Thursday, September 14, 2023

The owner of Max restaurant is returning to Avenue B with a new pizzeria

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Luigi Iasilli, owner of the well-liked Max restaurant, which closed 10 years ago at 51 Avenue B, is back on the block with a new venture — Potenza Centrale. 

The pizza shop, coming soon to 38 Avenue B (site of the former KC Gourmet Empanadas) between Third Street and Fourth Street, is named in honor of the town in Italy where he was born and raised.
The pizzeria will feature square slices from a rectangular pie, as well as round pizzas, notably different from the Roman style due to the extra fermentation process. Iasilli said it takes up to five days to ferment the highly hydrated dough, and it's folded and worked to be airier and lighter than traditional dough. 

Iasilli, who's no longer involved with Max, which had several locations, also wants to add baked gnocchi, pastas like lasagna or rigatoni, and eggplant parm topped with housemade mozzarella. Each day will feature specials — one meat and one vegetarian, listed Italian-style on the chalkboard walls. 

In addition, Iasilli plans to sell his homemade sauce to go (he welcomes folks to bring their own jars that he can fill) and balls of fresh mozzarella. He's currently working on focaccia and other styles of bread. When I asked him about the possibility of dessert, he mentioned reprising the famed tiramisu from Max. 

As for an opening, he has yet to set a date; the space is waiting on ConEd approval and the meter installation. 
Here's Iasilli with Chef Alex Chavarria ...
As for returning to this block of Avenue B, he says: "I am coming full circle."

Dim Sum Go Go's East Village outpost set for a soft opening on Saturday

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Dim Sum Go Go is set for a soft opening on Saturday here at 221 First Ave. between 13th Street and 14th Street. 

Operating manager Jackson Lau and owner Ken Li said that they'll offer just a little more than half of the usual menu items during this soft opening period. (And it's an extensive menu.)
They will also feature two self-ordering stations... (you can also order from someone at the front counter)...
This second location has been in the works since July 2021, and between the pandemic and some bureaucratic issues, the opening had been pushed back. 

As previously noted, this is the second outpost for the restaurant that made the Michelin Bib Gourmand list last year. The flagship space at 5 E. Broadway in Chinatown opened in 2000. 

And from left here: Lau, Isabel, who was here on a job interview, and Li...

The case of the missing East Village Mini Market signage

Photo by Steven

On Sept. 2, we noted that Tompkins Finest Deli & Grill abruptly closed at 153 Avenue A near 10th Street... and just like that, new business signage for the East Village Mini Market was on the storefront. 

The new business gave off some smoke shop vibes... in any event, that signage is gone for now. (Also noted by a commenter on the last post the other day.) 

The windows remain papered over, so we can't tell what's going on inside. 

So. Theories! 

1) The sign was damaged and needs to be replaced 
2) The owners had second thoughts and decided not to open 
3) The landlord had second thoughts about renting to a smoke shop 
4) All the above

Openings: Motel No Tell on Avenue A

Motel No Tell now has three weekends under its belt here at 210 Avenue A at 13th Street.

The retro-y bar-restaurant serves a variety of pizza and calzones ... not to mention a weekday happy hour from 4-7 p.m.
Our previous post here has more about the ownership and the corner space's recent bar history.

And because people keep bringing this up: No-Tell Motel was a scene-y bar via Deb Parker at 167 Avenue A (now Mama Fina's) between 10th Street and 11th Street that closed in the early 1990s. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by Stacie Joy 

Today in outdoor dining on Avenue B...

Report of a fire this afternoon at 91 E. 3rd St.

Photos by Felton Davis 

The FDNY responded to a report of a kitchen fire this afternoon around 2:30 at 91 E. Third St., just west of First Avenue... The FDNY reported the small blaze under control in 10 minutes... Felton Davis, who lives on this block, said: "Congratulations to the FDNY for the speed with which they arrived and got this one under control... Many buildings, including ours, are over 100 years old, and it wouldn't take much for a fire to spread."
There isn't any word of the cause or extent of the damage. There weren't any reports of injuries.

At Fucking Awesome with Chloë Sevigny

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Early Thursday evening, fans turned up on Ninth Street outside Fucking Awesome upon the release of a new collection designed by Chloë Sevigny...
Among the new merch for the skateboard company and streetwear brand is an updated version of the Chloë Sevigny Class Photo Board, which features the award-winning actress and director's high school yearbook photo ... 
Sevigny was in the shop for several hours ...
... signing a variety of items, including from the new product line to personal things that people brought with them (including a Harmony Korine book)... and posing for photos with some starstruck fans. 

Several people asked her for clothing/footwear recommendations — not from the FA collection, just general style questions... and she thoughtfully offered her opinions...
And people waited patiently outside in some pretty steamy weather conditions...
FA opened here between Avenue A and First Avenue in the fall of 2021... in our visits since then, we've always found the staff friendly and attentive...
Find the FA website here.

The former P.S. 64/Charas is now headed to a bankruptcy sale

The former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center is headed to a bankruptcy sale later this fall. 

According to the Hilco Real Estate (HRE) website, the auction date for the long-vacant property at 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C is Nov. 8. (Bankruptcy Sale | Southern District of New York (Manhattan) | Petition No. 23-10423-dsj, In re: 9th & 10th Street LLC.)

The qualified bid deadline is Oct. 18, with on-site inspections starting today. 

Per the HRE website: 
Once a school steeped in history, this six-story building with it's striking architecture was designated an individual landmark by New York City in 2006. The interior is down to the studs and approved for the construction of student/college dormitory use with a capacity for 535 beds. Notably, several area schools have expressed strong interest in leasing upon completion providing the developer instant leaseup. By repurposing this site, the East Village community can both enhance its cultural vitality and meet the critical demand for comfortable and convenient accommodations for the expanding population of NYC.
The day before a foreclosure auction in March, developer Gregg Singer put the long-vacant property into bankruptcy protectionthe latest maneuver in his nearly 25 years of being involved with the building. This action came two months after New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former school and community center. 

Adam Pincus at PincusCo reported in March
Singer claimed the five-story building has assets and liabilities both above $100 million, and that there would be funds to make payments to the more than two dozen creditors. Madison Realty Capital filed the pre-foreclosure action in 2018 that triggered the foreclosure sale, only two years after giving Singer a $44 million loan secured by the property. 

As of a February 2022 referee's report, the property had debts of $89.98 million.
As Pincus noted, "Singer's move to protect his ownership of the building is part of an extensive involvement of the courts over the years."

Singer purchased the property during a city auction in 1998 for $3.15 million. Through the years, Singer wanted to turn the one-time P.S. 64 into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized, and the building has sat in disrepair, prompting the city to take emergency measures to seal it up in late 2022. 

Some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. There was a petition in circulation earlier this year titled, "Save Charas Community Center! Stop the Private Auction!" The petition stated, "Demand Mayor Adams use eminent domain to return the center to the people!" 

The 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for "community facility use." (Any conversion to residential housing would require a zoning variance.) The DOB's Stop Work Order dating to August 2015 is still in effect. The DOB lifted the Full Vacate Order (from February 2019) last week to "allow inspection by city's licensed engineers with owner and owner's engineer," according to public records. 

Openings: EVC Caffé on 5th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy 

EVC Caffé recently debuted at 317 E. Fifth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue (a few storefronts to the west of the 9th Precinct). 

The small shop sells a variety of homemade empanadas (vegetarian and vegan options available) and coffee drinks, fresh juices and smoothies. A lunch menu includes several soups and salads (we haven't spotted an online presence just yet).

During this soft-opening period, the hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, with weekend hours coming.

The manager said there are also plans to expand with a dinner service.

While there are several seats inside, this seems more like a to-go operation ...

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Noted (Updated!)

Currently seen in the middle of the basketball courts in Tompkins Square Park... (Updated! See below!) 
Thanks to Eden for the photos!


Updated 10:14 p.m.

Here's a reader-submitted photo...  
Scarlet, Doja Cat's fourth studio record, is out on Sept. 22.

Report: Early morning stabbing on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place

A man suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed early this morning during an altercation on Avenue A near St. Mark's Place, according to police sources and published reports. 

The stabbing took place outside the residential entrance to 131 Avenue A adjacent to the corner Starbucks at 6:15 a.m.

Per the Daily News:
The victim, who is in his 40s, was outside the Starbucks on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place, across the street from Tompkins Square Park, about 6:15 a.m. when he got into an argument with the skateboarder, cops said. 

As the two men came to blows, the skateboarder pulled out an "edged object" and jammed it into the victim’s side by his ribs, cops said.
PIX 11 said the suspect fled the scene on a skateboard and headed toward Tompkins Square Park. No word on what led to the altercation. EMTs took the victim to Bellevue.

This is the second stabbing in the vicinity in recent days. Last Friday night around 11:30, a man was stabbed while sitting on a bench inside the park near Avenue A and Seventh Street.

Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You may also submit tips online. All calls are strictly confidential. 

Details on the 11th annual MoRUS Film Festival, taking place in community gardens near you

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) on Avenue C is once again hosting its end-of-summer tradition — its annual film fest, a four-evening event that will provide perspectives on urban housing solutions.

The the Brick by Brick Film Fest starts on Thursday evening at the Green Oasis Community Garden on Eighth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D.

In addition, on Saturday afternoon, the annual NYC Anarchist Book Fair takes place at La Plaza Cultural, the community garden on the SW corner of Ninth Street and Avenue C. That evening, MoRUS is collaborating on the Emma Goldman Film Festival set for Tompkins Square Park.

You can find more details on the festival and the featured films right here. Advance tix are available at EventbriteYou can also buy tickets on the evenings of the screenings in the garden venues.

5 weeks (or so) until the Wegmans at Astor Place opens

Several EVG readers noted the recent arrival of signage at the incoming Wegmans on Astor Place noting that doors open here on Oct. 18, a date made public over the summer. 

As previously noted, the 87,500-square foot space at the landmarked 770 Broadway is the first Manhattan outpost for the grocer. 

EVG's Stacie Joy received a tour of the two-level supermarket back in July. You can revisit that post here.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Monday's parting shot

Photo by Stacie Joy 

After 9/11 ceremonies today, members of FDNY's Engine Company 28, Ladder 11 on Second Street gathered at the recently opened Joey Bats Cafe around the corner on Avenue B. 

They were joined by some FDNY members from other NYC station houses ... as well as some visiting firefighters, including from Oakland, Calif. 

Six members of Engine Company 28, Ladder 11 died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. In total, 26 firefighters from the four East Village station houses died on 9/11; 343 total citywide that day.

The end-of-day double rainbow

Some of the double rainbow action from early this evening around (6:35) ... thank you for all the photos ... Dan Theisen above... and Derek Berg below...
... and Jeanne Krier...
... and Stacie Joy...
... and Robert Miner...
... and Cecil Scheib...
... and Dan went back up to get a shot of the post-rainbow sky...

Welcoming Beastie Boys Square to the Lower East Side

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

You can now officially call the corner of Ludlow and Rivington Beastie Boys Square on the Lower East Side.

On Saturday afternoon, the city unveiled the new street blade during a ceremony that included remarks from founding members Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. 

The two NYC natives seem humbled by the honor, and expressed their gratitude to the city for making them who they are today. (You can watch the ceremony via the Beastie Boys' YouTube account.)

"We could not have ever been what we have become without growing up in New York City and hearing all this incredible music, being around all this incredible art, being just around all these incredible people that's only in New York City," Mike D said.

"Thank you for teaching us what to look at, what to listen to, what to wear, how to love, how to live," Ad-Rock said before delivering the afternoon's best line. "It makes me really happy to know that some kid on the way to school 50 years from now is gonna look up and say, 'What the fuck is a Beastie Boy? Why do they get a square?'" 

The ceremony included a tribute to Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died of cancer in 2012. Said Mike D: "He was our brother on this amazing journey that we all got to go through." 

This corner played a starring role on the cover of the group's iconic 1989 album Paul's Boutique. LeRoy McCarthy had been behind this effort and kept with it even after Community Board 3 voted 24 to 1 to reject the Beastie Boys Square application in January 2014. CB3 also reportedly barred McCarthy from reapplying for the street naming for five years. 

McCarthy — sporting a "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" t-shirt on a fire escape above the ceremony — received props from the crowd...
Despite the swampy weather, people packed the corner for the event, which also commemorated 50 years of hip-hop. 

Here are a few scenes from the crowd...
... and the moment it became official...


You can read this post for more about the new mural here by Brooklyn-based artist Danielle Mastrion