Monday, July 6, 2020

On 2nd Street: Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

This mural, titled "unalienable," went up over the holiday weekend alongside the 1st Ave. Laundry Center on Second Street at First Avenue. The work — freehand spray — is by BKFoxx.

[Updated] Phase 3 begins today

[The TSP dog run in April via Stacie Joy]

Gov. Cuomo cleared NYC to enter Phase 3 of the state's four-phase reopening plan today.

Under this phase, personal care services — including nail and tanning salons, spas, massage parlors and tattoo shops — can open with COVID-19 safeguards in place. (Note: State regulations prohibit any service that requires a customer to remove a face mask, so no tongue piercings or facials.)

In addition, the Tompkins Square Park dog run is expected to reopen today after nearly three months ... and the hoops are said to be returning to the basketball courts — here and elsewhere in the city. However, any kind of organized team sports and group play are off-limits, as they remain high-risk activities.

NOT part of Phase 3: Indoor dining, which has been postponed indefinitely given the rise in COVID-19 cases in other states. This story was well-covered last week at Eater ... Gothamist and Grub Street.

Updated 9 a.m.

The Tompkins Square Park dog run is confirmed open... (thanks Steven!)

John's of 12th Street remains closed due to mechanical issues

John's of 12th Street has been closed since mid-May due to a plumbing issue in the building that's unrelated to the classic Italian restaurant here between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

Unfortunately, it looks as if the necessary repairs and subsequent inspections are moving at a glacial pace. From the restaurant's most-recent Instagram post — five weeks ago:

Con Ed and building still resolving the plumbing issue. Hopefully the city will be able to move very quickly to get whatever inspections and such needs to be done so we can resume making the best Italian food for the world’s best customers.

John's, which opened in 1908, had been offering takeout and delivery this spring.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Exclusive: New owners of John's of 12th Street look to carry on the restaurant's tradition

Bad karma: Illumina East closes on Avenue B

Illumina East, the second-floor yoga studio at 96 Avenue B between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, is now closed.

Owner Rian Bodner officially announced the closure last week in a Facebook post:

I try not to get attached to things. Always moving around since i was young. Experiences outweigh material possessions. It's hard when those material possessions have held the space for really beautiful experiences.

Having the honor of witnessing so many people's generosity of time, spirit, practice, heart, love, integrity, patience, trust, vulnerability, exploration, and humor.

This space did more than I expected, lasted longer, frankly, than I expected. Brought in all the right people, all the right challenges. It's hard to ask myself if I would have done it all if I knew I would have to hand the keys back today.

Small yoga and pilates studios in the neighborhood have had to pivot to offering classes online. Gyms and small studios were supposed to resume operations in the state's Phase Four reopening plan.

However, last week, Gov. Cuomo blindsided owners by taking them out of the mix. As NY1 reported, gym owners wonder when they may open if there isn't a Phase 5.

More than 3,000 people in the NY fitness industry formed a coalition to file a lawsuit against Gov. Cuomo. Per NY1: "Owners of the gym say they should be considered essential businesses because they help people get or stay healthy."

There are several online petitions in circulation calling for smaller studies to be able to open in Phase 3. (Here and here.)

You can revisit our post on at-home fitness options at this link.

ICYMI: 6 E. 2nd St., home of Ramones history, is for sale

As Jennifer Gould recently reported at the Post, 6 E. Second St. is now on the market for $7.25 million.

A loft in the four-level building just east of the Bowery — at Joey Ramone Place — was the longtime home of Arturo Vega, the artistic director for the Ramones who created the band's iconic logo.

The listing via B6 Real Estate Advisors is now online:

The four (4) story property consists of one (1) retail store, along with three (3) residential units. The current residential units consist of three (3) full floor loft apartments. All three (3) of the loft apartments are fair market.

The property has 26 feet of frontage on East 2nd Street and has a depth of 63 feet. Additionally, the property is comprised of approximately 6,408 square feet broken down as follows: 4,806 SF residential and 1,602 SF retail.

The retail tenant, the John Derian Company, apparently also owns the building.

There isn't any mention of Vega or the Ramones in the listing. Other onetime residents here include Fayette Hauser, John Flowers and Pam Tent of the Cockettes.

As for the Ramones, plenty has been written about their relationship with the space (Joey and Dee Dee lived here early on, the band signed their first contract on Vega's coffee table, etc.)... and here's footage of the band playing in the loft in February 1975...

Vega died in June 2013 at age 65.

[Above the front door at No. 6]

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday's parting shot

Photo on Seventh Street today by Derek Berg...

An Avenue A curtain call for Alphabets

A Week in Review-type item... as reported this past Monday, Alphabets has closed. Owner Linda Heidinger is moving the novelty-gift shop to Palm Springs, Calif. after a 35-year presence on Avenue A ... and Alphabets shared this parting shot from Avenue A via Instagram on Friday...

Week in Grieview

[Photo on 10th Street by Ed Yoo]

Posts from this past week included...

• Here is an updated map of what's open in the East Village right now (Friday)

• Alphabets has left the East Village (Monday)

• RIP Margaret Morton (Saturday)

• RIP Holly Lane (Thursday)

• Completion date for new office building at 3 St. Mark's Place is February 2022 (Monday)

• This week's NY See panel (Thursday)

• At B&H Dairy: "A Home for Everyone" (Wednesday)

• Essex Card Shop is now open in its new Avenue A home (Monday)

• Green Garden Buffet debuts on 9th Street (Friday)

• East Village Vintage Collective has reopened its doors; ditto for 9th St. Vintage and Spark Pretty (Wednesday)

• Lease termination notice at Third Rail Coffee; Future You Cafe has closed (Thursday)

• These 3 dry cleaners have closed (Wednesday)

• Reader report: East Village street-cleaning tickets back in full effect (Thursday)

• Nolita Pizza leaves 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

• Another crazy stormy, then another double rainbow (Monday)

• A new surface for Extra Place (Monday)

• Former Haveli Banjara space is being converted into an apartment on 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

• 2nd Street post the big sinkhole swallow (Wednesday)

• The PokéSpot has closed (Wednesday)

• GNC closing its remaining East Village outpost (Monday)

... and thanks to Laura Sewell for sharing this photo from First Avenue the other evening... the sprit in the sky...

... and a reader passed along this seasonal shot from last night along 10th Street ...


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


From the EVG inbox ... Someone re-purposed one of the broken police barricades along Avenue B's Open Streets into this "Police Brutality" skateboard sign and attached it to a No Parking Anytime pole on 10th Street along Tompkins Square Park...

This has ben up for several weeks now.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

RIP Margaret Morton

[Photo via In Memory of Margaret Morton]

East Village resident Margaret Morton, a professor at Cooper Union and photographer who documented the city's homeless, died on June 27 in her apartment on East 10th Street. Her sister told The New York Times that Morton was being treated for a form of leukemia.

Through a series of books, including "Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives" (1993), "The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City" (1995) and "Glass House" (2004), Morton humanely captured the everyday lives of her subjects.

An excerpt from the Times:

From her apartment on East 10th Street ... Morton had a front row view of the homeless encampments that engulfed Tompkins Square Park in the late 1980s. As she walked to work at Cooper Union, where she was a professor, she began to photograph these improvised structures, showing the ways people were moved to make themselves at home even when they had so little.

When the city bulldozed the park in late 1989, scattering those who lived there, Ms. Morton followed them and spent the next 10 years documenting their world and that of others on the margins, not only telling their stories but also advocating for their welfare. The author Philip Lopate, who described her as "our modern-day Jacob Riis," said recently that "she pulled off a rare combination of socially engaged photography that was also formally exquisite."

"Glass House" documented the teen squatters living in an abandoned manufacturing plant on 10th Street and Avenue D.

She wrote this in 2004 — 10 years after the NYPD evicted the teens:

"Gentrification has transformed the East Village, erasing nearly every memory of its history as a refuge for ethnic groups and the radical fringe. Although I did not realize it at the time, the story of 'Glass House' marks the end of an era."

Friends and former students created a Facebook group in her honor. You can read tributes to her here.

You can find her website with samples of her work at this link.

The return of B-Side

B-Side, the neighborhood bar on Avenue B, closed back in March after 17 years here between 12th Street and 13th Street.

At the time, we were told that new owners were taking over the space.

However, those plans never further materialized and B-Side's ownership has announced that the bar reopens today with curbside seating. (They also unveiled B-Side t-shirts for sale.) Hours: 2-10 p.m.

In other reopening news nearby, 11th Street Bar between Avenue A and Avenue B returned yesterday, pouring its first pint of Guinness in 109 days. The bar is open from 2-10 p.m. for limited curbside seating and take-home drinks.


A look at their curbside space...

Friday, July 3, 2020

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

But before we get to July 4, wishing all of you a Merry July Christmas ... Carol from East 5th Street spotted this pine-fresh beauty today on Fifth Street between Second Avenue and Cooper Square... something to pair with your Hallmark Channel Christmas in July celebration.

Instant Cults classic

The local pop duo Cults have a new single out ... check out the video here for "Spit You Out," a nod to the mukbangers of YouTube.

Book Swap Saturday happening again tomorrow (Saturday!) on 10th Street

Book Swap Saturday is happening again tomorrow (Saturday!) outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

This will be the third Saturday for the free book swap, which is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (To be clear, the library isn't involved in this swap.)

Per the organizers: "Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others."

And they'd like to see it expand to other NYPL branches until the libraries can safely reopen.

Thanks to Stacie Joy for the photos from last Saturday!

Local squirrel feeling just peachy

In the periodic squirrels being adorable series, Goggla spotted this scene in Tompkins Squirrel Square Park... a squirrel snacking on an empty cup of diced peaches ...

Some narrative: "He got a little too enthusiastic licking the cup and dropped it, only to go all the way down the tree, pick it up and carry it up to a higher spot...where he dropped it again."

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

Here is an updated map of what's open in the East Village right now

Back in the spring, we told you about the volunteer effort led by the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) along with residents Perry Leung and Paul Gale, who created an interactive map of what's open in the neighborhood during the COVID-19 crisis. (The site was designed by Zhi He of BetaNYC.)

The group has completed a redesign of the site, which includes almost 650 establishments in the East Village.

What's new? Well! If a establishment has outdoor space, then that info can be found in the notes section of their entry.

Among the other new features:

• Results are now also displayed in list format

• Users can sort by Minority/Women-owned, Black-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses

• A bulletin section, which include links to local human-interest pieces, volunteer opportunities and profile pieces about businesses during the pandemic (many of those link to EVG features).

At the bottom of the map, there's a list of the four most recently updated locations, for users curious about the most latest activity on the site.

And here it is... you can also access the map at this link.

Green Garden Buffet debuts on 9th Street

Green Garden Buffet opened this week at 332 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue... EVG regular Lola Saénz shares these photos of owner Tamika Gabaroum (left) and her assistant (and best friend) Caroline ...

The buffet-style spot serves what's billed as healthy French food. (Another reader described it as Chadian, as Gabaroum is originally from Chad.) Here's a look at the menu ... a selection of these items are available for takeout via a buffet setup that is $7.99 a pound ...

Gabaroum is a former public health advocate with the Peace Corps who served in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was an early recipient of a loan last summer as part of the East Village Revitalization Loan Fund for small business owners. (You can read more about the partnership with City Councilmember Carlina Rivera and community advocates here and here.)

Green Garden Buffet is open daily from 1 to 10 p.m.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thursday's parting shot

The coveted watermelon-toss head shot today outside Westside Market today via Derek Berg... 😍

News of the world

A variation of the wear-a-mask signage written to the tune of Queen's "We Will Rock You" outside Veselka on Second Avenue and Ninth Street...

Reader report: East Village street-cleaning tickets back in full effect

An EVG reader sends along this story of an interaction with a Department of Sanitation officer this morning.

Alternate Side Parking regulations went back in effect on Monday (lasting through today) after the COVID-19 PAUSE.

The reader got to his car ahead of the time to move on First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. However, he couldn't go anywhere with cars in front of him and a double-parked Con Ed truck next to his vehicle. The street cleaner passed by. The reader was sitting in his car and shared what happened next:

As the clock hit 9:05, I noticed ... a DoS worker writing on a clipboard on the side of my car. 'Is he writing me a ticket?' I thought. I got out of my car, saw his name on his shirt and asked if he was writing me a ticket. To which he laughed and said 'yeah.' I mentioned I was inside my car, the street cleaner had already passed and there was nowhere to move with his truck and a Con Ed truck double parked — plus that no other cars moved. The street was pretty jammed. He laughed and said 'I have six-and-a-half-years experience and know how this works. You must be one of those liberals.'"

The reader also notes the DoS officer was not wearing a face covering. "The lack of mask is just irresponsible."

The reader received a $65 ticket, and estimates another 20 cars on the block also got one.

Sounds as if the city is getting a head start on its 2021 budget goals. According to the Post, "the city's newly adopted budget includes a planned ticket blitz that’s expected to cost motorists some $42 million in the coming months."

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's the latest NY See panel, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around the neighborhood and NYC.

He offers this background about this week's panel: "The Queer Liberation March, June 28th, 50 years after the first Christopher Street Liberation March. It was a magical day, honoring the trans women of color who started the LGBTQ movement and continuing the fight against systemic racism."

RIP Holly Lane

Holly Lane, a longtime East Village resident who worked in music, died suddenly on June 26. She was 59. A cause of death was not revealed.

A friend shared this information:

A consummate music professional, Holly was the common bond between many groups of people and could always be found networking and connecting friends and colleagues.

Holly was happiest when she was attending a rumba in the city or hearing an indie band perform. She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the music genres she adored. She relished talking about drums, sound systems and the record label business — and was always ready to share her passions.

A fierce advocate for artists’ rights, she strived to protect their assets and monetize their talents.

She leaves behind her sister, Jeanine Owen, a brother, nieces, grand nieces and also her beloved cats Porter and Esme, and many devoted friends. Holly was predeceased by her parents and sister Lorraine. Memorial services will be announced at a future date.

You can read more about her career at this link.

Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery returns for takeout on East Houston

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

After being open for curbside pickup for a few days of late, Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery returned to service yesterday... offering their knishes and egg creams to go.

Yonah Schimmel's is at 137 E. Houston St. at Forsyth (since 1910). Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A visit to Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery

Lease termination notice at Third Rail Coffee; Future You Cafe has closed

An EVG reader points us to legal documents on the door at Third Rail Coffee on 10th Street just west of Second Avenue ... there is a Notice of Termination...

The paperwork states that rent is due for April, May and June on the storefront, an amount that totals nearly $26,000. Third Rail Coffee had closed at the start of the NY PAUSE in March.

Not sure how all this might play out: Gov. Cuomo announced in May that he had extended the state’s eviction moratorium through August, though critics have said the new version of the order is weaker, and favors landlords.

Per City Limits:

[T]enant and housing advocacy groups say the fine print of that order will allow for eviction proceedings to move forward through the New York courts e-filing system, increasing the burden of proof on tenants to show they could not pay rent because of COVID-19 related financial hardship.

Meanwhile, in other coffee-related news, Future You Cafe is officially closed on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue...

Owner Roberto Levinson, who opened the shop here in November 2018, announced the decision to close at the end of May on Instagram.

As the economy is slowly reopening, I have taken a lot of time to carefully assess the current situation, including the health risks involved, as well as the economic hardships most businesses in our industry are going through. After carefully deliberating for weeks, it is with great sadness I must announce our decision not to reopen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A sunflower in the sun

Currently at the most photographed spot in the neighborhood ... a lone sunflower on 10th Street at Stuyvesant...


On Monday, we noted the rather vague schematic that arrived on the plywood where a 10-story office building will rise on the northwest corner of Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place.

Good news: Some additions have now been revealed... giving it a little more of a St. Mark's Place look...

East Village Vintage Collective has reopened its doors; ditto for 9th St. Vintage and Spark Pretty

After a few weeks of curbside pickups and sidewalk sales, East Village Vintage Collective (EVVC) will open its doors for business today here at 545 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

In an Instagram post, owner Maegan Hayward said they'll test the vintage waters this week to see how it goes. Ahead of the reopening, they've rearranged the shop's displays to make it safer and more accessible for patrons to browse.

Per Instagram:

We’ll have hand sanitizer & gloves available for all customers. We ask that you don’t come in without a mask on and that you observe social distancing while shopping

Can’t wait to see some familiar & new faces and to show you all the work we’ve done to the store!

During the past three months, EVVC closed their Jacksonville outpost to focus on the original shop here. They've also been creative, teaming up with 70 local artists to launch Art Through Vintage, a collaborative online auction.

For now, EVVC will be open 1-6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

In other vintage store news, 9th St. Vintage is now open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday... and on the same Ninth Street block between First Avenue and Second Avenue ... Spark Pretty is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

[Via @sparkpretty]

At B&H Dairy: 'A Home for Everyone'

[Via @bandhdairy]

Antonio DiMeglio and Lianna Rada, recent NYU grads and East Village residents, are the creators of the food site Eat Tonight NYC.

The two created a 10-minute short titled "B&H Dairy: A Home for Everyone," a love letter of sorts to the 82-year-old lunch counter on Second Avenue between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

Hear from Ola, Leo and Mike... and get in the mood to order a grilled cheese on challah.

2nd Street post the big sinkhole swallow

[Photo by Il Posto Accanto]

As previously noted, a sinkhole opened up on Second Street between Avenue A and First Avenue late Saturday night... nearly swallowing a parked (and empty!) SUV in the process.

While the block is open to through westbound traffic, a large Con Ed presence remains on the scene...

A cause was never made public. Residents had said there was a sewage problem on the block leading up to the sinkhole's arrival.