Friday, March 22, 2019

Who let the Dogs out?

Tickets went on sale today for Adam Ant's Sept. 19 show at the Beacon Theater... Mr. Ant is playing the "Friend or Foe" album from 1982 in its entirety as well as other favorites from his tapestry of hits and misses.

The above video is for 1981's "Dog Eat Dog," his first top-10 hit.

A visit to Peter Jarema Funeral Home on 7th Street

Interview and photos by Stacie Joy

It’s not without some trepidation that I visit the Peter Jarema Funeral Home, 129 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

It’s probably totally normal to be weirded out by death and dying, but owner/managing director Danny Buzzetta puts me at ease immediately. He shows me around the chapel and the overflow room, carefully explaining the A/V system ...

... and then takes me upstairs to visit the casket showroom. The coffins are surprising in some ways: they have locks on the outside to avoid any “in-transit surprises” and they are very plush and comfortable inside. There are also different materials, colors and styles to choose from.

I get to admire some traditional red and gold Ukrainian vestments (the home was historically of service to the Ukrainian Orthodox community but is nondenominational), and Danny patiently answers my questions as we sit in the office. We talk about the history of the place, changes in modern-day loss and bereavement, and what’s next for the home (one of three along with Provenzano Lanza and R.G. Ortiz remaining in the neighborhood).

What can you tell us about the founder, Pietro Jarema? I read where he emigrated here from Austria in 1893.

Personally, I don’t know much on the history of the original Jaremas as these things weren’t written down and were lost over the generations. The handwritten archive books of Jarema Funeral Home are simply the funeral records themselves and back then — up until recent times really — very little was [legally] required to be kept, so the books themselves are hard to decipher, due to bad handwriting, and there’s also a lot of shorthand/initials that just don’t mean much to me trying to read it now.

The interesting part that I can decipher is basically the cost of a funerals from back in the early 1900s compared to now — it’s night and day.

Your father became the owner in 1987. Why did you decide to carry on with the business?

I am an only child, after finishing my B.A. at Binghamton University in accounting and working in a corporate office for nearly two years as an assistant auditor, I didn’t enjoy my job. I saw the opportunity of my father’s partner looking to retire as a better career move.

I went to American Academy McAllister Institute to complete my funeral director education and received my license. I’ve been the managing director/owner at Peter Jarema Funeral Home for nearly eight years now.

How do you handle the emotions of the job?

Handling the emotions can be difficult but part of this job is being able to provide caring and detailed-oriented service to the families that we serve. This is best done with my personal emotions not getting the best of me and allowing me to be clearly focused on the family’s needs.

What observations do you have about the East Village based on your experiences planning services with residents through the years?

The biggest observation is just how quickly the neighborhood can change. From businesses to residents it feels like both are coming and going at lightening pace. Trying to establish a relationship can be difficult when so quickly that business may be gone or that family may have moved away.

How has the typical customer changed over the years?

Our typical customers have changed in a few ways. First, many people are moving away from traditional funeral services and are looking for quicker and less-expensive options.

As an example: we rarely have two full-day viewings with mass and burial on the third day ... now customers are more likely to have a two-hour viewing in the morning, go to mass, and burial all in the same day. Or forgo the viewing all together and do a cremation in order to help alleviate the costs.

Second, the customer now is much more mobile/tech-savvy to where they will price shop one funeral home to another before they even set foot in the home to make arrangements. Of course, this goes hand in hand with all aspects of life as the internet and social media didn’t exist for most of the 113 years of Peter Jarema Funeral Home existence.

An ad is still visible on the side of Vazac's/the Horseshoe Bar at 108 Avenue B stating, in part, “Air Conditioned Chapels 129 E. 7th St. OR 4-2568.” Do you still receive queries about that?

We don’t ever get any inquiries about that old ad.

Real estate being what it is in NYC, especially the East Village, what is the long-term future of Peter Jarema Funeral Home?

My long-term future for Peter Jarema is to continue providing dignified and affordable services for decades to come. I have two young sons who I would love to pass along the opportunity to continue the family legacy and keep Jarema going for another 113 years.

Local elected officials urging the MTA/DOT to keep local service in M14 SBS plan

[EVG file photo]

Last month, the MTA presented a preliminary proposal for permanent M14 Select Bus Service (SBS) on 14th Street.

The Villager recently had a recap of that meeting, gleaned from attendees:

Currently, the new planned SBS route calls for fewer stops by the M14, particularly in the East Village and Lower East Side, as well as off-board ticketing. The MTA has not decided yet whether it will eliminate current M14A and M14D service following SBS implementation. But, officials at the meeting said the authority was “open” to that idea.

The elimination of service/stops along the M14A and M14D routes isn't sitting well with local elected officials.

This afternoon at 1, several of them — including City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh and State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein — along with other community leaders are gathering on the northwest corner of Avenue A and Fourth Street to call for "a new M14 Select Bus Service (SBS) plan that retains local bus service while creating a new, faster SBS alternative with fewer stops."

The rally comes on the heels of a letter urging the MTA and DOT (see below) for a "real M14 SBS."

Here's some background via the EVG inbox...

Community District 3, which encompasses most of the future M14 SBS route, is one of the most underserved transit areas of Manhattan, with 15 percent of our residents living more than half a mile from the nearest subway stop.

At the same time, this area is home to one of the 10 largest senior populations in New York City. These seniors rely on the current M14A/D to get to medical appointments, supermarkets, and social activities. If these individuals lose their local stops, many will also lose a critical connection to their community.

The current proposal also ignores the challenges that stop removal will pose for our neighbors living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and the 28 percent of residents of the Lower East Side and Chinatown who live below the Federal Poverty Level.

A real M14 SBS with supplemental, local service, would service these populations while improving on the proposed SBS plan, which is currently a clear compromise between a local route and a typical SBS route – meaning that the proposed M14 SBS will not have the “express” travel times that other routes have.

Village Square Pizza debuts today on Avenue A

[Photo by Steven]

Village Square Pizza is having a sneak preview this weekend at 147 Avenue A between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

The pizzeria, which serves a variety of square slices, is offering 50-percent off of everything today through Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. The grand opening is March 29.

Here's a look at some offerings via the Village Square Instagram...

Eggoo, which sold Hong Kong egg waffles and ice cream sandwiches, was at No. 147 for a year. Before that we had La Lucha for six years.

Pretty in pink? Shibuyala softly opens today on St. Mark's Place

Shibuyala, which sells beauty and health-care products from Japan, is in soft-open mode starting today here at 37 St. Mark's Place at Second Avenue. (Thanks to @unitof for the photos from Sunday!)

Shibuyala arrived in the United States in 2016, and now has stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Houston with 50 more outposts expected to open worldwide by 2022, per its website.

This space has been tenant-free since the 7-Eleven closed in November 2013.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New tenant for 37 St. Mark's Place — REVEALED

Now-closed Classic Man Barber Lounge space for rent on 9th Street

[Photo yesterday by Steven]

For rent signs arrived yesterday at the Classic Man Barber Lounge, which had been closed of late here at 445 E. Ninth St. at Avenue A. The upscale barber shop opened in early 2018.

Three of the four new businesses that opened in Icon Realty's renovated retail spaces along 441-445 E. Ninth St. (aka 145 Avenue A) have now closed in recent months.

BeetleBug, the floral design shop, quietly shut down last month. They opened in early 2017, and were the first tenant to arrive after Icon bought the building for $10.1 million in April 2014.

Another new business in this strip, Mahalo New York Bakery, which served Hawaiian-inspired desserts, closed last fall after seven months in business.

Poke N' Roll is the lone business now on the Ninth Street side of the building.

One pre-Icon retail tenant here in 2015 said that the new landlord either wasn't renewing leases or offering terms with unmanageable rent increases.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Report: Probation for plumber indicted in deadly 2nd Avenue gas explosion

[Aerial photo of 119-123 2nd Ave. from March 27, 2015]

According to the Daily News, Andrew Trombettas, the plumber indicted in connection to the deadly Second Avenue gas explosion in March 2015, was sentenced to probation and community service yesterday.

Trombettas had previously pleaded guilty for his role in rubber-stamping a modification to 121 Second Ave. prior to the explosion that killed two men and injured 20 others on March 26, 2015.

In February 2016, the D.A.'s office charged him with two counts of "Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony."

Per the News:

He was promised a sentence of three years probation and 100 hours of community service in a plea deal made in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The plumber signed off on required paperwork that went to the city Department of Buildings and Con Edison because a friend who actually did the job did not have a license. Trombettas never went to the site.

In February 2016, the Post reported that Trombettas signed off on 19 other jobs that violated regulations.

The previous owner of 119 and 121 Second Ave., Maria Hrynenko, her son Michael Hrynenko (now deceased), contractor Dilber Kukic and their plumber Anthanasios Ioannidis illegally tampered with the gas line then failed to warn those in the building before the blast, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.

According to public records, Hrynenko and the other defendants will appear in court again tomorrow (March 22). Records show that Hrynenko and the other accused have appeared in New York County Criminal Court 23 times since February 2016... and the outcome was the same — "adjourned/bail continued" — since their initial appearance. There's also a new judge presiding, Michael J. Obus of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Justice Kirke Bartley had been the judge of record.

Meanwhile, work is quickly moving along on the condoplex coming to part of the blast site. Here's a look at the lot that will house a Morris Adjmi-designed residential building with 21 condos and ground-floor retail...

The new building will include a commemorative plaque that honors Moises Locón and Nicholas Figueroa, the men who died on on March 26, 2015.

Shaky Cohen's Nexus Building Development Group paid $9.15 million for the empty lots. In a previously recorded transaction, Ezra Wibowo paid $6 million for the adjacent property at 123 Second Ave. There isn't any development planned there for now, according to previous reports.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: 2nd Ave. explosion — landlord, 3 others charged with 2nd degree manslaughter; showed 'a blatant and callous disregard for human life'

Report: Judge says plumber allegedly involved in 2nd Ave. blast should have his license revoked

Exclusive: 2nd Avenue explosion sites have a new owner

Dedicating Moises Locón Way and Nicholas Figueroa Way on 2nd Avenue at 7th Street

RIP East River Park

Dave on 7th shared this photo from yesterday from along the East River Park promenade. Someone placed memorial ribbons commemorating the life of East River Park: "We will miss your breeze, your trees, your plants and flowers and your birds and bees."

This is all in reaction to the details that emerged last fall (city press release here) about the updated construction phase to protect the East Side against catastrophic flooding along the East River.

As previously reported, the city plans to "lift" East River Park by up to 10 feet when work starts in March 2020. However, to do this, the city will need to close East River Park for up to three and a half years, bulldozing all the current amenities and chopping down many of the trees.

The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project is currently (and quietly) undergoing environmental review. This link goes to the notice of the public review and request for comments.

Per the notice:

"All interested persons, groups, and agencies are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed use of federal funds to support the construction of the proposed project in a floodplain and / or wetland. The City is interested in alternatives and public perceptions of possible adverse impacts that could result from the project as well as potential mitigation measures."

Write to Calvin Johnson
Assistant Director CDBG-DR New York City Office of Management and Budget
255 Greenwich Street, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10007

Here's the email address.

Meanwhile, a community group called the East River Alliance formed at the end of 2018 to help organize various East River Park stakeholders and to ensure that the design and reconstruction "reflects our community’s needs and values."

You can read more about the Alliance in this article at Patch.

A good egg in Tompkins Square Park? Hatch watch for red-tailed hawks Amelia and Christo

[Photos yesterday by Steven]

Egg watch continues in Tompkins Square Park for the resident red-tailed hawks, Amelia and Christo.

For the last week-plus, hawk watchers have, uh, watched Amelia (pictured at top, with Christo peering out) hunker down in the nest ... it is believed that at least one egg is present after all that mating, with two more possibly to come...

To Goggla in a post from last week:

If Amelia laid the first egg [March 13], we can look forward to a hatch date around the end of April. In the meantime, the hawks will continue mating until the last (usually three) egg is laid. This is the first full mating/nesting season for Christo and Amelia, and I look forward to seeing them raise a healthy hawk family in our park.

Goggla has more on their activity in this post yesterday.

Christo and his previous partner Dora (in permanent wing rehab as of April 2018) have raised 10 hawklets these past few years.

Last year, tragically, the older of Amelia and Christo's two red-tailed hawk fledglings died. The whereabouts of kid No. 2 is unknown.


Bonus photo via Steven of Christo waiting for his takeout the other day...

Previously on EV Grieve:
The EVG podcast: Red-tailed hawk talk with Laura Goggin

The EVG podcast: More hawk talk with Laura Goggin

Comedy gold? Upright Citizens Brigade selling off contents from its former East Village theater

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater's East Village outpost, UCBeast, wrapped up its eight-plus year run on Feb. 9. UCB is now presenting three nights of programing at SubCulture, a 130-seat venue on Bleecker Street.

Meanwhile, there's a sale underway at the now-former UCBeast venue on Avenue A and Third Street.

Adrienne and Erin (sales/deal-makers) said to "make an offer" on these "cash and carry only" bargains, as EVG contributor Stacie Joy reports.

Per Stacie: Everything is up for grabs ... through Friday. Hours are noon until 9 p.m. Enter on the Third Street side.

There weren't any signs of cargo shorts for sale.

UCB officials blamed the "extreme costs" of operating in the space as a factor in its closing, as Vulture first reported on Jan. 9.

The mystery of Moishe's

[EVG reader photo from Monday]

On March 5, Moishe Perl, owner of Moishe's Bake Shop at 115 Second Ave., announced to storefront photographers James and Karla Murray that the building near Seventh Street had been sold and he was closing the business and retiring after 40-plus years.

Some background: In December, investor Jay Schwimmer picked up a 21-year lease for the entire three-story building with the option to buy it from Perl, who has been the owner since the mid-1970s, per The Real Deal. There's nothing in public records indicating a sale — just a memorandum of lease.

Perl and bakery employees had previously denied that the shop was closing.

On March 6, the bakery had been emptied out. By 11:30 a.m., paper went up in the windows, and a closed-for-renovation sign appeared...

[Photo March 6 by Steven]

As the day progressed, the narrative of the closing story continued to evolve. The owner of a local restaurant shared this with me: "We use Moishe’s rye and pumpernickel ... and as far as he has told us, he is still going to continue on in that space after remodeling. It sounds like it’s going to be more of a cafe but still offer their products. He’s still actively delivering wholesale to us. He made a delivery last night."

Later, amNY reported the following: "Owner Moishe Perl confirmed ... that the store was closed, but didn't give further details about his decision or its future."

By the evening, Patch reported that Perl was searching for new management "to re-open the spot as a cafe and bakery as soon as the end of April after Passover or early May, depending how the renovations play out."

Paper remains in the windows at Moishe's, though the closed-for-renovation sign is gone. A worker at the scene on Monday told an EVG reader that they were closed for renovations, but would return.

Yesterday, Gothamist delved into the mystery in a post titled "What's Going On With Moishe's Bake Shop?"

Per Gothamist:

Reached over the phone Wednesday morning, Moishe Perl confirmed to Gothamist that the shop wasn't permanently closed. They're still baking (albeit in Brooklyn) while renovating the Second Avenue location. He wouldn't say how long the renovations were going on for, but he did say that phone orders could be fulfilled for now. "Whatever you want, you just call me one day before," he says.

Perl promised that he'd have an update soon. But will you believe him?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: After 40-plus years, Moishe's Bake Shop has closed on 2nd Avenue

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday's parting shot

First day of spring. Time for a haircut. Photo in Tompkins Square Park today by Derek Berg.

Cooper Union hosting congestion pricing public hearing tomorrow night

Carol from East 5th Street shared this photo of signs spotted hanging around the neighborhood...

That's one point of view on congestion pricing... and a reminder that Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is hosting a public hearing tomorrow night on "congestion pricing’s impact on Manhattanites."

Per her invite:

The congestion pricing plan now under consideration in Albany has the potential to change the way Manhattan works in a major way. For example, equalizing the tolls on all bridges and tunnels would reduce the incentive to cross Manhattan via Canal St. to reach New Jersey.

I want to know what Manhattanites think. Attend this public hearing, learn more about the proposal from the experts — and make your voice heard!

The meeting is from 6-9 p.m. at Cooper Union's Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square — the building that looks like the spaceship between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

And here's another view on congestion pricing via Streetsblog.

At the 10th Annual Zoroastrian Fire Jumping event at La Plaza Cultural

A lot of people turned out last night to take part in the 10th Annual Zoroastrian Fire Jumping Event at La Plaza Cultural on Ninth Street at Avenue C.

As the invite noted: "Jumping over fire is a symbolic gesture to start a fresh new year. This tradition is celebrated for ringing in the Persian New Year and has been celebrated since at least 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era."

The festive evening, choreographed again by Simin Farkhondeh, a community activist and professor at the School of Visual Arts, included music by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and jumping courtesy of those who lined up to celebrate ... EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there for the action...

[Simin Farkhondeh and daughter]

[Thanks to Ryan and Oona for the view!]