Monday, March 31, 2008
Why? A tax program known as the 421(a) abatement is set to expire—at least in its current form—this summer, and developers are rushing to get started before the deadline...
Every so often, EV Grieve will -- gasp! -- venture above 14th Street. Such as catching a game at Yankee Stadium. Today, of course, is opening day at Yankee Stadium, the last one in its current home. (Not that they'll even play today -- looks like rain.) What will opening day in the schmancy new stadium look like next year? Here you go. Meanwhile, I'll go look for a $14 cup of Budweiser and $7.50 stale pretzel.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
He had been at this location for 27 years; been in business in the neighborhood since 1962. Jeremiah has more photos here. And there's this feature from The Villager. Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder what Angelo is doing now. He's 75, and doesn't want to stop working.
“I would like to stay another 10 years, well maybe five years,” he told The Villager. “I’m used to working all my life. I don’t want to stop now. I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m not the kind of person who sits and watches TV all day. I like to be active.”
Why was this man's life destroyed? So the landlord could try to make an extra $1,500 a month in rent from Angelo, who was already paying $4,000 a month.
This whole thing bothers me on so many levels...the greed...the heartless removal of a neighborhood institution...the fact that this kind of thing is happening too often today...
There was also something comforting about the shop. For several years my walk home from work took me by his shop...no matter how shitty things seemed to be, you could always count on seeing Angelo working away in his rather ramshackle store ... the TV with the rabbit ears that was always on but no one ever seemed to watch...
My walk home included passing by the Bendiner and Schlesinger medical buildings on the northeast corner of 10th Street and Third Avenue. The buildings weren't much to look at, though there was a plaque on the 10th Street side commemorating Peter Stuyvesant, whose family once owned the buildings. Oddly enough, I found comfort in this place too. At night, I'd look up to a paneled office in the lab. I could see enough to tell that it looked as it the place was frozen in time circa, say, 1974. It reminded me of an office my father had.
Of course, though, these historic buildings were demolished in 2005 to make way for more soulless apartments and a Commerce Bank. You can read more about it here.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Not sure why I'm bothering with this one. First, it's outside the geography of EV Grieve. Second, well... Let's just say this Page Six item today annoyed me for various reasons:
LOWER East Side pub crawlers, who tend to hop from bar to bar on skateboard, were a little surprised to see two black Escalades roll up to Orchard Street dive bar Sweet Paradise at 2 a.m. Sunday. Passing up standard hot spots, Mary-Kate Olsen and her posse slummed it up with some die-hard hipsters. Page Six overheard one bystander comment, "An Olsen just went in there." When asked which troll-sized twin it was, our witness replied, "I think it was the fat one."
The Post's definition of dive bar is different from mine. Sweet Paradise is just fine -- I have no problems with the place. (And I'm a fan of their other spot, Welcome to the Johnson's, though only when it's not full of yahoos.) But a bar that opened in the summer of 2006 isn't a dive bar. I don't care how much the owners recreated the physical characteristics of some old dump that serves a working-class demographic, one without trust funds and $200 haircuts.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
That's Cheetah Chrome in today's New York Post discussing the new i-banker playground off the Bowery. "Extra Place," as it's being called, is in the former piss-filled alley behind CBGB. (See the Ramones photo above.) As the Post notes, that spot is "getting dragged into the 21st century with a makeover that would make Martha Stewart proud." Yes, because she could afford the kinds of things that are going into "Extra Place." (How not just call it "Extra Expensive"?)
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
From the UK Guardian:
New York magazine recently handed out its annual gongs for all that is good in the city - from burgers to dive bars. Former Gawker restaurant critic Joshua Stein offers his alternative awards
They say: Mars Bar (25 E 1st St, +212-473-9842).
We say: Sophie's (507 E 5th St, + 212-228-5680). I mean a dive bar is a dive bar is a dive bar. The appeal is the same: cheap booze, no pretension, hopefully a toilet seat with a lid. Sophie's has all three plus, it has picaresque East Village characters who seem to have walked out of the pages of Henry Roth's Call It Sleep; a truly wonderful jukebox (everything from The Pogues to Gang of Four); and a wickedly competitive pool table.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Many of the larger apartments come with a small balcony that overlooks the back of the buildings on East 13th Street. I can only imagine the joy the folks on 13th Street will experience while watching you sit on a tiny balcony in an apartment that costs nearly $5,000.
There's also a lovely rooftop deck with panoramic views of the city. [Updated 3/20: To be fair, the rooftop deck was nice...I sounded sarcastic when I wrote "lovely" -- I often sound sarcastic even when I'm being serious!...the photo below mostly shows the adjacent building's roof...Regardless, a nice rooftop hardly makes up for the steep rents.]
The building opened on March 1...and I was told that it was nearly half full as of Sunday. For my money, I'd prefer to live in the building right next door....this is more my style.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Got a chill today when I saw the crane (pictured) stretched across Third Avenue like that.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The current Time Out New York has a Lower East Side map circa 1882 that spans Houston to Broome Streets between Norfolk Street and the Bowery. In total, there are 61 liquor bars and 242 lager saloons in that area. A lot, sure, but did they have to worry about annoying I-bankers?
[Map image from Time Out New York via Gawker]
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It has been a whirlwind few days of investigative reporting for the New York Post. Sunday, in an EXCLUSIVE, the paper told of a "shady Atlanta businesswoman armed with a gallon jug of silicone and syringes . . . offering to inject women seeking 'J.Lo butts.' " Yesterday, they turned to another blight of our city: Noise pollution, in particular the racket made by the many bars and clubs in the East Village and Lower East Side. (How much better would our city be without noisy bars and women with J. Lo butts?)
The paper reported, "between July 1, 2007, and Jan. 31, 2008, Community Board 3 -- which covers the two youth-dominated neighborhoods, as well as Chinatown -- recorded 1,872 complaints about the pounding din coming from nightspots. That represented 26 percent of the 7,157 complaints for bars, clubs and restaurants in Manhattan."
"Pounding din?" Nice.
Well, this isn't really any surprise for people who have lived here for more than, say, a week. Yes, it must really suck to live above a bar or club (or even near one), especially since the smoking ban forced people to congregate outside. And since so many seemingly hideous night spots opened. (Won't get into any names here. Let's just say there are a few on Avenue B around 4th Street that attract a heinous mix of jackals. Do you see me throwing up or peeing in the parking lots of your malls in Paramus?)
Oh. Well, back to the Post article. The article was accompanied by a photo of Manitoba's on Avenue B, a bar that I happen to really like (earlier in the evenings, anyway -- I just don't like crowds of any sort). The caption reads: "The sidewalk outside Manitoba's bar, in the East Village, exceeded the danger level of 80 decibels, on a recent night of rowdiness." As you can see from the above photo, there are roughly six people in the bar at the moment (usually when I'm there). Obviously the photo was taken at a different time. (There are even two different photo credits.) Manitoba's isn't even mentioned in the article. What annoys me is that there are dozens of places in the neighborhood worthy of being singled out.
Curious what Handsome Dick Manitoba's reaction was when he saw the piece. The bar does have a history of noise problems, particularly back when they were doing live music on Monday nights. (Blame one prudish couple who bought a place above the bar for this -- not that I'm taking sides!) Still, Manitoba's stopped the music nights. Manitoba seems like a real decent guy and good neighbor. He lives around the corner. I like what he does with the bar.
Finally, on a related note, I do sympathize with folks who are stuck near or above noisy spots -- at least the places in which the residents were there first, and a bar/club opened later. Not quite as sympathetic to people who chose to live above a bar. For instance! A former college roommate moved to New York years back, settling in a nice apartment above the Grassroots Tavern, another bar I like very much, on St. Mark's. She didn't last there too long. Why? "It's too loud." What did she expect? "I didn't think it would be this bad."
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Now, given all the condos and fancy shops and clueless young people with too much money, it seems more like this from the band Whiny Dork Who Could Never Date the Model in the Video. (Actually, that may not be the name of the band. Whatever.)
This plaque is on a building on East Ninth Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. I'm always happy that such tributes survive through the years. Can easily see some new builinding owner or creepy super be like, "Who in the &*&^%$ is Astor Piazzolla...?" and take it down.
By the way, I wasn't familiar with him either until I first saw this plaque some years back.
Discount stores, ethnic restaurants and small local businesses line the south side of E. 14th St. along the stretch of Alphabet City. Many of these congenial mom-and-pop shops have been serving the lower- and middle-income Lower East Side and Stuyvesant Town communities for decades with their affordable prices and personal customer relationships. But it is becoming more and more difficult for these establishments to survive, caught between rising rents and gentrification. Charlies, at 532 E. 14th St. between Avenues A and B, a neighborhood staple for the past 41 years, is the latest to fall victim to this trend.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Excerpts from the article: