Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday's parting shot

The Christmas lights went up today outside 7B/Vazac's/Horseshoe Bar on Seventh Street and Avenue B (will check back for this view later) ... thanks to EVG reader Emily Reese for the photo!

6 posts from November

[A recent fall day in Tompkins Square Park]

A mini month in review...

• A visit to Turntable Lab on 10th Street (Nov. 26)

• Details on the guilty verdicts in the 2nd Avenue gas explosion case (Nov. 18)

• A visit to the new Tompkins Square Playground featuring equipment for kids with special needs (Nov. 14)

• A look at Book Club, the new bookstore-cafe on 3rd Street (Nov. 8)

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

• Enz's Boutique has closed on 2nd Avenue (Nov. 4)

Your guide to getting Local today and every day of the week

Info from the East Village Community Coalition via the EVG inbox...

Help keep your local storefronts bustling on Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and every day with EVCC's new online Get Local Guide.

Our new Guide is updated in real time. So it's the best place to find up-to-date information on the go.

Don't worry, we're still printing those cute little books! Our 2020 Get Local Guide arrives next week.

Friday, November 29, 2019

'Hide' and Seek

Some new shoegaze courtesy of Deserta, the latest project from Matthew Doty. The debut release from Deserta is out in early 2020. The audio track here for "Hide" came out last week.

About the Messages to Go shopping bags that support small businesses in the East Village

[Rossy's Bakery & Cafe owner Rossy Caba, right]

The East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA) and FABnyc have joined forces to bring greater awareness and appreciation to small- and immigrant-owned businesses in the East Village.

Beginning Small Business Saturday (tomorrow, Nov. 29!), customers can stop by any of the participating businesses and pick up their free Messages to Go shopping bags:

● Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, 28 E. Second St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery)
● Downtown Yarn, 45 Avenue A (between Third Street and Fourth Street)
● Dual Specialty Shop, 91 First Ave. (between Fifth Street and Sixth Street)
● Exit9 Gift Emporium, 51 Avenue A (between Third Street and Fourth Street)
● East Village Vintage Collective, 545 E. 12th. St. (between Avenue A and Avenue B)
● Lancelotti Housewares, 66 Avenue A (between Fourth Street and Fifth Street)
● La Sirena Mexican Folk Art, 27 E. Third St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery)
● Pageant Print Shop, 69 E. Fourth St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery)
● Pink Olive Card Shop, 439 E. Ninth St. (between Avenue A and First Avenue)
● Random Accessories, 77 E. Fourth St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery)
● Rossy's Bakery & Café, 242 E. Third St. (between Avenue B and Avenue C)

Messages to Go is an art project by Hatuey Ramos-Fermín that creates and distributes a series of reusable shopping bags based on conversations with local business owners and advocates to draw attention to small business displacement in the Lower East Side.

EVG contributor Stacie joy shared these photos of the bag featured at Rossy's Bakery & Cafe ...

Coat drive at an.mé on 9th Street

Now through Dec. 6, an.mé, the boutique for kids and families on Ninth Street, is holding a coat drive for WIN (Women in Need), a social-services agency that helps women and children with housing and other critical needs.

Via the EVG inbox:

This year they are asking for preloved or new coats for kids ages 3-16 and winter accessories, same age range.

We have a collection box in the store and are offering anyone who brings in coats 15 percent off their purchase from us that day. They can even purchase items from us to donate and receive the 15 percent off that purchase.

The shop is at 328 E. Ninth St between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

An empty storefront now at 350 E. 9th St.

[Photo yesterday by Steven]

The beQu Juice (or Bqjuice) at 350 E. Ninth St. is now closed... as we noted, Wednesday was expected to be the last day in business here just west of First Avenue.

On Thanksgiving day, someone (the landlord? a juice-shop employee?) covered the front window with flattened cardboard boxes.

Bq — short for Beyond Quality — opened in January 2014 at the former home of the 9th Street Bakery, which closed in 2012 following a rent increase.

At the time, bakery owners Oleg and Tetyana Kucherenko said that they couldn't afford the 38 percent rent hike that the landlord was requesting with a new lease. They were on a month-to-month rent arrangement until the landlord found a new tenant.

Oleg told Gothamist in 2012 how much their demographic had changed.

"[It's got] nothing to do about rent, it's about business. It can't be generalized because the neighborhood in this spot really changed. Changed so much. I have maybe 5 percent of my customers left. I was fighting until the end, but it was already bad a year ago."

Until 2012, a bakery had been in this storefront for 87 years.

Interesting new business opens on 1st Avenue and 14th Street

That AT&T store is now open for business on the southwest corner of First Avenue and 14th Street. (Photo from EVG AT&T Authorized Retailer correspondent Pinch.)

This zone is now a hotspot for wireless services, with AT&T joining the MetroPCS next door and the T-Mobile on the southeast corner of 14th and First.

The previous tenant here, the Vitamin Shoppe, closed in November 2018 after nine years in business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Signage for interesting new business arrives on 1st Avenue and 14th Street

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dark Bird

Dark Bird

unexpected i could not unsee
this dark bird appearing before me
i stood still among the walking
as not to alarm this visiting
foraging fellow below the tree
food there finding i could not see
am i the only one noticing
so much beauty hops along
unexpected with a flap of wings
lands closer upon the fence
regarding me with a curious eye
my mind racing our relevance
before more than a breath a sigh
another flap of wings up and away
through the portal in the sky
alas too brief this silent stay

peter radley

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tree Riders NYC will soon be selling trees on 2nd Avenue

EVG correspondent Steven reports that the Tree Riders NYC have started setting up their tree shop today outside St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery on Second Avenue between 10th Street and 11th Street...

The Christmas trees will arrive here on Friday... this is arguably the most popular and cheerful of the tree stands in the neighborhood... since 2011.



The Tompkins Square Park holiday tree lighting is Dec. 8!

[Photo by Steven]

Well, while you're waiting for one holiday to begin... here's some save-the-date info — the 28th edition of the Tompkins Square Park tree lighting happens on Dec. 8 from 4-5 p.m.

Expect caroling, refreshments, etc.! Always a good time. More details next week!

Meanwhile, in a bit of good news, that mysterious hole that arrived near the tree last Christmas Eve eve was filled in on Nov. 6 after nearly 11 months ...

[Photo from Nov. 6 by Steven]

(Of course there are those smaller mysterious holes now...)

A quick look at the under-renovation Joseph C. Sauer Park

Renovation work started the week of Oct. 21 here at Joseph C. Sauer Park on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The Parks website lists construction as 2 percent complete... here's a look at 2 percent in the books...

The upgrades include new equipment, seating areas and plantings. The $4-million renovations — part of Mayor de Blasio’s Community Parks Initiative — have a completion date of October 2020, per the Park's website.

The schematic on the Parks website still shows a 4-foot fence along 12th Street...

On Oct. 18, following a petition drive and community concern over safety issues, local Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera announced a deal with the city that would keep the fence outside the Park at 8 feet once it reopens.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A petition to keep the 8-foot fence at Joseph C. Sauer Park on 12th Street

Year-long renovations expected soon at Joseph C. Sauer Park on 12th Street; locals want fence to remain at 8 feet

Pols: Fence at Joseph C. Sauer Park on 12th Street will remain at 8 feet

Trailer Park Santa Stand bucks tradition on 14th Street with mini camper

The Christmas tree vendor is setting up as usual on the northwest corner of 14th Street at First Avenue.

EVG regular Pinch notes something new this year — a mini camper. This takes the place of the Cousin Eddie-style camper that had been parked on 14th Street in recent years, though not last year because of, we heard, the new SBS lane.

No word yet on what inflatables to expect this year. A Santa? A reindeer? A bear? A reindeer with a bear and Santa?

Meanwhile, a look back to 2014...

[On loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Year Without a Trailer Park Santa Claus

Grubby ol' St. Nick inflatable makes triumphant return to 14th Street after 2 (long) years

Another year without grubby ol' St. Nick on East 14th Street; what to tell the children?

New, improved inflatable Santa arrives on East 14th Street tree lot

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Last soup night for Ciao for Now

From the tip line ... word of the very last soup night over at Ciao for Now at 523 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

In an Instagram post, the CFN family notes that the Citizens Cafe Group is taking over moving forward. Will have more about this development later...

Meanwhile, in summation, the cafe shut down its dining room after 17 years at the end of January 2018. However, ownership was continuing on with the catering business ... and in March 2018, they announced the Tuesday evening dinner service with a variety of soups and salads.

Ciao for Now is open from 5 to 10 p.m. today.

A visit to Turntable Lab on 10th Street

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

The older I get the less new music I am exposed to, which is why I am always particularly interested in EV Grieve’s Fridays at Five and curated musical selections. It’s turned me on to local rocker Liza Colby, Princess Nokia’s “Tomboy” and THICK’s “Green Eyes,” among others.

In this A Visit To ... I get the opportunity to explore new-to-me music at Turntable Lab with owner Pete Hahn and his Turntable staff.

[Pete Hahn]

Pete arrives — on skateboard — from his nearby East Village home to meet me at the Lab’s storefront at 84 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue, and walks me though the store pointing out both beginner record players (now made with USB port) and advanced DJ setups. I even get a mini lesson on the ones and twos on the in-house DJ booth from sales associate Paul Bennett!

Aside from a tour and DJ lesson, Hahn talked about the evolution of Turntable Lab, which had its humble beginnings as an NYU side hustle, to its first shop on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. Turntable is now in its 20th year of business.

Turntable Lab got its start while you were at NYU. What experiences led to this launch?

My decision to go to NYU had a lot to do with the city’s DJ/record shop scene. There were lots of record shops, but if I wanted to get equipment, I had to go to a Canal Street electronics stores. I would walk in knowing the market price of an item, get into an intense haggling session, and still walk away paying above market price.

This gave us the idea to create a website that would sell DJ equipment with more transparency — no “call for price,” which was the norm back then. We started in my apartment on 12th Street with a Macintosh G3, a 56K modem, and a fax machine to take orders.

At what point did you realize that this was going to be a full-time business and not a side hustle?

In the first year of the business I was working during the day for a Soho advertising agency. I specialized in internet boom sites (1999) and was assigned to an early beauty ecommerce site. They were paying the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a site that was barely functional. During a meeting I found out that my archaic hand-coded HTML site was grossing more than the beauty site — that’s when I decided to go full time.

Why did you decide to relocate from Seventh Street in 2016 to the current shop on 10th Street? At the time, did you consider moving to another neighborhood?

After being on Seventh Street for 15-plus years, the store needed a major renovation. It was cramped. The basement always flooded. The fixtures were wearing down. Rather than renovate the old space, we decided to start fresh. We never looked at any other areas — we knew we were staying in the East Village.

On that note: Why have you continued to base the TTL storefront in the East Village?

Personally, I think the East Village is still one of the top three record-shopping neighborhoods in the world. You can walk around, eat delicious things, check out Tompkins, find a stoop sale, people watch, and visit other quality record shops.

The East Village — along with many other neighborhoods — have suffered the loss of record/music shops in recent years. What has helped you survive? Twenty years in any business, especially one related to trends in music and music consumption, is impressive.

I could go deep into this, but here’s a quick version:
1) Don’t get stuck in old ways.
2) Respect each other’s tastes in music.
3) Be kind to customers.
4) Make it interesting for customers to visit often.
5) Keep it organized.
6) Know your margins.

The TTL website is robust. Why is a physical storefront still important to you?

Online commerce is inherently soulless. The store helps us maintain our soul by linking us in a different way to our customers, the DJ community, and the neighborhood. Plus, if you can successfully run a storefront these days, you know you are doing something right (and maybe even universally correct).

The storefront spans many genres of music. In one visit, I can pick up the new Diiv, Bat for Lashes and the re-release Rupa Biswas’ 1982 disco jazz LP. How do you decide what to carry?

There’s three people in the company that buy most of the vinyl; but we also get input from everyone who works here. Nearly everyone in the company is a collector. For example, one person is our go-to for decisions on Japanese vinyl and anime soundtracks. If it’s emo, I’ll ask someone else in the company. Distributors also know that we’re super-selective, so they’ll only recommend the top titles to us. I still have that broke college-kid mentality when I’m picking records: they have to be worth it.

[Lauren Jefferson, sales associate]

Looking back to 1999, did you envision that you might be doing this in 20 years?

Hell no! I still can’t believe it. My business partner and I always joke that we can pass it along to our kids, but I think in our minds, we’re mostly serious about the idea. People have tried to buy the Lab a couple times, but in retrospect, I’m glad those deals never went through.

What’s next for TTL?

We’re very focused on continuing to expand our range of exclusives. We’ve been teaming up with audio-equipment manufacturers, brands and labels to create special items. I’m especially excited about this boxset with Stones Throw Records. It will be available at the end of the year and it features our favorite releases from their catalog in a box we designed. Lastly, we’ll continue to develop our in-house audio furniture line: Line Phono.


Turntable Lab is open every day from noon to 8 p.m. You can find them on Instagram here.

beQu Juice is closing on 9th Street

[Photo by Steven]

You may have noticed the for rent sign above beQu Juice (or Bqjuice) at 350 E. Ninth St. just west of First Avenue.

Workers confirmed that the shop was expected to close after service tomorrow (Nov. 27). Management says that they hope to find another space elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The juice shop opened in January 2014 at the former home of the 9th Street Bakery, which closed in 2012 following an unsuitable rent increase.

This is your chance to be the 7-Eleven's landlord on the Bowery!

Here's an investment opportunity for you involving the retail condo at 351 and 353 Bowery between Third Street and Fourth Street... home of a 7-Eleven for maybe the next 15 years.

Details via the listing!

The Boulder Group is pleased to exclusively market for sale a single-tenant 7-Eleven retail condominium located in Manhattan within the Bowery neighborhood. 7-Eleven is committed to this location as evidenced by their recent lease extension which now expires in December 2034.

The lease features 10-percent rental escalations every five years in the primary term and a 15-percent rental escalation in the renewal option. 7-Eleven is an investment grade tenant with a Standard & Poor’s rating of AA-. This location is open 24 hours and a top performing location for 7-Eleven.

And the price for this 2,162 square feet of retail (to the exact dollar): $6,915,032.

This 7-Eleven opened in December 2011.

A new bus-boarding platform for 14th Street

The city yesterday started installing a bus-boarding platform on the westbound lane of 14th Street between Irving Place and Union Square East for the M14 A/D SBS.

As previously reported, the DOT has installed these platforms at other locations throughout the city "to make it easier for customers to get on and off buses, give more room for pedestrians on the sidewalk, and help buses move faster as there’s no need to pull over to the curb saving up to a minute per stop."

The bus-boarding platforms are part of the 14th Street Transit & Truck Priority Pilot, which launched in early October.

In other transportation news, City Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Ydanis Rodriguez are introducing legislation later today at City Hall to create two new agencies: an Office of Active Transportation and an Office of Pedestrians. More on this later.

Thanks to Nick Solares for the photo!

Foundation watch: 24 1st Ave.

On our last visit to 24 First Ave. and its property mate 99-101 E. Second St., workers had just demolished the structures on the property.

These buildings were leveled to make way for a 7-story, 22-unit residential building called The 101 Condominium.

[Rendering of the 1st Avenue side via Zproekt Architects]

Work is now in the pit stage... here's a look through the blogger portals on the plywood to see how foundation is coming along...

[1st Avenue side]

[2nd Street side]

No. 24 's previous occupants included the cabaret Lucky Cheng's (1993-2012) and Club Baths, the first openly gay-owned bathhouse (1971-1983)... and Cave Canem and La Nouvelle Justine in between.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Building that housed Lucky Cheng's on 1st Avenue now on the auction block

Onetime home of Lucky Cheng's and adjacent property sell for $12 million

7-story residential building pending at the former Lucky Cheng's space

Demolition permits filed to bring down former Lucky Cheng's building on 1st Avenue

The 411 on the 101 Condominium

[Photo from 2011 by Jeremiah Moss]

Monday, November 25, 2019

The 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue locations of the Bean closed for good yesterday

[1st Avenue location photo by Steven]

Regulars were shocked to learn that the seemingly always-busy Bean locations on First Avenue and Ninth Street and Second Avenue and Third Street shut down after service yesterday.

A tipster told us about Bean employees thanking regulars for their patronage. (Another tipster said that the store employees received little warning about the closure.)

"It is sad but true that we are closing those stores. It is a very hard day for us," owner Ike Escava confirmed via email. "Due to rising costs the decision to close was unfortunately the only one we could make."

Moving forward, the coffee shop will maintain the location on Third Avenue at Ninth Street and the incoming spot on Broadway and Ninth Street. (The Bean on Broadway and 12th Street closed earlier this month ahead of the move to the larger space on Broadway.)

"We hope to continue to see our loyal customers at those locations and to continue serving the East Village for a very long time," he said.

The Bean has had a presence in the East Village since 2003.

The outpost on Second Avenue and Third Street debuted in December 2011.

[Photo from 2011]

The First Avenue and Ninth Street shop opened in June 2012.

Today is the last day for Harry & Ida's on Avenue A

The Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co. wraps up four-and-a-half years of business today at 189 Avenue A at 12th Street. (Hours: 11 a.m. to ?)

Siblings Julie and Will Horowitz, who also operate Ducks Eatery on 12th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, announced the closure in an Instagram post earlier this month.

The general store was named for their great-grandparents Harry and Ida Zinn, Hungarian immigrants who had a store in Harlem. This shop arrived on Avenue A in June 2015, and immediately drew raves for their pastrami ...

The pastrami was one reason mentioned for the closing.

Per Eater:

But that pastrami presents a conundrum for Horowitz, an environmentalist committed to sustainability. “We love selling pastrami because it fucking tastes delicious, and that’s where we’ve had all our accolades,” says Horowitz. But selling it in the quantities that might make for a sustainable business won’t make for a sustainable planet, he says. “We still wanna do it, we just don’t wanna make a business out of it.”


Pastrami under the Harry & Ida’s moniker will still appear as a special at Ducks, but now the chef will devote more attention to non-meat items he’s developed, like smoked carrots and a viral smoked watermelon that looks like a giant ham. “I think that’s the direction for us: Keep a small restaurant and develop more sustainable [foods].”

There were also financial considerations. In August 2018, they shuttered their offshoot Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette in the Financial District after 10 months in business.

And as I reported in October 2017, workers removed the sidewalk bridge and scaffolding from the Avenue A side of the Steiner East Village condoplex between 11th Street and 12th Street.

For 19 months, the entrance to Harry & Ida's was obscured by all this construction. In total at the time, 19 of their first 29 months in business had been under the doom and gloom of that sidewalk bridge.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Acclaimed pastrami purveyors Harry & Ida's will close this month on Avenue A