Thursday, April 25, 2019

More about the return of the 14th Street busway; 12th and 13th street bike lanes now permanent



As you probably heard, Mayor de Blasio announced yesterday that the city will try an "experimental new transit improvement" on 14th Street starting in June as a way to keep people moving during the starts-tomorrow-evening L-train slowdown.

Beginning in June, there will be four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) along with a new M14 Select Bus Service. Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be given priority in the center lanes on 14th Street from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue. There won't be any through traffic for cars, private vehicles will still be able to use 14th Street, but only for pick-ups and drop-offs — or for accessing garages along the six-block stretch.

This restriction is expected to last for 18 months during the repairs on the Sandy-damaged L tubes.


[Click on image to go big]

City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In addition, the city announced yesterday that the bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street, which arrived last fall in anticipation of a full L-train shutdown, will be made permanent.

Here's some of the more relevant information for East Village residents via the city's news release:

• 14th Street Transit/Truck Priority (TTP) – The MTA and DOT announced earlier this year that M14 SBS would be coming to the 14th Street corridor in 2019; the corridor carries one of the most intensely used bus routes in the city, with the M14A/D carrying 27,000 daily riders and providing a critical connection from the Lower East Side to Union Square and the Meatpacking District.

To make sure these buses move quickly and reliably, DOT studied international best practice for busy transit corridors, including along King Street in downtown Toronto, where in 2017, new regulations that prioritized transit and pedestrian uses were piloted along a major streetcar route. The Toronto changes, popular with transit riders, dramatically reduced travel times and increased safety along the corridor — and have been since made permanent.

Working with MTA, DOT will pilot a similar arrangement on 14th Street. Starting later this spring, the new TTP changes will include:

-Only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues as a through route.

-Local traffic will still be permitted to make pickups and drop-offs along the corridor and access garages, but cars will always need to turn right at the next possible location. Left turns will not be allowed.

-New curbside regulations will prioritize short-term loading and passenger pickup activity.

-Intersections along 14th Street will be designed with new turn lanes where appropriate to ensure that bus lanes will remain clear. Intersections will also receive Vision Zero treatments, including painted curb extensions that enhance pedestrian safety.

The new design builds on proposals made during the original L train planning process, but also incorporates key feedback from local residents to ensure that curb access remained available, and that through truck traffic not be diverted to local streets.

Construction will begin this spring for completion in time for the launch of the M14 SBS in June. During that time, DOT will conduct significant outreach to stakeholders, including the five different community boards served by 14th Street. This will be accompanied by educational campaigns for the people who use 14th Street.

DOT expects to enforce the new TTP lanes through automated cameras along 14th Street. The agency will publicly announce the commencement of camera enforcement, which will not begin until at least 60 days after the new SBS route is established.


[Early-morning look at the 12th Street bike lane before it's a loading zone]

In other news...

12th Street/13th Street Protected Bike Lanes – DOT will also pursue permanently retaining bike lanes it had installed in 2018 along 12th and 13th Streets. Since being painted last fall, cyclist usage of the nearly three miles of new protected lanes over the winter has outpaced bike counts from last summer. The new lanes have become a part of the agency’s crosstown protected bicycle lane strategy ... In response to community concerns, more delineators and loading zones will be added.

We'll have more about these bike lanes in another (future) post.

For some analysis and reaction to yesterday's announcement, you can read this piece by Vin Barone, who first broke this story, over at amNY. There's more reaction at Streetsblog.

Meanwhile, there's no word yet about which M14A/D stops along Avenue A and Avenue D might be eliminated to speed up the notoriously slow bus routes. There is opposition to the MTA's plan to cut back on local bus stops.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Prepping for the new protected bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets

Bike lane line work continues on 12th Street

DOT puts down the green paint on the new 13th Street bike lane (except for one mysterious spot)

It looks as if 264 E. 7th St. won't be demolished after all



In September 2016, a permit was filed with the DOB to demolish the three-level townhouse (circa 1842) at 264. E. Seventh St. between Avenue C and Avenue D.

Preservations rallied to try to have the string of pastel-colored residences here considered for landmarking. However, in late October 2017, the Landmarks Preservation Commission refused to consider them for such a designation.

And that was the last we heard of the property. In a mailing yesterday, however, the Village Preservation (GVSHP) noted that new owners purchased the property, and it appears they intend to keep the building intact. (Public records show an LLC paid $7.7 million for the address.)

According to a new permit filed with the city, the owners plan to renovate No. 264 and convert it to a two-family dwelling, leaving the exterior of the building in place and adding a small extension in the rear.

Per Village Preservation: "This is a tangible indication of the new owner’s plans to maintain the building rather than demolish and replace it with a taller and larger building." (Like what happened across the street.)

And as noted before, Felicia Bond lived in the garden duplex at No. 264 when she illustrated the renowned children's book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" in the mid-1980s.

===

While No. 264 may have escaped demolition, the fate 268 E. Seventh St. remains unknown.

In September 2017, a demo permit was issued for the three-level home.


[File photo of 268 E, 7th St.]

There are permits still awaiting approval — as of October 2017 — for a 6-floor structure with 8,000 square feet of residential space divided between two units.

Actor John Leguizamo owned No. 268 starting in 1995. In February 2013, the building hit the market with a $4 million ask. However, as Curbed noted at the time:

It's unclear how recently Leguizamo lived in the place, or whether or not he even still owns it — the deed was transferred to an LLC in 2002, and the listing says that it was "Recently a single family residence; currently used as a 3-family" ...

Leguizamo watchers on the block figure that the actor moved away from here about 2001 or 2002.

According to public records, No. 268 sold for $3.65 million in September 2013 to investment banker Wilco Faessen, who's listed as the developer.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Live in the house that inspired the art for 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie'

City says no to landmarking row of 7th Street homes, clearing way for demolition of No. 264

Come live in John Leguizamo's former home here on 'Artists Row'

Another look at the now-shuttered East Side Gourmet Deli



A quickie update (of sorts!) about East Side Gourmet Deli, which closed on the southeast corner of Avenue B and Fourth Street late last week.

An EVG reader shared these photos... showing the current state of the storefront ... and the arrival of the notice from the marshal, noting the premises is now in the legal possession of the landlord...



As you can see on the notice, the original execution date — Feb. 6 — was crossed out. Apparently the deli had a temporary stay of execution.

Hanoi Soup Shop debuts today on St. Mark's Place



Hanoi Soup Shop opens today at 115 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. This is the quick-serve cafe extension of Hanoi House, the Vietnamese restaurant a storefront away on the block.

Per a preview at Eater:

The main attraction will be pho, available in chicken, beef, or vegetarian varieties, plus other dishes like papaya and watercress salad, summer rolls, and banh mi. Rotating specials will include bun bo Hue, a breakfast soup from the port city of Hue, and a stew lamb rib kho, a stew. Fruit shakes and Hanoi’s famous egg coffee will also be on tap.

Starting hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The owners say they plan to expand those hours in the future.

No. 115 last hosted the pop-up shop Mr. Bing. The previous tenant, Water Witch Mercantile, closed at the end of 2016 after just two months in business. Past tenants also include Box Kite Coffee and the Tuck Shop.

And this isn't the end of Hanoi House's expansion plans. As we first reported last month, the owners plan to take over the former Five Tacos space between these two storefronts to serve as a bar area for patrons waiting for a table at the restaurant. Read more about the plans here.

CB3 OK'd a new liquor license for this space last month.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday's parting shot



Bobby Williams shares this photo of One Manhattan Square barely noticeable on the horizon down by the Manhattan Bridge... as Gothamist recently described the 72-floor residential building: "a gleaming cheese grater of truly terrifying proportions."

What the F? New subway stop arrives on 4th Street courtesy of 'Mr. Robot'



Earlier today, crews installed a fake F stop on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and Fourth Street as these photos by EVG reader Devon Schuyler show...



Later in the day, workers installed a few more touches ... this photo is from Derek Berg...



Apparently this is for a "Mr. Robot" shoot... back filming in the neighborhood.

Noted



An FYI from 11th Street and Avenue C ...



Thanks to Vinny & O for the photos!

The Tribeca Film Festival arrives in the East Village



The Village East on Second Avenue and 12th Street is serving as a venue for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, which starts today and runs through May 5.

As such, the theater is only screening films from the Festival. Village East will return to its usual programming on May 7.

In the meantime, you can always check out the Anthology Film Archives on Second Street and Second Avenue or the Metrograph down on Ludlow or the Quad Cinema on 13th Street... not to mention the Film Forum, IFC Center, the Angelika Film Center or Cinema Village.

Previously on OMG EV Grieve:
The fellow who was terrorized by old people during the Tribeca Film Festival

Inflatable union rat makes Webster Hall appearance



The inflatable union rat is out this morning on the corner of Third Avenue and 11th Street... where reps for Local One — the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) — are handing out flyers about the non-union work happening at Webster Hall, which reopens Friday (not Saturday per their flyers) with Jay-Z.

EVG reader Emily shared these photos...



AEG Presents and Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment are the new operators of Webster Hall.

NYPD releases pics of suspect wanted for smashing LinkNYC kiosks


[Image via @Machiz]

As Gothamist reported, someone smashed 30-some LinkNYC data harvesters kiosks around the city over the weekend, including on 14th Street. You can read all about it here.

Anyway, the 9th Precinct tweeted out pics of the suspect...

[Updated] M14 mystery abounds as SBS ticket vending machines arrive



Perhaps we'll have a little more clarity later today — two days before the L-train slowdown starts — on the status moving forward of a) the dedicated busway originally slated for 14th Street and b) the SBS stops for the M14A and M14D.

Transit watchers expect Mayor de Blasio and the city to disclose its plans for 14th Street today.

===

UPDATED 6 a.m.

Vin Barone at amNewYork has this scoop:

The de Blasio administration will ban private through-traffic on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues as part of a new pilot street design to help speed up buses during the L train’s Canarsie tunnel reconstruction, according to a draft release of the plans obtained by amNewYork.

But the changes won’t come until June...

UPDATED noon: Read the city's press release here.

===

City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway for most of the day. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In a series of tweets yesterday, one local transit authority made the case for how important buses will be to help people get around in the next 15-18 months...



And seizing on this moment...


Meanwhile, it's still a big mystery what the MTA intends to do with the M14A/D. As previously reported, proposals to eliminate a handful of stops on Avenue A and Avenue D to accommodate express service have been met with opposition from residents and local elected officials.

In a Daily News article published yesterday, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzger "accused the DOT and MTA of a lack of transparency." As of the paper's deadline, neither agency had informed her of a final plan.

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera has suggested an M14 SBS with supplemental local service similar to the M15.

As several EVG readers have noted, the MTA has already been installing SBS ticketing machines along the M14A/D routes with a goal of beginning service by June.


[Photo from April 11 on Avenue C by Shawn Chittle]


[14th Street at 1st Avenue]


[14th Street at Avenue B]

We spoke with several residents who expressed their annoyance that the SBS machines started arriving just two days after the MTA and DOT held a meeting at the 14th Street Y to gather community feedback on the proposed changes to the M14A and M14D bus routes. "I guess they had their minds made up already," said one reader in an email.

For their part, the MTA has this to say about the route:

If you ride an M14 bus, you’ve likely experienced a longer than expected wait at your stop, a longer than expected trip once you’re on your bus, buses that arrive in bunches and off-schedule, or some combination of the three. During the busiest travel times, M14 A/D buses spend about 60% of their trips stopped at bus stops or stopped in traffic. We’ve got a plan to fix this and keep buses moving — we’re partnering with the New York City Department of Transportation to launch Select Bus Service on the M14 A/D.

Select Bus Service (SBS) is a package of improvements designed to target and correct the situations that slow buses down and make service unreliable. Citywide, customers tell us they are more satisfied with their SBS bus than their local or LTD (limited) bus. We’re committed to bringing these improvements to the M14 A/D and the 27,000 customers who use these buses by June 2019.

For further reading:

M14 Select Bus Service, Busway Needed at Start of L Train Reconstruction, Manhattan BP Says (amNY)

• City Drags Feet on Plan to Move Riders on 14th St. During L Train Slowdown (Daily News)

• MTA Says Buses Are The Best Bet on 14th St. During the L Slowdown — But Busway Remains In Flux (Streetsblog)

• Never Stop Stopping: Removing Bus Stops Isn’t Easy — In New York City or Anywhere Else (Streetsblog)

• As L Hell Begins, Some Aren’t On Board With the MTA’s Plan For Buses (Bedford + Bowery)

Bright Horizons bringing child care to EVGB



Construction continues at 524 E. 14th St. in the retail spaces at EVGB, the newish residential complex between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Posted permits note that the work is for a day care center ...



Updated: Paperwork shows that this will be another outpost of Bright Horizons, one of the country's largest child-care providers. (H/T Upper West Sider!)

This is the first retail tenant for this address...



The day care center joins Target, which opened in EVGB's corner spot at Avenue A last summer.

According to listings at Newmark Knight Frank, these storefronts are part of what's being billed as "the East Village's most dynamic block."



There's another storefront for lease next to the day care center at No. 524. There's also the space directly adjacent to the Target in the building at No. 500.

Previously on EV Grieve:
New 7-floor buildings for East 14th Street include 150 residential units

Target offers details about its flexible-format store opening summer 2018 on 14th and A

The disappearing storefronts of East 14th Street

Up to 4 more retail spaces available to join Target on 14th Street

Reader report: About East Village Acupuncture & Massage on 2nd Street



Back in May 2016, we posted a story about City Acupuncture East Village, at the time a new community acupuncture clinic at 155 E. Second St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The clinic, run by longtime East Village resident Donna Nield, was part of City Acupuncture, which has five locations in NYC and now in Silver Lake, Calif.

Per an EVG reader, Nield struck out on her own earlier this spring. Her business now goes by East Village Acupuncture & Massage. (Find their website here.)

"I was one of their first clients, and since then they've treated thousands of people in the neighborhood for conditions ranging from body pain and injury to anxiety and depression," the reader said in an email.

Meanwhile, City Acupuncture opened a new location in early April at 52 E. Seventh St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Community acupuncture in the East Village

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Avenue C street study



Reader submission from Avenue C today. Artist unknown.

About the NYPD cracking down on bikes without bells Saturday in Tompkins Square Park


[Screengrab from YouTube]

In case you were wondering about the large NYPD presence in Tompkins Square Park on Saturday afternoon... an estimated 50 cops turned up in the Park ahead of the sixth annual "420 Bake and Race" biking event.

According to published reports, organizer Shardy Nieves was arrested before the event started.

Per Streetsblog:

Nieves said as he walking into the park, he was greeted by the police officers — and one officer showed him a folder full of social media posts promoting the event, whose name is a cheeky pun for marijuana use, though Nieves claimed it actually refers to baked goods and pizza that the riders enjoy after the race.

Nonetheless, he was arrested on what cops said was an outstanding open container warrant.

The timing of his arrest the day of his racing event was suspicious, according to Nieves, who said he was pulled over this past summer for running a red light and was told his record was clean.

Following his arrest, police reportedly took Nieves to his home borough in the Bronx, where a judge dismissed the charges.

Meanwhile, the NYPD wasn't done in Tompkins Square Park.

Back to Streetsblog:

Police also wrote up cyclists, most of whom were kids of color, for not having bells on their bikes.

Cops confiscated their bikes and brought them to the local [9th] Precinct. Several kids had to wait hours to get them back, according to social media reports and one of the victims.



The NYPD left Tompkins Square Park for Union Square.


You can read the account of the day via this post at Gothamist. (There's also this 30-minute video taken during the NYPD's time in Tompkins.)

Council Speaker Corey Johnson shared his thoughts on the NYPD's actions on Saturday in this tweet...



Safe street advocates wonder why the city won't give the same attention to reckless drivers. Citing NYPD statistics, Gothamist reported that traffic fatalities in New York City this year have increased by 41 percent compared to the same time period of 2018.

Said City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the council's Transportation Committee: "There are other priorities that the men and women of the NYPD should have, especially fighting crimes. Targeting cyclists should not be their priority. ...We don't have a history of cyclists being involved in crashes in a number that is alarming. So I hope the NYPD stops this type of practice and focuses their resources to fight crimes."

In a statement to Gothamist, NYPD spokesperson Detective Denise Moroney said:

The detail was in response to a large gathering of bicyclists called “420 Bake and Race” advertising smoking marijuana and traveling on New York City roadways to various locations. There was a total of four summons written for no bell on a bicycle (1236-B of the VTL) in the area of the park. There were a total of four bicycles were taken into custody for the violation and once the violation was corrected (bell affixed to the bicycle) all bicycles were returned in a 24-hour period. One person was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant. Members of the public and the NYPD have a shared responsibility to ensure safety for all navigating the streets of the city.

The "420 Bake and Race" ended up happening after all, just a little later than originally planned and without as many participants.

Sources:
• NYPD Intimidates and Cracks Down on Cyclists For No Good Reason (Streetsblog)

• NYPD Seizes Bikes Without Bells, Arrests Cyclist Leading Group Ride (Gothamist)

Happy day after Earth Day



Sunrise from Tompkins Square Park this morning...

Report: First red-tailed hawk egg hatches this year in Tompkins Square Park


[Photo from March 20 by Steven]

There's preliminary indication coming from Tompkins Square Park that the first egg belonging to the resident red-tailed hawks, Amelia and Christo, has hatched.

Goggla has the news:

I believe a hatch started or occurred on Saturday, April 20. The behavior of parents, Christo and Amelia changed that day — she kept fussing around in the nest and sitting up higher, indicating something was going on underneath her. Christo also made two food deliveries to the nest. There had been a heavy rainfall the night before, and Christo brought in several pieces of bark, possibly to create a new dry layer in the nest.

Goggla previously reported that Amelia laid the first egg on or around March 13. It's not clear how many eggs might be in the nest.

This is the first full mating/nesting season for Christo and Amelia. Last year, tragically, the older of their two red-tailed hawk fledglings died. (The whereabouts of offspring No. 2 is unknown.)

Christo and his previous partner Dora (now in permanent wing rehab as of April 2018) raised 10 hawklets in recent years.

Updated 9 a.m.

Steven shares these nest photos from this morning...


[Christo on the left]



Previously on EV Grieve:
The EVG podcast: Red-tailed hawk talk with Laura Goggin

The EVG podcast: More hawk talk with Laura Goggin

On 9th Street, Cha-an Bonbon to serve as a to-go outpost for Cha-an Teahouse



You may have noticed the new storefront for Cha-an Bonbon over at 238 E. Ninth St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue at the site of the former take-out hotspot Yonekichi.

This location will serve as a to-go outpost for Cha-an Teahouse, which Japanese restauranteur Bon Yagi opened on the second floor of 230 E. Ninth St. in 2004.

Sakura Yagi, who helps run her father’s restaurant group, shared more about Cha-an Bonbon with Food & Wine:

"Tea and sweets go hand-in-hand in the Japanese tea world. As Japanese teas, like matcha, have gained traction … New Yorkers are starting to look for places that have wagashi and wagashi-inspired desserts." Hence, her family’s decision to expand.

And...

Fans of the teahouse’s original matcha latte — made from a pre-mixed blend of milk plus In Pursuit of Tea matcha powder — will be able to order the drink at Bonbon, with the option to add other ingredients like red bean, soft-serve ice cream, and shiratama, a type of soft mochi.

Cha-an Bonbon, set to open May 1, will also reportedly offer several beverages exclusive to this space.

In sight: Block's Vision Care relocates inside Block Drugs next door



You may have seen the signs in recent weeks at 101 Second Ave. (thanks to Steven for the tip and photos) ... Block's Vision has merged into the Block Drugs space next door at Sixth Street ...



... and the now-former Block's Vision space — 400 square feet — is on the rental market (all uses considered, per the sign) ...



Blocks's Vision opened at No. 101 (previously the home of Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar) in the summer of 2013.

Block Drugs, owned and operated by Carmine and Beth Palermo (a licensed optician), dates to 1885. The business has been in the Palermo family since 1962.

For further reading:
How a 131-year-old pharmacy survives against the Rx giants (New York Business Journal, February 2016)

Sunshine sunset



As we first reported last week, workers erected the sidewalk bridge in front of the late Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street... ahead of demolishing the circa-1898 building Forsyth and Eldridge.

An EVG reader yesterday reported that workers removed the SUNSHINE letters on the marquee.

"Couldn't bare the thought of them getting trashed, so I asked the Construction Site Manager if I could have one of the letters. He gave me a quick 'no' and said the building owners intend to keep them. Hope that's the truth. On the bright side, the construction people were quite nice."


[EVG photo from January 2018]

The new owners of the address, East End Capital and K Property Group, have approved plans to erect a 9-story office building.

Our previous post has more details on what's to come.

The five-screen Landmark Sunshine Theater closed Jan. 21, 2018, after 17 years in business.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Sunshine Cinema-replacing office building moving forward; demolition watch back on

Discarded theater seats and goodbyes at the Sunshine Cinema

The 9-story boutique office building coming to the former Sunshine Cinema space

A celebratory ad on the purchase of 139 E. Houston St., current home of the Sunshine Cinema

The boutique office building replacing the Sunshine Cinema will be 'unbounded by walls' with an outdoor space called Houston Alley

Monday, April 22, 2019

An Earth Day message from East River Park



An EVG reader shared these photos from earlier today ... showing a banner hanging from the East River Park Amphitheater: "Destruction (of the park) ≠ Protection (from climate change)."

As you probably know, to stormproof the East Side and protect residents from storms the magnitude of Sandy, the city plans to "lift" East River Park by up to 10 feet when work starts in March 2020.

Creating the intricate flood protection system would see the city close East River Park for up to three and a half years, shutting down the current amenities, cutting down many of the trees and rebuilding the recently renovated running track, among other things.

The draft environmental impact statement for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project is currently available for review and comment. (Be warned: the whole thing is 900-plus pages.) My previous post here has more details on the review process and links to relevant materials.

Grant Shaffer's NY See



Here's the latest NY See, East Village-based illustrator Grant Shaffer's comic series — an observational sketch diary of things that he sees and hears around the neighborhood — and NYC.

A CVS is coming to the corner of Houston and Orchard in Ben Shaoul's luxury condoplex



Developer Ben Shaoul's gold-dusted condoplex at 196 Orchard St. has signed another retail tenant.

CVS is coming soon to the corner space here at East Houston Street...



The drug-store chain (FYI originally named the Consumer Value Store) joins the Marshalls in the retail spots of the 11-story, 94-unit building where residential units top out at $5.995 million.

Shaoul's luxury building, constructed in part with hand-laid, gilded-bronze brick imported from Cadaqués, also includes an Equinox Fitness center.

This property on Houston between Ludlow and Orchard previously housed a single row of storefronts, including Ray's Pizza, Bereket and Lobster Joint.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Making way for Ben Shaoul's new retail-residential complex on East Houston

Katz's is now the last business on East Houston between Ludlow and Orchard

East Side Gourmet Deli has closed on 4th and B



That's all for the East Side Gourmet Deli on the southeast corner of Avenue B and Fourth Street (in the retail space of the colorful building). A look through the slats in the gate reveals an stripped and empty shop.

Word from around here is that the newish owners decided against staying following an increase in rent. The deli had been open lately with limited hours of operation.

The block isn't without market options — East Village Finest Deli is open right across the Avenue ... and Ben's is one block to the south.

H/T Stacie Joy for the photo!

Cocoa Grinder is closed for now on 1st Street



We've had a few queries about Cocoa Grinder, the cafe that had its soft opening at 45 E. First St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue back in November.

Several readers have noted that the space has been dark of late...



We reached out to the Cocoa Grinder team, who confirmed that they are closed for now. Per an email: "Figuring out if we should open it or not."

Cocoa Grinder, which offers all-day breakfast, burgers, protein shakes and freshly squeezed juices, has multiple locations in Brooklyn.

This part of East First Street has been a tough block lately. There was the water-main replacement that took months...


[Photo from February]


[Photo from February]

...and the west end of the block remains choked with construction on the 32 E. First St. condoplex.

There's also ample coffee-cafe competition that's easily accessible at the east end of the block with the Juicy Lucy stand, the Lazy Llama and Juice Press as well as the Mudspot Café in First Park.

The address here — 45 E. First St. — previously housed the bar-restaurant Joe and Misses Doe.