Monday, March 25, 2019

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's the latest installment — panel No. 40 — 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.

There's not much left of the former St. Denis Hotel on Broadway

[Photo by Dave on 7th]

Workers have been slowing bringing down the historic St. Denis building, 799 Broadway at 11th Street.

The above photo via Dave on 7th shows what's left. Workers started the demo prep work back in September.

Normandy Real Estate Partners bought the property for somewhere in the $100 million ballpark back in 2016.

On March 14, the city OK'd permits for the 12-story, "loft-style building" taking the place of the St. Denis. According to a news release about the address: "799 Broadway will feature floor-to-ceiling glass, private terraces, and 15 foot high ceilings. This combination of highly desirable location and state-of-the-art design will appeal to New York’s most progressive and creative companies."

And a rendering of the new building...

[Binyan Studios]

The nearly demolished structure, which was 165 years old, was noteworthy for many reasons. It opened in 1853 as the St. Denis Hotel, which is where Ulysses S. Grant wrote his post-Civil War memoirs and Alexander Graham Bell provided the first demonstration of the telephone to New Yorkers.

However, the building was not landmarked... and it was not in a Historic District.

For more history, Jeremiah Moss, who once worked in the St. Denis, wrote this feature titled "The Death and Life of a Great American Building" for The New York Review of Books in March 2018.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Maps show that Midtown South does NOT include the East Village/Astor Place

Report: Former St. Denis Hotel selling for $100 million

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

The Asian Taste awning has arrived on 3rd and B; China Wok redux?

[Photo by Salim]

On Saturday, EVG regular Salim reported that workers put in place the new awning for Asian Taste (hello Choc font!), coming soon to the space on the northwest corner of Avenue B and Third Street.

There is an unconfirmed reader report that Asian Taste is from the same family who ran the previous establishment here, the quick-serve China Wok that closed in early December. (A reader also spotted one of the former China Wok cooks helping with the sign.)

Upon its closure in December, there were rumors that the business was Cromanated via landlord Steve Croman. The for-rent sign arrived in mid-December.

Whatever the case, the family felt good enough to return to this corner.

[Photo Saturday evening by Harold Chester]

Timna announces April 14 closing date on St. Mark's Place

Timana, the Israeli-Mediterranean restaurant at 109 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue, is closing after service on April 14.

Chef Nir Mesika shared the news on the restaurant's Instagram page Friday:

Four years ago, I‘ve had an idea to cook modern Israeli food, to open a small place with a small but dedicated staff.

We have invested all our energy in cooking and hospitality, bringing the Israeli essence and character to the plate, here in NYC. Timna was created out of thin air, built with our own hands. We’ve always kept our modesty and our feet on the ground. I promised myself and my clients that everything will be at the highest standards, to best of my ability (and budget), whether it's the food, our attitude toward the customers, and the employees who work with us.

Unfortunately, after four amazing but undoubtfully challenging years, we are forced to close Timna.

The restaurant will remain open until April 14th — so come and celebrate with us the years that we’ve had, and those that still await all of us.

This is undeniably a very difficult decision, which I did not really want to make but was really forced to make. Financial issues and all sort of disagreements have led me to deal with running the restaurant without support, to such extent that it can no longer be sustained.

I know that many people will miss Timna, I certainly will, but I choose to remember all the good things, embrace and learn from the bad, and realize that there is no choice but to move on to the next big thing.

I would like to thank my beloved staff who accompanied me all these years, each of you have added character and color to this place called Timna, and of course a huge thanks to our customers, coming from afar or from across the street. Each and every one of you who walked into the restaurant in these past four years would make me excited every day that you’ve chosen to dine at Timna.

Timna opened in April 2015 in space that was formerly an outpost of the mini-chain of Hummus Place restaurants.

H/T Vinny & O!

Japanese cafe pops up on 4th Street

Yon Chome is now open at 233 E. Fourth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B...

The pop-up cafe — here for at least a month — is serving matcha lattes, sencha tea and other Japanese-style drinks and snacks...

Until last September, this small space was home to Matcha Cafe Wabi for three years.

Croissanteria is closing on Avenue A

Croissanteria, the bakery and cafe offering coffee and a croissant-centric menu, is wrapping up nearly seven years at 68 Avenue A between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

On Friday, an EVG reader noted a sign on the door saying the shop was closing in the next few days. On Saturday, that sign was gone, replaced by a notice of an auction ("everything for sale"), which takes place April 1 at 1 p.m.

The last day is said to be Wednesday.

The cafe opened in October 2012.

H/T Steven and SB

After bankruptcy auction, 113 E. 2nd St. returns to market for $1.1 million more

A for-sale sign has been posted outside the townhouse at 113 E. Second St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Just last month, as The Real Deal reported, an entity called 180 Source Realty LLC bought the property for $7.4 million in a bankruptcy auction.

Apparently 180 Source Realty LLC — property records list its manager as Michael Lavian — isn't keeping the five-story, two-family home: it hit the market last week for $8.4 million.

Here's a bit of the listing via Leslie J. Garfield:

Number 113 is currently configured as a two-family with a former performance space in the garden floor. This stately red brick townhome features incredible ceiling heights throughout, a spacious garden, and an open layout chef’s kitchen. The upper quadruplex features 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and the parlor floor unit is a charming 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. With no buildings obstructing light on either side of the house, light flows through both the front and rear facades.

The townhouse was once home to Phil Hartman and Doris Kornish, the founders of the Two Boots empire, and had been the center of a protracted divorce battle, as the Post reported in October 2017. At that time, the asking price was $10.5 million.

The home has a little less shade these days: the tree outside the property was recently cut down...

Moroccan arts and crafts for this 9th Street storefront

[Photos by Steven]

Newspaper has covered the windows of the storefront at 428 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue of late ... and now, as this photo via Steven shows, a coming soon sign is up for the next business — Moroccan arts and crafts (not sure if that is the actual name of the shop or just what they'll sell — or both!) ...

A vegan cafe called V ❤️ U was set to open here in 2018, though those plans never materialized.

Until late 2017, this retail spot was home to Mr. Throwback. The seller of 1990s-era sports apparel, retro sneakers, video games and toys moved across the street to a new space.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Remembering the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire 108 years later

Tomorrow marks the 108th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire ... ahead of that, volunteers were out today taking part in the chalking project (organized by Street Pictures), writing the name and age of the victims in front of the buildings where they lived on the Lower East Side.

[EVG reader photo from 2nd Avenue]

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the largest industrial disaster in the city's history ... causing the death of 146 garment workers (mostly young women) who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths.

The Triangle Waist Company was located on the northwest corner of Greene Street and Washington Place just east of Washington Square Park.

Find more information on ceremonies tomorrow at The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition website.

At the start of the 3 Blind Mice alley cat for Aurilla Lawrence

Friends of cyclist Aurilla Lawrence held a 3 Blind Mice alley cat in her honor yesterday. The ride also served as a benefit for Lawrence (aka Aurilla Gorilla), a 25-year-old bicycle messenger who was fatally struck by a hit-and-run truck driver in Williamsburg on Feb. 28. (Read more about her here.)

Derek Berg shared these photos at the start of the race in Tompkins Square Park yesterday afternoon...

Lawrence's friends are also planning to adopt a bench in her name in Tompkins Square Park.

Week in Grieview

[Not new high atop the Village East theater on 2nd Avenue]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

Probation for plumber indicted in deadly 2nd Avenue gas explosion (Thursday)

Local elected officials urging the MTA/DOT to keep local service in M14 SBS plan (Friday)

A visit to Peter Jarema Funeral Home on 7th Street (Friday)

A good egg in Tompkins Square Park? Hatch watch for red-tailed hawks Amelia and Christo (Thursday)

At the 10th Annual Zoroastrian Fire Jumping event at La Plaza Cultural (Wednesday)

The mystery of Moishe's (Thursday)

Y Cafe has closed on Avenue B (Monday)

RIP East River Park (Thursday)

Kushner selling 5 East Village buildings; report cites illegal occupation in EV properties (Wednesday)

This week's NY See (Monday)

2 reports of fires (Monday)

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

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

Team behind the Wayland and the Wild Son eyes St. Mark's Place for 2 restaurants (Monday)

Auriga Cafe announces itself on Avenue A (Monday)

Paper Daisy debuts on St. Mark's Place (Wednesday)

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

Now the Sidewalk looks closed (Monday)

Jiang Diner coming soon to 5th Street (Wednesday)

Now-closed Classic Man Barber Lounge space for rent on 9th Street (Friday)

Village Square Pizza debuts on Avenue A (Friday)

"To all the young geniuses breaking into this building" (Tuesday)

Shibuyala softly opens on St. Mark's Place (Friday)

Comedy gold? Upright Citizens Brigade selling off contents from its former East Village theater (Thursday)

Food for thought: Milk Bar's Crack Pie is not a cute name, critic says (Wednesday)

Durden has not been open lately (Monday)

... and this scene on Seventh Street was tentatively titled "Mix-n-Match"...

[Photo by Derek Berg]


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HBD Lawrence Ferlinghetti at Howl! Happening

Lawrence Ferlinghetti turns 100 today ... and Howl! Happening has a day of activities planned to honor the poet, painter, activist and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco.

Among the activities planned from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.: screenings of WNET's segment "USA: Poetry" and the documentary "Ferlinghetti" as well as readings by Ed Sanders, Hettie Jones, David Henderson, Eileen Myles, Bob Holman, Anne Waldman, Helixx C. Armageddon, Puma Perl, Maggie Dubris and Michael McClure (via video) along with performances by Eric Andersen, Len Chandler and Lenny Kaye.

The day will include a launch of Ferlinghetti’s new novel "Little Boy."

Find more details at this link. Howl! happening is at 6 E. First St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Last day for Good Records NYC on 5th Street

Good Records NYC bows out today after 14 years in the East Village.

However, as previously reported, the storefront here on Fifth Street between Second Avenue and Cooper Square will remain a like-minded shop specializing in used and vintage vinyl.

On April 1, Stranded Records, a San Francisco-based store that runs the Superior Viaduct label, is expected to take over the space at 218 E. Fifth St.

In an Instagram post on March 9, Good Records owner Jonny Sklute noted that "lots of things will remain the same," including most of the staff — and inventory.

Gothamist had more earlier this month:

It's not as though business wasn't good — Sklute told Gothamist that the store had their best sales year ever in 2017. "It was just time," he told us over the phone. Originally from the west coast, he moved back there with his family two years ago after over two decades in NYC. He said he was "burnt" from 14 years of keeping the shop open, also noting high rents in the area. "Eventually it just became way too costly and way too difficult to try and run a small little shop," he said.

Sklute said that the folks at Stranded Records were looking to expand to NYC, so this scenario worked out for everyone involved.

The posted hours today are from noon to 7 p.m.

Previously on Ev Grieve:
Good Records NYC is closing, though the shop will continue to sell vinyl as Stranded Records

Tompkins Square Park, 7:46 a.m., March 24

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday's parting shot

parking challenges on 11th Street...

On the avenues

Crane work is expected today on Second Avenue between Fifth Street and Sixth Street... EVG reader Daniel notes that the posted signs warn against parking on Second Avenue between "5th Ave and 6th Ave." You've been warned.


Found lying on the sidewalk on Avenue B between 10th Street between 11th Street...

Photos submitted by Vinny & O...

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday's parting shot(s)

A new NYPL flag for the Ottendorfer branch on Second Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street...

Ottendorfer reopened on March 11 after a months-long renovation in which workers installed a new fire alarm and life-safety system.

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

Who let the Dogs out?

Tickets went on sale today for Adam Ant's Sept. 19 show at the Beacon Theater... Mr. Ant is playing the "Friend or Foe" album from 1982 in its entirety as well as other favorites from his tapestry of hits and misses.

The above video is for 1981's "Dog Eat Dog," his first top-10 hit.

A visit to Peter Jarema Funeral Home on 7th Street

Interview and photos by Stacie Joy

It’s not without some trepidation that I visit the Peter Jarema Funeral Home, 129 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

It’s probably totally normal to be weirded out by death and dying, but owner/managing director Danny Buzzetta puts me at ease immediately. He shows me around the chapel and the overflow room, carefully explaining the A/V system ...

... and then takes me upstairs to visit the casket showroom. The coffins are surprising in some ways: they have locks on the outside to avoid any “in-transit surprises” and they are very plush and comfortable inside. There are also different materials, colors and styles to choose from.

I get to admire some traditional red and gold Ukrainian vestments (the home was historically of service to the Ukrainian Orthodox community but is nondenominational), and Danny patiently answers my questions as we sit in the office. We talk about the history of the place, changes in modern-day loss and bereavement, and what’s next for the home (one of three along with Provenzano Lanza and R.G. Ortiz remaining in the neighborhood).

What can you tell us about the founder, Pietro Jarema? I read where he emigrated here from Austria in 1893.

Personally, I don’t know much on the history of the original Jaremas as these things weren’t written down and were lost over the generations. The handwritten archive books of Jarema Funeral Home are simply the funeral records themselves and back then — up until recent times really — very little was [legally] required to be kept, so the books themselves are hard to decipher, due to bad handwriting, and there’s also a lot of shorthand/initials that just don’t mean much to me trying to read it now.

The interesting part that I can decipher is basically the cost of a funerals from back in the early 1900s compared to now — it’s night and day.

Your father became the owner in 1987. Why did you decide to carry on with the business?

I am an only child, after finishing my B.A. at Binghamton University in accounting and working in a corporate office for nearly two years as an assistant auditor, I didn’t enjoy my job. I saw the opportunity of my father’s partner looking to retire as a better career move.

I went to American Academy McAllister Institute to complete my funeral director education and received my license. I’ve been the managing director/owner at Peter Jarema Funeral Home for nearly eight years now.

How do you handle the emotions of the job?

Handling the emotions can be difficult but part of this job is being able to provide caring and detailed-oriented service to the families that we serve. This is best done with my personal emotions not getting the best of me and allowing me to be clearly focused on the family’s needs.

What observations do you have about the East Village based on your experiences planning services with residents through the years?

The biggest observation is just how quickly the neighborhood can change. From businesses to residents it feels like both are coming and going at lightening pace. Trying to establish a relationship can be difficult when so quickly that business may be gone or that family may have moved away.

How has the typical customer changed over the years?

Our typical customers have changed in a few ways. First, many people are moving away from traditional funeral services and are looking for quicker and less-expensive options.

As an example: we rarely have two full-day viewings with mass and burial on the third day ... now customers are more likely to have a two-hour viewing in the morning, go to mass, and burial all in the same day. Or forgo the viewing all together and do a cremation in order to help alleviate the costs.

Second, the customer now is much more mobile/tech-savvy to where they will price shop one funeral home to another before they even set foot in the home to make arrangements. Of course, this goes hand in hand with all aspects of life as the internet and social media didn’t exist for most of the 113 years of Peter Jarema Funeral Home existence.

An ad is still visible on the side of Vazac's/the Horseshoe Bar at 108 Avenue B stating, in part, “Air Conditioned Chapels 129 E. 7th St. OR 4-2568.” Do you still receive queries about that?

We don’t ever get any inquiries about that old ad.

Real estate being what it is in NYC, especially the East Village, what is the long-term future of Peter Jarema Funeral Home?

My long-term future for Peter Jarema is to continue providing dignified and affordable services for decades to come. I have two young sons who I would love to pass along the opportunity to continue the family legacy and keep Jarema going for another 113 years.

Local elected officials urging the MTA/DOT to keep local service in M14 SBS plan

[EVG file photo]

Last month, the MTA presented a preliminary proposal for permanent M14 Select Bus Service (SBS) on 14th Street.

The Villager recently had a recap of that meeting, gleaned from attendees:

Currently, the new planned SBS route calls for fewer stops by the M14, particularly in the East Village and Lower East Side, as well as off-board ticketing. The MTA has not decided yet whether it will eliminate current M14A and M14D service following SBS implementation. But, officials at the meeting said the authority was “open” to that idea.

The elimination of service/stops along the M14A and M14D routes isn't sitting well with local elected officials.

This afternoon at 1, several of them — including City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh and State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein — along with other community leaders are gathering on the northwest corner of Avenue A and Fourth Street to call for "a new M14 Select Bus Service (SBS) plan that retains local bus service while creating a new, faster SBS alternative with fewer stops."

The rally comes on the heels of a letter urging the MTA and DOT (see below) for a "real M14 SBS."

Here's some background via the EVG inbox...

Community District 3, which encompasses most of the future M14 SBS route, is one of the most underserved transit areas of Manhattan, with 15 percent of our residents living more than half a mile from the nearest subway stop.

At the same time, this area is home to one of the 10 largest senior populations in New York City. These seniors rely on the current M14A/D to get to medical appointments, supermarkets, and social activities. If these individuals lose their local stops, many will also lose a critical connection to their community.

The current proposal also ignores the challenges that stop removal will pose for our neighbors living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and the 28 percent of residents of the Lower East Side and Chinatown who live below the Federal Poverty Level.

A real M14 SBS with supplemental, local service, would service these populations while improving on the proposed SBS plan, which is currently a clear compromise between a local route and a typical SBS route – meaning that the proposed M14 SBS will not have the “express” travel times that other routes have.