Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back to the blackout of 2003

Today (and tonight!) marks the 15th anniversary of the great Northeastern blackout of 2003, an outage that affected 50 million people in parts of the United States and Canada. (Read more about the NYC anniversary at Gothamist and Quartz.)

Below is a video my old friend GammaBlog published on the fifth anniversary in 2008.

On the muggy evening of Aug. 14, 2003, GammaBlog took his compact VHS camera out on the streets of the East Village, shooting footage in Tompkins Square Park and St. Mark's Place, among other (darkened) streets.

Here's more about the 21-minute video...

Much of the tape consists of a dark blurry mess as the camera searches for something to focus on. But I did manage to extract some interesting video and audio. And though the walking footage may make those susceptible to motion-sickness nauseous, I think it does capture the spirit of the night. I combined this with recent interviews [2008] in Tompkins Square Park, where I asked people to tell me their 2003 Blackout stories.


EVG reader Jen Pace shared this photo from the 13th Street side of the Verizon building at Second Avenue... where the Verizon maintenance crew is re-engaged in a brown paint battle with taggers... the wall was painted over late last week. And the band played on.

Body found in the East River near the Williamsburg Bridge

Earlier this afternoon, police recovered the body of an unidentified man from the East River just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. The body was reportedly first spotted in the river near East Houston and the FDR.

An EVG reader shared these photos ...

Patch had this report:

The NYPD Harbor unit discovered the unresponsive victim at 1:25 p.m before police divers pulled the victim's body from the river near the Williamsburg Bridge, said officials.

Emergency responders pronounced the man dead on the scene. Police are unsure if the body was dumped in the river at the Lower East Side or if the body was carried by the current from elsewhere, a police spokeswoman said.

The city medical examiner will determine the cause of death, and the investigation into the case is continuing.

Report: Canadian investor buys 62-64 3rd Ave.

Investor Ari Zagdanski’s Kinsmen Property Group is the new owner of 62 and 64 Third Ave.

As the Commercial Observer reported yesterday, Zagdanski paid $23 million for the two four-floor buildings, which were owned by Jakobson Properties.

Per the Observer:

Zagdanski doesn’t have any immediate plans to redevelop the residential buildings, but said he was drawn to the neighborhood because of its new developments including the nearby Moxy Hotel.

“It’s a long-term play. Eventually, it will probably be developed into something,” [broker Itan] Rahmani said. “This is a corner that never really trades.”

No. 62 is currently vacant. There hasn't been much activity (except for the Brunch Theatre Company pop up) at the former home of the New York Central Art Supply, which closed in September 2016.

The Steinberg family, who operated the art supply store for three generations, cited "poor business conditions" as the primary reason behind the closure.

According to public records, the building sold for $9.3 million to an LLC in 2016 with an address of 62 Third Ave. However, a work permit from last year for a sidewalk bridge listed Jakobson Properties as the owner.

No. 64 on the southwest corner is a residential building with the Ainsworth as the retail tenant.

No. 64 was, a few years ago, prime ad space for the aspiring blockbusters of the day...

Did you hear the one about the comedy club opening tonight on 4th Street?

[Image via Instagram]

The New York Comedy Club is making its East Village debut tonight at 85 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

This is the second location for the New York Comedy Club, which opened in 1989 on 24th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Here's what Amy Hawthorne, the club's director of operations, told me via email back in May:

"We're very excited about being part of such a vibrant neighborhood full of all kinds of other arts and performance venues.

"We'll be renovating the space to be more in keeping with the look and character of our original Gramercy location — darker room, brick wall background for the stage, and an audio system custom designed for the space by our co-owner, Scott Lindner, who is also a professional audio engineer."

Lindner and Emilio Savone bought the New York Comedy Club in 2014 after years of working in entertainment marketing and live comedy production.

You can find the East Village schedule here.

They are taking over the former home of the EastVille Comedy Club, which departed for Brooklyn in April.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Funny business: Comedy club replacing comedy club on 4th Street

More bubble tea for the Bubble Tea District (aka St. Mark's Place)

[Photos by Steven]

Signage arrived yesterday at 19-23 St. Mark's Place for Mi Tea...

This will be the fourth U.S. outpost for the Hangzhou, China-based chain with 1,000 locations worldwide. Their speciality: Himalayan pink salted cheese tea drinks.

And they'll have plenty of competition on this block between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. Other nearby options include Nohohon Matcha NYC, Spot Dessert Bar, Kung Fu Tea and CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice.

This storefront was previously Kulture, the tattoo-piercings-jewelry-smoke shop, which moved east several storefronts to the upper level of No. 31 in January.

Kulture arrived here in in 2011. Previously, the space was the short-lived St. Mark's Cafe, Red Mango, Quizno's and, until June 2008, the CBGB shop...

Chinese restaurant coming to this 3rd Avenue storefront

Renovations continue behind the plywood at 50 Third Ave. between 10th Street and 11th Street.

This space, previously the Renew & Relax Spa, is being converted into a restaurant. There's a Community Board 3 notice out front for a new beer-wine license for the place. (This item is not on the August CB3-SLA agenda. Perhaps it will be on for September.)

In an email, one of the applicants, Becky Lin, offered a few details — described the new venture as a "non-traditional Chinese restaurant specializing in noodles, (southern China) appetizers and desserts, etc."

Lin said they are still finalizing the name of the restaurant, which will likely have a fall opening.

Bingbox Snow Cream is moving away from 2nd Avenue

The Bingbox Snow Cream shop at 125 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place is now closed.

A sign on the gate explains that they are moving — location TBD...

Bingbox, which opened in April 2016, serves Korean shaved ice and other desserts. Bingbox recently opened an outpost in Dallas.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Updated: Reward for this turtle, last seen in the 6BC Botanical Garden

An East Village couple's pet turtle went missing yesterday in the 6BC Botanical Garden on Sixth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C.

Per an Instagram post:

We lost our little turtle yesterday. We were in the 6BC garden, and she disappeared under foliage and we looked at every inch of the garden since yesterday. Thinking she may have wandered out the gate.

Hopefully someone will find her and return her to us. Thank you in advance for your kindness.

There's a $100 for anyone who finds the turtle.

Updated 8:07 p.m.

Per the comments, the turtle has been found!

Liquid Denial, the 6th annual MoRUS Film Festival, starts on Thursday

Here are details via the EVG inbox...

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) will host its 6th Annual Film Fest, Liquid Denial, at community gardens in the East Village Thursday through Sunday.

Tackling the time-sensitive issue of water insecurity, Liquid Denial seeks to raise awareness and promote actions to improve access to clean, safe water and identify water-related threats to the health of humans and the environment.

A special centerpiece of Liquid Denial includes a screening of "The Man Who Fell to Earth," starring David Bowie, at La Plaza Cultural on Saturday, Aug. 18. All films will begin at 8:45 p.m. A limited number of early-bird all-access passes are available at Eventbrite, which will include a complimentary, reusable drinking straw to be redeemed either at MoRUS during regular operating hours or at the Film Fest.

This link has all the festival/film details.

MoRUS is at 155 Avenue C between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

Webster Hall alum proposing new venture for former Lovecraft space on Avenue B

Applicants who are family members of the previous Webster Hall ownership will appear before CB3's SLA committee this month for a new liquor license for 50 Avenue B and 238 E. Fourth St.

The addresses include the former Lovecraft, the two-level bar-restaurant between Third Street and Fourth Street, and the Johnny Favorite's pizzeria around the corner on Fourth Street. (The two spaces are connected.)

According to the questionnaire for the public posted to the CB3 website (PDF here), the still-unnamed establishment will serve "American fare in Avenue B space and pizza on Fourth Street, both American and pizza in the basement." The applicants are seeking a sidewalk cafe for the Avenue B side as well.

The paperwork also notes that "there will regularly be live music performances." (The type of live music isn't specified. The questionnaire includes a noise- and traffic-mitigation plan.)

The proposed hours are 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. on weekdays; with a 10 a.m. opening time on weekends.

Applicants include Stephen Ballinger, whose résumé posted with the questionnaire lists him as the head bartender and bar manager at Webster Hall from 2014-2017, and Adam Ballinger, who was most recently the marketing manager at Webster Hall.

The Ballinger family (brothers Lon, Steve and Doug Ballinger) owned Webster Hall from 1992 to last summer, taking over the venue on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue in 1989 when the Ritz was ending its time here.

In the spring of 2017, they reportedly sold the now-landmarked building to Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and AEG Presents for $35 million. (Steve Ballinger is also listed as one of the applicants in the Avenue B venture along with his sons Stephen and Adam.)

The August CB3-SLA meeting is Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Perseverance House Community Room, 535 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Lovecraft, which was inspired by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, closed in early 2018 after three-and-a-half years in business. Johnny Favorite's shuttered in August 2017 after debuting in April 2015.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Lovecraft has not been open lately on Avenue B

Updated: Brown out again at the Verizon building

The staff watching over the Verizon building on Second Avenue at 13th Street has apparently stocked up again on brown paint... the tags that lined the 13th Street side were painted over last week...

Perhaps this marks a return to the brown paint wars that dominated local headlines from 2012-2014.

Tags would fill up the wall. Someone would cover them with brown paint. The tags would return. So did the brown paint. And so on.

For several years it seemed as if Verizon was willing to just let the graffiti stay (in part because the 13th Street side was covered with a sidewalk bridge...)

In any event, here's what the wall looked liked before the latest brown out last week...

Updated 8/14

EVG reader Jen Pace noted these arrivals today...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Sidewalk bridge finally hauled away from the Verizon building on 2nd Avenue

Fire under sidewalk bridge on 13th Street temporarily brings an end to homeless encampment

First tag reappears on the Verizon building

Brownout: Verizon building graffiti painted over

Verizon is going to blow the budget on brown paint

The space for rent in the former Warhol-owned building where Basquiat last lived on Great Jones

[Photo from yesterday]

There have been several listings since last fall for space available to lease at 57 Great Jones St. just off the Bowery... a former stable that Andy Warhol owned. It was also where Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked at the time of his death in 1988.

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of Basquiat's death at age 27.

Also yesterday, as noted here, Basquiat's friend and SAMO© collaborator, Albert Diaz, along with Adrian Wilson, created this tribute yesterday outside No. 57...

As for the listing, it first arrived last fall, and has disappeared and reemerged several time since then, most recently in early August.

Per that listing, which is no longer active (no word on the asking rent):

The heart of NoHo, ground floor sublease opportunity till December 2022 or for short-term lease/pop-up this summer. Approximately 800 sqf including back office. Storage space on the basement upon request. Building formerly owned by Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked. Behind this space is a hidden restaurant by appointments from repeaters or referrals only.

Unique business concepts preferred but any kind of business considered. Ideal for gallery, retail, event space, ice cream shop, pastry shop and etc. Employees bathroom only.

Here's a look inside the space...

[Image via LoopNet]

The outside has long attracted a variety of street art...

In July 2016, the Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation unveiled a commemorative plaque outside the building ... marking the site of Basquiat's home and studio from 1983 to 1988...

You may now buy your Halloween costume this August

The pop-up Spirit Halloween store is now open (and now hiring, still) on Third Avenue here between 13th Street and 14th Street (in the former Ricky's space) ...

The place was closed at the time of these photos... so we can only do a little window shopping through the rolldown gate...

Previously on EV Grieve:
It's never too early to think about Halloween this July

Some back rent due at ZaabVer Thai on 2nd Avenue

ZaabVer Thai has been out of service at 75 Second Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street since the late spring.

A sign on the front door still claims "under renovation" while Yelp and Google list the restaurant as permanently closed.

Back on Thursday, a three-day notice arrived from the landlord... noting that the tenant owes $114,499.65 at $14,475.23 per month for the base rent ... plus charges for water ...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A new mural to mark the 30th anniversary of Basquiat's death

[Photo by Curt Hoppe]

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Jean-Michel Basquiat's death.

To mark this occasion, his friend and SAMO© collaborator, Albert Diaz, along with Adrian Wilson, created a mural outside 57 Great Jones Street near the Bowery, where Basquiat lived and worked at the time of his death. Basquiat was 27.

The mural reads: "I didn’t sign up to be used as a face for name brand crap."

In July 2016, the Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation, in partnership with Two Boots Pizza, unveiled a commemorative plaque outside the building ... marking the site of Basquiat's home and studio from 1983 to 1988...

Week in Grieview

[Photo Tuesday evening from 4th and A by Rob C.]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

City Council unanimously approves tech hub; some disappointment in lack of zoning protections (Thursday)

LPC OKs condoplex for gas explosion site on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street (Wednesday)

Chelsea Thai debuts on 1st Avenue (Monday)

This is what's happening with the former Grassroots Tavern space on St. Mark's Place (Thursday)

RIP Milton Ellison (Wednesday)

AG announces details on how Croman tenants can receive restitution for harassment (Wednesday)

H Mart coming to 3rd Avenue in base of NYU's Alumni Hall (Friday)

Signage arrives for East Village outpost of Sakagura (Tuesday)

Cleaning up the Relaxation Garden on Avenue B and 13th Street (Monday)

The Braised Shop in soft-open mode on 10th Street (Friday)

It rained (Saturday ... Tuesday)

This week's NY See (Thursday)

The red-tailed fledgling is having the most fun in Tompkins Square Park (Monday)

Boris & Horton expanding on Avenue A (Tuesday)

The Ottendorfer Library is now closed for renovations (Monday)

Sign of Fire & Water on 7th Street (Thursday)

Citi Bikes with larger baskets are now roaming the streets (Wednesday)

Nai Tapas Bar closes on 1st Avenue ahead of move to 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

Nobody Is Perfect has closed (Monday)

The Dessert Kitchen space is for rent on St. Mark's Place (Tuesday)

Ben Shaoul's former Liberty Toye sales office is now for rent on Avenue B (Monday)

Checking in on the condoplex where 1st Street meets 2nd Avenue (Wednesday)

... and at 112 First Ave. near Seventh Street, the Hunan Slurp Shop has been in soft-open mode since May. On Friday, they celebrated their grand opening with this ceremony...

[Photo by Derek Berg]


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This part of Avenue B is closed at the moment for ConEd work

EVG regular Salim notes that ConEd crews are out this morning on Avenue B at Sixth Street ... at the site of an apparent lightning strike yesterday morning... for now Avenue B is closed to traffic between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. Sunny & Annie's and the other merchants along here are open.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday's parting shot

A look at the pre-rain sunrise today from 14th Street ... thanks to EVG reader Durk Snowden for the photo...

Prepping for the New Village Music Festival in Tompkins Square Park

Crews have set up for the New Village Music Festival in Tompkins Square Park ... weather is looking really iffy at the moment... what's being billed as "New York's Hottest Music Fusion Festival" is schedule from 2-6 p.m.

Waiting on the manhole

As of about 8:30, Avenue B is closed between Fifth Street and Seventh Street ... ConEd and the FDNY are on the scene outside Sunny & Annie's... there's a smoking manhole and an unconfirmed report that this was caused by lightning...

Sunny & Annie's is temporarily closed, breakfast ruined.

Updated 1 p.m.

As you can see the Avenue is back open to traffic... and Sunny & Annie's is back open.

Multiple residents who live nearby say this was a lightning strike...

It was a dark and stormy morning

Top photo is on St. Mark's Place between Third Avenue and Second Avenue... as the storm approached from atop the Death Star ...

And a few minutes later...

Friday, August 10, 2018

Blinded me with Soft Science

Soft Science recently released their second record, titled Maps. The video here is called "Diverging." RIYL: Shoegaze.

EVG Etc. Food crawl on St. Mark's Place; Book Fair at the Metrograph

[The red-tailed fledgling in Tompkins Square Park via Derek Berg]

Diesel buses a concern during L-train shutdown (Town & Village) And get ready for commuter hell (The Post)

St. Mark's Place food crawl (Eater)

Metrograph's first ever Film Book Fair is this weekend. Alongside the fair will be a weekend of film screenings that celebrate the written word (Metrograph)

Lower East Side activists continue the fight for Rivington House (Curbed)

SummerStage tomorrow (5-7 p.m.) at the East River Amphitheater with Porches, Sunflower Bean and Crumb (Official Site)

History of the Community Synagogue Max D. Raiskin Center on Sixth Street (Off the Grid)

"Don't Look Back" — part of the Rock 'N Film series — screens on Sunday (Anthology Film Archives)

Shove Mink's crocheted Kembra Pfahler dolls (Dangerous Minds, maybe NSFW)

... and coming up Sunday afternoon at the 6 and B Community Garden...