Friday, July 31, 2009

In a room

"The Chelsea Girls" this weekend.

Crime report of the day

From the NYPD Daily Blotter in the Post:

A thief who swiped a smartphone was arrested after he tried to sell it back to the owner in the East Village, authorities said yesterday.

The incident began at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, when the victim discovered his Blackberry missing after leaving Ray's Pizza on East Houston Street near Ludlow Street, cops said.

When he dialed the phone, Damon Bradley, 35, answered and demanded $125 from the owner to get it back.

They arranged to meet at Avenue D and 8th Street, but when Bradley got there, police were waiting for him.

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

Has the Penistrator reared his ugly head in the Upper High Line region? (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY, maybe NSFW)

Several reports of suits at old P.S. 64 on Ninth Street — where new hell might this be? (Save the Lower East Side! and Scoopy's Notebook)

The butcher of TSP (Ephemeral New York)

Price cuts at the Flowerbox on Seventh Street (Curbed)

"Chelsea Girls" this weekend at Anthology Film Archives (Esquared)

A shooting on Clinton Street? (BoweryBoogie)

An argument to make the national drinking age 18 (BoingBoing)

A history of hipsters (Time via Gothamist)

Meanwhile, in Germany LGG greets her fans out front of her hotel, though does so before putting on clothes.

"I'm homesick for New York. I can't tell you how much I miss that city. I love it all: the concrete, the bars, my family and friends."

Photo via the superficial

Forgotten NY on Peter's grocery

Thanks to EV Grieve favorite Forgotten NY for featuring the now-shuttered Peter's grocery on Madison Street. As FNY noted:

Peter's had an odd geometry because the store was located on one of NYC's sharpest triangles. NYC's downtown area doesn't have the strict grid arrangement found uptown; St. James Place was once part of the colonial-era Post Road to Boston, which meandered thither and yon all over the east side of Manhattan Island. When other streets were laid out the Post Road met them at sharp edges.

A Forgotten NY reader said that Peter retired and sold the building.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Peter's: A disappearing face of New York disappears

Inside the Charles

Yesterday, I did a piece on the former evangelical church/historical theater (the Bijou, then the Charles) on Avenue B that's now for rent.

An EV Grieve reader was able to get some photos inside the old theater. The reader noted that it looked as if many of the original features were still in place.

A few other observations from the reader: There's a bit of a musty smell -- likely the effects from the fire that started on the Avenue B side in October 2006. The back part, where the main theater/church is, looks to have escaped any damage.

After the theater closed, Pastor Carlos's uncle bought the building in 1975. It has been a church since then.

As the reader notes, "Pastor Carlos said he that plans to see if he can raise some funds to fix the place up and continue his church and community work. I hope he succeeds, it's really an incredible space and it would be great to see it back in use."

Meanwhile, the spaces for rent are roughly 1,000 square feet and 1,220 square feet. The entrances to the storefronts are on the Avenue B side. The theater entrance is on 12th Street. The reader even created a diagram of the space (not to scale):

And two shots that I took of the space...

Voices travel. Voices travel. Voices travel. Voices travel. Voices travel. Voices travel.

An EV Grieve reader notes:

"Superdive has to know how loud their customers are. What else explains the existence of SIX signs telling patrons to be quiet?"

And Jill has more on the increased noise problems on Avenue A in this sector...


The bar was open Wednesday night -- no private parties.

Good news for the Blarney Cove?

I tend to worry about things, such as seeing large parcels of real estate on the market next to the beloved Blarney Cove. This area on 14th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B is ripe for development. So when when the "space available" signs went up last summer...Hello Marc Jacobs! Hello huge Chase branch!

But back to reality, here we go...the new occupant along this stretch...with the BC safe and sound for now.

Let the sunshine in....

Many thanks to our friend Cat Sitter for the tip!

A "Cool Breeze" on Avenue B

I wish I knew more about this screenshot of movie ads...A reader passed it along in response to yesterday's post on the Charles. You can see that the 1972 classic "Cool Breeze" was playing at the Charles....

Note to self: Must find "Tower of Screaming Females."


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The ramenators are ready to ramenate next week

The new ramen place on Second Avenue at Seventh Street is nearly complete. No trace of LSD remains. (Not that I expected a tribute...) The paper is off the windows...and at least 30 restaurant workers in uniform were inside prepping food, etc. I asked someone when they'd be open, and he replied, "Next week." Looks like it will be open in 10 minutes. Perhaps they'll be serving "family and friends" this weekend.

How YOU can be an extra on SATC, part Duh

The Daily News has the inside poop, er scoop, on nailing that SATC part Duh casting call. And it's sooooo helpful!:

You have to dress for success,” says well-known casting director Bernard Telsey, whose company is casting the speaking roles in the “Sex and the City” sequel (but not Tuesday’s open-call audition). “If I were going for the socialite part, I’d come dressed to the nines. I’d see what people wore to the Met gala event.”

Short of not eating from now until Tuesday, chain-smoking and sipping Champagne while you wait in line to pass yourself off as a model, Telsey advises: “Dress like anyone you see in Vogue.”

The kiss of death, on the other hand, is obscuring your face. “Wearing an outfit that doesn’t show the shape and size of your face won’t get you the job,” says Telsey. Same goes for hairstyle, even if you’re passing yourself off as a supercool clubber.

“When you walk into the casting call, they immediately see if you’re right or not,” says Celina Carvajal, who was cast by Telsey as “City Girl #4,” aka a young Miranda Hobbs (the Cynthia Nixon character), in the first “Sex” film. “If you’re not right, [there’s] nothing you can do but make yourself as perfect as you can. You won’t get everything. It’s part of this business.”

Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B

The long-dormant Hispanic evangelical church that was housed in the building here on Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street... now up for rent. Two spaces are available: One at 1,000 square feet and the other at 1,220 square feet. This is a prime chunk of space ripe for something horrible. However. Given the store-bought sign, the lack of a broker and the fact that space is only for rent, and not for sale, we remain hopeful. We're curious about what kind of tenant Pastor Carlos seeks.

Meanwhile. This building is hallowed ground for many cinephiles. The space here at 193 Avenue B opened in 1926 as the Bijou, a 600-seat theater with a balcony. It later bacame the Charles Theatre. As Cinema Treasures notes: "In later years it was one of the early New York theatres to program off-beat and independent films. It showed early Warhol and had open film nights where young filmmakers could get an audience."

You can see the Charles here in this shot from 1949. We're looking north from 11th Street. (Via.)

Here's more info on the Charles via:

[T]he Charles "provided the underground with it's first, semi-permanent base of operations." While the theaters tenure was short-lived (a little over a year--- beginning in 1961) it's legacy was quite impressive. " became a landmark of sorts in the creation of an American counterculture."

Jonas Mekas
was hired by the owners of the Charles to organize some additional screenings. "Mekas was then in the early stages of his passionate commitment to American experimental cinema" but "had an eye for new talent"...and began holding monthly open screenings which turned out to be great social events. Some audience members quickly made the transition to filmmakers, while others acted/participated as critics.

In light of the above the Charles emerges as a "Great Good Place" because "it was the spiritual home of a particular utopian ideology, a place where the audience was not just the passive recipient of mass-produced fantasies, but an active community, producing movies for itself. The Charles therefore incorporated films and film making into an alternative sense of family and community through freedom and equality.

Here's the Charles in 1966. (Via.)

There's a lot more, of course. (For example, in February 1962, the Arkestra — billed as Le Sun Ra and his Cosmic Space Jazz Group — made their New York debut at the Charles.) But you get the idea for now. I'll have more later. As far as I can find, the use of this space as a theater ended in 1975.

I'll leave you with this letter from the Metropolitan Diary from earlier this summer:

Dear Diary:

Growing up on 16th Street between Avenues B and C before Stuyvesant Town was built meant that respite from summer’s heat was available only if you went to the upscale movie theaters like the RKO Jefferson or the Academy of Music, both farther west on 14th Street. No such luxury could be found at the local movie house, the Bijou Theater, on Avenue B between 11th and 12th Streets.

This two-story theater was strictly a no-frills neighborhood flick house. But when the summer temperature inside became unbearable or cigarette smoke blurred the screen, the ceiling of the Bijou began to ever so slowly slide open from the center toward the edges to provide egress for both heat and Lucky Strike’s blue vapors.

For a 10-year-old like me it was magic — until a sudden thunderstorm came up and the rain began pelting the seats. The roof’s closing speed was also ever so slow, and people scrambled in all directions like it was a fire drill. When it finally closed, we all went back to our seats, gave them a swipe with a handkerchief and never took our eyes off the screen.

The Marx Brothers had their “Night at the Opera.” We had our nights at the Bijou.

Victor Washkevich

A great storefront

The Chupa Barbara Insurance office on Sixth Street near Second Avenue Avenue is one of my favorite storefronts in the neighborhood...

...a reminder of a different era in the East Village.

And so I always get a little nervous when I see notes posted in the window.

Thankfully, this sign just told of reduced hours this week for a holiday.

Meanwhile... another favorite, of course, just steps away on the corner.

Have you signed the petition to save Rudy's?

You can do it here. Or, better yet, go in person. The L Magazine has the story. (Eater has more.)

Time Out still making amends for last week's "Mosaic Man" cover snub

In this week's issue.



ON a recent evening, an unusual experiment took place at a lounge in downtown Manhattan. Nine blindfolded women were asked to determine, by smell alone, whether any among a group of nine men was worth pursuing. (The New York Times)

(Hope that she wasn't here...)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Bald Man sings

Whoa. Gothamist is reporting that Max Brenner/Chocolate by the Fat, Bald Guy has closed on Second Avenue and Ninth Street. January, the Chocolate Bar closed on Seventh Street.

Meanwhile, let's start the pool on what takes over that prime Bald Man space. I'm going with a Chase bank!

If you want some sidewalk cafe stuff, then now is your chance. The shop is closed...and things look rather abandoned outside.

Assessing the storm damage

In Tompkins Square Park. Anything else?

Last day for Olivo's

Thanks to Melanie, who informs me that today is the last day for Olivo's at 55 Avenue C near Fourth Street.

The homey and unusual little shop (part gaming, part yarn!) has been here for 36 years, and is a father-son operation.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Olivo's on Avenue C.

Bye, bye Baraza

Baraza has closed. I walked by the Latin-themed joint on Avenue C between Eighth Street and Ninth Street last night. The door was open. The space had been gutted.

There's no note to patrons on the door ... and the Baraza Web site makes no mention of closing. However, Baraza's MySpace page confirms that the bar closed.

It opened in 1998. I've never been there... So I looked to see what I had missed via Yelp. Where I found this review:

If you go dancing without first putting on deoderant, I will go on Yelp and write about how everyone in the club smells like ass , and how fair is that to the club, really? I mean it's not like Baraza washed the deoderant off all these dudes as they were coming in the front least, I don't think.

Let me explain something. There are a few things that I do without fail when I go out dancing. Actually, scratch that. When I leave the house. I brush my teeth. I put on clothes. I put on deoderant. Why, patrons of Baraza, do you not do the same? I was lucky enough to receive several offers to Latin dance throughout my evening there and it was good to know that I didn't need the cash-only bar to end the night passed out, since I was sure to pass out on the stench of body odor alone coming off my potential suitors. If you see someone tackling dudes as they come inside and rubbing them down with speedstick, that might be me. Watch out. Or wear deoderant. Your choice.

Former auto body shop REALLY ready for development

One-story structures seem to be a rarity in the East Village these days, which I wrote back in the fall. Take, for instance, 424 E. 10th St. between Avenue C and Avenue D. Sam's Auto Body Shop moved away awhile ago, I thought, and the building was put up for sale. Perhaps another mechanic can open shop? Ha!

I thought this was already a done deal. Another condo rising. Didn't think much more of this until...the property popped up on Trulia on Monday... According to the listing at Massey Knakal:

East Village residential development opportunity, with a curb cut. Currently a vacant, one story garage on East 10th street between C and D. This site has plans for a seven story, 18 unit, residential building, w/ a total of 16,793 gross SF above grade which includes a 3,679 SF parking garage. Prior to the June 30th 421-a deadline, the plans were submitted to DOB enabling the full property tax exemption benefits. Another option is to file an ?alt plan? and develop the property to custom specifications while still maintaining the 421-a tax benefits. This is a unique project for a developer or user and is ready to go.

So I stopped by 424 E. 10th St. for an updated photo. And what did I find there?

Oh, a seven-story residential building. Shh! Let's keep it our secret!

The Cooper Square Hotel "doesn’t just stick out among the nearby tenements but more or less taunts them"

In the Times today. From Frank Bruni's review of Table 8 at the Cooper Square Hotel:

It’s the Cooper Square Hotel, a whimsical glass sliver that doesn’t just stick out among the nearby tenements but more or less taunts them, declaring them holdovers from a frumpier East Village past. The hotel tries to claim the neighborhood around it as a party zone on a homogenously slick, glossy par with South Beach or West Hollywood.

Not all the neighbors are amused. Some have responded to the din of chatter and generic lounge music coming from the hotel’s second-floor terrace by hanging dirty briefs and the like from a clothesline readily visible to the revelers. It’s a campaign of undermining by underwear.

I spotted only one sad, fluttering garment on the evening when I ate on Table 8’s street-level patio. And it did less to ruffle my serenity — the patio is a pretty, breezy treat — than the door that crashed into the back of my chair when someone decided to step outside. Placing a table for diners smack in the door’s way exemplifies the curious planning at which Table 8 excels.

And the sound level inside Table 8? "absolutely bonkers" and "excruciating."

And make sure to read the part about the wine in the restrooms.

Cashed out

Second Avenue near Fourth Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Scott Stringer: Enough with the ATMs!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Guss' Pickles moving to Brooklyn (The Lo-Down)

On the way: A five-story apartment building for Fifth Street

Last November, I noted the destruction of 532 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. The four-story home was quickly knocked down.

And today, work continues on the land's new tenant: A 10-unit, five-story apartment building. Staten Island-based Door to Door Realty's name is attached to this project. According to their Web site: "[W]e create an environment that is affordable, welcoming and chic."

And two notes from locals on the plywood:

Previously on EV Grieve:
Demolition on East Fifth Street
East Fifth Street update