Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday's parting shot

The foggy view around 5:15 earlier this evening via Bobby Williams...

St. Mark's Bookshop closed 1 year ago today

[Photos from yesterday]

After 38 years at four locations, St. Mark's Bookshop closed for good on Feb. 28, 2016, at 136 E. Third St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. (There was a one-day epilogue sale the following week.)

Anyway, one year later, the Feb. 28 closing signs remain on the storefront...

The storefront has been on the market. The entire 1,328-square-foot space (no basement access) is available for $6,640 per month.

The Bookshop's longtime home at 31 Third Ave. also remains vacant more than 2.5 years later. St. Mark's Bookshop moved to Third Street in July 2014.


Going with the flow on St. Mark's Place

[Photo Sunday by Derek Berg]

This past weekend this commissioned calligraffiti arrived outside David's Cafe on St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue ... via Rodolphe Lsg (@moi_ny)

Report: Details emerge about the city's plans for HDFC buildings

More details are emerging about Mayor de Blasio's plan to impose new regulations on nearly 1,200 privately owned co-ops, including a number in the East Village.

The co-op buildings are part of the city’s Housing Development Fund Corp. (HDFC) program, which gives homesteaders ownership of blighted buildings, along with certain conditions and enticements, per the Post, where the story was Page 1 on Sunday (with the headline "Man of Steal.")

Per the article:

The private co-ops were once derelict buildings in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side that the cash-strapped city sold to residents beginning in the 1980s for as little as $250 per unit. The city was happy to off-load the headache properties, which had been abandoned by absentee landlords or seized from tax deadbeats.

Over the years, the homesteaders banded together to create livable apartments, and at the same time revitalized blighted neighborhoods.

Now, the city wants to seize control of what have become valuable assets, and livid residents are preparing for a legal war to stop it.

While many of the co-op buildings have prospered, the city says 27 percent of them are in "significant distress" from mismanagement and other issues.

According to the Post, with de Blasio’s proposal, two years in the making, the buildings would sign 40-year agreements with City Hall that would put them under the watch of a nonprofit monitor that the city would choose, and the co-op would pay for.

Several Manhattan City Council members are asking the city — specifically Maria Torres-Springer, the incoming Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) commissioner — to hold off on the process to "ensure real meaningful input" from co-op residents.

"There was virtually no consultation with HDFC shareholders as this regulatory agreement was being crafted, and it was essentially sprung on them after it was already completed,” Council member Corey Johnson told the Post. (The paper called de Blasio's planning "Stalinesque.")

Critics contend this is merely a political move to boost the mayor's affordable housing numbers. Per the Post: "De Blasio has pledged to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years — and the controversial plan would add 30,000 units to his inventory."

A spokesperson for the mayor said that said the proposal was meant to protect HDFC co-ops.

One EVG reader and co-op resident recently summed up the situation this way:

This new proposed Regulatory Agreement is overreaching and would result in a loss of autonomy and decision-making abilities that benefit HDFC buildings, as well as costing individual shareholders hard-earned equity.

The new rules include a 30 percent flip tax on all units when they sell; the requirement of hiring outside managers and monitors at our expense; a ban on owning other residential property within a 100-mile radius of New York City; and more draconian clauses. Community meetings to discuss the agreement have been contentious and hostile, and so far not one HDFC in the entire city has publicly supported the plan. Very few HDFCs in the city need financial help and we strongly oppose a "one size fits all" regulatory agreement that will cost us money, resources, and most important, value in our home equity.


The problem was that HDP wrote the Regulatory Agreement without any input from HDFC shareholders. When we caught wind of what was happening, we were able to force a community meeting, with the help of Council Member Mendez's office. They have since held a handful of meetings but say they are moving forward within the next couple of months. They are also not giving a clear timeline, which of course has many of us panicked.

For more background, you may visit the HDFC Coalition website here. There is also a petition here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Meeting on Jan. 17 for shareholders living in HDFC buildings

CB3 will hear HPD presentation on HDFC regulatory agreement this Wednesday night

Bricks and penthouses come into view at Steiner East Village

Just a periodic update after our weekend walk through Steinertown on Avenue A between 11th Street and 12th Street ... more and more of the bricks of the 7-story, 82-unit building called Steiner East Village come into view...

...and from the 12th Street side (developer Douglas Steiner's condoplex is officially at 438 E. 12th St) ....

The building features homes starting at $1.1 million... with the 4-bedroom penthouse with 1,364 square feet of terraces that was asking $11.25 million. Amenities in Stei Town include a 24-hour lobby concierge, 50-foot long pool, spa, gym, library, playroom, parking and, in some cases, views of a 7-Eleven.

Steiner bought the former Mary Help of Christians property in 2012 from the Archdiocese of New York for $41 million.


JuiceGo a go on 9th Street

JuiceGo opened this past weekend at 333 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

The storefront sells a variety of made-to-order cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads and sandwiches. You can find the JuiceGo website with more info here.

Thanks to Steven for the photo!

Previously on EV Grieve:
JuiceGo opening in the former Cadillac's Castle storefront on 9th Street

Monday, February 27, 2017

A sign of spring

The Hare Krishna tree in Tompkins Square Park is in bloom, as seen in the above photo via Steven...

Reader report: A sheetrock hazard on 12th Street

Via the EVG inbox...

A truck with one of those crane things on it just pulled up to 505 E. 12th St. and lifted a bunch of sheetrock up to a top-floor window. The street is not blocked off, and the sidewalk isn't blocked off. People are actually walking under the sheetrock as it dangles outside the window. Don't they need to block off the street and sidewalk? I am filing a complaint with 311.

Shortly after this a construction worker with a flag arrived on the sidewalk, and they put up a barrier to prevent people from walking underneath the sheetrock delivery.

194-196 Avenue A and 503-505 E. 12th St. changed hands in late 2015.

A boutique office building a possibility for Broadway and 11th Street

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

Last spring, The Real Deal reported that Normandy Real Estate Partners was in contract to buy 797-799 Broadway at 11th Street for somewhere in the $100 million ballpark.

Now The Real Deal hears what might be in the works for the corner:

Normandy Real Estate Partners and Ares Management are weighing plans to develop a boutique office building on Broadway ... not far from the commercial property at 51 Astor Place that locals have dubbed the Death Star ...

The partners would develop a 200,000-square-foot, Class A office building at 797-799 Broadway, which they bought last summer for $101 million, as TRD reported at the time.

A 138,000-square-foot Class B office building ... now sits on the site, and the developers would not be able to begin construction until leases expire in 2019. The tenants are a mix of medical offices and small-time retailers.

51 Astor Place/the IBM Watson Building/Death Star is 400,000 square feet, so this new project, while quite larger than the current building, would still be half the size of its neighborhood to the southeast.

797-799 Broadway is noteworthy for many reasons. It opened in 1853 as the St. Denis Hotel, which is where Ulysses S. Grant wrote his post-Civil War memoirs and Alexander Graham Bell provided the first demonstration of the telephone to New Yorkers.

6th Street retail space bricked up for residential use

[EVG file photo]

After 12 years in business, the rental shop that specialized in Indian music and Bollywood cinema closed in the fall of 2015 at 343 E. Sixth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Then J-Mar Special Touch barber shop came and went in two months last year...

[Photo by Michael Hirsch]

The retail space was on the rental market via several different brokers afterwards. Apparently, there weren't any takers. Last week, workers started bricking up former storefront...

...and yesterday...

There aren't any permits on file with the city for this work, so we don't know exactly what the landlord's intentions are ... it looks, though, as if the space will now be an apartment. (And the landlord is listed in public records as an LLC with a Queens address.)


Thanks to the commenter who spotted the apartment listing on Streeteasy...

New Studio being Renovated!
Ground Floor with Windows on E 6th Street
Brand New Kitchen and Bathroom
Hardwood floors
Still in process of renovations
Heat/Water included
Live in Super
Must See

The 300-square-foot unit is asking $1,999.

[UPDATED] Haile Bistro looks to be closed

Last week, we noted that VeryThai is coming to 186 Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street. In the comments, a reader said that Haile Bistro, the new restaurant's neighborhood, had been dark of late.

Indeed, the family-run Ethiopian outpost remained shut all last week and through the weekend... the interior looks to be in the process of being cleaned up...

There aren't any closed notices on the storefront or Haile's website. The phone goes unanswered. Haile opened in 2013, and was an affordable dining option.

The space was previously home to Fu Sushi.

The restaurant will reopen on March 14!

Express Thali pulls into 2nd Avenue

On Thursday, a reader shared the above photo ... workers removing the sign for the now-closed Golden Crepes restaurant on Second Avenue between Fourth Street and Fifth Street...

Signage was up Friday for the new tenant — Express Thali, which will be serving "pure vegetarian Indian cuisine," per the sign...

[Photo by @EdenBrower]

Golden Crepes opened in late 2014... it took over from the Turkish restaurant 7 Spices.

Alibaba Smoke Shop coming to 14th Street

Alibaba Smoke Shop will soon be selling items such as cigars, beer and e-juice here on 14th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

In the past four years, the address (No. 328) has been home to Vegtown Juice, Chubby Mary's and Led Zeppole.

Thanks to EVG regular Pinch for the tip!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday's parting shot

The FDNY was recruiting on St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue today... photo by Derek Berg

[Updated] Someone tagged the cube on Astor Place

This happened sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Someone also tagged the structure that will house Astor Plate...

The reaction...

The refurbished Alamo was officially unveiled on Nov. 16 after nearly two years away during the Astor Place-Cooper Square reconstruction.

Updated 5:30 p.m.

Brix Wine Shop now open on Avenue B

Brix Wine Shop opened this weekend at 168 Avenue B between 10th Street and 11th Street.

The shop joins sister business and next-door neighbor Barnyard Cheese, which opened here in early December.

As we first reported back in November, owner Beatriz Arremony was moving Barnyard and Brix from Avenue C and Ninth Street to side-by-side storefronts on B.

Arremony told us that the move will allow them to expand their offerings.

"We will miss our corner of 9th and C and the great community that we've been part of for the last nine years but hope to continue to do the same on the B side," she said in November.

Week in Grieview

[Photo Friday in Tompkins Square Park by Derek Berg]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

Ost Cafe is closing on A and 12th (Wednesday)

Love Shine is closing shop on 6th Street and moving online (Tuesday)

Behold Civic Hall, the high-tech future of Union Square — and NYC (Monday)

Mob scene on 10th Street as 'Gotti' crew and John Travolta hold forth (Wednesday)

Community meeting set to discuss lowering the playground fences in Tompkins Square Park (Friday)

Gutting the former M2M on 3rd Avenue (Tuesday)

Out and About with Delphine Blue (Wednesday)

6th Street synagogue ready to hold first services since condofication (Friday)

VeryThai coming to Avenue B (Tuesday)

Foreclosure notice arrives on Raphael Toledano-owned building on 12th Street (Tuesday)

The Immigrant adds cocktails to its menu on 9th Street (Monday)

Full views of the zinc-clad 347 Bowery (Tuesday)

1st sign of Sister Jane East Side Tavern on 13th Street (Friday)

The campaign to save the TV series 'Uncle Buck' is underway on Avenue C (Thursday)

Chi Ken, the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Store, coming to St. Mark's Place (Wednesday)

Former Dahlia's Tapas Wine Bar space for lease on 9th Street (Tuesday)

14th St. Lotto & Magazine has closed (Friday)

Ikinari, the no-seat Japanese steakhouse, opens (Thursday)

Speaking of Ikinari, local musician-artist-folk hero Paul Kostabi presented the management there with a sprkl bib...

[Photo by Panda Cat]


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Report: Man found dead of suspected overdose at the Ludlow House

A 31-year-old man was found dead Friday night of a suspected drug overdose inside the members-only Ludlow House, according to published reports.

The Post reported that the man, whose identity has not been revealed, was found with a needle in his hand in a third-floor bathroom at the club, an off-shoot of the Soho House.

The Ludlow House opened last year on Ludlow Street between Stanton and Rivington.

According to the Ludlow House website: "The majority of our members work in traditional creative industries, with the film, fashion, advertising, music, art and media sectors, among others, heavily represented." Membership costs $1,050 annually for access to Ludlow House, and up to $3,200 for access to all the Soho Houses, the Post noted.

Reps for the Ludlow House have yet to comment on the incident, per Gothamist.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today in photos of a squirrel eating a Toaster Strudel in Tompkins Square Park

Photo by Bobby Williams...

Report: City official who OK'd Rivington House deed lift fired

Ricardo Morales, a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), who approved lifting deed restrictions at the Rivington House on the LES, was fired last night, The Wall Street Journal reported this afternoon. (Subscription required.)

The dismissal came hours after Mayor de Blasio was interviewed by the feds at the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

As the Journal noted: "Mr. Bharara’s office has been examining the Rivington deal as part of a broader investigation into whether Mr. de Blasio’s administration gave special favors to donors."

A DCAS spokesperson said, "These changes have been in the works for some time and have nothing to do with the mayor’s or City Hall’s cooperation with the U.S. Attorney."

In February 2015, the Allure Group paid $28 million for the property, promising that 45 Rivington — the former Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation — would remain a health facility. In November 2015, a city agency lifted the the deed in exchange for the Allure Group's $16 million payment to the city. Early in 2016, Allure then reportedly sold the property for $116 million to the the Slate Property Group, a condo developer who plans to create 100 luxury residences in the building that overlooks Sara S. Roosevelt Park.


East Village pigeon life

Via Grant Shaffer

EV Grieve Etc.: Carlina Rivera's run for City Council; Jake Dell's plans for Katz's

[Photo yesterday in Tompkins Square Park by Derek Berg]

A feature on Carlina Rivera, former legislative director for Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who is running to fill the seat in District 2 that Mendez will vacate this year due to term limits (Town & Village)

Opinion: The Mayor must avoid past mistakes with the former P.S. 64 (The Lo-Down ... previously)

Looking at de Blasio's “Vision Zero Year Three Report” (Streetsblog)

A Veselka then and now (Off the Grid)

Protest outside the Stonewall Inn over President Trump's rollback of transgender protections (ABC-7)

Katz's owner Jake Dell, 29, keeps traditions alive while expanding the brand (Crain's)

Trapizzino, purveyors of meat-and-sauce-stuffed bread pockets, now open on Orchard (Gothamist)

NYC dive bar listicle includes Milano's, Sophie's, Coal Yard and Blue & Gold (Eater)

This series on Canadian “tax shelter” movies includes "Atlantic City," "Heavy Metal" and "The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane." (Anthology Film Archives)

Arthur Russell exhibit set for BAM from March 1 – May 14 (Brooklyn Vegan)

Stick collecting in Tompkins Square Park (Laura Goggin Photography)

Some EV streetscapes seen in this 1984 video for Japanese rock band Go Ohgami (Flaming Pablum)

About Iggy Pop's leopard head jacket from the back cover of Raw Power (Dangerous Minds)

Beth B’s "Voyeur" now through March 16 at Howl! Happening on 1st Street (Official website)

Condos designed by Lenny Kravitz on Kenmare Street are on the market (Curbed)

The rooftop wooden water tanks of NYC (Ephemeral New York)

Enjoy this warm weather now (The Atlantic)

... and vintage boutique Dusty Buttons, 324 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue, is closing at the end of the month...

Last weekend at Dusty Buttons! Come find a treasure to remember us by! Lots of great deals! #deals#vintage #antiques #eastvillage

A post shared by Dusty Buttons Vintage & New (@dustybuttons) on

When it was foggy early this morning

If you woke up today after, say, 9 a.m., then you missed the foggy wonderland that was NYC. It was almost like the set of "The Hound of the Baskervilles," except without the phantom pack of hounds baying across the moor.

Friday, February 24, 2017


[Photo from this evening]

Several readers have asked if we knew when the lights were turned off on the Tompkins Square Park holiday tree. It has been at least a week since we've seen it lit up...

Three weeks ago, EVG reader Jose Garcia made an appeal to light the lights on year-round.

Sign of the Kross

Redd Kross is back... brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald are embarking on a tour, which includes a stop at the Bowery Ballroom on May 4.

The above video is for 1990's "Annie's Gone."


Possibly suspicious golf activity on Avenue A this morning... photo via ‏@Jason_Chatfield

Community meeting set to discuss lowering the playground fences in Tompkins Square Park

Via the EVG inbox...

On Monday, Feb. 27, NYC Councilwoman Rosie Mendez and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will hold a community meeting pertaining to the Tompkins Square Park Avenue B Children’s Playground Renovation.

Councilwoman Mendez allocated capital funds to renovate the Avenue B Children’s Playground. The Parks Department has supplemented the funding with its “Parks Without Borders” Initiative that would lower the fences from its present height of 7 feet to 4 feet.

This initiative to lowers the fences at the Avenue B Playground has raised many concerns from residents and NYC Councilwoman Mendez. Please join us at the meeting to share your concerns for the initiative.

The meeting takes place Monday night from 6:30-8 at Saint Brigid-Saint Emeric on Avenue B at Eighth Street. Use the entrance on Eighth Street.

For a little more background, here's a piece from DNAinfo earlier this month:

The Parks Department currently plans to lower the fences around the two playgrounds at the southeast corner of the park from seven feet to four feet as part of a larger reconstruction project, claiming the high fences could obscure bad behavior and actually make the playgrounds less safe.

But community representatives say lowering the fences would expose children using the playgrounds to "vagrants" and drug paraphernalia in the park.

Capt. Vincent Greany, commanding officer at the 9th Precinct, also told DNAinfo that he believes the fences should not be lowered.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Your chance to brainstorm ideas to renovate the Tompkins Square Park Playground (27 comments)

Reminders: Meeting on possible improvements to the Tompkins Square Park Playground

Join Rosie Mendez to discuss improvements to the Tompkins Square playgrounds tomorrow night

Report: 6th Street synagogue ready to hold first services since condofication

After nearly four-plus years, services will resume on March 1 at the condofied Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezritch Synagogue (or Congregation Mezritch Synagogue) at 415 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, DNAinfo reports.

Today at noon, the synagogue will celebrate its reopening by unveiling its new interior.

EVG regular Michael Hirsch got a look at the under-construction space back in November...

The synagogue — active here since 1910 — had reportedly fallen on hard times, "with a dwindling membership and few resources to maintain the building," as The New York Times noted. Previous plans called for the demolition of the building. Those plans never materialized, and a new developer, East River Partners, emerged and proposed the current arrangement calling for several luxury residences.

As part of the current agreement, the developers are providing at least $20,000 annually to the congregation for the next 198 years ... East River also gave the synagogue a $180,000 "fit-out allowance" to design and rebuild the sanctuary and other spaces, like offices or meeting rooms in the basement.

Per DNAinfo:

Rabbi Paul Ackerman, who served as the head of the congregation for more than four decades, didn't live to see the synagogue's second life — he died months after the deal was made, leaving the century-old structure in the hands of the synagogue board.

The deceased rabbi's son, Sandy Ackerman, now serves as vice president and secretary of that board, and says the historic structure’s restoration would have made his father proud.

“I’m happy for my dad — my father would have loved this,” said Sandy Ackerman.

Per the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, "Congregation Mezritch Synagogue appears to be the sole remaining operating tenement synagogue in the East Village, and thus is an important link to what was once perhaps the most significant Jewish community in America."

The three luxury residences here range in price from $2.95 million (second floor) to $4.4 million for the duplex penthouse, which has two private terraces. You can visit the official 415 site here for more details.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Plan to add condos to historic East Sixth Street synagogue back on

Play spot the potential penthouse atop the East Village synagogue

A final look inside the Anshei Meseritz synagogue on East Sixth Street

Stained-glass windows removed ahead of condo conversion at Congregation Mezritch Synagogue

Condos at former East 6th Street synagogue will start at just under $3 million

Sidewalk bridge comes down as condo conversion continues at former East 6th Street synagogue

History reimagined with $4.4 million penthouse at former 6th Street synagogue

Check out the penthouse at the synagogue-turned condos on 6th Street

1st sign of Sister Jane East Side Tavern on 13th Street

As we've been reporting in recent months, East Side Tavern is coming to the former Redhead space on 13th Street just west of First Avenue.

Now the coming soon signage is up in the front windows... (it looks like the name will be Sister Jane East Side Tavern)...

Michael Stewart, a co-owner of Tavern on Jane at 31 Eighth Ave., said he plans to bring that low-key neighborhood bar/restaurant vibe to 13th Street. He hopes to be open early this spring.


14th St. Lotto & Magazine has closed

Yesterday was the last day in business for the convenient store at 430 E. 14th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

An EVG reader, who shared the above photo, passed along the news. A clerk at the store said that they were moving uptown. He declined to say why they were leaving the neighborhood.

Perhaps it's due to the decrease in foot traffic along this corridor in recent years. The store is directly next door to the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, where a residential building is in the works.

This PO branch closed almost three years ago to the date in 2014.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A fashionable way to share your feelings about those Supreme-branded Metrocards

In response to the Supreme-branded Metrocards that were unveiled on Monday, especially the hype around them (the $5.50 cards are hitting $1,000 on eBay) ...

...one Lower East Side resident has created a T-shirt.

Via the EVG inbox...

We figured you've seen all the hype around the Supreme metrocards this week, and thought you might be interested in our new Fuck Supreme Metrocard T-shirts that we developed in response. The custom printed, hand embroidered, tongue-in-cheek shirts are now available through our instagram @fuckmalkam.

📸 by @sozi.nyc

A post shared by Fuck Malkam (@fuckmalkam) on

Honeybee ready to read your past, present and future on Avenue A

[Photo from March 2014]

There's apparently a new psychic in town... in this exclusive report, workers this morning hoisted the new awning at 199 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street...

As the sign shows, Honeybee is now doing readings here, which include the past, present and future...

Any thoughts on the punctuation in the sign? Readings By: Honeybee. As opposed to, say — Readings By Honeybee.

Anyway! This space went under renovation in March 2014, setting a local record with a two-day overhaul. (Read that post here.)

We'll check back later on the status of the guardian lions here...

[Photos from Saturday]