Sunday, December 15, 2019

Day 1 of the Cookie Walk

This weekend marks the 11th Annual Cookie Walk at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church on Avenue A and 10th Street.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by for Day 1 of the festivities. They'll be more cookie action today (Sunday!) from noon to 3 p.m. Find more details at this link.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Saturday's parting shot

How was your SantaCon? ... photo today by Derek Berg...

This weekend in holiday fairs and fundraisers

Apologies for the late notice on this... you can still take part in day two, though, over at the Sirovich Center on 12th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue... (h/t elvis666!)


[Photo by Steven]

The 9th Precinct's annual Santa party is this morning from 9 to noon on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.


Via the EVG inbox...

Today is the Lower Eastside Girls Club's holiday fundraiser — Coquito for Puerto Rico!

When: Saturday, Dec. 14 from 4 - 7 p.m.
Where: 402 E. Eighth St. at Avenue D

Join us for homemade Coquito (traditional Puerto Rican egg nog), Latin noshes (rice and beans and empanadas) and your own take-home tin of cookies and jar of Sofrito!

Your $35 donation will support our upcoming trip this Spring to visit women-run farms and learn about food sustainability practices in Puerto Rico.

AND...get out your dancing shoes: we have Loisaida Legend Pepe Flores spinning vinyl all evening!


Via the EVG inbox...

The Neighborhood School’s Holiday Fair returns on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Join us to support a local public school and have a blast. Bring friends and family. There will be arts & crafts, face-painting, henna tattooing, a huge kid-built cardboard maze, and great food from neighborhood vendors.

And check out the Artisan Fest where vendors will sell jewerly, artwork, clothes and more. This is a great (and cheap) way to have fun indoors with your kids on a chilly winter’s day. Admission to the Holiday Fair is free, activities are low-cost, and it is open to the public.

All proceeds from the Holiday Fair support the Neighborhood School PTA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that pays for the school’s art and music education, field trips, classroom supplies, special programs, and teacher support.

The Neighborhood School is located at 121 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Avenue A.


Also Sunday... over at the Double Down Saloon, 14 Avenue A...


Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday's parting shot

Afternoon view of the Empire State Building from an EV rooftop...

Just another day at the 'Office'

The Philadelphia-based trio Control Top's debut release showed up on a few year-end best-of lists — such as at Pitchfork. The video here is for the song "Office Rage."

The East Village bars officially participating in SantaCon tomorrow

SantaCon unleashes its annual drunken sprawl tomorrow morning at 10 at Father Duffy Square, a section of Times Square on Seventh Avenue between 46th Street and 47th Street.

From there, the Santas will fan out to bars across the city, from Times Square and Chelsea to Gramercy Park and Union Square. The East Village will once again have a front-row seat for the red wave of store-bought Santa suits. Nearly a dozen EV bars are listed on the SantaCon website as "SantaCon Charity Venues." Meanwhile, Solas on Ninth Street receives official designation as a "Special Santa Venue."

Other local bars will likely be taking part aside from those listed, including the 13th Step on Second Avenue, which seems to always have the longest line of Santas waiting to enter.

SantaCon was reportedly going to happen aboard several party boats in the Skyport Marina off of 23rd Street on the East River. However, NY Waterway canceled the gig after local elected officials raised concerns.

In a letter signed by City Councilmember Keith Powers, State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein: "we have serious concerns about the disruption it is likely to create for those who live in and travel through the area."

Instead, the rest of the city will now bear the brunt of this disruption.


Here are a few Santa-free bars that I know about so far in the East Village ... please let me know of others... (to repeat: these are bars that are NOT letting in people in Santa costumes)...

-Double Down Saloon, 14 Avenue A
-dba, 41 First Ave.
-Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St.
-Josie's, 520 E. Sixth St.
-Mona's, 224 Avenue B
-11th Street Bar, 510 E. 11th St.
-The Penny Farthing, 103 Third Ave.
-B-Side, 204 Avenue B
-Lucky, 168 Avenue B
-Drexler's, 9 Avenue A

Family affair at the new San Loco on Avenue C

San Loco opened yesterday at their new East Village location — 111 Avenue C between Seventh Street and Eighth Street.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by and shared this photo of the owners — Jill and Kimo Hing with son Dietrich. (Not pictured: the Hing's other son, Calvin, who was at home.)

San Loco's East Village presence dates to 1986. Our previous post has more background.

Walk on: Holiday cookies await at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church

The 11th Annual Cookie Walk is set for this this weekend — Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. — at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church on Avenue A and 10th Street.

And here's how it works via the Church's website:

Our Cookie Team bakes over 70,000 holiday confections — about 75 varieties. What makes the Cookie Walk unique is that you are in charge. You “take a walk” around tables ladened with cookies and hand-pick your favorites to fill an empty box. There are two sizes of boxes to fill: $20 & $35.

The Cookie Walk also has an Instagram account to get you in the Cookie Walk mood...

'Go home Santa'

[Photo by Steven]

This sign is on the front door at dba on First Avenue between Second Street and Third Street ahead of SantaCon tomorrow.

The copy underneath a naked Santa (with seemingly ambiguous genitalia) reads:

It might be hard to realize with your super awesome santa hat on,

but try and understand:

Manhattan isn't a sprawling playground

built for your exclusive right to visit once a year

and puke and/or piss all over our homes and businesses.

That said, SantaCon is annually overrun with terrifying predators.

If you find yourself feeling unwell and in need of help please come in

and we will make sure you are safe, comfortable, hydrated, and have a way home.

dba loves you, always.

It's not immediately clear who the invitation inside is for: People fleeing SantaCon? SantaConners who may have had too much to drink ... or maybe SantaConners feeling creeped out by other SantaConners?

The dba Instagram account makes it more clear: No Santas, period...

SantaCon begins tomorrow in Times Square ... aside from bars in that area, as well as Midtown East and Murray Hill, more than a dozen East Village bars are officially participating. Find the list here. We'll do a separate post later listing the local bars taking part.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Behold this festive DIY Christmas wreath on 7th Street made from parking tickets

What a way to add a little cheer to any car windshield this holiday season!

EVG reader Sylvia G. spotted this Christmas wreath, which someone fashioned together using various parking tickets along with some green ribbon, earlier this week on Seventh Street near Avenue C. She later saw it on another car between Avenue C and Avenue D.

There was a theory about where the parking tickets came from on Seventh Street, though they appear to have been written out to different vehicle owners.

A visit to Obscura Antiques and Oddities, closing soon on Avenue A

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

Mike Zohn, co-owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities, 207 Avenue A near 13th Street, is circling the neighborhood looking for parking when we meet up to talk, take pictures, and reminisce about East Village people and places over the years.

I’d bought my first piece of adult furniture more than 20 years ago at the first of the store’s three locations and Mike was the guy who sold it to me. I still have the vintage green school desk, a photo of which I show him on my phone once I sweet talk the FedEx guy into moving his truck so Mike can park out front of the shop.

I have a similar conversation the following day when I drop by again to talk to co-owner Evan Michelson, chatting about places I’d seen her and her band perform and way the neighborhood has changed over the years.

Both Zohn and Michelson have moved out of the neighborhood, Zohn to Easton, Pa., and Michelson to Plainfield, N.J., and both commute in to work at the store.

[Evan Michelson]

[Mike Zohn]

As first reported by EV Grieve, the shop is closing up after almost a quarter of a century in business, so this was an especially poignant A Visit to… feature for me. We talked about the history of the shop, what’s changed for them and what their future plans may be.

What is the history of Obscura Antiques and Oddities?

Mike Zohn: We grew out of Wandering Dragon Trading Company, which was the shop Adrian Gilboe started many years ago on 10th Street. I would buy then sell items to him and hang out there at all hours. After he moved his shop to Brooklyn, Obscura was born.

Evan Michelson: In 1991, a few years after I first moved to the East Village, I happened upon a tiny shop on East 10th Street called Wandering Dragon Trading Company. It was run by a gentleman named Adrian Gilboe, and it was aesthetically perfect. There was an old Chinese lantern framed by faded drapes in the window; inside there were assorted wax mannequins, ethnographic objects, antique clothes, and pieces of taxidermy. It was an enchanting, somewhat shabby, lived-in cabinet of curiosities; stepping over the threshold was like stepping back in time. It was magical.

Adrian had an incredible eye. When I first met him, I told him that I was in love with the shop. I told him, “This looks like the inside of my own head.” We became friends and worked together on occasion. Eventually Adrian opened a store in Brooklyn, and Mike and I started Obscura in the old Wandering Dragon space.

What drew you to the East Village? Why was it important to you to stay in the neighborhood as you moved locations?

Michaelson: My husband and I first moved to the East Village in 1989; we were musicians and performance artists, and the Village at that time was a fantastically edgy, affordable neighborhood where creative people could live, rehearse, perform and spend time with like-minded folks who came from all over the world to make amazing things happen. From Wigstock to the Pyramid Club to the Collective Unconscious, the East Village was a cultural engine, and we were very lucky to be a part of that.

I’ve always seen Obscura as an extension of that creative, anarchic energy; the East Village has always been the only home this shop could possibly have.

Zohn: Back when we first started out the East Village was affordable. It was cool and fun and exciting. It was a place where you could open a neat little business and do ok. With very affordable rent, it was ok if sales were slow. You could still pay the rent and your bills and enjoy what you were doing. The East Village had so many unique places and things to do back then. It was a great place to be.

How has the retail landscape in the neighborhood changed since you first opened?

Zohn: The whole city has changed as has business and retail. Look at all the empty shops, all the long-standing business that are closing or have moved away. Look at what we do have shop-wise. There is clearly an issue.

Michelson: The East Village has changed tremendously in the last 20-plus years. The rents are very high, the regulations are rigorous, many long-time residents have been priced out and most of the businesses I’ve come to know and love over the years have had to close up or move. It’s a process of gentrification that is seen in so many cities; the East Village was once so vital, and so wild, and it has become relatively tame.

Your shop was a neighborhood fixture for almost a quarter of a century. What factors led you to the decision to close the store?

Michelson: Brick and mortar is hurting everywhere; lots of folks shop online these days. Also, when the shop started, we were one of the few places where you could find most of these strange and mysterious objects. Thanks in part to the TV show “Oddities” that culture has now become fairly mainstream.

We’ve also been around — in one form or another — for more than two decades. We’ve had a long, successful run and now just seems like the right time to move on.

Zohn: The business has changed and the neighborhood as well. The overhead is just too much. Between rent, taxes, insurance, payroll, garbage carting, etc., it’s a lot of money to keep a small business running. Now with the 12th and 13th Street bike lanes eliminating parking spots in the neighborhood, it’s that much more difficult. I need a vehicle for my business.

How has it been since the news got out? What can customers expect when they visit the shop before the end of the year?

Zohn: Lots of people have come out of the woodwork to say how sad they are about it. The shop will be the same until we close. We are bringing in new stuff as always. It won’t get depressing until we clear the place out in January.

Michelson: Folks have been stopping by the shop to say goodbye and share their favorite memories and experiences. It’s been really lovely. We hope to maintain our usual hours through the end of the year but things are a bit unsettled, so I’d call to make sure we’re open before heading over or making a special trip.

What’s next for you?

Michelson: There are so many things I’d like to do! My life has been focused on Obscura for so long that I’m going to have to decompress for a while before I figure out exactly what comes next. I love writing and I’ve had a few essays published; I have a rather esoteric book almost ready to go and some ideas for other written and spoken projects that really excite me.

Ultimately, however, I’m an antiques dealer, and I’ll probably get back to that in a few years. There are other aesthetics I’d like to explore, other forms of time travel, history and remembrance that I’d like to put out there in the world. If I’m lucky, I’ll have that chance.

Zohn: I’m planning on doing more online plus my Oddities Market events — Philly, Atlanta, Nashville, and more cities to be announced soon. We have discussed a pop up now and then but no final decision has been made on that.


Obscura will be closing at the end of this year, but may have odd hours in January as Mike and Evan shutter the store. They both recommend calling to make sure the place is open before making a special trip out: 212-505-9251.

San Loco opens TODAY (12/12!) on Avenue C

San Loco officially makes its East Village return today.

There's a noon opening time here for their debut at 111 Avenue C between Seventh Street and Eighth Street.

The quick-serve Tex-Mex restaurant made the announcement yesterday on Instagram.

As previously noted, San Loco debuted at 129 Second Ave. in the East Village in 1986 ... before later moving across the street to 124 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. That outpost closed in June 2017 due to an unsustainable rent increase. The Avenue A San Loco closed in 2014 after 15 years in business.

San Loco also has a location on Stanton Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
It's official: San Loco is returning to the East Village

San Loco plotting an East Village comeback?

Celebrating 40 years of the Pyramid Club

The Pyramid, a defining club of the East Village scene in the 1980s, is turning 40 ... and the celebration officially kicks off tonight at midnight.

Here's more via Facebook:

Friday, Dec. 13 is our 40th Birthday, won’t you join us? Festivities start on Thursday night with a countdown at midnight! Official Bash on Friday, continuing until Saturday! Come HOME, we love you just as you are!

EVG contributor shared these photos of the interior ahead of the party the other night...

You can find more info at the Pyramid website via this link. The club is at 101 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

Find more comprehensive history of the Pyramid here and here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A visit to the Pyramid Club on Avenue A

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wednesday's parting shots

EVG contributor Steven spotted local artist Ian Dave Knife giving an old tree stump new life on St. Mark's Place near First Avenue...

This past weekend, Knife, who lives on St. Mark's Place, similarly transformed a tree stump on 11th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. Expect to see more of his handiwork on other dead tree stumps in the neighborhood.

Read more about his work and influences here.

A pop-up holiday market and open mic at the East Village Playhouse

This market is happening at the East Village Playhouse, 340 E. Sixth St. just west of First Avenue.

Via the EVG inbox...

Join us and shop from local women-owned business while enjoying Open Mic evenings.

Dec 12 & 13, 5-10 p.m.
Dec 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

On Saturday, join us for a flower making workshop, more shopping with conscious vendors, and bask in our lineup of diverse performances from dance to ukulele.

Partial proceeds benefit the CityKids Foundation and the Listen School, housed in the East Village Playhouse, former home of Tribal Soundz.

[Click on image for more detail]