Showing posts with label NYPress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYPress. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The perils of falling in love with a Mars Bar regular

Great piece by Jennifer Blowdryer in this week's issue of NYPress:

Here's how it starts:

SEE THAT GUY at the end of the bar, telling the same story about auditioning for The Ramones for the umpteenth tourist? Meticulously counting out the drinks until his Sky and Seven buyback, glued to his stool, pupils black with the drink? That’s my man!

Read the rest here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Entering the East Village come weekends is like wandering into Dante’s Eighth Circle of hell..."

A few East Village-related items from the "Best of Manhattan" issue of NYPress this week...

Best East Village Bar to Get Trashed and Evade the B-and-T Hordes: International Bar
120 1st Ave. betw. St. Marks Pl. & E. 7th St., 212-777-1643
Entering the East Village come weekends is like wandering into Dante’s Eighth Circle of hell, in which hair-sprayed ladies and six-pack men lick, suck and swallow their way into new, louder personalities that we’d like to pop in the mouth. Thank heavens for the neighborhood’s sole refuge, International Bar. In the dark, railroad-car confines, we love plugging metal into the juke and popping a squat at the bar — there’s often a seat, no matter the night. And then we order the combo that’s as deadly as fugu: a can of Schaefer and a two-ounce blast of sweet well whiskey, priced at $4.

Best Headstone for the Corpse of the Bowery: DBGB Kitchen and Bar
299 Bowery at E. 1st St., 212-933-5300
Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud may not be the first inspiration-starved millionaire to burnish up his Bowery project with the memory of punks, but his antiseptic new bistro, DBGB (an awkward pun on CBGB’s,) definitely makes him the No. 1 offender. Standing on the corner of the Bowery and E. First Street, it perfectly embodies the death of the punk rock idyll and the wide cursive script painted around its steel-framed gray windows quite literally gives the restaurant the look of a cemetery — or an up-market option in a Rochester Mall.

Best Bar Idea with the Worst Execution: Superdive

200 Ave. A betw. E. 12th & E. 13th Sts., 212-448-4854
Tableside keg service, democratic access to the soundtrack, mix-your-own cocktails—what could go wrong? In a word, everything. The ideal form of Superdive — which brings what we can only imagine to be the worst of the Midwestern college town drinking experience to the East Village — is bespoilt by human nature. Douchy dudes drink until they get shouty and shovy and play hip-hop ironically at unsafe levels. Mix that with girls who are impressed, and you’ve got a problem.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Looking at "Fear in Alphabet City"

Matt Harvey's cover story this week in NYPress -- titled "Fear in Alphabet City" -- provides a more detailed account about the murder of Eric "Taz" Pagan on Avenue A this past Aug. 23. For instance, according to the article, Louis Rodriguez, the man police have charged with the murder, had been tossed out of Forbidden City by Pagan, a former bouncer there, earlier in the evening. (Someone from Rodriguez's East Harlem neighborhood describes him as "a cold-blooded fucking idiot.")

As the article points out, the shooting shouldn't have been a surprise: "Bullets are more common in the neighborhood than most people want to believe."

Craig Lopez, one of the first people who came upon the murder scene, has lived in the East Village since the early 1990s.

Back then the moniker for the 45-square-block area south of 14th Street and east of First Avenue sent shivers down middle-class spines, conjuring up images of drug zombies and muggers. During the last decade, the term fell into disuse as wealthy new arrivals arrived, along with college bars and bistros. When the term finally ceased to register any fear, the rich claimed the Alphabets for themselves. In its 2007 Best 'Hoods issue, Time Out awarded Alphabet City the dubious honor of being the "#1 Best Hood."

Here's more from Lopez:

Despite the turnaround, Lopez says he preferred the lonely streets and coke bodegas to the loud "frat boy" parties that have invaded his neighborhood. "On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it's really bad," he says, before breaking into an almost-apologetic smile. "I prefer the old way. I felt safer."

Lopez's crack about frat boys, however, masks darker fears. "Was I concerned that someone got killed?" he asks rhetorically, then shrugs. "Yeah. But I can’t say I was really surprised. There are shootings around here all the time."

Other highlights from the article include an interview with Bob Arihood, who has chronicled the East Village longer than anyone.

Arihood paints a perfect storm of social, economic and political factors, which combine to insure that successive waves of incoming NYU students, and upper-middle class tenants, remain ignorant of how bad things are in the 'hood — thereby continuing to splurge on tuition and "million-dollar condos."


"East Village residents of all ages, races and classes worry that bullets are flying with increasing frequency these days"

Matt Harvey's NYPress cover story this week also talks with residents about the increase in gunshots around the neighborhood in recent months. As he notes:

East Village residents of all ages, races and classes worry that bullets are flying with increasing frequency these days.

Many have lived east of First Avenue for 10 years or more, so they know what a gunshot sounds like. Some claim that the crime statistics released from the local Ninth Precinct do not adequately tally all the shootouts. Others express fear that the uptick in violence will serve as an excuse for police to curb the civil rights of the locals.

I've heard from several readers the last six weeks regarding an increase in gunplay. In several cases, the details were rather vague -- "did you hear about a shooting somewhere along Avenue C the last few nights?" -- to do much with.

One reader said there was a shooting outside Tompkins Square Middle School on Avenue B between Fourth Street and Fifth Street early the morning of Aug. 28. The next day, the resident let two police officers into her buidling for an unrelated matter. When asked about the shooting, an officer responded, "Which one?"

The Villager later reported that a 23-year-old man was shot at 3:25 a.m. on Aug. 28 at Fifth Street and Avenue B. The victim was struck once in the leg and was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. A .38-caliber revolver was recovered at the scene.

Other incidents include the man who was shot leaving a bodega on 12th Street and Avenue C on Aug. 16.

The invaluable Bob Arihood at Neither More or Less has reported on several shootings in August. On Aug. 29 around 10:30 p.m., shots were fired in the rear yard of 507 E. 11th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

On Aug. 27, shots were fired on Sixth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

So what do we take away from a possible upturn in violence? Are things worse than a year ago? Definitely. A return to the cliched "bad old days?" Hardly. Still, I see too many seemingly clueless people bopping around by themselves wearing Bose soundproof headphones and texting at 2 a.m. They're making it a little too easy.

Here's a quote from Bob in the NYPress piece: "NYU students and yuppies don't know what’s going on. They're only here to party."

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Post notes a "90 PERCENT SURGE IN BURGLARIES" in the East Village

Thursday, August 13, 2009

At the Mars Bar: "It's a weird portal to Hell"

Matt Harvey checks in on the latest art exhibit -- Hell Purgatory or Paradise -- at Mars Bar. As he wrote in NYPress.

Lucille Bignon, who rocks a 1960s-era soul-girl look, complete with beehive hairdo, said: “Everyone here is crazy, you don’t know when they’re going to snap,” Her eyes widening beneath heavily shadowed black lids, she added, “It’s a weird portal to Hell.” A regular sitting on a barstool countered that, “there are no frat boys, so its heaven.”

So, all is well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Confirmed: LES overrun by idiots at night

Matt Harvey delves into the horror show also known as the LES nightlife scene in this week's NYPress cover story. God help us.

In what was once the center of the gentrification goldrush — the section between the Bowery and Essex Streets north of Delancey — most of the businesses left from the boom are nightspots catering to less-sophisticated outer-borough and beyond patrons. Fat Baby, Mason-Dixon and R Bar, along with restaurants that serve over-priced drinks, like Stanton Social or Spitzer’s Corner, dominate. Residents recently suffered the final affront when Zagat ranked the Lower East Side the city’s “hottest nightlife neighborhood,” replacing its more upmarket rival, the Meatpacking District, already renowned for its annoying nightlife clientele.

Susan Stetzer, the district manager for Community Board 3 and a long-term resident of the Lower East Side, says that the area is now an “entertainment center” for the bridge-and tunnel set. “Residents have given up if they still live there,” says Stetzer. She and other residents complain that the streets, shorn of businesses, are empty during the day because the tenants couldn’t pay rents inflated by the influx of nightlife money. Then, at night, it’s wall-to-wall yokels from the suburbs, which, according to Stetzer, “is really depressing.” She’s an advocate of vanishing mom-and-pop shops and dive bars, and says no one who lives in the LES goes to the clubs and lounges. “If they do, they don’t tell me,” she says. Others claim it’s impossible to find a quiet place to have a conversation and a drink.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cabin fever

Matt Harvey's "Bash Compactor" column in this week's NYPress looks at the not-so-secret, secret speakeasy on Avenue A... Before heading Down Below, he asks a fine question:

Last Saturday night on Avenue A, post-college boozers were spilling out onto the sidewalk from a jam-packed Niagara. Watching drunken couples falling over each other in an attempt to snag a cab, I wondered, if the recession is so deep, why aren’t these people on Greyhound buses back to Rochester?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"When the cultural embodiment of the East Village can’t work up a single quote about his neighborhood, it’s in a lot of trouble"

Check out East Village native Matt Harvey's article in NYPress this week titled "The East Village Isn't What It Used To Be... And It Never Was."

Too much in the article to try to excerpt here. I'll do one. Harvey contacts Richard Hell, who apparently doesn't get out and about much while working on his book:

I email Hell to tell him that he keeps coming up in my conversations around the dusky old town. What’s the deal man, are you up in your rent-controlled apartment with just your memories and Rimbaud? Have you withdrawn from the street and all humanlike zones? He politely replies that he doesn’t want to be bothered. It reads, in part: “Sorry to be a disappointment, I can’t work up much fresh to say on the subject.” When the cultural embodiment of the East Village can’t work up a single quote about his neighborhood, it’s in a lot of trouble.

Matt also talks with Jeremiah Moss, on the phone from his bunker.