Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thursday's parting shot

Photo by Eden 

Getting into the Christmas spirit early this season... right to the curb on Fifth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...

6 posts from November

A mini month in review... (with a mural on Bleecker and the Bowery by @miki__mu)... 

• More asylum seekers are lining up for help at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village (Nov. 29)

• At the grand opening of El Rinconcito on Avenue C (Nov. 20

• 19-year-old worker killed by father in construction accident on 1st Avenue and 7th Street (Nov. 17

• The unhoused residents living on 9th Street and 1st Avenue (Nov. 17

• Flaco continues East Village tour (Nov. 11)
• A new era begins for Downtown Burritos Cocina Mexicana on 1st Avenue (Nov. 6)

Moving Day

Strange men knock 
Blue padded mats 
Leave the shelving
Wrap the sofa 
Take the sconce away 
Away away with Apollo 
That sconce is a witness 
Lighting on my loves 
Wrestle it to the street 
Disembowel it 
Give me your honorable word 
When the shredder's done. 

Donald Davis of East Village Books 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

'Tis the seasons at Saifee Hardware on Seventh Street and First Avenue...

More asylum seekers are lining up for help at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 
Note: Faces of the asylum seekers have been blurred 

The former St. Brigid School is seeing an overwhelming number of asylum seekers this week here on Seventh Street and Avenue B. 

The site is being used for "reticketing" services ... which help provide transportation to asylum seekers bussed to NYC but whose final destination is elsewhere.

In recent weeks, up to 150 people — all adult males, no children — come through the site on a given day. On Monday, more than 650 were at the former school, which is not offering beds or shelter now. 

On Monday, the volunteer-run East Village Loves NYC handed out 275-plus Halal meals to the men waiting outside. Below are Sasha Allenby and Mammad Mahmoodi from EV Loves NYC...
Most of these asylum seekers reported they were hungry and had no food. They also said they had been removed from other shelters after 30 days and hoped to find another respite center to await a final destination in the States. (Mayor Adams has limited the amount of time adult migrants can stay in city shelters to 30 days.) 

While I was there, some people chose to go to respite centers at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens or at JFK, and one person was reticketed to Albany.
Most people waiting in recent days would not be able to be processed. They will most likely return to Bathgate, in the Bronx, where asylum seekers can sleep on the floor indoors before trying their luck again another day. 

On Monday, there was a heavy NYPD presence with barricades erected to help manage the crowd. Staff from the Office of Emergency Management handed out mylar blankets. The site had prepackaged sandwiches and bottles of water inside, plus what looked like cans of tuna and some snacks.
A few local businesses have reached out about doing a distribution. However, working with the city is exceedingly difficult. I can't stress that enough.
Some asylum seekers were spotted sleeping in Tompkins Square Park and nearby curbside dining structures as temps hovered in the high 20s Monday night.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo by Steven 

The Mudspot Family Christmas Wreath went up outside the cafe at 307 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Meanwhile, the usual holiday lights aren't expected on this block this year... word is the lighting company wanted to charge too much — more than the store owners could reasonably pay...

Winter Flowers on this November day

Photo by Daniel Efram

Spotted Rolando Politi today tending to his Winter Flowers along Avenue C at Ninth Street.

Rolando created these unique, brightly colored sculptures from discarded materials in 2000, and displayed them here along La Plaza Cultural, the community garden on this SW corner.

A public meeting (tonight) about the pending closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel on 1st Avenue

EVG file photo by Stacie Joy 

Mount Sinai officials are hosting a public forum tonight on the proposed closure of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel 16th Street campus on First Avenue. 

As previously reported, there's a pending July 12, 2024, closing date on the books. Last month, officials reportedly notified state regulators — who must sign off on their plans — of their request to shutter the 799-bed teaching hospital. 

Per the meeting flyer (which we only just received): 
Mount Sinai Beth Israel executives will discuss the plans for Downtown, the timeline on closure, and how Mount Sinai will continue to address the needs of the community now and in the future. After the presentation, there will be a Q&A open to the public.
Tonight's meeting (6-8) is inside Baruch College's Engleman Hall, at 55 Lexington Ave. at 25th Street. 

The news of the closure here drew immediate criticism from health advocates and elected officials, who say downtown Manhattan is underserved and emergency response times are already high. 

Per the Times from Nov. 3: 
The closure would mean longer ambulance rides and wait times for some downtown residents having strokes and heart attacks, nurses who work at the hospital said. And it will most likely lead to overcrowding and longer wait times in emergency rooms at hospitals farther uptown.

Openings: Rakka on 1st Avenue

Photo by Steven 

Rakka debuted last week before the holiday at 156 First Ave. between Ninth Street and 10th Street. 

As we mentioned earlier in the month, this is a return for the quick-serve Middle-Eastern restaurant that had outposts on St. Mark's Place and Avenue B

Rakka continues to serve some staples, including falafel ($6.50) and chicken shawarma ($8.75) sandwiches. 

There are two tables here... otherwise, it's a primarily to-go operation. 

Daily hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Blank Street is down to 1 East Village location

Photo by Steven

The Blank Street outpost on Third Avenue between Ninth Street and 10th Street closed earlier this month.

After an expansion tear, the V.C.-funded coffee chain launched in 2020 has closed two of three East Village locations (not including the kiosk in the Bowery Market). The space on First Avenue at 13th Street closed to the public in May and is now a "training + innovation lab."

The Blank Coffee on Avenue A between Ninth Street and 10th Street remains in service.

As previously noted, not everyone is a fan of the company. Per the Times last year: "When word got out that Blank Street is not an independent chain like Variety or Bean & Bean, but an enterprise with global ambitions backed by private equity financing, many became curious — and sometimes suspicious."

Across the Atlantic, Blank Street opened in London last year and is debuting its first shop in Manchester next month.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Don Ceviche debuts today on 1st Avenue

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

After some friends-and-family meals, Don Ceviche debuts today at 57 First Ave. between Third Street and Fourth Street. 
Owner Lenin Costas said that the Peruvian restaurant will be open daily for lunch (with lunch specials, see below) and dinner...
You can find the website and menu here

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with an 11 p.m. close Friday and Saturday.
Don Ceviche also has an outpost at the Essex Market. 

Previously on EV Grieve:

Liftonic bringing group weight training classes to this 2nd Avenue condoplex space

Liftonic is opening a studio at 24 Second Ave., the newish condoplex on the NE corner of First Street.

Window signage is on display for the gym that offers group weight training classes starting here in January...
The retail space has seen a variety of pop-up concepts in the past few years.

This corner parcel was previously a BP station, closing in 2014.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Updated: Tako is safe!


Tako was found safe, if not a little shaken, early Sunday evening in Seward Park. Some kind-hearted community members there took her in... and helped reunite Tako and family.

Takoyaki, a 50-pound pitbull mix with large spots on a white body, went missing this afternoon in Tompkins Square Park. 

Her owners say that she is easily frightened... 

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a pic of St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery from Thursday)...

• Help for the family of Ommatt Cruz, who died Nov. 17 in a construction accident in the East Village (Monday

• At the grand opening of El Rinconcito on Avenue C (Monday

• RIP Bob Contant (Saturday

• Rockwood Music Hall 'getting back to basics,' closing its Stage 2 space (Friday

• Watch the video presentation for the 'City of Yes for Economic Opportunity' text amendment (Sunday

• Apartment fire temporarily shutters Scarr's Pizza on the Lower East Side (Monday)

• In 2024, Bank of America will be moving on up on 2nd Avenue (Monday

• The 'Snappy' new show at O'Flaherty's (Friday

• Openings: Potenza Centrale on Avenue B (Tuesday

• Demolition underway on the fire-damaged Middle Church façade (Monday) ... Steeple watch (Tuesday) ... Brick by brick: Historic steeple removed from the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church (Friday

• A Thanksgiving Day message to stop throwing eggs on 9th Street (Thursday

• Sharaku Japanese Restaurant emerges from plywood frozen in 2020 time (Tuesday

• EV trees in the fall (Thursday

• Scaffolding and sidewalk bridges coming and going along Avenue A (Friday

• Incoming bagel shoppe on a roll with renovations (Monday

• Signage alert: Hen House on 1st Avenue (Friday)

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

A conversation on the history of drag in NYC

Here's information about an event of potential interest this Wednesday evening (Nov. 29) at 7 p.m.

Via the EVG inbox:
Village Preservation will be joined by journalist, historian, and photographer Elyssa Maxx Goodman to discuss her newly published book, "Glitter and Concrete: A Cultural History of Drag in New York City." Goodman will delve into the meanings of drag, both then and now, its history in the city, its role in the development of the East and West Villages, its sociocultural impact, its future, and more. 

The reading takes place at the Church of the Village, 201 W. 13th St. near Seventh Avenue. RSVP for free here. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

RIP Bob Contant

Bob Contant, co-founder and co-owner of St. Mark's Bookshop, died at his Manhattan home on Nov. 6. Per published reports, he died of cardiac arrest. He was 80. 

According to Shelf Awareness, Contant was born in Rochester, N.Y., and grew up in suburban Washington, D.C. After college, he worked at the Washington Public Library and, after a move to Cambridge, Mass., at two of Harvard's libraries and then at several Harvard Square bookstores.
He came to New York in 1972 and was manager of the old 8th Street Bookshop in Greenwich Village. In 1977, Contant, along with others working at East Side Books — Terry McCoy, Peter Dargis, and Tom Evans — decided to open their own store at 13 St. Mark's Place. St. Mark's Bookshop moved to a larger location, at 12 St. Mark's Place, in 1987 and then in 1993 to a new development by Cooper Union at 31 Third Avenue. 

The store built on its strength in poetry, critical studies, small press literature, and art. But after many years, with a change of board, the school shifted its approach to the bookstore and offered no help when, in the wake of the financial crisis, St. Mark's had trouble paying its $20,000-a-month rent. 
After 38 years at four locations, St. Mark's Bookshop eventually closed for good on Feb. 28, 2016, at a smaller space on 136 E. Third St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

Adena Siegel, a retired sales representative at Yale University Press, Harvard U Press and MIT Press,  remembered Contant as "a passionate bookseller, principled, enthusiastic, so knowledgeable," per Shelf Awareness.

Friday, November 24, 2023

'Bang' it up


Melenas, an indie quartet from Pamplona, Spain, released its fourth record earlier this fall... the video here is for "Bang." 

RIYL: Stereolab.

The 'Snappy' new show at O'Flaherty's

Photos by Stacie Joy

The latest exhibit is up and running at O'Flaherty's, the gallery-performance space at 44 Avenue A and Third Street. 

EVG's Stacie Joy stopped by the opening last weekend for Christian Ludwig Attersee's "Snappy Armpits and More." The show features work from the Austrian artist dating to 1965, many pieces never shown before in the United States. (The artist was also present for the opening.)

First up, O'Flaherty's gallerist Billy Grant and owner Jamian Juliano-Villani ...
The exhibit will be here through Jan. 15. Hours Wednesday-Sunday from 2-7 p.m.

Rockwood Music Hall 'getting back to basics,' closing its Stage 2 space

The financially troubled Rockwood Music Hall announced that the venue at 196 Allen St. is "getting back to basics" and closing its Stage 2 space in the complex between Houston and Stanton.
Here's part of the announcement from Wednesday
After careful consideration, we've come to the realization that the best way to secure Rockwood's future is by getting back to basics. That means focusing on the heart and soul of our venue, which is the original room: Stage 1, and relinquishing Stage 2. 

Stage 1 is where it all started 19 years ago, it's where Rockwood's reputation was built and what allows us to pursue our mission of creating a community that supports emerging artists. We will be sending off Stage 2 with three nights of The Lone Bellow from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. The Lone Bellow got their start at Rockwood and are celebrating their 10th anniversary ... 

We offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported the campaign to save this NYC cultural institution. Because of you, Rockwood can continue to provide a space in NYC where artists launch & grow their careers and where unforgettable musical moments are made.
Stage 2 opened in 2010 and was the larger space with a 175-person capacity. (Stage 1 holds 50 people.)

In June, the indie venue launched a GoFundMe (which raised $124,670) to help stay open after financial difficulties during the pandemic. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles also launched a #PreserveRockwood benefit concert series.

According to reports, the club closed two other venues in the Rockwood Music Hall complex, Stage 3, and its bar space earlier this year

Signage alert: Hen House on 1st Avenue

Photo by William Klayer

Signage for Hen House NYC went up on Wednesday here at 120 First Ave. between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

Owner-chef Antony Nassif's quick-serve spot has been in soft-open mode serving Lebanese shawarmas, pita sandwiches and platters (menu here).

Nassif launched the business at Smorgasburg and also has a stand at the Barclays Center for the first half of the Nets season. 

If you're on Instagram, you can follow Hen House here.

The retail space at 120 was previously Raíz Modern Mexican, the plant-based, fast-casual restaurant that closed over the summer. 

Scaffolding and sidewalk bridges coming and going along Avenue A

Because many people have pointed this out... on Tuesday, workers removed the scaffolding and sidewalk bridge from around the building on the SW corner of Avenue A and Seventh Street.

... and on the corner building at Second Street and Avenue A... where there are now floating tags on that south-facing wall where the scaffolding was ...
Workers had been doing roofing and façade-repair work for the past five months

The Petopia on the corner remains closed for emergency repairs (courtesy of the construction). 

While the sidewalk bridge is gone from the corner... workers have been extending it along Avenue A outside the city-owned First Houses between Second Street and Third Street.

Brick by brick: Historic steeple removed from the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church

A photo from yesterday morning shows that workers have whittled down the steeple at the fire-damaged Middle Collegiate Church façade on Second Avenue at Seventh Street. (Thank you to everyone who shared photos — there seems to be a lot of interest in this.)

Demolition got underway on Monday... with attention focused on the steeple starting on Tuesday. 

The steeple housed the church's historic Liberty Bell, which was preserved and is temporarily at the New York Historical Society.

Work is expected to last up to three months here... with a new sanctuary rising again someday for Middle Collegiate.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

A Thanksgiving Day message to stop throwing eggs on 9th Street

Photo by William Klayer 

Spotted on Ninth Street and First Avenue... 
Happy Thanksgiving

Are you throwing eggs at the people in the encampment, or do you know who is? Please ask them to stop. 

Likewise, whoever has been throwing eggs at buildings 400, 402, 404, 406... please stop.

Fall classics

Scenes of fall from around the neighborhood over the past six weeks.. starting and ending in Tompkins Square Park...

Thursday's opening shot

Photo by Stacie Joy

Happy Thanksgiving from Key Food... where Green Pigeon Peas are aplenty... (BTW: Should you need anything, the grocer on Avenue A and Fourth is open 24/7 per usual)...

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Wedneday's parting shot

Photo by Stacie Joy 

Chair art on the NE corner of Avenue A and Fifth Street...

EVG Etc.: Veselka continues its support of Ukraine; CBGB memories 50 years later

Reader-submitted EV skyline pic

• Perspectives on NYC's budget crisis (The City

• Veselka has raised more than $400,000 to support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine ... and has employed former Ukraine residents who came to the U.S. (NY1

• Teen arrested in fatal stabbing of an unhoused man in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side (Daily News ... ABC-7

• A look at the Fair Housing Framework, the affordable housing legislation passed earlier this month by City Council (City Limits

• Support for Mayor Adams is sinking amid federal investigation, poll shows (Gothamist

• If you want to speak out against having a 32-foot 5G tower on Seventh Street and Avenue B (Village Preservation

• Kushner Companies sold a multifamily property at 504-508 E. 12th St. for $19.5 million. An entity controlled by Sabet Group bought the 50-unit property (The Real Deal

• This Broadway building owner takes retail landlord to court ... 1 Great Jones Alley located on Broadway near Fourth Street (Habitat

• A look at the slate of films featured in the month-long World Cinema Project courtesy of Martin Scorsese and others! (Anthology Film Archives

• A new exhibit at Brooklyn Museum, Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines, includes REBEL FUX by longtime East Village resident Kate Huh (Official site

• A quick review of Kolachi on 1st Avenue (The Infatuation... previously on EVG

• Rice to Riches is opening on Ludlow and Rivington (Eater

• Ex-Rolling Stone Press director Jonathan Wells recalls his first visit to CBGB (Reader's Digest

• Street closures and info about the Thanksgiving Day Parade (NY1)