Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Soon, the sidewalks might be free of discarded mattresses this evening

If this guy can just get a few more piled atop the van...to refurbish somewhere...

Photo on East Ninth Street this evening by EVG regular OlympiasEpiriot

You may now report your annoying Airbnbers directly to Airbnb

Back in March, Airbnb officials announced that they'd be launching a new website to let residents file complaints about guests directly with the company.

As DNAinfo reported, that tool is now live.

Here's the Airbnb blog with more:

Every time a host welcomes a guest into their home, they are also welcoming them into their neighborhood. We’re proud that since Airbnb got started, there have been over 80 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings and those guests have been welcomed by hosts and their neighbors in over 190 countries worldwide.

The overwhelming majority of Airbnb guests are respectful travelers, so complaints and issues are incredibly rare, but we always want to do everything we can to help our community members be good neighbors in the places our hosts call home. To help achieve that goal, today, we’re launching a new resource for neighbors of Airbnb hosts.

Starting today, anyone can go to airbnb.com/neighbors to share specific concerns they might have about a listing in their community. These concerns could include things like noise complaints. From there, our team will review their concern and, if necessary, follow up with the host regarding the issue.

Neighbors can submit information without having their name disclosed to a host or allow our team to pass along their contact information so the host can follow up with them directly. Once a neighbor submits feedback, we will send a confirmation email, along with a case number.

City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal wasn't impressed with the new tool, telling DNAinfo: "New Yorkers already have a way to file complaints against neighbor disturbances: 311. Airbnb's complaint submission page is a way to prevent its users from getting the fines for breaking city laws."

In New York, it is illegal to rent out an apartment for fewer than 30 days unless the host is present.

Today in posts about angled parking on 2nd Street

The DOT recently resurfaced East Second Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

And EVG regular Spike notes that the city put the angled parking on the north side of the block in the opposite direction of what it was...

We haven't heard about any plans on changing this section of Second Street from west- to east-driving traffic ... like it is between the Bowery and First Avenue.

Per Spike: "Either that's the eventual idea or the paint crew screwed up!"

Meanwhile, as for now, the Tacos Morelos stand is still facing the same direction...

Developers for post office-replacing project seek variance for a 12-story building

Crews have been at work at 432-438 E. 14th St., the former site of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office that is yielding to an 8-story, 114-unit (23 affordable, 91 market rate) mixed-use building here between Avenue A and First Avenue.

The renderings on the plywood could be a collector's item now, though...

Reps for the developers (Benenson Capital Partners in association with the Mack Real Estate Group) are lobbying to receive a zoning variance for a 12-story building.

On June 15, the reps will start with Community Board 3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee. Ahead of that meeting, there's a 300-plus page document (PDF!) on file at the CB3 website with background, analysis, engineering reports, etc.

For starters, the documents show that the East 13th Street portion of the proposed new building would be eight stories in height (80 feet), with a setback above the sixth floor. The East 14th Street portion of the building would rise 12 stories (124 feet) without setbacks. Retail space would occupy the first floor of the East 14th Street side of the building.

According to the documents, the site "is burdened by a combination of unique conditions that result in practical difficulties in complying with the applicable zoning regulations."

Specifically: "Unusually elevated groundwater levels and exceedingly soft and unstable soil (owing to the presence of an underground stream) ... result in extraordinary construction costs, which make a complying development with affordable housing infeasible." (An analysis of the project put the extra construction costs due to the substandard soil at $8.8 million.)

However, the developer's proposal of a larger building "would generate sufficient income to offset the cost of development and provide a reasonable return on investment."

The documents state that the proposed development "is contextual with the surrounding neighborhood" ... and will "provide 31 units of affordable housing." Overall, the new building would have 155 units.

In conclusion, the proposed larger development "is the only financially feasible project that can be constructed at the site."

The city's Board of Standard and Appeals has recognized substandard soil conditions "as a unique physical condition causing practical difficulties and unnecessary hardship in at least eight variances in the past seven years," per the developer's research.

The elevated groundwater levels and "soft and unstable soil" must be behind the ongoing foundation work at 500 and 538 E. 14th St., where Extell Development is putting up two 7-floor retail-residential buildings. (We have not heard if either building will include an affordable-housing component.) After more than a year, there still isn't any sign of the new buildings above the grade.


The committee meeting on June 15 is open to the public. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. ... in the University Settlement at Houston Street Center — 273 Bowery.

You have mail! (but not here)

Via an EVG reader...

Has anyone else in 10009 found this kind of notice in their building?

The mail carrier could not gain entry into the building... and, "until further notice," residents will now need to pick up the undelivered mail from the USPS retail outlet on East 14th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

I haven't been to this USPS location in awhile. Do they have more than one person working at the counters now?

Charlie Parker's neighbor is for sale on Avenue B for the 1st time in 50 years

[Image via Halstead]

As we first reported last Oct. 2, 151 Avenue B — the landmarked building where jazz great Charlie Parker once lived, arrived on the market for $9.25 million.

Now its next-door neighbor at No. 153 between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street is for sale.

Here's the pitch via the broker Halstead:

On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this 23-foot wide, 5-story townhouse poses a rare opportunity to own an authentic piece of New York history in the vibrant and evolving East Village. Dating back to 1849, 153 Avenue B (located on Charlie Parker Place between East 9th and East 10th Streets) offers grand proportions, a brownstone facade topped by a boldly protruding cornice, and 12 large double-hung windows with exterior shutters framing views of Tompkins Square Park which sits across the street.

Endless possibilities to invest or live in this impressive property. Currently configured as 5 floor-through free market rental units, this is an incredible opportunity to transform the entire building into your dream single-family home in a prime park location; create an owner's duplex and maintain the upper floor rental units; or keep as a fully tenant-occupied investment property with opportunity to renovate and create a strong rent roll.

The garden floor unit was gut renovated in 2015 and is configured as a 2-bedroom featuring a private front door entrance and a newly refurbished backyard patio for relaxing or entertaining. The parlor through fifth floor units are configured as grand 3-bedroom loft-like spaces with soaring ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, and rich in pre-war architectural details. The fourth floor unit was gut renovated in 2014 ...

The roof offers dramatic unobstructed views of Tompkins Square Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Recent improvements to the building include a new coin-operated laundry room on the garden floor, updated hallways, new boiler and hot water heater, electrical system upgrades, and steel beam reinforcement project under the direction of a structural engineer and architect. Come visit 153 Avenue B this summer. This East Village treasure is not to be missed.

The asking price is $6.95 million.

As for No. 151, the listing is no longer active.

Checking out the (sort of) new 421 E. 6th St.

A rendering has arrived on the plywood outside the under-renovation 421 E. Sixth St. ...

It doesn't look too different from the existing building ... from the exterior anyway.

Here's a side-by-side look (as noted previously)… showing the existing building (left) and the proposed front...

The address between Avenue A and First Avenue was a Con Edison substation built in 1920-21 that converted direct current to alternating. Artist/sculptor Walter De Maria owned the building from 1980 to the time of his death in July 2013.

As previously reported, the building will be a gallery space to display new owner Peter Brant's personal art collection.

Previously on EV Grieve:
About that "giant-robot laboratory" on East Sixth Street

RIP Walter De Maria

What is your East Village dream home?

Walter De Maria's 'giant-robot laboratory' going for $25 million; inside is amazing as you'd expect

Here's what Peter Brant wants to do with his new exhibition space on East 6th Street

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day cloud action

Photo looking downtown this afternoon by Bobby Williams

The Strokes now popping up on the Bowery

The Strokes have a new EP out on Friday, when they also headline the Governors Ball on Randall's Island.

Ahead of all this, the band (and Cult Records, the label run by frontman Julian Casablancas) opened a pop-up shop today at 350 Bowery between Great Jones and East Fourth Street.

The shop, open noon to 9 p.m. (except Thursday night, when there's a listening party for the new EP) through Sunday, is selling the band's previous records and other merchandise... there are also some DJ sets planned... not to mention an espresso bar by Everyman Espresso.

A photo posted by The Strokes (@thestrokes) on

You can listen to a new track from the EP here...

And this is from 2013...


Some residents are really ready to have this VW removed from Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Anyone know how long the car, with the handmade "tow me" messages, has been here?

The city tagged the car for "investigation and removal by N.Y.P.D. rotation tow" on May 13...

Photos by Derek Berg

Sunday, May 29, 2016

So long to the Yaffa Cafe mural

Earlier today, a worker painted over the Yaffa Cafe mural on St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue, as this photo by Allen Semanco shows.

Not really a surprise. The cafe closed for good after 31 years in September 2014, as we first reported.

The mural went up in 1993. It was a portrait of Lika Ramati, the former co-owner of Yaffa Cafe. The New York Times has more about the history of the mural in this article from 1999.

Here are two more photos via EVG reader Nick Monteleone ...

The owners of St. Dymphna's down the block are reportedly opening a Portuguese restaurant called Taberna in this space.

Updated 5-30

At the 29th annual Loisaida Festival

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the festival earlier today on Avenue C... and shared a few photos of the vendors, patrons and performers taking part in the annual Memorial Day weekend gathering...

Stupid clouds ruin Manhattanhenge

Not much of a Manhattanhenge this evening... and tomorrow night looks to be a washout...so there's always July 11-12.

Photos on 14th Street at Avenue C outside the Con Ed plant by Peter Brownscombe...

Time again for Manhattanhenge

[Photo from 2009]

As the Times notes:

This beloved event, known as Manhattanhenge, occurs when the setting sun aligns perfectly with the numbered streets that run east and west on Manhattan’s city grid, bathing traffic and skyscrapers in its warm red light.

Manhattanhenge is a two-day event that happens twice a year on opposite sides of the summer solstice. You can catch this year’s displays about 8:12 p.m. this Sunday [tonight!] and Monday [Memorial Day!], and again on July 11 and 12.

Not sure about the prospects for Manhattanhenging tomorrow with the rainy forecast.

The ghost of the Lil Crazy Legs mural arrives on 7th Street

[Photo from November by Derek Berg]

Back in November, artist Ernest Zacharevic created this tribute to Lil Crazy Legs on East Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue (next to Porchetta).

Then, in April, someone buried it under a tag...

[Photo from April]


Someone did a pretty good job of outlining Lil Crazy Legs ...

As for what this was originally all about ... Zacharevic recreated photojournalist Martha Cooper's shots from the 1970s-80s around the city. Lil Crazy Legs — aka Richard Colón of the Bronx-based Rock Steady Crew from the early 1980s — is on the cover of her photo book "Hip Hop Files: Photographs 1979-1984."

Bella's Beauty Supply is closing on Avenue B

The shop with the colorful wigs in the windows closes for good tomorrow here on Avenue B between Second Street and Third Street ... Hair products and wigs are 50 percent off now until closing time.

Bella's opened in October 2011.

There has been some turnover in the businesses along here. The pet shop and deli closed late last year... and Choice Cleaners moved two storefronts to the north at the start of 2016.

Thank you Salim for the photo and tip!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Short films program tonight at the 6th and B Garden

Tonight at 8 at the 6th and B Garden (Avenue B at 6th Street) ... re-scheduled from last Saturday night's rain out ...

Head to the 6 & B website for more details.

Included in the program is a feature on Eddie Boros, the neighborhood character/artist who created the Tower of Toys at the Garden. Boros died in 2007 at age 74. The Tower was removed the next year.

Jennifer Esposito responds to reports that she fled East 10th Street for Denmark

[EVG file photo from 2015]

Page Six reported yesterday that Jennifer Esposito "plans to leave town after her legal drama with her gluten-free Jennifer’s Way baking empire." The destination: Denmark!

The actress, who was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago, opened Jennifer's Way Bakery on East 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue in 2013. She responded to the report (also picked up by Fox News) on Facebook...

She also posted photos and a video of herself at the bakery yesterday.

As for the lawsuit, here's what Esposito had to say about it via Twitter...