Wednesday, July 31, 2019

6 posts from July

[Surfbort at Bowery Ballroom Sunday night]

A mini month in review...

A visit to Metropolis Vintage on Broadway (July 18)

"Wealthy, anonymous individual" buys Boys' Club building; will remain in use for a nonprofit (July 17)

Book Club — an independent bookstore with cafe — coming to 3rd Street (July 15)

Local elected officials urge the DOT to explore bike lane options on Avenues A, B, C and D (July 15)

Reader reports: The NYPD forcibly stops a Citi Biker on Avenue A for his own safety (July 5)

At long last a taxi relief stand for East Houston and 1st Street outside Punjabi Grocery & Deli (July 1)

Diversions: the trailer for Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

[Photo from 2017 by Dan Efram]

Back in November 2017, EVG regular Dan Efram documented how the crew for Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" transformed the corner of Orchard and Broome into 1970s-era Little Italy. (You may revisit that post here.)

Anyway, "The Irishman" — via Netflix — is set to world premiere as the opening night selection at the 2019 New York Film Festival.

And earlier today, the film's first trailer arrived. Here's the set-up via IndieWire:

“The Irishman,” based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” reunites Scorsese with his former muse Robert De Niro and his “Goodfellas” Oscar winner Joe Pesci. The gangster movie also stars Al Pacino, who has never worked with Scorsese until now.

“The Irishman” stars De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who became a mob hitman and played a role in Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. Pacino is starring as notorious mob-connected union boss Hoffa. The supporting cast includes Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A look at Orchard Street's transformation into the 1970s for Martin Scorsese's Jimmy Hoffa film

3rd Avenue and 14th Street cited as one of the city's most dangerous intersections for cyclists

[Google Street View]

According to an analysis of intersections citywide, Third Avenue and 14th Street is among the most dangerous in NYC for cyclists, new research shows.

Last week, Mayor de Blasio’s announced his "Green Wave Bicycle Plan" in reaction to a recent spate of cycling deaths. (Em Samolewicz was killed Monday morning in Sunset Park, marking the 18th cyclist to die on city streets this year — eight more than all of 2018.)

The mayor's $58.4 million initiative will ramp up enforcement at the 100 most crash-prone intersections and target enforcement on highest risk activities: speeding, failing to yield, blocking bike lanes, oversized trucks/trucks off route.

Over the next five years the city will also renovate 50 intersections with turn-calming treatments and re-design areas where fatalities occur. (The city has yet to disclose those locations.)

On Monday, the data and real-estate listings website released the results of an analysis — using public data from 2014 to 2018 — to identify which intersections have seen the most cycling injuries and fatalities during that four-year period.

Intersections in the East Village and Lower East Side represent three slots in the top 10:

1. 6th Ave & W. 23rd St., Chelsea

21 Injuries

2 (Tied). Jay St. & Tillary St., Downtown Brooklyn

20 injuries

2 (Tied). Atlantic Ave & Bedford Ave, Crown Heights

20 injuries

4. 3rd Ave & E. 14th St., East Village

18 injuries

Per New separated bike lanes along East 12th/East 13th streets should offer a safer route, at least for cycling crosstown.

5 (Tied). Chrystie St. & Delancey St., Lower East Side

17 injuries

“Chrystie Street has a two-way bike lane, and the lane closest to traffic rides against traffic flow, which is a huge design flaw,” says urban planner Sam Sklar of “It doesn’t help that Delancey Street is extremely wide, as it accommodates car and bus travel to and from the Williamsburg Bridge. Additionally there isn’t currently any bike lane on this stretch of Delancey Street.”

5 (Tied). St. Nicholas Ave & W. 141st St., Harlem

17 injuries

[Allen at Houston]

7 (Tied). Allen St. & E. Houston St., Lower East Side

14 injuries

“Cyclists and drivers approaching this intersection often have obstructed views because of the width of East Houston Street, plus the width of East First Street along with obstructed views from street trees and bus traffic that potentially blocks views for drivers and cyclists,” says Sklar.

7 (Tied). Graham Ave. & Grand St., Williamsburg

14 injuries

7 (Tied). Jay St. & Myrtle Ave., Downtown Brooklyn

14 injuries

7 (Tied). Roebling St. & South 4th St., Williamsburg

13 injuries, 1 death

Says Sklar: "If you’re thinking about taking up cycling you should know if the intersections and streets near your home are dangerous."

Today is the last day for A Repeat Performance

[EVG photo from March]

As we first reported back in March... A Repeat Performance on First Avenue between Ninth Street and 10th Street is closing today after 39 years in business.

Proprietor Sharon Jane Smith has said that it's simply time to move on. Store founder Beverly Bronson died in May 2018.

[Photo of Smith by Daniel Efram]

Document Journal has a piece on Smith's ongoing shop project — chronicling the stories of people who have shopped here through the years.

Currently, Smith is writing a piece titled “Confessions of a Shopkeeper,” eliciting the characters and circumstances that she’s encountered throughout the past 38 years. Hoping to first have it presented as a performed theatre piece, Smith plans on later publishing the script into a book. “Often it’s poignant situations that present themselves in this shop. It’s not all the grand, dramatic stuff of New York life. It’s actually more subtle than that. It’s the little interactions between New Yorkers.” “It’s not fair if I go to my grave knowing all of this and not sharing it,” said Smith.

The shop’s alluringly diverse collection of items is deemed inevitable by Smith. “Anything and anyone can end up in New York really if you think about it,” she said. “All the people who drift in and out of New York. What things they carry with them, what little treasures they hide.”

Jewelry designer Lisa Linhardt, a friend and former neighbor of Smith's, will be moving into the space after A Repeat Performance.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A Repeat Performance, until July 31

A new storefront for A Repeat Performance, and word about the next tenant

The new St. Dymphna's outpost shapes up on Avenue A

A quick post for anyone curious about what's taking shape at 117 Avenue A between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place... this is the new (future) home of St. Dymphna's.

This is an encore presentation for the Irish-style pub, which closed on St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue last fall after 24 years in service. The new team includes previous owner Eric Baker, Brendan McElroy, proprietor of Dr. Brendan Mac Repair on St. Mark's Place, and a "St. Dymphna's family member."

Baker told me this about SD2 in March:

"I would not say we are trying to replicate the original space into the new one at all. Our goal is to honor the original while letting the new space dictate to us what it should be. Our goal is to recreate the community and cultural atmosphere, which is much more to important to us than architecture. We will be honoring the old space but this is much more of a reincarnation than replication."

Ownership is still shooting for a summer opening.

H/T Steven!

Previously on EV Grieve:
St. Dymphna's eyeing a return engagement, this time at 117 Avenue A

Reincarnations: St. Dymphna's set to return late spring-early summer on Avenue A

Documentary on photographer Jay Maisel's life at 190 Bowery opens today

As a reminder, "Jay Myself," the documentary about photographer-artist Jay Maisel's time living in 190 Bowery, opens today (July 31) for a two-week run at the Film Forum on West Houston.

Maisel bought No. 190 Bowery at Spring Street in 1966 for $102,000. He sold the six-story, 72-room building where he lived with his wife and daughter to Aby Rosen in early 2015 for $55 million.

The sale of No. 190 — the circa 1898 Germania Bank Building — was the biggest, and most interesting, downtown real-estate transaction in recent years (and maybe ever).

Here's the official trailer...

So far the reviews have been positive.

Find ticket info at this Film Forum link.

Previously on EV Grieve:
This documentary takes you inside Jay Maisel's move from the legendary 190 Bowery

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Developing: Partial boom collapse at 749 FDR Drive and 6th Street; no injuries reported

[Via @FDNY]

Emergency responders and news crews have descended on 749 FDR Drive this afternoon following a partial boom collapse outside an NYCHA building at Sixth Street. No injuries have been reported, per the FDNY after the freestanding crane boom collapsed against a 6-story building in the Jacob Riis House complex.

One of the buildings in the Riis Houses complex was evacuated as a precaution, an FDNY spokesperson told Patch. Traffic has also been stopped along the FDR (southbound lane) and Avenue D.

It was a close call for one resident, as ABC-7 pointed out:

Cynthia Martin, a building resident, said the boom damaged a window in the apartment where she lives with her children.

"The glass shattered inside the apartment. It went in, and (my son) heard a loud boom, and they ran, and all the glass was in the apartment ... my son was sitting right next to it, and thank god for the curtains (were) right there, but all the glass came in ... I felt like I was having a heart attack. I couldn't even get here fast enough," she said.

EVG reader Garrett Rosso shared this video from earlier this afternoon showing the damaged crane ...

The city has been upgrading buildings in the Riis complex in recent months as part of the Sandy Recovery Program Restoration.

Updated 7:30 p.m.

The @FDNY account shared this view of the damage...

Updated 7:45 p.m.

The FDR is open again in both directions...

At the Heap of Ruins Garden Party

On Friday night, performance artist Monty Cantsin (aka Istvan Kantor, a founder of the Neoism movement) hosted a garden party in Lot6C — aka that long-vacant lot on the northeast corner of Avenue C and Sixth Street...

EVG correspondent Stacie Joy stopped by the space, described as an experimental trash-art garden ...


The evening included Cantsin opening up a vein in his arm to create some of his trademarked blood art (you can read about his 40-year-history of his blood work here) ...

There were promises of future events here... but for how long is unknown. There are now approved plans with the city for a 6-floor residential building for this lot.

Previously on EV Grieve:
About the Heap of Ruins Garden Party tomorrow night on 6th Street and Avenue C

City Planning Commission will hold its hearing on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project tomorrow

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

The next public meeting on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR) takes place tomorrow (July 31) morning at 10.

The City Planning Commission along with the Office of Management and Budget and the Parks & Recreation Department are next the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) public review tour. The meeting is at 120 Broadway, Concourse Level. Page 42 (!) of this document has more details.

By now you likely now the story behind the ESCR project, a coastal protection initiative jointly funded by the City of New York and the federal government, aimed at reducing flood risk due to coastal storms and sea-level rise. ESCR is the first element of the city’s "Big U" plan to protect Lower Manhattan from surges like those seen during Superstorm Sandy.

As part of the project, city officials, starting next spring, plan to close East River Park for three-plus years, elevating it with 8- to 10-feet of soil and chopping down trees, etc., from Montgomery Street to East 13th Street.

Some residents, referring to it as the Kill Our Park Plan, have asked for the demolition and reconstruction of East River Park to take part in phases so that they continue to enjoy some of the amenities that the public space provides. (The revised plan, unveiled last fall, dramatically changed course over what had been discussed the previous four years.)

For more background:

• The official East Side Coastal Resiliency Project page is at this link.

• "A Beginner’s Guide to the NYC Environmental Impact Statement for the East River Park" via East River Park Action is here.

• A primer on the East River Park's past and future by the Village Preservation is at Off the Grid.

Also, this Gothamist piece has a nice background of what has transpired to date.

The city is now accepting public comments through Aug. 30. This link has details on how — and where — to comment.

You may also breeze through the mostly unreadable Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project here. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents with footnotes and collateral materials (the table of contents alone is a unwieldy 32 pages).

The final vote via City Council is expected in late September.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: The reality of storm-proofing East River Park in 2020

Storm center: Questions linger over updated plans for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project

At East River Park

2 Boots Pizza celebrating 32 years tonight on Avenue A

Two Boots Pizza is marking its 32nd year in business this evening with a bash in the outpost on Avenue A at Third Street.

From 6-8 you'll find live music as well as samples of two new pizzas...

If you've walked by the space in recent days then you may have seen Jim Power working on his mosaic planters (the ones featuring sculptures by Melissa White) ...

The first Two Boots opened on June 24, 1987 at 37 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street.

The McDonald's on 1st Avenue is closed for a gut renovation

The McDonald's on First Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street closed yesterday as workers quickly gutted the space for an McUpgrade...

EVG reader Samir Randeria, who shared these photos, spoke with a supervisor on the scene. This McDonald's should be back open in about three weeks. (This location received an updated facade in July 2017.) It was not immediately known if the upside down box of fries on the marquee will be moved to a different position, like, say, sideways.

Last summer, the McDonald's on 14th Street at First Avenue also closed for a three-week upgrade, which included the arrival of digital self-order kiosks.

Previously on EV Grieve:
1st Avenue McDonald's replaces $1 menu signage; new emphasis placed on the Big Mac, large fries

Final closing sale at the Art on A Gallery & Shop

The Art on A Gallery & Shop at 24 Avenue A at Second Street closes tomorrow (July 31) after seven years.

The last exhibit concluded a few weeks ago, but the owners — Wendigo Productions — have a few items remaining for sale, including clothing and jewelry. There are also art and office supplies, such as 3-foot tubes to store posters ($1 each!), a space heater ($15) and a desk with drawers ($25). Expect to find a few snow shovels and a ladder up for grabs as well. The storefront is open until 5 p.m.

Wendigo announced the pending closure back in March:

"One of the reasons, of course, is that like everywhere else in NYC the rent is too high, But beyond that we are ready to place more focus on the music end of the business, Wendigo Productions, LLC. To that end we will be moving to a smaller office space in the neighborhood and there will be no more regular art shows, maybe just pop ups here and there if inspiration hits.

Wendigo, which produces live events, concerts and tours, and represents and promotes local artists, closed its retail-consignment next door last summer. That freshly renovated space is now on the market for $4,995 a month. The Gallery space has an ask of $7,495. (Listing at this link.)

The closure also coincides with the sale of 24 Avenue A in February. The Sabet Group bought the building for $15.8 million, according to public records.

Previously on EV Grieve:
'Sayonara, Bitches' — about the last show at Art on A Gallery

Monday, July 29, 2019

Report: New legislation aims to track vacant storefronts, monitor health of small businesses

[For rent along 2nd Avenue]

In case you missed this news from last week... City Council passed legislation (totaling five bills) — the first of its kind in the country — that will require landlords to register storefronts with the city. This database will offer a snapshot of retail spaces in the five boroughs and their vacancy status.

As Bloomberg put it:

The effort, aimed at creating a more comprehensive data set to monitor the health of the city’s small businesses, seeks to replace the existing patchwork of available information, which doesn’t paint a complete picture of the state of the market.

The “Storefront Tracker” bill, introduced by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Helen Rosenthal and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, requires the Department of Finance to gather data on storefronts that will be bundled into an online resource to better understand the woes of the small-business sector.

Some details via amNY's report:

At the start of each year, building owners with storefront and second-floor commercial spaces, as well as commercial spaces in residential buildings, will be required to register with the city Department of Finance as part of their annual income and expense filings. The size, location, occupancy status, monthly rent, lease status and owner contact information will be required for each space.

Owners who fail to register or who provide inaccurate data will face fines. They will also be required to update the database if the occupancy status or ownership of the building changes within the first six months of the year.

The public will be able to see a commercial building’s occupancy status via the online Storefront Tracker database. More detailed data, such as the median time vacant spaces have remained empty, will be made available online via the census tract or council district.

Small-business advocates were generally supportive of the Storefront Tracker, calling it a useful tool.

“But it is perplexing why a bill counting vacant storefronts was fast-tracked and passed in just four short months,” Kirsten Theodos, co-founder of TakeBackNYC, told The Villager, “while the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a bill that would actually stop the closings by addressing the unfair lease-renewal process, had a hearing eight months ago and since then there has been zero movement toward a vote.”

Said Andrew Berman, executive director of Village Preservation: "[I]t is not by itself nearly sufficient to address the challenges facing small store owners in New York City right now."

The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development had a more celebratory take on the legislation.

"These wins come at a time when neighborhoods across the five boroughs have seen steep upticks in vacant commercial space. Landlords may be prompted to warehouse their storefronts in anticipation of rising rents or with the intent of holding out for the highest bidding tenant."

According to a count done by the East Village Community Coalition last summer and fall, there are over 200 vacant storefronts in the East Village.

As we've seen in the East Village, storefronts can sit empty for up to five years. For instance, two spaces in the retail base of NYU's Alumni Hall on Third Avenue at Ninth Street were vacant from the summer of 2014 until H-Mart opened early last month.


Previously on EV Grieve:
Raising awareness of the vacant storefronts in the East Village

Eiyo Bowl confirmed for part of the former Foot Gear Plus space on 1st Avenue at St. Mark's Place

[EVG photo from June]

Eiyo Bowl, a vegan quick-serve restaurant specializing in acai and rice bowls, will be the first tenant at 131 First Ave. (now going by 82 St. Mark's Place).

Here's more via news release (h/t Upper West Sider!):

The restaurant capitalizes on the quick-serving of foods from multi-cooking pressure crockpots and a streamlined supply of frozen vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients, that allows a low overhead in food acquisition, preparation, and serving. A specialty of Eiyō Bowl includes “Matcha Acai”, an originally conceived item that blends acai, matcha powder, coconut milk and banana.

Workers have been gutting the single-level structure ... and dividing the storefront into three retail spaces. No word yet on who the other two tenants might be for this corner space.

The previous tenant, Foot Gear Plus, closed last year at this time after nearly 40 years in business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
After nearly 40 years, Foot Gear Plus is closing on 1st Avenue and St. Mark's Place

What's next for 131 1st Ave., the former Foot Gear Plus space?

A look at 131 1st Ave., currently being divided into 3 retail spaces

A 'quick reboot' for Coney Island Baby on Avenue A

[EVG photo from July 13]

We heard from a lot of people over the weekend about Coney Island Baby, the 15-month-old live music venue at 169 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street.

For starters, the name is no longer on the recently renovated exterior...

[Photo Friday by Shawn Chittle]

And the show scheduled for Saturday night had been moved to Berlin at 25 Avenue A while Wednesday night's EP release show is now at Bowery Electric.

A co-owner described the temporary closure to me as "a quick reboot," with more details coming soon. Another tipster with knowledge of the club offered that "they’ve decided to do a different concept in that space" with more events and fewer bands.

[Reader-submitted photo from Saturday]

Coney Island Baby debuted on April 26, 2018, with a show by hardcore legends Murphy's Law, HR of Bad Brains and Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. Recent highlights include a sorta secret Sunday matinee featuring arena band The Raconteurs.

The venue's partners are reportedly Laura McCarthy, former owner of indie-rock club Brownies (in this space from 1989-2002), Jesse Malin of Avenue A's Niagara, Berlin and Bowery Electric as well as Tom Baker and Don DiLego of Velvet Elk Records.

Ho, ho, ho now there's a SantaCon lawsuit

[Photo from 2018 by Derek Berg]

There’s no place like a courtroom for the holidays.

A pub crawl promoter, named as Eddie Miller in public documents and published reports, filed suit Friday in a Manhattan Federal Court seeking control over the internet domain and its trademark registration.

Law360 has the details:

Miller's suit targets a business called Participatory Safety Inc., claiming its "SantaCon" mark is invalid and seeking an order that it may not assert control over domain names such as and

"SantaCon is a descriptive, if not generic, term," the suit says. Miller also claims for damages, saying his business interests have been unlawfully disrupted.

According to Miller's suit, the defendant registered the domain name in 2015, then applied for the SantaCon mark the following year, for use at "charitable fundraising" events.

Not long after that, persons unknown to Miller begin telling city pub owners that they were the "official SantaCon," says the suit, which presumably will attempt to name additional defendants.

"Whoever spoke to the bars told them not to do business with plaintiffs," according to the suit. In late 2016, persons unknown to Miller then emailed pubs, falsely calling him an impostor, according to the suit.

That year, a person going by the alias Kristopher Kringle attempted to force bar owners to pay him $400 per bar to allow SantaCon crawlers to enter their establishments, the suit says. That person, the suit says, is part of the defendant company's "smear campaign."

"Defendants' malicious acts have caused and continue to injure plaintiffs' ability to sell tickets to their SantaCon events all over the United States," the complaint says.

The suit also sheds light on the driving forces behind SantaCon, which Ben Yakas at Gothamist describes as the "city's stupidest annual event, a cultural void that provides an excuse for binge drinkers and obnoxious bros to let their alcoholism fly in public, all under the thin veneer of charity."

The Daily News listed the plaintiffs as Miller, Digital Marketing & Events, and Damon's List.

For future reference: The case is Miller et al. v. Participatory Safety Inc. et al., case number 1:19-cv-06994, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Meanwhile, here's the NYC date for SantaCon 2019...

H/T Carol from East 5th Street!

'Continuing adjustments' at Tree Bistro

Tree Bistro returned to service in mid-June ... nearly eight months after the six-alarm fire tore through neighboring 188 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street.

That fire wiped out Tree Bistro's garden dining area ... and caused other damage inside the restaurant.

Despite the recent re-opening, there's still fire-related work that needs attention. A sign on the gate for patrons this past weekend notes that "continuing adjustments" are necessary. Tree Bistro will be back in action on Aug. 7.

A new Indian restaurant for 11th and B

[Photo from Friday]

A new Indian restaurant is prepping to open on the northeast corner of Avenue B and 11th Street.

Khiladi will serve "South Indian tapas," according to their application on the CB3 website. (CB3 recently OK'd a beer-wine license for Khiladi.) Their hours of operation are listed as 11 a.m. to midnight daily.

Meanwhile, work continues inside and outside the space (175 Avenue B). Over the weekend, workers painted a red strip around the restaurant ...

... and EVG regular Gojira shared this photo of the in-progress mural inside the dining room...

Old Monk, from prolific restaurateur Sushil Malhotra, closed here at the beginning of the year after 18 months in service. Previous restaurants at this address have included Babu Ji, Spina, Uovo and Panificio.