Saturday, September 30, 2023

Lenny Kaye at the Tompkins Square Library branch

Photos and text by Robin McMillan 

On Thursday evening, Lenny Kaye, longtime guitarist with Patti Smith, sang his own song — "World Book Night" — to reopen the refurbished Tompkins Square Library branch, express his love for books, and promote his own new work—"Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll."

In each chapter, the 76-year-old musician covers the "moments" as a witness and an ardent researcher. For the record, those "transformative moments" are: Memphis '54, New Orleans '57, Philadelphia '59, Liverpool '62, San Francisco '67, Detroit '69, New York '75, London '77, Los Angeles '84/Norway '93 (yes, Norway — think black metal), and Seattle 1991. 

Kaye covered everything from his first performances with Smith — at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in 1971 — to listening to his friends play his favorite East Village clubs to his love for artistic change and progress.
This was the first in a series of East Village arts-scene evenings at the Tompkins Square Library, 331 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. Next up: Writer (and tour guide) Jesse Rifkin and jazz maestro Matthew Shipp will discuss "The East Village in Music and Words" on Oct. 26, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Lights, cameras, filming notices — action!

This is the first filming notice — before May, a ubiquitous part of the streetscape — that we recall seeing in months since the start of the strike this past summer. (Spotted on the Bowery bear Bleecker.) 

"The Dutchman" stars André Holland, Kate Mara, Zazie Beetz and Stephen McKinley Henderson ... in this psychological thriller based on the Obie Award-winning play by Amiri Baraka. 

Per Deadline, this film has previously received a SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement. 

And some more background on the film via Deadline
Set on a New York subway, "The Dutchman" centers on an encounter between a well-to-do Black man and an enchanting white woman who match wits in a sexualized game of cat and mouse that leads to a violent conclusion. The searing confrontation amplifies the dimensions of racial conflict in America in this adaptation of the stage show first presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre ... in March 1964, which was later adapted into a critically acclaimed 1966 film starring Shirley Knight and Al Freeman Jr. 
Hollywood's writers strike ended on Tuesday after nearly five months. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists continues.

Noted

Photo by Stacie Joy

Fall arrived at Key Food on Avenue A this past week... just one sign of the Halloween season around the grocery.  (And why would someone with straw hair smoke a pipe?)

Saturday's opening shot

A grand entrance on 10th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

Friday, September 29, 2023

Scenes of standing water in Tompkins Square Park today

Top photo by Joe; all others by Steven 

There were plenty of reports showing flooding and damage throughout the city during today's storms... as remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia prompted flash flood warnings.

Central Park had nearly 6 inches of recorded rainfall, per media reports. Closer to home, there were many clips showing flooding along the FDR near the Williamsburg Bridge. 

We saw a lot of standing water in Tompkins Square Park, but thankfully no downed trees...
The area near the chess tables at the entrance to Seventh Street and Avenue A seemed to have the most flooding...
Whether by roads or public transportation, getting around today was a maddening experience. As Gothamist reported earlier: "Commuters and critics alike said their experiences reflected poor planning by city and state officials and severe lack of communication in the face of a cascading situation."

'Paving' the way

 

A song in EVG's heavy rotation since its release last month — "The World's Biggest Paving Slab" by the UK (Leeds!) band English Teacher.

2 men arrested for allegedly dealing drugs outside an NYPD block meeting

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Yesterday afternoon, the 9th Precinct held a Sector A Build the Block Meeting at Virginia's, the bistro on Third Street at Avenue B. 

Few people were in attendance (business owners I spoke with were unaware it was taking place). 

Topics for this part of the neighborhood during the session included drugs and crime on Third Street and Avenue D ... smoke shops and illegal cannabis sales and enforcement ... package thefts from residential lobbies... additional street lights for Third Street between A and B (a DOT issue), and shoplifting at Duane Reade on Avenue B and Second Street.
An unexpected highlight: Despite the heavy NYPD presence, at the tail end of this meeting, two local residents were observed selling/purchasing white powder drugs directly outside the meeting (next to a giant POLICE MEETING sign) and were arrested.

For those about to shred...

Here's a potential rainy-day activity: Box up some paperwork that you need to have shredded.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 1!), the city will have a shredding truck on Avenue B and Eighth Street outside Tompkins Square Park. 

You can shred up to one standard-size file box per person. 

Remember: Just paper! No batteries! No dead laptops or monitors! No art projects that belonged to former lovers!

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Noted

Avenue A at 10th Street... please let us know if you spot the rest of the vehicle anywhere.

The 12th annual Harvest Arts Festival starts Saturday in East Village community gardens

Updated: Due to the rainy forecast, the opening-night party is now on Saturday at 6 p.m. — still at LaPlaza...

The 12th annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival gets underway tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 29)  Saturday night at 6. 

This year's festival, which runs through Oct. 8, includes 10 days of free activities at dozens of East Village/LES community gardens, each featuring various performances, concerts, workshops and other related events. Check the LUNGS website here for the day-by-day, garden-by-garden schedule. 

The opening night party at La Plaza Cultural on the SW corner of Avenue C and Ninth Street features jazz standards from Trio Daphne and "Blue Note Americana" from Kid Java.

A farewell to Big Lee and the Hard Swallow

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

The Hard Swallow is going out in Coney Island style this weekend. 

The neighborhood bar at 140 First Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street closes after service on Saturday night.

This comes two-plus months after the sudden passing of co-owner Leroy "Big Lee" Lloyd, who was 51. 

Maria "Sasha" Lloyd, his wife and business partner, has planned a closing-night party on Saturday — which also happens to be close to Lee's birthday — featuring regulars from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. (Big Lee grew up in Coney Island.)
"Anyone who feels connected to the bar and Big Lee is invited to come here on Saturday," said Sasha, a lifelong neighborhood resident. "Lee didn't want tears; he wanted a celebration."
She has also hired a videographer to record testimonials about Big Lee as a keepsake for her two sons, Nicholas and Jacob. (People who can't make the event can record a video and post it on social media with the hashtag #ThankYouBigLee, and those will be included in the keepsake for the family, she said.)

I recently stopped by the bar and met (from the left) bar manager Audreana "Storm" Janelle, bartender Socks Markley, Sasha and bartender Caitlyn "Aurora" Milkman
While the Hard Swallow is closing, Sasha's business partner will be keeping the space and eventually opening a new bar after going through the liquor license process.
As for Sasha, she decided to make a fresh start and will be moving to Hawaii next month, a plan put into effect while Big Lee was still alive. 

Sasha said she is having difficulty mourning and grieving while still in the same apartment and bar. She and Big Lee had the Hard Swallow for over eight years; it was their whole life, she said.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Buffing out the Basquiat plaque on Great Jones

As previously reported, someone rollered over the two-level space at 57 Great Jones St. with pink paint, even defacing the memorial plaque for onetime tenant Jean-Michel Basquiat, who lived and worked here from 1983 to the time of his death in 1988. 

The incident motivated EVG regular Lola Sáenz to clean up the plaque. She made some progress, though she realized it would need to be professionally buffed out. 

Today, photographer-artist Adrian Wilson (via @plannedalism) was able to restore the plaque and make it legible once more here between the Bowery and Lafayette... 
Earlier this summerAngelina Jolie announced a new venture, Atelier Jolie — "a creative collective for self-expression" — opening in November inside the space. 

Vogue dropped a feature on Jolie and her new project earlier today.

Openings: Spice Brothers on St. Mark's Place

Photos by Stacie Joy

Spice Brothers recently debuted at 110 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Lior Lev Sercarz, who sells crafted spice blends to chefs via his company La Boîte, teamed up with David Malbequi (below left), owner of David's Cafe next door, for this venture...
And we've already heard good things about the Eastern Mediterranean street food (like the shawarma platter) ... beer and wine are also available here...
The restaurant takes over from Isabella, which Malbequi and Daniel Rivera, his partner from David's, ran.

Spice Brothers is open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

The fullest of full reveals at 699 E. 6th St.

We meant to note this one sooner... we now have a full reveal at 699 E. Sixth St. at Avenue C. (Workers removed the plywood around the corner property.)

As previously reported, the residential building will include 11 units, a storefront and space for an unspecified community facility on this long-vacant corner. Not sure where the storefront will be — the Sixth Street side?

And still no sign of listings... maybe you've seen some?

A gas station was the last tenant here in the 1980s. And for decades it was an entertaining empty lot.  

Tix for Basquiat x Warhol at the Brant Foundation now on sale

Tickets for the latest show at the Brant Foundation, Basquiat x Warhol, are now on sale. 

Here's what to expect from the space at 421 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue... via the EVG inbox... 
The Brant Foundation is pleased to present Basquiat x Warhol at the Foundation's East Village location, curated by Dr. Dieter Buchhart and Peter M. Brant in collaboration with Dr. Anna Karina Hofbauer. On view from Nov. 1, 2023, through Jan. 7, 2024, this is the first time the collaboration has been the subject of a major New York exhibition since Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat at Gagosian Gallery in 1997. The exhibition is traveling from Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and has benefited from the collaboration between the two institutions. 
The Brant Foundation's first show here in the spring of 2019 featured work by Basquiat — some 70 works collectively valued at $1 billion. A career-spanning Warhol collection was here back in the spring. 

Tickets for the new show are $20, and $15 for EV residents. (Kids under 12 are free, etc.) Find ticket info here.

Openings: Bar Miller on 6th Street

Image via the Bar Miller website 

Bar Miller, an 8-seat omakase restaurant, is now open at 620 E. Sixth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C (in the former Mayanoki Sustainable Sushi space next door to Grape and Grain). 

The establishment comes via Jeff Miller and TJ Provenzano, who operate Rosella on Avenue A. 

Per Thrillist: "Bar Miller will offer 15 courses of nigiri, sashimi, and some less traditional dishes that highlight pickled ingredients alongside a bar program with US-made wine, cider, and sake." 

Bar Miller is open Wednesday-Sunday with seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m. (Reservations available here.)

Aside from Mayanoki, Miller and Provenzano were also involved with the last iteration of Grape and Grain. Still waiting for word on what is next for that space.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

As seen on the Bowery... and a moment when it wasn't raining today...

[Updated] The Wegmans signage has arrived on Astor Place

The Wegmans signage rolled up today (in the back of a truck) here on Astor Place. (Thanks to William Klayer for the photo!)

The doors open here on Oct. 18, a date made public over the summer. 

As previously noted, the 87,500-square-foot space at the landmarked 770 Broadway is the first Manhattan outpost for the grocer. 

EVG's Stacie Joy received a tour of the two-level supermarket back in July. You can revisit that post here.

Updated 

And by the end of the day, the first sign was up... pic by Stacie Joy...

Police seeking help ID-ing 12 suspects in late-night robbery on Avenue C

'The NYPD is searching for a dozen suspects from a robbery on Sept. 17 at 12th Street and Avenue C.

According to the NYPD and published reports, a 23-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman had just left a bar on Avenue C at Eighth Street around 3:45 a.m. when they encountered the group — eight males and four females — several blocks away. 

One of the suspects displayed an unspecified weapon, and others in the group were said to have taken the couple's cell phones, wallets and debit cards. 

"This neighborhood is good. You can tell who's who," a local resident told PIX11 News. "I don't know any of these people whatsoever."

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You may also submit tips online. All calls are strictly confidential.

Cheers to The Whiskey Ward

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Regulars and employees, past and present, gathered last Wednesday night for a farewell to the Whiskey Ward. 

The low-key neighborhood bar at 121 Essex between Rivington and Delancey has been on the Lower East Side for nearly 24 years. 

I arrived as co-owner Sandee Wright was prepping to open on this special night...
... along with bartenders Chloe Troy...
... and Chelsea Pinchera ...
Wright said the closure had nothing to do with a landlord or rent increase. "We're going out under our own terms."
Why are they closing? "It's time," said Wright, a longtime Lower East Side resident who relocated a few years ago. 

"Things changed a lot after COVID, and people had less disposable income...and whiskies were hard to come by, especially ones like Pappy Van Winkle. It's impossible to get the good stuff — the bottles no one else has."
"I'm going to miss this place terribly," she said. "Every brick of it."
"I love everything about this place and the people," Wright said. "They are my family."

~~~Postscript~~~ 

As we understand it, a friend of Wright's plans to apply for a new liquor license and take over the space — operating under a new name — in the months ahead.