The Day | Cooper Union Has Dibs On Ex-PS 64 Dorm

Maiden LaneGammaBlog

Good morning, East Village.

As you can see above, the former Life Cafe space is getting a new restaurant, Maiden Lane. Michael Natale, who posted interior shots to The Local’s Flickr pool, says it’ll open Wednesday. [GammaBlog]

More details have emerged about the dormitory Gregg Singer has proposed for the old P.S. 64 building: “The dormitory, called University House, will have amenities ranging from a health center to private study rooms and a fitness center. Mr. Singer expects rents to be about $1,550 per month per bed. It is expected to open in the fall of 2014. Cooper Union has signed a 15-year agreement for its students to get priority for roughly 200 beds.” [Wall Street Journal]

The owner of Boukiés is suing the State Liquor Authority over an “illegal” liquor license agreement that he felt he was forced into with CB3. [DNAinfo]
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Barbershop Takes Over As Gallery Moves to St. Marks

sbdbarbersod3Mel BaileyThe new SB D Gallery.

After losing half of its space to a nail salon last year, SB Groupe, the advertising and design firm that runs SB D Gallery, has left its home on East Fourth Street and a barber shop is on the way.

Signs indicate the gallery has moved to 6 St. Marks Place, also the home of St. Marks Karaoke. It’s uncertain whether the new space is fully operational: it looked pretty barren when The Local stopped by (yes, that’s a bar in the photo) and owner Seolbin Park hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, a sign at 125 East Fourth Street indicates a barbershop is “coming soon.” It’s not the first time the address has housed a barber — that’s exactly what had occupied the gallery space when Ms. Park took it over in 2008.

Day of Discussion Marks N.Y.U.’s Acquisition of Larry Rivers Papers

BGTXSMOCEAE0iaU.jpg_largeCourtesy Fales Library Archivist Nicholas Martin installing “Crossings: Larry Rivers & His Milieu” at Fales Library’s gallery.
IMG_3529Courtesy Fales Library

An East Village poet, musician, and artist considered by many to be a godfather of Pop art has returned to his alma mater: this Friday, N.Y.U.’s Fales Library will host a day-long symposium celebrating its acquisition of the Larry Rivers Papers.

Marvin Taylor, director of Fales Library, said the treasure trove of letters, manuscripts, and video is in keeping with previous additions to the Downtown Collection, including the papers of Richard Hell and the Nightclubbing archive featured weekly on The Local. The collection of over 1,000 media elements — including manuscripts of poems Rivers received from John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, audio recordings, and reel-to-reel videos that are currently being digitized — was acquired in 2010 and, after extensive processing, will be viewable by appointment starting next week.

Among the correspondence with friends such as Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and Maxine Groffsky are letters between Mr. Rivers and the great New York School poet, Frank O’Hara. “They collaborated on artworks, they collaborated on poetry, they were lovers,” said Nicholas Martin, the project archivist. “They had some really tumultuous times personally, and Frank O’Hara was just such a strong personality that his letters are outstanding.” Read more…

‘Shockingly Different’ Papaya King Opens Next Month, Will Serve Beer

UntitledDaniel Maurer Blake Gower and Wayne A. Rosenbaum

Papaya King unveiled its St. Marks storefront today, and its proprietors (papaya-tors?) say it’ll open during the last week of April.

At 1,100 square feet, this location is about three times the size of the Upper East Side original, and the extra room will be put to use: take a look at the construction shot below and imagine vintage video games (think Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders), a proper speaker system for pumping out music, and a projector displaying vintage footage of New York City.

Come early spring or late summer (depending on the State Liquor Authority), there will also be beer. (Likely just one tap, said Wayne A. Rosenbaum, director of operations.)

“What you’re going to see in this store is going to be shockingly different from all Papaya anything that’s been done in the city,” said Blake Gower, head of development, adding that the store would be all about “embracing the old but creating the 2.0.”

Don’t worry – the food program will feature the “exact same product, exact same everything,” according to Mr. Rosenbaum. And the colorful signage festooning the Upper East Side store will also hang here. But the menu will feature a debut item (“a very interesting creation that we’ve been testing for a while” winked Mr. Rosenbaum) and the décor will likely nod to neighborhood lore.
Take a look inside…

Canadian Boutique Sets Up Shop On Extra Place

inventoryJoanna Marshall

Hot on the heels of Cadet, more menswear is coming to the neighborhood: An outpost of Inventory, a Vancouver-based shop, is set to open next week on Extra Place.

Ryan Willms, a native of British Columbia, founded Inventory in 2009 after the success of his online fashion magazine, h(y)r collective (he has also contributed to Monocle and Apartamento). What began as a blog and biannual magazine reflecting the editor’s tastes in menswear, culture and lifestyle evolved, in 2010, into a store in the Gastown district of Vancouver. Mr. Willms said he and his partners curate “pieces that are timeless classics, well-made so that they last a lifetime.”

Inventory New York will sell menswear by brands like The Real McCoy’s, Ebbets Field Flannels, and Engineered Garments; shoes by Clarks, Red Wing, and Yuketen; and accessories for the home, like Japanese paper products and handmade ceramics. Read more…

Nightclubbing | Richard Hell and The Voidoids, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library

UntitledNicole Batchelor Regne

Well, it is officially Richard Hell month. His newly published book, “I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp,” has enjoyed a glowing review in The New York Times. There has been a flurry of personal appearances in bookstores and a string of interviews in print outlets and on the radio.

It has probably reminded this self-deprecating and essentially very private man why he dropped from the public eye to begin with. The tension between his introversion and the will to perform has always been Hell’s biggest conundrum. And what better way to help relive that dichotomy than a book tour? Maybe it’s a form of therapy. We have the feeling he would rather chew glass.
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In Alphabet City, a Girdle Guru Boosts Lingerie as Way to Healthier Life

photo-29Daniel Maurer

“The better you take care of your breasts, the less stress and more confidence you will have,” promises Pearl Chan.

Ms. Chan, a self-proclaimed “body-slimming lingerie specialist,” opened Healthier Life to help put some pride in the chests of East Village women. The rail-thin Fashion Institute of Technology grad isn’t shy when talking about the beauty of brassieres: a recent interview turned into an episode of “Shopkeepers Gone Wild” when she lifted up her shirt to show how well her own bra fit.

“See, no double boob!” she proclaimed, referring to the fold of fat that forms between the breast and armpit due to an ill-fitting bra.

You may or may not have noticed Ms. Chan’s shop, a sparse cinder-block space tucked just below street level at 291 East Fourth Street. “Lose 10 lbs in 5 days” promises a sign outside of the brassiere bunker. Read more…

Amato Opera House May Go Residential With Added Penthouse

amato2Paul Wagtouicz
amato1Paul Wagtouicz

After sitting vacant for nearly four years, the Amato Opera House may finally be getting an encore.

Real-estate heavyweight Steven Croman, a member of the LLC that bought the iconic building in 2009, has filed an application to convert the jewel-box theater at 319 Bowery into a commercial and residential building, with a penthouse addition above the fourth floor.

The change of use would heighten the building by 10 feet and add three residential units, according to an application for a construction permit filed last week and currently being reviewed by the department of buildings.

The Amato Opera, a onetime fixture of the Bowery art scene, closed in 2009 after Anthony Amato sold it for $3.7 million amidst a heated inner-family legal dispute. It had served as “The Smallest Grand Opera in the World” for more than 60 years. After Mr. Amato died at 91 in December of 2011, The Local got an extraordinary look inside the opera house, then on sale for $6.5 million. At the time, prospective buyers had considered the space for a one-family home, a nightclub, restaurant or bar.

The building’s property manager was not immediately available for comment.

Update | 6:30 p.m. Lauren Muss, the broker of 319 Bowery and Senior Vice President at Corcoran, confirmed that “the owner is keeping” the building.

Theater for the New City Will Take Seats to the Streets With $1.7M Facelift

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 4.47.53 PMSITE The new design.

An iconic theater is getting a makeover, and it promises to be a showstopper.

“It’s going to make the Theater for the New City well known,” said Crystal Field, the theater’s executive artistic director.

Designed by award-winning architect James Wines (perhaps best known to New Yorkers as the designer of the Shake Shack) the facade will feature theater seats embellished with coats, umbrellas and programs, as if it’s intermission during a show. “We’re very proud that it isn’t one of those glass and steel designs found all over the city,” said Ms. Field, adding that the new look would be “in line with the neighborhood.”

The redesign has been a long time coming: the theater commissioned the design when it first moved to its current location in 1986, but it has languished without funding. Next Tuesday, T.N.C. will formally request financial assistance from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
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Hell of a Time As Punk Pioneer Celebrates New Book

P1020079Anthony Pappalardo Hell-o!

A punk-rock pioneer celebrating the release of his memoir at a place called the Bourgeois Pig?

Last night at the lounge that’s just a short walk from his East Village apartment, Richard Hell greeted guests with a glass of wine in hand, wearing a minimalist sweater-and-jeans combo. His hair was cut short without any grays (no, he doesn’t dye it — or so he said).

“We didn’t do a pre-game meeting, but I hope someone jumps on the bar and starts reading,” he said when asked if he was planning to read from his new book.

As you know by now, “I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp” chronicles Mr. Hell’s years in New York, where, as a reaction to the flower-child aesthetic, he created a persona and style that was the basis for punk. Malcolm McLaren modeled the Sex Pistols after him, dressing them in leather jackets, shredded gear, and safety pins.
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Ring the Alarm: Phone Thieves Hitting the Dance Floor

Webster HallRoey Ahram Webster Hall

On a recent Sunday morning, a reporter for The Local was slouched over the sales counter of a Verizon store, buying a replacement for the Android that had been lifted from her purse the night before, at Hotel Chantelle. As it happened, two women walked in complaining loudly that their phones had been stolen from a restaurant two blocks away from the Lower East Side nightspot, on the same night.

The Grey Lady is a Nantucket-themed restaurant that escalates into a raucous party on Fridays and Saturdays. As at Hotel Chantelle, the music screams, the liquor flows and the crowd presses elbow to elbow. It’s the perfect setting for pickpockets, and they’re after one thing in particular: at downtown’s nightlife destinations, phone theft has become a fixture just like bespoke cocktails and blasé hipsters.

In the seventh precinct, which covers the Lower East Side, grand larceny is up 11 percent this year compared to last year, while overall crime is down 18 percent. In the ninth precinct, which covers the East Village, grand larceny is up 17 percent while overall crime is down 8.7 percent. The increase in larceny was due in large part to cellphone theft, a police source in the ninth precinct said.

On Feb. 9, Jessie Gonthier, 27, was at the Grey Lady for a friend’s birthday celebration. Early in the night, she unzipped her purse, which hung across her body, and realized that her iPhone was missing. Thinking that she must have dropped it, she tracked down the manager. “The manager said that no phones were turned in, but there was already another girl talking to him about her phone being missing,” Ms. Gonthier said.

By the end of the night, Ms. Gonthier had seen about five people claim their phones were stolen, she said.
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You Know Who Doesn’t Mind Horse Meat? This Guy Right Here

Frank’s sidekick, Camilo.

So, horse meat sure has been in the news lately. Today, Grub Street posted a list of places where you can go tie on the proverbial feedbag, if curiosity has gotten the better of you.

None of them are anywhere near the East Village, but the neighborhood has at least one fan of cavallo, as it’s called in Italy: Frank Prisinzano, the man behind Frank, Lil’ Frankies, Supper, Sauce, and East Village Radio.

During a recent episode of his excellent Web show, Sauce’d, he visited the famous Bottega del Vino in Verona. If you want to get right to the action, skip to 3:25 where he pairs a “screamin'” wine with raw horse meat. “Do you have the coglioni to eat this?” he asks as he plops some onto his plate. “I did this on Twitter and I think I lost 50 followers as soon as I put it up.” Read more…

Housing Authority Reveals Plan to Lease Campos Plaza Lot to Developer

SAM_0290Lila SelimMargarita Lopez addresses the crowd.

The New York City Housing Authority unveiled details of its controversial plan to lease part of Campos Plaza to a private developer at a meeting with tenants Tuesday.

Under the proposed plan, 26,000 square feet of land, currently being used for two parking lots and a basketball court, would be leased for 99 years.

The parking lot is one of 13 parcels of land across eight citywide sites where private developers would be invited to build housing consisting of 80 percent market-rate units and 20 percent permanent low-income housing. Under the plan for Campos, East Village residents would get first crack at what could be 16 to 21 new affordable-housing units, and the revenue generated by the lease agreement would be used to subsidize long-called-for improvements to the aging highrises on East 13th Street, between Avenues B and C.

Tuesday, Margarita Lopez, a member of the authority’s board, fiercely defended the proposal to about 100 tenants, stressing that the agency was in dire need of revenue. “If you have a proposal for where to get the money, let me go get it with you,” she said, addressing the proposal’s critics. “If you don’t, then shut up.” Read more…

Anti-7-Eleven Group Calls For More Control Over Chain Stores

UntitledSuzanne Rozdeba At Tompkins Square Bagels

While U.S. senators debated the use of drones last night, members of the 11th Street A-B-C Block Association called for more oversight on that truly pernicious foe: 7-Elevens.

The group wants to make it harder for large franchises and chain stores to open shop in the East Village without prior community approval. Last night, it asked for the endorsement of Community Board 3’s Economic Development committee and was rebuffed — for now.

The request came as concern about the impending arrival of a 7-Eleven on the corner of East 11th Street and Avenue A (the chain’s fifth location in the neighborhood) hit an all-time high.

“Our concern is actually not just what’s happening on Avenue A,” said community activist and blogger Rob Hollander, who spoke for the block association and its offshoot, No 7-Eleven. “Our concern is five years from now, ten years from now, when there are nothing but corporate stores.”
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Military-Minded Brooklyn Clothier Storms East Village

cadetev5 Owner Brad Schmitt shows The Local his tuxedo stripe shorts.

A new store selling military-inspired clothing has marched onto East Ninth Street.

Cadet carries a line of menswear that’s hand-crafted by the owners along with four sewers in a Bushwick, Brooklyn factory. The brand launched with a Williamsburg store in April of last year and expanded into Manhattan last weekend.

“Our collection or sort of aesthetic is based on a post-war military academy styling,” said Brad Schmitt, 39. “It’s a modern twist on military academy, but we try to feed some basics, so slim cuts mixed with some fashion-forward elements.”

Mr. Schmitt runs the company with his life partner Raul Arevalo, a graduate of F.I.T. who has been in the fashion industry for over 17 years. The duo scouted Nolita a bit but eventually settled in the East Village, where they’re in familiar company: Meg, another locally-made clothing boutique, shares an entrance with Cadet’s Williamsburg store and has another location across from the East Ninth Street store. “We’re friends,” said Mr. Schmitt of proprietor Meg Kinney. “We talk all the time. She lives in Williamsburg, we live in Williamsburg, and she actually vetted this street for us.” Read more…

Here’s What to Feast On at Feast, Opening Tonight

A couple of weeks ago we took you inside Feast, a new restaurant from former Veritas chef Chris Meenan and Savoy Bakery owner Brian Ghaw. You know, the place with stuffed bobcat pouncing on a vintage typewriter. With the restaurant opening in less than an hour, it’s time to look at the menu.

One thing has changed since we spoke to co-owner George Chiang: the three feasts are now down to two. Other than that, check out the menu below. In addition, there are “handmade” sodas (lime basil, orange fennel, elderflower lemon, etc.) as well as sodas “by the man.” Presumably none of them are available in 44-ounce sizes. Plus, root beer (and regular beer!) on tap. Read more…

Rizzo’s Fine Pizza Bringing a Slice of Queens to LES

DSC00283Kavitha Team Rizzo’s

An Astoria favorite is aiming to expand into the space that held Frankies 17 and later Francesca’s. The Local spotted the owners of Rizzo’s Fine Pizza at 17 Clinton Street last night, drumming up signatures in support of a beer and wine license.

Rizzo’s is a popular family-run operation that specializes in thin-crust pies. The original location, opened in 1959, still stands at 30-13 Steinway Street and there’s an offshoot on the Upper East Side at 1426 Lexington Avenue.

When it opens in about two months, the 20-seat location will have a rustic vibe and be a bit more formal than the original. Read more…

Vintage Shop Closes With Blowout Sale

wgaca3 Inside What Goes Around Comes Around

Mel Bailey

Attention, fashionistas! What Goes Around Comes Around is closing its pop-up at 440 Lafayette Street and all merchandise is 70 percent off until March 9.

The store opened in September and was expected to close after three months (just like its previous Williamsburg pop-up), but customers have kept it running three months longer than expected, said Asher Fritz, an employee.

The brand claims to offer “the most sought-after vintage and antiques on earth,” and releases its own collections every fall, spring and summer.

Rest assured, its long-standing Soho location won’t be going anywhere soon. It’ll continue to stock newer and higher-end vintage quality items while merchandise from the pop-up — mostly past collections and surplus — will be sent to the brand’s warehouse in New Jersey.

Heart n’ Soul to Replace Mama’s Food Shop Next Week

UntitledDaniel Maurer

The mural that graced Mama’s Food Shop has been painted over and will be replaced when Heart n’ Soul opens on East Third Street next Thursday.

“We had mixed feelings about that,” said Richard Freedman, the landlord of Mama’s Food Shop who took over the space in July, to the chagrin of many East Villagers.

At the end of the day, the old artwork just didn’t click. “It’s a new place; it has a new identity,” he said.

That identity is “casual soul food with a chef,” said Mr. Freeman, and the chef is David Conn, who said his brand of “Southern coastal cuisine” aims to highlight the history of the Gullah population in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The slave descendents were the first creators of soul food, he said. Read more…

Dust Up: East 3rd Street Tenants Plot Lawsuit Over ‘Uninhabitable Situation’

WallLisa Hornberger

Tenants of three buildings on East Third Street plan to file a lawsuit next week alleging that their landlords have illegally endangered their health and safety while performing renovations.

In April, The Local reported that the residents of 50, 54, and 58 East Third Street were rallying to stay in their apartments after news came down that the buildings would be sold. As feared, the landlord refused to renew the leases of market-rate tenants whose contracts expired last year. An organizer of the tenants eventually gave up the fight and moved to Washington Heights.

The new landlords, Gregory and Graham Jones, are now trying to remove the remaining tenants in rent-stabilized apartments by a combination of buyouts, aggravation and evictions, said Wasim Lone, director of housing services at Good Old Lower East Side, who is working with the tenants on the lawsuit.

“They’re trying to scare the pants off of us — it’s all intimidation,” said Lisa Hornberger, a resident of 58 East Third Street. “They have gone out of their way to make this demolition process an uninhabitable situation.” When she came home from work two weeks ago, her cat’s normally white paws were black with the construction dust that had settled over her apartment.

The new landlords have started renovation, and only half of the original tenants are still living there, according to Ms. Hornberger. Across the three buildings, there are between 25 and 28 people left in the rent-stabilized apartments, who are “under a lot of anxiety given the construction and the landlord’s attitude,” according to Mr. Lone. Read more…