Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday's parting shot

Tonight's sunset via Bobby Williams...

'Ring Your Rep' from the Standard East Village

An EVG reader pointed out the recent arrival of a Ring Your Rep phone outside the Standard East Village on Cooper Square...

This is a variation of the customized phone booths that the hotel debuted last August at its other properties. The phone dials directly to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard. (Not sure if that switchboard is open today.)

Per the Standard website:

Simply lift the receiver, and you'll be connected. Punch in your zipcode, choose the rep to whom you wish to speak, and leave your message.

Prepping for another LinkNYC kiosk on 3rd Avenue

A payphone-removing crew was out this morning, prepping to take away the phones on the east side of Third Avenue at 10th Street...

In its place evenutally — a LinkNYC kiosk... which will join the other two already on the block...

Let them know it's Christmas time again

An EVG reader pointed out the arrival yesterday of a wheel-less bike under the holiday tree in Tompkins Square Park...

There are also at least four discarded coffee cups around the tree and bike... (meant for Santa?)

And the reader shared this photo from last night ...

Where you may still frolic in the snow nearby

On 14th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. Temps will be in the 40s today at the base. Lifts open at 10.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday's parting shots

The FDNY's new novelty-hat day at Gem Spa on Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place... photos today via Derek Berg...

These things take time

Ought, a Montreal-based quartet, have a new album out next month on Merge Records. This video is for the track "These 3 Things."

Ought will be at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 6.

I Am a Rent-Stabilized Tenant,

East Village resident Susan Schiffman has been photographing the apartments of rent-stabilized tenants living in the East Village for her Instagram account, I Am a Rent Stabilized Tenant. She will share some of the photos here for this ongoing EVG feature.

Photos and text by Susan Schiffman

Tenant: Glenn, since 1991

Why did you move to the East Village?

I started hanging out in the East Village when I was a teenager in the mid-1980s — maybe I was younger than a teenager. I used to go to the Pyramid Club and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and a bar called the Aztec. I moved to NYC in 1987 but I was living on 25th Street. Then I lived in Stuy Town and, in 1991, I was doing a cable TV show on Manhattan Cable called "The Brenda and Glennda Show." It was a drag queen activist show. I was Glennda Orgasm and my co-host was Brenda Sexual. We would go on the street and interview people about gay rights and drag. It was street theatre. We did a series in Buffalo at Hallwalls Art Center. We also did a show on the Circle Line boat. There were transgender people, drag kings and male to female lesbian transsexuals.

In 1990, I was living on the Lower East Side, on Rivington Street, and I had to leave that apartment. Brenda Sexual's lease was also up and I said, “why don’t we get a place together?” He found this apartment. The rent was $750. He let me have the big bedroom.

It worked out really well because we were collaborators, we were doing the show together. He had the foresight to put my name on the lease. In those days you took it for granted that every apartment was rent stabilized. I never thought I would be here still in 2017. It’s going to be 27 years. It was January 1991 when we moved here. I have always lived on the top floor of a walk-up so I was used to that. He moved out a year later. He left NYC and now he has a very successful career as a landscape architect in Texas.

How did you find your apartment?

Brenda Sexual found it in The Village Voice. He said it was between B and C. I thought, I can handle it, I lived in a dump on Rivington. It was dangerous over here then. There would be drug dealers and gangs camped out on my doorstep. I would come home from the Pyramid Club and the whole street would be deserted until you got to my door and everyone would be camped out at 3 in the morning — all these scary drug dealers. Am I going to get into my building alive?

There would be massive fights outside. People would be beating each other up, like riots and we couldn’t leave the apartment until it was over. It was a really scary but also exciting place to live in the early to mid-90s. The reason we wanted to live here was because we were spending a lot of time at the Pyramid Club.

And the cool gay people lived in the East Village. We weren’t like these bougie queens in the West Village. We had a punk rock background from the 80s and we were doing drag that was political, it wasn’t Liza, even though we like that too. It was the alternative gay scene here, the Pyramid Club and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, which was kind of mixed and then there was the Wonder Bar on Sixth Street, the Crow Bar, which was on 10th Street and Avenue B, the V Bar was on Fourth Street and Second Avenue.

We were also in Act Up. A lot of Act Up queers lived in the East Village. If you were queer you lived in the East Village if you were gay you lived in the West Village. I wanted to live here because the kooky artists lived here. Kembra Pfahler still lives here on Second Street. She’s a friend of mine and I wanted to be near those kinds of people all the time.

You would run into people that you knew every day on the street or in Key Food. People would come up to me in Key Food and ask “Are you Glennda Orgasm?” Everybody watched cable in those days. When you came home at 3 a.m. and you were stoned or too coked up to go to bed, you turned on Channel 69 and there was another rerun of "The Brenda and Glennda Show." It was easy to be famous in those days.

What do you love about your apartment?

I am at the very top of the stairs. It is the most private feeling. You don’t have everyone in the building walking past your door. And I love that the stairs keep me in shape. I have a view of the Chrysler Building and a view of the new World Trade Center from the Mao Room and I also had a view of 9/11 from that room.

I like the light I get. I face the west. So I get this beautiful light. I really loved it when I wasn’t working because I would be home and I would get this beautiful afternoon light. My Sharon Tate poster would glow in this afternoon light.

I love this particular corner of the East Village that I live in. It has really preserved the old vibe of the East Village because it is still very Latino. I live near the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. It is a real East Village institution. There are some nights when I come home and there will be a line waiting to go in. They're not waiting in line to buy an iPhone or to get into some horrible brunch place to get drunk. It’s a great venue where they do music, plays and poetry readings. I feel honored to live near a place like that. It feels protected. De Blasio is supposedly going to give them grant money.

The projects are across the street so there are still real people there. I belong to a credit union, which I like to call my Communist bank, which is on the corner. The People’s Lower East Side Federal Credit Union. I’ve been there for 13 years. They give out grants to small businesses. The business in the storefront in my building is funded by my Communist bank. That’s also a good feeling that it’s not a trendy biscuit place that is going to close in six months. It’s a place for the neighborhood. They serve Puerto Rican and Dominican food. It’s not pretentious. Latino people in the neighborhood eat there and you also get the new trendy people and hipsters who also eat there.

What do you think of the East Village today?

The East Village has become almost unrecognizable. I like to support new businesses. But a lot of them I’m just not interested in. I don’t want to eat candied waffle ice cream cones. I still go to Two Boots. I’m very loyal. I’m a traditionalist and I like to patronize places that I’ve been going to since I moved to NYC. Casa Adela on Avenue C is Puerto Rican food, it’s delicious.

I love that I am able to live here alone. I am too old now to put up with roommates. It has been 10 years that I have been roommate free. The second bedroom has been the Mao Room for 10 years. In 2007, when my last roommate left, I cleared out that room and I did a Santeria ritual to get the bad energy out. The room was bare. I had a 3-D postcard of Chairman Mao that my friend Tomoko bought for me. The postcards are made in North Korea. I was traveling with her in Hong Kong, she was my photographer. She knew that I really liked Mao. I decided to put the postcard up and my friend Nancy came by. She writes about the Cuban Revolution. She pronounced it the Mao Room. I liked the way that sounds, the Mao Room. I decided to make it a tribute to Mao and Che and Fidel Castro.

There’s stuff in there that I bought when I was in Cuba and China. It’s become an ongoing art project that people make donations to. My friend Crazy Legs, a famous break dancer from Rock Steady Crew, gave me the Jean-Michel Basquiat poster, it has a Communist theme to it.

Should I still have a Mao room? He’s so controversial and Communism is really out of vogue now. I don’t really care. It’s an art concept. It’s not necessarily political. But it’s still a living art project. People do bring things and say I thought of you when I saw this and it’s for the Mao room.

If you're interested in inviting Susan in to photograph your apartment for an upcoming post, then you may contact her via this email.

Mudspot Café barista recalls terrifying missile attack false alarm in Hawaii

[Photo by Steven]

Last Saturday, residents and tourists in Hawaii received a terrifying emergency alert on their phones that read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

It turned out to be a false alarm, of course. According to published reports, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said that a single individual sent out the alert by mistake. It took emergency officials 38 minutes to send a new alert to mobile phones stating that the threat was a false alarm.

Lina Krupinski, who works at Mudspot Café on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, was in Maui at the time vacationing with her boyfriend. She shared her story with EVG correspondent Steven.

My boyfriend and I were awake for about half an hour before we received the alert for a ballistic missile inbound to Hawaii. We quickly went outside and there were people from the hotel gathering in panic. Everyone took this alert seriously and called their families to share the news. We did the same.

My body was just shaking and all I could think about is the different scenarios of the way we are going to die — on Maui in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I’m from Bulgaria and I moved to the USA in 2010. I haven’t visited my family too often — in fact, I last saw my parents five years ago. I couldn’t bear the thought that I was never going to see them again.

There was no information about the incident on the internet whatsoever. There was no potential shelter nearby. My boyfriend and I held each other in a hug in front of the hotel and waited.

Then we received the correction alert 38 minutes later. Relieved of the fact that it was a false alarm, we still were in shock of what just happened. I think such an error is unacceptable by all means. And the fact that it took 38 minutes to issue the correction is even more disturbing. We are glad that this was a false alarm, and hope that such “error” will never happen again.

It is not easy to just go on about your day normally after everything our minds were put through. This was our second to last day in Hawaii. We enjoyed the rest of our stay, but what happened on Jan. 13 we will always remember. It was an experience of a lifetime for sure.

A used book store opened this week on Bleecker and the Bowery

Codex, which sells used and new books with a focus on literary fiction and art, opened this week on Bleecker Street at the Bowery. (H/T to Lola Sāenz for the photos!)

The shop is in part of the space last occupied by the Latin bistro Agozar! ... and Codex connects to Think Coffee on the corner...

The shop, open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, also buys gently used books, per the Codex website.

There's a grand opening reading tonight from 6:30-8 featuring Gabby Bess, Andrew Durbin and Chelsea Hodson.

Here's a quick take on Codex via Instagram...

The Sunshine Cinema shuts down after Sunday

As you've likely heard by now, the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on East Houston closes after its slate of screenings on Sunday.

News emerged last spring that East End Capital and K Property Group bought the building for $31.5 million with plans to convert it to a mixed-use development with retail and upstairs office space. The site includes 20,000 square feet of air rights.

In November, the new owners of the building filed demolition permits to take down the three-level structure here between Eldridge and Forsyth.

As for the last weekend of films, there's nothing special planned, per Deadline Hollywood, who first reported on the closure on Jan. 9.

Per Ted Mundorff, CEO of Landmark Theatres: "There's nothing to celebrate."

There are five films playing to close out the weekend, holdovers from recent weeks: "Hostiles," "Darkest Hour," "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," "In Between" and "The Room." (No Tommy Wiseau in person, though.)

At midnight, there are screenings of "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Super Fly."

Landmark will continue the midnight-movie tradition at their new West 57th Street location, which includes a cafe with a liquor license...

Landmark reportedly had the opportunity to buy the property, but decided against it after CB3 voted down a proposal for a full liquor license for a cafe in the theater in 2012 for pre- and post-movie drinks and dinner. As The Lo-Down reported at the time, "residents in attendance ... expressed serious concerns about the application in an area already teeming with nightlife activity."

Built in 1898, the Sunshine Cinema building was formerly the Houston Hippodrome motion picture theatre and a Yiddish vaudeville house. After sitting abandoned for many years, the building was renovated ... with the Sunshine opening on Dec. 21, 2001.

As for the future, East End's website states:

East End is planning to re-develop the building into a mixed-use retail and office project. While pursuing tenants interested in utilizing the structure in its current form, work is also underway for a new, best-in-class office building with retail at the base – a first in the rapidly evolving Lower East Side. 139 East Houston will offer cutting-edge design from Roger Ferris Architecture, huge windows with expansive views, high ceilings and column-free efficient space – all on top of a subway stop in a unique and exciting location. Ground breaking is expected in the second quarter of 2018.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A celebratory ad on the purchase of 139 E. Houston St., current home of the Sunshine Cinema

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday's parting shot

Earlier today on First Avenue and Seventh Street ... photo by Derek Berg...

Air route

Grant Shaffer captured this take off ...

Ryan John Lee's 'Soul of a City'

The Loisaida Center has a new exhibit starting tomorrow evening featuring the work of East Village-based photographer Ryan John Lee. (He has shared his work with EVG in the past, such as here and here.)

The exhibit, which will remain up through March, is titled "Soul of the City."

Per Lee: "The soul of a city is manifested through its inhabitants: its newspaper sellers, subway riders, pavement pounders, window shoppers, among others. These seemingly banal routines and daily tasks are what feed a city’s energy and identity. Soul of a City represents a collection of these everyday moments I’ve been fortunate enough to capture."

"Soul of the City" is accompanied by an auction wall to benefit the Loisaida Center and Puerto Rican relief.

The opening tomorrow is from 6-8:30 p.m. The Loisaida Center is at 710 E. Ninth St. ... just east of Avenue C. Find more details here.

BarBacon looking to pig out now on 4th Avenue

BarBacon signage recently arrived on the front door of 127 Fourth Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street... where the proprietors of the bacon-centric bar-restaurant in Hell's Kitchen are looking to expand their business ... there's a CB3 notice up in the window as well for a yet-to-be-scheduled SLA committee meeting for a new liquor license...

As you may recall, BarBacon was looking at opening in 171 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street late last year. However, BarBacon withdrew from December's CB3-SLA committee meeting. And apparently the BarBaconers decided on a different location.

In any event, here's more about BarBacon, which has an outpost on Ninth Avenue: "Bacon flights & other swine-spiked grub served in a gastropub setting with a large bar." (Read more about the place here.)

This Fourth Avenue space, now chopped into two storefronts, was previously the bar Royal until April 2016...

Previously on EV Grieve:
BarBacon looking at expanding to Avenue A

Ho Foods will start serving Taiwanese beef noodle soup today on 7th Street

Ho Foods debuts as a full-time restaurant today at 110 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

As previously noted, chef-owner Richard Ho, who has worked at Blue Ribbon Sushi’s Brooklyn and Columbus Circle locations for eight years, is behind this venture, which took part in several pop-up events in recent years. His speciality is Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

Grub Street has a preview here:

His idea was to mimic actual beef noodle shops where the soup, he says, is usually just complimented by a single hot side and rotating vegetable sides. Here, the menu will be rounded out by extras like pork rice and a few sides, including homemade soft tofu with century egg, sweet soy, and bonito. Down the road, he plans to introduce Taiwanese breakfast. “It’s super carb heavy. It’s delicious,” he says, pointing to sweet and savory soy milks and sticky-rice rolls that bundle crullers, pork floss, and other fillings.

And a look at the menu...

No word on hours just yet. (Didn't spot them on the Ho Foods website.)

The smallish space was home to Porchetta until November 2016.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Ho Foods coming to 7th Street

Le Sia opens today on 7th Street

Today is the grand opening (per Facebook) for Le Sia at 11 E. Seventh St. near Cooper Square.

The restaurant will serve Chinese barbecue, seafood and an assortment of kebobs. Here a look at their menu via Facebook (there isn't much more information about the place at the moment) ...

As previously noted, the space was home to Surma Books & Music for 98 years until June 2016. Third-generation owner Markian Surmach cited a decline in business and the expense of property tax and other charges related to owning the building. Public records show that the Surmach family sold the property to Icon Realty for $5.75 million.

Kulture moves on St. Mark's Place

Kulture, the tattoo-piercings-jewelry-smoke shop, is leaving its home at 23 St. Mark's Place ... and headed east several storefronts to the upper level of No. 31 here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

This opens up a prime storefront in the same complex that houses the St. Mark's Market and Chipotle. Kulture arrived here in in 2011. Previously, the space was the short-lived St. Mark's Cafe, Red Mango, Quizno's and, until June 2008, the CBGB shop...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'Candy Coated Evil' — live

"Candy Coated Evil," a solo exhibition by Samoa, is up through Feb. 11 at the Howl! Happening space on First Street.

To date, we've heard really good things about the exhibit, especially the special live events put on in conjunction with the show.

Here, Walter Wlodarczyk shares photos from this past Saturday evening, when Samoa and Kembra Pfahler, the curator of "Candy Coated Evil," performed for an enthusiastic audience. (The two are the founders of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.)

Caroline Tennessee was also on hand to perform her song "I Want Some Sweet Corn."

Tomorrow (Thursday!) from 7-9 p.m., Samoa and Pfahler host an evening of films ... selections include Samoa’s short features "My Way to Hell" and "Until the Day I Die" as well as performance videos from the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Find more details on the exhibit as well as the dates and times of the other special events here.

Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project is located at 6 E. First St. between the Bowery and Second Avenue.

Thanks to Walter Wlodarczyk for the photos! Find more of his work here.