Friday, March 24, 2023

Paying tribute to the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911

Tomorrow marks the 112th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

As in past years, volunteers have been taking part in the chalking project (organized by Street Pictures), writing the names and ages of the victims in front of the buildings where they lived on the Lower East Side.

For example, Julia Oberstein lived at 53 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street. (Top photo.) She was 19 years old. 

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the largest industrial disaster in U.S. history ... causing the death of 146 garment workers (mostly young women) who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths.

The Triangle Waist Company was located on the northwest corner of Greene Street and Washington Place just east of Washington Square Park, where the commemoration ceremonies take place today (3/24). Find more details at The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition website.
A memorial, expected to be unveiled at the site of the fire, is in the works. Read more about it here.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

[Updated] Suspect arrested after shooting at police on 4th Street between C and D

Photos by Stacie Joy 

A 20-year-old man is in custody tonight after shooting at a police cruiser on Fourth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D, according to published reports

Per CBS 2, "officers in a marked police car spotted the suspect waving a firearm." He then allegedly fired at the vehicle, striking it several times. The officers also reportedly returned fire. 

NBC 4's account of the story said the suspect "was ... menacing people with a gun" before the encounter with the NYPD near 330 E. Fourth St.
There were originally reports on the Citizen app that the officers sustained unspecified injuries. CBS 2 reported that "the officers were taken to a local hospital to be treated for ringing in their ears." 

According to the Post, the man was menacing his brother with a gun. It wasn't immediately clear if the suspect shot at the officers during the confrontation. 

Pet the paper: "The suspect's brother was also arrested for an alleged robbery from Wednesday, according to sources."

Thursday's parting shot

New on Houston at the Bowery (SW corner)... wheatepaste of China's President Xi Jinping by DeGrupo... (shades of)

Highlighting 'Free The Nipple Day' on Avenue A

Photo by Stacie Joy

New outside 50 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street ... local artist Jim Tozzi with Bert's Tit, one of his regular characters through the years. 

Here's more about the work via an Instagram post by wall curator The Lisa Project
Happy Women's History Month 2023. This year we wanted to spotlight the now decade-old "Free The Nipple" campaign created by the multitalented artist/actor, equal rights activist, and snappy dresser Ms. Lina Esco. As "Free The Nipple Day" is Sunday 3/26/23. 

To celebrate we tasked Street and Sticker Artist Jim Tozzi to paint his brilliant work. His funny culture-mashing take on an iconic character, "Bert's Tit" was the perfect way to keep body equality in the conversation. 

But at the end of the day, we hope it makes you smile, laugh and remember a woman's body is hers, and hers alone…

Experimental Intermedia brings the films of Bradley Eros to Whitebox gallery

Text and photos by Daniel Efram 

On Monday evening, Whitebox gallery hosted a performance of films being presented by experimental film director Bradley Eros

Eros' expanded cinema pieces often combine film productions of others that have been remixed, re-edited and recontextualized, often eliciting new meaning and perspective. 

His works of expanded cinema have long been of note including multiple appearances at MoMA ("Spirit of the Eighties: Curated by Tessa Hughes-Freeland | MoMA" and "Big as Life: An American History of 8mm Films: Type X") and The Whitney Museum of American Art ("Optipus: The Owl Flies at Twilight," "Outer Space" and "Bradley Eros and Jeanne Liotta's Subverted Horseplay"), where some of his work is in its permanent collection. 

Eros showed 10 films, each with a wonderfully theatrical and experiential transition that the host guided us through using his often amusing and inspiring shadow play skills.
Experimental Intermedia has been presenting concerts and intermedia events primarily at its Soho location since 1968. This year's events have taken place at Shift (Williamsburg), Emily Harvey Foundation (Soho) and Whitebox (East Village). 

Longtime East Village multidisciplinary artist Lary 7 will perform the last Experimental Intermedia of 2023 at Whitebox, 9 Avenue B between Houston and Second Street on Sunday, March 26 at 7 p.m.

At the long-vacant former P.S. 64/CHARAS, more 'frivolous court actions to tie up the property'

Top photo by Stacie Joy from January; 2nd photo from last week by Duke9 

On Tuesday, the day before the foreclosure auction of the former P.S. 64/CHARAS at 605 E. Ninth St., developer Gregg Singer put the long-vacant property into bankruptcy protection, the latest maneuver in his nearly 25 years of being involved with the property between Avenue B and Avenue C. (First reported by PincusCo.)

Representatives of the coalition Save Our Community Center, CHARAS, former P.S. 64 (SOCCC-64) were planning on a celebration yesterday following the auction of the property "because it would have allowed the City to begin negotiations to re-acquire the building and return it as a cultural and community center to the neighborhood." 

Instead, per a statement from SOCCC-64: 
This is yet another in a long series of frivolous court actions to tie up the property and try and force a settlement that would allow Singer to violate the use restrictions on the building and construct a youth hostel that he is trying to pass off as a dormitory. 
On March 15, SOCCC-64, community leaders and residents hand-delivered a letter from local elected officials — including Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Congressman Dan Goldman, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and State Sen. Brian Kavanagh — to City Hall requesting a meeting as soon as possible to discuss re-acquiring the center. (Read more about the rally here.)
Meanwhile, as The Real Deal reported, Singer is also in litigation over the property with the city and former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
He sued in 2018, claiming a conspiracy blocked his efforts to redevelop the building. Singer is now seeking to amend the lawsuit.

The city had not owned the property since selling it to Singer during the Giuliani administration, yet the developer alleges the offer "prompted the city to go from a slow walk to a full stop by categorically and unconditionally denying" him building permits.

Singer's attorney filed a motion seeking to amend his complaint. The proposed amended complaint was filed under seal.

Singer said in a statement that the amended complaint "will lift the curtain revealing the city's actions under Mayor de Blasio."
The 135,000-square-foot landmarked building is zoned for "community facility use," Any conversion to residential housing would require a zoning variance. The long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacate are still on file with the Department of Buildings.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (In past years, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.) 

In late December, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former P.S. 64 with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure last year and was reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital.  

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. According to published reports, the Mayor said he'd work to "right the wrongs of the past." 

Some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. There's a petition in circulation titled, "Save Charas Community Center! Stop the Private Auction!" Per the petition, which states, "Demand Mayor Adams use eminent domain to return the center to the people!" (You can find the petition here.) 

With more legal proceedings and what critics refer to as delay tactics ahead, the building will continue to sit empty for the foreseeable future. 

THE CITY has a recap on what's been happening to date here ... with comments from Councilmember Rivera.

A cheese slice is 99 cents again at 99 Cent Pizza on 14th Street

The price for a cheese slice is back to 99 cents now at 99 Cent Pizza, 246 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. 

Workers switched the sign from $1.50 to 99 cents back on Monday. 

Like many other bargain joints around the city, management — citing an increase in costs on everything from flour to napkins — increased the price by 51 cents in late 2021/early 2022

This move comes days after the 2 Bros. outpost on St. Mark's Place raised the price of their cheese slice from $1 to $1.50... and before the new 99-cent joint opens on 14th Street just east of First Avenue (Updated: Certified open today, per Edmund John Dunn.)

Do we hear 98 cents from any of the other discount slicerias? 

Perhaps this bubble tea wasn't up everyone's Alley

That's apparently all for the Alley at 68 Cooper Square (across from Cooper Union) ... earlier this year, a "closed until further notice" sign went up on the front door...
There wasn't any further notice. This address is no longer on the Alley's website... and Google lists them as permanently closed. 

This was the first NYC location for the growing and Instagram-popular Taiwanese bubble tea chain, debuting late in the summer of 2019 to some long lines. There's now an Alley in Flushing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

March 21

Flashback to last evening... when EVG reader Russell K. hit the daily double... first on 14th Street and Avenue A (above)... and then Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place... it probably looked festive with some lights and tinsel... 
It was a nice way to start spring...

Report: Gregg Singer places the former P.S. 64/Charas into bankruptcy protection

The auction of the former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center will NOT be happening after all today.

Developer Gregg Singer has reportedly placed his long-dormant property at 605 E. Ninth St. into bankruptcy protection ... two months after New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former school and community center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

This development comes right as an auction for the landmarked building was set to take place today at the Hilton New York Midtown Fifth Avenue. 

Adam Pincus at PincusCo has the scoop
Singer claimed the five-story building has assets and liabilities both above $100 million, and that there would be funds to make payments to the more than two dozen creditors. Madison Realty Capital filed the pre-foreclosure action in 2018 that triggered the foreclosure sale, only two years after giving Singer a $44 million loan secured by the property. 

As of a February 2022 referee's report, the property had debts of $89.98 million.
As Pincus notes, "Singer's move to protect his ownership of the building is part of an extensive involvement of the courts over the years."

Now there will be more court activity to sort out the bankruptcy litigation.

Singer purchased the property during a city auction in 1998 for $3.15 million. Through the years, Singer wanted to turn the one-time P.S. 64 into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized, and the building has sat in disrepair, prompting the city to take emergency measures to seal it up in late 2022. 

Some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. There's a petition in circulation titled, "Save Charas Community Center! Stop the Private Auction!" Per the petition, which states, "Demand Mayor Adams use eminent domain to return the center to the people!" (You can find the petition here.)

The 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for "community facility use," Any conversion to residential housing would require a zoning variance.

Ben’s Deli moving on without Ben on Avenue B

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

There’s an upbeat atmosphere at Ben’s Deli on Avenue B this Thursday night. 

Local tall man Bobby is playing a DJ set from atop a stack of milk crates and plywood as curious passersby duck into the store and dance to his synth-driven set of house and disco.
Driving this festive mood: it’s being announced that Ben Gibran has sold his eponymous deli and is retiring after almost 50 years in the business.
At one point, Ben, his wife, and five sons: Mo, Ahmed, Haas, Gamal, and Ali owned six delis (plus a pizza shop) in the East Village. The last of the storefronts at 32 Avenue B between Second Street and Third Street is in contract to be sold, and Ben’s keeping it in the family, selling it to a cousin, Sammy Ksem, who is present tonight...
... along with Haas (below) behind the counter ...
... and Mo...
... and Glenn, a longtime employee...
Also on hand: the new in-store vendor Los Tacos Poca Madre, which serves housemade potato chips, a tasty fruit salad with hot sauce — not to mention traditional Mexican food.
Meanwhile, people come into the store to celebrate Ben’s long tenure as a local business owner.
As much as I am happy about Ben’s retirement, I can’t help but also be a bit sad. I’ve known Ben since I was a teenager and knowing I won’t see him and his kids and grandkids here gives me a pang of sadness. 

Ben’s Deli has been a meeting place, a shelter in the storm (literally – Ben fed the neighborhood during the dark aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012), a place to grab a frosty drink, some munchies, a travel-size bottle of mouthwash/toothbrush/toothpaste combo pack, and back in the day: loosies, lotto tix, rolling papers. 

It’s had a starring role in the Netflix series “Russian Doll” and my heart. It always smells faintly of smoke; some products don’t have any business in a bodega — or do they? — and a revolving cast of characters who can explore EBT fraud, middle-of-the-night Maalox purchases, and a mix-and-match 6-pack of beer.
However, best of all is catching Ben “in the office” — his maroon Chevy Astro van parked out front. He’ll most likely be reading an expired Jetro Restaurant Supply Store brochure, chain-smoking and talking on his ancient flip phone.
While Sammy reports he has no plans to change the name, Ben’s kids won’t be working there anymore — and neither will Ben. Another familiar face, Uncle, a longtime employee, recently had a serious medical setback and hasn’t been able to get back behind the register. 

When I ask why now, Ben tells me he’s tired and old and just ready to stop working. “I can’t do it anymore, Stacie; it’s time,” he says, offering a comforting pat on my shoulder. He smiles.
An official retirement party is in the works. Stay tuned for details.

Find previous coverage here.

Anthology Film Archives hosting 'a long-overdue retrospective' of East Village artist Abigail Child

The work of longtime East Village resident Abigail Child is the subject of a five-day program starting Friday at the Anthology Film Archives on Second Avenue and Second Street. 

... Anthology hosts a long-overdue retrospective of the work of the moving-image artist, writer, and poet Abigail Child. A leading figure of the generation of experimental filmmakers that emerged in the late 1970s-early 1980s, Child has continued to make innovative and challenging work – in a dizzying variety of forms and on a wide range of topics – ever since. 

Child, who has often grouped her films into thematically and/or formally linked series, first gained widespread recognition with the seven films presented under the title "Is This What You Were Born For?" Created between 1981-89, these works inspired (and continue to inspire) a plethora of commentary, and have become modern classics.
Find the full list of films and times here. The theater is at 32 Second Ave. at Second Street. 

Child also shared a few photos with us... including this scene on Third Avenue from "Game" (1972) ...
... and Child filming on Avenue A at Third Street in the early 1990s for "B/Side" (1996) ...

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Tuesday's parting shot

Photo by Steven 

A spring-time view of the Hare Krishna tree in the center of Tompkins Square Park...

Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 collab drop draws crowds, NYPD on 4th and C

Photos by Stacie Joy 

The collectible sneaker crowd turned out in droves this afternoon for an opportunity to pick up a pair of the Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 collab (the pink iteration) on Fourth Street and Avenue C, where the corner deli was rebranded as the Corteiz Mart & Deli. 

Also turning out in droves: an assortment of law enforcement from various sectors of the NYPD...
See comments — this was always the location. We're told that the sale was initially set for 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, but the location was reportedly switched to the East Village at the last minute (or with enough time to get the signage up).
Shoppers need to pre-register for a wristband for the opportunity to buy a pair of the London-based streetwear brand Corteiz's collaboration with Nike. Sneakers are $399, but $200 in-store today.
There were reports of some pushing and shoving, which likely prompted the NYPD response. (The Citizen app initially labeled this as a "protest.") 

And an EVG reader shared an aerial view...

Time passages: Check out the interior of the long-empty Mom's Liquor Store on Avenue B

Photos by Stacie Joy

Last month, we had the scoop about the new owner of 6 Avenue B, the long empty/abandoned building on the NW corner of Houston. The owner is an LLC linked to Penn Capital South, whose portfolio includes multiple EV properties. 

A gut renovation is in the works — as is asbestos abatement. There has been some mystery and intrigue about the whole building, especially the storefront that housed the liquor store — aka Mom's. 

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

How have nearly 14 years of vacancy treated the space? What does the interior event look like these days?

EVG contributor Stacie Joy found out the other day... with a look inside Mom's, a frozen-in-time space where bottles of Riunite still go for $5.25. The bullet-proof register area remains intact as well.

Come, let's look inside...
Also discovered... this EVG post about the store's owner from 2010:
I enjoy watching her reaction to some fancypants asking her if they have any, say, really buttery California chardonnays whose grapes were harvested on hillsides composed of Kimmeridgian marl, limestone and chalk. Her reaction is usually either, "WHAT?" or "WHY WOULD WE HAVE THAT."
Previously on EVG