Wednesday, March 31, 2021

6 posts from March

A mini month in review... with a photo from Tompkins Square Park by Derek Berg... 

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

• A visit to First Avenue Laundry Center (March 23

•  RIP Julian Baczynsky (March 12

• Frank Prisinzano planning grocery concept near Lil' Frankie's on 1st Avenue (March 9

• The Union Square Food Emporium looks to be closing at the end of May (March 4

• East River community group gets action on the release of (heavily redacted) value engineering study (March 2)

Protect the Asian Community

As seen outside the Ninth Street and Avenue B entrance to Tompkins Square Park... photo yesterday by the East Village Community Coalition ...

Remembering Carol Joyce on 7th Street

This plaque arrived last week outside 39 E. Seventh St., the longtime home (1963-2020) of Carol Joyce and her husband Bob here between Second Avenue and Cooper Square ...
"In Loving Memory of the Mayor of Seventh Street."

She's remembered here as "anti-establishment, outspoken, compassionate & witty."

In the early days of the pandemic last March, she and her husband stayed at a cousin's country home. While away from the city she died of cardiac arrest on March 22, 2020. She was 93.

Jonathan Ned Katz, a longtime friend, wrote an essay about Carol at

She was born in the Bronx on April 1, 1926 ... and later graduated from Washington Irving High School. 

Carol taught textile design for many years at the School of Visual Arts, and she wrote several books on the topic. 

Here are few a excerpts from the essay:
Carol spent her adult life in Lower East Side rentals. In the 1980s, she and Robert Joyce founded the E. 7th Street Block Association which had trees planted, increased street safety and garbage pick-ups, and brought neighbors together at street fairs. Carol fought against gentrification, sometimes winning long battles to keep the heights of new buildings scaled to the neighborhood and protecting old brownstones from being demolished for high rises. 
I always viewed Carol with a bit of awe, as a wondrous, fantastical creature, a quintessential New York character. Bob Joyce said it this way, recalling his wife as "a New Yorker born and bred, with no tolerance for hypocrisy..." 

Her only shortcomings, he noted, were that "she did not drink wine or eat pasta." He called her "the love of my life."

You can read the full essay here. Bob Joyce is now living upstate with relatives. 

Thank you to Dinky Romilly for the photos! 

Your chance to laugh and support the Sixth Street Community Center

Sixth Street Comedy returns on Thursday, April 8 ... and once again, the shows will serve as a fundraiser for the Sixth Street Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

Last year, the shows organized by the East Village-based Lil Fish Productions raised $4,000 for the Community Center...
Here's info about the Community Center's current financial situation:
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges that acutely threaten the survival of the 42-year-old organization. The Sixth Street Community Center is in a unique situation where the organization owns the building that houses their programs, and they are saddled with monthly mortgage payments that they have been unable to keep up with while trying to support basic expenses for staff and programs. 

Unfortunately, mortgage moratoriums are not effective in keeping their mortgage collectors at bay. Unlike other small community-based organizations that have shuttered their doors during the pandemic, Sixth Street Community Center has kept our doors wide open to address the unprecedented levels of food insecurity that our community is facing. 

We are very proud that we were able to pivot our work to organize and launch a free emergency food distribution, which has been operating to serve over 400 families weekly for nine months since April. Through supportive partnerships with emergent mutual aid groups and a steady team of volunteers, we've also been using our Center's kitchen to cook over 2,000 meals a week, which are provided at no cost to homeless and food-insecure individuals and families across the Lower East Side, East Village, East Harlem, and Queens. Since the onset of COVID, we have supported over 16,000 families through our food access work. 
You can find the ticket info and list of performers at this link. (Keep in mind there is very limited capacity. And masks are required.) Follow @lilfishproductions on Instagram for more updates on shows.

EXPG Studio is closing on 2nd Avenue

After six-plus years at 27 Second Ave., the Exile Professional Gym (EXPG) is closing effective today. 

The dance and performance studio here between Second Street and Third Street had been offering virtual classes during the pandemic.

In an announcement about the closure, management said that they invested in cleaning and made their best effort to reopen. "However, unfortunately, there is still no prospect of resuming to normal operation."
While this outpost has permanently closed, their L.A.-based branch will remain in business. 

Prior to the dance studio, this space was home to Second on Second, a karaoke bar.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday's parting shot

EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted this thank-you note — written on a Whole Foods bag — on Second Avenue at Fourth Street... the note is dated Friday. 

It reads in part: "To the kind person who loaned me money at Whole Foods last night. I want to repay you, but I've lost your name and phone number." 

The letter writer then says the manager (Mahanie???) has an envelope with the money at Nomad at Second Avenue. 

"Thank you again and tell Mahanie to call me if you'd like to have a drink."

Afternoon conure break

As seen today outside the the Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden ... thanks to Steven for the photo...

At the first Pinc Louds show of 2021 in Tompkins Square Park

Saturday saw the return of Pinc Louds to Tompkins Square Park.

The band's eclectic, freewheeling live shows in the Park were a bright spot during the pandemic summer of 2020

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these shots from the crowd...
Also on the bill Saturday: Local talent Dirty Circuit and Ayla.

1st sign of new-building construction on the northeast corner of Avenue C and Sixth Street

Preliminary work is underway in the long-vacant lot on the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Avenue C... an excavator is now on the scene... and someone discarded all of the contents that had been stored on the property ...
As we reported on Oct. 19, there are approved permits for a 6-floor building with 11 residential units, a storefront and space for an unspecified community facility. 

And as a reminder, here's a look at the rendering for the new structure...
There has been development talk for this lot dating to 2003. A former gas station, this corner has been vacant since the early 1980s. 

This week in East Village TV shoots

The NBC series "The Blacklist" makes a return to the neighborhood today...  the FBI show starring Megan Boone and James Spader — now in its eighth year — has filmed in and around Tompkins Square Park multiple times through the years (2014 ... 2017).

Signage today points to a shoot around (or in?) the Park... with production vehicles parked on parts of Seventh Street, Eighth Street, Ninth Street and 10th Street.

Also returning this week... "Russian Doll" (still going as "Black Gumball" on film notices)... looks to be filming in multiple locations... with notices up along several streets and avenues... including in and around St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church on 10th Street and Avenue A... 
... whose exterior doubled as Maxine's apartment building, where the party never stopped. 

Aside from "The Blacklist" and "Russian Doll," here are the other TV shoots around here in 2021:

• "FBI
• "Pose"

Activity at the former Khyber Pass

There has been activity in recent days over at 34 St. Mark's Place ... the former Kyber Pass here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...
Not sure at the moment what's happening with the space. Permits point to some plumbing work.

The Afghani restaurant that dated to the mid-1980s quietly closed during the pandemic. (Reported here in June.) Given its longevity on the block, some readers felt as if Khyber Pass deserved more press following its closure.

The storefront is currently for rent

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

Greenwich Marketplace debuts on 4th Avenue

Greenwich Marketplace is now open at 120 Fourth Ave. at 12th Street... (coming-soon coverage here).

An EVG reader ducked his head inside the door and reports finding the usual corner market offerings with a larger-than-average deli counter serving up a variety of sandwiches, wraps, paninis and salads as well as breakfast items (omelettes, French toast, egg sandwiches, etc)... and not to mention smoothies and fresh juice.

There are also geographically friendly names on the menu, such as the NYU Wrap featuring grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado ($9.49). You can find the menu at Seamless.

The previous tenant, the PokéSpot, officially closed this past summer after four years. Before that, we had a Subway (sandwich shop) here.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Subway Dreams on 2nd Street

NYC-based illustrator Peach Tao has a new mural up on Second Street at First Avenue (outside the First Avenue Laundry Center).

There are a lot of details in the mural ... including a tribute to the Asian grandmother in San Francisco who fought back against someone randomly attacking her...
EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these photos of the work in progress late last week...
In the summer of 2019, Peach helped paint a new sign at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A.

A sneak peek at the new C&B space

As we reported on Dec. 2, C&B chef-owner Ali Sahin is expanding his cafe into the vacant retail space — the former dry cleaners — next door here at 178 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The other day, Ali gave EVG contributor Stacie Joy a sneak peek at the under-renovation storefront...
Ali hopes to have it up and running in about a month. The larger C&B will not have indoor dining, but rather increased space for staff — and more room to bake bread. The reconfigured C&B will also have a longer to-go counter for patrons.

Meanwhile, C&B remains open daily for to-go service from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

With sale of building, the Central Bar signs off after nearly 20 years on 9th Street

The Central Bar, the bi-level sports bar-lounge at 109 E. Ninth St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue, has closed.

Ownership made the announcement back on March 18 via Instagram. (Thanks to MP for the photo!)

Per the notice: "Our landlord has sold the building and the new owners will not be keeping us as tenants."

The note goes on to thanks patrons for nearly 20 years of patronage.

The sale hasn't hit public records just yet.

Some years back, the address was home to Pageant Book & Print Shop, and its storefront served as a location for Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" and Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters."
And you can now find Pageant Print Shop at 69 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Four Four South Village is now open on 7th Street

Four Four South Village is now open (as of last Thursday) at 11 E. Seventh St. just east of Cooper Square...
... this is the first NYC outpost for the chain that specializes in Taiwanese beef noodles. (Find their menu here.) 

They are open for dining indoors and out...
The previous tenant, Le Sia, which served a Chinese crawfish boil, was not able to survive the downturn during the pandemicLe Sia debuted in January 2018. 

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

The last days of the former B Bar & Grill

The one-level structure that housed B Bar & Grill (1994-2020) awaits demolition on the southwest corner of the Bowery and Fourth Street.

Meanwhile, several people have noted the unglamorous ending for the one-time hotspot... the exterior walls now a high-profile spot for tagging...
As we first reported in January, permits were filed for a 21-floor mixed-use development — a 283-foot-tall office building. According to the proposed plan, the well-employed architect Morris Adjmi's building will encompass 98,799 square feet, with 26,000 square feet set aside for use as an unspecified community facility. 

CB Developers paid $59.5 million for a stake in 358 Bowery, previously a gas station before its conversion into the bar-restaurant. B Bar owner Eric Goode, who owns a handful of hotels, including the Bowery Hotel across the way, assembled air rights to build the larger development on this corner space. 

As for the B Bar, it was expected to close for good this past August. However, the bar-restaurant never reopened after the PAUSE. As we reported back on April 3, 2020, nearly 70 B Bar employees were laid off without any extension of benefits or offer of severance pay.