Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday's parting shots

Halloween at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A... photos by Lola Sāenz ...

Con Ed hosting public meeting to discuss cleanup plans for former Gas House District

[East 20th Street looking east toward 1st Avenue in 1938 via]

As you might know, the current home of Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village was once the Gas House District in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The area was named for the Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) stations and facilities that converted coal and oil into gas. Con Ed and its predecessors ran the stations. (Read more background here and here.)

Here's a map circa 1897 showing the area when Avenue A (yellow arrow) and Avenue B (blue arrow) crossed north of 14th Street. (Threw in a black arrow for Avenue C too.)

[Click for more detail]

As Ephemeral New York has posted, by the 1930s, most of the storage tanks were gone.

Soon, it was deemed the perfect place to put Met Life’s new middle-class housing developments, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

In 1945, 3,000 families were moved out of the Gas House District ...

Per reports in Town & Village (here), Con Ed has been testing and looking for contaminants in the ground, groundwater and air in recent years. (The State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Department of Health are reportedly coordinating the testing.)

From Town & Village on Oct. 19:

According to the study’s findings from investigations in 2006 and 2008, contaminants were found, but located deep in the ground (at least five feet) with most even lower, and in groundwater beneath the site, though that water is not used for drinking. MGP residential levels tested in the air indoors were found to be typical. Outdoor air samples collected were also found to be normal for an urban area. Because of this, Con Ed said in an advisory this week that it’s unlikely people will come into contact with these contaminants, though air monitoring will continue.

Still, the company is now proposing a “remediation” (cleanup) plan for the site that involves, among other things, the placement of wells.

The Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association and Con Edison are holding a public meeting tomorrow night at 7 to discuss the cleanup plans. The meeting is at Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Podell Auditorium in the Bernstein Building, 10 Perlman Place, one block west of First Avenue between 15th Street and 16th Street.

In addition, the State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments in writing Nov. 10. You may submit those to Douglas MacNeal, project manager at the DEC, at douglas.macneal@dec.ny.gov or 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233.

Con Ed has more posted more documents and background here.

The roving horse head continues to rove

[Photo from Oct. 21 by Derek Berg]

As noted on Sunday, the (quite heavy) concrete horse head bust outside Bonefade Barbers on Avenue A near Seventh Street was roaming around the neighborhood... having made it to Ninth Street between Avenue A and First Avenue, where it remained yesterday...

[Photo by Steven]

... and today, the horse head is in Tompkins Square Park...

[Photo by Grant Shaffer]

Looks like we got a runner...

HiFi’s last stand

[HiFi's Mike Stuto]

On Oct. 18, Mike Stuto, the co-owner of the HiFi on Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street, announced that the bar would close at the end of October after 15 years. HiFi closed after service on Sunday.

In a letter posted on his Facebook page, Stuto said that business had been off, noting that the weekend bar crowd was "mostly indifferent to the place." He also stressed that the closure had nothing to do with the landlord, a management company that he said has been "ideal ... in pretty much every sense of the word."

The bar opened in 2002, after a 13-year run as the rock club Brownies, where Stuto started booking shows in 1994.


Text and photos by Dan Efram

After 23 years, the Mike Stuto-helmed bar HiFi (previously Brownies) has closed its doors for the last time. Stuto, who fostered community and literal harmony, set up one last hurrah this past Thursday with its popular series "Under Your Influence," a monthly live-music tribute. Thursday evening's show was titled "The Final Chapter: Tom Petty."

"Mike Stuto has always a strong advocate for bands/acts he likes," relays Dave Foster, who, along with Adam Rubenstein, John Brodeur and Mike Fornatale, co-produced this specific "Under Your Influence" show. "From back when it was Brownies he put my band Bubble on bills with acts I'm still friendly with… to HiFi where it’s been a musical home away from home for a lot of the NYC indie music folks. The quality was always top notch."

Some of the featured singers on the final tribute night included Gabrielle Sterbenz (Wheatus), Travis Morrison (of The Dismemberment Plan), Beth Wawerna (Bird of Youth), Matt Keating, John Brodeur (Bird Streets), Don Piper (A Don Piper Situation); Rembert Block, Erica Smith, Lizzie Edwards (Murderer’s Row); Steve Shiffman (The Land of No), Freedy Johnston, Dave Derby (Gramercy Arms), Graham Norwood, Tony Zajkowski (Lotion), Richie Birkenhead (Youth of Today, Into Another), and Adam Rubenstein, among many others.

[Adam Rubenstein, Jeff Litman, Gabrielle Sterbenz]

[Joanna Choy]

[Travis Morrison]

[Jeff Litman and Gabrielle Sterbenz]

[Matt Keating with Murderer's Row]

[Don Piper, singer, songwriter and longtime live sound engineer]

"Most of us have so many wonderful memories playing Brownies," says guitarist and original Under Your Influence instigator Adam Rubenstein. "Our shared fondness of that place and Stuto made every Under Your Influence feel like a reunion of old friends. I will miss it."

Previously on EV Grieve:
The HiFi Bar, home of NYC's best jukebox, is closing at the end of the month

4 East Village restaurants earn Michelin stars

[Ko photo from August]

Michelin announced its 2018 Starred Selections for New York City restaurants yesterday ... for the 13th edition of the "Michelin Guide New York City."

Four East Village restaurants are on the list of selections:

Two Stars, "excellent cooking, worth a detour"
Momofuku Ko, 8 Extra Place

One Star, "high quality cooking, worth a stop"
Jewel Bako, 239 E. Fifth St. between Second Avenue and Cooper Square

Kanoyama, 175 Second Ave. at 11th Street

Kyo Ya, 94 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue

Eater reports that Cagen, 414 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, was dropped from the list.

In summation, the 2018 NYC selections include:
• 5 restaurants with three stars
• 11 restaurants with two stars
• 56 restaurants with one star
• 127 restaurants with a Bib Gourmand (13 East Village restaurants made this list)

Hitchcocktober concludes tonight with 'Psycho'

Hitchcocktober comes to end this Halloween night at the Village East Cinema on Second Avenue and 12th Street with a screening of "Psycho" at 8.

A boy's best friend is his mother...

You can buy advance tickets here.

Report: Cabaret law to be repealed today; they'll be swinging, swaying, records playing

City Council today is expected to repeal the 91-year-old cabaret law that prevents people from dancing at the majority of city bars and restaurants.

City Councilmember Rafael Espinal from Brooklyn introduced the repeal bill earlier this year. "It’s over for the cabaret law," said Espinal, who also introduced the city's Office of Nightlife with a yet-to-be-appointed Night Mayor.

Some background via The New York Times:

In New York City, only 97 out of roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments have a cabaret license. Obtaining one is costly and time-consuming, requiring the approval of several agencies, and only businesses in areas zoned for commercial manufacturing are eligible.


The Cabaret Law was enacted in 1926. It made it illegal to host “musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other form of amusement” without a license. The law is widely believed to have originally been used to target racially mixed jazz clubs in Harlem, but it was broadly applied. Music was not permitted at unlicensed bars at all until 1936, when the law was amended to allow radio- and piano-playing. The same year, operators of a ship that had taken men from the Bowery Mission on a day cruise were fined for running an unlicensed cabaret because a tap dancer was on board.

Updated 6:30 a.m.

Unsolicited statement via the EVG inbox...

When asked about the repeal of the NYC Cabaret Law, Gerard McNamee, former executive vice president of community affairs and special operations at Webster Hall and now candidate for Senior Executive Director of Nightlife for New York City declared, "The cabaret laws have been the bane of Gotham proprietors and revelers alike since the days of prohibition. It's a long time coming, let’s dance! Congratulations New York City."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday's parting shot

11th Street near Avenue C via Vinny & O...

East Village subs for the Forest Moon of Endor in Halloween speeder video

[Image via @jessewelle]

As mentioned yesterday, Casey Neistat, Jesse Wellens and crew filmed around the East Village — and other parts of the city — for a "Return of the Jedi"-Speeder Bike Chase video for Halloween.

They released the video today ...

Reader report: Driver crashes into Town & Village Synagogue on 14th Street

There are reports this afternoon that an elderly woman lost control of her car and crashed into the gates outside the Town & Village Synagogue on 14th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

According to a witness, the driver exited from the parking garage on the north side of 14th Street ... and drove straight into the synagogue across the street. There weren't any reports of pedestrian injuries.

No word just yet on injuries to the driver.

Thanks to James & Karla Murray for the photos and KT for the report.

Happy Halloween from 11th Street

This building on 11th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue has the Halloween spirit ... (or maybe it's a warning to either potential developers or tenants...?)

... and the pièce de résistance — the bloody-bag-of-appendages decoration ...

(Or maybe it's a food trend #HoofInABag ...?)

Look at the old BP station on 2nd Avenue now

Here on Second Avenue at First Street (officially 32 E. First St.!), work is zipping along on the 10-story 31-unit condoplex at the site of a former BP station.

Sales started last month, with homes ranging from $1.175 million to $8.7 million. (Six of the homes are apparently already in contract, per Streeteasy.)

Here's a description of the building:

Inspired by the contemporary aesthetic of Italian rationalist design, 32 East 1st Street purposely lives within its urban context, presenting a substantial limestone exoskeleton accentuated by expansive windows and geometric metal detailing.

And here is the view from First Street...

And soon enough!

[Via CityReality]

The BP station closed in July 2014. This was the second-to-last gas station in the East Village, joined later by the Mobil station on Avenue C and East Houston in September 2014.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The 2nd Avenue BP station has closed

Permits filed to demolish former 2nd Avenue BP station

More about the 10-story building taking the place of the former BP station at 24 2nd Ave.

Check out the new 10-story building for the former 2nd Avenue BP station

A ballerina for 2nd Avenue

2nd Avenue residential complex now complete with renderings on the plywood

Graffiti space giving way to Greek restaurant on 10th Street

Graffiti, the acclaimed small-plates (and small) restaurant from chef Jehangir Mehta, has not been open lately on 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

At first glance, it appeared that some kind of renovation was going on inside the space. In any event there hasn't been any mention of a closure — temporary or permanent — on the restaurant's website or social media properties.

Now there's a Community Board notice stating that an applicant is seeking a new liquor license (beer and wine) for the address...

The applicant is for the Athenian NYC Inc. The applicant's name is Kamal Kouiri, the wine director and general manager of Molyvos, a Greek restaurant on Seventh Avenue in Midtown. The questionnaire isn't online just yet with more details about what to expect here.

And no word on the status of Me and You, Mehta's space for private dining next door...

Mehta's Graffiti Earth remains open in Tribeca.

Graffiti opened in 2007, and drew praise for Mehta's inventive food pairings.

Mama Fina's signage arrives on Avenue A

As noted earlier this month, Mama Fina's House of Filipino Sisig, an Elmwood Park, N.J.-based restaurant, is opening an outpost at 167 Avenue A.

The coming-soon signage arrived this past week here between 10th Street and 11th Street...

Don't know too much yet about what to expect here. The family-owned Filipino restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Elmwood Park, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. (According to Yelp, they are cash only at their N.J. location.)

The Avenue A Mama Fina will have a beer-wine license. They are on CB3's SLA docket in November, though they will not be appearing before the committee.

Moonstruck Eatery closed at No. 167 in July 2016 after one year of business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Chelsea Thai coming to former Neptune space on 1st Avenue; Filipino fare for Avenue A

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Week in Grieview

[Photo from Tompkins Square Park this a.m.]

Stories posted on EVG this past week included...

SLA says East Village resident's drunk brunch suit doesn't belong in court (Wednesday)

RIP Flatbush (Thursday)

More details on Ben Shaoul's condo conversion Liberty Toye, where you can buy with bitcoins (Monday)

9th Precinct looking for information on the recent Avenue C shooting (Tuesday)

A former intern revisits the summer of 1977 on 7th Street (Friday)

The latest I Am a Rent-Stabilized Tenant (Friday)

Construction watch: 79 Avenue D (Tuesday)

Additions to the RIP Memorial on Avenue A (Tuesday)

Le Sia signage arrives on 7th Street (Monday)

You only have about 5 more years to use and enjoy the MetroCard (Thursday)

A look at some of the Night Mayor candidates (Wednesday)

Bar Verde conversion underway on 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

Deadline approaching for the 14th Street Y CSA Winter Season (Thursday)

Human Hunan Slurp Shop coming to former Ricky's space on 1st Avenue (Friday)

Out and About with Siobhan Meow (Wednesday)

534 E. 14th St. is for sale again (Thursday)

These are the 13 East Village restaurants on the 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmand list (Tuesday)

Lowering Joey Ramone Place (Monday)

Selling Eighty East Tenth (Thursday)

A bike rack bike theft? (Monday)

Eastside Market now looks permanently closed (Monday)

Gramercy Kitchen shaping up on 3rd Avenue (Friday)

... new ad campaign for the Moxy hotel chain, one of which is opening in a few years on East 11th Street... spotted at Brother's Candy & Grocery on 14th Street and Avenue B...

... and Key Food on A has unleashed the Thanksgiving bags...


Follow EVG on Instragram and/or Twitter for more updates

The real cost of subway delays through the years

Happy Halloween from the L train!

Photo by Grant Shaffer

Large horse head on the loose

[Photo from Oct. 21 by Derek Berg]

The large horse head that arrived outside Bonefade Barbers on Avenue A near Seventh Street back on Oct. 21 is now roaming around the neighborhood...

Some people (this thing is too heavy for a one-person job) apparently tried to steal it ... or maybe it was some kind of act of Halloween tomfoolery.

Anyway, they got as far as Ninth Street between Avenue A and First Avenue, as EVG reader Nancy Blum points out...

5 years of portable boilers on 6th Street

[Photo from yesterday]

The temporary boilers that arrived shortly after Superstorm Sandy remain rather permanently on Sixth Street at Avenue C outside the NYCHA-owned building.

In September 2014, Sen. Schumer and Mayor de Blasio announced that $108 million in federal funding would be used to replace temporary boilers in NYCHA buildings damaged by Sandy. Apparently they haven't been able to get over here these past three years. (The Daily News once reported that a temporary boiler costs $5,000 a month to rent.)

Anyway, a look back at the boilers that have roughly cost the NYCHA $600,000 to rent these past five years.

October 2014...

October 2013...

April 2013...

Early 2013...