Friday, January 10, 2014

10 questions for 2014

Hey, it's still early in 2014. And there are many storylines to monitor in the coming year in the East Village. Here are 10 of them.


• Will 51 Astor Place be fully leased by the end of this month?

That's what developer Edward Minskoff told The Commercial Observer on Dec. 13. "By January 30 we’ll be 100 percent leased there, and that's all I'll say." Off to a fine start with the announced arrival yesterday of IBM's Watson. (Bonus question: Will Twitter be one of those new tenants? Bonus question No. 2: Who will fill those retail spaces?)


• What will happen with the former Amato Opera building on the Bowery?

The Amato Opera building has sat vacant since the company closed on May 31, 2009. A retail listing arrived for the ground-floor space about 17 months ago.

Current owner Steve Croman has plans to turn the circa-1899 structure into luxury residences, with the addition of a penthouse. However, the city hasn't approved those plans ... and there's still a Stop Work Order on the space dating to June.


• Will Extra Place becoming a dining destination?

It's question we've asked a lot these past few years... the former alley behind the former CBGB is currently restaurant-free after a few closures and Oaxaca Taqueria moving to East Seventh Street.

However, restaurants are on the way... including Red Hook Lobster Pound and a Momofuku outpost. "Left Bank" promise fulfilled seven years later?


• What will become of the Salvation Army's former East Village Residence?

The shelter closed here at the Bowery and East Third Street in August 2008. After a few false starts, there are now plans with the city to demolish the interior of the 3-story building, though there's no word on what's next here from the privately held real estate firm who owns the space.


• Where will the St. Mark's Bookshop move?

In November, Publishers Weekly reported that St. Mark's Bookshop had found a new retail space "in the East Village in a space near Avenue A and Third Street." The article didn't mention where, exactly, the rent-challenged new store will be. The owners have said that nothing has been signed yet for a new space.


• What will take the place of the former Odessa Cafe and Bar?

Oh, kind of a personal one as a longtime fan of the Odessa. Plans for a "new American brasserie/bistro" apparently fell through here. And the deal to reopen the Odessa Cafe and Bar at 117 Avenue A never materialized … and a for rent notice arrived on Dec. 28.

The Odessa Cafe and Bar closed after service on Aug. 31. The Odessa had been in operation here since 1965.


• Will this be the year that something actually happens at the former PS 64?

The former PS 64 and CHARAS/El Bohio community center on East Ninth Street has been rotting away these past 12-plus years. Perhaps the building will be converted into dorms. Or perhaps the building would return to the community, the preferred choice among some residents and activists.


• What will become of the soon-to-be-former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office?

This branch on East 14th Street is apparently closing in the coming months. The USPS will lease the former Duane Reade on East 14th Street near First Avenue for retail services, such as stamp sales and P.O. boxes.

The lease expires at the current location at the end of next month. The landlord reportedly told the USPS that they have other plans (residential?) for the building, which was erected in 1951.

And it appears the big clear out has already begun — Dave on 7th recently spotted these sorting tables (pictured above) stacked up on the loading zone on the East 13th Street side.


• What East Village mainstay will close next?

We don't want to make this a sport. But Christ. The year is nine days old and we've already lost Sapparo East (and maybe Shima) as well as 7A.

... and on this note...


• What will some developer buy in 2014 to convert to upscale housing?

So many choices! Churches! Two public libraries! A power plant! A men's shelter! A big Park in the middle of the East Village!


This isn't meant to be any kind of exhaustive list of stories to watch... What are you keeping your eye on here in 2014? Let us know in the comments...


Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

All good questions. The answer to most of them is easy: luxury condos! Also: frozen yogurt!

Pinch said...

A worker currently renovating the space for the new Post Office space on 14th indicated the plan was to have the space ready to open in February...whether that time-line holds up, who knows.

pinhead said...

Here's one: Was the closing of the 7-Eleven on St. Marks an anomaly, driven by forces unique to that location, or was it a larger indicator of the viability of the 7-Eleven model in the EV (and will there be more closings)?

Anonymous said...

Nail salon! Bank!

EV Grieve said...


Good one! I'm curious about the Avenue A location. I don't see many people in there — ever. The Bowery location has more customers ... seems like a lot of tourists staying at hotels nearby.

Anonymous said...

The sooner the Avenue A 7-Eleven closes the better. Their staff is still harassing local businesses.

11:05 am said...

Which media outlets will the biscuit boys buy their awesome reviews from next? Will they go national and/or international? AP? BBC? CBC? CNN? Le Monde? Gourmet? National Geographic? Kenyon Review? AARP Bulletin? Bon Appétit? Playboy? Screw? Smithsonian? Golf Digest? The Paris Review? Boys' Life?... How soon before they apply for a liquor license? And how fast will Stetzer and Co. will grant it to them?

Will the East Village be inhabited more by
f)working-/middle- class families g)hipsters/trustfunders
h)Wall Street bankers/hedgefunders

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.29: Could you elaborate on the harassment of small businesses by the 7-11 staff?

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be a revolt against the leadership at CB3? Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

Old Odessa & Amato Opera House BOTH acquired & closed by Steve Croman. Why not review the MANY other places brought down/closed/overpriced out by Steve & Harriet(also uses her Maiden name)Croman in our neighborhood? Here, Little Italy...would be a BIG story

Anonymous said...

Hey, man…
You left out the defeat of the fascist pig Verizon, and the fall of the great brown wall. The people have prevailed, man!!
We now live in a free, graffiti groove galaxy, man!

Giovanni said...

Will the local pronunciation of Houston Street finally be changed to the more common pronunciation of "Hew-Ston" since so many people who live there now can't ever seem to correctly pronounce it as "House-ton" since they are all from places in the South like Texas where correct pronunciation is optional ?

Will there be greater than or fewer than 100 Empire Biscuit franchises around the globe by the end of 2014, and will they go public and have a higher stock valuation than Facebook and Twitter combined?

Will every remaining newsstand in the EV be replaced by a luxury froyo kiosk, high end jacuzzi boutique or something else mindless that doesn't annoy all the people who hate magazines and newspapers?

Will all of the remaining local sushi restaurants be bought out by OOTOYA, the global sushi empire that is hell bent on the total sushification of the EV by gobbling up local restaurants and exporting all the profits back to Japan?

Will Nestor ever be found, and will Oprah give him the same $2 million to tell his story that she so foolishly gave to Lindsay Lohan?

Will 7-11 realize that the EV hates them and just pack up and go back to Generica where they belong?

Will NYU buy Stuy Town, raze it, and build sky dorms in the clouds with helipads and views of Asia and Europe on the topmost floors?

Will EV Grieve appear on Dancing With The Stars, win a Pulitzer prize, or release those long lost Ramones studio session recordings?

Goggla said...

Will Giovanni embark on his much anticipated stand-up tour?

Pinch said...

Maybe it's just the times I'm walking by there, but the 7-11 on 14th St. just west of 2nd often seeems to have very few people in it or just no people at all.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Solas will hopefully close next! That has been around long enough I think.

Anonymous said...

OK, get off biscuit guys. They are not boys, they are men. They work 14 hour shifts and are a small business in our community. Put that energy into 7-11, Starbucks and Kmart. I'm going there every time one of the grouchy transplants make a snide comment!

DrGecko said...

@anon 7:27 - that's a lot of lard you'll be taking in if you're lucky (and shortening if you're not). Kind of like threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue.

Anonymous said...

Oh crap, the Biscuit Boys' angry girlfriends and their sorority sisters are here!

1) I'm not a transplant, I was born in Bay Ridge. Where are you from?

2) Defend fois gras butter

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

From Biscuit Boyz II Men indeed, 7:27 PM! Love and buttermilk are what customers think of when describing their best-selling biscuits!

Gina R Snape said...

Does anyone know what happened to Nikki's Vietnamese sandwiches on east 2nd street near Ave A?

Anonymous said...

Hey Bay Ridge, not a sorority girl, older than 30 yr old Manhattan born, fifth generation NYer. And you should be kinder to those working hard in their small business. As for worrying about lard DrG, I was blessed with great genetics, I think my diet can take it. My post was really just disgust at the over the top slaying of two nice, so far considerate small business owners. That block has had some awful business's , Superdive, Habib lounge, Kordova MB, Raven.....pretty much drug and alcohol pits that were incredibly inconsiderate neighbors! Attacking these guys is pedestrian.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:20, Bay Ridge here. My family is 13th generation tristate. I win!!

Lard is disgusting. I love animals, I don't eat them. But I will grant you that Empire is not anywhere as bad as Superdive. If you think Raven and Korova were bad neighbors, you're crazy! Korova was set so far back we never heard a peep. Raven was LOVED.

Empire is very pretty, but their hardcore PR and hipster doofishness is off-putting, and they are animals haters, so I'm not a fan. Still. They're no Superdive. Whoop-di-doo!