Showing posts sorted by relevance for query graceland. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query graceland. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, April 12, 2010

Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Last Thursday we reported that Graceland, the corner deli on Avenue A and Second Street, is going to be forced to close because the landlord wants a substantial rent hike.



Several EV Grieve readers who shop at Graceland, which opened here in 1991 with a $4,000 monthly rent, got confirmation of the closing this past weekend.

Per EV Grieve reader Ryan:
Talked to people at Graceland last night and they confirmed the landlord was asking for a 35%+ raise on rent. I'll be really pissed ... there's a lot of fun characters that work there, and with the continued storefront wasteland of Avenue A, who knows what we'll get in there, if anything.


And EV Grieve frequent commenter BaHa, who also blogs at With Leftovers, was told by a worker on Friday that Graceland closes in 10 days. The Graceland employee said they clear about $800 a day... "so, with a rent increase to $20K, they didn't have much choice. We were both choking up a bit."

This New York magazine feature from 2005 has more about Graceland's owner, Grace Dancyger.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Monday, April 26, 2010

With Graceland's closure comes a loss of community

As mentioned last night, Graceland closed for good on Avenue A and Second Street ...



EV Grieve reader and food blogger BaHa wrote a short tribute to the space at Daily News:

Twenty-five years ago, there wasn’t much shining on Avenue A past midnight: In 1985, the hottest businesses in the area pushed heroin, not cupcakes. Graceland was transformative. Not only was it a place to get cilantro and light bulbs at four in the morning, it was part of the community. Halloween candy was handed out; if a regular didn’t show up for a while, they were asked about...

Rumor has it that another grocery may come in its place. Better than a bank, I guess, but you can get find food on pretty much any block in the neighborhood now, from vegan to gluten-free. What you can find less and less, however, is something far more important: a sense of community.



Previously on EV Grieve:
Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Graceland addresses its customers

Friday, May 7, 2010

Appreciating Graceland's graffiti

Speaking of paint jobs... I'm wondering how long before the now-vacant Graceland gets groomed on Avenue A and Second Street... in preparation for its new tenant, apparently another grocery -- one that can afford the $22,000 monthly rent. Part of Graceland, which closed on April 25, has been painted over...




Anyway, just an appreciation before it's all gone...







And you'll spot a familiar name...




As others have commented, it seems strange to find this corner dark at night... and with all the stands and partions removed...



...though, after this happened, I was able to spot part of the store's original sign...



Previously on EV Grieve:
Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Graceland addresses its customers

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Graceland has closed

Graceland, the deli that has been at the corner of Avenue A and Second Street since 1991, closed for good tonight ... (thanks to BaHa for letting me know the official date...) The doors were locked some time around 6:30 tonight, a neighbor said... several people walked by and were surprised to see the familiar 24-hour bodega grocery closed...







Several readers said that the rent was being increased to $20,000 a month by the landlord... Another grocer is expected to take over the space... some of the crew here will go to work next door at Gracefully...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Graceland addresses its customers

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Inexpensive eco-friendly" Italian restaurant coming to old Graceland space



The signs posted at the former Graceland space provide the details... eventually the owners will want a sidewalk cafe here...




And if you notice the address, it's 150 E. Second St., which also happens to be the address of Nicky's. I asked the folks at Nicky's if this meant they are moving. However, a family member said the restaurant is just for the Graceland space. The family member said they will find out in another four weeks if they keep the East Village Nicky's location. (They also have a shop in Boerum Hill and one coming to near City Hall...)

Meanwhile, the new Italian restaurant is one of many up for CB3/SLA review on June 14.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches leaving the East Village?

Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Graceland sign removal reveals previous tenant on Avenue A

Thanks to EV Grieve reader Ryan on Avenue A for the following shots... Workers just removed the Graceland canopy/sign on Avenue A and Second Street...



...revealing the sign of the former tenant...




Previously on EV Grieve:
Graceland has closed

Appreciating Graceland's graffiti

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No 7-Eleven for former Graceland; and the return of Houston Deli & Grocery

In June 2010, EV Italian eatery guru Frank Prisinzano said during a CB3/SLA committee meeting that the landlord of the former Graceland space on Avenue A and Second Street had four prospective tenants: Frank's fast-food Italian joint, a bank, a 7-Eleven and a bank.

Which caused us to play with PhotoShop.



Anyway, on June 22, 2010, the full Community Board 3 denied Prisinzano's application to open a fast-food style Italian restaurant here.

And the space has sat empty ever since... However, workers have been splitting up the space. There are now three different storefronts.



Anyway, remember that The Houston Deli & Grocery on Avenue A and Houston had to close in the spring to make room for the new fancy Union Market...?

EV Grieve reader Josh saw one of the fellows inside the corner space at the old Graceland. Per Josh: "The really nice guy who ran the corner market on Houston and A ... is opening up on the corner of 2nd and A at the old Graceland space. Says by the end of the month. Glad to see he'll be back in the neighborhood."

Not sure if they'll actually still be called Houston Deli & Grocery seeing as they're a block to the north... Still, we'll take it.

And no word yet on the tenants of the other two storefronts...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"All uses considered" at former Graceland

Thanks to EV Grieve reader BaHa for these photos from yesterday afternoon outside the former Graceland on Avenue A and Second Street... workers removed all of the former Graceland canopy...




and new "for rent" signs are up...



Workers told Graceland regulars before closing that another grocery was taking the place here... that doesn't necessarily appear to be the case... here's the listing... it's going for $115 a square foot... anyone have high hopes that something good for the neighborhood will take this place...?



Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CB3 deadlocked over new "fast-food Italian" at former Graceland space; 7-Eleven next?



Last night, Frank Prisinzano, who owns EV Italian empire Frank, Lil' Frankie's and Supper, came before the CB3/SLA committee with his plans to turn the former Graceland grocery at Second Street and Avenue A into what he described as fast-food Italian.

Nearly 75 minutes of serious high drama later, the committee was deadlocked in its decision to grant Prisinzano a beer and wine license.

Prisinzano started with his concept. He called it "a simple Italian cafeteria" and "quick, easy volume." Menu items would range from $5.95 to $10.95... most food would be prepped to serve in a hurry, with no more than a five or 10-minute wait. People could be in and out for a meal in 45 minutes or less.

And there would be a separate to-go kitchen. And it would be all eco-friendly. With plenty of soundproofing, per the lease, which he has yet to sign. "I want to give the community inexpensive Italian," he said. "I'm hoping this becomes a neighborhood staple like my other places." And! "This is not a nightclub. This is not a bar."

In total, the new eatery would accommodate 190 people, including 75 seats in a sidewalk cafe along the 50-plus feet of Avenue A storefront. This space is currently twice the size of any one of his other eateries.

And he had two last things to say (for now)... "We need help with our fast food in this country. This is my attempt at it."

Then he went in for the kill. Prisinzano said the landlord is currently weighing three other offers: A bank, a 7-Eleven and a bank.

Shudder!

Then some residents spoke. A common theme emerged: Hell. One longtime resident said Avenue A between Third Street and Houston is hell Thursday through Saturday nights. "We hear people vomit," the resident said. "It's a little row of hell." Most residents who spoke mentioned Aces & Eights as the main culprit.

The resident said that she and some of her neighbors have all learned a dance "where we pray for rain [on weekends] to douse the crowds."

It was also mentioned that Supper has had issues with crowd control on Second Street in the past. Prisinzano said that he is getting more "militant" about crowd control. For instance, he has installed video cameras outside all three of his restaurants so that he can monitor the situation from his computer. He said that he can discipline the host or hostess if he or she doesn't help keep the crowds in check. "Now I have accountability," he said. "Big Brother is in the sky."

Susan Stetzer, district manager of CB3 and a nearby resident, also spoke out against the planned restaurant.

"It will just be hell," she said. "I don't see the benefit" for the community. There was some back and forth. She kept with the hell theme. "We just cannot take more people on that street. It's hell." And! "We're begging you not to have another [bar] on this block. It's just hell."

Prisinzano reiterated that this space won't be a bar; that he will serve inexpensive food and will be a good neighborhood. As for this stretch of Avenue A, he said "that block is full of shitty bars." (Perhaps he didn't realize that committee member David McWater, who was sitting a few feet from him, owns several bars on that block.)

So, he was pretty much approve this or, "otherwise you're going to get a bank or a 7-Eleven. Your choice."

Stetzer said that she was tired of people telling her and other residents what will be good for the neighborhood.

At some point Prisinzano said, "I'm not Aces & Eights."

Eventually committee chair Alexandra Militano threatened to make Prisinzano and Stetzer leave the meeting if they spoke up one more time.

There was more debate among the committee members. Militano said that she hasn't heard the end of it from residents ever since the committee approved the transfer of Aces & Eights from Mo Pitkins. There was an argument about motions to pass along to the State Liquor Authority between Militano and McWater, who told her, "I was dealing with the SLA while you were still in law school."

In the end, 75 minutes later, the committee was deadlocked in their vote. Prisinzano looked incredulous. The whole thing will be kicked to the full CB3 meeting on June 22

Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland

Owners of Frank-Lil' Frankie's-Supper taking over the former Graceland space

More here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A letter of opposition to the new Italian eatery for former Graceland space



Well, the big story of late concerns the fate of Avenue A and Second Street, the former home of Graceland... Anyway, as you know, Frank Prisinzano, who owns EV Italian empire Frank, Lil' Frankie's and Supper, came before the CB3/SLA committee on June 14 with his plans to turn the former grocery into what he described as fast-food Italian. "I want to give the community inexpensive Italian," he said. "I'm hoping this becomes a neighborhood staple like my other places." He stressed over and over that this won't be a bar or a nightclub. After 75 minutes of intense debate, the CB3/SLA committee were deadlocked.

Tonight, the full Community Board hears this application.

There has been so much spirited debate about this here ... (Read the 40-plus comments here.) The alleged alternatives here are a bank or 7-Eleven.

Meanwhile, some residents of East Second Street, including those at 156, remain opposed to his plans.

What follows is an excerpt of the letter some residents from 156 E. Second St. have sent to CB3:

To: CB3 SLA Committee


Re: Proposed use of 150 East 2nd Street by Frank Prisinzano for an Italian Restaurant


Dear sir or madam,

We have been a long term residents of 156 East 2nd Street. For the last eight years Mr. Prisinzano has been the proprietor of the restaurant Supper, which includes a bar and sidewalk cafe. Supper has been seriously problematic for the residents of the building and residents on the block for the following reasons:



--Crowds and Noise. Supper has consistently allowed their customers to block the sidewalk, such that residents of the block and of the building have to regularly walk into the street to get by. The noise that results from their allowing customers to wait for tables on the sidewalk has regularly and severely disturbed the quality of life for the residents of 156 East 2nd Street and adjacent buildings. They have regularly kept their doors and windows open, creating more noise. In addition to — despite repeated complaints — their continuing to allow their customers to block the sidewalk, they have had poor and inadequate signage asking their patrons to respect the neighbors. They have allowed customers to hold open containers of alcohol on the sidewalk, and at times have had more chairs on the sidewalk cafe than allowed as per their license.

--Poor Response to Complaints. There is a long history of complaints by neighborhood residents against this establishment. But for Supper’s first six years, the management responded poorly to the complaints of residents of the building and the block. Very little was done to establish a better host policy, to keep their customers off the sidewalk and to keep the noise level down. The response by management to the residents of the building and the block was mostly to say they were “doing the best they could” to keep the noise and sidewalk blockage down, without in fact taking any noticeable steps to do so. 



During the last two years, Supper’s management has been somewhat more proactive about communicating with residents of the building and the block to remedy the problems. While there has been some improvement, there continues to be regular disturbances. The fact that a genuine response to complaints took six years suggests that their neighbors’ quality of life is not a priority to Supper’s management. 



--Disregard of the CB3 SLA Committee. Supper’s management has regularly disrespected the requests of CB3 SLA Committee to do a better job of minimizing noise and sidewalk blockage. Every time they have come up for renewal they have come up against a complaint history. When they receive their renewal with the stipulation that they change their door policy to enforce less noise and less sidewalk blockage, they say they will do so and they do not. The most recent example of such disrespect was when, in 2008, they made an agreement to erect a barrier between the restaurant portion of the sidewalk and the public sidewalk and entrance to the residential building. It took them two years to begin to comply with this agreement, and it still has not been completed.

At the same time, in 2008, they made an agreement to close their windows and doors after 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends. They have consistently failed to do so. It was only after consistent direct complaints from residents that they began to do a better job with this. The fact that it took two years to comply with CB3 SLA agreements to respond to quality of life issues is an indication that such poor attention to quality of life issues will managed the same way if they open another establishment in the area. 



--Misrepresentation and Disrespect for Regulations. When they originally opened the establishment, they promised the residents that it would be a “quiet family restaurant “ that “wouldn't have a loud bar “ and that “the bar would be primarily a service bar for the restaurant.” This has never been true, and over time they have made their bar into a separate drinking establishment, which has increased the noise level. They advertise through signage in front of the restaurant drink specials and happy hour, and regularly use the sidewalk tables outside the bar area to serve drinks to customers who are not eating. This causes more noise and is evidence that they are willing to misrepresent their establishments for the purposes of getting licensed.

The most egregious display of this management team’s flagrant disrespect for regulations occurred in July 2009. When their liquor license lapsed and they did not put in the renewal on time they temporarily lost their license to serve alcohol. However, they continued to serve alcohol for over a week past the lapse of the license. They only stopped serving alcohol without a license when the police were called to shut down the bar. (Nevertheless, they eventually did receive their renewal.)

-- Saturation of Bars in the Vicinity. Avenue A and East Second Street does not need another bar. Just on the four blocks immediately extending out from this intersection, there are at present some dozen bar/restaurants. For the three weekend nights of the week (Thursday nights having become nearly as busy as Friday and Saturdays) this leads to a rowdy party atmosphere, with crowds of people blocking sidewalks, smoking, shouting drunkenly, etc. Our immediate neighborhood has become saturated with places that serve alcohol, while otherwise-useful businesses are dwindling, to the detriment of our quality of life.

If all of the circumstances detailed above are any indication of how Mr. Prisinzano and his management team run their businesses, we definitely do not need another one on our block, and so close to the establishment that has already wreaked so much havoc on the neighborhood. If Supper was proposing to move to the corner, closing the restaurant and bar in our building, that would be another matter, and would at least move the noise to the avenue, restoring some of the quieter side-street atmosphere to the block.

Thank you for taking all these facts into consideration as you consider giving approval for Mr. Prisinzano to operate a restaurant/sidewalk café/bar at 150 East 2nd Street.

Sincerely,

Residents
156 E.2nd Street

Previously on EV Grieve:
CB3 deadlocked over new "fast-food Italian" at former Graceland space; 7-Eleven next?

"All uses considered" at former Graceland

Owners of Frank-Lil' Frankie's-Supper taking over the former Graceland space

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

Following up on our scoop last week about Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches on Second Street possibly closing up shop...



An EV Grieve reader talked with another member of the Dang family. Per the reader:

"They will not be closing until the next 2 - 3 months ... it is up to the landlord. He says that they are going to be moving just a block or 2 away from the current EV location and will have more space, less rent and still play 'The Simpsons.' The FiDi location will be run by his sister."


And this:

"He also said that the deli around the corner, Graceland (not the high-end one) is going to be forced to close as well as the landlord wants a substantial amount more in rent."



Which, I suppose, makes sense: Graceland and Nicky's share the same building...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Graceland's graffiti is going, going...

I mentioned this a few weeks ago... better check out the remaining tags at the former Graceland space on Avenue A and Second Street sooner rather than later ... workers were starting to scrub down down the building yesterday afternoon...




Previously on EV Grieve:
Appreciating Graceland's graffiti

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Graceland looking empty

Walked in Graceland on Avenue A and Second Street the other night... looking rather barren ... the shelves up top are empty...




Has anyone heard any updates on it closing?


Previously on EV Grieve
:
Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Friday, August 5, 2011

Plan B for the former Graceland space

Yesterday, we looked at the status of 34 Avenue A ... today. let's check in on 24 Avenue A, where Graceland closed in April 2010.

Since then, not much has happened. Well, aside from Frank Prisinzano, who owns EV Italian empire Frank, Lil' Frankie's and Supper, wanting to open a fast-food Italian joint here. CB3 never approved the application. (Read that drama here.)

Meanwhile, RyanAvenueA tells us that the storefront has been been chopped into two pieces this week. (Signs went up in November showing how the space could be hacked into three spaces.)


For rent signs remain over the two spaces. And that new, smaller space makes us nervous — looks exactly the right size for, say, a Subway (sandwich shop) or Papa John's. Or Dunkin' Donuts.


Wouldn't you rather have had Raguboy?

Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland

More here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CB3 says no to Frank's fast-food Italian on Avenue A; fishmonger also denied

I'm picking up where I left off last night...

So!

During a nearly four-hour meeting in a steamy PS 20 auditorium last night, the full Community Board 3 denied Frank Prisinzano's application to open a fast-food style Italian restaurant on Avenue A and Second Street. Raguboy would have seated 121 people inside and another 44 people on a sidewalk cafe at the former Graceland grocery.



As you know, the CB3/SLA committee members were deadlocked in their vote last week. Prisinzano, who owns EV Italian empire Frank, Lil' Frankie's and Supper, was on hand as were several of the residents who spoke out against another liquor license on Avenue A during the CB3/SLA meeting. (You can read all that drama here.)

Several people spoke for and against a restaurant here... themes were the same... "we live in a noise hell" ... there's a lack of retail diversity in the East Village... too many liquor licenses on that stretch of Avenue A already...

CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, who lives nearby, also spoke out against the application as she did at last week's CB3/SLA meeting... There were several outraged people in the auditorium who were upset that Stetzer continued to talk beyond the alloted two minutes designated for each speaker.

Meanwhile, the board also denied Keith Masco's attempt to open Sea on A, a fish market/restaurant at 171 Avenue A. It came down to the same issues: Too many liquor licenses in the area. (You can read more about the plans here.)

There was also discussion on the Gaelic gastro pub, Percy's Tavern, taking over the former Al Diwan space on Avenue A and 13th Street. The CB3/SLA committee approved this last week. However, a few board members had questions about stipulations (closing time, etc.). You can read all about Percy's here.

It was an agonizingly long wait for the applicants... After the board voted on the license applications, other reports were heard, such as the Arts & Cultural Affairs Task Force... all important, but... then the votes came in... For Raguboy, 28 board members were against; 11 for and one person abstained. As for the fishmonger, 23 were against and 17 were for...24 were in favor of Percy's; 16 against.

The board also approved Little Printz Cafe, a "global Jewish" restaurant that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the former Chabelas space at 40 Avenue B. The CB3/SLA committee approved this last week.

During the sometimes contentious meeting, board member David McWater stood up in the audience and questioned the entire SLA process, which he called at different times "unfair," ludicrous" and "dysfunctional." He did make many valid points concerning licenses seemingly arbitrarily being issued within the so-called resolution area.

Said McWater, "We have to find a way to be consistent again." There's more to all this, which we'll explore in another post...

Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland

Owners of Frank-Lil' Frankie's-Supper taking over the former Graceland space

More here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Graceland addresses its customers

At Graceland, the corner deli on Avenue A and Second Street, signs are now up announcing its closure...




EV Grieve reader Ryan says, "At this point it sounds as though some of the employees will be kept on, fingers crossed. Unfortunately I can't imagine a new place is going to clear enough $ to make up for the astronomical rate hike. Unless they jack everything up to Gracefully prices."

Word is the rent is being hiked up to $20,000 a month. Grace Dancyger owns Graceland as well as Gracefully, the more upscale sister deli two doors up the Avenue.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meanwhile, 24 Avenue A remains empty

Well, while on the topic of Avenue A retail... I recently noticed new(ish?) plans in the window of the former Graceland space at Second Street... (And it seems longer than six months that Graceland has been gone...)

Anyway the space can be chopped up into one, two or three storefronts... (Here's the listing.)



The one storefront might be best suited for the threatened 7-Eleven. And what do you think life would be like here had the CB3 approved Frank's plan for fast-food Italian (Raguboy) back in June?

Meanwhile, the FDR cheap pizza place behind the space on Second Street is ready for action... as you can see from the canopy, you can get 99-cent pizza, Indian snacks, tea...



Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland

More here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The remaining piece of urban archeology at 24 Avenue A

On Friday afternoon, EV Grieve reader Paul Dougherty (check out some of his NYC-centric films here) captured a little bit of urban archeology under the former sign of Graceland on Avenue A at Second Street... As he says, the sign shows some of the old neighborhood when Avenue A was the baby-nursery furniture district... (BaHa snapped some photos too earlier last week.)



However, by Sunday, all traces of the ghost signage had been removed by workers....





The space now just sits and awaits its fate.

Previously on EV Grieve:
"All uses considered" at former Graceland

More here.