Thursday, May 31, 2018

6 posts from May

[4th and the Bowery via Derek Berg]

A mini month in review...

Films on the Green to play in Tompkins Square Park on 2 Friday nights in July (May 4)

Funny business: Comedy club replacing comedy club on 4th Street (May 7)

Printed Matter will have a bookstore inside the Swiss Institute's new 2nd Avenue home (May 8)

Q&A with the authors of the "Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City" (May 10)

Bird watch: A nesting American robin on 3rd Street and Avenue B (May 22)

When Caitlin met Cáit (May 24)

May 31

The EVG reader who shared the above photo admits that there was debate whether this discarded item on Avenue B near Fourth Street was once actually a tree used in the celebration of Christmas. (Also called a Christmas tree.) Will update the post upon any verification that traditional ornaments, such as garlands, baubles, tinsel and candy canes, were, in fact, hanging from this tree.

Grant Shaffer's NY See

East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer recently introduced a new comic series, NY See. It's an observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around NYC — mostly in the East Village.

We'll share the panels here in this ongoing weekly feature.

The messenger

Grub Street files an interview with East Village resident Ariel Palitz, the senior executive director of the Office of Nightlife at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment ... aka the recently appointed night mayor.

Here's an excerpt:

Her history with complaining neighbors has made Palitz a target for accusations of impartiality. One resident even called in to WNYC during Mayor de Blasio’s weekly appearance to tell the politician that Palitz was “very far from being a neutral, unbiased party.” De Blasio defended his pick, describing her as a “person who can find a fair approach.”

His commitment to making the role work, though, is as vague as that answer. Despite the “night mayor” title, Palitz cannot introduce bills or sign any legislation. Her role is purely advisory. “This is really intended to be an educated opinion that informs the administration about the issues for all the stakeholders and to be an advocate for the industry as well as the community in a way that has not existed before,” she says. “I’m a messenger.”

Read the full piece here.


The sad state of the former Grassroots Tavern

[Photo from Monday]

I talked with a fewer former regulars of the Grassroots Tavern at 20 St. Mark's Place who are disappointed in the state of affairs outside the landmarked building between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

The front of the bar, which closed on New Year's Eve after 42 years here, was recently tagged ... the handrail is broken ...

... and it looks as if someone took a jackhammer to the area outside the door...

... and the plant in the front window that was dead when the bar was open is now really dead...

In January 2016, Klosed Properties bought 20 St. Mark's Place from Jim Stratton, who was also the majority owner of the Grassroots.

Bob Precious, who operates the mini chain of Irish-style pubs called The Ginger Man (including the one on 36th Street), is the new owner of the former Grassroots space.

An EVG reader who lives near No. 20 reports that she hasn't seen anyone enter the bar space in several months.

To date, there haven't been any new work permits filed for the address.

However, someone yesterday did begin the process of removing the tag from the entryway...

Updated 6/1

After someone removed the tag... another one went up in its place last night...

Previously on EV Grieve:
New owner lined up for the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

20 St. Mark's Place, home of the Grassroots Tavern, has been sold

Your chance to live in this historic home above the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place

SLA says live music and DJs can return to Club Cumming

The live music and DJ programming are returning to Club Cumming starting tonight.

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority (SLA) signed off on a license alteration for the bar-cabaret on Sixth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Alan Cumming, one of the bar's owners, announced the news on Instagram:

We just left the State Liquor Authority meeting and they ruled in our favor so @clubcumming is allowed once more to have live performances and DJs!!! Rejoice!!! Thanks to everyone who supported us. We have only tried to comply and make good since we discovered the license error, and finally we have been allowed to go on as before.

Ironically our dealings with our community board — us wanting to protect and preserve the @clubcumming community — has made us all realize just how passionately people feel about our little bar and the inclusive, non-judgmental merriment we try to create.

As previously reported in March, the SLA was investigating Club Cumming for its live music programing, including piano and cabaret nights, which was happening without the proper permits. The bar suspended its live music and DJs until they could apply for the appropriate license.

Last month, CB3’s SLA committee (four members present) unanimously voted to grant the license alteration, though with stipulations — "provided they are not scheduled and that there are no ticket sales or entrance fees."

However, a few weeks later, the full CB3 board voted to recommend a denial of Club Cumming's alteration. This is where it gets a little granular.

We'll let The Villager explain from a recent article:

Susan Stetzer, the district manager of CB3, said at the SLA Committee meeting ... that DOB issued a statement to her explaining that the club was in Use Group 6 — a specific zoning group that does not allow scheduled performances, ticketed sales or events with cover fees, according to Stetzer’s statement in the meeting minutes.

But a DOB spokesperson told The Villager otherwise. Because the building was constructed before 1938, it does not have what is known as a “certificate of occupancy” — which is what sparked the whole debate after a 311 complaint was lodged over the club lacking a valid “C of O.”

The building also has a so-called nonconforming commercial use, specifically, a commercial use in what is technically a residential zone — in this case, a bar on a residential sidestreet. However, because the building is pre-1938, it does not need a certificate of occupancy, according to DOB. Additionally, the “nonconforming commercial use” is allowed because of the building’s age, according to a DOB spokesperson. A 311 complaint about “no C of O” led DOB to send an inspector to check out the address on Dec. 22, 2017. The department found no violation that day. A spokesperson added that the department has no jurisdiction over issues related to live-performance ticketing.

However, despite DOB’s finding of nothing amiss, the SLA issued a violation at the end of February. That, in turn, sent Club Cumming to the community board for approval of a liquor-license modifcation.

In any event, the SLA apparently sorted through the various DOB bureaucracy and approved the amended license for Club Cumming, which opened last September in the former Eastern Bloc space.


Mr. Bing is not returning to St. Mark's Place

[Photo by Steven]

Mr. Bing, which specializes in the Northern Chinese street food crepe (aka a jianbing or bing for short), has been closed for the past month at 115 St. Mark's Place near Avenue A. The sign on the door mentions a closure for renovations.

The note to patrons has been a source of confusion for a few residents, given that Mr. Bing arrived as a pop-up business last October that would only be here for several months.

A rep for the quick-serve restaurant told me via email: "The pop-up is indeed closed, but Mr. Bing had a great time in the East Village."

No word on what's next for the space... or what happens to the beer-wine license that CB3 OK'd for Mr. Bing last September.

Mr. Bing, a regular on NYC's food market and festival scene the past two years, will continue on at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt food hall, among other locations.

The previous tenant at 115 St. Mark's Place, Water Witch Mercantile, closed at the end of 2016 after just two months in business.

Full exposures at Thirteen East + West

At last look, only the eastern half of the Thirteen East + West condos had been revealed... now 442 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue is out in the open, free of its scaffolding and netting...

[No. 442]

[No. 436]

Each 6-floor building features six full-floor, two-bedroom homes that will be "sun-drenched" according to the press materials.

When the sales launch, the prices will range between $2.350 million and $3.7 million.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Tracking the coming changes to East 13th Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue

A look at the new luxury condos coming soon to East 13th Street

Temporary art and future condos on East 13th Street

Demo time for East 13th Street garages that will yield to luxury condos

A look at the residences coming to Thirteen East + West on East 13th Street

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jazz standards and regulars in Tompkins Square Park

Some late-afternoon jazz in Tompkins Square Park today via Park regulars the Eric Paulin Quartet.

Thanks to Vinny & O for the photo.

Manhattenhenge, take 2

[Nothing to see here!]

After a promising and photogenic start last evening, some low-sitting clouds obscured the setting sun, spoiling the first Manhattanhenge of the year (#Disappointhenge).

However, if all goes well tonight, the sun will align with the street grid around 8:12. (Full sun on the grid!)

The next dates for Manhattanhenge 2018 are July 12 and 13.

And if you want some background on all this Manhattenhenging, read this by Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Museum of Natural History.

You had mail

So long to the tagged and broken postal relay box that was on St. Mark's Place and Avenue A ... workers hauled it off this morning.

Photo by Derek Berg

A vegan café for 9th Street

A vegan café called called V ❤️ U is coming to 428 E. Ninth St.

EVG correspondent Steven ran into its owner, Junie Ishimori, yesterday in front of the space between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Ishimori, who previously co-owned the vegan ice cream shop Stogo on 10th Street for four years, is just starting work on the café, and hopes to open by the end of the summer.

This storefront was previously Mr. Throwback, which moved across the street in December.

2 new vendors for the Bowery Market

The Bowery Market, the year-round open-air food court at 348 Bowery and Great Jones, has welcomed two new vendors.

The Fruitsand opened earlier this spring. According to their listing at the Bowery Market website, they sell "special sandwiches made with Japanese milky bread called Shokupan, organic fruits and handmade whipped cream. Japanese food that has a long history of over 100 years."

On Saturday, L’Arte del Gelato, which has locations in the Chelsea Market as well as near several museums, will debut here.

A Bowery Market rep told me that they'll be adding one or two more vendors this summer.

The Market launched in July 2016 with five vendors. Alidoro is the only original tenant left. The other vendors are Sushi on Jones, Oaxaca Comida Calle and Dosa Royale.

Truth in listings: A co-op that needs some TLC

Most often the photos that accompany sales or rental listings feature carefully staged photos to make a positive first impression on potential buyers or renters.

That's not the case with this one-bedroom co-op on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. The Streeteasy listing notes that the place "Needs TLC."

Perhaps to prove that point, the only two photos with the listing offer an unvarnished view of the place — at least of a closet and top of the refrigerator...

The residence is listed at $425,000, with a note that it is in "need of a full renovation." And HDFC income restrictions apply here — one person $120,000; two people $137,000, per the listing.

Bubbleology Tea signs a lease on 1st Avenue

As previously noted, the London-based Bubbleology Tea chain was planning to open at 120 1/2 First Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

In its listing of recent real-estate transactions, the Times reported yesterday that the owners of this franchise signed a seven-year lease for the space, which previously housed the International Bar.

From the Times:

London-based bubble tea franchise has signed a seven-year lease for its flagship shop to open this summer in a 750-square-foot storefront, with a backyard patio, in this five-story East Village walk-up. The shop will feature milk- and fruit-based bubble tea blends including Oreo Crush, along with alcoholic brews including Raspberry Mar-Tea-Ni.

The annual rent was listed at $105,000 — $8,750 per month.

The owners were seeking a full-liquor license for the address. However, CB3 denied their application last month, citing "insufficient public benefit ... for a business seeking to add tea-infused cocktails to its drink menu to sustain its business plan, in an area well-served with licensed businesses furnishing cocktails," per the minutes from that meeting.

It's not known at the moment if Bubbleology Tea is seeking a license directly from the State Liquor Authority for its Raspberry Mar-Tea-Ni and other boozy teas.

The latest iteration of the International Bar closed this past Thanksgiving. (Non-renewal of lease, via landlord Steve Croman.) The bar merged with its sister saloon, the Coal Yard, one block to the south between Seventh Street and Sixth Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
More about Bubbleology Tea, possibly coming soon to 1st Avenue

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo on 10th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C via @lifeinthekey ...


EVG reader Mark White shared this photo... spotted early this morning on Second Street and Avenue B. Unfortunately, anything likely considered dope was already long gone...

Manhattanhenge is ON

A playground dedication on 12th Street

The official opening of the new playground at the Children’s Workshop School/East Village Community School/P.S. 94 The Spectrum School took place this morning.

A rep at the Trust for Public Land, one of the organizations that helped fund the new playground, shared this before-and-after photo at the school on 12th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C...

[Click on image for a better view]

Here's more from the media advisory on the opening... via the EVG inbox...

The new playground will bring 41,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of a park that includes a turf field, game tables, play equipment, running track, a stage, trees, and other green infrastructure elements.

This park is open to the entire community after school hours and on the weekends, and includes features that can be enjoyed by all ages, from children to seniors. This playground was made possible through funding provided from the Manhattan Borough President’s office, former New York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, and supporters of The Trust for Public Land.

The opening of this playground is part of the Trust for Public Land’s Playgrounds Program, which serves to create vibrant, educational and fun playgrounds for New York City’s schoolchildren. All Trust for Public Land playgrounds include student participation in the design process, providing them with hands-on learning of the science, technology, engineering, architecture, and math that goes into physical aspects of designing playgrounds, and also the survey, consensus-building, and budgetary steps that go into the social aspects of deciding what will be included in their school’s playground.

Meanwhile, the official opening for the playground at P.S. 19 on First Avenue between 11th Street and 12th Street is planned for June 18 at 11 a.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:
More details on the all-new playground coming to P.S. 19

Sauce Pizzeria coming to 12th Street

The Sauce signage recently went up in the windows at 345 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

There isn't any other info at the moment about who's behind this venture. (Sauce does have an Instagram account.)


Updated 9 a.m.
Several readers have suggested that this is a spin-off of Sauce Restaurant on Allen and Rivington.


The space, just a few storefronts away from Motorino Pizzeria, was last home to S'MAC, who moved to the corner at First Avenue last summer.

Thanks to Lola Sáenz for the tip!

The new Mast Books space is shaping up

Mast Books has wrapped up its last weekend at 66 Avenue A ... ahead of a move this week a few storefronts away to 72 Avenue A. (Today is the last day at No. 66 with a 4:30 p.m. close.)

In the top photo, you can see how their new corner space at Fifth Street is looking, at least from the outside. Mast hopes to be open here by Friday.

Meanwhile, tonight, there's a book signing with Michael Stipe in which you can preview the new space...

Mast, which sells new, used and rare books, opened on A in May 2010.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Mast Books launches sale ahead of short move on Avenue A

An RIP memorial on Avenue A and 5th Street

Señor Pollo is now Punto Rojo on 1st Avenue

In case you didn't see the recent signage switcheroo on First Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Street... Punto Rojo has taken over for Señor Pollo, which specialized in reasonably priced Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken.

As we understand it, there's new ownership, but the same staff for the bakery-restaurant that serves traditional Colombian food.

Signs on the window promise a new menu soon. (The menus and receipts still say Señor Pollo.)

Punto Rojo also has outposts in Jamaica, Queens, and Hicksville, N.Y.

Joli Beauty Bar leaves 1st Street

The eastern storefront at 44 E. First St. is now on the rental market. (Steve Croman's 9300 Realty lists the space at $5,795 per month.)

Joli Beauty Bar closed earlier this month after nearly three years here between First Avenue and Second Avenue. The owners, who decided to part ways, address the closure in this Instagram post. The brand will live on as a mobile beauty service.

Julius Klein had this space for his studio/gallery for years before he was Cromanated in the spring of 2012.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend parting shot

Photo from Seventh Street and Second Avenue by Dan Efram...


Avenue A and Ninth Street today ... a little 2013 throwback... photo by Steven.

Report: Bargoer dies after passing out at No Fun on Ludlow Street

The Post reports today that a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman "lost consciousness" while sitting on a couch at No Fun on Saturday night.

According to the Post:

A friend discovered the unresponsive woman and called 911, cops said. When police arrived, the concerned caller told them the victim had been drinking and using cocaine earlier in the day, police sources said.

No drugs were found at the time.

The woman, whose name has not been made public, was pronounced dead at Beth Israel.

No Fun, at 161 Ludlow St. between Houston and Stanton, is "often considered by neighbors to be one of the worst quality-of-life offenders within the confines of Hell Square," according to BoweryBoogie in reporting on a recent street brawl outside the establishment.

In 2016, the owners of No Fun sued the Lower East Side Dwellers community organization for defamation.

As The Lo-Down reported:

Operators of the bar ... took issue with the Dwellers’ contention in emails and during a public meeting that the night spot lacked a certificate of occupancy. They claimed that this assertion damaged the bar’s reputation.

The lawsuit was dismissed in state supreme court earlier this month.

Updated 5/29

The Post updated their article with the name of the victim — Emily Fayssoux, a North Carolina native who graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She reportedly worked in fashion marketing.

Double rainbow outside Juicy Lucy on 1st Street

A look at the two new rainbow murals at the Juicy Lucy stand on First Street at First Avenue... courtesy of Antony Zito.

The EVG reader who shared this photo also pointed out the discarded Rainbow Apples box here...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

At the 2018 Loisaida Festival Community Parade

EVG reader Brucie shared these photos from this morning... at the start of the 2018 Loisaida Festival Community Parade, which took place on parts of Avenue C and Avenue D. (You can read more about how the props for the parade came together here)...

The parade ended on Avenue C and 12th Street at the Loisaida Festival's Main Stage...

... and later...