Thursday, July 7, 2022

City raises hourly wage for lifeguards to ease pool staff shortage

Photo Tuesday at Hamilton Fish Pool by Stacie Joy

NYC is raising the starting wages for all lifeguards to $19.46 per hour — a 22% pay raise — for the summer to help combat the lifeguard shortage that has limited city pool and beach availability. 

In addition, officials have developed a training program to fully staff the city's mini pools, such as the one in Tompkins Square Park, for ages 16 and under (and their guardians). 

"Every New Yorker deserves to safely enjoy our city's public pools and beaches this summer and my team has taken extraordinary measures to make that happen. Today we reached a deal with the lifeguard union to address the immediate needs of our pools," Mayor Adams said in a statement yesterday

As Gothamist pointed out
The temporary pay raise comes as city pools have struggled to open at full capacity or in some cases, at all. Many have criticized Adams for failing to raise the pay prior to the start of the season as problems of a national lifeguard shortage became apparent. 
Just how severe is the shortage? Per City & State: 
The agreement between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the union representing lifeguards, District Council 37, is the latest in a long-standing effort to adequately staff the city’s 53 pools and 14 miles of beaches. As of Tuesday, there are currently about 778 lifeguards, which is roughly half of the city’s parks department goal of 1,400 to 1,500 people each summer. 
This summer, the city was forced to cancel all swim programs, including lap and senior swim. Starting this past Friday, hours were split into five separate sessions at crowded pools to provide access to more patrons.
In an email from Tuesday, an EVG reader and longtime East Village resident shared his experiences at Dry Dock (above) on 10th Street at Avenue D with his family on the Fourth of July (he shared the letter with local elected officials as well): 
The pool service has been downgraded since last year when it was an absolute delight. 

Specifically the downgrades I noticed are: 
  • Only half of the main pool was available to swimmers 
  • The kiddie pool was closed 
  • The games (corn hole, oversized connect four, etc) weren't out 
  • The staff said there was an hour wait to get in on all previous days. 
According to the Parks Department's Twitter, there is a lifeguard shortage. But according to the staff that I spoke with, this lifeguard shortage is because NY state pays more, and so all lifeguards can take a job with the state instead of the city. 

However, there were no less than 2 police officers on duty at the pool at any time. I don't believe there were any officers at the pool last year. 

So... the city has money to pay overtime for NYPD officers to be at the pool but not enough to pay a competitive rate for lifeguards?

Plywood removal at the former P.S. 64

Reader photo above; the rest by Stacie Joy 

Workers last Thursday removed the sagging, wheatepaste-filled plywood from the Ninth Street side of the former P.S. 64 between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

We expected to see some replacement plywood go up in its place... but for now, as these photos this week by EVG contributor Stacie Joy show, you can still see into the old school (and, later, Charas/El Bohio Community Center)... only the doorways remain boarded up... 
According to a source on the block, there has been activity inside the long-empty (23 years) building... with an executive-type overseeing work, including window and door replacement. It's unknown who's in charge of work here or the scope of the renovations. 

As previously reported, ownership of the property is in transition. In January, Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane ruled that Madison Realty Capital could move forward with a foreclosure against building landlord Gregg Singer after years of delay. 

Madison Realty Capital reportedly provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the property in 2016. Court records show that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April 2016, and by that September, the lender filed to foreclose, as reported by The Real Deal.

Singer, who bought the property from the city during an auction in 1998 for $3.15 million, has wanted to turn the building into a dorm, though those plans never materialized. There has been a call to return the building for community use in years past. 
The plywood removal also uncovered an undated piece of art (by Seth Tobocman?) ...
... that reads (thanks Jeremiah Moss for the inscription): 
"A 7-year-old drew this picture at a class here at Charas. The boy was upset because he and his family had found the body of a woman who had been decapitated on their doorstep. That was in the 1980's when they called the Lower East Side the warzone. Now all of N.Y.C. is a warzone. The world is a bad neighborhood. We need cultural centers like Charas more than ever to keep our sanity."
Meanwhile, a tent or two with unhoused residents remains under the sidewalk bridge (the site of multiple sweeps by the city) ... as well as a sitting-in-a-car detail from the Massachusetts-based Madison Security Group hired to keep people (TikTokers!) from getting inside the building. 

Previously on EV Grieve

Comings and goings on 10th Street: Montauk Salt Cave closes; and a new restaurant from 2 Momofuku vets

The EV outpost of Montauk Salt Cave has closed (without notice to patrons, per one reader) on the upper level at 90 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

The Montauk-based wellness sanctuary, which featured walls built with pink Himalayan salt rocks, opened here in August 2017. Per their website, salt therapy purportedly heals ailments related to respiratory disease, skin conditions and inflammatory symptoms.

Meanwhile, in No. 90's lower level... work continues on Claud ... a new restaurant opening soon via Momofuku Ko vets Josh Pinsky and Chase Sinzer ... 
You can sign up for updates via the Claud website... or follow the restaurant's Instagram account

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by Stacie Joy 

Pastor Will of Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish with Joey today on Ninth Street and Avenue B. 

In the background, the Loisaida CommUnity Fridge and Pantry, which recently had its first anniversary ... and with a new design by Danielle Mastrion.

'Stories About Love' — a reading event at The Folio Club this Friday evening

Photo of 703 E. Sixth St. from 2019 by Stacie Joy 

Leonard Abrams, the publisher of the East Village Eye, shared this info about a reading on Friday evening...
Leonard Abrams and The Folio Club present selections from "Stories About Love," a new chapbook by Angela Sloan, on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. 
The writers Carl Watson, Jill Rapaport and Katherine Sloan will also read. The event will take place at 703 E. Sixth St. on the 3rd floor (just east of Avenue C). 

• Leonard Abrams is a writer, an editor and sometimes a filmmaker. He organizes events and people for sport. The Folio Club, after the fictitious organization referenced by Edgar Allen Poe, is the name he uses for literary events. 

• Angela Sloan lives and writes in New York City. Her previous works have been published by Three Rooms Press, Genre: Urban Arts, East Village Eye, and A Gathering of the Tribes. Her chapbook, "Stories About Love," was published in 2021. 

• Carl Watson is a writer and occasional folk singer. He lives not far from here. But he’s not always there. 

• Jill Rapaport’s collection of prose titled "Duchamp et Moi and Other Stories" was published by Fly by Night, the book publishing arm of A Gathering of the Tribes, in 2014. She has been quasi paralyzed by ideas and considerable dread since then, but makes quantities of notes. 

• Katherine Sloan is a professional blogger who also writes and publishes her own fiction. She has published nonfiction political pieces for Overture Global and has written for Mutual Art and 25A magazines. She lives in New York City. 

The event will take place at a beautiful loft space above Hugh's motorcycle shop that we have had the good fortune to borrow for the occasion. 
Previously on EV Grieve:

Workers remove this elm in Tompkins Square Park

Workers today removed an elm tree said to be dead (or dying) in Tompkins Square Park... (first two photos by Steven)...
The tree is between the dog run and the entrance at Avenue B and Ninth Street, as this photo by Mark Cyr shows...
This is the second large tree that the Park has lost this year.

Steve Croman sells 8-building portfolio

115-117 Avenue A (photo source)

Steve Croman has sold eight buildings in the East Village/Lower East Side for a reported $61.7 million in a deal announced last week. 

According to @TradedNY, Croman's Centennial Properties sold 89 Clinton St., 115 and 117 Avenue A, 186, 188 and 222 Avenue B, 330 E. Sixth St. and 117 First Ave. The buyer: ABJ Properties. 

This was initially listed as a 14-building, $121 million portfolio, per broker Marcus & Millichap.

The Real Deal reported about this assemblage hitting the market this past December. As TRD noted: "Steve Croman is known for rarely — if ever — selling his apartment buildings."

He's the latest in a group of old-line New York landlords who have moved to part ways with their properties in recent months as fallout from the state’s 2019 rent-regulation overhaul has combined with demand from investors eager to get in on the city’s recovery.

But unlike investments that were suddenly strained when state lawmakers limited landlords' ability to raise rents on regulated apartments, the properties Croman is offering are almost entirely free-market.
Croman was released from the Manhattan Correctional Facility in June 2018 after serving eight months of a one-year jail sentence and paid a $5 million tax settlement following separate criminal charges brought by the AG's office for fraudulent refinancing of loans and tax fraud. In a separate civil case, Croman agreed to pay $8 million to the tenants he was accused of bullying out of their rent-regulated apartments.

An independent management company is now reportedly overseeing Croman's residential properties — which, before this deal, included 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village — for the next five years.

Openings: Murphy's on 9th Street

Murphy's debuted back on Saturday at 440 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. (Thanks to Steven for the top photo!)

The cafe is selling fresh-baked Jamaican patties, coco bread, coffee and lemonade...
Kyle, the owner who runs the Sneak Ez boutique next door, decided to revamp his previous concept here — Murphy's Door Cafe. 

Full reveal at El Churro on Houston and Allen

Workers yesterday removed the plywood from 200 Allen St., that thin strip of a storefront on the SE corner of Houston. 

As we've noted (here and here), a cafe called El Churro (presumably selling churros!) is in the works here...
Still no sign of a website or any social media accounts.

Updated 6 p.m.: The owner tells EVG contributor Stacie Joy that they hope to open at the end of the month. He's brought in churros machines from Spain and plans to offer different flavors (like chocolate), plus soft serve.

Eastanbul Gyro Kebab and Smyrna Bakery closed here last fall. Empire Gyro, with a 24/7 schedule, opened here in February 2019 ... with the conversion to Eastanbul (and Smyrna) in the summer of 2020. The space was previously Sugar Cafe for 10 years

And because someone will mention it! Economy Foam (later, & Futon) anchored the corner from 1937 to 2003.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Giving Tuesday: the return of twice-a-week alternate side parking

Starting today (Tuesday!), the city's full alternate-side parking rules return after a two-year pandemic hiatus. 

As Gothamist reported, for these past two years, drivers only needed to move their cars once for street cleaning, "rather than the two designated days typically required in many neighborhoods." 

Also per Gothamist
The reversal comes as Mayor Eric Adams attempts to address frequent complaints about trash and dirty streets, and an increase in the rat population. Kickstarting the program also fully restores a reliable revenue generator for the city. Most available statistics from the city comptroller’s office show the city generated $515 million in annual revenue from parking fines in Fiscal Year 2016, a steady increase compared to prior years. A parking ticket for ignoring ASP rules can cost $65. 
Speaking of revenue, EVG regular Spike shared this photo today from a lovely tree-lined East Village street... showing consecutive parked cars with new tickets on the windshields. 

HAGS sets July 20 opening date on 1st Avenue

HAGS, described as a restaurant "for Queers and everyone else," is opening on July 20.

The owners, chef Telly Justice and sommelier Camille Lindsley (partners in business and life), made the announcement on Instagram last week... and the first round of reservations for the tiny space at 163 First Ave. between 10th Street and 11th Street went live on Friday.

For now, HAGS, an acronym for Have A Good Summer, offers several options for tasting menus (vegan AND omnivore). And on Sundays, HAGS will offer a "pay what you can" menu (no reservations on Sundays — first come, first served).

In addition to some quality food and drink, the HAGS website states: "we serve radical luxury, unapologetic joy, community and optimistic change."

You can follow the HAGS Instagram account for updates. 

Our previous post has a roundup of some of the positive press HAGS has received this year.

Thanks to Steven for the photo.

Openings: A'more Caffè on 2nd Street at Avenue A

Photos by Stacie Joy 

A'more Caffè is now open at 150 E. Second St. on the NE corner of Avenue A. (Arrival first reported here.)
The small shop with a handful of seats offers a variety of hot and iced coffees and teas ... (signage says they use organic Arabica beans roasted in Long Island City...) 
For now, A'more Caffè is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can follow them on Instagram at this link.

Thrift NYC sets up shop on 14th Street

The city's second outpost of Thrift NYC opened in late June at 226 E. 14th St. between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. 

You can find a curated mix of vintage clothing for men and women, with prices in the $10 to $40 range.

The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to  7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

You can follow Thrift NYC, which also has an Upper East Side store, on Instagram here.

The Ainsworth closes East Village location

That's all for the Ainsworth on the SW corner of Third Avenue and 11th Street. (Thanks to Steven for the photos.) 

The upscale sports bar, part of a mini chain, closed after service on Sunday.

Per the door signage, they'll be merging with the Chelsea outpost later this summer...
The EV Ainsworth opened in December 2017

Previously, this corner space was home to Village Pourhouse, the pub-crawling hosting hotspot ... for 11 years. 

And all together now — bring back the Roll-n-Roaster!

Puff & Puff Convenience debuts on Avenue C

The neighborhood's latest smoke shop is at 153 Avenue C... where Puff & Puff Convenience is now up and smoking running here between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

P&P takes the space over from F&M Slice Pizza, which shuttered in March 2021 after 10 years of budget slices.

4.5 years later: A tenant for the former Noho Star space on Bleecker and Lafayette

There's finally a retail tenant for 330 Lafayette on the SW corner of Bleecker ... the storefront has been vacant since the end of 2017.

Slowear, the Italian clothing and accessories brand, opened its second NYC location here last week. 

Per the Slowear Instagram account: "The store hosts the latest generation technologies, the finest selection of garments and accessories for the men's wardrobe and a cosmetic area."
Noho Star, the low-key restaurant that attracted a few bold-faced names (Wallace Shawn! Lauren Hutton!), closed in this space on New Year's Eve 2017 after 32 years in business.

Slowear isn't the only luxury line to replace a neighborhood spot on the block. Bleecker Street Bar wasn't offered a lease extension after 30 years at Bleecker and Crosby. The bar closed in August 2020, though they will return around the corner on Broadway this fall.

In its place...  the New York flagship store for Sabah opened back in the spring and offers high-end leather Turkish slippers and other accessories... 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Monday's parting shot

Thanks to the reader for the rooftop shot tonight (July 4!) ...

Flashback Friday: 'Touchez Pas Au Grisbi' in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Daniel Efram

This past Friday night, the 2022 Films on the Green series came to Tompkins Square Park with a free screening of "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi, a 1954 French-Italian crime drama starring Jean Gabin, Jeanne Moreau and Lino Ventura.

EVG regular Daniel Efram shared a few images from this welcome summer-in-the-city event, where "a delicate breeze pierced the humidity," he wrote
This was the only Tompkins screening this time around... but upcoming nearby...

• July 8, Seward Park  "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" by Dai Sijie (2002) 

• July 15, Seward Park  "The Class" by Laurent Cantet (2008) 

Find the whole schedule here.  

Monday's opening shot

Dueling baby car seats await you this morning at the Avenue A-St. Mark's Place entrance to Tompkins Square Park... photo by Steven...

Sunday, July 3, 2022

[Updating] Report of a gas explosion at La Mia Pizza on 4th Avenue

One person reportedly sustained a minor injury following a gas explosion this afternoon at La Mia Pizza, 124 Fourth Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street.
The FDNY responded to the call at 3:22... ... and issued the "under control" 22 minutes later. The front windows of the restaurant, which opened here in September 2020, were blown out during the explosion. It wasn't immediately known who was injured — an employee, patron or passerby. 

Will update when more information becomes available.

Updated 6:05 p.m. 

Here's part of ABC 7's report
First responders detected gas and called ConEd who dispatched a crew to help search for the source inside the 20-floor building. As they were searching an explosion happened in the kitchen of the restaurant while FDNY and ConEd employees were inside. 

The explosion didn't cause a fire and was contained to the kitchen, according to the FDNY. 

One ConEd employee sustained minor injuries but refused transportation to the hospital. 
Thank you to the EVG reader for the top photo.