Thursday, July 31, 2008

Looking at the Tompkins Square Park riots in black and white

As the week's issue of The Villager notes:

Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots, East Village photographer Q. Sakamaki is releasing a book of his dramatic black-and-white images bringing that turbulent period in neighborhood history back to life.

[Photo by Q. Sakamaki]

Also in The Villager this week: An editorial asks for "die yuppie scum" protestors to lay off Red Square developer/Christodora House resident Michael Rosen.

Bobby Steele on Why "Die Yuppie Scum" must die: It’s hate speech

Previously on EV Grieve:
Looking back: Red Square and gentrification


Pipeline 29 checks in with this report on the new Freeman's Barber Shop in the West Village:

With its manly nautical theme, chalkboard, and vintage chairs, the men's hair salon is a favorite of the fashion set and any red-blooded male who wants a shave and a trim without a side of pretense. Now Westsiders won't have to travel to the Lower East Side to look sharp. On Tuesday, we got a first-hand look at the new FSC Barbershop on Horatio near 8th Avenue in the West Village. Like it's Freeman's Alley counterpart, the West Side shop oozes dude. This location, however, has a smoother, sleeker aesthetic to go with it's new, more upscale surroundings—white tile replaces beadboard, smoked-glass fixtures replace raw bulbs. Says co-owner Sam Buffa, "What we're hoping for in this location is to open up earlier in the morning 'cause all the guys in the East Village get up at like noon which is definitely different over here. There are a lot of families over here, a lot of businesses and a lot of kids. One of my favorite things that I saw when we opened up the other barbershop was when we had an eight year old and a 70 year old getting cuts right next to each other. This place isn't just for hipsters or anything like that. We'd like to think it's for everyone."

Well, if that's too downmarket for you, there's always the new salon in the Plaza. As Vanity Fair reported earlier this month:

Less than a week before the flagship Warren-Tricomi salon opened at the recently revamped Plaza Hotel, in Manhattan, hairstyling veterans Joel Warren and Edward Tricomi were sitting at a round table underneath the crystal chandlers in the hotel’s lobby. “We are in the lap of luxury here,” Warren said, the coloring yin to Tricomi’s cutting yang, “and we wanted to create a space that was geared towards our clients.”
Their loyal followers (jet-setters, boldface names, editors, you name it) tend to be a discerning bunch, so the hair pair wanted the salon environment to be—forgive the ladies-who-lunch parlance—beyond.
“We really wanted it to be the most luxurious experience possible,” Warren says.

Oh, and it's a 6,100-square-foot space with a VIP room with a special entrance.

I miss Mr. Yury, who used to cut my hair on 7th Street. One day he was just gone, though other barbers on his old shop.

Welcome to Lettertown!

Good thread on Gawker this afternoon on two Bushwick residents referring to their neighborhood now as "BillyWick" or "BushBurg."

Sarcasto had a funny suggestion (one that I hope some developer or real-estate baron doesn't notice!).

An EV Grieve editorial (aka, this week's sign of the Apocalypse)

According to the Times today, shorts are no longer "an office don't. These days, they are downright respectable" at the office.

EV Grieve responds:

"Shorts are no longer an office don't" -- OH YES THEY ARE.

"These days, they are downright respectable" at the office -- NO! NEVER! NEVER EVER.

That is all. Thank you.

Oh, if you must, an excerpt from the article:

The willingness of men to expand the amount of skin they are inclined to display can be gauged by the short-sleeved shirts Senator Barack Obama has lately favored; the muscle T-shirts Anderson Cooper wears on CNN assignment; and the Armani billboard in which David Beckham, the soccer star, appears nearly nude.

Not a few designers are pushing men to expose more of the bodies that they have spent so much time perfecting at the gym. “We have all these self-imposed restrictions” about our dress, said Ben Clawson, the sales director for the designer Michael Bastian. “As men’s wear continues to evolve and becomes a little more casual without becoming grungy, it’s not impossible anymore to be dressed up in shorts.”

While Mr. Bastian is a designer of what essentially amounts to updates on preppy classics, even he has pushed for greater latitude in exposing men’s bodies to view.

[Photo: Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times]

The New York Post on John Penley: "quite possibly New York City's cuddliest anarchist"

The New York Post profiles John Penley today.

And we begin:

AS the unofficial leader of what is known as the East Village "slacktivist" movement, John Penley routinely protests: real estate developers, wine bars, wine bars owned by Bruce Willis, landlords, Republicans and the evergreen that is yuppie scum. "Frat boys throwin' up or takin' a p - - s on your building," he says. "Drunk, blockin' sidewalks, not lettin' baby carriages pass . . ." The 56-year-old Penley also enjoys shouting down obnoxious NYU students, inserting himself into neighbors' landlord disputes and making daily calls to newspapers and networks about area goings-on.
Penley is also, quite possibly, New York City's cuddliest anarchist: a burly 56-year-old Vietnam-era military man and ex-felon with two gold front teeth, lots of tattoos and a deep affinity for children, animals and the writings of Thomas Wolfe. He was married once, briefly, but doesn't like to talk about it.
One of his roommates was rock star Cat Power, who moved out and on long ago, but still pays her third of the share on Penley's $600-a-month apartment on Avenue B, where he has lived the bulk of his 25 years in the city. (His other roommate is a graphic artist.) Penley is something of a local on-call baby sitter, and is quick to dispense loose change or cigarettes to anyone who asks.

Read the whole article here.

Here's a quick video clip of Penley from the protest at 47 E. 3rd St. from July 11.

For further protest reading on EV Grieve, here's where to go.

Remembering Petrella's Point

For 30 years, Adam Petrella ran the funky newstand with the directions at Bowery and Canal called Petrella's Point. (You might remember his portraits of Bruce Lee and Marilyn Monroe that adorned his stand.)

As the Times reported, on May 16, 1997, "Giuliani signed into law new rules governing sidewalk newsstands, increasing the annual fee charged the city's 330 vendors from $538 to as much as $5,000, depending on the location. The law also provides for 100 more stands to be put out for competitive bids. Current renters will have five years before the city decides whether to continue renting the stands or to seek bids. The law is part of the initiative to replace current street furniture (newsstands and bus shelters) with new streamlined versions that will be built by the company that wins a 20-year city contract. The new items and 30 public toilets will be financed by selling advertising space on them, generating hundreds of millions for whoever gets the contract.

Mr. Petrella wonders when he'll become a victim of design and progress."

The newstand was removed in 2004 to make room for a bank. Petrella died in 2006 at the age of 85. According to his obiturary in The Villager:

"His is the story of a proud New Yorker who persevered and documented three decades of change on the Bowery. He is a true and significant source of inspiration for our own small museum,” said Dave Herman, president of the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg, Brooklyn."

Speaking of the City Reliquary Museum, Herman has some of Petrella's old newstand on display, along with the original 2nd Avenue Deli sign construction workers tossed when the restaurant shuttered in 2006. The Museum is holding a summer benefit tonight.

Appreciating what's left of the Bowery while it's still there

The gloom and doom about further development on the Bowery has been well documented. (Jeremiah took in the Lighting District in a post yesterday.) I recently paid a visit too, walking from Hester to Houston, careful to pay attention to every detail. Which might explain the 500 photos of doorways that I ended up taking...

(The sandals billboard was recently replaced by a Coors Light ad.)

At least there's some good news relating to the Sunshine.

Meanwhile, there are a few more photos on my new fancy Flickr page. Jeremiah has more photos here.

THIS is the Bowery that I miss!

A CLASSIC! (And it's APPROVED by Bela Lugosi's estate!)

Here's how allmovie descibes this 1942 CLASSIC:

Bowery at Midnight casts Bela Lugosi as Professor Brenner, a psychology instructor at New York University (which looks a lot like Berkeley in the exterior shots!). When not enlightening his students — most of them buxom Monogram starlets — Brenner is engaged in charitable work, running a mission in the Bowery. In truth, however, the kindly professor is a fiend in human form, who uses his mission as a front for a vast criminal empire. When Judy (Wanda McKay), one of Brenner's students, stumbles onto the truth, she's targeted for extermination by the Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde prof.

Can't wait for the remake, in which the kindly NYU instructor is a fiend in human form who uses his mission as a front for a vast condo/hotel development! (I shouldn't joke...)

Anyway, someone on YouTube was nice enough to upload the entire 60-minute movie, though they disabled the embed function. So you'll need to go here to watch some of it. I highly recommend that you do.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I challenge them to work in "Octopussy"

Sean Connery continues to squabble with his neighbor on 71st Street. I only follow the story to see how the Post can work in a James Bond reference. For instance:


July 30, 2008
Sean Connery's downstairs neighbors are proving to be a bigger headache for the former James Bond than Dr. No, Blofeld and Goldfinger combined.

July 26, 2008
Sean Connery's family nemesis - his neighbor "Dr. No" - was at it again yesterday.

MOLD FINGER:Dr. Burton Sultan (left) accuses Sean Connery of causing water leaks and other mayhem at their East Side condo.
December 27, 2007
A Manhattan judge has had enough of a court feud between Sir Sean Connery and his neighbor, and is urging the James Bond star and his arch-enemy Dr. Sultan to make peace.

December 30, 2006 -- Even at 76, the original James Bond can still take down his archenemies.

James Bond billboards in Times Square:

Unrelated but, c'mon, it's funny...What a crew: Dick Van Dyke and Connery in a hep stache meet Queen Elizabeth II at the You Only Live Twice premiere.

Tour buses continue to remind us of awful summer movies

On lower Broadway, July 29.

East Village 1988: "A Neighborhood of Vigorous Opinions"

[Photo by dmax3270 via Flickr]

Gertrude Briggs, 77, has been selling used art, dance, and literary books at her store, Books 'n' Things, for 41 years, most recently from a stuffy little shop on East Seventh street that has books stacked to the ceiling or in boxes.
''Most of the creative people have been displaced,'' she said, as she closed a sale with a customer from the Bronx. ''Of course it still attracts a lot of freaks, because it's still a place you can be free. For a lot kids, coming here is a way to get away from the choking atmosphere of suburbia.''
''It's almost like geographical determinism -- he gravitates here because he has no choice,'' offered the customer, who identified himself only as Carlos. ''That's what attracted me in the first place when I was going through my Marxist phase. The flyers, the posters, the cracking peeling walls -- it's a glimpse of Old Amsterdam, of Old New York.''

(From an Aug. 13, 1988, New York Times article titled The Talk of the East Village; A Neighborhood of Vigorous Opinions)

"every time i look at this photograph, i want to cry..."

That headline is part of the caption to this photo from 1987: "Astor Place looking west towards the subway and restaurant...every time i look at this photograph, i want to cry..." The photo was taken by dmax3270. Check out his other black-and-white photos from NYC in the 1980s and early 1990s on his Flickr page. You can see another one of his photos in the above post.

Commoners have nerve to use dumpster in front of new building that will be reserved for wealthier people

On East Seventh Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Tonight in Tompkins Square Park: Bag searches (oh, and a movie)

More bag searches in store for tonight's movie presentation in the Park?

As for the movie, it's Better off Dead.  An American classic. (Oh, c'mon -- just give me this one...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"How to not be a douchebag tourist in NYC"

That's the headline to a post on joshinthecity, a blog by a 36-year-old Sydney, Australia, resident. He starts: "I didn’t write this, but do the right thing, read up. As someone who has spent quite a bit of time there over the years, trust me.. ALL of this rings true."

Among the advice for tourists that he's passing along:

Dress: First, don’t f**king wear Crocs, don’t let anyone you’re with wear Crocs and don’t tell anybody you own a pair back home. They’re uglier than pretty much anything else in the city, and that’s saying something. New Yorkers don’t wear shorts and only chicks wear sandals, so stick with long pants, jeans, and dark color shirts–light colored button-downs are ok–dress shoes or Nike Dunks. Avoid Hawaiian shirts and NASCAR apparel like your life depends on it. Pastels suck, and fanny packs and passport lanyards scream “douche” from a block away.

Don’t stand in groups at street corners, subway entrances or in front of doors. Basically, just make sure you’re not in anybody’s way, ever, and you’ll be good to go.

Oh, and don’t ask us to pick you up or take you to the airport. We have plenty of cabs, trains and buses to do that for us, and we don’t want to, anyway.

Update: It was written by Andrew at Hunter College in a post that appeared last Thursday.

EV Grieve Etc. -- the economy is doomed edition

From an op-ed by in today's Post by Nicole Gelinas, a Manhattan Institute fellow:

Our elected leaders have been making long-term spending commitments as if Wall Street would never slow for more than a year or two. But the industry now faces its worst crisis in decades. The city and state must drastically change their approach -- or this crisis could turn into a longterm disaster.

Also: Gov. Paterson will deliver a grim economic address at 5:10 p.m. today in the state Capitol. The speech will be broadcast live on NY1.

Will need to buy the right outfit for this!

Signs that the economy is really bad

The ATMs don't work anymore.

People throw away their luggage because they can't afford to travel.

People can't afford to fix their nice cars.

Park Avenue residents subjected to white bread.

Revisiting the decline of New York City

As you can see, the Sept. 17, 1990, issue of Time had this cover story, The Rotting of the Big Apple.


Skyrocketing real estate prices (a one-room apartment that rents for $800 a month is considered a bargain) have driven middle-class families out of Manhattan and are threatening the creative enterprises that make the island a cultural oasis. Twenty years ago, about 50 or 60 new productions opened on Broadway each year. Today soaring costs have driven the price of an orchestra seat to $60, and a healthy season yields no more than 35 new shows, only 12 of which are deemed successes. In dance alone, New York lost 55 world-class studios in the past four years. Others, including Martha Graham Dance, are considering following the example of the Joffrey Ballet by establishing second and third homes in other cities. That means a shorter season in New York. "This is the most expensive, difficult and competitive city for arts organizations," says David Resnicow, president of the Arts and Communications Counselors, which arranges sponsorships for corporations and cultural institutions. "You don't have to be in New York to make it. "

Full article here.

Hooters and Red Mango

This thought crossed my mind when I saw the Red Mango sign in the window of the former CBGB T-shirt shop the other day: What if someone is just fucking with us?

Remember when jokesters put the Hooters sign in the window of the recently shuttered Second Avenue Deli back in February 2006? Lordy, had I been doing this site at the time, there would have been around-the-clock-developing-breaking-exclusive coverage of the sign.

Well, maybe not. Anyway, Urban Prankster recently revisited the Hooters hoax.

As for Red Mango on St. Mark's, I'm afraid we really are in for more frozen yogurt.

If you're thinking about driving on: Beekman Street

Uh. Good luck. And you may want to throw it in four-wheel drive. (Also, I've always liked the sign for the Beekman, hidden there a bit on the right.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dark Knight is gone

At least from Houston and the Bowery.

EV Grieve Etc.

With less than 18 months left in Mayor Bloomberg's final term, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is in a race against the clock to approve historic designations for more than 1,000 buildings. (NY Post)

The Gov. has grim news: get ready for the worst economy in decades

According to today's Post anyway:

Gov. Paterson, convinced the state faces its worst fiscal crisis since the mid-1970s, will deliver the grim news in an unprecedented special address to New Yorkers as soon as tomorrow night, The Post has learned.
The governor's address - which his aides hope will be televised by public and cable news stations - will say that plunging state revenues will force painful cuts in state services, necessitate a reduction in the state work force, possibly through layoffs, and require other difficult economic measures, source said.

The city's kitty is also doomed as doomed can be

Which makes this tie-in so perfect! Let's go out and buy expensive Depression-era clothes!

The duds say it all - and it's depressing.
Taking a cue from the grim economy, this fall's fashions at Banana Republic, Gap and H&M are featuring a distinctly Depression-era trend of cloche hats, pencil skirts, conductor caps and baggy, vintage-style dresses.
One of the most popular styles appears to hark back to the impish, newsboy getup of the 1930s: baggy trousers, caps, pinstriped vests, oxford lace-up shoes and utilitarian handbags.
"We associate the newsboy look with urban poverty - street kids of the 1930s," said Daniel James Cole, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
"Given that we're in an unstable economy and an uncertain political landscape, it's possible that a retro style has come back as a way to connect with our heritage."

Now. Let's seize the day!

And now for something new and different on St. Mark's

Alternate headline: You've got to be fucking kidding me.
At the site of the old CBGB shop. (Surprised someone isn't calling this yogurt place Punk Berry.) I even made a joke on March 29 that this location would become a yogurt shop. So I guess this is my fault.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Tourists will have to go online to buy their CBGB T-shirts

Important decisions of our time

What's new on Avenue C?

Bao 111 at 111 Avenue C closed up shop at the end of February because of escalating rents...(Get this: the owner planned to move to the west side because it was less expensive.)

Anyway, the new owners are renovating the space, with hopes of opening by the end of the summer. They were very cordial, and told me it will be a restaurant featuring French-Carribbean fare.

Meanwhile, as the sign reads, Barnyard is open (last Tuesday was its first day, in fact), a high-end cheese and meat shop at 149 Avenue C just north of Ninth Street.