Monday, January 4, 2010

Daily News reporter bravely walks on St. Mark's Place wearing a pair of jeggings

Over at the Daily News today, reporter Issie Lapowsky wore a pair of denim leggings around town. Then wrote about it. She took them for a spin on St. Mark's Place, but no one apparently tossed FroYo at her or threw up on her shoes boots...the caption to the photo below reads, "A stroll through the East Village in C&C jeans was not an uplifting experience — though it did win some attention."

According to the article, she did, however, successfully wear them to a class at Yoga to the People.

East Village vintage stores doomed?

According to the Post yesterday:

It's a nightmare for hipsters!

The East Village's vintage-clothing shops are about to go the way of leisure suits and flapper dresses, as a wave of closures hits home.

The latest blow to the corduroy-wearing set came [Saturday] when O Mistress Mine -- which counted Madonna, Paul McCartney and Marc Jacobs as customers -- closed its East 11th Street shop after some four decades in business.

Its owner, finding the city too expensive, is moving to cheaper space in Hoboken, NJ.

"I just couldn't make it," Wanda Hanlon said last week as she packed up her furs, beaded bags and gowns.

The article also notes that "Atomic Passion, which opened on East Ninth Street 17 years ago, may close in February if its landlord doesn't lower the rent. 'This has been the worst year we've had since 1992,' said co-owner Justin Vogel."

This Page 3 trends piece also noted that Loves Saves the Day and Poppet (East Ninth Street) closed last year. (No mention of Howdy Do, though.)

While the closure of these stores is a sad, troubling development, the article makes it seem as if you'll never be able to find another Wrangler snap-button western shirt from the 1970s anywhere in the neighborhood. The article doesn't mention any thrift/vintage shops that remain, such as Physical Graffiti on St. Mark's Place, Buffalo Exchange on 11th Street and No Relation on First Avenue. (And you could do a piece on any mom-and-pop shop with a specialty struggling now in NYC.)

Plus, there's more to it than higher rents/bad economy, at least in the case of vintage clothing stores. There's also the mindset of the younger generation, the privileged post-NYU/wherever-they-came-from crowd.

For instance. Late one Saturday afternoon this past summer, I bought a bunch of books and albums and a stupid shirt from a veteran sidewalk vendor on Second Street. I said that I was surprised such seemingly good items remained so late in the day. He shrugged and said "the kids who have moved into the neighborhood don't want used stuff. Everything has to be new. I call them the 'Ikea Generation.'"

An unemployed friend recently took a stack of clothes over to Beacon's Closet to try to get some cash. She said that they didn't want any of the vintage stuff. The only thing the store bought was a Banana Republic shirt that her sister gave her.

Or maybe more people are scoring vintage finds at thrift stores away from NYC. Like my unemployed friend who returns from visiting her parents far away with $2 shirts that would run about $200 at Cheap Jack's.

Or maybe we can just blame all this on Bloomberg, which is always fun. This all falls in step with the Bloomyberg mindset: Unique vintage stores don't fit in with his vision of a suburban American city.

Whatever the case, the neighborhood continues to slowly slip away....

Dunkin' Donuts closes on Second Avenue; only 428 left in NYC

Several readers have noted the closure of Dunkin' Donuts on Second Avenue between 10th Street and 11th Street. Serving up Double Chocolate Cake Donuts one day, windows papered up the next. Perhaps it's just a renovation, though you'd think they'd put up a sign or something...

Of course, Dunkin' Donuts is the most dominant (prominent?) chain in NYC with 429 locations, according to the last report by the Center for an Urban Future. This includes two locations right near the Second Avenue spot...First Avenue (below) and 14th Street...

All this reminds me of this fellow below who apparently really liked Dunkin' Donuts...taking the time to memorialize it in paint...

And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home

The former Birdies space (and previously, Flor's Kitchen) at 149 First Avenue near Ninth Street... now something called This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, which doesn't seem to be open just yet...(But there is a "How are we doing?" sign in the window with the name....)

Anyway, an alternative for those meat lovers who don't want pork at Porchetta over on Seventh Street...?

Birdies closed after nearly two years last October.

Some photos of the new Cooper Union building that you may not have seen

No, not the one above. I took that last fall. Inhabitat has an "exclusive" look at the newish Cooper Union academic building. (Exclusive? Never mind the various photo essays that Curbed has posted in recent this one...and this one...or these "exclusive" photos last fall from TrendLand...)

Still, the Inhabitat feature does have a few shots that I haven't seen before, such as these on the roof...

As the article notes:

Green roof gardens and terraces provide insulation to the interior spaces of the building while minimizing the "urban heat island" effect so prevalent in Manhattan. They also reduce the flow of storm water runoff and pollutants into city sewers.

Yeah, and some Cooper Union student totally has some weed growing in here...

Oh, and there's this shot too...

A Building lobby renovation update: One month anniversary!

This is how it looked on Dec. 14:

And this is how it looked this past weekend...

Hey, I know that it takes time to renovate a new lobby.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A Building residents forced to use the service entrance (Dec. 7)

Boutiques on Bowery replacing the Bowery Bazaar (plus, Brazilian coffee!)

First, there was the Bowery Bazaar in the retail space in 52E4, the 15 stories of condo on the Bowery near Fourth Street...

Perhaps that was only seasonal, given the Feb. 1. debut of Boutiques on Bowery, which sort of seems like the same idea but with a new graphic: A woman in a rather short dress standing in some leaves during a windstorm with a python/cat/scarf wrapped around her neck.

According to the Boutiques on Bowery Web site:

The Boutiques on Bowery are an assembly of 36 hip new designer and artisans displaying women's clothing, dresses, sweaters, mens suites, hats, scarves, vintage and new Jewelry.

B on B will also be home to O-Cafe coffee bar reflecting the very essence of Brazil. O-Cafe will be serving the finest coffees, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, cortado, teas, pastries and much more.

Just steps from the stylish Bowery Hotel, B on B aims to bring a sense of authenticity back to a part of Manhattan that's been transformed from a central throughway, to a gritty nabe and back again. A community collaboration, B on B is ever seeking new talent.

$3 million penthouse sale at 52E4

According to the real estate section in the Post this week, a $3 million penthouse was sold at 52E4, the 15 stories of condo at Fourth Street and the Bowery...

EAST VILLAGE $3,000,000
52 E. Fourth St.

Two-bedroom, two-bath penthouse condo, 1,317 square feet, with 13-foot ceilings, marble baths and washer/dryer; building features doorman, garage, pool and roof deck. Common charges $1,811, taxes $225. Asking price $3,250,000, on market 82 weeks. Brokers: Frances Katzen, Prudential Douglas Elliman and John B. Gomes and Fredrik Eklund, Core

According to StreetEasy, there have been 15 sales here...with three units currently on the market...


And, I promise, the last post of the day on 52E4


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things that people are throwing away

On 10th Street near Avenue C...

...a Mr. Potato head.

At Doc Hollidays on Avenue A and Ninth Street...

...a Jägermeister machine...

There has to be a connection...

A mighty wind

Winds were gusting up to 50 mph over night, at least according to my friends at the Weather Channel.

Still, however gusty, that probably doesn't explain how this Villager box moved from the west to east side of Avenue B near Eighth Street during the night...

10th Street, 11:15 a.m., Jan. 2

Silence of the Limbs

This great LES streetscene is from Logically Impossible via Neighborhoodr.

Reminds me of a scene from Stanley Kubrick's "Killer's Kiss."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What has been lost during Bloomy's reign (so far...)

Our friend Nathan Kensinger has an in-depth photo essay on how Bloomyberg's tenure has changed the skyline of NYC... here's an excerpt...:

With the loss of small businesses, the commercial landscape of New York re-oriented towards chain stores - with cookie-cutter exteriors - that could afford to pay exorbitant rents. By mid-decade, New York's commercial streetscape had become dominated by redundancy. A multitude of sterile bank branches opened, while chains like Duane Reade and Starbucks placed multiple store locations within a few blocks of each other, to monopolize neighborhoods. For the first time, big-box-stores were allowed to enter the city, like Home Depot in 2004 and Ikea in 2008, further endangering small businesses.

Read the whole thing here.

[Photo by Nathan Kensinger]

At Port 41: Putting "the salty in 'salt of the earth'

Over at the Times, Cara Buckley does a round up of things to do around Port Authority, including a trip to EV Grieve favorite Port 41. A few of her observations:

"[A] bona fide dive bar with a life-size hippopotamus head — missing one eye and sporting a hard hat — that adorns one wall. Other perks: the bartenders wear bikinis, sometimes accessorized with fishnet stockings, and the regulars — working stiffs, construction crews and, one recent afternoon, a guy passed out by the pool table in the back room — put the salty in "salt of the earth.".


For those women who like to disappear to the bathroom in pairs, the restroom is one stall with two toilets, side by side, separated by nothing.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Drinking near the Port Authority: All is well at Port 41 and the Holland, but here comes Heartland Brewery

Friday, January 1, 2010

PETA gets involved in falling moose/caribou head circus

More developments in the story of the moose head (which was actually a caribou) that fell on a diner at LES hotspot White Slab Palace. PETA has issued a statement!

PETA sent a letter to Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, urging her to encourage members who still have animal heads mounted on the walls of their establishments to take them down and send them to PETA. PETA plans to offer fun, puffy faux animal heads in return. The letter comes on the heels of reports that a 150-pound moose head at the White Slab Palace restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side came crashing down onto a diner, leaving her with a concussion. The woman is suing the restaurant for damages.

"Perhaps it was bad karma--the departed moose's way of taking revenge on restaurant owners who are disrespectful enough to display their remains," writes PETA cofounder and President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "For the new year, we want to help restaurants ditch dead decor and go friendly faux."

In the letter, PETA points out that a growing number of Americans oppose the cruel blood sport of hunting and are repulsed by the idea of using a dead animal's head as decor. PETA has offered to provide a free faux head for every real head that the association sends to the group. Options range from a teeth-baring T-rex to an inflatable, easy-to-clean moose head to an attractive handcrafted faux deer head.

Hmm, and some of my favorite bars have dead animals on the wall: Joe's and Port 41... Will Port 41 replace its hippo head with something plastic....?

Meanwhile, what this saga needs is a theme song...

And now, signs that I'm probably reading into...

Let's start the New Year off with something stupid. Or stupider.

Couldn't they pick another fruit to name a tour company?

Hmm -- hot beer...

This weed sucked...and I don't have a receipt...

A trend to watch? People abandoning their noses...

Get what?

What happens when Baskin-Robbins uses the same ad agency as Toys in Babeland.

Pretty brazen to advertise this...

A kind-of stoned white model? Shouldn't be a problem...

Coned employees?

Screw parking!

There's a Mel Brooks joke here...

These buns are annoyed?

Watching tourists cross the street is an agonizingly slow process...

The men working above are dangerous?

No style...

Sunny and Annie's giving away cute puppy 2010 calendars