Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A clue about future development courtesy of the former Subway at 250 E. Houston St.

We continue to wait for official word of what will happen to the now-empty strip of storefronts at 250 E. Houston St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

As we've reported, there's been a storefront shuffle along this retail stretch. Kapri Cleaners and the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center moved from the unrenovated spaces to new storefronts closer to the entrance to the 13-story residential building at No. 250. Other businesses, including the Dunkin'/Baskin-Robbins and China Town, have closed. 

The old retail section of this strip is apparently coming down to make way for an unspecified new development. 

A letter from the owner of the shuttered (as of Aug. 30) Subway sandwich shop provides another clue. EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted this on the storefront (click on the image for more detail) ... 
Per the letter: "I am saddened to inform you that since the Ownership of this Property has decided to construct a multistory building, they will not be able to renew [the] lease for my Subway Store."

The family-owned franchise had been here for more than 20 years. Per the letter, the owner said that he hopes to find a new location for his Subway.

Meanwhile, still nothing on file with the city just yet about a demolition or new building permits.

Sri Lankan specialists Sigiri back open on 1st Avenue

Some good reopening news via EVG reader Garth... he notes that the Sri Lankan flag is flying once again outside Sigiri above Dual Speciality Store at 91 First Ave. 

The 16-year-old spicy standby here between Fifth Street and Sixth Street closed at the start of the PAUSE in March 2020... doing delivery and takeout in the summer of 2020 before closing again.

In recent months, we noticed that the interior had been dismantled. Glad to see that it was just for a renovation and nothing like a closure.

Sigiri is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Check out the menu here... which includes a daily lunch special from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pillow-Cat Books is open now on 9th Street

We mentioned Pillow-Cat Books in this post last month ... this shop specializing in animal books opened late last week at 328 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Here's a description via a recent Instagram post:
Pillow-Cat Books is the first animal-focused bookshop in New York ... it is small, green, and filled with used, vintage and antique books in several languages and of all types: art, photography, design, literature, comics, children, etc. The books' only common denominator is that an animal or animal character has to be present. 
Pillow-Cat is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  You can find the shop's Instagram account here... and the website here.  

Photo by Steven

SLCT Stock brings vintage t-shirts and sneakers to 12th Street

SLCT Stock opened back on Friday at 523 E. 12th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

The shop carries collectible t-shirts, sneakers and other pop-cultural items from the 1980s and 1990s.

Indiana University student Nick Ayala started SLCT in Bloomington, Ind., in 2018. There's also an outpost in Boulder, Colo. 

Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with a 6 p.m. close on Sundays. You can find this SLCT's Instagram account here.

And if you're over this way, then you can also check out East Village Vintage Collective a few storefronts away at 545. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday's parting shot

A moment with Jim Power working on one of his mosaic poles along St. Mark's Place... thanks to Mike G. for the photo...

A Chuck Close tribute on Bond Street

Chuck Close died last month at age 81

And recently, the artist Scott VanderVoort paid tribute to the photorealist outside 42 Bond St. between the Bowery and Lafayette. (Close had a studio and residence nearby.)

EVG reader Garth shared these photos ... you get the 1967-68 Big Self-Portrait of Close while walking to the east...
... and a 2005 version of Close while heading west...
Here's a little clip to give you a better idea of the work...


VanderVoort previously created tributes here for President Obama after his eight years in the White House ... and after the deaths of Steve Jobs ... and David Bowie

This video explains more about how VanderVoort creates the art...


One last seasonal fling for Halloween Adventure and Gothic Renaissance?

Halloween Adventure has returned from the dead.

The shop at 808 Broadway/104 Fourth Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street reopened last Wednesday, per Time Out. (Reopening-for-Halloween signs had been on the storefront since July.)

As you may recall, back in January, Halloween Adventure's owners announced it was closing due to a pandemic-related drop in business during 2020. However, after an effort to sell many gift cards, the shop was able to return for another Adventure.

Meanwhile, next door, sister business Gothic Renaissance is also reopening soon ... (this shop had closed in March)... 
A Halloween Adventure manager told Time Out that the store plans to stay open through December "at the very least." Per TONY:  The manager said, "if sales are up this year on par with the before times, it's possible it could stay open year-round again."
"We've been here for so long and people are used to seeing us as part of the community. It would be amazing could get enough business this year to keep going strong...and forever."
However, as The Real Deal reports, this is likely the last season for both businesses as the retail condo at 808 Broadway and 104-110 Fourth Ave. is for sale with a $15.95 million ask. 

The block-through property combines two adjacent buildings: 808 Broadway (completed in 1888) and 104-110 Fourth Ave. (circa 1981).

The company that operates these stores has been around since 1981, starting in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Halloween Adventure first arrived in the East Village with a pop-up in 1991 and continued to do this in various locations until 1996, when they found this current space.

They have not commented on their local plans beyond 2021.

Salma brings Lebanese cuisine to 12th Street

Salma recently made its debut at 331 E. 12th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

The restaurant's website describes it as an "authentic Lebanese grill." 

A look at the menu shows a variety of platters, including chicken, lamb and falafel. They also offer breakfast items, such as a labneh platter. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Salma takes over this space from Ducks Eatery, which closed last November after eight years in business.

H/T Steven 

Neighbors curious about what might be next for the NE corner of Avenue A and 13th Street

Some EVG readers have noted recent activity inside and out at the former Percy's Tavern on the northeast corner of Avenue A and 13th Street... work includes a new curbside dining structure...
Where we left off here... back in December 2019, the Pizza Cowboy reported that Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports was teaming up with pizza personality Nino Coniglio (of Brooklyn Pizza Crew and Williamsburg Pizza) on a bar pie pizzeria.

Not sure if that's still moving forward here. 

According to the State Liquor Authority, the liquor license is inactive here. The names of Larry Watson, who opened Percy's in 2010, and James Morrissey, who is involved with The Late Late and VNYL, are on the license.
In September of 2017, Community Board 3 did not approve Morrissey's application to open Honey Fitz at this address. 

A neighbor says that contractors have been working almost daily on interior renovations, adding a stage in the front half of the space on the 13th Street side and installing six TV sets, among other things. 

So with all those monitors and a stage (live music? comedy?), there's a sports bar/entertainment vibe here, but so far, nothing definitive. And no sign of future Community Board notices for a new liquor license.

Percy's quietly closed here in 2017.

H/T Sonya and dwg

Wingstop joining Gorillas and European Wax Center in this retail space on 14th Street

On Aug. 2, we reported that Gorillas, the on-demand grocery delivery startup, and a European Wax Center were the new retail tenants in the renovated storefronts along 428 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

In reporting on this on Thursday, the Commercial Observer had info about a third tenant here: Wingstop, the aviation-themed chain specializing in chicken wings, signed a 10-year lease for 1,700 square feet of space. 

There are currently more than a dozen Wingstop outposts in the NYC metropolitan area. The 14th Street location hasn't turned up yet on Wingstop coming-soon list.

No. 428 has been undergoing a gut renovation ... the previous retail tenants were victims of the L-train work along this corridor

How about some more Smoke & Beer?

Signage (for another) Smoke & Beer shop is up now at 110 Third Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street. (Thanks Jeanne Krier for the pic!

It seeeems like there are a lot of these Smoke & Beer shops around...

Anyway, this one takes over for another ubiquitous business — a bubble tea shop, specifically One Zo, which closed at some point early this summer.