Thursday, September 27, 2018

Countdown to grilled pizza on 5th Street

An EVG reader on Fifth Street has been keeping tabs on No. 511 here between Avenue A and Avenue B... where the owners of Emmy Squared are in the process of renovating the space for a grilled pizzeria (background here). Updates include an exterior paint job (above) this past weekend ... and the the delivery of kitchen equipment on Monday ...

The still-unnamed grilled pizzeria, which is expected to open in November, per New York, will also offer non-pizza dishes such as housemade pastas and grilled fish.

Next update will be when the new awning arrives. Or the mail.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Emmy Squared's owners are bringing grilled pizza to the former GG's space on 5th Street

Getting 511 E. 5th St. ready for new grilled pizza venture from Emmy Squared's owners

Maybe you'll have a Whalebone of a good time at this pop-up bar on Avenue B

On Monday afternoon, EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted signage going up at 25 Avenue B for something called The Boneyard... which the signage makers described as a coming-soon pop-up bar in the basement space at Avenida Cantina here between Second Street and Third Street...

Bedford + Bowery had more on the establishment: Whalebone Magazine — a Montauk-based publication and lifestyle brand — is behind the project. Per B+B: "On the heels of its dive-bar issue, the outlet ... teamed up with Seagram’s 7 to really celebrate the grunge and grease of America’s favorite hole-in-the-walls."

The Boneyard will be open until Oct. 6.

That basement space was once Save the Robots... and much more recently Idle Hands and The Mockingbird. Upstairs at No. 25 has seen the likes of Billy Hurricane's and Matty's come and go in the last few years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo on 14th Street near Avenue A by Christine Champagne...

Today in docking station relocation news

After two-plus months at the southwest corner of Fifth Street and Second Avenue... workers today removed the Citi Bike docking station and are returning it to its previous location at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Second Avenue... photo by Derek Berg.

Posthuman league: Fall season getting underway at Performance Space New York

The fall season at Performance Space New York starts tomorrow (Thursday!) night with the Posthuman Series.

First up is Annie Dorsen’s "meditation on deadpan comedy and melancholy in a virtual sex chat room, and Mette Ingvartsen’s tireless quest to reconcile thinking, dancing, and feeling."

Performers during the Posthuman Series the next three months include:

American Artist, Caitlin Cherry, Nora N. Khan, and Sondra Perry.
Underground Resistance
Che Gossett
Carolee Schneemann
keyon gaskin and sidony o'neal
Donna Haraway
Ron Athey

Find more details and ticket info at the Performance Space New York website.

The venue is at 150 First Ave. and Ninth Street.

Get the lead out: Tenants call for protections from lead dust during renovations

[Photo via the Cooper Square Committee]

City Council is taking up new legislation regarding lead and is holding a joint oversight and legislative hearing tomorrow morning.

Ahead of that, the Cooper Square Committee, working with local residents and elected officials, released a statement as well as a series of photos that "tell a story of lead contamination."

Per Cooper Square:

Tenants from the Lead Dust Free NYC (LDFNYC) coalition are releasing a series of photos showing the faces of lead dust contamination. As elected officials focus more on the issue of lead in NYC housing, LDFNYC urges them to crack down on landlords who contaminate buildings with lead during construction.

Lead contamination arising from unchecked construction dust has hit Lower East Side (LES) tenants hard over the last five years. Landlords like Samy Mahfar, Steve Croman, Raphael Toledano, and Icon Realty have all exposed tenants to lead through this form of contamination. In response, LES tenants have formed this campaign and assembled these photos of themselves to highlight the extreme lead exposure they have faced through construction dust in their buildings.

While tenants applaud new legislative efforts to stop lead poisoning, they want to also bring attention to the lax enforcement of existing laws. NYC’s predominant lead law is Local Law One of 2004. It was enacted fourteen years ago and many aspects of the law, which would help protect tenants from lead laden construction dust, are simply not being enforced.

"We have had multiple lead violations at 514 E. 12th St. The last violation placed found lead dust at four times the EPA standard. I do not believe Local Law One is enforced," said Holly Slayton, a longtime East Village resident whose doctor advised her and her daughter to wear face masks in their own home during renovations in their building (pictured above). "I had to call city agencies continually to get the dust tested and the landlord to follow the proper Local Law One protocol."

The statement from the Cooper Square Committee also includes comments from local elected officials, including City Council member Carlina Rivera and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

Back in May, City Council member Margaret S. Chin introduced legislation to empower city agencies "to stop dangerous and dirty construction before it sickens tenants and their families."

Here's more background from Chin's office:

In 1960, New York City was one of the first municipalities to ban the use of lead paint. In 2004, Local Law 1 set a goal for the City to eliminate lead in all residential buildings by 2010. Eight years past that deadline, it is clear that there is still more work to be done.

Under current law, landlords must perform annual checks for lead-based paint hazards in multiple dwellings built before 1960 with units that house children under 6 years old. Landlords must also perform a check whenever an apartment becomes vacant. To remediate the problem, landlords often paint over the lead paint surface. Because paint is susceptible to chipping or fading, this only creates a temporary solution to the presence of lead.

Intro 873 pushes for a permanent solution by requiring landlords to permanently remove or encapsulate any lead paint once a unit becomes vacant.

Intro 874 would increase inter-agency coordination when construction work blows lead particles into residential units and common areas, and also allow the City to issue a stop work order if a unit has received a notice of a lead-based paint hazard.

These two bills, sponsored by Chin, were introduced as part of a legislative package of 23 bills to expand the City’s oversight over lead paint, decrease the threshold for elevated blood lead levels that trigger investigation, improve inter-agency coordination and call for reporting to assess the impact and effectiveness of the City’s lead prevention measures.

Meanwhile, according to a new report by the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, city officials have never brought a case against a landlord for failing to inspect their apartments for lead since the law was enacted requiring such inspections. Read more at the Post.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Health Department to inspect Raphael Toledano's East Village properties for toxic levels of lead dust

Ongoing concerns about demolition work and elevated lead levels in Toledano-owned buildings

Same Old Gallery debuts tonight on Great Jones Street with Al Diaz and SAMO©

The Same Old Gallery, curated by Adrian Wilson and Brian Shevlin, opens this evening with an exhibit of old and new work by Al Diaz.

[Image via Instagram]

The gallery (first reported on here) is inside 57 Great Jones St., once owned by Andy Warhol. Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and worked here just west of the Bowery at the time of his death in 1988.

Diaz grew up in the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D. He started writing graffiti at age 12. As a teen in the late 1970s, he and Basquiat collaborated on a series of cryptic messages seen around the city signed from SAMO©.

The front space at No. 57 was sitting unused. The back of the building houses Bohemian, an exclusive (referral-only) Japanese restaurant.

"They are expanding the Bohemian restaurant and very kindly donated the space to me to use as a gallery before construction starts in January," Wilson told me.

This initial exhibit features a selection of Diaz's work through the years ... as well as several archival items, such as a satirical story co-written and illustrated by Diaz and Basquiat published in the City-As-School newspaper in January 1978 that marked the start of SAMO©.

Diaz also invited several artists to help put their mark on the space...

The opening party is tonight from 7-10. The first show will be up through Oct. 20. The gallery hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 2-7 p.m. You can find the Same Old Gallery on Instagram here.

And you can listen to my recent podcast with Diaz right here (or download it for later)...

Thanks to Adrian Wilson for the photos!

A quick look inside the new restaurant coming to 171 Avenue A

Renovations continue over at 171 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street.

We don't know too many details just yet about the restaurant, which will serve Szechuan cuisine and dim sum. CB3 OK'd a beer-wine license for the applicants back in July. According to the applicant's questionnaire on file at the CB3 website, the unnamed restaurant plans to be open from noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

EVG regular Lola Sáenz shared this interior pic from the other day...

Hopefully the new venture will fare better than the previous two establishments here. Chao Chao, a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, closed without any notice to patrons in May 2017 after six months in business. Chao Chao evolved from Soothsayer, which opened in January 2016. Soothsayer, from the same operators, also closed without any notice to patrons at the end of September 2016.

No 171 was also the onetime home of Rat Cage Records and 171A, the illegal club-turned-rehearsal studio that produced records by Bad Brains and the "Polly Wog Stew" EP by the Beastie Boys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday's parting shot

Chroming in the rain on Seventh Street today via Derek Berg...

From the reader mailbag: What is this on 11th Street?

An EVG reader shared these photos of a "mysterious device" that arrived on 11th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue over the weekend...

The reader asked: What is this?

Updated 2 p.m.

Thanks for the responses about this traffic data collection thing... see comments.

A final visit to the Tuck Shop, closing today after 13 years on 1st Street

Today is the last day in business for the Tuck Shop, which has been selling Australian meat and vegetable pies these past 13 years on First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Owner Niall Grant told me this about the closure in an email last week: "All the usual reasons can be cited but rising costs in general are behind this difficult decision. After 13 years in business I am tired of the struggle to keep a small business afloat in NYC."

Yesterday, EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the shop where the mood was fairly upbeat, all things considered...

Here's part of the Tuck Shop team (from the left): Andras Castro, Lee Galdos, Pedro Arrioca, Juan Lorenzo and Grant...

Grant said that he is especially concerned about finding jobs for his longtime kitchen team. (He was helping with résumés while Stacie was there.) Arrioca, the head chef, has been at Tuck Shop from Day 1 while Lorenzo, the sous chef, has been there for nine years, and Castro, the prep cook, for seven years. (If anybody out there has a kitchen opportunity for any of them please email

[Tuck Shop employee Elvis Barlow-Smith]

Here's a longtime customer who stopped in for a last Tuck Shop meal...

Grant said that he'd love to have people could come by today to have a meal and say goodbye...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Tuck Shop is closing after 13 years on 1st Street

Fables of the East Houston Reconstruction

A milestone of sorts to note in the never, ever, ever ending East Houston Reconstruction Project ... the work moved last week from the east side and the median of the Bowery at East Houston ... to the west side of the Bowery...

Anyway, as noted off and on through the years, completion of the $52.5 million East Houston Reconstruction project is now overdue by five years. The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) started this project in June 2010, reconstructing/replacing combined sewers, trunk main, water mains, catch basins, fire hydrants, sidewalks, etc., etc., along East Houston Street, from the Bowery to the FDR Drive.

The work was initially scheduled to wrap up in 2013 (heh), but has been delayed again and again as the city reportedly ran into problems with existing underground wiring and pipes.

At last look, the estimated completion was Jan. 15, 2018, per the DDC's weekly bulletin. There doesn't appear to be any published end date at this point. The last reconstruction newsletter is from the fourth quarter of 2017. (An email to the Community Construction Liaison wasn't returned.)

And in another milestone of sorts... workers yesterday removed one of the painted storage sheds on First Street between Avenue A and First Avenue that has been here dating to 2010.

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

A few items remain ... which will have to be moved as the unrelated water main replacement hits this side of First Street...

Register to vote today at the Tompkins Square Library branch

Today is National Voter Registration Day (happy National Voter Registration Day!).

On this occasion, all 216 of the city’s library branches will have voter registration drives.

Locally, the Tompkins Square Library branch at 331 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B will have a voter registration table available from 3:30-5 p.m. to get you ready to vote on Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, enjoy this vintage photo of Bette Davis...

Handsome Dan's has closed on 1st Avenue

Last week, a 50-percent-off sale sign arrived outside Handsome Dan's Snocone & Candy Stand on First Avenue between 11th Street and 12th Street.

This was positioned as a moving sale to an EVG reader.

On Sunday, however, a "going out of business" sale sign appeared...

Everything was for sale — tables, art work, pillows, Tupperware. Sunday was to be their last day in business. There isn't any mention of a closure or move on the Handsome Dan's website or social-media properties. (Updated: Owner Daniel Levin confirmed the closure in a Facebook message.)

This outpost of the Williamsburg-based shop selling old-time candy and vintage sodas opened here in the spring of 2014. Last fall, the shop added a cafe serving breakfast burritos, wraps and other items to expand their offerings.

Before Handsome Dan's, the retail space housed A-1 Music for 26 years until January 2014.

Thanks to Lola Sáenz for the photos!

Report: Ben Shaoul sells Liberty Toye/Bloom 62 on Avenue B for $85 million

[EVG photo from April]

Ben Shaoul's deal to sell his residential conversion at 62 Avenue B at Fifth Street is apparently official.

The Real Deal reported last evening that Bronx-based investor Martin Shapiro bought Shaoul’s Liberty Toye/Bloom 62 apartment building for $85 million. Shapiro plans to keep it as rentals.

This officially ends Shaoul's nearly seven tumultuous years owning the former Cabrini Nursing Center, which shut down in June 2012. The 240-bed center — sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — provided health care for low-income elderly residents in the East Village. Shaoul reportedly paid $25 million for the property and closed down Cabrini.

Apartments at the new Bloom 62 — "the right place to plant your roots" — arrived in the spring of 2013, with prices topping out at $7,600 for a four-bedroom apartment. Despite the upgrades, some people thought that the units still looked like nursing home rooms, though with better lighting.

Under Shaoul's watch, the rental building gained a reputation for its rooftop DJ parties that annoyed neighbors. Shaoul finally cracked down on the ragers in the summer of 2015.

Shaoul attempted to sell the building several times — $72 million in 2014 ... and $80 million in 2015.

Last November, Shaoul decided to go condo with the property, renaming the building Liberty Toye, and renting a sales office from convicted felon Steve Croman.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Local politicians reach out to Ben Shaoul as re-sale of the Cabrini Nursing Center seems likely

More details on Cabrini's closing announcement

A look at the 'Hip young crowd planting roots at Bloom 62'

Have you heard the rooftop parties at Ben Shaoul's Bloom 62? (52 comments)

Ben Shaoul looks to make a whole lot of money converting nursing home into high-end housing

More details on Ben Shaoul's condo conversion Liberty Toye, where you can buy with bitcoins

Sales underway for Ben Shaoul's Liberty Toye — at the 'crossroads that cradled the Culture of Cool'

Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday's parting shot

The view downtown this evening via Bobby Williams...

Mid-afternoon grill master

First Avenue near First Street via Stacie Joy...

The 9th Precinct's monthly Community Council Meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday!) night

The 9th Precinct's Community Council meetings take place on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

However, in observation of Yom Kippur last Tuesday night, the 9th Precinct rescheduled the meeting to tomorrow (Tuesday!) night at the station house, 321 E. Fifth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

This is an opportunity for residents to address any concerns and ask 9th Precinct officials for their input on recent crime statistics. (Find the PDF of the most recent crime stats here.)

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to meet the 9th Precinct's newish CO — Capt. John L. O’Connell.

Protection for pedestrians arrives at 75 1st Ave.

It appears that workers will be ready to kick the tires and light the fires again at 75 First Ave., where the site of an incoming condoplex has been dormant since January.

This past Friday, a crew finished erecting a more substantial sidewalk bridge here between Fourth Street and Fifth Street...

On Jan. 12, the city served up a full stop work order on the site. The DOB complaint noted "no protection for pedestrians."

Here's what the construction looked like at the time of the stop work order...

Sales had already commenced here in August 2017 for the 8-floor, 22-unit condoplex. The four units on the market are asking between $1.79 million and $2.25 million.

The foundation work dates back to October 2016.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Developer: A shorter building in the works now for 75 First Avenue

High-rise for 75 First Avenue back in play

Long-stalled First Avenue site now has a brand-new rendering

Report: Long-dormant 1st Avenue development site changes hands

Plywood report and the future of 75 1st Ave. (Spoiler: condos)

Sales underway for Rite Aid-adjacent condoplex on 1st Avenue

Goodbye to Cucina Di Pesce

In case you missed the post from Friday afternoon... Cucina di Pesce, the unpretentious seafood-focused Italian restaurant on Fourth Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery, closed after service last evening.

Cucina Di Pesce had been open for 32 years, though the building was recently sold and the rent was increased.

This is how New York magazine described the place:

Cucina di Pesce is the type of unpretentious, comfortably lived-in Italian restaurant that ruled New York before Mario Batali and his ilk turned the town upside-down. But if Cucina's ambience feels a bit dated, its flavors are absolutely contemporary. This is one of the best places in the city to get good Italian food on a budget.

There were a lot of reader comments about this closure spread out over this site, Instagram and Facebook.

A quick sampling:

That neon sign, two blocks away from their window, was a nighttime touchstone for my kids when they were little. Fish!


Very sad. This was one of the first restaurants I discovered when I moved to NYC 30 years ago.


When it opened we little babies thought it the most expensive restaurant in the world. And that it was going to ruin the neighborhood! Then we discovered the free happy hour mussels and pasta. Kept many of us alive for most of the 90s. Very sad.