Saturday, July 30, 2016

Last day for Inutilious Retailer on Ludlow Street



Photos and text by Nick McManus

This Saturday marks the closing for Ludlow Street's art-concept-store Inutilious Retailer. (Word is the new building's owner at 151 Ludlow St. won't renew the lease.)

Opened last September by artist Adrian Miller, it has become a hub for local artists Cash4 SMELLS, Brandon Sines and Hek Tad to name a few. Over the course of the year, he has invited painters of all kinds to do work in his back yard in addition to featuring a different artist every week with on top of his basement stairs.


[The rooftop of Inutilious Retailer's building looking north]


[The backyard of Inutiliuos Retailer last week]


[Bike messenger Gary McKnight in front of Inutilious Retailer featuring a Frank Ape painting by Brandon Sine last March]

The cost of giving stuff away has gone up



Avenue A near Third Street. Unfortunately, all the "stuff" was gone. [Sad-face emoji here]

Friday, July 29, 2016

'Lupine' howl



Thee Oh Sees are playing at the Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 11, and that show is already sold out. They're at the Warsaw then on Nov. 13. (Maybe they'll play a show somewhere here on the 12th.)

Anyway, here's the San Francisco-based band from 2013 with "Lupine Dominus" from the Putrifiers II LP. It's a different TOS lineup these days — only founder/singer John Dwyer remains. And they employ two drummers now.

Breaking (pretty much!): Target is coming to 14th Street and Avenue A



Extell Development has signed its first retail tenant for the new complex rising at 500 East 14th St. at Avenue A.

The Real Deal has the scoop:

Big-box retailer Target inked a deal to open a small-format store... Target signed a 30-year lease at 500 East 14th Street on the corner of Avenue A, according to a memorandum of lease that hit property records Friday. Terms of the lease include a 10-year option to extend the lease.

What is a small-format store?

Here's one explanation:

In an effort to increase market penetration (and comply with local zoning regs), the No. 2 discount chain is focusing on a smaller-footprint store format that can squeeze into strip malls and city streets where its gargantuan big-box flagships can’t.

Trader Joe's had been floated here as a possibility.

Extell Development's has two, 7-floor retail-residential buildings coming: 500 E. 14th St. will have 106 residential units … while, further to the east, 524 E. 14th St. will house 44 residential units.

More on all this later...

Previously on EV Grieve:
The disappearing storefronts of East 14th Street

[Updated with correction] 8-lot parcel of East 14th Street primed for new development

New 7-floor buildings for East 14th Street include 150 residential units

So long to Mascot Studio on 9th Street


[Photo by Steven]

As we noted a few weeks ago, Mascot Studio is leaving the East Village after 35 years on East Ninth Street.

Proprietor Peter McCaffrey is relocating to Chelsea in collaboration with Pratzon Art Restoration, 122 W. 26th St. It is not a retail space, though.



Here's what McCaffrey told us earlier this month about the relocation.

"It has been difficult the last few years. Many of my old clientele have moved on and the influx of a more transitory population has affected my custom framing business. Selling art is another challenge, but I think the mindset of 'inexpensive and disposable' has become the norm as new residents come and go."

Anyway, this is the last weekend for the custom frame and fine art shop at 328 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. There are sales on prints and frames... and opportunities to offer best wishes to Peter on his move to Chelsea.

EV Grieve Etc.: Remembering Al Orensanz; Bathing with the red-tailed hawks


[On 1st Avenue this morning via Derek Berg]

RIP Al Orensanz, director of the Angel Orensanz Foundation (Off the Grid)

A look at the condos coming to the former Streit's factory on the LES (Curbed)

Avenue A's Raclette moving to former Northern Spy space on 12th Street (Bedford + Bowery)

What could have been along Second Avenue near the St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery (Flaming Pablum)

Bath time with the hawks in Tompkins Square Park (Laura Goggin Photography)


[A moment on 2nd Avenue via Derek Berg]

Union Square Greenmarket opening a new community space under the Hyatt on Fourth Avenue and 13th Street (DNAinfo)

Two large residential projects in the works along the East River (The Lo-Down)

Stuy Town resident arrested for dealing meth (Town & Village)

"Mondo Cane" screens tomorrow at 6:45 p.m. (Anthology Film Archives)

Thoughts on "The Gentrified Ghostbusters of 2016" (The New Yorker)

... and these earmuffs aren't going to claim themselves on Seventh Street...



At least I think they are earmuffs.

Q-&-A with Susan Seidelman, director of 'Smithereens' and 'Desperately Seeking Susan'


[Image via]

"Smithereens" starts a weeklong revival today at the Metrograph, the newish theater complex down on Ludlow Street.

The 1982 dark comedy, which marked Susan Seidelman's directorial debut, is set in the East Village (and other downtown locales). Wren (Susan Berman), a suburban New Jersey escapee, is eager for downtown fame, plastering "missing" posters of herself on the subway and elsewhere. She sees a meal ticket in Eric (Richard Hell), the hot guy with a short attention span in a band. And there's the too-nice Paul (Brad Rijn), who pursues the uninterested Wren. Hustling ensues.



Seidelman started filming in late 1979, and continued on and off for the next 18 months. (Production shut down when Berman broke a leg during rehearsal.) "Smithereens," made for $40,000, was the first American indie invited to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

She went on to make several female-focused comedies, including 1985's "Desperately Seeking Susan" with Rosanna Arquette and Madonna and 1989's "She-Devil" with Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep, among others. (She also directed the pilot for "Sex and the City.")

I spoke with Seidelman about "Smithereens" and her follow-up, "Desperately Seeking Susan," also partly filmed in the East Village, during a phone call last week. Here's part of that conversation, edited for length and clarity.

On why she wanted to tell this story in "Smithereens":

I was living in the East Village and I was also at NYU. And at the time, NYU Film School, the graduate film school, was on Second Avenue — part of it was where the old Fillmore East used to be. So for three years, that area around Seventh Street and Second Avenue was my stomping grounds.

I started NYU in 1974, and I was there until 1977. So it was interesting to watch the transition from the older hippie generation and hippie-style shops and people as it started transitioning into the punk and new wave kind of subculture. I was a music person, so I frequented CBGB and Max’s Kansas City at that time. And so, that world was interesting to me, and telling a story set in that world about a young woman who’s not from that world, but wants to be part of it in some way, was both semi-personal and just of interest.

On production shutting down:

There were challenges throughout the shoot because I never had all the money. The budget ended up being about $40,000, but I probably only had about $20,000 at any given moment. I was borrowing and racking up bills. I wasn’t really thinking about how I was going to pay it. I figured I’d get to that when I needed to pay it.

Aside from those challenges, when Susan Berman fell off a fire escape and broke her leg during rehearsal, there was no getting around that. We had to quit filming. I kind of thought, oh, you know, fuck it — I’m not going to let this stop me. It made me actually more determined. I had the time to look at what was working and what wasn’t working, and I learned a lot of stuff. I started editing the footage. I could rewrite stuff and change the story a bit.

On casting Richard Hell:

That was when we redefined the character of Eric, who was originally not played by Richard Hell. It was played by somebody else who was not a rock-and-roller — he was more of a downtown painter/artsy type, not a musician — and was also played by a European actor.

By recasting and redefining that role with Richard Hell in mind, it shaped the tone of the movie and changed it, I think, in a good direction. I’m not going to give names, but the other actor — the other person is a working actor, as opposed to Richard Hell, who was acting in the movie, but was more of a presence and an iconic figure even at that time. So trying to make the character of Eric blend in with the real Richard Hell added a level of authenticity to the film.

On filming in the East Village:

In the scene when Wren is waiting out on the sidewalk and the landlady throws her clothing out the window and then splashes her with water, all the people and all the reactions in the background were from the people living on that block who had come out to watch.

At the time, New York was coming out the bankruptcy crisis. There weren’t a lot of police on the street, there wasn’t a lot of red tape and paperwork. These days to film on the street, you have to get a mayor’s permit — so many levels of bureaucracy. Back then, either it didn’t exist … but also I was naïve to what probably needed to be done.

We just showed up with cameras and we filmed. We had some people working on the crew who were friends and they told crowds lining in the street — just don’t look in the camera. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t, but it was all very spontaneous.

That’s the advantage of doing a super low-budget movie — you can just go with the flow. For example, there’s a scene with a kid who’s doing a three-card Monte thing on the sidewalk. He was a kid we saw in Tompkins Square Park with his mother. We didn’t have to worry about SAG or unions or anything. I thought he was interesting and [we asked his mother] if they come to this address at this time and be in our movie.



On the lead characters:

My intention wasn’t to make likable characters. My intention was to make interesting characters and who had some element of ambiguity. There are things that I like about Wren; on the other hand, I think she’s obviously somebody who uses people and is incredibly narcissistic. I’m aware of that. But she’s also somebody who is determined to recreate herself and to live the kind of life that she wants to live, and redefine herself from her background, which you get a little hint at, this boring suburban New Jersey life she must have run away from.

On the independent film scene at the time:

The definition of an independent filmmaker has changed so radically. Nowadays, being an independent filmmaker could mean you’re making a $5 million movie that’s really financed by the Weinstein Company, or it could mean you're doing a cellphone movie like “Tangerine.”

But back then, there weren’t that many independent filmmakers. I know there were some people working out of Los Angeles who were doing stuff and a small pocket of people in New York City. So either you knew them or you were friends with them or you just knew what they were doing and had mutual friends. It was truly a small community. And within that community, there were also a definite relationship between people who were musicians, filmmakers or graffiti artists.

So everyone was borrowing people, trading information or sharing resources. Also, the world wasn’t as competitive as it is today. People were eager and willing to help somebody who was a filmmaker would act in somebody else’s film or tell them about a location or a musician. It was pretty simple, like — hey, let’s make a movie, without a lot of calculation.

On her follow-up film, "Desperately Seeking Susan:"

I didn’t have anything lined up after "Smithereens." I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I just finished the movie when it was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival.

But I did know that there were very few female film directors. And the one or two I had heard about who had made an interesting independent film ... I knew that your follow-up movie, especially if it was going to be financed by a studio, you needed to be smart about the choice. You had to make a movie that you could still be creatively in charge of, or else you could get lost in the shuffle.

For about a year and a half, I was reading scripts. And they were, for the most part, terrible. I just figured these couldn’t be my next movie. I have nothing to say about this kind of material.

So then I got this script. It was a little different than the way it ended up being, but it was called "Desperately Seeking Susan." I liked that the character, Susan, felt like she could be kind of related to Wren in "Smithereens." I thought I could bring something unique to that kind of a role. So I didn't feel like I was out of my element there.

And also, part of the film was set in the East Village, a neighborhood that I loved and knew. The other good thing was I was so familiar with the characters and able to add my own spin using a lot of people from the independent film community in small parts, like Rockets Redglare, John Lurie and Arto Lindsay. Richard Hell has a cameo.



On working with Madonna:

At the time, Madonna was not famous when we started out. We were just filming on the streets like she was a regular semi-unknown actress. So there wasn’t a lot of hoopla around the film.

And then, you know, so much of life is about being there with the right thing and the right timing. It just so happened that the movie came out at the moment that her "Like A Virgin" album was released and they coincided and she became a phenomenon. But since that wasn’t during the actual filming, there wasn’t the kind of pressure that one would normally feel if you were working with a big star or a a super-famous person.

On the legacy of "Smithereens":

I think I was trying to document what it felt like to live in that neighborhood in that part of the city at that time. I never really thought about it in terms of whether the film would pass the test of time or be a time capsule or anything.

But the fact that it ended up being pretty authentic to the environment, to the neighborhood, is maybe what enabled it to pass the test of time.

-----

The Metrograph is showing "Smithereens," which features a score by The Feelies, on a new 35-millimeter print courtesy of Shout Factory LLC. Seidelman will be attending tonight's 7 screening. Details here.

Free tonight in Tompkins Square Park: 'Boyfriends and Girlfriends'



The Films on the Green series — the free outdoor French film festival produced since 2008 — continues its East Village run this evening with Eric Rohmer's comedy "Boyfriends and Girlfriends" (aka "L'Ami de mon amie") from 1987.



The film is set to start at 8:30.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Last splash: The Deep End Club is closing on 1st Avenue

After nearly three years at 156 First Ave. between Ninth Street and 10th Street, the Deep End Club is closing up shop.

Proprietor Tennessee Thomas posted this on her Instagram...


Nice As Fuck is the supergroup with Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), Erika Forster (Au Revoir Simone) and Thomas on drums. Last week the trio made their debut on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Thomas first opened the 60s-style vintage boutique featuring items from local artists and designers as a pop-up shop ... and decided to keep it going. The Deep End Club also hosted environmental workshops and impromptu concerts.

The shop's name came from her father, Pete Thomas, the longtime drummer for Elvis Costello & the Attractions.

Per Billboard: in 2014:

"He had a thing called the Deep End Club when he was young and crazy," says the 29-year-old shop owner and drummer. On tour, in his younger years, her father would jump into hotel swimming pools fully clothed whenever someone declared "a Deep End Club meeting."

Sales will continue on the Deep End website.

Report: Cops looking for suspect who tied up woman after robbery on 13th Street and Avenue B



The NYPD is looking for a man (above) accused of robbing a woman, then tying her up in her building lobby early yesterday morning.

DNAinfo reports:

The man followed the 33-year-old victim into her apartment building at 13th Street and Avenue B at about 3 a.m., then told her he had a gun and demanded her property, police said.

The woman told police that she gave the man her smartphone, debit card, jewelry and $35 in cash.

Per DNAinfo:

Police have released surveillance footage of the suspect, who is described as a man between 30 and 40-years-old, 5-foot 10-inches tall and weighing 225 pounds.



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.

Empire Biscuit appears to be toast on Avenue A



The rather chipper "peelin' potatoes" signage on a paper plate has remained up in the papered-over Empire Biscuit window since early March.

The quick-serve biscuiteers at 198 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street have only been open a few days this year... dating back to January when ownership announced reduced hours.

Empire Biscuit owner Jonathan Price told us that they would reopen in March after doing some maintenance work. That never happened. (The reopening — not sure about the maintenance.)

The storefront remains dormant... on July 1, a reader thought that the space had been emptied out...



...but it was a false alarm...



And now, a summons appeared on the front door yesterday (but dated from May) ... from the Civil Court of the City of New York ... looks as if the plaintiff, City Waste Services of New York, is looking to collect a debt...


[Photo via @urbanmyths]

...apparently there was legalese from Con Ed on the door last week.

Empire Biscuit opened in the fall of 2013.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Incoming Empire Biscuit on Avenue A launches Kickstarter campaign (122 comments)

Report: Empire Biscuit opens today (65 comments)

Looking at some East Village gym options


[Reader photo from last week]

The coming soon signage for Blink Fitness arrived last week at 98-100 Avenue A.

The 12,000-square-foot facility, expected to be open this fall between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, has advertised fees "as low as $15 a month." (Blinkers can pay $10 extra a month for a premium membership that includes access to any location.)

After our post last week we heard from several readers who say they'll sign up for Blink, the low-budget sibling in the Equinox family ... mostly because of the price and also due to a lack other neighborhood gym options. (This is not taking into account more specialized places, such as Mile High Run Club on Fourth Street between the Bowery and Lafayette, CrossFit East River on Ninth Street near Avenue C or Nimble Fitness on St. Mark's Place. And SoulCycle on Lafayette and FlyWheel Sports in the Death Star.)

The Dolphin locations abruptly closed on both East Fourth Street and, several years earlier, on Avenue B.

One reader expressed frustration with the summer hours recently posted at the basement-level Iron and Silk on Third Street near Avenue A...



They are only open for four hours on Saturdays and closed on Sundays, two key days for people who work during the week...



There's the Synergy Fitness Club on 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue that, despite the sign saying they are open 24 hours, isn't open 24 hours...



Several members have described this gym to us as "sketchy" with random opening hours... then there was this flyer campaign that someone recently launched nearby... claiming "Synergy Fitness will send your account to Collection without ANY NOTICE"...



There's also the newish New York Sports Club on Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street. (Their website advertises a $39.99 single-club rate with multi-club access rates of $64.99 and $74.99.) Meanwhile, the 14th Street Y has multiple membership packages, though the prices aren't listed online.

Of course there's East River Park and the jungle gym at Tompkins Square Park. You can also get creative and take advantage of a stationary Citi Bike.

Free tonight in Tompkins Square Park: 'Wild Style'



Tonight's free film in Tompkins Square Park is the 1983 hip-hop/graffiti classic "Wild Style" starring Lee Quiñones, Patti Astor, Fab 5 Freddy and Grandmaster Flash, among others.



There's pre-movie music via DJ J. Abrams and DJ Prince. Plus there's a screening of Aristotle Torres' 8-minute short based on the Notorious B.I.G.'s "I Got A Story To Tell." "Wild Style" starts at sundown.

Check the Films in Tompkins Facebook page for any updates on tonight's screening.

And upcoming:

8-4 — "True Romance"

8-11 — "Romeo + Juliet"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Police looking for suspect who groped, then punched woman several times on 1st Avenue



Police say that the man pictured here grabbed then punched a woman several times early Saturday morning outside 208 First Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street.

Per ABC 7:

The suspect grabbed the 37 year-old female victim's buttocks, according to investigators.

When she confronted him about the incident, he punched her in the face numerous times. The suspect fled northbound on 1 Avenue.

The individual is described as a male white, 20 to 25 years old, 5'8", 140 lbs; last seen wearing a dark colored shirt and blue jeans.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she was reported in stable condition.

Here's the video... (h/t DNAinfo)



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.

Updated 7:19 p.m.

ABC-7 has more footage of the attack here.

Today in Tesla charging on 10th Street



Between Avenue A and Avenue B... photo via Peter.d

Blackout at the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall



After two days of painstaking work in the July heat, Logan Hicks decided to black out his work to date on the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall.

As Gothamist noted:

It was looking great ... brightly colored and wonderfully detailed from end to end — but apparently when the crew arrived early this morning the wooden panels that now comprise the wall had shifted overnight, developing seams and making it impossible to continue with layer three. So they buffed the whole thing!

Wall curator Jessica Goldman Srebnick offered an explanation on Instagram:


Here's how the wall was looking Monday afternoon...



Previously on EV Grieve:
Logan Hicks bringing the story of his life to the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall

Report: Hells Angel arrested for waving gun, chasing man down 3rd Street with a baseball bat


[Image via Google Street View]

A member of the Hells Angels was arrested after allegedly waving a gun and chasing a man away from the club's East Third Street clubhouse, the Daily News reported.

The incident apparently took place last night around 10 outside the club between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Police arrested Jose Brito, 28, and charged him with criminal possession of a firearm and menacing. Officers on the scene recovered the bat but not the gun.

It was not clear what prompted the gun waving and chasing.

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: Creaux
Occupation: Waiter, VBar St. Mark's Place
Location: 9th Street and First Avenue
Time: 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 25th

I’ve pretty much worked and lived in this neighborhood for a total of 11 years. I’m originally from New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina brought me here.

When I first got here, I was in a hotel in Queens for three months, and then I ended up getting a job at DBA down the street. I worked there for eight years. I lived in Williamsburg for three years, and then I finally moved over to First Avenue, right next to DBA, and ended up moving around the corner. I’ve been living here for about six years.

The neighborhood reminded me of the French Quarter. I feel a kinship toward this place because it reminds me of home, there being a variety of people. For instance, I feel the difference between the East Village versus the Upper West Side, is on the same block you can see a guy with an eight-inch mohawk, a guy like myself, and a guy in a business suit, and all three of us are living here. Whereas if you go to the Upper West side, you may see some of those people, you might see a guy like me or a guy with an eight-inch mohawk, but we’re probably working there; we’re not living there. Whereas, there really is a melting pot in the East Village. I like that. I like being around different types of people. I love different cultures. I love to get to know people.

Right now I work at VBar. I’m a waiter over there. When it comes to restaurant work, you’ve got to like people to do it. Waiting tables, as much as people might think that it’s an easy job, it can be frustrating. You’ve got to be able to deal with people. It’s easier to appease someone who’s drinking versus food. Food is harder to appease someone. People walk in cranky already because they’re really hungry. There’s a lot of nuance, because you have to give them a lot of attention and satisfy their needs.

We tend to attract a lot of Europeans; I meet so many. Yesterday I had a German guy ... and a young lady from the Czech Republic. I guess because we have a very European café décor about us, it tends to attract Europeans to us. The owner is Italian, from Sardinia.

One thing I like about this neighborhood also is that you kind of get to know your neighbors. It becomes a personable thing. I was just talking with some guy last night about how when you live and work in the same neighborhood, your familiarity becomes a lot deeper and you build more lasting friendships.

I had this friend of mine who died, who lived next door to DBA when I worked over there. The most I knew about him is that he was a playwright. We never hung outside of work, besides when our paths would cross, but in the time I spent with him drinking at the bar with me, I felt I really got to know who he was, even if it was only for a couple hours in a day. This is my neighborhood. I’m part of this. I feel it.

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

Rentals underway at the Hub on Avenue B



The all-new 185 Avenue B, the 7-floor, 40-unit building between 11th Street and 12th Street, is now ready for tenants.

The building is called The Hub. Here are details via their website:

This 7 story building was designed to offer residents the most amount of space, light, high ceilings and views. It offers a large amount of amenities, such as a laundry room, residents bike storage, 2 elevators, a sun roof and a roof terrace with spectacular open views. Some units have private outdoor spaces. There are spacious and well lit common areas on each floor, that compliment the spacious apartments and create a good sense of openness and spacial consistency. This 40 unit boutique rental building truly stands out from anything else in the neighborhood.

...and here's a shot of the model unit...



There are four units posted on the site. There isn't any pricing on the apartments.

There are also flyers posted along Avenue B noting that the Elim House of Worship is moving into the building, on the 12th Street side...





As previously reported, the Elim Pentecostal Church was in the former building on the site. The Rev. Carlos Torres reportedly worked out a deal to sell the property to a developer to ensure that the church had a future home. (A fire nearly destroyed the building in October 2006. That two-level structure was KO'd in 2012 after a few attempts to renovate it.)

The demolition-construction dragged on here for nearly four years. Nearby residents endured months of relentless pile driving and other building-rattling noise. There were complaints about cracks next door at No. 183.

The space here at 193 Avenue B opened in 1926 as the Bijou, a 600-seat theater with a balcony. It eventually became the Charles Theatre, with some programming curated by Jonas Mekas.

As Cinema Treasures points out: "In later years it was one of the early New York theatres to program off-beat and independent films. It showed early Warhol and had open film nights where young filmmakers could get an audience."

[Image from 1966 Via.]

Previously on EV Grieve:
Inside the Charles

Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B

7-story building in the works to replace former countercultural theater/church on Avenue B

Construction site at 185 Avenue B remains shut down for now

[Updated] The 'insane' noise and pounding are back at 185 Avenue B

[Photo from November 2011]

Moonstruck Eatery closes on Avenue A



That's it for the Moonstruck Eatery. The diner has called it a day at 167 Avenue A after one year here between 10th Street and 11th Street.

The space has been on the market since April, per a listing at LoopNet.

Four other locations of Moonstruck Eatery remain in the city. (The Avenue A address has already been scrubbed from the website.)

The previous tenant, Ethos Meze East Village from the same owners, lasted less than a year in business. (And before this, it was the world-famous Diablo Royale Este, which closed at the end of August 2012.)

I never tried the souped-up diner. Friends who dined here said it was all serviceable, but the decor was all wrong, part ski lodge, part homage to the Raven, the bar Karen Allen owned in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."


[Moonstruck Eatery pic via LoopNet]

Hellbound: The Official Gallery of Satan opening on East 3rd Street



You may have noticed the transformation in recent weeks of the empty storefront at 199 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B... the space is the new home of Vector Gallery, formerly on Clinton Street, East Broadway ... and Los Angeles.

Founder JJ Brine has billed his space the Official Gallery of Satan. His previous storefront galleries featured items such as glow-in-the-dark paintings of Charles Manson and various performance-art theatrics. (Brine's gallery also made headlines for its vagina phone charger at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2014.)

Opening night here is Aug. 18. Per the invite: "Featuring new installations by Crown Prince of Hell JJ Brine and sermons/performances by Ministers of The Vectorian Government."

But until then Brine seems to be adding items daily to the photogenic storefront.

And speaking of the devil, at least in landlord form, this space last housed Snack Dragon, which closed in October 2014 after a reported large rent increase courtesy of landlord Steve Croman.

Thanks to Stacie Joy for the photo earlier this month!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Report: Man steals security camera that caught him breaking into an East 14th Street apartment



The NYPD is searching for a suspect they say broke into an apartment on 14th Street near Avenue A, ripping off some electronics as well as the home-security camera that captured him inside the residence.

Via Patch:

According to police, the suspect picked the lock of an apartment on 14th Street near Avenue A and made off with $964 in electronics, including an iPad 4 and a Canary security camera which recorded the incident. The 29-year-old man who lived there was not home at the time of the break-in. The incident happened at 1:37 p.m. on July 22.

The man is very visible on the home security footage, below, and can be seen picking over the electronics on the man's desk before toppling the security camera. He is described as Hispanic, and was wearing a blue Yankees hat, green-striped polo shirt and gray cargo shorts at the time of the burglary.



Per Gothamist: "While the suspect stole the video camera, the footage was kept on the cloud. Thanks, Big Brother!"

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.

Report: Astor Place reconstruction now slated for a fall completion



The completion date for the reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square has been pushed back from summer to fall, DNAinfo reports.

A spokesperson for the Department of Design and Construction didn't offer any reasons as to why the multi-year(s) project will be delayed by one season.

“We anticipate construction completion in the Fall and will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation], Parks and the community for any updates about this project,” said public information officer Shavone Williams in an email.

The work, which started in September 2013 and was expected to take two years, has included reconfiguring/revamping the Astor Place/Cooper Square streetscape with three new permanent plazas, additional seating, trees and a new design for Peter Cooper Park.

No word if this delay will impact the return of the Alamo, originally set for June 22 then moved to some time in August. Which, based on the ongoing delays, might mean October.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Five years later, Astor Place apparently ready for its 2-year reconstruction project

The all-new Astor Place is coming along (for real)

Report: Esperanto opening a 2nd East Village location

Last week we reported that the former BARA space on East First Street was undergoing renovations ... and reopening as a Latin-American restaurant. A tipster who lives on the block between First Avenue and Second Avenue believed the the owner of BARA was behind the new venture.

Turns out that this will be a second outpost for Esperanto ... the mainstay on Avenue C and Ninth Street is expanding with the opening of Esperanto Fonda, according to the Post.

Per the paper: "The Brazilian-inspired eatery is the latest from Dimitri Vlahakis (owner of Alice’s Arbor, La Gamelle and Summit Bar."

The menu will include empanadas with beef, shrimp and veggies ... as well as tacos, burritos and an Esperanto Bowl with rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and meat.

No word on an opening date.

BARA, a French/Japanese bar-restaurant, closed after service on June 11.

Workers demolish the former Puck Fair and BP on Houston and Lafayette



After being boxed up in plywood for the past three months, workers quickly demolished the one-level structures that housed the BP station and Puck Fair yesterday on Houston and Lafayette...



The plot of land, officially 300 Lafayette, will house a new building that will encompass 80,000 square feet of "flagship retail and boutique office" ...


[Rendering by Cookfox]

Per the developers:

The building’s design is inspired by principles of “biophilia,” meaning people feel good when they are connected to nature. generous amounts of legally accessible outdoor space are planted with indigenous species on every office floor. The 30,000 sf retail space encompasses 3 open floors offering soaring ceiling heights. This iconic building is an exceptional marketing opportunity for a world class international brand.

The BP station closed on April 14 ... while Puck Fair bowed out on March 27.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Have you seen the glass tower in the works for Lafayette and East Houston?

Report: Boutique office building on East Houston and Lafayette at BP site a go

BP station on East Houston and Lafayette closes April 14

Report: Lack of gas stations downtown a concern

The L train shutdown countdown clock is on


[Photo from July 2]

You likely saw this news everywhere yesterday: The MTA announced that L-train service between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue will shut down for 18 months starting in January 2019.

The MTA opted against the three-year schedule that would have kept one of the L train's tracks open with greatly reduced service.

Per The New York Times:

L trains will continue to operate in Brooklyn between the Williamsburg and Canarsie neighborhoods, but will not run between the Eighth Avenue stop in Manhattan and the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn. All five L train stops in Manhattan will close, along with the tunnel. About 225,000 riders now take the L train across the East River each day.

And here are a few details via The Wall Street Journal:

Opened in 1924, the L train tunnel’s innards have suffered damage wrought by the passage of years and Sandy.

Construction crews will replace electric cables running inside the structure’s deteriorating concrete lining.

Ms. Hakim said the authority planned to offer incentives to speed up construction work, and would impose penalties if the work is delayed beyond 18 months.

The project is expected to cost between about $800 million and $1 billion.

In making the announcement yesterday, MTA officials did not present transit options for the L's displaced riders. They will apparently offer some solutions at a later date.

DNAinfo rounds up a few possibilities ... and there's the idea to close parts of 14th Street to vehicular traffic, with a dedicated bus and bike route to help ease the crosstown commute while the L is out. And maybe make this permanent.

Other advice on how to get around along this corridor during the shutdown is welcome.

Monday, July 25, 2016

St. Mark's Place, under the rainbow



Photo from St. Mark's Place and Second Avenue tonight by Sam Teichman

Logan Hicks starts work on the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall



Logan Hicks, known for his photorealistic stenciled paintings, started work on the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall today. (He began at 4 a.m.)

These photos are from about 20 minutes before it started to pour late this afternoon...



Here's more about the work via a news release on the new mural:
The Bowery Wall mural will be Hicks’ most personal piece yet. His signature architectural landscape is set on Greene Street where a massive photo shoot took place on May 22. For the shoot, Logan invited dozens of friends and family to participate, and be represented in a “crowd scene.” The mural represents his past, present and future here in New York City, telling the story of his life through the people who have touched him.

It is expected to take several weeks to complete.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Logan Hicks bringing the story of his life to the Houston/Bowery Mural Wall