Saturday, January 31, 2015

Scenes of the 7-alarm fire in Williamsburg from East River Park

The FDNY continues to battle a massive warehouse fire at 5 N. 11th St. (at Kent Avenue), home of CitiStorage, a record storage facility, in Williamsburg.

EVG reader Daniel Root shared several photos from how the fire looks from East River Park…

… and via Dave on 7th…

… and the aerial view that's making the rounds on Twitter…


Here are photos of the fireboat via EV Resident Rob…

CB3 shows support for a Community Gardens District; now will City Council do the same?

[Hope Garden on East 2nd Street]

Via the EVG inbox yesterday morning…

If gardeners have their way, Community Board 3 (CB3) will soon be the recipient of a Community Gardens District that will include all 46 remaining community gardens located within its boundaries; a plan spearheaded by the Coalition to Establish a Community Gardens District. They aren’t talking about the manicured version associated with the New Orleans Garden District but, rather, the home grown, gritty version we all know and love that’s particular to everything East Village and Lower East Side!

On Thursday night, CB3 voted overwhelmingly in favor of establishing of this plan with a vote of 28 to 1.

The Coalition says community gardens have a deep rooted history in CB3 and the distinction of having the very first one in the City started in CB3 by resident and visionary environmentalist, Liz Christy, in 1973. Christy’s name is legendary in the national and international greening movement. She reclaimed and repurposed hundreds of vacant lots through her leadership and work with the Green Guerillas, which she co-founded and is the City’s oldest gardening organization, and the City’s Council on the Enviornment, which she founded and headed and is now known and branded as Grow NYC.

Once there were over 60 community gardeners in Community Board 3 but only 46 remain. Of those owned by the City, the Coalition says none are permanent or receive dedicated budgets to address infrastructure needs. Gardeners and their growing list of supporters, want CB3’s community gardens mapped and designated as park land — which would then take an act of the state legislature to be used for any other purpose; designated as a special district to acknowledge their unique and well-earned place in the City’s history; and management left in the hands of community based volunteers which has proven to be a successful model of operation for over 40 years.

The District plan will next go before City Council. You may still show your support for preserving community gardens by signing this petition.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Your chance to help create a Community Gardens District

Report: City targeting hookah bars for closure, including Sahara East, with help from NYU students

[EVG file photo from 2011]

The city's hookah bars have been allowed to operate since the 2002 smoking ban as long as the shisha they sell contains only fruit, herbs and sweetening agents such as molasses.

However, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, 13 hookah bars, including the 25-year-old Sahara East on First Avenue near East 11th Street, are in danger of closing after a city investigation found the shisha they served contained tobacco.

In addition, the article notes that the city completed the sting operation with the help of NYU undergrads. (The city also wanted to see if the establishments were selling the shisha to patrons under the legal age of 21.)

Let's hear now from…

Sahara East:

Mahmoud Gamaa, the owner of Sahara East, said he has been in business for 25 years, making him one of the first to introduce hookah bars to New York. Originally from Cairo, Gamaa said Sahara East, also a restaurant, is a place where people come to relax. "We're about hospitality, cleansing and being with friends," he said.

The City:

"These 13 hookah bars are knowingly flouting the law by serving tobacco-based shisha," Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement. "We will not tolerate this willful disregard of New York City's smoke-free air laws and have already taken steps to revoke the permits of these establishments."


Diana Silver, an associate professor of public health at New York University, said she arranged for six of her students to go undercover in the hookah sting after having worked with the health department on studies. She said the students were excited to do field work and would be giving depositions to be included in legal proceedings.

"They learned it's one thing to pass or imagine a law, but compliance and enforcement are complicated," she said.

When asked about the city's allegations that his shisha was found to contain tobacco, "Gamaa indicated that if so, it was unwittingly. He said he purchases only nicotine-free shisha from a distributor."

Read the whole article here.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Shadows and fog

The Calgary-based Viet Cong played a sold-out show last night at the Mercury Lounge to support their recently released debut record... here's a track titled "Silhouettes."

Terroir closes tomorrow night on East 12th Street; new concept on the way soon

[Image via]

As Eater reported last month, the original East Village outpost of the wine bar Terroir at 413 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue closes after business tomorrow night.

It reportedly has something to do with the business split of Paul Grieco and Hearth chef Marco Canora. Grieco will be running the other Terroir locations and Canora will carry on with Hearth, Brodo and what the former East 12th Street Terroir space becomes.

Whatever the new concept is, it looks to be debuting very soon...

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

[St. Mark's-Church-in-the-Bowery photo by Alice Owen]

Goldwater Thriftique on East Seventh Street robbed at knifepoint (DNAinfo)

The 1990s East Village videos of Ethan Minsker (Gothamist)

Gunshots reported outside Hayaty at 103 Avenue A early Monday morning (The Villager Police Blotter)

Weekend L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan shutting down for 6 Weeks (DNAinfo)

A visit to Schnitz on First Avenue (The Wall Street Journal, registration may be required)

Taxman seizes Macondo on East Houston (BoweryBoogie)

In case you've never seen Stanley Kubrick's NYC subway photos from 1946 (Dangerous Minds, previously)

A Q-and-A with Katz's owner Jake Dell (Eater)

[Video] A look inside the Amato Opera on the Bowery circa 1995 (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)

Some of the different pigeons in Tompkins Square Park (Gog in NYC)

Miller's Near & Far closes for a revamp on Rivington (The Lo-Down)

NYU was tearing down cool buildings in the 1890s as well (Ephemeral New York)

A visit to the great 8th Avenue diner La Bonbonniere (Off the Grid)

Is a character in Darren Star's new series really a fan of 999? (Flaming Pablum)

The chains are on the way to Coney Island's Surf Avenue (Amusing the Zillion)

...and thanks for the memories here on Second Avenue near East Fifth Street...

[Photo by Derek Berg]

The ongoing needs of The Bowery Mission this winter

[Via Facebook]

An EVG reader writes:

The Bowery Mission has close to 200 people sleeping there — every space is being used. They served 1,000 meals [on Wednesday]. If you have cans or blankets you can spare please drop them off. With more snow and subzero wind chills imminent they need help. They operate 24/7/365. They fall off the radar after the holidays but this is when they need help.

As the Bowery Mission's Facebook page notes, the "additional overnight guests mean extra expenses for food, toiletries, and utilities."

Here's the link if you are interested in making a donation ... anything from cash, food to clothes.

The Bowery Mission, which has served homeless and hungry New Yorkers since 1879, is at 227 Bowery near Prince.

2nd Avenue mainstay Open Pantry closes for good after tomorrow

[Photo from last night]

The countdown to closure continues at Open Pantry, the 45-year-old coffee shop/grocery at 184 Second Ave. The shop between East 11th Street and East 12th Street closes after business hours tomorrow.

As we first reported on Jan. 8, continued competition from the nearby Starbucks (Second Avenue and East Ninth Street, First Avenue and East 13th Street) as well as the new Westside Market apparently put a damper on sales.

Several readers have said that the proprietors, the Pappas family, also own the building here.

Meanwhile, store items have been marked off up to 40 percent.

And per the sign on the door: "Our family would like to thank the neighborhood and all our customers for their loyalty and continued support throughout the years."

Previously on EV Grieve:
After 40-plus years, Open Pantry looks to be closing on 2nd Avenue

Open Pantry is now selling off its inventory and equipment

Reader report: Blowing fuses on East 13th Street this winter

[EVG file photo of 438 E. 13th St. from November 2012]

A resident shared the following with us ... about the situation for longtime residents at 438 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue...

Rent-stabilized tenants in the building have had their electricity limited thanks to landlord Stone Street Properties. We don’t have the same wattage/volts as other apartments since November.

For example, one tenant has to turn off all his lights to microwave food. Another tenant’s lights kept going out when the fuses blew out on Thanksgiving. The solution? We must call or text our super to go down to the basement to reset the circuit breaker. The poor guy has to do this several times a day. One tenant has fainting spells and had her chin cut open a few weeks ago (from fainting in her bedroom), so having to walk around in a dark home has caused her anxiety. The same tenant can't use a space heater when it's cold out because the fuse blows.

Jared Kushner's Kushner Companies recently purchased the address here as part of a 16-building/$131.5 million portfolio.

Per the resident: "We're worried that this electricity issue won't be resolved until new management takes over. It has been tough to live with limited electricity."

Of course, the Kushner Companies have not been too popular around the East Village with the allegations and subsequent media reports of tenant harassment and quality-of-life issues brought on by gut renovations in their buildings.

Previously on EV Grieve:
2 East Village buildings part of $73 million deal

Life at 438 E. 13th St.

Soon Beauty Lab closing its East Village location

The hair salon closes tomorrow here on East 11th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. The shop will be consolidating with its West 22nd Street branch. (There are also outposts in Fort Greene and Carroll Gardens.)

A Soon regular told us that an East Village rent hike was behind the consolidation.

RKF has had the listing now for several months. There isn't any mention of rent for the space, though all uses will be considered. Plus: "Strong fashion and food and beverage co-tenancy."

Any East Village bars that WON'T be playing the Super Bowl on Sunday?

[Photo via our friends at The International]

Because people ask us this question this time of year. (And other times too, actually.)

TV-free neighborhood bars include:

Burp Castle, 41 E. Seventh St. between Second Avenue and Cooper Square
The International Bar, 120 1/2 First Avenue near East Seventh Street
Scratcher, 209 E. Fifth St. between Second Avenue and Cooper Square
Swift Hibernian Lounge, 34 E. Fourth St. between the Bowery and Lafayette
The Wayland, Avenue C at East Ninth Street

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. Feel free to name other TV-free neighborhood bars in the comments... (and Hookah bars don't count...)

And as the sign at The International shows, there is an anti-Super Bowl party there all-day Sunday.

Thai Terminal clears up its gas problem

Just noting that Thai Terminal is back open at 349 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. Not sure exactly when they reopened.

Earlier this month, the restaurant was forced to close due to a gas problem, according to a sign on the door.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Judge tosses Jimmy McMillan's lawsuit seeking a stay of eviction from East Village apartment

[St. Mark's Place last January]

Jimmy McMillan, founder of The Rent Is Too Damn High party, had filed suit in Brooklyn Federal Court seeking to stave off an eviction from his St. Mark's Place apartment of 38 years.

As Curbed summarized the situation:

Lisco Holdings, McMillan's landlord at 107 St. Marks Place, says that the rent-stabilized $872/month apartment is not McMillan's primary residence, which violates stabilization rules. Lisco says the perpetual political candidate's primary home is in Flatbush, but McMillan says that was just a campaign office.

So McMillan was seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the eviction scheduled to be carried out on Thursday.

Today, though, a Brooklyn federal judge tossed out McMillan's lawsuit, which included $1.3 million in damages.

"I'm done. I got one week left and my options are limited," he told the Daily News. "They just want me out."

However, McMillan isn't done yet. Per the Daily News: "He has another lawyer trying to get a stay of the eviction order in the state appellate division. But if that fails, he's not putting up a fight, and he'll leave quietly."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Jimmy McMillan facing Feb. 5 eviction from St. Mark's Place apartment (32 comments)

FINALLY, someone decides to recreate the Battle of Hoth in Tompkins Square Park

And complete with an Imperial AT-AT Walker...

No sign of any indigenous tauntauns though.

Photos today by Bobby Williams


The Keith Haring sculpture outside 51 Astor now with snowball...

Thanks to EVG reader Russ for the photo

Recognize this creep?

Snow jobs: The cost of plowing NYC streets

[Avenue A the other morning]

Because snow has been a topic of conversation this week... From the EVG inbox...

Light snow and heavy snow seasons are significantly more expensive than average snow seasons on a cost-per-inch basis, according to a new analysis released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. Since the winter of 2003, the cost of clearing New York City streets of snow and ice has averaged $1.8 million per inch, but that amount has varied considerably on a year-to-year basis.

“Snow removal costs the City millions of dollars annually, but it turns out that average winters give us the best bang for the buck on that front,” Comptroller Stringer said. “The total amount that the City pays to plow our streets grows with each storm, but counterintuitively, it’s a lot more expensive per inch when we get a little, or a lot, of snow in a season. Consider the old adage of $1 million per inch debunked.”

Find a PDF of Stringer's report here.

Why doesn't FroYo sell on St. Mark's Place?

Subhead: Important Questions of our Time!

So the Pinkberry has closed for good on St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Pinkberry joins several other FroYo joints to shutter in recents years on this same block...

Yogurt Station is now a piercings shop...

[High FroYo Season]

... the Red Mango, which opened after the CBGB shop closed, is now a tattoo shop...

... and Eastside Bakery (.net?) on the corner of Second Avenue served up the FroYo...

… and is now D.F. Mavens, which sells dairy-free ice cream, among other cafe items.

So! Four FroYo places have come and gone on this one block. Is it the block? Is it FroYo?

Dessert still lives here with Spot Dessert Bar and Spot Dessert Shoppe. Not to mention the D.F. Mavens.

16 Handles around the corner on Second Avenue is now left to fly the FroYo flag…

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks makes the move to East 2nd Street

On Monday morning, workers packed up the contents of the Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks shop for the move from West 10th Street to her new home at 28 E. Second St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

In an email to friends/supporters of her longtime book shop, Slotnick provided move highlights and shared some photos...

The movers were incredible, as were my friends who helped.

Stay tuned for the reopening — I have a long way to go, as you'll see ...

And as always, thank you for your support and love!

Back in November, Jeremiah Moss first reported that the popular specialty store was not having the lease renewed for its 15-year-old Greenwich Village shop.

Soon after this news broke, DNAinfo got word that a pair of siblings reached out to Slotnick about a retail space available in their childhood home on East Second Street.

A few weeks back, Slotnick confirmed to Jeremiah that she struck a deal with the family for the ground-floor commercial space.

Per Jeremiah: "[T]he story of how she got it might renew your faith in New York City and the life of its book culture." Read his post here.

Check out the Bonnie Slocknick Cookbook site for official opening info.

A look at the recently revealed 536 E. 13th St.

The new building here just west of Avenue B is in full view (except for the backhoe in the way).

Approved plans — about six years in the making — call for six residential units. We haven't seen any listings yet for what will likely be condos.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Your chance to own a stalled project lot on East 13th Street

A dormant construction site on East 13th Street

536 E. 13th Street is a real dump now

[December 2009]

The Bourgeois Pig closes on East 7th Street with move to the West Village

That's it for The Bourgeois Pig on East Seventh Street. The wine-cheese bar closed after service on Saturday.

We spotted workers yesterday taking apart the Pig's exterior here between Avenue A and First Avenue.

As Eater previously reported, a rent hike was behind the 10-year-old bar's East Village closure.

However, there is a new Bourgeois Pig location now open at 127 MacDougal St.

This is the second business on this block to decamp to the West Village this month. Gingersnap's Organic closed its 3-year-old home at 130 E. Seventh St. for a move to West 10th Street.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

At Ray's Candy Store, Ray celebrates a birthday with another burlesque extravaganza

Photos and text by Stacie Joy

Per tradition, well-wishers gathered at Ray's Candy Store for a little entertainment in honor of proprietor Ray Alvarez's birthday … featuring a new Ray's record of six dancers!

The tiny shop at 113 Avenue A was packed last night in honor of the longtime store owner's 82nd birthday. Burlesquers Hayden Riots, Gal Friday, Ginger Twist, Pearls Daily, Licketty Split and Pinkie Special helped Ray and company celebrate.

Gal Friday, making her third appearance for Ray's celebration, said that "Ray was her favorite guy," and that he had "a special place in her heart" as she kissed his cheek, leaving a red set of lip prints.

As for the rest of the entertainment…

The night was capped off with some Veniero’s cheesecake, presentation of a special book of images and stories about Ray, the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday," and smiles all around.

If you are nearby, then feel free to drop by Ray's to wish him a happy 82nd.


Bonus exterior photo via jdx

Slum Goddess has more photos AND video here.

Find more photos on the Ray's Candy Store Facebook page.

Rumors: Duane Reade expansion will take over adjacent storefronts, including East Village Cheese

A tipster tells us that the Duane Reade on Third Avenue at East 10th Street is expanding, and will gobble up the adjoining spaces that include the 21-year-old Excel Art and Framing Store and East Village Cheese.

The owner of the Frame Shop received word this past Saturday that his lease will not be renewed; "that a handshake deal was already made with Duane Reade in early December."

Per the tipster: "Both of these small businesses are very important to the community."

The convenient store and clothing boutique Project 36 have already been emptied out ahead of the expansion…

The tipster noted that there's already a huge Walgreens on Astor Place. Not to mention the recently expanded Walgreens on East 14th Street and Fourth Avenue … and the Duane Reade locations on East 14th Street and Third Avenue … and East 14th Street and Broadway.

And this won't be the first time that Duane Reade looks to KO beloved neighborhood businesses.

Here then, the new-look men's room at d.b.a.

As we mentioned on Saturday, d.b.a. is back open with new ownership at 41 First Ave. between East Third Street and East Second Street.

The bar was closed for renovations for several weeks... we haven't had a chance to stop in ourselves, but we hear that the place essentially has the same look and feel ... except for the bathrooms.

EVG reader Spike shared a shot of the new-look men's room...

And for a comparison (sorry, our d.b.a. bathroom-photo archive is quite lacking)...

[Photo via]

C & B Cafe now open on East 7th Street

Just noting that C & B Cafe opened last Friday at 178 E. Seventh St. just west of Avenue B.

Aside from serving coffee and tea, the cafe has a small menu that includes squash soup, several sandwiches and salads, and dishes like mushroom and eggs and chicken and eggs. There's some seating in the back.

Several readers, including Dave on 7th, have given C & B high marks so far.

The space was previously home to Korzo Haus, which closed at the end of October.