Friday, January 31, 2014

Hawk shenanigans in Tompkins Square Park today

Per Goggla today, a hawk was pulling these kinds of fly-by stunts… "Hey, did you just feel a breeze?"

Meanwhile, the Hawkman always rings twice…

Check out many more of Goggla's photos here.

Some great 'Reward'

The Teardrop Explodes with "Reward" circa 1981.

Brooklyn Piggies now open on Avenue A

Smorgasburg vendors Brooklyn Piggies, which only peddles hand-rolled pigs in a blanket, opened its first permanent (brick-and-mortar?) storefront yesterday ... at 195 Avenue A near East 12th Street. (Someone at Oprah likes them.)

Their hours:

Tue - Wed: 11 am to 11 pm
Thu - Sat: 11 am to 4 am (They have a late-night to-go window)
Sun: 11 am to 9 pm

Per the Times:

The company makes about 10,000 pigs a week to sell online and frozen, and for Madison Square Garden’s skyboxes. They are available in original, spicy or chicken. Coming soon: a vegetarian style and potato puffs: about $20 for a box of 14.

Biscuits on one side of Avenue A ... and pigs in a blanket on the other. Who will win this single-food late-night throwdown?

RIP Mike Bakaty

[Photo by James Maher]

Mike Bakaty, owner of the city's longest-running tattoo parlor, died Wednesday night after a battle with cancer. He was 77.

Bakaty opened Fineline Tattoos on First Avenue near East Second Street in 1997 after the city lifted the 30-plus year ban on tattooing. He started his business during the tattoo prohibition from his Bowery loft in 1976.

We featured Bakaty in Out and About in the East Village last Feb. 13.

I grew up in Miami. I moved to Houston and Bowery in 1970 to try it out for a year or two. I was 34 when I got here and I’m 39 now. I was the same handsome, charming young man that I am now.

Fame and fortune brought me here, like everybody else. Why the hell else? If I wanted fun in the sun, I’d have stayed in Miami.

Dave on 7th first told us the news.

"Mike was a total original. He was no doubt one of only a handful of people who were able to break into and keep alive the art of tattooing in New York — if not the country — during its long prohibition. He was a fine artist as well as a tattoo artist.

"He will be sorely missed by everyone who has had the privilege and pleasure to know him."

Here's a video interview with Bakaty (and his son Mehai) from January 2009...

2 new floors, gut renovation in store for empty tenement that last housed a Hanksy art show

324 E. Fourth St. between Avenue C and Avenue D is one of the last unique-looking buildings left in the area... not for long, though. There are plans on file with the city to gut-renovate the empty tenement and add two floors. Under this proposal, the number of apartments would increase from four to 11.

We're unsure how long the building has been vacant. At least one person had keys. The street artist Hanksy hosted a kinda secret show here called "Surplus Candy" on Jan. 10...

Hanksy also hosted another event here here in December. Hanksy probably has time to do a few more here before the permits are OK'd and the renovations begin.

The renovated building may match up nicely with the neutered 326-328 E. Fourth St. ... the former artists' collective and burial society called the Uranian Phalanstery and First New York Gnostic Lyceum Temple that Icon Realty turned into expensive dorms.

9 photos showing the East Village of the 1970s

Earlier this month, our blogging friend Alex at Flaming Pablum alerted us to the Museum of the City of New York's website ... where they just unveiled more than 1,000 digitized photos by Edmund V. Gillon, who chronicled NYC in the 1970s and 1980s.

Some two weeks later, we finally looked at every single photo. We pulled a few from this neighborhood with their accompanying captions for you... (But you should really go here and see them all for yourself.)

[East 8th Street and Avenue B, 1975]

[Christodora House, 1978]

[Second Avenue looking at East 12th Street, 1975]

[Cylindrical fire escape on the façade of 62 East 4th Street, 1977]

[Phebe's on the Bowery 1975]

[107-113 East 14th Street, 1976]

[Fresh Jersey Eggs, Open Thursday Only at 72 East 7th Street, 1978]

[Varieties Theatre, 110-112 Third Avenue, 1979. Demolished in 2005.]

[Broadway and 14th 1977]


A word about the new collection from the Museum's website:

These photographs by Edmund V. Gillon (1929-2008) are a recent addition to the Museum's Photography collection. Gillon is best known for more than a dozen books on New York City for the Dover Publishing Company. The bulk of the collection is architectural in nature, portraying the city’s historic districts, landmarks, architectural ornamentation, and civic sculpture. His photographs bring to life not only the countless readily apparent changes that have taken place in the city’s urban landscape over the past several decades, but also the many subtle changes that transformed neighborhoods such as SoHo, Tribeca, and Dumbo as they transitioned, building by building, from gritty wastelands into the vibrant urban oases they have become.

Things we were unaware of: Village Farm Grocery now delivers kegs

The other morning we walked by Village Farm Grocery on Second Avenue and East Ninth Street ... and noticed a lot of kegs out front... Forgot to follow-up on that one (after all, it was like -2 degrees out).

Anyway! We saw on Facebook yesterday that the market is now delivering kegs... right to your apartment, dorm room, etc. Here's a list of what they have on tap, so to speak.

Perhaps some other corner markets have the same service? Dunno! Why would anyone want so much beer delivered to his or her home? [Don't really answer that.]

[Updated] A rough month for East Village restaurants

January is winding to a close... and the list of restaurants that closed this month is fairly lengthy ...

Sapporo East
Wacky Wok
Coyi Cafe
Viva Herbal Pizzeria
Maria's Cafe

...and high-end ventures on the Bowery weren't immune from closures either... Peels is done... (Pulino's closed Dec. 29 ... Keith McNally is turning it into a French restaurant called Cherche Midi.)

Also, certainly worth noting nearby ... we had the sudden closures of Milady's on Prince Street and Gray's Papaya on Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue ...

Any closures in the neighborhood from this month that I'm missing? Which of these hurts the most for you?

'Charlie Victor Romeo,' from Ludlow Street to the big screen

"Charlie Victor Romeo" was originally a play produced at Collective Unconscious on Ludlow Street in 1999 ... it moved on in 2004 to PS 122.

The play, a dramatization based on the transcripts of actual black box recordings from six airline emergencies, was filmed (in 3-D!) for a movie version in 2012. After making the festival rounds, "Charlie Victor Romeo" is currently in a two-week run over at the Film Forum through Feb. 11.

Here's a review of it from the Times ... and here's the official "Charlie" website.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Details emerge about what's next for former the 7A, Odessa Cafe & Bar spaces

[The former 7A on Tuesday via Bobby Williams]

The paperwork on file ahead of next month's CB3/SLA meeting provides some information about what's to come to 7A, which closed after Sunday, and the Odessa Cafe & Bar.

The applicant's name (PDF!) for the space is New 7A Cafe LLC. The name of the managing partner on the application is Paul Salmon. He is a co-founder of Joe's Pub (along with Kevin Abbott, Serge Becker and Josh Pickard) and Miss Lily's, the Jamaican bar and restaurant on West Houston.

The rumor out there was that Becker and Pickard were opening some kind of Southern-themed restaurant here.

The Odessa Cafe & Bar
The applicant's name for the space at 117 Avenue A is simply Avenue A Project LLC. However, an email address associated with the applicant (PDF!) is for DeRossi Global, the company behind Death and Co., Amor Y Amargo, Mayahuel, the Bourgeois Pig, Gin Palace and Proletariat.

There's no other information on the application about what's to come. Based on the other DeRossi establishments, you could go with "high-end cocktails" and likely be close to being right.

The Odessa Cafe & Bar closed last Aug. 31. The Odessa dates here to 1965.

Ben Shaoul looks to make a whole lot of money converting nursing home into high-end housing

[EVG file photo]

In a discussion on "The Stoler Report" last summer, developer Ben Shaoul, president of Magnum Real Estate Group, mentioned that he was looking to sell his current "conversion of a nursing home" in a year or two.

Apparently the time is here. The Post reports that Bloom 62 on Avenue B and East Fifth Street — the former Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation — "is being shown to investors and expected to sell for roughly $70 million."

In December 2011, Shaoul and company purchased Cabrini for $25.5 million from a family trust made up of the estates of Jacob W. Friedman and Sol Henkind. Cabrini closed for good on June 30, 2012.

The 240-bed Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation — sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — provided health care for low-income elderly residents in the East Village. The center opened in 1993 and served 240 patients and employed nearly 300 employees.

At Bloom 62, four-bedroom apartments for upwards of $7,600 ... in the upscale dorm building whose amenities include roof deck with showers, Weber grills and a yoga room.

The Post also mentions that "one retail unit in the process of being leased." The rumor is a 7-Eleven. The corner space will be home to the New Amsterdam School, according to signs along Avenue B.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: Ben Shaoul is the new owner of Cabrini nursing home, will convert to condos

Report: Local politicians reach out to Ben Shaoul as re-sale of the Cabrini Nursing Center seems likely

More details on Cabrini's closing announcement

Q-and-A with Patricia Krasnausky, president and CEO of Cabrini Eldercare

Applicants for 7A, Odessa Cafe & Bar highlight February CB3/SLA docket

[The former 7A on Tuesday via Bobby Williams]

The February CB3/SLA licensing committee meeting will be split over two nights. Items of interest this month include the mystery applicants for two former Avenue A mainstays — 7A and Odessa Cafe & Bar.

Here are some of the highlights from each night.

Monday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Community Board 3 Office, 59 E. 4th St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. (btwn 2nd Ave & Bowery)

Renewal with Complaint
• Mama Bar LLC, 34 Ave B (op)

Applications within Saturated Areas
• ABC Beer Co (Alphabet City Beer Co LLC), 96 Ave C (wb/extend license to backyard)

[EVG file photo]

• Avenue A Project LLC, 117 Ave A (op) (Odessa)

We're curious to see what is taking the space that belonged to the Odessa Cafe & Bar, which closed for business last Aug. 31. Previous plans for the space fell through.

• Klong (Auanthai Inc), 7 St Marks Pl (op)

Sidewalk Cafe Application
• Mama Bar LLC, 32 Ave B

New Liquor License Applications
• To be Determined, 600 E 14th St (op) (Alphabet Cafe)

• Eric Thant Corporation, 57 1st Ave (wb) (Pudgie's)

Oh! A taker for the former Pudgie's-Nathan's-Arthur Treacher's action-packed combo!

• To be Determined, 325 Bowery (op) (Peels)

Eater reported that Andrew Carmellini and business partners Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard are opening a "casual pasta shop" called Bar Primi at the now-shuttered Peels.

Corporate Change (not heard at committee)
• Euzkadi Restaurant (PYB Inc), 108 E 4th St (wb)

• New 7A Cafe LLC, 109 Ave A (op)

The 24-hour restaurant closed for business after Sunday. The rumor is that bold-face namers Serge Becker and Josh Pickard are opening some kind of Southern-themed restaurant here.


Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. -- University Settlement at Houston Street Center - 273 Bowery

New Liquor License Applications
• To be Determined, 117 2nd Ave (wb) (Picnic)

A taker for the very short-lived Picnic on Second Avenue and East Seventh Street.


b=beer only | wb=wine & beer only | op=liquor, wine, & beer | alt=alterations

Capturing 'Cool'

[From August 2013 via EVG reader Marc]

Yesterday's item about the apparent arrest of graffiti writer SMELL reminded me of this post, which I never finished ... I had been documenting some of the Cool tags around the neighborhood... it's the work of "Drew," whose "Ross is Not Cool" tag on David Schwimmer's new East Sixth Street estate in August generated coverage everywhere from the supermarket tabloids to Vanity Fair.

Here are but a few Cool tags from recent months... Anyway, these tags — scourge of the city or a welcome part of the urban landscape?

Reader mailbag: Any suggestions for a low-key place to watch the Super Bowl?

Another straightforward question. So maybe your apartment? Haha. Kidding! Well, the Big Game is coming up Sunday as you may have heard. (Make the hype stop! Please!)

So! Anyone with a suggestion for someplace low-key in the East Village to watch the game? (Please no blatant shilling or answers like "football sucks. Read a book.") As for us, we'll be watching it at the International!


We often get reader queries ... asking for help with, say, donating clothes or books ... or finding an East Village-based caterer... If you have a question for the masses, then try the EV Grieve email...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader mailbag: Places to eat that have that old East Village vibe (45 comments)

Reader mailbag: What do I do about my new neighbors who smoke pot all the time? (52 comments)

Reader mailbag: Where is a good place to get a cup of coffee in the East Village before 6 a.m.? (25 comments)

Reader report: Beware now turning right on East 14th Street and Fourth Avenue

A note from an EVG reader...

It appears the City made it illegal to turn right on 14th Street and 4th Avenue/Union Square East (the corner in near Beth Israel). The NYPD has a cop stationed ticketing everyone dropping off patients — everyone from Access-A-Ride, to cabs, to residents like myself who are clueless about the updated traffic measure. 
The cop didn't leave us with a warning, instead gifted us a $135 ticket.

I'm writing you to hopefully warn other folks to they don't have to help this guy make his quota.

The reader later took a walk to see if there were any signs noting this new traffic rule...

There is a No Left Turn sign, which the reader notes is sort of obvious since traffic goes north along 4th Avenue/Union Square East. Otherwise, there aren't any other signs indicating No Right Turns between 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting for the dough

Photo today in Tompkins Square Park by Bobby Williams

[Updated] Reader report: Taggers nabbed on Avenue A

The NYPD apparently arrested three men last night for tagging the rooftop of a building in the 200 block of Avenue A, per EVG reader dwg. Looks like SMELLS took the hit.

Updated 1/30
The Post has a lot more details today about what happened here. Five people were reportedly arrested, including Cash4 — aka Russell Murphy.

Murphy, 28, was charged with making graffiti, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest after he and four others were spotted on the roof of a building at 199 Avenue A vandalizing a wall.

The five took off but were collared by cops after a short chase in which two officers suffered minor injuries, sources said.

Now even the snowfitti has to have a sponsor

Does all art need a corporate sponsor? Is nothing sacred?

East Sixth Street near Avenue A today via EVG contributor Derek Berg.

Out and About in the East Village, Part 2

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: Alex Harsley
Occupation: Owner, 4th Street Photo Gallery
Location: 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery
Time: 3 pm on Friday, Jan. 17

Last week, Alex Harsley talked about his tough upbringing in the early 1940s in South Carolina and his move to the Bronx with his mother a few years later... we're starting with the last paragraph from last week's feature...

I settled down in Brooklyn, figured out that was a bad place to live, got divorced and moved to the East Village, around ’65. I got a motorcycle and I had parties continuously, living on 11th Street and Avenue A. I was in this haze. It’s now a very important historical place — 501 E. 11th St. Every place I’ve lived in they’ve destroyed.

Eventually I had to leave there and move to 155 Essex St. I was in the middle of heaven. When I was a kid, Sunday was the worst of all the days. It was bad. You got dressed up in the morning and you had to stay dressed up all day. And don’t you dare get anything on this outfit. Lord have mercy on you. I was brought up in ‘Hell and Damnation.’ Then, these other folks, they celebrated Sunday for real. They went out and sold stuff. It was a major retail area. Every Sunday the world would come to my area and I would go out and say, ‘Wow.’ I came in near the end of that.

Things began to change and I was squeezed out of that in 1972, when I got this space. The person I was collaborating with had a major brain hemorrhage and I freaked. By 1973, I had opened it up as a gallery. I started my own nonprofit art organization called the Minority Photographers. The Minority Photographers was a loosely knitted organization that was drawn together by a common need and a common understanding and need for somebody to talk with. You’d always have somebody to talk with. Once I created that, everybody flocked to it, because it was a window. Then it became a door and then it became a pathway.

From 1973 to 1976, different people started coming. There were people coming out of mental institutions in one corner and people with PhDs in the other corner. Not one of them knew the other one, but they were in my reality. I tried to get all these photographers organized. It was up to me to put the pieces together. It formed a coherent body. It was like the kids I grew up with when I first came to New York. Everybody filled a role of the unified structure. Each person had a job to do. It was all about the interaction with each other.

And once the interaction began to grow then the network began to grow and each one began to understand that the network was what it was all about. I created a lot of problems for a lot of people because of that group.

I also showed up here without the community support, with all these crazy people surrounding me. I stuck out like a sore thumb. They took issues, serious issues. [There were elements] that saw black groups as less than, because most of the black men around here coming out of the war were left to their demise, drinking Sneaky Pete, as the saying goes, that took them to the grave.

I was never part of that but I identified with that. It took a certain amount of time to let them know who I really was, far outside of my color, far outside of all those suspicious people that they saw coming in here without really understanding who these people really were.

I began to understand that I was breaking a lot of rules. There’s a very sophisticated type of casting that goes on. There were no real black folks down here on the Lower East Side. After the Italians left there were a few, a little jazz, a little bit of this. When I came in, black folks were pitted against Italians. You look at the police force and you could see how the caste system actually operated. It picks the beast to do its thing to keep everything in place.

I found the car [Dodge GTS Dart] in 1974. I grew up studying about cars. I went to a trade school that taught me about cars and the fundamentals of the machine itself but I never got a chance to actually practice any of that stuff.

When I got the car it was on the way to the junkyard. Everything was wrong with it. I worked on that car for 10 years, 1974 to 1984. In 1980, I had to take the engine out because it failed. I was always working on it. It was a joke, ‘When you gonna get from under the hood? Do you ever drive it?’ Of course I had just drove it, was racing it, and it broke. I was always fixing it because I would jam it. Awesome power. Let’s run it up to 100 real fast.

A lot of people hated me and hated my car. They had broken in the radio, punched the tires, you name it. It got vicious. I’d fix it and clean it off. It was about me being here without getting their stamp of approval, but they wouldn’t give me a stamp of approval. So the car became the symbol of me and eventually people began to fall behind the wayside.

I came up with the idea of putting the penguin in the car to see what would happen. Initially I had the owl. I put the owl and then the penguin in the car to keep it company. The best art project I had ever done; the most popular thing I have ever done. It worked. People started sitting on the car and the car stopped having problems. This spirit just took over the car.

So now I have to keep it. It was a major attraction for people who have feelings. People recognize the life that’s there. It attracts different people. The bird population didn’t like the owl. They started shitting on the window, on the car. They’re shitting on the owl. I come from the south so I know most of the wildlife on the block. It was a great hit with the tourists and other people who walked by. I don’t know how many thousands of images of that are on the Internet.

I began to get more involved in video and in the computer thing. By 1999, the whole Lower East Side began to change and I had to decide whether I wanted to retire, but I decided I wasn’t going to turn and run. Then I got a notice last year that I have to pay real-estate taxes on this place. Now I’m going through my archive. It’s like picking cotton.

I figure I should do a project on Muhammad Ali. At some point that’s going to go into a book. I went to photograph him at his training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. I went down to photograph him as a historical object. I had finally figured out how to document him. He was going to spar for the first time in the training camp, which was a big day. I had to get a photograph of him floating. I had to put him up outside, stand him up, have him smile, do a wide shot with the place in the background, do a tight shot, do angle shots, say, ‘Thank you mister,’ and leave.

But I went down there and said, ‘I have nothing else to do, what do I got to worry about?’ It was up to me, so I took full advantage of that and in the process of that I got these nice images. I never really liked working for these people because they edit out the good stuff. They’re looking for certain shots and I got that, but that’s not what it’s all about. The rest was done for me.
James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.

Read part one here.

Pro Land reopens on East 14th Street

[Photo Monday by Bobby Williams]

The Pro Land sneaker shop on East 14th Street near Avenue A abruptly closed the other day. There was a notice of a sale, but no word of a renovation. The space looked gutted.

Given the rumors (just rumors) that the single-level structures from the post office to the southwest corner of Avenue A will be cleared out to make way for some Double D development, it seemed plausible that Pro Land was a goner.

Per an EVG commenter Monday:

The Pro Land sneaker shop at 14th and A is suddenly closed. Walked by this morning and the place was gutted, men in there working.

Between the billboard coming down on the SW corner of A/14th (exposing the greatly missed Chico 9/11 mural), Stuyvesant Stationery (a few doors down from Pro Land) closing last fall, and of course the closing of the Stuyvesant PO next month, I would't be surprised if everything from Ave A to the detestable A Building gets razed on that side of 14th.

For now, at least, this isn't the case. As these photos yesterday by Bobby Williams show, the space has been quickly renovated and restocked...

The store was to reopen last night.

Anyway, to recap, the beloved Peter Stuyvesant Post Office branch on East 14th Street is closing soon. (The USPS will lease the former Duane Reade on East 14th Street near First Avenue for retail services, such as stamp sales and P.O. boxes.)

The lease expires at the current location at the end of next month. The landlord reportedly told the USPS that they have other plans (residential?) for the building.

Last fall, the Stuyvesant Stationery shop next door to the post office lost its lease and closed.

Previously on EV Grieve:
First sign of more development on East 14th Street?

Report: Closure of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office is pretty much a done deal

'Ten Thousand Saints' now filming in the East Village

[Photo by Bill the Libertarian Anarchist]

The low-budget adaption of the Eleanor Henderson novel "Ten Thousand Saints" has started principal photography in the East Village... crews filmed on East Ninth Street yesterday (a popular location for shoots these days) ...

A quickie plot via The Hollywood Reporter, who has more details on the production:

"'Saints' is set in New York's Lower East Side in the 1980s and is a coming-of-age story that follows three screwed-up young people and their equally screwed-up parents in the age of CBGB, yuppies and the tinderbox of gentrification that exploded into the Tompkins Square Riots.

The husband-wife team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini direct. (They directed the 2003 Harvey Pekar film "American Splendor" with Paul Giamatti.) The cast includes Ethan Hawke as a screwed-up parent.

Curious to see how the Tompkins Square Park Riots are depicted in the film. Maybe just via mentions from the characters? Or will the filmmakers choose to recreate part of it (and in the winter)? After all, we recently saw the return of Wigstock in the Park for a movie shoot.

Reader report: The fire alarm goes off every morning at PS 64

[Photo by Bobby Williams]

From a nearby resident of the school:

The fire alarm at PS 64 at 600 E. 6th St. goes off every morning at almost exactly 6. Emergency lights flash and the alarm sounds for approximately 1 minute waking up the entire neighborhood. Reported it to 311 many times and they claim:

The Department of Environmental Protection did not observe a violation of the New York City Air/Noise Code at the time of inspection and could not issue a notice of violation. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675).

It is the most infuriating situation.

Anyone else experience this from the school?