Friday, April 30, 2021

6 posts from April

A mini month in review...

• Opening day at the new Bluestockings Cooperative on the Lower East Side (April 24

• Benny's Burritos still frozen in November 2014 time on Avenue A (April 24

• The EVAC, an arts venue, replaces FlyeLyfe on 1st Avenue after 1 day in business — why? (April 21)

• At the March to Save East River Park (April 19

• This photogenic East Village wisteria now has its own jigsaw puzzle (April 6

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

Photo on Third Avenue and Ninth Street from April 19

Just 'Think'

Hannah Jadagu, an 18-year-old singer-songwriter and current NYU student who creates her music all through an iPhone 7, saw the release of her debut EP last week... the video here, with some familiar locales, is for the catchy "Think Too Much." 

Take home something from the former Jules Bistro on St. Mark's Place

Updated 2:23 p.m.: Everything is gone...

Workers are cleaning out the former Jules Bistro at 65 St. Mark's Place between First Avenue and Second Avenue ... and placing dishes and other things out front for the taking...
The 27-year-old bistro didn't reopen after the PAUSE went into effect in March 2020... ownership made the closing official in September.

Thanks to Steven for the photos!

The Gallery Watch Q&A: Superchief Gallery NFT

 Text and photos by Clare Gemima 

Superchief Gallery NFT, 56 E. 11th Street between Broadway and University Place, is said to be the first physical gallery in the world to devote its entire space to the display of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

I sat down with Ed Zipco, an extremely passionate member of the space, to discuss the ins and outs of this crazy new art world, the future of digital spaces and how every type of artist can benefit from this technology. (A special thanks to Ed for letting me pick his brain about this over and over again!)

What does the NFT space do for your everyday artist? 

I think it opens up a brand new arena for them where it’s new collectors, new opportunities to be created and a new world of royalties. More than anything and across the board, every artist should be caring about the fact that there is now a way to get royalties for their artwork.

So that’s the main ethos of  Superchief Gallery NFT (SCGNFT)?

Definitely. Getting royalties as an artist hasn’t existed in the history of the art world. It’s a huge deal. 

How does SCGNFT operate amongst other galleries in the neighborhood? How do you see yourself within the neighborhood’s more conventional art-viewing experience/ gallery culture? 

Well, we have two galleries. We have this one and the one in SoHo, which deals with the more traditional side of things. We are a bit bolder and we are really running into this field as fast as we can to champion it without hesitation. 

I think other galleries were not yet working with digital artists for the most part, but we have since 2016. We’ve been looking and waiting for this moment to happen and I think a lot of the other institutions, curators and people in the art world have been resigned to the idea that selling digital artwork is impossible. Now they seem to be getting into it. 

For us, we’ve been waiting. I think there are so many incredible digital and technological artworks out there and there hasn’t been a way to include them or support them in the best way possible. I think that’s the major difference. We want to include digital artists in a larger discourse and community. 

Did you think waiting for a platform to appear that would champion digital artists would correlate with cryptocurrency?

Yeah, of course. Because it all feels so — future. Everything feels like bits and pieces of alien technology that have suddenly become accessible, so I think that’s just what the future feels like, and it’s part of the whole NFT eco-system. I don’t think that we could’ve predicted how it all came about, but it made a lot of sense that it would be crypto-related for sure. 

Where does your confidence come from in erecting a physical gallery dedicated to showcasing exclusively digital/virtual work?

Our confidence comes from the fact that we are used to being “new” and early on projects. We’ve been betting on the future for 20 years. It’s kind of a necessary situation for the public to have an opportunity to see what it looks like to actually own this artwork and have it not just be something that lives on your phone.

If there is going to be artwork, people want to live with that artwork, and [you think] how do you inhabit a space, or,  how does your home host all of this stuff around you? I think people need to see the work before they start having it in their home.

So SCGNFT really wants to present the digital colliding with the physical. There’s a convergence there.

Well, that’s truly what cyber-punk is. The relics and artifacts of technology and the physical intermeshing.

And obviously, there are a lot of artists working across different disciplines: painting, sculpture, textile, ceramics, video, collage, etc., but all I can see are screens around me. Almost as if the screens are acting as canvases... is this the only iteration or display of NFT work that your gallery will showcase?

No. We are really excited to be as experimental as the NFT experience can allow. Our goals over time will be 3D-printed sculptures, projection mapping, having more interactivity where you can kind of experience NFTs as NFTs become more advanced. Right now, this is still year one of the pop-cultural interaction with NFTs.

Right, so they’re really in their infancy right now?


Well, that’s exciting because I know there are plenty of people working outside of screen-based practices that can participate in NFTs. So what happens when you buy an NFT? I have a screen at home and I would like to experience my own NFT at home in real-time. What does that look like?

Most platforms/marketplaces will sell you an NFT that is roughly 50 megabytes. It will look good on your phone, OK to good on your computer screen but if you put it on your TV it will start to look soft. 

If you buy the NFT from us, you get unlock-able content, so you get a link or a way to contact us and once you contact us we send you away to download the high-res file. So you get to experience the high-resolution version in your home.
And that file exists in whatever format it has been uploaded as?


So it could be anything from a PSD to an AI to a JPEG to a TIFF to anything?

Yeah. I think there are a few types of files that aren’t accepted but for the most part, you’re correct. 

What is the best advice for launching or transitioning into this space?

I think the most important thing people can do right now is to engage with the audience that they have and start to build and communicate with them as to what their plans are. It isn’t the old way of doing art sales anymore. It isn’t the old art world where you’re trying to sell a piece and once you sell that piece you kind of lose contact with your buyers. It's difficult to have a relationship with your collector base ...
NFTs really allow you to create communities and be able to directly have relationships with your community. 

So I think the most important thing I would say to artists is to put work out there, communicate with people before you do so in order to promote it and then don’t set the prices too high or expect it to be a cash-grab.

It is really important for people to recognize that this is the first time that the collectors, flippers and artists are all on the same team. That hasn’t existed up until this point, so now when you sell something at a price and they flip it for more, the artist is getting 10 percent of that every time. 

So it’s really about the longevity of your work and setting an ability for it to grow over time and then be something that is a recurring income stream. It really helps everybody. 

So how does an artist approach Superchief Gallery NFT to facilitate a physical showcasing of their work?

For us we curate everything. For our gallery, we are looking all day/every day for new work. The way that we take submissions is through Instagram. If we are feeling it, we reach back out and let them know that we are excited and sometimes we get flooded so artists won’t hear back for a couple of weeks but we read everything.
Can you talk more about the nature of the artwork that’s already been submitted? Are they ambitious projects or more screen-based display-type proposals?

Both sides and everything in between. People have reached out with crazy opportunities but there is also a wave of people that are just starting to get excited because they can see people being able to pay their rent and make a lot of money with it. 

Because of that, there are now artists that have never made artwork before that are going crazy and trying to do everything they can which is great. It’s not necessarily always the work we want to show, but I am happy that people are encouraged to make artwork because you get that diamond in the rough. 

You get that 1 in 100 that’s amazing. 

Is the NFT space for everyone or is there a specific type of artist/collector that it is set up for?

I think eventually it will be for everyone. I think right now it's early adopters who I think in every way we’ve all seen tend to do well. The early adopters of Instagram are the ones with the giant Instagram accounts, early adopters of TikTok are the ones with huge TikTok accounts. 

The early investors of crypto are now millionaires and billionaires. There’s certainly a mix right now of people that hit it big in crypto and people that are excited about technology and the blockchain in general who have been involved for maybe two years at this point. Financial institutions have gotten into it heavy in the last six months. 

But this wave through art has made it appeal to mass culture. Sports is the other side of that and between sports and the arts, everyone is diving in. Celebrities are involved now. I think what is really going to blow the roof off of this whole thing is when sneakerhead culture enters the chat.

Explain sneakerhead culture.

Sneakerhead culture is the people from the last 10 years that found sectors in a culture that they could invest in, recognize scarcity, recognize the system, invest in it and profit off of it. I think those people and those hype beasts are going to completely create a boom now that they are able to invest in artwork. 

The secondary market has always been obscured in the art world and the gatekeepers were really difficult to work with and I think there being a transparency that is available now via the blockchain is gigantic. I think that wave is going to bring all of these boats up higher. 

There’s already a pre-existing culture in this space, early adopters, specific types of artist’s work that appreciates more significantly than others, etc. Do you think an artist could actually maintain an analog practice and dabble in the NFT space as a secondary income stream or do you really have to embrace this monster of a culture that maybe you wouldn’t usually or naturally?

Like anything, you’re going to get out what you put in, but I don’t think this is about people chasing a fad or changing their aesthetic or art practice to jump into this. To some degree, you will see people do that but I think maintaining their voice regardless of their chosen medium is the most important thing. 

As long as they are staying true to themselves, it’s a really good idea to be an early adopter of this. For 100 different reasons crypto, the blockchain and the fact that there are royalties make it a very worthwhile thing to chase after. 

When you curated this particular show, what was it that you were trying to present and give out to your audience? 

I really want to show a well-balanced portrait of the art community that we work with. I really want to show a balance of traditional artwork, graffiti artists, muralists, street artists, photographers, sculptors and really find the right way to bring each of those practices to the NFT sphere. About 70 percent of the show is from traditional artists and 30 percent from digital artists. 

For you, what is the most rewarding part of this experience?

It has been wild handing this much money to artists this fast. We were in our first week of being open and we sold $150,000 worth of NFTs and 85 percent of that goes to artists. It’s not the traditional 50/50. 

It just blew my mind.
Superchief Gallery NFT is open daily from noon to 6 p.m.
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ 

Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: 

First sighting of Amelia and Christo's 2021 red-hawk offspring

Goggla shares the first photo of Amelia and Christo's chick ... roughly one week after the reported hatching

While we want to respect the family's privacy at this time, EV Arrow has other ideas...
Urban Hawks caught sight of a second chick (find those pics and videos here).

As Goggla noted, there were three hawklets last year, so there's hope for No. 3 in the nest. Head on over to her site for more photos and videos.

A celebration of community gardens on Saturday

Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS) is hosting its annual Spring Awakening in honor of the neighborhood's community gardens tomorrow (Saturday).

Per the LUNGS website:
The parade will begin at noon at El Sol Brillante, 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B, meander down Avenue C ... cross 6th Street and end up on Avenue B. 
Spring Awakening will feature a photo scavenger-treasure hunt, prizes, music, puppets, workshops, comedy and art.
Some of the individual community gardens will be hosting events throughout the afternoon. Check this link for details. 

There will also be events in the afternoon on Avenue B between Eighth Street and Ninth Street in conjunction with Loisaida Open Streets. (Yesterday, City Council made the Open Streets program permanent. More on this later.)

3rd & B’Zaar will 'Spring Into Pride' throughout May on 3rd Street

3rd & B’Zaar is ready to Spring Into Pride in May.

The mixed-vendor market and event space at 191 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B debuts its latest extravaganza tomorrow (May 1) with 30 local designers, artists, makers, vintage sellers, etc., including (in the top photo) Sara Ann Rutherford, Frank New and Delphine le Goff.

Hours: 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Ahead of the grand opening, East Village-based artist Scooter LaForge was putting his mark on the interior... EVG contributor caught a work-in-progress glimpse the other day...
3rd & B’Zaar debuted late last year with a month-long Holiday Market ... followed by Sex, Love & Vintage in February.... with several art shows for good measure. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

East Village Flea is back at 1st and 1st on Saturday

There's another East Village Flea (aka Nexus Flea) this Saturday (May 1!) on First Street and First Avenue (Peretz Square) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Look for some live music in the afternoon with Raven (2 p.m.) and Robert Leslie (3 p.m.).

A visit to [plant-baked]

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

The display in the front window at [plant-baked], the newish bakery at 117 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, was nearly empty by the time I arrive on an overcast Friday afternoon — a sign of a healthy day of business. 

I’m here to talk with the small shop’s owners: Parker — self-titled Head of Delivery and Dishwashing — and Yunsu (both prefer to go by first names only) — chef/owner and Head Dough Flinger. The two East Village residents are partners in both business and life.

Parker said that it’s sometimes difficult to gauge demand/supply. On the previous day, there were unsold pastries, which they delivered to the nearby East Village Community Fridge.

During our talk, we touched on the challenges of starting a small business during a pandemic and overcoming adversities as well as their plans for the future.
You mentioned you don’t use the word “vegan” anywhere in your marketing. But your products and both of you are vegan. What made you decide to go eschew the term?

Parker: In my mind, vegan is a term that functions as an identity for people, but food should be described by the ingredients that are in the dish, baked good, etc. It’s the main reason we decided on the name [plant-baked] in the first place, to make it as apparent as possible that our ingredients come from plants. We focus our energy on producing delicious food that happens to be vegan, and anyone who is curious enough to try it out is welcome to, whether they are vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous.

Your font and design choices are very specific. Why the decision to use brackets in your name and all lowercase lettering?

Parker: This choice grew rather naturally from some original packaging we were doing for a wholesale client. The packaging included the name of the item: The Classic Croissant, company name 3B Eats and the phrase plant-based, so our croissants would be easily distinguished from the animal-based options they also had available. 

We grew fond of the simplicity and subtle nature of the term. When we discussed names for our retail location, it came out as the winner (among many ideas that were tossed around) because of that simplicity. Making the name lowercase and bracketed denounces the proper noun format to instead help convey some basic information about what we offer.

Yunsu: Also, as a side-note, I’m personally a huge stickler for fonts, having dabbled in some journalism and growing up with a mother who used to be a professional journalist. Apparently, it’s something that stuck.

Is [plant-baked] under the umbrella of 3B Eats

Parker: 3B Eats is the company we formed originally to start our business. The 3B comes from the apartment where we first started this baking adventure. “Eats” seemed like the right kind of catchy food-oriented term. The bonus was that our business was indeed founded to help make sure the residents of apartment 3B could continue to eat. The downside is that the business name is difficult to convey when speaking, and often had people confused about our business name (3 Beets? 3Beats? Three Bee Eats?).
When launching into our retail location, it was a good chance to remedy that with a new DBA. We get far less confusion, but still end up with the occasional “planet-baked” and other slight mutations but overall a step in the right direction.
Yunsu: [plant-baked] just opened and it’s exciting to be able to be on this journey making delicious plant-based baked goods, but that’s not all we want to create. We have many different ideas where we want to explore sustainable, plant-based foods and figured creating an all-encompassing “3B Eats” company would be more suitable for such endeavors rather than limiting ourselves.
What prompted the decision to launch a business during some of the worst days of the pandemic?

Parker: It was a convergence of finding passion and running out of unemployment benefits. We found ourselves unemployed just before the pandemic reached the U.S. and sent us into lockdown. The job search was hard before the pandemic and only ended up significantly worse after the lockdown started. There were hundreds of applications between us both, but everything came up short. With benefits and opportunities running short, we had to fill our time with something productive to keep our spirits up. 

Yunsu had been craving a classic, buttery croissant. After searching for some that were made locally, we found there wasn’t a single bakery in the neighborhood that made them. With nowhere to turn, we embarked on making our own. A few iterations later, and we realized we were actually making some headway and feeling fantastic working on a project that was all our own. 

Before we knew it, we were filing our business name, then selling pastries wholesale to cafes in the city, and building our own kitchen to keep up with the demand. If asked a year ago, I would never have assumed this to be the path we were on. 
Yunsu: I remember the moment I turned to Parker and simply asked, “How do I become a baker?” I never thought this would be possible. From figuring out how to make our own (plant-based) butter to iterating recipe after recipe to hone the flavor profile of our dough, I feel like I’m still learning even in our kitchen today. Just this week I figured out another trick to better manage our baking schedule (it takes three days to make our croissants from starting the dough to pulling them out of the oven). And hopefully, this new lesson will lead to more time dedicated to doing more R&D projects (our true passion).
The flood resulting from the second broken water main on Seventh Street and First Avenue in late December damaged your new oven and delayed your grand opening in early January. How did you overcome this disappointing setback? 

Parker: I wish it had been the flood’s fault for the broken oven — at least it wouldn’t have felt like everything was working against us — but they were actually separate events. We were supposed to open our doors in mid-December (around the time of the first flood on Seventh Street) and found out our oven was damaged in transit, causing us to burn a whole day’s orders for our wholesale clients and effectively shutting our doors before they were even open to the public. 

Then came the challenge of getting repair services and parts ordered out to fix the damage during the holidays, which means it took an additional three weeks and two separate repair services. In the middle of trying to get it all repaired, the second flood came. This one was late at night, so we ended up coming out to the shop to mitigate any damages. We worked alongside some of our neighboring businesses to redirect the flooding off the sidewalk and back into the streets.
In a weird way, that flood actually helped the other setbacks feel smaller and reaffirmed our choice to open up on Seventh Street with some really wonderful neighbors. 
Yunsu: I remember that night vividly. After a full day of working on the shop, we finally got home. By the time we laid down in bed, I got the Citizen app notification on my phone. In the back of my mind, I knew we would have to go back, but I kept hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as last time, only I was wrong. Our super called us moments later, asking us to come back to the shop/building to check the basement for him. And lo and behold, it was actually worse than the first flood. 

But overall, I definitely think it was a pretty memorable and good bonding experience for us and our neighbors. Would I want to do it again? Absolutely not.

Why did you decide on this space on Seventh Street? Did the proximity to several of Ravi DeRossi’s vegan restaurants play any part in this?

Parker: We looked at spaces everywhere from the Lower East Side to Union Square, but at the heart of it, we knew we wanted to be in the East Village. This is where we first lived when moving to the city, and the energy here is like none other. 
The East Village also is one of the most plant-based-friendly neighborhoods around, largely thanks to Overthrow Hospitality and Mathew Kenney Cuisine’s concepts. The weight of those two food groups, and others just starting to warm up to plant-based concepts, plus the independently owned restaurants, make the neighborhood a blooming oasis.
Yunsu: In terms of our requirements when searching for a location, indoor dining wasn’t an option or a desire by any means. Also, we were more focused on looking for a space that would foster our ability to grow and sustain our wholesale business, so we were looking for more of a kitchen than a retail location.
We had originally toured a space next door (that soon after became Los Tacos), but realized that the existing buildout wouldn’t have worked for us, and would have to be removed for us to build out the kitchen. Los Tacos did an excellent job with the existing space, in my opinion. 

Once our broker showed us the space we now reside in, we fell in love with it. It was simple, much larger than our previous space, and gave us the flexibility to design our kitchen from scratch. 

The windowed frontage was nowhere near the top of our list of desired traits, but it has become one of my favorite aspects of the shop. I actually was the one to propose that we utilize the window to showcase my dough-flinging.
The setup is very unique. Patrons at the window can see the full kitchen operation. Is this total transparency in the baking process important to you?

Parker: Absolutely — for multiple reasons. First, not only is our food plant-based, but also free from palm oil, soy, sesame, peanuts and tree nuts (except coconut, which is not a true tree nut, but is regulated as one by the FDA). 

When serving customers who may have severe allergic reactions to specific ingredients (there are 100-plus known food allergies, only 8 are regulated in the U.S.), transparency is the only way to ensure a safe and delicious experience. 
Second, the lockdown was an eye-opening experience to reexamine our societal practices. In most circumstances, the kitchen is relegated to a tiny back room so cramped that no one has room to walk in a straight line without bumping into equipment, people, etc. It always comes down to maximizing the production per square foot while also maximizing your sales capacity (seating) to increase your revenue. 

After seeing how some businesses reimagined their spaces to meet the new challenges — Superiority Burger on Ninth Street is a fantastic example — it became clear we didn’t need any service space for the foreseeable future. Serving right out the door is an approach that will be around for a while.
Third, the transparency of an open kitchen catches attention and focuses that attention on the food being made. Most of my prior kitchen experience had either full or partially open kitchen concepts so customers could see the action. Who doesn’t love seeing a bit of the fire and excitement that goes into making the food about to be served? 
Yunsu: We don’t have nearly as much fire in our bakery, but the meticulous assembly of laminated dough can be just as mesmerizing. 
Also, it affects our pricing model. The price you see in our window is the price you pay. No additional taxes, no tipping, and no pricing meant to leverage the brain’s tendency to round $4.99 down to $4 to increase revenue. We charge what we need to run our business and pay ourselves — and any future employees — enough to live in the neighborhood. We hope that model catches on.
What has the reception from residents and patrons been like to date? Do you have any expansion plans, and do you envision a day when you have a full cafe-style operation with seating, etc.?

Parker: The reception has been overwhelming at times. We have many local regulars who are fantastic and help spread the word about us. We have many non-local regulars who make decent treks from Brooklyn, Queens, and uptown just to get their favorites. 

We sometimes get overlooked due to our small size, simple design and unusual kitchen-only design. Still, we would rather win the recognition through word-of-mouth than worry too much about trying to draw people in with a bunch of fanfare. 
Yunsu: As for expansion, our plans currently only go so far as our existing lease in our current location. We’re a power-baking duo that may or may not opt to grow to have employees. We love being a Ma-and--Pa shop, which makes the idea of a full-service cafe concept pretty far out there, but I wouldn’t rule out anything. 

Our business has been successful due to our agility and adaptation. So, being flexible with our concept while adhering to our values will be the way we keep building our future. We have lots of ideas and goals we want to achieve, just not enough time.
You can keep up with the bakery here. Current hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.-ish!

Art gallery in the works for this Avenue A space

There's a new tenant for 64 Avenue A between Fourth Street and Fifth Street.

Stacie Joy spotted Phillip March Jones, an artist, writer and curator, inside the space this week...
This past October, he started MARCH, "a curatorial platform and gallery operating at the intersection of visual art and social justice." 

Here's more about MARCH:
The gallery presents artworks in a variety of formats and settings — online, in collaboration with other institutions, and at off-site locations — with the aim of amplifying the voices and showcasing the talents of under-recognized artists.

Until June 2020, this storefront was Alphabets ... when owner Linda Heidinger moved the novelty-gift shop to Palm Springs, Calif.  

Openings: Etérea debuts on 5th Street

Etérea, the latest plant-based concept from Ravi DeRossi's Overthrow Hospitality, is now open (as of last night) at 511 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. 

Per the Overthrow Instagram account:
Etérea is Spanish for "ethereal," meaning "light and delicate, as if not of this world." It communicates our CEO Ravi DeRossi's vision of a tequila and mezcal bar unlike any other in the city, past or present. With deep red velvet banquettes, vividly colorful pillows, and thousands of hanging flowers, we hope the place will offer our guests an escape from the rat race of the city. ⠀
Mixologist Sother Teague from Amor y Amargo is behind the bar menu here ... while Executive Chef Xila Caudillo oversees the plant-based small plates "that honor her Mexican Heritage and SoCal Upbringing."

Etérea is open Wednesday-Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, with a 2 p.m. open on Saturday and Sunday. You can find the menu here

DeRossi's other EV establishments include Avant Garden, Ladybird and the recently opened Cadence.

And previously here... Violet, the restaurant by the Pizza Loves Emily Group and chef/owner Matt Hyland, did not reopen after the COVID-19 PAUSE.

The address has been home to several restaurants since Le Tableau closed in December 2007. Before Violet, there was Goat TownSeymour Burton, Butcher Bay and GG's.   

The Cock plans a move to the former Fat Baby space on Rivington Street

Updated 5/12: There is opposition to this application. BoweryBoogie has more here.

The Cock looks to be leaving its home at 93 Second Ave. between Fifth Street and Sixth Street for new digs on the Lower East Side.

Owner Allan Mannarelli, an East Village resident, will appear before CB3's SLA committee on May 12 for a new liquor license at 112 Rivington St., the former Fat Baby space.

"We are moving due to lease issues — particularly the price and length of term," Mannarelli said in an email. "We actually love our landlord at 93 Second Avenue, but our individual needs are dissimilar."

Mannarelli, whose former credits include neighborhood scourge Superdive, said that they "intend to create a new paradigm for proper behavior as it relates to our footprint in the community."

The Cock, once described as "the last filthy gay bar in New York," moved to No. 93 in late 2015 (you may recall the "Block the Cock" campaign) ... it first opened on Avenue A in 1998 before relocating to 25 Second Ave. several years later.

With a possible move, coupled with the official closure of The Pyramid, Mannarelli said that this "leaves us with what I consider to be a gaping hole" in East Village nightlife. 

Mannarelli has thoughts about a possible new tenant for No. 93, previously Lit Lounge. "It struck me that The Pyramid would be perfect for that space, and I would like to try to make that happen."

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A free market and Tompkins Square Park cleanup on Friday

On Friday, the volunteers behind East Village Mutual Aid are hosting a Free Market and Park Cleanup on Ninth Street at Avenue A. 

From noon to 4 p.m., there will be tables providing pantry items, to-go food, toiletries and literature, among other items. 

And then, from 3 to 4 p.m., the group will be doing a cleanup of Tompkins Square Park. Anyone interested in helping with this may just show up at 3 p.m. 


You will be able to sit at a bar again on Monday; food-with-drinks rule may be suspended

Gov. Cuomo announced today that, starting on Monday, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City — for the first time in nearly 14 months.

In addition, the midnight food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

Per a Cuomo press release: "Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world."

Per Eater:
The move follows months of pushback from restaurant and bar owners across the city, who have been calling on elected officials to lift the state's midnight curfew. Industry trade groups and local politicians have also spoken out against the curfew, calling it an unfair, "arbitrary" restriction that hampers the ability of restaurateurs to bring in revenue due to earlier cutoff times.
Meanwhile, New York lawmakers are prepping to suspend the food-with-drink rule at bars as soon as this week, per The New York Times. Cuomo enacted the directive for "substantive" meals at bars last July as a way to keep patrons seated at tables.

Some bars, already under a financial strain and working with skeleton crews, needed to create a menu (Hello bags of Funyuns!) and whip up a kitchen or be forced to close — even if they never served food before the COVID-19 PAUSE. 

Last summer, Abby Ehmann, the owner of Lucky at 168 Avenue B, launched a petition asking Cuomo to roll back his mandate. Several days later, the SLA suspended her license and issued a fine after agents saw that she was not serving food with drinks.

More fallout from Saturday's hardcore show in Tompkins Square Park, and an exclusive look at the event application

Reporting by Stacie Joy

The fallout from Saturday's hardcore matinee in Tompkins Square Park continues. 

Gothamist reported yesterday that the Parks Department has revoked permits for seven upcoming events that were organized by East Village resident Chris Flash, who had applied for the permit for the Saturday show. (Two of the events had already received city approval.) 

According to PIX11 and Gothamist, reps from the Parks Department said that Saturday's free all-ages show was billed as a "September 11 Memorial" on the permit application, a point that made headlines at both outlets and drew outrage from readers for its brazenness. Each outlet said that the Parks Department had provided them with a copy of the permit.

In an interview with EVG's Stacie Joy on Monday, Flash, who has organized concerts in Tompkins Square Park since 2006, said that the permit he filed for on April 24 did not mention 9/11.

"Nowhere did it say anything about September 11. We did apply for a September 11 memorial event, but it was for September," Flash said. "Why would we apply for a September 11 memorial in April?" 

As proof, he shared a copy of the approved permit (submitted last Nov. 2 and OK'd on March 23 — we blocked out his address and contact information) that the Parks Department had previously shared with him for the date.

The permit shows the event name titled "rally/concert." (click on the image for more details) ...
It's not immediately clear why the approved permit Flash received from the city differs from the ones the Parks Department is sharing with media outlets.

"I think the spokesperson entered my name and all the permits came up — there are eight of them, seven left — and she gave them one random application," Flash told Stacie last night. "I wanted May Day — it has social and political implications. They refused to give us May Day. They offered us April 24, which I accepted."

He also has concerns about the Parks Department "violating his confidentiality" by releasing the permits to reporters.

"And in addition to violating my confidentiality, [the Parks Department] gave out the wrong information," Flash said. 

Elsewhere on the permit, there's a mention of "amplified sound from 2-6 p.m. with proper sound device permit from NYPD." 

The attendance is listed on the permit as 100, and estimates put Saturday's crowd size at 2,000 during the late-afternoon sets by bands with large followings — Bloodclot, Murphy's Law and Madball. 

At the time of this filing this past November, Flash said they didn't know who was going to play on that date. The show, which also served as a fundraiser for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, was first announced by Black N' Blue Productions on April 8. 

According to Gothamist, "the alleged misrepresentations" on the permit along with the crowd size (outdoor events in New York are capped at 500) and the lack of masks and social distancing prompted the Parks Department to revoke the permits for Flash for the remainder of the year. (Flash previously said that they followed the city's three pages of COVID-related requirements.)

The large number of maskless attendees during a pandemic drew the ire of people on social media as well as some residents who were in the park on Saturday afternoon. Local Assemblymember Harvey Epstein referred to the show as a "super spreader event" in a tweet.

In a message with Stacie yesterday, he wrote: "I was in the park on Saturday and saw the overwhelming crowd. They violated their permit, and [the Parks Department] withdrew all future permits. I agree with that decision. It was not safe."

Meanwhile, Flash said that he has not heard from anyone at the Parks Department. 

"All I know so far is that the Parks Department said they are going to review everything. I applied for eight shows, so seven are coming up," he said. "It remains to be seen what their next move is. They have no legitimate grounds to refuse us permits for any future events. I do not know the requirements for a rescinded permit, but I have not been contacted."


"Regardless of what happens, I will be discussing this with my lawyer. I have a 15-year clean track record of being conscientious and following all the rules and regulations. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to issue a warning?"

Flash described this all as "a momentary media frenzy." 

"They will move on and find something new to have a frenzy over," he said. "In short, I am not worried in the least. I welcome a good fight."

Updated 2 p.m.

Flash confirmed the following: "The Parks Department emailed us a two-page letter informing us of their intention to revoke all subsequent permits in TSP." No word on the next steps.

El Carnaval coming soon to the former Fonda space on Avenue B

Updated: El Carnaval opened on May 9!

Coming soon signage arrived Monday at 40 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street for El Carnaval, a Panamanian restaurant and bar. 

We're told the new venture is from the folks who run KC Gourmet Empanadas right next door...
... that space looks to become a to-go outpost for El Carnaval...
Fonda, the previous tenant at 40 Avenue B, closed last summer. The Mexican restaurant's other locations in Chelsea and Park Slope remain open. This outpost opened in February 2012, stopping the revolving door of restaurants to come and go here.

Thanks to Stacie Joy for the photos and Vinny & O for the tip!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday's parting shots

Christo, one of the red-tailed hawks in Tompkins Square Park, took a nest break yesterday ... and visited some children... or was his mind elsewhere?
Per jackflashnyc, who shared these pics: "He seemed curious of the kids, though moments later we found a mortally wounded rat at our feet that may have been his real focus."

Meanwhile, in the dog run...

From yesterday: Why not come dancing? ...
Thanks to Barb Feinberg for the photo...

[Updated] Questions arise after packed hardcore matinee Saturday in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Tompkins Square Park played host to a hardcore matinee on Saturday afternoon, and now the Parks Department is reportedly investigating the permit application.

The all-ages show featured five bands: the Capturers, Wisdom in Chains, BloodclotMurphy's Law and Madball. Organizer Black N' Blue Productions collected donations to cover expenses, with a portion designated for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. 

The combination of the bands' large followings, ideal spring weather, and lack of live shows over the past year helped draw a large crowd on a day where a lot of people were already in the Park for the usual Saturday festivities on the lawn as well as an organized youth event on the basketball courts. 

While there isn't an official attendance tally, some estimates put the crowd size for the concert at more than 2,000 at its peak late in the afternoon. According to New York State, the maximum number of people attending outdoor events is currently capped at 500.

Photos from the show circulating on social media have drawn the ire of people who pointed out the limited mask-wearing and social distancing (particularly difficult in a moshpit). 

Some residents passing through also expressed concern about the size of the show and the lack of masks. In a tweet, local Assemblymember Harvey Epstein questioned why permits were issued while the city remains in recovery mode from COVID-19...
Not all local elected officials immediately questioned the decision. City Councilmember Keith Powers was in attendance... tweeting out a mask-wearing selfie...
"We're all excited about supporting our music scene, but we still need to remember that we're in a pandemic," Powers told Gothamist yesterday. 

Asked about the safety of the event, he went on to reference a Gorilla Biscuits song: "I have reached out to organizers to remind them to 'start today' with better social distancing protocols."
However, it may be potentially too late. A Parks Department spokesperson told Gothamist: "This matter is actively being investigated as the permit application filed and agreement appear to have been violated — future permits are in jeopardy."

PIX 11 followed up, reporting that the event was "misrepresented" on the application.
The Parks Department was led to believe the event was a political rally with about 100 people expected to attend — not the estimated 2,000-person crowd that showed up for a hardcore concert, according to the spokesperson.

A copy of the permit obtained by PIX11 shows the name of the event was listed as "September 11 Memorial" and the description was a "political rally with music and speakers."

According to PIX 11, the Parks Department "moved to revoke all permits by the organizers," including the A7 "Back To The NYHC Roots" New York Hardcore Compilation Record Release show scheduled for May 8.

[Updated 5 p.m. Parks Department spokesperson Crystal Howard told Gothamist today, "We are moving to revoke all permits for this organizer and related future events." That equals seven total events.]

Chris Flash, the publisher of The Shadow, who has organized concerts in Tompkins Square Park since 2006, disputes PIX 11's coverage. He told EVG contributor Stacie Joy that he applied for the permit for a "rally/concert" for April 24. 

"Nowhere did it say anything about September 11. We did apply for a September 11 memorial event, but it was for September," Flash said. "Why would we apply for a September 11 memorial in April?"

Stacie viewed the permit, which was submitted to the city on Nov. 2, 2020. It does not mention a 9/11 memorial. The event name is titled "rally/concert." 

"We were given a 3-page list of things the Parks Department wanted us to comply with — we complied with all of the stipulations," Flash said. "We were required to provide gloves, masks, sanitizer and a clipboard if someone wanted to voluntarily provide contact tracing. We provided two tables with all the necessary supplies. We cannot enforce rules, we can't — we're not the police. Even the police said they can't enforce."

According to Flash, the application asked how many people were estimated to attend. 

"We put down 100-plus. The application is put in 6 to 12 months ahead of time," he said. "At the time we filed, we didn't know who was going to play.

"We have the total and utmost reverence for our beloved Tompkins Square Park," Flash said. "It is the last bastion against creeping gentrification. We fought for it: in the media, in the streets and in the courts. We will never trash the park, and we will do everything right and everything in compliance. We have a track record going back to 2006 — every show is without incident."

Meanwhile, Stacie was there Saturday and shared these photos...