Thursday, June 30, 2022

Thursday's parting shot

Filming on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue today for the new Hulu musical series "Up Here" (aka "Yogurt") ... photo by Derek Berg...

6 posts from June

A mini month in review (with a Pride Weekend photo by Stacie Joy) ...

• The Gem Spa signage shines brightly in this Ohio farmhouse (June 23

• At the book party for Ada Calhoun's 'Also a Poet' (June 17

• Proposed plans now call for a 24-story residential building on 14th Street and Avenue C (June 14

• Come, let's drive along some side streets between Avenue C and Avenue D in 1987 (June 10

• A look inside Globe Slicers, one of the most unique storefronts on the Bowery (June 9

• Gaia Italian Café set to debut on 3rd Street (June 6)

The Gallery Watch Q&A: Kevin Sabo on 'Kimberly Pepperoni’s Closet'

Interview by Clare Gemima 
Photos courtesy of Kates-Ferri Projects 

The current artist-in-residence at Kates-Ferri Projects recently celebrated the opening of their first solo show in New York, “Kimberly Pepperoni’s Closet.” I talked with Kevin Sabo about celebrating gay “yucks,” the artist’s inspirational figures, from Tekken to Janet Jackson, and the concoction of queer and queendom that soaks through their paintings. 

Kimberly Pepperoni, the star of the show: Who is she, and how does she influence your multimedia practice?

Kimberly Pepperoni is a drag character I’ve made up. She’s lusty and bodacious but also often annoyed and pissy. I think she’s this extremely exaggerated version of my personality and also just exists completely on her own. She challenges queerness and fabulosity. I’m always thinking about my own perception of self and how I could personify those feelings into a character. 

Kevin Sabo, an equally important character in your works, hello! How would you describe your role as a creative within your practice? Are you a storyteller, composer, painter, puzzle piecer-togetherer? 

I’m all of the above! I love sprinkling narratives into my work like a writer. Puzzles absolutely resonate with me, too, because, as you can see, my works are sort of like puzzle pieces with the way they take up space. These figures are being contorted inside the canvas to ensure they get their little moment. I also relate the way I paint to music a lot of the time — tracklists of albums are so similar to composing a show or even choosing the number or style of the characters I make. And, I’m sure, like most painters, music is integral to the painting process.

I love the way you’ve embraced the concept of the closet in this show. The sexy, luxury garments that adorn your figures present one side of the queer emblem, although the closet’s significance invites a vast array of contention from the community. What are your thoughts surrounding (coming out of the) closet, especially as an artist that renders queer identity with such an amusing amount of joy and humor?

Well, I see Kimberly Pepperoni as the embodiment of just embracing all your gay “yucks” in life. Like, for me to be perceived as feminine before coming out was to be worthless and small; and now it’s just the truth. To come out is an ongoing process — it doesn’t just happen once. To come out is to slowly peel off every layer of fear and guilt you’ve felt before sharing with others who you are. 

Who are your heroes or heroines? I know Britney Spears is an idol of yours, and Kimberly Hart from Power Rangers. Can we know more about some queens, painters, poets, fashion houses or musicians who inspire you?

Yeah! It’s kind of all over the place and admittedly unsophisticated for the most part, but most of my QUEENS are the women that were always my guilty pleasure before being out. For instance, Nina Williams from the Tekken series was a video game character that I think constructed a lot of the shapes and style of my work. 

Gwen Stefani was one of my first OBSESSIONS with fashion and music — and I had to hide my love for her growing up. And then, as I got older, music became more of an obsession, and I started discovering the careers, discographies and videographies of all the icons. It started with Gwen, and then I moved on to Britney. In school, I discovered the amazingness of Janet Jackson and Madonna. 

And, now that I’ve run almost completely out of the classics, I’ve graduated to studying the tedious careers of artists like Bjork or even Joni Mitchell. Women in music are truly a force of nature. I almost exclusively listen to ladies. Any genre, I don’t care. Drag itself has really influenced my work, too — if Valentina and Jimbo the Clown had a baby, you’d get Kimberly Pepperoni.

Your character’s limbs, breasts, shoes, lips, eyes and hairdos fill the edges of your canvases and evoke questions about identity and fluidity. Are your figures gendered, or do they possess a sexuality? Are they all in drag? 

I wouldn’t say they’re gendered at all! If they had pronouns, I’m sure they’d be She/Her, but it’s more so intended to celebrate my own fluidity and invite people who feel connected to that notion to also find a bit of excitement in being much more complicated than just man or woman, masc or femme. 

Are there any other characters hiding in Kimberly Pepperoni’s closet? Anyone else that viewers should be made aware of? If so, what’s their story? 

There are certainly a few subgenres of Kim Pepp that make their way onto canvas every now and then. I love turning them into lizard monsters sometimes, and much more recently, I’ve been playing with the idea of time and fashion — like some of them will be dressed as Victorian-era hussies and then also wondering what Kim Pepp would be wearing in the far, far A.I. controlled future. 

Throughout your residency at Kates-Ferri Projects, what have been the biggest challenges, lessons and/or breakthroughs that you have experienced? 

Working on the spot for a show that would be hung just days later was a fun challenge. I work with speed in my paintings, and as you can see, the linework is very quick and gestural. The idea that I wouldn’t be able to live with these works for a while before showing them to an audience was kind of intimidating because while I’m a quick painter, I’ve learned that I love to sit with works for a while before I decide whether or not they have that special sauce. 

How are you celebrating Pride this year? 

Cooking, eating, painting, redecorating, dancing and minding my business. 

What are your plans for the upcoming future art-show wise? What are Kimberly’s? 

I have a solo show in Paris this fall with Bim Bam Gallery. I LOVE France, and I think my work can be read as very French. I speak a bit of the language. I’ve got family and roots over there. It feels very serendipitous and also coincides with my 30th birthday. 

Kimberly will definitely be joining. I haven’t made all of the work yet, bI’mI’m imagining Kimberly in just one colorI’mI’m thinking it could be green. When I was just a wee-lad my AIM screen name was @Greenguy2224. It could be fun to pay homage to such a powerful color. Bit’st’s honestly too early to say ... Kim might have a full-body plastic surgery modification by then; who knows. 
Kates-Ferri Projects, 561 Grand St. (near Madison Street), is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday or by appointment. “Kimberly Pepperoni’s Closet” is up through July 23.

Follow Kevin on Instagram here


Clare Gemima is a visual artist and arts writer from New Zealand, now based in the East Village of New York. You can find her work here:

RIP Lisa Martin

Lisa Martin, a longtime East Village resident who had relocated to Paris, died on June 18 at age 59. 

Last November, she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

Here's more about her via a GoFundMe that friends set up on her behalf: 
A brilliant writer, filmmaker, fiercely loving friend, and devoted cat mama, Lisa has inspired, and vicariously thrilled, those of us lucky enough to have known her over the years. Whether you met her at a film festival, freelance job, squeezed into a corner at our little Tile Bar in the East Village, over a Bloody Mary at Harry's after a move to Paris ... Lisa has endeared all of us with her determination, wit and joie de vivre. 
Photo of Lisa on May 7, her 59th birthday, via Instagram

Openings: Sacco on 11th Street

A quick opening to share...  a specialty shop called Sacco debuted this week at 328 E. 11th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Sacco offers fresh, house-made sandwiches ... a list that includes a chicken cutlet, speck-fresh mozzarella, eggplant and tomato, smoked salmon and kimchi and avocado. There's also a frittata of the day, fresh bread, and other grocery staples for sale. 

"The place is named after my grandfather who had a butcher shop back in 1900 on the same block, and we opened up under the same name to bring back old-school New World," proprietor Vincent Caprio told us. 

Summer hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Sacco website is currently under construction.

More burgers for the former Black Iron Burger on 5th Street

There has been a lot of activity recently at 540 E. Fifth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B... the former home of Black Iron Burger.

New owners are taking over the space... and they will appear before CB3's SLA committee on July 13 for a new beer-wine license for the address (Black Iron also served beer and wine)...
We don't know who the applicants are just yet (the questionnaires haven't been posted online). However, we're told they will have a menu similar to Black Iron Burger — milkshakes, fries and burgers.

Workers have cleared out the inside of the space, which had been used for storage in recent years (photo below by Stacie Joy)...
Black Iron "closed for renovations" in July 2019 and never reopened.

The East Village location of BIB was the first for the brand, opening in 2008 (with new ownership taking over in 2013). The three other outposts remain open.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Let the wheatpaste battle BEGIN!

The plywood along the demolished storefronts at 250 E. Houston St. has become a wheatepaste hotspot in recent months...
Now, the property managers here between Avenue A and Avenue B have unveiled their line of wheatpaste defense ... thanks to Salim for these shots...
So far, the green guards are almost 100% effective...
As we first reported, a six-story residential building is in the works for the lot.


Photos by Derek Berg 

Crews are setting up for a production with the code name "Yogurt" here on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

It's a TV series with a retro vibe, given the assembled 1990s-era props here ... and NOT TRASH!
Anyway, the crews will be filming around here ... we saw notices on Avenue A... the Bowery... among other places. And we'll see if we can uncover what "Yogurt" really is (ASIDE from a popular food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk).

Updated 12:36 p.m.

Thanks to Emily, via the comments. The series is called "Up Here."

Here's more via Deadline:

Former Good Girls star Mae Whitman has been tapped as the female lead in Up Here, Hulu's musical romantic comedy series from Tick, Tick… Boom! and Dear Evan Hansen writer Steven Levenson, The Carmichael Show's Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Hamilton director Thomas Kail, and the Frozen and WandaVision songwriting duo of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. 

Parking removed on sections of Avenues A and D; curbside bus lanes set for M14 service

Earlier this month, the city removed the parking signs and Muni Meters from along the west side of Avenue A (between Sixth Street to Houston) and sections of Avenue D.

In their place: No Standing signs. Parking is no longer allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week in these select corridors ... 
This is one of the transit improvements the city announced as part of the "Better Buses Restart" campaign in May 2021. Per then-Mayor de Blasio's announcement during "Streets Week!" at the time:
Both new and improved bus lanes will serve bus riders citywide, with changes including new red paint and markings, signals improvements, pedestrian safety and clearer signage. 
The city identified the M14A and M14D as a "bus priority" in 2019... when the 14th Street Busway went into effect between Third Avenue and Ninth Avenue. (According to the city, the Busway improved bus travel times by 36%, among other improvements.)

Still, according to the city, speeds on the 14A and 14D are consistently slow throughout the day and early evening. (DOT presentation from June 2021 here.)

Moving forward, the southbound side of Avenue A (from Fifth to Houston) will receive a curbside bus lane; ditto for Avenue D between Second and Seventh going south... and from Houston to Ninth on the north. 

There will also be enhancements for the bus lines below Houston, including new left-turn bays.

No word on when the DOT will mark these bus lanes. (They were originally slated for last summer/fall.)

The "Better Buses Restart" campaign drew praise from transit advocates last year.

"Prioritizing bus riders on the street is a must for New York City's recovery," Ben Fried, comms director for the TransitCenter, said in a statement. "DOT's slate of bus projects will be especially helpful to essential workers and Black and brown New Yorkers, who make most of the bus trips in the city. As traffic returns to city streets, it's extremely important to complete these projects, carve out space for transit to bypass congestion, and ensure millions of New Yorkers can rely on the bus."

Fox 5 last week found an annoyed LES resident who received a $115 ticket on his vehicle after the parking change went into effect along Avenue D. The resident disputed the claim that the DOT left flyers about the changes for residents. 

Thanks to Steven for the photos.

A new Korean concept for the Oiji space on 1st Avenue

Updated July 1. The CB3 questionnaires are now online. The new restaurant is NOT affiliated with the previous tenant, Oiji — despite the fact that the person collecting signatures for the new concept told us so. Kihyun Lee, the founder of the successful Hand Hospitality, and Hand Hospitality partner Jinan Choi, are behind this venture.


This spring, the owners of the well-reviewed Oiji on First Avenue opened a new, larger restaurant called Oiji Mi on 19th Street near Sixth Avenue.

Since then, Oiji at 119 First Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place has remained closed. It was unclear what the owners, Brian Kim and Max Soh, would do with the space.

The other day, a rep was outside No. 119 collecting signatures supporting a liquor license for a new Korean restaurant here...
We were told that the Oiji owners are behind this new concept. Why the need for a new liquor license? There's a corporate name change that requires an updated license.

The applicants will appear before CB3's SLA committee this July 13. The questionnaires for this meeting aren't online just yet.

Oiji opened here in the spring of 2015 and drew praise from Pete Wells and others. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Tuesday's parting shot

Watermelon unloading zone on Fourth Street and Second Avenue... photo by Derek Berg...

A visit with Wolfie, a talented emerging outsider artist — and rabbit

Images by Stacie Joy

Earlier this month, Special Special, an exhibition space and retail brand on First Street, hosted its first interspecies exhibition of a talented emerging outsider artist.

"The Artist Is NOT Present" is the first solo exhibition by Wolfie, a rabbit (above and below), featuring the artist's series of 13 recent portraiture artworks from the catalog of Marina Abramović's 2010 retrospective at MoMA, "The Artist is Present."

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by to meet the artist and take in the space, which opened in 2016 here between First Avenue and Second Avenue...
According to the Special Special press materials on the show, Wolfie began this body of work when she found a copy of Abramović's "The Artist is Present" sitting in her home left out by her roommate Panny, "who had received the book as a gift but had not felt a personal connection with it."
Out of a pile of other printed material, Wolfie was immediately drawn to the emotive portraits from the performance, which took place long before her birth. When Panny discovered Wolfie’s first finished piece, a portrait of Abramović, she was so impressed that she showed it to her colleague’s at Special Special, landing this emerging artist her first solo exhibition.


Wolfie's whimsically crafted portraits evoke possibilities of art creation, beyond the conventions of the human-dominated global art scene. For Wolfie, her chewing process is an act of curation, indiscriminately selecting portraits from the catalog, and chewing between her chosen subjects until she reaches her optimal desired composition.  

And from the left here at Special Special: Wen-You Cai, founder and director, Oliver Yuan, product designer, and Panny Chayapumh, graphic designer and Wolfie's human companion ...
You may book an appointment to see Wolfie's work through the end of the month at Special Special via email.

Hey, it's primary election day!

The first of two 2022 primary elections is today (June 28) for state and Assembly offices. The primaries for congressional (including the 10th Congressional District with candidates including de Blasio, Rivera, etc.) and state Senate openings were pushed back to Aug. 23 due to New York State redistricting issues. 

Polls are open today from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Find your poll site via this link (unless you voted early already!). 

Anyway, you likely know about the race for governor, lieutenant governor and the Assembly. There's also a lesser-known slate of judicial candidates. City & State has a primer on those races. You can find a regiular ol' primary primer via the Times right here

Screengrab courtesy of Duran Duran side project Arcadia... the best Duran Duran side project aside from the Power Station.

City pools open TODAY

Dozens of outdoor city pools reopen for the season TODAY ... locally, this means the Hamilton Fish Pool on Pitt and East Houston (above, as seen on Saturday), the Dry Dock Pool on 10th Street and Avenue D and the Tompkins Square Park mini pool... which workers were filling on Sunday morning (don't forget to skim the pool for leaves and beers!) ... 
Every year, we hear from people who had no idea there was a mini pool in Tompkins Square Park. The mini pool is open for children and their parents-guardians. 

If this helps with location ...
Outdoor hours are from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. daily, with a break for pool cleaning between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Find more info about city pools at this link. The mini pool is open until Labor Day, with the larger pools in service through Sept. 11.

And an important — and unfortunate — note about pool programming this summer: "Due to the current national lifeguard shortage, all swim programs, including lap swim, senior swim, and Learn to Swim, have been canceled for summer 2022."

Blank Street continues East Village expansion with outpost on 1st Avenue

Updated July 1: This branch is now open

A new location of Blank Street coffee is coming to the NE corner of First Avenue at 13th Street (opposite the Starbucks on the NW corner).

Blank Street also carries products from local brands, including King Street Baking Co. and King David Tacos

Our previous post (here) has more background about Blank Street.

This will make the fourth outpost in the EV area for the fast-growing coffee brand. Last fall saw the arrival of branches at 149 Avenue A ...36 Third Ave. ... and in the Bowery Market

This storefront was last a GNC, which shuttered in the summer of 2020. 

Cafe Joah debuts on Avenue A

Several readers have pointed out that Cafe Joah is in soft-open mode at 212 Avenue A just north of 13th Street. (Thanks to Brian Carroll for this photo; also to Russell K and Isa for sending pics.) 

Cafe Joah is serving coffee and pastries now... with plans for sandwiches and salads in a few weeks. You can follow the Cafe's Instagram account for updates.

Ownership here was also behind the previous tenant in the space, Fat Buddha. NY State suspended the bar's liquor license in the fall of 2020 for "egregious violations of coronavirus-related regulations." CB3 denied Fat Buddha's application for a new liquor license in June 2021, per public records. 

For now, ownership is focusing on the cafe business.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday's parting shots

Photos by Steven

Here are two of Amelia and Christo's 2022 red-hawk fledglings in Tompkins Square Park... looking for something...

Treetops tops off on 2nd Avenue; signage arrives

Here's a look at the 10-floor condoplex called Treetops at 14 Second Ave. at Houston (and adjacent to First Street Green Art Park).

Sidewalk bridge signage arrived this past week about the full-floor residences...
Nothing too exciting. Some legalese about the development, "The complete offering terms are in an Offering Plan available from Sponsor. File # CD21-0103" etc. No sign of floor plans, descriptions of the, say, Siberian Marble Herringbone heated flooring in the closets, pricing, etc.

As we've been reporting, preliminary work on the luxury condo building started in January 2019, and the completion date is listed as July 2022.

This site has been vacant for years, last housing Irreplaceable Artifacts until its demolition by the city in July 2000. There's a lot of back story, which the links below cover...

Compilation Coffee coming to St. Mark's Place

Signage is up now for Compilation Coffee at 102 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue... (thanks to Steven for the photos!)...
This is the first location for the retail coffee outpost. There's a placeholder website (where you can sign up for a newsletter).

Noah Jashinski, a "specialty coffee consultant" who has worked with Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle and Stumptown, is a co-founder. 

There's a "summer/fall" opening date on the CC Instagram page

The previous tenant here, Baked Cravings, a bakery that specialized in fresh-baked nut- and peanut-free desserts, went dark at the start of the year after a September 2020 debut. Dun-Well Doughnuts was here previously.

Raclette reopens on June 29

Say cheese: Raclette lives on at 511 E. 12th St. 

Earlier this month, a closed sign appeared on the door here between Avenue A and Avenue B. Owner Edgar Villongco also confirmed the closing news with Eater.

However, a new sign now notes a temporary closure... with a reopening on Wednesday, July June 29. There isn't any further explanation about the closure at the moment. (Updated: Villongco told Eater it was insurance-related.) 

The restaurant, which serves French and Swiss Raclette, Croques and Tartine, opened in a 14-seat space on Avenue A in February 2015... before moving to these larger confines in September 2016.

Thanks to the folks at the East Village Community Coalition for the photo!

Brooklyn Roasting Company opens a cafe inside the Strand

On Saturday, the Strand Bookstore celebrated its 95th year in business ... and on this day, the Strand's flagship location near Union Square officially debuted a cafe on the ground floor with coffee drinks and pastries via Brooklyn Roasting Company. (The outpost also sells tins of a Strand blend of coffee.)

"Bringing coffee to our customers has been a long-time dream for the Strand," CCO Laura Ravo said in a press release about the opening. 

The Strand, 828 Broadway at 12th Street, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo from the start of the Drag March Friday by Derek Berg) ...

• At the rally to go 'All Out For Abortion Rights' (Saturday
• 1st Avenue old-timer Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant has closed (Tuesday)

• RIP Pilar Limosner (Thursday) ... Celebrating the life of longtime community garden activist Clyde Romero (Tuesday

• Drag March recap (Saturday and Saturday

• Details about an hours-long break-in at CC Cyclery & Co. on 13th Street (Tuesday

• Reader report: Tarallucci e Vino has closed (Tuesday

• The Gem Spa signage shines brightly in this Ohio farmhouse (Thursday

• At the Zine Fair on St. Mark's Place (Monday

• Report: Concern over the potential sale of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (Monday

• Los Tacos NYC has apparently closed on 7th Street (Thursday

• A bakery called Butterdose is coming soon to 13th Street (Wednesday

• 50 years of 'Deep Throat' (Sunday

• The Green Room setting up a CBD shop on 9th Street (Thursday) ... Titan's Greenery Arts, a '420 friendly gallery,' debuts on 9th Street (Wednesday

• A soft opening for Xeo Cantina on the Bowery (Wednesday)

• Taco Bell grandly opens on 3rd Avenue and 13th Street (Tuesday

• Why is the SE corner of 2nd Avenue and 5th Street a dumping ground for artificial Christmas trees? (Monday

... and yesterday, the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of NY performed on Avenue B between Eighth and Ninth streets ... (photo by Stacie Joy) ... check out the Loisaida Open Streets Instagram account for upcoming events...

Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

At the 2022 Dyke March

Images by Stacie Joy 

On this Pride weekend, the 30th annual edition of the Dyke March took place yesterday, with thousands of participants marching down Fifth Avenue from Bryant Park to Washington Square Park. 

The official site notes that this is a protest march, not a parade: 
The March is a demonstration of our First Amendment right to protest and takes place without permits or sponsors. We recognize that we must organize among ourselves to fight for our rights, safety and visibility.

Thousands of Dykes take the streets each year in celebration of our beautiful and diverse Dyke lives, to highlight the presence of Dykes within our community, and in protest of the discrimination, harassment, and violence we face in schools, on the job, and in our communities. 
Organizer Nate Shalev talked about the march's diversity with Gothamist:
There's just simply no other space like it, where trans dykes, butch dykes, femme dykes, all dykes feel like they have a space where they can be who they are and celebrate who they are. And that means being angry, and that means being joyful, and you don't have to be anything except whatever the thing is you are."
There was a heightened feeling of fury yesterday following the seismic ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. EVG contributor Stacie Joy was on lower Fifth Avenue and in Washington Square Park for the March... 
Back to Gothamist: 
Celebrations around the Washington Square Park fountain after the long, hot trek accurately reflect what march participants feel at the end of the road, Shalev confirmed: "It's always really wonderful, because it's allowing dykes to exist in whatever space they need."
Previously this weekend on EV Grieve