Thursday, May 5, 2016

This morning on 7th Street and Avenue A

Photos by Derek Berg

Reader report: Life next to 377 E. 10th St.

Gut renovations are ongoing at the now-vacant 377 E. 10th St., a former squat between Avenue B and Avenue C.

This address is one of the buildings that the city sold to tenants for a $1 via a deal brokered by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) in 2002. Under the terms of the deal, the tenants were to bring the buildings up to code.

However, as The Villager reported back in the fall, the conversions of No. 377 as well as 544 E. 13th St. were stalled.

Let's go to The Villager for more details on the renovations of the two buildings:

According to the city, the renovations will last two years, after which the former squatters will be allowed to return and buy their units at a low, insider’s price.

Meanwhile, a private developer, BFC Partners, led by principal Donald Capoccia, will rehab the two buildings as affordable housing, in return for which BFC will get development rights in the form of an “inclusionary housing” bonus — or F.A.R. (floor area ratio) — usable to build market-rate housing elsewhere nearby.

The city is temporarily offering the former squatters units in Stuyvesant Town, for which they would pay a discounted rent — not to exceed 30 percent of 30 percent of area median income. The developer will cover the balance of the rent.

As for the gut renovation, a resident who lives next door describes it as a living hell.

Here's part of an email from the resident, who has also witnessed the workers urinating on the sidewalk:

Every morning 7 days a week at 7 am there are the main characters: The Ball Peen Hammer Dude panging on random shit, The Dude with a Giant Vibrator who's just vibrating the shit out of every building around us, The Door Knocker who is knocking on the old ass doors that are still in there for some reason, The Guy banging metal trash-can lids from the 1980s... They're also Peeping Toms. Creeeeeeepy!!

I could go on for hours, because I've already reported these assholes to 311 numerous times to no avail. They have disturbed us on not only Saturdays, but FRIGGING Sundays! They need to stop. The building looks worse than it did before.

And here are some photos...

Back in 2008, I posted a photo of the building from the 1980s... the undated photo is by amg2000 via Flickr...

Here's Centre-fuge Cycle 20 on East 1st Street

[Art by Claw Money]

Despite the crap weather of late, the six artists taking part in Cycle 20 of the Centre-fuge Public Art Project were able to wrap up work this week ... at the rotating outdoor gallery/construction trailer here along East First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

The artists are Claw Money, Himbad, K-NOR, Resa, Balu and Adam Dare.

[Art by Himbad]

[Art by K-NOR]

[Art by Resa]

[Art by Balu]

[Art by Adam Dare]

This work will be up through late July.

Find more info about Centre-fuge here.

MetroPCS has closed on East 14th Street

That's all for this MetroPCS outpost on East 14th Street at First Avenue... the landlord has taken possession of the premises, as these photos via EVG regular dwg show...

This location seemed to be a good spot for a stick up... as it was robbed twice that we can recall in early 2012...

As for MetroPCS, you won't have to travel far to find another one. According to the The Center for an Urban Future, MetroPCS is the third largest chain store in NYC with 323 outposts in 2015, trailing only Dunkin' Donuts (568) and Subway (444).

Report: Menswear boutique and cocktail den in the works for East Houston

We've been curious about what's coming to the former Bowery Coffee space at 87 E. Houston just west of the Bowery.

We've seen movers hauling boxes into the space. BoweryBoogie got the scoop on the new tenant: VK Nagrani, a menswear boutique and cocktail den.

Apparently menswear designer Vivek Nagrani had been operating out of a former gallery on the Upper East Side. That space is closed now in anticipation of opening here on June 1.

Here's BB with more on the concept:

We are creating an experiential men’s boutique featuring luxury men’s clothing, custom clothing, bespoke jeans, hand made shoes and organic men’s grooming products (hangover recovery kits, post flight rejuvenation kits). Everything is made by artisan workshops in Italy, Peru and here in New York. The space is more theatre than traditional retail.

Nagrani will appear before CB2 (not CB3) for a liquor license at some point in the future.

Bowery Coffee closed after three-plus years in January 2015.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Florence and the Machine time at Village East Cinema

The Village East Cinema on Second Avenue at East 12th Street is prepping for tonight's U.S. theatrical premiere of "The Odyssey," a 47-minute film that strings together video clips released in 2015 of songs from Florence and the Machine's latest album, "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful," per Rolling Stone.

Here's more from the film's director, Vincent Haycock:

"Like the layers of Dante's purgatory, each song or chapter represents a battle that Florence traversed ... that embodied each song or story," he said.

And here's a clip of Florence...

As for the one-night-only screening at 7, it's by invite. And the after party will NOT be held across the street at DumplingGO.

Thanks to EVG regular Daniel for the photo and info!

So long to the Oracle of Tompkins Square Park

After nearly a year in Tompkins Square Park, artist Jorge Luis Rodriguez has removed his sculpture titled "The Oracle of the Past, Present and Future." (You can read more about the sculpture on our previous post.)

George Trakas (pictured on the left), who was Rodriguez's art teacher in 1976, helped with the removal today... did EVG correspondent Steven, who took these photos and was also recruited to assist ...

Here's the Oracle-less plot of Park land...

Glad that this art fared much better in the the Park than other sculptures did.

Report: Landmarked former St. Denis Hotel selling for $100 million

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

The Real Deal is reporting that Normandy Real Estate Partners is in contract to buy 797-799 Broadway at East 11th Street for somewhere in the $100 million ballpark.

The building is noteworthy for many reasons. It opened in 1853 as the St. Denis Hotel, which is where Ulysses S. Grant wrote his post-Civil War memoirs and Alexander Graham Bell provided the first demonstration of LinkNYC the telephone to New Yorkers.

Off the Grid, the blog of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has a nice post on the building's history.

An excerpt:

In 1917, after 64 years of operation, it was announced that the St. Denis would be closing its doors to make way for a loft building. The reason for its demise was the surrounding neighborhood’s change in character and the manager’s inability to keep up with modern hotel-keeping ideas. In February 1920, the Renwick family finally sold the property, which had been in their family for 250 years, at auction.

“The changing of the St. Denis Hotel to an office building obliterates one of the oldest hotels in the city…The St. Denis Hotel was the fashionable headquarters half a century ago” said the New York Times. The hotel was converted into a modern store and office building and, during renovations, was stripped of its previous decorative front.

As we noted at the time: "Ah applesauce!" A few EVG readers figured the storefronts would attract yet another millinery shop.

Anyway! Here's a photo of the hotel in its glory days... (from the NYPL via Off the Grid)...

As for the future of the address, The Real Deal noted: "It was not immediately clear what Normandy plans to do with the building."

Out and About in the East Village

In this weekly feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village.

By James Maher
Name: Maria, who is a little camera shy, and Brisco
Occupation: Retired, Property manager
Location: 3rd Street and 1st Avenue
Time: 3:30 p.m. on May 2

I moved here in 2001. Originally I’m from the Murray Hill area. It’s called Kips Bay now. That area has also changed. It was not as infested with drugs as it is down here. It was predominantly an Irish-Italian neighborhood. Not many Hispanics like myself, but it was a community, with social clubs.

It was a great neighborhood – doors were left open, and people watched over one another. It was very friendly and there were a lot of families. The Madison Square Boys Club was up there on 29th Street between First and Second avenues. It’s now a charter school. There was also a Girl’s Club on the 30th Street side – both of them are gone. It’s too bad. That was a great thing to have. I was a member of the Girl’s Club and we used to go back and forth just to use the pool. They also used to have dances in there.

It was also a tenement-building area, and now they have these high rises going up. It’s really taking over. I think it was around the 2000s, maybe a little earlier than that. The buildings started to change, and now mores o than ever. It’s incredible. I was one of the original tenants there of a Mitchell-Lama building and it was pretty affordable. Then they went to market rent. It’s now called Kips Bay [Court]. Back in the day when I was there, I was paying $800 and change. When I started there, I was there for almost 25-30 years, and the rent was $300-something for a one bedroom with a terrace.

There’s a different kind of feel in Kips Bay compared to down here. I feel like you need to stretch up with the shoulders as you go uptown. Down here it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s so much fun. When I moved here my shoulders went down – more relaxed. It’s more diversified – you find blacks, Hispanics, whites, and you find some yuppies down here too, but it’s cool. Everybody’s in the mix down here. It feels like everybody’s pretty cool around one another.

I just retired – it’ll be one year. I was a property manager for a real-estate company on the Upper West Side. There were two buildings that I managed. They were hotels at one time. Ethically a lot of the stuff that was going on in these high-rise buildings… rent stabilized people were being pushed out. That sucked. Ethically, there was a lot of stuff that I really didn’t approve of… but I worked for a big company. It was also male oriented.

I was there for a good 15 years, but it was tough. I started out as a security guard. I had hit my bottom and couldn’t get work. I lost my job in the financial industry – I was an over-the-counter trader. It was a big change.

Oh man, I started down there in the 1980s. There were no computers really. I started out there, went through the rock 'n' roll stuff and alcohol. To get back to work. I left for California, but I didn’t make it there because I was still running from whatever. So I started as a security guard and then I wound up assisting the managing office, then I wound up being the assistant manager, and then I wound up being a manager, and then the story goes on. But it was cool. I felt like… you put the footwork in and then you turn your life around. I thought I was tough, but I’m really a mush.

I do photography on the side now. I just got back from South Africa. I did some safari work there and took like 1,700 pictures and my buddy took 2,000. I was there for six weeks and then I went into the mountains for a month to a silent retreat, meditating. It was hard coming back. Integrating wasn’t easy, but it’s good for the soul.

James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.

Former Northern Spy space for rent on East 12th Street

Northern Spy decided to close this past February after six years of serving seasonal menu items with locally sourced ingredients.

The owners said that "2015 was a tough year and we did not manage to pull the nose up to restore the flight altitude we once enjoyed. We're hanging it up while we still have the buttons on our pants."

While we haven't spotted any for lease signs, the space at 511 E. 12th St. is on the market. The Eastern Consolidated listing notes that the rent is $6,400 for 2,000 square feet (1,000 of it is the basement). There is also an additional $225,000 in key money.

There's not much other information, other than that the address features a "fully built out restaurant" with a full liquor license. The restaurant received a full liquor license last fall. (They had been turned down for full liquor starting in 2010... and in April 2012)

On April 16-17, the space served as a pop-up burger joint for Fleishers Craft Butchery, operated by one of Northern Spy's former owners.

Reader report: This sign on East 13th Street is full of crap

An EVG reader, a self-described dutiful pooper scooper, felt compelled to fact check a fake, meant-to-look-official flyer on East 13th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

As the Official Website of New York notes:

The City enforces the Pooper Scooper Law and accepts reports of places where dog walkers regularly fail to pick up after their dogs. These locations include streets, sidewalks, and other areas such as open front yards next to the public sidewalk. A City agent must see the crime taking place in order to give a ticket. The Pooper Scooper Law does not apply to guide dogs or service dogs walking with people who have disabilities.

It's perhaps tricky business, though, for the city to hand out a ticket. Per a 2008 article in The New York Times: "To issue a summons, the agent must witness the dog doing its business and the owner walking away."

As for the reader's annoyance with the sign: The fine for failing to clean up after your dog is $250. New York bumped up the penalty from $100 in 2008. (The Canine Waste Law was enacted in 1978.)

So the reader wonders why the sign maker didn't put the correct $250 amount on the flyer. Perhaps the reader needs to make new flyers [someone will suggest].

For further reading:
The Consequences Of No One Picking Up Their Dog’s Poop Are Horrifying (FiveThirtyEight)

Storefronts and signage: Top A Nail makes the move next door; Bahr Ché closes on Astor Place

It's another exciting edition of storefronts and signage... a few items to note from recent days and weeks...


Top A Nails opened Monday in their new home on Avenue A ... right next door to their former shop here between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street... According to the listing for the old space at No. 137, the storefront has already been rented.


[Photo by Steven]

The signage is up at 440 E. Ninth St. near Avenue A for Confectionery, a vegan chocolate shop and bakery. As we first reported, the retail shop will be a collaboration between the New Paltz-based vegan chocolate company Lagusta’s Luscious and bakery Sweet Maresa's.


Workers recently cleaned out the remainder of the former Sounds space at 20 St. Mark's Place...taking with them the last traces of the record store that closed last October...the asking rent is $22,000...


The broker brandage has been removed from the former Chase branch at 20 Avenue A and Second Street...

The marketing copy read: "Your corner. Your brand. Your town." So perhaps there is a taker for this (your!) corner...


A for rent sign arrived the other day at the former Verizon Wireless on Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place...

[Photo by Steven]

We didn't spot a listing for the space online just yet.


An EVG reader told us that Bahr Ché, a wine-tapas bar at 26 Astor Place, has been closed for weeks now... it looks as if black trash bags cover the front door... their phone goes unanswered and the website is now offline...

Bahr Ché opened in late 2010.


And workers yesterday cleaned out the East Village Tobacco & Variety Shop at 350 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.... the space is for rent...

[Photo by Steven]

The shop opened just eight months ago... taking over the former A.K. Shoe Repair.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Reports: Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver receives 12-year prison sentence

The Lower East Side-based Sheldon Silver, who became "one of the state’s most powerful and feared politicians as speaker of the New York Assembly," received a 12-year prison sentence this afternoon for federal corruption crimes.

Said U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, who also levied a $1.75 million fine on the 72-year-old Silver:

“I hope the sentence I am going to impose will serve as a general deterrent to others that other politicians will see that corruption is going to be dealt with severely. I hope that the sentence I’m going to impose on you will make the next politician hesitate just long enough before taking a bribe or a kickback, for his better angels to take over. Or if there are no better angels and for some people, there are not, then maybe his fear of living out his golden years in an orange jumpsuit will put him on the straight and narrow.”

Silver was convicted on Nov. 30 of charges that included honest services fraud, money laundering and extortion. Silver's attorney said that he will appeal the verdict and sentence.

Head to The Lo-Down for a full report and photos.

The for lease sign is now up at 4 St. Mark's Place

The for lease sign has arrived outside 4 St. Mark's Place, the former home of Trash & Vaudeville.

The signage went up yesterday...and the listing for the retail space hasn't been posted to the Eastern Consolidated website just yet.

The landmarked building between Second Avenue and Third Avenue recently changed hands for $10 million. The buyer's identity hasn't been revealed to date.

As for Trash and Vaudeville, the shop continues on at 96 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

The show will go on with 'Stomp' in the East Village

[Photo in April 2015 by Derek Berg]

In April 2015, the owners of the Orpheum Theater were suing the producers of "Stomp" to prevent the long-running show from leaving its home on Second Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Seventh Street. However, a Manhattan judge ruled that the production is allowed to discontinue its contract and move on to a new theater in Midtown.


According to a report today in the Post:

[A]n arbitrator ruled that the dance/percussion show must stay in its longtime home at the Orpheum Theater after it tried to relocate to a competing playhouse uptown.

The arbitrator also said its producers also should have to cough up a whopping $2.2 million in legal fees for trying to wriggle out of a contract that barred the show from leaving the Orpheum for a competitor, New World Stages.

Stomp began its run at the Orpheum in February 1994.

In October 1995, the cast appeared on an episode of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." You will want to watch this here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Reports: 'Stomp' will be leaving the East Village (21 comments)

Why 'Stomp' might be leaving the East Village after 21 years (25 comments)

Construction watch: 189 E. 7th St.

More like Gut Renovation Watch here on Seventh Street between Avenue B and Avenue C.

This townhouse had been on the market for several years. At last look in December 2014, the asking price was $3.75 million. That listing noted:

This townhouse is the lowest price townhouse in East Village and requires TLC. Renovated townhouses in East Village sell between $5.5- $7.0 million dollars so there is an opportunity to make millions on this property.

However, it appears that the building never found a buyer, per property records.

As you can see, workers have gone the hardcore TLC route, stripping the now open-air building down to the bricks...


This is the second building on the block to receive a gut rehab. No. 222 will be home to an extended 6-floor building with 8 residences...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Make millions on this East 7th Street townhouse

New York Healthy Choice returns as New York Health Choice on Avenue C

[Photo from December]

New York Healthy Choice closed back in December on Avenue C at 11th Street. There weren't any notices on the door for customers about a closure, temporary or otherwise.

At the time, several readers said that the market, owned by the folks who run the two Yankee Delis (and pizzeria) on Avenue C, was undergoing a renovation.

Sure enough, the corner space recently came back to life... now going as New York Health Choice (aka Eastside Market)...

The concept is basically the same. A worker explained the other day that they just rearranged the space. The meat and fish counters are now in the back of the store... and they're now making salads to go up front...

The market first opened on Dec. 20, 2012.

H/T EVG reader Peter D. for the initial reopening tip

Previously on EV Grieve:
At the New York Healthy Choice grand opening today on Avenue C

Reader report: New York Healthy Choice has apparently closed on Avenue C

Facing a $168k rent increase, the Associated Supermarket on West 14th Street closes

[Photo by Bayou]

The Associated Supermarket at 255 W. 14th St. between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue closed after business on Sunday, per the notice on the door.

Landlord Pan Am Equities reportedly served the 27-year-old store with an exorbitant rent increase. (According to Gothamist, the rent is going from $32,000/month to $200,000/month.)

In March, "an impressively large crowd and a full slate of politicians rallied outside the Associated" to try to save the market. (There was another protest outside Pan Am's offices.) The lease was up this month.

The owners of the Chelsea location also run the Associated in Stuy Town on East 14th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue (as well as the location on Avenue C at Eighth Street).

The sign at the former Chelsea store points shoppers to the East 14th Street location. Not sure how many people will make that trek. And there isn't any guarantee that the East 14th Street store will continue to operate as Associated.

However, there's hope. Principal owner Joseph Falzon and his partners have reportedly been working with Blackstone to come to an agreement for the Stuy Town Associated before their lease expires for that store in 2017, according to the Town & Village Blog.

H/T Bayou!

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Associated owners not having any luck shopping for a lease renewal on East 14th Street (34 comments)

Petition drive underway to help save the Stuy Town Associated on East 14th Street

Report: New Stuy Town owner pledges to keep a grocery story on East 14th Street, but it may not be Associated

Monday, May 2, 2016

Nest stop

Red-tailed hawk parents Christo and Dora on nest watch in Tompkins Square Park late this afternoon... not sure just how many hatchlings are in the nest. Goggla has been monitoring the feedings. (There's a video of a feeding at Urban Hawks.)

Thankfully, there isn't any shortage of rats for the kids.

And maybe later this summer all of Christo and Dora's offspring will return for a family reunion in the Park.

Photo today by Bobby Williams


[Updated] Skitty is missing

Skitty managed somehow to get out of the apartment some time last night... here are some basics via the EVG inbox...

Name: Skitty (only fostered with that name for 3 months, so may not respond to it)
male grey medium haired cat, about 18 months old
Lost on East Eighth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C
$200 reward for safe return
Contact: email

Updated 5/54

Skitty is back home safe! He was found about a block away, hanging out in the building's back garden. Thank you to everyone who offered leads, help, etc.

A wet Christmas forecast

As these photos suggest, late April is a popular time to discard the ol' Christmas/holiday tree... on city sidewalks... and in waterways...

EVG reader Carol spotted this scene yesterday at Stuyvesant Cove. As she notes, "judging by the buoyancy and needle mass, I'd guess it went in recently." Indeed.

Renderings arrive as construction kicks in at 438 E. 14th St.

Construction activity has picked up in the last week-plus at 438 E. 14th St., site of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office....

And along with this work ... the renderings have arrived on the plywood here between Avenue A and First Avenue... providing the first, official look at the new retail-residential building on the way in (and up)...

The plans show an 8-story retail-residential building via SLCE Architects featuring 114 units.

We couldn't find the information about the project at the website of Benenson Capital Partners, whose company has owned the East 14th Street property since the 1940s. In February, we found the following about the new building:

Benenson and the Mack Real Estate Group have formed a joint venture to develop a mixed-use residential and ground floor retail property in New York City's East Village. The 80/20 property will provide both market and affordable housing units. The property is located less than a block from the L train and within blocks of Union Square, which is one of New York's busiest subway stations. Construction is expected to begin shortly and end in late 2016 or early 2017.

In any event, this makes seven active construction sites in a span of several blocks...

100 Avenue A

438 E. 12th St. aka Steinerville

Thirteen East + West on East 13th Street (with construction at No. 436 and 442)

500 E. 14th St. and 524 E. 14th St. (counting this as two sites)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office slated to be demolished

The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office will yield to an 8-story residential building

New residential building at former 14th Street PO will feature a quiet lounge, private dining room

A look at the new building coming to the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office property