Life > Sightings >


Neil Gaiman Descends On Bookshop Like a Ninja

EAST VILLAGE buildings sunset (st brigid's)Shelf Awareness A fan shows off a tattoo of Mr. Gaiman’s signature.

Neil Gaiman stopped into the St. Mark’s Bookshop for a so-called “ninja signing” yesterday, bringing a camera crew and a welcome sales boost with him.

According to Terry McCoy, a co-owner of the shop, Mr. Gaiman’s agent called last Thursday to set up the event, but the bestselling British author didn’t announce it to his nearly 1.8 million Twitter followers until hours before the 11 a.m. signing.

“He did it really to help us out, because he knows we’re kind of struggling,” said Mr. McCoy. “He’s a real prince of a guy.”

Several dozen people showed up to the crash signing. For those who missed it, the shop still has about two shelves of books signed by the fantasy and sci-fi novelist and screenwriter. “Perfect holiday gifts for people who like my books. Useless for anyone who doesn’t,” tweeted Mr. Gaiman, who has said the bookshop is his favorite in New York (he, in turn, is one of the store’s top sellers).

As for the camera crew following Mr. Gaiman, that’s a big secret. “I was told that it was confidential, whatever it was,” said Mr. McCoy.

Alec Baldwin Drops By to Cheer Up Displaced NYU Students

UntitledDaniel Maurer Baldwin leaves the building.

Displaced NYU students got an unexpected dinner guest today, as Alec Baldwin made a star appearance at the school’s student center.

The “30 Rock” star stopped into Kimmel Center, off of Washington Square Park, around 7 p.m. tonight. “I’m an alum and John Sexton asked me to come and talk to the students, thank them for their patience,” he told The Local as he left the building, politely breaking free from a dozen students that swarmed him at the elevator.

NYU relocated about 6,000 students earlier today after back-up power ran out at their dorms, according to an e-mail from Jules Martin, the school’s Vice President for Global Security and Crisis Management. Around midday, the generator at 3rd North residence ran out of fuel, creating a “temporary smoke condition,” but power was expected to be restored this evening, the e-mail said. Displaced students are currently showering at the school’s two sports complexes.

Mr. Baldwin, who lives near Kimmel on East 10th Street, has also been displaced by the storm: he told The Local that he and his wife had moved to a friend’s hotel because his elevator was out and taking their two dogs up and down several flights of stairs “wasn’t working.” He was also out of work for two days: “the show I do,” he said, referring modestly to “30 Rock,” suspended filming on Monday and Tuesday because team members couldn’t make it to Silvercup Studios in Queens.

As soon as Mr. Baldwin made his appearance alongside school president John Sexton in the cafeteria, students charging their phones, pecking at laptops, and dining at Kimmel sent out word via Twitter.

“Alec Baldwin just came to Kimmel and told us to stay safe #YesSir,” wrote @Glenneth_Coco.

“You know those weird moments when you’re temporarily living in Kimmel and you run into Alec Baldwin?” wrote @taylorsprow.

“Thats cool Alec Baldwin came to NYU to chill, but uhh.. can you take us home with you so we can shower n sleep in your probably fancy bed?” tweeted @CinemaBite.

The Costumed Canines of the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Tim Schreier and Dana Varinsky

The champions of the 22nd annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade were no strangers to the winner’s circle. The pup that ranked Best in Show has won a similar contest on the Upper East Side the last three years, dressed as a hurricane and as Beyonce. Gracie, winner of the second round, took Best in Show two years ago as Scarlett O’Hara. That year, Benny the boxer also got a prize as Internet sensation Antoine Dodson.

IMG_0093Dana Varinsky Benny the Boxer as Butthead

This year it was Benny’s behind that got all the attention: glasses and a wig were perched atop his tiny tail to make it look like a wiggling nose.

The Butthead costume was spontaneous. “I wasn’t sure I was going to dress him up,” said Benny’s owner, Michael Godere. But the dog’s godfather, Grover Guinta, came over that morning with a bag of wigs and glasses. “We just improvised,” Mr. Godere said, laughing when another dog sniffed Benny’s rear-end. “It’s great when the other dogs try to kiss his butt.” Read more…

E.V. on T.V.: ‘Infamous’ On Sixth


Just a couple of weeks after “Golden Boy” filmed around the East Village, another crime drama is in the neighborhood: we spotted signs on East Sixth and Seventh Streets, near Cooper Square, indicating that NBC’s “Infamous” is shooting today. And another development on Sixth Street: the tiny space at 208 East Sixth is up for rent after briefly housing Cooper Convenience Store.

E.V. on the T.V.: Watch a Busboy Get Cuffed On Avenue A

film_crew-1Sasha Von OldershausenThe shoot at 7B.

A couple of blocks from where a real-deal crime occurred in the wee hours of the morning, a make-believe one was filmed for CBS’s forthcoming series “Golden Boy.”

The crime drama was shooting at Percy’s Tavern on the corner of Avenue A and East 13th Street this morning, with equipment being stored at the landmarked St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church a few blocks down on the corner of East 10th Street. In the scene shown here, an actor dressed as a busboy runs out of the restaurant only to be thrown against the hood of a car, tossed to the sidewalk (actually a cushy faux-cement mat), and cuffed by a comely detective.

Just another day in the hood?

Update | 1:50 p.m. The Local also spotted a crew outside of (you guessed it!) 7B, which was rechristened Lehane’s Tavern for the shoot.

Helena Christensen Comes to ‘Gritty’ East Village For Fashion Week, Stays For the Boutiques

Chef Paul Gerard outside Exchange AlleyMelvin Felix Chef Paul Gerard before the opening of
Exchange Alley.

Even during Fashion Week, the sight of chauffeurs idling just a half-block from Avenue A is an unexpected one. But when Exchange Alley opened last month, chef-owner Paul Gerard said he wanted it to be “a place for creatives to exchange ideas,” and that’s what it was last night, as actor Josh Hartnett, director Paul Haggis, and other bold-face types mingled at a dinner party for Vs. Magazine, hosted by Liv Tyler.

At a back table, supermodel and avid photographer Helena Christensen sat across from nightlife impresario Nur Khan and Michael Stipe of REM, who wore a serious pair of horned-rims.

Ms. Christensen, a West Village resident, said she wanted to make it over to the east side more often. “I love the West Village because it reminds me of European villages, but the East Village is so gritty and so real and so New York,” she told The Local. Read more…

Hey, Stud! Get Bedazzled On 11th Street

photo 2Lauren Carol Smith

Here’s one more item to add to your Fashion’s Night Out itinerary: Buffalo Exchange, at 332 East 11th Street, between First and Second Avenues, will Bedazzle your clothes free of charge. The magic continues till 7 p.m. tonight.

The Optimus Prime of Art Galleries Makes Its St. Marks Debut

constructDaniel Maurer
construct2Daniel Maurer The truck has a skylight, swinging front doors,
and a sliding brick wall.

Last night a moving truck pulled up in front of Pinkberry on St. Marks Place and put its blinkers on. But it wasn’t there to unload Ikea furniture: this was a pop-up art gallery. Or, more accurately, a pull-up gallery.

In 2008, Adeel Usman, a onetime aspiring actor who bears a striking resemblance to Aziz Ansari, and John Herbert Wright, his friend since high school, made yet another unsuccessful bid to get Mr. Wright’s artwork placed in a Chelsea gallery. While they grabbed lunch at a nearby taco truck, they had the idea of building an art gallery of their own – one that, unlike their Harlem studio, could rove around the city like a food truck.

They acquired a Moishe’s moving van that was bound for the junkyard and, without knowing much about construction, installed plexiglass windows on its sides and roof, plus sliding and swinging doors. Last summer, the project they call 83rd Anomally was born. Read more…

Street Scenes | Head’s Up: Grace Jones

IMG_0007Stephen Rex Brown

A mural of onetime Warhol muse Grace Jones has started going up on the side of Sushi Lounge, on St. Marks Place, just a block from Niagara’s Joe Strummer wall. We’ll show you the finished work when she’s ready.

He’s Fighting Rats Down There So We Don’t Have to Fight Them in the Park

IMG_0009Stephen Rex Brown A Department of Health worker drops rat poison into the sewer.

The rats might be returning to Tompkins Square Park (depending on who you ask) but don’t think the city is waving the white flag. While walking the beat today we came upon two health department employees dropping poison into a sewer grate at East Seventh Street and Avenue A. One of them confirmed that the bait was meant to thin the hordes of rodents that last year became a media sensation.

Film Crews On Avenue A and at Mary Help of Christians

photo-287Daniel Maurer Load-in at Mary Help of Christians.

With one last mass set for next Sunday, Mary Help of Christians is being used for film fodder again. A crew member overseeing a load-in this morning wouldn’t reveal the project’s name because its producer wanted to keep a low profile, but she described it as a small independent endeavor. (Speaking of low profiles, there’s still no word on the identity of the party said to be buying the church: a call to an Archdiocese spokesperson this morning has not yet been returned.)

Meanwhile, around the corner on Avenue A, “Blood Bloods,” a USA Network crime drama starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, is filming today, according to a flyer spotted outside of Tompkins Square Bagels. The show is said to have contemplated a move to Toronto a couple of years ago but everyone knows you can’t get a good bagel burger in Hollywood North.

‘Smash’ Hits Cooper Square

IMG_0421Daniel Maurer

“Smash,” last spotted at Cafe Orlin, was back in the East Village today, filming at Cooper Triangle. The paparazzi were out in full force trying to catch a glimpse of Debra Messing.

Sorry, this is the best our not-exactly-telephoto iPhone could muster, but rest assured Ms. Messing is Instagramming from the set. And being a friendly neighbor, too: the actress retweeted a welcome to N.Y.U.’s class of 2016.

Happening Now: TOWN Sidewalk Fest at Astor

Stephen Rex Brown

If photos of the anti-Republican fervor that overcame much of the city in 2004 didn’t make you feel patriotic, perhaps this footage of the TOWN Sidewalk Festival at 26 Astor Place will. Yoga demonstrations, the Standard East Village’s ice cream, and a food truck displaying art were all on hand — set to the soundtrack of Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner.” The event continues for another half hour.

Video: Police Officers in Showdown With 12th Street Resident

Police officers climbed a fire escape on East 12th Street today to calm a man who had been causing a disturbance.

A resident of the block between Avenues A and B, who did not want to identify herself, witnessed the commotion. “I came out and saw a man who seemed to be agitated on the top floor hanging out his window, yelling down to the cops,” she said. “The cops didn’t seem too concerned about it, but apparently he didn’t want to let them into his apartment so they had to go up the fire escape.”

As police officers climbed to the top floor of 513 East 12th Street, the man locked the window; after a few minutes, they talked the man into opening it and letting them in. Read more…

Miley on St. Marks

They’re everywhere! Days after Mary Kate-Olsen was spotted on East 10th Street, Miley Cyrus caused a stir yesterday by debuting a punky new look on the streets of the “gritty East Village.” Someone (Iggy Pop, maybe?) might want to tell Just Jared and Gossip Girls that the name of the St. Marks Place store where she shopped is Search & Destroy, not “Search & Search.” At least Britain’s Daily Mail seems to be up on its East Village, which it says was “known before Miley’s birth as being the centre for counterculture in New York and, arguably, the birthplace of punk rock. Since then, the city has cleaned up, (for good or for worse, depending on who you ask) with blocks of trendy boutiques and galleries popping up that could keep even the most fashion-conscious star busy for hours.”

Extreme!! Boarders Line Up For Shaun White on 14th Street

photo(329)Melvin Felix

Here’s what the line outside of the 7-Eleven on 14th Street looked like this afternoon.

Celina Alcobendas and Nelson Valle came in from New Jersey and had been waiting since before 9 a.m. to meet Shaun White, there to promote a brand of gum.

The legendary snowboarder signed Mr. Valle’s longboard and Ms. Alcobendas’s white tank top, which she planned to sport on the slopes. “He’s really good-looking in person,” she said. “I actually told him that if my boyfriend wasn’t here, I’d ask him to marry me.”

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Plays Bocce On Fourth Street

First a swimming pool appeared in Union Square and now a beachy bocce court has come to East Fourth Street, courtesy of “Boardwalk Empire.”

As expected, the HBO show’s cameras were rolling today at the Cornelia Connelly Center, between First Avenue and Avenue A; an adjacent empty lot was filled with sand and a sandbox where a pair of actors seemed ready to play bocce.

The show had previously filmed inside the soon-to-close Mary Help of Christians Church on East 12th Street. Today, crew members left their modern-day cars in the church parking lot while the show’s old-time buggies lined East Fourth Street.


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 20, 2012

An earlier version of this post misidentified the location of Mary Help of Christians. It is on 12th Street, not Seventh.

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Is Back, See

boardwalkSarah Darville

After a June shoot brought Model Ts to East 12th Street, “Boardwalk Empire” is back in the neighborhood. According to an employee at the Cornelia Connelly Center, the HBO drama will film in the back courtyard of 220 East Fourth Street on Monday. The building was erected before 1903, and was a Catholic school for boys before it became an orphan asylum; it now houses a Catholic middle school for girls as well as the Metropolitan Playhouse.

Next week’s shoot means production trucks will be commandeering almost nine blocks of parking along Fourth Street, Avenue A and Avenue B starting Sunday — so move your cars, unless you want them run over by one of these buggies.

Everybody in the Pool at Union Square! (Well, Not Everybody)

Photos: Jason Trobman

There was a swimming pool in Union Square today, but unlike the zip line that popped up some weeks ago, nobody got to use it.

The pool party was created for It’s So Miami, a campaign by the Greater Miami Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Spectators weren’t allowed in the water or on the chaises, and had to settle for tossing beach balls while free trips were given away. (Areas reserved for hunky models? That is so Miami!) Bouncing to club tunes and sipping coconut water, the models, at least, looked like they were having a blast, as did Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing with the Stars.”

Louis Aguirre, a Florida news reporter serving as master of ceremonies, touted Miami as the “sixth borough,” Hey, it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

‘Rigby’ Goes Down: James McAvoy Spotted in Cooper Square

eleanorSarah Darville James McAvoy on set.

“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain, is shooting in the neighborhood today. Mr. McAvoy was spotted in Cooper Triangle this morning, and signs indicated that filming would continue around 41 Cooper Square. That means director Ned Benson must’ve found the locations he was looking for: In June, flyers posted on Tenth Street asked locals to volunteer their apartments for the film.