Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The joy of spring?

Tompkins Square Park today ... by peter radley.

On Second Avenue with the Mosaic Man this afternoon

EV Grieve reader Stephen Popkin passes along a few photos of Jim Power, aka the Mosaic Man, continuing his work this afternoon on Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place...

Jim has been keeping busy of late, working on mosaics for Tompkins Square Bagels, the Bean and Porchetta.

DOH temporarily closes Nuyorican Poets Cafe

A tipster points us to the DOH website ... where records show that the city has temporarily closed the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe on East Third Street. According to the DOH, officials closed the cafe on Friday after inspectors found 79 violations points. Among the violations cited: "Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored."

No word of the closure on the Nuyorican Poets Cafe website, though we did spot this via Twitter:

If you are planning on attending one of the many events there this week, then you may just want to call in advance. Cafe info here.

Report: Historic carriage house on East 13th Street now up for auction

The long, complicated history of 128 E. 13th St. between Fourth Avenue and Third Avenue is about to get more complicated. This afternoon, The Real Deal reports that the circa-1903 carriage house that once belonged to famed sculptor Frank Stella is now up for auction.

This is believed to be the last surviving horse and carriage auction mart building in New York City, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), who helped keep the structure from becoming a seven-level condo back in 2006.

The Peridance Center has a lease there now for a dance studio.

According to the Real Deal:

A state Supreme Court judge has ordered the sale of a historic East Village art studio and former horse auction house, after two new investors, Isaac Mishan and Joseph Sabbah of Ultimate Realty, failed to gain approvals for a proposed condo project and defaulted on $10.5 million in loans.

(Read the whole article here.)

While preservationists thwarted the previous condo takeover attempt, the building was never landmarked, likely making it vulnerable again for a modern glass-and-steel death.


Verizon's ongoing war on graffiti and stuff

Nearly eight months have passed since we last looked in on the ongoing brown-paint war at the Verizon building along 13th Street (at Second Avenue)... we thought that Verizon had simply given up.

Not so!

EV Grieve reader evilnyc just passed along these shots. A new tactic — powerwashing and painting via the city's Graffiti Free NYC...

To be continued...

Previously on EV Grieve:
First tag reappears on the Verizon building

Brownout: Verizon building graffiti painted over

Verizon is going to blow the budget on brown paint

Get your home with an open-air living room on East 14th Street!

[Photos via New York magazine via Curbed]

Back in September, we posted an item about the penthouse for sale at the Brownstone East Village, the rather interesting architectural wonder at 224 E. 14th St. near Third Avenue.

Now, as The Wall Street Journal notes (via Curbed), Bill Peterson, the architect behind this, is selling his second-floor unit for $2.499 million. Among the amenities: An open-air living room that looks out onto 14th Street and "a garage-door like windowed back wall between the kitchen and the backyard."

There are photos.

The front!

The back!

Per the Journal:

The condo also showcases many references to East Village culture. In the living room there is a large framed photograph of Patti Smith and in the bedroom there is a framed vintage T-shirt worn by bartenders at Fillmore East, a legendary music venue in the East Village.

Here's the listing with more photos. And there's an Open House Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Perfect timing for your IHOP brunch.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Finally, your chance to own the 3-level penthouse at the Brownstone East Village

St. Brigid's rectory emerges from behind construction netting, sidewalk shed

We've been posting frequent updates about the renovations at St. Brigid's on Avenue B at Eighth Street. How about the progress next door?

Last week, workers removed the construction netting and sidewalk shed outside the St. Brigid's rectory on Avenue B...

Back in November 2009, Edwin Torres, chairman of the Committee to Save St. Brigid's, told us what was happening with the rectory.

"It will be fully restored and will serve several functions, one of which will be the home for the pastor. The current church I attend does not have a rectory and the priest rents an apartment [nearby]. It will be a luxury to have a rectory."

And a reader at the time said, "The interior of the rectory is a bit of a mess (as would be expected) but there are a lot of really nice details. Pressed metal ceilings, nice moldings, etc. It'll be a really nice place for the pastor once it's fixed up..."

Here's a photo of the rectory before the sidewalk shed went up in 2008...

During the time of the construction, the sidewalk shed between the rectory and the St. Brigid School often served as a makeshift shelter of sorts. Last September, police found a woman in her 50s named Liz here. Police believed that she died from a drug overdose.

[February 2011]

And in February 2011, Tompkins Square Park regular Grace Farrell, 35, froze to death while sleeping here.

[Saturday morning outside the rectory]

Looking for an explanation about those bloodcurdling screams

A reader sends along the following:

I live on Second Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Street, and this is the second night since last week that I've heard bloodcurdling screams around 12:30 a.m. outside of my window toward Sixth Street. I've reported it to the 9th precinct, but was just curious if anyone else in the neighborhood has heard this or has any info on what's going on.

The reader lives facing a courtyard, not Second Avenue.

This was a few days ago. There is a follow-up note:

I heard it last night. It woke up both myself and my roommate around 3 a.m. I'm really curious to know if anyone else heard it and what theories they may have on what it was. Our first thought was of course an animal, but this was extremely human-like — scary.

Anyone with theories?

Hey, let's name the new froyo machine at 16 Handles

So, there's this. Via the 16 Handles Facebook page...

Some suggestions via Facebook so far include: The Mixerater ... Green Supreme... Blendzie...

Meh. A few names to get everyone warmed up:

• Here Today, Lying in Front of the St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery 10 Minutes Later

• Does this Machine Make Me Look Fat?

• FroYuckinator

Isn't this fun?

Signs of life at former Heartbreak space

Heartbreak, the Swiss-German eatery, closed last October after short run on Second Avenue and Second Street ... As Scoopy first noted at The Villager, owner Christos (Pylos) Valtzoglou is planning on opening a place called Boukies that will specialize in small plates of Greek food — mostly meze...

There's some progress to report. The Heartbreak sign is gone.

And there's a menu for Boukies up now...

Diner's Journal reported that Boukies will open in March.

'Smash' vs. Schwimmer* today on East Sixth Street

The incoming NBC series "Smash" is back filming in the neighborhood ... today, they'll be on East Sixth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

As an exasperated resident of the block said, "Because living on East Sixth Street between First and Second Avenues isn't torture enough already." The resident points to "the insanely noisy construction of Maybe-Schwimmer's mansion" at 331 E. Sixth St. as the culprit. The resident noted that two cement-mixing trucks groaned away in front of the soon-to-be six-story home all day this past Friday.

So will the construction crew take a breather during the filming (Spielberg is involved! He has connections!)? Or, per the resident, did the location crew accidentally scout this location on a weekend or a rare quiet day, thereby failing to note the construction racket that is guaranteed to ruin any shoot?

Anyway! We'll find out today! Woo!

* Maybe!

7-Eleven on the Bowery now selling 'new Buffalo wings'

And they make it easy on you: The wings have already been digested!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bleecker Bob's is NOT becoming a Starbucks

Starbucks taking over the Bleecker Bob's space made the rounds starting on Thursday... hysteria quickly (and understandably) set in... While we understand that the longtime record store will still be moving, a Starbucks won't be taking its place.

We didn't notice this correction dated today in the Times story on the matter ...

Correction: January 30, 2012
An article in some editions on Friday about the closings of two of New York’s musical mainstays — the performance space Southpaw in Brooklyn and Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies in Greenwich Village — misstated the plans for the Bleecker Bob’s property. It will not become a Starbucks, according to the company.

Starbucks also just sent out a tweet about it here.

So. Dunkin' Donuts then? Subway?

Andre Balazs really wants to be a good neighbor

[June 2009]

In The Wall Street Journal today, Andre Balazs shares more insights about his plans for the Cooper Square Hotel The Standard East Village.

To an excerpt!

You said the previous owners "miscalculated." What do you consider their biggest mistakes?

The way it was developed and built was completely misconceived in terms of its use as a public space and in terms of its relation to the neighborhood. It's a very residential community and they managed to make a design that pissed off the neighbors immediately. That's a mistake. That's not what we're going to be about.

We're going to reorient in a different direction. By mid-fall it'll be open differently, with an emphasis on public spaces. Good hotels are a center of their community, and you can't be the center of a community if the person next door to you can't sleep.


Guns N' Roses will play at Webster Hall on Feb. 15 during part of a three-NYC-venue tour to coincide with Fashion Week, according to Rolling Stone. Per RS:

"The band last played Webster Hall in 1988 for a historic gig that was taped for MTV. The venue was called the Ritz back then, and to celebrate Guns N' Roses' return, the club will rename itself the Ritz when the band plays on February 15th."

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

[Matt LES_Miserable]

Claim: City policy segregates East Village schools (DNAinfo)

Spider-Man ads on the Bowery-Houston mural wall (BoweryBoogie)

The story behind the "Headless body in topless bar" headline (Capital)

The the real speakeasies of New York City (Eater)

The bookstore’s last stand (The New York Times)

Didn't seem like it: NYC saw 31 percent construction decline in 2011 (The Real Deal)

At Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade (The Lo-Down)

Asbestos battle at the Chelsea Hotel (Daily News)

There is now only one record store left on St. Mark's Place

Jeremiah has the lousy news this morning that Rockit Scientist Records has lost its lease and is closing Feb. 29 on St. Mark's Place... (You can read the details here. Encouraging sign: The owner hopes to relocate.)

Reading this, it occurred to me that there is now just one CD/music shop left on St. Mark's Place — Sounds, which is above the Grassroots at No. 20.

I can't remember every store that has closed on St. Mark's Place in recent years ... Joe's CDs, 13 CDs, Venus Records, Mondo Kim's, Smash ... uh... (A little help, Alex?!)

Didn't seem like too long ago where you could have spent an afternoon on St. Mark's Place rooting through the bins of the record stores here ... then reading the liner notes/CD sleeves of your purchases at the Grassroots or wherever over a beer ... Ah, how old-fashioned.

Anyway, Norman's is still there just around the corner on Cooper Square...

As much as I hate to see record stores close, we are fortunate to have several good choices left in the neighborhood, such as...Kim's ... Good Records NYC ... Turntable Lab ... A-1 Records ... Other Music ... Academy Records ... Gimme Gimme ... Big City Records ... Rainbow Music...

3 new floors ready to rise from the dead funeral home on Second Avenue

Renovations have started at the former Sigmund Schwartz Gramercy Park Chapel on Second Avenue between 10th Street and Ninth Street. Workers boarded up the front doors last week.

As Off the Grid first reported last summer, there are plans on file to "Remodel the existing three story building and add 3 stories on top."

According to the DOB, city officials have approved those plans on Jan. 10. Here's the DOB language:


The architect on this project is Ramy Issac, once dubbed by New York magazine as "The controversial penthouse king of the East Village." Developer Terrence Lowenberg of Icon Realty is behind the project. Icon is currently renovating 147 First Ave.

Check out this history of the Sigmund Schwartz Gramercy Park Chapel at Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.

Here's what the address looked like in the 1940s, via Vanishing New York...

Will a gut renovation and three-floor addition be enough to wipe out the spirits of the funeral home?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Former funeral home looks to double in size with help from 'the controversial penthouse king of the East Village'

4 possible spots for Bleecker Bob's in the East Village

On Saturday, we got word that Bleecker Bob's is looking to move this spring from its home since 1982 to somewhere in the East Village... Ski, assistant manager at Bleecker Bob's, told us the parameters:

"The spaces we've checked out so far in the east village are 650-800 square feet at a cost of about $4000 a month. Something like that would be doable."

There are plenty of empty storefronts here. Given those parameters, here are four spaces to consider; places that made some sense (no former restaurants with equipment to remove or far-flung side streets with little pedestrian traffic...)

St. Mark's between Avenue A and First Avenue ...

St. Mark's between Avenue A and First Avenue...

Avenue A between Fifth Street and Fourth Street...

Ninth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A...

As Ken Mac first reported at Greenwich Village Daily Photo, the current Bleecker Bob's space will become a Starbucks. Alex shared his thoughts here on Flaming Pablum.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[UPDATED] Let's help Bleecker Bob's find space in the East Village

One year ago: Asian Pub closes

[Via BoweryBoogie]

It was one year ago that the Asian Pub closed at 35 Cooper Square, as BoweryBoogie first reported. The loss of another bar serving Jello shots is fairly unremarkable... But the closure set in motion a sequence of events that led to the demolition of the 185-year-old, Federal-style house ... Another ugly chapter in the city's inaction toward local preservation.

[March 2011]

Despite an outpouring of support for 35 Cooper Square, developer Arun Bhatia had the historic structure demolished.

And the lot as seen on Saturday... awaiting its fate as luxury something.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Something 28,998 square feet or so coming to Cooper Square (and goodbye Cooper 35 Asian Pub?)

Doom and doomer: More of Cooper Square primed for development

Cooper 35 Asian Pub part of development deal on Cooper Square

Cooper 35 Asian Pub putting up a fight before being torn down

'Another corporation' looking at Joe's

On Saturday, EV Grieve regular AC told us that the gate was open at Joe's, the neighborhood favorite that has been closed since Thanksgiving. AC talked with a man who had come out of the bar. The worker, who was holding a broom, said that Joe had died, and that "another corporation" was looking at the possibility of taking the bar over... Upon hearing this, we zipped over to East Sixth Street, though no one was still around... and the gate was mostly closed...

Owner Joe Vajda died this past Thanksgiving. The bar's status is still unknown. This is the first time that we can recall seeing any activity here in the past few months. Another tipster had noted via email that Identity across the street bought Joe's remaining tapped beer.


Liquidation sale under way at Blockbuster on East Houston

In case you missed our post yesterday morning... The Blockbuster on East Houston in the Red Square shops is closing at the end of the month. The stored ended its rental service on Saturday night, and will spend the next month selling off its inventory.

So it's time to snatch up some recent Hollywood blockbusters...

Veselka launches pedicab service

Spotted this past weekend outside the Veselka Mothership on Second Avenue at East Ninth Street. Per Veselka's Facebook page:

Free Pedicab rides from Veselka to Veselka Bowery. If you don't want to wait for a table at the original Veselka, We will give you a free Pedicab ride to our new restaurant "Veselka Bowery" @ 9 East 1st street...... We don't want to see anyone hungry for to long ...... Come check out our new space and Enjoy your brunch!

[Via Veselka]

Fresno Gourmet Deli now with signage on Avenue C

Last Wednesday, we pointed out that a new deli was opening on Avenue C near East Third Street... the signage for the Fresno Gourmet Deli appeared on Friday.

That Turkish fast-food place is now open on East Ninth Street

We pointed this out on East Ninth Street... just west of Avenue A a few weeks ago.

Cigkoftem, a Turkish vegetarian fast-food chain founded in 1993, opened this past weekend... And we have no idea why the photo looks as if we were falling when we took it...

Anyway, they were handing out free samples... Anyone try it?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

[UPDATED] Happening now: Occupy Wall Street march winding its way through the East Village

We're getting all sorts of reports about an Occupy Wall Street march currently in the East Village — part of #SolidaritySunday ... We have some reader reports... and are currently following @ChristRobbins from Gothamist who is on the scene...

Here are marchers outside the old P.S. 64 on East Ninth Street...

After someone tries scaling the plywood, Robbins reports that the NYPD makes an arrest...

All photos by @ChristRobbins


@ChristRobbins figures there are 50 cops for 120 people in protest...


Sources say the remaining protestors are now lying down in Tompkins Square Park...

Via @Newyorkist ...

UPDATED 6 a.m.

Colin Moynihan at The New York Times reports that the NYPD arrested 12 people in total during the march that started in Washington Square Park and made its way to the East Village. The march was held to show support for protestors in Oakland, who were involved in a melee with police Saturday night.

Per the article:

By 10:30 p.m., most of the marchers had moved to Tompkins Square. One man strummed a mandolin. Another tapped on a drum. Several others stretched out on an asphalt pathway, using backpacks as pillows and gazing at the sky as a line of police officers stood at a nearby entrance to the park.

UPDATED 8:01 a.m.

Spotted on Seventh Street near First Avenue...

UPDATED 10:11 a.m.

Gothamist has more on what transpired last night... Christopher Robbins also posted video, including this one shot on Second Avenue at 13th Street...

Occupy Wall Street Arrest at #J29 from Gothamist on Vimeo.