Thursday, February 28, 2013


EVG reader R Dub spotted this note on Jimmy McMillan's "Rent is too Damn High" mobile on St. Mark's Place...

Noteslinging from one of the other mayoral candidates, perhaps?

A chance to catch 'Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride' tomorrow in the East Village

On the EVG Facebook page yesterday, I posted the link to NY1's piece on the new-look Coney Island coming this summer.

Per the article:

Grimaldi's Pizza expanded to Coney Island last year and soon it will have company on Surf Avenue. A Johnny Rockets and an Applebees are opening right next door.

"You'll have both coming on Surf Avenue and so you'll have a little bit of cool restaurant row over there," developer and CEO of Thor Equities Joe Sitt said.

Because nothing screams "cool" faster than a new Applebees!

Which brings me to the timely documentary "Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride," which examines the greed and politics that have helped gut the neighborhood. The film centers on Eddie Miranda, the Zipper's operator who, despite turning profits, was forced to shut down after 38 years of operation.

Director Amy Nicholson's film also includes an interview with developer Joe Sitt, whose rezoned-to-death vision is turning the neighborhood "into a chain store wasteland," as the Observer put it.

Per Indiewood: "Nicholson paints an intriguing portrait of one of New York City’s last cultural enclaves on the cusp of gentrification."

You can see the movie tomorrow during the First Time Fest 2013 at the AMC Loews Village 7 on Third Avenue and East 11th Street. It plays at 3 p.m.

I asked Nicholson about the movie, and how it's a topic that residents anywhere in the city can relate to.

"If you find yourself wondering why there's a bank on every corner of the city, and why when you stand in Union Square and look around you see nothing but national chains, see 'Zipper,'" she said. "The Coney Island rezoning is the perfect example of the carnage that comes with 'running the city like a business.' 'Zipper' explains in layman's terms the process that ultimately shapes where we live."

Here's the trailer.

Zipper Trailer from Amy Nicholson on Vimeo.

Find more about the movie here.

Q-and-A with John Holmstrom, founding editor of Punk Magazine

John Holmstrom was a 21-year-old SVA student during the summer of 1975 ... a time that saw him buy "The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!" (which he said "totally rewired" his mind) and experience the Ramones at CBGB.

"The Ramones and Dictators represented a sea change in rock 'n' roll, and I was burning to become a part of it before it took off and became part of the mainstream," he writes in the prologue of the recently released "Best of Punk Magazine."

Soon after, Holmstrom did become part of the scene when he, Ged Dunn Jr. and Eddie "Legs" McNeil launched Punk Magazine in late 1975. For 17 issues, Holmstrom and an array of photographers, writers, illustrators and the musicians themselves chronicled the punk scene... featuring colorful (and, often, off-color) interviews with everyone, really — Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Richard Hell, who starred in "The Legend of Nick Detroit" for issue No. 6's cover. The magazine ceased publication in 1979. (There were various special issues in subsequent years.)

Holmstrom continued his career as a writer, editor and cartoonist, spending time at High Times and Screwed, among others. He still lives in the East Village today. The "Best of" compilation (co-edited with Bridget Hurd) puts all the issues together with plentiful behind-the-scenes details. It was released in December. I waited until Holmstrom's schedule eased up a bit to ask him some questions about the start of Punk and other various topics... (Part 1 or 2.)

[Holmstrom from December at the New Museum, via Facebook]

You had a lot of balls to launch a publication at the time called Punk. Not really a question. What were you thinking?

"Punk rock" was a well-known term to readers of CREEM magazine, so when I asked Legs and Ged what they would call a magazine about comix, fashion, news, and punk rock and Legs suggested, "Why not just call it Punk"?

I liked the four-letter word as a magazine title! However, as it turns out — we weren't even the first Punk magazine. Billy Altman called his college newspaper in Buffalo the same name. But I saw all the graphic elements in my mind as soon as we chose that name: 1950s juvenile delinquent comic books, EC Horror comic books, Marvel comics, Will Eisner's The Spirit, film noir, stark use of black and white, etc. So liked the name — at first. Sometimes I think it caused so many
headaches I would have been better off calling it "Teenage News" or "Electronic Comic."

[Holmstrom's first editor's note, via]

Are people surprised to hear that this was a serious business endeavor?

No one has asked me about that yet. But, like I said in the book, Ged, Eddie and I were all very serious about being successful and "Creating The 1970s" and all that. I think my connection to a real lawyer helped us incorporate as a business, and my connection to a professional printer got our product looking like a real magazine instead of a fanzine. When Thom Holaday came on board he got us into writing a business plan and all.

Anyhow, my point is that we were not a bunch of goofy kids putting out a 'zine for free drinks, as has been portrayed.

[Holmstrom during the Punk days. Photo by by Marcia Resnick via Facebook]

How did you view yourself at the time during Punk's run? An insider? Outsider? Just someone who loved music?

I was a total outsider who unfortunately was forced into becoming an insider very quickly and without any preparation nor guidance. I didn't know anyone from "the scene" and then as soon as the magazine came out I had to deal with everyone from everywhere. And usually as adversaries!

How do you choose 10th Avenue at West 30th Street to be your first office? Seemed a little — far-removed.

It was all we could afford, and the only place I could find. The usual asking price for an office, $300 a month back then, was a lot of money! And we needed a lot of space.

A worst-case scenario for that office would have meant that we would have to kick in $65 per person to keep the lease. If we brought in another person, it could be just $50!

Also, my roommate in Brooklyn was on my ass! He was all like: "Hello! Earth to John! You have to move in a few days! Nice knowing you but get the fuck out of here, dude!"

Yes, it took us a long time to get to CBGB but on the other hand we weren't far from the Port Authority Bus Terminal nor Penn Station — and all the subways by those places.

Was was your reaction to seeing the Ramones for the first time, Aug. 24, 1975?

I wasn't all that shocked by the noise and thunder and fast pace of the music, to be honest. Unlike Ged and Legs, I had seen a lot, and I mean a lot, of heavy rock 'n' roll bands before then. Just to name a few of the more loud and fast rock 'n' roll bands: The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, The New York Dolls, The Magic Tramps, Lou Reed (Rock 'N' Roll Animal tour), Blue Öyster Cult, etc.

In fact, BÖC was probably the heaviest band I had seen before the Ramones. Their appearance on July 16, 1973 at the Schaefer Music Festival was one of the craziest shows I ever saw. The audience became so crazed that by the end of the show the first rows of metal chairs had become a twisted mass of scrap metal — their time on this Earth as useful objects had come to an end.

I remember that the drummer threw a bunch of drumsticks out to the crowd and I fought several people to grab it, but then it ended up being a showdown with one twisted heavy metal fan who snarled at me: "IF YOU DON'T LET GO OF THIS I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!" and everything about him convinced me that he was telling the truth. So I let go. I never saw a band drive the audience into a frenzy like that before or since.

I went to see every band I could, so I ended up sitting through a lot of bands I didn't like: The Eagles, Black Oak Arkansas, Rush, The Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, etc.

So by the time I saw the Ramones I was so sick of long guitar solos and drum solos and endless encores and the band playing to the audience and bands that spent a lot of time tuning up on stage. These were all the things that the Ramones studiously avoided, so I loved it. Best of all, they dressed like me: blue jeans, sneakers, t-shirts — I just couldn't afford a leather jacket like they wore. I had also lived across the street from the Hell's Angels for a short time and certainly didn't want to compete with them on any level. And I knew that CBGB was their hangout in 1975.

The whole experience of seeing them at CBGBs was, to me, what it must have been like to see The Beatles at The Cavern Club or The Rolling Stones at the Crawdaddy Club. I felt like I was seeing "The Future of Rock 'N' Roll."

Tomorrow: Thoughts on the East Village of 2013 and CBGB the Movie.

[Richard Hell as "Nick Detroit" via "The Best of Punk Magazine"]


Find John Holmstrom's blog here.

Find the Punk Magazine site here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Revisiting Punk Art

The Jefferson is moving on up

EVG Facebook friend Nick Solares shared the above photo from yesterday showing how quickly the newly christened development called The Jefferson is rising at the former Mystery Lot off East 14th Street and Third Avenue ... (Find more of his photos here.)

Meanwhile, Nick shared these two photos from the former enclave of 18th and 19th century charm Mystery Lot...


Bowery Poetry announces itself to the Bowery; opening March 8

The former Bowery Poetry Club is set to reopen on March 8. As DNAinfo's Serena Solomon reported last month, the space will be known as Bowery Poetry at 308 Bowery. Tribeca burlesque club Duane Park is merging with Bowery Poetry... 308 Bowery will operate as a burlesque venue Tuesday through Saturday. Founder Bob Holman will operate Bowery Poetry Saturday afternoons, Sunday and Monday.

There was info on all this outside the space yesterday...

My photo of the 308 Bowery menu is stupidly blurry... but you can find it here at the Duane Park website.

Quick sample!

Pan-Roasted Organic Chicken 24.
honey creole mustard roasted brussel sprouts & yukon potatoes; chicken jus

Pan-Roasted Loin of Pork 24.
butternut squash spaetzle, baby turnips & apple-butter

Grilled Beef Tenderloin 28.
cippolini onion, mushroom and smokehouse bacon ragout; fork smashed yukon potatoes

Previously on EV Grieve:
Is Duane Park in the Bowery Poetry Club's future?

What is happening with the Bowery Poetry Club?

Bob Holman on the future of the Bowery Poetry Club

Clearing out the Bowery Poetry Club; plus, free knowledge!

First sign of activity at incoming Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken

Back in October, Diner's Journal at the Times reported that the chefs/restaurateurs Eric and Bruce Bromberg of Blue Ribbon fame are opening Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken on East First Street in the spring.

Well, we haven't seen any activity here since then.

Until now. Well, actually the other day. But. There was some sign of work inside here at this long-empty corner of the Avalon Bowery Mall Place

And now, the windows are papered up...

...with work permits in place.

CB3 signed off on a beer-wine license for the place back in November. According to CB3 documents, the BRFC's stated hours are 7 a.m. to 4 a.m.

The corner here on Second Avenue at East First Street was once home to XOXO, Julius Klein's performance space and gallery ...

East 6th Street building now on the market for $11 million

A listing appeared yesterday for 528 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B... Here's part of the listing from Think Properties:

This building was built in 2008 has a 421-A tax abatement. This building is adjacent to the Creative Little Garden and a few blocks away from Tompkins Square Park. This building contains 11 rent stabilized apartments, 2 apartments per floor and one apartment on 6th floor. Each unit has Rome & Juliet Balconies. Both apartments on first floor are duplex apartments one apartment in rear has 480 private backyard. The rear apartments have 140sf balconies besides second floor apartment that has backyard. Apartment features all stainless steel appliances with dishwasher, and each unit has its own Washer/Dryer.

Price: $11 million. Nothing in the listing is immediately frightening, like, includes air rights ... or, will be delivered vacant... or, perfect for a single-family home ... or, ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Liberty Square Park

Tompkins Square Park today via Bobby Williams.

A passing moment...

Late this afternoon in Tompkins Square Park... photo by Dave on 7th

Is the Living Room moving to East Second Street?

The folks at CB3 just sent out the March SLA committee docket. We'll take a more thorough look at it later... Quickly, a few interesting items to note:

• To be Determined, 269 E Houston St (aka 188 Suffolk St) (op)

An unknown applicant is looking to take over the Local 269, the live music venue that never reopened after an apparent flood last September.

• The Living Room (ACP Project), 173 E 2nd St (op)

Not sure what to make of this at the moment. The Living Room, a favorite of the acoustic-music set over on Ludlow Street, will be leaving their home of 10 years at the end of April due to a huge rent hike.

The owners recently held a successful fundraising campaign to help move to an undisclosed new home. Perhaps this is it?

As we reported last September, Klean & Kleaner, the laundromat on East Second Street between Avenue A and Avenue B, was on the market for use as a bar or restaurant.

• Heart N Soul (Mama Bar LLC), 200 E 3rd St (wb)

This is the former Mama's space... from the owner of Mama's Bar next door (no relation).

Oh, and yes — Soho House plans to expand and open a location on Ludlow Street. Good night.

Grand re-opening tonight at Verso on Avenue C

Verso, the Italian bistro on Avenue C at East Eighth Street, was hit hard during Sandy. Given the damages, Verso wasn't able to start serving again until Feb. 14. Now, the owners pass along word that tonight marks their grand re-opening.

[File photo via Dave on 7th]

Reader report: CB3 rescinds its approval of Lolita Bar takeover

An EV Grieve reader in attendance at last night's full Community Board 3 meeting passed along this news item, noting that a shadow was cast over the potential sale of Lolita Bar on Broome Street to Marshall Stack bar owner Matthew Kelly.

Following the issuance of an NYPD restraining order on Feb. 14 for serving alcohol to minors, and a subsequent civil lawsuit against the bar by the City of New York, the full board voted last night to rescind the CB3/SLA committee's approval from Feb. 11 (which was conditioned upon a few trivial stipulations) of Kelly’s application for a full on-premise liquor license.

CB3 member Chad Marlow, who led the move against the bar, cited the high number of licensed establishments in close proximity. He also said that the community doesn't need, or will suffer from the elimination of, a bar that serves minors.

[Photo via BoweryBoogie]

A steamy scene on East 10th Street and Avenue B

On the heels of last night's UFO invasion loud mysterious noises in the neighborhood... here's a photo of the steam vent on East 10th Street and Avenue B via @stevemotts ... some people chalk up the noise to the Con Ed plant on East 14th and Avenue C venting excess steam pressure, which makes a good cover story for something else

East Village residents ask: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT NOISE LAST NIGHT?

We're getting all kinds of reports this morning, like this email from a resident on Avenue A near East Second Street (subject line — Last night's starship landing):

Any reports of a crazy loud noises at 2:40 AM this morning? We woke up to what I can only describe as a harrier jet landing outside our window. It lasted about 15 seconds each time with a couple minutes between each. Total of 3. Have never heard anything like it.

Twitter noticed too.

Anyone else? We haven't heard anything about this just yet... like, anything official.

Con Ed said this via Twitter: "Looked into it and I have no reports of anything happening there..." Meaning the power plant on East 14th Street and Avenue C, a likely culprit.

So. UFO, totally.

Meanwhile, Unexplained Loud Booms and Light Flashes Persist in U.S.

Out and About in the East Village

In this weekly feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village.

By James Maher

Name: Reverend Jacqui Lewis
Occupation: Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Location: Second Avenue between 6th and 7th
Time: 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24

I grew up in Chicago mostly, but I’m an Air Force brat. When I was a student both at Drew University in New Jersey and at Princeton, I used to run to New York to visit. I would go to eat dinner on Indian row or see Stomp at the Orpheum. This job at Middle Collegiate Church brought me to the East Village to stay.

I was working on a Ph.D. at Drew and I had come to study Gordon Dragt, who was the senior minister here. The project that I was working on was a study of clergy who run multiracial, multicultural churches. There are about 300,000 Christian congregations in the country, but only about 5 percent of them are multiracial and multicultural. So how do you do that? How do you make that happen? That was my research question. And Gordon was generous and gave me a chance to do focus groups and conversations here, and then he hired me to stay. I’ve been in the neighborhood for almost 10 years now. To live here was this incredible fantasy come true.

When Gordon came to be the pastor about 30 years ago ... he worked hard to fling the doors open to the neighborhood, especially to actors, dancers and artists who were in the neighborhood. And frankly, to addicts and people who were having Gypsy lives as well. The church has this idea of a radical welcome implanted in its DNA.

And now we have about 815 members. The growth has been stunning. I think part of the reason we grow is because we do say you’re welcome just as you are and we mean it. Here we are in this amazing community with all of these artists around and it made sense that Middle’s ministry would be artistic. Our tagline is “Welcoming - Artistic - Inclusive - Bold.”

We do the arts every Sunday, both at 11:15 am and at 6 pm. What you can expect at worship is to be surprised. There might be giant puppets dancing or there might be someone doing tap dance or ballet all over the pews. There is always outstanding music. And we started a new worship recently called “Art and Soul” because what we know is that a lot of people in a community like ours have been disenfranchised by church. They grew up and their pastors were like, “You’re not welcome because you’re gay, you’re not welcome because you’re divorced or you’re not welcome because you’re in a mixed marriage.“ All of these no’s we’ve tried to turn around and say yes to.

Our core theology is just as you are, God made you, God created you, and you are wonderfully and awesomely made, so of course gay folks are welcome. We’ve been marching in the Pride March for 25 years and we have a float.

About four years ago, our board passed a resolution saying we are going to stand in and work for marriage equality until it happens. We’ve pushed hard for it to happen and the Sunday after the legislation passed we did three weddings in the morning.

We also have an ongoing justice ministry for LGBTI folks, which includes working on behalf of gay teens. The homeless teen rate for gays is like 40 percent. Gay people are on our board, on our staff and in our leadership. It’s who we are and it’s in the fabric of our community.

One of the things that we like to say at Middle is yes. Maybe 25 years ago, one of our members wanted to start a feeding program for people who were living with HIV/AIDS. At the beginning we started feeding about 10-15 people. Pretty soon, the program grew to 95 people a week and we found a partner in an organization called the Momentum Project, and it became not only food but also social services, job training and health talk. Now the program serves 150 people a week. It’s important to say, in the time when the doors of churches were closed to people who were living with HIV/AIDs, and dying at rampant rates, our church was open.

Our church dates back to 1628. When the Dutch arrived in New York, they came to trap fur to do business but they decided that they needed to worship. So literally they were down at a fort, behind the wall that is now Wall Street. They were chartered to have their own church in 1692 by the King of England and we are the remnants of that oldest church. This is literally our fourth building and it dates to 1892. It’s a beautiful old building, but it’s not accessible, which is why I’m so excited about our current renovations. It is a project of accessibility and invitation. We are putting in an elevator and some safety stairs and that sort of thing. The church is a community center.

James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.

Digging in at 185 Avenue B

[Bobby Williams]

Well, the shock and relentless pile-driving phase of construction is now over here on Avenue B at East 12th Street, where a 7-story mixed used residential building is in the works. (The building will include the new home of the Elim Pentecostal Church.)


And do nearby residents notice the difference? Said one: "Now they have a parade of noisy dumptrucks, but it isn't unbearable. The worst is the continuous loud beeps early in the morning whenever [the trucks] back up.

[Dave on 7th]

One parent told us that she worries about so much construction equipment on the move here on Avenue B with the East Village Community School right next door on East 12th Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Inside the Charles

Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B

7-story building in the works to replace former countercultural theater/church on Avenue B

Construction site at 185 Avenue B remains shut down for now

[Updated] The 'insane' noise and pounding are back at 185 Avenue B

Butt of course! Former Cedar Tavern space becoming European Wax Center

I was enjoying a leisurely read over at Flaming Pablum... checking out a post about the Modern Lovers ... and a little West Village street art experiment when...

I had missed Alex's post from Saturday... pointing out that 82 University Place, which was home to the last incarnation of the Cedar Tavern, was becoming a European Wax Center ... with a tagline "Luxurious waxing is now for everyone."

Seems about right. The last time I looked, workers had stripped the interior, showing a charmless space fit for a ... European Wax Center?

The Cedar Tavern closed in December 2006, supposedly temporarily. Anyway, I have nothing to add to what Alex wrote. Except maybe: Ahhhhh!

From hair salon to campaign headquarters

There has been some activity of late at the long-vacant former hair salon on Avenue C between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street... right in between Alphabet City Wine Co. and ABC Beer Co.

Turns out the space will be the campaign headquarters for Rick Del Rio, a Democrat running for City Council against Rosie Mendez. You can read about him here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Report: Boca Chica closed for now

Rumors started spreading this afternoon that Boca Chica, the inexpensive Latin American restaurant on First Avenue at First Street, had closed as of yesterday. Earlier, we received an email from an EVG regular with the subject line "Boca Chica Dead."


However, this doesn't appear to be the case. Serena Solomon at DNAinfo reported that two partners abruptly exited the business yesterday, and the remaining owner was "frantically searching for new partners." The remaining partner was hopeful to continue operations.

The restaurant opened in March 1989.

[Image via Google +]

Reader report: Small fire scare on East Second Street

From a resident at 157 E. Second St. There was a small fire this afternoon in someone's apartment on the fifth floor. Per the reader: "Seems like everything's under control, though."

Noir moon

Last night over the East Village (and the rest of the city, really...)

Photo by EVG regular jdx.

Looking at the retail component of recent East Village developments

There are currently three major upscale housing developments in progress in the East Village ... each of which will have a retail component:

• 21 Jupiter

A 4,300-square-foot TB Bank branch has inked a deal here at Second Avenue and East First Street. And there are those Mars bar comeback rumors too.

• The Jefferson

There are two retail spaces available here on East 14th Street at the former Mystery Lot...

• 84 Third Ave.

As far as we know, there aren't any deals in place yet for 84 Third Ave., the 12 story retail-residential combo coming to the corner of East 12th Street.

There you have all that.

So let's take a look back at three recent developments to see how the retail component fared...

• 2 Cooper Square

The retail space remains empty... and on the market since the apartments hit the market in 2009...

• 52 E. 4th Street

The retail portion of the 15 stories of condo on the Bowery and East Fourth Street sat empty, save a few odd pop-up shops (remember Bowery Bazaar in 2009?)... until plans for a 7-Eleven were eventually unveiled ... the convenience store opened on Dec. 23, 2011.

• The Copper Building

The retail space here on Avenue B and East 13th Street remained vacant for several years until the East Side 99¢ shop moved in last October.

So, the three high-end developments have yielded a 7-Eleven and a 99-cent shop (which relocated from around the corner). Residents are willing to pay big money to live here, but retailers aren't as interested to follow suit... What's going on here?

Here's what happens when you allegedly try to shoplift a pair of socks at the 1st Ave. Rite Aid

The Post reports today a 29-year-old man allegedly tried to take a pair of socks from the Rite Aid at East Fifth Street.

"When [the man] realized he’d been spotted, he started running, smashing into displays and sending toothpaste and bottles of mouthwash flying. But he was soon nabbed."

The NYPD reportedly charged the would-be thief with petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief.

No word of what impact this had on the always long wait at the checkout line.

[The online version of this story didn't contain a photo credit]

There will be balls: At the annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant

Reverend Jen hosted the 14th Annual Mr. Lower East Side Pageant last Thursday evening at the Cake Shop on Ludlow Street. Competitions included "best male tits," "congeniality" and "best nutsack."

EV Grieve Facebook friend Walter Wlodarczyk shared some photos, even blocking out the privates where necessary for our family-friendly website ...

Jugger-nut provided the musical entertainment. (Watch a video at the band's Facebook page.)

...and here he is... this year's Mr. Lower East Side — Johnny Bizarre, who, among other acts, hammered a nail into his pee hole.

Slum Goddess has a lot more photos and videos here, which may be NSFW.

And here's a video that the New York Post produced...