Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday's parting shot

Happy holidays from Seventh Street ... photo today by Derek Berg

Citi Bike of the day

Spotted on Allen and Stanton on the LES... at least you wouldn't have to adjust the seat. Or worry about the tire pressure.

Last SantaCon reveler ready to call it a week?

Kidding! This looks like a real Santa.

Photo from Ninth Street and Avenue A this morning via @xtea ...

A morning scene from Tompkins Square Park

Photo today via Peter Brownscombe ...

The lion in winter*

Outside St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery this morning via Lola Sáenz...

* OK, technically still fall for another week

Bea Arthur Residence nearly ready to accept first tenants on 13th Street

[Photo from Sunday]

The Ali Forney Center recently celebrated a major milestone — the naming ceremony of the now-completed Bea Arthur Residence at 222 E. 13th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

As previously reported, the 18-bed facility will house participants in the center's two-year transitional living program designed to prepare homeless LGBTQ young people for successfully living alone.

From a Facebook post on Dec. 1 via the Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless LGBT youth...

This building ... was made possible by the love and generosity of the icon Bea Arthur. We are proud to dedicate this residence in her honor, and humbled to celebrate this momentous occasion alongside Bea Arthur's son and grandson.

The Bea Arthur Residence marks an important shift in the way that we are able to house and care for young people who have been discarded by their families simply because of who they are. Pending city approvals, we hope to begin housing young people here within the next few weeks.

To the countless staff, donors, city and state officials, architects, and friends of the Ali Forney Center who have breathed life into this remarkable project, we extend our sincerest gratitude and love, and look forward to moving our young people in to begin their journey to a bright future.

Arthur, who died in April 2009, left $300,000 to the Center in her will. In 2012, City Council as well as then-Borough President Scott Stringer awarded the Center and the Cooper Square Committee $3.3 million for the residence.

[Image via the Ali Forney Center]

Plans for this long-abandoned building were first announced in 2012. (The property had been owned by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.) The groundbreaking took place in July 2015.

[EVG photo from 2012]

Previously on EV Grieve:
A haunted house on 13th Street?

Abandoned 13th Street building becoming the Bea Arthur Residence for homeless LGBT youth

Here's what the Bea Arthur Residence will look like on East 13th Street

Groundbreaking today on East 13th Street for the Bea Arthur Residence for homeless LGBT youth

MTA, DOT outline plans for life with the L train

[Image Monday via @katebirmingham2]

During the upcoming L train shutdown, parts of 14th Street will become car free while 13th Street will get the city's first two-way protected crosstown bike lane, officials announced yesterday.

The MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation unveiled the long-awaited plans on how to accommodate the estimated 225,000 people who use the L on a daily basis.

Here's more from NBC 4:

• 14th Street closing to cars from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue eastbound, and Third Avenue to Eighth Avenue westbound, to become a "busway" with rushphour restriction. Bus lanes and Select Bus Service will be added to that core of 14th Street in the next year, which will bring sidewalk expansion and tens of thousands of square feet in new pedestrian space.

"No street will be more affected by the L train disruption than 14th Street, and changes expanding access to pedestrians, bus riders, and cyclists will play a major role in moving L train riders quickly and efficiently," the DOT says.

• A bikeway running along 13th Street to keep cyclists out of the buses' way. Daily cycling volume is expected to double when the L train closes in Manhattan, so the DOT will add Manhattan's first two-way protected crosstown bike lane to 13th Street.

The DOT will also create brand new pedestrian space on Union Square West from 14th Street to 15th Street and 16th Street to 17th Street and a pedestrianized street that features a new bike parking hub on University Place from 13th Street to 14th Streets.

The shutdown of the L — between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue to repair the Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel — is expected to last 15 months with a start date of April 2019.



More sources: NBC 4 ... the Post ... Curbed ... 2nd Ave. Sagas... MTA website...

$1 coffee talk

[EVG photo from May 2016]

In her Metro Money column yesterday at The Wall Street Journal, Anne Kadet tackled a popular topic — the price of coffee at NYC delis/cafes/coffee shops.

She mentions a deli in Brooklyn Heights that sells a small coffee for $1. The owner reportedly loses money on that deal. The piece, available to subscribers only, goes on to outline why inexpensive deli coffee is unrealistic — especially with NYC rents.

Mike Kruszewski, founder of Pourt, which recently closed on Cooper Square, crunched some coffee numbers for her:

The ingredients in a small cup of high-end, direct-trade, “sustainable” coffee costs 62 cents, he says. That includes 43 cents for the beans, 14 cents for the cup, sleeve, lid, and stirrer, and 5 cents for milk and sugar.

But a cafe owner also has to pay rent on a New York City storefront, not to mention wages, insurance, supplies, utilities, trash service, software and payment processing. All told, says Mr. Kruszewski, expenses easily reach $600 a day.

If a cafe only sold $1 coffee, he says, it would have to sell 2,150 cups a day to just break even. That’s 3.5 cups a minute. The barista would have to serve faster than humanly possible.

At $2 a cup, the cafe would have to sell 500 cups a day, or one cup a minute—still too much volume for a small business.

“At $3.50,” says Mr. Kruszewski, “we get to a doable 250 cups a day.”

Some exceptions to this are street carts, which don't pay rent, and chains such as McDonald’s and 7-Eleven "that enjoy massive economies of scale."

The owner of that Brooklyn Heights deli said that he hoped the $1 coffee deal would attract new customers.

It hasn't.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The 75-cent coffee at Subway

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy holidays

From our muni-meter to yours... Photo on Fourth Street today by Derek Berg...

Another case of stolen packages from an East Village lobby

An EVG reader reports another package theft (see previous posts here) ... this time from a lobby on Eighth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

The building's surveillance video (below) shows the suspect entering the building. He put a scarf over his head and left with a bagful of boxes — a number believed to be seven or eight.

According to the reader, he slipped in when someone making a food delivery left the building.

Per the reader: "I hope he enjoys my infant swim diapers."

Sidewalk bridge finally hauled away from the Verizon building on 2nd Avenue

Late last week, workers began removing the sidewalk bridge around the Verizon building on Second Avenue at 13th Street...

[Top 2 photos from Sunday]

And it was all gone by the end of the day Monday...

As we reported on Nov. 28, several residents pointed out that a growing number of travelers/crusties had been living under the sidewalk bridge for the past few months. A small fire on Nov. 26 temporarily brought an end to the encampment, as city workers tossed the mattresses and other found items.

One reader said of the pre-fire conditions:

They live and sleep there. They openly shoot up, get drunk, fight, party all night and block the sidewalk with mattresses, chairs — even tables.

The situation has become a total nightmare now.

According to nearby residents, it didn't appear that any construction work was even taking place in the building, that the sidewalk bridge was seemingly forgotten. (Verizon blamed the Department of Buildings for delayed inspections, per PIX 11.)

In any event, now that the sidewalk bridge is gone, will we see a return to the brown paint wars?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Fire under sidewalk bridge on 13th Street temporarily brings an end to homeless encampment

243 and 245 E. 2nd St. asking nearly $18 million

243 and 245 E. Second St. are now on the market ... each of the walkups between Avenue B and Avenue C have 10 units. The slightly larger No. 243 is asking $10.5 million while No. 245 is $7.25 million, per the listings (here and here).

Public records show that Triost Properties bought the buildings in 2011 — $800,000 for No. 245 and $1.4 million for No. 243. (The seller was the estate of Bertha Zawin.)

The buildings went under extensive gut renovations several years ago. Average rentals now at No. 243 are roughly $4,600, per Streeteasy. Rentals at No. 245 ranged from $3,200 to $4,800.

As I understand it, a number of rent-stabilized units remain in No. 245.

Artists Peter Cramer, Carl George, Kembra Pfahler and Jack Waters, longtime residents at No. 245, shared their story in this post from 2014.

Previously on EV Grieve:
On Second Street, the 'Milky Way Dragon' disappears

Renovations, penthouse in the works for 243 E. Second St.

Continued development concerns at 243-245 E. Second St.

A look at the transformation of 243-245 E. 2nd St.

Chat 'N Chew looks closer to reopening on Union Square

EVG reader Harry Weiner shared this photo from Monday... showing Chat 'N Chew looking as if it never closed three-plus years ago on 16th Street just west of Union Square.

Per Harry: "If you peer inside, it looks eerily the same as the old one."

The homespun restaurant has a new Instagram account (as of Sept. 30) with one post...

Coming Soon

A post shared by Chat 'N Chew (@chatnchewny) on

On their landing page: "NEW ACCOUNT! A Union Square staple is coming back! Check back for updates on an opening date! Looking forward to see old friends & making new ones!"

Apparently they have been teasing a return in their front window dating back to the summer. Now it looks as if they're ready to open complete with holiday decorations.

Anyway, the comfort-food diner first opened in 1994 before quietly closing in July 2014, as Jeremiah Moss first reported. The owners were to revamp the space that fall as a pop-up concept Little Sal's Italiano.

The operating owner, Andrew Silverman, was also behind a variety of concept-y places, such as Steak Frites and News Bar.

Construction watch: 606 Broadway and 300 Lafayette

[606 Broadway from Monday]

In case you haven't been over on East Houston between Lafayette and Broadway lately...

[300 Lafayette from Monday]

Construction is booming at two nearly side-by-side sites.

606 Broadway

A 6-story mixed-use building is going up on that sliver of space between Broadway and Crosby. Once completed, the building will have about 11,500 square feet of retail space on the first and second floors with 22,751 square feet of office space on floors three to six.

Until late 2014, the space at Broadway housed the Honest Boy fruit stand for years.

[606 Broadway rendering via]

• 300 Lafayette

A 7-story boutique office building with luxury retail is going in on the former site of a BP station and the Irish pub Puck Fair. (If you're keeping track, the building will include 30,000 square feet of retail and 53,000 square feet of office space.)

[Rendering via]



Previously ... 606 Broadway...

[Photo from April 2014 via Vanishing New York]

300 Lafayette...

[EVG photo from 2016]

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Reminders: The East Village Arts Festival is tomorrow at the Tompkins Square Library

I first posted this back on Nov. 21 ... as a reminder...

The Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B is hosting an all-day Arts Festival on Dec. 13.

The day includes a variety of performances, workshops, films and displays by local artists from 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. You can find the full rundown here.

Opossum drama in Tompkins Square Park

Parkgoers spotted an opossum this morning ... near the entrance on Seventh Street at Avenue B... unfortunately, the critter had been entangled in a plastic shopping bag...

At least one bystander attempted to remove the bag... but the opossum raced back up the tree as the person approached...

After nearly 30 minutes, EVG correspondent Steven, who shared these photos, said that the opossum was eventually able to free itself from the bag.


Bonus photo of an opossum yawning...

Permits filed to renovate Webster Hall

[Photo from Saturday]

Reps for the newish owner of Webster Hall filed the necessary permits with the city yesterday to renovate the landmarked building on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avennue.

Plans include interior demolition and structural work to help upgrade the facility and make it ADA compliant.

The Washington, D.C.-based Martinez+Johnson Architecture is listed as the architects of record. Per their website, the firm brings "their design sensitivities to cultural arts and institutional projects." Their work includes the restoration of the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn and the Boston Opera House.

Webster Hall closed on Aug. 10. Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, along with AEG-backed The Bowery Presents, bought the building from the Ballinger family for $35 million in the spring.

The new owners will renovate the space, dropping the club nights to focus on live music. Some reports suggest that the new venue won't be ready until 2020. Billboard reported that there may be a name change here too.

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

This was the last tweet from Oct. 26. Not sure where those moments are.


Pit watch: 112 E. 11th St.

While we're over on 11th Street... No. 112 will be home one day to the Moxy, the Marriott subsidiary billed as a hotel for millennials.

Crews are currently doing foundation work... as seen through the handy blogger portals on the plywood...

The 13-story hotel will feature 311 rooms and a variety of eating-drinking options with an optimistic opening date of late 2018.


The photos here are from Saturday... shortly before the snowfall... workers were thoughtful enough to put down ice melt along the plywood...

Previously on EV Grieve:
At the rally outside 112-120 E. 11th St.

6-building complex on East 10th Street and East 11th Street sells for $127 million

Report: 300-room hotel planned for East 11th Street

Preservationists say city ignored pitch to designate part of 11th Street as a historic district

Permits filed to demolish 5 buildings on 11th Street to make way for new hotel (58 comments)

New building permits filed for 13-story Moxy Hotel on East 11th Street across from Webster Hall

There will be several eating-drinking choices at the incoming Moxy hotel on 11th Street

House of Fluff pops up on the Bowery

House of Fluff, a recently launched "ethically made faux-fur lifestyle brand," is hosting a pop-up shop today through Dec. 24 at 342 Bowery between Great Jones and Bond.

The shop's sign and interior are apparently made from upcycled materials.

The pop-up House of Fluff (their HQ is around the corner on Great Jones) is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily.

No. 342 was last home, in 2015, to a Subway (sandwich shop). The Subway opened here in late 2009, taking over the space after Downtown Music Gallery moved to Monroe Street. Plans for a restaurant here called Poke Run never materialized.

More about Poke N' Roll, coming soon to 9th Street

[Photo yesterday by Steven]

There's a new sign up for Poke N' Roll at 441 E. Ninth St. and Avenue A. (We first noted this on Oct. 5.)

The new signage and the shop's social media platforms provide a few more details about what to expect here, namely poké bowls, bubble tea and fruit tea. No word though on an opening date... or who is behind this latest poké venture.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Poke N' Roll for 9th Street

Gramercy Kitchen debuts on 3rd Avenue

[Photo yesterday by Harry Weiner]

Gramercy Kitchen made its official grand opening yesterday on Third Avenue at 17th Street. (Thanks to EVG reader Harry Weiner for sharing this news!)

The Kitchen takes the place of Gramercy Cafe, which closed in January after 24 years in service. (A few readers felt as if the Cafe's food had declined in recent years.)

Looks as if the owners are going for an upscale diner vibe. From Just Opened New York:

They’ve revamped the menu with elevated classics like creative Coca-Cola drinks and chicken and waffles with balsamic syrup or disco short ribs topped with cheese curds and gravy.

[Image via the GK Facebook page]

And the Times had a blurb on the opening last week:

Diner-style food prevails here, with an open kitchen, glass tile, a stretch of counter and tables to seat 70. Breakfast, lunch and a dinner menu — featuring chicken and waffles and veal short ribs in a dish very much like poutine — are served

Gramercy Kitchen has a website, though no menu posted just yet. The hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Gramercy Cafe closes; Gramercy Kitchen coming soon

Oh Gr-r-reat! Kellogg's cafe opening slightly delayed on Union Square

The Kellogg's NYC Café on the north side of Union Square was scheduled to open on Dec. 7.

However, per this reader-submitted photo, the grand opening is now a week later — this Thursday, Dec. 14...

On the menu: bowls of cereal (there's a a DIY cereal-creation station) with a choice of milk, milkshakes, Pop Tarts and ice cream sundaes. (The cafe will collaborate with a variety of chefs and source ingredients from the Union Square farmer's market.) The cafe will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Per the cafe website, this is a credit-card-only establishment.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Kellogg's Union Square cafe closer to snapping, crackling and popping

Monday, December 11, 2017

'Storytelling in our Immigrant City' at the Manny Cantor Center

James Maher has contributed the "Out and About in the East Village" feature at EVG these past five-plus years.

He's involved in a new project down at the Manny Cantor Center.

Here's more about it via the EVG inbox...

"Sharing the Miracle: Storytelling in our Immigrant City" is the culminating exhibit of portraits and corresponding stories collected by photographer James Maher that illustrate our community members’ immigrant journeys.

Within this space, we are celebrating the immigrant journeys, struggles, and successes of 25 members of our Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center community, including families, neighbors, staff, and volunteers.

"Storytelling in our Immigrant City" is Manny Cantor Center’s newest program to celebrate the diversity of our city and our pride in the community of the Lower East Side.

The exhibit officially opened today at the Center, 196 East Broadway at Jefferson Street. The opening reception is Thursday evening from 6-8. The exhibit will remain up through Feb. 9. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Find more details here.

More concern for East Village Cheese Shop

[Photo Saturday by Derek Berg]

East Village Cheese Shop has not been open since Thursday here on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, prompting concern from its patrons.

There isn't any sign on the door about any type of closure. The shop doesn't have any social media presence to speak of (a Facebook page still lists their Third Avenue address that they left in 2015). The phone is also out of service.

East Village Cheese moved here from Third Avenue in September 2015. By April 2016, regulars started worrying about the shop's longterm financial health. (See this post.) The place never seemed too busy. There were other quibbles, such as being cash only, the lack of evening hours (they now close at 6:30) and the lack of ambiance (one reader suggested they pipe in some classical music).

Several EVG readers emailed me about the shop's gate being down since Friday. Per EVG regular cmarrtyy:

Can't say I'm shocked if they went out of business. The store was empty or near empty when I was there. And they were also down to one employee — cutting cheese and working the checkout. Seventh Street is not Third Avenue. There's very little foot traffic ... Sad, if they have closed for good.

Hopefully that's not the case... and this is just temporary.

The shop remained closed yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday).

Previously on EV Grieve:
Concern for East Village Cheese Shop

Rumors: Duane Reade expansion will take over adjacent storefronts, including East Village Cheese (74 comments)

East Village Cheese makes move to 7th Street official

[Updated] Work starts on new home of the East Village Cheese Shop

Looking at the incoming East Village Cheese shop on East 7th Street

After 42 years on St. Mark's Place, the Grassroots Tavern closes on New Year's Eve

[Image via]

The Grassroots Tavern will close after service on New Year's Eve, according to a post on the bar's Facebook page this past Thursday night

This development comes after the news last week that a new owner is set to take over the bar at 20 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Richard Precious, who owns the mini chain of bars called The Ginger Man (the one on 36th Street opened in 1996), is expected to appear before the CB3-SLA committee tonight for a new liquor license for the Grassroots.

The questionnaire on file at the CB3 website doesn't mention what the new bar might be called or what type of modifications may occur at the Grassroots, which opened in 1975. There is mention of serving "casual restaurant fare." (A tipster shared a copy of the menu submitted with the plans. It appears to be the same menu as the Ginger Man on 36th Street.)

In January 2016, Klosed Properties bought the landmarked 20 St. Mark's Place from Jim Stratton, who is also the majority owner of the Grassroots. At that time, as previously reported, a source said that the bar had a lease for the next five years, with an option after that for renewal. According to public records, Klosed Properties paid about $5.6 million for the building, which includes a 2nd-floor co-op that also served as an art studio.

Stratton told Bedford + Bowery that the rent had just become too high. "We were not forced out by any means, it would just have required a radical change for the business and the way we operate. We basically decided we had to throw in the towel." (Several GR regulars wonder why Stratton, as the seller of the building, didn't negotiate a favorable lease for his bar.)

A retail listing for 20 St. Mark's Place made the rounds this fall...

The asking rent was $25,000.

Updated 8:30 p.m.

According to attendees at tonight's meeting, the committee issued an approval — with stipulations — for this application.

Previously on EV Grieve:
20 St. Mark's Place, home of the Grassroots Tavern, has been sold

Your chance to live in this historic home above the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

New owner lined up for the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

An end of an era at the Grassroots Tavern

RIP John Leeper

RIP Bob Spedalere

Traffic lights for the East Houston-FDR-East River overpass

Work began at the FDR overpass at East Houston Street back in January 2016 ... and one of the most critical elements of this overhaul has finally been addressed with the recent arrival of traffic lights. (The previous Yield signs at the busy intersection seemed to be widely ignored.)

EVG contributor Edmund John Dunn shared these photos from Friday. Now, he notes that you can enter-exit East River Park with some certainty, although the walk time is very short ...

As BoweryBoogie reported in January 2016, the $10 million project called for rehabilitating both the entrance and exit ramps to the FDR Drive and introducing traffic lights in the “half-rotary” traffic pattern.

At the time this was considered a rather temporary fix, with the post-Sandy "Big U" project on the horizon. However, that is all on hold at the moment.

As for the rest of constantly delayed East Houston Reconstruction project that started during the Coolidge administration, the estimated completion is now Jan. 15, 2018, per the DDC's weekly bulletin.

The DDC started this project in June 2010, reconstructing/replacing combined sewers, trunk main, water mains, catch basins, fire hydrants, sidewalks, etc., etc., along East Houston Street, from the Bowery to the FDR Drive.

[Updated] Applicants looking to bring live jazz to the former East Village Tavern

There's a proposal to open a bar featuring live jazz in the former East Village Tavern space on Avenue C and 10th Street.

The applicants are applying for a new liquor license for a venture called the Snow Leopard, according to the questionnaire on file (PDF here) ahead of tonight's CB3-SLA committee meeting.

The Snow Leopard "will have live jazz to accompany their service" with a cover fee for certain acts, per the questionnaire. The menu posted with the materials at the CB3 website features "Italian Style Tapas" (A cheese plate, a dried meat plate, etc.)

Paperwork shows a configuration of seven tables (38 total seats) plus a 13-seat bar along with proposed hours of 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The principal in the venture is a former pharmaceutical sales rep who doesn't appear to have any history of running/owning a bar/club. A partner in the venture is a jazz drummer/booking agent, according to the résumé with the application.

East Village Tavern closed in November 2016 after eight years in business. Bar management blamed a disagreement with landlord Steve Croman for the closure. (A Croman rep reportedly said that the owners were behind on rent.)

Back in the spring, the operators of a Miami-based restaurant called the Irish Times Pub and Eatery looked at opening an outpost here. Those plans never materialized.

The December CB3-SLA committee meeting is tonight at 6:30 at the Perseverance House Community Room, 535 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Updated 8:30 p.m.

According to attendees at tonight's meeting, the committee issued a denial for this application. Consensus was that it's not the right building for a jazz club.