Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Hare Krishna tree finally gets its own portable toilet in Tompkins Square Park

Or perhaps it's left over from the TV shoot today for "Sneaky Pete."

Photo this evening by Steven

Anticipation builds for the return of the Alamo with the arrival of this caution tape

Workers today have blocked off the area around where the Alamo will rest on Astor Place, as these photos by EVG reader JinSoo show ... fueling speculation that the cube's return is imminent...

No official word on this just yet... After a fake out in June, the Parks Department said that the refurbished Alamo would be back in August. (And seeing as today is Aug. 31...)

Workers packed up and carted off the Alamo for safekeeping for the duration of the Astor Place-Cooper Square reconstruction back on Nov. 25, 2014. The cube was installed here in 1967.

Out and About in the East Village

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

By James Maher
Name: Hal Hirshorn
Occupation: Artist
Location: St. Mark's Place and Avenue A
Time: 3:15 on Monday, Aug. 29

I came here after college in my early 20s. Oh you know, everybody comes to New York and there was a lot going on then. It was the tail end of the 1980s art scene. I just missed the East Village art boom. I got here in the summer of 1989 and by then most of the galleries moved to SoHo. I lived in the West Village because at that time there were apartments that were slightly cheaper than the East Village. Otherwise, I would have gone East Village. Everybody had talked about how the East Village had been priced out, but that’s nothing in comparison to today.

I’m a painter and a photographer. My studio is in Brooklyn now. I do oil painting, these strange abstractions that are a cross between landscape and abstract paintings — imaginary landscapes. There’s always been a back and forth between the two from the beginning of landscape paintings that were considered abstract paintings.

It’s been up and down, but I managed to hold things together somehow. The art world is doing well right now, so I’m OK. I have some people who work with me in terms of dealing and stuff like that. But that’s changing too and now everything in Chelsea is coming back to the Bowery and Lower East Side, but not the East Village.

Basically within a five-minute walk [today] most of the East Village that I’ve known over the course of 25, almost 30 years is gone, just gone, not like in bits and pieces, shifting here and there — just one fell swoop. Just to see everything radically redeveloped is what’s so stunning, because it used to happen in bits and pieces as the real estate went up. Now they’re doing blocks instead of buildings.

Bloomberg in his third term gave away much of the city to developers under the table. De Blasio seemed really great. I don’t know whether he’s had his hands too full or maybe he’s not as left as he said he is, but… he’s become very nebulous. But before de Blasio, you had other people like Mark Green running against Giuliani or I forget who ran against Bloomberg, but these guys didn’t stand a chance. They were just crushed.

Giuliani was real estate friendly, lets say, but he wasn’t like a real estate mogul. I think what we’re seeing right now is just a direct result of Bloomberg. He’s treated the city as though it were the Bloomberg Corporation’s property and his to sign off and sell away.

There was a rent stabilization law that was trying to cut back on rent stabilization and rent control, and they came up with a figure where anything above $2,500 was considered luxury housing. In those days, if you were able to afford an apartment that was that much money, you were pretty well off. Now that’s like kids out of college or crazy situations where you have four people living in apartments.

It’s almost reverting back to the tenement-like density and that’s just a result of the rent, unless you’re well off enough to be able to have over $25,000 a year to spend a year on rent. But the whole thing of the $2,500 figure is that is where the regulation was cut off, so now real estate, a lot of which was protected has effectively become market rate, and then the only thing that can change that is some big downturn or catastrophic event.

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

Sidewalk bridge arrives outside 112-120 E. 11th St.

The five buildings of 112-120 E. 11th St. took another step toward demolition with the arrival of a sidewalk bridge this week.

As we first reported on Aug. 8, the Lighthouse Group filed permits with the city to demolish the now-empty residential buildings to make room for a 300-room hotel for Marriott's Moxy brand.

Local elected officials, preservationists and residents have spoken out against the new development.

City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who was unable to attend the rally outside the buildings on Aug. 22, released a statement later last week:

“It is disappointing that we are losing five buildings built in the late 1800s on East 11th Street that had affordable rent regulated apartments and instead we will have a hotel that will be architecturally out of character with our neighborhood. Unfortunately, given the real estate market and effects of gentrification, it is doubtful many of the former tenants can stay in the neighborhood. These Old Law Tenement buildings were considered “landmark eligible” in 2008 by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (“LPC”).

More disappointing is that for two months the LPC failed to respond when it was asked to designate these and neighboring buildings as a historic district since the buildings were in danger of being demolished. Losing affordable rent-regulated housing is unacceptable, but not getting a response from a city agency that once deemed these buildings to be landmark-worthy is outrageous.”

To date, workers have boarded up the windows on three of the buildings here between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue...

The Moxy website shows that the 11th Street property is expected to open in late 2018.

Previously on EV Grieve:
At the rally outside 112-120 E. 11th St.

Protest reminder about 112-120 E. 11th St.; plus concerns over asbestos removal

6-building complex on East 10th Street and East 11th Street sells for $127 million

Report: 300-room hotel planned for East 11th Street

Preservationists say city ignored pitch to designate part of 11th Street as a historic district

Permits filed to demolish 5 buildings on 11th Street to make way for new hotel (58 comments)

215 E. 12th St. is now available as a rental for $40k per month

Back in June, we noted that the beautiful townhouse at 215 E. 12th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue was on the market for $16 million.

However, it turns out that the home with 9 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms is also available as a rental for $40,000 per month, according to a new listing at Streeteasy.

Back in October 2011, the same property was only asking $18,500 a month. The listing at the time referred to the address as a "light-filled, rambling home." Not sure what upgrades justify a $21,500 increase per month.

You can view the full (and most recent) listing at Sloan Square here.

Not open lately: Atomic Wings on 1st Avenue; Edible Arrangements on St. Mark's Place

Both the Atomic Wings on First Avenue between 11th Street and 12th Street ... and the Edible Arrangements location on St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue have been closed now going on three weeks.

There isn't any signage at the Atomic Wings, which has multiple locations around the city.

The Edible Arrangements, which also has numerous outposts in the city, has a note on the door stating they are "currently closed for renovations." The note also points potential Edible Arrangers to visit the Tribeca location for your fresh-fruit bouquet needs.

There aren't any work permits on file for the storefront... and there hasn't been any sign of work in these past few weeks.

Both businesses eventually reopened... however, Atomic Wings then closed again in the spring of 2017.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Report: 'Illegal' models who worked for Trump Model Management describe their East Village dorm-style homes

Mother Jones has published an article that claims that Donald Trump's New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, "has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here."

The models, including Rachel Blais and two others who were given the pseudonyms Anna and Kate for anonymity, said that they lived in dorm-style quarters at an undisclosed address near Tompkins Square Park.

When Blais lived in the apartment [starting in 2004], she recalled, a Trump agency representative who served as a chaperone had a bedroom to herself on the ground floor of the building. A narrow flight of stairs led down to the basement, where the models lived in two small bedrooms that were crammed with bunk beds — two in one room, three in the other. An additional mattress was located in a common area near the stairs. At times, the apartment could be occupied by 11 or more people.

"We're herded into these small spaces," Kate said. "The apartment was like a sweatshop."

Living in the apartment during a sweltering New York summer, Kate picked a top bunk near a street-level window in the hopes of getting a little fresh air. She awoke one morning to something splashing her face. "Oh, maybe it's raining today," she recalled thinking. But when she peered out the window, "I saw the one-eyed monster pissing on me," she said. "There was a bum pissing on my window, splashing me in my Trump Model bed."

Blais gave the publication a detailed financial statement showing that that Trump's agency charged her as much as $1,600 a month for the bunk bed.

On the campaign trail, Trump has not only strongly criticized illegal immigrants but has also proposed criminal penalties for people who overstay their visas. Trump's campaign spokesperson, Hope Hicks, told Mother Jones "That has nothing to do with me or the campaign." She referred questions to Trump Model Management, who did not respond.

Mother Jones notes that "violating immigration rules has been the status quo in the fashion world for years."

H/T DNAinfo

Aug. 30

@DukeToddIsAlive spotted this lovely late last night/early this morning on Seventh Street between Second Avenue and Cooper Square...

Given the possible record-setting status, a team was quickly mobilized to the area for further authentication and documentation purposes... but they weren't in time...

Until this matter is settled, we're asking the city not to accept any more deliveries to the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility in Brooklyn until November. So just don't throw anything away for awhile. Thanks!

Reports: Man struck by FDNY ambulance on 14th Street and 2nd Avenue dies from his injuries

An FDNY ambulance struck and killed a pedestrian yesterday afternoon on 14th Street at Second Avenue, according to published reports.

Gen Zhan, a Kips Bay resident, was reportedly walking north in the crosswalk at Second Avenue when he was struck by the ambulance, which was making a left. Zhan, 81, died a short time later at Bellevue.

Per ABC 7:

The ambulance did not have lights and sirens on at the time of the crash. The ambulance had a green arrow and right of way as it was making the turn.
The ambulance's driver was a 22-year-old man who had less than a year on the job, the Daily News noted.

The NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is probing the incident.

2 years after closing, last East Village gas station finally looking ready for demolition

A demolition crew has been at the former Mobil station on Avenue C and East Houston...

...putting it yet another fence.

DOB permits show that the actual demolition will begin today. Meanwhile, the city has yet to approve the necessary permits for the 9-story retail-residential building here. (It had been 10 stories at one point.)

As a reminder, here are some renderings via the architect of record, Rotwein + Blake, showing what's to come...

There will be 46 residential units here and 4,600 square feet of ground-level retail.

The Mobil station closed on Sept. 2, 2014. It was the last one in business in the East Village.

Previously on EV Grieve:
You have a little longer to get gas on Avenue C

Plans filed for new 9-story building at site of Mobil station on East Houston and Avenue C

State seizes Mobil station on Avenue C and Houston for nonpayment of taxes

New residential building for former Mobil station lot will be 10 floors with 0 zero affordable units

A look inside the last East Village gas station

Demolition permits filed for former Mobil station on Avenue C; plus new renderings of what's replacing it

Construction site at 421 E. 6th St. now with a 'weekly look ahead'

Some residents living near 421 E. Sixth St., currently undergoing a full-blown renovation, have been unhappy with the ongoing construction noise — particularly the jackhammering.

Last week, a flyer appeared urging residents to email the building's owner, art collector-publisher-paper magnate Peter M. Brant.

Now on the plywood here between Avenue A and First Avenue, there's a "weekly look ahead" schedule that outlines the work taking place, and the hours that this will occur...

According to the sign, the jackhammering inside the main building will be complete on Friday ... "and the larger jackhammering machines will then be demobilized from the site at this point..."

Brant bought the building, the former home-studio of Walter De Maria, for $27 million in August 2014. No. 421 will reportedly serve as an exhibition space for his personal art collection. We haven't heard about any official completion date.

A new garden for Eastville Gardens on Avenue C

[Photo by Matt on C]

In recent weeks workers have been building what appears to be a garden in the empty lot between Eastville Gardens and 115 Avenue C. (Between Eighth Street and Seventh Street.)

[Photo by Matt on C]

Eastville Gardens, whose official address is 342 E. Eighth St., is on the site once occupied by El Jardin de la Esperanza. At this point it's not clear if this space will just be for residents of Eastville Gardens... or if this might be opened up to the public. (One commenter said that the garden would be in honor of Carmen Pabon, a longtime activist dubbed the "mother of the Loisaida.")

L+M Development Partners bought the 7-story building that includes the Associated for $44 million back in the spring.

Maison Kayser announces itself near Union Square

As you can see, Maison Kayser rolled out the branded plywood at their incoming location on Broadway between 13th Street and 14th Street...

The French bakery/bistro will open here at 841 Broadway at the end of September, according to the MK Facebook page.

In 2013, Gothamist named Maison Kayser one of the city's 12 best bakeries: "And though chain bakeries can be forces to fear, we have to admit this spot whips up one hell of a baguette," they wrote.

This location marks the ninth now in the the city for Maison Kayser.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Maison Kayser opening a large bakery on 13th and Broadway (25 comments)

Monday, August 29, 2016

A shell of its former self

Cicada casing on East 10th Street via Grant Shaffer...

Sounds as if there has been a lot of mating in Tompkins Square Park this summer.


Spotted on a front door on Seventh Street between Avenue B and Avenue C...

Thanks to EVG reader Jill Hennessy for the photo!

Poke Kitchen in the works for 14th Street

Workers have been renovating the storefront at 250 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

We've been curious about what's next for the space. The CB3-SLA committee docket for September provides the answer: An applicant called Poke Kitchen Inc. is seeking a beer-wine license for the address. (This item will not be heard during the meeting on Sept. 12.)

The applicant's questionnaire isn't online just yet, so we're not sure who's behind the operation. There happens to be a Poke Kitchen that opened in May on East 39th Street (from the same people who own Sushi Zo).

Here's the East 39th Street Poke Kitchen pitch via their website:

Our sushi chef begins every morning with market-fresh, sashimi-quality fish and organic vegetables. With a diverse selection of fish and vegetables to choose from, your poké bowl is readily personalizable. Our fast-casual shop, located in midtown Manhattan, makes the lunch and dinner seafood experience a delicious and healthy one. We look forward to serving your discriminating palate.

Perhaps this is just the second of many more spots to jump on the poke bandwagon and come to the neighborhood. (PokéSpot opened on Fourth Avenue and 12th Street on Aug. 12.)

Poke Kitchen will be the latest food specialty shop to open of late along this block ... joining Pink Bear Ice Cream and (earlier) Vivi Bubble Tea...

... and Patea Bubble Tea and Mr. Moustache...

As for 250 E. 14th St., it was previously home to Saving$ Paradise, which merged with I.Q. Decor back in the spring.

Long-vacant 71 4th Ave. razed to make way for 10-story building

A demo crew made quick work of 71 Fourth Ave., the single-level structure at the southeast corner of 10th Street... as you can see from the handy Blogger Portals...

Workers will next turn their demolition attention to the neighboring townhouse at 82 E. 10th St.

All this is to make way for a 10-story retail-residential building. The approved permit shows retail on the ground floor and 12 dwelling units above. The residential portion encompasses more than 24,000 square feet, so those units will presumably be the crucially needed high-end condos. Floors 2-5 will each have two units while 6-8 will each have one unit while a two-level duplex to top things off.

As previously reported, development has been stalled here for years. The previous tenants, including the Green East deli and St. Marx Music (and previously the Atlas Barber School), were cleared out in early 2007. There were once plans to build a 13-story hotel, though the city surprisingly never OK'd that proposal.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Demo permits filed to raze southeast corner of 4th Avenue and 10th Street

The 'tremendous retail potential' of East 10th Street and 4th Avenue

10 stories of condos in the works for the long-vacant corner of 4th Avenue and East 10th Street

With new building OK'd, corner of 4th Avenue and 10th Street finally ready for razing

Plywood signage arrives for Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan on 4th Avenue and 10th Street

Also on Fourth Avenue and 10th Street
... on the northeast corner... the plywood signage has arrived for Tim Ho Wan, the first U.S. location for Hong Kong-based chef Mak Kwai Pui's Michelin-starred dim sum parlor.

Here's more about Mak and the operation via The Village Voice, who first reported on this opening back in April:

In 2009, Mak left Lung King Heen — a three-starred Cantonese restaurant at Hong Kong's Four Seasons Hotel — to open the original Tim Ho Wan in a Kowloon neighborhood. When rent rose thanks to gentrification, Mak moved the restaurant rather than raise prices. Six years after earning his first Michelin star, little has changed.

Steamer baskets of plump prawn dumplings, Mak's signature trio of baked buns stuffed with barbecue pork, and Chinese-sausage-stuffed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf all remain under $5. Even now, the tissues within the boxes placed atop each table serve as napkins. Meanwhile, diners still choose dishes pictured on a paper placemat, fill out their checks with pencils, and rinse their chopsticks in cups of hot tea.


If lines out the door aren't already profitable enough, the New York Tim Ho Wan will also have a liquor license. While the menu will continue to be strictly limited to dim sum, the menu will grow over time and add more dishes appealing to American appetites, including "high quality beef dishes."

The address previously housed Spice, which closed in December 2014.


NY Grill & Deli opens today on Avenue A and 12th Street

The corner market opens its doors today here on Avenue A and 12th Street.

EVG NY Grill & Deli correspondent Greg Masters shared the above photo of (from left) Sam Ali, owner; partners Ahmed Alzandni and Abdul Ali.

Poppy's Gourmet Corner, the previous tenant here, closed at the end of January.

[Updated] Aroma Kitchen & Winebar giving way to Misirizzi on 4th Street

After 12 years of serving Italian food in a low-key atmosphere on East Fourth Street, Aroma Kitchen & Winebar recently said goodbye (ciao actually) to its patrons...

And coming soon, another Italian venture — Misirizzi...

There's a teaser website up for Misirizzi ... we don't know who's behind the restaurant just yet. Signage points to a September opening here at 36 E. Fourth St. between the Bowery and Lafayette.

Updated 8:30 p.m.

EVG reader Andrew Lax exchanged emails with the new owners, Siria, Matias and Alessandro, who say they have retained Aroma's staff and menu... Misirizzi, which is expected to be open the first week of September, will also offer a lunch service and delivery.

Updated 8/30

Vito, the previous owner, sent an email to Aroma regulars earlier in the summer. It read, in part: "Few changes are in order, the name and the layout, but they will keep the same format, the same atmosphere and the genuine italian food and wine."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week in Grieview

[A hero to go in Tompkins Square Park via Steven]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

RIP Stephen Konzen, aka the East Village Magic Man (Tuesday) and Richard Kopperdahl (Thursday)

Sept. 2 is the last day for New York Central Art Supply (Friday)

Resident known as the "box man" found dead in Second Street apartment (Monday)

At 112-120 E. 11th Street, concerns about asbestos removal (Monday) ... and a rally (Monday)

Blink opens a sales office on Avenue A (Friday)

A small request to clear the weeds from the Second Avenue explosion site (Thursday)

Former wine and liquor store to become a wine store on Avenue A (Wednesday)

Last day for the Edge: Sept. 24 (Thursday)

Steve Croman gift ideas (Friday)

More rolled ice cream for St. Mark's Place (Monday)

Sugar Cafe is back open (Saturday)

New Museum announces exhibition on the work of Raymond Pettibon (Wednesday)

Former Dempsey's space transformed into the Gray Mare on Second Avenue (Wednesday)

Out and About with Craig (Wednesday)

Park View Office Suites available on Avenue A and Seventh Street (Tuesday)

Another healthy choice at the Death Star: Orangetheory Fitness coming soon (Monday)

Sweetgreen opens on Astor Place (Monday)

Sahara Citi has apparently closed on 13th Street (Monday)

Cava Grill opens on Fourth Avenue (Thursday)

A letter to Peter M. Brant about the jackhammering (Monday)

Restaurant space that has been a lot of things lately ready to be something else (Thursday)

Fish Cheeks opening soon on Bond Street (Tuesday)

The $29.5 million triplex penthouse on Cooper Square (Friday)


East Third Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

Reminders: The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is today in Tompkins Square Park

[Photo by Steven]

Crews are setting up the stage now for the free show today from 3-7 p.m.

Here's a preview via The New York Times:

Sunday’s program, at Tompkins Square Park, will feature a special triumvirate of Jack DeJohnette on drums, Dave Holland on bass and Jason Moran on piano; the singer Allan Harris; the alto saxophonist Grace Kelly; and the Donny McCaslin Quartet, recently acclaimed for its work with David Bowie.

Reminders: NYU Welcome Week starts today

At NYU, Fall Welcome Week begins with the Residence Hall move in...

With this in mind, you may want to avoid the following areas...


But there are parking restrictions around the various residence halls along Third Avenue between Ninth Street and 14th Street...and on 14th Street ... and the one on the Bowery at Second Street...

And maybe today isn't the day you decide to pick up a few non-dorm-related items at Basics Plus on Third Avenue between 12th Street and 13th Street. Could be crowded...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Report: 3 East Village residents arrested on gun, drug charges

Three East Village roommates were busted for storing guns and drugs in their East Fourth Street apartment, per published reports.

According to the Daily News, the NYPD executed a search warrant yesterday morning at an unspecified address on Fourth Street ... this followed the arrest of Nico Meneses, who had been found carrying a loaded gun when he was busted for an alleged assault nine days earlier at the Artichoke Pizza in Chelsea. (Which is why the 10th Precinct was involved.)

Per the Post:

Inside they found three loaded handguns, police sources said.

In addition to the firearms, police recovered 20 ounces of cocaine, marijuana and an assortment of 130 prescription pills from the apartment.

Police arrested Devin Detres, Kristopher Gibbs and Meneses, all 24. They reportedly face multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Skippy's Palace offering early (or late?) St. Patrick's Day beer specials on 10th Street

As the signage shows, beer deals abound all night at Skippy's Palace, the semi-secret speakeasy at 84 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

Anyway probably just a leftover from a house-roof rager or something... the address has been home to rooftop noise complaints for years (here and here, as an example).

No, workers aren't dropping off the new Target store this morning on 14th and A

Big Crane Action is happening today on 14th Street and Avenue A... at the site of Extell Development's in-progress retail-residential plazaganza that will one day yield a Target flexible-format store.

Signs at the nearby MTA stop in Steiner East Village points to ConEd work...

Whatever! Just enjoy...

Sugar Cafe is back open

Sugar Cafe on the corner of East Houston and Allen Street reopened its doors yesterday.

As we first noted on Aug. 16, the cafe had to close for undisclosed plumbing issues...there was some thought that the closure was tied to the ongoing/never-ever-ending East Houston Street Reconstruction Project that has been hurting local businesses.