Friday, October 7, 2022

A 1982 view of St. Mark's Place at 3rd Avenue

Looking east on St Mark's Place at Third Avenue circa 1982... with a view of Tompkins Square Park in the distance ... photo by Peter Bennett. 

Check out more of Peter's work here. We previously posted some of Peter's EV photos from the 1980s at this link.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Thursday's parting shot

Moon pic from Seventh Street at (almost) Avenue A...

Police: Delivery man slashed in face at 7th Street and Avenue A entrance to Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Stacie Joy

An Uber Eats bicycle delivery man was slashed in the face this afternoon around 3:30 on Seventh Street and Avenue A, police sources said. 

The injured man was taken to hospital, but his condition is not life-threatening, sources confirmed.
It's not immediately clear what led to the slashing, which an EVG reader said occurred right inside the park entrance. 

Police have once again closed off the area around the chess tables steps away from this entrance to Tompkins, something which has happened multiple times in recent years. There have been numerous reader reports about drug use, stolen property and fights in this space.

The annual Harvest Arts Festival starts tomorrow in East Village community gardens

The 11th annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival gets underway tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 7). 

This year's 9-day festival includes activities at dozens of East Village/LES community gardens, each featuring various performances, concerts, workshops and other related events. Check the LUNGS website here for the day-by-day, garden-by-garden schedule. 

The opening-night festivities are at La Plaza Cultural on the SW corner of Ninth Street and Avenue C... featuring "LGBTQ performers highlighting famed artists from the legendary Apollo Theater, with guest MC Lee Soldier Simmons." The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

These 'Friends' are looking to care for Tompkins Square Park

A group of East Village residents have come together to form Friends of Tompkins Square Park ... "neighbors working to build a new group to advocate for TSP." 

The group's first event is this Saturday (Oct. 8). Volunteers can meet at the Park office/fieldhouse at 9 a.m. to pick up trash and rake leaves.

On Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friends of Tompkins Square Park will gather in the main lawn/central plaza to plant flower bulbs and spruce up the garden areas.
Gloves and tools will be provided ... though you are welcome to bring your own favorite trash grabber or rake. 

City parks have faced maintenance staff shortages in recent months... which has been noticeable to East Village residents who frequent Tompkins Square Park. 

The Partnerships for Parks is mentoring Friends of Tompkins Square Park. 

Background: "Partnerships for Parks is a unique public-private partnership between City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks that supports and champions neighborhood volunteers by giving them the tools they need to advocate and care for their neighborhood parks and green spaces."

Zee Convenience & Smoke debuts on Avenue A

Zee Convenience & Smoke is up and running now on the SE corner of Avenue A and 13th Street. (Thanks to Steven for the top photo.)

The signage notes that available goods here include CBD/hemp, beverages, e-cigarettes, snacks and hookah.... and, per this interior photo by Lola Sáenz, paper towels and cigars...
We understand that ownership here operates other shops, perhaps Zee Smoke & Convenience (not to be confused with Zee Convenience & Smoke) on 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Caffè Bene closed here in December after nearly six years in business.

And as previously noted ... back in May, the owners of Keybar on 13th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue were looking to relocate here, but the application didn't make it past Community Board 3. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by Stacie Joy 

Enjoying the challah from C&B Cafe in Tompkins Square Park...

Noted

If you're looking for the Mo' Eats truck, it has set up shop in the bus-only lane on Avenue A just below Second Street. 

The truck, selling shawarma and kebab plates, was previously stationed on Sixth Street at Avenue A for most of August and September.

Long-vacant P.S. 64 now being pitched for medical use, educational purposes

Photo from July by Stacie Joy

The former P.S. 64 at 605 E. Ninth St., a point of contention in the neighborhood for the past 20-plus years, is now being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. 

An EVG tipster points us to a new listing from late last week at LoopNet. According to the listing, 156,000 square feet of space is available for sale or lease here between Avenue B and Avenue C via Wexler Healthcare Properties at the Corcoran Group.
The listing states: 
The redevelopment and historic restoration of this century-old landmark, a former New York City elementary school, can be transformed into a variety of modern, amenity-rich opportunities, including:  
• Student Dormitories
• Education Center College
• Satellite Campus 
• Medical Center 
• Nursing Home 
• Assisted Living
The listing also notes that the property "can be made Article 28 compliant" and "leasehold condo structure considered."

The building became the CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center after the school left in 1977. New landlord Gregg Singer reportedly evicted the group in December 2001. He bought the property from the city during an auction in 1998 for $3.15 million.

As previously reported, ownership of the property had been in transition. In January, Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane ruled that Madison Realty Capital could move forward with a foreclosure against Singer after years of delay. 

Madison Realty Capital reportedly provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the property in 2016. Court records show that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April 2016, and by that September, the lender filed to foreclose, as reported by The Real Deal.

Now we're back to some familiar proposed uses for the space. 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.) 

There was also a moment when the building could have been used for medical purposes: In March 2020, Singer reportedly offered the building to the city for use in treating patients with COVID. The city declined.

The address has multiple open fines and violations with the Department of Buildings, which still has a Stop Work Order (dating to August 2015) and a Full Vacate Order (from February 2019).


The five-story building has been vacant for 20-plus years.

Beat happening: A plaque unveiling at the former residence of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs

Tomorrow evening, Village Preservation is unveiling a plaque outside the former residence of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs on Seventh Street. 

The event takes place outside 204-206 E. Seventh St. between Avenue B and Avenue C, where the two lived in a third-floor apartment in the early 1950s. According to NYU's Grey Art Gallery, "Ginsberg took some of his best-known photographs of the Beats in this apartment, on the building's roof, and on the fire escape."

We will install a plaque to commemorate the Beat Generation at a building where Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs lived early in their careers. The two and occasional visitor Jack Kerouac formed the nucleus of this influential post-war countercultural movement. We will hear excerpts from their work and a discussion of the importance of the Beat Generation and of these authors' early work. 
The festivities begin at 5:30. Village Preservation asks attendees to register here in advance. 

Ginsberg lived in multiple apartments in the neighborhood from the 1950s to his death in 1997, including 170 E. Second St., 704 E. Fifth St., 408 E. 10th St., 437 E. 12th St. and 404 E. 14th St.

These 3 East Village restaurants make list of new Bib Gourmands

ICYMI: The 2022 Michelin Guide unveiled its list of 18 new Bib Gourmands late last week ... and three East Village establishments made it on for the first time. (And one of them may now be closed.)

Background, per the news release: "Introduced in 1997, the Bib Gourmands are awarded to restaurants that earn the attention of Michelin inspectors for an affordable and remarkable dining experience. Bib Gourmand restaurants offer a full menu of a starter, main course and dessert, making it possible to order two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for around $49 or less (tax and gratuity not included)." 

Here’s the list of new East Village Bib Gourmands, with a short description of each restaurant that Michelin provided... and we're noting that Google lists Dumpling Lab as permanently closed, and their phone is not in service.

• Dumpling Lab, 214 E. Ninth St. 
Cuisine: Chinese 

There are flashy dishes, like uni dumplings made with squid ink-tinted wrappers and dusted with gold powder, though some of the best dishes are dressed down and offer amped-up flavor. 

Soda Club, 155 Avenue B
Cuisine: Vegan 

The name is derived from Italy's tradition of hand-crafted sodas; and its spirit from the turbulent Prohibition era. On the menu, house-made pasta is a focus. There are also natural wines to accompany the seasonal, deftly executed vegan dishes. 

Yellow Rose, 102 Third Ave. 
Cuisine: Tex-Mex 

Amidst this setting of weathered wood and stained glass chandeliers, diners can be found devouring Tex-Mex food with a focus on tacos and inspired cocktails. Flour tortillas are made in-house daily and feature in a myriad of deliciously dressed-down creations. 

Several EV establishments continued to receive recognition from Michelin, including standbys such as
Van Đa and MáLà Project. Find the complete list here. (And Prune remains on the list despite being on hiatus since March 2020.)

This year's star ratings for New York restaurants will be announced on Thursday (tomorrow). 

Image via @yellowrose.nyc

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Coming soon: the 'Meet Me in the Bathroom' documentary

The "Meet Me in the Bathroom" documentary, which offers an archival journey through the music scene of early 2000s NYC, is set to premiere on Oct. 30 at Webster Hall (tickets here) before a limited theatrical release (at the IFC Center on Nov. 4) and streaming debut on Showtime. 

The doc, directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Based on Lizzy Goodman's 2017 book, "Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011," the documentary reportedly focuses on 1999-2004 and bands that include the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, Liars and the Moldy Peaches. 

The East Village and Lower East Side played a supporting role with venues such as the Mercury Lounge and now-shuttered spaces like the Luna Lounge, Plant Bar and Sidewalk Cafe. 

Here's part of a review via Brooklyn Vegan
The footage Southern and Lovelace managed to get their hands on is the real reason to watch Meet Me in the Bathroom: The Strokes playing Don Hills and Mercury Lounge in 2000; Paul Banks in his pre-Interpol singer-songwriter days (as well as footage of him in downtown Manhattan on 9/11); Moldy Peaches at Sidewalk Cafe; the August 2002 Williamsburg parking lot show with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Oneida and more that had crowds of people watching on every adjacent rooftop; and so much more that you didn't know existed... 

Meet Me in the Bathroom does a good job of dropping you into a time and place that is gone and could not happen today. "I was there!" James Murphy cries in "Losing My Edge." If this doesn't totally make you feel like you were there, it comes close.

Look for the first trailer soon

Meanwhile, enjoy the first show by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Mercury Lounge on Sept. 24, 2000 ...

 

Remembering off-Broadway theater legend Jeff Weiss

Jeff Weiss, an actor, playwright and "doyen of downtown performance" who received multiple Obie Awards, died on Sept. 18 at an assisted living facility near his childhood home of Allentown, Pa. He was 82. 

Longtime residents recall performances at Good Medicine & Company, the storefront theater that Weiss and his partner Carlos Ricardo Martinez operated from their 10th Street apartment

Said one EVG reader in an email: "None of us who were privileged to see him perform in the tiny theater he created on East 10th Street will ever forget those nights. Nor will anyone who saw the various incarnations of 'And That's How The Rent Gets Paid,' which he performed at La MaMa, forget the brush with the genius that was Jeff."

"Jeff was one of the greatest figures in the history of American theater," Charles Richter, retired director of theater at Muhlenberg College and co-founder of Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre, told the Lehigh Valley Press. "He never sold out. He always had enormous integrity. He was always asking profound life questions in shocking and hilariously funny ways." 

Here's more about Weiss via a feature obituary at Artforum
Forgoing formal acting training — he reportedly quit Stella Adler's class after a single session, finding it to be an "offensive lesson in group therapy" — Weiss's made his onstage debut at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in 1964 in Robert Sealy's "Waiting Boy."

In the ensuing years, Weiss would regularly perform at the storied venue, garnering attention for his eccentric and unnerving performances in productions such as Louis Mofsie's "Three Mask Dances" (1966); Jean Reavey's "Window" (1966); H.M. Koutoukas's "When Clowns Play Hamlet" (1967); and Julie Bovasso's "Gloria and Esperanza" (1969), among others.

His last performance came at La MaMa in May 2017. 

Construction watch: 351 E. 10th St.

Work has really progressed at 351 E. 10th St. between Avenue B and Avenue C since the first sign of an excavator in the spring.

As previously reported, the long-empty lot is yielding an 8-floor residential building featuring 28 residences. News of housing here dates to October 2019, when an array of city and federal officials came together during a press conference "to celebrate the commencement of the preservation and rehabilitation of project-based Section 8 housing in the East Village." During this event, officials noted that more affordable housing was set for this 10th Street parcel.

It appears that 30% of those 28 units will be considered "affordable." Here's more from the website of Goshow Architects:
[The building is] intended to interchangeably mix market rate (70%) and affordable (30%) dwelling units. In the interest of dignity-for-all, there is absolutely no distinction between the two: same size rooms, same kitchen appliances, same level of fit and finish.
The rendering at the lot lists a completion date of Sept. 1, 2023. 

A new art installation on Astor Place honors playwright-activist Lorraine Hansberry

A new production of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" is underway at the Public Theater on Lafayette. 

Coinciding with the staging of this 1959 classic ... is an installation on Astor Place by Alison Saar titled "To Sit A While." 

Here's more via the Village Alliance
"To Sit A While" features the figure of Hansberry surrounded by five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of her life and work. The life-size chairs are an invitation to the public to do just that: to sit with her and think. 
Hansberry was the first Black woman to have her work produced on Broadway. She died of pancreatic cancer in 1965 at age 34. 

The installation, which has been in several NYC locations since June, will be here through Oct. 21. 

Thanks to Steven for the photo.

Openings: Irving Farm New York on 10th Street

Irving Farm New York is now open at 79 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. (We first reported on this pending arrival in early January.)

This is the eighth cafe/coffee shop in NYC (plus one upstate in Millerton, where they also operate a roastery) for the company that started on Irving Place in 1996.

The cafe is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an 8 a.m. start on Saturdays and Sundays.

No. 79 was previously City of Saints Coffee Roasters, which debuted in June 2014 and never reopened after the PAUSE of March 2020.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Monday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

On Second Avenue today... and keep those umbrellas handy — showers are expected through Wednesday.

Jean-Luc Godard screenings this month at the Quad Cinema

Wednesday nights in October, the Quad is presenting a selection of films by Jean-Luc Godard ... as part of the theater's ongoing "From the Vault: Cohen Film Collection" repertory series. 

The series starts this Wednesday with "A Married Woman" from 1964.

   

Visit this link for more information on the films and showtimes. 

Godard died on Sept. 13 at age 91. 

Exclusive: This is the new tenant for the former Gem Spa space

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

An outpost of the Brooklyn-based Poetica Coffee will be opening at the SW corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place, the longtime former home of Gem Spa, the iconic newsstand-candy shop. 

Owner Parviz Mukhamadkulov (pictured below) received the keys to the space — officially 36 St. Mark's Place — on Friday. This will be the second Manhattan location for the brand, which has seven spots in Brooklyn.

Mukhamadkulov, from Uzbekistan, has said that he has wanted to own his own café since he was a kid and watched his father work as a coffee wholesaler.
The café will serve housemade pastries, including croissants and several varieties of baked pierogies, which are more popular in central Asia as opposed to boiled or fried dumplings... and with coffee beans from a roaster in Brooklyn. With the landlord's permission, Mukhamadkulov would like to add an enclosed sidewalk cafe on the St. Mark's Place side.

Mukhamadkulov said he didn't know about the history of the space when he first rented the storefront (there wasn't any mention of the previous tenant in the marketing materials) ... and he has since explored the history of the address... and reached out to Parul Patel, who ran Gem Spa in recent years, with an offer to sell their merchandise free of charge. 

He said he wants to honor the location's legacy and has "big shoes to step into."

Here's how the interior looked as of Saturday...
Gem Spa, home of the egg cream according to some sources, officially closed in May 2020 amid ongoing financial challenges worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parul Patel, who had been running the store that her father Ray owned since 1986, made a gallant effort to save the iconic corner shop that dates to the 1920s. This post has more background on Gem Spa's last few years.

And more history, via a Vanity Fair piece from May 2020:
The tributes that followed Patel's closure announcement ... teemed with references to the art in which the store had served as a backdrop: Madonna's turn in "Desperately Seeking Susan"; Patti Smith writing about going for an egg cream with Robert Mapplethorpe in her memoir "Just Kids"; a pair of lines from an Allen Ginsberg poem ("Back from the Gem Spa, into the hallway, a glance behind / and sudden farewell to the bedbug-ridden mattresses piled soggy in dark rain"); the back cover of the New York Dolls' first album; the title of a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting; Lou Reed's song "Egg Cream.: The works traced a timeline of the East Village that both belonged firmly to the 20th century and remained top of mind.

The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, with a new name, returns to Tompkins Square Park

The 2022 version of the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade has a new name — and a familiar location. 

Organizers have announced that this year's event, now known as the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival, is taking place on Oct. 22, starting at 1 p.m. in Tompkins Square Park. Dan Schachner, a former NFL referee who now serves as host of the Puppy Bowl, is the host. 

Find details about registering your dog and serving as a volunteer at this link.

The Dog Parade/Festival, which outgrew Tompkins Square Park, took place in East River Park in 2018, 2019 and 2021. (That venue is no longer available.) The 2020 pandemic version was mostly virtual, with a small in-person/dog event at Lucky on Avenue B.

Building issues temporarily KOs HAGS on 1st Avenue

Photos by Steven

Two-plus months after opening at 163 First Ave., HAGS has temporarily closed due to some issues in the building between 10th Street and 11th Street. 

Owners Telly Justice and Camille Lindsley explained the situation in an Instagram post from Friday: 
We're so grateful for the outpouring of love and support we’ve received in the short time since HAGS opened its doors. Our team and our guests truly mean the world to us. 
Because it's in our nature to be as transparent as humanly possible, we must share the sad news that due to long-standing inherited, unsafe structural damage and plumbing issues in our building, we are temporarily closing HAGS until further notice. Our team and our guests' safety is our utmost priority, so we'll be working with the support of our new landlord to rebuild what needs fixing as quickly as possible. Send us speedy vibes! 
HAGS, described as a restaurant "for Queers and everyone else," opened on July 20 with a variety of tasting menus, including a "pay what you can" option on Sundays. 

You can follow the HAGS Instagram account for updates.
The address is notable to some food aficionados for being where David Chang's Momofuku empire got its start .... first as the home of Noodle Bar (2004) before it moved a few storefronts away... later becoming Momofuku Ko for six years (2008-2014), which moved to a larger space on Extra Place ... and then the first outpost of his Fuku fried chicken sandwich chain (2015-2018).

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

Sunday, October 2, 2022

At the Blessing of the Animals today at Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Pet owners turned out this morning for the annual Blessing of the Animals at Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish on Avenue B at Ninth Street.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by to watch Pastor Will in action in this celebration of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

There was a variety of doggos... and one owner even brought his late pet in a cremation box... 

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a reader-submitted photo from 1st Street) ...

• At long last, workers remove the sidewalk bridge from around Mariana Bracetti Plaza (Tuesday

• Little Amal made a big impression on the Lower East Side (Thursday

• A look inside the former Gracefully storefront on Avenue A, vacant now for nearly 8 years (Wednesday

• A short walk with a tall man (Thursday

• New cat owner opens Cosmic Cat Cafe on 2nd Street (Monday

• The Juicy Lucy kiosk returns to service on 1st Street (Friday

• Davey's Ice Cream officially debuts today in new 9th Street shop (Friday

• Solo Pizza has closed on Avenue B (Wednesday

• Art gallery Amanita debuts on the Bowery (Thursday

• Openings: MayRee on 1st Street (Wednesday)

• A Parish Picnic outside St. Stanislaus on 7th Street (Sunday)

• Buka bringing Nigerian cuisine to 1st Avenue (Monday

• La Pizza Italiya taking over the Baker's Pizza space on Avenue A (Monday

• City removes tree with Dutch elm disease from Tompkins Square Park (Thursday

• Empanada Mama makes it signage-on-the-plywood official on 14th and 1st (Friday

• To no surprise, 'emergency work' is necessary at the long-empty 6 Avenue B (Wednesday

• 345 Cantina takes over for Tableside on 6th Street (Tuesday

• Kenneth Cole reopening Bowery outpost with a 'Temporary' concept (Monday

• The P.F. Chang's outpost opens on University Place (Tuesday

• Yaki Sushi takes over for Hawkers on 14th Street (Monday

... and Ben freshened up the Ink on A storefront (66 Avenue A, and one of our favorite shops) this past week... with new paint and a more uncluttered display of magazines... (photo by Stacie Joy) ...
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Prepping for the Pulaski Day Parade

Photo by Derek Berg 

As seen this morning outside St. Stanislaus between Avenue A and First Avenue... today is the 85th annual Pulaski Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. This year's Parade theme is "Marching With Heart, Soul & Love of Polonia."

Hopefully, the weather holds off on the celebration expected to draw thousands of spectators and participants.

Sunday's opening shot

Rain and wind expected throughout the day ... with the greatest chance coming around 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. 

Speaking of wind, not to be alarming, but there is a GALE WARNING (!!!) in effect until 6 p.m. So this is not the day to see if the skiff might be seaworthy. 

WHAT...Northeast winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 35 kt and seas 2 to 4 feet. 

WHERE...Long Island Sound west of Port Jefferson and New Haven, and New York Harbor. 

WHEN...Until 6 PM EDT this evening. 

IMPACTS...Strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility. 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Mariners should alter plans to avoid these hazardous conditions. Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course, and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions. 
 Speaking of the Mariners, Seattle made the playoffs this year.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Saturday's parting shot

Photo by Steven 

A moment with Christo, one of the resident red-tailed hawks in Tompkins Square Park... the photo is from atop the Park office ...

RebelMatic in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Here's a flashback to last Saturday ... when the four members of RebelMatic brought their brand of punk and funk to Tompkins Square Park. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was on hand for the band's high-energy set...
The show also featured South Bronx legends 24-7 Spyz, Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello, Incendiary Device and Butterbrain.