Tuesday, May 11, 2021

There are 3 (!!!) chicks for red-tailed hawks Amelia and Christo in Tompkins Square Park

We have confirmation that Amelia and Christo, the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, have three chicks in the nest this spring... Goggla shared the news — and these photos — from yesterday.

You can see the three nestlings in the top photo with Amelia.

Per Goggla: "This marks the second year in a row that the pair have produced three offspring, and they are all looking lively, which is great news."

And some solo shots...
Goggla has more photos and videos at this link.

NYPL plans to expand services at all branches by mid-July

New York Public Library (NYPL) officials announced yesterday that they plan to reopen all available branch libraries with expanded service by mid-July.

This means that you can expect "the full complement of services such as general space use, programs and classes incrementally reinstituted as quickly as circumstances allow," per the NYPL's announcement. 

In addition, starting yesterday, officials said that they expanded service at select locations to include limited browsing and desktop computer use. The Seward Park branch on East Broadway is the closest location with these additional offerings.

The Tompkins Square Library on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B still has its grab-and-go service. (The Ottendorfer Library on Second Avenue between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street remains temporarily closed.)

Tompkins Square also continues to offer an array of online programming. Check out the free offerings here.

The NYPL closed all branches in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. The limited grab-and-go service commenced in August

32 Avenue C is now shorter

Several readers have pointed out the demolition on the southeast corner of Avenue C and Third Street... where the long-empty three-story building (32 Avenue C) is now down to one level...   
Once upon a time, there were development plans for this parcel... with the filing of permits with the city in July 2005 for a new 6-floor residential building. The city disapproved the plans in May 2006, and nothing more happened with the project... and the building sat in disrepair.

Years later, the landlord filed a permit in the fall of 2017 with the DOB to "rebuild exterior walls; replace windows and sistering of floor joists to address" the various violations on file.

And now — several years after the initial repair work? According to recently issued work permits, plans call to "partially demolish the building" ... specifically the "second, third and roof floors." It wouldn't be entirely surprising if there are new permits filed one of these days to add a second and third floor.

Public records list the landlord as Abraham Benelyahou of Fairfax Management Corp. In 2014, the Daily News referred to him as "Manhattan's worst landlord."

As previously reported, residents have long complained about the drug activity on this corner. On Jan. 18, a 36-year-old man was shot and killed here. Since then, the NYPD has parked a patrol car nearby. (A vehicle from the 9th Precinct was on Third Street at the time of this photo mid-Sunday morning.)

The sidewalk bridge has helped give cover to any activity here... for the past eight-plus years. 

Expanded C&B Cafe nearly ready

As we've been reporting, 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 C&B team is getting closer to a grand opening of the combined storefront. EVG contributor Stacie Joy got another in-progress look...
Still to be done, the new freezer installed, the custom cabinets put up and the much-anticipated return of the record player and albums.

Ali showed Stacie the plans on his phone as he pointed out the new pass-through, the marble countertops and subway tiles...
Ali doesn't have any plans for indoor dining — just increased space for him and the team and a longer to-go counter.
You can follow C&B on Instagram for grand-opening details. 

Meanwhile, the original cafe remains open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Yubu bringing Korean food and beverages to 7th Street

Signage is up over on Seventh Street just west of First Avenue for Yubu, which will serve Korean food and beverages from the sliver of a storefront at 86 E. Seventh St.
This spot has been a launching pad for businesses that grew and expanded into larger spaces elsewhere.

Abraço was here for 10 years before moving across the street in early 2017. Last summer, Suki, the Japanese curry shop, relocated to 111 First Ave. between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. (Suki also opened a sushi outpost on St. Mark's Place.)

In between these two, we had Cafe Che/Benny's Burritos & Empanadas, which, unfortunately, didn't catch on ... 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Cinema Paradiso looks to bring foreign and independent films to Avenue A

Plans are in the works for a cafe-cinema at 44 Avenue A, the former home of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater's East Village outpost, UCBeast, as well as the Pioneer Theater.

Marcello Assante is on tonight's CB3-SLA agenda for a liquor license for Cinema Paradiso, a cafe-theater concept for the space here at Third Street adjacent to Two Boots. (Questionnaire here.)

Assante, a Naples native, has owned and operated a handful of restaurants through the years, including Bella Ciao, Capri Ristorante and Marcellino in Little Italy as well as Local 92 on Second Avenue. Assante has also been involved with the film industry in Italy, having worked with director Abel Ferrara. 

The space on Avenue A, which is already equipped with a movie screen, stage and theater seats for 119 people, seems perfectly suited to Assante's vision of creating a "big cinema culture" — a cultural center for cinephiles to enjoy foreign and independent features.

"My big love is cinema," he said in a recent phone call. 

Aside from new indie and foreign releases, he's also exploring hosting film festivals, premieres and live events, such as director Q&As, similar perhaps to, say, the Metrograph on Ludlow Street.

Cinema Paradiso will also include a cafe for people to have a pre- or post-film meal and drink. At the moment, he's not sure if he'll offer in-theater table service, such as at Alamo Drafthouse and the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn or the iPic Theaters at the South Street Seaport. The cafe portion could be a standalone restaurant such as the Commissary at the Metrograph. 

"We need a liquor license to help support the rent, which is very high," Assante said. Would he move forward if the Community Board nixes the license? (UCBeast, the previous tenant, did serve alcohol.)

"I don't know. We are trying now and we will take it from there," he said. "We are here for cinema and culture."

The business name, Cinema Paradiso, comes from the 1988 Italian drama that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

"I'm Italian... 'Cinema Paradisio' is like my story," Assante said. "It's very personal. I was 8 years old and watching movies."

Citing financial woes, the Upright Citizens Brigade closed this theater in February 2019 after eight-plus years. UCB had taken over part of the expanded Two Boots empire — the video store on Avenue A and the Pioneer Theater with an entrance around the corner on Third Street.

The single-screen Pioneer Theater, which featured indie, underground and cult fare, closed on Nov. 7, 2008, after eight years. As owner Phil Hartman said at the time: "[I]t was always a labor of love and never commercially viable." 

[Image from 2002 via Cinema Treasures]

Tonight's virtual CB3-SLA committee meeting starts at 6:30. Find the Zoom link here.

Report: Now there's an East River Park construction lawsuit

One of the two bidders for the reconstruction of East River Park has initiated a lawsuit against the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres Springer, Comptroller Scott Stringer and IPC Resiliency Partners (IPC), according to the latest report from advocacy group East River Park Action

Tully Construction Co. Inc. filed the suit on April 26. (The lawsuit was amended last Monday.)

Per the group's email from yesterday:
Tully, the higher bidder, alleges the DDC did not follow its own protocols when they accepted the lower bid from IPC. The City has agreed to not award the contract until after the hearing date, which is currently May 27. The City also agreed not to register the contract for the ESCR until 30 days after the hearing date. 

The lawsuit claims that IPC, a newly formed joint venture, did not meet the Special Experience Requirements listed in the Project's Bid Booklet. Tully is seeking a judgment that the project should be awarded to them.  

As East River Park Action previously noted, the bids from both Tully and IPC exceeded the city's estimate.

If Tully wins the judgment and DDC awards the Project to Tully at the higher bid of $1,335,473,290, then the costs of the ESCR project will exceed the City Engineer’s estimates by $136,907,910. 

$1.45 billion is allocated for this project. There is currently no additional funding from the city, state or federal government to complete the project. 
Meanwhile, the construction start date, once set to begin in the spring of 2020, is looking like the fall now. The continued delays are casting more doubts on the project's viability, per East River Park Action.

Find more background on the project here.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Original Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches lives on in a new Avenue A location

Last week we reported that the Original Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches outpost on Avenue A at 13th Street closed. That is true. 

However, they didn't leave a forwarding address. Nicky's lives on! Turns out that the quick-serve shop moved across the street to 216 Avenue A, a former spa, as the top pic shows. (Thank you to the readers who mentioned this!

The Nicky's signage arrived on that new storefront late last week. 

This marks the third East Village home for Nicky's, which originally debuted on Second Street in 2009.

Openings: Sanshi Noodle House on 2nd Avenue

Sanshi Noodle House debuted this past week on the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.

As previously reported, this is the second location for the restaurant ... joining the original outpost in Flushing. You can check out some food pics via the Sanshi Instagram account. Here's a menu for the Flushing location. (A beer-wine license is in the works. They are on this month's CB3-SLA docket.)

Sanshi Noodle House is open for lunch from noon to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with dinner service from 5-8 p.m. (per Google).

This corner space has been vacant since Bar Virage closed in December 2018 after 20-plus years in business. 

Little Rebel announces itself on 2nd Avenue

Signage is up now for Little Rebel at 219 Second Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street. 

Hospitality vets Dermot Lynch and Jarek Krukow are the owners of the bar-restaurant here. (They appeared before CB3's SLA committee last month.) 

Don't know too much about the concept at the moment except for what was on the CB3 questionnaire at this link.

This two-level space was previously home to Professor Thom's for 15 years. The sports bar did not reopen after the pandemic PAUSE in March 2020.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sunday's parting shots

On this Mother's Day, Mother Earth paid a visit to Tompkins Square Park.

Musician-comedian Hila the Killa provided the eco-entertainment in front of Tom Manco's DJ Mother May installation...
Find out what Hila is up to these days here. Thanks to Derek Berg for the photos!

Book smart: the return of Jen the bookseller on Avenue A

Jen the bookseller makes her 2021 debut today at her usual spot on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place.

She says she'll be here today until the rain arrives later this afternoon.

You can follow Jen on her VorteXity Books Instagram account for updates. (And this photo is via her Instagram.)

Week in Grieview

Posts from this past week included (with a photo from Union Square by Derek Berg)... 

• Volunteers at East Village Loves NYC prepare meal for Ramadan; celebrate 1st anniversary (Wednesday

• A look at local vaccination progress (Wednesday

• RIP Madelaine (Dee) Ferro (Wednesday

• An afternoon out with Hello Mary (Friday

• Cure Thrift Shop will have a new high-profile corner space (Monday

• Repairs finally for the "warped" intersection of 1st Avenue and 7th Street (Friday

• Watching 21-23 Avenue B merge and grow (Tuesday) 

• Reconstruction of the McKinley Playground appears to be winding down (Thursday

• Tan lines in this week's NY See (Thursday

• Empty 1st Avenue lot enters the surveillance era (Monday

• Sly Fox is open for REAL now (Thursday

• May Day (and Night) in the East Village (Sunday

• Wine bar in the works for this former dry cleaner on 1st Avenue (Wednesday

• Hot dog!? Crif Dogs reopens on St. Mark's Place (Thursday

• In the run-up to reopening, Short Stories is renting its bar by the hour for private drinking sessions (Monday

• Go Fish: Osakana sets up for sushi on St. Mark's Place (Thursday

• Tony's Pizza signage arrives on 2nd Avenue (Wednesday)

• On University Place, Agata & Valentina has closed ahead of building demolition, condo construction (Thursday

• Intellectual property: Thirsty Scholar giving way to the Long Pour (Tuesday

• Openings: Rosemary's East, an Italian restaurant at 350 1st Ave. (Tuesday

• Unhappy returns: A one-week respite from a sidewalk bridge (Monday

... and Pinch points out the nice-looking sidewalk cafe now up outside Little Poland on Second Avenue near 12th Street...
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics. 

Broadway in Bloom

A tipster tells us about a Kate Spade "Broadway in Bloom" event this morning... the brand partnered with five NYC florists to create a "visual love letter" to the city. 

And we're told these bouquets of flowers will be free for the taking at 11 a.m. on Broadway at 8th Street...

EVG Etc.: A pool finally for the East River; a fundraiser on 3rd Street for Off-Broadway

• A list of vaccine incentives in NYC (Gothamist

• There is finally a city-approved spot for the long-proposed floating Plus Pool to drop anchor in the East River — just north of the Manhattan Bridge (Curbed

• Revisiting this oral history with community organizer Carlos "Chino" García (Off the Grid)

• The "public and impermanent work" of East Village artist Tom Manco (Pavement Pieces ... previously on EVG)

• Rachel Brosnahan bringing a one-act play to the Wild Project on Third Street to help benefit the Off-Broadway theater community (Deadline

• Thoughts on Precious Okoyomon's installation that is ending its run at Performance Space 122 (ArchPaper

• Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is being sent back to federal prison after a request for community placement was denied (NBC 4

• New Michelin stars include one for Tsukimi on 10th Street (Eater) A map of Michelin Bib Gourmands is here

• Diversions: Revisiting Downtown — MTV's animated, cinéma-vérité-style series about New York in 1999 (Vulture)

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Check out the solar-paneled tree lights on 3rd Street

If you happen to be walking in the evening on Third Street between Avenue C and Avenue D, then you'll see the new solar-paneled tree lights up along the block... courtesy of the 3CD Block Association. 

Block Association reps say these lights will be up indefinitely. 

Thanks to Kathleen Keene for the photo!

Another look at DJ Mother May in Tompkins Square Park

Here are a few more photos showing the latest upcycled cardboard installation in Tompkins Square Park courtesy of East Village-based artist Tom Manco of Manco Studio.

Steven took these on Thursday evening when the Mother's Day-related work first arrived...
DJ Mother May, complete with a detailed deejay booth, is expected to be up through this weekend here at Temperance Fountain...

The Regal Union Square returns to movie-showing action

The Regal Union Square ScreenX and 4DX is now back in movie-showing mode here on 13th Street and Broadway ... complete with "CinemaSafe protocols in place."

The theater chain's phased reopening started last month nationwide... NYC locations were originally going to open on May 7, though that timeline was pushed up. The multiplex at Essex Crossing on Delancey and Essex is also up and running. 

Other area theaters, including the Loews Village 7, Village East by Angelika and the IFC Center, all returned on March 5 with mask requirements and assigned seating.

Theater capacity in NYC is currently at 33 percent, per Gov. Cuomo. However, the capacity restrictions will be lifted on May 19... though theaters will still need to stick to 6-foot-distancing rules.  Which theater operators are scrambling to interpret.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday's parting shot

On the Open Streets of Avenue B today, featuring a Charlie Parker tribute and chalk art for kids ... photo by Derek Berg...

Dog day afternoon

Local band Earth Dad — featuring at least two lifelong East Village residents — recently released a single titled "Good Dog" ... check out the above video with some very familiar locales.

You can find their music on Bandcamp. (And today is Bandcamp Friday — where the music platform waives its revenue share for the day.)

Bake news: The annual plant and bake sale is this weekend at the 6th & B Garden

The annual plant and bake sale is going on this weekend at the Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden. Per the Facebook invite:
Our annual fund raiser to help bring you events for the rest of the open season. Delicious home-made baked goods and lots of plants for you to grow at home or in your backyard are available for sale.

The sale is Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the garden on the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Avenue B... 

An afternoon out with Hello Mary

Local rock trio Hello Mary — (above left) guitarist Helena Straight, bassist Mikaela Oppenheimer and drummer Stella Branstool — are playing an early show on May 21 at the Bowery Electric (ticket info here. Update: The limited-capacity show has sold out). 

On that day, the band will also be releasing a new song/video — "Take Something." 

Their first record, the 7-track EP titled Ginger, came out in December 2019. In an interview with Loser Zine last year, the three described Ginger as a collection of everyday experiences. 

"A common theme recurring throughout the album is social anxiety, and the obstacles that come along with it, as well as the boredom that erupts from the monotony of high school." (A fresh topic, as Helena and Mikaela, both 17, are finishing up high school.) 

Since then, Hello Mary has been working on songs for a new record... perhaps some of that unreleased material will get a sneak preview at Bowery Electric. 

The other day, EVG contributor Stacie Joy spent part of an afternoon with the band as they strolled around the East Village. (Stella's parents, Charles Branstool and Christy Davis, co-own Exit9 Gift Emporium on Avenue A. Christy herself is an accomplished percussionist. She plays drums for Gold, who's also on the bill on May 21.) 

On the walk, Hello Mary and Stacie talked about COVID-19 vaccines, strong women and role models. And they had a really good time...
You can find Hello Mary on Bandcamp here. (On the first Friday of the month, Bandcamp waives their revenue share, so bands receive all the profits.) 

The video here from last spring is for Ginger's title track...

Repairs finally for the 'warped' intersection of 1st Avenue and 7th Street

Workers from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are back at the intersection of Seventh Street and First Avenue to replace portions of the water main...
As you may recall, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December ... the ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street

It took a while for these more substantial repairs. The "fucked-up street surface," as one nearby resident called it, has been a topic of frustration in conversations on the East Village Neighbors Facebook group (and in the EVG inbox) this late winter and early spring.

In the weeks/months after the breaks, there was a patchwork of quick fixes on the wonky-looking intersection...
Said one resident: "Basically, the second water main break warped the avenue ... They come out to jackhammer constantly, make a hole, fill it with dirt, and then it caves in. "

Then another sinkhole would form.

And after residents file a complaint: "They come, throw some asphalt onto a sunken hole, leave and nothing is fixed."
The DEP contractors then started covering the holes with metal plates instead ... and the sound of cars, trucks and buses driving over the plates overnight has disrupted the sleep of some residents living nearby.

Said the previously quoted resident: "The trucks wake me up at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 a.m. and I've started getting migraines, which I've never had."

Hopefully, the repairs that started this week will prevent any future breaks and stabilize the roadway — and put an end to the various headaches.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Today at Temperance Fountain

A reader shared the above photo from Tompkins Square Park from earlier this afternoon... and this evening... East Village resident Tom Manco of Manco Studio set up his latest upcycled cardboard installation... this one in honor of Mother's Day... photo by Steven...