Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday's parting shot

The path to Peter Cooper outside Cooper Union via


Letter for Santa from residents of this East Ninth Street building... hoping the hot water issues doesn't continue...

Out and About in the East Village

In this ongoing 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: Henry Hills
Occupation: Filmmaker
Location: Tompkins Square Park
Time: Saturday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m.

I grew up in Atlanta. I was in San Francisco for four years and I moved here in 1978 - 6th Street between A and B for the first year, and 9th between B and C for 6 months. My apartment was burglarized, I got mugged twice in the park, but I had a great apartment. Then I subletted a place in SoHo for six months, I lived on the first block of Ludlow for eight years and then I renovated a building on 8th Street with a group of people — an artists' building.

When I was here in the 1970s ... there were a lot of empty storefronts, especially on Avenue B, but most of the storefronts weren’t stores. There would be a lot of little artist spaces that would come and go. Ray’s was there of course. Leshko’s was there but I liked Odessa better. You could eat supper for about $2, and there was an old woman who knew the regulars, and she would always give you extra portions. The kitchen in my place was impossible to cook at home, plus you couldn’t possibly buy groceries and eat as cheap as Odessa’s or Leshko’s.

We started as a study group in 1981. We got a site in 1985, and we moved in 1988. I’ve been there ever since. It was an artist-housing program that the Koch administration had proposed. It was basically people who were being displaced from SoHo, and they were moving them to Forsyth Street, but the Community Board freaked out because they were giving low-cost housing money to relocate artists who were being pushed out of Tribeca to the Lower East Side.

I got an application, and it was clear that with the deadline you had to hire a development team to do this, so we formed a study group. We figured we were all college graduates – we’d figure out how to fill out this application ourselves. So we ... put in an application. It was defeated by the Community Board. We went and asked them to spell out exactly what they opposed, because they didn’t want to say they hated artists. They just didn’t want this funding for low-cost housing to go to middle-class artists. I mean, it wasn’t all middle class — none of us had any money, but most of us came from middle-class backgrounds.

I’m a filmmaker. I’ve always made short films. I show a lot at Anthology Film Archives on Second Avenue and Second Street. This filmmaker friend Peter Hutton died last summer, so people got some friends and former students of his to go out and shoot a camera roll in 16mm. I shot a camera roll of the Hare Krishna Tree as a memorial to Peter and showed it at Bard College a few weeks ago and out in Brooklyn two weeks ago. I was out shooting today. I’m just making a little short film on the Hare Krishna Tree for my wife Martina, who’s also a filmmaker.

I just finished a new film called HHHHH - my first 16:9 movie. All the images revolve around the letter H. It’s a kind of game planned to avoid narrative, but still make it entertaining and a lively movie. I made a movie called SSS, which is on YouTube. I shot it when I was renovating the building. It’s a dance movie, shot entirely on the street. I worked with a bunch of dancers, and if it was a sunny day I would just call them up and we’d find one of the gardens or some rubble-filled lot or something, and they would improvise movement. I composed this movie. You can really see the neighborhood during that time and also the 1980s clothing styles.

I love Tompkins Square Park. I come here and sit almost every day. I think it’s the nicest neighborhood in town – every block has a garden. It’s unbelievable. I live in the back, between two one-way streets, a dead end and the park, with a tree in the backyard and stuff. It’s very quiet.

When I moved from Ludlow Street I could not believe how quiet it was. Here there are lot of people in rent-control apartments, there are the buildings where the tenants took over or people renovated, and also there is a bunch of public housing. So when you walk in Tompkins Square Park you don’t feel like you’re in a neighborhood full of millionaires.

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

Former Sunburnt Cow space on Avenue C is the new home of Viking Waffles

The retail space at the renovated (and taller by one floor) 137 Avenue C has been on the market for the past 15 or so months. The building's ground-floor was previously home to drunk-brunch hotspot Sunburnt Cow until April 2014.

Now The Commercial Observer has the scoop on the new tenantViking Waffles, which is opening its first retail space here. The location will also serve as Viking's wholesale manufacturing business, currently housed in Long Island City.

So what are Viking Waffles? Per the VW website:

Unlike Belgian waffles, Norwegian waffles are thinner, softer, fluffier and their heart-like shape fits conveniently in your hand making for a great snack on the go.

Viking Waffles are all-natural, gluten free, ready-to-eat and packed with 24g of protein and only 2g of sugar!

The packaged waffles are currently sold just in gyms around the city such as Barry's Bootcamp and Solace Crossfit as well as retail outlets like Westside Market on Third Avenue and 12th Street.

The broker at No. 137 noted that Benedicte Engen, a Crossfit trainer who founded Viking Waffles, only signed a five-year lease because "if their sales continue the way they’ve been going they will surely outgrow the space."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Renovations in store for 137 Avenue C, home to the Sunburnt Cow

The Sunburnt Cow closes for good at the end of this month

137 Avenue C, hollow on the inside

137 Avenue C — still standing!

137 Avenue C getting its extra floor

[Photo from April 2014]

Dahlia's-replacing salad and juice bar closes after 3 months on 2nd Avenue

After less than three months in business, 100% Healthy Blend (or maybe just Healthy Blend) has closed at Second Avenue and Fifth Street.

EVG regular Carol From East 5th Street, who shared the top photo, noted that workers were cleaning out the space yesterday.

There's also a notice from the Marshal, indicating that the property is now in possession of the landlord...

The quick-serve restaurant featured a sprawling menu that included create-your-own salads ... as well as juices, smoothies, empanadas, arepas and much more.

The corner spot was last home to Dahlia's, busted by the SLA after serving a reported 50 minors one night in January. The Mexican restaurant then closed in May.

Post, a new cafe, opens on Avenue B

Back in the fall of 2015, we heard that a new cafe was in the works for 42 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street.

In recent weeks it looked as if the place was getting ready to open... The cafe, called Post, debuted last week. EVG reader ‏@Jason_Chatfield shared these photos from yesterday...

The menu shows several varieties of biscuits for breakfast ... as well as coffee and tea...

Lunch and dinner are coming soon, per the Post website.

And we don't know too much else about Post at the moment. (Updated: Gothamist has more on Post here.)

The address was previously home to Coyi Cafe, which closed in January 2014 after five years in business.

SantaCon battle lines forming

Just 10 days out now from SantaCon 2016. So far, no word on where the annual [____________] will take place. Regardless, even if the hot action happens elsewhere, there are sure to be plenty of residual Santas and friends in these parts...

... which is why battle lines are already forming...

Once again, the Continental at 23 Third Ave. near St. Mark's Place is welcoming the SantaConners...

...though the sign arrived some six weeks later than last year...

Meanwhile! Around the corner at 6 St. Mark's Place...

...Barcade has put up some No Santa signage...

And noted...their response to the amNewYork piece on how to avoid SantaCon...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo on Second Avenue late this afternoon by Derek Berg...

Steve Croman case adjourned until Feb. 7

Landlord Seve Croman was back in criminal court today... and the case was adjourned until Feb. 7, which is also the date for his civil trial.

A handful of Croman's tenant's braved the rain to attend...

Those in attendance were not aware of today's legal proceedings that led to the adjournment.

In May, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced 20 felony charges and civil suit against Croman, who owns 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village.

Photos today via Steven

The story behind one of the original CBGB awnings that's now up for auction

[Photo by Rainer Turim last winter outside the John Varvatos store on the Bowery]

According to research by Gothamist, there were three awnings during the life of CBGB at 315 Bowery. One was up from 1973 to 1987, another from 1987 to 2000 and the last until the club closed in 2006.

And where are they now? The most recent awning is at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Museum in Cleveland. The original awning was allegedly in the possession of JFA (Jodie Foster's Army), who may have borrowed it after a show in the mid 1980s. And the third awning has been with East Village resident Drew Bushong since 2004.

Now Bushong is selling the awning at an auction at Sotheby's on Dec. 10, where it could potentially fetch between $25,000 and $35,000.

I asked Bushong, a former CBGB employee, about the awning and how it came to live in a box under his bed... and why he's selling it now.

How did you come into possession of the awning?

Totally randomly. I was walking home from Mars Bar on a sweaty night in 2004 and saw a cardboard box that was very familiar. It had sat above my desk for a year. I heard later it was just waiting for postage stamps to get to Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but was tossed out with a bunch of other crap in a cleaning rage.

So I saw it sticking half out of the trash in front of the club, and just threw it over my shoulder. I didn't really lose my shit about it until the next day when I woke up in bed next to it, torn open with the awning peeking out of it. Was quite an exciting hangover.

How do you know that it’s the real deal?

There's no doubt it's real. In my research, it's one of only three awnings that hung there. It went up as a replacement after punk rockers JFA are rumored to have stolen the first one.

It's a bit of a mess with paint splotches over some tags and it stinks a bit. It's been under my bed mostly since I found it.

Why are you selling it?

I had a beautiful baby girl, Thorn, 3-and-a-half-weeks ago and could use the space and money in better ways now. Dad ways now. Life's pretty exciting.

How long did you work at CBGB?

I worked as a door guy/security starting in late 2000 and was just working a couple shifts a week here and there. I had been there a few months and was getting pretty good at it. One boring night I ended up stopping a fight from happening and got stabbed in the neck in the process. I held the knifer down, under this awning actually, and called [owner] Hilly [Kristal] before calling the cops. I guess I handled the fight pretty well as I was promoted to management pretty soon after.

I have to say it was the best job I'll ever have. Best crew of people and employees and some of the most exciting shows I'll ever see in my life. Really got to be a part of something real special by working there.

[The middle awning is the one up for auction on Dec. 10]

Artichoke appears to be moving into a new space on 14th Street

An EVG tipster shares the following from 14th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue:

"At the end of October, I noticed construction guys at 321 E. 14th St. It has always been a vacant storefront. (I think there was a statue of a Virgin Mary in the window for awhile.) Anyway, imagine my surprise and glee when I read a pizza place was coming!"

Indeed, the work permits do show a "pizza restaurant" in the making...

Furthermore, the tipster said that the space will house Artichoke Basille's Pizza, the growing pizzeria empire that opened its first location nearly directly across 14th Street in 2008. Per the tipster, there's a "rent-hike scenario" brewing at the original location.

Approved work permits
list the name of Francis Garcia, who founded Artichoke with his cousin Sal Basille, as the owner. (Public records lists an LLC with a Flushing address as the owner.)

The permits, approved in September, show the estimated build-out cost for the pizzeria at $72,750.

There are currently nine Artichoke locations, eight in NYC and one in Berkeley, Calif.

The 13th South Asian International Film Fest is this week at Village East Cinema (and an offer for EVG readers)

[A scene from "Gardaab," playing Friday night]

The 13th annual South Asian International Film Fest takes place this year from Wednesday (tomorrow!) through Sunday at the Village East Cinema on Second Avenue at 12th Street.

Here's more about the fest:

The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) is the largest film premiere destination for South Asian/Indian filmmakers in the United States. SAIFF was founded in New York City due to the lack of support for many emerging filmmakers and the overall underrepresentation of Indian cinema in a capital that is recognized by the world as the birthplace of independent filmmaking! The Festival is committed to exhibiting films from South Asia (i.e India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal) and within the Indian Diaspora.

One of the Festival's producers is an EVG reader, and he's making this offer to other readers: A 50% discount on all SAIFF tickets. Please enter this code at checkout: ZAZZY2016 (it must be all caps).

You can find the list of films playing right here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday's parting shot

Photo from earlier today... the Joe Strummer mural outside Niagara on Seventh Street at Avenue A... dressed for the holiday season.

Report: Attacker repeatedly punches man dining at B Bar and Grill

Surveillance video published by NBC 4 New York this evening shows a man run up to a diner sitting in the covered patio at B Bar and Grill and repeatedly punch the victim.

The incident occurred last Wednesday night at the restaurant on Fourth Street at the Bowery.

Per NBC 4:

The footage ... shows the assailant run up from out of the frame as the patron sits and stares at a fireplace. The attacker throws one haymaker after another until several others rush to help the victim.

The 29-year-old victim, who asked not to be identified because the attacker is still on the loose, told NBC 4 New York that his head still hurts several days after the attack.


The victim said there was no warning that he was about to be attacked and that he didn't remember saying anything to the man beforehand. He said over the weekend that he thought he may have been targeted because he was gay.

Police could not confirm whether the incident was being investigated as a hate crime, according to DNAinfo.

Patch reported that the attack took place around 11 p.m.

None of the media reports had any description of the suspect. An earlier post at NBC 4 included this photo of the alleged suspect...

You can watch the video over at NBC 4.

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.

Another court date for Steve Croman tomorrow morning

Steve Croman, who is charged with 20 felonies and a civil suit accusing him of forcing tenants from their rent-controlled apartments, is due back in court tomorrow morning.

Croman tenants are holding a rally outside Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Centre St. Afterwards, tenants are going to room 1322 on the 13th floor...

Here's the flyer that arrived via the EVG email...

Croman's real-estate empire includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village. As previously noted, Croman owns more buildings in the East Village than any other landlord.

Morning watch on Avenue A

The scene on Avenue A at Ninth Street this morning... with Dora the red-tailed hawk keeping watch a block away atop St. Nicholas on 10th Street...

Thanks to Steven for the photos

The past, present and future of 264 E. 7th St.

[264 E. 7th St.]

The New York Times checks in with a piece on 264. E. Seventh St., the circa-1843 townhouse between Avenue C and Avenue D awaiting possible demolition.

In late October, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) announced that they will not consider a row of five pastel-colored residences here for landmarking. As previously reported, preservationists hoped to have the buildings landmarked ... in part to spare the demolition of No. 264 for some unspecified new development. (In early September, a permit was filed with the DOB to demolish the 3-level house.)

Per the Times:

The fate of the rowhouse is now in the hands of its owner, Elaine Hsu, the president of GlobalServ Property One, with offices on Lexington Avenue.

Barbara Sloan, the operations manager at Manhattan Renovations, a general contractor representing GlobalServ, said the owner was planning an information session for neighbors “to discuss details surrounding potential asbestos abatement and demolition.” She declined to comment on what might replace the building.


“We recognize that people feel very passionate about their neighborhoods,” said Sarah Carroll, the executive director of Landmarks. But “in some cases, Landmarks designation is not actually the right tool.”

[Photo at rally outside No. 264 on Nov. 4 by Peter Brownscombe]

For more history on these buildings in the former Dry Dock District, head over to Ephemeral New York.

As residents of the Dry Dock District gained power and ran for office, the houses acquired a new distinction: “Political Row.”

Political Row “has furnished many office-holders, and there were more office-holders and patriots who are willing to serve the city and county, the State or the country at large, living on that thoroughfare now than on any similar stretch of highway in New York,” stated the Evening World in 1892.

The beginning of Political Row’s end came at the turn of the century, when many of the original houses went down and tenements built in their place.

Newspapers wrote descriptive eulogies, mourning a neighborhood that was “an American District” now colonized by a second wave of immigrants.

Previously on EV Grieve:
City says no to landmarking row of 7th Street homes, clearing way for demolition of No. 264

Al Horno Lean Mexican Kitchen now open on 1st Avenue

A new outpost of Al Horno Lean Mexican Kitchen has opened at 57 First Ave. between Third Street and Fourth Street.

The quick-serve restaurant apparently serves a variety of traditional Mexican items though with a healthy twist.

Per their Facebook page: "Al Horno is Spanish for 'On the oven.' Enjoy the full flavored taste of Mexico with none of the fat. Many Vegan options to compliment our delicious menu."

You can check out their menu here. (Kale burrito!) They are also open for breakfast and offer a variety of juices. (And they are also very close to one of our favorite places, Downtown Bakery II, 69 First Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.)

Al Horno Lean Mexican Kitchen also has locations on Second Avenue near 57th Street, Lexington Avenue at 24th Street and West 47th Street between Ninth Avenue and 10th Avenue.

No. 57 was last home to Red Koi Organic Sushi Lounge, which closed this past summer. And, of course, No. 57 housed the unforgettable Pudgie's-Nathan's-Arthur Treacher's action-packed combo during a few glory months of 2012.

Something to think about (aka, Hello darkness my old friend)

Not much seems to be happening over at 118 E. First St. between Avenue A and First Avenue... As previously noted, the existing structure is being demolished to make room for a 9-story residential building.

In total, there are seven units divided over 12,500 square feet of residential space, as NY Yimby first reported. (Given the size — about 1,800 square feet, NYY figures these will be condos.) There will also be about 250 square feet for retail.

The city approved the plans in November 2015.

In the meantime, this note appeared the other day on one of the windows...

"Please think about the darkness you are going to create with your development."

Freyer Architects are designing the building. We haven't seen any renderings yet (other than those zoning diagrams from our last post on this address).

Previously on EV Grieve:
118 E. 1st St. arrives on the market with so many possibilities, and air rights

118 E. 1st. St. will yield to a new 9-floor residential building

Demolition of 118 E. 1st St. begins to make way for 9-story residential building

About Southern Cross Coffee, opening on East 5th Street

Back in July, a tipster told us that a coffee shop was taking the middle of the three new storefronts at the Shops of East Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

This sign arrived earlier this month for Southern Cross Coffee...

We were waiting to learn a little more about the operation. Here are details via the Southern Cross Coffee Facebook page:

The name Southern Cross Coffee is in honor of the Southern Cross constellation, which is visible primarily in the southern hemisphere and sometimes as far up as 20 degrees north latitude. Our founders were both born in the southern hemisphere, where the constellation is very much a part of our cultures.


Grab a great cup of locally roasted coffee and quick bite at Southern Cross Coffee. Natural foods and espresso made the traditional Italian way.

Jamie the check-cashing guy previously worked from this storefront before the renovations. The other two spaces are still on the rental market.

A new era for scalies?

An addition to the rendering at the incoming condos at 75 First Ave. ... a new-look scalie (per Curbed, "the proud inhabitants of the architectural rendering world") ...

The stick-figure scalie! An improvement over the usual models we see...

Openings: Squish Marshmallows on St. Mark's Place

Squish had its (heh) soft opening last week at 120 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Owner Katherine Sprung has created a following selling her marshmallow-based creations online (and at Abigail's Bake Shop in Brooklyn). You can read more about the business at the Squish website. This is her first retail outlet, where she sells a variety of marshmallows as well as coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Squish Marshmallows signage arrives at 120 St. Mark's Place

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday's parting shot

Photo late this afternoon via Bobby Williams...

Week in Grieview

[1st Avenue love seats via Derek Berg]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

A Raphael Toledano-style turkey dinner on 12th Street for residents without cooking gas (Wednesday)

The Sock Man opens in new location on St. Mark's Place (Friday)

Mayor de Blasio calls for unity during anti-hate rally at Cooper Union (Monday)

The Second Avenue Tompkins Square Bagels makes its debut (Tuesday)

Barnyard Cheese and Brix Wine Shop moving from Avenue C to Avenue B (Monday)

Thanksgiving Week at the Bowery Mission (Wednesday)

Out and About Part 2 with Eric Paulin (Wednesday)

Report: Mike Pence supporter arrested for alleged racist tirade, pepper-spray attack at 14th Street diner (Tuesday)

Healthfully has closed on Fourth Street (Monday)

Former East Village Tavern space for rent (Friday)

American Deli & Grocery closes after a few months on First Avenue (Friday)

Holiday trees (and stands) arrive (Wednesday)

Shu Han Ju II takes over for Mulan East on Third Avenue (Monday)

Storefronts at 110 E. Seventh St. for rent (Tuesday)

Honeybrains opens on Lafayette (Wednesday)

Village Grannies bringing water pipes and smoking accessories to Ninth Street (Tuesday)

Hot Pot Central sets up shop on Second Avenue and 12th Street (Monday)

Former Grand Sichuan space for rent on St. Mark's Place (Monday)


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Sunday morning

Along Avenue A and in Tompkins Square Park. (Not to make it look nice out or anything.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Coming soon: The 8th annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk

In case you didn't see the signage up at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church on Avenue A at 10th Street ... for your holiday planning purposes, the 8th annual Cookie Walk is happening this year on Dec. 10-11.

Sale hours are Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. However! Per the St. Nicholas website:

Come early Saturday for the best selection of cookies. Please understand that WE CAN SELL OUT and close before the Sunday times listed above. Please check here for Sunday opening updates! (if at all possible, try to come on Saturday)

In total, there will be more than 75 varieties totaling 50,000 cookies for sale, per the St. Nicholas website.

Also for planning purposes: Dec. 10 is the announced date for this year's SantaCon, though the neighborhood(s) involved are still under wraps.