Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday's parting shot

Tompkins Square Park this afternoon. Photo by Derek Berg.

Also, Happy New Year!

6 posts from December

[A recent evening along Avenue A]

A mini month in review...

• Meet the owner of the 'In the Air Tonight' car that plays the Phil Collins classic on repeat (Dec. 27)

• Last Christmas for Zum Schneider on Avenue C: Biergarten on the move in 2020 (Dec. 23)

• Hit sandwich connoisseurs Foxface opening a new venture in the former Harry & Ida's space on Avenue A (Dec. 18)

• San Loco opens on Avenue C (Dec. 13)

• A call to cancel SantaCon (Dec. 11)

• At the 28th annual Tompkins Square Park tree lighting (Dec. 9)

Gone but not forgotten

Remembering a few of our friends and neighbors who died in 2019...

Tim Schellenbaum

Steven Cannon

[Image via Facebook]

Unkle Waltie

[Photo by Steven]

Ron Edgecombe

[Photo via Facebook]

Susan Leelike

Purushottam Goyal

[Photo by Steven]

Gigi Watson

[Photo by James Maher]

Felicia Mahmood

Lucien Bahaj

[Photo courtesy of Clayton Patterson]

Jonas Mekas

[Image via Facebook]

Joe Overstreet

[Image via legacy.com]

Leslie Sternbergh Alexander

[Leslie Sternbergh Alexander and Adam Alexander]

Brendan Cregan

[Image via Facebook]

Chaim Joseph

Brian Butterick/Hattie Hathaway

[Photo by Stacie Joy]


Others with ties to the neighborhood who died this past year include Robert Frank ... John Giorno ... Paul Krassner... and Robert Ogden.

An afternoon with Cáit O’Riordan

Photos and text by Stacie Joy

For the past few years, musician Cáit O’Riordan has called the East Village home. She's headed back now to her native Ireland as the New Year begins.

I've spotted her everywhere from the free concerts in Tompkins Square Park to the Drag March on Ninth Street. During her time here, she graciously met Caitlin, a part-time employee at Confectionery on Ninth Street, whose mother named her after O'Riordan, who played bass for Celtic-punk legends the Pogues.

I've appreciated her adventurous spirit while in NYC. Back on a warm early fall day, she agreed to explore a little of the East Village with me. We each found a few new places to visit.

After lunch at Superiority Burger on Ninth Street, we headed over to Gem Spa on Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place, where owner Parul Patel and O’Riordan talked ...

We stopped by Uliana Hair Studio on Ninth Street for O'Riordan to book an appointment and, where I am told, Jimi Hendrix had an apartment in the mid-1960s while he was a session player and backup musician ...

O’Riordan browsed through the well-curated records at Limited to One on 10th Street. While rooting through the rare punk bin, this Anti-Flag compilation caught her attention ...

Continuing down 10th Street, we looked around at Crystal’s Garden ...

And there was this photogenic hearse by the Tenth Street Church of Christ as we walked to Tompkins Square Park...

In the Park, we ran into local resident Ceasar Noel Soto, who was featured in an Out and About in the East Village piece on EVG here...

We eventually made our way to the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on Avenue C between Ninth Street and 10th Street and examined the exhibitions...

We visited several community gardens, including the Los Amigos Community Garden on Third Street between Avenue B and Avenue C where we received the OK to sample of the garden's summer peaches...

At Dancin’ Tastebuds, located inside Ben’s Deli on Avenue B near Third Street, we sampled the tastebudgasm sauce from Chef Lioness ...

We stumbled upon pawn shop East Village Buyers on Third Street near A, and met the artist, Gus Weiss, who painted their nifty windows ...

O’Riordan will be back for 10 weeks each spring and winter for her seasonal gig at the Irish Arts Center. We look forward to seeing her again!

The most-read EVG posts from the past decade

These 10 posts attracted the most views these past 10 years. Quick takeaways: Closures and nudity attract readers.

[Photo via @michalmeer1]

1. There is a woman who has been walking around the East Village topless (May 18, 2012)

2. After 34 years off the Bowery, the Great Jones Café closes tonight (July 26, 2017)

3. Female diner decides to go topless last night at Verso (July 8, 2013)

4. Noted, aka the Target-CBGB tribute (July 21, 2018)

5. [Updating] Explosion on 2nd Avenue and East 7th Street (March 26, 2015)

6. Cafe Orlin will close next month after 36 years in business (Sept. 8, 2017)

7. Exclusive: After 40 years, punk rock mainstay Trash and Vaudeville is leaving St. Mark's Place (July 28, 2015)

8. Veselka honored for its workplace practices with employees over the age of 50 (Jan. 17, 2018)

9. After 20-plus years in the East Village, Obscura Antiques and Oddities is closing (Nov. 7, 2019)

10. You literally can't say this word now at the Continental (Jan. 17, 2018)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Tree Bistro closes after tomorrow

[EVG file photo]

Tree Bistro, the quaint French restaurant at 190 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street, closes after service tomorrow (Dec. 31).

Ownership shared the news via an email to customers:

It’s with lots of love and sadness that we must let our extended Tree Bistro family know that the night of Dec. 31 will be our last day of business.

We hope some of you will be able to stop in for a goodbye, and we thank you all for 12 magical years. tree has weathered hurricanes, snowstorms, and the vagaries of being one of the few remaining small independent restaurants in NYC, and we have loved every minute of it in our beloved east village neighborhood.

We made it to No. 1 on TripAdvisor a few times, but more important, we made so many friends — first dates to weddings to baby showers — and in at least one case all t(h)ree! So many magical times and much laughter at 190 first avenue. But for those who remember it from our menu, it is time for the story of tree to come to an end, for now.

Not mentioned in the farewell: The October 2018 fire next door that forced Tree Bistro out of business for nearly eight months. The six-alarm fire that started in Uogashi at 188 First Ave. wiped out Tree Bistro's garden dining area ... and caused other damage inside the 12-year-old restaurant.

Tree Bistro reopened without the back space in June ... closing briefly again for more work in late July.

H/T EVG reader Steve!

Eleven Consignment Boutique closes, leaving customers without their resale items

1/6: Updated here

Eleven Consignment Boutique closed on First Avenue and 11th Street some time in late November or early December, angering customers who had items for sale inside.

Bklyner recently reported that the Park Slope outpost of the high-end used clothing and accessories store closed in the fall in similar fashion: with no notice to customers.

Per Bklyner:

Danielle, who declined to give her last name, is a singer and songwriter. She said she consigned with Eleven Consignment Boutique a few years ago and had no issues. This year was different.

“I have over $500 worth of stuff to Eleven Consignment’s East Village location in November and despite calling, emailing, physically going to both locations which are now shuttered 24/7, and reviewing the business on Yelp and Google, I can’t seem to get my items back or any money owed to me if they sold,” Danielle said.

A new owner apparently took over the store in recent months. Attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful. Meanwhile, one-star reviews continue at Yelp: "Just shut down without any notice to people with $100s of dollars in consignment. Crooks."

Some patrons have filed fraud complaints with the New York State Attorney General's office.

Have you seen the former Coffee Shop space on Union Square?

Several EVG readers have shared photos of the recent storefront transformation on the southwest corner of West 16th Street and Union Square West ...

The Coffee Shop closed here in October 2018 after 28 years in business. As you may already know, the Chase branch opened on Dec. 17 ... along with Chase-partnered Joe Coffee. There's also another vegan quick-serve outpost of by CHLOE on the 16th Street side.

Gothamist has been documenting — here and here and herethe blandification of the space, which saw the removal of the classic neon Coffee sign.

As for the sign, it disappeared after 8 p.m. on Dec. 5...

No one seems to have any idea what happened to the sign, which predated the coffee shop.

Some signage history via Robert Sietsema at Eater:

Coffee Shop replaced an actual coffee shop called Chase but retained the coffee shop’s old neon sign that climbed the corner of the building, which said Coffee Shop in a gigantic font. In fact, it was probably one of the first places to “steal” the identity of a previous establishment, imbuing the neon sign with a certain irony.

Jeremiah Moss has more about the space here.

[Photo via Jeremiah Moss]

A for rent sign at the Smoke & Beer shop on Avenue A

After nearly four years on Avenue A, the Smoke & Beer shop here between 13th Street and 14th Street is winding down its business. A for rent sign hangs in the front window.

Among other other items, the shop specializes in e-liquids and e-cigarettes, which continue to come under scrutiny amid an outbreak of lung illnesses.

This was one of the several beer-smoke combo shops that popped up in the neighborhood in recent years.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Smoke shop, the new nail salon, opening in former nail salon on Avenue A

DOH temporarily closes Mighty Quinn's on 2nd Avenue

[Photos by Derek Berg]

Mighty Quinn's on Second Avenue and Sixth Street received an unwelcome holiday gift on Dec. 26 when the popular BBQ establishment failed a Department of Health inspection and was ordered to close.

The violations from Dec. 26 have not yet been posted to the DOH website. While Mighty Quinn's currently has an A rating, previous inspections this year turned up several violations, according to public records at the DOH.

On Aug. 12, sanitary violations included "Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas." A subsequent inspection on Aug. 31 found 0 violations, per the the DOH. There were also violations issued in April, including for "evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas."

There isn't any notice about a closure from Mighty Quinn's posted at the restaurant. A look through the windows shows that some renovation work is taking place...

Mighty Quinn's got its start as a stall at Smorgasburg in 2011, later opening its first brick-and-mortar location here in December 2012. There are now 12 corporate locations in the NYC metro area, and ownership is now franchising, having opened several outposts overseas, including in Dubai, Manila and Taipei.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Week in Grieview

[St. Mark's Place]

Posts from this past holiday week included...

• Last Christmas for Zum Schneider on Avenue C: Biergarten on the move in 2020 (Monday)

• RIP Ron Edgecombe (Sunday)

• Meet the owner of the 'In the Air Tonight' car that plays the Phil Collins classic on repeat (Friday)

• Photos: Holidays in the East Village (Part 1 ... and Part 2)

• Another look at Le Fournil, the French bakery now open in the former Moishe's space on 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

• Last weekend for the Shape of Lies on 7th Street (Saturday)

• New trees for Tompkins Square Park (Tuesday)

• Report: Chain stores decrease citywide, though show growth in the 10009 zip code (Thursday)

• Reminders: Movies are $8 before noon every day at the Village East on 2nd Avenue (Thursday)

• Koko Wings debuts on 1st Avenue (Friday)

• MulchFest officially underway with first arrivals in Tompkins Square Park (Thursday)

• Wanyoo Cyber Cafe arrives at the landmarked 4 St. Mark's Place (Monday)

• The Pure Green-Wattle Cafe combo storefront shutters on 2nd Avenue (Tuesday)

... and a red-tailed hawk view from Tompkins Square Park Friday via Derek Berg...


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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Last weekend for the Shape of Lies on 7th Street

The Shape of Lies, the shop featuring jewelry designed by local artists as well as antique and museum-replica pieces, is closing after the business day on Monday here at 127 E. Seventh St. just west of Avenue A.

However, as EVG correspondent Steven reports, the space will reopen in 6-8 months as a window gallery featuring the work of shop owners Peggy Yunque and Ladd Kessler ...

The Shape of Lies, which arrived in 1979, will be open from noon to 8 p.m. today through Monday.

Saturday's opening shot

Sunrise view from Tompkins Square Park this morning via Vinny & O...

Friday, December 27, 2019

'Lucky' strike

In "Lucky," Dehd delivered one of the catchier indie pop songs of 2019 ... the track is on the Chicago-based trio's excellent LP Water, which was out back in May.

Meet the owner of the 'In the Air Tonight' car that plays the Phil Collins classic on repeat

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

It's very possible that you at least heard the "In the Air Tonight" car on East Village streets this holiday season — you know, the 1985 Mazda Rx-7 GSL with an arena-ready sound system that plays the 1981 Phil Collins mega-hit on repeat.

A mutual neighborhood friend led me to meet the car's owner — Don Garcia, a Bushwick-based plumber. We had questions for Garcia after the car was spotted in the East Village on Dec. 14... the subsequent EVG video clip was viewed nearly 120,000 times on Twitter ...

The two men shown in the video were walking by, and spontaneously felt compelled to start dancing along to the song, featuring that epic drum break, now played at sports arenas around the world. (Gothamist has more on this dance story here.)

This holiday season, Garcia initially used the car — and its sound system — for a toy drive at the St Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. He does the Toys for Tots with the Legendary Muscle Cars Auto Club.

Garcia seemed surprised but appreciative of the attention. He answered some questions before letting me do a ride-along in the East Village as he demonstrated the newly wired sound system and lighting. And of course, playing "In the Air Tonight." (For the record, Garcia did not wear any ear plugs, though I did for this trip)...

How long have you been doing this?

I have had this car for seven years, working on it all that time. But as far as the music and lights part, I started [on Dec. 13] — the day before the videos surfaced.

Why this song?

I was playing this song because it’s such a good song to tune the car stereo and speakers to. It’s a song that makes you want to go out and do something you didn’t think you could. It was me and Lito, the guy who wired my car.

We’d been in Williamsburg earlier testing it out, and we were driving through the East Village when these two guys came out of a bar and requested, well demanded, that we put the song up loud, so we did. They jumped in front of the car and started dancing. We opened the doors at the light, pumped up the sound, and there were about 30 or 40 people standing there watching. When the song ended, we drove off.

Do you play any others?

Yes. I like rap, Spanish music, older stuff with no bad language. I like family-friendly stuff.

Any conversations with the NYPD?


Do you play the same song the entire time over and over?

It's a good song and has a clear sound. People will stop and look, especially at night when you can see the lights.

Garcia also said that he never gets tired of the song.

It was interesting to be in the passenger seat as we rolled through the neighborhood with lights flashing and the song pumping. Lot of bass, and, of course, the famous drum solo. People waved, they pointed, danced, smiled and gave us thumbs up. A lot of people whipped out their phones and started filming. I didn’t see anyone react negatively.