Sunday, April 14, 2024

Week In Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo on 2nd Street near the Bowery)...

• RIP Debby Lee Cohen (Wednesday) and Patti Astor (Friday

• Today's solar eclipse with the Second Avenue Star Watchers (Monday) ... Watching the eclipse from 6th and B (Monday) ... Eclipse in progress on St. Mark's Place (Monday

• East Village tenants speak out against rollbacks to potential rent-stabilization laws (Tuesday

• East Village native Anna Colombia on pursuing photography and growing up in the neighborhood (Thursday

• The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar is opening 2 new outposts, including on 1st Avenue (Tuesday

• First sign of Wonder on Stuyvesant Street (Monday
• The renovation and expansion of 188 1st Ave. (Thursday)

• Dead again: Peter Jarema Funeral Home ad replaced by the Marvel Universe on 7th and B (Wednesday

• Protection for a tree garden on St. Mark's Place (Tuesday

• Demolition watch: The NW corner of 1st Avenue and 2nd Street (Monday

• Openings: Crispy Burger on 1st Avenue (Friday

• Pasta for the former Koko Wings on 1st Avenue (Wednesday

• On 2nd Avenue, Sunday Dreamin' on such a spring day (Tuesday)

... and here's a look at that freshly paved roadway on Avenue A (so far, the work has just been between Houston and Fourth) ...
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Comings and goings at 3rd & B'zaar

Today (Sunday!) is the last day to shop the current iteration of 3rd & B'zaar at 191 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. 

The retail space has been highlighting an array of local vintage sellers, designers and other indie merchants for the last year-plus here

Hours today: noon to 7 p.m., with a "shop-n-sip" scheduled from 5-7 p.m.

Stay tuned for info on the next vendors here, Lui & Lui.


Photo by Derek Berg 

As seen on Second Avenue and Sixth Street this morning... a Cyclomedia car with camera equipment.

A moment on Google reveals that the company provides Road Surface Analysis (as of last March):
Created in collaboration with Arcadis, Cyclomedia combined their high-resolution street-level panorama images and dense LiDAR point clouds with Arcadis' artificial intelligence algorithm. The unique collaboration resulted in a revolutionary new technology that can assess road surface damage by leveraging AI to recognize and provide the severity, extent, and classification of each individual road defect as well as a rapid ASTM-based Pavement Condition Index (PCI) and Overall Condition Index (OCI) score — all automated from behind a workstation. 
Hopefully, our scores will be high enough to take us to the next level...

Flipped out in Stuy Town

A flipped vehicle was reported early this morning on the Stuyvesant Town service road at the top of Avenue B. 

The Citizen app reported a person trapped inside. No other information was available. 

Daniel Root, who took the photo above at 5 a.m., noted that it's pretty wild anyone could get that much speed on that narrow roadway to flip a car like that...

Saturday, April 13, 2024

EVG Etc.: 2nd Avenue subway sidetracked again; 'Flaco's Law' introduced

From this past week, a new Mr. Monopoly mural by Alec Monopoly Art on the Bowery and Rivington.

• Man who forced his way into woman’s East Village apartment indicted for attempted sexual abuse (1010 WINS ... DA's office

• Model recounts beating he suffered outside the Little Sister Lounge at the Moxy East Village on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue (PIX 11

• Keep dreaming about the Second Avenue subway to Houston Street (Gothamist

• Catholic Workers on Third Street bring new growth with rooftop garden (Religion News Service

• The Albanian cuisine of Dua Kafe on 14th Street between A and B (Washington Square News

• Robert Sietsema praises the fries now served at lunch at Superiority Burger on Avenue A (Eater... previously on EVG

• City Council introduces "Flaco's Law" that would change how the NYC mitigates its rat population (The City

• Spaghetti Ramadan at La Plaza Cultural tomorrow (April 14) (Instagram ... Time Out

• The films of Amsterdam-based Bosnian filmmaker Ena Sendijarević (Metrograph

• Different eras of comedy classics coming to City Cinemas at Angelika on Second Avenue and 12th Street — "His Girl Friday" (Monday) and "Animal House" (Wednesday


Friday, April 12, 2024

A new 'Frontier'


Ride returns with its seventh album, Interplay, a solid mix of 1960s psych-pop and 1990s shoegaze. 

The (visualizer) video here is for the track "Last Frontier."

And Ride is playing out at the Warsaw on Dec. 6. Tix here

RIP Patti Astor

A march for hospital care in Lower Manhattan

The drama continues around the pending closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel on First Avenue at 16th Street.

Last week, the New York State Department of Health said the closing plans were "incomplete" — "sending hospital leaders back to the drawing board," as Gothamist reported

Local elected officials against the closure responded to the news on April 3... Meanwhile, tomorrow, members of the Community Coalition to Save Beth Israel and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary will meet at noon on 10th Street and Second Avenue  ... for a march to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary on 14th Street and Second Avenue and then on to Beth Israel.
Mount Sinai Beth Israel executives have stated that the closure is an unfortunate necessity due to the system's staggering financial losses, which have exceeded $1 billion in recent years. 

As previously reported, the 799-bed teaching hospital was proposed to close on July 12, 2024. 

However, there have been reports that Mount Sinai Beth Israel has been suspending services and moving staff out of the facility without proper approval from the Department of Health.

According to Politico, hospital officials were "increasingly transferring seriously ill patients suffering potentially life-threatening emergencies to other hospitals in the city because they need procedures that are no longer being made available at Beth Israel."

An e-xcellent way to recycle your e-waste this Sunday on Avenue A

Time for some spring cleaning. 

This Sunday, you may bring your working — and non-working! — electronics to Tompkins Square Park for a recycling event hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. 

The recycling occurs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain or shine!) on Avenue A between Ninth Street and 10th Street. 

Items you may drop off: 
• Computers (laptops & desktops, servers, mainframes) 
• Monitors (CRT and flatscreen) Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.) 
• Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, cords, chargers, etc.) 
• Tablets and e-readers Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.) 
• Printers under 100 pounds, scanners, fax machines, etc.
• TVs, VCRs, DVRs, DVD & Blu-ray Players 
• Digital Converter Boxes, Cable/Satellite Receivers 
• Portable music players 
• Audio-visual equipment 
• Video-games 
• Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
• Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

You may NOT drop off items such as Citi Bike docking stations and LinkNYC kiosks. The LES Ecology Center has info on what you CAN'T drop off here.

Openings: Crispy Burger on 1st Avenue

Crispy Burger has been in soft-open mode at 137 First Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street for the past week... ahead of the official grand opening today. (Friday!) 

Some grand-opening deals include 20% off items during the opening week. (Details on Instagram.) 

And EVG reader Danimal shared a quick recap after a visit yesterday...
Pretty good chicken, fried to order, and really good mozzarella sticks, too. Chicken nuggets were crispy and nice texture inside. What McNuggets wish they could be! Prices are very reasonable. The woman at the register was super friendly and even offered us free beverages ...
This is the latest outpost for the chainlet, which also has outposts in Staten Island, Queens, New Jersey, and Jacksonville, Fla.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

East Village native Anna Colombia on pursuing photography and growing up in the neighborhood

Anna Colombia is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in the East Village, where she still lives. 

Her most recent publication is "Make Shift Youth," a zine featuring 24 Riso-printed images and letterpress-printed text from her days in the neighborhood's punk scene.

Here, she discusses discovering photography, growing up in the East Village and finding inspiration today.
What sparked your initial interest in photography in high school? 

My high school experience was horrible, so I kinda stopped going after a certain point. My mom really wanted me to graduate and to enjoy learning, so she started trying to get me to take high school art classes at SVA. One of the first ones I took was an introduction to photography. I was hooked instantly by the magic of it all and learning how to use the darkroom.

Obviously, being in high school, I didn’t really know what to photograph, so I started by taking pictures of a lot of the graffiti around the neighborhood, and then naturally my friends and the punk shows I was going to. 

Were you known in the punk community as someone who always took photos? What was your initial comfort level with photographing people? 

 I always had a camera with me, but I don’t think I was ever seen as that person always taking pictures. My style of documentation has always been somewhat on the sly, with friends saying they never really knew I had taken certain pictures because it was always so natural.

There was another girl who sometimes hung out and who was always taking photos. She was the one everyone thought of as the photographer. Her collection has got to be amazing, but it always bothered me that she didn’t respect people’s wishes not to be photographed. I have always been very comfortable photographing people, because I have always only photographed the people in my life. 

While I love catching moments of my life through those around me, I also respect when people do not want to be photographed. 

Why did you decide to revisit growing up in the East Village punk scene with "Make Shift Youth"? 

Before COVID shut everything down, I had spent about two years slowly working, scanning all my negatives from high school and the years after. I hadn't looked at my high school photos in so long, and I was surprised by what I had, especially that the majority of them highlighted all these ladies in the scene... something I personally feel you don't see a lot of (or enough of) when it comes to documentation of "alternative" scenes. 

Then, the lockdown happened, and I had a lot of time to sit and play on the computer with the images at home. I had been applying for grants to publish another, bigger collection of photographs from my travels and decided maybe I should start with this collection since it was smaller and really what started it all. 

So, I began slowly working, putting together images I wanted to use for this zine. I had just discovered Riso as a print process, and I really loved the idea that instead of just showing the original images, I could manipulate them to become abstracted and color-blocked prints, combining the two things I love: photography and printmaking.
On the opening page of the zine, you wrote the date and then scribbled it out. Why did you decide not to list the years?

I like the mystery. 

How do you balance documentation and abstraction in your visual storytelling? 

I began publishing zines in high school about being female in the punk scene, using my photographs and words to tell this story. I have been publishing zines and art books for many years now, combining stories about my life with photographs and printmaking. While I really wanted to show these photos, I didn't want to take away from them by visually adding any text or talking about them. 

As a printmaker, my work focuses on abstracting an image and allowing those who see the work to create their own narrative. When I started putting the photos I wanted to print together, I could already see how I wanted to abstract a few of them: extending aspects of the image or cutting out the parts I thought were important. I wanted the narrative to flow from page to page through composition, colors and shapes. 

You were born and raised and are still living in the East Village. Did you ever live elsewhere... or at least consider it? 

 I traveled a lot for a long time, riding trains and hitchhiking, but that's a different story and a whole other body of photo work I'm hoping to one day publish. The East Village has always been my home. 

Why have you decided to stay here? 

This neighborhood and city have changed so much, I honestly don't know anymore. 

How does your environment in the East Village continue to inspire or influence your creative process?

Growing up in the neighborhood was definitely one of the things that started me on the path of the work I make. As a kid and teenager growing up in the East Village, I experienced things a lot of people might not have. My mom is an artist too, so that also helped me see and interact with my surroundings in a unique way. 

I grew up playing in Tompkins and the 6th and B Garden, got in trouble for taking hypodermic needles to show and tell that my friend and I found in the concrete playground of P.S. 19... long before it became what it is now. I drank at Mars Bar when I shouldn't have, and got to go to shows at CBGB and Coney Island High.

All these experiences have shaped who I am today and fueled all my early work. The neighborhood has changed, gentrification and rising rents have priced out all the things I grew up with and loved. And while I do find some inspiration still walking down the streets, I find a lot of what inspires my new work comes from the time I spend traveling across the U.S. and other countries. 

I understand you have a treasure trove of photos. What else from the archives might you feature next? 

I would love to do maybe two or three more volumes or even have a show of the actual photographs. I’ve thought about doing one volume of only photos shot at punk shows...mosh pits, mohawks and a sea of hair dyed in all the colors of the rainbow. 

My real dream, however, has been to publish a photo book of the collection of images I have from after high school, traveling around and across this country for years. 

And did you ever replace your mom's Canon Rebel that you destroyed with beer while in high school? 

We had to get it fixed... she was not happy about that (it was kinda a loaner from her job). I think at the time, I also told her someone at the show spilled beer on it (not me, of course). 

My mom saw how much I loved photography and later bought me a smaller, more pocket-friendly (for my lifestyle) camera, which continues to be my favorite camera to shoot with.

You can find her Etsy shop here.

The renovation and expansion of 188 1st Ave.

Structural repairs continue at the five-story 186-188 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street. 

Both buildings were severely damaged during a six-alarm fire at 188 First Ave. in October 2018. Fourteen people, 11 of them firefighters, sustained minor injuries, the Times reported. 

As you can see, the renovations include a horizontal expansion ...
Uogashi occupied No. 188's ground floor and an extension in the lot's backyard. FDNY officials said the fire began in the restaurant, per published reports. The back structure was demolished. 

In total, No. 188 had eight apartments. Both 186 and 188 have been vacant since the first.

The retail spaces at 186 First Ave. both have new tenants on the way, Mr. Pizza and Lilly's Shakes & Crepes.

According to public records, HUBB NYC Properties has been the landlord of 186-188 since January 2018, paying $14.25 million.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

RIP Debby Lee Cohen

Photo courtesy of Cafeteria Culture

Longtime East Village resident Debby Lee Cohen, an artist, activist and teacher, died on Sunday, according to Cafeteria Culture, where she served as the executive director. She was 64.

Here's more about Cohen from a message about her passing from Cafeteria Culture, the nonprofit that she started in 2009: 
Debby Lee founded Cafeteria Culture as a concerned parent of public school students. After her younger daughter announced that she didn't want to eat school food anymore because styrofoam trays were "killing the polar bears," Debby Lee started working to eliminate styrofoam from New York City Public School cafeterias. 

Always a uniter but never afraid to push boundaries, Debby Lee advocated with constant pressure on decision-makers to eliminate foam trays in school cafeterias and didn't stop until her mission was accomplished. This grassroots victory eliminated over half a billion plastic foam trays per year from student meals, landfills, and incinerators in New York City and now 18 other cities across the U.S. 

Debby Lee's public school work to drive change forward has a tremendous and lasting impact on our world far beyond the city. Her dream to achieve equitable zero waste has fueled the continued work of Cafeteria Culture and paved the way for New York City's 2019 and New York State's 2022 foam bans. We owe much to Debby Lee's sheer determination to tackle this problem that at the outset, most people thought was impossible to accomplish. 

Debby Lee centered our students throughout these victories. Whether she was teaching them to build giant foam monster puppets or to create their own stop-motion animation projects, she shared her creative gifts to support students in telling their own stories. These principles continue to guide our teaching today to support Cafeteria Culture students as they continue to advocate for environmental justice and possibility. 
Cohen and her family lived at 310 E. 12th and 305 E. 11th St., two buildings bought by a private equity firm in August 2022. Since then, there have been reports of significant rent increases, evictions and alleged apartment warehousing at the buildings. 

"Debby Lee was a life force for our building and the housing justice we were fighting for. That advocacy and passion came from her broader, impactful life's work which included her Cafeteria Culture foundation, and expanded across all levels of environmental justice causes," her friend and neighbor Artie Athas told EVG. "She was my dear neighbor, our dear friend, and a passionate voice across causes that impacted us all." 

Cohen's family plans to hold a celebration of her life sometime next year. 

In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation to Cafeteria Culture here.

Pasta for the former Koko Wings on 1st Avenue

A restaurant specializing in pasta is in the works for 192 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street. 

We're told that the owners of Gelatoville on First Avenue at 10th Street are behind Pasta de Pasta, a Turkish pasta concept for this space. 

The space was most recently Koko Wings, a quick-serve restaurant specializing in Korean fried chicken, which recently closed after a December 2019 debut. 

This marks the latest vacant upper EV First Avenue storefront to land a new tenant... coming soon:
Sweet Cake, 215 First Ave. 
The Onion Tree Pizza Co. at 214 First Ave. 
The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar, 194 First Ave. 
Lilly's Shakes & Crepes, 186 First Ave. 

 H/T Greg Goldberg

Dead again: Peter Jarema Funeral Home ad replaced by the Marvel Universe on 7th and B

Photo by Salim 

The ad for the Peter Jarema Funeral Home on the north-facing wall at 108 Avenue B and Seventh Street is dead. 

Long live the ad for the Peter Jarema Funeral Home on the north-facing wall at 108 Avenue B and Seventh Street! 

Yesterday morning, workers replaced the new ad (as of February) for the longtime East Village business with one for Coca-Cola and the Marvel Universe.

During exterior renovations last June (first reported here), workers sandblasted away the former ad for the funeral home that's on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

The decades-spanning ad touted "Air Conditioned Chapels," and there was a smaller sign for "Vazac Hall Catering" (and "Fine Food"),  a nod to the business before the current and longstanding tenant Vazac's/the Horseshoe Bar/7B.

The mystery executive behind putting the Jarema banner back on the wall told the Post in February that the ad would come down this month... but may return during slower time periods.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo by Jason Trucco 

Today was the last day for Street Life Ministries after 30-plus years of serving Tompkins Square Park.

David Van Fleet (above) says the family plans to relocate to another state where they will continue their work.

Updated: On Avenue A, let the milling begin (again)

Two-plus weeks after milling Avenue A between Houston and Fourth Street, crews returned tonight. to pick up the work up to 10th Street. Updated: Workers tonight milled more of the roadway between Fourth and Houston before repaving this section. 
The DOT website said work was to happen last night (it didn't) and tonight... so it's TBA on the next six-block section between Fourth Street and 10th Street that is scheduled for milling-paving.


EVG reader Joe shares these photos... from between Third Street and Fourth Street...
The surface-of-the-moon-like surface on A was prompting cyclists, scooters, etc., to ride on the sidewalk. Which we heard about!

Thanks to the reader for the top pics!

East Village tenants speak out against rollbacks to potential rent-stabilization laws

On Sunday, a united front of East Village residents and activists gathered to voice their opposition against proposed changes to rent stabilization, currently under consideration during budget negotiations in Albany. 

The rally took place outside 256 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, a building owned by Mark Scharfman. 

Scharfman, who owns nearly 150 properties, has been on the Public Advocate's Worst Landlord List, coming in at number 44 in 2021 and number 28 in 2020. At No. 256, he has reportedly been taking tenants to court for eviction for withholding rent during a sewage leak. 

Residents argued that the harassment and neglect they face today would get worse if landlords regained incentives to push tenants out so that they could raise rent-stabilized rents. 

"We are already facing harassment from greedy landlords who refuse to make repairs and then try to evict us when we stand up for ourselves," said 256 tenant Irene Metaxatos. "Albany leaders should reject out of hand any changes to the rent stabilization law that would recreate the system rife with harassment and fraud that drove so many of my neighbors out of the building in the past." 

Here's more background via the Cooper Square Committee:
Lawmakers are reportedly considering proposed increases to the cap on how much Individual Apartment Improvements (IAIs) can be passed on to tenants in the form of rent hikes. A chart of how changes to the cap would impact rents is available here

Prior to 2019, IAIs were a driver of skyrocketing rents in rent-stabilized apartments and gave landlords a financial incentive to harass tenants to vacate apartments. Together with other measures like eviction bonuses and Major Capital Improvements, thousands of rent-stabilized units were deregulated. 

After decades of organizing, the tenant movement dramatically strengthened New York State’s rent stabilization law in 2019, limiting IAIs to a cap of $15,000, which translates to a monthly rent increase of approximately $89 a month.

On Friday, City & State reported that 21 elected officials in NYC wrote a letter "demanding that state leaders not rollback any part of the 2019 rent stabilization laws in any housing deal included as part of the budget."

Signees included city Comptroller Brad Lander, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and 19 Council members — including nearly every member of the Council's Progressive Caucus. 

The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar is opening 2 new outposts, including on 1st Avenue

The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar is expanding in the neighborhood. 

Ownership has just signed two new leases — 194 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street and at 122 Ludlow St. between Rivington and Delancey. 

The Lazy Llama will be keeping its original outpost on First Street, which opened in December 2015 just west of First Avenue. 

The new leases come after Lazy Llama operated the snack bar in First Park for three years. That arrangement was set to expire this month.

No. 194 was last home to Cafe Sandra, which closed in 2022.

H/T Greg Goldberg

Protection for a tree garden on St. Mark's Place

Photos by Donald Davis

This past weekend, Boyd constructed an elaborate medieval fence on one of the adopted tree garden plots outside 99 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue.

The fence is to help remind dog walkers and people looking for a place to sit that every garden space is precious...