Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What it takes to destroy a JVC TV-VHS VCR combo in Tompkins Square Park

EVG TV-VHS VCR combo correspondent Steven noted this scene today in Tompkins Square Park...

No word on who did this. Three bricks – three perpetrators? Anyway, it may still work. Will test with my VHS copy of "Outrageous Fortune."

A familiar Voice returning to Cooper Square

[EVG photo from October]

The Village Voice, which ceased its print edition last September, is returning to its longtime former home at 36 Cooper Square.

Per The Real Deal, who first reported on this move:

The publication occupied the building from 1991 to 2013, with a space ultimately spanning four floors.

As the staff shrunk and it stuttered financially, the Voice decamped for the Financial District, where it took 12,000 square feet at Normandy Real Estate Partners’ 80 Maiden Lane.

Grace Church School has since taken much of the Voice’s old space on Cooper Square, but the media company is grabbing 5,860 square feet across part of two floors, a shadow of its former self.

The Voice's staff of 25 is expected to move in some time this spring, according to TRD.

At East Yoga Center

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

On a recent blustery Friday evening, I stopped by the warm and cozy East Yoga Center, on the second floor at 96 Avenue B near Sixth Street, to talk with studio manager and yoga instructor Amber Gregory. During our conversation, I learned more about the studio, the January push toward wellness and yoga in general.

Tell me a little bit about East Yoga Center and how it began.

East Yoga has always been a refuge in the heart of the East Village and a place where one can find approachable yoga instruction for every body. Originally founded by Kari Harendorf, we started on 13th Street and Avenue C in the early 2000s. Then about 10 years ago, Kari moved away and Katie Childers, a passionate student at the time, decided to take over to keep East Yoga alive and well. 

Since then, we’ve weathered plenty of challenges including flooding from [superstorm] Sandy, a fire that came just after the floods, and the need to find a new home.  We’ve thankfully been able to survive and thrive because of all of our dedicated students and teachers in the East Village community who have stayed with us and supported us throughout the process. We love the East Village!

You advertise as a vinyasa studio. What is vinyasa-style yoga and what makes East Yoga different than other yoga studios or gyms?

Vinyasa is a flow style of yoga, where we coordinate breath with movement between postures. East Yoga supports a safe, fun, alignment-focused practice. We are different than other yoga studios and gyms because we are able to offer a greater amount of individual attention within a supportive, home-grown community. 

How would you describe the community of people at East Yoga?

Community is the best, most important thing we have going at East Yoga. We are a down-to-earth, fun-loving group of East Village locals.

You’ve been in the East Village for more than a decade now. What’s the best thing about being here?

It’s home! And all of the interesting, cool people who come to practice with us have become part of our extended family. When you walk into East Yoga, you can sense that vibe. We try to create a judgment-free, comfortable space, with supportive and understanding teachers, students, and staff.

Do you see an influx of new participants at the start of the new year?

January is always a time of year when we see an influx of new students. We’re happy to support everyone’s efforts toward better health with their resolutions, and we hope they’ll stay committed throughout the year!

Do you find that people stick with yoga after getting started? What tips or advice can you offer people who are new to yoga to help them?

Many people get hooked from day one. There is nothing else like yoga to make you feel connected to yourself while gaining immense health benefits. If you are new to yoga, we’d suggest starting with our basics class to get a solid foundation of postures and alignment. If you can make yoga part of your regular routine and create a schedule that is sustainable for you, you will quickly see the benefits that yoga can bring to anyone.

Another broker for the former Chase branch on Avenue A

As noted yesterday, the Santander branch on Avenue A and Fourth Street will close on April 27. Neither here nor there but this will make Avenue A bank-branch free in late April. (Unless one opens before then...)

The Chase branch at 20 Avenue A and Second Street closed in November 2015 ... and that space remains on the market.

Late last week, a new wraparound for-lease sign arrived via Eastern Consolidated... and this is either the fifth or sixth (or seventh?) broker to try to rent the storefront in the past two-plus years. For example:

[October 2016]

[May 2016]

[February 2016]

Now, Eastern Consolidated has No. 20 listed at $110 per square foot. There's 4,000 square feet on the street level and another 4,000 in the basement. (PDF of the listing here.)

Eastville Comedy Club looked at moving from Fourth Street into part of the space at No. 20. However, CB3 denied the application last October, citing, among other reasons, that this address was never licensed before ... and that it exists in a saturated zone.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The retail-wine bar possibilities for the former Chase space on Avenue A and East 2nd Street

The retail space at 20 Avenue A no longer looks like a bank branch

Last day for Ciao For Now

[Image via Instagram]

In case you missed this post from Friday... Ciao For Now, the cafe-bakery at 523 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, is closing after 17 years in business.

Today is the last day. Ciao For Now is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.

Moving forward, the Miceli family will continue on with their online catering business.

Here's part of Ciao For Now's farewell note:

It is difficult to put into words all of the emotions we are feeling. We feel like we gave it everything we’ve got but as we are seeing all over NYC, the retail small business model has become nearly impossible to sustain. We have met so many incredible people along the way.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Ciao For Now is closing after 17 years on 12th Street; will continue with catering business

No, the Moishe's Bake Shop space is not on the rental market

[File photo by Derek Berg]

Jeremiah Moss yesterday addressed the [fake?] real-estate listing making the rounds for Moishe's Kosher Bake Shop on Second Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

I called the bakery and spoke to Moishe Perl, who also owns the building. He laughed and said, "People always put up these things." He assured me that he did not put up the listing and that he is not closing. He might be doing some renovating over the summer, but that's it.

When I told him the listing said his place will rent for $27,000, he laughed even louder.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday's parting shot

Early evening photo from Tompkins Square Park by Lola Sāenz...

Countdown to the State of the Union this evening

An EVG reader shared the above photo from Union Square today...

Here's another angle via Instagram and @iluntasuna_dc ... workers were in the process of removing the President Trump inflatable from George Washington's right arm...

Back to the 80s: Celebrating Ray's 85th birthday at Ray's Candy Store

Ray Alvarez, the hard-working proprietor of Ray's Candy Store, turned 85 on Jan. 25.

And, as is recent tradition, some of Ray's friends/regulars threw him a party inside the shop at 113 Avenue A.

Last night's celebration had an 1980s-theme, and featured burlesque dancers Cheeky Lane, Pearls Daily, Lil Miss Lixx, Nasty Canasta and Gal Friday, who took turns to era-friendly classics such as "I Want Candy" and "Material Girl." (The Ray's birthday party celebration with dancers goes back to 2007. Check out Bob Arihood's photos from Ray's 74th birthday bash here.)

EVG correspondent Stacie Joy shared a few photos from last night...

[Cheeky Lane]

[Pearls Daily]

[Gal Friday]

Throughout the evening, friends and longtime regulars stopped by to wish Ray a happy birthday. There was a cake from Veniero's...

Jimmy Webb delivered a gift from his Orchard Street boutique I Need More (there was also a gift from the folks behind the
East Village Vintage Collective on 12th Street) ...


Slum Goddess has photos and videos here.

Your chance to hear more about the L train shutdown tomorrow night at the 14th Street Y

[EVG file photo]

The MTA and DOT are hosting a series of joint open-house meetings to address concerns over the upcoming L-train shutdown.

There's a meeting for residents in this area tomorrow (Wednesday!) night from 5-8 at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Per the MTA:

The open houses ... will feature representatives from MTA and NYC DOT and will provide riders with critical information about alternative travel options they can utilize during the 15 months in which the Canarsie Tunnel will be closed for major repairs. MTA personnel will preview some of the measures the organization will take to help move the roughly 225,000 customers who go through the tunnel each weekday, while NYC DOT will discuss its proposed street improvements and treatments during the tunnel repairs.

The shutdown of the L — between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue to repair the Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel — is expected to last 15 months with a start date of April 2019.

MTA and DOT outlined plans for life without the L train last month. Revisit that post here.

East Village Dance Project choreographs move to the Lower East Side

Via the EVG inbox...

East Village Dance Project (EVDP), a dance development program based in the East Village for the past 20 years, recently announced their partnership with Abrons Arts Center, the arts organization and program of Henry Street Settlement located on Grand Street in the Lower East Side.

Commencing with the start of their Winter/Spring semester on January 28, EVDP will relocate all of their youth and teen dance classes to the Abrons’ facilities and will be conducting their registration through Abrons’ system.

The move allows EVDP the ability to teach multiple classes simultaneously in neighboring studios inside Abrons, expanding their class offerings to accommodate age and level. The move to Abrons also provides the fantastic opportunity for EVDP students to perform their spring concert in the historic Playhouse Theater, a venue that has housed a host of dance luminaries since its inception in 1912, including Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille.

Since the start of EVDP, Founder and Director Martha Tornay has been dedicated to making dance available to all, regardless of financial circumstances. Abrons itself has a long-standing commitment to creating arts programs that are financially accessible to the whole community. EVDP classes at Abrons will be offered on a tiered pricing system based on household income, in line with the shared vision of providing all young artists the opportunity for quality dance education.

EVDP's home studio had been at 55 Avenue C at Fourth Street since 2011.

[Updated] Reader report: Santander branch closing in April on Avenue A

An EVG reader writes in: "Ugh! My bank is closing. Santander is still in business but the local branch at Avenue A and Fourth Street is closing in April. Letters set to go out to customers this week or next."

And here is part of the letter, which notes the branch closes at noon on April 27:

After April 27, Avenue A will be bank-branch free for the time being. The Chase branch closed at Second Street in November 2015 ... while the Citi shut down between Third Street and Fourth Street last January.

The Boston-based Santander Bank announced last week that it was raising its minimum wage for employees to $15 per hour.

Construction watch: 255 E. Houston St.

Developer Samy Mahfar's controversial development at 255 E. Houston has finally made its first appearance above the plywood here between Norfolk and Suffolk.

In September 2016, Mahfar withdrew his application — after a five-year fight — for a commercial zoning change for this property and surrounding parcels.

He had approval for a 10-story building. However, amended work permits now show a 13-story building (waiting for approval). An article published by the Commercial Observer back on Dec. 20 mentioned that it will be 14 floors. (The article was about Mahfar scoring a $39.5 million construction loan from Bank of the Ozarks for the 88-unit apartment building. It's not clear if any of the units will be designated as affordable housing.)

The current plywood rendering along East Houston shows this...

No. 255 previously housed the day-care center Action For Progress.

[EVG photo of No. 255 from 2012]

Previously on EV Grieve:
Next for 255 E. Houston St.: Community facility/school/medical building?

10-story building now in the works for 255 E. Houston St.

Debate over commercial overlay for 255 E. Houston St. and surrounding blocks continues

Report: Samy Mahfar drops bid for commercial overlay on East Houston and parts of the LES

Top photos from Saturday

Five Tacos has not been open lately on St. Mark's Place

The gate has been down at Five Tacos on St. Mark's Place near Avenue A for the past two weekends.

The sign on the door says that they are closed until further notice...

For now, Google shows them permanently closed...

The inside of the quick-serve restaurant looks cleaned out. And the phone goes unanswered.

Five Tacos, part of the Ten Degrees family next door, opened in January 2012.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Remembering Breakfast at DF Mavens

Left up for grabs this afternoon outside the former DF Mavens space on St. Mark's Place and Second Avenue...

Steven, who took these photos, said that the Audrey Hepburn print was claimed fairly quickly... can't say the same thing for the retail space.

DF Mavens, the vegan ice cream shop, closed nearly two years ago to the date... and the prime corner storefront has remained tenant free since then...

Kmart staying on Astor Place, minus the 2nd floor (for Facebook?)

At the beginning of the month, The Real Deal reported that Facebook and Vornado Realty Trust were in talks to expand the social media giant's presence at 770 Broadway, the landmarked building on Astor Place.

Those talks looked as if they might lead to the end of Kmart, which opened a three-level store here in 1996.

Per The Real Deal:

Vornado ... recently paid roughly $46 million to Kmart – whose department store occupies about 30,000 square feet on the ground, mezzanine and lower-level of the building – in what appears to be a buyout of the retailer’s lease, according to city property records. Observers said it’s unlikely that Vornado boss Steve Roth would take such a risk without a replacement tenant lined up, and speculated that Facebook could be looking to make a splash with a high-profile storefront, a la Microsoft’s store on Fifth Avenue.

However, as some EVG commenters pointed out, the store was in the process of a renovation — unlikely to be going through this before a closure.

Now comes official word from store management that Kmart is only giving up the second floor (didn't get confirmation whether Facebook would be expanding into that area) ... The store has condensed its wares to the main floor and lower level...

[Photo by Steven]

EVG reader East Villager shared the following after a recent shopping excursion here:

I went to Kmart to get pajamas for my mother, and saw some construction, new flooring, etc. The escalator to go up was closed and the elevator was not working (as usual).

Everything from the second floor — men's, shoes, etc., was on the first floor and in the basement. So I initially thought, oh, so they are remodeling the top floor first. I asked, and found out that — no! The second floor is now rented out to someone else. There will be only the basement and first floor.

And to boot, less merchandise, even though they said things were just condensed. So condensed, they no longer exist — like pajamas!

That whole lingerie/home wear section — all gone. The help they offered was to get it online. I don't want to get it online, order it, wait for it to come in, wait on line to pick it up, just to find out I may or may not like it or have it fit.

Total crap.

Other people I spoke with were pleased that Kmart was still a (mostly) affordable option for some basics.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Are Kmart's days numbered on Astor Place? (40 comments)

Project Renewal holding a community meeting on the Bowery tomorrow night

Flyers are up along the Bowery for a community meeting at Project Renewal tomorrow (Tuesday) night from 6-7 at the nonprofit's outpost at 333 Bowery between Second Street and Third Street.

The flyers state: "Do you have questions or concerns about Project Renewal or want more information about the programs and services offered at the shelter?"

The nonprofit was founded in 1967. Per their website:

Project Renewal ... helps homeless and low-income men and women who often have a drug addiction, mental illness or both by providing everything they need to reclaim their lives with renewed health, homes, and jobs.

Project Renewal's Kenton Hall on Third Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery is "home to 100 men on methadone maintenance, receiving comprehensive health, support, and housing services." It opened in 1991.

Last fall, local elected officials along with Project Renewal leaders took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new community garden outside the Third Street shelter. Officials hope that the new space will bring about a bond between the shelter and local community.

Sammy's Halal signage arrives at the former Polish G. I. Delicatessen

The transformation of the former Polish G. I. Delicatessen at 109 First Ave. between Seventh Street and Sixth Street is almost complete.

The awning for the new tenant, Sammy's Halal, went up on Friday. Based on the work permits, I thought it was going to be an outpost of Shawarma House. This appears to be part of the Sammy's family.

As for the late Polish G. I. Delicatessen, the Eastern European specialty foods shop closed last July after 21 years in business. Read more about that closure here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Polish G. I. Delicatessen signage comes down on 1st Avenue

Sunshine state

Several readers shared photos (ones from JG are in this post) from Saturday showing some more interior demolition of the former Sunshine Cinema at 143 E. Houston St. ...

There were two dumpsters as well as a semi-trailer parked out front... (the pile of dumpsterized theater seats were apparently a hit with the kids, as seen in this video clip) ...

Workers likely can't gut too much of the five-screen theater, which closed on Jan. 21, just yet. The new owners — East End Capital and K Property Group — are hosting an event here on Feb. 15 to preview their planned 9-story office building for the property. Or, as Jeremiah Moss put it, "a developer victory dance party."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Discarded theater seats and goodbyes at the Sunshine Cinema

The 9-story boutique office building coming to the former Sunshine Cinema space

[Photo outside the Sunshine on Jan. 22 by EVG reader Karen]