Monday, September 16, 2019

2nd Avenue gas explosion trial enters 2nd week

[Photo from March 26, 2015 by peter radley]

The Second Avenue gas explosion trial enters its second week in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Maria Hrynenko, contractor Dilber Kukic and unlicensed plumber Jerry Ioannidis are standing trial on a variety of charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for the March 2015 explosion at 121 Second Ave. that killed two men and injured nearly two dozen people.

They illegally tampered with the gas line at No. 121, where the restaurant Sushi Park was the retail tenant, then failed to warn those in the building before the blast, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. The defense is attempting to shift the blame away from the three, putting the responsibility on Con Edison and others.

The trial is expected to last three months.

An EVG reader, who went to part of the trial last week, shared the courtroom information:

Supreme Court, New York County
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, (1-2 p.m. lunch break)
100 Centre St., Room 1536.
Judge Michael Obus is presiding

And unlike federal court, people can bring in smartphones, computers and books into the courtroom.

Here are a few headlines from the trial last week:

• Jurors see gruesome photos of two men who died in East Village blast (The Post)

• FDNY hero injured fighting 2015 East Village blast: ‘I live in pain’ (The Post)

• East Village gas explosion trial starts; Defense focuses on Con Ed, missing valve (The Villager)

• Video of East Village building explosion aftermath brings landlord on trial to tears (Daily News)

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

RIP Nicholas Figueroa

RIP Moises Ismael Locón Yac

A family continues to feel the loss on 2nd Avenue

Exclusive: 2nd Avenue explosion sites have a new owner

Dedicating Moises Locón Way and Nicholas Figueroa Way on 2nd Avenue at 7th Street

Jury selection starts for defendants in 2nd Avenue gas explosion that killed 2 men

Day 1 recap of the 2nd Avenue gas explosion trial; opening statements and emotional testimony from Nicholas Figueroa's father

The Associated on 14th Street in Stuy Town is said to close by year's end

The Associated Supermarket on 14th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue along the southern border of Stuy Town isn't expected to stay open for much longer this year.

Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk emailed residents with the news on Friday afternoon (thank you to the EVG readers who shared this):

We share the community's disappointment that after 26 years, Associated Supermarket on 14th street, has decided to close its doors.

Know that we have and will continue to work with Associated's owners in an effort to accommodate their needs, including offering free rent in an attempt to keep the store open through the holidays. But even with this offer, Associated cannot guarantee that the store will remain open through the end of the year.

The owners have told us that the competitive environment for supermarkets, both locally and online, have led them to this unfortunate decision.

As for "tomorrow", StuyTown Property Services is working on finding a new tenant with full understanding that a local grocery store is important to the community; but this will take some time.

We're grateful to the owners and employees of Associated Supermarket for serving the needs of the Stuyvesant Town community for over two decades.

So the Associated owners are chalking this up to "the competitive environment," which will become even more competitive once the Trader Joe's opens across 14th some time in 2020.

The Associated here has had a turbulent few years. In 2015, the current Stuy Town management reportedly tried to buy out the lease. A Morton Williams was set to takeover the space, but they backed out upon learning of Trader Joe's impending arrival. The owners of Associated were able to work out a new lease in 2017.

The area surrounding the supermarket has also been chewed up during the L-train rehab work that started here in the summer of 2017.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Associated owners not having any luck shopping for a lease renewal on East 14th Street (34 comments)

Petition drive underway to help save the Stuy Town Associated on East 14th Street

Report: New Stuy Town owner pledges to keep a grocery story on East 14th Street, but it may not be Associated

Report: Morton Williams will take over the Associated space on 14th Street (27 comments)

Report: Morton Williams won't be taking over the 14th Street Associated after all

The all-new 149 Avenue B emerges

[Photos by Steven]

149 Avenue B — sandwiched between the Christodora House and the Charlie Parker Residence — has been under renovation in recent years... and the new-look residential building emerged from behind the construction netting and plywood late last week...

First, what the five-story building was: The longtime home of the New York Gospel Mission. The property hit the market for $5.5 million in October 2012.

According to its website, New York Gospel Mission was founded in 1895 by Dr. Bernard Angel. He died in 1929, and his daughter Ruth became the director. In 1944 the mission purchased No. 149 and named it Angel Memorial House after the founders.

[149 Avenue B as seen in 2012]

As for what's next ... as you can see, the building has been transformed, including a "rear horizontal enlargement," into a 4-unit residence, including a top-floor duplex. Jeffrey Cole Architect is the architect of record. The developer is Florida-based Tompkins Square Holdings LLC, who bought No. 149 for $4.65 million in December 2012, according to public records.

No word just yet on pricing or luxury amenities at the moment.

Workers officially reach the top at 11 Avenue C, where a 10-floor building sits on the neighborhood's last gas station

This past week workers hoisted flags atop 11 Avenue C (aka 350 E. Houston St.), marking that they have officially topped off the 10-story building here at Second Street.

Here's a look from different angles ...

Foundation work started in December 2016 on this triangular lot that housed the neighborhood's last gas station.

Rotwein + Blake are the architects of record. Here's more about the development via their website:

The narrow triangular site, presented numerous challenges from its odd shape to zoning constraints, Rotwein+Blake crafted a well thought-out solution to maximize potential development opportunity for the client. At ten stories, the building will have 4,600 SF of ground level retail, 46 residential apartments and a landscaped roof terrace.

The buildings retail component engages the more lively Houston Street side on a pedestrian level, with an abundance of storefront glass, awnings and stone details, while the residential entrance on 2nd Street, creates a more private and embracing gesture. The brick and zinc façade blend a modern twist to a historic warehouse style, reminiscent of the now, chic residential adaptive reuse projects of Soho and Tribeca.

The plywood rendering still states the project's completion date as March 2018.

Previously on EV Grieve:
You have a little longer to get gas on Avenue C

Plans filed for new 9-story building at site of Mobil station on East Houston and Avenue C

State seizes Mobil station on Avenue C and Houston for nonpayment of taxes

New residential building for former Mobil station lot will be 10 floors with 0 zero affordable units

A look inside the last East Village gas station

Pile driving for new building on Avenue C prompts arrival of crack monitors next door

Orientation underway at the Boys' Club for the 2019-2020 school year

The Boys' Club of New York (BCNY) is prepping for one more school year at their Harriman Clubhouse on Avenue A at 10th Street.

In early August, news broke that Aaron Sosnick, an East Village resident and founder of the investment fund A.R.T. Advisors LLC, was the new owner of the Harriman Clubhouse, as Crain's first reported.

He bought the 7-story building for $31.725 million, and reportedly plans to sell the property, "potentially at a substantial loss," to a nonprofit that would maintain its civic use.

Lost in some of this transaction hoopla: What the Boys' Club was going to do for the near future in this neighborhood.

In a press release from July, Stephen Tosh, BCNY's executive director and CEO stated:

"We remain committed to serving our Harriman members and their families and, through an arrangement with the buyer, will stay in the building for another year. This will allow time for BCNY to secure a smaller permanent space in the neighborhood to provide programming."


The sale provides BCNY with the opportunity to continue many of its flagship afterschool programs — art, music, physical education, and academic enrichment — for its current members. Proceeds from the sale will also be used to expand BCNY’s services to neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

The Boys' Club quietly began the sales process in June 2018, as I first reported. Tosh said at the time that the sale of the East Village building would allow the organization the opportunity to start new programs in other neighborhoods in need of its services. (To be clear, the Boys' Club decided to sell their building — they were not forced out. The building was pitched for educational purposes as well as residential conversion.)

Meanwhile, according to the BCNY website, registration is open for both current and new BCNY members. The Harriman Clubhouse has also been hosting parent orientations in the past week.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Local elected officials urge Boys' Club officials to postpone sale of the Harriman Clubhouse

Boys' Club of New York selling East Village building; will remain open through June 2019

During noon rally today, local elected officials will seek postponement of Boys' Club building sale

[Updated] Exclusive: The Boys' Club of New York puts the Harriman Clubhouse on the sales market for $32 million

Boys' Club fast tracks sale of East Village clubhouse as final bids are due Oct. 30

RUMOR: The Boys' Club building on 10th and A has a new owner; will remain in use as a nonprofit

157 2nd for rent

[Photo Friday by Steven]

The rather beleaguered restaurant space at 157 Second Ave. is back on the rental market.

In late August, the Marshal seized Savor Por Favor, the Mexican restaurant-bar opened here between Ninth Street and 10th Street last October. The previous tenant, Yuan, which shut down in July 2018, also didn't make it to a 1-year anniversary.

As noted in previous posts on No. 157, this has been a challenging space to make work for any length of time. Before Yuan, Biang! — the sit-down Chinese restaurant via Xi'an Famous Foods owner Jason Wang — closed in March 2017 after 15 months in business.

The previous tenant, Wylie Dufresne's bistro Alder, called it quits after two-and-a-half years at the end of August 2015. (There was a rumored rent increase, per Eater.) Other recent restaurants here (before 2013) included Plum and Cafe Brama.

In previous posts, some commenters have questioned the landlord's role in these closures.

No sign of a listing for No. 157 just yet.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

4 opportunities to talk with the 9th Precinct about crime-safety concerns

[9th Precinct file photo]

The 9th Precinct is hosting three Sector Safety Summits this month for East Village residents and business owners.

The next one is scheduled for Wednesday evening (Sept. 18) at 6:30 at Cooper Union for those in Sector D...

The Sector B meeting is Set. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Campos Plaza...

The Sector C meeting is Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Standard East Village...

Use this map to find out what Sector you're in for sure, and what meeting you should attend. Find the sectors and the responsible officers here.

As for these Sector meetings: "This is an avenue for you to voice your grievances or concerns with issues in and around the neighborhood."

This is part of the NYPD's initiative called the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program. The 9th Precinct is split up into four sectors, with two officers assigned to each sector. (And not sure when the next meeting is for Sector A!)

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night at 7, the 9th Precinct hosts its monthly Community Council meeting at the station house on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

This is an opportunity for residents to address any concerns and ask 9th Precinct officials for their input on recent crime statistics. (Find the PDF of the most recent crime stats here.)

Week in Grieview

[Balloons on the Bowery via Derek Berg]

Posts this past week included...

A visit to the TF in Tompkins Square Park (Monday)

A new (familiar) owner for Takahachi on Avenue A (Monday)

A visit to Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery (Friday)

Day 1 recap of the 2nd Avenue gas explosion trial; opening statements and emotional testimony from Nicholas Figueroa's father (Tuesday)

Remembering Robert Frank (Thursday)

Gem Spa is now a "Schitibank" (Thursday)

Detroit slice city: Artichoke bringing an outpost of Lions & Tigers & Squares to 2nd Avenue (Wednesday)

Social Tees has closed for now while looking for a new home; "don't freak out" (Wednesday)

This week's NY See (Thursday)

[The 'Joker' bus on 2nd Avenue]

At the opening of Linus Coraggio's "Ramifications" (Saturday)

When Via Della Pace on 7th Street became Hobart & Blackwell for "The Goldfinch" (Saturday)

The Boilery in soft-open mode on 3rd Avenue (Thursday)

Off to La La land for this Avenue B laundromat (Wednesday)

C&B is weekends only at the moment at Paper Daisy on St. Mark's Place (Monday)

171 Avenue A ready for another restaurant (Tuesday)

Today, we say goodbye to the KFC's Cheetos Sandwich mural on 2nd Avenue and 14th Street (Monday)

Fire temporarily closes Gyu-Kaku on Cooper Square (Monday)

And another view of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s annual Tribute in Light...

[Photo by Trigger]


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Trek Bicycle opens on the Bowery

A quick note that the Trek Bicycle shop is now open on the Bowery.

As we first noted on Aug. 12, the American bikemaker with multiple retail shops in the city was opening an outpost on the Bowery in the retail base of Avalon Bowery Place between First Street and Houston.

This space has been vacant since Tatyana Boutique closed in January 2016.


An EVG reader shared this photo from Avenue B the other day ... some business-name high jinks, where the Bowery Moving becomes the Bowel Moving...

Reminders: There is a lot going on in community gardens for the next week

The eighth annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival is underway... with a variety of performances, concerts, workshops and other related events happening in the neighborhood's 50-plus community gardens.

Check the LUNGS website at this link for the garden-by-garden schedule.

You can also keep an eye out for this LUNGS newspaper with a rundown of activities ... picked this one up at my laundromat...

The festival continues through next Sunday, Sept. 22.

Question of the day: Where is Bruce?

[EVG photo from 2012]

Over on Seventh Street at Avenue C, someone tagged The Stand, the gallery space that featured Bruce Lee on the gate ... prompting a question...

Where is Bruce?

The Stand opened in 2012.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

At the opening of Linus Coraggio's 'Ramifications'

On Thursday night, Howl! Happening opened its fall season featuring the work — sculpture, painting and mixed media — of local artist Linus Coraggio.

The exhibit, titled "Ramifications," drew a large crowd on Thursday, including alum from the Rivington School sculptors group.

Here's more via Howl! about the artist and exhibit:

Linus Coraggio is a central figure in downtown New York’s early period of explosive art experimentation and cross-pollination of cultural ideas. Street artist and New York City native, Coraggio is best known for his abstract metal sculpture.

The current exhibition surveys Coraggio’s entire body of work, including paintings in expressionist and graffiti style, mobiles, furniture, neon, sculpture, mixed-media collage, and both classic and 3-D graffiti. The exhibition will also include recent collaborations with well-known downtown artists, and an installation of his painted and “sculpturalized” car that has become a recognized cultural fixture on the streets of New York City over the last 10 years.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the opening and shared these photos...

[Linus Coraggio]

... and a survey of the work...

You can see the rest of his work at Howl! Happening, 6 E. First St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The exhibit is up through Oct. 10.

Reminders: Cash mob at Gem Spa today

[Photo by Jeremiah Moss]

From noon to 2 p.m. today (Sept. 14!), the folks at #SaveNYC are hosting a Cash Mob at Gem Spa — currently adorned as a "Schitibank" branch — on Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place to help support the longtime business. Per the official invite:

Come prepared to spend some money — egg creams, pretzels, t-shirts, toothpaste! — and take your photo with a surprise work of guerrilla street art, as an acclaimed group of cultural activists and designers radically transform Gem Spa into a dystopian vision for the new St. Mark’s Place.

Maybe order an egg cream...

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

This is the latest act of kindness that neighbors have shown for the shop, which Parul Patel has been running for her ailing father Ray, the owner since 1986.

As we've been reporting in recent months, Gem Spa has been struggling of late, in part due to its temporary ban on selling cigarettes and lottery tickets as well as various landlord issues. (The ban ends in November.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
• A cash mob Saturday at Gem Spa (Sept. 10)

• Get your Gem Spa t-shirts or photos of Madonna — at Gem Spa! (Aug. 16)

• Will you buy a Gem Spa T-shirt? (June 28)

• The Gem Spa Zoltar is alive and well and telling fortunes an L-train ride away in Bushwick (June 19)

• "Gem Spa is open!" (June 18)

• What is happening at Gem Spa? (June 11)

• A visit to Gem Spa (May 10)

When Via Della Pace on 7th Street became Hobart & Blackwell for 'The Goldfinch'

[Derek Berg photo from February 2018]

"The Goldfinch" is in theaters this weekend. The adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, featuring Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Sarah Paulson and Finn Wolfhard, has mostly been trashed by critics for being dull and disjointed. Rotten Tomatoes shows a dismal composite score of 24 percent.

As you may recall, "Goldfinch" crews were here in February 2018 ... and again for reported reshoots in October 2018. They transformed the Italian restaurant Via Della Pace on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue into an antiques shop for the film. Derek Berg documented part of the shoot in these photos.

... and how the storefront — Hobart & Blackwell antiques and restoration shop run by Jeffrey Wright's character — looks in the trailer...

[YouTube screengrab]

And the actual trailer...

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday's parting shot

Tompkins Square Park today... see the ball, be the ball.

Thanks to Steven for the photo...

Today in discarded mattresses

Eden spotted this today on 10th Street at Second Avenue...

You were rubbish in bed too!

Wicked Leaks

Here are The Waikiki Leaks, an Italian band (circa 2019) playing Hawaiian music.

Big bellies up

Dave on 7th shares this photo from East River Park... where he spotted this stack of the mayor's rat-friendly, solar-powered Big Belly trash cans.

Not sure why they're here (don't recall seeing any along the East River Park in the past). The Daily News previously reported that each can costs $7,000.

Previously on EV Grieve:
March and rally for East River Park on Sept. 21; another public hearing set

A visit to Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery

For her latest "A visit to" post, EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by a local business that doesn't need much introduction — Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery.

The business, which Yonah Schimmel, a Romanian immigrant, started as a knish pushcart in Coney Island sometime in the 1890s, has been at 137 E. Houston St. at Forsyth since 1910. And the knishery has retained much of its charm — there's the tin ceiling, red flooring, operating dumbwaiter and overall time-warp vibe.

Ellen Anistratov runs Yonah Schimmel with her two sons, David (in yellow baseball cap) and Joseph (in the white cap). Ellen Anistratov, a fourth-generation relative of Yonah Schimmel, recently told NY1's Roger Clark that they hope to be here for another 100 years... take a look around...


Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find them on Instagram here.