Thursday, June 25, 2009

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

The Hetrick-Martin Institute celebrates its 30th anniversary (The Villager)

Beauty Bar now and then (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)

Cooper Union now and now (Greenwich Village Daily Photo)

First Avenue in 1942 and now (Hunter-Gatherer)

Lee Ranaldo on 1979 (The New Yorker)

A feature on the Dinosaur Hill toy store on Ninth Street (Examiner)

No photos allowed on the StuyTown quad (LuxLiving)

LEVANTeast is now open; try some fine wine at Welcome to the Johnson's instead (Grub Street)

Spike Lee's cab trip (NYC Taxi Photo)

Slum Goddess goes to the circus (Slum Goddess)

Hold the onions (BoweryBoogie)

Oops. How did this get here?

Evening recap: The possibility of a building collapse, unhappy Robert Pattinson groupies

Here's the story on the drama from last evening on Mott Street.

BoweryBoogie has coverage too.

Report: City inspectors give Mott Street building "clean bill of health"

Channel 7's Jen Maxfield filed this report last night about the building scare on Mott Street:

The crack between 273 and 275 Mott Street starts near the roof and shoots down more than 20 feet. It's a few inches wide already, and city officials want to know if all the rain is forcing the split even wider.

A complaint prompted firefighters to evacuate residents of 16 apartments in the two walk-up buildings for more than three hours. Megan O'Toole only moved in last month. I wish someone had told me about that when I moved in," she said.
A Sushi restaurant and clothing store were also evacuated during what should have been the busiest and most profitable part of the day.

"I wish I had the store open for the last two hours so we could be making money and not sitting out here," manager Anne Barker said.
Some residents were relieved that building inspectors were taking a closer look.
Back on Mott Street, inspectors are giving the building a clean bill of health. The crack has been here on the facade for years and sensors are already installed to monitor whether it's widening. Just after nine, everyone was allowed back inside.

But is R-Pattz OK??????????

Yes! He's OK, as, uh, OK! reports:

On an intersection in downtown Manhattan, the ever-present hordes of teenage fans are mingling with firefighters and the film crew — all less than 100 feet from a building that is dangerously close to falling down!

But while R-Pattz and co. bravely soldier on amid the flashing lights of the emergency services, on-set sources admit the melee is a nightmare for the crew.

"It's causing a hold-up for the shoot. We can't get anything in or out of here," said one gaffer-tape wielding worker.

Onlookers tell OK! that R-Pattz himself is taking the most recent near-disaster to strike his movie, following last week's near-miss with a taxi cab, in stride.

"Robert is concentrating on his scene," said one observant fan. "But most of the crew are staring nervously at the crack in the building and talking about whether it will fall down or not."

But if, heaven forbid, the building were to fall down, the top would land a couple of feet from Rob's dressing room trailer.

Trash and treasure at Bullet Space

Through Sunday, you can check out a new exhibit at Bullet Space, the artists' collective and gallery at 292 Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D. It's open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bullet Space is the first of the former LES squats to take over ownership of building from city

No. 2 to go

Back on June 1 (or 47 inches of rain ago), I mentioned that a new thai place was coming to 347 E. 14th St. (near First Avenue), the site of the former Mambo Italiano Pizzeria (AKA, the sad pizza place). Well, work continues there...

I just hope that they move the restroom — or at least invest in a bathroom door.

Wedding notes

There was a wedding celebration behind 206 Avenue B on Saturday evening. And the couple-to-be were kind enough to leave notes about it on surrounding apartment buildings. They explained why the celebration was at 206 Avenue B: "We met there exactly four years ago so we decided to have this special day there."


"Please be understanding in case it gets a little late and loud (but please know that there will be a lot of older people and kids so it won’t be a crazy party)."

Feel free to contact us in person if you have any concerns…"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

273 Mott St. in danger of collapsing; Robert Pattinson fans don't seem to notice

Update: As Channel 7 is reporting, city inspectors allowed residents to return to their homes around 9 p.m. Any damage to Robert Pattinson's hair is not yet known.

Two things are happening now on Mott Street between Houston and Prince.

1) 273 and 275 Mott St. have been evacuated, including the restuarant on the ground floor -- Sakura Sushi & Thai Cuisine.
2) Robert Pattinson is inside St. Patrick's Old Cathedral prepping to film a scene for "Remember Me."

Firefighters were called to Nolita/Little Italy just after 5:30 p.m. City officials evacuated the residents of the five-story building "fearing a giant bottom-to-top crack in its facade could be a prelude to disaster." (City inspectors were also called to the scene yesterday.)

You can see the crack in the building...

...and it seemed to get worse as we were standing there.

Sakura sat empty....

The building is to the north of the Cathedral grounds.

Members of the film crew were standing around. Someone said, "Here comes Channel 7." A crew member muttered, "Fuckin' great." The reporter, Jen Maxfield, asked several people for an interview. Everyone politely declined. No real sense of urgency here. Someone remarked, "This is what happens when it rains for 30 straight days." One woman asked what was happening. We were all standing looking up at the crack in the building. And someone responded, seriously: "Robert Pattinson is filming a movie!"

Meanwhile, a little bit down the street, the prep work continued on "Remember Me." A carnival scene or something. No one seem to be all that concerned that the building may collapse. "There goes a night of shooting," one crew member said of the holdup with those pesky firefighters, ConEd supervisors and city engineers. Several oblivious members of the paparazzi finally gave up their Pattinson vigil and snapped some shots of the building. One photographer said he thinks all old buildings should be torn down and replaced. The person he said this to told him to fuck off.

Most people thought the firefighters were there as part of the movie. (In case the Texas Taters' blow?) I asked a young woman if she knew what was happening. "Yes, he's inside the church."

And nevermind that many people may be homeless now. Or there's another building collapse in NYC. Oh! Lauren Hutton walked by with some shopping bags. One of the crew members shouted, "Hi Lauren!" She passed. "Damn, she still looks good." She does.

Another new bar for Avenue A

Back on May 4 we noted that a new bar was coming to Avenue A near Third Street. Eater now has more details: The place will be called Mary O'Hallorans, and it opens Friday at the spot of the former sushi joint. Almost next door to Aces & Eights.

On the hunt for a dive bar with "interesting beers on draft, low-key/friendly crowd, passable pub grub"

Speaking of bars... Someone poses a question to the folks at T Magazine at the Times.

Dear Concierge,

I’m looking for a good dive bar. In Manhattan, dive bars are either too div-y (bikers, professional boozers) or too sporty (yellers, Buckhunters). I live downtown, but I’ll go anywhere a Metrocard can get me. Things I’d like: interesting beers on draft, low-key/friendly crowd, passable pub grub, not too crowded/discovered and a general feeling of authenticity. Thank you!

Among the input provided:

Eric Asimov, The Pour columnist for the Dining section and a connoisseur of spirits high and low, weighed in with his favorites: East Village Tavern on Avenue C — a year-old craft-beer place that updates its cask and tap lists daily on its Web site — and Rattle ‘N’ Hum, another new craft-beer spot a pint’s throw from Madison Square Garden that serves food like Rattle ‘N’ Hummus.

Anyway. The usual suspects are trotted out.

The Brooklyn Icehouse, 318 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn; (718) 222-1865.
The Brooklyn Inn, 148 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn; (718) 625-9741.
Daddy’s, 435 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn; (718) 609-6388.
East River Bar, 97 South 6th Street, Brooklyn; (718) 302-0511.
East Village Tavern, 158 Avenue C; (212) 253-8400.
Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, 485 Dean Street, Brooklyn; (718) 622-7035.
Hank’s Saloon, 46 Third Avenue, Brooklyn; (718) 625-8003.
Mars Bar, 25 East 1st Street; (212) 473-9842.
Mona’s, 224 Avenue B; (212) 353-3780.
Nancy Whiskey Pub, 1 Lispenard Street; (212) 226-9943.
Rattle n Hum, 14-16 East 33rd Street; (212) 481-1586.
Russian Vodka Room, 265 West 52nd Street; (212) 307-5835.
The Scratcher, 209 East 5th Street; (212) 477-0030.
Spuyten Duyvil, 359 Metropolitan Avenue, (718) 963-4140.
St. Dymphna’s, 118 St. Mark’s Place; (212) 254-6636.

CB3 didn't approve a liquor license for Superdive; "a nice neighborhood Internet café-bookstore" becomes a bar with keg service at tables

In previous posts about Superdive, I wondered how the SLA/CB3 could have approved such a boozy concept (mix your own drinks, keg service at tables, etc.) ... Well, it turns out they didn't. Check out the minutes from the May meeting. (Item 4 below from the May 11 SLA meeting.)

The owners of Superdive were denied the renewal of a full on-premise liquor license (click on the image for a better view).... in part, because the owners "did not appear before Community Board #3" ... and "the location has been closed for several months." (Actually, Rapture Cafe & Books, the previous occupant here at 200 Avenue A, closed in April 2008)

Regardless, the State Liquor Authority has the final say in these matters. Meanwhile, according to the SLA Web site, Superdive has Rapture's existing license, which is effective through April 2011.

Rapture owner Joe Birdsong's name is on the SLA licensing information, operating as trade name Superdive. Birdsong was interviewed for a Dec. 28, 2006, article in the Observer about the cafe's opening:

Proprietor Joe Birdsong said the 2,200-square-foot space (formerly occupied by the Clockwork Orange-themed Korova Milk Bar)... is still awaiting his community-approved liquor license, which he hopes to receive once the State Liquor Authority's present moratorium on new licenses expires next month.

For now, patrons can sip coffee or tea as they browse the cafe's prerequisite bookshelves.

Mr. Birdsong, who, in order to some day sell alcohol, pledged to operate primarily as a bookstore, said he has, in fact, sold some books, particularly back on Christmas Day.

The Observer had more on Rapure on Jan. 7, 2007.

Rapture owner Joe Birdsong expects to receive his license to sling suds any day now, as the State Liquor Authority’s four-month-long freeze on processing such permits expired with the change in the calendar year.

The bohemian-style café’s entry into the booze business won’t technically exacerbate what many S.L.A. critics have denounced as a citywide proliferation of liquor licenses in recent years. Mr. Birdsong is simply taking the existing license from the location’s prior tenant, the Clockwork Orange–themed Korova Milk Bar. Keeping the license at that address was of particular concern to the building’s landlord, Mr. Birdsong said: "The owner doesn’t want to lose the value attached to it."

Not that Rapture’s ownership would choose to emphasize the alcoholic content of its business plan, penned by Mr. Birdsong. In fact, his proposal barely mentions the venue’s "extensive and unique beer and wine menu," even though his pending permit would grant him the freedom to serve Jägermeister shots or far stiffer drinks, if he wanted to. A wise strategy. Given the city’s current bar-wary climate, prospective restaurateurs and tavern operators are subject to an ever-increasing degree of scrutiny.

Even a self-described "nice little neighborhood Internet café–bookstore–performance space" is not immune, as Mr. Birdsong found out when he appeared this past September before local Community Board 3, a panel that specifically singled out Avenue A as a bad example of area bar sprawl. In order to garner community approval for his own "limited bar," Mr. Birdsong had to promise in writing that his proposed literary hangout would not someday morph into a troublesome, boozy nightspot.

Specifically, he was required to submit a "signed notarized stipulation" that Rapture would "operate as a bookstore with the service of alcoholic beverages incidental to its operation as a bookstore" and "with the predominant space being used for bookshelves," according to the minutes of that meeting.

Whoa. So, what just happened here?

Meanwhile, a few people were inside Superdive last night for what looked like a private party...

Feels as if we just wrote a post like this

In case you missed the news, Kim's Video at 89 Christopher St. in the West Village is closing June. 30. I swung by the other day. New videos are 70 percent off; former rental DVDs are going for $5.99. It's pretty picked over, but there are a few gems here and there. The First Avenue branch is now the last Kim's left in the city.

Ohhhing and aahhing

BoweryBoogie noted the new Calvin Klein Abvertisement (or maybe boobvertisement?) the other day at Lafayette and Houston...

Anyway, I'm enjoying the side-by-side placement of the ads...

I want to go to the beach

From New York's interview with Iggy Pop:

You moved to Miami ten years ago, but for many you will always be the epitome of a New Yorker.
I’d been in the city twenty years straight, so it was just time for me to go, and Miami seemed far enough. Besides, you can get an egg cream in Miami, and I’m still able to be disgusted by the Post at the local newsstand.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baoguette expands its empire to the Financial District

Coming soon to the former site of Klatch. The St. Mark's location opened in April.

Update on the Lower Eastside Girls Club: Groundbreaking set for the fall

I've noticed some work being done on the grounds where the Lower Eastside Girls Club will build their new home on Avenue D between Eighth Street and Seventh Street.

I asked Lyn Pentecost, executive director of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, for an update. Here's her response, via e-mail:

"We have been conducting the city-mandated archeological site survey. So far all the archeologists (a woman crew) have found is late 1800's broken bottles and assorted pieces of pottery. Nothing of note, really — but we will create some kind of display of the 'finds' in the new building."

"As for the trees — the city required they be cut down also, but we have marked and will save the more mature maples. We have located a woman 'miller' who will mill them into boards on-site. The boards will be stored in a nearby basement and return to live again as our café tables."

"Right now we are thinking of a formal October 'groundbreaking' — work will probably have begun, but the fall is a better time to have a ground-breaking party!"

Glitter Gulp continues prepping for grand opening Thursday or Friday, the 26th or the 27th


And: An update from Eater. An Eater reader responds: "I wouldn't quibble with 'dingy,' and would point out that's part of the allure of a dive called 'Superdive.' Nor would I leap to the conclusion that the yet-to-open bar is a 'con job.'...Without question, the vibe is raw and anything goes, and in prissy, high touch, please-call-for-a-reservation Manhattan, that nuttiness was more than welcome for stressed out us. Their approach to serving drinks is certainly novel, i.e. a D.I.Y. bar and keg, but then people thought D.I.Y. checkout looked strange at Home Depot too."

Cooper Union still looking for a store (plus, we communicate with the building)


Oh, and don't forget! You can watch the building live via its, uh, Live Web cam!

And now, please let me concentrate: I must communicate with the building.

52E4 gets some stairs

Whoa, look up in the sky! Atop the 15-floor condo on the Bowery between Third Street and Fourth Street...what will be 52 East Fourth Street (home to Moby!) some day...

Stairs! That lead where?