Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A clue about future development courtesy of the former Subway at 250 E. Houston St.

We continue to wait for official word of what will happen to the now-empty strip of storefronts at 250 E. Houston St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

As we've reported, there's been a storefront shuffle along this retail stretch. Kapri Cleaners and the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center moved from the unrenovated spaces to new storefronts closer to the entrance to the 13-story residential building at No. 250. Other businesses, including the Dunkin'/Baskin-Robbins and China Town, have closed. 

The old retail section of this strip is apparently coming down to make way for an unspecified new development. 

A letter from the owner of the shuttered (as of Aug. 30) Subway sandwich shop provides another clue. EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted this on the storefront (click on the image for more detail) ... 
Per the letter: "I am saddened to inform you that since the Ownership of this Property has decided to construct a multistory building, they will not be able to renew [the] lease for my Subway Store."

The family-owned franchise had been here for more than 20 years. Per the letter, the owner said that he hopes to find a new location for his Subway.

Meanwhile, still nothing on file with the city just yet about a demolition or new building permits.

Sri Lankan specialists Sigiri back open on 1st Avenue

Some good reopening news via EVG reader Garth... he notes that the Sri Lankan flag is flying once again outside Sigiri above Dual Speciality Store at 91 First Ave. 

The 16-year-old spicy standby here between Fifth Street and Sixth Street closed at the start of the PAUSE in March 2020... doing delivery and takeout in the summer of 2020 before closing again.

In recent months, we noticed that the interior had been dismantled. Glad to see that it was just for a renovation and nothing like a closure.

Sigiri is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Check out the menu here... which includes a daily lunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pillow-Cat Books is open now on 9th Street

We mentioned Pillow-Cat Books in this post last month ... this shop specializing in animal books opened late last week at 328 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Here's a description via a recent Instagram post:
Pillow-Cat Books is the first animal-focused bookshop in New York ... it is small, green, and filled with used, vintage and antique books in several languages and of all types: art, photography, design, literature, comics, children, etc. The books' only common denominator is that an animal or animal character has to be present. 
Pillow-Cat is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  You can find the shop's Instagram account here... and the website here.  

Photo by Steven

SLCT Stock brings vintage t-shirts and sneakers to 12th Street

SLCT Stock opened back on Friday at 523 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The shop carries collectible t-shirts, sneakers and other pop-cultural items from the 1980s and 1990s.

Indiana University student Nick Ayala started SLCT in Bloomington, Ind., in 2018. There's also an outpost in Boulder, Colo. 

Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with a 6 p.m. close on Sundays. You can find this SLCT's Instagram account here.

And if you're over this way, then you can also check out East Village Vintage Collective a few storefronts away at 545. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday's parting shot

A moment with Jim Power working on one of his mosaic poles along St. Mark's Place... thanks to Mike G. for the photo...

A Chuck Close tribute on Bond Street

Chuck Close died last month at age 81

And recently, the artist Scott VanderVoort paid tribute to the photorealist outside 42 Bond St. between the Bowery and Lafayette. (Close had a studio and residence nearby.)

EVG reader Garth shared these photos ... you get the 1967-68 Big Self-Portrait of Close while walking to the east...
... and a 2005 version of Close while heading west...
Here's a little clip to give you a better idea of the work...


VanderVoort previously created tributes here for President Obama after his eight years in the White House ... and after the deaths of Steve Jobs ... and David Bowie

This video explains more about how VanderVoort creates the art...


One last seasonal fling for Halloween Adventure and Gothic Renaissance?

Halloween Adventure has returned from the dead.

The shop at 808 Broadway/104 Fourth Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street reopened last Wednesday, per Time Out. (Reopening-for-Halloween signs had been on the storefront since July.)

As you may recall, back in January, Halloween Adventure's owners announced it was closing due to a pandemic-related drop in business during 2020. However, after an effort to sell many gift cards, the shop was able to return for another Adventure.

Meanwhile, next door, sister business Gothic Renaissance is also reopening soon ... (this shop had closed in March)... 
A Halloween Adventure manager told Time Out that the store plans to stay open through December "at the very least." Per TONY:  The manager said, "if sales are up this year on par with the before times, it's possible it could stay open year-round again."
"We've been here for so long and people are used to seeing us as part of the community. It would be amazing could get enough business this year to keep going strong...and forever."
However, as The Real Deal reports, this is likely the last season for both businesses as the retail condo at 808 Broadway and 104-110 Fourth Ave. is for sale with a $15.95 million ask. 

The block-through property combines two adjacent buildings: 808 Broadway (completed in 1888) and 104-110 Fourth Ave. (circa 1981).

The company that operates these stores has been around since 1981, starting in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Halloween Adventure first arrived in the East Village with a pop-up in 1991 and continued to do this in various locations until 1996, when they found this current space.

They have not commented on their local plans beyond 2021.

Salma brings Lebanese cuisine to 12th Street

Salma recently made its debut at 331 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

The restaurant's website describes it as an "authentic Lebanese grill." 

A look at the menu shows a variety of platters, including chicken, lamb and falafel. They also offer breakfast items, such as a labneh platter. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Salma takes over this space from Ducks Eatery, which closed last November after eight years in business.

H/T Steven 

Neighbors curious about what might be next for the NE corner of Avenue A and 13th Street

Some EVG readers have noted recent activity inside and out at the former Percy's Tavern on the northeast corner of Avenue A and 13th Street... work includes a new curbside dining structure...
Where we left off here... back in December 2019, the Pizza Cowboy reported that Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports was teaming up with pizza personality Nino Coniglio (of Brooklyn Pizza Crew and Williamsburg Pizza) on a bar pie pizzeria.

Not sure if that's still moving forward here. 

According to the State Liquor Authority, the liquor license is inactive here. The names of Larry Watson, who opened Percy's in 2010, and James Morrissey, who is involved with The Late Late and VNYL, are on the license.
In September of 2017, Community Board 3 did not approve Morrissey's application to open Honey Fitz at this address. 

A neighbor says that contractors have been working almost daily on interior renovations, adding a stage in the front half of the space on the 13th Street side and installing six TV sets, among other things. 

So with all those monitors and a stage (live music? comedy?), there's a sports bar/entertainment vibe here, but so far, nothing definitive. And no sign of future Community Board notices for a new liquor license.

Percy's quietly closed here in 2017.

H/T Sonya and dwg

Wingstop joining Gorillas and European Wax Center in this retail space on 14th Street

On Aug. 2, we reported that Gorillas, the on-demand grocery delivery startup, and a European Wax Center were the new retail tenants in the renovated storefronts along 428 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

In reporting on this on Thursday, the Commercial Observer had info about a third tenant here: Wingstop, the aviation-themed chain specializing in chicken wings, signed a 10-year lease for 1,700 square feet of space. 

There are currently more than a dozen Wingstop outposts in the NYC metropolitan area. The 14th Street location hasn't turned up yet on Wingstop coming-soon list.

No. 428 has been undergoing a gut renovation ... the previous retail tenants were victims of the L-train work along this corridor

How about some more Smoke & Beer?

Signage (for another) Smoke & Beer shop is up now at 110 Third Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street. (Thanks Jeanne Krier for the pic!

It seeeems like there are a lot of these Smoke & Beer shops around...

Anyway, this one takes over for another ubiquitous business — a bubble tea shop, specifically One Zo, which closed at some point early this summer.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday's parting shot

Hello from Avenue A today. 

Photo by Derek Berg.

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo on St. Mark's Place by Derek Berg) ...

• Lancelotti Housewares is closing on Avenue A (Friday

• Ergot Records opens on 2nd Street (Friday

• Hamilton Fish Recreation Center returns with free annual membership offer (Monday

• East Side Coastal Resiliency work closes part of Stuyvesant Cove Park until 2023 (Monday

• Ruffian set for expansion on 7th Street (Thursday

• Kitchen Sink goes Greek, emerges as Eros (Monday

• Eco-friendly A Sustainable Village opens on 9th Street (Wednesday

• At the 50th anniversary of Albert's Garden on 2nd Street (Tuesday

• Reports: Police arrest suspect in a string of groping attacks, including 3 in the East Village (Monday

• The Main Event set for Avenue B (Wednesday

• Spotting a Spotted Lanternfly, kill! kill! (Wednesday

• Brown paper on the windows at the former Odessa on Avenue A (Tuesday

• Green Garden Buffet closes on 9th Street (Thursday)

• Report: Jeepney closing after 9 years on 1st Avenue (Tuesday

• Renovations appear complete at McKinley Playground (Thursday

• Stromboli and Dan & John's remain closed (Friday

• New Indian restaurant in the works for this stretch of 2nd Avenue (Tuesday

• Speed bumps arrive on some side streets (Wednesday

• Any signs of the East Village in the 1st trailer for Marvel's 'Hawkeye' series? (Monday

• Village Voices, a new street exhibit, recognizes trailblazing neighborhood icons (Tuesday

• Dig Inn apparently still has plans to reopen on 4th Avenue (Monday

• Raising the barre: Pure Barre opening a studio at 250 E. Houston St. (Tuesday)

And a reader mentioned this in the comments the other day... the Cosmo's outpost on First Avenue between St. Mark's and Ninth Street is closed for a gas-related issue ... the Cosmo's at 121 First Ave. is open...
Thanks to Steven for the Cosmo's pics!

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

Howl Arts debuts new exhibition space on the Bowery

Howl Arts is ready to debut a second space, a 7,000 square-foot facility at 250 Bowery between Houston and Stanton. (Howl! Happening, which opened in 2015 at 6 E. First St., will remain in use as a gallery.) 

The new space is going by Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive (HA/HA), which "expands upon Howl! Happening's innovative exhibitions and public programs and focuses on the thriving multi-dimensional artistry and history of the East Village/Lower East Side." 

It will also serve as the headquarters for Howl Arts, which purchased the commercial space here in 2018.

Here's more via the Howl press announcement:
By the community, for the community, HA/HA will be activated with three exhibition galleries, as well as a library, screening and reading rooms, a chef's kitchen, and an outdoor terrace for special events. 
Energized by the creative and disruptive spirit of the 60s, 70s, and 80s on the Lower East Side ... HA/HA expands Howl's programming capabilities and aims to advance Howl Arts' mission to preserve and showcase the legacy of often overlooked underground and experimental cultures of the East Village and downtown neighborhoods. 
"We've been fighting against gentrification in the East Village for decades," says Howl executive director Jane Friedman. 
Howl's Permanent Collection, to be showcased at HA/HA, comprises over 3,000 objects, including art, rare digital and analog media, performance-art ephemera, and personal archives from the 1960s onward. 
The collection documents the origins and growth of local cultural and social movements that have had far-reaching impact — offering a myriad of opportunities for new interpretations of the punk, new-wave, and no-wave movements; performance art; drag; street art; public-access television; nightlife; LGBTQ activism; the AIDS epidemic; and urban gentrification.
And the inaugural exhibition opens today (Sept. 19) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
"Icons, Iconoclasts, and Outsiders" presents works by artists, writers, musicians, scenesters, performers, icons, iconoclasts, outsiders and other creators from the 1960s to the present whose life and work energized the underground and are now entering mainstream cultural discourse.
Selected works on display include Arturo Vega, Brian Butterick, Richard Hambleton, Helen Oliver Adelson, Marcia Resnick and Scooter LaForge, among many others. 

The exhibit is up through Oct. 31. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This main-floor and lower-level space at 250 Bowery was previously the International Center of Photography, which moved to a new home on Broome Street. The Howl HQ is on the upper floors.

Seinfeld's terrifying new look on 2nd Street

The Seinfeld wheatpaste — created by @Sacsix — has been on the wall here on Second Street at First Avenue for five-plus years (outside Spiegel, the cafe which is reopening one of these days).

So you might expect some wear and tear... but the resulting eye lift is giving off (friendlier) Michael Myers vibes...
... though it is getting close(r) to Halloween.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday's parting shot

A "Hamlet"-esque moment on Avenue A today via Derek Berg...

An unhappy return on 1st Avenue and 7th Street

From the inbox... workers are digging up the west side of First Avenue at Seventh Street this afternoon... this is about six weeks after crews finished extensive water main work here.

Not sure at the moment why the city needed to tear up this stretch once again. (OK — so why wouldn't they need to?)

As previously reported, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December. The multiple ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

Neighbors talked about an all-consuming noise, both during the day when the work crew was on the scene and after-hours when cars and trucks would pass over the multiple metal plates on the roadway. 

Green days: A paint job for the iconic Astor Place subway entrance

On Thursday night, MTA workers were spotted painting the northbound 6 entrance on Astor Place. (Thanks to @adammash for the pic & tip!

Here's a look at the finished exterior (it appears workers are doing the inside portion next)...
The landmarked station opened here in 1904 (EVG was first to report on this, though the New York World claimed an exclusive). 

Here's a little more history via Wikipedia, which basically picked this up from the National Register of Historic Places
The structure is an imitation of the IRT's original entrance and exit kiosks, extremely ornate structures made of cast iron and glass. The IRT kiosks were inspired by those on the Budapest Metro, which themselves were inspired by ornate summer houses called "kushks." 

The Astor Place entrance is a reproduction installed in the 1980s and was made at the same factory as the originals. The replica was largely based on photographs by renovating architect Rolf Ohlhausen. Like the original entrance kiosks, it has a domed roof with cast-iron shingles."

New deli alert: Sweet Village Marketplace shapes up on 1st Avenue

Workers yesterday were installing kitchen venting on the side of 147 First Ave. at Ninth Street. 

EVG correspondent Steven just missed the money shot of the workers hoisting up the parts. When asked, the workers did not want to take everything down and start over for the photo, for some reason. 

ICMYI... as we buried in a post on July 27, this space will become a deli going by the name Sweet Village Marketplace. (That info via Upper West Sider!

We don't know anything else about the business at the moment. (Other than that they will need a vent for cooking.) Given the size of the space, it may offer more quick-serve food items like the former St. Mark's Market.

This space has been empty since the Bean left here in November 2019

H/T to Lola Sáenz for sharing some vent pics too!

Friday, September 17, 2021

A very special homecoming tomorrow in Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Local photographer and filmmaker Manon Macasaet premieres episode No. 4 of her freewheeling reality series, "Story of My Fucking Life," tomorrow in a late-afternoon event dubbed Homecoming 2021 in Sara D. Roosevelt Park (specifically the Grand Street basketball courts). 

From 4-8 p.m., you can take in an array of entertainment ... with the main even being a basketball game. 

And catch up on the first three 15-minute episodes of the series here on YouTube. (Recommended: Episode 2 — "Promkins and the Clock of Doom.")

Details on the annual fundraiser tomorrow for El Sol Brillante

If you're looking for something to do tomorrow between noon and moon, consider the annual fundraising day at El Sol Brillante, the community garden on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. 

This is the first garden party here since 2019. Attendees can expect to find live music, food, art, plants and more... and all proceeds go toward the maintenance of this much-welcomed green space. 

Like a 'Rollin Stone'


Little Simz, the UK-based rapper, released her fourth record, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, at the beginning of the month. 

The video (flash warning!) is for "Rollin Stone."

The happy little sinkhole on 1st Avenue

It's gonna be a bright (bright) Bright (bright) sunshiny sinkhole day ...

Goggla points out this sunshiny sinkhole that is under development here on First Avenue at Fifth Street ... will likely stay this way unless it tries to swallow an NYPD vehicle making the turn here to the 9th Precinct midblock on Fifth Street.

Lancelotti Housewares is closing on Avenue A

After a 25-year presence on Avenue A, Lancelotti Housewares is closing its doors this fall. 

EVG correspondent Stacie Joy reports that co-owners Michael Isaacs (below left) and Jeff Chatterton are moving to Dallas to be closer to family, and plans are in the works to open a similar concept/new home-goods store there. 

The couple just closed on their dream home, but they will miss NYC, they said...
The two bought the store from Linda Heidinger, who launched the business in 1996, five years ago. (Isaacs had worked several years at Lancelotti and at Alphabets, Heidinger's other store.) 

Isaacs and Chatterton expanded their retail space with a carefully curated selection of home goods here at 66 Avenue A between Fourth Street and Fifth Street in 2018.

The closing sales begin today when Lancelotti opens at noon ...
Lancelotti's last day is expected to be mid-to-late October...
You can find updates on the shop's Instagram account. Lancelotti is open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Lancelotti, always a reliable spot to pick up a gift, will be missed.

Updated 2:30 p.m. 

Closing signage is up... and everything is 30 percent off in the store...

Ergot Records opens TODAY on 2nd Street

Ergot Records debuts today at 32 E. Second St. (next to Anyway Cafe) between Second Avenue and the Bowery. 

Founder Adrian Rew is expanding his experimental imprint Ergot Records from a label to a store.

"By opening in a neighborhood that once overflowed with vinyl delights and keeping the shop spacious enough for performances, mixing sessions, and other events, I hope to help keep the energies of these vital cultures flowing," said Rew, who has also worked at A-1 Records on Sixth Street. "New York has been a unique hotbed of spirited multicultural musical innovation ... so the shop will reflect that diversity with selections that range from jazz, salsa, punk, disco, hip-hop, and house to the avant-garde, minimalism, experimental music, and records by visual artists." 

For now, Ergot's inventory will predominantly feature used vinyl and cassettes. However, Rew plans to broaden the stock in the months ahead with choice titles in new music and related books and print materials. 

During this grand-opening weekend, the shop hosts several DJs inside the space (find a listing here).

Shop hours:

Wednesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: Noon-8 p.m. 
Sunday: noon-6 p.m.

You can find the Ergot Records Instagram account here

Stromboli and Dan & John's remain closed

One month ago today, we posted about the temporary closures at neighboring businesses Stromboli and Dan & John's on First Avenue at St. Mark's Place. (Both quick-serve spots were closed a week before our post.)

In the past month, a lot of people have asked about or pointed out these closures. We don't have any updates, unfortunately. 

As previously noted, we were told that there's a gas-line issue with the building at 83 St. Mark's Place/135 First Ave. The gas issue impacts the building's residents as well, sources said.

Dan & John's left a hopeful message for its patrons... stating that this location "will be back open soon."

With the recent start of the college football and NFL seasons, it's High Wing Season. The Dan & John's outpost in Murray Hill is open...
Photos yesterday by Steven

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday's parting shot

BYOD (Bring Your Own Dinner) outside your favorite empty lot at 89 First Ave. this evening... 

(Back story: The tables were from one of the Indian restaurants, where it looked like some students were filming something or another... thanks Goggla!)

Branding the tree pit sinkhole on 6th Street

As noted earlier this month, the heavy rains that Tropical Storm Ida produced caused a tree pit sinkhole on Sixth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue ... there's a partial sidewalk collapse as well outside Awash at No. 338.

The sidewalk is awaiting repairs... in the meantime, someone recently decided to brand this spot — welcome to the di [sic] Blasio Spider Hole!

Midday break from Tompkins Square Park

Thanks to Robert Miner for the photo today... 

Derek Berg shared this moment from the piano...


Ruffian set for expansion on 7th Street

Ruffian is expanding on Seventh Street.

The wine bar and cafe that serves a mostly vegetarian-focused menu is taking over the storefront next door here at 125 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

Ruffian's name appears on this month's CB3-SLA docket for a wine-beer license for the new space. (The item received administrative approval based on their method of operation.) 

Moshe Schulman, a managing partner at Ruffian (and Kindred on Sixth Street), told us that with the expansion, they will have 10-12 more indoor seats for patrons and room for about four at a drink rail where they can also serve food.

Patrons aside, the addition provides more room for food preparation. (While the storefronts share an address, they do not actually connect.)

"The extra space allows us to prep appropriately for the demand that we meet on a weekly basis," he said. "This will allow us more refrigeration space and a bigger oven. In addition, it will allow us to expand the menu a bit. We will add oysters and Crudo-type dishes when the kitchen buildout is complete — hopefully by early October."

Schulman said that the expanded Ruffian, a Bib Gourmand selection the past two years, will allow them to offer special events or wine classes that they couldn't host in their current 400-foot space.

The east storefront here at No. 125 was previously home to Big Gay Ice Cream, whose founders, Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff, said goodbye to the space in January after 10 years in business

Schulman said they received permission to extend Ruffian's outdoor seating upon learning that the shop would not be returning. 

"So it made sense for us to take over the interior space as well," he said.

Image via @ruffian_nyc

Green Garden Buffet closes on 9th Street

Green Garden Buffet has closed here at 332 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue (thanks to Steven for the photos) ... 
A note on the door from owner Tamika Gabaroum cites a "decrease in business" for the closure... 
Gabaroum opened the buffet-style spot in July 2020... serving what she billed as healthy French food. (An EVG reader described it as Chadian, as Gabaroum is originally from Chad.)

Gabaroum is a former public health advocate with the Peace Corps who served in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was an early recipient of a loan in the summer of 2019 as part of the East Village Revitalization Loan Fund for small business owners. (You can read more about the partnership with City Councilmember Carlina Rivera and community advocates here and here.)

Unfortunately, opening a buffet-style restaurant without seating during a pandemic proved to be too much.

Gabaroum had said opening a restaurant in NYC was a dream of hers. She will continue with catering work.