Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The sun also rises at 3 a.m.

Andrew Adam Newman on Ave C points us to tonight's forecast at The Weather Channel... where something extraordinary will happen ... as he noted on Facebook, "If you're still up at 3 a.m. ... be sure to look up at the sun poking through the clouds."


East Houston and Elizabeth.

What the hell was that?

We waited to post these photos until we spoke with NASA, NORAD, the U.S. Military and the World Weekly News.

Bobby Williams took these photos from his East Village apartment last night. Here is his description via email: "This flew by about 9:38 pm. Heading north then turning east."

Aside from anything related to the Hoboken Hoof or Amanda Bynes (just getting those guesses out of the way!), any ideas what this is/was?

AAA Amici Pizza has closed

AAA Amici Pizza on Third Avenue at East 12th Street has closed... there was apparently an auction on site yesterday. EVG regular Muzz talked to the owner, who said that the pizzeria was rent-hiked out of there. And they will not be looking to open anywhere else.

A rent hike isn't much of a shocker given the towering new retail-residential building going up at 84 Third Ave. across the street... and the incoming high-end Han Dynasty opening right next door...

"It's too bad, because it was another place where you could get a good meal — especially for takeout — for under $10," said Muzz. "The old way of doing business in the EV is just being hammered out, block by block."

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: Elissa Jiji
Occupation: Writing Tutor, Member of 4th Street Food Co-op
Location: 4th Street between 2nd and Bowery
Time: Noon on Saturday, July 27

I’ve lived in the neighborhood for around 20 years. I grew up on the Upper East Side. I work at John Jay College as a writing tutor; I’ve always been a fan of words.

I’ve been coming downtown since I was a teenager — we’d go out dancing here all the time. I remember the elevator at Danceteria — that teeny, tiny elevator. I remember when Keith Haring was drawing his drawings in the subway. I miss those places. A couple weeks ago, I was out for a bike ride by the river. We were pulling this sound bike behind us, and stumbled on somebody’s nighttime birthday picnic on the pier. We had a spontaneous dance party with a bunch of people we'd never met — including a three-generation family, all dancing together with their abuela and all of us. This community can surprise you in that way.

I only learned how to ride a bike 10 years ago, in Tompkins Square Park, on the basketball courts. Eventually I branched out from going around in a circle in the basketball court to going around in the Park, and all the older Chinese ladies were going past me and people on the benches were giving me the thumbs up. It was one of the best things I ever did, and now I ride my bike everywhere. I commute to work at Columbus Circle.

This neighborhood feels very much like a neighborhood, and even still, with all the chains and banks and with things disappearing, it still retains its neighborhood aura. This block has a lot of small businesses on it, and a lot of that is the tenant-owned Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, which is our landlord. Several buildings on the block are part of the Cooper Square MHA. They support small, independent businesses. They're very supportive of us, and they like having us on the block.

I’ve been working at the co-op for maybe 15 years. My sister, who lives next door, said, “You should join that food co-op on 4th Street.” It took me awhile to listen to her, but she was right. Once I did, I really liked it. I like being part of something where we make decisions together.

I’ve done a bunch of different jobs at the co-op, from reconciling the till, to training new members to running the meetings. It’s nice not to be bound by having to make a profit; we really try to make stuff affordable. We’ve had a couple of major renovations and projects where we’ve questioned, are we actually going to be able to pull this off, or are we gonna kill each other in the process? It will be two years this fall since we completely ripped out the floor to put in a concrete one, and put in the motors for the refrigeration down in the basement. It was a huge project. Did the stuff fit through the door during that renovation? Apparently not — we had to cut away the lintel and replace it.

The co-op is open to the public and entirely member run, which is not the case with every or even most co-ops. We don’t have a paid staff, and it’s important to us that everybody from the neighborhood can shop. We also give discounts to a bunch of different categories of people — seniors and students, people shopping with EBT cards, and then our members. I think we have between 75 and 90 working members at any given time. There are a fair amount of students and people who were recently students. There are teachers, artists, musicians, at least one nurse, web developers and a cabinet maker. We probably have the highest workload of any co-ops with working members: we’re there two hours a week.

It's also is the kind of place where you see your neighbors all the time, and their kids, and their dogs. Our neighbors, some of them are so sweet. This one lady comes in every time there is a Yankees game — she’s got her lucky chocolate bar that she has to get. You know when there’s a game on because she comes in for it.

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

Report: East Village curb-crash driver pleads 'not guilty' during arraignment

Shaun Martin, who prosecutors say was drunk "and high on PCP" when he drove his car onto a Second Avenue sidewalk last month, pleaded not guilty during his arrangement in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, the Post reported.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, Martin, of Bayside, Queens, is charged with speeding through the East Village in a white Nissan Altima at approximately 6:50 a.m. on June 19, while impaired by phencyclidine, commonly referred to as PCP, and methamphetamine. The defendant allegedly cut across three lanes of traffic and drove onto the sidewalk, striking multiple objects including a fire hydrant, phone booth, and tree, before crashing into a flower stand attached to a deli on East 4th Street and Second Avenue. Two of the deli’s employees were hit and seriously injured in the crash. Both victims suffered broken bones, and one suffered serious brain trauma.

[Image via Neighborhoodr]

After the wreck, the Post reported that the 32-year-old Martin allegedly asked a cop, "Am I dead?" and, "Was I driving?"

Also from the Post:

He also whined to an EMT, "Don’t call my mother, she’s going to be upset," court papers said.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the charges against Martin are:
-Aggravated Vehicular Assault, a class C felony, 2 counts
-Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
-Driving While Ability Impaired By Combination of Drugs and Alcohol, a class E felony, 1 count
-Driving While Impaired by the Use of a Drug, a class E felony, 1 count
-Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Car smashes into East Village Farm & Grocery on Second Avenue; 6 reported injured

Crowdsourcing campaign for injured East Village Farm and Grocery worker raises nearly $19,000

Details on the first MoRUS film festival

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is hosting its first film festival starting on Saturday.

Jackson Smith, who organized the event along with another volunteer, Byron Kaplan, shared some thoughts on the festival.

"The film fest was born from the idea to screen documentary films about housing and community gardening on the Lower East Side; films that resonate with the museum's mission of preserving the history of reclaimed space," he said. "Around this slate of films are titles seldom screened for the public. We rounded out the program with shorts and features that offer glimpses into a pre-gentrified Lower East Side."

Here is the rundown of films and shorts:

August 3: 25th Annual Tompkins Square Riot Reunion Films! Sponsored by The Shadow, producers of the 25th Annual Tompkins Square Riot Reunion Show.

Your House is Mine, Squat or Rot, and a Paper Tiger TV special on the demolition of the 5th Street squat.

Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space
155 Avenue C

August 4: 25th Annual Tompkins Square Riot Reunion Films! Sponsored by The Sh@dow

Tompkins Square Park: Operation Class War on the Lower East Side and more!

Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space
155 Avenue C

August 5: Not For Sale, directed by Yael Bitton

La Plaza Cultural
Garden at Avenue C and 9th Street

August 6: L.E.S., directed by Coleen Fitzgibbon; B/Side, directed by Abigail Child; and Heart of Loisaida, directed by Marci Reaven and Beni Matias

La Plaza Cultural
Garden at Avenue C and 9th Street

August 7: Featuring More Than Flowers, directed by Laura Beer; Loisaida, Avenue C, directed by Maeva Aubert; and a Paper Tiger TV special on the demolition of Esperanza Garden

6B Garden
Avenue B and 6th Street

August 8: 7th Street, with filmmaker Josh Pais in attendance

6B Garden
Avenue B and 6th Street

August 9:Landlord Blues, directed by Jacob Burckhardt

Orchard Alley Garden
4th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D

August 10: No Picnic, directed by Phil Hartman

Orchard Alley Garden
4th Street between Avenue C and Avenue D

There are a limited supply of all-access passes available for $20. The schedule and venues for 1st Annual MoRUS film fest were announced today by the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS). Tickets for 8-day festival of films underscoring a theme of “reclaimed space” are available here and at The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, 155 Avenue C between 9th and 10th Streets. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $5 per film. Museum hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays from 11 AM - 7 PM.

For all screenings, doors will open at 7:30 PM with films beginning at dusk. Selected screenings will feature discussions and Q&A with filmmakers and other speakers. Refreshments and popcorn will also be available

For more more info about each film here.

7B in the movies

[Paul Newman in The Verdict]

A reader shared this video... a fan of 7B/Vazac's posted the clip on Vimeo last December... a montage showing the various TV shows/movies filmed at the bar on Avenue B and East Seventh Street through the years...

... it includes classics such as "The Godfather Part II" ... "The Verdict" ... "Serpico" ... and some crap like "What Happens In Vegas" ... regardless, a perennial shoo-in for Best Supporting Bar.

The Yippie Museum reopens tonight

As we noted last week, the Yippie Museum reopens tonight at 9 Bleecker Street... while the space won't be serving any food or coffee or tea, there will be an array of performances and events... some familiar faces will be at tonight's 8 reopening... including David Peel, John Murdock, Brent Lengel and Aron "The Pie Man" Kay.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Yippie Museum Cafe is in financial trouble

The Yippie Museum Cafe will reopen next Wednesday

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to get your money's worth from a Citi Bike

Julius Klein shared this photo from Sunday afternoon along St. Mark's Place... they're gonna need a bigger basket.

Workers arrive this morning to prep Mary Help of Christians Catholic church for demolition

An update on our Mary Help of Christians post from this morning.

Workers are now on the scene putting up the scaffolding and construction netting around the church on East 12th Street... as these photos by EVG reader Greg Masters show... the church, which opened in 1917, is the last building on the property to be prepped for demolition...

...and an East Village resident shares an aerial view...


Part of the former rolldown gate at the Mars Bar is now art in this East Village apartment

East Village resident Ori Carino's mural on the rolldown gate outside the former Mars Bar was a familiar site in recent years on East First Street.

The bar, and other buildings along here on Second Avenue were demolished in the fall of 2011 to make way for the 12-story Jupiter 21.

One nearby resident, a fan of the bar and of the mural, wondered what was going to happen to the gate when workers tore down the building. At this point, Mars Bar owner Hank Penza had already removed the bar, jukebox, etc.

The resident shared some background:

They were going to destroy a building to build condos ... that had beautiful graffiti covering the exterior walls and security garage rolldown. I contacted the developer to see if anyone had requested the rolldown, as it was assumably detachable from the building and could be preserved. I offered to pay if needed and he said he would contact me when they had taken it down. I'd have to make arrangements to transport it offsite.

They called me the day before Thanksgiving [2011] to tell me that I had to pick it up the day after Thanksgiving at 8 a.m., otherwise it would be turned into scrap. I had not made any arrangements. I needed help moving it, a truck to move it in and a place to store it — at 11 feet by 12 feet, there wasn't a wall large enough wall to display it on in my two-bedroom apartment.

After some frantic searching, I discovered that Moishe's offered free pick-up with three months of storage, solving all my problems in one swift motion.

However. The three months turned into 18 months, "so in many ways I did end up paying a fair chunk after all." Now, though, the resident has more than half of the former gate on his apartment wall. The remaining pieces are in his aunt's basement for the time being.

He also was able to salvage another piece of the gate.

We asked the resident about why he saved it.

"I love street art — graffiti, stickers, tags, etc. Most of the pieces I'd love to have on my own walls are unattainable — permanently affixed, illegally done [and] commissioning a piece from the artist is too expensive," he said. "I had never heard of someone getting one of these in this fashion, but I had nothing to lose. It worked out alright, but my eyes might have been a bit bigger than my stomach because I didn't have a space to hang it — eventually I will."

Some facts and figures to depress you about rent

The Furman Center at NYU released the annual State of New York City's Housing and Neighborhoods report yesterday... a sprawling mass of data on rent, rent regulations and many other things to do with rent... as well as demographic statistics...

Here are a few sobering passages straight from the report's news release:

In the six years since the recession, data paint a mixed picture of New York City’s recovery...

The city’s housing market showed signs of recovery — including sustained employment growth, rising home sales, and increased housing prices—but also showed increasing affordability challenges for New York City renters.

Since the recession, stagnant incomes and rising rents have led to an increase in rent burdens. In 2011, 24 percent of New Yorkers were moderately rent burdened (spending 30 to 50 percent of their income on rent) and 31 percent of New Yorkers were severely rent burdened (spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent), according to the report.

Between 2007 and 2011, a period when house prices citywide fell by 20 percent, the median monthly gross rent citywide increased by 8.6 percent, from $1,096 to $1,191. During that same period, median household income decreased 6.8 percent, dropping from $54,127 to $50,433.

The report for Manhattan is broken down into 12 community districts, with the East Village presumably landing in the Lower East Side/Chinatown bracket. (Find that PDF here.)

A few stats from that report...

[Click image to enlarge]

You can find a PDF of the report for Manhattan here.

Archie & Sons, a new luncheonette, opening very soon at 23 Third Ave.

[Photo from last week]

Work is wrapping up at 23 Third Ave. near St. Mark's Place... where Archie & Sons, a 1950s-style luncheonette, is expected to open this week...

There was a casting call for staff on July 22...

Archie & Sons has roots on Long Island (Hewlett) where proprietor Howie Cohen ran Archie's Deli until 2010. He's bringing that concept here.

Cohen is also one of the investors who bought the Papaya King brand several years ago.

While we didn't get a chance to speak with Cohen, Blake Gower, part of the Papaya King team, told us a little more about Archie & Sons.

"Howie and his family have been in the business for decades. The presence of B&H and Stage reinforced our thinking that the East Village was the right kind of neighborhood to bring this to life in NYC; there's a certain warmth and appreciation for homey neighborhood places that persists in the East Village," Gower said. "I grew up eating at the original Archie's — I still have dreams about side dishes of Howie's macaroni salad."

Archie's will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They originally announced an Aug. 1 opening date, though Gower said that they may bump that back by a day or two.

23 Third Ave. was mostly recently home to a fairly humdrum slice place.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the Little Free Library, probably

[From May]

You've likely seen one of the 10 Little Free Libraries around downtown Manhattan ... such as the one above in Extra Place... they arrived in May ... and are expected to be up until Sept. 1. (Organizers from the PEN World Voices Festival and the Architectural League of New York will reevaluate the locations at that time...)

Anyway, if you're interested in why and how all these came together, there's a 10-minute video that may (or may not!) answer all your questions...

[H/T Gizmodo]

Report: 51 Astor Place remains tenant free for now

[EVG file photo]

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday (subscription required) on the well-regarded brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle and its work leasing 51 Astor Place.

Now the firm is facing one of its biggest challenges yet: representing developer Edward Minskoff in his effort to lease up his new 400,000-square-foot development at 51 Astor Place in the East Village. The building, which opened in May, has yet to sign a single tenant.

And there were a few close calls, such as Microsoft, which opted for Times Square, and Facebook, which decided to lease space directly across the street at 770 Broadway in Midtown South.

Regardless, Paul Glickman, a vice chairman at Jones Lang, told the Journal that "70 percent of the building is close to being leased but declined to name tenants."

Sources said that developer Edward Minskoff "took a risk by developing a modern office tower in a neighborhood best known for funky older buildings — in high demand among technology firms and media businesses."

There's also a matter of rent, which may be too pricy for the area. Rents at 51 Astor reportedly vary from the $80 a square foot for lower floors to more than $100 a square foot for higher floors.

Previously on EV Grieve:
51 Astor Place demolition begins July 1; 17 months to build new black-glass tower

East Village — the new Midtown?

Exciting new business finally opens on East 14th Street

[Photo by @fnytv]

Hey, that Wells Fargo is now open on East 14th Street near Fourth Avenue... at the site of the mostly awful but serviceable (mostly!) Cafe Amore's Pizza Restaurant...

And is this where the Tad's Steak's was before the pizzeria...?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Exciting new business opening on East 14th Street

The end is nearer for Mary Help of Christians

Demolition preparations are picking up at the Mary Help of Christians lot on Avenue A between East 11th Street and East 12th Street... The plywood is up now around the former lot... and some probably-not-random-looking digging has started ...

Until now, work seemed agonizingly slow... the corpses of the buildings standing in recent weeks without windows while waiting for demolition...

[Photo by Shawn Chittle]

Developer Douglas Steiner bought the property last fall for an unspecified residential complex.

All photos by Bobby Williams unless marked.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Permits filed to demolish Mary Help of Christians church, school and rectory

Preservationists call for archeological review of former cemetery at Mary Help of Christians site

Scaffolding arrives for demolition of Mary Help of Christians

Just after 1 a.m. outside Max Fish

Photo by @toddsines.

Photo by @goodpeoples

Last call in a few hours.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A little after 8 pm at Max Fish

Last night for the bar here on Ludlow Street.

... and someone has already removed the pay phone...

Thanks to @ThePeterHa for the photos...


Bride of 7th spotted the above in Tompkins Square Park today... a trap for Treeman?

RIP Walter De Maria

[Photo by Patrick Rogers]

Famed sculptor Walter De Maria died last Thursday of a stroke, according to published reports. He was 77.

Here's part of a feature obituary from The Los Angeles Times:

Throughout his career, De Maria cultivated a somewhat reclusive personality as far as the media was concerned. He seldom gave interviews and disliked being photographed. He also avoided participating in museum shows when he could, preferring to create his installations outdoors or at unconventional urban locations.

As a result, his work was not widely exhibited in the U.S. and he never became a household name. But critics championed his work, finding his large-scale installations to be conceptual and intellectually complex, while at the same time accessible to the general public.

He was also a one-time drummer for the Primitives, a Velvet Underground precursor. The band members included Lou Reed, John Cale and Tony Conrad.

De Maria also owned one of the more intriguing buildings in the East Village — the mysterious 421 E. Sixth St. between First Avenue and Avenue A... I wonder what will happen to the building... Here's what I wrote about the address back in December in a post titled "What is your East Village dream home?"


I've always had my eye on 421 E. Sixth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

According to Forgotten New York: "421 was a Con Edison substation built in 1920-21 that converted direct current to alternating. It is at present (2008) the studio of modern artist/sculptor Walter De Maria."

Off the Grid just had a post on this landmarked building, offering more background:

According to a 1919 Board of Appeals resolution, the “four-story fireproof transformer building” would accommodate a switchboard room, static air chambers, blower room and rotary foundations on the first floor; rotaries, transformer, and booster compensator on the second floor; a battery room on the third floor; and a high tension room and blower and exhaust chambers on the fourth floor. Three people would work on the first floor and two on the second.

I've never met anyone who has been inside. I'm not sure if any photos exist of the interior. Kinda "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"-ish.


Here's more on the building via Wikimedia Commons:

421 East 6th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City was built in 1919 as a transformer substation for the New York Edison Co., and was designed by William W. Whitehill in the Neo-classical style. It converted DC current into AC. The bulding was converted to a multi-use commercial structure in 1963, and has been owned by artist Walter De Maria since 1980.

[February 2013. Photo by Derek Berg]

Previously on EV Grieve:
About that "giant-robot laboratory" on East Sixth Street

Why, yes you can live on St. Mark's Place for $19,500 a month

The penthouse rental at 19 St. Mark's Place (waaaay above the Chipotle!) is back on the market. We wrote about it in January 2010. It was $17,000 a month then. Starting Sept. 1, the furnished place is $19,500. (A bargain, considering this apartment first went on the market in October 2008 for $25,000.)

Here's the listing via Stribling:

Dazzling views and two large private terraces (265 and 886 sq ft) flank both sides of the living/dining room of this unique and luxurious furnished 2 bedroom with office or 3 bedroom penthouse. The key lock elevator opens into the loft thereby ensuring one's privacy and north and south facing floor to ceiling windows on both sides of the loft grace every room with open city views.

The entertaining space has a large living room with a wood burning fireplace, separate dining room and a pretty top of the line windowed kitchen with breakfast bar. On the east end of the loft is the master bedroom which has a large windowed marble spa bath en-suite with soaking tub and separate shower .The office or small 3rd bedroom is across the hall and the spacious 2nd bedroom with en-suite bath is on the other side of the loft near the guest bath. A laundry room, highend finishes, central AC and a rare feeling of space, light and privacy complete this unique, approximately 2700 sq ft, home in the East Village. A gourmet market, major transportation and convenient shopping are steps away. Available September, furnished only and flex lease term. Doorman: M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm

And the accompanying photos, which are the same from 2010...

And, according to a reader who lives on this block, this is the home that a movie star and his Academy Award-winning wife have have lived in lately... But who knows.

See our previous post on this building for photos of what the address used to be...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Live on St. Mark's Place for only $17,000 per month!