Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A London-based hairdresser is giving free haircuts to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park

This afternoon, EVG regular Lola Sāenz spotted London-based hairdresser Joshua Coombes giving free haircuts (and shaves) to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park.

You can watch this "National Geographic" segment on Coombes, who believes small acts of kindness can make a big impact.

Per a feature on him from June 2017 in The Washington Post:

Two years ago, he founded the campaign #DoSomethingForNothing. His mission: to make a positive impact by giving haircuts to homeless people he meets on city streets, connecting with them on a human level and sharing their stories on social media. So far he has cut the hair of hundreds of homeless people, including a few women.

You can see more of his work with the homeless on his Instagram account.

Jimmy Carbone and Paloma Rocket collaborating on new venture for the Jimmy's No. 43 space

[Photo from Feb. 4]

Jimmy Carbone is collaborating with Graham Winton of Paloma Rocket for a new venture in the currently-closed Jimmy's No. 43 on Seventh Street.

If the two get the OK from CB3 for a new liquor license, then they plan to open Paloma Rocket-Carbone Pizza in the basement space here between Second Avenue and Cooper Square.

Financial difficulties forced Carbone to close Jimmy’s No. 43, the restaurant he owned and operated for 12 years this past August.

This Gothamist piece at the time summed up how Carbone got to this point:

The lease has been up for two years — Carbone has been operating on a month-to-month lease since then — and in February the landlord "dialed it up" and told him that Jimmy's could stay but he would have to start looking for a partner to help with back rent and, in the meantime, he'd have to pay more to remain, according to Carbone. He says it's been a long road getting to this point.

Carbone says the financial difficulties started in 2010 when the city began issuing letter grades for bars and restaurants. Jimmy's was inspected five times in six months and Carbone says it took him three years to pay off the $15,000 in fines as a result of those inspections. In 2013, Jimmy's was shuttered twice by the Health Department, first because of rodent issues that stemmed from Hurricane Sandy; another time because Carbone couldn't afford to pay the fines.

There was also lost business in the aftermath of the deadly gas explosion in March 2015.

In addition, Carbone fell sick last fall and wound up in a hospital. "That was from my 20 years of running a restaurant," Carbone told me on the phone the other day. "I let my health go. I had diabetes."

And now? "I'm getting better. Having a break was good for me. I lost some weight."

While Carbone worked on getting healthy, he also continued to look for a collaborator.

Enter Winton, an East Village resident who had been running Paloma Rocket, a specialty beer bar with a self-service feature on Clinton Street.

"I saw what they were doing at Paloma Rocket and I liked it," Carbone said. "I liked the self-guided beer tour aspect of it."

Carbone and Winton appear before CB3's SLA committee tonight. (Their questionnaire is here.)

"I'm hoping to get approved as a new entity with Paloma Rocket as my partners," he said. "Operation-wise, it will pretty much be the same — the same Jimmy's vibe."

Carbone has been honing his pizza-making skills of late. A new baking oven in the space will serve as the centerpiece for the menu, which, aside from pizza, will include a variety of roasted meats and vegetables. During the day, Carbone wants to start a kind of "bread CSA," and provide new bakers starting out with a place to work on their products and a venue to sell them in.

In an email, Winton shared some thoughts on the space.

"We hope to make it a fun, value-driven hangout with a neighborhood vibe," said Winton, who mentioned a family-friendly attraction. "Kids with books eat for free."

Meanwhile, they are in the process of getting a lease.

"The landlord has been really decent. He gave us a chance. He carried me," Carbone said. "We had some issues. He gave me time to pay the rent."

If all goes well, then he hopes to have the new space open in three months — enough time for minor renovations, such as cleaning and painting, and allowing for the SLA paperwork to arrive.

"My wish is that England winning the World Cup this year will be celebrated there," Winton said.

After a seven-month hiatus, Carbone is hopeful for a return engagement at Jimmy's.

"I miss the gatherings — the get-togethers, the going-away and birthday parties. I love hosting people. That's what my whole career has been... and that space lends itself to it," said Carbone, who previously owned Mugsy's Chow Chow on Second Avenue. "You hear so many bad stories about places closing. For me to reopen, with a whole new lease along with the changes — that would be a huge victory for small businesses, the community. I think everybody wants places like mine to do well."

Clay Pot ready to debut its clay pot offerings today on St. Mark's Place

[Photo from last week]

Clay Pot debuts tonight (hours are 6-11) at 58 St. Mark’s Place between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

As previously noted, they will serve traditional Hong Kong style open-flame cooked clay pot rice... there's a mix-and-match menu of clay pots featuring jasmine rice, ginger, scallion, soy sauce and a choice of protein.

You may check out some of their offerings via the Clay Pot Instagram account...

Meanwhile! Next door... no word on when Chi Ken, the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Store, will open...

As for this address, Hakata Hot Pot and Sushi Lounge closed here at the end of February 2016. (Hakata Hot Pot combined with sister restaurant Zen 6 the next block to the west at 31 St. Mark's Place.)

Natori, a longtime favorite, closed at this address in November 2012.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Clay Pot, from Hong Kong to St. Mark's Place

Chi Ken, the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Store, coming to St. Mark's Place

Saluté proposed for 9th Street

Applicants for a new bar-restaurant called Saluté are on tonight's CB3-SLA committee docket for licensing at 214 E. Ninth St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

The questionnaire on file (PDF here) at the CB3 website for public viewing shows that Saluté will have nine tables accommodating 50 people as well as two bars in the lower level. The proposed hours are 5 p.m to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday; until 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

These applicants have never been licensed before, though they do have restaurant experience. (The questionnaire has their résumés.)

The questionnaire also includes a section titled "noise management plan" ... it helpfully notes that the bar portion of the place is in the basement "so any noise will not directly be heard on the ground level"

No word in the plan on what happens when their patrons reach the sidewalk.

There's also a sample menu...

The previous tenant here. Dahlia's Tapas Wine Bar, shut down in December 2016.

Meanwhile, next door... the hair salon Hoshi Coupe II packed up and relocated to Chelsea...


CB3's SLA committee meets tonight at the Public Hotel, 17th Floor, Sophia Room, 215 Chrystie St. between Houston and Stanton. The festivities start at 6:30.

Retail for rent signs arrive for Steiner East Village storefronts

Now that residents have been moving into the condoplex along Avenue A between 11th Street and 12th Street, perhaps there will be some activity with the ample retail space here.

Several for rent signs appeared on the front windows at Steiner East Village this past week...

The listing at RIPCO appears to be the same one we spotted from 2014. There's not much info, such as the asking rent. The spaces are divisible. Maybe this whole space will attract one big retailer, such as a Trader Joe's, or it will be chopped up into four storefronts. The total space available is 11,611 feet square feet.

The listing also notes some curious neighbors to Steiner East Village ... several of which are no longer in business:

Momofuku Noodle Bar, Westville East, La Luche, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper, El Camion Cantina, Rite Aid, Bcup Cafe, BAR-BO-NE

La Lucha closed in 2015 ... BAR-BO-NE (or Barbone) closed in 2016... and the Rite Aid on 14th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B was demolished four years ago. Unless they mean the one on First Avenue at Fifth Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Some Steiner East Village retail speculation

Chat 'N Chew reboot opens

[Photo by Harry Weiner from Saturday]

Chat 'N Chew 2.0 is now open on 16th Street just west of Union Square.

The comfort-food diner opened late last week. EVG reader Harry Weiner reports that there is a limited dinner menu only for now, but breakfast and lunch will be offered soon.

Harry also asked about two of his old favorites here — Thanksgiving on a Roll and Chinese Chicken Salad. Management said those items will be served. Here's the menu for now...

[Click on image for bigger view]

Chat 'N Chew first opened in 1994 before quietly closing in July 2014.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Chat 'N Chew looks closer to reopening on Union Square

Monday, February 19, 2018

At the annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant (in Queens)

Photos and text by Walter Wlodarczyk

Saturday saw the return of the Mr. Lower East Side Pageant — Downtown's answer to traditional beauty pageants that founder
Reverend Jen has described as being similar to Miss USA, "if all the performers were hairy and liked Budweiser."

The male-objectifying celebration of the weird is now in its 18th year, though fans might note that Saturday's was actually the 18th-and-a-half installment of the pageant, owing to the fact that the first attempt at the 17th was terminated just a few contestants into the first round, due to (in Reverend Jen's words) "reasons we won't go into."

This year's pageant was contested without issue at The Footlight in Ridgewood, which feels like a perfect home away from the Lower East Side for the event. This was the third time the pageant has been held outside the Lower East Side, the irony of which was well noted during the event. But as Reverend Jen aptly pointed out, the Lower East Side is really just a state of mind.

As always, the pageant consisted of three rounds — a one-minute talent competition, swimsuit, and evening wear combined
with question-and-answer. This year's competitors featured regular favorites (such as Tommy D Naked Man) and first-timers (artist Lisa Levy, who was crowned Miss Subways in September, attempted to add the Mr. LES crown to her collection).

Talents on display included butt painting, Barbra Streisand impersonation, and the filmmaker Dylan Mars Greenberg selling her artistic integrity in exchange for promoting their new feature film "ReAgitator: Revenge of the Parody," which you can now purchase on Amazon Video.

But it was Fun With Fritz who took the crown, having demonstrated considerable talent by making an omelette in his cod piece before having audience members roll him into a human breakfast burrito, not to mention flawlessly completing the Q&A segment by rattling off the names of numerous shuttered Lower East Side businesses.

Fritz promised to use the great responsibility of the Mr. Lower East Side crown to advocate for changing our currency from dollars to kindness.

[Josefina Concepción]

[Painting with Josefina Concepción]

[Mr. Barbra Streisand]

[Fun With Fritz]

[Fun With Fritz as a breakfast burrito]

[Reverend Jen]

[Dylan Mars Greenberg]

[Lisa Levy]

[Tim Shea]

[Pregaming with Tommy D Naked Man]

[Fun With Fritz is crowned winner]


Thanks to Walter Wlodarczyk for the photos. Find more of his work here. Reverend Jen has an art show up at MF Gallery through Saturday.

Seeing Christo in a new light

Christo the red-tailed hawk looking light as a feather in Tompkins Square Park early this evening... He's just atop a lamp post and not radioactive...

Photos by Steven

Honoring actor Joseph Sirola at Theatre 80 on St. Mark's Place

Photos by Stacie Joy

Theatre 80 on St. Mark's Place paid tribute to actor Joseph Sirola yesterday with a ceremony that included clips from his hundreds of TV, film and stage credits.

As the New York Observer described him a few years back:

He’s been a Broadway song-and-dance man, soap-opera regular, business executive, drinking buddy to Richard Burton (a job in itself!), voiceover artist, TV sidekick, movie villain, Shakespearean actor, and a few other things.

More recently he became a Tony-winning producer for "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder."

While he may not be a household name, people do recognize his voice thanks to shooting more than 10,000 TV commercials. (The Wall Street Journal once referred to him as "the king of voiceovers.")

Sirola, 88, a longtime Upper East Side resident, added his name and handprints to the celebrity “walk of fame” outside 80 St. Mark’s Place last night. His cement imprimatur will join others such as Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and Myrna Loy.

[Sirola with his partner Claire Gozzo]


Here's a scene with Sirola (as Reno!) with Clint Eastwood in "Hang 'Em High" from 1968...

McSorley's turns 164

[Bill, who has been going to McSorley's since 1964]

McSorley's celebrated its 164th birthday yesterday over at its home (of 164 years!) at 15 E. Seventh St. near Cooper Square. EVG regular Dan Efram shared these photos.

Part of the festivities included, as always, the presence of the musket-toting McSorley's militia...


Because someone always brings this up...Per New York magazine several years ago: "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!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Week in Grieview

[Yesterday morning on 2nd Avenue]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

Report: high-end condo in the works for 2nd Avenue explosion site (Tuesday)

Pile driving resumes at the site of the East Village's last gas station, where a 10-floor building will rise (Monday)

Get well soon, Mikey (Wednesday)

NYPD looking for this suspect in armed robbery of boutique on 7th Street (Friday)

Here's more about Facebook's takeover of Kmart's 2nd floor at 770 Broadway (Wednesday)

More details on the all-new playground coming to P.S. 19 (Wednesday)

Former Trash & Vaudeville space on St. Mark's Place to become Wanyoo cyber café (Friday)

Bareburger is leaving 2nd Avenue; new outpost slated for Orchard Street (Friday)

Maria Hrynenko due back in court on March 23 (Thursday)

Tarallucci e Vino closed through March for renovations on 1st Avenue (Tuesday ...Thursday)

31-33 2nd Ave. is on the market — for $40 million (Thursday)

A gym for Stuy Town on 14th Street — aka '7,500 Square Feet of Awesome' (Monday)

197 E.. 3rd St. is for sale — again (Friday)

Mr. White debuts on St. Mark's Place (Monday)

Ai Weiwei installations come down (Monday ... Wednesday)

Neapolitan Express pulls into the opening lane on 2nd Avenue (Monday)

Newsstand proposed for Cooper Square (Monday)


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The Webster Hall marquee looks to be in danger of falling

[Photo by Michael Giacoppi]

The NYPD and FDNY are currently on the scene here on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue... as you can see in the photo, part of the Webster Hall marquee has pulled away from the landmarked building. The street is blocked off for now.

Will check back later here to see what has transpired. (The NYPD requested a DOB inspection at the site.)

Webster Hall closed last 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. They filed the permits in December for the job, which includes interior demolition and structural work to help upgrade the facility and make it ADA compliant.


William Klayer shared this photo from around 10:30 a.m. ...

And some pics with the FDNY on the scene...

A little later, crews had temporarily propped up the right side of the marquee... the street remains blocked off...

An officer on the scene said that no one actually saw the marquee come undone... one passerby tried to blame the constant construction across the street at the incoming Moxy hotel...

Reminders: The 9th Precinct Community Council meeting is Tuesday night

The 9th Precinct tweeted out a reminder about this month's Community Council meeting ... these take place on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. So that would be this Tuesday, Feb. 20, per the tweet.

The meetings take place at the 9th Precinct, 321 E. Fifth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

This is an opportunity for residents to address any concerns and ask 9th Precinct officials for their input on recent crime statistics.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

It's snowing a little

Photo from late this afternoon on First Avenue and Seventh Street by Derek Berg...

The National Weather Service is estimating between 4-7 inches of snow before daybreak. [Updated: So much for that accumulation.] When I was out a little earlier in the flurries some people seemed surprised by this turn of events, as if it was actually June instead of February.

And hold the bun...

Jax taking a look inside Ray's on Avenue A... thanks to Sharon for the photo earlier today...


An addition to the Starbucks sign on St. Mark's Place at Avenue A ... previously

Thoughts on the 'riveting retrospective' of Peter Hujar's work at the Morgan Library & Museum

An excerpt from Deborah Solomon's review at WNYC:

A photographer who specialized in tender black-and-white portraits of his friends along with the less likely subjects of cows and other farm animals, he was one of the essential chroniclers of the East Village scene in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Many of his photographs pay undisguised homage to taut male bodies, reflecting a time of when Stonewall had brought a sense of freedom and AIDS had not yet descended. You can say that he made beautiful, optically pristine photographs about a scene on the verge of vanishing.

The Morgan Library & Museum is open:
Tuesday through Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Peter Hujar retrospective at the Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave. at 36th Street, is up through May 20. More details here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday's parting shot

Photo from First Avenue and 12th Street today by Grant Shaffer...

'Alive' and kicking

The next record from Frankie Cosmos — New York native Greta Kline — is out on Sub Pop later next month. The video is for a track called "Being Alive."

The band is opening for Belle & Sebastian this June 8 at Forest Hills Stadium.

NYPD looking for this suspect in armed robbery of boutique on 7th Street

The NYPD is searching for a man they say robbed a boutique at gunpoint late Wednesday afternoon.

Here is info via Patch:

Police say the man entered the shop, located at 66 E. 7th St., at about 5:08 p.m. on Wednesday and began talking with an employee as if he was going to purchase something. The man then walked toward the store's counter, pulled out a gun and demanded money from the register, police said.

The man made off with $500 in cash and a cell phone, according to authorities.

The shop is Neon by Cheng between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

And via the NYPD...

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You may also submit tips online.