Thursday, August 27, 2015

Something new in the works for 25 Avenue B

[EVG photo from April]

After just two months at 25 Avenue B, Matty's shut down back in February. There's now a new applicant for the bar space between East Second Street and East Third Street.

According to the questionnaire (the PDF is here) on file ahead of the September CB3/SLA committee meeting, there's is a 100 percent corporate change for the business... and a name change to Avenida Cantina.

However, despite a new concept and partners, this item will not be heard in front of the committee. There isn't any other information at the moment about what to expect from the new venture.

In the past few years, 25 Avenue B was home to Idle Hands and Station B and Billy Hurricane's.

A listing for the bi-level club shows an asking price of $299,000 with a monthly rent listed as $16,882.63.

The SLA meeting is at the CB3 office, 59 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.

Caracas Arepa Bar back open after an 18-day, gas-related hiatus

Caracas Arepa Bar reopened yesterday after a gas leak kept the small Venezuelan restaurant on East Seventh Street out of commission since Aug. 8.

As DNAinfo first reported, the plumbing company that the restaurant management hired to fix the gas-pipe problem waited a week before filing the necessary paperwork with Con Ed.

Con Ed was expected to make the inspection yesterday here just east of First Avenue. Given the usual line waiting to get in last evening, all went well with the approvals.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Caracas Arepa Bar remains closed due to gas issues

A refurbished 330 Bowery comes into view

After two-and-a-half years, workers have removed the construction wrap from 330 Bowery (aka 54 Bond St.), the historic circa-1874 building at Bond Street.

Crews have been "rebuilding the parapet wall and restoring existing stairs," per the work permits, among other refinements.

The retail space (the last tenant, Rogan, closed in April 2013) will be the second NYC home to a John Barrett luxury hair salon. It is expected to open this fall.

The landmark cast-iron building once housed the Bouwerie Lane Theater and various banks (and famous residents upstairs, like Lauren Hutton and Pearl Bailey). You can read more history of the building here.

H/T EV reader Mike Brown

Previously on EV Grieve:
330 Bowery wrapped and ready

Former Jones Diner lot on Lafayette primed for new development

The stretch of Lafayette between Bond and Great Jones is about to host yet another new development.

Catching up to this from the Post last week (h/t New York Yimby) … there's a new commercial development in the works for 363 Lafayette, a long-vacant parcel that partially housed the Jones Diner.

Per the Post:

“They will build something special and unique to bring a cool vibe to the neighborhood,” said Stephen Shapiro of JLL, who along with colleague Richard Baxter represented Olmstead Properties in arranging the 49-year ground lease with extension options.

There is reportedly 32,000 square feet of development potential on this 5,500 square-foot site.

Nearby projects include 10 Bond Street, 372 Lafayette, 25 Great Jones/22 Bond St. and whatever retail tenant that Aby Rosen recruits for the 43-bed shelter for homeless women on Lafayette Street at Bond Street.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blimp attack underway

Vinny & O spotted them above Second Avenue...

Don't worry, we're on it!

Probably here practicing for the U.S. Open... it's Qualifying Day 2 today!

Another report of stolen packages from an East Village lobby

[Screengrab from earlier this month]

Two weeks ago, a resident who lives on East Seventh Street between Avenue A and Avenue B told us that the man in the above photo has entered his or her building several times in the past month… video surveillance cameras show him taking packages from the lobby. (Another resident said that he has struck No. 140, 144 and 150 on East Seventh Street.)

In the comments on that post, several other residents noted that someone had also stolen packages from their doorman-less lobbies in the neighborhood.

Now comes word of another lobby package grab on Monday in a building on East Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. The suspect — a different man than from East Seventh Street — was caught on the building's security cameras.

Per the resident:

The man entered our building at 4:27 p.m. — about 10 minutes after UPS had dropped off their deliveries — and took all the packages in the mailroom. He appears to have buzzed random doors to gain entry.

Here is the surveillance video...

And last Wednesday night around 8:30, a resident spotted a man pushing a cart with packages from East Seventh Street and Avenue B... then west on Sixth Street to Avenue A. The resident did not see the man take — or deliver — any packages.

"It was just really strange that he didn't have a uniform," said the reader, who alerted the NYPD. "He didn't have a truck anywhere either." [Updated: Multiple readers said that the man works for Amazon]

Previously on EV Grieve:
Watch this man help himself to packages from an East 7th Street lobby

Out and About in the East Village

In this weekly feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village.

By James Maher
Name: George Cameron
Occupation: Musician, The Left Banke
Location: 6th Street and 1st Avenue
Time: 3 pm on Friday, Aug. 21

I’m originally from Manhattan, but I’ve been around the world and stuff. I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. That’s why I’m such a bad kid. It was OK and then I was raised in Brooklyn because we bought a house out there.

I lived on the Upper West Side, but moved down here seven years ago. The Upper West Side was getting a little you know… not that loose, so I said let me try something else. So I came down here, man. I love it down here. I like the diversity. I love the small parks. All the people are really nice. You say hello, they say hello back.

I’m a musician. I was in a group called the Left Banke. We did a song called "Walk Away Renee." Me and mom had an up-and-down relationship. I guess you could call it like that, so I left kind of early, at 16 and I got involved in singing in the Village. My friend and I hooked up and we just started singing in the streets like crazy. The music scene was basically the Village — the West Village and some of the East Village. Everybody was around. It was all about the music. Mostly everybody was into music it seemed like. People were a little tighter with each other.

Somebody came up to us on the street, ‘Do you want to [be in a band?]’ And we went up to the studio. We had a recording studio to ourselves, day and night. Nobody has that anymore. I can’t get used to that part. We were dedicated and we did good. We didn’t realize it, but we did pretty good.

We’d tour for months at a time. We’d be on the road. We played with The Beach Boys, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, The Mamas & The Papas — all those people. It was fun. When you’re 17 years old and you’ve got all this money, you’re really not thinking about much. When you’re 17, you think about girls; that’s all you think about. It was really wild and we really didn’t have any person behind us who was sort of an authority figure. Everybody around us was like, ‘Oh, we saw these young guys. They really just want to play. We can take their money now.’ And they’re still trying to do it today.

So now we’re back on the road and doing some new music and stuff we couldn’t do back then. I was the guitar player originally, then the drummer split and I became the drummer, but I’m a songwriter and singer as well. I wrote a lot of the [music]. We just came back from Massachusetts and we just finished in Woodstock. We’re planning a tour for us to go down south in the fall — nice Florida weather. We’re all going to meet my lead singer in Tampa. We plan to go across from the East Coast to the West Coast. I want to be back in California for awhile. The Troubadour opened out there. Things are happening out there somehow.

James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.

Nicoletta looking to upgrade to a full liquor license on 2nd Avenue


Last evening, CB3 released the September agenda for the SLA committee meeting coming up on Sept. 1.

So far, not all the applications and questionnaires have been filed online. So we'll take a look in the days ahead as more information becomes available. (You can find the applicants here.)

One item to start with... Nicoletta, chef Michael White's Midwestern-style pizzeria that opened to a lot of hype in June 2012 (and lousy reviews), is on the docket for an upgrade to a full liquor license. (They currently only serve beer and wine.)

There was speculation almost two years ago to the day that White might close Nicoletta and swap it out for another restaurant from his empire. (Eater even put the pizzeria on Second Avenue and East 10th Street on Deathwatch.)

Well, two years later, and Nicoletta has expanded into New Jersey with a space in D.C. on the way. Anyway, they'll likely be more speculation as to whether Nicoletta will solider on with full liquor, or if this is a step to secure a license for another venture.

And it has been about two years since we heard anything from anyone about the place. Early on, some EVG readers were turned off by Nicoletta's T.G.I. Fridaysish interior and clipboard-toting hostesses standing guard by the door. Feeling any different about Nicoletta these days?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Cafe Centosette closes on Second Avenue

Former Cafe Centosette space becoming a fancy-pants pizza place

'The Art of Noise: A Punk Collective' opens tonight at 174 Rivington Street Bar and Gallery

From the EVG inbox...

174 Rivington Street Bar and Gallery is pleased to announce that spotlight curator Lisa Lush has assembled an exhibition to feature musicians who are also artists. As a former musician on the NYC garage punk scene she noticed that many of her artist friends have put their focus more on music, but also deserve to have their visual art showcased.

THE ART OF NOISE: A Punk Collective features the artworks of Anthony Begnal, Lee Ann Fassbender, Max Frechette, Sierra Furtwangler, Stu-Art Gray, Sam Harris, Sean Pryor, Tommy Volume, and Joseph Western who are all part of the local underground punk music scene. The opening reception will take place tonight from 6 to 10, with DJ Charles Gaskins.

The exhibit will be up through Sept. 30. The gallery is located at 174 Rivington St. between Clinton and Ridge on the LES. Find more details here.

Yummy Asian Food coming to East 3rd Street

The new awning is up at 226 E. Third St., where Yummy Asian Food will be serving take-out Chinese fare here between Avenue B and Avenue C. We don't know anything about the place just yet.

The space was home earlier this year to Lord Hamm's, the short-lived (two months) sandwich shop that people seemed to like.

H/T EVG reader Glenn B.

Reader report: Bike room burglarized at Icon's 2nd Avenue residential building

A resident who lives at 152-154 Second Ave. reports that the building's secure bike storage room in the basement was recently burglarized.

Per the resident: "All the locks [were] cut and about seven bikes are gone. You need two keys to access this room. I'm not necessarily saying it was an inside job, but there wasn't any forced entry."

The theft happened some time between Aug. 18 to Aug. 23. According to the resident, several people have access to the bike storage area, including the other tenants (there are 12 units in total), cleaning staff and super.

The resident says that the building has security cameras. To date there haven't been any updates from management about the theft, according to the resident.

Landlord Icon Realty began converting the former Sigmund Schwartz Gramercy Park Chapel between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street into a residential building with three additional floors in April 2012. The rentals hit the market back in March.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

At the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park

It was a full house park Sunday afternoon for the 22nd annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival... EVG contributor was there for some of the action...

[Joe Lovano]

[Jon Batiste]

[Myra Melford]

[Michael Mwenso]

[Ron Miles]

[Rudresh Mahanthappa]

The Times checked in with a review...

[T]he festival doesn’t uphold bebop as a rigid absolute, or impose Parker’s music as a precondition. There tends to be a refreshing absence of formal tributes among the artists on the bill, and a healthy abundance of the informal kind, sometimes as fleeting and allusive as a scrap of melody shoehorned into a solo. Usually, that’s enough.

Still, there was a welcome charge in the air at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village on Sunday evening as the tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano unfurled a billowing, adroit improvisation, using elements of “Barbados,” a Parker tune. Leading a band with Leo Genovese on piano, Esperanza Spalding on bass and Lewis Nash on drums, Mr. Lovano was dipping into “Bird Songs” (Blue Note), his 2011 Parker-themed album.

Parker, who died in 1955 at age 34, lived at 151 Avenue B from 1950-54.

Tompkins Square Park will be a little less shady

Earlier today, the Community Board 3 office passed along some information from the Parks Department, who recently completed an assessment of trees in city parks throughout Manhattan.

Crews have identified some trees that are dead, decaying or structurally unsound, and need to be removed for public safety. Unfortunately, according to the Parks Department, six of those trees reside in Tompkins Square Park.

EVG correspondent Steven was in the Park this afternoon, and spotted a crew in charge of removing three trees on the East 10th Street side of the Park... one of which was pushing into a light pole...

CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer said that complaints regarding unsafe trees have increased recently ... and that the Community Board is relaying those concerns in a timely manner to the Parks Department.

Stetzer also said that all six trees that the city removes will be replaced with new trees.


[Photo from June by Derek Berg]

More people are stealing Citi Bikes, according to the Post today.

The number of Citi Bikes stolen from docking stations and off the street has skyrocketed this year compared with 2014, with a 100 percent jump in Manhattan.

So far this year, 476 Citi Bikes have been stolen throughout the city, compared with 300 in 2014, an increase of nearly 60 percent.

There are also more bikes in circulation… anyway, according to Post:

Many riders fail to dock their bikes properly or leave them sitting on the street while they run an errand. And that’s when thieves most often strike.

“Some dope with a Citi Bike leaves it unattended while going into a store or something, and a perp comes up and steals it,” a police source said.

So, as a reminder, don't leave the bikes unattended. Or put them on a fence.

City removes Sandy-damaged willow from 9th Street Community Garden Park

An EVG reader let us know that a city crew is taking down a willow tree in the 9th Street Community Garden Park … Sandy's floodwaters killed the tree here on the northeast corner of Avenue C and Ninth …

As we understand it, the remaining willows at La Plaza Cultural across the way on the southwest corner of Ninth and C survived due to an underground stream beneath it that provides fresh water (and also makes development in that part of the neighborhood difficult). While those willows lost some branches, they remain healthy.

And EVG reader stickmanpk shared these photos…

NYPD busts the 2nd Ave. Convenience Store

Last Wednesday, the NYPD shut down the 2nd Ave. Convenience Store between East Fourth Street and East Fifth Street.

Several readers told us about it, though we didn't know the extent of the allegations.

The notice on the gate points out the following activity on the premises: Sale and possession of synthetic marijuana/Stolen property offenses…

The other day, an EVG reader came across about 50 pages of court papers (since removed) that were lying on the sidewalk out front... the reader skimmed about five of the pages, noting a sting operation involving stolen goods.

We went online to find the case.

[Click to go big]

The court documents outline the violations, which include that the store was the site of five undercover "sales" of alleged stolen property since March 25. In each case, "the sale occurred after the confidential informant informed the individual that the aforementioned property was stolen."

The items included four packs of Duracell batteries, three packs of Gillette Fusion razor blades and two packs of Red Bull.

According to the settlement, the store had to agree to a whole bunch of legalese and pay a $6,000 penalty ... but it appears the owners will be able to reopen this week.

Because bagels

In a fall (!!!!) preview over at New York magazine, Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite have a piece titled "This Will Be the Year of the Bagel."

The article includes a few more details about Black Seed's soon-to-open First Avenue location ... including menu items other than bagels...

The third (and largest) branch of this growing concern has annexed the East Village’s historic De Robertis bakery, preserving that relic’s original penny-tile floor and tin ceiling while augmenting its own repertoire with more salads, more hot bagel sandwiches, and more pastries, from rugalach to rainbow cookies, in honor of its predecessor.

The magazine lists "September" as the opening date.

DeRobertis closed here on First Avenue between East 10th Street and East 11th Street last December after 110 years in business.

Meskel Ethiopian Restaurant has not been open lately

Several readers have noted that the unassuming little restaurant at 199 E. Third St. just west of Avenue B hasn't been open the past week-plus.

Calls to the restaurant turn up a temporarily disconnected number.

Perhaps they are on a summer hiatus or closed for renovations. {Updated: Check the comments — several commenters say they will reopen after renovations.)

1st Avenue McDonald's replaces $1 menu signage; new emphasis placed on the Big Mac, large fries

[Image via Google]

Longtime McDonald's signage watchers were treated yesterday to something new… as workers replaced the familiar (and colorful and at least 7-year-old) "Dollar Menu" on the marquee here on First Avenue near East Sixth Street…

[Photo by Vinny and O]

[Photo by EVG reader Rainer]

… to an admittedly more staid look featuring a pretty big Big Mac and more fries than can actually fit into the fry box…

McDonald's is reportedly moving away from its Dollar Menu, and emphasizing new, mid-priced items.

Please leave your comments on McDonald's new approach in the comments. (Sample discussion starters: Why is the box of fries upside down?)

Report: Arthouse cinema, bookshop planned for Ludlow Street

[Metrograph rendering]

In case you missed this in the Times yesterday... Alexander Olch, who owns a high-end boutique on Orchard Street, announced his plans to open the Metrograph on Ludlow at Canal early next year.

The ambitious-sounding complex includes a two-screen theater that will feature independent and international movies as well as repertory films, plus a restaurant, café and lounge, and cinema-dedicated bookshop. (Curious how CB3 will view this liquor-license application. They wouldn't approve a full liquor license for the Sunshine Cinema in 2012.)

Anyway, here's more from the Times:

Michael Lieberman, a spokesman for the project, said the design was aimed at creating an inviting space, with a balcony in the larger theater, which will have 175 seats — the second one will have 50 — and chairs fashioned out of wood salvaged from the old Domino Sugar Factory.

Metrograph will reportedly install both digital film projectors and 35mm film.

The film programers will be Jacob Perlin and Aliza Ma. Perlin is currently programmer-at-large at the Film Society of Lincoln Center ... while Ma is a veteran of several high-profile film festivals as well as the Museum of the Moving Image.

Per Indiewire:

"Growing up in Manhattan, I fell in love with movies in theaters which are now sadly gone, like The Beekman and The Plaza," says Metrograph founder and New York-based director Alexander Olch. "To bring glamour, excitement, and prestige back to the exhibition experience has been my longstanding goal."

Visit the Metrograph website to sign up for their newsletter for updates.