Saturday, March 5, 2022

9th Precinct collecting medical supplies for Ukraine humanitarian relief

A group of NYPD officers of Russian and Ukrainian descent has launched a citywide campaign to help Ukrainians after Russia's unprovoked invasion. 

The requested items in this humanitarian effort are limited to first-aid kits, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, bandages, gauze and tourniquets. 

You can find donation boxes at all 77 NYPD precincts in NYC. 

Closer to home, EVG correspondent Stacie Joy stopped by the 9th Precinct yesterday, where she ran into Det. Jaime Hernandez of Community Affairs ...
The drive runs through March 11. 

The 9th Precinct is at 321 E. Fifth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

Plywood solidarity

This morning, on the SE corner of Houston and Allen, a worker painted the plywood on the under-renovation storefront the colors of the Ukrainian flag. 

As noted back on Monday, a coffee chop-cafe is in the works for this sliver of a space.

Saturday's opening shot

Thanks to Jeanne Krier for the sunrise view this morning...

Friday, March 4, 2022

Friday's parting shot

As seen outside the William Barnacle Tavern at Theatre 80, 80 St. Mark's Place... 

Photo by Steven...

Updated 7 a.m.:

A lot of people have left comments or emailed about Stoli. The company, which people often perceive to be Russian, has denounced the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on its website
Stoli® Group has had a long history of fighting oppression from the Russian regime. We unequivocally condemn the military action in Ukraine and stand in support of the Ukrainian people. 

 “The safety and security of our Ukrainian team is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely and are already moving swiftly and decisively to provide support where needed, both to our people on the ground as well as partners,” noted Damian McKinney, Global CEO, Stoli® Group. “While we do not have any operations in Russia, we do in Ukraine and across many of the bordering countries.” 

The Stoli® vodka brands and its owner Yuri Shefler were exiled from Russia nearly two decades ago. “As the Founder of SPI Group of companies, I have personally experienced persecution by the Russian authorities and I share the pain of Ukraine and its people,” noted Mr. Shefler. 
Stoli® Premium and Elit™ vodka are manufactured and bottled in Riga, Latvia. The brand is registered with the US TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) as a Latvian product.

Have the 'Blues'


NYC's Wah Together is one of the 100-plus bands playing the New Colossus Festival at neighborhood music venues next week. The band features bassist Phil Mossman (ex-LCD Soundsystem), drummer Vito Roccoforte (the Rapture), producer/guitarist Steve Schiltz (Longwave) and vocalist Jaiko Suzuki. 

The video here is for "You Got the Blues," the second single from the band's debut LP "Let's Wah Together," out today. 

Also, today is a Bandcamp Friday, where all the sales go directly to the artists.

A mid-morning view of a favorite intersection

Thanks to EVG regular Jose Garcia for sharing this photo this morning of his favorite EV intersection — Ninth Street and Avenue C...

One East Village family's protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine

At the request of his daughter Marinda, longtime East Village-based artist Anton van Dalen created a protest sign for her to carry during a rally in support of Ukraine in Times Square last Saturday. 

Given his migratory history (he has long kept snow-white pigeons on his roof ), Marinda suggested that he paint a Peace Pigeon. (His Avenue A home has also long featured the words P E A C E written in abstracted geometric black lettering out front.)
And later...
And now, a family friend has put the "Peace Pigeon" on T-shirts for sale online. About $8 from each sale will be donated to Voices of Children, an organization in Ukraine working to help families in this time of crisis. 

You can find the T-shirts online here. 

Said Anton in an email:
"When we in 1971 arrived in this East Village neighborhood it was still a vital immigrant population. Its larger mix was of Ukrainian, Polish and Italian heritage, their cultures so shared with us. Now those populations are slowly fading away and their children have moved on. Their restaurants, spoken languages, music, and beautiful colored flags have largely fallen silent. But their cultural contribution live on in us all, and our neighborhood history to remember," he wrote. "Now I am pleased to honor Ukraine's national flag colors as their Peace Dove." 
 Top two photos by Marinda van Dalen

The New Colossus Festival takes place next week at these local music venues

The New Colossus Festival, a celebration of independent music from around the world, is taking place next week (March 9-13) at East Village and LES venues — Pianos, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, East Berlin, Bowery Electric and Arlene's Grocery. 

There is A LOT going on... check out the venue lineup here... and the band/musician (100-plus) rundown here

It's a great (and inexpensive way) to check out a look at new/emerging bands. (Brooklyn Vegan highlights a few acts here.) 

The New Colossus Festival started in 2019.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Gallery Watch: Robert Zehnder at Rachel Uffner

Interview by Clare Gemima 
Photos courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery

I was fortunate enough to interview Robert Zehnder about his alluring and obscure series of paintings in “Buried and Deep,” a two-person exhibition in Rachel Uffner’s upstairs gallery (170 Suffolk St.), which closes on Saturday. The show also features new paintings and sculptures by Erica Mao. 

We discussed Zehnder’s relationship to Erica’s work, the conceptual framework behind his pieces and his wide-spanning artistic influence.
The nature of your landscapes invites a sense of infiniteness, be it only restricted by the size of your canvas. Are you painting crops of larger scenic scapes?

I hope that sense of infiniteness is registered by the viewer. To answer your question, yes. They aren’t specific landscapes that I have come across, in which I then crop a specific view, but rather what I can fit within the dimensions I am using. 

For example, if I scaled the dimensions of the canvas, I wouldn’t necessarily scale the forms in the painting, and it would just be a larger or smaller window. This is important to me because a lot of my work is about what we aren’t privy to. Allowing for questions such as “what is over the hills?” or “what is to the right or left of our vantage point?”...  I see my landscapes as blankets that are ever-expanding and boundless.

Although your work is devoid of any wildlife or humanity, are your landscapes a result of civic extinction or an invitation to a promising and untouched new Utopia?

There isn’t a narrative that I am trying to imbue in the work. I wouldn’t say that these landscapes are a result of civic extinction. Still, there is a tonality of civic insecurity and the fear and anxiety of what lies ahead in these certain conditions of our contemporary times. This idea of Utopia comes up a lot, and these works actually try to reject that. 

Depicting a landscape void of humanity can imply the reversal or result of an industrialized society and its detriments. The works I am making aim to speak about the post-industrial/ digital/ internet world and our psychological relationship to and within it. These could be before or after the Anthropocene, but they are not. They are metaphorical spaces that depict our view of something familiar in concept but unfamiliar in tone and composition. I believe these feelings are echoed in the many new interfaces we navigate today. 

Regionalist painters like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood lend a notable influence to your work, yet some of the organic curvatures in your paintings remind me of Renaissance’s Bosch and your palette of Rococo’s Fragonard. Do painters from other periods of art history inform your practice?

The American regionalist painters lend a lot of influence to my work. Though, they are not my only inspiration. The works of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton were an entry point to the landscape paintings. I looked to them mostly for their formal attributes. Though, the context of their works and why they were making them do apply to my conceptual inspirations as well. These artists were producing imagery during the post-industrial revolution, capturing the turbulence of the early 20th century. The visual perspectives are skewed and the mundane American life depicted is electrified with unease.
Bosch and Bruegel are also great inspirations to me. What I see in their works is that there is no visual hierarchy. Like many of their contemporaries, a centralized figure typically dominates the composition, creating an imbalance of focus.

On the other hand, Bosch and Bruegel depict society, nature, and the mythical as one naturalistic force that has no bounds or order. That is an operation I employ in my work.
Fragonard’s palette is beautiful. I was recently looking at Progress of Love (1771-2) at the Frick. Such a fantastic series of works, yet, I do not have any intentional relation to Roccoco at the moment.

Could you break down your process in creating, say, Desk Shaped Stone (2022, above)?

Desk Shaped Stone most likely started with me drawing a few of the circular trees. From there, I would draw in hills and lines, leave some places blank and then paint from the top down, starting with the sky. I typically have an idea of the palette, but a lot is done or decided on the canvas. It is a lot of moving color and removing paint with a rag to then reapply. The act of making these works is primarily expressionistic. 
This work specifically is about Bellini’s Agony in the Garden (1459-65). They say that the stone Jesus is leaning before and praying upon is shaped like a desk or an alter. That stone is depicted at the bottom of the canvas, and I also see it as two knees in a robe.

Does your work toy with allegorical, biblical or phantasmagorical themes?
Yes. My works want to talk about the power of allegory in painting, but there aren’t any allegories in the work. Though, that may be up to the viewer’s discretion. I became fascinated with the landscapes in early renaissance paintings, which typically lay behind the figure or the symbol. These landscapes do not intend to be allegorical.

I am interested in what that implication of expanse meant back then. At the time, most people who would view these artworks had no understanding of when and where the pastoral began or ended. This feeling of boundlessness had a very different meaning to its viewers of the time. Today, we understand all-natural land to have had some sort of eyes on it or to have been documented or known to one degree or another. I wonder how we understand a ‘worldly boundlessness’ in the age of now. 

I look at religious paintings through an ontological lens. I am excited about how they operated during their time of creation and how they function today. Being a visual artist, there is a lot to investigate and learn from biblical art and architecture. For example, Desk Shaped Stone may be inspired by a religious artwork, but there aren’t any images or symbols that signify anything from the bible. 

For me, the phantasmagoric comes to mind when thinking about any high-fidelity artifice we engage with. Whether or not my works are phantasmagoric is up to the viewer. They do, however, want to talk about feelings of being in an altered state - ones that are not necessarily drug-induced, but rather those that are so believable yet, untrustworthy.  

Of your co-exhibitor’s work, what paintings by Erica Mao are most conceptually in line with your body of work? Do they host complementary or contrasting relationships?

A Shadow Following (2022), by Erica Mao, is a work that I keep returning to and spend a lot of time with. It has a great palette and composition, and I believe its title and theme relate to my work conceptually. Erica and I had conversations leading up to the show in which we spoke about the uncanny and how specific regions are fruitful for fiction. This work definitely achieves those similarities. 

Erica’s ceramics I see to be very complementary to the paintings I have in the show. There is a great relationship between the objecthood of the ceramics and the pictorial qualities of the paintings. They are exhibited on low-lying circular pedestals we designed together. The pedestals are made of slatted wood and are finished with a very dark stain. They create a great weight in the center of the show, like two mirrored wells, and the ceramics are our memories or visions of hidden sheds and geological formations we may or may not have come in contact with within our conscious reality. 

The paintings in the show, by both Erica and I, operate in their own individual way, allowing the viewer a murky unforgiving view of landscapes that may offer threat or salvation. To return to the work A Shadow Following, we don’t know if the shadow is a friend or foe.

What makes you gravitate toward the Hudson River School art movement? Does it hold any personal significance?

What interests me about the Hudson River School is how those artworks operated within their time. Once again, I am viewing these artworks ontologically. They utilized idealist naturalism to depict the untouched regions of the Americas, which coincided with the development of American tourism. The artworks were allegories themselves. The landscapes were soaked in the light of God. This goes back to what I was saying about the high-fidelity artifice. 

Hudson River School painter’s aptitude for realism allowed for viewers to have entirely immersive experiences with these artworks, flooding their sensorium with the promise of prosperity and the idea that God had given them boundless amounts of resources and freedom. My work wants to look at that flooding but in our contemporary time. There isn’t that same nationalistic and spiritual whole that the viewer is intended to put faith in, but rather an individual pursuit through a newly interconnected world. 

Are your landscapes melting or static?

They are melting rather than static. But I wouldn’t use melting because that alludes to a singular direction of movement. I would describe them as being in a constant state of change. Different moments of perspective arrive and disappear in vignettes and blend with one another while also negating one another. The painting is a still image of this. 

Atmospherically speaking, are your landscapes earthly or other-worldly? Perhaps, they are a mix of both?

I would say Earthly. They are very much our local environments. If these local environments appear to be altered, that distortion is coming from a place within rather than a place outside. 
Rachel Uffner is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 170 Suffolk St. between Houston and Stanton. The show ends on Saturday. 


Clare Gemima is a visual artist and arts writer from New Zealand, now based in the East Village of New York. You can find her work here:

Another visit to Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen on Seventh Street has long been one of our favorite places to visit for an inexpensive lunch special as well as to pick up some Ukrainian potato dumplings (varenyky). 

Yesterday, EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the no-frills basement cafe, which generates income for the St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church up the block on Seventh Street.
It was crowded for this time in the afternoon with people out to show their support of Ukraine. While the diners seemed pleased with their meals and enjoying the moment, the mood in the kitchen was tense with the steady stream of news coming from Ukraine as Russian forces continued to use heavy weaponry in their unprovoked invasion.
Volunteers — parishioners from St. George's — usually help prep on Fridays. But given the uptick in business, they were also on-hand yesterday... and keeping a watchful eye on the TV. 

One of the volunteers was face-timing with her husband in Western Ukraine. He is said to be safe, but there is worry. 
The cafe is also collecting donations to support the Ukrainian Army ...
Streecha is at 33 E. Seventh St. between Second Avenue and Cooper Square. They are open 9-5 Wednesday through Sunday. 

Check out the Streecha Instagram account for more information. (They are on TikTok as well.) 

Previously on EV Grieve

Today is the last day for Davey's Ice Cream on 1st Avenue

Photo yesterday by Steven

After eight-plus years, Davey's Ice Cream is closing its original outpost at 137 First Ave.

Today is the last day here between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street. And there are free scoops. 

However, owner David Yoo promises a return. According to the Instagram post announcing this closure: "Stay tuned for our new East Village relocation announcement!" 

The Davey's in Greenpoint remains in service ... with another location coming to Moynihan Train Hall ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Wednesday's parting shots

Photos by Stacie Joy 

As seen at St. George's Ukrainian Catholic Church on Seventh Street today ahead of Gov. Hochul's visit...
... here are her remarks following the 6 p.m. mass...

What was up with that plane today?

We received several queries late this morning about a low-flying airplane over the neighborhood (see screengrab of a Twitter DM above)... we were away at the time, and never heard anything else about it... perhaps you did?

How Veselka is helping with Ukraine relief efforts

Photo by Steven

Veselka, which has been serving up traditional Ukrainian food since 1954, has long served as a gathering spot for the city's Ukrainian population. 

And since Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, the restaurant on the SE corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street has seen long lines as New Yorkers have come out to show their solidarity.

"Many of our staff members are Ukrainian. Everyone is up all night, talking to family members," Veselka's third-generation owner Jason Birchard told the Daily Mail. "Some are so distraught, they can't even come to work. They are hanging by a thread, feeling so angry, upset and helpless." 

Veselka accepts donations for Ukraine relief efforts, including cotton socks, heavy-duty gloves, batteries, flashlights and personal health items. (Find a list of items here.) You may drop off the items at the Ninth Street entrance. 

In addition, as announced yesterday, all proceeds from Veselka's borscht sales — in-store and take-out — will go to Ukraine relief...
Veselka has teamed with the Razom For Ukraine organization to handle all donations. 

The restaurant is open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ... with a midnight close on weekends.

A quick visit to Jane, now open on 9th Street

Jane debuted on Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The curated kitchen and home specialty shop is a sibling to the family owned East Village Postal around the corner at 151 First Ave. 

We've been meaning to stop by and check it out... which EVG contributor Stacie Joy did the other day... 
Jane is at 328 E. Ninth St. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 1-7 p.m. Check out the shop's Instagram account here

Despite the recent closures of The March Hare, Verameat and Eileen Fisher (all for different reasons), this block between First and Second still has a nice vibe with newcomers such as Jane, Art+Ray, Pillow-Cat Books and Spooksvilla.

Second time around: A Repeat Performance pops up at 3rd and B'Zaar

Photo by Stacie Joy

A Repeat Performance, featuring the work of 30 local designers, vintage vendors and artists, is the latest pop-up market extravaganza for the 3rd and B'Zaar space at 191 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Here's more about the concept this time around (and in case that signage looks familiar!):
A Repeat Performance Market is a tribute to the past days of the East Village that we cherish so much: the artists, creatives and small business owners that made this neighborhood what it is.

The sign in our window used to proudly hang on 1st Ave at the shop A Repeat Performance which was open for over 30 years. Sadly, this shop and many other East Village classics have shut their doors for one reason or another.

3rd & B’zaar strives to bring support to small businesses like these that need a fresh start or are just getting started by offering space in a brick and mortar shop at an affordable rent.
A Repeat Performance, the bric-a-brac shop at 156 First Ave., closed in July 2019 after 39 years in business. The sign became available ... and the fine folks at East Village Vintage Collective on 12th Street became the proud new owners. (EVVC co-owner Maegan Hayward is a founder of 3rd and B'Zaar.)

The market is open through May 29... with hours of 1-7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Check out the 3rd and B'Zaar Instagram account for updates and features on the participating vendors.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March 1

The first day of spring is coming up on March 20!

Photo today on Second Avenue and 12th Street by Lola Sáenz...

'Gossip Girl' is filming today xoxo

Crews are out today to film scenes for the HBO Max version of "Gossip Girl" ...  so expect to see some lights, cameras, trucks and action nearby along streets that include Bond between the Bowery and Lafayette.

This will be for season 2 of the standalone series to the CW version (2007-2012).

As you likely know, several unresolved storylines hang in the balance after Season 1. What can we expect from Audrey, Aki and Max's new relationship? How will Zoya fare making new friends away from Julien? And what of the possible Kate-Julien collaboration? Feel free to leave your thoughts on the EVG GG LiveJournal!

City has unvaccinated educators doing remote learning now from the former St. Brigid School

A handful of NYC public school teachers who received medical or religious exemptions to the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate are now working remotely from the former St Brigid School on Avenue B and Seventh Street. 

Yesterday was the first day of teaching remote classes from here. EVG contributor Stacie Joy confirmed the use of the space during a brief visit to the school, where masking is mandatory. 

A source on site said the Department of Education (DOE) would be using the building until the school year ends in June. It was not immediately known how many teachers were working at the St. Brigid site. Stacie spotted at least 20 employees, including custodial and security. (By the end of last September, the DOE had granted medical and religious exemptions to 530 staff members, the Daily News reported. The teachers had previously been working from home, sources said.)

One teacher, spotted leaving the building, declined to comment on how the first day went. 

As previously reported, city workers — including teachers, supervisors, and school staff members — were told they will be fired if they do not either get the vaccine by Feb. 14 or agree to remain on leave without pay and drop their objection to the policy. (Last month, the Supreme Court denied a request from a group of NYC teachers seeking to block a vaccine mandate for employees who were not given a religious exemption, per NBC News on Feb. 11.)

According to CBS News on Feb. 15: "The 1,430 workers who lost their jobs represent less than 1% of the 370,000-person city workforce and the number of terminations was far fewer than expected before the ... deadline to get the shots." 

Late last year, interior renovations began at the school on the NE corner of Seventh and B, prompting speculation about what might be next for the building.

In February 2019, the Archdiocese of New York announced that St. Brigid School would cease operations at the end of that academic year, a move that blindsided students, parents and faculty alike. Founded in 1856, the Saint Brigid School was one of seven Catholic schools marked for closure by the Archdiocese in 2019. 

Given its A-plus EV location with Tompkins Square Park views, some residents have figured this property would end up a high-end residential complex much like the former Mary Help of Christians on Avenue A and 12th Street. 

Demolition watch: B Bar & Grill edition

There seems to be a lot of interest in the ongoing demolition of the former B Bar & Grill space on the SW corner of Fourth Street at the Bowery. 

We hear from people who are either a) sad to see the onetime hotspot in such a state or b) happy to see the onetime hotspot and early 1990s Bowery gentrifier going down. 

Either way, here's a look at the demolition about a month in (and NOT sponsored by Boss or Pinko) ...
... and through the blogger portals...
And next UP: a 21-floor office building. We got a first look at the Midtown-friendly monstrosity here.