Saturday, February 28, 2015

Report of a fire at 121 St. Mark's Place

The FDNY responded to a fire at 121 St. Mark's Place between First Avenue and Avenue A just after 7 this evening...

An EVG reader shared these photos... word on the scene was that there weren't any injuries...

No word on the cause at this time.

The FDNY declared the situation under control in about 20 minutes...

The search for Sugar, the missing East Village dog, continues

[Photo by Derek Berg]

Dozens of volunteers gathered this morning on Second Avenue at East Fifth Street to help look for Sugar, the Amstaff/pit bull mix that went missing this past Monday. (Volunteers have come together several times this past week. This map shows where people have posted flyers throughout the city.)

Sugar's owner is an East Village resident. Sugar went missing while she was in London on business. Her dog walker of several years reportedly had some kind of "psychotic episode." No word on where the dog walker is now.

The story has received plenty of media coverage … on WABC 7NBC New York … and Fox 5, among others…

There are Twitter and Facebook pages now devoted to the search. There is also a $5,000 reward for her return.

Previously on EV Grieve:
More about Sugar, the missing pit bull mix with a $5k reward (55 comments)

Sidewalk bridge arrives after reports of falling debris on 2nd and B

Crews are erecting a sidewalk bridge — for who knows how long — on the southwest corner of Avenue B and Second Street this morning.

Yesterday around noon, the FDNY responded to the scene — specially 201 E. Second St., where there were reports of bricks falling to the sidewalk from the building.

[Photo yesterday by EVG reader Jason Chatfield]

According to paperwork filed at the Department of Buildings yesterday, the FDNY is requesting a "structural stability inspection due to falling stucco."

Meanwhile, there are other open violations on file at the building… stemming from electrical work without a permit. There are also numerous complaints about a faulty boiler dating to 2012.

The building is operated by Jared Kushner's Westminster Management.

Bar wars: Maybe McSorley's isn't the oldest tavern in the city?

Missed this item from earlier in the week… when news came out via the Daily News that Richard Hourahan of the Queens Historical Society unveiled research showing that Neirs Tavern in Woodhaven opened in 1829, almost 30 years before McSorley's on East Seventh Street near Cooper Square … making it the oldest bar in the city.

And what does the current holder of the oldest-bar-in-the-city title, McSorley's, who just celebrated Birthday No. 161, have to say about this? Here's what manager Gregory de la Haba told the News:

"McSorley's is the oldest continuously operating bar in New York City, and it’s the most authentic — hands down. What you are looking for is authenticity and not age.

"It's a fine bar," he said of Neir's. "So is the White Horse and Fanelli's and P.J. Clarke's. It’s not easy making a go of it in this city."

As for Neir's, Mae West allegedly first performed there … it's also known for this scene from "GoodFellas" …

B&H Dairy and Downtown Bakery: Still inexpensive, still good

[EVG file photo of Downtown Bakery]

Over at Eater yesterday, Robert Sietsema contributed "Another Dozen Cheap Eats Classics in New York City" list … which includes two EVG favorites:

B&H Dairy at 127 Second Ave. between East Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. "Since 1947 it’s been catering to dieters, vegetarians, and cheap dining enthusiasts, who fill up on a bowl of soup and buttered challah bread made right on the premises — it threatens to overshadow everything else."

Downtown Bakery at 69 First Ave. between East Fourth Street and East Fifth Street. The restaurant "serves an all-Mex menu of cut-rate burritos, breakfast tacos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, hard- and soft-shell tacos, and other quick grab-and-go delights, many with a Pueblan flair."

Friday, February 27, 2015


Joy Division circa 1979 with "Disorder."

Time for Anton van Dalen's 'Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre'

The art of longtime Avenue A resident Anton van Dalen is currently on display at the P.P.O.W. Gallery in Chelsea.

As part of this, van Dalen will show "Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre" tomorrow evening at 7 in the gallery.

Here's a quick overview:

van Dalen uses a portable model of his house as a staging ground for telling the story of the East Village. Employing a rotating selection of miniature cut-outs, stencils and props, Van Dalen narrates the history of the neighborhood from the 1970s (when he moved to Avenue A) until the present. The performance centers on Van Dalen’s Avenue A rooftop pigeon coop he has nourished for more than 25 years; a source of pride for Van Dalen who began raising pigeons as a child in the Netherlands. There he flies a flock of white pigeons that circle around the storied tenements that housed generations of immigrants, like himself, witnessing the neighborhood’s gradual gentrification.

Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre was first performed in 1995 at the University Settlement House on the Lower East Side and toured throughout the United States and Europe. The performance has been shown at numerous institutions including The Drawing Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and The New York Historical Society.

P.P.O.W. Gallery is 535 W. 22nd St. between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue. His work will be up through March 14.


EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

[Coffee at Porto Rico Wednesday via Derek Berg]

NYC rents are outpacing inflation (The New York Times)

Man on tracks killed by L train at the East 14th Street and First Avenue station (Town & Village Blog)

Winnie's is closing on Bayard Street (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)

A visit to Cafecito on Avenue C (Gothamist)

Mapping NYC's gentrification by neighborhood (Curbed)

Looking at Rosie's, opening this spring in the former Boukiés space (Grub Street)

Essex Crossing demolition watch (BoweryBoogie)

Recalling the hardcore scene of Altercation (Noisey/Vice)

The last matzah batch at Streit's on the LES (Jewish Journal)

Here's Kim Gordon's conversation from Wednesday night at the Strand (The Strand via YouTube H/T to Bedford + Bowery, who has a recap here)

Another look at Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, now open on East Second Street (DNAinfo)

"Young Bodies Heal Quickly" makes it NY theatrical premiere tonight (Anthology Film Archives)

Another Bleecker Street live music venue is going under (The Villager)

Rev. Billy headed to trial (Runnin' Scared)

Neighbors complain of excessive construction noise at the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street (The Lo-Down)

Coffee time in NYC ... in the 1790s (Ephemeral New York)

... and the RadioShack on Broadway between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street is closing ... one of the nearly 2,000 nationwide set to close as a result of the company's bankruptcy...

Black Seed owners reiterate commitment to preserving the former DeRobertis space

[Photo from earlier this month by Ali Smith]

As you probably know, the owners of Black Seed bagels are opening a location at the former De Robertis Pasticceria and Caffe on First Avenue near East 11th Street.

Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman, the owners of the popular Montreal-style bagel shop on Elizabeth Street, have maintained that they will keep as much of the former tenant's original architectural elements intact as they can.

In an interview at Off the Grid yesterday, the two reiterated their preservationist commitment.

In general, the pair say their goal is to bring back as much of the early-20th century material and look as possible, while removing some mid- and late-20th century fixtures – like the front display cases and shelves behind them. “We discovered beautiful old brick walls behind there,” Bernamoff said. He asserts that the tin ceiling, hand-cut wall tiles, round “penny tiles” on the floor (which aren’t made anymore) are all staying – but where those elements are missing or damaged, they will not be replaced with facsimiles.

“It’s better to leave what’s there than try to recreate it,” Bernamoff said. “We want to have it feel old, and have it feel historic … If we try to recreate [vintage elements], it will take away the specialness of some of what is there. We don’t want to create confusion. We want people to recognize that the space is 110 years old.”

They also plan to keep the neon De Robertis sign on the façade.

[Photo by James and Karla Murray]

Said Bernamoff, “We prefer to keep the neon as intact as we possibly can without misleading people.” So they may just keep the Pastry Shoppe part illuminated, for example.

The 110-year-old DeRobertis Pasticceria and Caffe closed this past Dec. 5 after 110 years in business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Ugh: The 110-year-old DeRobertis Pasticceria and Caffe closes after Dec. 5 (43 comments)

[Updated] 110-year-old DeRobertis Pasticceria and Caffe looks to be closing once the building is sold

174-176 First Ave., home of DeRobertis Pasticceria and Caffe, is for sale

Let's take a look at the DeRobertis in-house bakery

Black Seed bringing bagels to the former DeRobertis space on 1st Avenue (43 comments)

A last look at De Robertis before its conversion to Black Seed bagels

North River looks to be going as The Nite Owl now on 1st Avenue

[Photo from last weekend]

Back on Wednesday, we noted that North River at 166 First Ave. just north of East 10th Street was closed for renovations.

There were't any other details about what was in store for the restaurant serving American-style comfort food from chef Adam Starowicz, who spent time at Momofuku Ko and Hearth. (The sign on the door simply said that changes were afoot.)

Now, however, a new sign is up for — The Nite Owl ...

There isn't any mention of the new venture, which sounds decidedly more nightlife-focused, on North River's website or social media properties.

Rosie Mendez co-sponsors proposed new city legislation cracking down on Airbnb

Local City Council member Rosie Mendez is one of two sponsors behind new legislation that would potentially empower tenants to sue their landlords for using Airbnb or other short-term stay services to rent out neighboring apartments as hotel rooms.

Here's the official release via Mendez's office yesterday:

NYC Council Members Rory Lancman and Rosie Mendez announced the introduction of legislation to crack down on tenant harassment from illegal hotel conversions. Their bill would expand the definition of harassment to include illegal conversions of residential units, and create a new civil penalty for landlords who use Airbnb and other illegal hotel companies to harass and push out tenants using illegal conversions.

"Airbnb and illegal hotels destroy the quality of life of those around them and pose a grave threat to New York's affordable housing supply. This bill lets tenants take landlords to court to win injunctions against illegal conversions and impose fines that support the city's housing enforcement efforts. We need to call out illegal hotel conversions for what they really are — tenant harassment," said NYC Council Member Rory Lancman, Chair of the Committee on Courts & Legal Services.

“I am proud to co-introduce legislation with Councilman Rory Lancman that would enable tenants to sue their landlords in housing court for renting out residential apartments, contrary to the law, as hotel units,” said NYC Council Member Rosie Mendez.

Tenant harassment complaints in Housing Court have nearly doubled since 2011, and complaints of illegal hotels in New York City have also greatly increased in recent years. In 2014, there were 1,150 illegal hotel complaints, a 62 percent increase since 2013. 883 inspections were performed in response to those 1,150 complaints and 804 violations were issued. Unsurprisingly, the growth of illegal hotel activity in New York City has matched rapid growth of online short-term rental websites like Airbnb.

There are currently over 28,000 residential units being listed for transient hotel use on Airbnb. This represents a 5,800 percent growth in units from 2009, when Airbnb first began allowing New Yorkers to list their residences online. A report published late last year by the New York State Attorney General analyzing Airbnb bookings in New York City from January 1, 2010 through June 2, 2014, found that nearly 75 percent of Airbnb’s listings were in violation of state law.

Furthermore, a new data tool – — launched by an independent software developer that collects all public data points from Airbnb’s website showed:

• The value of 77 percent of Airbnb listings comes from illegal rentals of entire apartments;

• Nearly 60 percent (16,000) of Airbnb listings offer the entire home/apartment (in violation of state law), and those units are available for rent an average of 247 days (68 percent of the year); and

• Nearly one-third of Airbnb listings come from hosts with multiple units, such as commercial landlords, not regular New York tenants.

Currently, the definition of what constitutes legally actionable harassment does not include illegal conversions. If passed, this new expanded definition of harassment would allow a court to impose a civil penalty against a landlord of between $1,000 and $5,000 for every unit in which the court finds a tenant who is lawfully entitled to that unit has been harassed (through the existence of an illegal conversion).

Just last week, Governor Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman, and Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of a joint enforcement task force, titled the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, to investigate and bring enforcement actions – including criminal charges – against landlords who harass tenants. The task force will confront the rise in complaints that landlords are using a variety of tactics, including disruptive and dangerous renovation and construction projects, to force tenants into vacating rent-regulated apartments.

Under the Lancman/Mendez tenant harassment bill, illegal hotel conversions would be included in the definition of harassment, and therefore could fall under the jurisdiction of the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force and be subject to its investigations and enforcement actions.

Airbnb spokeperson Nick Papas told the Post: "We strongly oppose large-scale illegal hotels and we know most Airbnb hosts share only the home in which they live and use the money they earn to pay the bills."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

And now Benny's to-go closes on Avenue A

[Photo by Fenton Lawless]

Benny's Burrito's closed for good after service on Nov. 29, as we first reported.

However, the small consolation was that Benny's would still offer food to go and make deliveries from a small storefront adjacent to the restaurant space here on Avenue A and East Sixth Street.

Now, though, that too comes to an end: tonight is the last night for the to-go business. (If you're thinking about ordering a last Benny's meal: They don't have everything left in stock, things like vegetables.)

Back in November, owner Mark Merker told Lisha Arino at DNAinfo that Benny's has had trouble staying afloat, as costs and rents rose while competition increased from Chipotle and other restaurants that served burritos.

Benny's first opened in the East Village in 1988.

Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Benny's Burritos is closing; will offer take-out only service (50 comments)

Remembering Rothstein's Hardware on the LES with free posters

[Image via Facebook]

The single-level buildings along 50-62 Clinton St. between Stanton and Rivington are ready to make way for luxury condominiums.

Rothstein's Hardware, which has been serving the Lower East Side for more than 60 years, was one of the displaced businesses. Raymond Rodriguez, the store's owner since 1981, was able to find new space at 106 Ridge St.

Upon hearing about the store having to leave its longtime home, LES resident Rachel Zaretsky, the great granddaughter of the original owner, took photos of the interior ... and made newsprint posters of the space for anyone who may like to have one.

Via email, she tells us: "They are free and I'd like to offer anyone who cares a chance to look at a place that no longer exists ... that had some significance to me and the neighborhood."

She will be outside 52 Clinton St. this afternoon from 2-5 with the posters. (There's a Craigslist ad about this here.)

Residences rising from the former Mary Help of Christians lot will now be market-rate condos

[Photo from December by Peter Brownscombe]

It's time to revisit the plans for the former Mary Help of Christians lot off of Avenue A between East 11th Street and East 12th Street.

Aside from some soil testing, the lot has been quiet since late 2013 while the plans awaited city approval.

A quick recap. Developer Douglas Steiner bought the property in 2012 for $41 million. During the summer of 2013, workers demolished the church, school and rectory.

The permits that Steiner's reps filed with the city in October 2013 called for a 7-story, 158-unit 164,720-square-foot structure with frontage on Avenue A, East 11th Street and East 12th Street. The U-shaped building would feature rentals (and a rooftop swimming pool).

[View from Avenue A]

In addition, the project would contain 22 affordable units designated as Inclusionary Housing units ... consisting of four studios, 14 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units.

Apparently all this has changed. Steiner's reps told Community Board 3 on Tuesday night that the residential complex will now feature — market-rate condos. Updated paperwork at the DOB now shows a total of 82 residential units (with the pool and deck on a lower level).

This size of the development was of concern to nearby residents when Steiner's team presented the plans to CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee in November 2013 ... made somewhat palatable with the affordable component. Not now, though. One neighbor called the switch to condos "total bullshit."

We'll have more on the new plans here as soon as additional information is available.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New residential complex at former Mary Help of Christians lot may include rooftop swimming pool

Meet your new neighbor on Avenue A

Permits filed to demolish Mary Help of Christians church, school and rectory

Preservationists call for archeological review of former cemetery at Mary Help of Christians site

The 'senseless shocking self-destruction' of Mary Help of Christians

Hummus Place will not be reopening on St. Mark's Place

[Photo from Feb. 2]

Hummus Place closed after business on Feb. 2, as we noted here. Signs on the door at 109 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue pointed to a renovation as the cause of the closure. The space has looked awfully quiet for any kind of renovation.

An EVG reader sent us the following last evening: "Called the Hummus Place on St. Mark's and my call was forwarded to the Seventh Avenue location. Man on the phone said St. Mark's was closed for good and all calls were being forwarded to his location."

Meanwhile, the East Village location has already been scrubbed off the Hummus Place website.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Hummus Place closed for renovations on St. Mark's Place

Transformation of Louis 649 to Mace continues on East 9th Street

[Renovation photo via Instagram]

Louis 649, the 14-year-old cocktail bar, closed last fall at 649 E. Ninth St. just west of Avenue C.

Louis proprietor Zach Sharaga sent out a status update this week:

Louis 649 is currently undergoing a transformation to Mace, a great new cocktail bar opening very soon. I partnered with Greg Boehm and Nico de Soto on this project and we're all very excited and hope to see you when we start shaking cocktails next month.

Last December, the owners opened a holiday-themed pop-up bar called Miracle on Ninth Street in the space.

As for Mace, their website isn't live yet. But they are on Facebook and Twitter.

Amona Deli & Grocery has closed on East Houston

Last week we heard that Amona Deli & Grocery at 250 E. Houston near Avenue B was going to be closing at the end of the month. Apparently February got even shorter — workers have cleared out the store, which now sits empty here along the Shoppes at Red Square.

A cashier told us that the deli owner was hoping to move … however, there aren't any signs up indicating a new address.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I've seen that face before

Some familiar faces on East Second Street and East First Street near First Avenue...

...courtesy of #Agni @graffaddict2014…

Headline H/T

Resident in critical condition following East 13th Street fire

A 37-year-old man is in critical condition following a fire this afternoon in his apartment at 710 E. 13th St. near Avenue C. FDNY Battalion Chief John Rail said that the cause was likely electrical. (DNAinfo)

NYPD searching for knife-wielding suspect wanted for 6 store robberies, including on East 7th Street

Police officials have released the above sketch of a suspect wanted in connection with six downtown shop robberies in recent weeks.

The first robbery occurred on Jan. 21 at AuH2O Thriftique, 84 E. Seventh St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. According to published reports, the suspect entered the shop around 5:30 p.m., and demanded the money. He fled with $240. An accomplice was standing watch outside.

The suspect, working alone, then allegedly robbed five more businesses, including on Bond Street, Elizabeth Street and Mott Street. Gothamist has a rundown of all six robberies here. According to Gothamist, police described the suspect in the sketch as being 5-8 to 6-0 tall and in his 30s. No other information about the suspect was immediately available.

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You may also submit tips online.

[Updated] More about Sugar, the missing pit bull mix with a $5k reward

You may have seen flyers up around the neighborhood for Sugar, the 6-year-old Amstaff/pit bull mix that went missing some time on Monday.

The Post has an article today on the situation ... interviewing Sugar's owner, East Village resident Morgan Bogle.

Bogle was in London on business, leaving Sugar in the care of her dog walker of three years. Then something apparently went really wrong.

Per the article:

But the man flipped out while she was away, kicking the front door of her apartment Monday while shouting and swearing, witnesses said.

“He was screaming, ‘F–k you! Let me in the f–king house now!’ ” a witness said, adding that Sugar was nowhere in sight.

“He seemed manic . . . I told him, ‘You’re acting like a lunatic.’ He was muttering stuff, but it wasn’t coherent at all,” the witness said.

A neighbor texted Bogle, and she sent a friend to the dog walker’s apartment. The pal spotted the man hiding behind a trash can outside and “acting strange,” Bogle said.

Sugar's collar and sweater were inside Bogle's apartment... but no sign of the dog. The dog walker reportedly "had no explanation" for Sugar's whereabouts.

Bogle is offering a $5,000 reward for Sugar's return. A reader who sent us the above flyer said that Sugar is spayed and microchipped. We've heard various versions of when Sugar was last seen — either Sunday or Monday ... with one reader saying that Sugar was spotted on East 26th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Updated 6:28 p.m.

Sugar now has Twitter and Facebook pages.

And WABC has a report here.

Updated 2-28

The reward is now $10,000. Find more details here.

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: Sheila Rothenberg
Occupation: Production Manager at Works in Progress NYC
Location: St. Mark's Place between 1st and 2nd (the photo for Part 2 is at the Tile Bar on 1st Avenue and East 7th Street)
Time: 6:30 pm on Thursday, Feb 5

Picking up with the end of Part 1

I opened my own restaurant on 2nd Avenue, between 1st and 2nd. It was called Dine East. We bought it from Sam of Sam’s Luncheonette. We didn’t know at time, but the reason he made money was because he had poker games in the back. I bought all the equipment from some cokeheads who had a restaurant in Chinatown. I was there from ’83 to ’86 and that’s where I met my husband — he was teaching at La Salle across the street.

It was so much fun and so much hard work. It was like a greasy spoon. My dad was working as my dishwasher. I’m still friends with everyone who worked with us. I really had my regulars. But in ’85, ’86 the crack stuff started happening. The heroin wasn’t so bad because they would not bother you so much. They'd ask, ‘Do you sell bottled soda? Do you have a bathroom?’ They wanted the bottle cap. I’d say, ‘No, because you want to shoot up in the bathroom.’ But crackheads were crazy, so it got a little sketchy. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had five years left on the lease when I left. It was 28 seats. I made $100, $200 a week. I didn’t know about business so well and I gave a lot of stuff away, but it was really fun. I just realized that I couldn’t really go on with the life we were planning.

After that, I went to cook at Florent on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. It was a hot place. I made salads for Madonna. But there I really learned how to cook. I learned French cooking and how to make sauces.

Then I got pregnant and left. My next job was at the Telephone Bar as a cook for three years. That was great. Barbara Sibley was the general manager and Abe from the 2nd Avenue Deli was the owner and I loved him. Barbara has a lot of integrity and working for them was… like I got paid vacation. What you got at that restaurant was unheard of. She got group insurance for people. She was so flexible with time off. Working there was wonderful.

Today I am a production manager at Works in Progress NYC, a not-for-profit silk-screening company in the East Village. We provide internships for approximately 15 students annually from a growing list of New York City high schools and work readiness programs.

We are often able to provide paid summer jobs for high school students who have interned at WIP and several former interns are currently full-time staff. I like working with teenagers the best. It's fun being with kids and making shirts for people in the neighborhood and meeting great people.

Even though the neighborhood is changing, I still feel like it’s my community and I still have a lot of friends. We got very involved in the schools down here when we had children. We were founding parents of The Neighborhood School on 3rd Street. My husband was the first PTA president and I was the second. We got much more active politically because of the schools and trying to make better schools for kids.

My husband was teaching conflict resolution and I got very interested in the concept, so I did a training and learned to be a facilitator in conflict resolution. It was called Peace in the Family, which is sort of a misnomer. It was about just working with parents about active listening and good communication with your kids and bringing parents in to talk to teachers and to not be scared or intimidated. Then I went back to college since I had never finished college. I worked for Educators for Social Responsibility and then on 12th Street was an organization called the Girls’ Project and I was program manager there.

This block [St. Mark's Place between First Avenue and Second Avenue] was always pretty nice. I’m also a landlord. In 1993 we bought this building. I saw a for sale sign during the savings and loan scandal, so you couldn’t get a commercial loan and this was a commercial building. However, we got a great deal. I think the building dates back to 1840s [and belonged to] Peter Stuyvesant’s son. This was all Stuyvesant’s land.

It amazes me what these tenements are renting for. You know the Groucho Marx thing, ‘I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member’? I don’t want to rent to anyone who can afford to live here. We did, and the first rental we had here were these trust-fund kids and they called me to change a light bulb, and they were paying below market. I’m like, ‘That’s not the way it works. You gotta change your own light bulbs.’

I’m one of those people who came here and made good. There’s kind of this balance that people miss in terms of the gentrification. There was a time on 1st Street between 1st and 2nd where you could not walk on that block. I had a friend who lived there, a waitress at the Kiev and they said, ‘No you can’t come in.’ Shooting galleries were a real thing. They had bodyguards and they wouldn’t let you up the steps. I was like, ‘Fuck you, my friend lives up there, I’m going.’ That was the kind of person I was. It was not good for kids; it was not good for anybody.

As I heard de Blasio say on the radio [the other day], ‘When things are done without a plan, it gets screwed up.’ You’ve got to develop and you’ve got to change, but you have to have a plan. It’s greed on the part of people who own stuff but it’s also that there isn't any regulation. Everyone talks about mom and pop and small business and it is so difficult. I could never open a restaurant now.

Read Part 1 here

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

[Updated] Confirmed: East Village Cheese will be moving to Avenue A later this year

We got word last month that the Duane Reade on Third Avenue at East 10th Street was going to expand into adjacent storefronts on that block, forcing out several businesses, including neighborhood favorite East Village Cheese, in the process.

We were told shortly after that the owners had secured a new storefront on Avenue A and East 13th Street — the former Kim's Laundromat & Cleaners on the southeast corner…

[Photo from Jan. 17]

In a feature at Off the Grid yesterday, East Village Cheese co-owner Lobsang Tsultrim confirmed the upcoming closure and move. Tsultrim said that his lease lasts until July 31, with a move coming after that.

Per Off the Grid:

“Rent is going up, cheese is going up,” Tsultrim said. “If I have to move, I have to spend money. I don’t know if it’s going to work.” They have to move the equipment and fixtures, he said, and the new space is smaller. The store’s practice is to buy cheese for, say, $2 per pound, then sell it for $4 per pound where other stores will mark the same product $10.

“They’ve got the money and they’re trying to take over. We’re trying to help the East Village. It’s all about the money, you know,” he said. “We’re trying to help the Village – that’s why we’re having a problem.”

Updated 2:21 p.m.

Ugh. Off the Grid spoke again today with Tsultrim, and they've amended their blog post to the following:

On Feb. 25 Tsultrim clarified that, while he had been considering taking over the former Kim’s Laundromat at 208 Avenue A at 13th Street, that space no longer seems viable and his search for an East Village location is ongoing.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rumors: Duane Reade expansion will take over adjacent storefronts, including East Village Cheese (74 comments)

Changes afoot at North River

North River at 166 First Ave. just north of East 10th Street has been closed in recent evenings.

There isn't any mention of a closure on the restaurant's website or various social media properties.

Meanwhile, someone has removed the North River sign and menu … and painted over the gate.

And over at Open Table, the first reservations are available starting on April 16.

But apparently the place is just closed for renovations … according to the sign now on the front door…

In case you were wondering, Dead Drop is the name of the sorta hidden speakeasy in the basement.

North River's American-style comfort food, from chef Adam Starowicz, who worked at Momofuku Ko and Hearth, seemed to get positive notices (here and here, as an example), though some readers thought the prices were too steep.

Anyway, so no word yet on what these changes might be at North River, which opened on Dec. 19, 2013.

The Met Foods space is now for rent on 3rd Avenue

Earlier this month, we reported that the Met Foods on Third Avenue between East 16th Street and East 17th Street will be closing at a date to-be-determined this spring.

The for rent sign is now up at the space. We didn't spot a listing for it online just yet.

Meanwhile, the mood inside isn't so good. Said EVG reader Harry Weiner, who shared the above photo: "There is a subdued atmosphere of gloom in the store…"

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Met Foods on 3rd Avenue in Gramercy Park is closing (19 comments)

After 2 months, Matty's is closed for now on Avenue B

[Photo from last month]

Matty's took over the Idle Hands space at 25 Avenue B… opening here between East Second Street and East Third Street on Dec. 12.

Now, for the time being, the bar is closed.

There's a rent due notice now on the gate for the sum of $38,326.77 … "for rent from from January 2015 to February 2015."

[Photo via @Salim]

Matty's NYC is the sister bar to the Matty's on the Drive, a now-closed gay bar in Wilton Manors, Fla.

The Matty's NYC website is now out of commission as well. There isn't any mention of a closure on the Matty's Facebook page.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A bar called Matty's in the works for Idle Hands on Avenue B

Matty's makes it official on Avenue B

Bowery Coffee space for lease; plus The Mobile Spa for East Houston?

Bowery Coffee at 87 E. Houston just west of the Bowery closed for good after the business day back on Jan. 14. Word was that the landlord apparently refused to renew the shop's lease, per BoweryBoogie.

Anyway, a for rent sign is now up on the space. The listing via KVNY doesn't appear to be online just yet.

Meanwhile, next door to the east …

…there's a coming soon sign for The Mobile Spa, which, according to the store's website, is a "unique boutique for mobile phones, gadgets and accessories."

They currently have locations on Bleecker Street and in Nassau County.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SUVs now catching on fire outside the Con Ed plant

A scene on East 14th Street at Avenue C around 4 p.m. … outside the Con Ed plant, which likely had nothing to do with this SUV fire.

Thanks to @soaperynyc for the photo!

NYU expansion opponents will get another day in court

"Opponents of New York University's massive expansion in Greenwich Village will get a final chance to try to block the school's plan, after the state's highest court agreed on Tuesday to hear their case." (Read the story at DNAinfo here)

Updated 3:03 p.m.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation has more about today's news here.

Report: Why the subway is late and crowded a lot

An EVG reader passed along this photo from Union Square last evening showing more Hellish than usual lines for the L. (Gothamist has more on what happened here — rail conditions! signal problems! status quo!)

Meanwhile, the Post today examines new MTA stats and finds!

Subway riders are being squashed together on increasingly crowded trains, new data revealed Monday — and lack of basic manners getting in and out of cars is contributing to a spike in delays.

Weekdays trains experienced overcrowding delays a staggering 14,843 times in December — the most recent month where data was available.

That is a 113 percent increase from a year earlier.

One more stat from the article: "6 million people crammed into subway cars on 29 different days in 2014 — the most since the MTA started tracking ridership."

The breaker pop heard 'round the neighborhood

[Photo from Feb. 16]

We talked with several people about the noise/bang/pop/explosion at the Con Ed power plant and subsequent flicker in the power on Saturday night... it didn't go unnoticed (as is usually the case) ...

The Villager talked with Con Ed spokesperson Sidney Alvarez to see what happened at the plant on East 14th Street and Avenue C.

“Basically, in a nutshell, we had some equipment malfunction within our facility. In a nutshell, a breaker popped — and the cause was freezing rain.”

The Fire Department responded but there was no fire, and there were no injuries, Alvarez reported.

The spokesperson didn’t disagree that East Villagers had likely heard a thunderous bang.

“I’m sure they would have heard something,” he said.

As for a white flash in the sky, he said, there was no information regarding that in an internal report he was reading from, but he didn’t deny that it could have happened.

“But there was no fire, no spark,” he noted.

Previously on EV Grieve:
East Village residents ask: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT NOISE LAST NIGHT?

Con Ed making strides so that the East 13th Street substation doesn't explode again

East 9th Street buildings starting to grow taller

Work continues on the north side of Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, where back in 2012 the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) OK'd rooftop additions for four of the buildings on this block.

[Via Off the Grid]

Work began late last year for the new floor at No. 329... and you can see how's it's looking so far...

The buildings were previously owned by Icon Realty, who sold them to Kushner companies in the spring of 2013. Kushner paid $28.75 million deal for 329-335 E. Ninth Street (and 325 E. 10th St.).

Councilmember Rosie Mendez and the Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation, among others, spoke out against the additions on this block. The BSA didn't seem to mind.

While we're on this block, you can see how the new building is (slowly) coming along at next door 327 E. Ninth St., the site of a former residential parking lot. We first reported on this six-story, two-unit residential building back in August 2012.

Eventually, No. 327 will look like ...

[Via Curbed]

Previously on EV Grieve:
East 9th Street buildings will soon be taller thanks to the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals

East Ninth Street parking lot will yield to 6-floor residential building

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks opens tomorrow on East 2nd Street

The speciality shop opens tomorrow at 28 E. Second St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. Jeremiah Moss, who first reported this yesterday over at Vanishing New York, also received a tour of the space. Check that out here.

Back in November, Jeremiah learned that the popular specialty store, which specializes in rare and out-of-print cookbooks, was getting rent-hiked out its 15-year-old Greenwich Village home.

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

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks makes the move to East 2nd Street