Tuesday, March 31, 2020

6 posts from March

[Socially distant wedding photos in Tompkins Square Park]

A mini month in review...

• A message from Nixon Figueroa and Ana Lanza, Nicholas Figueroa's parents, on the fifth anniversary of the deadly Second Avenue gas explosion (March 26)

• Local business resources via EVIMA (March 23)

• East Village Neighbors here to help during the coronavirus outbreak (March 21)

• A visit to Russo’s Mozzarella & Pasta (March 11)

• Ray celebrates his 87th birthday (March 10)

• Carlina Rivera states her opposition over plan to transfer air rights for new St. Mark's Place office building (March 5)


As seen on Second Avenue and 12th Street. The flyers have been spotted on many streets.

Multiple residents have said that they've already filed a price-gouging complaint with the Attorney General’s office. (Form here.)

B-Side has closed for good on Avenue B

[Image via @bsidenyc]

After a few weeks of rumors, B-Side officially announced on March 11 that the 17-year-old neighborhood bar on Avenue B was closing at the end the month.

They had planned for a few closing festivities leading up to this past weekend.

However, B-side's end came sooner than expected after Mayor de Blasio announced that, starting on March 17, NYC's bars and restaurants would need to close — save for food delivery and takeout — during the coronavirus crisis.

A tipster tells us that new owners will be eventually be taking over the space, though they don't plan on keeping the pool table.

B-Side opened in 2003 here between 12th Street and 13th Street.

Stop work order: Non-emergency construction has halted in NYC

[The incoming tech hub on 14th Street from Saturday]

ICYMI: New York State has implemented a ban on non-essential construction during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Moving forward, only emergency construction — a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow it to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site — is exempted from the ban.

Other essential construction includes work on roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters.

In addition, someone who is the sole employee/worker on a job site is also exempt from the ban that Gov. Cuomo announced late last week.

This Department of Buildings link has more details on the ban and how to file paperwork for projects in the interim.

Commodities is now temporarily closed on 1st Avenue

Updated 4/13 — Commodities is back open now with hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Several EVG readers reported that Commodities was planning to close up shop on Sunday.

Walked by yesterday for a confirmation — the market is currently closed for an unspecified amount of time...

Meanwhile, two blocks to the south, East Village Organic is expected to reopen for business on Friday after a short break.

[Updated] The Chippery, now with signage on 1st Avenue

From the coming-one-of-these-days department... signage for The Chippery arrived late last week at 85 First Ave. between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. (Thanks to Goggla for the photo!)

As noted back in January, this will be the first Manhattan outpost for the New Jersey-based chainlet, which currently has four locations in the Garden State.

The quick-serve establishment offers a variety of fried seafood platters and sandwiches. You can find their menu here.

Updated 8 p.m.

Eden reports that they will be open next week for takeout and delivery!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Exercise options and at-home workouts from East Village-based fitness providers

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

Interested in isolation yoga or some quarantine pilates? Dancing wildly while sheltering in place? Maybe some HIIT while adhering to the mandate to stay at home and observe social distancing?

Here are some ways you can do just that, and support the hard-hit fitness industry. Included are links to some free, low-cost or donation-based local services as well as more formal price structures for private virtual classes.

[Image via the Flying Squirrel website]

• Flying Squirrel Studios, the cozy pilates space on Sixth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B, is offering virtual mat classes (and virtual private sessions) via Zoom. Mat classes are $15. Find more details at this link.

• The Pilates Local in Union Square has some Vimeo-based free beginner and intermediate mat workouts here. There is also a 15-minute spinal stretch class.

• East Village resident, personal trainer and Avea Pilates instructor Sabrina Castro is offering livestream classes via Zoom, including a 50-minute “Pilates and Chill” class on Fridays at 11 a.m. for $15. You can learn more about her classes here. She also offers 30-minute free coffee-break classes from time to time to get you off the couch.

Meanwhile, Avea Pilates on Avenue A at Seventh Street (second level) is offering virtual classes. Details at this link.

• If you like a bit of dance mixed in with your Pilates, then check out Bianca Falco’s private and semi-private online classes at this link while her Rivington Street space is closed.

• Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy has online group classes or private lesson trial class for $19 (available via Zoom, Facebook Messenger and other apps) for first timers, or a two-month special for $199. More here.

• Now Yoga has hourlong online yoga offerings, including yin and mindfulness/mediation and discussion classes, and well as traditional vinyasa and stretch and restore.

The studio also offers always-free Yoga 4 Cancer (for survivors or those currently in-treatment). All classes are by donation if you so choose, and are done via Zoom. You can see the schedule here. Studio owner Renata Dibiase says she hopes to offer downloadable classes for rent via Vimeo platform soon.

• Stanton Street Yoga is offering $5 at-home drop-in classes for both beginners and more seasoned yogis, with additional yoga nidra, breathwork and meditation classes available. Classes are conducted via Zoom, and you can register and see the current schedule here. You will need to have a (free) Mind Body account to participate.

Body Evolutions Studio East Village has at-home chair and mat exercises via Zoom, FaceTime or Facebook Messenger with a suggested rate of $40/private session. Gyrotonics master teacher and studio owner Billy Macagnone says, “Motion creates emotion, so the way we move can very much dictate the way we feel.” You can email info@bodyevolutions.com (attention Gloria) to set up a session.

• Blink Fitness, which has a location on Avenue A and Fourth Street at Lafayette, is doing free live and on-demand Facebook videos for at-home workouts, like this one that uses Tide bottles and a suitcase!

• Planet Fitness is offering free live via Facebook at-home 20-minute workouts to relive stress and keep mobile daily at 7 p.m. here.

• Union Square’s 305 Fitness has free twice-daily (at noon and 6 p.m.) YouTube-based live dance digital events, including classes like Hump Day Hot Mess with Ana and Country Hoedown. There’s also a 30-minute kid-friendly dance class on Sunday evenings at 6.

• If Qi Gong is your thing, then you can move energy and promote balance and adaptability at home with LES resident and Abrons Arts Center instructor Ilona Bito, who has sliding scale classes available. More info here.

• Sky Ting Yoga, which has a studio down on Allen Street, is offering online yoga classes daily. Find more info at this link.

Some other options include solo running, biking or walking, an especially nice path is along the East River Park. There are a few outdoor gyms and tracks but the city has closed them to group fitness activities and encourages you to observe strict social distancing of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.

NYC Parks Department has these strengthen and tone handouts for legs/glutes, back/core and arms/shoulders, most of which you can do at home. If you do not have lightweight dumbbells at home, then you can use milk jugs, water bottles or detergent containers instead.

[Click for a bigger view]

Demolition permits filed for former Church of the Nativity and La Salle building next door

[Photos by Josh Charow]

Last week brought news that Gemini Rosemont, an L.A.-based real-estate investor that specializes in "tenants in high growth and tech centric industries," bought the former Church of the Nativity property on Second Avenue as well as the former La Salle annex next door for $40 million.

In addition last week, the demolition permits were filed for both buildings, per DOB records.

For now, the corner building at Second Street, 38 Second Ave., is not part of the unspecified new development expected here. (But a lot of observers figure that status will change.)

The Church of the Nativity closed after a service on July 31, 2015, merging with Most Holy Redeemer on Third Street.

No word yet on what Gemini Rosemont has planned for their new East Village parcel. Their other NYC projects include the 13-floor, 45-unit condoplex on 14th Street and Sixth Avenue that will look something like this...

[Rendering via Binyan Studios]

Thanks to Josh Charow for the photos!

The Starbucks on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place reopens today

[Photo yesterday by Steven]

The neighbor's Starbucks locations have been closed since around March 20. Now, however, the outpost on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place reopens this morning (March 30) only for mobile ordering via the Starbucks app or delivery via Uber Eats.

The hours: Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a 7 a.m. open on Saturday and Sunday.

According to a rep, the St. Mark's outpost will be the only Starbucks location open in all of lower Manhattan as of now.

Report: These 9th Street tenants don't have to pay rent until building has C/O, judge rules

[Photo by Steven]

ICYMI: Tenants at 331 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue will not have to pay rent until their landlord, Kushner Companies, secures a certificate of occupancy for the building.

Details via The Real Deal:

Residents of the building at 331 East 9th Street will also be allowed to stay in their apartments without paying any back rent, according to the decision that State Supreme Court Judge Frances Ortiz handed down ...

The nine-unit East Village property is one of several that Housing Rights Initiative and Bronx Councilmember Ritchie Torres announced Kushner was operating illegally at a press conference last March.

The property was built around 1900, meaning it was exempted from the city’s certificate of occupancy requirement, according to HRI. However, after buying the building in 2013 for $20.25 million, Kushner Companies added a floor to build luxury penthouses, a substantial alteration that meant the property would now require a certificate of occupancy, HRI said.

Ortiz agreed with this in his ruling, writing that “the addition of an entire floor on the top of the building constitutes a substantial alteration, thereby requiring petitioners to obtain a C of O for the entire building.” He added that “no rent is collectible by the petitioner [Kushner] when a building lacks a valid certificate of occupancy.”

The real estate company never received a permanent certificate of occupancy because of building code violations, according to HRI. The housing watchdog group helped the building’s tenants organize and refuse to pay rent.

Kushner Cos. COO Peter Febo said the the judge's ruling was wrong. They plan on appealing once courts reopen after the coronavirus crisis.

The Kushners started buying up East Village buildings in early 2013.

Black Seed Bagels closes for duration of coronavirus outbreak

Black Seed Bagels decided to shut down after service yesterday afternoon. The shop's locations, including the East Village outpost on First Avenue between 10th Street and 11th Street, are closed until further notice.

In an Instagram message, the owners wrote in part:

Thank you for your incredible support over the past month as we navigated how to best serve our guests and take care of our employees, as well as others in the hospitality industry.

At this time, we have decided to temporarily close our shops ... in order to do our part to protect the health and safety of our loyal staff, customers, and the general public.

H/T Steven!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Week in Grieview

[Spring on 10th Street]

Posts this past week included...

• Marking the 5th anniversary of the deadly 2nd Avenue gas explosion (Thursday) A message from Nixon Figueroa and Ana Lanza, Nicholas Figueroa's parents (Thursday)

• RIP Nashom Wooden (Tuesday)

• Local business resources via EVIMA (Monday)

• Development deal for former Church of the Nativity includes the La Salle space next door (Wednesday)

• Checking in on TabeTome (Tuesday)

• Veniero's closes for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak (Saturday)

• No more hoops for now at the Tompkins Square Park basketball courts (Friday)

• The Union Square Trader Joe's is back open (Friday) Union Square Trader Joe's temporarily closed after employee is suspected of having COVID-19 (Tuesday)

• Checking in at Il Posto Accanto (Thursday)

• This week's NY See (Thursday)

• East Village Organic now closed for the next week (Friday)

• S'MAC's curbside service (Monday)

• Gem Spa is closed for now (Monday)

• RIP Edd Conboy (Thursday)

• Local community gardens are now closed to the public (Sunday)

• Report: Gregg Singer offers former P.S. 64 for use as a medical facility during COVID-19 crisis (Monday)

• Brooklyn Dumpling Shop setting up shop on 1st Avenue and St. Mark's Place (Monday)

• Soil testing underway at the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place (Monday)

• An East Village stay-at-home shopping list (Monday)

• Despite health crisis, critics persist (Wednesday)

• The return of the psychic hotline? (Saturday)

• CheLi signage up at 19-23 St. Mark's Place (Tuesday)

... and thanks to Joseph Cavalieri for this great shot of the magnolia tree in the New York City Marble Cemetery on Second Street...


Follow EVG on Instragram or Twitter for more frequent updates.

The COVID-19 memorial on Avenue A and 10th Street

This memorial arrived on 10th Street and Avenue A on Thursday. It was in memory of Edd Conboy, who died on March 20 of a stroke at age 70.

According to an EVG commenter, his brother Jim was unable to have a memorial or funeral during the COVID-19 outbreak. And this was a way to help pay tribute to him.

The memorial is evolving to honoring those who have died of COVID-19 around the world, with updated statistics on the mirror...

The inscription on the mirror reads in part, "u are not alone, We all reflect your spirit."

... and this message — "Stay 6 feet apart or be 6 feet under" — was added some time yesterday...

Checking in on New Yorkers Foodmarket

New Yorkers Foodmarket, 107 Second Ave. between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, is an uncrowded grocery option (especially now that Key Food on Avenue A always seems to have a line outside).

The market has plenty of essentials in stock, including fresh produce, canned goods, paper towels, soda, etc., as seen in these photos from yesterday afternoon...

Two recent visits found just a handful of shoppers inside, all at a comfortable distance from one another.

New Yorkers Foodmarket is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday's parting shot

A moment on Broadway near 11th Street earlier today... photo by Derek Berg...

A talk with retail food workers during the COVID-19 outbreak

If it's of interest... Vogue has a feature online about grocery store and restaurant employees working during the coronavirus outbreak.

East Village businesses are well-represented: Layne Rawlings of East Village Organic on First Avenue; Viviana Robles and Gabriela Maldonado of Westside Market on Third Avenue and 12th Street; and Liz Quijada, the co-owner of the cafe Abraço on Seventh Street.

And in the photo above, there's Lesya Pshyk, who works at the East Village Meat Market. "I’m responsible to help the people of New York, but I’m also worried about my children and my mother sitting at home. I’m very positive; that’s the main thing. I think everything is going to be alright."

Find the full article here.

Photo via Twitter by Sinna Nasseri

Veniero's is closing after today for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak

Today (March 28) is the last day for walk-in service at Veniero's Pasticceria & Caffe, 342 E. 11th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

And today then, cakes, cookies and pastries at the circa-1894 bakery are 50 percent off (IN STORE ONLY).

Venirero's is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.

Thanks to Lola Saénz for these photos!

Updated 11:54 a.m.

The closure extends to all facets of the business, including deliveries...

The return of the psychic hotline?

In case you were wondering how some neighborhood psychics were adapting to the current business landscape...

Friday, March 27, 2020

This week in East Village street scenes

[By Ben Lebovitz]

Second Avenue (above) ...

St. Mark's Place...

[By Christopher Pelham]

East River Park...

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

C-Town on Avenue C...

[By Dave on 7th]

First Avenue at Seventh Street...

[By Robert Miner]

The Bowery at Fourth Street...

[By Derek Berg]

The In Between Days of our lives

Back to 1985 with "In Between Days" by the Cure...

The Union Square Trader Joe's is back open

The Union Square Trader Joe's location, along with the wine shop next door, reopened this morning on 14th Street.

EVG regular Pinch reports a line to get in as well as a shipment of groceries.

This location, as well as several others in NYC, closed for a "thorough cleaning and sanitization" after an employee "either tested positive for COVID-19 or is receiving treatment for a suspected case," according to a statement on the Trader Joe's website.

The TJ's website reports that an employee of the wine shop who tested positive for COVID-19 was last present in the store on March 22.

No more hoops for now at the Tompkins Square Park basketball courts

[Photo by Daniel]

Workers came in yesterday and removed all the rims from the Tompkins Square Park basketball courts...

[Photos by Steven]

This comes after reports of too many people playing basketball this past weekend — without anyone practicing social distancing. (One reader witnessed someone spraying a ball with Lysol.) The reader also noted the presence on Sunday afternoon of the NYPD midcourt...

EVG correspondent Steven spotted one resident, out for a bit of exercise, not minding the absence of a hoop...

"Now I never miss."