Tuesday, May 10, 2022

An 'Open Mic Under the Stars' at Trinity Lower East Side on 9th and B

Via the EVG inbox... 
Join poet, author and activist Robert Galinsky and Trinity Lower East Side for Open Mic Under the Stars! Wednesday, May 11 8-9:30 p.m. in Trinity's garden at the corner of Ninth Street and Avenue B. 
Whether you’re a singer, a poet, an author, a comic, a magician … whatever! We want to hear you at our mic! Sign up in advance for a 5-minute slot at Eventbrite or just show up at the door. Freewill donations are gladly accepted, all supporting Trinity's work in the community.

There's another Open Mic night set for June 8. 

A campaign to co-name this block of Avenue C after Casa Adela founder Adela Fargas

Photos by Stacie Joy

Updated 8:15 p.m.
District Leader Assembly District 74 Part A Aura Olavarria, who drafted the petition, reports that the CB3 committee approved the street co-naming this evening.


A campaign is underway to co-name Avenue C between Fourth Street and Fifth Street after Adela Fargas, the founder and namesake of the popular Puerto Rican restaurant Casa Adela on the block.

Fargas, who ran Casa Adela here for decades, died in January 2018. She was 81.

Adela's son Luis Rivera, who has been running Casa Adela with his sister Abigail, is collecting signatures of support at the restaurant, 66 Avenue C...  
The petition — drafted by District Leader Assembly District 74 Part A Aura Olavarria — reads in part: 
Adela Fargas was a working-class, Afro-Puerto Rican fixture in Loisaida and the owner and matriarch behind the iconic and authentic Puerto Rican restaurant, Casa Adela. She was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, where she became a domestic worker who prepared frianbreras, or packed lunches, for factory workers. 

She moved to the United States at age 39, where her first job in the Lower East Side was at a restaurant on East 4th Street and Avenue D. When the restaurant closed, Adela found a way to provide for her family and feed those less fortunate through selling pasteles on street corners. In 1973, Adela opened her family-run restaurant, Casa Adela. 

Adela Fargas's impact goes far beyond a restaurant, which represented an important meeting place for the Puerto Rican community in New York City, in the diaspora, and worldwide. Outside the restaurant's walls, Adela was a center of Latino life on the Lower East Side and a tireless community advocate. Adela became the godmother to many on the Lower East Side, employing those who lived in the neighborhood and feeding anyone who came in hungry. 

Her soul food attracted a profound sense of community and this street co-naming will serve to honor her living legacy. Each year at the Loisaida Festival, Adela provided food for the community and organized dance and music for the festival as well.
Tonight at 6:30, members of Community Board 3's Transportation, Public Safety, Sanitation & Environment Committee will hear the item. (You can join in via Zoom.) 

As reported in early December, the building's landlord — a Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) — at 66 Avenue C is looking to increase the rent on the LES institution to a rate that Luis Rivera says is not feasible. The two sides were working on an agreement, and we have not heard any updates. 

The March Hare returns with new daily hours

Here's some positive news to share about The March Harethe whimsical toy store at 321 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue.

As previously reported, Karen McDermott, who runs the shop with her husband Jason McGroarty, was diagnosed with colon cancer last fall. (You can help support the couple here.) 

At the start of the year, the two decided running a business and navigating the challenges of chemotherapy was too much ... and they were set to sell or close The March Hare.

However, they were able to hang on to the shop, opening sporadically during the winter and spring.

In an Instagram post yesterday, McGroarty announced that they were back with daily hours. 
Thank you to everyone who has supported us during Karen's battle with cancer. Our hours have been choppy to say the least but the good news is, we are back in the swing of things with lots of exciting news to come. 
We love you all so much for the kindness you have shown ❤️ 
The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The March Hare opened in November 2020. The shop was carrying on for Dinosaur Hill, the 37-year-old toy store on the block where McDermott had worked. Dinosaur Hill closed in 2020 after owner Pamela Pier retired.

Films on the Green is bringing literary adaptations to downtown city parks this summer

The 2022 Films on the Green season begins in June... the annual free French film festival in NYC parks returns with the theme "From Page to Screen," spotlighting 12 literary adaptations. 

There are five screenings downtown, including a night in Tompkins Square Park: 

• June 10, Washington Square Park   "The Summit of the Gods" by Patrick Imbert (2021) 

• June 17, Washington Square Park   "Band of Outsiders" by Jean-Luc Godard (1964) 

• July 1, Tompkins Square Park  "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi" by Jacques Becker (1954) 

• July 8, Seward Park  "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" by Dai Sijie (2002) 

• July 15, Seward Park  "The Class" by Laurent Cantet (2008) 

You can find the full citywide lineup here

Films on the Green is produced annually in New York City parks by Villa Albertine, the French Embassy and FACE Foundation. 

After a year off in 2020, the series returned with a hybrid event last summer, though there weren't any events in Tompkins.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Monday's parting shot

Photos by Steven 

The remains of the massive tree uprooted Saturday afternoon on Avenue A at Seventh Street along Tompkins Square Park. 

Workers removed most of the trunk today...

May 9

Thanks to EVG reader Garth for sharing these photos today from Fifth Street between Second Avenue and Cooper Square... where a discarded Christmas tree — complete with lights — lies conveniently in a move-in-ready bag... Just grab and go and be the holiday envy of your friends and neighbors this coming Memorial Day weekend...

Tompkins Square Bagels is opening an outpost on Union Square West

Tompkins Square Bagels is expanding, with a location coming to 23 E. 17th St. at Broadway later this year. 

Owner Christopher Pugliese just signed the lease for the space on Union Square West for what he called a "pretty fair deal." If all goes well, he hopes to open in six months.
"I'm very excited and nervous too," he said during a phone call on Friday. 

Pugliese opened his first location at 165 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street in December 2011. A second outpost arrived at 184 Second Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street in November 2016.

Despite the many vacant storefronts in the area, it took him nearly two years to find a new space.

"I've been pounding the pavement since August 2020, and I've come close. I had my heart broken a few times," Pugliese said.

"I wanted to be the [the business owner] who opened in December 2020 or January 2021, when all those stories were going around that New York was dead or New York was over," said Pugliese, born and raised in Brooklyn. "I wanted to open and give the big Brooklyn middle finger. I'm opening here. You know, New York is going to be fine! But the landlords weren't really cooperating yet, and they weren't getting it. So it took this long."

Pugliese also said he didn't want to be too close to competition.

"I have this rule that I won't open within six blocks of another bagel store," he said. "There's nobody over there, so I won't be stepping on anyone's toes." 

The 17th Street storefront was previously part of the Paragon Sports footprint. The 1,500-square-foot space has exposed brick and 22-foot-high ceilings. It's in move-in shape, save for the plumbing and AC work.

Despite some challenges during the pandemic (see this post), the two TSB shops stayed open throughout 2020 and 2021. 

"We didn't get into a jam owing back rent," he said. "Because we were able to pay rent during the tougher days, I was able to negotiate a 10-year extension. So TSB will be on Avenue A for at least another 15 years. At that point, I'll be 65, and my daughter will be 22. If she's interested in picking up the torch, then who knows?"

In addition, TSB also boosted its delivery service during the pandemic throughout Manhattan, which remains in place today. "We're busy.  The crowds came back, and my delivery is still strong. We're doing pretty well," he said. 

Pugliese closed the call on a grateful note. 

"The East Village is a place I looked at with stars in my eyes back in the 1980s when I was a kid," he said. "Being accepted and supported by the community over the past 10 years has been a dream come true." 

Councilmember Carlina Rivera calls for an immediate end to the city's encampment sweeps

Photo from 9th Street on April 6 by Stacie Joy 

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera is demanding an immediate end to "the dehumanizing homeless encampment sweeps" in the East Village and throughout New York City. 

The demands came in a letter that Rivera sent to Mayor Adams this past Thursday...

It reads in part: 
For over a month, my office, other local elected officials, and community leaders have conveyed to your office through meetings, phone calls, and emails that these sweeps represent an egregious misappropriation of resources with very few housing placements as outcomes and further deepen the mistrust between government and the public. The acts themselves also appear to be among the most tragic misfires in community engagement to have transpired in recent years. Despite our best efforts in seeking your attention to this urgent matter, yesterday afternoon the NYPD Strategic Response Group, an entity designated for counterterrorism efforts, aggressively executed multiple arrests, a continuation of the harmful behavior we have witnessed since the first confrontation at the intersection of East 9th Street and Avenue B in Manhattan on April 6, 2022

I both respect and commend your administration's commitment to ending homelessness in New York City. With that goal in mind, I urge you to put an end to the ineffective sweeps and instead commit to supporting and investing in the policies and programs our communities deserve. We must build more housing across the five boroughs and we should start now; we must legalize nontraditional uses for housing, like basements and vacant commercial properties; and we must fully staff the agency teams tasked with securing affordable housing for the New Yorkers who qualify. 
A Community Board 3 committee drafted a resolution in support of the asks of the letter, which will go to the full Board for a vote on May 24. 

The NYPD and other city agencies have continued with their sweeps, with at least seven on the group of several unhoused residents staying in tents on Ninth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C under the sidewalk bridge at the former P.S. 64. There was yet another one — unannounced — yesterday on Ninth Street that led to more arrests.

According to city stats cited by The New York Times, there have been more than 700 cleanups from March 18 to May 1 — many of them of the same site multiple times — and 39 people have accepted the placement into shelters.

"Our teams are working professionally and diligently every day to make sure that every New Yorker living on the street knows they have a better option while ensuring that everyone who lives in or visits our city can enjoy the clean public spaces we all deserve," Mayor Adams said in a statement last week.

And as the Times noted: "Several videos of officers roughly handling homeless people and their belongings have circulated widely on social media, complicating Mr. Adams's attempts to portray the dismantling of encampments as something being done for the good of the homeless people themselves."

Unhoused residents have said that the shelter system is not safe. Read our interviews with some of the Ninth Street residents here.

Openings: Lil' Frankies Grocery debuts on 1st Avenue

Lil' Frankies Grocery is now open at 21 First Ave. between First Street and Second Street.

This is East Village restaurateur Frank Prisinzano's personally curated grocery store, steps away from his Lil' Frankie's restaurant. 

We first reported on this back in March 2021. Here's an excerpt from that post, based on a series of Instagram Stories by Prisinzano:
"I've always wanted to have a grocery store. I've always wanted to curate all my own products," said Prisinzano, who also owns and operates EV mainstays Frank on Second Avenue and Supper on Second Street. "It will be a curated list of products that I use and recommend. Nothing will be on the shelves that I don't personally love." 

He plans on having a deli case inside the new shop to sell sandwiches ... with a vertical slicer for prosciutto. He's also thinking about offering homemade gelato and sorbet — similar to what his restaurants have on the dessert menus. 

"I'm going to keep it real simple, real Italian and real fresh," he said.
Check out the grocery's Instagram account to look at the shop's sandwiches (breakfast sandwiches and tartines, too), sauces, meats and cheeses ... and coffee and espresso.

Lil' Frankie's is currently open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Like his other establishments, it's cash only. (There's also a QR code scan/Apple Pay option.)

New outdoor space shapes on 4th Street

Construction is wrapping up at the new open space in the long-vacant lot on Fourth Street between 2 Cooper Square and the Merchant's House Museum...
There are a dozen benches and a water fountain. No sign of any shade just yet.

According to the Parks Department website, construction is 90% complete. Parks still lists October as the opening date.

As noted in previous posts, since the 1990s, the Department of Environmental Preservation has used this city-owned space to work on shafts connected to the underground network of tunnels that supply NYC's drinking water. 

Several years ago, there were public meetings to gather ideas for "passive recreation space" here between the Bowery and Lafayette. And this is the result of those. 

Top photo by Steven; second pic by Goggla.

Hell's bells! Taco Bell signage arrives on 3rd Avenue

The Taco Bell for the SW corner of Third Avenue and 13th Street is another step closer to opening with the arrival of the TB signage late last week. 

As noted earlier this year, this will mark the return of Taco Bell to the East Village... there was an outpost at 58 Third Ave. between 10th Street and 11th Street until sometime in late 2007 or early 2008. 

Previously on EV Grieve:

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Sunday's parting shot

Bit of a Pink Floyd vibe to this sunset pic via Rob D. tonight...

Remembering Paul Adrian Davies

Longtime East Village resident Paul Adrian Davies died last month at age 69.

His friends and family are gathering early Tuesday evening (May 10) for a celebration of his life ... 5:45 p.m. in the Green Oasis Community Garden on Eighth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

Read more about Paul here.

Week in Grieview

Posts that past week included (with a photo of INSA creating a mural on Mott and Houston on Friday by Stacie Joy) ...

• About Raife Milligan, the NYU student who police said was killed by a drunken driver on Houston Street (Friday) ... Driver arrested after crash on Houston and 1st Avenue; pedestrian dies (Monday)

• At the rally in Foley Square to support abortion rights (Tuesday

• Rent hike forcing 37-year-old Guerra Paint & Pigment Corp. to leave the East Village (Wednesday

• RIP Howie Pyro (Thursday

• Italian favorite Via Della Pace opens in new East Village home on 4th Street (Tuesday

• At the March Against Gun Violence (Sunday

• Tree cutting and fencing in East River Park reaches the 6th Street pedestrian bridge (Wednesday)

• Report: 8 arrested in latest sweep of unhoused encampment on 9th Street (Wednesday

• The cube on Astor Place is still behind barricades (Friday

• Rite Aid on Avenue D empties out ahead of rumored closure (Tuesday

• What to know about HAGS, a queer and trans-led dining destination opening on 1st Avenue (Thursday

• A look at 'Contact,' an immersive art installation (Friday

• PlantShed debuts on 2nd Avenue (Monday

• A campaign to support the landmark designation of the Eye and Ear Infirmary on 2nd Avenue (Tuesday

• Cadence reopens tonight in new 7th Street home (Wednesday

• An Astor Place corner primed for new development (Thursday

• Farewell to the rat-infested tree pit of 5th Street (Friday

• Polishing up 8 Avenue B for a new nail salon (Thursday

• 2 tenants for the renovated storefronts at 21-23 Avenue B (Monday

• P.F. Chang's makes it signage official on University Place (Monday)


Follow EVG on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates and pics.

Welcoming baby Isabella Jane

Photos by Stacie Joy 

A happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere...

The East Village has a new resident, born in an at-home water bath on Third Street near Avenue B.

Isabella Jane was born to her parents, Juana and Edward Rivera, on April 15, and she weighs in at six pounds, eight ounces, and is just about 19 inches long. East Village-based midwife Cara Muhlhahn assisted in the delivery; she was present for all four of the family’s births.
Also in attendance were Edward, Jr., 9; Rex, 5; and Luna, 2, plus grandparents and extended family.
Welcome, Isabella Jane!

Previously on EV Grieve:

The Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket is a go today

Despite the downed tree from yesterday afternoon on Seventh Street and Avenue A, the usual vendors for the Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket are here today... set up around the fallen elm — three vendors are on Seventh Street ... the rest along A...
And Steven reports that a tree crew is on the scene...

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Saturday's parting shots

Photos by Steven 

Christo, one of the resident red-tailed hawks of Tompkins Square Park, surveys the downed tree on the corner of Seventh Street and Avenue A ... before catching dinner...

[Updated] Tree down in Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Steven Ugh. This elm tree came down this afternoon in Tompkins Square Park on Avenue A and Seventh Street during the windswept rains... no reports of injuries, but at least one car lost its windows.
This is the latest tree to come down in the Park in recent years ... see here and here and here too. 

Updated 5/8 3:30 p.m. 

The city removed most of the fallen tree... at least the parts on the sidewalk and Park entrance... thanks to Steven for these photos... 
... and the mulch is now available in the middle of the Park...
Updated 5/9 9:30 a.m. 

City workers are back to remove the remaining portion of the trunk... photos again via Steven...

Bringing home the bacon from Key Food? Here's where to find it now; milk too

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Major changes continue on the shelves of Key Food on Avenue A at Fourth Street. (As first noted here. And here. And sorta here.)

Reports are coming in far and wide — from aisles 1 to 6 — and, quite frankly, this reporter is having difficulties keeping up with the speed of change in shelving moves this past week. 

Let's start with a big one. 


Shunted to the very back of the store, hidden, facing the end bank of freezers where the frozen fish used to be. (Now empty.) Frozen veggie freezers are also now empty. 

Observation: "Our bacon section was relocated" — as if it had no choice.
The wholesale changes don't end with the bacon. 

Juices missing? 

Nope, they are now where the milk used to be.

And where for art thou (dairy) milks? With yogurts, where the fish freezers used to be in the very far back of the store. Plus, freezers that were empty now are hosting fruits that used to be in the first aisle near the produce.
We don't know what's next here. Swear to God.