Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Good news if you're done with summer

EVG Fall Holiday Decoration Correspondent Goggla spotted Halloween items out at the Kmart on Astor Place... not to be outdone, the Rite Aid on First Avenue at Fifth Street trotted out the Thanksgiving decor...

Look for the Christmas trees by Labor Day.

Report: Psychics seeing an uptick in business

[EVG photo from March]

While all types of businesses have been struggling in recent months, there's apparently one medium that's booming: psychics.

Per the Post:

While storefronts are going bust across the Big Apple due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York’s psychics and fortune-tellers say they are seeing more clients — and making more money — than ever before.

And locally...

New Yorkers who’ve never turned to the occult before are now seeking out some spiritual guidance. East Village psychic Kathleen Lee used to largely serve tourists — but with visitors gone, her newly reopened business has seen more locals desperate to find their way in this "new normal" than ever before.

"In my 30 years I've never had so many clients from the same block or the same neighborhood," she said.

GrowNYC opens a new greenmarket at Astor Place on Tuesdays through November

[Random Astor Place photo]

GrowNYC is teaming up with the Village Alliance for a new Astor Place Greenmarket on Tuesdays — starting today. (Last week's debut was washed out due to Tropical Storm Isaias.)

The market, located on the south plaza at Astor Place (Eighth Street-Lafayette), will continue through Nov. 24. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some info via the EVG inbox:

With a selection of locally-grown vegetables and orchard fruits, baked goods, cider, jams, maple syrup and honey from regional farmers, this Greenmarket is sure to be a community favorite, especially for those residents who were devoted to GrowNYC's previous greenmarket at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery.

GrowNYC's Greenmarkets work to preserve local farmland, while ensuring that New Yorkers across all five boroughs have access to fresh, healthy food grown right here in our region. A central component of Greenmarket’s mission and operations is product integrity: everything sold at market is 100% farmer grown, produced, caught or foraged.

The vendors include:

  • Kernan Farms Vegetables from Cumberland County, N.J.
  • Remsburger Honey & Maple Honey & maple syrup from Dutchess County, N.Y.
  • Wilklow Orchards Orchard and small fruits, vegetables, cider, baked goods and jams from Ulster County, N.Y.

You can find GrowNYC's COVID-19 safety protocols here.

Updated 9 a.m.

EVG correspondent Steven shared these photos from this morning...

The Athenian will not be reopening on 10th Street

The Athenian NYC, the well-liked Greek tapas bar on 10th Street from the team behind the Immigrant, will not be reopening. It had been shut since the COVID-19 PAUSE went into effect this past March.

"There wasn't enough clarity from the state/federal governments on re-opening plans to give us confidence moving forward," owner Jason Corey told me via email. "Although we loved our space and poured our blood and sweat into it (no tears), our lease was coming due and we decided not to renew."

The Athenian debuted in February 2018 at 224 E. 10th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. Before Corey opened the Immigrant Wine Bar on Ninth Street in 2009, he tended bar at Molyvos, a Greek restaurant near Carnegie Hall, and spent time there getting to know and appreciate Greek wines.

Meanwhile, the Immigrant continues on with outdoor dining (and takeout and delivery) on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. And Athenian fans will recognize Chef Max, who's now helping out behind the scenes at the Immigrant.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Monday's parting shot

Photo in Tompkins Square Park today by Derek Berg...

Checking in with Chico

[Photo from 2011 by Single Linds Reflex]

Over the weekend, rumors started circulating that Antonio "Chico" Garcia, the prolific graffiti artist and muralist whose work adorns dozens of walls around the East Village and Lower East Side, had died.

This is absolutely not true.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy spoke with him by phone last night from Florida, his home these past 10-plus years.

The rumors seemed to originate at a group art show on 11th Street Saturday afternoon, where this tribute was on the wall...

[Photo by Lola Sáenz]

"I am still alive and kicking. And I am still creating artwork and new paintings," he told Stacie last night. I took a little break [due to COVID-19] but I'm still here [in Florida] and doing well!"

You can see some of his more recent work on his Instagram and YouTube accounts.

Chico, who still has family in the neighborhood where he grew up, returns from time to time for new work and commissions. He hopes to be back in NYC as soon as travel is safer. He also has some ideas about new wall work to give back to the community.

Meanwhile, here's a look at a few of his murals...

[Lucy, Chico and Ray via Single Linds Reflex]

East Village Loves Queens expands: Meet East Village Loves NYC

East Village Loves Queens continues to expand its operations to serve New Yorkers in need. This past weekend, the local residents who formed the volunteer group announced a new name, East Village Loves NYC, and a broader mission.

Here's part of their message via Instagram:

Four months ago, when this project began, our goal was to provide direct help to Queens, a community hit really bad by the pandemic. We cooked, week after week, and partnered with the amazing @hungrymonknyc to deliver over 30,000 meals to New Yorkers in need. We promised ourselves to continue working and helping our city for as long as we are needed. What we thought would last only a few weeks turned out to be much more than just a temporary project.

Fast forward 15 weeks later, and we are still here, stronger than ever, and now, we’ve got even greater plans for the city we love. Make no mistake, Queens is leaving our name, but not our hearts. Queens will always be part of our DNA, of our history. We will 100% continue helping Queens for as long as we exist!

The idea behind the name change is to show that we are now planning to serve our city as a whole, and not just part of it. Our operation is now larger and with the amazing support of our community, we are dreaming big: dreams of an organization that can lend a helping hand to all communities across the city, whether it is to cook, to paint, or to learn new languages, to play soccer, basketball or to dance together, or simply to be here and listen, when someone needs to share — dreams of a city where togetherness is what matters most.

It’s simple: we want to build bridges.

Friends, we’re EV❤️NYC, and it’s so nice to meet you! We can’t wait to show you what’s next.

This team of East Village volunteers started in late April (as EVG contributor Stacie Joy documented here). Ali Sahin, the owner of C&B Cafe on Seventh Street near Avenue B, donated his space on Mondays for the group to cook its meals for donation ... while there, they were able to prepare up to 800 meals and 100 family-size pantry packs.

By June, they had outgrown the space, and started assembling meals at the Sixth Street Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. In addition, the group branched out to supply meals to individuals and families living in the East Village.

And now, they have their sights on NYC.

[Photo from May by Stacie Joy]

Find out more about the group and how to donate at this link. Follow them on Instagram here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
These East Village residents are helping feed families in Queens during the COVID-19 crisis

East Village volunteers expand their outreach to feed more neighbors in need

Lhasa, the celebrated Tibetan restaurant in Queens, opens an East Village outpost

Lhasa, the celebrated Tibetan restaurant that started with a tiny outpost in Jackson Heights, debuted its East Village location yesterday on the southwest corner of First Avenue and 11th Street. (These photos via Steven are from Friday.)

Here's more about the Jackson Heights spot — first championed by Anthony Bourdain on his show "Parts Unknown" — from Atlas Obscura ... "the Tibetan surprise at the end of a corridor of cell phone shops, a tailoring business, and jewelry stores."

For lovers of momos, Tibetan dumplings filled with pork or beef and heaps of chives or cilantro, Lhasa has been an open secret. ... The decor is sparse, the tableware disposable, but the food is a hearty invitation into Tibetan food culture. Steaming bowls of thenthuk, hand-pulled nubs of noodles swimming in a tomato-chili broth replete with vegetables and beef, are popular, as is shapta, fiery strips of beef fried with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Bamboo steamers full of momos occupy every table, served with a hot sauce that feels like a call to arms.

Owner-chef Sang Jien Ben grew up in the Tibetan town of Rebkong in what is today Qinghai Province, China, as the Times noted in an enthusiastic write up in 2017. He opened an easier-to-find space in Elmhurst last year called Lhasa Fresh Food.

On First Avenue, Lhasa is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with an 11 p.m. close on weekends.

The previous tenant here, Little Tong, closed after three years in in mid-March. (They did return shortly after for donation-based takeout meals.)

In an Instagram post from March, Simone Tong, Little Tong's chef and owner, cited the coronavirus outbreak as the driving force behind the closure. The Midtown East location remains open. She also opened Silver Apricot to great fanfare in the West Village several weeks ago.

A hopeful sign at the future (and former) ABC No Rio on Rivington Street

An EVG reader shares this from Rivington Street, where there's now DOB signage on the plywood outside the future (and former) home of ABC No Rio here between Clinton and Suffolk...

There's now an anticipated completion date of spring 2022 for the new sustainable building to go up at the site of the collectively run arts organization that was founded here in 1980...

Work onsite has yet to begin...

This project has been a long time coming, to say the least. ABC No Rio first unveiled plans for a new building in March 2008. Demolition of the four-story building that was in disrepair started in March 2017 while their programming went into "exile" at other arts organizations around the city.

The last we heard about the project came via a Facebook post from Director Steve Englander in December 2019. He addressed the latest setback at the site: "After excavating additional test pits to confirm existing conditions at one of the adjacent properties, we determined a redesign of our foundation and support of excavation plans was required." (Demolition of the Streit's Matzo Factory next door and the subsequent construction of the new condoplex on the site complicated ABC No Rio's plans.)

He also stated: "We know that progress with the new building has seemed slow, but please be assured, we are moving forward. It's been tough and we're glad that you’ve had our back."

You can read more about the new building and check out the renderings for the environmentally friendly structure at the ABC No Rio website.

Previously on EV Grieve:
At ABC No Rio's last HardCore/Punk Matinee on Rivington Street (for now)

[Updated] SLA suspends Maiden Lane's liquor license; patrons spotted 'with no food other than crackers'

[Photos by Stacie Joy]

Updated 8/11:

Maiden Lane is back open with a daytime food and non-alcoholic beverage menu. See their announcement here. (H/T Vinny & O!)


Maiden Lane, the bar-cafe on the northwest corner of Avenue B and 10th Street, is temporarily closed after a visit by State Liquor Authority operatives on Thursday evening...

According to the legal documents affixed to the cafe's door, "patrons were observed sitting in the licensee's sidewalk cafe with no food other than crackers." The paperwork doesn't cite any other infractions.

As we understand it, there wasn't any warning here. The SLA agent made his or her observations Thursday evening and Maiden Lane was ordered to close later on Friday.

Gov. Cuomo's recently enacted mandate directs that bars and restaurants must offer a "substantive" amount of food for patrons sitting outside their establishments ... including bars who previously didn't offer a full menu. Cuomo expounded on what constituted a meal — more than wings! — during a July 23 press conference...

As some bar owners have said privately, the SLA agents don't even seem to know what the rules are (is a salad a meal?) ... and the enforcements can be at the capricious whim of the agent.

Even before the COVID-19 PAUSE, Maiden Lane had a European-style food menu that included small plates of spreads and dips served with toast or crackers, salads, sandwiches and retail tinned seafood, which they sell through an advertised Tin Shop.

We reached out to Maiden Lane founder Gareth Maccubbin for further comment.

With reporting by Stacie Joy

Zero Irving getting closer to the top; first sign of the glassy exterior

Workers have reached the 18th floor here at Zero Irving (aka tech hub) on 14th Street. When completed, the building at Irving Place will feature 21 floors...

Also! The first section of the large glass curtain wall on the north-facing front is now in place...

In other recent news here, food-hall specialists Urban­Space officially signed the lease for 10,000 square feet on the ground level.

Per the Post on Friday:

The new Urbanspace, the fifth in Manhattan, will differ from the others in having interactive online ordering in addition to traditional "curated" food stands. It is set to open in the first or second quarter of 2021.

And of arriving in what will likely be a difficult food-retail environment? "We have the ideal business model to help the New York culinary world recover," Urbanspace founder and president Eldon Scott told the Post without offering specifics.

The building, developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services, will feature 14 floors of market-rate office space as well as "a technology training center and incubator, co-working spaces and state-of-the-art event space ... on the seven floors beneath," per the Zero Irving announcement issued last October.

The new building — long contested by local preservationists and community groups (see links below) — sits on the former site of a P.C. Richard & Son on city-owned property.

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

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

P.C. Richard is gone on 14th Street; preservationists want answers about tech-hub commitments

Petit Chou opens today on 1st Avenue

Petit Chou debuts this morning at 8 over at 229 First Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street.

As we noted back on July 22, the French-inspired bakery specializes in choux pastry, which is the base for eclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles.

They will also offer a variety of desserts as well as croissants and coffee.

You can follow along with them on Instagram. You can see some of chef-owner @bassim.90's creations here.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Weekend's parting video

A moment late afternoon yesterday during a DJ's set in Tompkins Square Park...

... she played Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" from 1990... which prompted a spontaneous "Poison" dance party that everyone seemed to enjoy ... video (and photo!) by Stacie Joy...

Week in Grieview

[Photo yesterday by Derek Berg]

Posts this last week included...

• Tompkins Square Library reopens today for grab-and-go service (Monday)

• New 5th Street coffee shop closes in less than 2 months; owner says the 9th Precinct's barricades "greatly restricted" his foot traffic (Thursday)

• CM Carlina Rivera calls for Parks Dept. to review fate of Cox statue in Tompkins Square Park (Tuesday)

• Bluestockings announce new home on Suffolk Street (Saturday)

• Manhattan45, a dance music record store, arrives on 10th Street (Thursday)

• Tropical storm Isaias brings down tree limbs in Tompkins Square Park (Tuesday)

• Storm damage: Pedestrian injured by falling debris on Avenue A and 3rd Street (Tuesday)

• East Village bar owner petitioning against Cuomo’s COVID-19 menu mandate has liquor license suspended for not serving food (Wednesday)

• An East River Park reunion (Saturday)

• MTA unveils new 14th Street L-train elevators; make a pitch to the feds for funding (Friday)

• This week's NY See Panel (Thursday)

• Fish ahoy! The Chippery debuts on 1st Avenue (Tuesday)

[As seen on 2nd Avenue]

• 204 Avenue A disappears; the all-new 202 Avenue appears (Tuesday)

• Bowery Mission selling Avenue D facility (Thursday)

• The Walgreens on Astor Place closes at the end of August (Monday)

• Hamilton Fish Pool reopens (Monday)

• Porsena has closed for good on 7th Street (Monday)

• Fonda permanently closes on Avenue B (Wednesday)

• Oda House closes East Village location (Thursday)

• Karma Lounge closes after 21 years on 1st Avenue (Friday)

• Matthew Kenney changing up concepts on 2nd Avenue and 4th Street (Monday)

• Cantilevering condoplex next to Rite Aid looking glassy (Monday)

... and it was a busy week for making 2020 holiday plans and discarding last year's Christmas tree... as seen Wednesday on St. Mark's Place via Derek Berg...

... and a day later a reader came across this on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B...


Follow EVG on Instragram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

Today in Tompkins Square Park: Meeting the Meetles; remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

[Photo from 2019]

Local cover band the Meetles will be in Tompkins Square Park this afternoon (1-6) for their annual summer show.

Per the invite: "Enjoy classic rock from 1950s to 1980s: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Motown, and much more! For everyone's safety, please wear facial masks/facial coverings to attend this event and as always, practice social distancing!"

And from noon to 5 today, the local chapter of the War Resisters League is bringing the Hiroshima-Nagasaki exhibit to the area around Temperance Fountain.

Via the invite:

Join us as we stand against nuclear weapons on this 75th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki. On display will be a 20-panel exhibit chronicling the history of the nuclear arms race, the connection with nuclear power, historic demonstrations against nuclear weapons and power, and what can be done to prevent this ongoing deadly menace from becoming a worldwide cataclysm.

Concern for East Village Organic's extended family in Lebanon

[Photos yesterday by Stacie Joy]

Ali and Amina Fardos, who own East Village Organic on First Avenue between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place, have family members living in Lebanon. On Tuesday, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut, killing more than 160 people and injuring 6,000 while destroying large sections of the city.

In response to the crisis, the market posted this message on Instagram yesterday:

Our hearts have been so warmed by the outpouring of concern for the EVO extended family from customers over the last few days.

For anyone who didn’t know to ask, or was afraid to pry, all of Ali and Amina’s family members in Lebanon are safe and well. We have been very blessed.

But so many others can not say the same. And our hearts have been heavy as we watch the country suffer the after effects of one the largest non-nuclear blasts in history.

If anyone wants to help and is able to give during this time, we have made a donation to @beitelbaraka.

Beit el Baraka has operated a free grocery store since 2019 to help the underserved communities within Beirut, Lebanon and since the blast, they are expanding their efforts to include other services for the people who need it.

We love their message and their mission and we feel confident any funds given to them will benefit the people directly.

[Ali Fardos]

Saturday, August 8, 2020


For anyone who can’t wait for 2020 to be over, there’s a stash of discarded plastic New Year’s Eve hats on First Avenue near 10th Street.

Photo by William Klayer...

An East River Park reunion

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

Last Saturday, a group of longtime local residents — past and present — gathered at East River Park near 10th Street for their annual Lower East Side Unity and Pride Reunion.

Given the COVID-19 times that we live in, the Parks Department issued the permit with instructions on social distancing and handwashing as well as reminders to wear masks (which everyone did, with the exception of a few photo opps) and not to shake hands (elbow to elbow was recommended).

And so this year's gathering was more low-key with fewer attendees. However, those here were happy to be in each other's company and in East River Park for possibly one last August gathering (we thought last year might be the grand finale) before the Park is closed for five years of demolition-resiliency work.

... and everyone paid their respects to group member Philip, who passed away last fall...