Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I am a photographer of rent-stabilized apartments

[Photo by Susan Schiffman]

Since July 2017, longtime East Village resident Susan Schiffman has contributed an ongoing feature to EVG titled I Am a Rent-Stabilized Tenant.

Susan is the subject of a Q&A today at Gothamist. To an excerpt!

What do you look for when you photograph an apartment?

I go in totally blind. With these apartments, I don't know most of the people. They don't send me pictures. We don’t talk about it. There is a text that has always been important to me. It's called the Poetics of Space, and it’s basically about how the house is a metaphor for the mind. There are few things that informed this work and that is one of them.

To get into these people’s homes and see how they arrange their jewelry, their clothing, and their books — it’s people's arrangements that make them feel safe and secure in their home. When I walk into home, I can tell a really important arrangement. It's one thing to live in a house: A house has a basement and an attic and all those rooms and closets. It's another thing to live in an apartment for 40 years, where do you house all those memories and belongings?

You can revisit her past EVG posts here.

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

'To all the young geniuses breaking into this building'

An EVG reader shares this Urban Etiquette Sign-Warning combo from Cooper Square between Seventh Street and St Marks Place:

To all the young geniuses breaking into this building:

This building is equipped with numerous security cameras that record directly to HDD.

We see you in the mornings, we see you in the afternoons. If you are reading this, we see you right now.

Some of you are dumb enough to wear the name of your school right on your shirt.

This is your one and only warning, any future footage gets forwarded to your headmaster and NYPD.

Make no mistake — you will be expelled, we will press trespassing charges, and you will cry when Mommy and Daddy find out.

Spring into a new season tonight with the 10th annual Zoroastrian fire jumping event

[Photo from 2017 by Ryan John Lee]

Tonight marks the 10th Annual Zoroastrian Fire Jumping Event ... taking place from 6:30 to 8:30 in the Firemen's Memorial Garden, 358 E. Eighth St. between Avenue C and Avenue D. Updated 1:30 p.m.: The event will now take once place again at La Plaza Cultural on Ninth Street and Avenue C.

Here's a recap via the EVG inbox...

Jumping over fire is a symbolic gesture to start a fresh new year. This tradition is celebrated for ringing in the Persian New Year and has been celebrated since at least 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. There will be music, dancing and snacks; wear your best fire-proof pants.

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra will also be playing.

The event is in a different location this year with the new-fence installation underway at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden on Avenue C and Ninth Street.

I reached out to Simin Farkhondeh, a community activist and professor at the School of Visual Arts, who has choreographed and produced the event since its inception here. I started by asking her if the new location might pose any addition challenges. She also provided more background as well as her fire-jumping experiences growing up in her native Iran...

For me, this event is very spontaneous each year. It comes together because the community loves it. The very first time I did it was 2010 and people came to the garden, helped make the fires and we jumped and had a wonderfully freeing time doing it.

This year will be like every year and the change of space should not impact the experience. We strive to make it a powerful and fun and safe event.

It will be the 10th time I've worked on having this spiritually elevating, spring welcoming event. The way I experienced it in my youth, in Iran, was as a spontaneous event that the community felt necessary to do to welcome and get ready for spring. It was done without permits from any government entity or such. We would go out into the street and community members would gather tumbleweed and build fire's together. Then we would jump over them.

On my street, we had about 15 fires, from the entry of our street, down to the end of it. All the neighbors would come out. It was an energizing, freeing experience and community building, and that spirit is what I've tried to preserve each year.

It is clear that this exhilarating event speaks to people not only who come from the Zoroastrian tradition but also brings together folks from across the spectrum of cultures. What binds us is the connection to the earth and the elements.

As in past years, many people and groups are helping ... The folks from the Fireman's Garden, who have been at our event and cherish it, have generously offered their garden to us. A lot of expats from the various Middle-Eastern communities, including Armenians, Iranians and Afghans, are going to be there as well as the folks from MoRUS and Time's UP, who in the past two years have helped a great deal to make this happen.

As in the past years, the event is organized to be a lot of fun, but also safe for all members of the community, especially children and families. As in every year, I plan to have the customary dried fruit and nuts available for people to enjoy. Since about five years now, there also has been a band present at some point of the evening, so we can dance and be merry after jumping the fires and cleansing our souls from the winter blues and from last year's troubles.

Wednesday, March 20, is the vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring and Nowruz or New Year for people of Iran, Afghanistan and other places. We will be making ourselves ready for that.

Renovations underway in the former Grassroots Tavern space on St. Mark's Place

After nearly 14 months of inactivity at 20 St. Mark's Place, workers are now on the scene here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue... a concrete crew has been spotted in recent days (all photos from yesterday via Steven...)

The interior doesn't look too different from when it was the Grassroots Tavern (KIDDING)...

A quickie recap on what's going on here: Approved permits are now on file for repair work in the lower retail space, the longtime home of the Grassroots Tavern until New Year's Eve 2017.

As we've been reporting, Bob Precious is planning on opening a bar in this semi-subterranean space with a working title of Subterranean. (Precious operates the mini chain of Irish-style pubs called the Ginger Man, including the one on 36th Street. CB3 OK'd his new liquor license in December 2017.)

Precious said last August that the former Grassroots space was in bad shape — including structural damage. The approvals for the renovations in the landmarked building had been slow going, for whatever reasons. (In November, Previous was hoping for a spring opening.)

20 St. Mark's Place, known as the Daniel LeRoy House, was built in 1832. It received landmark status in 1971, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Since the Grassroots closed, people keep tagging the former bar's entrance.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New owner lined up for the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

20 St. Mark's Place, home of the Grassroots Tavern, has been sold

Your chance to live in this historic home above the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

Last call at the Grassroots Tavern

This is what's happening with the former Grassroots Tavern space on St. Mark's Place

The former Grassroots Tavern ready for a renovation

Citi Bike unveils new valet service on St Mark's Place and 1st Avenue; more to come

[Rando image via Citi Bike]

Starting today, Citi Bike is bringing some of its valet stations back into service ... in addition, Citi Bike is introducing several new valet stations in the neighborhood.

Background: Citi Bike offers valet service at high-volume stations during peak usage times. Each station is staffed by a Citi Bike rep ... to help reduce the frustration that riders face when arriving at a full docking station.

Here's the list of Citi Bike's new or returning valets in the area...

St Mark's Place at First Avenue (New)
Second Street at Avenue B (Returning)

Early April:
University Place at 14th Street (New)
Allen Street at Stanton (New)
First Avenue at 16th Street (Returning)

Early May:
Seventh Street at Avenue A (New)

And the valet service is ongoing on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

More details are at this link.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Docking blues: Doing the 'checking-all-of-the-Citi Bike-stations dance'

Report: No plans to remove the Michael Jackson mural from the wall on 11th Street

[EVG photo from July]

In case you haen't seen it, HBO's two-part documentary, "Leaving Neverland," features two former child performers describing how Michael Jackson allegedly sexually abused them while they were children.

However, as Rolling Stone reported yesterday, despite the horrific allegations, "Michael Jackson’s posthumous career is showing few signs of major distress" since the documentary debuted two weeks ago.

Time Out reached out to Eduardo Kobra, the prolific Brazilian artist, to see if he might have any thoughts about removing the two Michaels mural that he created last July on 11th Street at First Avenue.

Here's Kobra's statement:

"I decided to keep the mural on, for a few reasons:

First, because the mural itself is not a simple tribute to MJ. My entire idea was to show the transformations he went through during his entire life: from black to white, kid to adult, from natural to unnatural. The whole project that I did in NYC last year was about peace, and in that mural in particular I was trying to describe that people sometimes have to go through so much to be able to reach their own peace of mind.. and even then, sometimes doesn’t matter what people do, they can never reach that peace.

In the second place, I believe MJ is part of American History, and also part of the world’s music history. You can catalog music Before and After MJ, so much was his influence. He still is the biggest pop star that has ever lived, and that we have ever seen, and I believe we are never going to see another pop star like him again.

Therefore, we can’t just erase him from history. These new allegations can be true or not. It is not up to me to judge if MJ is guilty or not — and now, since he is dead, he won’t be judged by justice anymore. So I really hope that mural can do it’s part and bring us to think about it all and how we, as persons and as a community, will deal with this new fact concerning MJ’s life.

Hopefully this discussion leads us all to the desire to be a better person everyday."

I haven't heard of any movements to have the mural removed... other than a few Facebook posts where people opined that it was time for this to go — especially given that it faces the Asher Levy School.

Monday, March 18, 2019

[Updated] 2 reports of fires today

• 219 Avenue B between 13th Street and 14th Street. A fire broke out in the rear of the storefront this afternoon here that houses Revision Lounge. (Thanks to EVG reader @MerMerJ for the photos!)

According to Patch, about 12 units and more than 60 firefighters responded to the scene, where they had it under control in 45 minutes. One firefighter reportedly suffered minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.



• 340 E. 13th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. There were reports of a fire in an fifth-floor apartment here tonight on this block...

Not much information at the moment about the fire ... here are some reader photos...

[Peter M./East Village]

[Peter M./East Village]


EVG reader Jen Pace shared this footage...

The 9th Precinct's monthly Community Council Meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday!) night

These are held the third Tuesday of the month over at the 9th Precinct on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

This is an opportunity for residents to address any concerns and ask 9th Precinct officials for their input on recent crime statistics.

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's the latest installment of 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 NYC.

Y Cafe has closed on Avenue B

Y Cafe, the low-key, health-focused restaurant at 182 Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street, has closed.

Several EVG readers (H/T Etienne and Nobel Neolani!) reported that Y's last day was March 13. On Saturday, the for-rent sign arrived.

According to a reader, the lease was up on the small space, and the owners decided not to renew. (Whether this was due to a rent increase is not known at the moment.)

As EVG reader Etienne noted: "I really enjoyed their Thai-fusion food, friendliness and prices. It sort of saved me when Life Cafe closed."

Y Cafe opened here in April 2011... they were originally Wai? Cafe on First Avenue between 12th Street and 13th Street.

Team behind the Wayland and the Wild Son eye St. Mark's Place for 2 restaurants

[The former Mr. White on St. Mark's Place]

Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall have plans to open two restaurants on St. Mark's Place.

This duo behind the Wayland (Avenue C), Good Night Sonny (First Avenue and St. Mark's Place), the Lost Lady (Avenue C) and the Wild Son (West Little 12th Street) are on tonight's CB3-SLA agenda for two spaces between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Ceraso provided a quick recap of what they have lined up...

123 St. Mark's Place, the former Mr. White

"We are planning an American grill with our partner Chad Shaner as the executive chef. Chad is an alum of Gotham Bar and Grill and Union Square Cafe and most recently with his own restaurant, Freeks Mill in Brooklyn," Ceraso said. "The grill will focus more on naturally raised meats and steaks."

[Photo by Steven]

The unnamed-for-now restaurant has proposed hours of 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., according to the questionnaire on file at the CB3 website. The space will accommodate 20 tables for up to 50 diners as well as an eight-seat bar.

Mr. White, the upscale, New Orleans-themed restaurant, closed in January after less than a year in business.


[132 1st Ave.]

132 First Ave., former VBar, current Waiting on a Friend

On the southeast corner of First Avenue and St. Mark's Place, Ceraso is planning on a second location of his all-day restaurant, the Wild Son, which opened on the West Side near the High Line in June 2016.

Ceraso said the Wild Son "focuses on vegetable-driven small plates, salads, sandwiches and homemade pastas at night and breakfast/brunch foods all day seven days a week in the mornings and afternoons."

As such, the proposed hours are 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, per the questionnaire on the CB3 website.

Here's a look at the evening menu...

[Click for more detail]

The owner of the building, who was born and raised on St. Mark's Place, "was adamant that she didn’t want a nightlife concept there, so the Wild Son was a perfect fit," he said. (In addition, a partner in this project is also the GM across the street at Good Night Sonny who lives on the block "and is always available to oversee the goings on.")

The Rolling Stones-themed Waiting on a Friend opened back in the fall, taking over the space from Colibri and VBar before that. The Vbar's original 10-year lease is expiring.

Back to Ceraso and his plans: "We think that the two concepts really balance each other out and we’re excited to be able to bring both to the block."

The CB3-SLA meeting is tonight at 6:30. The location: the Public Hotel, 17th Floor, Sophia Room, 215 Chrystie St. between Houston and Stanton.

On the CB3-SLA docket tonight: Jimmy's No. 43, Luthun, Outpost Brewhouse, Headless Widow

[The currently closed Jimmy's No. 43]

Here are a few of the applicants on CB3's SLA committee docket tonight for new liquor licenses (find the full agenda at this link) ...

• Paloma Rocket, 41 E. Seventh St.

We've mentioned this one before. Jimmy Carbone is collaborating with Graham Winton of Paloma Rocket for a new venture in the currently-closed Jimmy's No. 43 on Seventh Street.

As Carbone told us last year: "Operation-wise, it will pretty much be the same — the same Jimmy's vibe." The menu will feature Carbone's pizza.

Carbone is currently recovering from a series of spinal surgeries after discovery of a previously undiagnosed staph infection that spread to his spine. Read more about his recovery here.

• Luthun, 432 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue

For more, let's head over to a preview that Jennifer Gould Keil had at the Post last month:

[C]hefs Nahid Ahmed and Arjuna Bull have joined forces to open their first restaurant, Luthun, this spring.

Named for Ahmed’s mother — the name means “something new and unexpected” in Bengali — the 800-square-foot restaurant will have 30 seats in the former Teshigotoya space ...

The global menu is influenced by the countries and top eateries where the chefs have worked — from Lespinasse and Café Gray to El Bulli, The French Laundry and The Fat Duck.

The plan is to offer two tasting menus, one of which would be vegetarian, both seasonally driven and well-priced along with a small and “world-focused” wine list, the chefs say.

You can find the questionnaire with more details at the CB3 website. Here.

• Outpost Brewhouse, 503 E. Sixth St.

The applicants for this space at 503 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B were on the January docket, but scratched.

The premise has changed a bit from what we saw in January. The proposal now calls for an all-day establishment called Outpost Brewhouse.

According to the questionnaire posted on the CB3 website, the proposed hours are Monday-Tuesday (3 p.m. to 4 a.m., Wednesday-Saturday (7 a.m. to 4 a.m.) and Sunday (8 a.m. to 2 a.m.)

There's a mission statement of sorts on the questionnaire that notes: "As longtime locals, the management and owners want to create a space for young families, longtime residents and neighbors to enjoy some elements the community has been lacking over the years. We aim to implement a brighter space to a dark street and to contradict all of the dark 'corner bars' on the street and neighborhood."

They go to describe Outpost Brewhouse as "a destination for young families and professionals that enjoy some of the refined points in life in coffee, food, beer and cocktails."

The applicants have operated a handful of bars, including the Trading Post on John Street in the Financial District and the Globe on 23rd Street. Closer to home, the applicants also own Solas, a mainstay on the SantaCon circuit, on Ninth Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Cholo Noir, the Chicano-inspired bar-restaurant, was the last tenant here.

[EVG file photo]

• Headless Widow, 99 First Ave.

An applicant whose previous listed experience was as a bartender at Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C. is looking to open an establishment with a six-table sidewalk cafe called the Headless Widow. (Not sure of the origins for the name — an unpublished Washington Irving short story perhaps?)

The sample menu on file with the questionnaire shows a variety of pub-fare offerings — burgers, salads, sandwiches and main courses like the Headless Widow Fish and Chips. The proposed hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., with a 2 a.m. close Thursday through Saturday.

The corner space on First Avenue at Sixth Street was previously Umm Burger for 13 months.

The CB3 committee meeting is tonight at 6:30. Location: the Public Hotel, 17th Floor, Sophia Room, 215 Chrystie St. between Houston and Stanton.

Fine young cannabis: Hemp Werks now open on St. Mark's Place (ICYMI)

In case you missed one of the six or seven signs around the shop, Hemp Werks recently opened on the second floor at 31 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

The shop offers a variety of CBD/HEMP products.

This space was home to Kulture, the tattoo-piercings-jewelry-smoke shop.

File under St. Mark's Place, 2019.

Auriga Cafe announces itself on Avenue A

It has almost been a year to the date when we first heard that a diner was coming to 198 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street.

Back on Friday, the signage arrived for Auriga Cafe. The cafe comes courtesy of David Duran, who runs El Camion a storefront away on the corner at 12th Street.

Through the grapevine, we've heard that this has been slow going here for a variety of reasons, such as waiting for city permits and approvals as well as undoing the mess that the previous tenant, Empire Biscuit, left behind.

The storefront hasn't been in use since the Biscuiteers started peelin' potatoes in January 2016.

H/T to dwg, Christine C., Gojira and Lola Sáenz!

Now the Sidewalk looks closed

A quickie follow-up post from last week ... on Saturday, someone covered the windows with paper at the Sidewalk Bar and Restaurant on Avenue A at Sixth Street, which closed on Feb. 23...

Until Saturday, the place still looked open. The lights were on inside ... and there weren't any closed signs or farewell notes to patrons on the door or windows.... we spotted several people trying the front door then peering inside.

Anyway, the bar-restaurant-live-music venue has new owners, whose plans for the space haven't been made public yet.

Durden has not been open lately

[Photo last week by Steven]

Several EVG readers (H/T Laura!) have noted that Durden remained closed through the weekend ... and paper hangs in the windows of the "Fight Club"-inspired sports bar here on Second Avenue at 13th Street.

There's no word about any closure, temporary or permanent, on the bar's website or lightly used social media properties. (Yelp lists Durden as closed.)

A closure wouldn't be a surprise. Back in December, Curt Huegel, who runs a handful of bars-reaturants around the city, including Campagnola, Printers Alley, Galli and Bill's NYC, received the OK from CB3 for a new liquor license for the space. (The application stated that the new venture will serve "classic modern American" food.)

The paperwork at the CB3 website listed this as a "sale of assets."

Durden opened in October 2013 ... in space that previously housed the Nightingale Lounge.

Sunday, March 17, 2019


And on a discarded mattress on St. Mark's Place near Second Avenue, someone writes that the Sinaloa Cartel will avenge the death of recently murdered Gambino Crime Boss "Franky Boy" Cali...

Also written on the mattress: "Bed Bugs Are Fun!"

Thanks to @ImPaulGale for the photo...

Week in Grieview

[St. Patrick's Day weekend on 2nd Avenue via Derek Berg]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

Good Records NYC is closing, though the shop will continue to sell vinyl as Stranded Records (Monday)

A visit to Sixth Street Specials (Friday)

Photos: 'Best Wishes' from Harley Flanagan at the Pyramid Club (Wednesday)

A Repeat Performance, until July 31 (Wednesday)

Art on A Gallery closing this summer after 7 years (Tuesday)

Report: New York Attorney General intervenes to stop eviction of tenants in Raphael Toledano-owned building on 13th Street (Thursday)

The Annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant returns to the neighborhood for its 20th edition (Monday)

The FDNY honors fire marshal Christopher T. Zanetis in plaque ceremony on 2nd Street (Friday)

Todaro Bros. is closing April 2, ending 102 years of business (Thursday)

Hanoi House expanding on St. Mark's Place (Monday)

Cold case: New information sought in the 23-year-old murder of Second Avenue Deli owner Abe Lebewohl (Friday)

An outpost of Original Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches arrives on Avenue A and 13th Street (Wednesday)

Station on 10th Street along Tompkins Square Park now one of the largest in the Citi Bike system (Wednesday)

Tree Bistro is returning after October fire (Thursday)

Reminders: the Ottendorfer Library is back open (Monday)

This week's NY See (Monday)

Christmas is coming to 10th Street thanks to 'Mr. Robot' (Wednesday)

Van Đa brings modern Vietnamese cuisine to 4th Street (Friday)

Report: MTA commits to a shorter work day for the 14th Street L-train rehab (Friday)

Chinese Graffiti now open at 171 Avenue A (Friday)

Coming soon signage spotted for Plado on 2nd Street (Tuesday)

The Black Emperor has arrived on 2nd Avenue (Thursday)

The building housing the now-closed Sidewalk remains for sale on Avenue A (Wednesday)

Another look at that 5th Street ghost signage (Wednesday)

1st of the new businesses at 20 Avenue A is now open (Monday)

Wattle Cafe joins forces with Pure Green at 152 2nd Ave. (Tuesday)

Perk Espresso and Coffee Bar opens this week on 14th Street (Monday)

Former No Malice Palace for rent on 3rd Street (Monday)

... and on Friday, students from several East Village schools came to Tompkins Square Park in support of the National Youth Climate Strike ...

[Derek Berg]


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The fight to keep Church of the Nativity from becoming luxury housing

[Photo from yesterday]

ICYMI from Thursday ... Elizabeth Kim at Gothamist has a feature on the Cooper Square Community Land Trust's efforts to buy the Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue for use as low-income housing.

An excerpt:

The land trust proposed a price of $18.5 million. Of that amount, $5 million would be paid to the archdiocese upon closing. The remainder, which would use a combination of federal tax credits and state and local funding, would be paid in installments over a 20-year period.

David Brown, the church’s director of real estate, told Val Orselli [a project director with Cooper Square Community Land Trust] he would get back to him.

Several months later, Orselli returned to Brown's office. In a show of support, representatives of city councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin, as well as the Manhattan regional representative from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, accompanied him.

But Brown was unmoved. The offer was insufficient, he told them. Among the sticking points was the land trust’s inability to pay upfront.

“He told me, ‘A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow,'” Orselli recalled.

Orselli took the rejection as a sign that the church, a tax-exempt institution, was more interested in getting top dollar for its property, which has been estimated as being worth as much as $50 million.

“I was a bit naive,” he said. Referring to the land trust’s pitch to do something with the property that was aligned with papal doctrines, he added, “They couldn’t care less.”

The Church closed after a service on July 31, 2015, merging with Most Holy Redeemer on Third Street. In the summer of 2017, the archdiocese desacralized the former church, clearing the way for a potential sale of the desirable property.

The Cooper Square Community Land Trust is currently organizing a town hall this May with Community Board 3 to discuss "how decommissioned churches can be best utilized by the Archdiocese and the communities they once served." Something other than demolishing them to make way for ultra-luxury condos.

Meanwhile, as Curbed reported in February, the Archdiocese of New York is considering a proposal to turn the 300,000-square-foot property that housed Saint Emeric on 13th Street, which includes a former school, over to a land trust for 400 units of below-market-rate housing.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Looking at the Church of Saint Emeric on East 13th Street

From St. Emeric's to St. Brigid's

Educator: Turning the former Church of the Nativity into luxury housing would be a 'sordid use' of the property

March 17, 8:30 a.m., 15 E. 7th St.

As you may have noticed, today is St. Patrick's Day. As of 8:30 a.m., there wasn't a line [yet] for McSorley's over on Seventh Street. Everyone is at mass?

McSorley's opens at 11.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Ghost signage reveal at the former Raul Candy Store

Someone has removed the Raul Candy Store sign from 205 Avenue B between 12th Street and 13th Street.

And as this photo by Gojira shows, there's ghost signage now on the storefront for Gift Shop and Cosmetics. Raul opened here in 1981, so it's presumably from the previous tenant.

As for Raul Candy Store, Raul Santiago, 75, and his wife Petra Olivieri, 70, decided to retire, closing up on Feb. 28.

'Webster' call

Been awhile since we noted one of the 1980s-throwback murals on the gate at Mikey Likes It, 199 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street. Back on Tuesday, Andre Trenier created this mural of Webster to coincide with the ice cream shop's flavor of the month...

Saturday morning scenery

A sunrise shot from Avenue A and Seventh Street at Tompkins Square Park ... and last night's gentle downpour refreshed the restorative reflection pond along Avenue A...

Friday, March 15, 2019


Reptaliens: Resurrection

"Shuggie II" is the first single from Valis, the second record from Reptaliens that's out on April 26 via CapturedTracks.

You can also catch the psych-pop band on a bill at Brooklyn Steel on May 6.

The FDNY honors fire marshal Christopher T. Zanetis in plaque ceremony on 2nd Street

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

Today the FDNY and city honored Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis with a plaque dedication ceremony at Engine Company 28, Ladder 11 on Second Street between Avenue B and Avenue C.

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

Zanetis was a fire marshal and U.S. Air Force Major who was killed in a helicopter crash in Western Iraq one year ago today. He was 37. Zanetis was on leave from the department, where he had been a marshal in the Bureau of Fire Investigation.

After graduating from NYU, he was appointed as a firefighter in 2004, and was assigned to the station house on Second Street. He was promoted to fire marshal in 2013.

[Via the FDNY]

H/T Salim!

Previously on EV Grieve:
The FDNY remembers fire marshal Christopher T. Zanetis on 2nd Street

A visit to Sixth Street Specials

Interview and photos by Stacie Joy

I’m crawling through a hole in the ground to meet Hugh Mackie, owner of Sixth Street Specials motorcycle repair shop. It’s the steep ramp underground where people bring their cycles to be diagnosed and repaired here at 703 E. Sixth St. between Avenue C and Avenue D.

Apparently there is an upstairs shop, a place that doesn’t require hunkering my way down through an unlighted tunnel beyond two wooden doors (all while wearing a lot of camera equipment) but I missed the memo.

Downstairs the space is huge — it runs a reported 100 feet back — and it’s filled with cycles, parts, neatly stacked organized tools and many empty or nearly empty cups of tea. Mackie drinks a lot of tea.

Upstairs the shop is filled with more bikes, parts and tools, as well as artwork (including a signed Salvador Dali and pieces from one of Mackie’s kids) and mementos of Mackie’s many years racing and of his friends, especially Indian Larry. The place is filled with memories and stories, and Mackie is an excellent storyteller.

He introduces me to mechanic Fumihisa Matsueda, who is busy at work crouched by an Italian Laverda, lit with a portable task work lamp and a small space heater.

Mackie answers some questions I had about photos of my grandfather’s custom bikes from the 1930s, and casually continues the interview even after being stabbed in the finger by an engine part. He calmly wraps the bleeding digit with some electrical tape and tells me a bit about his history on Sixth Street.

How long have you been here?

The shop opened here in 1986, and I moved into the building [Mackie lives upstairs with his wife] in 1998. This building used to be a nail factory back in the day.

What made you choose the East Village as your shop’s home?

I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1981. The location was abandoned empty lots back then, and squats, and the rent was good. In SoHo, lofts were filling up and artists were looking to the East Village. Typical East Village history.

We were the first business on the block that wasn’t drugs or prostitution back then. Artist Charles Keller lived on the third floor of this building and my friend Edgar lived in a blue van outside. We used to run an electrical cord to him in the winter so he could keep warm.

Do you still have customers from the early days on Sixth Street? What’s your typical customer like these days?

Very few from the old days are left. Sadly, they don’t live here anymore. The customer base changed. Still there are folks who ride vintage bikes all over the East Coast. They send their bikes here to be repaired. We make rent servicing new Triumphs. The company closed in the 1980s and revamped in the 1990s and is making new Bonneville models.

In Manhattan, if you need to service a bike you can’t do it yourself and can’t do it on the street. There are no more bike shops! Very few automotive places left at all. We’re one of the last shops. We also service older bikes to make our bread and butter. Millennials are the ones buying these new bikes. Those old enough to have graduated college and afford a bike — that helps keep our doors open.

How have you been able to stay in that space for so long with rents being what they are and buildings being sold left and right?

We have a good relationship with the landlord. It used to be back here you don’t ask for anything and the landlord doesn’t provide anything, you fend for yourself. Things are different now. Rent has gone up in quantum leaps. The landlord’s sons have taken over.

This building used to have four tenants, one on each floor. Now one is an Airbnb: things are subdivided and sublet, people taking in more roommates. When a tenant leaves or is forced out, the new tenant has to pay much more and then brings in other people to share the burden of cost. The building is overwhelmed now. Too many people flushing Bounty down the toilet pipes. Landlord profiteers and rent goes up.

As the neighborhood gets more and more gentrified, more agencies issues tickets and fines for repairs that are needed. This building has no super and I am on the ground floor so I end up having to patch things and fix those citations.

Any concerns about the shop’s long-term future?

Yes, absolutely! The last 10 years have been possible only due to the economic downturn/financial crisis in 2008. We’ve received a stay of execution.

What are your thoughts on the East Village of 2019?

It’s unrelated to what it was historically. Actually, that’s not the truth. It was built for immigrants. New people occupying everything. My own kids can’t afford to live here now.


Sixth Street Specials doesn't have a website or social media. If you want to know more about the shop, as Mackie tells me, just pick up the phone and call. “It’s a business, I answer the phone all the time!”