Thursday, February 28, 2019

6 posts from February


[Photo on Broadway via Derek Berg]

A mini month in review...

After 50 years on the block, the Hells Angels appear to be selling their 3rd Street clubhouse (Feb. 22)

After the last call: East Village photographer captures bars at dawn (Feb. 14)

The lobbyists behind the air-rights transfer and zoning variance for 3 St. Mark's Place (Feb. 13)

Jerry's New York Central is closing on 4th Avenue (Feb. 11)

Jimmy Carbone on the long recovery ahead: "Starting each day is a challenge" (Feb. 6)

The Archdiocese of New York is shutting down the St. Brigid School on Avenue B and 7th Street (Feb. 5)

Report: Brant Foundation's Basquiat exhibit includes $110.5 million skull painting

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required!) checks in today with a preview on the inaugural exhibit at the Brant Foundation, 421 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue... the one featuring Basquiat that starts next Wednesday...

To the Journal!

[Peter M.] Brant could have launched with a legacy show of his own trophy holdings, but he says the space’s proximity to Basquiat’s former stomping grounds compelled him to devote the opener to the neo-expressionist painter. Basquiat’s frenetic, poetic paintings of 1980s New York are getting more attention lately from both museums and the marketplace, with pieces selling at auction for as much as $110.5 million. That record-holder, an untitled skull painting from 1982 that’s owned by Japanese e-retailer Yusaku Maezawa, is in Brant’s show.

Other heavyweights include 1987’s Unbreakable, which has never been exhibited in New York, and 1983’s Hollywood Africans, which was lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Half of the show’s roughly 70 pieces have also come directly from a Basquiat survey that recently drew nearly 680,000 visitors to Paris’s Louis Vuitton Foundation. These works will now be intermingled with 16 pieces from the Brant foundation as well as loans from other collectors like Dan Loeb, John Phelan, Eli Broad and Dimitri Mavrommatis.

The Foundation says 50,000 people have already signed up online to get free tickets. The show runs through May 15.

Meanwhile, Andrew Russeth at artNews has thoughts on all this...

A formidable new arts space opening in the East Village is cause for celebration. But what happens after the Basquiat show comes down? If the foundation becomes a repository for blue-chip art and big names, for showing off trophies acquired over a lifetime of collecting, that would be a painful development for the cultural life of this city. New York already has plenty of spaces to see such things. Instead, my hope — as I wrote back in 2014 — is that the Brant Foundation and its brethren will be willing to experiment, and to partner with other local organizations, serving as a forum for art and artists and ideas that have not been welcomed elsewhere.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Here's how to reserve free tickets for the Basquiat exhibit opening next month at the Brant Foundation on 6th Street

Q&A: How Cheska Mauban came to open her namesake pizzeria in the Bowery Market



All photos by Stacie Joy

On Jan. 16, Cheska Mauban, a Queens native and recent Babson College graduate, opened her namesake pizzeria in the Bowery Market.

Cheska's pizza has a gluten-free and vegan crust — one made from cauliflower and the other sweet potato. (Find her menu here.)

Several EVG readers had heard about how Mauban launched her small business, and shared the news of her entrepreneurial skills. I reached out to ask a few questions about starting the business, which involved spending months testing her recipes on friends and family.


How did Cheska's pizza come about? What were you doing as a career at the time?

I think it was a Saturday in March last year that I was sipping on an afternoon latte at my local coffee shop while reading Ina Yalof's "Food and the City," which is a compilation of short stories from anyone to everyone working in the New York City food scene, from The Halal Guys to James Beard chefs.

Growing up in NYC, I've always been fascinated with the dynamic food scene and like any New Yorker, I took full advantage of it and now I wanted to take a deeper behind-the-scenes look. Fortunately, for lunch that day, I bought a frozen cauliflower crust pizza from my local grocery store and threw it in the oven after dousing it with sauce and cheese.

So, while going from short story to the next, I kept thinking about my lunch and where I could get this healthier option without having to put it in the oven myself. I did some light research and couldn't find any options.

From here, my entrepreneurial juices started flowing, because I remembered that for the past two weeks I spoke with associates at the grocery store about re-stocking the cauliflower crust shelves because they were empty! Not only did I graduate from Babson College, the nation's top school for entrepreneurship, but I also currently worked at a financial technology startup that constantly challenged me to think creatively.

Piecing the puzzle together, I came to the conclusion that NYC needs a place to serve cauliflower crust pizzas for takeout. For the next couple of months, I spent my evenings and weekends running through 100 different recipes to nail down the perfect combination to maintain 1.5 servings of cauliflower, but to also make sure it can hold like a pizza.

For anyone who has ventured through this rabbit hole of making cauliflower crust at home... you know the struggle of admitting defeat to a mushy pizza. Along the way, I decided that there needed to be some variety, so after another 100 iterations, the sweet potato crust was created.

What kind of culinary background did you have?

Full disclosure — I had zero culinary training. But what made up for it were my countless meals across diverse cuisines throughout the five boroughs: my palette was at least well-trained.

However, I looked to a close college friend, Chris Quach, who's an aspiring chef with the Altamarea Group for some free advice on flavor profile and devising my menu.

For a few months, I held private tastings with family and friends and gathered feedback. From there, the crusts changed a bit more and so did the sauce. I also decided to offer a fully gluten-free menu, because I learned that no other pizzerias were strictly gluten-free. That decision was another avenue to show our community of health forward eaters that delicious food is possible for any person, no matter the dietary restriction.



Why did you decide on the Bowery Market to open your business?

We specifically chose the Bowery Market for two reasons. One, it's a charming open-air market with blossoming roses and it sits on the corner of an iconic street.

And two, the "cozy" — euphemism for "small" — kiosk allowed for a relatively easy build-out, which subsequently led to the quickest launch possible. This way, we can dive into proving the food concept even more and also ironing out all the business kinks. Because of my Babson education, I learned to adopt the mantra "fail fast."

There are [also] so many great family-run restaurant supply stores on the Bowery. Whenever we need anything it's a hop and skip away to some friendly faces who have it.





To date, what has been the most challenging part of launching your business? The most rewarding part?

This is the first time I'm ever starting my own restaurant and it's from a very clean slate. Even though I have tons of mentors, consultants, supporters and an awesome crew managing daily operations, I have no co-founders to divide the burden of responsibilities.

All the pressure sits on my shoulders, which is both the biggest challenge AND also the most rewarding part. On lonely days, it seems like no one else can possibly understand the struggle and anxiety I face with even the smallest decision of which plastic take-out bags to order. And on great days, the tiniest win of a customer explaining how our pizzas are perfect for his keto lifestyle and grabbing a menu for later, gives me a massive boost of energy and motivation.



What are your long-term plans for Cheska's?

The Bowery Market location is certainly just the beginning. Every day of operation is laying down one more brick in the foundation for a bigger vision of inspiring healthier habits through nutritious food all across New York and beyond. We're learning everything there is to learn about running a restaurant at a fast pace and when the weather turns, we'll assess where Cheska's second location will be.

In this business, we're also learning that nothing is set in stone and that we need to be nimble, so we have a repository of ideas that we keep from customer and mentor feedback. For example, customers have asked us if we sell my pizzas frozen and ready to pop in the oven themselves. It's a far ways out to think about doing that, but hey, you never know.

Love and resistance: Stonewall 50 programs at the Tompkins Square Library


[Photo via the NYPL]

In the coming months, the New York Public Library is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Here's more about the Stonewall 50: "Through a major exhibition, a series of programs, book recommendations, and more, we invite you to learn more about the emergence of the modern LGBTQ movement, as well as culture, issues, and activism today."

The Tompkins Square Library branch, 331 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, is hosting five of the programs. (Each program has a link for registration at the top of its page.)

• March 14 at 6 p.m.: The Drag March & Other Tales of Glamour and Resistance: A Storytelling Workshop Join Heather Acs and the NYC Drag March for a storytelling workshop, and share your own experiences of LGBTQ life in the Village and LES.

• April 10 at 6 p.m.: SECOND WORKSHOP — The Drag March & Other Tales of Glamour and Resistance: A Storytelling Workshop. There is a separate registration for the second workshop.

• April 20 at 3 p.m.: Queer Black Films: "Looking for Langston" and Two Films by Hayat Hyatt. An intergenerational pairing of film and video works explores black queer inheritance and desire through Isaac Julien’s "Looking for Langston" and two films by Hayat Hyatt.

• May 8 at 6 p.m.: A Drag March Storyslam: Tales of Glamour and Resistance. Join a storytelling performance about the incredible history of the Drag March!

• June 8 at 3 p.m.: Reviving Assotto Saint's "New Love Song" (1989). A celebration of the life and work of Assotto Saint (1957-1994): poet, playwright, performer, editor, publisher, performer, caretaker and trouble-maker.

In 1989, Assato Saint’s multimedia theater piece "New Love Song" put black gay men on center stage in New York City, providing a space for storytelling, ritual, and healing. Join original cast members, collaborators, and friends as we reflect on the 30th anniversary of this undersung production and its "Forever Gay" creator.

145 2nd Ave., currently a Starbucks, is for lease



Marketing materials have been in circulation for 145 Second Ave., a retail space currently in use as a Starbucks at the corner of Ninth Street...



According to the listing via the Shopping Center Group, the price is "negotiable" and the possession is "arranged."

Last June, Starbucks announced that it would close 150 "poorly performing company-operated stores" in 2019, "mostly [in] urban areas that are densely populated with Starbucks locations," as CNN reported.

If this outpost does eventually close, then that makes the second local Starbucks in recents months to shutter. The Starbucks on Broadway at Ninth Street closed in early January.

Other EV outposts are located on First Avenue at 13th Street, First Avenue at Third Street and Avenue A at St. Mark's Place. The 23-year-old location on Astor Place received a major interior renovation last fall.

H/T Steven!

Desi Galli will be back open this evening on Avenue B

[Photo by Steven]

Several alarmed EVG readers shared the news that Desi Galli was not open last evening on Avenue B. (H/T Tyler!) Two "seized" stickers from the State of New York were on the storefront.

However, owner PriaVanda Chouhan told me in an email last night that "the problem has been resolved." The quick-serve spot selling Indian street food at 172 Avenue B between 10th Street and 11th Street will be back open later today at 5.

The sibling of the well-regarded Desi Galli on Lexington Avenue and East 27th Street opened here in April 2016.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wednesday's parting shot



The Odessa, 119 Avenue A, as seen in Episode 8 of the Netflix series "Russian Doll."

Scenes from a 3rd Street construction zone



East Village-based illustrator Peter Arkle shared this streetscene today from Third Street at Avenue B...

Parting thoughts on the Sidewalk: 'grubby, unremarkable, and undeniably special'


[EVG photo from November]

Sidewalk Bar and Restaurant wrapped up its 34 years on Avenue A and Sixth Street on Saturday, as we first reported.

Over at Grub Street, Jason Diamond pens a closing ode to the familiar corner spot:

I hope this doesn’t sound mean, but Sidewalk Cafe was not very good. That’s what makes its closing such a bummer. The restaurant, bar, and live music venue ... was grubby, unremarkable, and undeniably special to those of us who spent weekends camped out at its outside tables slurping down frozen margaritas.

And...

Sidewalk was a quintessential New York City business because it was always there. That might sound like a slight, but think of all the things — and people — that come and go in New York. To live in this city for any real period of time is to feel bereaved at every corner, all of the time. We grieve for the friends that move to L.A., the places that close because the rent is too high or the guests are too few, and for the people we were when we first arrived.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New owners set to take over the 33-year-old Sidewalk Bar & Restaurant on Avenue A

The final days of Sidewalk

City OKs new building permits for mayor's tech hub on 14th Street


[EVG photo from last month]

It took nearly nine months for the proposed tech hub — now called the Union Square Tech Training Center — on 14th Street at Irving Place to wind through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, culminating with the City Council's OK last August. (A rezoning was required to build the the 22-story structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.)

And it took far less time for the Department of Building's (DOB) to approve the new building permits for the 22-floor building. DOB records show that the city signed off on the project yesterday.



The new building permits were just filed this past Nov. 19. (For a comparison, new building permits for the 9-story development planned for the former Sunshine Cinema on East Houston are still waiting for approval. Permits were first filed in March 2018, per city records.)

Work is expected to start in this first quarter of 2019, per the 14th @ Irving website. But first, the former P.C. Richard & Son outpost needs to be demolished.

As previously reported, the project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services. The Union Square Tech Training Center includes Civic Hall, which will offer digital skills for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail, office space and a food hall.

Mayor de Blasio first unveiled the renderings publicly in February 2017.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

Previously on EV Grieve:
Behold Civic Hall, the high-tech future of Union Square — and NYC

Speaking out against a 'Silicon Alley' in this neighborhood

P.C. Richard puts up the moving signs on 14th Street; more Tech Hub debate to come

Preservationists: City schedules next public hearing on tech hub without any public notice

City Council's lone public hearing on the 14th Street tech hub is tomorrow

City Council unanimously approves tech hub; some disappointment in lack of zoning protections

The conversation continues on the now-approved tech hub for 14th Street

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving

New building permits pre-filed for the (slightly larger) tech hub on Union Square

First signs of Bin 141, a new cafe on Avenue A and 3rd Street



The first signs of the new cafe coming to the northwest corner of Avenue A and Third Street arrived on Monday (the address is 141 E. Third St. aka 43 Avenue A).



The lettering for Bin 141 includes the words, Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Cocktails, Coffee and Vegan Treats.

Imen and Rafik Bouzgarrou, the husband-and-wife team at Angelina Cafe one block to the south on Avenue A, are behind this venture that will serve Mediterranean fare. (No word at the moment if they'll continue running both Bin 141 and Angelina, which first opened in 2002 before relocating across Avenue A to its current spot in 2012.)

CB3 OK'd a liquor license for this space last July. The Bin 141 application (PDF here) listed 15 tables accommodating 54 diners along with an eight-stool lunch counter. Their proposed hours were 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday though Thursday; until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

During the CB3 meeting, a rep of the building's co-op board as well a building resident "spoke in support of this applicant as a longstanding, responsible business owner on this block who has operated a quiet, comfortable well-run restaurant," per the minutes of the meeting.

The previous tenant in this corner space, Landmark Bicycles, closed in the fall of 2017.

Renovations and a 3-day rent demand at Bait & Hook



Bait & Hook, the sports bar on the northwest corner of 14th Street and Second Avenue, has been closed the past 10-plus days for renovations. (H/T Pinch for first sharing this.)



Meanwhile, as EVG regular Laura notes, a 3-day rent demand has arrived next to the Closed for Renovations signage...





According to the notice, the owners here owe $104,000 (and change) in back rent (and various fees) dating to October.

Bait & Hook opened in September 2012. The press materials noted at the time: "Bait & Hook offers a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere where seafood is the star. Diners can enjoy a reasonably priced meal without compromising high-end, quality cuisine and service."



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Police looking for barrier-tossing tag suspect on Bleecker Street


Earlier today, the NYPD released details of an attempted assault with a metal barrier on Jan. 20.

The incident occurred just before noon on a Sunday on Bleecker near Elizabeth.

Jaclyn Doherty, 26, told this to the Daily News:

"I thought he was maybe saving a parking spot," she remembered. "He didn't look crazy or anything."

A moment later, the suspect flung the barrier in their direction. Her friend managed to dodge it. Doherty wasn’t so lucky.

"I was just in shock," she said, adding that what happened next creeped her out even more. “He said, 'Tag, you're it.' and kind of ran off.”

"It seemed like he wanted us to follow him," she remembered, shrugging off her experience to life in the big city. "It's New York City, people do weird things."

Doherty reportedly suffered a few cuts and bruises, though medical treatment wasn't required.

According to the News, the suspect was described as black, about 20, 5-feet-5 and 140 pounds. He was wearing a black track suit with white stripes, plus a gray hoodie, gray Champion sweatpants and black sneakers, cops said.Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

FDNY responds to report of 'unstable wall' at 301 E. 10th St.



Emergency responders are on the scene at 301 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B... where there's a report of an "unstable wall" in the building...


It's the building here with the sidewalk bridge...



Currently, 10th Street is closed off between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Will update when there's more to report. And thanks to Steven for these photos!

Updated 5:42 p.m.

Per NBC 4...

A number of buildings in the East Village were evacuated after a wall inside a townhouse partially collapsed, the FDNY said.

The department received a call reporting a partial wall collapse inside of 301 E. 10th St., across from Tompkins Square Park, at 3:36 p.m. Tuesday, it said.

Updated 9 p.m.

Public records show that No. 301, built in the late 19th Century by architect Joseph Trench, sold for $8 million in December 2016.

The buyer, listed as Kamo Associates LLC, were in the process of renovation the building. There are approved plans on file with the city for a "horizontal rear extension."

No. 301 is currently occupant free during the gut renovations.

Oh oh it's magic — at the Earth School this Friday evening

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We hope you had a great February break! Believe or not, the Annual Earth School magic show is coming THIS FRIDAY! Don’t miss Cardone the Magician aka @cardonemagic, Friday, March 1 in the Earth School Auditorium, enter at Ave B and 5th St. Doors open at 5pm, show starts at 6pm. Spooky, eerie, odd, and so much fun! He always amazes us with his mystifying ways and magic that keeps us wondering for days! Fun for ALL ages. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and 3 & under are free. Food and drink will be available for purchase in the lobby—from an AMAZING lineup of delicious and oh-so-generous sponsors including @katzsdeli, @croissanteria, @gelartonyc, @peterpandonut, @eatsolopizza, and more. This event is open to all—bring your friends and neighbors. Funds support our wonderful school. #cardonepresents #cardonemagic #cardonethemagician #earthschoolnyc #magicshow #familyevent #supportpubliceducation #eastvillage #alphabetcity #fridaynightmagic #katzdelicatessen #croissanteria #gelartonyc #peterpandonuts #solopizzanyc @evgrieve @timeoutnykids

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Find the magic Friday at the Earth School — enter on Avenue B at Fifth Street. Find more details here.

Headline H/T

EVG Etc.: Curbing broker fees; celebrating Alan Vega and Suicide


[Avenue B plywood antics via Brucie]

The latest on the epidemic of NYC store closings, plus signs that some landlords are relenting and lowering rents (NYCitywoman)

City Council members Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers introduce legislation to limit brokerage fees for apartment rentals (CBS New York)

Celebrating the music of Alan Vega and Suicide at Bowery Electric tomorrow night (Dangerous Minds ... official site)

Politicos joins NYCHA tenants in calling for more federal funding (amNY)

"Russian Doll" and the late-night deli vibes (Eater)

Man with boxcutter keeps destroying the Phoebe artwork around the East Village (Instagram)

Workshops for the ECOLOGICAL CITY: A Cultural & Climate Solutions Action Project start on Saturday (Official site)

The hits and misses at Violet on Fifth Street (The New Yorker ... previously)

Tompkins Square Park through the years (Off the Grid)

The No Bar opening at the Standard East Village: "Can New York's Queer Nightlife Scene Feel at Home in a Hotel Chain?"
(Bon Appetit ... previously)

More about the Indian cuisine at Dhamaka, one of two full-service restaurants opening at Essex Street Market later this year (Eater)

A new restoration of comedy classic "Some Like It Hot" starts Friday (Metrograph)

Who's buying vinyl these days? (CNET)

...and the store under that Optimo Cigars signage on First Avenue between Third Street and Fourth Street is currently gutted...



Might be a good time to revisit the glorious summer of 2012... when the awning belonged to the unforgettable Pudgie's-Nathan's-Arthur Treacher's action-packed combo ...


[Photo from 2012 by Bobby Williams]

[Updated] More mystery over those mysterious concrete barriers on 10th Street; our Stonehenge?


[Photo Sunday by Steven Hirsch]

As noted on Sunday, residents are mystified over the arrival of these six concrete blocks on 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

CBS2 is now on the case. "Residents, sanitation crews and even the police are confused as to why the blocks are there," the station reports.

Without saying why, a Department of Transportation spokesperson told CBS2 reporter Scott Rapoport to contact Con Ed about the chunks of concrete.

An EVG tipster confirmed that Con Ed is behind the behemoth barriers (OK, they're not that behemoth). The usual orange barrels are too easy to move and blow away too easily... so the contractor in charge wanted something sturdier, per the tipster.

Updated 11:30 a.m.

And someone has removed the barriers, as TXNYCgirl noted in the comments...


[Photo by Steven]

Updated 9 p.m.

Per CBS 2:

Con Ed had its subcontractor – Triumph Construction – remove the blocks. Spokesperson Michael Clendenin claimed the plan was to “block” off space to install gas service to a neighborhood building.

“We’ve had trouble before where cones and tape and the normal things you do to mark off the site,” Michael Clendenin alleged.

“This time they used the blocks so it could not be moved to make sure when other workers got there they’d be able to do it. Obviously this is something we apologize for it shouldn’t have been done that way...”

While the construction company had a permit to work at the site, the city issued them a summons and a $1,200 fine for taking up parking with no workers on site.

The vote for NYC public advocate is today



Updated 2/27: City Councilmember Jumaane Williams a Democrat, won the election with 32 percent of the vote.

The special election for public advocate is today in NYC. (Letitia James, the previous public advocate, was elected as state attorney general back in November.)

Why should we care about this election? What difference will my 2-3 votes make? Per Town & Village:

While this is a role with little governing power, it’s widely seen as a stepping stone for individuals looking to become mayor or to gain other prominent positions.

As to why New Yorkers should bother with this race, there is also the fact that the office exists to be a watchdog, a check on the mayor.

Meanwhile, the public advocate is also the first in line to assume the title of mayor if something were to happen to the mayor. The public advocate can also introduce and sponsor legislation.

So if you want a quickie refresher on the 17 (!!!!!) candidates before heading to the polls, here are some sources for you:

• Public advocate race cheat sheet (Town & Village)

• Everything you need to know about NYC’s public advocate special election (Curbed)

• Meet the NYC public advocate candidates (amNY)

• The race for public advocate: 10 candidates address street safety, transit (Streetsblog)

• How the public advocate candidates have tried to define themselves (Gotham Gazette)

• Some public advocate candidates won’t give up real estate cash (The Real Deal)

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.

Construction watch: 3 E. 3rd St.



Checking on on the progress at 3 E. Third St., the six-floor, five-unit condoplex in progress steps off of the Bowery and in the shadows of 347 Bowery...



Inspiron, the project's construction manager, has more details on their website:

The Building is a concrete design that will be roughly 13,400 square feet. The space will be split between residential spaces on the upper floors with luxurious rooftop access and commercial space on the lower floors.

The project originally started out as a 7-floor building. There hasn't been any information released yet on pricing for these units.



Alex Barrett’s Barrett Design and Development paid $11.5 million in 2016 for the property, a building that served as short-term rentals for students and interns.


[3 E. 3rd St. in April 2015]

Previously on EV Grieve:
Development site available on East 3rd Street at the Bowery

Demolition watch: 3 E. 3rd St.

Last week for Puppy Love & Kitty Kat on 9th Street



Multiple EVG readers have shared the news that Puppy Love & Kitty Kat, the 10-year-old pet supplies and grooming shop at 420 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, is closing this week.

No word what's behind this closure at the moment. (Thanks William Klayer, Steven and Barley...)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monday's parting shot



Not a Citi Bike either... photo on Fourth Avenue by Derek Berg...

Yet another reminder that February is nearly over



Workers removed the holiday lights today on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, as these photos by EVG Ninth Street Holiday Lights Correspondent Steven show... the lights had been up since Dec. 5 ...

Grant Shaffer's NY See



Here's the latest installment of 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 — and NYC. (And recently featured on the #ArtOnLink campaign via LinkNYC.)

Last call at Sidewalk and St. Mark's Comics, now closed after a combined 70 years in business


[Photo early Sunday by Day Clancy]

The Sidewalk closed after service on Saturday night... ending 34 years on Avenue A and Sixth Street. New owners are taking over the restaurant and live-music venue.

And there were many thank yous and goodbyes on social media from musicians who have played here through the years... just one example ...


Meanwhile, on St. Mark's Place, St. Mark's Comics closed its doors after 36 years in business last evening. Owner Mitch Cutler cited a variety of factors behind the closure. "I have been working 90 hours a week for 36 years, and I no longer have the wherewithal to fight them — all of these various reasons," he told me last month. The storefront at 11 St. Mark's Place is currently for rent.

amNY stopped by yesterday for a final report. You can read that piece here.



100 Gates project coming for East Village gates


The Lower East Side Partnership is bringing the 100 Gates Project to the East Village.

Here's the pitch:

Interested artists will be paired up with like-minded businesses for these site-specific mural collaborations that will be installed on exterior roll-down security gates. Artists are paid a supply and artist stipend of $400 for each gate installation and the project comes at zero cost to merchants.

EV merchants can email this account to apply for a gate revamp. (And artists can apply to work on a gate at this link.)

The 100 Gates project started on the Lower East Side in 2014 ... and eventually expanded to Harlem and Staten Island.

The 100th gate was completed (by LAmour Supreme) on the LES in September 2016... over at Katz's (this photo is from last year)...

New playground equipment alert in Tompkins Square Park


[Photos Friday by Steven]

New playground equipment is arriving in the under-renovation playground on the Avenue B side of Tompkins Square Park (H/T @dens!) ...



Renovation work started last Oct. 1 on the Avenue B children’s playgrounds.



According to the Parks Department website: "This project will reconstruct two playgrounds with new play equipment, safety surfacing, spray showers, seating and fencing."

The project has a 12-month timeline for completion. Construction here is listed as 37 percent complete, per the Parks Department website.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Playground renovations underway in Tompkins Square Park

Heavy-duty fencing arrives as playground renovations continue in Tompkins Square Park

Ravagh Persian Grill is back in action on 1st Avenue



Ravagh Persian Grill has returned after a months-long interior renovation here at 125 First Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

This is one of five outposts for Ravagh (three in Manhattan and two on Long Island).

People seem to like this place. Eater gave it high marks in a roundup of Persian restaurants ... while the reader comments were positive, with one noting on our last post: "I eat here all the time! The ghormeh sabzi is the best I've ever had in a restaurant. Very much hoping they open up again soon."

BeetleBug sits empty now on 9th Street



Several EVG readers have noted that BeetleBug, the floral design shop, has been emptied at 441 E. Ninth St. at Avenue A.

There's no message on the site's website or social-media properties about any type of closure. (They do have operate a small-scale market and flower farm in the Hudson Valley.)

BeetleBug opened in early 2017, and they were the first tenant in Icon Realty's renovated retail spaces here at 441 E. Ninth St. (aka 145 Avenue A).

According to one previous retail tenant here in 2015, Icon either wasn't renewing leases or offering new terms with unmanageable rent increases. (Icon bought the building for $10.1 million in April 2014.)

The last previous tenant to leave — in February 2016 — was the Upper Rust, who found a new space in Chelsea for their antiques.

Another new business along here, Mahalo New York Bakery, which served Hawaiian-inspired desserts, closed back in fall after seven months in business. That 300-square-foot space is now for rent with an ask of $4,500 monthly, per the Icon website.