Saturday, July 31, 2021

Summer of Joy stops at Astor Place this weekend

The Public Theater's Mobile Unit — a reinvention of Joseph Papp's "Mobile Theater," which began in 1957 — is making the rounds again this summer at public plazas around the city. 

Today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday!), the free show will be at Astor Place. 

Details via the EVG inbox...
Each day will begin with the National Black Theatre's Stage for Healing and Resilience, co-produced by The Public Theater and National Black Theatre and featuring organizations local to each tour stop. 
This community stage will be followed by VERSES @ WORK – THE ABRIDGED MIX, written and performed by Mobile Unit in Corrections artist Malik Work, a spoken word show that blends hip-hop and storytelling in a modern version of epic poetry. 
The experience will culminate in SHAKESPEARE: CALL AND RESPONSE, a dynamic new show by Patricia McGregor where Shakespeare's complete works meets Freestyle Love Supreme and Mad Libs.
The shows begin each day at 4:30 p.m.


The urban etiquette notes are striking a kinder tone around here — "please be courteous and refrain from urinating here" as seen on Essex just below Houston (thanks for the photo Stacie Joy!) ... and the other day we had the "please do not defecate here" one.

Revel Without A Cause

Second Street at First Avenue this morning. 

And I have been waiting my whole life to use that headline! 

The officers let out a Revel yell upon leaving...

Saturday's opening shot

Ninth Street this morning ... pic by William Klayer...

Friday, July 30, 2021

Die another day

The Parrots, a duo from Madrid, are releasing their second full-length record on Oct. 29. Ahead of that, here's the first single, a take on modern life called "You Work All Day and Then You Die."

Just breathe: A walking tour to see how the air quality varies around the neighborhood

Some community members recently installed real-time air-quality monitors in and around East River Park. (You can check them any time here.) 

Via the EVG inbox:
Funded by donations to LES Breathe, a committee of the nonprofit East River Park Action, these PurpleAir sensors provide a color-coded score from 1 (best) to 500, based on EPA standards and the current PM2.5 (a mix of chemical particles small enough to inhale). 
With all the concerns about air quality (including recent wildfire haze days when readings soared to 165), this data is reliable and will help local residents know when to protect themselves, close windows, turn on filters, and advocate for clearer air.
This link has a lot more details about this campaign... as the group continues to speak out against the city's current plan to demolish East River Park and cut down 1,000 trees to protect the Lower East Side and surrounding neighborhoods from a 100-year-flood event and sea-level rise. 

Tomorrow, members of LES Breathe are hosting a walking tour to see how the air quality varies around the neighborhood and East River Park using portable sensors. 

Details: Saturday, July 31 at Grace Space, 182 Avenue C at 11th Street. Gather at 10:30 a.m., parade at 11:30, a data performance by NY Alive at noon in Tompkins Square Park, and at 1 p.m., the 90-minute Walking on Air tour will leave from (and return to) Grace Space. 

RSVP here.

Last days to see 'Charlie & Regina' at 292 Theatre/Gallery

Longtime East Village-based artists Regina Bartkoff and Charles Schick have been showing their recent paintings and drawings in an exhibit titled "Charlie & Regina." 

You can stop by the 292 Theatre/Gallery today and tomorrow from 1-5 p.m. to check out their work at 292 E. Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D. 

From Aug. 11 to Aug. 31, you can check it out via an appointment. You can email to stop by those days in August.

Reminders: Tompkins Square Library hosting mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic this week

As noted back on Monday, the Tompkins Square Library is hosting a mobile vaccination clinic outside the branch at 331 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (It's across the street from the library.)

The City's Test + Trace Corps will be here today through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

No appointments are necessary, though you can schedule an appointment for the Pfizer vaccine here.

 And according to the city's COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, the $100 incentive is available here...

At long last, workers remove the sidewalk bridge from 75 1st Ave.

Over the past two days, workers have removed the scaffolding and sidewalk bridge from outside 75 First Ave., the cantilevering 8-story condoplex next to Rite Aid at Fifth Street.
As previously noted, this project has been taking its time. The groundbreaking took place in September 2016. The build included nearly 14 months of inactivity.

And, to refresh your memory, some details about the building — dubbed "an architectural masterpiece" and a "timeless glass tower" via the 75 First Ave. website:
The building lobby boasts a fumed glass door entrance, lava stone floors and walls, and a contrasting yellow travertine stone desk. Black stucco adorns the elevator walls, while the private residents lounge features a yellow travertine stone fireplace, white stucco walls with brass reveals, a pool table, and several areas of seating. Additional amenities include a full-time doorman, a landscaped rooftop, a fitness center, and bicycle storage.

Available units include 1 and 3-bedroom homes with several 1-bedrooms featuring sizeable home offices, and a dazzling selection of Penthouse residences crown the building. Each home of 75 First Ave blends a modern open layout with sleek finishes, Italian doors and hardware by Lualdi, and gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows. Kitchens are equipped with white and greige matte lacquered cabinets custom made in Italy by Arclinea, white Carrara marble countertops and backsplash, Fantini faucets, and top-of-the-line Miele appliances. Bathrooms are adorned with custom sinks and vanities, and Piasentina stone flooring.
Here's a look at the rendering on the plywood...
No word on pricing or availability at the No. 75 website.

The removal of the sidewalk bridge also means that the 99-cent store at 73 First Ave. next door returns to view... thankfully they made it out of the lengthy construction process... (and it should almost be time for the Christmas stuff to show up in the front windows!)
Second pic in this post by Goggla. And thanks to Elissa!

Previously on EV Grieve:
• 2020 vision: New completion set for Rite Aid-adjacent condoplex on 1st Avenue

• High-rise for 75 First Avenue back in play

• Long-stalled First Avenue site now has a brand-new rendering

• Plywood report and the future of 75 1st Ave. (Spoiler: condos)

A short tribute — sob — to the World Famous Pee Phone™

Many of you likely already noticed this disheartening disappearance this summer. 

On Avenue A at Seventh Street, the long, distinguished reign of the World Famous Pee Phone™ has come to an undistinguished end ...
Back in March, workers started removing the open-air pay phones on Avenue A... though the World Famous Pee Phone™ was spared at the time. 

Anyway, the booth was a recurring character through the early years here in these pages — and elsewhere! (And I don't honestly remember who bestowed the booth with the Pee Phone moniker. Eden? I retain the Pee Phone™ though for merchandising and the forthcoming bingeworthy Peacock series.)

A quick look back... when it served as a lending library...
... when there was a price increase...
... and just a day in the life...
Thank you for always being there for us.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

A lost Lego

A notice of a lost Lego — Golden Ninja Lloyd? — as seen at C&B Cafe on Seventh Street... thanks to Robert Miner for the photo!

Wegmans makes it OFFICIAL, will take over the former Kmart space on Astor Place

Wegmans is coming to Astor Place ... the well-regarded grocery chain is taking over the former Kmart space at 770 Broadway, as rumored.
Hot off the press (release)
The Manhattan Wegmans, scheduled to open in the second half of 2023, will be located at Vornado's 770 Broadway, the former site of the Astor Place Kmart. 

Wegmans opened its first NYC store in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in October of 2019

"We are so excited to bring Wegmans to Manhattan. This is something we've been dreaming about and working toward for a long time," said Colleen Wegman, president and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets. "The community's response to the opening of our Brooklyn store had an excitement and energy that you can only experience in New York City. You can feel that energy returning to the city, and we are thrilled to be a part of it."
Kmart closed without much notice on July 11 after 25 years in business, as we first reported. 

More to come...

Renovation watch: This is what the inside of the former Hells Angels HQ looks like now

Photos by Stacie Joy

As we've been reporting, the former Hells Angels clubhouse at 77 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue is undergoing a gut renovation. 

The 6-floor building is expected to offer 22 one- and two-bedroom units with a price point of $3,500 a month via new landlord Better Living Properties.

The last of the members moved out of No. 77 at the end of March 2019 from the clubhouse that the Hells Angels had in their possession since 1969.

In June 2019, EVG contributor Stacie Joy got an exclusive look inside the mostly-unseen-to-outsiders space. At the time, workers were just prepping No. 77 for construction.  

As she noted, there was stagnant air in the building — a combo of cat urine and rotting food. And it looked as if a few of the tenants had left in a hurry, leaving behind unwieldy pieces of furniture and a few mattresses. (The Post previously reported that the building had 16 apartments and that the rooms were used more as "crash pads" for visiting members rather than full-time residency.)

Now, two-plus years later, Stacie took another look inside No. 77 to see how far the renovations had come... 
The Better Living Properties website has four of the units listed, ranging in price from $2,999 to $3,699, with a move-in date of Sept. 1. Amenities include central air, video intercoms and granite countertops. The listings do NOT mention anything about the previous tenants.

As for the previous occupants, the Hells Angels reportedly ended up in Throggs Neck, a neighborhood in the southeastern portion of the Bronx. Last summer, two members and an accomplice were charged in the fatal shooting of a rival gang leader.

787 Coffee debuts on 10th Street

787 Coffee debuted yesterday on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street (officially 159 Second Ave.) ... a nice retail spot right across the street from St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery.
As we first noted on June 2, 787 signed a lease for both storefronts — the one on the left (in the top pic) is serving as an office for the coffee shop 

With this opening, 787 has four East Village locations, joining 131 E. Seventh St., 101 Second Ave. and 319. E. 14th St. 

The Seventh Street store, which opened in October 2018, was the first for co-owners Brandon Pena and Sam Sepulveda, who wanted to bring Puerto Rican coffee to NYC. Their coffee is grown and roasted from a mountain-top farm in Maricao. (And 787 takes its names from Puerto Rico's area code.)

No. 159 was previously home to Third Rail Coffee, which did not reopen here following the PAUSE of March 2020. Next door, Danny's Cleaners merged their business with Lois Cleaners on the southeast corner of 10th Street and Third Avenue.

Photos by Steven!

East Berlin set for 169 Avenue A

169 Avenue A, long a home for a variety of live music here between 10th Street and 11th Street, is reopening tonight as East Berlin. 

As Brooklyn Vegan first reported, East Berlin is a sibling of Berlin downstairs at 2A, 25 Avenue A at Second Street. Like Berlin, East Berlin space will feature various DJs and live bands. (Don't see any social media platforms or website for the venue just yet — find some upcoming tickets here and here.) 

No. 169 was most recently Lola after a stint as Coney Island Baby... the address was previously EVG favorites HiFi (2002-2017) and the indie live music venue Brownies (1989-2002).

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wednesday's parting shot

A moment on Seventh Street today via Derek Berg...

'I see you over there' — the return of a Zoltar and words of wisdom

A familiar figure in a paisley vest and luxurious gold headwrap made a triumphant debut today outside The March Hare, the toy store at 321 E Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Welcome back, Zoltar! (Thanks to Steven, MP and Jason for the photos!) 

For starters, this is NOT the same Zoltar that held forth outside Gem Spa on Second Avenue and St. Mark's for nearly seven years — 2012-2019. (Among other features, that Zoltar had a flute in his cummerbund.) 

That Zoltar ended up outside a pizzeria in Bushwick, where bloggers probably don't post about him every few days. Sources on Ninth Street tell us that this Zoltar was important from the faraway land of New Jersey.

The new Ninth Street Zoltar is $1 for a fortune (aka words of wisdom). 

We'll have more on this arrival in the days ahead... but one question was answered — the Ninth Street Zoltar will not be outside 24/7...

Mid-afternoon sinkhole watch

Several readers (thank you!) have been keeping tabs on the new budding sinkhole on Avenue A at Fifth Street... it has evolved these past few days to its current triangulated status with the ConEd cones. 

A few days earlier, someone thoughtfully fashioned a bridge for the sinkhole made from a discarded cabinet door...
The city repaved this section of Fifth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B on July 13.

An encore presentation for the Pyramid Club on Avenue A?

The Pyramid Club, the iconic East Village venue that shuttered its doors on Avenue A this past spring after 41 years, is now apparently primed for a comeback. 

A tipster told us that the club, still doing business as The Pyramid Club, will reopen here at 101 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street as early as Saturday. 

A "House of Dance" party featuring DJ Force 1 was posted on the venue's Facebook page... the accompanying text states "The Pyramid is back in NYC"...
The event is advertised between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. — with no cover charge. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted someone inside the space yesterday...
The Pyramid closed at the outset of the pandemic on March 7, 2020. The permanent closure was made official this past April 1, as we first reported.

Manager Maria Narciso and her fiancé, general manager and house DJ TM.8 (aka Quirino Perez), told Stacie the following about the closure back in April:
After many months of asking the owners about their reopening plans and always getting the same answer, "we're not ready, yet" and knowing that now we had a date from NYS/NYC to open on April 2, Quirino asked once again and received a text message reply stating that due to COVID-19, The Pyramid Club will not reopen. 
And of the possibility of the Pyramid reopening under a different name or with new management:
For decades, managers have run The Pyramid Club with unfortunately very little communication from the owners. We don't know what their plans are, as they are very private people and rarely, if ever, talk about their business plans with us. 

At this point, it's not known who might be running the next iteration of the Pyramid, or even if this is a long-term plan or simply a one-night event. 

Since the closure, Narciso and DJ TM.8, who had been at The Pyramid Club for more than 37 years,  found new venues for their 80s dance parties, including Temptation Saturday a few doors away at Drom.

They also released a statement on Instagram "to make it clear that we are in no way associated with any event held at 101 Avenue A, and to remind everyone that we are no longer employees there."

The statement reads in part:

We cherish the times spent managing the venue ... We wish everyone who is involved with reopening well, much success. We want to remind everyone that they have every right to do as they wish with their business, and ask that their wishes be respected.

As we have no communication with the owners (their choosing), we may never understand the why, but we live by The Golden Rule, and never have ill wishes toward anyone. We are blessed to have found venues that have opened their doors for us and our community...

We ask our friends, family and loyal patrons to respect our privacy at this moment. We are not available to discuss anything related with the nightclub's opening. We understand that there's lots of speculation and rumors, and many others who love to create drama, so we remind you that whatever you hear or see written did not/won't come from us, as this is our only official statement.

The only request we have for the owners, is that they return the yellow pyramid logo to Quirino Perez, the rightful owner. This painting was created by his son, and given to his father as a gift. It was used above the entrance for many years. Quirino's son also painted the murals, Rubik's Cube and Pyramid Pac-Man, for his father, and those remain (we hope) at the venue.

When we were fired via text message, we felt for the community and found a way to encourage everyone to keep the Pyramid Spirit alive. We worked hard during the pandemic, during isolation, to keep our community strong with our Twitch livestreams, then we struggled through all the constantly-changing NYS/NYC Health Guidelines to start our live events, becoming the first event to take place in NYC during the global pandemic ... 
We will continue to keep the spirit alive and remind you that Pyramid is just a building, the spirit is inside you and goes where ever you go. We will continue to take you Back to the 80s every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and occasional Sunday and Monday.

We love you just as you are, and thank you for allowing us to follow our passions, and make a living doing what we love to do: Spreading Joy Through Music!
You can keep tabs on their events via this link.

Earlier this year, 101 Avenue A was listed on Loopnet for rent as a retail space. That listing, first posted on March 6, was subsequently removed.

Opening in 1979, The Pyramid ushered in an era of "socially-conscious drag performance, led by the likes of the Lady Bunny, Lypsinka and RuPaul," as Village Preservation once put it. In an oral history of the spaceTricia Romano noted: "[The Pyramid] served as a safe haven for freaks, geeks, weirdos, queers, and dreamers to come together and create. Sometimes it was bad; sometimes it was beautiful. But it was never boring."

Previously on EV Grieve:

Post debuts in new 3rd Street space

Post debuted over the weekend in its new digs at 217 E. Third St. between Avenue B and Avenue C.

As previously reported, the four-plus-year-old cafe that serves a variety of comfort food and cocktails was moving to this larger space from 42 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street.

For now, Post is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Dinner hours to come!) You can find a menu here. And their Instagram here.

The last tenant in the retail space was the cocktail bar Corlear's NYC, which closed in early 2017. The address was immortalized in Lizzy Goodman's 2017 oral history, "Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011," when it was the Plant Bar, the hangout for James Murphy and DFA Records and a lot of other people in the book.

Now You're Clean, offering self-service dog washing, opens on 10th Street

From the EVG reader tipline... Now You're Clean just opened its doors at 279 E. 10th St. west of Avenue A. 

Here's the business description via Yelp: "Self-Service Dog Wash in 15 Minutes. First automated dog washing machine in New York. Affordable and fast. We also offer ... pet products such as leashes, harnesses and toys." 

Per the sign out front, the first wash is free. 

Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 10 a.m. start Saturday and Sunday. 

H/T Christine!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tuesday's parting shot

Workers papered up the windows today at the empty storefront on the northwest corner of First Avenue and Ninth Street... (the listing on the ICON website is also gone) ... no word yet who the new tenant might be... this space has been empty since the Bean closed here in November 2019

Photo by Steven...

Updated 7/28

From the tip line: A deli called Sweet Village Marketplace is in the works for the storefront. (Thanks Upper West Sider!)

Report of a slashing outside 7-Eleven on Avenue A

Just after noon today, multiple readers reported a police presence outside the 7-Eleven on Avenue A at 11th Street. (Thank you to Brian Katz for the photos.) 

According to law enforcement officials at the scene, there was a slashing outside the store. (The Citizen app reported an "assault with edged weapon.") Police did not say what led to the attack or if the victim and suspect knew each other. 

A police source described the victim as a white male. His injuries were not considered life-threatening. He was being treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Residents also spotted a trail of blood along Avenue A from 11th Street to 14th Street...
We'll update this post if any further information becomes available.

New bike lanes next for freshly paved Avenue C

The city repaved Avenue C from Houston to 18th Street in mid-July (maybe your car was towed during the milling/paving process?). 

All this was done ahead of improvements along the avenue for pedestrians and cyclists. 

DOT flyers are up now along Avenue C with details of the coming changes...
Improvements along C include: 

• Curbside bike lanes between Houston and Fourth Street 
• Parking-protected, bollard-protected and curbside bike lanes between Fourth Street and 18th Street 
• Updated parking regulations to provide truck loading zones 
• Neighborhood loading zones on select side streets 
• Painted pedestrian islands between 11th Street and 15th Street 
• New left-turn bays at 10th Street and 14th Street 

You can find many more details in the presentation that DOT officials made to CB3 back in April. (PDF here)

As reported last fall, the DOT is adding the protected north/south bike lanes on Avenue C and East Houston Street to help offset the closure of the East River Park greenway once construction starts someday.

Advocates urging City Comptroller to withhold approval for East River Park reconstruction

Updated 7/29

As amNY first reported: "After several discussions with the DDC, the comptroller is requesting the agency tackle some unresolved issues, including information disclosure concerns." AND: "Though Stringer kicked the contract back to the DDC, it does not mean that he won’t sign it in the future — or that the project won’t move forward."


The low bidder's contract for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan (ESCR) at East River Park is waiting for approval at Comptroller Scott Stringer's office. 

And opponents of the current plan, led by East River Park Action, are urging Stringer to withhold his approval of the bid by IPC Resiliency Partners. (Read more about the bidding drama here.)

Today at noon, group members will rally outside his office at 1 Centre St.  

Here's more via an email from East River Park Action:
Once approved and a Notice to Proceed is issued, IPC can begin prep work for the demolition of East River Park — including cutting down almost 1,000 mature trees — in order to build a giant levee over the 46-acre land. The Department of Design and Construction, which oversees the project, said at prior Community Board 3 meetings that surveyors are ready to enter the park to perform necessary tests. Other work will include fencing of the park and bringing in trailers for field offices, which can begin within two months of approval.
At a time when the city is in a fiscal crisis, we are urging Comptroller Stringer to withhold approval on the $1,272,221,100 construction contract with IPC for the ESCR project that has already gone over-budget, until an independent review is conducted on the prior plan that would've cost the City considerably less money and the park considerably less destruction.
Opponents of the city's current plan — where workers will raze the 57.5-acre plot of land, bulldozing 1,000 mature trees and rebuilding the park atop eight feet of landfill — say there are better ways to preserve the park and provide flood protection, such as the one mapped out in the years after Sandy.

In late 2018, the city surprised community stakeholders by announcing a complete overhaul of a plan discussed over four years of local meetings.

In October 2019, the city announced that they would phase in the construction, so only portions of the park are closed to the public at any given time. 

According to various reportsthe city has committed to leaving a minimum of 42 percent of East River Park open to the public. It is projected to be completed in 2025, a timetable opponents say will never be met.