Thursday, March 31, 2011

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Festival of ideas (including the worm tents!)

We were invited today to attend a press briefing at the New Museum about the upcoming Festive of Ideas for the New City.... But! We didn't go... Work and stuff. However! Here's the news release with what's going on...

Downtown Manhattan to Become a Dynamic Laboratory for Creative Thinking and Action Bringing Together Scores of Participants and Public Events

The Festival of Ideas for the New City is a major new collaborative initiative involving scores of Downtown organizations, from large universities to arts institutions and community groups, working together to affect change. The Festival is a first for New York and will harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore the ideas destined to shape it. It will take place from May 4-8, 2011, in locations around Downtown Manhattan in an area spanning East to West including the Lower East Side, the East Village, Soho, Nolita, and Chinatown — and will serve as a platform for artists, writers, architects, engineers, designers, urban farmers, planners, and thought leaders to exchange ideas, propose solutions, and invite the public to participate.

The Festival of Ideas for the New City was initially conceived by the New Museum three years ago as a natural outgrowth of its ongoing commitment to public education and civic outreach. The concept quickly attracted a core group of Downtown ‘Organizing Partners’ who have met regularly over the past two years. The eleven Organizing Partners are: The Architectural League; Bowery Poetry Club; C-Lab/ Columbia University; Center for Architecture; The Cooper Union; The Drawing Center; New Museum (Founding Partner); New York University Wagner; PARC Foundation; Storefront for Art and Architecture; and Swiss Institute. Together, the Organizing Partners reached out to hundreds of other groups and organizations to participate in the Festival.

The Festival of Ideas for the New City is organized around three central programs:
• A three-day slate of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leaders— including exemplary mayors from a variety of countries, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology experts—who will address the four broad Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. These events will take place at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum from Wednesday to Saturday, May 4-7.

An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest will take place along the Bowery. More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses, and non-profits will present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment. The Festival will premiere a new environmentally inspired tent module commissioned for the Festival, as well as outdoor living rooms and inflatable structures. Visitors can expect cooking demonstrations with urban farmers, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, bike tours and valets, and a variety of affordable and healthy, locally grown, sustainable food options. The StreetFest will take place on Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

• Over eighty independent projects, exhibitions, and performances, which expand on the Festival’s themes, will open at multiple festival partner venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area. Projects include a solar powered mobile art studio; artist-commissioned roll-down, metal storefront gates; projections of poems in endangered languages on Lower East Side buildings; a prototype of an urban campground; a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format; an exhibit exploring the political, economic and social relevance of preservation and its role in architectural thinking; and a wide range of other activities exploring ideas for the future. These events will open Saturday evening, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.

Among the questions to be addressed through Festival programs are: What makes the city worth living in? How can we encourage and preserve the positive qualities of the city? How can technology be used to improve city life? Are there places or elements of the city that can be repurposed and re-imagined to serve new needs and populations? When we talk about sustainability, what do we mean? And, what can each of us do to contribute to a healthy, diverse, equitable, tolerant, innovative and fun place to live? Above all, how are the creative arts crucial to the above and how can they move conversation forward?

The Organizing Partners of the Festival are unified in their belief in the power of collaboration to make a difference and influence public awareness; together they advocate the central importance of creative capital to the quality of life in New York and any future city.

Still here? You can go to the website for more info. There's an awful lot going on with all this... there will be more in the days, weeks ahead, probably.

And Curbed has more on those worm tents int he above photo.

Date with the rain

Photo in Tompkins Square Park by Bobby Williams.

Meanwhile, in IMPORTANT Lindsay Lohan news

The "I Know Who Killed Me" star falls down while leaving Motor City Bar last night on Ludlow. (Via TMZ)

EV Grieve Etc: Mourning Edition

Ailing man prevents mother-in-law from being robbed on First Avenue (The New York Post)

The art in the tree at the Cooper Square Hotel (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)

A panel Sunday on modern day New York street photography featuring Clayton Patterson, Matt Weber and Jake Dobkin (Nathan Kensinger Photography)

The misery of living in NYC (Runnin' Scared)

An update on SPURA project planning (BoweryBoogie)

Squirrel love in Tompkins Square Park (Nadie Se Conoce)

A comeback for Jeffrey's Meats in the Essex Street Market? (The Lo-Down)

Fifth Generation vs. the Blank Generation (Flaming Pablum)

An East Village ambassador for Japanese cuisine (The New York Times)

Inside Kenka on St. Mark's Place (Eater)

Photos from NYC's "best coffee shops" (Refinery29)

Inside the homes of two East Village chefs

Today, the Post's real-estate section goes inside the East Village homes of two local restaurateurs — chef Eduard Frauneder of Avenue C's Edi & the Wolf and Nicholas Morgenstern of Fifth Street's Goat Town.

From the Frauneder piece:

[T]he artwork that’s now occupying most of Frauneder’s time are the sketches of the outdoor space at Edi & the Wolf. He hopes to turn the space into a 35-seat “wine garden” this spring, with special “hyper-seasonal” tasting menus to be offered Thursday to Saturday.

“That rustic feeling inside will translate into the back yard,” he says. As will the tenor of the restaurant — one based on the heuriger’s casual, all-embracing approach.

“That’s the spirit of the East Village, too,” Frauneder says. “Where the politician sits next to the truck driver. Where they can eat something simple but good.”

And from the Morgenstern piece... he has a desiccated wasp nest in his apartment and he describes the communal area behind his East Third Street apartment as "an East Village version of 'Melrose Place.'"

[Frauneder photo by Zandy Mangold via the Post]

Note campaign begins against the Hot Chicks Room sign

Thanks to Dave on 7th for the photo taken outside the coming-soon Upright Citizens Brigade on Avenue A.


The last 'Wave'

I had to remove the video box ... it was on auto-play...

"Blank City: The No Wave Years," a documentary about New York's DIY film scene, opens April 6 here.

Focusing on the mid-70s and 80s No Wave movement in New York, Celine Danhier’s new documentary paints a vivid portrait of the underground scene through interviews with its most notable fixtures: John Waters, Jim Jarmusch, Amos Poe, Vivienne Dick, and John Lurie among them. “New York was a very different and dangerous place to live then, like the Wild West,” says Danhier, whose film also references the East Village institutions that served as the genre’s unofficial headquarters, including the Mudd Club and CBGB. “It was run-down and almost bankrupt. But from that, this amazing do-it-yourself attitude grew.”

The clip above shows Steve Buscemi, Vincent Gallo and Mark Boone Junior in "The Way It Is" from 1985.

Via Nowness. Thanks to Shawn Chittle for the link.

A look at the more 'contemporized' Acme Bar & Grill

A few weeks ago, we first reported that Acme Bar & Grill was closing after 25 years on Great Jones Place. Then! Owner Bob Pollock apparently changed his mind...

Pollock told the following to Rebecca Marx at Fork in Road on March 16:

When it reopens, Pollock says, "it's not going to be the roadhouse look anymore. It will have a more contemporized look. Warm and at the same time contemporary. When you go in there, you'll have the reminiscence of Acme. It'll be on the walls."

After taking a look inside yesterday, it doesn't seem likely that any former regular would even recognize the walls...


Perez Hilton posts pics of the EV stainless-steel slide condo, for some reason

A few weeks ago we posted some photos of the penthouse combo that's connected by a stainless steel slide in the A Building. Anyway, something prompted Perez Hilton to post some shots the other day...

The condo belongs to Phil (OMGClayAiken) Galfond. According to his bio, he "is part of the 'Ship it Holla Ballas,' a crew of young poker players who live an extravagant lifestyle on their poker earnings. 'The Ballas travel the world in search of sweet parties, hot girls and play in some poker tournaments on the side.'"

He has come to the right place here.

Uh-oh — more chicks invading the East Village!

Dan Nguyen spotted the Peeps Mobile on First Avenue between 10th Street and 11th Street the other night. From Eye Heart New York. (H/T Neighborhoodr)

Outside the MLB Man Fan Cave

Last evening, I swung by the former Tower Records on Broadway and East Fourth Street to check out the new MLB Fan Cave, in which two contest winners are living in a "Real World"-esque building and getting paid to watch every Major League Baseball game this season... Seeing as today is the first game of the season for many teams, I thought the place might be a little more ready for baseball action ...

Uh, play ball!

Save UNDER St Marks — on Facebook

Following the news that a) 94 St. Mark's Place is for sale and b) the Horse Trade Theater Group, who operate UNDER St. Marks, are hoping to buy the building...

There's now a Facebook page for interested parties titled Save UNDER St. Marks.

Group description:
As you may know, 94 St. Mark's Place is for sale. This building is the home of our beloved UNDER ST. MARK'S THEATER, run by the fine folks at Horse Trade Theater group. Horse Trade is launching a campaign to buy the building and keep the theater and we want to help! Consider this a place to brainstorm and organize!

Find them on Facebook at Save UNDER St. Marks

Previously on EV Grieve:
94 St. Mark's Place on the market, and what will it mean for Under St. Marks?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today in photos of a large crane on First Avenue

Courtesy of EV Grieve crane correspondent Bobby Williams.

Scoring position: Former Towers Records space now a dude cave for baseball

Major League Baseball has transformed the former Tower Records space on Broadway and East Fourth Street into a "fan cave" for two lucky bastards guys who won a contest. Per the Daily News:

Starting tomorrow, Opening Day, [Michael] O'Hara, 37, will watch virtually every MLB game this season, tweet about them and - Oh, My God! - get paid for it.

Major League Baseball has outfitted the high-tech home run haven with 15 huge HD screens so O'Hara and sidekick Ryan Wagner can catch all the action right through the World Series.

And what does it look like?

"Extreme Makeover" star Paul DiMeo has installed a machine to test pitching speed, a fantasy baseball counter, a memorabilia museum, pool table, bar, a '50s diner, ever-changing photos in electronic frames and a tattoo parlor.

In homage to the downtown neighborhood's creative legacy, artists will conjure up players with portraits in ice, cheese and on Etch-A-Sketch screens, all under an 18-foot tall picture of Willie Mays' famed over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series.

Photo via. H/T Gothamist.

Horse Trade Theater Group launches campaign to buy 94 St. Mark's Place

Following up on our news yesterday that 94 St. Mark's Place is now for sale... the building houses Under St. Marks, which is operated by Horse Trade Theater Group. Horse Trade just released this statement...

Despite the announcement that 94 St. Marks is now for sale, Horse Trade Theater Group has no plans to close UNDER St. Marks anytime soon, and all scheduled resident productions and rental contracts will be honored. Horse Trade also announces that they will be mounting a capital campaign in order to purchase the property themselves.

“Horse Trade Theater Group is poised for a wonderful expansion. We are looking forward to all of the possibilities owning our own space might realize,” said Horse Trade Artistic Director, Heidi Grumelot. Anyone interested in donating to Horse Trade Theater Group or taking part in the capitol campaign should contact

Under St. Marks is a downtown performance venue with a rich history. An experimental theatre space since the 1970’s, this 45-seat basement theater is now home to a wide variety of performance artists including The BTK Band, Penny’s Open Mic, Revealed Burlesque, Thank You Robot, Adam Wade, Tanya O’Debra, The Management, Little Lord, the Rising Sun Performance Company, No Tea Productions, Wide Eyed Productions, Animal Parts, Subjective Theatre Company, The Pumpkin Pie Show, and the FRIGID New York Festival.

Previously on EV Grieve:
94 St. Mark's Place on the market, and what will it mean for Under St. Marks?

Subway stops at Billy's Antiques again

The subway sign saga at Billy's Antiques & Props on East Houston comes to an end today. Last March, the MTA busted Billy for allegedly selling stolen subway booty. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. But! The city never returned his prized props. (BoweryBoogie has a nice recap of all this here.)

However, Billy tells us that he's picking up his signs at the NYC Property Clerks office in Long Island City today at noon. "And then I'm bringing them to Billy's to splash them all over the sidewalk," he says.

[Photo via Curbed]


[DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund]

OK. So, let's just go right to Patrick Hedlund's article on DNAinfo:

The Upright Citizens Brigade recently hung red drapes in the windows of its forthcoming venue near East 3rd Street, after the comedy troupe agreed to remove a humorous "Hot Chicks Room" sign due to local residents' complaints that the babe-inspired billboard would draw hordes of rowdy bar-goers.

Now neighbors are taking issues with the theater's rose-colored curtains, claiming they make the venue look like a house of ill repute.

"They look like red velvet, like you would see in a bordello," said Felicia Caggiano, 66, whose window looks out onto the theater and who previously planned to start a petition against the "repulsive" Chicks sign.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Your 'Hot Chicks Room' sign update

[Updated] Resident starting a petition to have the 'Hot Chicks Room' sign removed at the Upright Citizens Brigade

Breaking: UCB will remove the 'Hot Chicks Room' sign!

Fat Sal's coming to Avenue A

APizzA closed on Avenue A in early February. A tipster notes that the space will become home to the fifth NYC location of Fat Sal's.

So... anyone ever eaten a slice from Fat Sal's?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Why APizzaA closed

123 Third Ave.'s retail opportunity

We've kept tabs on the 123 Third Ave. condo sales... but what about the retail space here at 14th Street at Third Avenue?

All along, we've just assumed that a bank was signed, sealed and delivered for the location. Perhaps not. We just came across the listing.

There are a few details on the space on RKF site, including:

The 2,928-sf retail condominium is fully leased to Capital One and sits at the base of a newly constructed 19-story residential condominium project ... The neighborhood is a vibrant mix of residential, office, educational, and cultural uses, complemented by some of the best dining and retail in New York City. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a new- construction retail condominium fully leased to a credit tenant on a prime corner in Union Square.

That's just plain old Union Square ... and not East Union Square.

(View the whole listing here. And it's a PDF)

Tributes set in stone in Tompkins Square Park

Catching up on an article from The Villager before the new issue comes out tomorrow.

Bonnie Rosenstock wrote about the Make Your Mark in the Park program at Tompkins Square Park. The East Village Parks Conservancy created the program eight years ago to honor residents and help fund the Park’s gardener and elm tree watch.

There are currently 155 pavers around Temperance Fountain, with another 24 set to be placed later this spring. Each stone costs $250.

The article prompted me to look at the various tributes, which I hadn't done in several years ... and I spotted the name of someone I met in the neighborhood about 14 years ago.

Johnston, a writer for Time Out, died of colon cancer on Oct. 26, 2008. You can read more about him here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mayhem for muffins? Former Sin Sin space becoming a bakery, probably

The owner of 85 Second Ave. — once home to Sin Sin — said the space will likely be home to a bakery, DNAinfo reports.

"It's not going to be a bar," assured Alex Shkolnik, who owns 85 Second Ave. "It's never going to be something like was there."

Shkolnik claimed this time around he would not work with Sin Sin's owners, who unsuccessfully tried to transfer their liquor license last year to a new group of operators.

Instead, he explained, Shkolnik's son will take over the space and open a restaurant featuring items like baked goods, coffee and juice.

"They're going to do probably a bakery there," he said, noting that it would serve "health food."

Previously on EV Grieve:
'The neighborhood will not rest until you are gone and Sin Sin’s license is revoked'

NYPD hosting meeting between Sin Sin and neighbors tonight

East Village noise wars new battlefront: Sin Sin/Leopard Lounge

Why the president of the East Fifth Street Block Association carries a baseball bat

EV Grieve Etc: Mourning Edition

A look at "Bloomberg's New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City" (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)

New bedbug site for NYC (Runnin' Scared)

Cuomo restores senior center funding (The Lo-Down)

Amato Opera still on the market (DNAinfo)

Life without a belt (Nadie Se Conoce)

Payless ShoeSource moving into retail space of fancy 130 Delancey building (BoweryBoogie)

Luke's Lobster opening on Wall Street (Eater)

And two events this week via the Lower East Side History Project:

"Time and Space on the Lower East Side: 1980/2010"
w/ photographer Brian Rose

Tonight at 6:30 p.m.
Mid-Manhattan Library
455 5th Avenue, NY NY 10006 (at 41st Street)
Subway: 7 to 5th Avenue or B, D, F, M to 42nd Street/ Bryant Park

In 1980, photographers Brian Rose and Ed Faustry embarked on an ambitious project to photograph a number of buildings, storefronts and streets of the Lower East Side. Tonight at the Mid-Manhattan Library, Brian Rose will be discussing his fantastic new book, Time and Space on the Lower East Side, which offers dozens of beautiful "then and now" images.

We posted this photo by Brian last year.

On East Fifth Street between C and D. Rose was standing near Fourth Street

"The Bowery: A History of Grit, Graft and Grandeur" Book Party W/ presentations by Eric Ferrara, Rob Hollander & David Mulkins

Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
451 West Street (West Side Highway at Bank Street)
New York, NY 10014
Subway: L to 14th Street
Sliding scale admission: $6/$10/$15/Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers
Refreshments served.

94 St. Mark's Place on the market, and what will it mean for Under St. Marks?

Here we go. Per the Massey Knakal listing:

The residential rents currently average $1,700/month, which is about 20% below current market levels providing great upside. With the exception of one RS unit, all apartments are FM, making it possible to improve unites [sic] and increase rents in the short term. The theater is on a month to month lease, so this could be a prime investor or user opportunity.

The theater in question is, of course, Under St. Marks, which has operated here as an experimental spot since the 1970s. The space is currently operated by the Horse Trade Theater Group. (We have an email out to them about all this.)

Investment properties (the asking price is $5.75 million) and experimental theater spaces certainly don't seem to go hand-in-hand ... making this potentially bad news down the road for Under St. Marks... and another loss for the neighborhood's creative spirit.

South Brooklyn Pizza asks for signatures, calls CB3 'infamous'

South Brooklyn Pizza is on the April CB3/SLA agenda. They're expanding to open a restaurant next door at 122 First Ave. in the former Ruben's space. (Eater first noted this takeover last September.) They're asking for a beer-and-wine license.

And so the South Brooklyn Pizza folks are collecting signatures of support, as the sign in the window shows... pointing out they are "going in front of the infamous community board three."

One neighbor said that South Brooklyn Pizza will also be looking to open an outdoor space. There was opposition to a liquor license for the new pizza place last June.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Opposition to South Brooklyn Pizza's liquor license

A quick look back at a Mars Bar moment

We noted on Sunday that there's a new mural up outside Mars Bar.

And now a quick look at the previous mural... one of our all-time favorites... the "Mars Bar Moment" by Jane Knox that she started on Feb. 18.

Vandals struck a few weeks later...

...then someone cleaned it up, kind of...

To many more Mars Bar moments.

What celebrity will be having a 'Close Call' in the East Village?

EV Grieve reader Creature sends along this photo from Avenue A and Sixth Street... A film shoot today for "Celebrity Close Call"??

Not familiar with that one... According to

For many celebrities life can be a dream — critical acclaim, a world of adoring fans, and unimaginable wealth. But in a split second everything can disappear. In this riveting one-hour special we'll talk with stars Jane Seymour, Erik Estrada, Leif Garret and Coolio, each forced to face their own mortality in shocking, unexpected twists of fate. These celebrities' true stories should be obituaries, tragic endings to phenomenal lives. Except for one thing: every single one of them lived to tell the tale.

Any thoughts on what celebrity will be using the East Village as a backdrop to his or her near-death experience?

The High Line gets the 'National Geographic' treatment

The April National Geographic is on newsstands today, and the issue includes a feature on the High Line (not to mention snow frogs!)...

Anyway, here's a link to the feature ... where you can find a few more photos like these...

And here are a few passages from the accompanying essay by Paul Goldberger...

Almost a decade after the Giuliani administration tried to tear the High Line down, it has been turned into one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces in New York City and perhaps the entire country.


New York is a city in which good things rarely happen easily and where good designs are often compromised, if they are built at all.

For another take on the new High Line, read Jeremiah Moss's essay at Vanishing New York.

[All photos by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel/National Geographic. Cover credit: National Geographic]

Speaking of wildlife...

EV Grieve Wildlife Correspondent Bobby Williams and others were on the scene yesterday afternoon in Tompkins Square Park... our red-tailed hawk dined on a rat.

Monday, March 28, 2011

FDNY battles apartment blaze at 309 E. Ninth St.

The FDNY was on the scene tonight at 309 E. Ninth St. just east of Second Avenue ... where firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze that started in a fourth-floor apartment...

No word yet on injuries or the extent of the damage. Firefighters had tossed several charred pillows out on the sidewalk.

Here's a photo a little earlier via @Bincerli