Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And on the seventh day...

Kenny Scharf's work is done on the Deitch Wall, a day early even, as Gothamist noted. In all, it took him 100 hours spread out over six days...

What East First Street will look like after the Houston construction project

Earlier today, we talked about the construction on East First Street between Avenue A and First Avenue...and how that might impact the cab-heavy business at Punjabi Grocery & Deli.

I was unaware of the extent of the infrastructure changes planned on East Houston from the Bowery to FDR ... So many thanks to a reader for sending along the plans... I'm still sorting through them... but the area on East First between A and First Avenue will see significant changes... see the plans for yourself....

Vehicles will no longer be able to enter First Street right off Houston at Avenue A (a dangerous intersection, if you ask me...) mostly because they'll be a greenstreet ... There's a similar greenstreet planed for Avenue D...

Work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013.

Bye bye First Street entryway!

Previously on EV Grieve:
Coming soon to East Houston: Construction, hell, rodent control stations

Long-threatened East Houston reconstruction starting this month

SHOCKERS: Local college students prefer drugs to sex (at least in 1967)

The Washington Square Journal from Nov. 30, 1967, includes a SHOCKING expose about the habits of local college students... You can click on the piece to read it a little better.... The article reports on the findings of Dr. Sylvia Hertz, a psychologist-sociologist, who polled students on college campuses in the metropolitan area and discovered that "campus drugs have outglamourized and outchallenged sex on today’s college campus since sex is easily attainable, available and taken for granted, and has lost its yesterday spirit of adventure and conquest."

And an archival photo that accompanied the article here.

I swear that I saw this woman in the same position outside the Village Pourhouse the other evening, though she was wearing University of Florida sweats.

Not much left at the fire-damaged corner of 14th Street and Avenue A

Back in May, the stores here on 14th Street at Avenue A were wiped out by a fire.

Workers have been on the scene removing the fire-damged debris...

Which doesn't leave much else.

One of the workers said they were just there to take away what's left. He wasn't aware of what might happen here in the future...

Conspiracies/thoughts/ideas/gossip are welcome.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Conspiracies: What next for 14th Street and Avenue A?

Renovations in order for Stuyvesant Grocery and Pete's-A-Place?

Outside Punjabi Grocery & Deli: Where are the cabs?

The East Houston construction project continues... apparently there's work to do on along East First Street too... the path between Avenue A and First Avenue has been a mess...

Something noticeable missing here: Cabs. Punjabi Grocery & Deli is, of course, a favorite stop for cab drivers to get tea and some affordable vegetarian food... not to mention use the restroom...

I'm not sure how long First Street will be a mess... I'm wondering what kind of impact this will have on Punjabi's business...

I was ready to duck inside the other day, and saw a healthy crowd inside ... enough to deter me from going in... the cab drivers seemingly just have to park a little further away for now...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Coming soon to East Houston: Construction, hell, rodent control stations

Long-threatened East Houston reconstruction starting this month

On December's CB3/SLA docket: More taquerias! The Belgian Ale House! Something big on the Bowery!

On Monday, the CB3/SLA Licensing Committee gets together for its monthly bloodletting meeting. As Eater pointed out yesterday, "There's nothing too ground breaking here." True! Still, several interesting items. Here's the whole agenda:

Renewal with Complaint History
1. Apotheke (Apotheke LLC), 9 Doyers St (see also # 6)
2. Nurse Bettie, 106 Norfolk St (op)
3. Webster Hall, 125 E 11th St (op)

Applications within Resolution Areas
4. Hachi Enterprises Inc, 185 Orchard St (op)
5. Mini Thai Café (Tony Restaurant Group), 105 Ave A (wb)

6. Apotheke (Apotheke LLC), 9 Doyers St (trans/op)
7. Northern Spy Food Co, 511 E 12th St (up/op)
8. Via Della Pace (48 E 7th St Associates Inc), 48 E 7th St (alt/op/extend license to outside tables within building line)
9. Hea Hea Bar Restaurant (Friend Tri New York Inc), 145 E 13th St (alt/change of method of operation)
10. Inhabit Lounge (Samond Inc) 39 Eldridge St (trans/up/op)
11. To Be Determined, 432 E 13th St (trans/op) (Bistrouge)
12. 93 Art LLC, 93 2nd Ave (trans/op) (Fuse)

The Lit Lounge folks went before the CB3/SLA back in March to obtain a license transfer to launch a new venture in the space. ... in the process, Lit heard it from neighbors... since then, they've made efforts to be a better neighbor, as outlined here.

13. To Be Determined, 74 Orchard St (trans/op) (Bunny Chow)
14. 133 Essex Restaurant LLC, 133 Essex St (trans/op) (Mason Dixon)
15. Shoolbred's (211 Ave A Restaurant Inc), 197 2nd Ave (alt/op/extend license to sidewalk cafe)
16. Cooper Square Hotel (25 CSH Operating LLC), 25 Cooper Square (trans/op)

New Liquor License Applications
17. Sabor a Mexico Taqueria (Jarlene Corp), 160 1st Ave (wb)
18. Ashton Thai Place Inc, 244 E 13th St (wb)

What's going on here? This is Zabb City's address.

19. To Be Determined, 241 Bowery (op)

Ah! This is the space below the Sunshine Hotel that I noted last month... it's a HUGE space with 5,000 square feet... (BoweryBoogie has been keepings on the eatery opening next door.)

20. Belgium Ale House (Belgium NYC Corp), 54 2nd Ave (wb)

Hey! The Belgian Ale House at the Crazy Landlord building!

21. Taqueria East Village (Berraza Foods Inc), 104 2nd Ave (op)

This is the former Matsukado space... so the EV may be getting another taqueria?

Cuppa Cuppa closes on East Fourth Street; FAB Cafe opening soon

Cuppa Cuppa, the coffee and tea shop on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, has closed...

And the signs on the door tells what's happening next...

And now, a Scottish terrier sitting on a toilet

An EV Grieve reader sends along this flyer spotted on Rivington and Ridge on the Lower East Side... As the reader wrote: " I was struck by the simple eloquence of its message…and who doesn’t like a Scottie on a toilet seat?" True!

7B for the holidays

Yesterday, we spotted workers hanging up the holiday lights and what not at 7B....

...and a little later...

The inside looks festive as always too....

(And that woman was out front who always asks me for different amounts of change every day... like 85 cents one day, 15 cents the next...do you remember her name?)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hi Fi's new jukebox now 50,000 songs strong

Over at Fork in the Road, Chantal Martineau reports that Hi Fi on Avenue A has a new digital jukebox. Per the article:

Hi Fi's new EL DJ, a redesigned version of the machine first launched in 2003, is the brainchild of the bar's owner, Mike Stuto. The upgraded digital jukebox features a smoother trackball navigation system, more user-friendly interface, and leaner body. The collection now includes some 50,000 songs culled from Stuto's own personal stash.

Among the 50,000 tracks — two Nuggets box sets and 21 full-length albums by The Fall.

Did I say the Fall?

Window shopping on East 10th Street

Crossing the Bowery, and looking north

Your daily Deitch Wall update

The Lo-Down ... BoweryBoogie... and AnimalNY have more on the mural... Animal's Bucky Turco asked Kenny Scharf if he thought any graffiti writers might tag the new work here: "No, I’m not Shepard Fairey. Not to knock him or anything, but I’m not putting up wallpaper made safely in a studio.”

Now at Niagara: Happy hour and a Sam Rockwell photo shoot

Actor Sam Rockwell is at Niagara on Seventh Street and Avenue A ... the subject of a photo shoot...

Restaurant with the name of a TV pilot coming to Avenue C

We've been wondering what was coming to the former (brief) home of Mr. C's on Avenue C near Seventh Street... Poor Mr. C's flamed out in a hurry.... Anyway! So, the new place coming in looks a little on the, oh, I dunno, industrial-beachy side?

The folks at New York magazine (via Grub Street) have the First Look at Edi & the Wolf, an Austrian Wine Tavern. Owners, Eduard (Edi) Frauneder and Wolfgang (the Wolf) Ban, "also operate the excellent midtown restaurant Seasonal," Grub Street reports.

Tonight on CBS, ... Edi & the Wolf, two wise-guy detectives flout the rules to lock up the street's worst vermin!

Looks and sounds interesting (the restuarant, not the made-up TV show) ....Not sure what all the rope is for... A dommes and submissives bar section?

[Roxanne Behr/New York Magazine]

Cheeky karma

First Avenue near 13th Street.

Breaking! People are eating outside at DBGB

Hope they have some mittens! Chilly out there! Thanks to a special correspondent for the photo...


The Bus Lane/Bike Lane Cycling Crew was out this morning.... not all that noteworthy...

...except that when the cyclists got to the light at 14th Street and First Avenue.... the lead cyclist went through the red light... and waited for his/her colleagues on the other side of the street...

An epic story on the life and death of Superdive

Sarah Laskow files a detailed piece at Capital titled "Fast times on Avenue A: The life and death of Superdive."

A few excerpts!

LONGTIME VILLAGERS OFTEN TALK ABOUT the change in their neighborhood as synonymous with the rise of bars and restaurants that create street traffic and noise unlike that in any other neighborhood. Words and phrases like rowdy, circus atmosphere, zoo are used to describe the street scene at night. When bar owners and nightlife operators argue that the East Village has always been a nightlife destination, they respond: Yes, but. Something’s different now.

Academics have a word for what the neighborhood has become: a nightscape. Bars and restaurants were once peripheral to the main drag's primary economic drivers: supermarkets, coffeehouses, boutique shops, record stores. But in post-industrial cities, nightlife has grown into an industry in its own right. As in any industry, shop owners tend to cluster. A century ago, that meant the creation of a Garment District. Now it means the creation of a Party District.


Superdive was self-conscious, though. It promised not just beer or a dance floor, but an experience directly targeted at a crowd the East Village had perhaps hoped it hadn't overtly been catering to: Not some group of characters out of an old Lou Reed song, so much as the group of characters you'd find on Bourbon Street, or worse, North Avenue in White Plains. There was some irony in the marketing of Superdive, but not much.

“Superdive made a lot of us into activists,” Dale Goodson, 58, said recently.

Read the whole shebang here.

Firefighters and a smell of smoke on East 10th Street

A reader noted the smell of smoke and a few fire trucks this morning on 10th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue... anyone have more details? Not sure of the extent of what happened...

[Updated: The Local East Village has a report, including that "A small fire on East 10th Street this morning was sparked by an extension cord that melted after being wrapped around a radiator in a fifth floor apartment." There were no injuries. DNAinfo also has an item on the fore here.]

A new era for Polonia

Last week, Eater reported that First Avenue Polish diner mainstay Polonia was under new ownership.... 22 year-old Paul Jurczyk bought the restaurant from his parents, who started and operated Polonia the past 24 years... Jurczyk has hired a chef, the 26-year-old Olaf Wozny, who previously worked at Il Bucco.

As Jurczyk said, Polonia was serving food that "was frozen and microwaved, there was a wine list that consisted of 'Red' or 'White' which was poured from a gallon or a box, the lights were super bright all day and all evening, and the radio was playing z100 or 103.5 fm."

So some changes were in order... he and Wozny are planning to revamp the restaurant... which they've slowly been doing (you may have noticed the addition of a happy hour and WiFi in previous months...)

I asked Jurczyk a few questions via Facebook...

Are you concerned with what some old-timers might think about the changes? Do you think they'll return?

There are customers that have been coming to Polonia since the day that it opened. When I first started making changes about a year and a half ago, I had to start small: slightly changing the decor, the music selection and re-organizing the menu so that it was more comprehensible and visually appealing. Up to that point the 'old-timers' didn't have much to protest about. However, when I hired Olaf Wozny as my head chef, I began to hear complaints.

Olaf understood that changing a diner to a restaurant isn't an easy task and has to be done slowly as to not warrant too much attention in the beginning. Olaf slowly started changing the recipes, using better, higher-quality ingredients which are more expensive than the ingredients previously used — we had no choice but to slightly raise the prices. That is when the older customers started to complain. They appreciated the quality but weren't willing to pay for it. Even now I have some of the older customers complaining about our coffee which is a high-quality coffee, that we have priced at $1.50; the deli on the corner near us charges the same price for coffee of a much lesser quality.

Another issue is that most of the main entrees take about 15 minutes on average to prepare. Most of the older clientele can't seem to understand this, even though in the menu it says that our dishes may take about that long to make because they are made per order and asks the customer to please be patient. Even tonight I had a table of three walk out half way through their meal. They were served water, bread, wine and soups all within 10 to 15 minutes. After waiting just over 20 minutes (since they sat down) they decided that their three combination platters were taking too long so they paid for what they already had and walked out.

Many of the older customers left for a few months but returned. The prices in the East Village aren't cheap — no matter the quality of the food or the ambiance. I'm sure that after realizing that we are still better priced than most spots in our area, and have better prices and better quality food than any other Polish/Ukranian restaurant or diner in the area, including Veselka, they will be sure to come back — even though I have to say that my staff and myself are hoping that the old customers which really enjoy to nag and complain will find somewhere more suitable to their liking. Besides, we are starting to attract a younger, career-oriented crowd.

Why do you think changes were necessary?

These changes are necessary for two reasons. The East Village is quickly becoming a more sophisticated area filled with people who are willing to spend a little extra money to eat good food, have a nice glass of wine and truly enjoy themselves. Personally I don't believe that diners have the right ambiance for the new clientele that is surfacing in our area.

Secondly, it is very important to my chef and myself that we produce and sell a product which we are happy with and are proud of. Olaf will not be happy preparing food which was cooked 12 hours ago and is now being heated up in the microwave and I likewise will not be happy serving people that type of food or serving them any food at a location which I do not feel gives off the vibe that I would like it to. My restaurant represents me — it allows both Olaf and myself to express ourselves. I am looking forward to having everything exactly the way I want it and to see people really enjoying themselves at Polonia Eatery. We have already made a great deal of progress and I believe things will continue moving in the direction I hoped they would.

Avenue A finally getting some more retail

Work continues at 41 Avenue A on the corner of East Third Street.... where the Coffee Pot once lived...

As DNAinfo noted in September, a pharmacy is taking over this space... this rather empty stretch of A — on the west side of the Avenue between Third and Second — may soon get some company. According to the website of the landlord, the New York City Housing Authority, there are applications in place for 35 Avenue A and 37 Avenue A.

37 Avenue A was once the Two Boots Restaurant. 35 Avenue A was last the Sons & Daughters high-end kids shop.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Of the 147 storefronts on Avenue A, 70 of them are bars, restaurants or vacant

Whatever happened to the Two Boots Restaurant? Plus: NYCHA puts up two prime storefronts on Avenue A for rent

Sons & Daughters closing on Avenue A; new tenant for A and Third Street?