Friday, December 8, 2023

Friday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

A lot of 2 Bros. Pizza on the move on Second Avenue ...

Always be my Baby


Here with "Eddie My Love" is the Chicago-based Brigitte Calls Me Baby ... from the band's debut EP, This House is Made of Corners.

And see them live at Baby's All Right in Williamsburg on Feb. 13.

This afternoon in Tompkins Square Park

Could it be our old oppossum friend Opie aka Nicodemus Punch Sugarpop????? (Background here and here, as to what the *&^%$%^^ we're talking about.)
Thnaks to the reader for the pics!

Here is the 2023 SantaCon East Village bar map

Many people will be seeing red tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 9). 

SantaCon 2023 returns for another year of binging, bar crawling and losing iPhones even though it's actually in your pocket where you last left it after all that. 

The official festivities begin at 10 a.m. at places you've never been on Seventh Avenue near 42nd Street. 

The $15.93 "donation" (read about their charity here) gets your Santa Badge and access to participating bars, mainly in Midtown West and East... and these nine East Village establishments (seven are carry-overs from last year): 
  • Amsterdam Billiards & Bar, 110 E. 11th St. at Fourth Avenue 
  • The Laurels, 231 Second Ave. at 14th St. 
  • Coyote Ugly, 233 E. 14th St., between Second Avenue and Third Avenue 
  • Solas, 232 E. Ninth St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue (serving as a "Huge Venue")
  • Bull McCabe's, 29 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue 
  • The Phoenix, 447 E. 13th St.,  between Avenue A and First Avenue 
  • Doc Holliday's, 141 Avenue A at Ninth Street 
  • Horseshoe Bar/7B, 108 Avenue B at Seventh Street 
  • The Grayson, 16 First Ave. near First Street
However, as we've seen in previous Cons, bars not on the official list are often all too happy to participate.

For instance, here are the Santacades outside Downtown Social (ex 13th Step) on Second Avenue at Ninth Street. (Pic today by William Klayer.)
As NBC 4 noted, presumably for non-residents of these areas: "For those preferring to avoid the event at all costs, steer clear of Midtown East and West as well as the East Village."

Happy No. 139 to the Ottendorfer Library branch!

The Ottendorfer branch of the New York Public Library on Second Avenue is celebrating its 139th anniversary this week.

The library, 135 Second Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street, had an opening ceremony on Dec. 6, 1884, at 3:30 p.m. and then opened the following Monday, Dec. 8, 1884, for regular service. 

To mark the anniversary, the library is hosting a walking tour tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We will celebrate the German heritage of the East Village that brought it to fruition. When the revolutions of 1848 throughout Europe failed, many young German-speaking revolutionaries fled to the East Village, which became the largest German-speaking community in the world after Berlin and Vienna. 

With the freedoms of the New World, Little Germany, or Kleindeutschland, as it became known, was a crucible for their energies and talents. On this tour, we will walk to places where Europe's failed revolutionaries made their mark and consider their legacy.
Find more info here

Branch manager Kristin Kuehl shared this trivia with us: Ottendorfer is the oldest NYC public library still operating in its original building.

Also! Half of the 8,000 original books were in German, with the other half in English. 

Below is an undated archival photo by J. Frederick Stein from the NYPL Digital Collections.

Get ready to Cookie Walk this way

Photo last month by Steven

The Cookie Walk, a favorite local holiday tradition featuring more than 60 varieties of homemade cookies and desserts, returns this weekend (as we've been noting) at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church on Avenue A and 10th Street. 

The festive event in the church basement occurs tomorrow (Saturday!) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ... and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. (or until they run out).

As the name suggests, you take one of the provided boxes (or two) and walk around cookie-filled tables (no pushing, please) to pick your faves. More details here.

This is the first Cookie Walk since 2019.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Thursday's parting shot

Thanks to Pinch for this early morning view today from 14th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...


We received several photos today that attemtped to show today's flurries (#ItsSNOWING)... hard to tell in any of the photos, unfortunately, so... as far as we can recall, this does mark the first snowfall of a) today b) December 2023 and c) the 2023-24 winter season.

Proposed hotel next to the Merchant's House Museum returns to the Landmarks Preservation Commission

EVG file photo

A developer's decades-long effort to build a hotel next door to the landmarked Merchant's House Museum on Fourth Street between the Bowery and Lafayette is back in the news. 

Merchant's House officials learned yesterday that the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, to discuss — and possibly vote on — the proposed development for an 8-story hotel. (Find the meeting and registration info at this link. A PDF of the presentation is here. A livestream will be on the LPC YouTube page. Village Preservation has more details.)

Per the Merchant's House: 
At the last LPC hearing nearly three years ago, the LPC declined to vote on the proposed development. If the LPC now votes to approve the project, the Merchant's House will be forced to close to the public for at least two years to safeguard the house and the collection. Construction next door will cause significant structural damage to our landmark 1832 building. 

Shockingly, landmark status does not guarantee protection.
The development firm Kalodop II Park Corp. has been trying to build the hotel for nearly 12 years. 

In January 2019, the developers sued New York City, the City Council and Councilmember Carlina Rivera over the rejection of their Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for the project. (Not sure whatever happened to that suit.)

The developers have been seeking a spot rezoning to build an 8-story hotel on the site — higher than the current zoning allowed. The full City Council ultimately voted down the rezoning in September 2019. 

Preservationists, not to mention the leadership of Merchant's House, the circa-1832 building, were concerned that the construction could permanently damage the structure, one of only six residences in NYC that is both an exterior and an interior landmark. Local elected officials and Community Board 2 have all opposed the current application for the 8-story hotel. 

The developers have promised to take extensive measures to ensure that the neighboring structure would not be harmed during the hotel construction. 

This project dates to 2011.

The proposed site of the hotel, 27 E. Fourth St., currently houses Al-Amin Food Inc., which houses carts for street vendors. 

About the discounted tix to see Basquiat x Warhol at the Brant Foundation

EVG photos from last month

For the remaining month of the Basquiat x Warhol exhibit at the Brant Foundation, tickets are 50% off every Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. 

Some math: for East Village residents on Wednesdays between 2-6 p.m., the cost would be $7.50, $10 if you live outside the neighborhood. Find ticket info here

As previously noted about the show at 421 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue... 
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. 

A sign of the Sunflower (and brunch) on 2nd Avenue

Renovations continue inside 88 Second Ave. at Fifth Street. 

As we've been reporting, this will be a second outpost of Sunflower, the cafe serving breakfast-brunch on Third Avenue between 24th Street and 25th Street.

There's some Sunflower neon signage up in the back and this very visible "You had me at... Brunch!" sign...
We didn't spot any signs reading "It's Brunch O'Clock" or "Go Ahead, Mimosa My Day!" or "What Happens at Brunch Stays at Brunch."

Sunflower is owned and operated by the same folks as the previous tenant here, Eros, the Greek restaurant
 that quietly closed in August 2022 when a "temporarily closed" sign arrived on the front door and stayed for 16 months. Eros took over for their diner concept, The Kitchen Sink, in September 2021

Thanks to Eden and Steven for sharing photos from here!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A 'Centennial' celebration of Saul Leiter

10th Street and Third Avenue © Saul Leiter Foundation

Dec. 3 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of celebrated photographer Saul Leiter, who's now the subject of a new exhibition showcasing his work's range.

The Howard Greenberg Gallery is hosting "Centennial," which features more than 40 photographs, paintings and painted photographs, many of which have never been on public view in the United States. The exhibition, created in collaboration with the Saul Leiter Foundation, coincides with the recently released book, "Saul Leiter: The Centennial Retrospective."

Here's more about Leiter via the EVG inbox...
Saul Leiter photographed and painted nearly every day for over 60 years. He made an enormous and unique contribution to photography during a highly prolific period in New York City in the 1950s as an early pioneer of color. His abstracted forms and radically innovative compositions have a painterly quality that stands out from the work of his New York School contemporaries. 

Often, he found inspiration within a few blocks of his apartment in lower Manhattan, seeking beauty in the ordinary, and capturing intimate moments, both indoors and on the streets. 

The exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery will survey his black-and-white as well as his color photographs including portraiture and cityscapes from the 1940s-1960s, his paintings (on which he worked until the end of his life) including abstract watercolors and painted photographs, and his fashion photography from Harper's Bazaar circa 1960.
Leiter lived and worked at 111 E. 10th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue from 1952 to his death in 2013. The studio is now home to the Saul Leiter Foundation, which is cataloging his more than 80,000 works. 

The Howard Greenberg Gallery is at 41 E. 57th St. between Park and Madison. Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and  Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

A bad sign at Gaia Italian Café

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Updated: There's now an Instagram post about the situation: "Our location has been closed due to, again, malicious situations that jeopardized the business after we reopened with so much effort." The message states the business will continue online, including "the delivery of Christmas dinner for two."


A notice from the Marshal on the front door at Gaia Italian Café on Third Street states that the landlord is now in legal possession of the storefront...
As we've seen from time to time in the past, the tenant and landlord have been able to work something out in this situation. Hopefully, that can be the case here. 

Chef-owner Gaia Bagnasacco opened at 226 E. Third St. between Avenue B and Avenue C in June 2022.

After nine years, Bagnasacco closed her popular business on July 26, 2020, at 251 E. Houston St. between Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Bagnasacco then created pasta, meal kits, and sauces that she sold via an online shop, all available for local delivery from a space on the Lower East Side.

Construction watch: 340 Bowery

Workers recently encased the front of 340 Bowery in plywood.

As we reported in late October, the four-story building — a former flophouse — is becoming a "boutique micro hotel" for solo travelers... with retail space on the ground floor, as seen on the plywood rendering...
The new venture will be an 182-key modern boutique micro-hotel inspired by European Luxury train sleeper cabins, per the marketing literature.

The four-story building has served as a single-room occupancy hotel dating to 1899. Our previous post has more history of the space.

The rendering shows a spring 2024 completion date. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

Aspiring Citi Bike of the day... as seen near Seventh Street and First Avenue ...

RIP Ed Burns

Dr. Edward M. Burns, a longtime East Village resident and educator, died on Nov. 3. He was 79. 

Burns was a professor of English at William Paterson University, joining the faculty in 1989. He published widely on Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, James Joyce and Thornton Wilder, among others. 

His work on Gertrude Stein was included in a three-part New Yorker article by Janet Malcolm in the early 2000s. As an editor, his book credits included "Tour of the Darkling Plain: The 'Finnegans Wake' Letters of Thornton Wilder and Adaline Glasheen"; "A Passion for Joyce: The Letters of Hugh Kenner and Adaline Glasheen," "The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder," and "Gertrude Stein on Picasso." 

As The New Yorker put it, Stein became the focus of his life's work. Burns was the expert The Metropolitan Museum of Art consulted for the 2012 exhibition, "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde." 

He also wrote an essay about Gertrude Stein that was included in the exhibition’s catalog and donated more than 20 archival photos of the paintings in her apartment. 

From his official obituary: "Dr. Burns was an avid supporter of the arts and literature in New York and Paris. Loving uncle, great-uncle, great-great-uncle, friend, and colleague to many. He will be missed by all."

We knew Ed as a regular at the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place ... when we enjoyed spending far too many late afternoons and early evenings during John Leeper's shifts. 

In one of her New Yorker pieces, Malcolm described Burns as "burly, affable and loquacious." Not sure about burly, but the other descriptions fit the bill.

H/T Steven

The Joyce Theater Foundation completes purchase of the former Boys' Club on 10th Street and Avenue A

After 10 months as a tenant of 287 E. 10th St., the Chelsea-based Joyce Theater Foundation is now the new owner of the 7-story building, the former Harriman Clubhouse run by the Boys' Club of New York on the NW corner of Avenue A.

The news arrived yesterday via Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, a nonprofit real estate adviser.

Backing up a bit: In August 2019, Crain's first reported that Aaron Sosnick, an East Village resident and founder of the investment fund A.R.T. Advisors LLC, was the new owner of the Harriman Clubhouse. He bought it for $31.725 million and reportedly planned to sell the property, "potentially at a substantial loss," to a nonprofit that would maintain its civic use.

According to Denham Wolf, the unnamed philanthropic foundation that bought the building at market rate sold it to The Joyce for half the amount — $16 million. 

Per the press announcement:
The purchase allows The Joyce to expand its programming capabilities and to offer rehearsal, performance, and administrative space at subsidized rates. 

The sale is the culmination of a multi-year process initiated by Denham Wolf in which a foundation purchased the site at a market rate solely to resell it for community use at a discounted rate. Denham Wolf believes that other foundations can use the sale of 287 East 10th Street as a model to support nonprofits and their missions. 

In addition to the reduced purchase price, the seller provided The Joyce with long-term financing, which allows The Joyce to fundraise for the capital improvements necessary to adapt the building to its new purpose. 
The foundation worked with the community following its purchase of the building to create an RFP for nonprofits interested in repurposing the space for community-facing programs. Priority was given to organizations that would serve the East Village and provide community benefit, whether through education, health care, performing arts, social welfare, advocacy, or beyond. 

Nonprofits were asked to demonstrate a stable, long-term financial plan for the project, including opportunities for public use of portions of the building. While there were many great options for future operators of the space, The Joyce made a compelling argument and demonstrated a feasible plan for securing and updating the space for community use. 

The Joyce has announced a capital campaign to support the organization with renovations starting in continuous stages and intends to transform the East Village community center into a cultural hub for artists with an emphasis on dance.
The Joyce has made available a handful of studios at subsidized rates for dance artists, including space specifically for tap and percussive artists. There are also studios open for local dance companies and businesses to hold rehearsals, auditions classes, workshops, and other gallery-arts uses, such as the Deer Gallery.

The building was rebranded as the New York Center for Creativity & Dance. There's an open studio here to check out all the artists and their spaces on Dec. 17 from 11 to 5 p.m. (More on this later.)

As we first reported in June 2018, the Boys' Club put the building on the sales market. 

At the time, Stephen Tosh, BCNY's executive director and CEO, said the sale of the East Village building would allow the organization to start new programs in other neighborhoods needing its services. 

The building was pitched for educational purposes and residential conversion. With the prime location and Tompkins Square Park views, there was a heavy sentiment that the building would eventually be converted into high-end condominiums.

E.H. Harriman founded the Boy's Club in 1876. The Harriman Clubhouse on 10th Street and Avenue A opened in 1901.

Previously on EV Grieve:

What? Federico of Pinc Louds is doing a residency on Wednesdays this month at 96 Tears

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Every Wednesday night this month, Federico of Pinc Louds will be performing "immersive solo shows" in the Cabin Down Below space underneath 96 Tears

From 8-11 p.m., Federico will play three different sets a night ... and with some special guest performers. 

What to expect?
"It will be very interactive in nature. With dance contests, costume contests, etc. Every Wednesday will have a different W-word theme, such as Wedding or Wormholes." 

Wormholes! Woo!
96 Tears is at 110 Avenue A near Seventh Street (and next to Niagara!). Entry is free for this "Wednesdays With a W" series, though there is a suggested $15 donation.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Report: Police chase ends with Jeep crashing into 2nd Avenue sidewalk bridge, injuring cyclist

Photos by EVG reader Erin 

A police chase last evening ended up with the suspects crashing a Jeep into the sidewalk bridge on Second Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Street, injuring a 26-year-old bicyclist in the process.
According to police and media reports (PIX 11 here), the situation began after 7 p.m. on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue when the NYPD attempted to pull over the vehicle that had stolen plates. 

However, the driver sped off, reportedly hitting several cars on 34th Street and Second Avenue, before heading south down Second Avenue at a high rate of speed. 

Before colliding with the sidewalk bridge in the East Village, the driver struck a parked car and the cyclist, who reportedly suffered non-life-threatening head, neck and leg injuries. 

The occupants of the vehicle were a 21-year-old and a 16-year-old male. No word on the charges against them.

City officials help facilitate successful meal handout for asylum seekers in the East Village

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy
Note: Faces of the asylum seekers have been blurred 

After the difficulties with the planned food and clothing distribution at the former St Brigid School on Friday, NYC Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol and Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs David Schmid (both East Village residents) reached out to help facilitate a planned meal handout yesterday at the asylum-seeker reticketing site on Seventh Street and Avenue B. 

The city offered volunteers with East Village Loves NYC the interior courtyard space, complete with OEM pop-up tents to protect against the rain, to pass out 390-plus hot meals to those in need. (On Friday, after arranging for food distribution, officials at the site wouldn't let volunteers hand out the warm meals to those asylum seekers inside the school.)
Father Seán Connolly from St. Brigid/St. Emeric also helped facilitate the distribution and coordinate a plan between the city-run site and the Archdiocese of New York, which owns the space that the city leases. Plans are currently underway to provide additional supplies through the Church and a faith-based initiative.
Yesterday's distribution, serving asylum seekers from China, Russia, Western and Northern Africa, and Central and South America, included all Halal dishes of beef chili, chicken paprikash, vegan red lentil stew, Danish, fruit, nuts/snack packs, and hot coffee, which was extra welcome in the raw, rainy conditions. 

Community members — along with city officials and the always-popular Google translator app — showed up to help provide communication services.
I spotted several people wearing slippers or chancletas and saw others clearly unprepared for the colder temperatures accompanying NYC this time of year. OEM officials discussed the difficulties in providing shoes, coats, and warm clothing and the logistical challenges in assisting the massive influx of asylum seekers. (Per media accounts, more than 140,000 asylum seekers have arrived here since last spring.) 

The mood was optimistic at the end of yesterday's distribution. 

"[The city] set us up in our own private space and provided tents to keep us dry," said EV Loves NYC co-founder and executive director Mammad Mahmoodi. "This meant we could deliver the offerings with much more dignity and care. We hope that this is the start of a healthy and productive relationship between us all and that they fulfill some promises they made moving forward."

Previously on EV Grieve: