Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Information about a crowdfunding campaign to help the fire-damaged Essex Card Shop

Photo by Steven 

A two-alarm fire destroyed the Essex Card Shop late yesterday afternoon at 47 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street. (The cause is under investigation.) 

Saba Aslam, the daughter of owner Muhammad Aslam, launched a crowdfunding campaign for the family-owned business. (Her uncle Jay Patel is the manager and her sister Mehnaz Noreen is retail sales manager.) 

Per the campaign:
This fundraiser can really help this small business pick themselves up again and recover from this. Every single corner of this store is burned, damaged, and destroyed. I am 27 years old now, and I have seen this store as a part of my family ever since I was a little girl. Let us all please come together as a loving community, and help this small business rise from its ashes!
Find the campaign here

Here's a look inside the storefront last night before workers board it up... photos by Stacie Joy...

Monday, January 10, 2022

Scenes from the fire today at 47 Avenue A

More than 100 members of the FDNY responded late this afternoon to a two-alarm fire at the Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street. 

The FDNY had the fire under control in less than an hour. Two firefighters sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Thankfully, there weren't any other injuries reported. 

The popular Card Shop, which relocated here in June 2020 from a block to the south, was destroyed. Next-door neighbor Exit9 received some smoke and water damage but remains structurally intact. (Read our previous post for more details.) 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

EVG contirbutor Stacie Joy was quickly on the scene after the fire was reported around 4:45 and shared these photos...
As you can see, the Card Shop is in ruins...

Saba Aslam, the daughter of owner Muhammad Aslam at Essex Card Shop, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild the business. Find the link here.

[Updated] Fire destroys Essex Card Shop on Avenue A

Updated: Saba Aslam, the daughter of owner Muhammad Aslam at Essex Card Shop, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild the business. Find the link here.

The FDNY is responding to a two-alarm fire that started inside the Essex Card Shop shortly after 4:30 p.m. at 47 Avenue A between Third Street and Fourth Street.

It was a frightening scene as thick black smoke hugged the east-facing wall of the Ageloff Towers.

The early word is that the shop has been destroyed.
No word just yet to damage other businesses here or the apartments above in the Ageloff Towers.
Shot this video clip at 4:52 p.m.

We'll continue to update...

Updated 6:45 p.m. (photo below by Steven)
Everyone is reported to be safe. EVG contributor Stacie Joy spoke with Muhammed and Jayant at the Essex Card Shop. Unfortunately, the shop is in ruins. Jayant said that he smelled smoke coming from the bathroom in the rear of the store and immediately called the FDNY. Both of them said they were grateful that no one was hurt.

In addition, they both said that they would come back from this.

Next door at 51 Avenue A, everyone is safe at Exit9, which sustained minor water and smoke damage. Downtown Yarns appears to be OK as well.

A fire official told Stacie that the cement ceiling and brick walls in the storefronts served as a firebreak and prevented further damage to the building.

We've heard reports of residents who had to evacuate the 13-floor Ageloff Towers above the shops. The resident reports say that this was done safely, and there weren't any reports of injuries. No word on damage to the residential units above the shops. 

EVG reader Eric FG shared this photo of Jayant shortly after the report of the fire...

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus...oh

As seen this morning under the holiday tree in Tompkins Square Park... (thanks to Steven for the photos)...
At first glimpse, there were some SantaCon flashbacks. Then, concern for a possibly injured or inebriated individual dressed as Santa on this frigid Jan. 10. 

However, it is a life-size Santa figure. 

As we understand it, a resident left this in his lobby yesterday for the super to stow for the season. Someone ended up dragging Santa here instead. Update! This was the Santa out front at East Village Social on St. Mark's Place. They made a special delivery. God Bless us, everyone!


Not in bloom: Sunny's Florist closed until early March

If Sunny's Florist is your go-to spot for Valentine's Day, then you'll need a plan B this year. 

The sliver of a storefront on the SE corner of Sixth Street and Second Avenue will be closed through February.

EVG regular Lola Sáenz ran into owner Sun "Sunny" Ja Hwang and her son Edward late Friday. They explained that business has been slower (and generally so in these colder-weather months) ... and combined with the spread of the omicron variant in recent weeks, the two decided to shut down until March 1. 

Unfortunately, the closure includes Feb. 14, a day when the popular shop sees lines around the corner for the tasteful arrangements wrapped to perfection with a flourish (especially when Eddie is doing it).

The business dates here to 1988.

Irving Farm New York is opening an outpost on 10th Street

Irving Farm New York is coming soon to 79 E. 10th St. between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue. 

This will be the sixth cafe/coffee shop in NYC (plus one upstate in Millerton, where they also operate a roastery) for the company that started on Irving Place in 1996. (There was an outpost on Orchard Street, though the owners sold it to a manager, who now runs Sunday to Sunday in the space.) 

And we're assuming that the 10th Street location will offer breakfast and lunch items like at the other outposts. 

No. 79 was previously City of Saints Coffee Roasters, which debuted in June 2014 and never reopened after the PAUSE of March 2020.

LES Convenience is coming soon for your convenience on Avenue A

The proliferation of smoke-snack shops continues. 

Signage for LES Convenience arrived late last week at 105 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. The signage promises an ATM, snacks, drinks, hookah and more. 

No. 105 was previously home to Hub Thai, which moved to 50 Avenue A this past March

LES Convenience will mark the third deli-snack-smoke establishment to open on the west side of Avenue A within three blocks. A more-upscale looking deli-market is coming to 93 Avenue A ... while a mystery deli-market is said to be in the works for 123 Avenue A. 

Meanwhile, I would have been happy if East Village Farms had never vanished at 100 Avenue A.

Abandoned curbside dining structures attracting more attention on the NE corner of 6th and A

The abandoned curbside dining structures on the NE corner of Sixth Street at Avenue A continue to attract attention... both from residents who want to see them removed and from people looking for a space to shelter...
Several handmade signs noting "Waiting on DOT for removal" now adorn the exterior walls ...
As previously mentioned, several readers-residents have complained about the lengthy structure on the Sixth Street side. The bar-restaurant August Laura closed in the corner space here in early December, and up to 10 people were said to move into the structure the night workers cleared out the restaurant. Another reader said that it has become "a 24-hour shooting gallery."

In late December, reps for the Department of Homeless Services posted notices for a cleanup on the Sixth Street structure. According to a resident who lives nearby, that action saw the removal of some mattresses and several abandoned household items.

In October, then-Mayor de Blasio ordered the Department of Transportation to remove unused dining sheds erected as part of the Open Restaurants program. City workers have reportedly taken down dozens to date.

We're told that residents have contacted 311, the DOT and local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera's office about these structures.

While the retail space is for lease, 94-96 Avenue A is also set for auction on Jan. 31 with an opening bid of $4.8 million. Penn South Capital paid $9.6 million for the property in March 2019. The building's new owners added a one-floor extension here in 2020.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Week in Grieview

Posts this past weekend included (with a playful snowball fight on 7th Street — pic by Derek Berg) ... 

• Reports: Theatre 80, the crown jewel of St. Mark's Place, enters bankruptcy, hopes to refinance loan (Tuesday)

• East River Park greenway now closing up to 10th Street (Monday) ... Tree sitters take to East River Park (Wednesday)

• About Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge, opening soon on Avenue B (Thursday

• An SUV collision on 1st Avenue at 5th Street (Monday)

• Cops searching for a dapper gun-toting suspect who robbed the Villager Smoke Shop (Tuesday

• An end of the ride: Busy Bee Bikes closes on 6th Street (Monday

• Tamam Falafel has closed on 14th Street; new location in the works (Wednesday

• 2022 corner watch: St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue (Thursday

• FIRST SNOW OF 2022 (Friday — here and here and here

• Dim Sum Go Go makes it sign official on 1st Avenue (Tuesday

• Kurt Russell to the rescue at Metrograph (Wednesday

• Check out the new video by local faves Hello Mary (Friday)

• The 'High Line East vibes' of 799 Broadway (Monday

• 58 1st St. awaits another restaurant (Tuesday

• A look at the corner market coming to 6th and A (Tuesday

• Boilermaker is closing on 1st and 1st (Wednesday

• To the Tompkins Square Park tree stump art with love (Thursday

• Christo, badass (Tuesday)

... speaking of Christo, here's another shot from this past week of our resident red-tailed hawks high atop 10th Street and Avenue A ... photo by Steven...
Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics. 

Sunday's opening shot

A mulch mound courtesy of the chipping weekend in Tompkins Square Park... residents can come by and grab some fresh mulch for tree beds, gardens, etc.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Saturday's parting shot

A discarded balancing act on 10th Street ... thanks to Steven for the pic...

Please be mine


A special edition of the weekly Fridays at 5 feature... Remembering David Bowie on what would have been his 75th birthday... this is the video for "Be My Wife," from Low, which was almost released 45 years to the date.

David Robert Jones was born on Jan. 8, 1947, in Brixton, London. He died on Jan. 10, 2016. He made his home nearby on Lafayette Street just south of Houston.

Hot chip: Scenes from MulchFest Day 1

Day 1 of Chipping Weekend, the grand finale of the MulchFest season, is in the books here in Tompkins Square Park. 

Steven braved the low double-digit wind chill for these shots...
Back at it tomorrow (Sunday) for Day 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

So if you have a Christmas tree to dispose of, you still have time to take it to the park. Better, save it for discarding until, say, August, so we will have a Christmas in August post to look forward to... 


'Gifts of the Magi' — and Chesney the camel! — at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery

Thursday afternoon saw a production of "Gifts of the Magi" at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in 10th Street at Second Avenue ... sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement and Trinity Church Wall Street... 
EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the church before the performance was underway (the festivities began with a parade here from Haven Plaza on 11th Street and Avenue C) ...
Cast member Chesney, a 5-year-old camel from Pennsylvania (here with his trainer Jason Martin of Home School Camels), attracted the most attention... as Stacie said: "Everybody loved Chesney."

MulchFest '22: Everything you need to know about Chipping Weekend, happening THIS weekend

Photo earlier this week by Steven 

When: The two-day chipping event, the grand finale of the MulchFest season, takes place today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Where: Tompkins Square Park 

Where Exactly: Follow the sound of the wood chipper to the middle of the park. 

What Else?: Tompkins is also a chipping site, which means residents can take home a nourishing bag of fresh mulch to put down on gardens and tree beds and to spice up boring omelets. 

Why Should I Care?: It's eco-friendly and more than 29,000 trees were treecycled last year. Per the Parks Department website: "Help us top this number!" 

How Is It Possible That the Parks Department Can Get Such a Precise Number (29,000) Over Dozens of Chipping Sites in the Five Boroughs and We Can't Get Toilet Paper in the Restrooms in Tompkins?: Yes. 

What If I'm a Social Media Influencer?: Use #Mulchfest to share your mulching memories with friends, family and clingy exes.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Friday's parting shot

Photo from Tompkins Square Park today by Derek Berg...

Alone together again

This week, local faves Hello Mary released a video for the pandemic-related single "Evicted" ... you can check it out ☝️ ... find their music on Bandcamp here... a new interview with them at this link ... and check out this EVG feature on the band here.

Because we haven't posted any Snow... snow... SNOW photos in several hours

Sharing a few more reader pics from today, which marked the first snowfall of Jan. 7 — not to mention 2022. (Click on the images for a better view!)

Goggla captured the top shot in New York City Marble Cemetery on Second Street... while Vinny & O took this in Tompkins Square Park...
Meanwhile, an EVG reader took this aerial shot looking into the Park along 10th Street...

East Village Loves NYC offering free COVID-19 PCR testing once again this Sunday

For the third consecutive Sunday, East Village Loves NYC is collaborating with a mobile clinic to provide free COVID-19 PCR testing at the Sixth Street Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

The testing takes place this Sunday (Jan. 9) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You need to sign up in advance — no walk-ins. You can find the link here. 

Results from this past Sunday were returned in 24 hours. Testing is done by Alaine Diagnostics in Saddlebrook, N.J. People who signed up reported a quick and efficient system here.

East Village Loves NYC was formed in the spring of 2020 to feed people in need during the pandemic. In year one,  the volunteers — 400 strong — cooked more than 100,000 meals for New Yorkers during the pandemic ... not to mention donated 325,000-plus pounds of groceries and 7,000-plus pantry bags.