Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wednesday's parting shot

The late-afternoon shadows in Tompkins Square Park as caputured by EVG reader dwg today...

El Primo Red Tacos primed for 151 Avenue A

Renovations continue inside the north storefront at 151 Avenue A, where the first NYC outpost of Miami-based pop-up hit El Primo Red Tacos is in the works here between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

As the name suggests, El Primo specializes in "red tacos," which Eater Miami describes as "birria tacos dipped in a soup-like liquid that gives them a red glow." 

And more from Eater:
El Primo "focuses on one thing only: birria, beef shoulder that is slow cooked in a “red” stew made with tomatoes and seasonings. The chefs then fill tacos with the beef, which also stains the tortilla giving them that red color, and then serves it with a side of broth made with the birria cooking liquid to dip the tacos in."
Reps for owner Frank Neri, who hails from Tijuana, will appear before CB3's SLA committee on Aug. 22 for a new liquor license for the space. According to the questionnaire on file with CB3, the quick-serve spot will have seating for 10 guests inside. They also plan on getting the backyard space licensed, which could accommodate 28 people. Proposed hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, with a 3 a.m. close Thursday through Saturday. (The outdoor space would close at 10 p.m., per the questionnaire.) 

The questionnaire includes a menu from Miami...
El Primo's Instagram account lists a September opening for the East Village. 

The CB3 SLA meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 22. You can tune in via Zoom here.

This north storefront at 151 Avenue A has been vacant since Mamani Pizza, a 99-cent slice joint, closed in June 2017. (Because someone will mention it: San Loco was in the south storefront at No. 151 until February 2014.)

5 years later, signs of progress at 180 2nd Ave.

We're now into year number 5 of gut renovations at 180 Second Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street ... which has meant almost five years of a blocked bike lane and a section of Second Avenue ... not to mention a sidewalk bridge blocking out the light for sidewalk cafes at the restaurants on either side of the building — Pangea on the right and Cacio e Pepe on the left.

According to the previously approved work permits with the city, workers are converting the building to residential use and adding two floors — from five to seven — in the process. Permits show that there will be one residential unit on each floor. (Condos?)

As the top photo shows, workers appear to have started the framework for that seventh floor. (See below for a rendering of the all-new No. 180.)

As previously reported, dating to June 2017, the building was designed to earn LEED Platinum and Passive House certification, complete with a green roof with solar hot water panels for each residential unit.

The Chicago-based Polish National Alliance was the previous owner of No. 180. The building housed the Józef Pilsudski Institute of America, the largest Polish-American research institution specializing in the recent history of Poland and Central Eastern Europe. (They found a new home in Greenpoint.) According to public records, an LLC bought the building for $6.75 million in June 2014. City Realty listed the new owner as Robert Stern.

As for the ground-floor retail space, the Ninth Ward was the previous tenant. That New Orleans-themed bar closed in February 2016. The Ninth Ward was said to return to this space after the gut renovations, but that was in mid-2017.

Previously on EV Grieve:

A memorial for Jack the cat on 7th Street

In recent days, several EVG readers (thank you!) have let us know about Jack the cat, "who was so super adorable and hung out on the fence between B and C on Seventh Street." 

Jack died in May, though the memorial arrived on the north side of Seventh Street at the start of the weekend...
A message at the memorial states that Jack died after an illness. "Many thanks to all his friends — he so looked forward to your visits... We all miss him."

Signage alerts: Hi-Note on Avenue B; Le Burger on 5th Street

From the EVG inbox... reader-submitted photos showing new signage... Annabelle shared the top pic from Hi-Note, opening soon at 188 Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street in space that was previously the jazz club Rue-B

This will be a coffee shop-cafe-karaoke bar (at night) combo from the team who ran Baby Grand, the now-closed karaoke bar on Lafayette. (Read our previous post on Hi-Note for more.)

You can follow the Hi-Note Instagram account for updates.

Meanwhile, signage is up (H/T JG!) for Le Burger at 540 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B... the former home of Black Iron Burger (RIP 2019).
According to the questionnaire from last month on the CB3 website, ownership ran the now-closed UES spots 1742 Wine Bar and Giorgio's Brick Over & Wine Bar.

The hours here are to be noon to midnight daily.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday's parting shot

A look at the clouds late this afternoon/early evening from Tompkins Square Park when it seemed as if we were in for a storm... photo by Steven...

Prince of the city, 9th Street edition

A recent arrival on Ninth Street at First Avenue ... Prince art courtesy of Billy Barnacles (in a collab with Dave Hogan)... Billy often leaves his art around town for people to find

Thanks to Steven for the photo!

A look at the remaining red-tailed hawk fledgling in Tompkins Square Park

Photos yesterday by Steven 

Amelia and Christo, the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, welcomed three chicks to the nest this spring

Unfortunately, as you may have heard, two of them died last month. 

As Goggla first reported, a fledgling died on July 4 from what appeared to be frounce, "a naturally occurring illness that afflicts raptors."

On July 27, the second fledgling was found with its eyes closed and looking weak on a fire escape across from the Park on Seventh Street. Sgt Dan of the Urban Park Rangers was able to scoop up the unwell hawk, who died later that night at the Wild Bird Fund.

While a cause of death has not been determined, from what Goggla observed (and based on what happened in previous summers), she strongly speculates that it was rodenticide poisoning. 

Meanwhile, the third fledgling appears to be healthy, remaining active in the Park (despite this heat) ... and providing a thrill for onlookers... 
You can visit Goggla's site for more photos of Amelia, Christo and the fledgling.

TabeTomo owners have new venture planned for St. Mark's Place

The owners of TabeTomo at 131 Avenue A have plans for a new restaurant at 120 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

CB3 granted administrative approval for a beer-wine license for the space, a yet-to-be-named venture that will offer sushi and other Japanese cuisine. According to the questionnaire on file at the CB3 website, the restaurant will be open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight ... offering an "immersive dinner menu." 

As we understand, TabeTomo, which opened in December 2018 and is billed as NYC's first tsukemen-focused restaurant, will remain in operation. (They also run TomoTomo on West 52nd Street.) 

No. 120 previously housed the retail outlet for Squish Marshmallows. Owner Katherine Sprung's lease was up here after five years, and she now focuses on custom and catering orders.

Thanks to Steven for the photo!

Here's info about a Virtual Rat Academy for East Village business owners, gardeners and residents

Community Board 3, the Cooper Square Committee and the East Village Merchants Association are sponsoring a Virtual Rat Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 23 from 5-7 p.m.

You can register to learn about rat prevention methods (here come the curbside dining comments!) via this link.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Today in iconic hotel awning sightings

Photo by Lola Sáenz 

The iconic Hotel Chelsea awning made an appearance on 12th Street and Avenue A today... on the back of a truck for Five Start Awning in Ridgewood... 

Not sure if it's coming back. The Hotel Chelsea reopened in early summer after a decade of renovations. 

Did anyone watch the documentary "Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel"????

On 5th Street, some residents say they want green space and not senior housing

Some residents are speaking out against proposed plans that would see a 75-unit senior housing facility erected on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

As the name implies, the group, called the 5th Street Park Coalition, wants a park for the space adjacent to P.S. 751 and currently used as a parking lot for the 9th Precinct on the block...
The housing on this block is one of the points of agreement that came out of the City Council vote to approve the controversial SoHo/NoHo rezoning this past December

According to a press release issued afterward by the offices of Council members Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera, who brokered the plan, this "housing-first rezoning" would create affordable housing on city-owned sites, including on Hudson Street and Fifth Street "under current zoning." (The city press release is here.)

While the Soho/Noho rezoning still faces lawsuits from NYU and local residents, the 5th Street Park Coalition is making its case against the "airspace-clamoring structure for 75 residential units of characterless senior housing."
Instead, the group puts forth this suggestion (via their website): 
We advocate an underground parking lot for the police department with a public park and playground above it, in collaboration with the DEP, to create more open green space, with a view of the 1905-built Flemish renaissance-revival school (P.S. 751) — to preserve the health of the neighborhood in the midst of many big changes coming soon from other developers. 
Nearby development projects include a 21-story office building on Fourth Street at the Bowery ... an 11-story residential building on Second Avenue between Second Street and Third Street... and a 9-story office building on Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place. Not to mention the never-ending condo construction at 75 First Ave. at Fifth Street. 

Cafe Mocha, destroyed by fire in 2020, is reopening in a new East Village location

Cafe Mocha was wiped out by a three-alarm fire in February 2020 at 48 E. Seventh St./116 Second Ave. Any hopes for a reopening were dashed when another fire destroyed the corner building in December 2020.

However, the all-day cafe will be returning after all... with a new space at 111 First Ave. just south of Seventh Street.

Owner Ghasan Ballan received administrative approval from CB3 for a new beer-wine license for the address. (The previous Cafe Mocha also served beer and wine.) Paperwork filed with CB3 shows that the restaurant will be open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight, with nine tables for 30 diners.

No. 111 became available when Suki Japanese Kitchen relocated to St. Mark's Place earlier this summer.

Cafe Mocha first opened in the East Village in 2008. No word on when the new space will debut.  

East Village cafe AO Bowl closes, owner blames Sen. Schumer

The Japanese health-food cafe AO Bowl has closed at 82 St. Mark's Place on the southwest corner of First Avenue. 

The quick-serve establishment, which offered a variety of bowls, smoothies and juices, opened in early 2021 (after a few delays). 

In a goodbye letter left on the door for patrons, ownership puts the blame on Sen. Charles Schumer...
The letter reads in part: 
Sen. Schumer stabbed us in the back after first promising and then failing to replenish the SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). This would have reimbursed us for costs we had to bear from the government-mandated closures. Many large restaurant chains got millions from the RRF while small businesses like us got nothing, even after being approved... 

Over the last year of hanging on, Sen. Schumer continues to use as as a bargaining chip and recently attempted to kill RRF replishment by taking it out of the budget to secure other projects. Small businesses and restaurants should not be political pawns. Business owners should not have to incur tons of debt and get thrown into bankruptcy territory because of government negligence and mismangement.
You can read the latest on the RRF funds here.

We first mentioned AO's arrival in July 2019 (previously going as 
Eiyō Bowl). The AO Instagram account listed an October 2020 opening, though that was pushed back several months. According to an announcement about AO, this was the "first-ever cafe in the U.S. to use vacuum blenders to create vacuum-pressed smoothies and juice on premise."

In 2019, workers gutted this single-level structure on the corner ... and divided the storefront into several retail spaces. The other new tenant here is the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop.

The former occupant, Foot Gear Plus, closed in July 2018 after nearly 40 years in business.

Manhattan Marketplace coming soon to 1st Avenue and 12th Street

Manhattan Marketplace is expected to open as soon as today here on the SE corner of First Avenue and 12th Street. 

The corner market will be offering up the usual corner-market fare, with a variety of breakfast and lunch options and other grab-(pay)-and-go items. 

The Best Price Deli & Grocery closed here in the fall of 2020

H/T Lola Sáenz!

[solidcore] bringing the pilates to 14th Street

Described as "pilates on steroids," [solidcore] is opening a fitness studio at 500 E. 14th St. just east of Avenue A in the EVGB complex. (Thanks to EVG reader Jake for the photo!)

The national chain has multiple NYC locations, including at 250 Bowery. The EV location is scheduled to open at the end of the month.

This piece at PopSugar provides an overview of the [solidcore] workout.

And this is the latest business to join the EVGB retail landscape, which is anchored by the 4-year-old Target.   

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Weekend parting shot

Steven spotted Christo, one of the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, taking off from St. Brigid's on Avenue B and Eighth Street early on Friday evening... 

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo via Carol from East 5th Street on 11th Street)...

 • Report explores East Village storefront trends from 2019-2021; vacancies on the rise (Monday) ... An idea for this 'vacancy hotspot' on Avenue A (Wednesday

• Filling the shelves as Essex Card Shop moves closer toward a reopening on Avenue A (Tuesday

• A visit with East Village singer-songwriter Jim Andralis (Thursday)

• A visit with Hemingway, the sleepy kitty in the window on 3rd Street (Friday

• Openings: SMØR Bakery on 12th Street (Wednesday

• A mural representing the Ukrainian spirit at the Standard East Village (Wednesday)

• The 34th annual Tompkins Square Park Riot reunion shows are happening this weekend (Friday

• Kindred is closing on Aug. 14 (Tuesday) ... 6th Street wine bar Grape and Grain is closing (Thursday

• Theater for the New City ready to take it to the streets with a new production (Friday

• Last day for Panera Bread on Union Square (Tuesday

• Summer Streets return on the first 3 Saturdays of the month (Friday

• Reader report: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen slated for the SW corner of 14th Street and Avenue A (Thursday

• Rock on: The memorial plaque is back outside the former Fillmore East on 2nd Avenue (Monday

• First sign of Davey's Ice Cream on 9th Street (Tuesday

• Came for 'Bullet Train,' stayed for Tara and Richie (Saturday

• Takahachi removes its curbside dining structure (Thursday

• On 9th Street, the former Central Bar is now an office space (Monday

... and be sure to visit the EVG Stories on Instagram for exclusive and crucial reader polls like this...

Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

The barricades return to block off the chess tables in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Steven

The barricades arrived once again (late last week) around the chess tables at the entrance to Tompkins Square Park at Seventh Street and Avenue A...
The city did this back in June, with a member of the Parks Enforcement Patrol saying that this section of the Park is "problematic." Eventually, the barricades are removed ... and nothing ever really changes.

This area was blocked off several times during the past two summers. During that time, there were reader reports about drug use, stolen property and fights. 

Sunday's opening shot

Summer Streets, early Sunday morning on First Avenue edition...