Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday's parting boots

As seen along Second Avenue near Fifth Street today... photo by Derek Berg...

6 posts from January

A mini month in review... 

• Soul mates: Meet the members of East Village-based band Sauce City (Jan. 21

• Report: The Regal Union Square multiplex to close after bankruptcy filing (Jan. 19

•  The remaining structure of the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church will be demolished (Jan. 13

• After 29 years playing in the East Village, I finally decided to see "Stomp" before it closed (Jan. 9

• The future of the unlicensed weed vendors (Jan. 3

• A happy birthday mural for Ray on Avenue A (Jan. 2)

Report: The former Charas/P.S. 64 is headed to auction this March

After another round of legal rulings, the former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center is headed to a foreclosure auction in March. 

According to The Real Deal, a court-appointed referee last week set an auction for the property at the Hilton New York Midtown Fifth Avenue on March 22. (As previously noted, the 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for "community facility use." Any conversion to a condoplex or residential housing would require a time-consuming zoning variance.)

Late last year, Judge Melissa Crane "agreed with a report from a court-appointed referee that Madison was owed $89.9 million for principal, interest and other charges." 

Singer disputed the interest and charges, arguing that the report lacked a "breakdown by month of the Prime and LIBOR rates, making it impossible to verify the accuracy of the calculations." 

Crane quickly shot down that argument. "The note explains the method for calculating the relevant interest rate in its first paragraph," she said. 
Singer vows to keep fighting despite the scheduled auction, citing new evidence he was "finally able to obtain," The Real Deal reported. 
"We expect our rights will be fully vindicated and we will ultimately prevail and be allowed to have the building be a benefit to the community," he said.
In recent weeks, workers — under emergency orders via the DOB — have been sealing up the building's Ninth Street and 10th Street sides between Avenue B and Avenue C. The former school and community center had been easy to access in recent years, attracting a variety of urban thrillseekers and partygoers. The broken windows and poorly secured doors also exposed the building to the elements — not to mention pigeons and other wildlife.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure last year. Through the years, Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (At one point, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.)

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. 

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.  

Honoring Det. Jamie Hernandez after 34 years of service to the East Village

Photos by Steven

After 34 years with the 9th Precinct, the East Village community is bidding farewell this morning to Jaime Hernandez, detective first grade who heads up Community Affairs here.

This morning at 11, Hernandez is taking part in a walkout ceremony at the station house on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...
Village Preservation selected Hernandez as a Village Awardee in 2020, noting that he "has built a highly regarded reputation throughout his career as someone who builds bridges, listens, and works closely and collaboratively with the communities he serves."

Jaime has been a finalist for a Village Award for several years now, but he always had other commitments and been unable to accept, including one year he missed because he had just donated a kidney to his daughter.

Fire shutters the recently opened Gjelina on Bond Street

A fire yesterday just before noon has temporarily shuttered Gjelina, a popular L.A. import that just opened at the start of 2023 at 45 Bond St. 

The FDNY responded to a report of a fire here between the Bowery and Lafayette around 11:30 a.m.

According to the @FDNYalerts account, the fire was in the ductwork between the first and second floor... with firefighters on the scene for several hours before announcing the "under control" ... The Citizen app reported that two firefighters sustained minor injuries during the blaze. No other injuries were reported. Gjelina, a vegetable-centric restaurant that opened in Venice, Calif., in 2008, debuted here at the start of the year with a breakfast-lunch service. Grub Street noted that Gjelina was "already Manhattan's hottest lunch." 

The restaurant's Instagram account noted — via its Stories — that it was closed for now...
A look inside the restaurant last evening didn't reveal much, if any, damage — at least from the front.

Signage alert: Saint Pizza on Avenue B

Photo by Stacie Joy

Signage arrived last week for Saint Pizza at 223 Avenue B between 13th Street and 14th Street.

We mentioned last month that a pizzeria was taking over the former Subway (sandwich shop) here.

Hopefully, it will offer a solid slice/pie for after a visit to Mona's across the street.

Will post more details about the operators when that info becomes available.  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday's parting shot

From a sold-out Webster Hall on 11th Street, the first night of the co-headlining tour with the Charlatans and Ride... at Brooklyn Steel tomorrow (1/31) if you like.

Another call to unlock the restrooms in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Stacie Joy 

The public restrooms remain closed to the public in Tompkins Square Park. 

We've seen various homemade signs about reopening the restrooms here since the Parks Department locked them up in early November

Today, Jimmy was taking up the cause...
Parks officials have said that a malfunctioning boiler and a broken pipe in the basement of the Park's fieldhouse are to blame for the closure.

As we've noted, perhaps the Parks Department is just waiting ... as they are expected to rebuild the fieldhouse. According to the Parks Department website, the contractor's contract is now registered with the city.

A youthful exchange of ideas with Dr. Cornel West at Performance Space New York

Photos and reporting by Daniel Efram 

This past Saturday afternoon, Dr. Cornel West gave an interactive talk with children and their families for Performance Space New York's ongoing "We the Youth — Keith Haring Lecture Series" about ideas and social issues that are often left off of school curriculums.
The kids made profound remarks about wondering how to love during difficult times. 

The professor, activist and philosopher responded with his thoughts on humanity, respect and love — not to mention his weakness for popcorn, which was occasionally fed to him by his generally well-behaved but sometimes restless young audience.
Performance Space New York is at 150 First Ave. at Ninth Street.

Signage alert: O'Flaherty's on Avenue A

Photos Friday by Stacie Joy 

Signage and a sidewalk awning arrived Friday for the new home of O'Flaherty's, the art gallery coming to 44 Avenue A at Third Street...
As we first reported, artist-curator Jamian Juliano-Villani was moving her gallery into this space after a year at 55 Avenue C at Fourth Street (we covered the opening here, culminating with a barn burner of a show late this past summer).

The gallery opens on Feb 16, featuring a performance series and film screening by @gelitin_official in association with Austrian Cultural Forum New York and Federal Ministry — Republic of Austria: Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport.
This space has been empty ever since Upright Citizens Brigade Theater closed UCBeast amid financial challenges 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.

We'll have more on this opening in the days ahead.

Openings: Gen Korean BBQ House

Gen Korean BBQ House opened earlier this month on the SW corner of Third Avenue and 14th Street. (First mentioned here.) The California-based brand has has a few dozen locations out west. This is the first East Coast outpost.

With daily hours of 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., Gen Korean BBQ House is among the city restaurants serving food late following the worst days of the pandemic when many spaces closed early (once they were allowed to reopen). 

As Eater noted here last week: "On a recent Saturday night after 2 a.m., there were around 40 people hovering over tabletop grills in its dining room, which has more than 40 communal tables."

The restaurant took over the former 5 Napkin Burger space as well as the storefront next door that served as the 5 Napkin Express, then Taman Falafel. Those businesses closed at the start of last year

The return of 99-cent pizza?!

Signage is up for a 99-cent pizza spot at 418 E. 14th St. just east of First Avenue along a stretch known for street vendors selling items of dubious quality and origins. 

If this price holds, then it would mark the return of a 99-cent pizza joint. Thanks to inflationary food costs, in late 2021 and early 2022,  the neighborhood's discount slicerias uniformly raised prices by 51 cents and became $1.50 pizzerias.

The storefront was previously a spa specializing in eyebrows and waxing.

Essex Squeeze has closed its 5th Street outpost

Photo by Steven

Essex Squeeze has been dark in recent weeks... and now comes word that the juice-coffee shop has permanently closed here at 300 E. Fifth St. just east of Second Avenue.

Sources tell EVG contributor Stacie Joy that the closure was "due to a rent increase and lack of business."

The cafe, run by LES natives and childhood friends Cedric Hernandez and Charles DeLaCruz, opened its first outpost in Essex Market in 2020. There's also a location in Dekalb Market Hall in Brooklyn.

The EV location opened in March 2022.

This space was previously Idlewild Coffee Co., which closed after just two months in business during the summer of 2020. The owner blamed the presence of the 9th Precinct's police barricades at the time for greatly reducing his foot traffic.

Idlewild took over from another coffee shop — Southern Cross Coffee, which shut down in September 2019 after two and half years in service.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a good-boy photo by Derek Berg) ...

 • Indictment announced against suspect who allegedly murdered James Cunningham on Avenue A last month (Friday

• RIP Tom Verlaine (Saturday

• La Mama to celebrate the reopening of its renovated home at 74A E. 4th St. (Tuesday

• Rent hike forcing Café Cortadito to close on 3rd Street (Monday

• The former Charas/P.S. 64 is nearly all sealed up as it awaits its fate (Thursday)

• Bluestockings reopens after a 2-week closure for sidewalk repairs (Tuesday

• Crossroads Trading opens on 2nd Avenue (Friday)

• About the 'Kim's Video' doc, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival (Wednesday

• At the opening of New York's second legal weed dispensary (Tuesday)

• Will it ever snow again? (Wednesday

• Check out these 'Creatures of the Night' at Theater for the New City (Tuesday

• Papered windows at 101 Avenue A, the incoming home of cafe-bar-music venue Baker Falls (Thursday

• Reader report: Toasted Deli has not been open lately (Thursday

• Openings: the Office of Mr. Moto on St. Mark's Place (Thursday

• A look at the currently closed Mermaid Inn on 2nd Avenue (Wednesday

• The Marshal has seized KC Gourmet Empanadas on Avenue B (Friday)

• The 21-story building that replaced B Bar & Grill begins its ascent on the Bowery (Monday) ...and since our Monday post about that new building for the Bowery and Fourth Street, the site had bulked up...
...with an added message on the plywood — "Land Back!!!" ...
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

City removes the curbside dining space at Eros on 2nd Avenue and 5th Street

This a follow-up to a post from Jan. 15... on Friday morning, the city removed the curbside dining structure from the Fifth Street side of Eros on the NE corner of Second Avenue. (Thank you, Eden, for the tip!) 

On Jan. 10, the Department of Transportation issued a "Termination" notice for the curbside space that ran the length of the Greek restaurant, which hasn't been open in more than five months.

Meanwhile, the indoor space remains dark. 

Eros took over for the diner the Kitchen Sink in September 2021 (same owners) ... management previously changed names from Moonstruck to the Kitchen Sink in the fall of 2015. 

The Eros website still notes that this location is "closed for renovations. Reopening TBA." We had not seen anyone inside the space since the restaurant closed in August. The "temporarily closed" sign is still on the front entrance.

Sunday's opening shot

Bleecker looking east toward the Bowery this morning...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

RIP Tom Verlaine


Tom Verlaine, guitarist, frontman and co-founder of Television, one of the most influential acts of the CBGB scene in the late 1970s, died today after a short illness. He was 73. 

Per The Wall Street Journal: "Despite its modest sales, Television laid a sonic foundation for decades of punk, alternative and post-punk bands." 

You can read more about his life and work at Variety ... Pitchfork ... The New York Times... BBC ... NPR ... Billboard.

Here's a sampling of the tributes to Verlaine, a longtime East Village resident, on Twitter...

EVG Etc.: Protests over the killing of Tyre Nichols; reaction to the Mayor's state of the city address

• Local leaders react to Tyre Nichols video (NBC New York) ... Protestors rally in NYC (Gothamist) ... Justice Ride for Tyre Nichols today — meet up at Union Square 2:30 p.m. (@StreetRidersNYC)

• Highlighting the Mayor's state of the city address (The Times ... The City ... Streetsblog ... the Post)

• Chairman Gregory Russ is stepping down from his high-salaried job running the beleaguered NYCHA (The City

• Veselka named a James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restuarant (PIX11)

• An early look at Foul Witch, now open on Avenue A (Eater ... first on EVG

• A feature on Lucie Franc de Ferriere, who just opened From Lucie on 10th Street (Vogue ... previously on EVG

• NYC bars are stocking up on opioid overdose rescue kits (CBS New York

• Councilmember Marte and several community groups file motion to intervene in NYU SoHo/NoHo rezoning expansion case (amNY ... Village Preservation

• A few local picks in this listicle on best NYC thrift stores for vintage and designer finds (Harper's Bazaar

• Tony Hawk is helping resurrect the legendary skate spot under the Brooklyn Bridge (The Times)

• Catch a screening of "Downtown 81" (Thursday, Feb. 2) at Metrograph on Ludlow Street (Official site)

• An interview with Amy Hill about her show on exhibit now at Fortnite Institute on Third Street (Whitehot Magazine

• The long history of a forgotten film that Paul Newman directed on the Lower East Side (The Forward

• Anna "Delvey" Sorokin, the fake heiress who now lives in the East Village, is to host a celebrity dinner club series (Deadline

• Elsewhere: City whitewashes famed Washington Heights graffiti tunnel (Hyperallergic)

Saturday's opening shot

Early this morning from 10th Street at Third Avenue...

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday's parting shot

Queen Dolly Parton arrived this week on First Avenue between Ninth Street and 10th Street... courtesy of Captain Eyeliner...

'Steel' breeze


Food for Worms, the new record from Shame, comes out on Feb. 24... the video here is for the first single, "Fingers of Steel." 

And you can see Shame live at Warsaw on Driggs Avenue on May 14.

Indictment announced against suspect who allegedly murdered James Cunningham on Avenue A last month

A memorial for James Cunningham on Avenue A 

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg yesterday announced the indictment of Roland Codrington, who's accused of stabbing and killing two men last month in two separate incidents, including 51-year-old James Cunningham on Avenue A on Dec. 19. 

Here's more via the DA's office
Codrington is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with two counts of Murder in the Second Degree, two counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, one count of Assault in the First Degree, one count of Attempted Assault in the First Degree, one count of Assault in the Second Degree, one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. 
"Roland Codrington allegedly wreaked havoc across the city in a crime spree that left two dead," Bragg said in a statement "Manhattanites deserve to live their daily lives without the fear of being attacked." 
According to court documents and statements made on the record, on December 19, 2022, Mr. Cunningham left a bar in the East Village and Codrington approached Mr. Cunningham outside the bar. Codrington pulled out a knife and slashed Mr. Cunningham in the neck, leaving him bleeding. Mr. Cunningham was pronounced dead at the hospital. in two separate incidents. 

Per media reports, Codrington has 12 prior arrests, including in connection with auto-related crimes in 2022. "In 2021, he was charged with assault with a weapon. Codrington was charged in connection with two assaults with a weapon in 2017," PIX11 reported.

Early on Dec. 19, Cunningham had just left the bar Spike's at 218 Avenue A between 13th Street and 14th Street around 1 a.m. when he bumped into Codrington on the street. 

Video footage at the scene, police officials said, shows the two men arguing for about 20 seconds before Codrington is seen slashing Cunningham with a knife. NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said the two men had no prior connection before Dec. 19. 

Police officials said that the same knife was used in a violent rampage in which Codrington also allegedly killed a doctor in Marcus Garvey Park and assaulted several other people before his arrest on Christmas Eve. 

The Daily News reported that Cunningham was a regular at Spike's ... "who often came into the bar to order a seltzer or soda, never drank alcohol but instead used the bar as a community center." 

One EVG commenter had this to say about Cunningham: "He was my friend for 35 years and was the best type of person. James would have given the last of anything he had so another wouldn't have to go without."

Reminders: Crossroads Trading opens TODAY on 2nd Avenue

Photos Wednesday evening by Steven

ICYMI, a seemingly rare retail debut — Crossroads Trading opens today at 122 Second Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. 

As we reported back in September, the buy-sell-trade-consign retailer for men's and women's clothing and accessories has more than 30 locations across the country, with several outposts in NYC — including on West 13th Street and West 26th Street. 

The company, founded in 1991, works like this: "Customers sell their current, on-trend clothing and accessories for cash or trade credit."  
Crossroads will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with a 7 p.m. close on Sundays.

The Marshal has seized KC Gourmet Empanadas on Avenue B

Photos last night by Stacie Joy

A tipster pointed out earlier this week that KC Gourmet Empanadas has not been open lately here at 38 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street. 

And yesterday, a notice arrived on the front door showing that the Marshal paid a visit, and the landlord is now in legal possession of the premises...
The owners were also behind El Carnaval, a Panamanian restaurant and bar, right next door at No. 40. That establishment is now permanently shuttered after going dark last summer ... a for-rent sign hangs on the storefront. We understand an applicant will be on next month's CB3-SLA docket for a new liquor license for the space.

El Carnaval was accused of serving liquor without a license in the summer of 2021. There's a video from the meeting here. (El Carnaval is the first applicant.)

We heard from multiple neighbors in the summer of 2020 — when restaurants expanded to sidewalk and curbside spaces — who complained about blaring music via DJs coming from outside the quick-serve spot.

According to the minutes from the June 2021 Community Board 3 meeting, KC Gourmet Empanadas "has been egregiously non-compliant for a year. Following community complaints, the CB3 office told them the applicants should not be playing loud music in the streets and that they were non-compliant with their outdoor seating, but the applicants did not display concern for how this behavior was negatively impacting residents." 

KC opened here in February 2019. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Thursday's parting shot

Reader-submitted photo from Sixth Street tonight... between Avenue A and First Avenue in case you want to do a rescue. (I already have 12 of each in my apt, otherwise...)

This afternoon in signage updates

Pinch interrupts our afternoon programming to let us know that new (and additional!) signage is going up now on the NW corner of 14th Street and First Avenue for Empanada Mama...
The quick-serve Empanada Mama location opened for business here in October. Despite a few stools inside, it's mostly a to-go operation... which the new signage notes.

Meanwhile, across 14th Street, Panda Express is still not open.


Here's another shot via EVG regular Daniel Efram...

The former Charas/P.S. 64 is nearly all sealed up as it awaits its fate

Photos Tuesday by Stacie Joy 

The construction team sealing up the former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center is wrapping up their work over the next few days. 

As The Village Voice previously pointed out, "the work is being performed under an Immediate Emergency Declaration, and permits are not a prerequisite for the work to begin," per the Department of Buildings. 

The work also comes at the expense of now-former owner Gregg Singer, who bought the property via a city auction in 1998. 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 workers, who arrived on Dec. 20, told EVG contributor Stacie Joy on Tuesday that they are sealing up some remaining windows and putting down 2x4s to shore up the ground-floor banisters and flooring on the building's Ninth Street and 10th Street sides here between Avenue B and Avenue C ...
The former school and community center had been easy to access in recent years, attracting a variety of urban thrillseekers and partygoers. The broken windows and poorly secured doors also exposed the building to the elements — not to mention pigeons and other critters.

On Monday, workers were spotted using cinder blocks to cover part of a Charas tribute/LES history mural on the 10th Street side of the building that included part of a former doorway. 

According to workers, they've actually "preserved" the artwork here (two murals were mostly covered), saying that there is an inch or two between the masonry and the painting, so it is not being disturbed and that no mortar abuts the work.
The property will likely sit in limbo for a little longer. As we previously reported, at the end of 2022, Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as building owner ended. 

On Dec. 23, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the building with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million. (You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.)

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days.

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. 

Reader report: Toasted Deli has not been open lately

Several readers have said that Toasted Deli has closed at 105 E. Ninth St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. 

The gate has been down during the usual business hours of late... and the phone is not in service. 

The deli, which offered a wide variety of sandwiches and wraps, opened in June 2021.

Papered windows at 101 Avenue A, the incoming home of cafe-bar-music venue Baker Falls

A reader inquired about the papered-up windows at 101 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street.

ICYMI from our post on Nov. 28: Baker Falls is an ambitious new project that combines an all-day cafe, bar and live music via the Knitting Factory brand at the former Pyramid Club. 

East Village resident Nick Bodor, who has owned and operated several local businesses in the past 25-plus years, including the Library on Avenue A and the now-closed Cake Shop on Ludlow Street, is behind this new concept.

You can read Stacie Joy's interview with Bodor here.

Last we heard there's an anticipated opening "around April."

Openings: the Office of Mr. Moto on St. Mark's Place

The Office of Mr. Moto is an omakase speakeasy-style restaurant now offering two evening seatings at 120 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

And there is some detective work to take part in before dinner via the fictional master of ceremonies, Mr. Moto, "a gourmand and art connoisseur [who] traveled alongside Commodore Perry aboard his flagship, the USS Susquehanna" in 1853.

Turning to the Robb Report for what to expect:
To enter the restaurant, you'll need to decode a cipher sent to you prior to your reservation. That code, entered on a pin pad inside a mailbox outside, will allow you entry to the Office of Mr. Moto. Once inside, you'll be greeted by the host and whisked away to either the Gallery or the Counter. The former is an eight-seat space serving a 23-course menu, while the latter is a six-seat sushi counter offering 21 courses.

In either spot, the $185 menu curated by executive chef Toshio Matsuoka features high-quality fish sourced from the Toyosu Fish Market in Japan.
And later...
Following your meal, you might linger in the Library, where you can enjoy a drink while listening to Mr. Moto's collection of jazz. The cozy space is decorated with leather furnishings, antique items and even a self-playing Yamaha piano.
As previously reported, Mr. Moto is from the team behind TabeTomo, which opened in December 2018 on Avenue A and is billed as NYC's first tsukemen-focused restaurant. (They also run TomoTomo on West 52nd Street.) 

Mr. Moto is open Wednesday-Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Find more details here.

No. 120 previously housed the retail outlet for Squish Marshmallows. Owner Katherine Sprung's lease was up here after five years, and she now focuses on custom and catering orders.