Friday, June 7, 2024

The 3rd annual LUNGS Theater Festival takes place this weekend

The third annual LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) Theater Festival is this weekend at the 6th Street and Avenue B Garden. 

The free performances are scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. (Note: The program is the same each day.) For a detailed preview, visit the LUNGS website here

Joseph Papp began the outdoor theater tradition on the Lower East Side in 1956 when he introduced "Shakespeare in the Park" in the (now-demolished) East River Park Amphitheater. 

In 2022, LUNGS continued this part of his legacy with the free Summer Theater Festival.

Updated: Man slashed in unprovoked attack on Astor Place

Top photo via the Citizen app 
2nd photo via an EVG reader

Updated 6/9

Police have arrested a 35-year-old homeless in connection with the slashing, the Daily News reports


A man in his 20s was slashed in an unprovoked attack early last evening on Astor Place, according to police sources and published reports. 

The attack happened just before 5:30 p.m. on the busy plaza that houses the Cube and the food and beverage kiosk. Passersby said nothing precipitated the slashing between the suspect and the victim. 

"Right before, nothing. Yeah, no altercation. Just exploded out of nowhere," witness Michael Picardi told ABC 7.
The suspect, dressed in dark clothes and camouflage pants, was seen leaving the plaza and heading eastbound toward St. Mark's Place. The Daily News reported a witness took a photo of the suspect and shared it with investigators. 

According to reports, the victim, who was slashed in the back of the neck and shoulder, is in stable condition at Bellevue. 

Updated 6/8 

The NYPD released these images of the suspect...
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.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

After 25 Years on Avenue A, Juicy Lucy will move following vandal attack

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

After 25 years at 85 Avenue A, René Henricks is ready to pack up and move Juicy Lucy. 

According to Henricks, on Tuesday morning around 11, a man carrying a shovel and another tool walked up to the juice and coffee shop, smashed its front window, and menaced the counterperson before continuing north on Avenue A toward Tompkins Square Park. 

Henricks shared an image from the surveillance video...
... as well as a low-resolution video of the attack...


Henricks (pictured below) told me in an interview yesterday that "that's it, the last straw," and she's relocating her business from here between Fifth Street and Sixth Street in the days ahead.
Tuesday's incident aside, she has noticed an uptick in unhinged behavior and a general menacing undercurrent in the area since the pandemic. 

She has pleaded with the landlord to install a gate to protect the area where people camp out in front of Takahachi and DROM next to her storefront but to no avail. Henricks mentioned a fatal overdose in the nook a few months ago. She also said that she has to clean up needles and personal belongings daily.
The unnamed employee of two years working during the attack said that the man "seemed angry with the world and frustrated by the world" and noted that neither she nor Henricks had seen him before. He didn't say anything to her during the incident. 

"I'm angry too! It's my responsibility to keep my staff safe, the landlord's responsibility to keep the building safe, and the Mayor and the city's responsibility to keep us all safe," Henricks said. "We have a good business, a quiet business, a family business."

I contacted the 9th Precinct, which confirmed the report and said that the detective's squad was investigating the matter. The perpetrator is, at present, unknown. The charge listed on the police report is felony criminal mischief. 

Henricks, a longtime East Village resident, said she loves the neighborhood and plans to relocate nearby. The Juicy Lucy kiosk on First Avenue and First Street will remain open with extended hours.

Mapping the public restrooms in the East Village

ICYMI: On Monday, Mayor Adams announced the arrival of "Ur In Luck," which is "a new effort to expand New Yorkers' access to public restrooms across all five boroughs."

Per the announcement: 

• The Department of Parks and Recreation will build 46 new restrooms and renovate 36 existing restrooms, including 28 in Manhattan. (No word how many may be in our area.)

• The city also made "wayfinding to the city's public restrooms better in time for summer by introducing a new Google Maps layer that New Yorkers can activate on their phones to easily find the locations of every public restroom operated by a wide range of agencies and civic institutions citywide." 

So, if you have a laptop or phone, you can find the map here. 

In all of the East Village, there are three public restrooms listed:

• McKinley Playground, Fourth Street, between Avenue A and First Avenue 
Open Year Round 
Hours of Operation:
  • 8am - 4pm, Open later seasonally 
Fully Accessible 

• Tompkins Square Library, 10th Street, between Avenue A and Avenue B 
Open Year Round 
Hours of Operation:
  • Sunday: Closed 
  • Monday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Tuesday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Wednesday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Thursday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Friday: 10am - 6pm 
  • Saturday: 10am - 5pm 
Fully Accessible 

• Ottendorfer Library, Second Avenue, between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street 
Open Year Round
Hours of Operation
  • Sunday: Closed 
  • Monday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Tuesday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Wednesday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Thursday: 11am - 7pm 
  • Friday: 10am - 5pm 
  • Saturday: 10am - 5pm 
Limited Accessibility

And the map with some helpful arrows...
There are also restrooms nearby in East River Park at Sixth Street (until it's demolished sometime this year), Union Square Park and Sara D. Roosevelt Park just below Houston. 

We'll also have more restrooms once the renovations of the Tompkins Square Park field house are complete later this year. 

A reader who saw the map earlier opined that a neighborhood this size could use a few more public restroom options. Yes? No? 

Plywood free, you can now walk along the all-new 360 Bowery and its 22-floor office building

On the SW corner of the Bowery and Fourth Street... barely visble though the trees...
... workers this week have removed the plywood and opened up the sidewalk outside the 22-story office building at Fourth Street.
We saw the first sign of the new development above the plywood in January 2023

The developers of this project within the Soho/Noho rezoning area are a collaboration between Morris Adjmi Architects, CBSK Ironstate and AECOM-Canyon Partners. 

This development — offering full-floor office suites — replaces the single-level B Bar & Grill (1994-2020) on the property, previously a gas station. 

Read the archives here


Part of Kendall Jenner's elbow on the mostly-obscured Marc Jacobs billboard ad remains in view ...

Openings: Kyuubi Omakase on St. Mark's Place

Photos by Steven 

Kyuubi Omakase opened on Saturday at 102 St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue.

They're offering a 13-course omakase meal for $68 (per person) inside the 15-seat restaurant.
Hours: 5-10 p.m. daily. You can find them on Instagram here

Kyuubi takes over the space from Sushi Fan, which closed in the spring after just three-plus months in service.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Wednesday's parting shot

Late this afternoon, an EVG reader shared the above photo and this sentiment: "As I was coming off Astor Place, the little half-street from Broadway, the lovely old Wannamaker's building, aka 770 Broadway, was reflected in that grotesque Death Star, its only good use."

Report: The former St. Emeric property could yield a 570-unit affordable housing complex on Avenue D

Potential plans have been revealed for the block-long property that formerly housed the St. Emeric church and school on 13th Street and Avenue D adjacent to the Con Ed power plant.

As PincusCo first reported yesterday, Spatial Equity and Community Access, a nonprofit developer, signed a deal with the Archdiocese of New York to pay between $58 million and $68 million for a 570-unit multifamily property at 181 Avenue D. 

However, the deal is contingent upon the City Council approving a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for the lot. (The space is not currently zoned for residential use.)

And some reporting via Commercial Observer
The archdiocese filed a petition with the New York State Supreme Court for judicial approval of the sale on Monday, a requirement for nonprofit and religious organizations. 

The 1.4-acre lot will have two separate buildings, both 100 percent affordable housing, with one being about 240,000 square feet in total and the other spanning 190,000 square feet, according to the court filings.
Community Access has developed 21 affordable and supportive housing complexes in NYC, per its website. 

The now-deconsecrated church merged with St. Brigid on Avenue B in early 2013. Several years ago, the church's signage (it used to say "For God And Country, 1953") was chiseled away.
The property also includes a greenhouse...
And in the second-floor window of the school...
Here's some history of the parish via Wikipedia
The parish was established in 1949. The Rev. V. J. Brosman had a brick church built in 1949 to designs by Voorhees, Walker, Foley & Smith ... for $300,000. The cornerstone was laid in 1950. The church is now covered in ivy. A two-story school building was erected in 1952 to designs by the same architects for $240,000. 
In March 2022, a local church official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed that the former church and school would be torn down. The source also told EVG's Stacie Joy that the Archdiocese wanted to "do something positive for the community, perhaps something like affordable housing." 

The Archdiocese previously went the luxury route, selling two former East Village churches for more than $80 million in recent years. 

Developer Douglas Steiner bought the former Mary Help of Christians property on Avenue A at 12th Street in 2012 for $41 million. During the summer of 2013, workers demolished the church, school and rectory to make way for Steiner East Village, the block-long luxury condoplex with an indoor pool. 

In March 2020, Gemini Rosemont, an L.A.-based real-estate investor, bought the former Church of the Nativity property on Second Avenue between Second Street and Third Street for $40 million. The property remains vacant

Previously on EV Grieve:

Opening up Jennifer's Cafe on the NW corner of 4th Street and 1st Avenue

Photos by Stacie Joy 

In time for summer, inexpensive-eats specialists Jennifer Cafe recently added a window-counter combo to the stand here on Fourth Street at First Avenue.
And it's about as significant an addition as the kiosk could reasonably accommodate.

Hours vary here. Yelp lists them as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, closed on Sunday.

Carnitas Ramirez sets its opening date for new East Village taqueria

Photo of Giovanni Cervantes and Yvon de Tassigny from last month by Stacie Joy 

Carnitas Ramirez will open in the East Village on June 21 at noon, ownership announced yesterday. 

As we previously reported, the taqueria at 210 E. Third St., just east of Avenue B, will initially open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays... until they sell out. Which, based on the line for the kitchen test this past Saturday, will happen often. 

Owners and life partners Tania Apolinar and Giovanni Cervantes opened Taqueria Ramírez in Greenpoint in September 2021 and quickly earned a large fanbase.

Yvon de Tassigny, a former chef at St. Anselm in Greenpoint, will be helping run the kitchen here.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Looking at two recent storefront reveals on 2nd Avenue

On the NE corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark's Place, Café Maud's signage is officially official as of yesterday. (We got a sneak preview last Wednesday.)

The self-described "neighborhood cafe & bar" replaces EV oldster Dallas BBQ, which closed in December 2022 due to a rent hike.

Opening date for Café Maud: SOON.

Meanwhile, on the NW corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street, we have a full reveal after workers recently removed the plywood (and layers of wheatpaste ads)...
As previously mentioned, a fast-casual restaurant, Balkan StrEAT, was in the works for the space (the former Starbucks). However, the Balkan StrEAT on Sixth Avenue abruptly closed in October, putting this outpost in doubt.

The RUMOR now is a Greek restaurant will open here.

Thanks to Steven for the top photo.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Early summer on St. Mark's Place

Photos by Steven 

At the short-lived Mr. Kim tattoo and piercing studio at 22 St. Mark's Place, the covered entryway to the empty storefront became an inviting place to hang out in recent weeks ...
... until the landlord (presumably) had workers remove the roof and walls...
... sending the traveling crew to a different spot on the block here between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

'East Village Rocks For Ukraine' this Saturday night

A group of local musicians are coming to host a fundraiser titled "East Village Rocks For Ukraine." 

The show takes place Saturday evening starting at 7 at the NYC Ukrainian Cultural Center, 136 Second Ave. between St. Mark's Place and Ninth Street. 

Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Find ticket info here. Proceeds will go to relief efforts for the war in Ukraine.

Greenmarket season begins on Astor Place

The Astor Place Greenmarket returns today. 

GrowNYC's seasonal market is here Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 26.

Confirmed participants this first week: 
• Kernan Farms Vegetables — orchard and small fruit from Cumberland County, N.J. 
• Wave Hlll Breads — baked goods from Fairfield County, Conn.

Photo from last year by Steven

After 36 years in business, Ise Restaurant is closing its doors this month

The owners of Ise have announced that the Japanese restaurant will close its doors on June 28 at 63 Cooper Square, between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place. 

Per a message on Ise's website
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closing of our restaurant. Our last day of business will be June 28, 2024. 

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to each of you for your support and patronage for 36 years. 

Serving you has been a privilege and joy, and we have cherished the many memories made here. Thank you for being part of our journey! 
The restaurant debuted in the Financial District in 1988 and eventually relocated to Cooper Square in the former Menkui-Tei space (also owned by Ise) in 2014.

Ise is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 2:30 p.m. and dinner those days from 5 to 9 p.m. 

H/T jba!

Asian Taste looks to be reopening this month

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

Good news for fans of Asian Taste.

The owners told me they received approval on the gas inspections from the city and ConEd and hope to be open in two weeks.

They said they "are eager to welcome people back."
The quick-serve Chinese restaurant on the NW corner of Avenue B and Third Street has been closed since late SeptemberDuring an inspection of 199 E. Third St., Con Ed found multiple leaks and shut off the gas to the entire Steve Croman-owned building, including the businesses.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Monday's parting shots

In keeping with today's There Goes the Neighborhood theme... luring in the passersby with Color TV at Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St. near Avenue A...

Today in 9th Street sinkhole repairs

Photos by Steven 

Today, workers began filling in the sinkhole that was entertaining us outside 315-317 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

In the process, the sinkhole expanded from a studio to a two-bedroom-sized unit...
... before getting the metal plate treatment...

40 years gone! Revisiting a classic New York magazine cover story from 1984

If you had a copy of New York magazine this week in 1984, you likely read Craig Unger's cover story, "The Lower East Side: There Goes the Neighborhood." 

Generations have said, "There goes the neighborhood," or various variations, like "The East Village is dead," and even more specifically, as Ada Calhoun has documented, "St. Marks is dead."

I first mentioned this piece on June 6, 2008, roughly seven months into EVG's existence. (It was the first EVG post that attracted much attention outside some amazing die-hards.) 

The copy below is from the 2008 EVG post. You can read the full article via Curbed here.


The piece begins in the early 1980s with the rotting hulk of the Christodora House on Avenue B at Ninth Street and the young man eager to own it, Harry Skydell. 

Skydell's enthusiasm was indeed mysterious. The sixteen-story building he wanted to buy, on Avenue B facing Tompkins Square Park, was surrounded by burned-out buildings that crawled with pushers and junkies. It was boarded up, ripped out, and flooded...Early in the seventies, the city had put up the Christodora up for auction and nobody bid. 

The building was eventually sold in 1975 for $62,500. (Last I saw, two-bedroom units there—roughly 1,100 square feet—averaged $1.6 million or so.) 

The article discusses the influx of chain stores, art galleries and "chic cafes."

"And real-estate values are exploding" as a result. Said one longtime resident on the changes: "I've lived in my rent-controlled apartment for years and pay $115 a month. I live on the Lower East Side. The young kids who just moved in upstairs and pay $700 a month for the same space — they live in the East Village."

Here are a few images/pages from the cover story... the photo below is on 10th Street, steps west of Avenue B...