Moira Johnston, Topless on the Town Again

Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 7.19.05 PMMary Reinholz

Moira Johnston got a few appreciative glances and mumbles from men – including one who scrambled to have his photo taken with her – as she strolled down University Place and made a turn onto East 13th Street earlier today. Had she been hassled much? “Not really,” she replied. “I’m asserting my right to be topless.” The activist was kind enough to pose for a photo, which we’ve pixelated for your (relative) workplace viewing safety. Oo la la, nice handbag! Read more…

Anjelica Huston in the House? [Update: Cameras Roll at Orlin]

NBC’s “Smash” will be filming at Cafe Orlin on St. Marks Place today. This morning the show’s crew was spotted bringing equipment into a closed set on Lafayette Street, between East Fourth Street and Astor Place; a spokesperson for the locations department confirmed that filming will move to the cafe between First and Second Avenues this afternoon. The show filmed at Orlin in September and has been seen around the neighborhood a few times since then. If a sign on a trailer is any indicator, Anjelica Huston will make an appearance today as her character Eileen.

Update | 4:30 p.m. No sign of Anjelica Huston, but as you can see in our spy footage above, Katharine McPhee, who plays Karen on the show, and Jack Davenport (Derek) were on site.

‘Private’ Bike Rack, We Hardly Knew Ye

IMG_0217Stephen Rex Brown All that’s left of the rack.

The bike rack on East Fourth Street that a scofflaw cyclist claimed as his own has been removed.

Kyle, the East Fourth Street resident who had his bike stolen from the rack last weekend, noticed that the rack was gone this morning. Sure enough, where once was an arched beam with “Private Bike Rack” painted on it there is now nothing more than six bolts in the sidewalk.

“It’s obviously a bummer that the bike rack had to go, but it’s better than having to put up with someone’s abuses,” said Kyle, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of a confrontation with the rack’s “owner.”

He added, “That guy probably wasn’t going to relent. If it were the bike rack or the guy, the only thing that would have changed is the rack.”

The Local is awaiting a response from The Department of Transportation, regarding whether it removed the rack between Avenues A and B. Back in October the department confirmed that it hadn’t installed the rack, and that it was illegal to claim it as one’s own. In fact, the department can bill whoever installed the rack for the expense of removing it. Of course, that seems unlikely given that the owner has never come forward, though rumors abound.

Update | 4:31 p.m. A spokeswoman for The Department of Transportation confirmed that workers removed the rack today, and that it had received no complaints about it since October. Read more…

Bike Share Program Wheelie Wants Your Business

photo(246)Sarah Darville Yael Carmel (center) tries out a bike.

The 7,000 bicycles that will hit the road when the city’s bike share program launches at the end of summer were meant to be sturdy and hard to topple. “They’re a bit like a tank,” remarked a Citi Bike employee who showed some of them off at Tompkins Square Park today.

So when Yael Carmel wobbled and nearly fell off of one of them, she had to laugh. It was one of her first times on a bike after recently learning to ride, she admitted. The employee steadied her and she was off toward Avenue B.

“I really like it,” she said as she got off the bike. “I need to get used to the idea of riding in the city. But I will.”

Ms. Carmel’s test ride might terrify those who worry the city’s bike share program will flood the streets with inexperienced riders, but today’s preview attracted more experienced cyclists as well. Read more…

Someone is Not a Fan of Renovations at 27 East Seventh Street

IMG_0194Sarah Darville A note from a militant preservationist?

Workers renovating the closed — and illegal — hostel at 27 East Seventh Street today didn’t seem too interested in a note scribbled over work permits on the building. “Yet another historic bldg demolished to make way for ugly, overpriced yuppie studios!!” the note read. Read more…

Bicycle Stolen from Notorious ‘Private Rack’

IMG_0139Stephen Rex Brown Ten months after it first appeared, the “private” bike rack is still in place.

The city’s administrative code doesn’t allow it, but that hasn’t stopped someone from continuing to claim that the bike rack on East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B is private.

The bike stolen from the 'private' rack The stolen bike.

Now, one cyclist who dared to goad the person leaving menacing messages taped to bikes on the rack paid the ultimate price — his ride was stolen.

The cyclist, Kyle, who asked to be identified by only his first name for fear of a confrontation with the person writing the nasty notes, lives in a building facing the rack. He said he’d been flouting the “owner” of the rack’s demands for months.

In fact, the bicycle featured in The Local’s first story on the rack belonged to Kyle’s girlfriend. A note left on it in October read, “This is a private rack. Remove your bike or it will be done for you!!”

“We’ve been ignoring them. I’m not going to listen to that because it’s not legal,” Kyle said. “It’s crazy that this person thinks he can do that.”

It all came to a head last week. Read more…

Mural on 2nd Street Gets a ‘Phlegmy’ Addition

-1Udom Surangsophon Here’s the mural, “Stampeded,” which was painted by Know Hope in March at Ideal Glass on East Second Street.

Click to see what the artist Phlegm added to the piece yesterday.

‘Reality’ on the Bowery, Star of ‘Mob Wives’ Shops at Patricia Field Store

Melvin Felix Angela Raiola struts into Patricia Field’s store for the cameras.
Big AngMelvin Felix Big Ang on the Bowery today.

Who is that buxom bombshell strutting into Patricia Field’s new store on the Bowery?

It’s Angela Raiola, AKA Big Ang of “Mob Wives,” who we just spotted shooting a scene for her new reality show, which premiered yesterday.

The larger-than-life Ms. Raiola was doing some shopping in preparation for a shoot tomorrow, while a handful of fans looked on.

“I’m doing a drag show at my bar, The Drunken Monkey on Staten Island,” she said. “I’m going to be dressed up as a drag queen.”

If participating in reality TV is your idea of a good time, the drag show is Tuesday night at Big Ang’s bar, and it’s free.

Doggie Diaries | A Man and His Mutt

dogAlberto Reyes Sugar and Toasty

Meet Toasty and his mutt, Sugar. They sometimes hang out on the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street at St. Mark’s Church. The church isn’t thrilled about the “crusties” who loiter outside, especially after a recent act of vandalism. But when the weather’s nice, they can be found sitting in a group, drinking, laughing, sleeping, fighting, and hanging out with their dogs.

“Sugar just makes me happy. I don’t know, she just does,” said Toasty as he petted Sugar’s head. He said he rescued her from the home of his ex-girlfriend’s mom in the Bronx six months ago. “She had him in a tiny cage, you can tell by the marks on her tail,” he said, pointing to an area on Sugar’s tail where the hair grew in patches because of scarring. Sugar looked up at Toasty and it seemed she was comfortable with her new owner. Read more…

Alice Cooper Big Apple Dreamin’ in the Neighborhood

Speaking of rock and roll legends at local hangouts, City Room happened to strike up a conversation with Alice Cooper at the Broadway location of The Bean this morning. Later on Mr. Cooper made a stop at Trash and Vaudeville. Tonight the man behind “School’s Out” plays the Prudential Center in Newark.

Is the Bicycle Film Festival Block Party Bouncing to Brooklyn?

Photos: Stephen Robinson

After celebrating its 12th year in the East Village, the Bicycle Film Festival Block Party may be zipping across the bridge to Brooklyn.

On Saturday, the annual block party once again came to East Second Street between First and Second Avenues. But Brendt Barbur, its founding director, said that taking it to the streets of Manhattan had becoming increasingly daunting. “The city doesn’t make it as easy unless you’re a major corporation. It’s hard to do community events,” he said. “It’s kind of a bummer because we’ve been doing this a long time.”

Mr. Barbur said it might prove easier to rent a private warehouse or parking lot in Brooklyn, rather than dealing with the rules and regulations of hosting the event on a city block. “They changed the rules within the six-month permitting process,” he complained, declining to go into specifics.

The festival director hinted at one possible new location: “We like Fort Greene,” he said. Read more…

Video: At the Air Sex World Championships, Love Was in the Air

The Air Sex World Championships, which were started in Austin, Tex. in 2009 as a gag on air guitar competitions and have now become a national phenomenon, rolled into town last night. And because they took place at Drom on Avenue A, we were professionally obligated to attend. Apologies: this video isn’t entirely safe for work (or for human eyeballs, in some cases), but there’s no reason you can’t let it ride you into the weekend.

Baldwin vs. Paps on 10th St.

The circus is in full swing over on East 10th Street near University Place, where Alec Baldwin clashed with the paparazzi camped outside of his apartment building. The New York Post has video of a sandal-wearing Mr. Baldwin getting in the face of a photographer for Splash and saying, “You little girl,” before stalking into his building with a pink stuffed animal under his arm. Later he reportedly barreled through the gaggle of shutterbugs on his bicycle. Mr. Baldwin’s wedding to yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas is tomorrow, so expect the conflict to continue.

On the East River, the Fishing Is Good But How Are the Fish?

IMG_0029Melissa Cronin

On Wednesday, the last day of school, dozens of students hung up their Gone Fishin’ signs – literally. Along the East River esplanade, kids of various ages tried out their angling skills at a fishing clinic hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

“Our goal with fishing clinics is to get people down here to learn about the river,” said Daniel Tainow, the center’s educational director. “We want to teach people that there are things they can do to help protect the quality of the river.”

While kids threw back anything they hooked, a little further up the river, near the Williamsburg Bridge, it was a different story.

“I eat whatever I catch,” said Wilfredo Castro, one of several East Village residents who lounged by their fishing poles. He fishes on the river almost every day. “The ecosystem is healthy. That’s why the fish like it,” he said. Read more…

Living with Bacon: IHOP’s Odor Endures

bacon diaries

Earlier this month, The Local learned that the installation of an odor-eating ventilation unit at IHOP had been delayed, raising concerns among neighbors that the bacon smell emanating from the restaurant was there to stay. In the meantime Sandy Berger, whose apartment overlooks the roof of the International House of Putrid Odors, as she calls it, continues to maintain her diary of olfactory impressions.

Sandy Berger’s Bacon Dairy, Page Three

Sandy Berger Could it be? Are these workers preparing for installation of the ventilation unit.

Thursday, June 14

My wake-up call came at 7 a.m. this morning in the form of bacon grease from IHOP — not my alarm clock! And it was still going strong at 8:42 a.m. When I came back home at 1:30 p.m. I could smell that lunch was in full swing, but it was bearable.

Friday, June 15

At 8 a.m. there were no smells, but four hours later the bacon grease was definitely on the burner! It is now 3 p.m. and the smell still lingers.
Read more…

Maroon 5 Fanatics Queue Up at Best Buy

Maroon 5 fanaticsScott Lynch and Lauren Carol Smith The first lady in line for an in-store appearance by Maroon 5 on the left, and the line later this afternoon.

Clearly, their love has taken its toll. Teenage girls are lining up in droves outside of the Union Square Best Buy for an in-store appearance by the band Maroon 5. There’s still time to head over — the heartthrobs aren’t scheduled to arrive until 7 p.m.

Nevermind Those Bowery Hotels: the Real Starwatching Is at Maryhouse

Screen shot 2012-06-27 at 10.25.49 AMFelton Davis Joanne Kennedy gives a quick astronomy lesson.

If it were up to him, Felton Davis would install a 75-foot dome atop the communal shelter where he has lived for 25 years. But the Catholic Worker doesn’t have that kind of money, so he uses a simple telescope to show his fellow Maryhouse residents the wonders of the universe.

Mr. Davis hosts informal viewings on the rooftop of the Catholic-anarchist hospitality house, but on a half dozen occasions, he’s taken his planet parties to the street. Saturday night, he took his Orion telescope and wide-angle Q70 lens to the corner of East Third Street and Second Avenue to give over a hundred passersby an intimate view of Saturn. Positioned next to a bright star in the Virgo constellation, the planet is imminently visible during these summer months.

“This is something that intrudes on people’s consciousness in very strange ways. It’s out of this world,” Mr. Davis told The Local. “People were surprised they could see Saturn from the city streets.” Read more…

Dog Day Afternoon: Sausage Party in Union Square, New Judges for Crif Dog Classic

The truck at Union Square.Mary Reinholz

In Union Square today, a semi-truck doubling as a barbecue smoker offered free chicken and beef sausage links to pedestrians as part of the History Channel’s “Cross Country Cookout.” The truck will be serving free grub till 6 p.m.

Of course, it may be a little late to get in on the feeding frenzy, so here’s something else to chew on: Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring (yes, they’re still around, and have an album out today) and Evette Rios, correspondent on ABC’S “The Chew,” have been added to the judging table at the Crif Dog Classic, an eating contest taking place at Roberta’s, in Bushwick, on the Fourth of July.

At Union Square.Mary Reinholz

The contest, hosted by the East Village’s own Crif Dogs, will feature ten renowned eaters, including Takeru Kobayashi – the legend who famously became persona non grata at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest –  as well as beats from Finger on the Pulse and performances by Wild Yaks, Andy Suzuki & The Method, and The Electric Mess.

As for the Coney Island competition, East Village roommates Timothy “Eater X” Janus and Crazy Legs Conti are gearing up for it, and we’ll have more on that later.

Video: Rats Again Run Rampant at Former Guggenheim Lab Site

About a dozen sightings in a little over two and a half minutes.

Cue “Return of the Rat” – the furry fiends are back on First Street.

Last summer when the BMW Guggenheim Lab took over an empty lot between East First and Houston Streets, near Second Avenue, even the project’s detractors begrudgingly gave it credit for cleaning up a longstanding rat infestation. Well, guess what? The rats are back.

A friend who lives a couple doors over from the lot, which is now a park hosting public programming, brought the rodent resurgence to our attention. (She didn’t want to be named lest she gain a reputation on the block as, well, a rat.) “They’ve steadily become more of a presence and now it’s threatening to be what it used to be,” she said, adding that she has started walking in the street again to avoid the stretch of sidewalk on the southern side of First Street, near Second Avenue, where the whiskered interlopers frolic.

Sure enough, minutes after The Local set up to film the rats on a recent evening, they were seen zig-zagging across the sidewalk every 20 seconds or so, scampering from underneath a set of trash containers to a pile of garbage bags across the way. Passersby shrieked at the site of the voluminous vermin. Before long, we bumped into Emily Armstrong, co-author of The Local’s Nightclubbing column and a longtime resident of the Lower East Side. “They’re back!” she exclaimed as she walked her dog on the block. Read more…

And Now, Goths on a Jungle Gym

photo(240)Ray Lemoine

Some morbid models vamped it up on the jungle gym at Tompkins Square Park this afternoon. “This is for Elle Germany,” explained a person on the scene who asked us not to tweet this photo. These folks look seriously bummed about the closing of Vampire Freaks.