Friday, July 28, 2017

EV Grieve Etc.: An idea to save small businesses; a study on bicycle intersection safety

[Photo on the Bowery by Derek Berg]

How to save locally owned small businesses (CityLab)

Department of Transportation launches a study of bicycle intersection safety, including mixing zones like at First Avenue and Ninth Street where cyclist Kelly Hurley was killed by a truck (DNAinfo ... previously)

Rubie’s Costume Company, an affiliate of New York Costumes, buys the retail condominium at 808 Broadway and 108-110 Fourth Ave. that houses the shop (The Real Deal)

About the new wave of Vietnamese restaurants in the East Village (The New Yorker)

More about the Darkstar Coffee-In Living Stereo mashup (Patch ... previously)

And check out Flatbush, the rescued juvenile red-tailed hawk, go at it with a squirrel in Tompkins Square Park via Goggla...

Summer of Love '67 slideshow in Tompkins Square Park (The New York Times)

Details on a City Council District 2 Candidate Forum on Monday on Sixth Street (The Lo-Down)

Inside Kushner Companies’ murky relationship with rent stabilization (The Real Deal)

A revival of "Farrebique," Georges Rouquier's acclaimed 1940s documentary on farm life in France (Film Anthology Archives)

A wide-ranging interview with Jim Jarmusch, whose band has released a new EP (The Village Voice)

STIK’s 7-Story mural on Allen Street raised $12,500 for the Tenement Museum (BoweryBoogie)

The owners of Babeland, the sex-toy shop with several locations, including on Rivington, have sold the business to rivals Good Vibrations (DNAinfo)

French Roast closed after 24 years on Sixth Avenue and 11th Street (Grub Street)

Details on the new Frank Ape gallery show (Official site ... previously)

Latest dessert choices: cream cheese creations; ice-cream doughnut sandwiches

Becky's Bites opens today at 122 E Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

According to the shop's Facebook page: "Becky offers a range of novel cream cheese based bites from bagels & parfaits to tiny tarts & cookie sandwiches."

Here's a copy of the Becky's menu...


Meanwhile, over on First Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street...

Stuffed Ice Cream opens tomorrow...

[Photos by Steven]

... and they specialize in doughnut-ice-cream sandwiches called cruffs... ("NYC's First Cruff," per Stuffed's Instagram account)...

Three days left until we start taking applications to #ClubCruff First member: @yeahfoodbeer 📸: @soulill

A post shared by Stuffed Ice Cream NYC (@stuffedicecreamnyc) on

Previously on EV Grieve:
Becky's Bites bringing cream cheese creations to 7th Street

Stuffed Ice Cream coming to 1st Avenue

Golden State Warriors, come out to play!

As we mentioned last week, the basketball courts at Open Road Park adjacent to the East Side Community School on 12th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue were getting refurbished thanks to NBA star Kevin Durant (via his charity foundation, KDCF).

Durant was on-hand Monday for the official unveiling.

This was the eighth basketball court in the city to benefit from the KDCF program:

In 2015, NIKE, Inc., Kevin Durant, and the KDCF partnered to create the BUILD IT AND THEY WILL BALL Courts Renovation Initiative to increase the number of high quality basketball courts accessible to underprivileged youth across the United States and internationally. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL BALL will propel the mission of the KDCF to enrich the lives of youth from low-income backgrounds through various educational and athletic programs.

The court is now painted in the same colors of Durant's team, the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

The refurbishment includes a KDCF mural by Bronx-based artist André Trenier

Headline H/T!

The Joey Ramone street sign is currently MIA from Joey Ramone Place

The light pole on the northeast corner of the Bowery and Second Street appears to be under repair...

And with that, the street sign for this co-named stretch of Second Street — Joey Ramone Place — is also gone... (all the street signs on the pole are MIA)...

I reached out to the Department of Transportation to see when the sign(s) might return. An agency rep promised to get back to me.

And perhaps they'll be a new Joey Ramone Place sign. The one in place looked as if it had been whacked a few times...

[Photo from 2016]

The sign first went up in November 2003. The sign is pretty high up there now after reportedly being stolen a half-dozen times. Workers raised the sign to 20 feet. Standard street signs are between 12 and 14 feet off the ground, per the Post.

[Wikipedia Commons]

The Great Jones Café is now closed, permanently or not

A sign appeared in the window yesterday at the Great Jones Café noting the following...

"We are closed. Hope to reopen soon!"

On Tuesday night, news spread — via the waitstaff — that the 34-year-old Cajun restaurant just west of the Bowery was permanently closing after service on Wednesday evening. (One waitress told a diner that their lease was up.) Meanwhile, in recent months, several people formerly employed by the CafĂ© had said the end was near, that ownership would try something more upscale to appeal to the changing neighborhood. There were a lot of rumors.

Later in the day on Wednesday, an unnamed employee told the Daily News that the Great Jones would close for a week of clean-up, and decide then whether or not to reopen. The employee said a permanent closure was a possibility, "but nothing has been decided yet."

Per Bedford + Bowery on Wednesday: "This evening, an employee at the Jones [said] that it’s closing for a week; after that it will reopen — or not. More likely not, she said."

And DNAinfo reported this:

A waitress working Wednesday night's dinner rush, who declined to share her name, was more vague about its future, saying the eatery was shuttering for an unknown period of time due to proprietor James Moffett's health.

"The owner is not in good health and we are closing indefinitely," she said. "It may be a week, a month, a year — we don't know."

One EVG reader who went for a last meal there Wednesday night was told by the waitress that that was it for the Great Jones while the bartender said they might reopen. The reader had the impression that no one really knew what was going to happen with the place. Other accounts of the evening (here and here, for instance) didn't hint that the Great Jones Café will ever be back.

For what this is worth, Yelp has already stated that the Café is permanently closed...

And there are some longtime Café regulars who feel the place died when longtime GM Bill Judkins was dismissed back in March, taking his 45s from the acclaimed jukebox with him.

Previously on EV Grieve:
After 34 years off the Bowery, the Great Jones Café closes tonight (79 comments)

Wagamama says hello on 3rd Avenue

Yesterday, workers dropped the plywood at 55 Third Ave. at 11th Street... revealing [drumrolling]...

Wagamama/ramen coming soon signage...

As previously reported, Wagamama, the London-based chain of Japanese restaurants, is opening an East Village location. This will be the second Wagamama in NYC; the company has nearly 150 worldwide. There isn't any mention of an opening date just yet on the Wagamama website or social media properties. (They are currently hiring cooks and servers.)

You can find their menu full of noodles, rice and curry (and more) here.

...and, as a bonus, right around the corner on 11th Street — the finished M-A-R-T-I-N-A...

Previously on EV Grieve:
A few details about the Wagamama coming to 3rd Avenue

Dokodemo now serving Japanese street food on 4th Street

Dokodemo, serving "fast casual Japanese street food," opened this week at 89 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Here's more on the place via the restaurant's website:

Founders Shin Takagi and Kazu Kamehara bring over thirty years of experience from Japan's legendary food culture straight into the heart of New York City.

After opening more than ninety locations throughout Japan, DokoDemo is their first restaurant in the United States.

Dokodemo's listed hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Here's a look at one of their dishes...

Takoyaki with octopus, shrimp, pork, or beef.

A post shared by @dokodemonyc on

The Dokodemo space was part of Cucina di Pesce at 87 E. Fourth St. As we reported in May 2016, Cucina di Pesce gave up this room next door at No. 89, which belonged to a different landlord. Cucina di Pesce remains open ...

Papaya King, now with its own bottled sodas

Via the EVG inbox... if it's of interest...

Beginning this Friday, July 28, Papaya King’s new line of bottled, ready-to-drink sodas will be available at all New York locations. The Papaya King bottled beverages come in five flavors — Grape, Pineapple, Black Cherry, Orange and Vanilla Cream.

This launch marks Papaya King’s first entry into the ready-to-drink soda category.

The bottles will be available at the 3 St. Mark's Place location.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Free Shakespeare at La Plaza Cultural this weekend

Via the EVG inbox...

This Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden!

WalkUpArts presents "Much Ado About Nothing." Directed and original cut by Matt Engle, with performances by Samantha Cunha, Cassie DeMarco, Anthony Gabriele, Stefanie Harris, Germainne Lebron, Kat Peña, Hallie Samuels, Alexander Stene, Jenna Tanzola, and Chelsea Thiboutout. With costumes by Will Atkins and live music with Philip Santos Schaffer.

Admission is Free!

Given the rainy forecast on Saturday, organizers said they'd move the audience into La Plaza's gazebo area. La Plaza is on the southwest corner of Avenue C and Ninth Street.

Find more details here.

McDonald's loses its golden arches on 1st Avenue

In a dramatic development at McDonald's on First Avenue, a crane crew was on the scene here between Sixth Street and Seventh Street for a signage switcheroo this morning...

As you can see, workers replaced the McDonald's with the stylized yellow "M" of the Golden Arches to...

... a sign that a typographist standing nearby believes is now entirely Helvetica Neue Black...

There was no immediate response from anyone else in the area.

At the new home of the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy on 2nd Avenue

All photos by Stacie Joy

Earlier last month, the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy (CHKA) moved from the second floor of 34 Avenue A to its new home at 122 Second Ave.

No. 122 between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place houses the Ukrainian Sports Club, which has a space in the rear of the building. (The Club plans to be here for two more years.) The two-level space arrived on the market last fall, with signage noting retail/restaurant space for rent.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that CHKA, a 20-plus-year-old martial arts school offering classes in Kenpo karate and kickboxing for children and adults, was moving into the space. And not like, say, a gastropub.

I recently stopped by for a quick tour and to talk with Jane Ray, CHKA's program director, about the move. (The studio is owned by Sandra Shamburger. Her husband, Sifu Jack Shamburger, is the Academy's head instructor.)

[Jane Ray]

"We were looking for about a year-and-a half for a new space," Ray said. "We have so many kids from the neighborhood who come here — hundreds of families. And we work with the schools. So staying in the neighborhood was of paramount importance."

On Avenue A, CHKA was simply outgrowing the space.

"Before, we would run three classes side by side. We had sort of an invisible divider," said Ray, an East Village resident. "We were working in 800 square feet — we were bursting at the seams."

CHKA is now spread over two floors. They will eventually have locker rooms with showers and offer early-morning sessions for people who may wish to take a pre-day-job class.

For years CHKA has offered a free self-defense class (aka SMASH CLASS) for women on Tuesday evenings. Ray said that up to 50 participants would show up for a class. They have recently added a session on Thursday evenings ... and, just during the summer, one at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

"The women’s self-defense class is in the process of being incorporated as a not-for-profit entity, so that will help us get grants and funding to grow that program," Ray said. (CHKA also offers scholarship for kids and provides outreach at the Boys' Club of New York and other community groups.)

According to the Commercial Observer, Jerry Lebedowicz purchased 122 Second Ave. for $9.1 million last October. Before him, the Ukrainian Soccer Club owned the property since 1959. The building dates to 1920. There are also two apartments and 2,400 square feet of office space above CHKA.

The landlord will be installing a new façade with floor-to-ceiling windows.

"For a martial arts school, you always want people to see in and what we are doing. We have boxing, kickboxing — the visuals are a great marketing tool," Ray said with a laugh.

[Ray in action]


Saturday afternoon from 2-4, Steve "Nasty" Anderson — considered the greatest sport karate fighter of all time — is hosting a seminar at CHKA. Find details here.

Autumn in New York this summer

[EVG photo from Monday night]

EVG reader Brian Orce asked the Parks Department about the number of dead leaves seen in Tompkins Square Park and elsewhere in the neighborhood this summer.

They responded:

Often in the high summer months, particularly if there has been intense heat waves or drought, you will see some otherwise healthy looking trees with slightly brown or dry-looking leaves. Sometimes leaves fall early due to drought or heat. We have been lucky with rain this summer (so far) so our trees shouldn’t be more stressed than normal. The leaves of London planetrees (our most common species) tend to dry out and brown in midsummer regardless of rain or heat, but there is nothing abnormal about it. You will see London planetree leaves at their best in the late spring, when they are full and green. You can use our Street Tree Map to learn more about NYC’s trees and to report a tree in need of care.

Perhaps this suitably explains why you've been hearing leaf blowers in recent weeks...

Reader report: Cleaning power and a clean up on Cooper Square

[Photo on Cooper Square at Seventh Street from June]

You may have noticed a group of travelers camping out in front of 59 Cooper Square at Seventh Street this summer.

An EVG reader, who works nearby, said that on Monday, the group was gone — "replaced by a cleaning powder. Looked like the church [the First Ukrainian Assembly of God] figured out how to 'clean out' the crusties."

Yesterday morning, someone dumped garbage on the sidewalk where the sleeping bags had been, on top of the cleaning powder ... prompting the reader to wonder if this was an act of retaliation...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

GURGLING TUB ALERT issued for the East River Greenway

If you've been on the East River Greenway near 23rd Street in recent weeks, then you may have noticed a sinkhole forming in the bike lane.

Town & Village first reported on it on July 19.

And now?

Town & Village has an update with the headline of the day/week/month/summer....

Read their report here about what's happening with the gurgling tub.

Meanwhile, on 11th Street...

The M-A-R-T-I-N-A signage is going up at the Roman-inspired pizzeria from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group... 11th Street at Third Avenue.

Thanks to the tipster for the photo!

[Updated] After 34 years off the Bowery, the Great Jones Café closes tonight

The Great Jones Café, the low-key Cajun-Creole restaurant that opened in 1983, is shutting its doors tonight after service.

Multiple tipsters shared this news (H/T Spike). The initial word passed along from staff to patrons last night is that the lease is up at the restaurant on Great Jones Street just off the Bowery. However, that has not been confirmed and an official reason for a closure hasn't been offered.


Updated: A longtime employee told the Daily News that the CafĂ© will close after tonight "for a week of clean-up, and during that break, the 34-year-old institution will decide whether or not they’ll ever open again."


“It’s a possibility, but nothing has been decided yet,” according to one long time employee.


Back in March, Bill Judkins, who had been GM for 26 years (and an employee for longer), was fired.

He told me this in an email in April:

My two partners and I have not seen eye to eye about the direction the restaurant needed move in for a few years now. I’ve been arguing that The Jones is unique and special, one of a vanishing breed (certainly in Manhattan) that is loved and needs to be preserved. They feel that the Jones needs to be changed into something more contemporary to appeal to the “new" neighborhood.

It came to a head this past March 10th, when they forced me out.

Since then, four employees have quit. The jukebox has gone dark. They took the Mardi Gras beads off the bar lamps that they’ve been on for years. They took down the Christmas lights that illuminated the room. I’m not sure what other changes are planned.

I think it has been a special little “joint” for many, many years. It seems a sad way for it to go down.

The jukebox, stocked with the likes of the Flying Burrito Brothers and Howlin’ Wolf that Judkins curated, was typically named on the city's best-of lists. (Judkins removed his records from the jukebox after being fired.)

On my last visit here in April, the jukebox sat unplugged in its usual spot. The bartender had the stereo on behind the bar. (I recall hearing Coldplay and Keane.)

In January 2015, Eater's Robert Sietsema wrote this appreciation of the Great Jones Café:

The website of Great Jones CafĂ© mentions that when the place first opened in June, 1983, Great Jones Street was so isolated and desolate that after eating, patrons would often rush outside and indulge in a game of Wiffle Ball uninterrupted by traffic. Nowadays in this bustling, now-upscale Bowery neighborhood, street sports — as well as rents — are impossible. Yet Great Jones CafĂ© remains, as much a clubhouse providing reasonably priced meals for the artists, writers, and rock musicians who have lived and labored in the vicinity as it is a place that employs them when the royalty checks dry up.


I had two very enjoyable meals in an atmosphere blessedly quiet and relaxed, even with the jukebox. It made me nostalgic for an era in downtown New York when real estate pressures didn’t dominate everything, when food didn’t always have to be the best and most expensive it could be, when a meal was simply a meal, best consumed among friends.

As an EVG tipster noted, the newcomers in that area now want to go to places like Atla on Lafayette for plates of $12 Brussels Sprouts..

Updated 7/27

WPIX was at the restaurant and filed a report last evening.

A bad sign at Heart of India on 2nd Avenue

The Marshal came calling Monday at Heart of India, 79 Second Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

The Indian restaurant remained closed yesterday. (As always in these cases, this doesn't necessarily mean the end for the business.)

Heart of India opened in April 2010.

The address was also once home to the Binibon, where career criminal Jack Henry Abbott stabbed the owner's son-in-law to death in 1981 following an argument about the restroom.

Thanks for the comments. I took the Binibon info from The New York Times:

Weeks later, while eating with friends at the BiniBon, an all-night diner at 79 Second Avenue, Mr. Abbott became confused when Richard Adan, a part-time waiter, refused to let him use the bathroom. Within moments Mr. Abbott lured Mr. Adan outside, stabbed him to death and fled. At a Manhattan civil trial in 1990, the jury awarded Ricci Adan, Mr. Adan's widow, $7.57 million in damages, so Mr. Abbott will not receive a penny for the sales of ''In the Belly of the Beast'' or any other writings. At the trial, where he acted as his own lawyer, he told Mrs. Adan her husband's life was ''not worth a dime.'' Now 56, Mr. Abbott will become eligible for parole in June 2001.

Thanks to EVG reader Jonah Bayer for the tip!

Oh yes the former Caffe Bene storefront is still for rent

In recent weeks the for rent sign was no longer in the front window at 24 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, in what was the former Caffe Bene space. A few Former Caffe Bene Watchers wondered if the space had been leased.

However! The sign made its triumphant return this week, as the above photo shows.

Plus! The listing is finally now online at Eastern Consolidated. In case you are curious, the asking rent is $14,000 a month.

Caffe Bene closed back in April after 17 months in business.

Retail rent at 190 Bowery is $2 million a year

The news yesterday was that fashion emporium Totokaelo has signed a lease for 8,918 square feet at the landmarked 190 Bowery.

Totokaelo, which sells designer lines such as Acne Studios and Jil Sander, plans to open a pop-up shop from this fall to March 2018. A rep for owner Aby Rosen’s RFR said that he hoped it would turn into a longterm deal.

Whoever the tenant will be needs deep pockets. According to the Post: "the asking rent for the retail space on the ground floor, mezzanine and basement was $2 million a year." Or roughly $166,000 a month.

Rosen bought the landmarked building from photographer Jay Maisel for a reported $55 million in 2014.


Michelle Alteration & Boutique now open on Avenue C

An alterations/tailoring shop recently opened on Avenue C just north of 10th Street...

... and there's a 50-percent off deal now though Aug. 11...

Photos from July 16