Thursday, June 17, 2021

Beware of low-flying juvenile red-tailed hawks!

Amelia and Christo's 2021 offspring are in the flier education phase of their young life in Tompkins Square Park... so their flight patterns, for now, can be at the park-bench level...
Derek Berg took these photos this morning... the juvenile red-tailed hawks usually seem to be frolicking in the early morning hours...

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 the neighborhood and NYC... (click on the image for a bigger view)

At fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church, it's moving day for the historic New York Liberty Bell

On Dec. 5, a fire destroyed the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street, including the neighboring Middle Collegiate Church.

As previously reported, the fire spared the steeple and its historic contents — the New York Liberty Bell, which dates to the early 1700s. 

And yesterday morning, workers removed the bell from the belfry to transport it to the New York Historical Society, where it will be part of an exhibit on the resiliency of NYC for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there to capture the delicate operation to move the bell to its temporary new home on Central Park West...
Before the bell left Second Avenue, the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis from Middle Collegiate Church rang it 19 times in honor of Juneteenth ... and for a celebration of liberty...
Those involved also wanted to give a shout-out to the crews from the DOB, Triton Construction and Gramercy for their professionalism in ensuring a safe transfer of the bell ...
And some history of the bell via the Times:
It is about 25 years older than the cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, according to a 1959 New York Times article.

Cast in Amsterdam in 1729, the bell was rung in 1735 to celebrate freedom of the press after John Peter Zenger, a German journalist, was acquitted of charges of seditious libel. He had published criticism of British tax collectors, according to the Times article.

It also was rung on the day that Representative John Lewis died in July and a week after the presidential election to celebrate "that love and justice" prevailed... 
The bell will be housed in the New York Historical Society lobby until the church is rebuilt. Find out how you can help support the rebuild at this link.
The FDNY previously said that faulty wiring at 48 E. Seventh St. was to blame for the six-alarm fire. An FDNY spokesperson told 1010 WINS that the fire has been deemed "non-suspicious." 

Addressing the 'out of control' rooftop parties in the East Village

Curbed checks in with a piece on a contentious topic in this neighborhood — "East Village Rooftop Parties Are Out of Control — Can a New Bill Change That?

The article looks at the ongoing problems of these rooftop ragers, where partygoers have been known to climb/leap from building to building. 

On May 22, 24-year-old Cameron Perrelli reportedly slipped and fell while climbing up from 202 Avenue A to the roof next door at 200 Avenue A. 

Her death prompted local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera to introduce a bill that would ensure enforcement agencies have easier access to phone numbers of overnight building supers or contacts and require better oversight of rooftop use and capacity. (She has already introduced Intro 1292, which would require tenants to sign and acknowledge their understanding of the city's noise codes.)

The Curbed piece wonders how effective the new bill could be...
Rivera's newest proposal has its potential limitations, especially in the East Village, where many rooftop spaces would not require a certificate of occupancy. Under current DOB rules, only spaces that can hold 75 or more people or host events involving “excessive noise, vibration and other nuisances” need one. Smaller rooftops must meet other safety requirements, like having a code-compliant railing and exit signs, but the certificate is not required.
And there's another issue with putting an end to the rooftop parties...
Longtime East Village residents say those young renters only stay for a few years, and the constant turnover makes it harder to actually make any headway on tamping down the parties. 
"You can't really control it, because every time you get some tiny grip on the situation, there's a whole bunch of new residents," says Nicholas Peate, who lives on East 7th Street. Both Peate and [Robert] La Force are so fed up with the constant loud parties, they are thinking of moving out. 
"They market [these apartments] as a sort of a luxury frat house, that's the issue," Peate says. "So basically, they say, 'You're here, you're entitled, you're wealthy, you're white, and you can just do whatever the fuck you want.'"
Reader-submitted photos: 330 E. 6th St. (top); 100 Avenue A

 Previously on EV Grieve

Neighbors address the rooftop parties at this 6th Street building 

Department of Buildings: 202 Avenue A does not have a 'valid certificate of occupancy'

Saramsam remains closed for now on 7th Street

Multiple EVG readers have noted that Saramsam, the plant-based Filipino restaurant at 111 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, has been dark these past few weeks. 

According to an Instagram post dated May 12: [D]ue to unforeseen circumstances, Saramsam will be temporarily closed." 

Saramsam, part of Ravi DeRossi's Overthrow Hospitality, debuted this past September.

Overthrow Hospitality has had an active year, opening three restaurants: Cadence on Seventh Street, Soda Club on Avenue B and Etérea on Fifth Street.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Saturday, day and night

Before heading into another weekend here's a look back at this past Saturday... when EVG contributor Stacie Joy walked around the neighborhood taking in, among other events, a free show in Tompkins Square Park (one that was allowed to go on), "Wild Culture" Saturdays on Third Street and DJ TM.8's Temptation INXS — 80s Dance Party Saturdays at Drom.

Behold the new the Loisaida CommUnity Fridge

Photos by Stacie Joy

Organizers unveiled the Loisaida CommUnity Fridge and Pantry yesterday morning at Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish on Avenue B at Ninth Street.

A group of community local residents and officials were on hand for the ceremonies... including Pastor Will from Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish and the Rev. Anne Sawyer from St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery ...
As previously reported, the nonprofit L.E.S. CommUnity Concerns is behind the launch of this 24/7 fridge and pantry. (Eleventh Street Workshop donated the refrigerator.) Per the organizers:
It will be guided by the philosophy of "take what you need, leave what you can," with the goal of providing relief to community members experiencing food insecurity, reducing food waste from local restaurants/groceries, and supplementing the non-24/7 food pantries in the area.
Organizers are also looking for local residents to help maintain the fridge and provide other types of administrative support. Find the volunteer form right here.
They are also accepting donations of fresh, healthy food, including canned goods. (Please label fresh food with date and ingredients.) Here is the form (link) for businesses/organizations to fill out if they'd like to donate any goods — either on a recurring basis or a one-time gift.

This will be the third local community fridge launched since the start of the pandemic ... joining the East Village Neighbors' Fridge and Pantry outside S'Mac on First Avenue and 12th Street and the one outside Overthrow on Bleecker Street near the Bowery. 

Gov. Cuomo lifts COVID restrictions; local vaccination rates top 65%

As you likely saw/read yesterday (pretty much everywhere), Gov. Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions were immediately being lifted as 70 percent of New Yorkers age 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. (Read the fine print here.)

How is the vaccination progress faring in the East Village and adjacent neighborhoods? The NYC Department of Health provides a map of vaccinations by zip code

Here's a look at zip codes in this area for adults age 18 and over:

Partially vaccinated: 72.4 percent 
Fully vaccinated: 66 percent 

Partially vaccinated: 71.4 percent 
Fully vaccinated: 65 percent 

Partially vaccinated: 81.2 percent 
Fully vaccinated: 73 percent

And moving forward here's what the lifting of restrictions means, per the State:
The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry-specific guidelines — including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening and contact information for tracing — are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. 

Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Consistent with the State's implementation of the recent CDC guidance, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals. Further, the State's health guidelines continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.
Everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. You can find appointments at this site.

The venerable Cinema Village reopens on Friday

Cinema Village, the historic theater at 22 E. 12th St. between University Place and Fifth Avenue, reopens Friday for the first time since March 2020.

And there were concerns that the theater, which has been here since 1963, would ever return... fueled in part by the sign in the front window in recent months — "we are closed for business." 
Back in March, owner Nick Nicolaou said that pipes broke in the lobby during the winter, prompting a major cleanup. (He reportedly called the lobby "a disaster.")

Cinema Village will fire up the neon signage and marquee with the 15th Annual Manhattan Film Festival.

With this, most local movie theaters have reopened... with the exception of the Metrograph, which is back with in-person screenings in September, and the Anthology Film Archives, which will continue with online programming for now.

Renovation reveal at the former Provident Loan Society building

Workers have removed the plywood that covered the windows and other sections of the former Provident Loan Society building on the southwest corner of Houston and Essex ... which has been undergoing a gut renovation this past year. (Thanks to the EVG reader for the tip!)

A worker at the scene said that this was going to be a broadcast production facility, but had no other information. And we don't know if this is accurate. Update: It's not. A place of assembly permit was recently created for an "eating and drinking establishment." (H/T Upper West Sider!)

According to approved DOB permits from January 2020, workers are here for a "general renovation of existing cabaret" with "no change to use, egress or occupancy."

Anyway, cutting-and-pasting from previous posts...  this marks a new era for the old (circa 1912) building that has been on redevelopment/demolition watch these past six-plus years.

As you may recall, longtime owners Elsa and Dunnie Lai unveiled plans several years ago — amid neighborhood opposition — to enlarge and convert the property into a 38-unit residential building with a 12-story addition atop the existing bank structure.

Those plans never materialized (the DOB did approve the building permits) ... and by July 2018, the building went on the market for $20 million as a "prime development opportunity," as BoweryBoogie reported at the time. No. 225 never sold, however.

In the past 25 years, a string of clubs and concepts have come and gone here. The space served as a studio for Jasper Johns in the 1970s.

Previously on EV Grieve:
• New renderings for the luxury building that will hang out over the Mercury Lounge

• Then and now: The Provident Loan Society of New York 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tuesday's parting shots

There were several reports of chalk hearts around the neighborhood... tributes to Hash Halper, the artist known for drawing chalk hearts on sidewalks in the East Village and other parts of the city in the past few years. 

Halper — aka @newyorkromantic — died this week at age 41. (You can read our post here.) 

Halper told The New York Times in February 2018 that he draws the hearts "because he feels New York is losing its romance, with people holding phones instead of looking at each other." 

Steven took these photos in Tompkins Square Park...
The March Hare also left a hearts tribute outside the shop on Ninth Street...

Young red-tailed hawk branches out in Tompkins Square Park

One of the red-tailed hawk chicks got pretty far from the nest today ... exploring the branches and getting more comfortable with the whole idea-of-flying thing. 

Steven took these photos. This is roughly what 2 months old looks like. (The first hatch took place the third week of April.)
... and Mark H. shared this photo... the youngster is already making new — and, admittedly annoying — friends in the Park...
Amelia and Christo, the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, had three chicks this spring. (Unfortunately, one didn't make it.)

RIP Hash Halper, aka New York Romantic

Hash Halper, the artist who helped beautify streets by drawing chalk hearts on the sidewalks around the East Village and other parts of the city, has died. 

According to the Art of Our Century Gallery, Halper took his own life. He was 41. 

The Gallery, where Halper had a solo show back in February, shared the following on Instagram: "He was a thoughtful, kind, peaceful and talented man." 

He just opened his second solo show last Thursday at the gallery Bento on Hudson.

Halper, aka @newyorkromantic, was often spotted chalking hearts on streets and sidewalks, showing struggling businesses some love along the way as well.
He told The New York Times in February 2018 that he draws the hearts "because he feels New York is losing its romance, with people holding phones instead of looking at each other." 

Halper drew his first hearts in 2014 while working at Kossar's Bagels & Bialys on Grand Street. "The reason I started drawing hearts all over the city is because I fell in love with a woman."
After he met the woman, he would pay homage to her by writing her initials, "MSB," along with hearts, on the sidewalks and buildings that lay along his route to work. "I wanted to infuse that romance into the city," he said.
The two eventually stopped seeing each other, but he continued on leaving the hearts — as many as 100 a day. 

According to the Times, Halper was raised in modern Orthodox communities in Philadelphia and Washington Heights and attended Yeshiva University "before becoming less religious in his 20s." 

Sold Magazine had this to say about Halper in May 2020:
Even in these turbulent times, Hash continues to give NYC the love it needs. He starts his day dedicatedly chalking out hearts on the streets, providing the denizens of the city with hope for a conclusive solution to Covid 19 and a restoration that things will resume back to normal. The city needs love right now, and Hash's hearts continue to fortify the flow of healing energy that is much needed, bringing light and positivity everywhere he goes.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, then please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit

Top photos from 2020 by Steven; bottom two photos via @NewYorkRomantic