Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday's parting shot

A not-too-old (15 years?) ghost signage reveal at the former Foot Gear Plus on First Avenue at St. Mark's Place... the shop closed in July 2018 after 40-plus years on this corner.

The empty storefront is currently being divided up into several retail spaces.

6 posts from April

[East Village sunrise from April 26]

A mini month in review...

First red-tailed hawk egg hatches this year in Tompkins Square Park (April 23)

Q&A with East Village filmmaker Michael Levine, whose documentary on Streit's airs on PBS (April 18)

Making the case for 2-way bike lanes on Avenue B (April 15)

A visit to the Pyramid Club on Avenue A (April 12)

1 month in: Basquiat at the Brant Foundation (April 5)

The Hells Angels have left the East Village (April 2)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel files plan for 7-story hospital on 13th Street

[Photos from Sunday]

The initial work permit has been filed for part of the new Mount Sinai Beth Israel complex on 13th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

According to the permit filed last Wednesday, the "hospital building" will stand 7 floors — encompassing more than 112,000 square feet. (H/T New York Yimby!)

This will rise on the now-empty lot where a 14-floor building (321 E. 13th St.) stood that housed training physicians and staff of the nearby New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

As previously reported in the fall of 2016, the Mount Sinai Health System is in the midst of its years-long project to rebuild Mount Sinai Beth Israel, transitioning to a network of smaller facilities throughout lower Manhattan. The plans include an expanded facility on 14th Street and Second Avenue, which includes this 7-story building.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel had not previously specified how many floors the new building would be. Officials briefed Community Board 6 in February, which Town & Village covered:

The new Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital planned for East 13th Street may be shorter than initially planned due to newly-discovered unused space at the adjacent New York Eye and Ear facility, representatives announced at a sparsely-attended Community Board 6 meeting ...

"We discovered that there was more property available inside the New York Eye and Ear building, which allowed us to reconfigure what we’re going to do with the new building on 13th Street," said Brad Korn, corporate director of community affairs for Mount Sinai Beth Israel. "We're not changing any of the programs or promises we made on beds or anything like that, but it just makes it a little easier and will be a little less intrusive in the new build-up."

Brad Beckstrom, senior director for community and government for Mount Sinai, told CB6 that the new plan will connect to the New York Eye and Ear building "so it will become an integrated hospital."

Find more info on the Mount Sinai Beth Israel restructuring at their FAQ page.

Previously on EV Grieve:
An empty lot awaits the future home of the new Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital on 13th Street

Permits filed to demolish Mount Sinai's 13th Street residential building

[No. 321 in 2016]

Those sidewalk bridges around Village View will be there for at least 2 years

In recent weeks you've likely seen the extensive sidewalk bridge(s) weave around the buildings on the Village View property.

Well, get used to it — it promises to be there for quite some time.

Village View, which opened in 1964 as a a Mitchell-Lama co-op, consists of seven buildings with more than 1,200 residential units between First Avenue and Avenue A, from Second Street to Sixth Street.

An EVG reader who lives in Village View shared this posted information about what's happening on the property...

[Click for more details]

Local Law 11, or the Façade Inspection Safety Program, requires that owners of buildings with more than six stories above grade have their exterior walls and appurtenances inspected periodically. The last report here was filed on Feb. 21.

As the notice to residents states:

"The findings of the report were that many balconies have cracks and pieces of concrete sticking out and when the concrete is tapped, it becomes dislodged and falls out. There is also a lot of visible cracking from the underside of balconies. As a result of these findings all seven Village View buildings were filed as 'Unsafe.' This means that we are required to put up scaffolding around the five remaining buildings as soon as possible. (Buildings 6 and 7 already have scaffolding.)"

Bottom line: "Local Law 11 is likely to cost Village View an estimated $3.5 million and will take all of 2019 and 2020 to complete the work."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Village View ends talk of privatization (for now)

Corner market arrives at 20 Avenue A

[Photo by Aaron Wilson]

A deli/market opened this past weekend in the retail space on the southeast corner of Avenue A at Second Street (the owners of Avenue A Deli & Food on the northeast corner of Avenue A and Second Street must love this) ...

[Photo by Steven]

Not sure of the name at the moment. A worker there told EVG New Deli Correspondent Steven that their signage was arriving soon. (Members of the 20 Avenue A Watchers Club — our next meeting is Thursday from 1-1:15 p.m. — have been brainstorming possible deli names, a list that includes Alphabet Deli, Avenue A Food & Deli, Deli on A, 2A Deli and To Live and Deli on Avenue A.)


Updated 5/1

Hello Omega Salad Bar & Deli!

Updated 5/3

The shop's new entryway is now in place...

[Photo by @jason_chatfield]


With this, three of the four retail spaces born from the former Chase branch have been filled.

The unnamed deli joins Halo Spa and Alphabet Pizza here...

Chase vacated this storefront in November 2015. Perhaps one day the landlord will even sandblast the traces of the Chase name from the façade.

The Marshal takes over Bar Taco on Avenue C

That's apparently it for Bar Taco at 185 Avenue C between 11th Street and 12th Street.

The Marshal recently came calling, putting the space in the legal possession of the landlord...

Bar Taco arrived in early 2018, taking over the space from a short-lived venture called Malcriada, a self-described "Latino Gastropub" ... which arrived after Kaz, another short-lived venture that lasted seven months.

Cafecito, the Cuban-style cafe, had a good run here, closing in early 2016 after 14 years in business.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Monday's parting shot

Morning view from Ninth Street at Avenue A via Vinny & O.



Thanks to @davidpiz for sharing this photo (Bears of Anarchy) today from 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

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 — and NYC.

Grant is taking a week off — look for the next panel (No. 46!) a little later in May.

1 weekend down: L-train slowdown recap

We are now officially in L-train slowdown mode for the next 15-18 months.

On Friday evening, the MTA started its service reduction to repair the Sandy-damaged tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn, ramping down L times to 20-minute waits starting at 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and around the clock on weekends. (Here's the MTA press release on it.)

The slowdown's debut on Friday received so-so to negative reviews, based on various published reports and social media accounts.

Jake Offenhartz has a nice recap of the first night — featuring broken arrival clocks and hour-long waits for trains — over at Gothamist.

Here's a quick overview:

For many of the city's regular L riders — a group that numbers 400,000 on a normal day — the reality underground was a far cry from the governor's description of "service that would still work." In Union Square, crowds were penned in along barricades on the mezzanine level, in some cases waiting to board an open train that wouldn't arrive for close to an hour. Transit workers, stationed across the system in large numbers, practically begged customers to make use of the increased service on the M, G, and 7 lines, or the free transfers on the M14A/D and Williamsburg Link buses.

Those who did stay encountered extended waits not only inside stations, but on unmoving trains as well. The dwell times seemed especially bad at Union Square, where the MTA's interlocking system means that Brooklyn-bound service must wait for a passing train to arrive before switching over to the shared track, in order to avoid the construction area between 3rd Avenue and Bedford.

"It's worse than I thought," said Alfredo Fernando, a dish-washer at a restaurant near Union Square.

Transit reporter Vin Barone has his recap for amNY here. As he notes, the MTA's biggest challenge might be happening as you read this: making sure there isn't any lingering construction left to disrupt this morning's‬ commute.

“[We] are aware of how critically important it is to have that smooth transition so that ‪at 5 a.m. we can start back in service,” said Ronnie Hakim, the MTA’s managing director, during a trip along the L line on Sunday. “We do this. We know how to do it. It’s a function of working out all the kinks.”

You can also find coverage at the Times, who was more sympathetic in its tone with a headline: "First Weekend Disruption Is Frustrating, but Not Disastrous."

By Saturday, the L-train situation had mostly righted itself. Christopher Robbins at Gothamist explored one of the alternative methods touted by the MTA to get around — the M14 — on Saturday afternoon. "And while there were definitely more M14 buses, there is nothing to save them from getting stuck in the miserable traffic that clogs 14th Street. It took us 47 minutes to get from Grand Street on the Lower East Side to 8th Avenue and 14th Street."

Help may be on the way. In June, the city plans to convert 14th Street into a busway from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue with very limited access to car traffic.

Now to a few other observations related to the slowdown...

The MTA is stockpiling extra M14s on the east side of Avenue A between 11th Street and 13th Street ...

This means no parking/or standing along here for the foreseeable future... from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, and all weekend long...

The MTA also has extra buses at the ready on the east side of Third Avenue between 12th Street and 14th Street...

This also means no parking on this side of the Avenue ...

Meanwhile, the SBS bus services starts in June... and more ticketing machines have been unveiled... on the north side of 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

... and the east side of Avenue A between Fifth Street and Sixth Street...

Anyone have any L-train stories to share from this past weekend?

2nd Avenue gas-explosion defendants due back in court June 21

[Photo of 119 2nd Ave. from Friday]

On Friday, we noted how quickly the 7-story condoplex was rising at 119 Second Ave. at Seventh Street, site of the deadly gas explosion on March 26, 2015.

The work, which started in January, is moving along much more quickly than the legal case against the defendants.

The previous owner of 119 and 121 Second Ave., Maria Hrynenko, was due back in New York County Criminal Court on Friday. As in the previous 25 appearances, the outcome was the same since the first appearance in February 2016 — "adjourned/bail continued."

Hrynenko, her son Michael Hrynenko (now deceased), contractor Dilber Kukic and their plumber Anthanasios Ioannidis illegally tampered with the gas line at 121 Second Ave. then failed to warn those in the building before the blast, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.

Charges against Hrynenko, Kukic and Ioannidis include second-degree manslaughter. All three are due back in court on June 21, according to public records.

In March, the fifth defendant, Andrew Trombettas, was sentenced to probation and community service. Trombettas had previously pleaded guilty for his role in rubber-stamping a modification to 121 Second Ave. prior to the explosion that killed two men and injured 20 others on March 26, 2015. The D.A.'s office charged him with two counts of "Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony."

Shaky Cohen's Nexus Building Development Group, Inc., paid $9.15 million in June 2017 for the lots at 119 and 121 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Remembering Nicholas and Moises: the Figueroa family marks the 4-year anniversary of the 2nd Avenue gas explosion

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

Elvis has left Great Jones; 'seafood focused neighborhood restaurant' coming soon

It appears that some renovation work is underway at the former Great Jones Cafe ... at the least, someone has removed the Great Jones signage, papered over the windows and taken away the bust of Elvis that peered out from the behind the window for years...

There aren't any work permits on file yet with the DOB, so this may all be just some more cosmetic moves.

Last we heard, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman was eyeing the space here just west of the Bowery. He was to appear before Community Board 2's SLA committee last month.

According the official minutes of the CB2 full board meeting on March 21, Stulman reps were pitching a "seafood focused neighborhood restaurant" with a raw bar (under the name Marlinspike Hall, LLC d/b/a TBD).

Per the minutes, the premises will have eight tables with 24 seats and one bar with nine seats for total interior seating of 33, with a 75-square-foot sidewalk café with three tables and six seats. Additionally, the approved hours of operation are 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday; until 1 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.

The full CB2 unanimously approved the application.

Stulman, under his Happy Cooking Hospitality, operates a handful of West Village establishments, including Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey's Grocery, Fedora, Fairfax and Bar Sardine. He's been part of the fauxstalgia wave.

Great Jones Cafe never reopened after Jim Moffett, the longtime owner, died last July at age 59. The Cafe, a popular yet low-key spot, first arrived in 1983.

Previously on EV Grieve:
RIP Jim Moffett, owner of the Great Jones Cafe

New owners vying for the Great Jones Cafe space

[Updated] The future of the former Great Jones Cafe

CB2 SLA committee OKs license for new ownership of Great Jones Cafe

Basics Plus apparently not closing on 3rd Avenue after all

[Photo from Friday]

As previously reported, housewares shop Basics Plus was set to close this spring at 91 Third Ave. and 12th Street. Employees had said that today, April 29, was the last day.

The prominent going-out-of-business signs in the front windows directed future Basics Plus shoppers to the location on University at 13th Street ... along with notices for 20 percent off all items.

However, in the past week, several EVG readers passed along the news that Basics Plus is staying put. Per one reader:

"I went in there a few days ago to ask when their closing date was, and the employee told me they're no longer closing, they're just downsizing. So I asked why everything was still on sale, and she said she didn't know."

In a brief telephone call, an employee confirmed the change of closing plans, saying that they're just moving out the hardware section. When pressed for more details, she hung up. (The phone went to voice-mail on the return call.)

The store closing/sale signs were still up as of Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Be Juice bar connected to the shop has cleared out...

Basics Plus opened here in August 2014.

Surprise! Surprise! — a like-minded housewares shop with, according to readers, better customer service — was the previous tenant, closing in April 2014 after 25 years in business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Basics Plus is closing on 3rd Avenue

Workers still on the clock at 250 E. Houston St.

A quick follow-up to the clock post from April 11.

Workers have been refurbishing the (purposefully) askew clock atop 250 E. Houston St., the former Red Square here between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The Dermot Company bought the 13-floor building for $100 million in 2016. Since then, they've revamped the lobby and added new retail tenants.

While the 18-foot statue of Vladimir Lenin, which stood atop Red Square for 22 years was removed in 2016 (before eventually returning not too far away), the clock appears to be in the renovated building's plans.

Renderings of the new-look No. 250 include the clock with the numbers still out of sequence...

The original Red Square developers, Michael Rosen and Michael Shaoul, reportedly put the clock in this spot to cover the water tower and elevator shaft. The distinctive clock is a take on MoMA’s "Askew" watch that features a random sequence of numbers. (Hungarian graphic designer Tibor Kalman created this version.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rumors: Red Square has been sold

New ownership makes it official at the former Red Square on East Houston

Apartment listings at 250 E. Houston look to offer glimpse of former Red Square's future

Long-vacant retail space hits the rental market at 250 E. Houston St.

Former Red Square lobby gets the plywood treatment on East Houston

Avenue A Copy Center & Shipping Outlet has closed

After three-plus years, the Avenue A Copy Center & Shipping Outlet has closed at 47 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street (in one of the retail spaces of the Ageloff Towers).

As you can see, workers have started clearing out the space...

The Copy Center was an annex run by the owners of Essex Card Shop at 39 Avenue A. You can now head there a block to the south for your copy and shipping needs in this part of the neighborhood...

New restaurant alert for the former Kambi Ramen House on 14th Street

A quick note about an incoming restaurant... there's a taker for the former Kambi Ramen House on 14th Street just west of First Avenue... EVG regular Pinch pointed out this Community Board notice on the front door last week...

This is in the jurisdiction of CB6 (and not CB3 per our usual coverage)... and their website doesn't appear to have a detailed account of the applicants. So all we know is this: New Wine, Beer & Cider License for Trad Japan Co LTD.

We'll keep an eye on this for further developments here.

Kambi Ramen House closed in July 2018 after 10 years in service. The Kambi family also operates the popular Minca Ramen Factory on Fifth Street near Avenue B.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28

Spring Cleaning continues... and more people apparently feel as if it's time to toss the Christmas tree... EVG reader Melissa spotted this one today on Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B...