Thursday, April 18, 2019

'It’s a Godlis World' at 72 Gallery

Longtime East Village resident David Godlis is the subject of the inaugural exhibition at 72 Gallery that opens this evening.

The folks behind The Great Frog created the space in their rock 'n' roll ring shop and boutique at 72 Orchard St.

Here's more what to expect via 72 Gallery:

The exhibition explores David’s early work as a photographer in New York in the mid 70’s and early 80’s.

The show begins with David’s most famous work, which documents the New York punk scene centered around the infamous CBGB’s. The exhibition then expands out beyond the Lower East Side and onto the streets of New York. David’s street photographs–many of which have never been exhibited before – offer a beautiful and poignant slice of New York life in the 1970s. Working in black and white the artist’s compositional instincts transform the ordinary into the exceptional.

In a multimedia installation David talks us through his most iconic work which captures the emergence of the Punk scene in the Lower East Side. The audio commentary gives the viewer a unique insight into the photographs and the cast of characters that created this enduring and highly influential culture moment.

The show continues with multimedia displays of street photography along with larger format wheatpaste murals and installation works along with prints on paper.

The opening reception is tonight from 6-9 at the Great Frog, 72 Orchard St. between Broome and Grand. After tonight, you can check out the exhibit from noon to 6 p.m Tuesday through Sunday until May 9. Upcoming shows at the 72 Gallery space include Nightclubbing duo Emily Armstrong and Pat Ivers.

Q&A with East Village filmmaker Michael Levine, whose documentary on Streit's airs on PBS

"Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream," the 2016 documentary by East Village-based filmmaker Michael Levine, is out this week on DVD ... in addition, nearly two dozen PBS affiliate stations around the country, including New York’s flagship WNET, are screening "Streit's" throughout the rest of April and the beginning of May to coincide with Passover. (Details below.)

The documentary, which enjoyed a three-week run at the Film Forum in 2016, follows the last family-owned matzo bakery in America during their final year in their factory on Rivington Street. The factory moved out of the Lower East Side in 2015 after 90 years in that location.

The family sold its original factory to Cogswell Realty in January 2015 for a reported $30.5 million. A pricy glass box is now in its place on Rivington and Suffolk.

[Image by Leo London/Flickr]

Levine talked to me about the DVD release and his continued relationship with the Streit family.

What's your reaction to the DVD coming out at long last combined with the PBS screenings?

Well, it's very exciting, of course, and overwhelming, too.

When I first began work on this film at the start of 2013, I had no idea where it would end up. I had big hopes for it, because I believed then, as I do now, that the stories of the Streit family and staff, and their connections to the Lower East Side community and immigrant history, were ones that needed to be heard. And when the Streit family ended up, during the film's production, making the extraordinarily difficult but sadly necessary decision to leave the neighborhood after a full century, the story of course took on an additional, unexpected dimension.

But, as a documentary filmmaker, you never know if your project will see the light of day, which is in large part to say that you never know if the story you personally find so important will resonate with others the same way.

The fact that the film has ended up getting so much exposure, from the festival circuit, to theatrical, and now to screening on PBS, means to me that it has resonated with people, which as someone who cares strongly about this neighborhood and deeply respects the way Streit's has run their business for 100 years, means a lot.

And the DVD coming out is exciting, too. We had to cut the film down a bit to fit time slot constraints for PBS, so the DVD offers a way of being able to share the full 83-minute version that ran in theaters. Plus, we were able to include bonus features, like 18 minutes of film dating back to the 1940s that we found in the closet at the old Streit's factory on Rivington Street — just amazing stuff from a historical/cultural perspective that would likely never be seen otherwise.

It's also great getting emails, as we have, from younger people who want to buy the DVD for their grandparents because they know they grew up with Streit's, or from grandparents who want to buy it for their grandkids to help pass on that legacy. It's been fulfilling to see people connecting with a story that means a lot to me.

Are you still in contact with any of the family members? Do you still feel a connection to them?

Absolutely! There was never any thought that we'd lose touch once they left the neighborhood.

First, they still love the Lower East Side — it just got to a point where, because of a combination of overseas competition from non-union producers, plus the failure of NYC to offer them any incentives to stay, they were left with the option of sticking around a few more years and likely going out of business, or finding a way to keep the company going elsewhere.

The fact that they decided to relocate within commuting distance for most of their long-time employees speaks to the ethic of loyalty that drew me to their story in the first place.

In my mind, the loss of their presence in the neighborhood is a tremendous one, but I know they still feel a connection to the neighborhood, and I still feel a connection to them, and to all the workers there.

Their location on Rivington Street was iconic, that's for sure, but it's the people who have run the business and who work there, and their humanity and ethics that make their story extraordinary, and all of that has traveled with them up to Rockland County, N.Y., where their factory is operating now. I've been to the new factory a few times, and the machinery may be newer, but there are a lot of familiar faces, which is great to see.

Have you seen the almost-completed condoplex that took the place of Streit's?

To be honest, I've seen pictures of it, and caught glimpses of it from a distance, but I haven't been able to bring myself to actually walk on that block since the factory was demolished. I'm sure at some point I will, but I'm just not there yet.

And honestly, one of the things I fear most about it is something that I've experienced passing by any number of locations where iconic buildings or businesses have disappeared, which isn't a sense of loss — that you can feel from the comfort of home — it's the lack of a feeling of loss, or a feeling of anything for that matter, because what has replaced it bears no resemblance to what was there before.

It's not that you ever forget a place like Streit's — I can conjure up the feeling of walking through that building, the sounds of the old machinery, the smell of fresh matzo baking, anytime I like. It's that standing in the place where it was does nothing to remind you of any of those things because all markers of its existence have been erased.

In some way, maybe it's for the best, at least psychologically, because so many of the places that meant something to me in this neighborhood have disappeared, if I had experience the true weight of their loss every time I passed by their former location, I don't think I'd make it down the street!

But when it comes down to it, honestly I think it's dangerous in an insidious way, because it can lead to forgetting how much we have lost and how much we have to lose if we don't take action to keep these kinds of places around. It's one of the reasons I'm so thankful to have been able to shoot this film when I did — so that it can hopefully act as a reminder, as a sort of counterweight to the numbness of walking past a glass-cladded condoplex.

What's your next project?

Well, even though the film has been released, I believe there's still more of the story to tell, because we had to finish filming before the new factory opened. So, for one thing, I plan to do some additional shooting up there, and find a way of offering people a look at where the Streit's story has gone since the film was completed.

Also, when Streit's left Rivington Street, they brought practically everything from the old factory with them, with the intention of devoting a portion of the new factory to a museum, which would include much of their old machinery from Rivington Street in working order. They've asked me to be a part of helping put that space together, and I'm extremely grateful and excited for that opportunity.

As far as the next film, that I'm still figuring out. I've some ideas, and it's just a matter of feeling them out to see what's going to work — and finding funding, of course! This neighborhood and this city have a lot of important stories to tell, and I hope to have the opportunity to document more of them.


The PBS program includes a one-hour version of the film, plus new interviews conducted by PBS with Streit family members. With a multi-year deal in place, Levine said that it appears the film will become an annual Passover tradition on PBS.

The special airs tonight on WNET at 10:30, and again early Sunday at 2:30 a.m. Find all showtimes at this link.

The DVD includes 25 minutes of bonus features, including footage shot at the Streit’s factory on Rivington Street in the 1940s.

Exterior prep work underway at the soon-to-be demolished former Sunshine Cinema

Workers have put up the sidewalk bridge outside the former Sunshine Cinema on East Houston between Forsyth and Eldridge... the first step in securing the circa-1898 building for demolition...

... which is expected soon now that the developers — East End Capital and K Property Group — recently secured a $67 million construction loan to fund the roughly $90 million nine-story office building to come...

Per previous reports, the new building will cater "to deep-pocketed tenants in search of luxury boutique offices," with a 2021 completion expected.

The five-screen Landmark Sunshine Theater closed Jan. 21, 2018, after 17 years of screening an array of mostly independent and foreign fare.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Sunshine Cinema-replacing office building moving forward; demolition watch back on

Discarded theater seats and goodbyes at the Sunshine Cinema

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

A celebratory ad on the purchase of 139 E. Houston St., current home of the Sunshine Cinema

The boutique office building replacing the Sunshine Cinema will be 'unbounded by walls' with an outdoor space called Houston Alley

A look at the all-new Houston Lafayette-Broadway corridor

Here we are over on East Houston at Lafayette looking west toward Broadway where two new developments are nearing completion — 300 Lafayette (picture above left) and 606 Broadway.

• 300 Lafayette

A 7-story boutique office building with luxury retail has risen on the former site of a BP station and the Irish pub Puck Fair. In total, the building will include 30,000 square feet of retail and 53,000 square feet of office space.

[Rendering via]

...and how the corner looked in 2016...

[EVG photo]


606 Broadway

A 6-story mixed-use building now stands on that sliver of space between Broadway and Crosby. The building will sport about 11,500 square feet of retail space on the first and second floors with 22,751 square feet of office space on floors three to six.

Until late 2014, the space at Broadway housed the Honest Boy fruit stand for years.

[Photo from April 2014 via Vanishing New York]

Edi & the Wolf closes after service on Sunday

Austrian bar-restaurant Edi & the Wolf is closing Sunday after nine years at 102 Avenue C between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

The restaurant — named after its executive chefs, Eduard "Edi" Frauneder and Wolfgang "the Wolf" Ban — is closing due to "increasing operating costs," Eater reports.

The closure had been expected, as a new applicant — listed as Rosey Kalayjian — appeared before CB3's SLA committee for a new liquor license for the space back in January in what was described as a sale of assets. The CB3 materials cited the proposal as "an American restaurant" with hours of 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Kalayjian has previously managed restaurants in Westchester and NYC.

Frauneder and Ban also operate The Third Man at 116 Avenue C. No word on the status of that bar.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday's parting shots

Lola Sāenz shares this photo of Giblin out for a walk this evening on Avenue A and 12th Street...

Renovated small dog run reopens in Tompkins Square Park

After nearly two weeks, the repairs have wrapped up in the small dog run in Tompkins Square Park...

As EVG correspondent Steven notes, the small dog run returned to action this afternoon.

The renovations include improved drainage and the addition of an artificial grass designed specifically for dogs.

Here's Cashew checking out the turf...

A moment on East Houston Street this morning

Thanks to East Village-based photographer Ryan John Lee for sharing this traffic shot of an NYC power trio this morning from East Houston and Allen...

This morning's light

East Village-based photographer Daniel Root — who's usually up at this hour — shared these photos from Tompkins Square Park early this morning...

As he noted: "The light was amazing ..."

...also, for a moment — at 6:40 a.m. — there was a rainbow... Dave on 7th sent this from Avenue B and 11th Street...

What to expect (on paper) when the partial L-train shutdown begins April 26

The partial L-train shutdown begins in less than 10 days... and the MTA is finally starting to dribble out a few details for commuters who depend on the line to get around.

Per the MTA:

Service During the L Project

With the revised approach [closing one tube at a time between Manhattan and Brooklyn], the L will continue as normal during peak and midday weekday times. Service on the L will be reduced nights and weekends. We’ll be enhancing M, G, 7, and bus service to provide alternatives in addition to the L. This service plan will be in effect on nights and weekends, starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, through summer 2020.


With the revised approach, L customers will have normal service during the highest ridership times.

Weeknights: 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. L trains run every 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan and every 10 minutes within Brooklyn. Service will ramp down starting at 8 p.m. to make room for work trains. Overnight, between 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., the service runs at its normal frequency, with L trains running every 20 minutes.

Weekends: 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, L trains run 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and every 10 minutes within Brooklyn. Overnight, between 1:30 a.m and 5 a.m., service runs at its normal frequency, with L trains running every 20 minutes.

Enhanced M14A regular bus service

We’re planning additional M14A bus service to connect customers to the subway lines where we are enhancing service.

The extra M14A route service will extend to connect with Delancey/Essex St FJM Station. On weekends the M14A/D buses, combined, run every 3 to 5 minutes for the majority of the day along 14 St.

On weeknights, buses will run every 4 to 5 minutes between 8 p.m. and midnight, in both directions across 14th Street for connection to the M train at 6th Avenue, or to the 6 train at Union Square for transfer to the M train at the Broadway-Lafayette station. The M14A will connect to the Delancey-Essex J/M Station every 7 to 10 minutes (as compared to every 12 to 20 minutes currently).

Sounds like a well-oiled machine? Heh. There are important details to be worked out, as amNY reported last evening:

There still is not an official timeline for the new project. The MTA continues to hammer out the new contract with the companies doing the work: Judlau and TC Electric. Janno Lieber, the MTA’s construction chief, said that the new project will take between 15 and 18 months, and she expects it to be less expensive than the $477 million contract for the original, full 15-month closure.

Meanwhile, the MTA is playing cute with all this...

[Via Ohhleary]

For more on the latest with the L train ... Christoper Robbins filed a post at Gothamist ... and Curbed has an explainer here. And at amNY, Vincent Barone talks with some anxious L-train regulars about what might happen starting April 26.

There isn't any mention in the media reports or on the MTA site about the stations at First Avenue and Third Avenue being reconfigured to exit-only on weekends. (That idea was mentioned as a possibility back in January courtesy of some leaked MTA documents.)

Also in L-train news: Overnight L-train service has been suspended weeknights starting this past Monday.

Per media reports, there aren't any trains from Manhattan to Lorimer Street in Brooklyn operating from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. This will take place every weeknight until April 26.

And in case you've been away this year... back on Jan. 3, Gov. Cuomo made a surprise announcement with news that the L-train wouldn't be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for Sandy-related repairs after all.

Previously on EV Grieve:
To L and back: Reactions and questions over Gov. Cuomo's surprise subway announcement

Report: MTA commits to a shorter work day for the 14th Street L-train rehab

Details about this East Village Sample Co-Op Sale tomorrow through Saturday

Over the next few days, several local shops/brands are joining forces for an East Village Co-Op Sample Sale in the ballroom of the Ukrainian National Home on Second Avenue.

Cindy Hahn, who owns the lingerie, swimwear and clothing boutique Azaleas at 140 Second Ave., came up with the idea.

"We honestly needed to just do some spring cleaning [and] have been speaking with some other local brands and shop owners who are in a similar situation," she told me in an email.

So Hahn secured the second-floor ballroom (where New Order played in 1981!) from her landlord, the Ukrainian National Home, for the event.

The vendors include Azaleas, Meg, Hengst, H. Fredriksson and Toasty Time.

"There will be children's clothes, women's clothes, lingerie, swimwear and some accessories," Hahn said. "Many of the items are brand new items sold below wholesale pricing."

The sale is tomorrow (Thursday), Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. on the second floor of 140 Second Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street. (You can follow for updates and more details.)

"If this event turns out successful, we definitely hope to make this an annual thing and may grow it into a bigger community," Hahn said.

The Moxy East Village opens this fall

The Moxy East Village, the 13-story, 285-room hotel from the Marriott brand, is expected to open this October.

This info comes via the Marriott website...

The hotel here on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue — across the street from the all-new Webster Hall — doesn't appear to be accepting reservations just yet.

The Marriott offers this info:

The bright and open lobby layout is paired with contemporary furniture. The "Plug and Meet" gathering areas provide modern ergonomic seating, large writing walls and 56-inch televisions for presentation projection. The lobby also boasts a state-of-the art video wall and 24/7 Food & Beverage offering a wide selection of snacks and drinks. Other hotel amenities include healthy continental breakfast, an evening bar featuring wines by the glass and local brews. All bedrooms are equipped with 42-inch flat-screen televisions, build in USB ports and free Wifi.

As previously reported, Tao Group is the food and beverage operator and the Lightstone Group's partner at the Moxy East Village. Plans include a 2,600-square-foot rooftop bar and a restaurant-lounge in the sub-cellar called MEV, short (apparently!) for Moxy East Village.

The foundation work got underway here in August 2017. Workers demolished the five residential buildings that stood here in the fall of 2016.

The photos on this post show the hotel as of this past Sunday...

Previously on EV Grieve:
At the rally outside 112-120 E. 11th St.

6-building complex on East 10th Street and East 11th Street sells for $127 million

Preservationists say city ignored pitch to designate part of 11th Street as a historic district

Permits filed to demolish 5 buildings on 11th Street to make way for new hotel (58 comments)

New building permits filed for 13-story Moxy Hotel on East 11th Street across from Webster Hall

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday's parting shot

A spring scene on 7th and A via riachung00 ...

Spring comes alive on Avenue C

On Sunday afternoon, Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS) hosted its sixth Spring Awakening in honor of the neighborhood's community gardens.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy took these photos along Avenue C, where there were activities for kids (pony rides!) as well as live music, puppet shows and other garden-related events...

Q&A with Dan Efram, photographer behind this book of 'Curiosities'

[All photos by Dan Efram]

"Curiosities" is a new book of photos by local photographer Dan Efram. (His work has appeared on EVG, such as here ... here ... and here.) There's a book launch tomorrow night at Howl! Happening (details below). Ahead of that, I asked Efram a few questions about his work...

How did your passion for photography come about?

Succinctly, it helped me get through the illnesses and eventual deaths of my parents.

Growing up my dad was always documenting via snapshot, so a camera was constantly nearby. Though I was interested early, I was a fan of the camera as a gadget. In fact, I still own my dad’s Praktica camera with its manual winding — it had lots of cool buttons and a really loud shutter, which I was fascinated with.

My first career was as an artist manager in the music business, and luckily was constantly around creative types and photographers specifically. Often, I feel like some of the photo smarts of my crew rubbed off on me. In essence, I’ve been searching for the perfect album cover my whole life, now I’m just actually making the pictures as well.

What does it take to catch your eye? What do you look for on the street?

I love weird, dark and emotive. Arbus, Weegee, Brassaï, Winnogrand and Frank are staples for a lot of street photographers and these are definitely some of my faves as well.

Recently, I’ve been fascinated by Richard Sandler’s amazing book “The Eyes of the City,” to which I highly recommend. His work is mind-blowingly great! But, I digress. First off and this may seem obvious, but if I’m not in the correct frame of mind, nothing happens. But I’m generally looking for something that either is completely unusual that’s happening or something completely normal that allows me to focus in on a personality.

Your book features characters from Spain, Portugal, France, Cuba and the United States. Closer to home, what kind of canvas does the East Village provide for your photography?

There are a number of photos from the East Village in my book that I love for their grittiness. It’s my home and where I feel most comfortable, so walking these streets in my neighborhood allows me to shoot without trepidation.

It's also inspiring, because once you’ve been somewhere this long, in my case 25 years, my history is implanted in the miles I’ve walked in these neighborhoods. But comfort isn’t always the best thing for art and I very much enjoy getting out the comfort zone as often as possible. A challenge is exciting! And I’m looking to do a lot more of this in the future.

[A self-portrait]


An Evening with Daniel Efram’s "Curiosities"
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m.
Howl! Happening, 6 E. First St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Per the invite:

Efram’s "Curiosities" are augmented by neo-noir experimental soundscapes from Jim Coleman (This Wilderness, Gain Control, Cop Shoot Cop) and Sarah Register (War Bubble, Talk Normal). Reading from her own work and a collection of other sources, Nicole Blackman (Golden Palominos, Recoil, KMFDM) and actor/screenwriter Tony Drazan (director of "Hurlyburly" and "Zebrahead") give voice to the anonymous pedestrians, street vendors, nightcrawlers, and characters ... Jubilant drum corps Nossos Tambores opens the evening.