Monday, July 28, 2014

On the closing of Kim's and the death of a 'downtown aesthetic'

[EVG photo from last week]

Kim's received the Sunday New York Times Memorial treatment with the somber headline "Passing of a Video Store and a Downtown Aesthetic." (The subhead: "Kim's Video Closes and a Village Sensibility Dies.")

As we first reported on April 21, owner Yongman Kim is closing the last of the Kim's here at 124 First Ave. ... perhaps as early as this week ... or into August.

The article includes thoughts from Richard Hell, Alexandre Rockwell and Darren Aronofsky, among others.

To the Times:

Pressed by higher rents, Mr. Kim said, he plans to close the First Avenue store at the end of next month, 27 years after he opened the first one, on Avenue A, in 1987. But this is more than a story of rising rents and the disruption wrought by digital streaming. It’s the tale of a downtown culture now largely lost, one in which clerks and creative types mingled, influencing one another and the scene as well.


Mr. Kim is taking business classes and plans to return with the Kim’s brand in some way. He’s also thinking of moving back to the Lower East Side from New Jersey, where he now lives.

He’d be returning to a different downtown.

“Manhattan in the 21st century is this Disneyland for the superrich,” Mr. Hell said, even though he cautioned against romanticizing the past. “New York in the ’70s was more like the reality of human existence. And you need to know what the world is really like to make good art.”

Speaking of a downtown aesthetic, I knew this guy who would go in the Avenue A location and ask for the worst movies ever made, like "Leonard Part 6," just to see how annoyed the clerks would get.

And here's a bonus photo from the EVG collection showing the back door at the First Avenue Kim's that leads out to ...

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] A really bad sign outside Kim's Video & Music on First Avenue (31 comments)

Source: Kim's staff looking for ways to save their store

More about the closure of Kim's: 'We are NOT closing because record stores are dying'

Listing for Kim's Video says space is 'ideal for Bank, 711, Starbucks'

Deeper discounts at Kim's as closing countdown continues

Come back again someday

East Sixth Street this morning ... photo by Derek Berg.

Snow cream shavery coming to East 10th Street

Renovations are underway at the former Kung Fu Tea location at 241 E. 10th St. at First Avenue.

Coming soon here: Snowdays Shavery.

The sign went up Saturday.

[Image via Facebook]

Here's the description via Facebook:

Combining the texture of shaved ice with the creaminess of ice cream, we make something called snow cream.

From a shave cream trends piece in The Huffington Post from last summer:

Lighter than ice cream, smoother than shave ice, and creamier than sorbet, there isn't much to directly compare this to ... but whatever it is, it's delicious.

Generally served in Asian-inspired flavors, don't expect Yogurtland-esque offerings to be on the menu. Most snow cream shops offer flavors such as black sesame, green tea, and taro (alongside the original, sweet cream flavor), toppings including red bean, lychee, and mochi (with some more common fruit toppings mixed in), and most people top their creation with condensed milk.

One of the coolest parts of a snow cream experience is the actual way it is prepared: the snow cream is shaved off of large blocks, each of a different flavor. Unlike shave ice, the snow cream comes off in large ribbons, not small, icy pieces.

H/T EVG reader Sarah

Here's Ben Shaoul's new-look 2nd Avenue residential building

The construction gear and what not is off the front of 31-33 Second Ave., showing the exterior of Ben Shaoul's new residential building here just south of East Second Street.

According to plans on file with the city, workers remodeled the existing commercial space on the ground floor ... remodeled the existing apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors ... and added three floors on top of the existing building. Each floor will contain two apartments, per the DOB documents.

The south side of the building appears to still need some work … or else the cinder-block look is in…

BoweryBoogie previously reported that a Petco-branded store is set for the retail space.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Ben Shaoul planning a 3-story addition at 31-33 Second Ave.

Bracing for 3 new floors at 31-33 Second Ave.

Checking in on the work in progress at 31-33 2nd Ave., where Ben Shaoul is adding 3 new floors

[Photo of 31-33 2nd Ave. from 2009 by LuciaM via Panoramio]

A note from 'that obnoxious drunk girl'

A resident made this discovery the other morning in an East Village building lobby. A sign placed over the remains of some [redacted] that apparently hit the wall then the floor.

"Sorry guys, Cleaned it up as much as I could. Thanks for being understanding.
That obnoxious drunk girl"

And how was your weekend?

The 99-Cent Discount Center has officially closed

Workers were clearing out the storefront yesterday at 440 E. 14th St. … carting off the remnants in these bags…

As previously noted, the store owners lost their lease … joining former next-door neighbor Stuyvesant Stationery in that club here just west of Avenue A.

With the departure of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, there are now three, single-level storefronts sitting vacant … presumably to make way for some future development.

Previously on EV Grieve:
99-Cent Discount Center latest lost-lease casualty on East 14th Street

Thanks to the anon EVG reader for the photos

A Nepali jewelry shop for East 9th Street

EVG reader Ingrid Mourreau-Kelleman passes along word of a new store opening today at 350 E. Ninth St. just west of First Avenue... a Nepali jewelry shop ...

Matiell Consignment Shop moved out of this space in May for a new home on the Upper East Side.

[Updated] Verizon getting brown on it

Well! Thirteen whole months have passed since our last post about the graffiti vs. brown paint back-and-forth on the Verizon building along East 13th Street.

You know how it went. Verizon had someone paint over the graffiti on the side of the building … only to have it return days later.

After investing in security cameras and gallons and gallons of brown paint, it seemed as if Verizon had given up here at Second Avenue.

But now! Verizon is having the wall painted brown again…

About half finished now.

And the tags will certainly return. Just too tempting of a canvas to be left brown.

Updated 9:24 a.m.

A reader tells us that the scrubbing and painting continues this morning...

Previously on EV Grieve:
First tag reappears on the Verizon building

Brownout: Verizon building graffiti painted over

Verizon is going to blow the budget on brown paint

Roast Kitchen coming to University Place

Just noting the imminent arrival of another outpost for the NYC mini-chain here on the corner of East 13th Street …

There are currently locations on Seventh Avenue and down on Water Street … with three more on the way.

And their menu…

[Click to see more detail]

The corner space was previously home to a Qdoba Mexican Grill.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer loving happened so fast

Oh! And Awww! Some hawk love (Christo and Dora???) atop the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer on East Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B …

Photos via Rob & Mike

Here is the new Beastie Boys mural in honor of 'Paul's Boutique'

This Beastie Boys mural went up this weekend on Ludlow and Rivington.

As you may have read, the mural is in honor of their second record, "Paul's Boutique," which is celebrating its 25th (!!!) anniversary.

Brooklyn-based artist Danielle Mastrion created the mural outside Wolfnights, the sandwich shop on this corner. LeRoy McCarthy, who unsuccessfully lobbied for "Beastie Boys Square" here, is also behind this project.

The storefront was once home to Lee's Sportswear, which appeared on the cover of "Paul's Boutique."

Thanks to EVG Facebook friend Shirley Dluginski for the new mural photo!

1st Avenue ceiling fan

Photo this afternoon via Grant Shaffer.

Week in Grieview

[St. Mark's Place near 3rd Avenue on July 26]

Remembering Michael Brody (Monday)

Dr. Dave is fighting eviction on East Second Street (Thursday)

Celebrating 25 years at Paul's Da Burger Joint (Monday)

Google employee accused of raping woman in East 12th Street apartment (Tuesday)

First signs of the Alphabet City-Tompkins Square Slow Zone (Friday)

Out and About with Lauren Edmond (Wednesday)

Work starts on Mars Bar 2.0 (Monday)

Rice burgers coming to East Ninth Street (Thursday)

About the Between the Seas Festival (Tuesday)

Veselka turns back the clock (Wednesday)

The return of I Coppi (Wednesday)

Time-lapse video of the baby hawks (Wednesday)

A reboot for Oyama (Tuesday)

At the Blarney Cove Cove (Monday)

Covering the mural wall on the Bowery and East Houston (Thursday)

Deeper discounts now at Kim's, closing soon (Wednesday)

A look at the new Max Fish signage (Tuesday)

The quick-rising new luxury buildings on Lafayette (Tuesday)

"You were walking through the east village with broccoli casually tucked in your backpack" (Wednesday)

Coffee shops with WiFi (Friday)

Birdbath Bakery still closed (Monday)

Here is your Red & Gold Crab Shack! signage (Monday)

French bistro taking over Apartment 13 space (Thursday)

#Couchon3rd now on 2nd Avenue

At East 12th Street. The sign on the sleeper sofa reads #Couchon3rd and #Noton3rd

Previously, #Couchon3rd — with a different couch — was camped out in front of the incoming Westside Market

Repost: When we almost lost St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery to a fire

The following post first appeared here on July 27, 2012…


[Photo via]

On July 27, 1978, a fire nearly destroyed the St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, long a focal point of the community. At the time of the blaze, workers were nearly done with a $500,000 restoration of the historic church on Second Avenue and East 10th Street.

According to an account by Tom Sotor in the East Side Express:

The fire began when a workman's welding instrument ignited a section of the timber cornice, and from there the blaze spread rapidly. "Smoke was pouring out of the hell tower when we arrived," recalls one of the first firefighters on the scene. "I said to myself, 'This ceiling's going to go.' And sure as hell, there was a partial collapse." The rear section of the 50-foot high peaked roof collapsed a half-hour after the fire began.

The 75 firefighters involved with the three-alarm blaze Were faced with many other problems as well. A six-foot iron fence that surrounded the church and a graveyard on one side prevented the companies from utilizing anything but portable equipment. Consequently, a tower ladder had to be employed to spray the front and rear, while the sides of the church remained practically unassailable.

There was also danger of the 150-foot steeple collapsing. "We kept an eye on the steeple'supports," explains John J. Moffatt, the commander in charge of the fire. "If it fell, we would have had a lot of injuries."

There weren't any reported injuries... though the fire caused major damage to the church, including the loss of the roof and nine of the 23 stained-glass windows.

[Via East Side Express]

The Citizens to Save St Mark's was founded to raise funds for its reconstruction ... supervised by architect Harold Edelman. The restoration was completed in 1986, with new stained-glass windows designed by Edelman, who personally supervised the entire project, according to his obit in the Times from 1999.

And a little snippet of the history via the Church website:

The St. Mark’s Church and its yards are just a few reminders of the once vast “bouwerie,” or Dutch plantation, which Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam purchased in 1651 from the Dutch West India Company. When Stuyvesant died in 1672, his body was interred in a vault under the family chapel he’d had built in 1660. In 1793, Stuyvesant’s great-grandson, Petrus Stuyvesant, donated the chapel property to the Episcopal Church with the stipulation that a new chapel be erected and on April 25, 1795, the cornerstone of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was laid.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tonight's sunset

Via EVG reader Christine... from near East 5th Street and Avenue D...

Today's selfie of the day

East Ninth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

Photo via Bobby Williams

Check out Sunny and Annie's new floor

And enjoy the new-floor shine while ordering a delicious sandwich.

Photo via Goggla.

Sunny and Annie's, 94 Avenue B at East Sixth Street.

Report: State Attorney General launches Steve Croman investigation

From the Daily News today:

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched a probe into the potentially illegal tactics used by landlord Steven Croman, 47, to force rent-stabilized tenants out of their valuable apartments, a source said.

The AG is investigating potential violations of city and state laws, including numerous infractions related to tenant harassment by Croman, the source said.

The article includes a story from Cordelia and Graham Winton, who live in a building on East Eighth Street that Croman/9300 Realty bought last year.

They declined Croman's buyout offer, and remain living in their $1,250 apartment while neighbors above and below them pay $6,000.

When they returned from a vacation last Saturday, they discovered that someone cranked up the steam heat in their building while they were away.

The heat was so extreme, wine bottles had uncorked, spewing their contents on the floor. A glass cabinet shattered, wood shelves warped and collapsed, the plastic spray arm in the sink melted, an outlet popped out of the wall and the ceiling and walls bubbled.

You can read the article here for the rest of this.

Yesterday, the Daily News reported that Schneiderman slapped a cease-and-desist order on one of Croman's employees, ex-cop Anthony Falconite, who "tenants say has engaged in a campaign of harassment and intimidation to force them out."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Watch a lot of people speak out against Steve Croman and 9300 Realty

Despite plea, landlord doubling rent on East Village family with cancer-stricken 2 year old

[Photo of Steve and Harriet Croman by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for DuJour]

Above 1st Avenue, 7:43 a.m., July 26

Via @evgrieve

A new weekly flea market outside St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery

[File photo via Momos/Wikipedia]

From the EVG inbox…

Starting today, Karma Kleaners will be showcasing a limited selection of jewelry, accessories and gift items at the brand new (Saturday) weekly Flea Market run by Metro Festival Productions (who also run the St. Anthony Market in Soho).

If this new venue proves successful Karma Kleaners will expand our merchandising to include crystals, sage kleansing lits, and possibly even some shoes and vintage items.

This Flea Market features several vendors who you may recognize as veterans of the Flea Market circuit in New York City. Come out & show that DOWNTOWN, New York City can still support local artists, small businesses, and a Flea Market!

The market is open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Today on East 6th Street: The 2nd annual Refresh Block Party

Via the EVG inbox…

The second annual Refresh Block Party is a celebration of friendship, beauty and diversity in our neighborhood. We’ll have free food, DJs, bounce houses, free hair cuts, bike registration with the NYPD, and more. Featuring Tedsmooth, DJ Tra$e, Mike Sessions, Soni, Nick Lo, and Beyond Rest.

The event is put on as part of a collaborative work, united as OurNeighborhood.Is. The work began as a neighborhood-based recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Together we opened what the mayor’s office called, “the largest relief site in Manhattan,” serving over 20,000 people in six days. Last year we celebrated this and other works together at the first Refresh Block Party.

The Refresh Block Party is today from 3-7 p.m. on East Sixth Street between Avenue D and the FDR.

Photos of the 2013 Block Party via OurNeighborhood.Is

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Heat is on

Here is "The Heat" from Jungle, the buzzy UK-based soul collective whose debut record was released on July 14. NME calls it "the pop-art album of the summer."

Cafe Bari has closed after 21 years on Broadway and Spring

[Photo from May 2013 via Facebook]

An East Village resident passed this item along... thinking that some EVG readers may (or may not!) have an interest in knowing that Cafe Bari has closed on the northwest corner of Spring Street and Broadway.

Here is part of a message posted to the Cafe Bari Facebook page:

In 1993 my father, Bari Omari, opened a business called Cafe Bari, on the corner of Spring St & Broadway, in Soho NY. Today, it is the heart of one of the largest tourist shopping attractions in the world. 21 years ago, this wasn't the case.

Bari Omari was one of the pioneers of Soho.

They closed after service last Saturday. (The letter includes a PS with a hopeful "Who knows, maybe Bari will surprise us & make a comeback one of these days.")

Can't say that we were ever in here (or know a thing about it) ... anyway, there's a rumor that Niketown is taking the space. Which seems about right.

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

[Outside the 13th Step on 2nd Avenue via Derek Berg]

Tips for keeping your rent-stabilized apartment (DNAinfo)

Tokyo Rebel, formerly on Avenue B, has a new home on Allen Street (BoweryBoogie)

Bleecker Street Records transformation to a Starbucks complete (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)

After 3 weeks away, Dora the hawk returns (Gog in NYC)

Traffic light nest on 8th and D (The Lo-Down)

RevJen’s Troll Museum on Orchard Street in danger of closing (Gothamist)

This Orchard Street penthouse has a rooftop watchtower (Curbed)

...and screenings tonight at the Anthology Film Archives — Richard Linklater's "Slacker" and "Dazed and Confused."

Finally, this lonely mini cheesecake needs company in Tompkins Square Park...

[Photo by EVG reader Amanda]

Report: Attorney General slaps cease-and-desist order on ex-cop accused of hassling tenants on behalf of landlords, including Steve Croman

From the Daily News today:

He's a renter's worst nightmare — an ex-cop authorities say regularly harasses and intimidates rent-stabilized tenants to force them out so their landlord can charge higher rent.

His name is Anthony Falconite, and this week state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the unusual step of slapping him with a “cease and desist” order, demanding he halt an increasingly aggressive campaign that’s crossed the legal line.

In documents obtained by the Daily News, Schneiderman charges that Falconite has forced his way into apartments, snapped photos of tenants’ mail and belongings and repeatedly threatened them with eviction.

Tenants say he’s followed them to and from work, confronting them at their jobs about where they really live. He has questioned family members and even tenants’ children. He’s pretended to be a maintenance worker or a FedEx agent to get inside their apartments.

Among his employers, according to the Daily News: Steven Croman of 9300 Realty.

Do you recognize Mr. Falconite? Has he ever approached you in the East Village?

First signs of the Alphabet City-Tompkins Square Slow Zone

You may have noticed a few new street signs around the neighborhood.

The Department of Transportation has installed signs showing the new speed limit for part of the East Village under the Slow Zone Initiative, which is expected to launch next month. (Read the background about all this here.)

Yesterday, crews started putting in speed bumps on several streets, including East Eighth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C and East Sixth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D …

[Photo by Dave on 7th]

The map below shows the designated Slow Zone — First Avenue east to the FDR, and from East Second Street north to East 14th Street.

[Click image to enlarge]

In addition to the 20 mph speed limit (15 mph near schools), a Slow Zone area features speed bumps (21 here) and new striping and signage to slow drivers.

CB3 member Chad Marlow helped put the plan in motion for the East Village early last year. In 1995, a drunken driver struck Marlow's father on Harlem River Drive, an accident that left him with quadriplegia and a severe brain injury. His father died 13 years after the accident.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Call for an East Village 'slow zone' (34 comments)

More about the timing of the Tompkins Square/Alphabet City Slow Zone

Alphabet City-Tompkins Square Slow Zone to take effect in August