Saturday, December 31, 2022

Saturday's parting shot

The Williamsburg Bridge in the fog today...

The most-viewed EV Grieve posts from 2022

Dallas BBQ menu pic by Stacie Joy 

As we've seen in previous years, posts related to crime and closings were among the most-viewed posts for 2022...

• Dec. 31 is the last day for East Village mainstay Dallas BBQ (Dec. 5

• Stuyvesant Street closings official: Angel's Share, Village Yokocho and Sunrise Mart are gone (April 4)

• About those fireworks last night on the East River (Oct. 13

• Man found dead with a slash wound to his neck on Avenue A (Dec. 19

• Exclusive: This is the new tenant for the former Gem Spa space (Oct. 3

• "American Horror Story" brings the porn and 1980s mobiles to 9th Street (July 1

• Police: Delivery man slashed in face at 7th Street and Avenue A entrance to Tompkins Square Park (Oct. 6

• SantaCon 2022 route revealed (Dec. 8

• Lower East Side mainstay El Sombrero has closed (Nov. 30

• Basquiat's former loft space on Great Jones is available for lease (Nov. 7

The Grassroots Tavern closed on New Year's Eve 2017, and the space is still empty

Here's a look this morning at 20 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

As we mentioned in the fall, the retail spaces now have their fourth broker looking to lease the storefronts.

The Grassroots Tavern was the last business here, closing after service on New Year’s Eve 2017... ending a 42-year run in the lower level. The upstairs tenant, the record store Sounds, shut down in October 2015.

After the Grassroots closed, Bob Precious tried to open a bar-pub here, but those plans never materialized after 18 months. 

As noted, No. 20known as the Daniel LeRoy House, was built in 1832. It received landmark status in 1971 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

And perhaps in 2023, we'll see a new tenant here.

As a P.S., we were sorry to hear that longtime co-owner Doug "Dougie" Bunton (who always wore the same leather vest!) died back in the spring at age 67. We did not receive any other details about his passing. 

The Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket is CLOSED this Sunday (New Year's Day!)

In case you have plans to visit the Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 1)... 

Per Grow NYC: "All Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box locations closed. No clothing or food scrap collections."

They'll be back on Jan. 8.

H/T Steven

Why you might need to change your New York's Eve plans

Tough news for anyone who was planning to ring in 2023 at Key Food at the strike of midnight. 

ICYMI: Management for the grocery on Avenue A and Fourth posted (with festive signage!) their holiday hours earlier this week... noting a 10 closure tonight, New Year's Eve...
Otherwise, Key is back to its 24/7 schedule

Meanwhile, see you in Times Square!

Saturday's opening shots

A post-Christmas moment with Rudolph on Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street...
And everyone, please join in one last time... 

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer
and Vixen Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen 
But do you recall The most famous reindeer of all?

Friday, December 30, 2022

Built to 'Still'


A top-20 album of the year contender... here's the Irish band Just Mustard with "Still" taken from the May release, Heart Under ...

Remembering Dr. Kamala Joie Mottl

Longtime East Village resident Dr. Kamala Joie Mottl died on Nov. 7. She was 75. 

Her daughter, Legacy Russell, executive director and chief curator of The Kitchen, shared her mother's story with us... it starts with her graduation from the University of Hawaii in 1969 as a writer and editor at the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts.
True to her free spirit and open heart, she left to backpack and stay at youth hostels on her own across Europe. After she returned to spend some months living near her sister Tahi in the Boston area, Dr. Mottl began graduate school at New York University, studying psychology and specializing in gerontology. Dr. Mottl's move at that time to a walk-up on Saint Mark's Place at apartment UWG ("Upper Westside Gallery") began her 50-plus year journey and joy in New York City. 

She remained in the same beloved apartment until her final days. Dr. Mottl over the decades became a regular radical fixture on Saint Mark's Place and within the East Village spanning every chapter of its change, an active advocate in organizing for tenant protections with her fellow neighbors across generations, through and beyond the site of 31 Saint Mark's Place.

Critical to her specialty and ongoing investment in her community work and support, Dr. Mottl worked with elders and their families at the Washington Heights Mental Health Center in Harlem and participated in early labor union strikes with the 1199SEIU union.

Dr. Mottl met Harlem-born Black American photographer and community organizer Ernest Russell (1944-2016) in the East Village, a meet-cute that began, as legend has it, when Dr. Mottl was wearing no shoes and strolling in the rainy East Village street. She caught his eye and they struck up an exchange. While the two were initially fond of one another, as Dr. Mottl told it, her heart had not fully made its decision until their first kiss.

Dr. Mottl finished her clinical career in gerontology at Roberto Clemente Community Health Center in the East Village. Thereafter she continued to actively volunteer and participate in elder programming and activities at Stein Senior Center and Sirovich Senior Center for Balanced Living, hosting reading groups, Kwanzaa ceremonies, and, after many years, resuming her viola playing and participating in a seniors-only band that performed in community gardens across the East Village.

She loved, and was loved by, her family, friends and neighbors. An organizer who held central the traditions of Black feminisms, an advocate for the sustainability of Black life across all ages and backgrounds, and a tireless Black creative contributor to the field of psychology and beyond it, Kamala also loved nature, animals (especially her pets Girlie, Piano, Kinky Liberty, and Freaky-Dawn Bubbles), and her neighborhoods that spanned time zones. 

Aloha, Kamala, our cosmic kuuipo. We hope you are having sweet dreams.
Photos courtesy of Legacy Russell

Pure Wine debuts on 10th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy

Pure Wine opened on Wednesday at 86 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. 

Christopher Freund, formerly the head sommelier at Gotham Bar & Grill on 12th Street and Betony on West 57th Street, is the owner of the retail shop.
Freund told us that he was looking to create a store "that is both casual and inviting for customers."

"I have run Michelin-starred restaurant wine and spirit programs, and now am I excited to bring that same level of service, hospitality and education to a neighborhood bottle shop," he said.
The shop is currently open Monday-Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., with a 9 p.m. close on Sundays. 

You can follow Pure Wine on Instagram here.

Sunny's Florist will be closed all of January

Photos by Steven 

If you're in the market for some fresh flowers to start the New Year, plan ahead. 

Sunny's Florist — with arguably the best flowers in NYC — is going on its usual winter hiatus starting New Year's Day here on the SE corner of Second Avenue and Sixth Street...
Sunny's, which has been in this sliver of a retail space for 32 years, will be closed all of January.
The shop doesn't have a website or any active social media platforms. Posted hours are from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow. The shop may close early if she sells out of flowers. Phone: (212) 473-0185.

HAGS is reopening on 1st Avenue

Photos by Steven 

After nearly a three-month closure, HAGS returns to service this evening at 163 First Ave. between 10th Street and 11th Street.
As previously reported, the well-regarded restaurant had to close "due to long-standing inherited, unsafe structural damage and plumbing issues in our building." 

Owners Telly Justice and Camille Lindsley shared the news in an Insagram post earlier this month...


On New Year's Day at noon, HAGS will start accepting reservations for the month of February. 

Justice and Lindsley opened HAGS — described as a restaurant "for Queers and everyone else" — this past July. 

The retail space had been vacant since Fuku closed in the spring of 2018.

Signage alert: Red Onion on 10th Street

Photo by Stacie Joy

Signage for Red Onion arrived this week at 277 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

As previously noted, Red Onion will be a health-focused Indian restaurant. No word on an opening date yet. In the meantime, you can check out their website here.

The previous food establishments here — Chichen Itzá and Tompkins Village Cafe — only lasted a few weeks each. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday's parting shots

Today at 4:20 p.m., the state's first legal retail pot dispensary — run by the nonprofit Housing Works Cannabis Co. — opened its doors on Broadway at Eighth Street on Astor Place. 

Multiple EVG readers shared photos of the epic lines, which stretched back to Lafayette Street...
The Housing Works store is the first and only one with the state’s official seal for cannabis dispensaries. 

After today, the shop is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Top photo by @unitof; second photo by Steven

Gregg Singer's reign as owner of the former of P.S. 64 is said to be over

Photos yesterday by Stacie Joy 

Gregg Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as owner of the former P.S. 64 on Ninth Street has apparently come to an end. 

According to a press release from members of Save Our Community Center CHARAS/former P.S. 64 (SOCCC-64), Singer has been found in default of his mortgage and the property has been foreclosed. 

Last Friday, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former P.S. 64 at 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million.

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days, according to SOCCC-64. You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure earlier this year and was reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital. 

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

It's important to note that the 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for “community facility use” and any conversion to a condoplex or residential housing would require a time-consuming zoning variance.

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. According to published reports, the Mayor said he'd work to "right the wrongs of the past." 

SOCCC-64 members hope that Mayor Adams considers this request. Per the group's press release: "We are excited to finally have the opportunity to return the building to full community use, and are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore this once vibrant community hub," said Chino Garcia, co-founder of Charas.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (In past years, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.) 

Meanwhile, work continues at the site. As we first reported on Dec. 21, workers arrived at the site ...
A worker on the scene told this to EVG contributor Stacie Joy yesterday: "Our job is to completely seal up the building. It's dangerous in there."
The long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacate are still on file with the department of buildings.

For a detailed history of Singer and the space, you can check out this article at The Village Voice.

O'Flaherty's opening an art gallery at the former UCBeast space on Avenue A

After nearly four years of sitting empty, 44 Avenue A has a new tenant: O'Flaherty's.

Artist-curator Jamian Juliano-Villani (pictured below in Julyannounced on Instagram yesterday that she was moving her gallery into this space between Third Street and Fourth Street.

Per the post:
We are THRILLED to announce that as of today, O’Flaherty's officially has a NEW HOME!!!!! Opening this February, we welcome you to our new location at 44 Avenue A (formerly the UCB theater). More details on our first opening soon.
O'Flaherty's had a year-long run at 55 Avenue C at Fourth Street (we covered the opening here), culminating with a barn burner of a show late this past summer. 
We're looking forward to hearing more about Juliano-Villani's plan for this venue.

And for some background... citing financial difficulties, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater closed UCBeast in February 2019. The comedy venue opened in September 2011, and UCB took over part of the expanded Two Boots empire — the video store on Avenue A and the Pioneer Theater around the corner on Third Street.

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

In the spring of 2021Marcello Assante was looking to open Cinema Paradiso here... a cafe, restaurant, and center for cinephiles to enjoy foreign and independent features. However, Community Board 3 would not approve a full liquor license for all hours of the space, which Assante argued was necessary to help the venture be profitable.  

Top photo from August by EVG/photo of Jamian Juliano-Villani from July by Stacie Joy

133 Avenue D, co-owned by A-Rod, is on the sales market

A-Rod's time as an East Village landlord is coming to an end.

In 2018, the former Yankee (and Mariner and Ranger) teamed up with real-estate veteran Barbara Corcoran to buy 133 Avenue D, a 20-unit building between Ninth Street and 10th Street. 

Now, that building is back on the sales market with an $8-million ask. As the Post first reported at the time, the pair bought the property from disgraced former President Trump attorney Michael Cohen and partner Eric Nelson for $8.3 million. 

No word on how much, if any, work went into the building during A-Rod and Corcoran's ownership... or why it is being offered at a slight loss. 

In March 2021, the building made headlines when a longtime resident returned home from a months-long COVID-related hospitalization to find that 133's management cleaned out his apartment and changed the locks. 

As for A-Rod, 133 Avenue D was his first foray into New York City real estate. However, his Monument Capital Management company reportedly owns about 15,000 apartments in 13 states.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wednesday's parting shot

View from Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place...

The city's first legal, regulated adult-use cannabis shop opens Thursday on Astor Place

ICYMI: The city's first legal cannabis recreational dispensary opens tomorrow (Thursday) at 750 Broadway at Eighth Street on Astor Place inside a former Gap retail space. 

The business, Housing Works Cannabis Co., "will initially stand out among a sea of unlicensed vendors as the only retail location in the city selling regulated, pre-tested marijuana products," per Gothamist

The grand opening tomorrow is at 4:20 p.m. (For real.) Housing Works Cannabis Co, will then be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and provide in-store service and delivery. Hours will adjust in the coming weeks. Learn more here.
Here's more about the business and building via Gov. Hochul's office
The storefront operated by Housing Works is located at 750 Broadway in the Astor Place neighborhood. All proceeds from dispensary sales will be directed to parent organization Housing Works, Inc., founded in 1990 to address the dual crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness. The self-sustaining nonprofit provides job opportunities, legal advocacy, and comprehensive housing and health services funded, in part, by revenues from its thrift stores, SoHo bookstore, and now its cannabis dispensary. 

With a focus on compassion and dispelling stigmas, Housing Works endeavors to move the cannabis industry forward by supporting the practical needs of its community through an equity-driven and harm-reduction approach. 

Spanning 4,400 square feet, the iconic building where the dispensary will be, known as 1 Astor Place, was completed in 1883. Housing Works Cannabis Co will welcome patrons with an introductory shopping experience upon opening, with plans to carefully build out an expanded and thoughtfully curated space as cannabis products become more available.
To date, the New York State Cannabis Control Board has approved 36 Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary Licenses, including 28 for qualifying businesses and eight for nonprofits.

That's all for East Village mainstay Dallas BBQ

Photos by Steven

East Village stalwart Dallas BBQ has shut down several days before anticipated here on the NE corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place. 

Staff previously told EVG contributor Stacie Joy that the BBQ joint would close after service this New Year's Eve. Perhaps they ran out of onion loaves... signage is now up noting the closure, with a note to would-be Dallas BBQ diners to try the outpost on 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea...
... and the interior is in disarray as workers prepare to move out the remains of the restaurant that has anchored this corner since the mid-1980s...
According to staff, the building's landlord would not renew the chainlet's lease and opted to rent the space to another business.

The EV Dallas BBQ staff has been offered jobs at other locations, which include a dozen in the metropolitan area.

News of a closure had been expected since an applicant for a new bar-restaurant appeared before Community Board 3 in June. Hospitality vet Curt Huegel, whose portfolio includes concepts such as Bill's Townhouse, Campagnola and Printers Alley, received approval for the unnamed establishment. 

There was some debate over closing time, and the committee wouldn't approve a 4 a.m. close. Huegel didn't respond to our previous request for comment to see if he was still taking the prime corner space.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Yo La Tengo celebrates Sun Ra Arkestra at its annual Hanukkah show finale

Photos and reporting by Daniel Efram

Yo La Tengo capped off its 2022 Hanukkah shows by bringing on The Sun Ra Arkestra for its Dec. 25 finale, providing a mischievous and trippy end to this year's Festival of Lights benefit series at the Bowery Ballroom.
Tickets for this yearly event sell out very quickly and brighten many a mood for those remaining in the NYC area for the holidays. 

Each show has a different beneficiary, and the South Bronx's Word of Life International was the target of this Sunday's final series performance. The organization's Feed The Community Program provides food support to individuals and families at risk of hunger, addressing food insecurity and inequity that has persisted in the South Bronx for decades. 

According to Todd Abramson, the talent buyer for White Eagle Hall and series production confidant, "the event has run most years since the inception in 2001 with the exception of a number of years off after Maxwell's [in Hoboken] closed."

"2022's Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows were another triumph," Abramson continues. "I am amazed every year by the amount of work. Each YLT show is different and not just in regards to the setlist. It's very rare when they don't have at least one extra musician, if not an entire band, join them for at least part of their set (and the encores). They really strive to bring the audience something special and unique. Mazel Tov!" 

The Sun Ra Arkestra has been playing yearly since the Hanukkah shows moved from Maxwell's (ending in 2012) to the Bowery Ballroom in 2017. Led by Marshall Allen, who at age 98, has complete control of this Afro-futurist group of 12. Allen has played in the group since 1958.
As is traditional at these YLT events, the Arkestra also joined Georgia Hubley, James McNew and Ira Kaplan on stage to help bring the musical space trip to its climax with evergreen renditions of "Speeding Motorcycle" (Daniel Johnston), "Dreaming" (Sun Ra), "All the Glitter is Gone" (Yo La Tengo), "Emulsified" (Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers), "More Stars Than There Are In Heaven" (Yo La Tengo) and the rousing "Nuclear War" (Sun Ra) with the timely lyrics:

If they push that button
Gonna blast your ass 
So high in the sky 
You can kiss your ass 
Goodbye, goodbye
Encore songs included "Take Care" (Alex Chilton), "3/5 Of A Mile In 1/10 Of A Second" (The Jefferson Airplane) and "I Can't Stand It" (The Velvet Underground). 

And, as always, the grand finale is a lovely version of "My Little Corner of The World, " sung by Kaplan's mom Marilyn. This song was made famous by Anita Bryant (1960) and Marie Osmond (1974) and was later covered by Yo La Tengo on its album I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One in 1997.
Yo La Tengo's new album, This Stupid World, is out on Feb. 10, 2023. 


Daniel Efram is an East Village-based photographer-curator. He is the producer of "The Steve Keene Art Book."

Excel curb alert

EVG reader Jackflashnyc shares this photo and tip from 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B: "Offering this Curb Alert for any Excel users that prefer not to use the online Help menu."

Long-vacant 8th Street building where worker died is being offered as a development site

EVG file photo

356 E. Eighth St., a vacant, four-story townhouse between Avenue C and Avenue D, is now available as a residential development site. 

The space is being offered for $3 million. Per the listing: "Property is a teardown. Existing structure is unsafe." 

On Dec. 24, 2015, a worker — 33-year-old Luis Alberto Pomboza — fell three floors to his death inside the building.

According to published reports, he was an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant and father of five who lived in Brooklyn.

His death prompted then-Mayor de Blasio and Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler to announce in February 2016 that they were going to quadruple the penalties for serious construction-safety lapses, conduct a wave of more than 1,500 enforcement sweeps, and require new supervision at construction sites citywide to protect workers and the public amid the building boom.

No. 356 had been on and off the market in recent years (here and here). The listings pitched the space for "high-end apartments or a luxury home."

In the fall of 2015, there were approved work permits showing that the building would receive two new floors and a mezzanine.

After Pomboza's death, the DOB issued a stop work order and a full vacate order on the site. Ten different violations were reportedly uncovered at the worksite, including "failure to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations." A construction superintendent was to be present at 356 E. Eighth St. at the time of Pomboza's fall, but there wasn't one on site.

The owner is listed as Ingrid House LLC, per public records. 

Icicle works: Frozen pipes cause damage to several East Village businesses

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Several East Village business owners returned to work yesterday to discover an unwelcome gift after the frigid holiday weekend. 

We heard that frozen pipes burst in a handful of storefronts, causing damage at Moge Tee on Cooper Square between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place (above) and Gama Lounge, the comedy club in the basement of 50 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street (below) among other establishments...
Other businesses that suffered water damage include Flower Power at 406 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue ... and Via Della Scrofa, the Italian specialty shop at 60 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. 

In an Instagram post, the folks at Via Della Scrofa said they'd be closed for the remainder of the year. 

One EV super told EVG contributor Stacie Joy that there were reports of broken pipes "all over the place."

Monday, December 26, 2022

Deal of the day

Photos by Steven 

In case you are celebrating Christmas later this year... or want to celebrate it all over again... there are good deals on trees at Saifee Hardware on First Avenue and Seventh Street... where these are free...

Police arrest suspect connected to the Dec. 19 murder on Avenue A

An East Harlem resident has been arrested in connection with the early morning murder on Dec. 19 on Avenue A

During a press conference this morning, police said Roland Codrington, 35, went on a violent rampage in which he allegedly stabbed two men to death and assaulted several other people before his arrest on Christmas Eve. 

Police said that 51-year-old local resident James Cunningham bumped into Codrington and his girlfriend around 1 a.m. on Dec. 19 outside Spike's on Avenue A between 13th Street and 14th Street. Video footage at the scene, police officials said, shows the two men arguing for about 20 seconds before the suspect is seen slashing Cunningham's throat. 

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said the two men had no prior connection before Dec. 19. 

On Dec. 22, Codrington allegedly choked a bartender and stabbed two Good Samaritans at Teddy's Bar and Grill on Second Avenue in East Harlem. Media reports stated that Codrington showed up at the bar with a pit bull and a baseball bat. 

Early Friday morning, a 60-year-old pediatrician was found dead in Marcus Garvey Park. Police said that Codrington and the victim, Bruce Henry, got into a verbal spat that ended with the doctor being stabbed multiple times. 

The NYPD's investigation led detectives to Codrington and his girlfriend driving Henry's Mercedes-Benz in the Bronx on Christmas Eve. 

Essing said Codrington faces two counts each of murder and attempted murder and additional charges of second-degree assault and criminal mischief. 

Codrington had 12 prior arrests, Essing said. No word yet on charges against Codrington's girlfriend. 

Here's a video of today's press conference...

MulchFest begins TODAY

MulchFest Season is officially underway starting today (Dec. 26)  ... where now through Jan. 8 you can bring your Christmas tree to the center of Tompkins Square Park fir for mulching. 

Chipping Weekend then takes place on Saturday, Jan. 7, and Sunday, Jan. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Per the Parks Department:
We'll chip your tree and give you your very own bag of mulch to use in your backyard or to make a winter bed for a street tree.

Given how much more expensive trees were this season, some people may feel obligated to keep them longer than Jan. 8. 

Thanks to Steven for the photo!

Monday's opening shot

Ready for New Year's Eve at Lime Tree Market on Ninth Street and First Avenue ... photo by Steven...