Saturday, November 16, 2019

Report: Man attacked for his iPhone on 5th Street dies from his injuries

A Staten Island man who was beaten during a robbery on Oct. 20 on Fifth Street has died from his injuries. Police are reportedly treating the attack as a homicide.

Giovanni Destafano, 27, was jumped outside the Lower East Side II Houses at 632 E. Fifth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C around 10 p.m.

Here are details via SILive:

Upon arrival, officers saw that Destefano had swelling, bruising and lacerations to his head and around his mouth. EMS responded to the location and transported him to Bellevue, police said.

The police investigation determined that Destefano was approached from behind in front of the location by an unknown individual.

The suspect proceeded to punch Destefano several times in the head and face, causing the victim’s injuries, police said.

The culprit then allegedly stole the victim’s iPhone 7 from a pocket of his pants.

A former neighbor of Destafano's described him as "a very good dad." Destafano had two children.

No arrests have been made. (And I haven't seen any information to date about a possible suspect.)

Last day for the Butch Judy's pop up at Performance Space 122

Butch Judy's wraps up its six-week residency today outside Performance Space 122 on First Avenue at Ninth Street.

Owners Katie Zanin and Cassidy Gardner are behind this Brooklyn-based Queer-owned bar concept serving a variety of beer and wine (and French fries).

They'll be open this afternoon though 9 p.m. or so. (There's also an app release party for from 5-9.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Butch Judy's pops up behind Performance Space 122 on 1st Avenue

Friday, November 15, 2019

Your chance to tell a story with the 8 Ball Community

The 8 Ball Community, a volunteer-run art and media collective, has moved into the East Village.

Tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 16), they're taking part in The Creative Time Summit X with an installation called "People's Newsroom." The installation is open to the public, no prior registration needed. Here's a rundown via the EVG inbox...

Calling all East Village & Downtown NYC neighbors, street vendors, gardeners, activists, poets, writers, organizers, performers, artists, librarians, food cart vendors, informal antique collectors, thrift shop owners, workers, psychics, dojo & theater managers, etc., to come thru and tell a story of their own choosing at "People's Newsroom," a one-off new show produced by 8 Ball TV as part of Creative Time Summit X.

-Where: 8 Ball HQ, 59 E. 4th St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery), 7th Floor, buzzer 14
-When: Saturday Nov. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No prep needed. Just bring your story, as intimate or universal as you wish, vent-off, advertise your craft or small business, deliver a PSA, read a poem, share a recipe, give us a micro oral history piece, tell us about your community garden or how your neighborhood changed.

Surf and turf

Jayomi, described as "Seattle’s friendliest indie surf rock quartet," recently released their debut record. The video here is for the track "Tropical Wasteland."

Guilty verdicts for defendants in 2nd Avenue gas explosion trial

Per the Times:

After more than two months of testimony, a jury in Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday found [Maria] Hrynenko, a general contractor and an unlicensed plumber guilty of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and related offenses when they installed an illegal gas line, causing the explosion.

Sentencing takes place on Jan. 10.

We will post much more on this case in the days ahead.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: 2nd Ave. explosion — landlord, 3 others charged with 2nd degree manslaughter; showed 'a blatant and callous disregard for human life'

RIP Nicholas Figueroa

RIP Moises Ismael Locón Yac

A family continues to feel the loss on 2nd Avenue

Exclusive: 2nd Avenue explosion sites have a new owner

Dedicating Moises Locón Way and Nicholas Figueroa Way on 2nd Avenue at 7th Street

Jury selection starts for defendants in 2nd Avenue gas explosion that killed 2 men

Day 1 recap of the 2nd Avenue gas explosion trial; opening statements and emotional testimony from Nicholas Figueroa's father

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's the latest NY See, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's comic series — an observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around the neighborhood.


Hope the driver doesn't crash the party.

Vanity plate pic on Seventh Street via Dave on 7th.


Groundbreaking today on 14-story affordable housing project on 2nd Street

A 14-story affordable housing complex is in the works for the long-vacant, city-owned parcel on Second Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

This morning, various officials — Asian Americans for Equality and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera will join Enterprise Community Partners and the Low Income Investment Fund — for the official groundbreaking on the project.

Construction equipment had recently arrived in the space — the address is officially 302 E. Second St. — directly to the west of the luxury development the Adele.

Per the media advisory:

The 14-story tower will include 45 rental apartments affordable to low and middle-income New Yorkers. The development is a rare fully affordable development in the East Village where years of gentrification have made housing increasingly expensive. 302 East 2nd Street is part of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Neighborhood Construction Program, which activates vacant city-owned land for affordable housing development.

And the rendering...

[Leroy Street Studio]

The approved permits on file with the city shows that the building will include about 1,000 square feet for a community facility.

In the past year, the city has also announced fixed-income housing for 204 Avenue A and 535 E. 12th St. as well as 351 E. 10th St. just east of Avenue B.

Renovations knock Blockheads out of commission for a few weeks on 3rd Avenue

Blockheads, the San Francisco-style Mexican restaurant, closed the other day for renovations here at 60 Third Ave. between 10th Street and 11th Street.

The signage for patrons notes "repairs" in the coming weeks while the Blockheads Instagram describes this in a post from yesterday as a renovation. So it does appear to be more of a closed for renovations as opposed to a "closed for renovations."

The big burrito specialists, from the folks who launched Benny's Burritos, have four locations in NYC and one in White Plains. They opened here in July 2015 ... taking over the space from — drumrollUnidentified Flying Chickens!

The 4th retail space in the former Chase space on Avenue A has a new tenant

Signage went up Tuesday for Supreme Martial Arts here at 20 Avenue A at Second Street.

With this, the former Chase branch that the landlord divided into four retails spaces is filled up...

There's the Omega Salad Bar & Deli (now under new management!), Halo Spa and Alphabet Pizza.

All serviceable businesses ... and much less glammy than what had been envisioned for the address. In early 2016, the broker — one of many — for 20 Avenue A showed the potential here for more-upscale wine-bar and retail tenant action...

[Click to go big]


Chase vacated this storefront in November 2015.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thursday's parting shot

Tenacious defense! Photo at the Tompkins Square Park dog run today by Derek Berg...

A visit to the new Tompkins Square Playground featuring equipment for kids with special needs

Photos and text by Stacie Joy

The revamped Tompkins Square Playgrounds along Avenue B and Seventh Street were unveiled in early October after a year-long upgrade.

Overall, parents have been pleased with the new equipment for their kids, though initially disappointed and angered that some of it already broke down. (According to the Parks Department website, funding for the reconstruction cost $2.57 million.)

However, for those children with special needs, the new inclusive playgrounds, which go beyond what the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates, have been a critically important addition to the neighborhood.

With the permission of his family, I accompanied a 5-year-old East Village resident named Jay as he explored the new equipment. Jay was born legally blind and is deaf without his cochlear implant. He has a rare genetic condition that leaves him with developmental delays and sensory issues.

His mother explains that sensory toys and equipment like those found at the new playground help develop skills that kids need — proprioception, visual, auditory — and assist them in focus and stabilization.

She points out that while there are many playgrounds in the neighborhood, this is the only one that has facilities for kids with sensory processing issues, vision and/or hearing loss, and mobility/balance concerns.

The new playground includes a telescope, outdoor musical instruments like a bell and glockenspiel, fall-protection tiles, hand-bike pedals, a swing with ADA chair, and a shaker play panel — a favorite of Jay’s.

The yellow color of the playground is not just cheerful it can also often be seen by those with low vision. That plus high-contrast differentiation and fall-protection makes it easier and safer to navigate.

[The shaker play panel]

[The telescope]

[Hand-bike petals]

[The Glockenspiel play panel]

HAGS, which designed the equipment, has additional information on inclusive and accessible playgrounds here.

Full City Council vote on resiliency plan for East River Park happens today

City Council is expected to approve the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), the $1.45 billion proposal to protect the East Side from future storms and rising sea levels, with a vote this afternoon. [Updated: They did.]

On Tuesday, the City Council Committee on Land Use signed off on the controversial plan that will bury/elevate East River Park by eight feet.

Also on Tuesday, City Councilmembers Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin and Keith Powers announced an agreement with the city. You can read the lengthy City Council release here.

The activists behind East River Action were not impressed. They write:

There is little that’s reassuring in it.

For instance, the agreement includes a promise to study the feasibility of protected bike lanes to substitute for the greenway in the park. It will look into “future infrastructural reconstruction” surrounding the FDR Drive.” (Is that about covering the FDR with a park?) It “will conduct further feasibility evaluation to understand whether there is a potential for Interim Flood Protection Measures along the project area.” Once the City Council passes the flood control plan, the city has no obligation to do anything on any of those fronts.

In other headlines about the plan in the last day or two...

• $1.45 Billion Plan To Elevate East River Park Advances, Despite Some Local Opposition (Gothamist)

• How Lower East Side Coastal Plan Braces for Climate Change (The City)

• Opinion: Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan (Gotham Gazette)

• Opinion: East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan Must Move Forward (CityLimits)

As for what's next, here's The City:

Thursday’s vote only approves land use changes necessary to begin construction on the plan. The final design — which will include specifics about what the new flood walls, park reconstructions and gate system will look like — is expected to go before the Public Design Commission in December, those with knowledge of the plan said.

If all goes as expected, work will commence in East River Park later in 2020.

Previously on EV Grieve:
• Dutch consultant files report on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (Oct. 11)

• More details on the city's new plan to keep East River park partially open during flood protection construction (Oct. 3)

• At the march and rally to save East River Park (Sept. 21)

• An annual reunion in East River Park (Aug. 4)

• A visit to East River Park (July 10)

Nowon unveils retro signage on 6th Street

Signage for Nowon arrived yesterday at 507 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B ... as we've been reporting, this is the first restaurant from chef Jae Lee, who was responsible for the popular guest menu at Black Emperor on Second Avenue.

Here's a much better look at the retro sign in the daylight (via Nowon's Instagram)...

Nowon, serving "nontraditional Korean fare," is expected to open in less than two weeks.

2nd Street bringing second-hand clothes to Broadway

2nd Street, a second-hand clothing shop based in Japan, is opening an outpost at 712 Broadway just south of Astor Place at Washington Place. (Thanks to Majorie Ingall for the photo and tip!)

This marks the brand's first East Coast outpost after opening a handful of buy-and-sell shops in the Los Angeles area.

Per the 2nd Street website:

Better than brand new, here at 2nd Street, find one-of-a-kind pieces in premium, second-hand condition with so much to choose from. We have truly unique items that can’t be found just anywhere, for great value.

Originally from Japan, we have over 500 stores across Japan that regularly get our inventory from to keep you on-trend and always in something new.

The shop is opening right next door to the newish location of Buffalo Exchange to make for a mini resale thrift row.

Leaving Las Vegas: the Lions & Tigers & Squares signage has arrived

[Photo by Steven]

The glitzy signage arrived yesterday for the Lions & Tigers & Squares pizzeria on the northeast corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street...

[Photo by Lola Saénz]

Those who saw the new sign noted its Las Vegas-Times Square vibe ... though it's a match with the shop's Chelsea location.

[Photo by Steven]

Lions & Tigers & Squares, a Detroit-style pizzeria from the Artichoke team, opened back on Oct. 11.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday's parting shot

A holiday mural has arrived at Veselka on Ninth Street at Second Avenue... photo this evening by Vinny & O...

Jury deliberations underway in the 2nd Avenue gas explosion case

[Photo by Nathan Blaney]

Following closing remarks by the prosecution, the jury deliberated for about an hour today before being sent home for the day, according to published reports. They'll resume tomorrow.

Per the Daily News:

Jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court sat though more than two months of often-technical testimony about the massive explosion that leveled two Second Ave. buildings. Large pipes recovered from the scene were wheeled into the courtroom for the panelists to get a up-close view of the piping infrastructure.

The trial started on Sept. 9 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Maria Hrynenko, contractor Dilber Kukic and unlicensed plumber Jerry Ioannidis are standing trial on a variety of charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for the March 2015 explosion at 121 Second Ave. that killed two men and injured nearly two dozen people here between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

Hrynenko, Kukic and Ioannidis each reportedly face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of top the counts.

CBS 2 has a report here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: 2nd Ave. explosion — landlord, 3 others charged with 2nd degree manslaughter; showed 'a blatant and callous disregard for human life'

RIP Nicholas Figueroa

RIP Moises Ismael Locón Yac

A family continues to feel the loss on 2nd Avenue

Exclusive: 2nd Avenue explosion sites have a new owner

Dedicating Moises Locón Way and Nicholas Figueroa Way on 2nd Avenue at 7th Street

Jury selection starts for defendants in 2nd Avenue gas explosion that killed 2 men

Day 1 recap of the 2nd Avenue gas explosion trial; opening statements and emotional testimony from Nicholas Figueroa's father

'The Drag Explosion' brings the golden age of NYC drag history to the Wild Project

Via the EVG inbox...

Linda Simpson, a shining star of NYC’s drag scene for almost 30 years, returns to The Wild Project with another presentation of her acclaimed narrated her-storical slideshow, The Drag Explosion, on Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.

All of the photos in The Drag Explosion were shot by Linda from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, and they reveal a golden age of NYC drag history. During this era, the drag scene remarkably transformed from an underground art form into a pop-culture phenomenon.

The photos capture wild nightlife, queer activism, and all sorts of colorful characters, including RuPaul, Lady Bunny and Lypsinka, as they joyfully pushed the boundaries of gender expression.

[All photos via Linda Simpson]

The Wild Project is at 195 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. Tickets for the event are $10. Find more details here.

Leaves everywhere

Goggla shared the top photo this morning from Tompkins Square Park.

"Looks like the gingkos dropped their leaves last night before they had a chance to turn yellow," she said. "The park and neighborhood were carpeted with green this morning."

Indeed, Derek Berg noted the leaves on sidewalks from Fourth Street to Seventh Street after last night's deep freeze...


Vinny & O passed along this leafy view on 11th Street this morning...

At the opening day of Book Club on 3rd Street

Book Club opened its doors Saturday morning at 197 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by Saturday for an opening-day look at the bookstore-cafe owned and operated by East Village couple Erin Neary and Nat Esten...



The space features an area for sitting and reading ... and a cafe serving MUD coffee. (They were approved for a beer-wine license, which is expected to be issued next month.) Look for community events and readings in the weeks/months ahead.

Book Club is currently open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Find more updates via their Instagram account.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Book Club — an independent bookstore with cafe — coming to 3rd Street

A look at Book Club, the new bookstore-cafe (softly) opening tomorrow on 3rd Street

Very Thai has not been open lately on Avenue B

Very Thai looks to be done for at 186 Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street...

The first tip came in about a possible closure in late October (H/T David!). The space had shown up in real-estate listings dating to April 2018 ("motivated owner, low key money"). The storefront no longer appears to be for rent as of last week, suggesting that a new tenant has been secured.

The Very Thai website doesn't mention a closure, though their phone is out of service. Oddly enough, Yelp notes a temporary closure — with an October 2020 reopening...

Very Thai arrived in early 2017, taking over space from the 10-year-old Barbone, the Italian restaurant that was Cromanated.

Meanwhile, while we're on this block, another tipster notes that Guac on the east side of Avenue B has not been open. The photo below is from Saturday night.

No word via the Guac folks about a temporary or permanent closure. The Mexican restaurant, run by Vincent Sgarlato, who owns and operates Eleven B and 11B Express across Avenue B, opened in the fall of 2016.