to pay $8 million into a Tenant Restitution Fund – the largest-ever monetary settlement with an individual landlord. The $8 million will be divided equally among eligible claimants and distributed to tenants in installments over a 38 to 42-month period. This first round of restitution payments follows Croman’s initial $2 million payment to the fund.

To be eligible for restitution, tenants had to have lived in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment owned by Croman between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017, not including tenants who received a buyout of more than $20,000 (not including any amount that purported to cover rent or arrears).

Following last year’s historic consent decree, in August 2018, the claims administrator hired by the Attorney General mailed claim notices and application forms to current and former rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants in Croman’s buildings. Nearly 800 households filed applications for restitution funds. Eligible households will begin receiving checks for $2,425 each, as early as next week, in this first installment from the Croman Tenant Restitution Fund.

Cynthia Chaffee, Croman tenant and cofounder of the Stop Croman Coalition, told me this: "As far as I'm concerned, no amount of money can ever make up for the hell Steve Croman put his tenants through."

In addition to this $8 million Tenant Restitution Fund, the settlement required that a new, independent management company run Croman's residential properties for five years. In June, the AG's office selected Michael Besen’s New York City Management to oversee Croman's real-estate empire, which includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village.

Croman was released from the Manhattan Correctional Facility on June 1 after serving eight months of a one-year jail sentence and paid a $5 million tax settlement following separate criminal charges brought by the AG's office for fraudulent refinancing of loans and tax fraud.

Previously on EV Grieve:
AG's office: Steve Croman agrees to pay $8 million to the tenants he harassed

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The China Star returns to service

After a few days off for a kitchen repair, the China Star reopened today at 145 First Ave. near Ninth Street.

EVG regular Lola Sáenz shared this photo of China Star owner Jay Yang. (You can read our interview from October 2017 with Jay and learn the family backstory of the China Star at this link.)

EVG Etc.: NYCHA plans to sell land and air; Mercury Lounge announces anniversary shows

[Taking the gloves off on 2nd Ave via Derek Berg]

The NYCHA plans to sell air rights and open some land to private development in order to raise money for repairs (The Real Deal)

The Opportunity Zone program promoted by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, whose company owns many EV properties, could also benefit them financially, an Associated Press investigation found (TPM)

Details on the Mercury Lounge’s 25th anniversary shows (Brooklyn Vegan)

MTA fare hikes loom (AMnewyork)

Gov. Amazon Cuomo will tour the L-train tunnel, cause disruptions tomorrow (Gothamist)

The Sanitation Department is hosting a design contest for a new corner waste basket (Curbed)

MC5's Wayne Kramer revisits old EV haunts (The New Yorker)

Under financial duress, the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater has announced lay offs. Their theaters, including the U.C.B. East on Third and A, are not in danger of closing. (The New York Times)

Who's that kid with the New York Dolls outside the Gem Spa in 1973? (Dangerous Minds)

A homes feature on Adam Elzer, who lives above his restaurant Sauce on 12th Street (6sqft)

About those mysterious sidewalk markings on Avenue C (Town & Village)

The U.S. theatrical premiere of "Dead Souls," the eight-and-a-half-hour documentary (shown in three parts) by Wang Bing that documents the testimony of survivors of the hard-labor camp in the Gobi Desert in Gansu, China (Anthology Film Archives)

A film series featuring grifters (Metrograph)

41-year-old Cornelia Street Cafe closing on Jan. 2 (JVNY)

And people have been lining up to get into the new Nutella Cafe over on 13th Street and University Place. Save some time and month and head to Key Food on Avenue A...

Dallas BBQ is here to stay

You may have noticed the recent arrival of those mysterious flyers in the front windows of the always-crowded Dallas BBQ on Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place noting "Here we stay..."

Perhaps it's a variation of dining in...? EVG correspondent Steven spoke with a manager, who said that Dallas BBQ was considering moving to a new location. Apparently word leaked to some regulars. Ownership decided to stay put, and the signs are to let their customers know that they are not going anywhere.

The family-owned Dallas BBQ has 11 locations in the metropolitan area serving up enormous platters of reasonably priced food (onion loaf!) and supertanker-sized (Texas-sized?) drinks.

The original Dallas BBQ opened on the Upper West Side in 1978. The EV location debuted at some point in the 1980s. (If anyone can supply the exact date/year...)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Mom jailed for leaving toddler outside Dallas BBQ speaks out 20 years later

Tamam now open on 5th Street

[Image via Instagram]

Tamam, a Turkish boutique, opened last week on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue in a storefront between White Trash and So-Hair.

The owners sent us a note about their shop.

Tamam means "ok! all right! sure!" etc. in Turkish. Our shop is a boutique with handmade ceramics, tabletop, jewelry old and new, as well as ikat and hand-embroidered pillows, Turkish rugs, handmade scarves, accessories, clothing. We also have a great selection of antique and vintage textiles from Turkey, Central Asia, India and beyond.

Tamam is three partners: Clare Louise Frost, Elizabeth Hewitt of Tulu Textiles, and Hüseyin Kaplan, a noted Turkish textile and rug dealer. Tamam is all of treasures in one place, a treasure chest of all the things we love.

We are so happy to be in the East Village — we couldn't imagine opening our shop anywhere else.

They are open most days from noon to 8 p.m. through Dec. 23. (They will then be closed until the start of the New Year.) Find more info at their Instagram account here.

Details on the last night at the Continental this Saturday

[Photo from last week]

As previously reported, the Continental is wrapping up its 27-year run at 23 Third Avenue at St. Mark's Place on Saturday night.

More details on that last night have emerged via these flyers, showing the New York Dolls outside Gem Spa in 1973, in circulation...

It will be a late night, with festivities set to start at 11 p.m. Guests/DJs including Lenny Kaye, Jessie Malin and Randy Jones (the cowboy from the Village People).

The Continental, which transitioned from a live-music venue to a regular-old bar in 2006, had received several extensions in the past year, first in July then October. Trigger, the bar's owner, had most recently hoped to stay open until May 2019.

This will be the last business to close on the northeast corner of Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place. A boutique office building with ground-floor retail is in the works. Real Estate Equities Corporation picked up the 99-year leasehold for the properties here for nearly $150 million in November 2017. The corner assemblage is owned by the Gabay family.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Shake Shack effect? McDonald's on 3rd Avenue at St. Mark's Place has closed after 20 years

Report: Northeast corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Ave. fetching $50 million for development site

Report: NE corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue will yield to a 7-story office building

Demolition permits filed for northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

End is nearing for the businesses on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

The Continental gets a 3-month reprieve

New building plans revealed for 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

Another disappearing diner

Going outside the usual coverage zone for this post about the Pearl Diner, a place that I always liked.

Yesterday, New York Yimby reported that building permits have been filed for a new 21-story hotel at 212 Pearl St. in the Financial District — a plot of land that currently houses the Pearl Diner.

Per NYY:

The concrete structure will yield 26,413 square feet with 21,120 square feet dedicated to hotel rooms. Permits detail the 244-foot tall building will have 48 hotel units, averaging 440 square feet each. Gene Kaufman Architect PC is responsible for the design.

No demolition permits have been filed as of yet and the Pearl Street Diner located at the site is currently still open for business. The estimated completion date has not been announced.

The Pearl Diner hasn't announced a closing date just yet.

Diners in NYC are an endangered species as it is... especially a single-level building in the heart of the booming Financial District. So it's rather amazing the Pearl Diner has lasted this long.

And now another hotel via Gene Kauffman will rise here. (According to The Real Deal, who first reported on this, Kaufman was already the architect for three of the six ongoing hotel projects in the Financial District.)

The hotel will have company — a 40-story Marriott consisting of two brands — a Courtyard and a Residence Inn is rising directly across the street from the diner...

The Pearl opened in 1962, and is one of the last standalone diners in Manhattan.

[EVG file photo]

As Nick at Scouting NY said about the Pearl's neon sign: "at night, [it] makes New York City look like New York City."

[Photo from 2010 by James & Karla Murray]

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday's parting shots

Our resident red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, enjoy views of this neighbor today from two vantage points... atop the St. Nicholas of Myra Church on Avenue A and 10th Street (above) and the Christodora House on Avenue B and Ninth Street (below) ...

And I can't tell which one is which in these photos that Steven shared.

The two were conspicuously out and about in full view of the hawkarazzi as photos have circulated showing Christo's ex Dora with a new mate in wing rehab.

9th Precinct hosting a Build the Block meeting Friday evening for Sector C

The 9th Precinct continues to host Sector Safety Summits for East Village residents and business owners.

The next one is schedule for Friday evening for those in Sector C. This Sector encompasses the south side of Seventh Street to East Houston, from the west side of First Avenue to Broadway...

Per the NYPD: "This is an avenue for you to voice your grievances or concerns with issues in and around the neighborhood." (Maybe someone will ask about the light tower on Second Avenue and Third Street.)

This is part of the NYPD's initiative called the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program. The 9th Precinct is split up into four sectors, with two officers assigned to each sector. Find the sectors and the responsible officers here. Use this map to find out what Sector you're in, and what meeting you should attend.

Friday's meeting will be held at the Bhakti Center, 25 First Ave. between First Street and Second Street. Per the invite, doors will open at 5 p.m. for refreshments and the meeting will start promptly at 5:30 p.m.

When in rehab: Meet Winston, the new red-tailed hawk in Dora's life

Dora's rumored new romance is now blog official.

On Monday, Goggla posted the first photos of Dora (on the left) cozying up to the new love bird in her life — hello Winston!

Bobby and Cathy Horvath, the fine folks at the Long Island-based Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR), shared this photo with Goggla.

Dora, the red-tailed hawk who previously lived in Tompkins Square Park, has been in the care of WINORR since April. This marked her second stint there for an injured wing.

She is doing well and seems content with her new life at WINORR. However, she won't ever be returning to Tompkins Square Park — or maybe anywhere out in the wild.

Per Goggla's post:

It looks like Dora is happy hanging out with Winston, who also has a wing injury that keeps him from being unable to live in the wild. The two have bonded and I'm glad the drama of the last year has had a positive conclusion.

SO ... MUCH ... DRAMA.

Christo and Dora raised 10 hawklets these past few years before she left for her latest wing rehab. Meanwhile, Christo has been in relationships with Barucha/Nora/Not-Dora and, more permanently, Amelia.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Dora the red-tailed hawk returns to Tompkins Square Park

Dora re-injures her wing, leaves Tompkins Square Park for examination, possible rehab

Dora's wing is not broken, but she won't be returning to Tompkins Square Park any time soon

Red-tailed hawks who love fast food

Why Dora's private secretary is really leaving

Red-tailed hawks: They're just like us (holiday edition)

Christo responds to rumors that he rekindled flame with Dora

You won't believe what Christo eats for his cheat meals

Dora shares her inspiring outlook on molting

Exclusive: Amelia — 25 things you don't know about me!

About the New Colossus Festival, bringing new bands to the LES/East Village this March

More details emerged yesterday about the first-ever New Colossus Festival, which will bring 50-plus bands to LES/East Village music venues March 7-10, 2019.

As Brooklyn Vegan first noted yesterday, the festival (and conference) is being pitched as a stopover for emerging bands headed to SXSW in Austin, Texas, the following week.

Per BV:

The festival was created and produced by NYC music industry vets Mike Bell (Lorimer Beacon), Lio Kanine (Kanine Records) & Steven Matrick (Kepler Events/Pianos) and they are aiming for a CMJ-esque vibe.

“CMJ left such a vacuum, not only for independent music venues, but for bands all over the world that used it as a way to play New York City every year,” says Matrick. “We chose a very convenient weekend to try to bring back that opportunity. We’d also been discussing a way for these venues to work together again and resurrect the collaborative aspect of Manhattan’s music scene.”

Shows will be at Berlin (25 Avenue A), Coney Island Baby (169 Avenue A), Pianos (158 Ludlow) and Bowery Electric (327 Bowery), among other local spaces.

You can find the full lineup of bands as well as ticket info (three-day passes are on sale now for $50) at this link.

Yes, China Wok has closed

As a follow-up post to last Wednesday's item about China Wok's downed gates on Avenue B at Third Street... an EVG reader shared this photo from yesterday, showing that the CW signage has been removed, and the interior cleaned out.

The unofficial word here is that the owners decided to close after a rent increase. (The building is among those in Steve Croman's empire.)

We heard that the folks who ran China Wok also own a similar to-go establishment on Canal Street.

[EVG photo from the summer]

This corner space is for rent with an ask of $6,495 a month.

On Lafayette Street, former shelter for homeless women is now Showfields, 'the Most Interesting Store In The World'

[EVG photo from 2015]

Over at 11 Bond St. (aka 343 Lafayette St.), the former shelter for homeless women has been transformed into Showfields, a retail complex focusing on health-and-wellness brands.

Tenants on the ground-floor of Showfields made their debut yesterday.

[11 Bond St. rendering]

According to the headline on the news release yesterday: "The Most Interesting Store In The World Opens Today On Bond Street." The owners call this "a destination for consumers to engage with their favorite brands."

Among what you'll find inside, per the release:

• THRILLS by CHLOE, SHOWFIELDS' signature food and beverage experience where by CHLOE.'s larger-than-life flavors take on fantastical form inside a magical carnival-inspired funhouse.

• A bathroom curated by Babba C. Rivera of bybabba, showcasing her favorite bath and beauty products.

• You've seen the quip electric toothbrush on Instagram and mounted on your friends' bathroom mirrors, and now you can actually try a refreshed oral care routine first-hand (or... first-mouth).

• Get hands on with frank body's Australian natural coffee scrubs. Even sweeter, the first 1K customers will get a free full-size Birthday Cake Scrub.

• The GRAVITY relaxation space, a partnership with sleep application Calm and Beats by Dre to offer a distinct calming experience showcasing the brand's weighted sleep essentials.

• A sensory experience with Function of Beauty that highlights new and limited-edition fragrances, along with the next-level performance of this hyper-customizable hair care range. Customers will have access to gift box discounts not available online.

• Boll & Branch's new mattress inside an interactive billboard emitting different color light depending on the time of day.

The Center of Urban Community Services, who ran the 43-bed shelter for homeless women starting in 1988, sold the property to Aby Rosen's RFR Holding for $26 million in 2015.

The 15,000-square-foot building is in the Noho Historic District. The Landmarks Preservation Commission OK'd the modifications to the building in 2016. It was erected in 1913 for the New York Women’s League for Animals as a veterinary hospital. Find more history here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Shelter for homeless woman on Lafayette sold; retail tenant wanted

Marking the arrival of the Alphabet 99-cent Fresh Pizza awning

[Photo by Randy Kato]

Workers yesterday afternoon hoisted the awning for the new tenant at 20 Avenue A — Alphabet Pizza, which will serve up 99-cent slices.

[Photo by @Jason_Chatfield]

The original coming-soon signage put the business name as Alphabet Pizza and Deli. No sign of the "___ and Deli" for now. It will also be competition for the FDR 99 Cents Slice Pizza outpost around the corner on Second Street.

Chase left 20 Avenue A in November 2015. The newish landlord carved up the former bank branch into three smaller storefronts, two of which remain empty.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The retail-wine bar possibilities for the former Chase space on Avenue A and East 2nd Street

The retail space at 20 Avenue A no longer looks like a bank branch

Another broker for the former Chase branch on Avenue A

Pizza for 20 Avenue A

20 Avenue A is now 3 storefronts

ViVi back in bubble tea action on Allen after 2-month DOH-related closure

The ViVi Bubble Tea outpost on Allen Street just south of Houston reopened late last week after a two-month stint on the temporarily closed list.

The DOH ordered the chainlet closed after an inspection on Oct. 1 turned up 79 violation points, including for "Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan."

The operators of this ViVi location renovated the interior during the time off, and received the OK to reopen after a Dec. 3 follow-up inspection only turned up 2 violation points.

There are nearly 30 ViVis in NYC, including one on 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue and Third Avenue at Ninth Street.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The China Star will be back open tomorrow (or Thursday)

In case you were alarmed at the sight of the closed gate at the China Star during usual business hours... the solid, family-owned takeout-delivery spot at 145 First Ave. near Ninth Street was closed yesterday and today.

However, earlier today, EVG regular Lola Sáenz ran into China Star owner Jay Yang, who explained that they were doing some kitchen repairs, and will be open tomorrow (Thursday at the latest).

You can read our interview from October 2017 with Jay and learn the backstory of the China Star at this link.

Anyway, a reliable and affordable source of Chinese food right here.

The vintage bus stops here

Derek Berg spotted one of the MTA's vintage buses that have been in circulation this holiday season on Fourth Avenue near 14th Street.

Here's more about this ride via the MTA:

Bus Number 3100 (1956) was the first air-conditioned bus in the United States used for public transportation. The bus was designed and built as an experiment, with this single example was purchased by the Fifth Avenue Coach Company about a year after its manufacture.

It has other features first introduced in the 1950s: a push‑type rear exit door, wrap-around seating in the rear portion, soft seating, and fluorescent lighting. After two decades of passenger service, this vehicle was assigned to the Transit Police; it was retired from all service in the mid-1970s.

Sounds luxurious, though there's no WiFi or those soothing repeat "Caution bus is turning" messages.

The buses — 11 models in total — are scheduled to be here for boarding though Dec. 21.

And you can also ride the Nostalgia Train on Sundays starting at 10 a.m. through Dec. 30 at the Second Avenue F stop. This link has the schedule and more info.

Anyway, a feel-good moment for the MTA with a tumultuous budgeting process underway.

Plywood watch: 238 E. 3rd St.

The plywood recently arrived outside 238 E. Third St. between Avenue B and Avenue C...

...where there is a pending new building permit for a 7-floor residential complex.

As New York Yimby noted back in March:

The new structure will be designed by Vikatos Architect, and will comprise a total of 20,928 square feet of living area with a total built-up area of 27,657 square feet.

The building will rise seven floors above ground to 75 feet, with additional cellar living area and a basement. 20 rental units are planned, in total, putting the average unit at about 1,046 square feet.

But first, the existing structure needs to be demolished. (Those permits were filed at the DOB in July.) The arrival of the plywood is the first sign of the impending demolition here.

The current building, which the Blue Man Group owned at one point for use as a practice facility, also served as a movie theater. Public records from July 2017 list two of the founders of the Blue Man Group — Chris Wink and Philip Stanton — as the previous owners, who received $18.6 million for this and another LES property.

Vinbaytel Property Development is the new owner of No. 238. Vinbaytel has developed several East Village condos in recent years, including at 227 E. Seventh St., 67 Avenue C and 26 Avenue B.

Previously on EV Grieve:
7-story residential building planned for former Blue Man Group facilities on 3rd Street

On 1st Avenue, Paquito's is closed for renovations until Dec. 28

Paquito's, the dependable Mexican takeout spot on First Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street, closed for renovations yesterday... (thanks to Lola Sáenz for the tip and photos!)

Their Instagram account puts the reopening at Dec. 28... with the promise of a new look...

Paquito's, which first opened in 1992, closed its bar-restaurant next door at the end of last year due to a reported rent increase.

Short Stories shapes up on the Bowery

New awning alert at 355 Bowery, where a new bar-restaurant called Short Stories will be opening soon here between Third Street and Fourth Street. (The Brett/Beer sign has been up since the height of the Kavanaugh hearings.)

CB3 OK'd a new liquor license back in June for the the applicants, including Danny "The Wolf of Wilson" Teran, who runs several businesses in Bushwick, including Wheelhouse out on Wilson Avenue, and Williamsburg Pizza investor Ashwin Deshmukh.

The questionnaire on file with the CB3 application noted that Short Stories will feature "a mix of American, Cuban and Mexican fare." (Teran, a Cuban-American, specializes in Cuban cuisine. He also previously ran Millie's Cuban Cafe on Wilson Avenue.)

No word on an opening date. You can see updates on the interior via the Short Stories Instagram account.

Wise Men closed here in November 2017 after five years in business. And previously, the space was Osaka Vibe/Orange Valve — aka, that kind of weird sushi place on the Bowery.

Previously on EV Grieve:
An appreciation of sorts: That kind of weird sushi place on the Bowery

Former kind of weird sushi place on the Bowery is now home to the Wise Men

Bushwick-based chef looking to bring Short Stories to the Bowery

[Photo from 2011]

Tea time for new cafe on 11th Street

[Reader-submitted photo]

JQK Floral Tea is now open at 330 E. 11th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

A reader shared the photo here from Saturday evening, and noted that the small shop sells a variety of green, black and oolong teas as well as coffee.

The JQK website isn't operational just yet (there's also an Instagram account without any posts). Yelp lists their hours as 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with a 9 p.m. close on Friday and Saturday.

This space was previously home to Fair Folks & a Goat, the coffee shop and boutique, which left in August 2017.


Monday, December 10, 2018

At the 27th Tompkins Square Park holiday tree lightning

As promised, some more photos from yesterday's tree lighting ceremony in Tompkins Square Park.

All photos here are from EVG contributor Stacie Joy...

Carolers of Olde New York from Theater for the New City provided entertainment ...

...along with the Mandel & Lydon Trio...

And some of the residents and local business owners in attendance ...

Albert Fabozzi started the event in 1992. He planted the tree in memory of Park advocate Glenn Barnett, "and each of our neighbors whom we have lost to AIDS.”