Friday, December 31, 2021

'Love' crazy

  • I've been listening to "We Love You" by the Rolling Stones because the song reminds me of a friend who died this year.
  • Somehow, I'd never seen the promo video for the song from 1967 that (thank you, IMDB, cutting and pasting) included footage from recording sessions along with segments that re-enacted the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Marianne Faithfull respectively portraying Wilde, a judge and Lord Alfred Douglas.
  • The IMDB description helpfully notes the following: "Footage also appears of Brian Jones, apparently high on drugs with his eyes drooping and unfocused." (So 2021!) More facts about the song here.

6 posts from December

A mini month in review... (with a photo from Dec. 11 by Derek Berg)...

• Because you've always wanted to know what the inside of the long-empty 6 Avenue B looks like (Dec. 23

• The Community Holiday Feast fed more than 600 people in Tompkins Square Park yesterday (Dec. 20)

• Letter perfect: City makes the MPH right on 2nd attempt (Dec. 20

• Did SantaCon contribute to NYC's current COVID-19 surge? (Dec. 18

• Report of a fatal fire early at 118 Avenue D (Dec. 16

• At the rally for Casa Adela (Dec. 13

A year-end post because it's the end of the year

A post from Dec. 18, 2020, turned out to be the most-viewed EVG post from 2021. 

Early this year, a lot of people shared "A visit to Stoned Gourmet Cannabis Pizza," Stacie Joy's inside look at Chris "the Pizza Pusha" Barrett's (pictured above) sorta secret establishment ... this came after the pizzeria highlighted the post on social media. (As it turns out, there are many avid Stoned Pizza fans.)

Other most-read 2021 posts included more newsy items on the closure of some longtime local businesses ... the passing of two well-liked and well-known residents... and the always outrage-provoking SantaCon. And then there was one of the posts about the guy rolled up in the carpet on St. Mark's Place and Third Avenue.

Here's the rest of the EVG top-10:

• Exclusive: Iconic East Village venue The Pyramid Club will not be reopening after year-long PAUSE (April 1

• Attention Kmart shoppers: The Astor Place location is now closed after 25 years in business (July 12

• Woman dies after falling from Avenue A rooftop; Rivera demands review of building enforcement procedures (May 22

• About that rolled-up carpet in the crosswalk (Feb. 5

• SantaCon announces 2021 route; East Village in the crosshairs once again (Dec. 7

• A walk around inside the long-abandoned — and ghoulishly beautiful — P.S. 64 (March 25

• RIP Molly Fitch (Dec. 13

• RIP Hash Halper, aka New York Romantic (June 15

• You can own the shuttered Avenue A diner Odessa, now for sale on Craigslist (June 4)

Thank you for reading along this year... and sharing your thoughts — there were more than 10,000 comments left on our 1,856 posts in 2021. 

East Village Loves NYC offering free COVID-19 PCR testing on Sunday

East Village Loves NYC — the local volunteer group formed in the spring of 2020 to feed people in need during the pandemic — is collaborating with a mobile clinic to provide free COVID-19 PCR testing at the Sixth Street Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

The next testing comes this Sunday (Jan. 2) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You need to sign up in advance — no walk-ins. You can find the link here. The testing is open to the first 200 registrants.
The first testing took place here this past Sunday. Organizers invited EVG contributor Stacie Joy to stop by...
Results from Sunday were returned in less than 48 hours. Testing is done by Alaine Diagnostics in Saddlebrook, N.J. (This link lists the city's free testing sites via NYC Health + Hospitals.) In its first year, East Village Loves NYC — which has attracted some 400 volunteers — cooked more than 100,000 meals for New Yorkers during the pandemic ... not to mention donated 325,000-plus pounds of groceries and 7,000-plus pantry bags.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

New Year's Eve eve parting shot

Lime Tree Market on First Avenue at Ninth Street is still fully stocked for your NYE party needs — hand sanitizer for 99-cents too!

Photo by Steven...

Catching up with Sabrina Fuentes of Pretty Sick

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

I’m following a byzantine series of steps and underground hallways to find Sabrina Fuentes, lead singer of indie rockers Pretty Sick at a sold-out Mercury Lounge.

It’s Halloween night so there are random spooky decorations up, and the band is hosting a costume party so concertgoers are feeling festive. I bump into local faves Hello Mary, who opened for Pretty Sick (sharing the bill with Harry Teardrop) before finding Sabrina a few minutes before she’s due on stage with her two bandmates, dressed for the night as Santa Clause and Travis Bickle.

I trail her up the stairs and onto the stage, where her fans react with predictable fervor. People scream out suggestions for songs they’d like to hear from the band’s EPs, including the June release Come Down (released via the label Dirty Hit, whose roster includes Wolf Alice and the 1975).

This is the band’s first NYC in two-plus years, so there’s a full house who sing along to every song.

In the weeks after the show, I follow up with Sabrina to talk about music, feminism, friends and collaborators. The band, which Sabrina founded in 2013 at age 13, has been rehearsing at Rivington Music Rehearsal Studios ahead of recording a new full-length album upstate.

I’ve read that you started writing music at a very young age. What initially inspired you to do so?

I’m not sure what inspired me originally. Sound has always been the sense/medium that appealed to me. I can’t imagine working with or on anything but sound/music. I’m a sonically inclined person, I guess. Rock is the genre I work with the most because it comes naturally to me and the message of rock and roll is the most freeing.

What’s your earliest memory of music?

Hard to say. Probably lullabies my parents and grandparents sang to me.

How do you feel like NYC has shaped you as a person, as an artist?

Growing up in NYC is so different than anywhere else in the world. You have access to so much more and it really is such a privilege creatively to have been able to see and hear the things around me from a young age. I feel like I was forced to grow up really fast for a number of reasons, and NYC definitely added to that.

As an artist, I feel like I got to be like a kid and experiment, explore and play around with music more than I would have if I were anywhere else.

You’re a native New Yorker and now going to school in London. What do you miss about the city? Does being away make you appreciate NYC even more?

I actually graduated from school in London already; I’m just living there now. I come back to the city for about half the year (on and off) and spend the time in between in London. I miss the energy of NYC and the way people interact in public. I think I see the flaws of the way this city is a bit more now that I’ve had a step back from it, but I think that happens whenever anyone leaves home.

I appreciate the sense of community and the great people who are here way more now. I’m much more comfortable here, but I like moving and traveling — it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.

Through the years, several articles about you refer to you as a “riot grrrl.” How do you feel in general about the term? Do you find it limiting at all?

I don’t mind it, but I don’t know how accurate it is — haha! Riot Grrrl refers pretty specifically to feminist rock music movement from the late ’80s and early ’90s, and while I’m a feminist, I don’t really consider my work to be particularly political or feminist-y. I’m just a woman writing rock music and people like to use buzzwords like “riot grrrl” or “feminist” to write an article ’cus it’s easier than having to think critically. It’s not a limiting label as much as it is kind of inaccurate and reductive, but I don’t really care what people call me; I’m just grateful they’re giving my music a chance.

You’re friends with Hello Mary, who opened for you on Halloween night at the Mercury Lounge. Do you see a more robust community now for young bands in NYC than when you started out?

Oh my god, yeah. There was like a four-year period where a lot of the DIY venues who booked local bands closed, and all of the slightly bigger NYC bands moved to LA ’cus there were just more opportunities.

After the pandemic, the band scene has been doing so much better, and people are more excited to go see music and wanna get involved in some way. A lot of people who move to NYC these days are yuppies and PR-girl types who don’t give a shit about going to see live music or listening to alternative music, so it’s great the youth are actually excited about it.

Speaking of that Halloween night show, how was it playing again in front of an audience?

It felt so good to be on stage again at home. That was our first show in NYC since August of 2019!
Another friend, Manon Macasaet, directed the “Allen Street” and “Bet My Blood” videos. What’s it like working and collaborating with friends?

It’s great. All of our videos were made by my friends who are NYC artists like Manon, Maggie Lee, Leander Capuozzo,Oliver Rivard, Jake Moore and Richard Kern.

All of the crew are artists and homies too. For example, sculptor Sofia Lelani and painter Karmel Spanier made the set and props for the “Bet My Blood” music video, and designer Sasha Melnychuk made the costumes.

Another example is all the cars in the “Allen Street” video were lent to us by a Red Hook-based drag-racing team called New Day, which is run by Louis Shannon, who operates Entrance Gallery in Chinatown. All of the actors and video vixens are artists, organizers, skaters, and oddballs from the Lower East Side. Community in NYC is really important to me and Pretty Sick as a whole, which wouldn’t exist without it. I love NYC and its people. Fanatically.
You can keep tabs on the band on Instagram.

Corinne Neary checks out of the Tompkins Square Library branch

Photo by Stacie Joy

After five-plus years as the manager of the Tompkins Square Library branch, Corinne Neary is moving on this holiday season.

Neary is heading to the Jefferson Market branch on Sixth Avenue when it reopens later this winter. (She worked there as a trainee and senior librarian before coming to Tompkins Square in November 2016.)

Patrons of this branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B have said that they appreciated Neary's attention to the neighborhood's history ... especially its writers and artists — past and present — with events such as the East Village Arts Festival and various walking tours. Her programing was also top-notch... and she has excellent taste in classic films (a Myrna Loy triple feature!).

We talked with her during the EVG podcasting days for a session in early 2019. Find that conversation here.

A 15-year NYPL veteran, Will Hall, takes over for Neary at Tompkins Square.

Welcome, Will, and thank you, Corinne... 

Workers have demolished the East River Park amphitheater

Workers have finished demolishing the East River Park amphitheater. 

EVG regular Daniel Efram shared these photos yesterday... 
The city is to replace the existing structure, which dates to 1941, with a smaller one at the exact location. In June, the city came up with $4.83 million to include a roof over the new amphitheater. (Our last post has more details.)

Meanwhile, workers continue to cut down the trees in East River Park below Stanton Street as part of the $1.45-billion East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. Up to 1,000 mature trees are expected to come down in total.
The city has said that some 2,000 new trees will be planted in the reconstructed park, per a previously published statement.

Activists opposed to this version of the city's floodproofing plan continue to gather daily at 1 p.m. just south of the Houston Street entrance...

Virginia's is closing on 11th Street; owners will look for a new location

Virginia's, the bistro on 11th Street just west of Avenue C, is closing after service on New Year's Eve. 

Per an email to patrons (thanks to the EVG readers who shared this): 
We have battled through a pandemic and a fire, either of which would have been reason enough to give up. Instead, we persevered — mostly because of the support of our loyal guests and hardworking team. 

With our lease expiring, we have made the very difficult decision to leave our current location in the New Year. Hopefully, this is only goodbye for now as we search for a new home for Virginia's. 

Please stay tuned as we search for a larger location with a longer lease. Thank you all so much for all of your support. We hope to see you once more on New Year's Eve for an unforgettable farewell party!
The restaurant opened here in May 2015.

Image via Instagram

Renovations underway at the long-vacant retail space at 123 Avenue A

Work is underway inside the vacant storefront at 123 Avenue A between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place...
A worker on the scene told EVG correspondent that the space would eventually house a deli. (There isn't any sign of work permits on file online with the DOB just yet.)

The storefront has been vacant since Tony (aka Abdul) died in the fall of 2018. Tony, who owned the building, ran the deli, which operated under various names in this spot for 25 years.

Meanwhile, a block or so to the south, another deli is in the works for another long-vacant spot on the corner of Sixth Street and Avenue A — the former Benny's Burritos.

Brownout at the former St. Brigid School

Work continues at the former St. Brigid School on the NE corner of Avenue B and Seventh Street.

EVG reader Robert Miner reports that workers painted the former school's green strip brown on Sunday.

And yesterday...
... workers removed the St. Brigid's banners from out front...
In February 2019, the Archdiocese of New York announced that St. Brigid School would cease operations at the end of that academic year, a move that blindsided students, parents and faculty alike. Founded in 1856, the Saint Brigid School was one of seven Catholic schools marked for closure by the Archdiocese in 2019. 

Given its A-plus EV location with Tompkins Square Park views, some residents have figured this property would end up a high-end condoplex much like the former Mary Help of Christians on Avenue A and 12th Street. 

However, as Dave on 7th pointed out, the work here suggests that the Archdiocese is prepping the two-level building for rental for another school (perhaps a charter school?). 

A corner to watch in 2022!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Closing time: 1 month remains for Dress Shoppe II

Photo by Derek Berg

The closing sale sign went up late this afternoon at Dress Shoppe II at 83 2nd Ave between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

As previously reported, the Indian boutique’s last day is Jan. 31. 

Saroj Goyal has been doing her best to keep the shop going since her husband of 50 years, Purushottam Goyal, died in September 2019. There have been financial challenges, and thanks to the efforts of Humans of New York and New York Nico, there was an outpouring of support to help Saroj make arrangements on the back rent and to take care of herself as she underwent treatment for breast cancer.

In the previous post, you can read more about the closing and the financial arrangements with the landlord, the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association II.

You can find the Dress Shoppe II Etsy account here. The shop is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily, with 1-6 p.m. hours on Sunday.

Signs of life at East Village Social

Updated 12/30: EVS is back open, as Eden reports!

We noted the other day that East Village Social (EVS) has not been open since early November. A reader notes the signs of life here this evening...
The bar-restaurant is NOT open at the moment. But! Per the reader: "That's the beauty of it. It's not open. But they're telling us that they're alive. It's a signal from…somewhere."

In the comments, another reader commented that there is a gas issue in the building at 126 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue that may be to blame for this temp closure.

The EVS Instagram account posted a video on Christmas Eve featuring EVS and the Saint Mark's Saints doing a covering "Fairytale of New York" from inside the space... with a see you in 2022 message. 

Citi Bike docking stations arrive on 5th Street, 7th Street

As a follow-up to our post yesterday... a reader shares that workers have installed the new Citi Bike docking stations on Fifth Street at Avenue A (48 docks) and Seventh Street west of Avenue B (47 docks) ...
According to a DOT presentation last month, "demand shows 1,804 docks [are] still needed in CB3." For now, though, the proposal calls for an installation of 683 docks ... with more capacity coming by extending existing stations.

The presentation showed 11 new stations, with an "equipment swap" on 10th Street between A and B and an expansion of the existing station on 13th Street at Avenue A. This EVG post has a map of where the docking stations are due.

Let us know if you spot any other new docking stations in the neighborhood. 

A Visit to Made Up There Farms

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

I’m carrying an EpiPen to visit beekeeper Idan Cohen on East Third Street near Second Avenue. I’m hoping the bees won’t be able to tell I’m allergic. However, it’s all worth it to see the hives, bees and honey Idan tends on the rooftop of his building. 

After some “getting to know you time” with the bees and rooftop garden, I head downstairs to watch Idan’s wife and kids sell the fall 2021 harvested honey to passersby and neighbors and learn more from the apiarist about the process of local honey-making.
How did you come to tend bees on the rooftop of your building?

I love cooking. It’s a passion that always leads me in search of local and fresh produce. That search brought me to build a rooftop farm on our building in the East Village eight years ago, producing most of the vegetables and herbs we consume in the summer. 

A natural addition to the farm was beehives. I wanted to not only produce honey but also have my daughters learn about bees and how to care for them. Nothing would make me happier than to watch them gardening and beekeeping as adults. 

What’s the beekeeping process like? How did you start, and how is this season’s harvest going? 

The season starts in the spring when temperatures rise over 60 degrees, and the bees become more active. A lot of our work as beekeepers has to do with making sure the bees are happy and thriving and free of disease. That requires opening the hive every two weeks and making sure the queen is laying eggs, the workers are producing honey, and that the bees are pest and disease-free. If you help them stay healthy, they will do the rest. 

You, your wife and your kids sell the honey on Third Street near Second Avenue from time to time. Aside from that, where can neighbors go to purchase the honey? 

My daughters, Ellie (age 7) and Eve (4), wanted to share the honey with our neighborhood, so they decided to open a farmstand on sunny days and call it Made Up There Farms. 

For those who missed us, you can reach out through my Instagram account or through my wine and cider project at, and we can set up a pickup. 
Any expansion plans? 

We plan to add a third hive next spring and make natural mead — honey wine. I like the idea of drinking a hyperlocal wine made in the East Village from East Village flowers.

Happy 10th anniversary to Tompkins Square Bagels

Tompkins Square Bagels is celebrating its 10th anniversary late this month at 165 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street. 

The shop had its soft opening here on Dec. 16, 2011. (The outpost at 184 Second Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street debuted in November 2016.)

Congratulations to owner Christopher Pugliese and the staff at both locations.

It hasn't been easy these past two years. In November 2020, ConEd shut off the gas at the Avenue A location. (Service returned on Dec. 31.) At the time, a carbon monoxide sensor went off related to the storefront's hot water heater, and workers discovered a hole in the flue that brings in replacement air. 

Because of the hole, replacement air wasn't getting into the basement, thus the high carbon monoxide reading, Pugliese said at the time. However, despite identifying the problem and quickly repairing it, ConEd shut off the gas to the business.

To keep the shop running, Pugliese, who helped feed unhoused residents and essential front-line workers during the pandemic's worst days in the spring of 2020spent $7,000 to buy three electric grills and have three 220-volt power lines installed so his team could cook. 

You can read more about how TSB overcame all this here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tuesday's parting shot

Weather-proofing work continues at the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue at Seventh Street... photo today by Derek Berg...

That's a wrap on the first round of the holidays

As seen on Second Street ... and as a reminder, please use clear, untinted bags for your recyclables. 

Thanks to the reader for this pic!

New Citi Bike docking stations on the way in this week

Looks like the Citi Bike expansion in the East Village is happening sooner than later. 

A few No Parking notices have gone up on several side streets where new docking stations are arriving... we've seen announcements for today and tomorrow on Seventh Street west of Avenue B (thanks, Dave on 7th!) as well as on Fifth Street at Avenue A (thanks JG!) for tomorrow and Thursday ...
In November, DOT reps gave Community Board 3's Transportation, Public Safety, & Environment Committee an update about Citi Bike's expansion in the East Village and Lower East Side. 

That presentation is online now right here. (The DOT made presentations to other Community Boards, and find those via this link.)

According to the presentation, "demand shows 1,804 docks [are] still needed in CB3." For now, though, the proposal calls for an installation of 683 docks ... with more capacity coming by extending existing stations.

The presentation showed 11 new stations, with an "equipment swap" on 10th Street between A and B and an expansion of the existing station on 13th Street at Avenue A. At the moment, we don't know how many of the 11 new stations will be installed this week.

Openings on 14th Street: Mad for Chicken, The Tree Shop NYC

Mad for Chicken is now open at 230 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. (Thanks to Steven for the shot and to Nick Solares and Pinch for sending photos as well.)

MFC, which got its starts in Flushing in 2005, serves "soy garlic fried chicken and unique Korean inspired dishes," per its website. You can find a menu here.

The expanding company now has 10 NYC locations and four in Texas. 

The address was previously home to the Nugget Spot, which closed after a seven-year nugs run during the pandemic. 
Meanwhile, The Tree Shop NYC recently opened at 313 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue, selling vape products, smoke accessories, snacks, etc., etc., etc.

The Tree Shop takes over the storefront with ample signage opportunities from the optical shop Eyes on 14... (H/T Pinch here too)...