Monday, February 24, 2020

94-96 Avenue A wrapped ahead of 1-floor extension

[Photo from Friday]

Workers spent parts of this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday erecting a sidewalk bridge and scaffolding around the building on the northeast corner of Avenue A and Sixth Street.

As we reported last May, the newish owner of 94-96 Avenue A filed plans with the city for a one-floor extension at the building that previously housed Sidewalk Bar and Restaurant.

According to the approved work permit, there'll be an interior renovation of the fourth-floor apartments, and an addition of a fifth floor. The three buildings in this assemblage/zoning lot — 94 Avenue A, 96 Avenue A and 501 E. Sixth St. — will be combined into one, per the permit.

The building's current square footage will increase from 8,304 to 10,151. Despite the expansion, the taller No. 94-96 will have 10 residential units instead of the current 11. The filing also shows that there are plans for a roof deck.

This corner was home for 32-plus years to the Sidewalk, which closed in February 2019.

Penn South Capital paid $9.6 million for the property in March 2019, per public records. Pini Milstein, who retired, was the principal owner of the building as well as the operator of the Sidewalk.

A bar-restaurant called August Laura opened in the building's retail space last October.

Previously on EV Grieve:
1-floor expansion planned for Avenue A building that housed the Sidewalk

The building housing the former Sidewalk sells on Avenue A

New owners set to take over the 33-year-old Sidewalk Bar & Restaurant on Avenue A

Activity at the fire-damaged Cafe Mocha

This past week, workers covered up the windows at Cafe Mocha, which was wiped out by the three-alarm fire on Feb. 10 at 48 E. Seventh St./116 Second Ave.

Workers were also spotted removing debris from the retail space as well as the rest of the building (thanks to Steven for the photos on Friday)...

There is a full vacate on the property, though the city is allowing emergency work, including sealing the roof.

Cafe Mocha has taken a hopeful approach about possibly reopening. A sign on the door and a message on their Instagram account thanks neighbors and customers for their loyalty through the years.

[Photo from Feb. 15]

Meanwhile, on Seventh Street, the Italian restaurant Via Della Pace was also damaged. In an Instagram post on Feb. 11, management said that they were unsure whether they'd continue on with the business.

Based on the 300-plus comments on the post, many patrons hope to see them back.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Five firefighters were treated for minor injuries. None of the residents were said to be injured. One tenant of the building said on an EVG Facebook post that "all tenants and animals are safe and sound."

And no word on any type of crowdfunding campaigns for the displaced residents. Please let me know if you hear of any.

The Third Man has closed on Avenue C

Paper now covers the front door and windows at the Third Man, the cocktail bar at 116 Avenue C that shut down at the beginning of the month.

There isn't any official notice of a closing on the Third Man's website or social media properties. Google and Yelp list the space between Seventh Street and Eighth Street as permanently closed. (Several Instagram users noted the bar's last day was Feb. 1.)

This closure doesn't come as a surprise. Owners Eduard "Edi" Frauneder and Wolfgang "the Wolf" Ban also operated Edi & the Wolf on the next block. That Austrian restaurant closed last April due to "increasing operating costs."

The Third Man, with an early-20th-century-Vienna–theme (and a nod to the classic film), opened in December 2012.

Solidcore snaps up former ICP space on the Bowery

An outpost of the nationwide fitness chain solidcore is opening in the former home of the International Center of Photography's (ICP) home at 250 Bowery...

Here's a description of their popular workout via Well & Good:

It involves a megaformer, free weights, and a whole lot of being really, really mindful of the way you move your body. The method uses slow, controlled movements (“the slower the better!” is a common refrain in class) to burn out your slow-twitch muscles to the point of failure. The thinking is that this creates long, lean muscles over time.

This location just south of Houston Street debuts on March 7 ... in an area where more boutique gyms and studios have been opening.

The ICP cleared out of this space last summer ahead of a move to Essex Crossing.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A sign of spring (and summer)

Jen the bookseller is back at her usual spot on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place for the afternoon...

Photo by Steven

Week in Grieview

[Outside St. Stanislaus on 7th Street yesterday via Derek Berg]

Posts from this past week included...

• NYPD's body-cam footage shows the deadly police shooting on Avenue A and 7th Street from Jan. 9 (Friday)

• A Visit to Odessa Restaurant (Thursday)

• The Marshal seizes Hotel Tortuga (Tuesday)

• On second thought, Jiang Diner is moving back to 5th Street (Wednesday)

• Brooklyn Bean Roastery arrives on Avenue A (Tuesday)

• Last Dance: Lafayette Street live music venue closes tonight after just 4 months (Tuesday)

• Rock on: Remembering Bill Graham's Fillmore East (Wednesday)

• Tio Pio bringing its rotisserie chicken to 14th Street (Tuesday)

• Hearts for Gem Spa (Monday)

• Demolition watch: 183 Avenue B (Wednesday)

• Police looking for suspect who stole 3 Phase 2 paintings from Avenue C studio (Wednesday)

• Idlewild Coffee Co. coming to 5th Street (Friday)

• Chairnobyl (Wednesday)

• That Thai Direct renovation is taking longer than expected (Tuesday)

• Checking out the new International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing (Monday)

• MAD Toast House has gone out of business (Thursday)

• Change is coming to Kmart on Astor Place (Wednesday)

... and yesterday, EVG regular Lola Saénz spotted acclaimed photographers Janette Beckman (left) and Martha Cooper on Second Avenue...


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Desires: Food from the corner deli

A recent corner deli rebrand to note, one with a romance novel meets Food Network vibe.

ES Wholesome Food has new owners here at 226 E. Seventh St. at Avenue C... the deli is now called [drumroll] Your Desire in Food...

Your Desire serves a variety of wraps and sandwiches as well as offers the usual corner deli items [that you desire?].

The rebrand comes shortly after the shed/storage space on the Seventh Street side welcomed a palm reader as its new tenant ... this after several years as a gallery called the Stand...

[Photo from Feb. 9]

Previously on EV Grieve:
On Avenue C, market known for Cobra Malt Liquor giving way to Wholesome Foods

St. Mark's Place now free of this mobile boiler


And in posts that we didn't get around to posting this past week... the mobile boiler that had been sitting outside 56 St. Mark's Place between First Avenue and Second Avenue has finally left the block...


Seems as if the temp boiler was sitting there for years. Several readers on the block had complained about it — mostly because it wasn't even hooked up to the building for the longest time.

City records show that the permit for a new boiler was approved back in June.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Today in photos of a squirrel eating tomato sauce from a can in Tompkins Square Park

Cute alert! Thanks to Eden for the photos...

Previously on EV Grieve:
What other photos of squirrels eating things can we post?

Meanwhile, a squirrel with a coconut drink this morning in Tompkins Square Park

• Today in photos of squirrels carb loading in Tompkins Square Park

A moment with Christo on 9th Street

Late yesterday afternoon, after a failed attempt to snatch a pigeon midair, Christo stopped for a moment on Ninth Street and Avenue A ... staring down some locals, including Steven, who snapped these photos ...

... and showing off those tail feathers...

Christo and Amelia, the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, have been active of late as they're prepping their nest(s) for summering in 2020. Goggla, as always, is documenting their movement. Find her photo site here.

Last weekend for this depiction of 1980s Times Square at Howl! Happening

Jane Dickson’s exhibit, "Hot, Hot, Hot," ends its residency at Howl! Happening tomorrow (Sunday!).

The show features "a series of rarely seen and moody paintings of Times Square peep shows from the 1980s." And here's more via the Howl! website:

Dickson’s history and legacy are rooted in Times Square. She worked and lived there from 1978 to 2008 documenting her daily lived experiences and observations as a young woman. In photos, drawings, and paintings that utilize unconventional industrial and domestic materials as surfaces — including carpet, sandpaper, and black plastic bags—she captured a time and place that was notoriously lawless, squalid, and vibrantly alive.

Read more about her work at this link.

Howl! Happening is at 6 E. First St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

The hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow.


I like her work and backstory... here's more via an interview from January 2019...

Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday's parting shot

Late afternoon on Avenue A... photo by Steven...

Discarded Mannequin Butt

Spotted on Avenue C at Fifth Street this evening by @Jason_Chatfield ...

To here knows when

NYC's Peel Dream Magazine has a new record, Agitprop Alterna, due out on April 3 via Slumberland. The video here is for Pill. RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, (early) Stereolab and Rocketship.

EVG Etc.: The story behind the Hard Swallow on 1st Avenue; the return of Citi Bike's e-bikes

[A St. Mark's Place classic]

Coronavirus fears in Chinatown (The Guardian)

The story of how Sasha and Lee Lloyd "overcame abuse, homelessness, depression, and betrayal" to open The Hard Swallow on First Avenue (Vice ... previously on EVG)

Citi Bike's e-bikes gradually return to the fleet (Streetsblog NYC)

Amelia and Christo are keeping busy in Tompkins Square Park (Laura Goggin Photography)

The emerging designers at pop-up Café Forgot on Sixth Street (i-D)

In case you hadn’t noticed: With the rise in streaming services, more TV shows are filming now in NYC (CNN)

About "Our Friend, Jean," an exhibit featuring a sampling of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early works from a group of collectors who knew him intimately (hyperallergic)

The Lowline, the proposed subterranean green space on the LES, remains dormant for now (The Lo-Down)

The history of the LES through music (The New York Times)

Norman’s Sound & Vision, which left the East Village in 2012, has closed its shop in Williamsburg (Brownstoner)

Blinded by Extell's One Manhattan Square (Gothamist)

A retrospective of the groundbreaking artist Ed Emshwiller (Anthology Film Archives)

And happening this evening... via the EVG inbox...

Winter's low visibility conditions make for a difficult time to bike, commute or walk your dog in traffic.

Join Transportation Alternatives for a #DoggyDaylighting Awareness event at Boris and Horton to support life-saving street redesigns that can increase safety for our most vulnerable road users.

FREE! #DoggyDaylighting Awareness Event for the Bike Avenue B campaign
Friday, Feb. 21 @ 5:30-7 p.m.
Boris & Horton, 195 Avenue A (at 12th Street)
**Dogs are not required for the event, but their participation is welcome indoors at this dog-friendly venue.

NYPD's body-cam footage shows the deadly police shooting on Avenue A and 7th Street from Jan. 9

[Screengrab via the NYPD]

The NYPD yesterday released the dramatic body-worn camera footage from the deadly police-involved shooting early on Jan. 9 at Seventh Street and Avenue A.

As previously reported, two men, identified as Earl Facey and Richard Reid, got into an argument inside the Hayaty Hookah Bar at 103 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

The fight escalated outside the club, when the two men — each reportedly carrying a .22 caliber handgun — fired at each other in a wild exchange that left bullet holes in adjacent businesses. (The video the NYPD released yesterday includes surveillance footage of the two men shooting at each other.)

The chase ended in front of 113 Avenue A, the address of Ray's Candy Store, where Facey was said by police to shoot Reid in the torso. Two uniformed officers who were on patrol nearby shot Facey on the northwest corner of Avenue A and Seventh Street. Facey later died at Bellevue.

The release of the body-cam footage and subsequent narrative offered by the NYPD provides more details about the deadly encounter. In the video, the officers from the 9th Precinct are identified as Liam Murphy and Christopher McLaughlin. The officers arrived as Facey shot Reid, according to Det. Martin Brownlee of the NYPD's Public Information Division who narrates the video.

Facey did not comply with commands to drop his weapon and lie on the ground, Brownlee said. "He walked away from the officers still holding his firearm with his hands in front of him..."

According to Brownlee, as Facey walked south on Avenue A, "he outstretched his left arm." At this point, both officers fired at Facey. He was struck in the left hand and back, and fell to the ground in the crosswalk. Murphy fired two rounds and McLaughlin one.

The NYPD said that they are "releasing this video for clear viewing of the totality of the incident."

The video contains disturbing images — viewer discretion is advised.

As we exclusively reported on Jan. 10, Francisco Valera, a photographer and photojournalist/videographer, who lives in a front-facing apartment on Avenue A at Seventh Street, captured the aftermath of the shooting.

He shared this two-minute video that shows the moments after both Facey and Reid were shot. (The first 15 seconds of the video were filmed sideways.) In the clip below, two officers have their guns drawn, crouching behind a trashcan, looking toward Facey, in the green jacket lying in the intersection.

An unidentified voice can be heard yelling "two shooters down" and telling officers to "holster up." Officers can also be heard commanding passersby to "back off" multiple times.

In the street outside 113 Avenue A, officers are performing CPR on Reid, on his back in the white jacket. An unidentified man is seen pleading with the police. "Officer, please put him in a car. Put him in the car — you don't have a fucking second!" The sounds of an ambulance can be heard in the distance. The man turns to the north on Avenue A toward the approaching ambulance. He pleads with the officers again to take Reid to a hospital in an NYPD vehicle: "There's traffic because of this! What the fuck are you all doing!"

Viewer discretion is advised.

Police have said that both men were reputed gang members and have been linked to prior shootings.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Exclusive: Video shows chaotic moments after fatal shootings on Avenue A

Idlewild Coffee Co. coming to 5th Street

There's a new tenant for the empty retail space at 300 E. Fifth St. at Second Avenue ... a sign is now on the door for Idlewild Coffee Co. ...

Idlewild takes over from another coffee shop — Southern Cross Coffee, which closed this past September after two and half years in service.

No word on who the owners are at the moment. They do have a placeholder website up...

Thanks to Steven for the photos and tip!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday's parting shot

Door to door on Avenue A today via Derek Berg...

A Visit to Odessa Restaurant

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

When Dennis Vassilatos and I set a date and time for me to interview him and take pictures at Odessa Restaurant, 119 Avenue A between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place, the nighttime manager figures that after 9 on a chilly Tuesday will work. He expected this to be a quiet time, which would give him a chance to talk for a few minutes.

However, when I arrive, the phone keeps ringing, the fax machine keeps spewing out orders, and the Seamless app tablet pings on the regular.

I listen as customers phone in specific orders: two Odessa burgers delivered, must be well-done, with extra ketchup. This person calls back to remind Dennis that they need extra ketchup. There's a Turkey Club to stay, plus a newspaper to pass the time. Dennis searches behind the counter for suitable reading material. One order of mashed potatoes with brown gravy and a side of broccoli to go, which Dennis wraps up with a smile.

Dennis, 64, loves the neighborhood and speaks with appreciation about his customers, saying he’s never had an argument, that he can “get along with the stones.” He likes his regulars especially. “They order the same food each time and value consistency.”

Dennis thinks of them like family. “The guys in the kitchen, they already know what to make when they see a regular coming. Makes things easy! The new, young people mostly come in on the weekend... They are not demanding and pretty easy-going with minimal problems.”

After one more order comes in — waffle fries with hot sauce — Dennis has a moment to talk about his time at Odessa, an Avenue A mainstay since the 1960s.

How long have you worked here?

Almost 30 years now — since 1990.

How did you come to work at Odessa?

I came to America almost 45 years ago, in 1976. I was born on a Greek island called Kefalonia, and I had been studying economics, but when I took the college tests I scored only good enough to become a bookkeeper.

I came here on an F1 visa and studied at the New York Institute of Technology for three and a half years ... but I needed money so I answered an ad in a Greek newspaper for a summer job, and never went back to school. I worked as a manager in a West Village restaurant called Tiffany, which is now a bank. Then another place uptown before coming here to Odessa. Been here ever since.

I work nights, so I am not sure I’d be called a manager. Managers are daytime people, to make orders for food and supplies. Daytime stuff. But I assume all the responsibilities of a manager.

How long has the “new” Odessa been open?

It opened in April 1995.

When did the first Odessa open next door? (The original location closed in August 2013.)

In the 1960s, although it got a new owner in 1980 or so.

What is the most-popular item or items on the menu?

By far the Odessa Combination Dinner — pierogies, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa with sauerkraut and potato pancake. Eastern European foods. Our Greek food like spinach pie with Greek salad is also popular. And in American foods the familiar breakfast stuff like challah French toast, pancakes. Also, people like burgers.

Do you have any archival photos of Odessa somewhere in an office or drawer?

No! I wish I did. Back then people didn’t carry cameras everywhere. I am always asking customers if they have photos but no one ever does. I would like to see them.

Your chance to visit a library in a coffee shop today

As we've noted, the folks from the Tompkins Square Library on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B have been bringing their pop-up cafe branch to Ninth Street Espresso — the location a few doors away at 341 E. 10th St. — on a bimonthly basis

This is happening again today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

EVG regular Greg Masters shared the above photo and this recap after the branch's visit on Feb. 6:

The Tompkins Square Library is bringing its collection to the people with a pop-up presence. Every other Thursday, from 11-1, librarian Alyona Glushchenkova, here seen with poet Jeff Wright, sets up shop with treasures to borrow at the Ninth Street Espresso.

Today’s selection included the script for the Robert Frank film "Pull My Daisy," a book on Richard Hell’s LP Blank Generation, Ken Schless’s photo book "Invisible City," and Ed Sanders’ "Tales of Beatnik Glory," as well as the new issue of Live Mag, Wright’s poetry/art magazine.

With each visit, the library will offer books about the neighborhood, its history, culture and artists. You may even check them out right from Ninth Street Espresso.

And upcoming library-Ninth Street Espresso dates:

• Thursdays, March 5 and 19, 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
• Thursdays, April 9 and 23, 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
• Thursdays, May 7 and 21, 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A visit to the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street

Trash talk on 7th Street

Someone has made homemade signs pointing out who is managing the buildings on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue where the trash routinely overflows on the sidewalk...

The signs are in front of buildings owned by the Kushner Companies and managed by its subsidiary Westminster, per a tipster on the block... (they note "A Kushner Production")

Per the tipster: "They refuse to hire a super on Sundays to prevent this mess every week. And the fine from sanitation is less than what they’d pay him anyway. Saving money by trashing the hood."

Last March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Kushner Companies, formerly led by current White House adviser Jared Kushner, planned to sell five of the 30-plus buildings in their East Village portfolio.

The company was also accused of illegally operating nine apartment buildings in the East Village and Williamsburg, according to an investigation by City Council member Ritchie Torres and the watchdog group Housing Rights Initiative. A DOB spokesperson told the Associated Press that the issues stemmed from "paperwork lapses" and characterized the investigation as "pure grandstanding."