Wednesday, September 30, 2020

6 posts from September

A mini month in review...

• Cults classic: East Village-based duo on the release of their fourth record Host (Sept. 24

• Native Bean wraps up 20 years on Avenue A (Sept. 21

 • Jules Bistro will not be reopening on St. Mark's Place (Sept. 17

• After 46 years, the Ukrainian Sports Club has left the East Village (Sept. 16)

• Scenes from Save Tompkins Day (Sept. 9

• An end-of-summer appreciation: Pinc Louds (Sept. 4)

Photo from outside the Gene Frankel Theatre on Bond Street

Late afternoon on 1st Street

A view this afternoon of Abetta Boiler & Welding Service at 66 First St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue... been here since 1949, and their sign still features an old NYC telephone exchange — GR 3-2390...

Sophie's, Josie's and Mona's will reopen this week

After sitting out the past six-and-a-half months, sister bars Sophie's, Josie's and Mona's will reopen later today with a 25-percent capacity.

The owners are renting small electric ovens and will be offering pizza (as well as a few smaller items) to meet Gov. Cuomo's meal-with-a-drink mandate.... and in keeping with the reopening guidelines, there is only table service. So no sitting at the bar. And masks are mandatory. 

The pool tables at the three bars, which closed at the start of PAUSE in mid-March, have also been removed to allow for more socially distant spacing for the handful of tables.

Of the three bars, only Mona's on Avenue B might have a few outdoor tables. (Owners said they thought outdoor seating on the side streets where Sophie's and Josie's are located might be too disruptive to nearby residents.)

The three are expected to be open from 3-11 p.m., though that is subject to change.
  • Josie's (seen below yesterday), 520 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (646) 590-0044
  • Mona's, 224 Avenue B between 13th Street and 14th Street (212) 353-3780
  • Sophie's (seen above last night), 507 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (212) 228-5680

Black & White is closing, with plans to relocate in 2021

After more than 20 years at 86 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue, Black & White is moving on at the end of October.

Management (Johnny T of Niagara and Bowery Electric is an owner) says they will eventually relocate. Per an Instagram post last evening: 
Hey everyone, we’re moving locations. We will be at 86 East 10th Street until the end of October so come get your last drinks here while you can and we’ll see you in our new location in 2021! We will be doing very limited indoor seating for the next month so dm us here if you want to make a reservation. Hope to see you all! Cheers!

Black & White reopened in early May for take-home drinks then limited curbside seating later. 

EVG file photo

2nd Avenue closings: Spiritea, Dia and Atlas Cafe

Some more permanent closings on Second Avenue to note (joining Thailand Cafe and Mermaid Inn along here)...

• Spiritea, 300 E. Fifth St. at Second Avenue

The fruit-and-milk tea shop, which debuted here in May 2019, will not be reopening. Management confirmed the closing. Their locations in Vancouver and Irvine, Calif., remain open.

The space went under a drastic renovation early last year ... it had been vacant since 100% Healthy  Blend (or maybe just Healthy Blend) closed after three months in November 2016. Previous tenants include the Mexican restaurants Dahlia's and Mary Ann's.

• Dia, 58 Second Ave. between Third Street and Fourth Street

The restaurant specializing in Roman-style pizza and coastal Italian seafood has closed. The Did website is offline and their phone has been disconnected. Open Table lists them as permanently closed.

The restaurant debuted in the fall of 2018.

• Atlas Cafe, 73 Second Ave. between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

After a renovation earlier in the summer, Atlas briefly reopened in late August... only to go dark again in September. Multiple sources confirmed that they will not return. (H/T Derek Berg!

The restaurant, which served reliable vegan (and non-vegan) menu items with a Moroccan vibe, first opened in 1999. 

Multiple readers have pointed out that the block here on the west side of the Avenue between Fourth and Fifth has become quite seedy... mounds of discarded items have been stacked up outside 75 Second Ave. — home of the now-closed Nostro Italian restaurant... 

Someone moved the pile to the vacant storefront to the north, but it always seems to return... an owner of a store nearby describes it as a "drunken junkyard" ... and so far, calls to the city (311) haven't yielded any results ... the store owner says all this has been bad for business...

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A few details about tomorrow's video shoot on Avenue A

Back on Saturday we noted the arrival of the neighborhood's first film shoot notices in six-plus months... Now here's some reader intel about the video production taking place along Avenue A between Houston and Second Street.

The newly posted sign (above!) shows that Freenjoy, the Los Angeles-based production company, is behind this shoot... company founder Nathan Scherrer has worked with an A-list group of performers, including Lizzo, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande and the Weeknd, among many others.

And it appears the shoot will be taking place tomorrow at the currently (since mid-March) closed Double Down Saloon ... signage says they are working on a video titled "CLJ" ... we'll see who shows up tomorrow... 

New hours for the city's free meal pick up

With the start of in-person elementary school classes today, the city has changed the hours for its community meals pick up. Those hours are now 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Local schools offering grab-and-go meals include:

• P.S. 19 Asher Levy, 185 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street

• P.S. 64/Tompkins Square Middle School 600 E. Sixth St. at Avenue B

Visit GetFoodNYC to find locations that offer free food (food pantries and Grab & Go meals at NYC schools).

The meal features an assortment of sandwiches or wraps, a vegetable, a piece of fruit and milk. (There's a daily menu here.) Multiple meals can be picked up at once. There is no need to prove residency or bring any other form of ID.

The city launched the community-meal program back in April while schools were closed.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Photo from April by Stacie Joy

Construction watch: 11 Avenue C

After nearly four years of construction ... here's a look at how the 10-story 11 Avenue C (aka 350 E. Houston St.) is shaping up...

BLDG Management is the developer behind the project, which will feature 46 residential units and ground-floor retail. No word on pricing yet.

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

The well-worn plywood rendering lists a March 2018 completion date...

Architect of record Rotwein+Blake previously stated that "the narrow triangular site presented numerous challenges from its odd shape to zoning constraints."

A return for Tokio7?

We've fielded a few questions about Tokio7, the longtime consignment shop on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. Back in late July, the store was only open for people to pick up items that they had been trying to sell. By Aug. 22, the shop had closed.

However, the closing seems to be temporary. Tokio7's last Instagram post mentions "starting a new leaf."

They also recently left a comment stating they'd (hopefully) be back later this fall...
In early June, Tokio7 was one of the many East Village businesses that was broken into and looted. (The  8-foot, 900-pound Predator statue out front did nothing to thwart the break in.) 

Tokio7, which sold second-hand designer and vintage clothing, shoes and accessories, debuted on the other side of Seventh Street in 1996 ... before moving to this location in 2010.

Photo from Steven in August.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Today in freebies on 6th Street

As seen on Sixth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... and hurry! Someone already took the Boys II Men CD!

Thanks to Cara Alwill for the photo!

A belated happy birthday to Pedro A. Campos

ICYMI: There's a new mural (as of mid-September) on the southwest corner of Avenue C at 12th Street ... Marthalicia Matarrita created this work of Pedro Albizu Campos (1891-1965),  father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

The mural helped mark the birthday (Sept. 12) of Campos, after whom Campos Plaza across the street is named. 

Thanks to the reader for the above photo... and here's another angle that includes the Puerto Rican flag...

[Updated] New York Sports Clubs is reopening today on Avenue A

Updated 10/1: That was fast: NYSC announced that this location was permanently closed as of 9/30.

The New York Sports Clubs outpost reopens today on Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street...

This reopening comes less than two weeks since owner Town Sports International Holdings Inc. said in a bankruptcy-court hearing on Sept. 16 that it is working out a deal with a group of lenders and private-equity firm Tacit Capital LLC for them to serve as the lead bidder for the assets. 

Some background via The Wall Street Journal:
Town Sports filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy [on Sept. 14] after facing debt coming due this fall as well as reduced cash flow and liquidity due to coronavirus-related closures.

Company executives need access to capital “so they can reopen the gyms with appropriate health and safety improvements, and comply with relevant consumer protection laws and obligations,” said Nicole Greenblatt, a lawyer representing Town Sports, during the court hearing.


After its bankruptcy filing, Town Sports sought to reassure its roughly 600,000 members that it wasn’t going out of business through postings on its gym brands’ websites. 

The company has requested to give back 22 location leases to its landlords and potentially reject 13 more locations, depending on lease negotiations. 

This past spring, NYSC members were angry that the club was still charging them membership fees despite the COVID-19 closure. Town Sports did eventually offer refunds

Gov. Cuomo allowed gyms to reopen with limited capacity in the city on Aug. 24.

Meanwhile, the ground-floor retail space here at 28 Avenue A has been vacant since Gracefully closed in November 2014. No word on the rent ask. What is wrong with this storefront? 


In other local gym news, Ludlow Fitness on Delancey will not be reopening

45 E. 7th St. now with its perforated cornice parapet

The perforated cornice parapet arrived this past week at 45 E. Seventh St., the 7-story, 21-unit condoplex on the northwest corner of Second Avenue... it was a prominently missing detail at this high-profile project...

As noted previously, this condoplex is on two of the three lots destroyed during the deadly gas explosion here on March 26, 2015. 

And sales are now underway for units in the Morris Adjmi-designed building. Prices will range from $1.35 million for a one-bedroomer and $1.995 million to $4 million for two and three bedrooms ... with the penthouse asking more than $8 million.

There will also be ground-floor retail. 

A sidewalk bridge remains surrounding the building on the corner, a spot frequented by people setting up makeshift shelters the past few years, which has drawn the ire of the New York Post. 

You can find all the background about this project and its history at this EVG link.

Kyuramen bringing ramen to 210 E. 14th St.

Kyuramen, a Taiwan-based ramen chain with 120 locations worldwide, is the new tenant for 210 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. (First reported by the Commercial Observer.)

This marks only the second U.S. Kyuramen outpost, joining the one in Flushing.

This arrival also marks the third ramen chain to set up shop in the East Village this year, joining Strings Ramen on Second Avenue at 12th Street and Sanpoutei Gyoza & Ramen, which remains closed for now on Second Avenue near Fifth Street.

Chickpea was the last tenant at 210 E. 14th St., closing in April 2018.

H/T Upper West Sider!

Il Mattone space now going as the Pizza Spot on East Houston

Slices have returned to the Il Mattone space on East Houston near Eldridge ... Mike Turkowitz, aka @hiphopmike, an on-air personality at Hot 97, has taken over the pizzeria ... and is running it as the Pizza Spot

He opened this past Thursday, and is serving up some nice-looking slices ... homemade cookies are in the works too...

The well-regarded Il Mattone first opened in Tribeca in 1992. This outpost debuted in May 2019 ... and had not reopened since the PAUSE went into effect back in March. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Week in Grieview

[Photo in Tompkins Square Park by Derek Berg]

Posts this past week included...

• Native Bean wraps up 20 years on Avenue A (Monday)

• Cults classic: East Village-based duo on the release of their fourth record Host (Thursday

• A moment from the march for Breonna Taylor (Thursday

• Sen. Hoylman responds to anti-Semitic graffiti on 1st Avenue; "Go to Hell, Nazis" (Friday

• A visit with Urban Russian Doll NYC (Wednesday

• Caffe Béne now selling South Asian-inspired groceries and snacks (Tuesday

• Save the date: Help clean up Tompkins Square Park on Oct. 10 (Thursday

• Renovations underway on the new Foxface Commissary on Avenue A (Wednesday

• Eliza's Local has closed on St. Mark's Place (Thursday

• More tributes to RBG (Wednesday

• This week's NY See panel (Friday

• Comedy Club owners get serious about plans to allow them to reopen (Wednesday

• Tats Cru pay tribute to Bittman "Bimbo" Rivas on 2nd Street (Friday

• Save the date: The 9th annual Lungs Harvest Arts Festival is Oct. 3-4 (Friday

• La Mia Pizza debuts on 4th Avenue (Monday)

• SLA temporary suspends the liquor license at Black Emperor (Wednesday

• Shoegazing: The life aquatic on 13th Street (Tuesday

• "Project Stun" at the F stop on 2nd Avenue (Monday

• 47 St. Mark's Place is for sale for the first time in 50 years (Tuesday

• Construction watch: 139 E. Houston St. (Tuesday

• The Dolar Shop bringing hot pot to 3rd Avenue and 11th Street (Monday

• Closings: Brazen Fox, the Nugget Spot, Hu Kitchen, Mancora and Apna Masala (Monday)
• Has Saxon + Parole closed? (Tuesday)

... and from this past week, this small tree just fell on over along Avenue A outside Tompkins Square Park... something rotten...
Follow EVG on Instragram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

Spies like us: So long to the 7-month-old 'My Spy' ad at the AMC Village 7

After nearly seven months watching over Third Avenue, the four-story ad for "My Spy" has been removed from the AMC Village 7 at 11th Street...The ad arrived in late February to woo potential moviegoers to see the family-friendly action comedy starring Dave Bautista... which was set to open on March 13, but never made it into a theater with the COVID-19 crisis.

And the ad, with a forced grimace from the gentle giant, brought comfort to travelers along this corridor in these recent challenging months.

This reaction to our tweet yesterday perhaps sums it up best...

Theaters remain closed in the city. However, there has been activity inside this AMC outpost of late. 

Saturday afternoon in Tompkins Square Park

From yesterday afternoon in Tompkins Square Park, where a fall show brought together a handful of bands, speakers and local artisans that attracted people of all ages... EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these images...


Spotted my first film shoot notice since... late February? Have no idea what this is for (who's calling Larry?) ... most likely for some kind of commercial ...  there were several posted along Avenue A between Houston and First Street.

Restrictions on film, TV and commercial productions in NYC were loosened up when the city entered Phase 4 in late July... productions are currently limited to 50 people and can’t interfere with hospitals or COVID-19 testing centers, etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Reader report: Needles in the dugout at East River Park

From the EVG inbox... via a reader who was at East River Park today...
While my family and I were playing tag in the baseball field along the FDR, we came across a pile of about 12-14 syringes scattered in the dugout. We called 311 and they didn't give us much confidence that they would clean that up. I am horrified. We need to make people aware that this is happening in places where children play and that 311 isn't terribly concerned.

ICYMI: City makes outdoor dining permanent

And in news you likely read about yesterday, Mayor de Blasio announced that the City's Open Restaurants program will be extended year-round and made permanent. The extension also applies to Open Streets: Restaurants, which provides restaurants expanded space on 85 car-free streets citywide on certain days.

Here are some particulars from the city's press release about how restaurants will able able to protect diners from the winter-time elements: 


As cooler weather arrives, the City will allow restaurants to incorporate heating elements into their outdoor dining setups. Electrical heaters will be allowed on both sidewalk and roadway. Propane and natural gas heaters will be allowed on sidewalks only; they will remain prohibited in roadway seating. Propane will require a permit from FDNY and compliance with FDNY regulations for outdoor use, handling and secure outdoor tank storage overnight. Official guidance on what will be considered approved installation and use of heating elements will be released before the end of September, and restaurants are prohibited from installing heating elements until guidelines are released and followed.


Restaurants will also be permitted to use tent enclosures to keep diners warm. In partial tent enclosures, at least 50 percent of the tent’s side wall surface area must remain open and electrical heaters are allowed. In full tent enclosures, the tent’s side walls may be closed but occupancy limitations will be capped at 25 percent of capacity, and indoor dining guidelines must be followed; electrical heaters will also be allowed. Enclosed structures, such as plastic domes, will be allowed for individual parties and must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation.

The New York Philharmonic Bandwagon will be pulling up to Astor Place today

The New York Philharmonic Bandwagon will be on Astor Place today (Saturday!) as part of a Get Out the Vote event with Joe's Pub. 

In addition to a "pull-up" performance by members of the Orchestra and special guests, a volunteer from the League of Women’s Voters of New York will be onhand to sign people up to vote and to answer any questions about voting.

The festivities begin around noon-ish. Visit this link for a rundown on today's program, which includes a "West Side Story" suite.

The New York Philharmonic launched this drive-up series on weekends in late August.

Today's free show in Tompkins Square Park

There's a free concert in Tompkins Square Park this afternoon (hours listed as 1-7 p.m.)

And info via the EVG inbox...
It's that lovely time of year when neighbors get together to celebrate the cultural vitality of their community in our beloved Tompkins Square Park. 

In addition to speakers, information tables with local crafts, we will have the following musical talents:

> The Acute

> Evil Kim Evil

> Acorn Slim (with Dead Dean) 

> Jennifer Blowdryer Soul Experience 

> Skitzopolis 

> SEWAGE (with Spike Polite)

> The Love Pirates 

> Grace The Enemy 

> Ruckus Interruptus 

> Soul Cake 

> Rebelmatic (with surprise guest CV)  

AND: Seth Tobocman (WW# Illustrated) will do a slide show with Eric Blitz and John Wagner.

 Find more info about the show sponsored by The Shadow right here. (Image via the Facebook Events Page)

An afternoon of roofless comedy for the people and the plants on 11th Street

Local resident Harkness Granger is hosting a comedy show "for the plants and the people" this afternoon at the 11th Street Community Garden, 422 E. 11th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A.

The show is at 4 p.m. There's a suggested donation of $5. And masks are mandatory for the limited capacity event.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Sen. Hoylman responds to anti-Semitic graffiti on 1st Avenue; 'Go to Hell, Nazis'

Early this morning, State Sen. Brad Hoylman spotted this moving truck with anti-Semitic graffiti parked on First Avenue between Third Street and Fourth Street.

The graffiti on the Katz Moving truck included multiple backward swastikas and the numbers 1488, signifying the white supremacist "14 Words" pledge. The Senator's office reported this to both the NYPD and the Anti-Defamation League. It was not clear when the graffiti was added to the truck of the Long Island City-based company.

"Hate is not welcome in our district, in Manhattan, or in any other part of our city," Hoylman said in a statement. "The perpetrators of this attack must be caught and held accountable. Close to 40,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors live in New York City. It hurts my heart to think that the many people who found refuge in America are still being targeted by this hateful ideology."

Soak up the 'Sun'

Sunflower Bean, a band with some East Village roots, released a new single last week titled "Moment in the Sun" ... along with a summery video.

Grant Shaffer's NY See

Here's the latest NY See panel, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around NYC ... as well as political observations on current events...