Thursday, October 18, 2018

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's this week's NY See, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's comic series — an observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around the neighborhood — and elsewhere.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is back on; new deal puts the pups in East River Park and on ESPN this Oct. 28

[Photo last year by Stacie Joy]

The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade will live for its 28th year in a new deal announced last night.

For starters, the parade — a fundraiser for the dog run — is moving to the East River Park amphitheater ... and taking place Sunday, Oct. 28 between noon and 3 p.m. where ESPN will televise the costume action.

In August, organizers were forced to cancel the event after the city's Parks Department required parade organizers to take out a larger $1 million insurance policy to cover the larger crowds that have attended in recent years. (The parade moved from the dog run to the ballfields/field hockey arena in 2016.)

Organizers did not want to lose local control of the event by giving responsibility over to a corporate entity that could hold the insurance policy and potentially retain control over the event's structure and fundraising.

[Photo last year by Stacie Joy]

District 2 City Councilmember's office Carlina Rivera's office released details about the 2018 Dog Parade in a late-night media advisory:

Councilwoman Rivera worked with the dog run supporters and the community organizers at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) to come up with a solution, where GOLES would hold the insurance policy and the parade would move to East River Park for 2018. In addition, ESPN will be broadcasting from the parade with host Katie Nolan, and will also be making a $10,000 donation to City Parks Foundation that will go to supporting the Dog Run.

"I am so happy that after months of work with community advocates and dog lovers, the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade will be returning to the community for its 28th iteration. This beloved Lower East Side tradition wouldn't be happening this year without the tireless efforts of Good Old Lower East Side and the supporters of the Tompkins Square Park Dog Run, particularly Ada Nieves who has previously co-hosted the parade and took over planning this year."

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news in a story (subscription required) posted on its website last night (it appears in today's print edition).

A Parks Department spokesperson told the Journal: “Costumed puppies [are] a favorite of all New Yorkers, and we are happy that the parade can go on.”


East River Park amphitheater
Between Grand and Jackson streets

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Halloween Dog Parade in Tompkins Square Park this fall has been cancelled

NYPD installs light tower on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street

[Reader-submitted photo]

There have been several published reports (here and here) in recent weeks about the growing number of increasingly unruly travelers/crusties gathering on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue.

This past weekend, New York Post reporter Dean Balsamini wrote that he was allegedly punched by a traveler named Zeke, who apparently had a "farm-animal musk" and "Charles Manson eyes," per the article.

In response to these reports and a growing number of complaints from nearby residents and merchants, the NYPD last night set up a light tower on the corner, illuminating the sidewalk and empty lot — site of the deadly gas explosion in March 2015 — to deter anyone from congregating and camping out (apparently in keeping with the mayor's Omnipresence policing strategy).

[Photo by EVG reader Ryan]

In an email to local elected officials this past week, one nearby resident wrote: "It's terrifying to come and go day or night! They own the street and it's getting worse. These are drifters, not homeless to be pitied. Help before someone is murdered."

Another EVG reader worries that the corner can only get worse. Luxury condominiums are slated for part of the lot on Second Avenue and Seventh Street. The eventual arrival of a sidewalk bridge would only provide more cover for the travelers, who like this spot with its proximity to a LinkNYC kiosk and its free Wifi and charging station, according to the reader.

Back in July 2015, following published reports citing a perceived influx of homeless people and drug users in Tompkins Square Park, the NYPD installed a patrol tower in the middle of the park. The NYPD removed it after a week. (We did get the tweet tower out of all that.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: It's 'Crusty vs. Postie' on 2nd Avenue

NYPD installs patrol tower in the middle of Tompkins Square Park (149 comments)

Kingsley remains dark on Avenue B

[Photo from Sept. 15]

Kingsley, the restaurant from chef Roxanne Spruance at 190 Avenue B, has not been open in the past month here between 11th Street and 12th Street.

The closure has drawn the attention of several residents who live nearby, with one noting inactivity inside dating to the middle of September. (One EVG reader has seen several potential diners peering inside the darkened space on recent weekends in search of brunch.)

There's no mention of a closure on the Kingsley website or social-media properties, which haven't been updated since Sept. 7. No one returned an email or Facebook message; an email to Spruance from an address posted on her Facebook page bounced back as undeliverable. Calls to the restaurant refer people to the website; there isn't any way to leave a voice-mail. The restaurant is also no longer taking reservations.

Yelpers are reporting that the restaurant is closed...

On the topic of Yelp, one would-be diner described her recent dining disaster while Kingsley was shuttered...

Last night, Saturday Sept. 22, we had a long anticipated birthday dinner booked at Kingsley. One person flew all the way in from San Francisco for the event. We arrived at exactly on time at 7:30 pm for our reservation and the place was CLOSED. No note on the door, no phone call in advance....nothing.

Opentable even emailed us the day before confirming our table. We were not the only people with a reservation standing outside on the sidewalk wondering what the hell was going either. Unacceptable and inexcusable. We had to scramble to find another place to eat at the last minute.

An entire day later no one has reached out to us with an explanation or apology. Just terrible. Obviously we will NEVER be back. Shameful.

Kingsley, serving "seasonal, local ingredients with a contemporary French-American menu," per its website, opened in December 2015, and received plenty of attention given Spruance's past in kitchens such as Blue Hill and WD-50.

The restaurant took took over the space from Back 40, which closed in December 2014 after seven years in business. (Chef-owner Peter Hoffman told Eater that "a difficult landscape and lease uncertainty" led to the closure.)

Said one neighbor and EVG reader: "[Kingsley] seemed to be doing pretty good business... it would be a shame if they’ve closed their doors."

The Tompkins Square Library hosts 'A Look Back on the East Village of the 1980s' starting Friday

[Via the Tompkins Square Library branch]

On Friday, the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B is opening an exhibit titled “A Look Back on the East Village of the 1980s.”

Some details via the EVG inbox:

This vigorous and enthusiastically researched show will focus on the creative counter-culture of the surrounding neighborhood in the 1980's. It will present important, vital highlights from the night club scene, along with the music, theater, and art activity of that period — a period in which the East Village was recognized nationally and internationally for its sometimes famous and sometimes infamous personalities and places.

In conjunction with the show, the Tompkins Square library has been working with material from the New York Public Library special collections, and with the Fales NYU Downtown archive. Of significant interest are the many photographs and fascinating ephemera and reproductions from the East Village in the 1980s.

In conjunction with the show on Friday night (at 6), the library is hosting a discussion, The East Village in the 1980s, featuring Penny Arcade, Clayton Patterson and Chris Rael. Andy McCarthy, a reference librarian at the Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History, and Genealogy at NYPL, is the moderator.

"A Look Back on the East Village of the 1980s" will be at the library until Nov. 1. This link has more details on branch hours, etc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday's parting shots

Two sunset pix via Bobby Williams...

Class Film Night returns to Ciao for Now tomorrow with 'Charade'

Ciao For Now is continuing with its free classic film series this month.

Tomorrow (Thursday!) night, the cafe screens "Charade" from 1963 with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant...

The doors open at 6 p.m. ... and the movie starts at 7 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase to stay or to go.

As noted before, the 17-year-old family-owned and operated catering company is also open for Soup Night every Tuesday evening from 5 to 10. Hit this link for more info.

Here's what will be playing in the dining room at 523 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B in the coming months:

• Nov. 15 "His Girl Friday" (1940)

• Dec. 20 "The Little Princess" (1939)

Prepping for the new protected bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets

[Click to go big]

Back on Sept. 20, we noted that — presumably — DOT officials distributed the above flyers to residents who live on 12th Street and 13th Street... providing information about protected bike lanes that are in development on 12th Street and 13th Street (as well as Horatio Street and Greenwich Avenue) ahead of the April 2019 L-train shutdown.

As reported in June, the DOT decided against its original idea for a single, two-way bike lane on 13th Street in favor of two separate, one-way lanes for 12th and 13th streets.

The city is putting in a bike lane on the north curb of 12th Street from Seventh Avenue to Avenue C, and the south curb of 13th Street from Greenwich Avenue to Avenue B separated from traffic with a painted buffer and flexible delineators.

Multiple EVG readers have pointed out that this work has started in recent days/weeks (painted buffer and flexible delineators still to come).

Here's a look at 13th Street, starting at Avenue B... where the "No Stopping Anytime" signs are now posted on the south side of the street ...

... at Avenue A...

...a view to the east from First Avenue... First Avenue...

...a view to the east from Third Avenue...

... looking to the west between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue...

The work is just underway on 12th Street, where the "No Stopping Anytime" signs arrived ... here are two photos (thanks Brian K!) ... at 12th between Avenue A and Avenue B...

... and between Avenue A and First Avenue...

This link takes you to the DOT's overview for these bike lanes.

During the L-train outage, DOT officials expect these bike lanes to handle a surge in people bicycling. Cycling advocates have applauded this development, citing the lack of protected bike lanes going crosstown.

While the bike-lane work is moving forward, another lawsuit is aiming to put an end to this plan, as well as other L-train related planning. As Gothamist reported on Oct. 2:

On [Oct. 1], West Village resident and attorney Arthur Schwartz filed his second lawsuit against the MTA and the DOT, calling for yet another environmental assessment, as well as last minute changes to the agencies' sweeping mitigation plan. Specifically, Schwartz and his allies are opposed to the creation of a dedicated busway on 14th Street and an adjacent sidewalk expansion for pedestrians, along with the addition of protected bike lanes on 12th and 13th Street.

"The goal is to eliminate those bike lanes as designed, to make them not protected bike lanes or not do them at all," Schwartz told Gothamist, adding that his preference would be for the lanes to be restored to parking spaces. "I just don't think there's any genuinely demonstrated demand for people who used to take the L train who are all of a sudden going to hop on a Citi Bike."

Councilmember Rivera introducing new bill to protect bike lanes in construction zones

[EVG photo from June at 75 1st Ave.]

In other bike-related news... District 2 City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, along with advocates and neighborhood residents, is announcing the introduction of a new bill this morning that will require holders of DOT permits that authorize construction or equipment on the street to preserve any impacted bike lanes with a safe and sufficient detour.

Per Rivera's office:

This includes any specifically marked bicycle lane, whether it has painted, separated and protected, or a bike path. Any detour bike lane would have to feature protective barriers and be three-quarters the size of the original lane, unless that would make the detour lane less than 4 feet wide. The bill would also require DOT to notify community boards as well as post on their website when any permitted construction impacts a bike lane.

Councilwoman Rivera is pursuing this legislation after hearing about construction projects in her district and elsewhere where bicyclists were being forced out of protected bike lanes and directly into car traffic with little notice right for riders or drivers.

Rivera recently spoke with Streetsblog about this proposed legislation:

You said a specific location in your district spurred you to introduce this bill.

It’s on First Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets, right on the west side where the bike lane is. There was construction there, and there was no detour. As someone who cycles up First Avenue all the time, I can tell you that as soon as you got to that street, it just said, “Bike lane closed.” So you have to go and venture into the traffic, and you know that First avenue is incredibly busy, not just with [cars], but with the SBS, the M15.

There was no sign. There were no protective barriers. This was something people contacted our office about repeatedly, so we know that we really had to legislate this in order to protect cyclists everywhere.

Hitchcocktober movie of the week — 'Strangers on a Train'

The Hitchcocktober movie of the week is... "Strangers on a Train" tomorrow (Thursday!) night at 8... at City Cinemas Village East on Second Avenue at 12th Street.

The plot, per Google:

In Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's thriller, tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is enraged by his trampy [Ed. Note: Oh Google!] wife's refusal to finalize their divorce so he can wed senator's daughter Anne (Ruth Roman). He strikes up a conversation with a stranger, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), and unwittingly sets in motion a deadly chain of events.

And the last two (sob) Hitchcocktober dates:

Oct. 25 — "The 39 Steps"

Halloween night — "Psycho"

Find advance ticket info here.

'Mediterranean fusion' for the former Sugar Cafe on Houston and Allen

[Photos from Aug. 14]

The Times has more details in its real-estate transactions about the new venture coming to 200 Allen St. at East Houston, where workers have been renovating the space since the late summer.

Per the Times:

A Mediterranean fusion casual restaurant, to feature soups, salads, kebabs and shawarma, has signed a 10-year lease for a 500-square-foot corner space ... A city sidewalk permit for a glass-enclosed space would add another 500 square feet. (The former tenant, Sugar Cafe, had such a permit in place over the years.)

The tenant is listed as OYA, with principals Orhan Albayrak and Yigit Ozcelik.

No word on the restaurant's name in the Times piece. "Mediterranean fusion" sounds pretty fancy. BoweryBoogie heard it was going to be called a less-fancy sounding Empire Gyro Kebab.

The annual rent on the space, which includes a 1,000-square-foot basement, is $180,000 ($15k a month), per the Times.

The Sugar Cafe closed here in February 2017 after 10-plus years in business. A rent increase — perhaps as much as double the previous ask — was reportedly behind the closing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday's parting shot

A look inside the former Cucina Di Pesce, which closed here on Fourth Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery on Sept. 23 after 32 years in business...

New building plans revealed for 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

[EVG file photo]

Nearly a year has passed since the initial reports about the future of the northeast corner of Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place were revealed. According to The Real Deal last November, a seven-story, 66,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail was slated for this corner.

However, as New York Yimby first noted yesterday, leaseholder Real Estate Equities Corporation (REEC) has filed new permits for 3 St. Mark's Place (the address of the former Papaya King) for a 5-story, 29,030-square-foot building.

This is obviously much smaller than what was originally floated. There's some thought that there might be a second smaller building coming to this parcel. (That's 100-percent speculation via some EVG corner watchers.)

Here's an aerial view of the property...

[Via Google Maps and EV Square]

A quick note — the Cooper Union Student Residence Hall at 29 Third Ave. is in the square above — that's not part of the new development and is staying put.

Anyway, here's what is known from the permits, as NYY noted: "Retail will occupy a portion of the ground floor and cellar space. The offices will have a lobby on the first floor, with workspace occupying the rest of the structure. Tenants will have access to bicycle storage, a fitness center, golf simulator, an amenities foyer, and a rooftop terrace."

(Golf simulator???)

Morris Adjmi Architects is listed as the designer of record. There aren't any renderings floating around the public sphere just yet.

For a sampling of Adjmi's work, look no further than the 7-story building he/they designed for the explosion site at 121 Second Ave. ...

[Rendering via Morris Adjmi]

For a little perspective on the size of the structure coming to 3 St. Mark's Place, the above building is 22,800 square feet.

In the meantime, workers continue to chip away at the mostly vacant buildings on St. Mark's Place and Third Avenue. (Permits were filed this past March 15 to demolish 1 St. Mark's Place, 3 St. Mark’s Place, 23 and 25-27 Third Ave.)

These photos are from Thursday...

While the interior demo is underway in these spaces, the Continental remains open — the last of the main businesses here. The bar was set to close in July after a 27-year run at 23 Third Ave. However, Trigger, the Continental's owner, announced a three-month lease extension until some time in October.

Well, we are now in October. In a recent Facebook post, Trigger said that they might be open until May 2019.

I asked him about that. "It’s possible that we’ll go till May but far from definite," he said in a Facebook message the other day, adding that he wants to stay until the developers get their permits approved. "It’s all I’ve got."

REEC picked up the 99-year leasehold for the properties here for some $150 million, per The Real Deal last November. The corner assemblage is owned by the Gabay family.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Shake Shack effect? McDonald's on 3rd Avenue at St. Mark's Place has closed after 20 years

Report: Northeast corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Ave. fetching $50 million for development site

Report: NE corner of St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue will yield to a 7-story office building

Demolition permits filed for northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

End is nearing for the businesses on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place

The Continental gets a 3-month reprieve

Diorama time again at the Ninth Street Community Garden & Park

We're well into Peephole Season here at the Ninth Street Community Garden & Park on the northeast corner of Avenue C... as East Village artist J. Kathleen White recently unveiled her 2018 collection of dioramas.

This year's theme: Time.

Bobby Williams shared this sneak peeps...

The dioramas are expected to be up through this month.

White started creating and sharing the dioramas in 2005. Here's her work from 2017 ... and 2016 ... 2015 ... 2014 ... 2013 ... 2012 ... and 2011....

Today's special: Milk Money Kitchens bringing food-consulting business to Avenue A

50 Avenue A finally has a new tenant.

Signage arrived over the weekend here between Third Street and Fourth Street for Milk Money Kitchens, which provides commercial kitchen rentals and consulting services for food businesses and designer kitchens for home cooks, per their website. (Their tagline: "Offering Rental Kitchens & Services that Help Food Entrepreneurs and Home Cooks Live Out Their Passion.")

Nancy Preston, the company's founder and CEO, is a 10-year Army veteran, and served as a Brigade Engineer building bases in Iraq.

This retail space had been on the market since the Citibank branch closed in January 2017.

The storefront's exterior now features the second coming of the cowboy mural by Solus.

A P.S. related:

Perhaps Milk Money can help fill the void created by the sudden closure of the food incubator Pilotworks this past weekend. Guess that means Pilotworks really isn't taking that space at 347 Bowery.

Last week to see work by Al Diaz and SAMO© at the Same Old Gallery on Great Jones

The Same Old Gallery, curated by Adrian Wilson and Brian Shevlin, featuring an exhibit of old and new work by Al Diaz, ends its run at 57 Great Jones St. on Saturday evening.

Wilson was originally hopeful that he could use the space through the end of December.

As previously reported, the front part of No. 57 west of the Bowery had been sitting unused. The back of the building houses Bohemian, an exclusive (referral-only) Japanese restaurant. They will be expanding in January, and gave Wilson access to the space rent-free.

"Unfortunately, as the space was donated for free by the leaseholders, this was always going to be a temporary gallery," Wilson told me. "It was always guaranteed for Al's show, and I hoped they would then let me keep it open until they start renovation on January, but [the landlord] liked what we did so much they have rented the space for a Christmas market, selling gifts.

"It's kind of sad but also very perfect that the one and only exhibition there will be Al."

[Al Diaz and friends via Adrian Wilson]

Diaz, who grew up in the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D, started writing graffiti at age 12. As a teen in the late 1970s, he and Jean-Michel Basquiat collaborated on a series of cryptic messages seen around the city signed from SAMO©.

The gallery is inside the building once owned by Andy Warhol. Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked here at the time of his death in 1988.

The gallery hours are from 2-7 p.m. through Saturday.

Meanwhile, you can listen to my recent podcast with Diaz right here (or download it for later)...

The Coffee Shop closed on Union Square, and what it might mean for NYC's restaurant biz

[Via The Coffee Shop's Instagram account]

As you probably know, the Coffee Shop closed Sunday on Union Square after 28 years in business. (You can find photos from the last day at Gothamist.)

The rising cost of rent and wages were reportedly behind the closure.

Forbes had a piece back on Friday with Coffee Shop co-owner and president Charles Milite — who opened the space in 1990 with two other Wilhelmina models, Eric Petterson and Carolyn Benitez — that provides some perspective on the challenges of running a presumably successful restaurant here and now and in the future.

Milite told Forbes that rent had become “unusually high,” accounting for close to 27 percent of the restaurant’s gross revenues. Add in the scheduled $2-per-hour minimum wage hike set to take place on December 31 — an increase that, across Coffee Shop’s 150 employees and multiple dayparts of service, would have added $46,000 to the monthly payroll — made it impossible to break even by cutting costs elsewhere.

“It’s a wakeup call for our industry in general,” Milite said. “When a restaurant is one of the top-ranked restaurants in America, sales-wise, and can no longer afford to operate, you have to look at that and say there’s a shifting paradigm in the business.”

Milite predicts that this shift will lead to the gradual disappearance of 200- and 300-seat restaurants like Coffee Shop; in their places will come eateries with smaller, more focused menus and limited service. He’s already trying this with Flats Fix, a fast-casual taqueria right next to Coffee Shop on 16th Street.

A bank branch is rumored to be taking the space, Forbes reported.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday's parting shot

Early morning neon glow on East Houston...

St. Dymphna's is closing this weekend after 24 years on St. Mark's Place

A reliable EVG tipster said that St. Dymphna's, a neighborhood hangout at 118 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue, would close after service this Saturday, Oct. 20.

We did receive official confirmation on the closure. We reached out to the owners for more information on the decision to close St. Dymphna's, a favorite local spot known for its perfectly poured pints of Guinness and traditional Irish breakfast.

The pub, named for the patron saint of the mentally ill, opened in 1994.

The owners, Eric Baker and sisters Patricia and Raquel Sanguedo (Baker and Patricia Sanguedo are married), also opened Taberna 97 on St. Mark's Place in December 2016. That space is currently used for special events. (Patricia and Raquel also operate Noz Catering.)

In 2017, Conor Oberst had a song titled "Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out" on his Salutations album. The video was filmed at the bar... seems like a nice way to end this post...

Meanwhile, the St. Dymphna's Instagram account is now posting photos with #rememberingstdymphnas.

Black Emperor slated for 2nd Avenue

A group of applicants whose résumé includes bars and restaurants in the Bowery Hotel and Arlo NoMad Hotel are looking to open Black Emperor at 197 Second Ave.

The applicants, including David Massoni and John Bush, will appear before CB3's SLA committee tonight for a new liquor license for the former Schoolbred's space between 12th Street and 13th Street.

According to the detailed application at the CB3 website, Black Emperor would include nine table for 35 patrons as well as a 10-seat bar and a four-table sidewalk cafe. (Shoolbred's was also licensed to operate on the sidewalk.)

The food is described as "Asian fusion tapas," and here's a look a the menu via the application...

Black Emperor would open at 5 p.m., with a closing time of 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. (And 1 a.m. Sunday.)

Massoni and Bush have opened several establishments via their Three Kings Restaurant Group, starting with Thistle Hill Tavern in Park Slope as well as the above-mentioned hotel spots. (East Village residents may know Bush from his days bartending at 2A and Niagara.)

Shoolbred's closed in June 2017 after nearly 10 years in business.

Tonight's SLA committee meeting takes place starting at 6:30 in the Public Hotel, 17th Floor, Sophia Room, 215 Chrystie St. between Houston and Stanton.