Thursday, August 31, 2023

6 posts from August

A mini month in review... 

• Asylum seekers are no longer staying at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village (Aug. 28

• 9th Street parking garage being offered for redevelopment (Aug. 21

• These 6 East Village buildings will be demolished for a new development on 3rd Avenue (Aug. 14)

• At the opening night of the O'Flaherty's Café (Aug. 12

• These are longtime food writer Robert Sietsema's 10 favorite East Village meals (Aug. 10

• RIP Miss Kita the Wonder Dog of East 10th Street (Aug. 3)

Miles away: the Moon and Saturn in Aquarius from Third Street

Felton Davis of the Second Avenue Star Watchers shared this dispatch from last night...
Aquarius is low in the sky, and the glare from the streetlights on East Third Street made it very difficult to make out Saturn, some 800 million miles distant. Thanks to everyone who stopped by...
... and for a little constellation perspective...

The long-neglected 6 Avenue B is for sale

After sitting abandoned for over a decade, 6 Avenue B is suddenly a hot property. 

While the gut renovation of the 6-story building on the NW corner of Houston and B continues, a listing for the property is active. 

Some details: 
• Building is currently being gut renovated and is near completion.
• The building consists of 10 free market apartments ( 5 two bedrooms, 5 three bedrooms) & a ground floor retail space. 
• Retail store is approximately 1500 sf with 14-foot ceiling heights. 

No mention of a price.
Here's a rendering (with an older photo — RIP Red Square shops) showing the retail potential here ... coffee!
An LLC linked to Penn Capital South, whose portfolio includes multiple EV properties, bought the building in February. According to public records, the building changed hands for just $1.05 million. However, the new owners also had to pay $4.2 million in real property transfer and real estate transfer taxes.

This was one of the abandoned buildings owned by the estate of the mysterious team of Arthur and Abraham Blasof, both long deceased. However, No. 6 has been generating some income with the cell-phone towers on the roof. 

The liquor store in the retail space closed when the owner passed away in the fall of 2009 at age 89. (Chico created the tribute to her on the gate in February 2010.)

As we've pointed out (here and here), the building was in dismal shape and needed significant work to bring it up to code. Before the renovations, the DOB had cited No. 6 for emergency repairs several times in recent years.

Previously on EVG

Openings: Salter House on 2nd Street

Photos by Stacie Joy

Salter House, a shop offering sustainable housewares and clothing, opened an outpost earlier this month at 34 E. Second St., just west of Second Avenue.

Former East Village residents Sandeep Salter and her husband, Carson, opened the first Salter House in 2017 in Brooklyn Heights.

Here's more about the EV storefront via ArchDigest...
Dating back to the 1900s, the former tenement building has a series of past lives, from a headquarters for a revolutionary political group in the '70s to the Russian music bar previously known as Anyway Cafe. 

"One of the things that we really loved when we cleaned up the space was this floor from when it had been a barber shop," says Sandeep. "It's lived so many lives, and when you spend time in here, you can feel that. It’s this charming cellar spot that’s been a storefront for 200 years and has seen so many things."

During the demolition period, which took nearly three months to complete, they uncovered original cobalt and white metro hex tiles from the 1930s underneath low-quality layers of linoleum tile, glue, and cement. "Once we saw that, it changed our whole idea of what the space would look like, and we just went with that," Sandeep recalls.
And here's a look inside the 450-square-foot shop...
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.

The previous tenant here, Anyway Cafe, closed this past February after 28 years

Plywood report: The Commodore at 14 Avenue C

Renovations continue at 14 Avenue C at Second Street, where an outpost of the Commodore is in the works.

This past December, CB3 approved a full liquor license for the space (previously licensed) for the operators of the retro bar-fried chicken joint that opened on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg in 2010.
Eater reported a late fall opening here.

Recent tenants included Sanatorium, the hospital-themed cocktail lounge ... and the hookah lounge C Lounge.

Plywood report: El Pulpo at 51 Avenue B

Also behind the plywood ... at 51 Avenue B between Third Street and Fourth Street... a notice from the State Liquor Authority shows that the establishment will be called El Pulpo...
The principals here, identified as Mina Ibrahim and Mido Emad, were OK'd for a liquor license here in March 2022 via CB3. The Community Board's minutes describe this as a "full kitchen serving Mexican food." 

The questionnaire (PDF here) on file at the CB3 website includes a menu, showing more high-end items (i.e., wagyu beef huarache and potato tetela with caviar) and a list of specialty cocktails.

It's hard to believe that the last tenant here, the Italian stalwart Max, closed 10 years ago.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by Cecil Scheib 

Midtown views from the East Village this evening...

A Fresh new look for CTown on Avenue C

Exterior renovations got underway at the CTown on Avenue C at 11th Street back on Saturday. (Thanks to EVJackie for the top photo.

And Jose Garcia provided an update on the supermarket that's getting a Fresh rebranding ...
So far, the renovations are contained to the outside. Perhaps an interior makeover is in the works too.

CTown shopper Edmund John Dunn reports "Under New Management — Much more selection at better pricing!" signage at the grocery.

After 2 bagel shops, Cuban cuisine is next for 238 E. 14th St.

Photo by Pinch

Signage is up now for Tina's Cuban Cuisine at 238 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

This will be the fourth NYC location for the quick-serve restaurant offering — as the name suggests! — authentic Cuban cuisine. 

The arrival of Tina's marks the end of two consecutive bagel shops at the address.

Bagel Market opened in February before the gate stayed down three months later. In an Instagram message, the owners of the chainlet said there was a leak from the unit above the kitchen, "and it destroyed our oven." They were looking to reopen here.

The previous tenant didn't have much better luck here. The Bagel Boss chainlet opened a location in July 2021, and they closed several months later in October for, per management, "gas and electric problems" in the building. Bagel Boss never reopened here.  

Hopefully, the building issues have been resolved for Tina's. 

Dim sum joint looking closer to being a go (go) on 1st Avenue

Dim Sum Go Go is looking closer to opening now at 221 First Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street. (First reported in July 2021.)

The signage is lit up now... there are also hiring notices on the front window for part-time help...
The soft opening is expected SOON. 

As previously noted, this will be the second outpost of the Michelin- and Zagat-rated restaurant... after the flagship space at 5 E. Broadway in Chinatown that opened in 2000.

7 floors of steel for 1 St. Mark's Place

In the five weeks since our last post on 1 St. Mark's Place, the steel frame has reached what will be the seventh floor here on the NE corner at Third Avenue...
The 9-story building — 53,000 square feet of office space and some 8,000 square feet for retail — has a July 2024 completion date, per the plywood rendering...
The foundation work started here late last summer.

The developer, Real Estate Equities Corp. (REEC), picked up the 99-year leasehold for the corner lot for nearly $150 million in November 2017. The previous assemblage, which included retail tenants such as Korilla BBQ, the Continental and McDonald's, was demolished in 2019.

Smoke shop comings and goings

For those of you keeping track at home... NoHo Green Oasis is now open at 356 Bowery between Fourth Street and Great Jones.

The shop sells the usual — drinks, exotic snacks and smoking accessories. (No cannabis-related products.)

As far as we can recall, this storefront — directly next to the incoming 21-story office building — has been vacant for years. (Hecho en Dumbo was next door at No. 354.)


St. Marks Convenience & Smoke Shop at 103 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue has closed... for rent signs now hang on the storefront (thanks to Steven for the photo).
Among other things, the unlicensed shop sold cannabis-related items and had drawn the scrutiny of law enforcement officials...  who busted the business multiple times.

There are also new smoke shops on 14th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue and Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The 9th Precinct's Sector D NCOs are hosting a Build the Block meeting tomorrow night

The 9th Precinct is hosting a Sector Safety Summit tomorrow (Aug. 30) evening for East Village residents and business owners — this time for those who live in Sector D. 

This Sector encompasses the north side of Seventh Street to the south side of 14th Street from the west side of First Avenue to the east side of Broadway. (Find your sector here.) 

The meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. at Downtown Social, 149 Second Ave. between Ninth Street and 10th Street. (The bar will not be in service during the meeting.)

As for these Sector meetings: "This is an avenue for you to voice your grievances or concerns with issues in and around the neighborhood."

This is part of the NYPD's initiative called the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program. The 9th Precinct is split up into four sectors, with two officers assigned to each sector. Find a list of the 9th Precinct's NCOs here

Monday, August 28, 2023

Someone Barbified Basquiat's former space on Great Jones

Sometime in the past two days, someone rolled over all the art with pink paint at 57 Great Jones St. between the Bowery and Lafayette... even painting over the memorial plaque for onetime tenant Jean-Michel Basquiat, who lived and worked here from 1983 to the time of his death in 1988...

Earlier this summerAngelina Jolie announced a new venture, Atelier Jolie — "a creative collective for self-expression" — opening this fall inside the space. 

Asylum seekers are no longer staying at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village

Text and reporting by Stacie Joy 

According to multiple sources, the former St. Brigid School on Seventh Street and Avenue B no longer serves as a respite center for asylum seekers. 

Sources said that the last asylum seekers left the school, which the Archdiocese of New York closed in the spring of 2019, on Friday, with a handful remaining until Saturday.

Mammad Mahmoodi, co-founder and executive director of East Village Loves NYC, who has been feeding neighbors in need since the pandemic, including asylum seekers, spoke with several of the former St. Brigid residents. He said the remaining asylum seekers were relocated in smaller groups to other respite centers around the five boroughs. Most of them were not aware of the move to new quarters until the day it happened. 

Father Seán Connolly from St. Brigid/St. Emeric said the city's lease with the Archdiocese ends in mid-September. However, church officials said they were not included in any of the city's deliberations for use of the school.

The site was empty over the weekend, and with sources stating just a few security personnel remained on duty inside.
Asylum seekers — adults only — started coming to Seventh Street and Avenue B in late May for short-term stays. The space was said to accommodate 350 people, who slept on cots in classrooms and other open areas throughout the building.

As we previously reported, the city seemed ill-prepared to meet the needs of the new arrivals, primarily Spanish or French speakers, many of whom were from Venezuela, Ecuador and MauritaniaMany people showed up on-site via MTA buses without shoes, and nearly everyone possessed only the clothes they wore, lacking any personal belongings. The only provisions provided by officials were thin blankets adorned with the City of New York crest and small personal care kits.

Those fortunate enough to have phones were eager to locate a Wi-Fi connection to communicate with loved ones, yet the center had no access. In mid-June, after an unsuccessful effort to get the city to approval Wi-Fi for the space, Father Seán, the NYC Mesh Wi-Fi team and Paul Gale, a board member at the East Village Community Coalition, mapped out a plan to install equipment on the rectory of the church next door on Avenue B that provided access on the courtyard and some of the north-facing windows of the school and provided the asylum seekers with much-needed internet access.

Without a transparent chain of command, navigating the red tape and bureaucracy to provide the asylum seekers with food and other items was a never-ending challenge. Despite visible proof that the city needed help, they did not appear keen on accepting it. Some site staffers said they were reprimanded for assisting with providing aid.

Locals helped organize several clothing-and-supply distributions, and many East Village residents graciously donated a variety of items as well as their time. An interfaith coalition of local religious institutions also assembled a distribution outside the school. Cafe Mogador and C&B Cafe provided food, too... as did community group East Village Loves NYC. (EV Loves NYC later provided meals to asylum seekers at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.)

Throughout the multiple distributions outside St. Brigid's this summer, many of the asylum seekers expressed gratitude and thanks for the generous help of the East Village residents who showed their support.

An ongoing crisis

According to various published reports, the city had 59,300 migrants in its care across 206 sites as of Aug. 20. Between Aug. 14 and 20, another 3,100 asylum seekers arrived in NYC, bringing the tally to 104,400 since the spring.

The city and state continue to spar (background here and here) over housing asylum seekers outside the five boroughs. Both sides say they need a better federal response.

In a statement Friday from the Mayor's office: "New York City has been left largely alone to deal with a national crisis that demands difficult decision-making. But let's be clear: the sites we are now finding are the only options left. This situation demands a broader state and national solution."

The Tompkins Square Library branch reopens TODAY; a conversation with Lenny Kaye on deck

The Tompkins Square Library branch returns to service today (Monday, Aug. 28) at 331 E 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B...
The branch has been closed since April 24 to — per NYPL officials — "facilitate improvements to the building, including preliminary work on a new Teen Center at the library, as well as replacing the branch's flooring and a fresh coat of paint." 

There was originally an early July reopening that got pushed back. 

Check out the branch's website for a list of upcoming activities for kids and adults. Of note on the evening of Sept. 28: "The East Village in Music and Words: A Conversation with Lenny Kaye.

The Tompkins Square Library celebrates its grand reopening with this very special program, the first in a year-long series of programs focusing on the history of East Village music and music writing. We are thrilled and honored to kick off this series with the fabulous Lenny Kaye ... an American guitarist, composer, journalist, record producer, author, and music historian/archivist. 
He was a founding member of the legendary NYC-based Patti Smith Group and also gained widespread notoriety for producing the 60s garage rock compilation,Nuggets. Lenny will discuss his book, "Lightning Striking," as well as his extensive and influential career in music. He may even perform a song or two!
There is limited seating for this. RSVP now

The library first opened its doors in 1904 at this location ...

Ayat signage alert on 7th and C

Ayat is looking closer to being ready at 107 Avenue C at Seventh Street... signage has arrived on the storefront. 

No word on an opening date.

As we first reported in April, Ayat, a Palestinian bistro with several Brooklyn outposts, including the original in Bay Ridge, is opening its first Manhattan spot on this corner. 

The East Village location will offer Ayat's traditional Middle Eastern/Palestinian menu.

If you're on Instagram, you can follow their account for updates.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Sunday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg

Con Ed debuts its new uniforms on Second Avenue and Fifth Street ...

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a reader-submitted photo from Avenue B and Fourth Street)...

• Here's how you can contribute to the East Village Community Cookbook (Tuesday

• Barnyard Cheese Shop will return with Barnyard Express on Avenue B (Wednesday

• 9th Street parking garage being offered for redevelopment (Monday

• Report: City temporarily halts demolition of 6-building parcel on 3rd Avenue (Tuesday

• The owners of Whim Golf on Avenue A are hoping to donate their putting green to a community garden, school or outdoor residential space (Thursday)

• Listing for 7th Street triplex reimagined "with Barbie’s (and Ken’s) signature style in mind" (Tuesday

• Stuyvesant Street storefronts return to view (Thursday

• Openings: Seasoned Vegan Real Quick on 2nd Avenue (Wednesday

• This is the last weekend for the East Village outpost of Pink Olive (Friday

• HBD Joe Strummer (Monday

• Reader report: K'ook has closed on 6th Street (Thursday)

• The LES Shake Shack debuts (Monday

• J Crew on the Bowery remains closed due to "technical difficulties" (Thursday

• The former Local 92 space is for rent (Thursday) ... as is the former Raíz Modern Mexican space on 1st Avenue (Monday

• This shop may not be long for this (Bong) world (Monday)

• Snack Stop shutters on St. Mark's Place (Wednesday

... and some rolldown gate drama yesterday on St. Mark's Place at Second Avenue... at the kiosks selling hats, sunglasses, etc. (top pic by Derek Berg) ...
... and Steven...
The gate was eventually repaired ... and the sales were able to continue...

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


As seen on the east side of Second Avenue between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. (Thanks Eden for the photo!

"The Floraissance Has Begun!" (background here) ... with additional messages with pleas to help keep this tree alive here outside the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church...

Sunday's opening shot

Setting up for the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival this morning... happening from 3-7 today (they'll let people in the seats starting at 2) in Tompkins Square Park. Find the lineup here.

And this is a free show.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Saturday's parting shot

On 11th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C today... dozens of water balloons in the gutter for unknown reasons... (thanks to Erin Mumford for the photo!)

There's no place like 'News From Home'

Metrograph has several screenings of Chantal Akerman's 1976 time capsule "News From Home" coming up this afternoon and in the days ahead. 

Per the description: 
Akerman was 26 years old and living in New York City, away from her native Belgium and her mother, when she teamed with DP Babette Mangolte to film this diary/essay/poem in subway stations and on street corners, their images to eventually be paired with Akerman's recitals of her mother's fretful letters. Arguably this extraordinary filmmaker's most perfect and poignant nonfiction work, both one of the greatest portraits of a city ever put on film and a troubling, touching depiction of maternal love. 
Locations include scenes outside Veselka on Second Avenue. (You'll catch a glimpse of the St. Marks Cinema marquee too.) 

Viewings include today (Saturday) at 3 p.m. ... plus Monday and Thursday evening. Find ticket info here

Metrograph is at 7 Ludlow St. just north of Canal.

A manhole moment from 7th and A

EVG regular Felton Davis shared this from this morning around 8 from Avenue A and Seventh Street... 
... I had just stepped off the street. Sounded like a bomb going off. FDNY has it roped off, and Con Ed will come and try to fit [the manhole cover] back into its frame. It didn't lift more than a few inches into the air, but it's still scary as hell!

Saturday's opening shot

New Citi Bike docking station on the Bowery...

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday's parting porta potty shots

Team coverage of the porta potties arriving in Tompkins Square Park ahead of the Charlie Parker Jazz Fesitval (Sunday!) starts now... (top photo by Derek Berg; below via Steven) ...

The 'Hole' truth


JessX, fresh off a great set in Tompkins Square Park on Aug. 12, released this video for "Hole" this week.

Find more of the local band's music here.

This is the last weekend for the East Village outpost of Pink Olive

As noted on Aug. 9, Pink Olive is closing its gift and stationery boutique at 439 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. 

And this is the last weekend for the shop that opened here in 2007. According to an Instagram post via owner Grace Kang, everything will be 40% off this weekend with "special $2, $5 and $10 deals."

Her outposts in the West Village and up in Cold Spring will remain in business.

You can read our Q&A with Kang from 2017 right here

Image via Instagram 

Reminders: The Charlie Park Jazz Festival comes to Tompkins Square Park on Sunday

The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival will be in Tompkins Square Park this Sunday, Aug. 27. 

Here's what to expect via the City Parks Foundation website... 
This bill of all-star musicians is led by alto saxophonist and bandleader Charles McPherson, who famously performed with Charles Mingus in the '60s and recorded ensemble renditions of Charlie Parker works for the soundtrack to the 1988 Parker biopic "Bird." He performs here with Terell Stafford, a veteran of his quintet and a gifted, versatile trumpet player with an adventurous expression of lyricism.

Vincent Herring's Septet, Something Else!, a new group that draws its name from Cannonball Adderley's 1958 classic Blue Note LP. The portfolio of music played by "Something Else" includes some of the most iconic toe-tapping Soul Jazz Songs ever created from the books of Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver, Bob James, Pee Wee Ellis, Quincy Jones and many more. 

Chelsea Baratz's HERA collective — named after the Olympian queen of the gods — is a unique group of groundbreaking female artists and bandleaders assembled to showcase original works. More than just an ensemble of talented players, each musician that performs with HERA has her own band, her own original music, and her own sound, like featured vocalist and Growing Up Jazz founder Andromeda Turre. 

Opener Michael Mayo, a student of jazz legends Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, wields a commanding and otherworldly voice that’s taken him around the world and back again.
And because someone will ask: The city will be bringing in porta potties for the expected crowds, as they've done in the past (and because the field house is closed for renovations).

The festival started in Tompkins Square Park in 1993 ... taking place near or on Parker's birthday on Aug. 29. Additional dates were added in Harlem in 2000. 

Parker, who died in 1955 at age 34, lived at 151 Avenue B from 1950-1954. That residential building between Ninth Street and 10th Street is landmarked.