Monday, February 20, 2017

Behold Civic Hall, the high-tech future of Union Square — and NYC

[EVG file photo]

As you may know, the city is redeveloping the city-owned site that P.C. Richard (and Son!) has leased the past 20-plus years at 124 E. 14th St. at Irving Place.

In late December, the de Blasio administration announced that RAL Development Services, a real-estate firm, will develop the site with Civic Hall — "a tech-focused work and event space" — anchoring the space.

And on Friday, de Blasio unveiled the renderings for the 20-plus story building that will be erected between NYU dorms...

And here is more from the city's news release on Civic Hall:

Mayor de Blasio met with tech workers at AppNexus today to unveil the latest designs and details for the new Union Square Tech Hub, a City-backed project to provide space for tech worker training, education, start-ups and convening.

The hub itself will generate 600 good paying jobs, and serve as a new home for Civic Hall that will include a digital job training facility for all New Yorkers, and modern, flexible workspaces designed to meet the unique needs of early-stage startups in New York’s vibrant innovation economy.

“This new hub will be the front-door for tech in New York City. People searching for jobs, training or the resources to start a company will have a place to come to connect and get support. No other city in the nation has anything like it. It represents this City’s commitment to a strong and inclusive tech ecosystem,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.


Currently the site of PC Richard & Sons Union Square, 124 East 14th Street will be transformed into a hub for civic innovation, job creation and fluid work and learning opportunities in a state-of-the-art tech-enabled facility. The 258,000 square-foot project will be developed by RAL Development Services and designed by Davis Brody Bond, and is expected to create more than 800 construction jobs. The project will be union-built and staffed, and in compliance with HireNYC guidelines.

The $250 million project on City-owned land, will bring together the best-in-class programs offering affordable digital skills training for New Yorkers seeking to join the 21st century economy – all in wired, open, and accessible workspaces. It will be anchored by Civic Hall, a collaborative work and event space advancing the use of technology for the public good. Civic Hall has grown to more than 1,000 members, including a diverse mix of community organizations, tech companies, city, state and federal agencies, and individual civic entrepreneurs. The new Civic Hall plans to include the following workforce development partners: the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, General Assembly, Per Scholas, FedCap, Code to Work, and Coalition for Queens.

As for the renderings, Gizmodo noted: "14th street’s new tech tower looks like what would happen if you asked Ikea to build a white-collar prison" and also referred to the building as a "massive broken Rubik’s cube."

According to TechCrunch, the plan is to start construction in 2018 and open in 2020.

Updated: There were public meetings about the plans here via CB3 in December 2015.

EVG reader Charlie Chen, who shared these links, noted that the second rendering "is dead wrong, as in 2020, the L will still be closed and 14th Street will mostly likely be a bus/bike/pedestrian walkway."

It's 7 a.m.

Photo today by Bobby Williams...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week in Grieview

[Filming in Tompkins Square Park Wednesday via Derek Berg]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

Onetime home of Lucky Cheng's and adjacent property on the development market for $26 million (Friday)

Clockwork Bar denounces weekend attack by reported white supremacist group (Tuesday)

Prepping for 2019: L train shutdown workshop rescheduled for March 9 (Thursday)

Raphael Toledano-owned 97 2nd Ave. is on the auction block (Thursday)

Out and About with Delphine Blue (Wednesday)

Local support for "A Day Without Immigrants" (Thursday)

Southern Cross Coffee now open on Fifth Street (Tuesday)

First sign of Ikinari Steak, the quick-serve, no-seat steakhouse coming to 10th Street (Monday)

At the rally for the former PS 64 today at City Hall (Tuesday)

BeetleBug arrives with flowers on Ninth Street (Tuesday)

The all-new 189 7th St. asking $6.25 million (Wednesday)

State attorney general sues David Barton Gyms following sudden closure in December (Wednesday)

Former Biscuit shop for rent on Avenue A (Monday)

Valentine's night at Sunny's (Tuesday)

A new era of Bowery bums, plus more workout choices (Monday)

Plywood arrives on 11th Street outside Danny Meyer's incoming restaurant Martina (Friday)

A 4-vehicle pileup on East Houston (Monday)

Happy No. 163 McSorley's! (Thursday)

More renovations for Whole Foods Market® Bowery (Monday)

"An Evening With Martin Shkreli" no longer happening at Webster Hall Monday night (Thursday)

...and one more look at yesterday, which was reportedly pretty nice...

[Astor Place photo by Vinny & O]


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M2M has closed for now on 3rd Avenue; new storefront coming 2 blocks away

As we reported, M2M was closing on Third Avenue at 11th Street at the end of the business day yesterday.

This morning, the owners of the Asian market put up signage with an announcement about their new East Village location ...

As you can see, M2M will eventually be moving two blocks to the south ... to the long-empty spaces in the retail strip of NYU's Alumni Hall...

The corner space was home to Birdbath Bakery until the summer of 2014. Next door, Citi Habitats moved out in June 2014. No word how many of these storefronts M2M will take. There are two other empty slots that the Subway sandwich shop and Saint's Alp Teahouse previously rented.

As for the former M2M space, Wagamama, the London-based chain of Japanese restaurants, is coming here soon. Before M2M opened in 2002, the storefront housed an OMG jeans outlet.

For now you can get your M2M fix at their Waverly Place store.

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

A mock presidential funeral for Presidents' Day weekend; plus a new NYC Protests site

Several hundred protestors took part yesterday in a New Orleans-style mock funeral for the American presidency... the group started in Washington Square Park... and made their way to Union Square, where Derek Berg took these photos...

Per the Facebook invite: "Join us for wailing, honoring, remembering, grieving, marching, singing, chanting, and demanding the rebirth of a Presidency dedicated to the service of all peoples and 'sacred fire of liberty' that President George Washington swore to uphold."

“We’ve allowed a barely functional idiot reality-TV show star to lead one of the once-great, proud political parties of this country,” funeral organizer Jay W. Walker told Newsday.

On the topic of protests ... this arrived recently in the EVG inbox...

A new tool, NYC Protests, makes it easy to discover, engage with and join the many protests, rallies and marches happening in and around New York City to resist Trump.

With public displays of resistance proving to be a major factor in the resistance to President Trump’s agenda, NYC now has an easy, simple tool that allows thousands of activist-minded residents to join the fight. The newly launched site — — has user-friendly calendars and alerts that make engaging with NYC’s protests easier than ever.

The site is free, easy to follow and optimized for the way we consume info today, with desktop and mobile optimized versions of the website, plus an active Twitter, Facebook and mailing list.

“In the days following the Women’s March, we saw hundreds of posts on social media from New Yorkers asking how they could find more protests, rallies and marches,” says NYC Protests’ Brooklyn-based founder, who has chosen to remain anonymous for employment reasons. “So we created an easy, simple tool for New Yorkers to stay engaged with the resistance.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

[NSFW] Christo and Dora's spring fever

Tompkins Square Park today... photos by Bobby Williams...

Baby hawk watch TK...

It is nice out today

...a little earlier this morning in Tompkins Square Park...

...and going, going...

Watch 'Urban Homeric Hymn to Poseidon' come to life on the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall

The Spanish street-art duo PichiAvo completed their piece on the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall at the end of January. (This may be my favorite of any of the recent murals here.)

Here's a recap posted yesterday of the work, titled "Urban Homeric Hymn to Poseidon," featuring some drone footage...

The mural will be up through May.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Heaven sent

The D.C.-based Priests have a new record out, titled "Nothing Feels Natural," which is gaining some positive reviews.

The video here is from their 2014 EP.

Earth School students take to Tompkins Square Park to show support of public education

Nearly 300 students and teachers from the Earth School on Sixth Street and Avenue B marched to Tompkins Square Park this morning as a show of support for public education...

The students were chanting, "Say it loud say it clear, public schools are welcome here" ...

Thanks to Terry Towery for the photos

The Anthology Film Archives celebrates Leonard Cohen this weekend

The Anthology Film Archives on Second Avenue and Second Street pays tribute with a weekend-long series to the late Leonard Cohen.

Per the Anthology website:

This November saw the passing of one of our greats – poet, novelist, monk, songwriter, and heart-melting baritone Leonard Cohen. To commemorate the death of our favorite ladies’ man, we present a series showcasing Cohen on the big screen: as subject, soundtrack, actor, and inspiration.

The series includes "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," the Robert Altman-directed Western from 1971 starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. Cohen provided the soundtrack.

Find more details here.

Onetime home of Lucky Cheng's and adjacent property on the development market for $26 million

[Photo from March 2016]

In March 2016, there were reports that the building that once housed Lucky Cheng's on First Avenue and an adjacent property on Second Street were in the process of being divided by new landlord Carmar Development, LLC.

Now, though, Uri Marrache, a principal at Carmar Development, is putting the two-buidling parcel up for sale for development.

Here's a news release on the property that arrived in our inbox yesterday:

The adjoining, L-Shaped properties enjoy combined frontage of 60' spread across East 2nd Street & 1st Avenue; buildings are comprised of roughly a 14,000 SF structure and boast around 12,000 SF of unused air rights; located in a versatilely zoned area. The properties can be acquired for $26 Million.

Both buildings are also available for Net Lease.

24 1st Avenue & 99-101 East 2nd Street are strategically located along the vibrant 1st Avenue corridor in the East Village. The properties are located within four blocks from Peter Brant's illustrious exhibition space at the celebrated artist — Walter De Maria's historic home; which has nurtured and pioneered a new era of artistic progress within the region. The Notable Art Collector & Industrialist recently purchased the legendary property for $27 Million.

A flurry of progressive & chic development projects have transformed the nature of the immediate area, further characterizing the region as New York City's most desirable destination to live, shop, and play. The New Museum and world-renowned eateries like Katz's Deli, Daniel Boulud's DBGB, Russ and Daughters; the emergence of several prominent art galleries; have all fostered the majestic aroma of the neighborhood.

These factors, coupled with the pre-existing dynamism of the investment & residential sales markets have paved the way for unwavering cultural and economic growth in the East Village and Lower East Side. All the while, neighboring development projects such as 215 Chrystie Street by Ian Schrager have registered sales at unprecedented condominium prices, thus cementing the region's aesthetic appeal and establishing the East Village & Lower East Side as amongst the world's most magnetizing neighborhoods.

The properties are ripe for a user who is seeking to benefit from the unparalleled retail presence on both 1st Avenue and East 2nd Street. The acquirer will also be able to creatively utilize the curb cut (on 99-101 East 2nd Street) and the vast ceilings, coupled with unique layout; while capitalizing on the underlying development potential of the properties. The acquirer is also certain to benefit from the inevitable reallocation of retail value from the neighboring corridors in SoHo & NoHo.

Here's an aerial view of the properties...

Hayne Suthon, who owned and and operated Lucky Cheng's, the cross-dressing cabaret, also lived in the building. She died of cancer at age 57 in June 2014.

She had been in a legal fight with the operators behind Pride and Joy BBQ, who were renting the space to open a 220-seat honky tonk. (You can read more about this lawsuit here and here.)

The East Second Street space had been home to an array of short-lived concepts in recents years, including Bento Burger ... Marfa... and Waikiki Wally's...

[Photo from last March]

Suthon had owned the property since 1986, paying $800,000, city documents show. According to public records, the address changed hands to Carmar Development in February 2015 for a little more than $9.6 million.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Myron Mixon's Pride & Joy BBQ now in the works for the former Lucky Cheng's space

Fire reported at incoming Pride and Joy BBQ on East Second Street

Myron Mixon lawsuit puts opening of Pride and Joy BBQ in question at former Lucky Cheng's space

More alterations for the Pride and Joy space

Report: Pride and Joy BBQ partners suing landlord Hayne Suthon for $22 million

Pride and Joy's unpaid electric bill

[Updated] M2M is closing this weekend on 3rd Avenue

M2M, the Asian convenient store that opened in 2002 on Third Avenue at 11th Street, is closing tomorrow, workers confirmed.

The closure was expected at some point early this year after Wagamama, the London-based chain of Japanese restaurants, signed a lease last summer for a retail space here at 55 Third Ave., aka Eleventh and Third, the 12-floor, recently luxurified building.

In 2014, these commercial spaces hit the market for $25.5 million. The listing at the time noted that M2M's lease was up in 2017. (Next door, The Smith's lease is through 2027.)

Last summer, an EVG reader said that an M2M worker divulged that the grocery would be moving when the lease was up. "The employee was very talkative about it. Said it was going to be within five blocks of the original store and probably going to be bigger. Still trying to figure out their likely spot because of limited spaces that size in the area."

So far, there aren't any signs up in the store about either a closure or relocation. A worker was noncommittal about a move, only saying that the store was closing.

As for Wagamama, there hasn't been any announcement about when they open in this location. (They were up for a beer-wine license via CB3 last fall.) The first NYC Wagamama — there are more than 140 worldwide — opened in November on Fifth Avenue at 26th Street.

H/T Steven!

Updated 2/19

Check out this post for news on where M2M is relocating.

Plywood arrives on 11th Street outside Danny Meyer's incoming restaurant Martina

While here on 11th Street at Third Avenue... workers yesterday erected the plywood on 11th Street outside the under-construction new restaurant from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.

Martina is the working name for the space, which is in the former lobby of Eleventh and Third, the 12-floor residential building here.

The group applied for a beer-wine license last November (they were approved). The application (PDF!) on file at the CB3 website showed that the space will hold 13 tables with a sidewalk cafe with four tables. (The overall capacity was listed at 75 or below with nine employees.) The proposed hours were 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday; until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

In approving the applicant, the CB3 minutes refer to Martina as "a full-service pizza restaurant."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group planning Martina for 55 3rd Ave.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Musket love at McSorley's

Members of the McSorley's militia were out in full force outside the bar today on Seventh Street as it celebrated its 163 anniversary...

Photos by Derek Berg

Local businesses close their doors today in support of 'A Day Without Immigrants'

Businesses in cities across the country are closing today as part of the "A Day Without Immigrants" strike

As CNN reported, this is "a national grassroots movement seeking to protest President Trump's immigration reforms and highlight the contributions of the immigrant community in the United States."

La Sirena, the Mexican folk-art shop on Third Street, will be taking part today by remaining closed...

A number of NYC restaurants will close today in support of the movement, including most in the Blue Ribbon family. However, their East Village fried-chicken outlet will remain open.

Please let me know of any other local businesses taking part...

Updated 1:30 p.m.

Thanks to the commenter for this tip... the Westville restaurants, including on Avenue A and 11th Street, are closed...

Updated 3:30 p.m.

Hecho en Dumbo is closed on the Bowery today...

Raphael Toledano-owned 97 2nd Ave. is on the auction block

The 6-story, 10-unit building at 97 Second Ave. between Sixth Street and Fifth Street was one of the first East Village properties purchased by Raphael Toledano.

Now the building, which has a complicated recent history (there was a lawsuit in 2014 involving Toledano and another broker), is on the auction block.

Here are the details:

On the 28th day of February, 2017 commencing at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, at Polsinelli PC, 600 Third Avenue, 42nd Fl., New York, NY 10016, Lefko Funding LLC (Secured Party) will sell the following property by public auction to the highest qualified bidder: 100% of the membership interests in 97 2nd LLC, a New York limited liability company, which owns real property consisting of apartments and a first floor commercial space, in New York, NY with an address of 97 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003.

Secured Party reserves the right to reject all bids and terminate or adjourn the sale to another time or place, or to effectuate a private sale instead of a public sale, without further publication, and further reserves the right to bid for the collateral at the sale and to credit bid by applying some or all of its secured debt to the purchase price. Interested parties who would like additional information concerning the items to be sold at the sale and the terms and conditions of the sale, including the eligibility requirements to be a qualified bidder.

Public records show that Toledano paid $4.95 million for it in April 2014.

In 2014, Douglas Pratt, whose family had operated the longtime laundromat here since the early 1970s as well as owned the building, said that they needed to sell "for a host of personal and business reasons."

The retail space is now home to Hou Yi Hot Pot. They have a lease through February 2030.

Earlier this month news broke that, facing foreclosure, Toledano was selling off most of his East Village properties.

Happy No. 163 McSorley's!

[Arthur King via McSorley's]

McSorley's is officially celebrating its 163rd birthday today over at its home of, uh, 163 years — 15 E. Seventh St. near Cooper Square. Expect a visit by Lincoln and some shots (so to speak) by the musket-toting McSorley's militia.


Quiet Lunch Magazine has created the "163rd McSorley’s Old Ale House 2017 Calendar" featuring never-before-published photos of the bar (like the one above) by designer Arthur King in the 1950s when he was studying at Pratt. The calendar is $12. More details here.


Whenever mentioning McSorley's and anniversaries... Someone brings this up. Per New York: "Though McSorley’s claims it opened its doors in 1854, NYC historian Richard McDermott used public records to prove it really opened in 1862."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Happy No. 162 McSorley's!

Report: 'An Evening With Martin Shkreli' no longer happening at Webster Hall Monday night

Martin Shkreli, the controversial pharmaceutical CEO who once raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750, is no longer scheduled to appear at Webster Hall on Monday.

The evening was billed this way:

Martin will discuss investing, healthcare and politics in a presentation/lecture format for one hour and will take questions. There will be a bar session after the Q&A where Shkreli will be available to chat and take photographs. He WILL play tracks from his unreleased music collection (Wu-Tang and more).

Shkreli, who was indicted for securities fraud, famously bought the sole copy of the Wu Tang Clan‘s "Once Upon A Time in Shaolin" in 2015 for $2 million. (He played several tracks in a livestream after Donald Trump won the presidency.)

A Webster Hall rep told Patch that the event has been cancelled without commenting further.

Shkreli confirmed the Webster Hall cancellation on Facebook...

However, tickets are still on sale for the event, with no venue listed...

Shkreli, 33, is awaiting trial for securities fraud. Prosecutors have accused him of looting the pharma company that he was heading of $11 million to pay off investors he was suspected of defrauding.

Last month, he was reportedly suspended from Twitter for harassing a writer from Teen Vogue.

Prepping for 2019: L train shutdown workshop rescheduled for March 9

Starting tonight in Williamsburg, the MTA and DOT are hosting interactive public workshops about the L-train service shutting down between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue for 18 months starting in January 2019.

Unfortunately, the snowstorm (#Niko) last Thursday prompted the cancellation of the workshop set for the East Village.

However, officials have announced a new date:

Thursday, March 9
7-9 p.m.
Town and Village Synagogue
334 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue

You can visit the Canarsie Tunnel Reconstruction microsite for more project details.

And a reminder of what to expect:

During the workshops, MTA and NYCDOT will provide information on the Canarsie Tunnel repairs and to solicit community feedback on possible alternate travel options during the planned 18-month closure.

Representatives from MTA and NYCDOT are also using the sessions to gain input for traffic modeling and analysis currently being conducted as service plans to minimize impacts are developed. Representatives will also be available to discuss construction impacts, ADA issues, and bus and subway service as it relates to the closure.

The public is strongly encouraged to participate in these workshops, which are expected to solicit meaningful input on alternate travel options for customers who will be affected by the repairs.

Here's a video the MTA released in May 2016 about the Canarsie Tunnel Reconstruction...

The video production was only $20 million over budget.

Previously on EV Grieve:
About '14th Street Peopleway'

Will a car-free 14th Street make life more bearable during (and after) the L train renovations? (35 comments)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday's parting shot

Crossing Second Avenue at 11th Street earlier today... photo via our Instagram friends @fuckkale

You'll know when you reach the 10th floor

The Christodora House has been wrapped in plastic in recent months during the exterior renovations on Avenue B at Ninth Street...

Never noticed this before ... looking up the building... the 10th floor...

According to DOB records, there is an open violation here for "failure to safe guard all persons and property affected by construction operations" dated from October.

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

State attorney general sues David Barton Gyms following sudden closure in December

[Image from Dec. 21 via]

Back in December, the four David Barton Gym locations in Manhattan, including on Astor Place, shut down without any warning to its members or staff.

Now, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Club Ventures Investments LLC d/b/a David Barton Gyms (DBG).

Here's more from a media advisory that Schneiderman's office shared today:

According to the lawsuit, over 5,000 members enrolled in these four New York City health club facilities, many of whom had paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in advance for membership and training packages. At least one consumer complained that he had paid in excess of $15,000. Although Defendants were well aware that the health clubs were in a financially precarious position, they continued to enroll new members and accept payments for future services up through early December 2016. The health clubs failed to provide any advance notice to members that they were going to close. The clubs subsequently filed for bankruptcy.

“As alleged in our complaint, David Barton Gyms acted irresponsibly and left their members without any recourse to recover lost payments, causing some to lose thousands of dollars,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Health clubs must own up to their responsibilities to their members. They cannot be open one day and closed the next without proper notice to their membership, and must provide refunds for services not provided.” During the early hours of December 21, a security company retained by DBG changed the locks on the doors at each facility and affixed a notice to the outside doors ... DBG was promoting itself on social media up to two days before it closed.

The Attorney General’s office is seeking full restitution and an accounting to determine to whom the health clubs owe money. The office will closely monitor the bankruptcy proceedings and take whatever actions are warranted to protect the interests of the consumers.

Club Ventures and the other corporate defendants purchased the facilities from David Barton, the original owner, in 2013.

Consumers who were DBG members and believe they are owed a refund are urged to file a complaint online or call 1-800-771-7755. Consumers who paid by credit card are also advised to contact their credit card company and dispute the charges due to the failure of the gyms to provide the contracted services.

The Astor Place location opened in 2009. The space was previously a Barnes & Noble.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] David Barton Gyms abruptly close

Holiday season is officially over on 9th Street

The Christmas holiday season anyway... workers were out this morning removing the lights from the light poles on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

And in case you need help spotting the lights in the back of the truck...

Thanks to Steven and EV Arrow