Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tuesday's parting shot

Signs for a missing Citi Bike arrived yesterday along Avenue A (saw some on First Avenue too). 

BTW: The fee for a missing Citi Bike runs $1,200 (plus tax)

Photo by Steven

A time-lapse East Village sunset

In case you missed last evening's sunset...  @jensenstidham22 shared this time-lapse clip... 

A live look at the pedestrian passageway outside 3 St. Mark's Place

The pedestrian passageway on the north side of St. Mark's Place at Third Avenue is now down to about, say, three inches, at its most narrow junction, EVG reader Perry K. notes this afternoon. 

Read more about this ongoing game of barrier accordion outside this construction site right here

Updated 3:45 

Here's another view via Steven...

Bon voyage to The Baroness

As you may know, longtime East Village resident and shop owner The Baroness is closing her eponymous latex atelier and boutique and moving to France. (Story here.)

This past Thursday evening, The Baroness welcomed some friends, customers and fellow local business owners into her shop for a farewell toast on its last day here on 13th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there and shared these photos of the closing festivities...
So long to The Baroness — she will be missed!

6 Avenue B doesn't appear to be part of a new (and rumored) Houston Street development

We've been talking about the RUMORED new development coming to the now-empty single row of businesses at 250 E. Houston St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

There was some speculation that the long-vacant 6 Avenue B on the NW corner might be part of a new residential project.

A little digging in public records (courtesy of Upper West Sider — thank you!) reveals that work has been filed in recent months to upgrade antennas and add new FDNY access signs at No. 6. Seems doubtful, as Upper West Side noted, that AT&T would spend the money to upgrade the equipment if the building was about to be demolished.

As for No. 6 ...  the liquor store in the retail space has been closed since the owner passed away in the fall of 2009 at age 89. (Chico created the tribute to her on the gate in February 2010.)

In January 2013, workers were spotted hauling out some junk from the building...  in December 2014, bricks fell from the building, breaking the foot of a passerby, as the Lo-Down reported at the time. And an SUV took out part of the sidewalk bridge in November 2018. And that's about it.

And as previously noted, this is one of the abandoned buildings owned by the estate of the mysterious team of Arthur and Abraham Blasof, now both deceased. 

Updated 10:30 a.m.

Thanks to the commenter who did a little digging in the archives. There was a question about the windowless lot line at 6 Avenue B. Here's a tax photo dated 1939-1941 showing a building identified as 2-4 Avenue B (with a Circulating Library storefront!) ... that corner structure was likely demolished when the city widened East Houston... and No. 6 became the new corner building...
... and the old NW corner... you can see No. 6 in the background...

Openings: Mochinut on 2nd Avenue, Little Rebel on 2nd Avenue

Two recent openings to note...

Mochinut, 124 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place

The quickly expanding company known for its mochi doughnuts and Korean-style hot dogs is up and running (H/T Steven). This is location No. 31 for the California-born chain with 90 more U.S. outposts in the works.

You can find the menu here. Mochinut opens daily at noon with a 10 p.m. close; 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Little Rebel, 219 Second Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street

The two-level bar-restaurant, run by hospitality vets Dermont Lynch and Jarek Krukow, features a bar and booths on the first floor with "a Victorian-style room with high ceilings, crown molding, chandeliers and balcony" upstairs that's currently open on weekends and for brunch

The concept-y drinks menu via Brooke Smith of the Dead Rabbit includes the Charlie's Angel — a rum, Cointreau combo "topped with 'Angel Dust' glitter."

You can find the food-drinks menu here. Little Rebel opens daily at 11 a.m. with a midnight close Sunday and Monday; 2 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Report: Employee allegations made against Local 92 for underpaying staff, skimping on COVID protocols

ICYMI: Mulitple EVG readers shared the link to an investigative piece published at Eater this past Thursday ... in which three former employees claim that Marcello Assante — the restaurateur behind Bella Ciao on Mulberry Street and Local 92 on Second Avenue between Fifth Street and Sixth Street — "refused to pay his employees overtime; ignored coronavirus health requirements issued by city and state officials; and referred to former employees as 'princesses' after they raised concerns about the alleged incidents."

In addition, the employees allege that Shai Zvibak, the former chef and co-owner of Local 92, "characterized Mexican staffers as thieves and referred to them as members of the 'mafia.'"

Assante denied the allegations of the former employees, claiming that three friends working at the restaurants fabricated the stories. "It's completely a lie," he told Eater. "It never happened."

The story also includes a list of alleged misdeeds at Local 92 from the early winter, including that outdoor gas heaters for sidewalk dining were moved inside the restaurant to heat its dining room. Assante also denied those claims, saying the restaurant followed all city- and state-mandated COVID requirements.

Unrelated, Assante had been looking to open 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. He appeared in May and June before CB3's SLA committee.

Given the UCBeast bar's poor reputation and unanswered questions about Assante's business plan, CB3 said they'd only approve a full liquor license for drinks before and during a movie or event. Alcohol sales would not be allowed during other times — thus nixing a bar-cafe service when a film isn't playing.

Assante later said he would no longer pursue this venture for Avenue A, stating that alcohol sales before and during screenings weren't commercially viable given the rent. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday's parting archival shot

Facebook reminded me of this grainy photo posted on the evening of Aug. 30, 2013.

I took this on the second-to-last night of the old Odessa, 117 Avenue A between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. This space dated to the mid-1960s. 

The Odessa Restaurant next door (circa 1995) remained open until July 2020. Superiority Burger is taking over that space.

Here is the trailer for the Velvet Underground documentary

Ah! Been waiting for this... the trailer for the Velvet Underground documentary by Todd Haynes dropped today. (Saw it first on Gothamist!) 

The doc debuts on Oct. 15 on Apple+. Here's more about it:
The film features in-depth interviews with the key players of that time combined with a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art that creates an immersive experience into what founding member John Cale describes as the band's creative ethos: "how to be elegant and how to be brutal."
Before Apple+, the film will play at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 30. (Tix on sale Sept. 7.

The reviews were quite positive following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival

Anyway, here's the trailer for the band whose birthplace is traced to the LES...


 Top image via Apple+

Last few days for the Sullivan St. Bakery pop-up on 9th Street

Sullivan. St. Bakery's time as a pop-up at 437 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue is coming to an end.

Wednesday (Sept. 1) is the last day for the shop's East Village outpost. They are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for their focaccia, chocolate chip cookies, disco romano, croissants, fruit tarts and a selection of sandwiches.

Sullivan St. Bakery, which first opened in Soho in 1994, arrived here last fall...  reportedly with an "indefinite" lease.

Management here told EVG regulars Vinny & O that they'd like to stay, but they'd want to fix up the space a bit and get a long-term lease. Unfortunately, the landlord is not offering a long-term rent that the bakery can afford. 

Photo by Arthur Bovino via @nycbestpizza  

This East Village business strip has been cleared out ahead of rumored new development

As EVG contributor Stacie Joy has been reporting (here and here), the businesses in the old section of 250 E. Houston St. have either closed or moved ahead of a rumored new development here between Avenue A and Avenue B. 

Here's a recap of the moves to date: 
  • Kapri Cleaners — the last day is tomorrow; moving to a new storefront in the renovated section of 250 E. Houston St. 
  • China Town — closed, possible move to Avenue C in the works. 
  • Subway (sandwich shop) — closed. No relocation notice. 
  • FedEx Office Print & Ship Center — moved to a new storefront in the renovated section of 250 E. Houston St. 
  • Dunkin'/Baskin-Robbins combo — closed. No relocation notice.
  • Mattress Mart — closed. 
So that is all the businesses in the portion of the strip to the east (where the new paint stops!)...
Multiple sources along this corridor have said a new residential building is in the works for this space. Four sources have told Stacie that the one-level row of storefronts is facing demolition. Nothing about a new building or demolition has shown up in DOB records.

And we'll find out in the weeks/months ahead if, perhaps (and purely speculative now), the long-empty 6 Avenue B at the NW corner might be part of a new development... [Updated: Likely NO]
The 13-floor residential building at 250 E. Houston St., the former Red Square, changed ownership in the fall of 2016 ... and underwent extensive renovations

Previously on EV Grieve:

Astor Place Wegmans watch, work-permit edition

Work permits are now on file for renovations of the former Kmart space at the landmarked 770 Broadway. 

Based on the work plan, here are a few takeaways about the future Astor Place Wegmans courtesy of EVG regular Upper West Sider:
  • Looks like the subway entrance is safe for now (the area is covered in the No Work in Area portion of the plan). Guess it's covered by landmarks protection. 
  • The first step in the process is demolition. Almost everything is being removed, including escalator railings, storefront window displays, bathrooms, flooring and wall coverings. 
  • Given that ceiling tiles and the 1990s furnishings are being removed, it seems like the goal is to restore the space to its previous grandeur.
Wegmans signed a 30-year lease last month for what will be the grocer's first Manhattan outpost. It is scheduled to open in the second half of 2023.

Kmart closed in this space after 25 years on July 11. Wegmans had agreed to buy out Kmart's lease to make this deal possible.

FULL glass reveal at this incoming Lower East Side boutique office building

Here's a view of the newly revealed floor-to-ceiling glass wall at 141 E. Houston St. 

Completion of the 9-story, 65,000-square-foot office building between Eldridge and Forsyth is slated for the fourth quarter of 2021, per the 141 website. (Not too far off from the Summer 2021 date on the plywood rendering.)
Our previous post (here!) on No. 141 has more details about what's been happening here to date at the site of the former Sunshine Cinema (RIP January 2018).

So long to the Clover Deli's iconic neon signage

Heading north outside the usual coverage area for a moment... Clover Deli officially closed last summer after 72 years on the corner of Second Avenue and 34th Street. The third-generation of the Cuttita Family had been running the deli. 

On Saturday, workers removed the Clover's iconic neon signage... Yo La Tengo's Instagram account was among those who shared the news...

The owners also operate House of Wine & Liquor around the corner on 34th Street.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Week in Grieview

Posts from this last week included (with a photo of Claudi in Tompkins Square Park Thursday via Steven)

• The East Village Neighbors Community Fridge is up and running again after vandal strikes (Tuesday)  

• Quick-serve veteran China Town closing on East Houston after 32 years in business (Friday) Retail shuffle continues at 250 E. Houston St.; Subway and Dunkin' next to leave (Wednesday

• Ray gets his day on Humans of New York (Monday

• March gallery expanding on Avenue A (Tuesday

• The 13th Street Blick is moving to a familiar art-supply spot on 4th Avenue (Wednesday

• Activity at the former Jules Bistro on St. Mark's Place (Friday)

• Wrapping up the summer hawk season (Thursday

• More details on the East 7th Street fire victims seeking help from their former landlord (Monday

• Appreciation post: The tree pit garden on 1st Avenue at 7th Street (Wednesday

• Neighborhood Loading Zones, bike lane outlines arrive along Avenue C (Tuesday

• Henri flooding in Tompkins Square Park (Sunday

• Construction watch: 650 E. 6th St. (Thursday

• A place to store your Stuf on 3rd Street (Thursday

• Move-in weekend for NYU (Friday

• A striped awning for the Tile Bar (Tuesday

• Lotto love for the East Village in this TV spot (Wednesday)

... and several readers have asked about the status of 86 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue... the lower-level space was Black & White until last fall (and Wiz Kid Management was upstairs a time ago) ... haven't heard what's coming next...
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

About those catch basin stencils on East Village streets

We've fielded questions this month about the stenciled messages — "This is not a trash can" — that have arrived on catch basins all around the neighborhood in recent weeks. 

Like crop circles, there were too many of them, too perfect, to be any kind of, say, guerilla art project. 

Anyway, turns out the city is behind the messaging on the catch basins (aka storm drains or sewer grates). 

And thanks to Jonas for this photo ... showing a DEP worker in stenciling action the other day...
So yeah, you're not supposed to dump anything down these (cooking grease, oil, construction waste, sewage, etc.) Will the messaging deter the catch-basin dumpers?

Details on today's Lower East Side United Festival

The annual Lower East Side United Festival is taking place this afternoon from noon to 4. 

The event, at three neighborhood locations, including 737 E. Sixth St. and 730 E. 12th St., will help provide "the community with information and access to free resources available throughout the Lower East Side." 

Kids in attendance can get free back-to-school backpacks and take part in a variety of activities.

Find more details here.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday's parting shot

HBD Jimmy Webb... born on this day in 1957... thanks to EVG reader Bill Baker for this undated photo of Jimmy when he worked at Trash & Vaudeville at 4 St. Mark's Place.

Jimmy died on April 14, 2020, of stomach cancer.

Something for the kids at 6BC Botanical Garden

The 6BC Botanical Garden is hosting its second Children's Fun Summer Event tomorrow (Sunday!) afternoon ... from 1-5, kids (toddler to age 10) can take part in an afternoon of collaging... the garden is supplying the paint and paper. 

The 6BC Botanical Garden is at 630 E. Sixth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C.

Saturday's opening shot

With a steam pipe returning this past week to 10th Street just east of Avenue A...

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday's parting shot

BKFoxx created this Muhammad Ali mural on Allen Street at Stanton ... a promotion for the upcoming Ken Burns/PBS documentary on the heavyweight champ...

'Rocks Off' on the Bowery


Revisiting a few videos by the Rolling Stones after the passing of drummer Charlie Watts this week at age 80. 

Robert Frank shot this footage of the band for a "Rocks Off" video circa 1972... filmed in NYC and Los Angeles... There are some moments on the Bowery here — you may catch a glimpse of the intersection at East Houston...

Quick-serve veteran China Town closing on East Houston after 32 years in business

Sunday is the last day for the quick-serve China Town Restaurant at 250 E. Houston St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

However, you may see them again this fall. Ownership of the 32-year-old establishment there told EVG contributor Stacie Joy that they are negotiating to buy A & C Kitchen on Avenue C between Eighth Street and Ninth Street. 

Door signage for patrons hints at this...
As we've been reporting, the businesses in the unrenovated section of this retail strip have been announcing plans to move or close. 

The FedEx Office Print & Ship Center and Kapri Cleaners are moving into remodeled storefronts along No. 250. The Subway (sandwich shop) and Dunkin'/Baskin-Robbins combo are closing soon without plans for new locations. The Mattress Mart previously shuttered along this corridor. 

Multiple sources along this corridor have said a new residential building is in the works here. Four sources have told Stacie that the one-level row of storefronts is facing demolition. 

This is still speculation: Nothing about a new building or demolition has shown up in DOB records. (We're told that plans will be revealed once all the businesses have left. The photo below is from 2018.)
The 13-floor residential building at 250 E. Houston St., the former Red Square, changed ownership in the fall of 2016 ... and underwent extensive renovations.

It's move-in weekend for NYU

NYU's Fall Residence Hall Move In starts today ... and lasts through Sunday. 

No Parking notices have been posted around the school's dorms in the neighborhood — along Third Avenue and on 12th Street and 14th Street. (Thanks to Doug for the pic!

Students who required a quarantine arrived on Aug. 18-19.

Here's NYU's message about the Fall term:
In fall 2021, with vaccination requirements in place for students, faculty, administrators, and staff, NYU will resume in-person classroom instruction and most other pre-COVID activities, and administrative offices will begin in-person operations again. 
Against the backdrop of the lingering risks and uncertainty of COVID-19, we will continue to be guided in our decision-making by a focus on safety and health. The requirement for vaccination of NYU community members — both in New York City and at the majority of our Study Away sites in the U.S. and abroad — remains at the heart of our planning as we carry out NYU’s research and teaching mission.
At this time last year, smaller numbers of students returned to the area ... as NYU employed a physically distanced move-in to the residence halls as some students and faculty returned to campus for in-person instruction with many others taking part in remote learning.

Activity at the former Jules Bistro on St. Mark's Place

Interior renovations continue at 65 St. Mark's Place, the former Jules Bistro between First Avenue and Second Avenue...
We haven't heard just yet what might be coming to this space (the address hasn't shown up on the CB3-SLA docket for a new liquor license).

Jules never reopened after the March 2020 PAUSE. Workers cleaned out the space last September.
The casual French spot, which opened in 1993, offered free live jazz every night... and with its French film posters on the walls and red leather booths, always offered a throwback getaway on St. Mark's Place.

Well-regarded restaurateur Georges (Café Noir, Bar Tabac, Cercle Rouge) Forgeois said that there wasn't really much room for outdoor dining here and running the place with 25-percent indoor capacity at the time last fall wasn't going to cut it. 

We're curious to see what might be taking over this high-profile space...

(Thanks to Steven for the pics yesterday!)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Wrapping up the summer hawk season

Photo of the fledgling atop St Nicholas of Myra on Avenue A by Goggla 

Seems like it's officially time to say happy trails to Amelia and Christo's 2021 fledging... the young one was last seen around the Tompkins Square Park home base eight days ago.

Goggla has a nice summer hawk recap, with photos and observations, right here. As previously reported, two of Amelia and Christo's three offspring did not make it this year.

And you can find some EVG hawklet coverage here ... here and here

'We're still here' — charming video highlights the longtime relationship of Billy and Jane at Katinka

LimeLight is a new documentary series created by East Village-based photographer-filmmaker Josh Charow.

His first local pick is a classic: Katinka, the unique, closet-sized shop that opened in 1979 at 303 E. Ninth St. just east of Second Avenue. 

In the 4-plus minute video, proprietors Billy Lyles and Jane Williams discuss keeping their shop — full of handmade items from India — and their relationship going strong after all these years. (They've been together as a couple for 48 years.). 

Check it out below...


Construction watch: 650 E. 6th St.

Here's a progress report on the 6-story, 5-unit condoplex rising at 650 E. Sixth St. just west of Avenue C.

This project has been a long time in the making.

As New York Yimby noted in January 2016: "The 8,491-square-foot project will include 7,761 square feet of residential space, which means units will average 1,552 square feet apiece, indicative of condominiums."

The four-story apartment building that previously stood here was demolished in early 2018... two years after the condoplex plans were initially revealed. 

Combined Architecture has a rendering of the new building...
This will be the second new building in the corridor ... joining the one starting on the northeast corner of Sixth Street and Avenue C.

A place to store your Stuf on 3rd Street

Stuf is a new-era self-service storage facility at 176 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The company has locations in several cities with two outposts in NYC. The East Village location debuted this past weekend. Co-founder and CEO Katharine Lau (above left) and her husband gave EVG contributor Stacie Joy a quick tour of the space...
Lau secures unused spaces in residential buildings and strikes a revenue-sharing deal with the landlords. Stuf aims to be closer to residents who may want more frequent access to their stored items. And you can enter your unit via a mobile app. 

This TechCrunch piece from December has more about the Stuf business model. Find more info at the Stuf site here.