Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Workers finish demolition of the old retail spaces along 250 E. Houston St.; now what's next?

If you've walked by 250 E. Houston St. in recent days, then you likely noticed that workers have mostly finished removing the one-level strip of storefronts.

Demoliton started in mid-November ahead of a new mixed-used building for the property here between Avenue A and Avenue B. The demolition has been a challenge/nuisance to nearby residents — especially when jack-hammering starts at 7:30 a.m. on a holiday. There have also been dust complaints, per city records

Here's a look from late last week at the now-empty lot courtesy of EVG contributor Stacie Joy...
EVG reader Jim Knapp shared this photo below of the retail spaces at the start of the demolition. The businesses in these storefronts either relocated closer to the residential building at 250 E. Houston St. (Kapri Cleaners and the FedEx Office Print & Ship Center) or closed (Dunkin'/Baskin-Robbins, Subway, Mattress Firm and China Town).
Jim also shared a time-lapse of the building demolition, which you can find on YouTube. 

As for what's next, there's a filing with the DOB for a 6-story mixed-use residential building, as we reported on Jan. 3 ... (click on the image for more detail) ...
However, sources tell us that this was just a preliminary filing to allow for the demolition ... and that the plans for the building will actually be closer to the size/scope of the adjacent 13-floor residences at 250 E. Houston St., the former Red Square that opened in 1989

For now, not much will likely happen on the empty plots. 

Revisit this EVG post from 2016 for a photo of this property before Red Square arrived in the late 1980s.

All-new 15 Avenue A REVEALED; Roberta's outpost slated for the retail space

Late last week, workers removed the scaffolding and construction netting from the under-renovation 15 Avenue A... here's a look at the taller building now between First Street and Second Street...
As previously reported, the currently vacant building received a vertical extension with two new floors, moving from four to six... with five residential units (likely condos) in the making.

The new retail tenant is expected to be a wine bar-restaurant from Bushwick-based pizzeria Roberta's. (First reported in September 2019.)

Community Board 3 approved a beer-wine location for the ground floor back in September. The minutes from that meeting show that this Roberta's will have 12 tables and 44 seats with one 12-foot L-shaped bar with four seats. Hours of operation were listed as 11 a.m. to midnight, with "Italian food (pizza, pasta, and salumi) prepared in a full kitchen, serving food during all hours of operation, no televisions, and ambient recorded background music."

The retail space at 15 Avenue A was previously the Family Dental Center, which moved down to Essex Street in 2017. The building changed hands in early 2018 for $4.3 million, per public records. Z+G Property Group is the landlord.

5 Napkin Burger closes on 3rd Avenue and 14th Street

After nearly 10 years on the SW corner of 14th Street and Third Avenue, 5 Napkin Burger has closed... signage on the front door points would-be patrons to other locations of the chainlet...
The burger joint opened here in February 2012... and in the summer of 2019, downsized the space, which became 5 Napkin Burger Express for two years ... which became Tamam Falafel, which closed at the end of 2021. (Both 5 Napkin and Tamam Falafel share the same ownership.)

This space was previously home to Robin Raj Discount Health & Beauty Aids (that seems like a long time ago!). 

There will be some speculation about the future of this high-profile corner with single-story structures — seemingly ripe for development. Not sure what kind of air rights there might be with the newer 21-floor 110 Third Ave. on one side and NYU's 17-floor Palladium Hall on the other.

Thanks to all the EVG readers who shared this news!

Healthy Choice set to debut today on Avenue A and Sixth Street

Healthy Choice, the deli-market that we've been writing about in recent months, is scheduled to open today on the SW corner of Avenue A and Sixth Street. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy got a look inside over the weekend...
As you can see, there's a variety of breakfast options, sandwiches, burgers and other items on the menu (click on the image for more detail) ...
Management was still determining the hours of operation. Will update when those are set. 

This is the first retail tenant for the corner space since Benny's Burritos closed here on Nov. 29, 2014.

Roosting soon on 14th Street: Wingstop makes it signage official

Signage is up for Wingstop in the renovated storefronts along 428 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Avenue A. (Previously reported in September here.) 

Wingstop, the aviation-themed chain specializing in chicken wings, joins the European Wax Center and Gorillas, the on-demand grocery delivery startup, in these mall-like retail spaces. 

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

Coddiwomple debuts on 1st Ave.

An outpost of Coddiwomple is now open at 213 First Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street. (They debuted this past weekend with a sandwich giveaway). 

This is the third location (following the Upper East Side and Hell's Kitchen) for the brand with the tagline: "Travel By Sandwich™️ Internationally inspired sandwiches made with local ingredients." 

Sandwiches include the Roman Holiday (prosciutto, mozzarella, pesto, fresh tomatoes, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette on ciabatta) and the Savannah Smash (chicken salad — pulled breast with secret mayo dressing — and avocados on warm baguette). Find their menu here

The EV location will have a dine-in option, per the Coddiwomple Instagram account.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday's parting shot

Photo in Tompkins Square Park today by Derek Berg...

Best wishes to Chef Ronny at Nón Lá Vietnamese Kitchen

Regulars of Nón Lá Vietnamese Kitchen at 128 E. Fourth St. may have noticed a missing presence this year at the restaurant between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Ronny Nguyen, who runs Nón Lá with his son Tommy, was rushed to the hospital on Christmas Eve. Here's more from a recent Instagram post:
After experiencing some pain in his side, he spent 11 days at Staten Island University Hospital with a team of doctors and his family by his side. He's now home and on the road to recovery.
There's a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses here

Thankfully, his health is improving.
Chef Ronny's recovery has been going well, and he's slowly getting back to his old self. You might even see him pop in and out of the restaurant if you're in the East Village!
Nón Lá is open for takeout/delivery from noon to 9:30 p.m. You can find their menu here. ... The number: (917) 388-3321. 

For your convenience: NYC Convenience coming soon to 13th Street

A new convenience store is in the works for 236 E. 13th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. 

Thanks to EVG readers Mark Cox for the top pic... and Hubs for this photo...
Presumably, this is your standard deli-market (it has some gift-shop vibes too, eh?).

As Hubs noted, the storefront takes over for the longtime real-estate office... and the market-deli explosion here continues... 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday's parting shot

We've lost the lights on the bottom half of the Tompkins Square Park holiday tree ... kinda back where we started last month

Photo by Steven...

A collision on the FDR at 10th Street

EVG reader Michael Kramer shared these photos from this afternoon... where he came across the aftermath of a collision on the southbound FDR at 10th Street that caused this vehicle to overturn ...
The Citizen app reported that two people in the vehicle were transorted to the hospital... no word on their condition...

Monday night movie classics coming to the Village East by Angelika

The Village East by Angelika is launching a monthly "iconic classics" series on Monday nights at the theater on 12th Street and Second Avenue.

Up first: "2001: A Space Oddessy" in 70mm ... in the large Jaffe Art auditorium ... showing two times tomorrow night: 7 and 10:15.

Upcoming films include "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Feb. 14), the Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (March 14) and "The Wizard of Oz" (April 11).

Find tickets and showtimes at this link

Week in Grieview

Posts this past week included (with a photo of a large mulch mound in Tompkins Square Park by Steven) ...

 • Fire destroys Essex Card Shop on Avenue A (Monday) ... Scenes from the fire at 47 Avenue A (Monday) ... Information about a crowdfunding campaign to help the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop (Tuesday) ... Assessing the fire damage at Essex Card Shop (Thursday

• Exit9 reopens on Avenue A after fire next door (Thursday) ... Downtown Yarns hopes to reopen in a week (Thursday)

• The March Hare is closing so the owners can focus on health and family (Friday)

• Man shot and killed in shooting inside the Lillian Wald Houses Saturday (Saturday

• Sunny's Florist closed until early March (Monday

• Lights out: Bulb Concepts has closed on 7th Street (Wednesday

• Key Food is no longer open 24/7 (Wednesday

• Gallery Watch checks out a new show at The Hole on Walker Street (Saturday

• A call to revamp ABC Playground at P.S. 20 on Houston and Essex (Wednesday

• Irving Farm New York is opening an outpost on 10th Street (Monday

• Solving the Great Santa Claus Mystery of Tompkins Square Park (Wednesday

• City finally repairing 6th Street sinkhole (Friday

• Another day, another smoke shop reveal in the East Village (Wednesday

• Signage alert on the SW corner of Avenue A and 6th Street (Friday

• Chip, chip hooray! Video highlights from MulchFest 2022 (Tuesday

• LES Convenience is coming soon for your convenience on Avenue A (Monday

• Abandoned curbside dining structures attracting more attention on the NE corner of 6th and A (Monday)

As a follow-up to this Friday evening parting shot, in which two local college students tried to remove a Pete Davidson/Rowing Blazers wheatpaste ad on St. Mark's Place...  they shared a photo from their dorm room with Lola Sáenz showing how they fared...
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics. 

The grocery cart garden is pretty mulch done for the season

The grocery cart garden on Fourth Street near the Bowery is bedded down now for the winter season.

The cart did come out of hibernation yesterday with a message (via Instagram) for its fans 😍:
Despite the weather, the cart is feeling cozy after getting a new lining and a fresh layer of evergreen mulch courtesy of NYC Parks. Don’t be scared to sniff if you pass by. Be well and see you in the spring...
This plot arrived here in the summer of 2020... check out our previous posts here.

Hole lotta love: Checking in on the just-repaired 6th Street sinkhole

Here's a look at the now-former tree-pit sinkhole outside 338 E. Sixth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

As noted on Friday, city crews finally filled in the four-plus-month-old hole...
The sinkhole formed during the drenching rains from Tropical Storm Ida on Sept. 1.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday's parting shot

Gena making flan at the great Gena's Grill, 210 First Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street. (And open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) 

Thanks to Lola Sáenz for the photo!

Gallery Watch: GAO HANG! at The Hole

Text by Clare Gemina
Photo by Arturo Sanchez, courtesy of the Artist and The Hole (2021)

The Hole, 86 Walker St.

A winding and disorientating green-screen grid tapes the ground of The Hole on Walker Street, trapping you in a lo-res, digi nightmare that is GAO HANG! a self-titled exhibition of 12 terrifying life-size paintings. 

In Gao Hang’s first solo show at the gallery, the artist paints his sovereign by relying on a paradoxical 1990s time frame — one that was alive and well not so long ago yet feels already fossilized. Through sharp graphic lines and softer, more airbrushed finishes, Gao Hang has seemingly filled a substitute position for God…his creations just as bizarre as the next millennial’s. 

As I scanned the show, my brain subconsciously shifted gears to screenland. A sphere that I was once very underqualified in but had complete autonomy over in my prepubescent heyday nonetheless. I was addicted to Crash Bandicoot (1996), Spyro (1998) and The Sims (2000) growing up and rejoiced in Hang’s insinuated homage to the suffocating graphics each game had produced. 

While in their infancy, gaming and digital ecosystems introduced an extremely avant-garde idea to society — a totally abstract and otherworldly identity could be constructed and exist online. Although 8- and 16-bit compositions tried (very hard) initially, the idea lacked anything close to a civilized visual vocabulary. Fast forward to today’s technical triumphs and you’ll find little justification for existing offline at all. Why would you if you could look more stylish and even sexier within the confines of your screen? 

Gao Hang’s minimized features, diminished perspectives and fluorescent back-lit net hues deliberately trap the viewer inside several massive stylistic and historical gaps. His deconstructed and naively painted characters not only fill in the cracks of console gaming’s graphic timeline but also in paintings such as Inarguably Beautiful and I Am So Pathetic Copying Donald Judd Like That, they also unveil evolutionary leaps found within a fine arts context. 

Hang’s subtle commitment to research re-situates two famous, real-life sculptures — Venus de Milo, created in 130-100 BCE (Hellenistic period), which now sits in the Louvre in Paris, and the minimalist Untitled from 1967, a work currently collecting dust at MoMA’s storage unit in Queens. 

In the artist’s other, less figurine paintings such as A Perfectly Beautiful Hand, Go Hug A Tree and Your Mountains Are So Fucking Full of Meaning, my thoughts instantly traveled to Xavier: Renegade Angel (2007), a perverse and problematic animated series that I fell in love with once upon a time. In this cartoon, protagonist Xavier has ocular heterochromia, a beak for a nose, a snake for an arm and backward bending knees. He’s covered in fur but is convinced that he is 100% human. 

As if this wasn’t enough, many of his supporting characters are reduced to decorated polygons, looking completely flat from most, if not all angles and are grossly lego-like in design. This flagrant mind-fuck of a TV series is an awkward one to commit to watching, but it is hard to turn away from because of its chaotic artistry. A similar aesthetic to the one employed by production companies such as Adult Swim carries across all three rooms in GAO HANG! The artist’s warped landscapes and nature paintings unapologetically question ideals of beauty, while his characters stare at you almost as quizzically as you do them. 

Amalgamating abject approaches to character manipulation, with a sense of humor around how limited his styling options once were, Hang also touches on a much darker side of the net. Beautiful and charismatic avatars masterfully disguise the identity of IRL losers, revealed in Cyber Bully and Losing the Freedom of Shaming People

Visitors to the gallery are reminded of the creeps that dominate the internet and game space, a community that has become much harder to expose due to technology’s advanced creations of simulated identities. 

As I stood in front of my favorite paintings in the show, Angel of The Day and My Photoshop My Choice, I realized that anyone around my age could have created these characters, or perhaps they already had 15 years ago. 

In place of yesteryear’s gaming capabilities, Gao Hang has ditched screen-based graphics and chosen the medium of paint to customize the color of his characters’ lips, the cup sizes of their breasts, and the elongation in their purposefully tortured faces instead. 

GAO HANG! is at The Hole’s Walker Street gallery until Jan. 29. Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Clare Gemima is a visual artist and arts writer from New Zealand, now based in the East Village of New York. You can find her work here: claregemima.com

[Updated]: Man shot dead inside the Lillian Wald Houses

A 30-year-old man was shot and killed last night around 10 in a fourth-floor apartment in the Lillian Wald Houses, 691 FDR Drive between Third Street and Fourth Street. 

Police and published reports listed the victim as Davon Venable. 

As amNY reported:
According to law enforcement sources, Venable and his father were at the residence when they heard a knock on the door, followed by an unknown individual outside asking, “Did someone call for an Uber?” 
Police said Venable then walked over and opened the door. He met an unknown man wearing all-black clothing, who then pulled the trigger on Venable.
The NYPD has not yet released further information or description of the shooter.

Updated 1/17 

Police say that the suspect posed as a food delivery worker ... arriving and departing the Lillian Wald Houses on an e-bike ... the NYPD released this footage... 

A winter clothing drive this weekend at First Street Green Art Park

First Street Green Art Park is hosting its second annual winter clothing driving ... a two-day event that also features a group of local artists creating new murals for the outdoor space. 

FSG volunteers are collecting winter clothes (jackets, hoodies, sweaters, etc.) today (Saturday!) and tomorrow (Sunday!) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ... all donations will go to the Catholic Worker St. Joseph's House across from the Park on First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

You may enter FSG on the northeast corner of Houston at Second Avenue (or on First Street just east of Second Avenue). 

Saturday's opening shot

Sunrise-ish view from 10th between A and B this morning... wind chills hovering around 0 at the moment (8 a.m.), per the Weather Channel.