Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A look inside the former Gracefully storefront on Avenue A, vacant now for nearly 8 years

Photos by Stacie Joy

The sign for Gracefully remains in place outside 28 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street... even though the two-level market closed here in November 2014.

And the large space along a high-profile corridor has remained vacant these past eight years.

The other day, EVG contributor Stacie Joy toured the space with the permission of Derrick the super...
A potential tenant was to look at this space following Stacie's visit.

We don't know why this has sat empty for so long. Size? Price? Both! According to the LoopNet listing, there are 5,000 square feet on the main floor and another 3,500 in the basement ... at $80 per square foot. 

Gracefully arrived here in 1997. It was the tenant when the building — the one-time Burger-Klein furniture shop — underwent a gut renovation to look like Iron Man's helmet. 

And a little bit of Gracefully remains behind...    

Solo Pizza has closed on Avenue B

Solo Pizza has closed as of Monday at 27 Avenue B between Second Street and Third Street. 

There's a pop-up message on the pizzeria's website...
Ownership didn't cite any reasons for the closure.

The pizzeria opened in 2007 and served up some solid slices... not to mention an eggplant parm hero. They will be missed. 

H/T Stacie Joy!

Openings: MayRee on 1st Street

MayRee has debuted at 58 E. First St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. (First mentioned here.) 

The restaurant serves Southern Thai food from chef/owner Orawan Sawangphol and cocktails from industry veteran Sek Saraboon (formerly of The Met Bar in Bangkok and The Dominick Hotel in Soho). 

Here's more about MayRee via a rep:
Born and raised in Phang Nga, a small province in southern Thailand (about an hour from Phuket), Sawangphol started working in her family's restaurant at age 13, learning about techniques and spices as well as recipes from her great grandmother, eventually becoming the restaurant's chef. 

After studying hospitality, she moved to the U.S. She worked in California, Ohio, and Illinois before moving to NYC to open MayRee, her own restaurant, showcasing the Southern Thai dishes she grew up with. 
Sawangphol uses a bounty of Thai herbs and unique ingredients like garcinia cambogia (a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, aka Malabar tamarind), along with turmeric, coconut, chilies, and more. 

You can find a menu here. And some Instagram pics here

And if you are curious about the name...
The restaurant's name comes from a Thai folklore story called the Twelve Sisters — MayRee is one of the sisters. Despite the misfortunes that befall her in the story, she still manages to keep a cheerful disposition and, as a result in Thai culture, she symbolizes celebration and social gathering.

MayRee is open for lunch during the week from noon to 4 p.m., with dinner 5-11 p.m. (11:30 p.m. close on Friday and Saturday). There's a weekend brunch starting at 11 a.m. Phone: (929) 989-6213.

To no surprise, 'emergency work' is necessary at the long-empty 6 Avenue B

After reading yesterday's post about workers removing the sidewalk bridge from around the Mariana Bracetti Plaza ... several readers brought up everyone's fave abandoned building — 6 Avenue B at Houston.

Yes, the sidewalk bridge remains up here — as it has been dating to 2015-16. 

And who knows how much longer it will be up here outside the long-empty 6-floor residential building.

As EVG contributor Stacie Joy recently pointed out, there are DOB notices dated Aug. 31 by the entrance... per the notice, "emergency work" is necessary "due to the disrepair of the building facade on all exposures." The repair evaluation/plan by the licensed professional the landlord hires is due by Oct. 1, 2022.     
Given that there has been 0 work done here of late... that deadline will zip on by.

As previously noted here, the liquor store in the retail space has been closed since the owner passed away in the fall of 2009 at age 89. (Chico created the tribute to her on the gate in February 2010.)

In January 2013, workers were spotted hauling out some junk from the building...  in December 2014, bricks fell from the building, breaking the foot of a passerby, as the Lo-Down reported at the time. And an SUV took out part of the sidewalk bridge in November 2018. And that's about it.

And as previously noted, this is one of the abandoned buildings owned by the estate of the mysterious team of Arthur and Abraham Blasof, now both deceased. 

Previously on EVG:

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tuesday's parting shots

Amelia and Christo, the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, taking in the views late this afternoon along Avenue B... including way atop the Christodora House (below) ... photos by Steven...

Walk with Little Amal tomorrow on the Lower East Side and East Village

Photo by @respectivecollective via Instagram 

You've likely read about Little Amal, a larger-than-life representation of a young refugee from Syria. 

Little Amal, who symbolizes hope for displaced refugees, has been in NYC this month on a 17-day tour. 

Tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 28), Little Amal will be on the Lower East Side and the East Village. The itinerary for "The Walk" starts at the Tenement Museum at 1 p.m. and Clemente Soto Vélez Center at 4 p.m. The 12-foot puppet will then be at La Mama on Fourth Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery at 7 p.m. for a procession over to Washington Square Park. Details here

Per the Walk With Amal website
It takes four puppeteers to bring Little Amal to life: one on each arm, one supporting her back and one inside walking on stilts. This fourth puppeteer also controls "the harp," a complex tapestry of strings that animate Little Amal's face, head and eyes. 
Little Amal Walks NYC is a co-production between The Walk Productions and St. Ann’s Warehouse in association with Handspring Puppet Company.

At long last, workers remove the sidewalk bridge from around Mariana Bracetti Plaza

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Last Tuesday, workers started removing the sidewalk bridge from around the Mariana Bracetti Plaza, the 7-story NYCHA-run housing complex on Third Street and Fourth Street along Avenue C.

The removal brought cheers from residents, as PIX11 noted. Residents who EVG contributor Stacie Joy talked with were thrilled it was gone, and that in the past eight years or so, the workers had only repaired a few bricks. 

Tenant advocates have blamed the longstanding sidewalk structures for the increase in illegal activities here in recent years — not to mention more rats and unsanitary conditions from use as a public restroom. 
According to DOB records, permits for a sidewalk shed date here to December 2000. (Reason: "loose brick.") There are records of permits for installing a sidewalk bridge in March 2003 ... April 2004 (for "remedial repairs") ... August 2015 ... and October 2017. (A Google Streetview shows a structure in place continuously back to 2016.) 

Hopefully, the sidewalks will remain free of other structures. There was a fake-out here in March 2021 after workers took down the sidewalk bridge before rebuilding it several days later. (They were replacing some rotting wooden planks.)

So the views for now...

345 Cantina takes over for Tableside on 6th Street

The 345 Cantina is up and running now at 345 E. Sixth St. just west of First Avenue. (Thanks to the reader tips on this!)

The 345 serves up tacos, beer and cocktails. You can find an online menu here. And an Instagram account here

This arrival also marks the end of Tableside ... the Italian restaurant closed on Aug. 29 after five-plus years in business. Ownership did not provide a reason behind the closure in an Instagram announcement.   

The P.F. Chang's outpost opens Friday on University Place

The P.F. Chang's outpost on the SE corner of 13th Street and University Place is slated to open this Friday, per the restaurant chain's website. (The brand's horse mascot has been under wraps here for the past few weeks.) 

As previously reported, this will be P.F. Chang's first sit-down restaurant in NYC — and a large one with three floors of space. 
The company opened several P.F. Chang's To Go outposts during the pandemic ... there are more than 300 locations worldwide. 

Italian restaurant brand Vapiano was previously in this University Place space. 

Thanks to EVG reader Doug for the photos!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Monday's parting shot

Power washing the graffiti off the ping-pong table in Tompkins Square Park this morning... photo by Derek Berg...

This week in paving (but not milling)

It looks like paving only tonight and tomorrow night on Third Street from Avenue D to the Bowery...
Seventh Street is also on the docket for paving from Avenue D to Cooper Square ... though it appears that just the section between Second Avenue and Cooper Square needs the new surface...
You can check the DOT schedule here

The milling on these streets commenced on Sept. 6.

Thanks to Stacie Joy for the top pic!

New cat owner opens Cosmic Cat Cafe on 2nd Street

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Cosmic Cat Cafe opened last week at 170 E. Second St. between Avenue A and Avenue B...
The sliver of a storefront — previously a hair salon — offers up a selection of coffee drinks (and some teas)...
Owner-barista Sonam Chorda is a first-time cat parent ... and recently received two cats from the same litter. He loves them so much, and says "cats are out of this world, so Cosmic Cats it is."

And despite the name, there aren't any actual cats on the premises.
Daily hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thanks to the EVG readers who first told us about this opening!

La Pizza Italiya taking over the Baker's Pizza space on Avenue A

Signage is up for La Pizza Italiya at 201 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street.

The awning notes Pasta, Gluten Free and "Krunchy Chicken." (Quotes ours!)

La Pizza takes over for Baker's Pizza. Some recent history there: A "Permanently Closed RIP" message was posted atop the pizzeria's website in January. However, several weeks later, the pizzeria reopened (though not by original owner Jordan Baker). BPII didn't last, though, long as the gates came down and a closed/Department of Health notice arrived on the door dated March 31. A for-rent sign arrived in the summer.

Baker's arrived in February 2016 and quickly built a fervent fanbase.

No word yet on an opening date for La Pizza Italiya.

Kenneth Cole reopening Bowery outpost with a 'Temporary' concept

Now that the J. Crew Men's store is all settled in at 316 Bowery... Kenneth Cole is making a comeback a block to the north where signage shows a new concept on the way called Temporary...
Cole signed a 10-year lease here at Bond Street in 2015 ... the shop had been closed since the start of the pandemic, though the space has hosted several pop-up events. 

According to its website, Temporary will focus on men's essentials.

In 2016, the company announced it was closing all but two of its U.S. brick-and-mortar stores to focus on "its e-commerce and international business." The Bowery outpost was one of two that remained in service.

Buka bringing Nigerian cuisine to 1st Avenue

Photos by Steven

The Brooklyn-based Buka is bringing its homestyle Nigerian cuisine to 137 First Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street ... 
This will be a second outpost for Buka, which has a new location on Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy after launching in 2010. (This piece at Eater offers more details about what to expect from Buka.)

Per the Buka Instagram account, this East Village spot is expected to open on Oct. 1 with hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can find a menu here.

The space was previously home to Drunken Dumpling, which debuted in the fall of 2016 and received favorable press for its gigantic soup dumplings created by the mother-son team here. The restaurant was closed for a good part of the pandemic, reopening back in November before going dark again in the spring. 

Yaki Sushi takes over for Hawkers on 14th Street

There's a concept change at 225 E. 14th St. 

A new venture called Yaki Sushi, featuring a lengthy menu for the venue's lengthy bar-like set-up, has taken over the storefront here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue... marking the end of Hawkers, which offered Southeast Asian street-style food since its 2010 debut. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Parish Picnic outside St. Stanislaus on 7th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy

Today, St. Stanislaus — New York's oldest (and only) Polish Roman-Catholic church — hosted a Parish Picnic on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy and shared these photos from the family-friendly event outside the church, which is celebrating its 150 anniversary... 

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo on Avenue A by Derek Berg) ... 

• Big changes are coming to the iconic skate spot in Tompkins Square Park (Monday

• Community groups advocating for low-income housing on these 2 East Village sites (Tuesday

• Ella Funt & Club 82 looks to bring food, film and theater to storied 4th Street venue (Monday

• The [plant-baked] retail space is closing on 7th Street this Sunday (Friday

• The former Uncle Johnny grocery slated for demolition on Avenue D and 5th Street (Wednesday

• The great First Avenue Laundry Center is closing for renovations this fall (Thursday

• Good Beer has closed (Monday

• Crossroads Trading bringing the resale and vintage clothing to Second Avenue (Friday)

• Openings: Monsieur Vo on 2nd Avenue (Wednesday

• New York State is selling off the contents of Matthew Kenney's restaurant Sestina (Thursday

• Pretty much a full reveal at the incoming Empanada Mama (Wednesday)

• Former Tarallucci e Vino space for rent (Thursday

• Former Los Tacos space now a 787 Coffee training facility on 7th Street (Wednesday

• Longtime bar space at 68 2nd Ave. hits the rental market (Tuesday

• 1 guess on what is coming to this empty storefront on Avenue A and 13th Street (Monday

• Signage alert: Chomp Chomp Thai Kitchen on 1st Street (Friday

• New 6th Street psychic apparently didn't summon psychic powers before taking this space (Thursday)

• A Link5G tower for Avenue A (Tuesday

... and speaking of Link5G towers, on Friday, EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted workers erecting one on Clinton Street between Houston and Stanton... 
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.