Wanna Cover It? ‘The Poor of New York’ at Connelly Theater

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Here’s the latest story idea to come in via the Virtual Assignment Desk. Want to attend this play and review it? Check out the description below.

The Poor of New York is a bitingly relevant lost American classic by Dion Boucicault, dramatizing a unique and pivotal moment in New York history: the New York Panic of 1857, which is today considered the world’s first global financial crisis. Mixing riotous humor with visceral emotion and political potency, this rip-roaring production features a cast of 25, accompanied by eight live musicians, and reinvigorates the vibrant tradition of American melodrama. The Poor of New York has not been professionally produced in New York since 1931 and will be performed from April 24-27 at the Connelly Theatre in the East Village, an original Victorian building, set on the edge of the notorious 5-Points slums, where much of the action of the play is located.

This play offers a unique window into mid-19th Century American life, whilst powerfully foreshadowing the contemporary New York experience; a New York story with global resonance that speaks to the most pressing concerns of our age. The cast and creative team are actively engaged in a community outreach program that involves a partnership with The Foodbank for New York City, high schools in the East Village and several immigrant community institutions across the city. At the invitation of the Museum of American Finance, there will be a staged reading of the play at the MOAF on April 9th, 2013.

If you’d like to attend and review “The Poor of New York,” or interview one of the cast members, look for the above pitch on our Open Assignments page and volunteer. Have another story you’d like to write or see covered? Pitch it to us via the Virtual Assignment Desk.

Wanna Cover It? Theater at the Pub (No, Not the Public; an Actual Pub)


Here’s the latest pitch to come in through the Virtual Assignment Desk, a nifty tool that allows you to suggest stories for fellow readers to cover.

“The Barplay Quintet” Takes Place at Jimmy’s No. 43!

The Barplay Quintet is a vinette of five, individual and intense plays tackling issues of racism, personal/dating relationships, and class, set during different time periods but always at watering hole. The play is written by award-winning playwright and founding member of The DQT Theatre Allen Davis III.

You can find more about the production, which runs Jan. 17 to 25, here. If it’s your cup of tea (or mug of beer, rather — it does occur at a bar) and you want to cover it, sign up to do so via our Open Assignments page.

And if you’re looking for a less heady (and more stomachy) reason to visit Jimmy’s No. 43, Sunday is the Fifth Annual Cassoulet Cookoff, during which you can sample the traditional French dish as rendered by numerous amateur and professional chefs. Tickets benefit the NYC Greenmarket programs we do so know and love. More here.

Pedestrian Struck By Cab On Cooper Square

Cooper Square roadwork doneSanna Chu Construction was recently completed near
the intersection.

A young woman was in serious condition after being hit by a car on Cooper Square Sunday, the fire department said.

The incident happened near East Seventh Street shortly before 5 p.m. The victim, thought to be in her 20s, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital with a head injury.

According to a reader who used our Virtual Assignment Desk to tip us off to the incident, the woman was struck by a cab.
Read more…

More Photos and Video: East Village During Sandy

Now that power is mostly back, we’ve been receiving more of your photos and videos from the storm, starting with the above. Brian Spitzer submitted this incredible footage of Avenue C and Eighth Street, adjacent the Police Service Area 4 station house, through our Virtual Assignment Desk.

Photos have also been coming into our Flickr Group: Matthew Kraus posted equally stunning shots of flooding on Avenue C and East 15th Street, where one motorist told The Local he escaped waters that were chest-high. Steven Matthews also documented the storm’s arrival and subsequent flooding. Michael Natale posted shots of the wreckage in East River Park, while Bahram Foroughi photographed fallen trees in the Lower East Side and off the East River. Timothy Krause drew our attention to the river’s oily sheen. Philip Kalantzis-Cope witnessed some of the food giveaways we mentioned. Vivienne Gucwa added shots of the recovering neighborhood in darkness and daylight. Meagan Kirkpatrick took some black-and-white stunners of the blackout. Coti Villanueva showed us the rain-slicked streets, as did Roey Ahram. Scott Lynch posted a photo of closures at the Union Square station yesterday, and Ria Chung has images of the neighborhood getting back to normal.

There are plenty more where those came from, so browse The Local’s Flickr pool and add material of your own.

And a big thanks to everyone who contributed coverage.

Wanna Cover It? ‘App Art: Painted Paper’ at TNC Gallery


While the New Museum prepares to honor the artists of 1970s and ’80s Bowery with its exhibit, “Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989” (the opening reception is tomorrow night), the Theater for the New City Gallery is presenting works by two artists, some of which draw on found images of pre-1940s East Village, according to a pitch that just came in via our Virtual Assignment Desk. You know the deal: If you’d like to cover the exhibit, please do so by volunteering at the Open Assignments page (remember to filter by pitch). Here’s the information you’ll find there.

“APP ART: Painted Paper” and The First Avenue Bearded Lady
There are over one hundred works by Peter J. Ketchum and Chris Georgalas at the scruffy alternative gallery TNC 155 First Avenue through October 25th including several using found images of pre-1940’s denizens of the East Village.

“APP ART: PAINTED PAPER” looks at human behavior as it is reflected and encapsulated in older comic books, advertisements, postcards, matchbooks, manuals and, particularly, black and white found or discarded photographs. For the appropriation and repurposing of these works, the artists have coined the phrase APP ART, or appropriated art. Read more…

Wanna Cover It? Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens


Nevermind those pesky rats in the park; the latest pitch to come in via the Virtual Assignment Desk is unsullied natural splendor. The folks at LUNGS (Loisada United Neighborhood Gardens) are jazzing up the neighborhood’s community gardens in October, with an arts festival we’d like you to photograph. If you’re up for some garden-hopping, sign up to cover the story for The Local using our Open Assignments page. Here’s the information we received.

The “Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens” will take place the first weekend of October in community gardens on the Lower East Side. The Festival will kick off with an opening night party Friday evening, October 5. The Festival will continue in community gardens Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7, from noon until 5 p.m. Each participating garden is designing its own unique and multi-dimensional arts program, with music, dance, performance, the visual arts and more planned. The Festival is free and open to all. The following gardens have already signed on, and more are expected to participate. Read more…

Wanna Cover It? NYC Lit Crawl and Ruckus NYC


The latest two pitches to come in via The Local’s Virtual Assignment Desk are wonderfully high fallutin. Want to look to the future and attend a conference about integrating art and the Web? Or look to the past by experiencing a reenactment Emily Dickinson’s life? Ruckus NYC is coming on Sept. 29 and before that, on Sept. 15, NYC Lit Crawl once again brings a host of literary-minded events to bars (and laundromats!) across the East Village. See here for the full schedule (including a Philip K. “Dick-a-thon,” a poetry smackdown, literary trivia, and appearances by Molly Ringwold and Irvine Welsh) and see below for details about the time warp with Emily Dickinson.

Ruckus NYC comes to Cooper Union
Ruckus NYC ( and is a one-day conference & concert about art & the internet happening on September 29th at Cooper Union. During the day working artists will present their art and their experiences building a career in the new digital economy. At night, there will be a show with over a dozen widely varying performances. Ruckus NYC is designed to help artists connect with audiences, and to build that audience.

Read more…

Wanna Cover It? The State of Churches (and Mosques, and Synagogues…)


Yesterday we showed you footage of a former church being leveled – and the fate of another church hangs in the balance. But it’s not all gloom and doom where religious institutions are concerned. A few blocks from that demolition site on Avenue B, renovations continue at St. Brigid’s. In recent days, East 11th Street was temporarily closed so worshippers spilling out of the Madina Masjid could pray in the street during Ramadan. And as you can see in the above video, just posted to YouTube, the ever inventive Middle Collegiate Church performed a triple wedding ceremony a few weeks ago. A reader wants to hear still more blessed news, and uses the Virtual Assignment Desk to request it:

Seriously, there’s more to the EV than restaurants and bars. Talk to the leaders of our mosques, churches and synagogues once in a while. See what they’re up to. Maybe it’s news, or maybe it’s just life goin’ on.

So what say you? Have any news to share from your house of worship? If so, go to our Open Assignments desk and volunteer to leave us a tip or report the story yourself. If you have a specific story to pitch, do so at our Virtual Assignment Desk.

Wanna Cover It? Lower East Sider Brings Seafood CSA to Union Square


Looks like Village Fishmonger isn’t the only seafood co-op coming to town: Matt Grove, a Lower East Side resident, uses our handy Virtual Assignment Desk to tell us about a seafood CSA that he’s bringing to the Union Square Greenmarket:

Big City Fish Share, a seafood CSA, will begin deliveries to Union Square on Saturday September 8th, continuing for 8 weeks. They will be supplying local, sustainably caught seafood that supports New York fishermen. Check them out and sign up now at

Want to sign up for the program and let us know how it is? or interview Mr. Stone about it? Volunteer to do so via our Open Assignments page.

Have the Rats Returned to Tompkins Square Park?

The Truck of Mint-X Trash BagsStephen Rex Brown Special delivery last summer.

It was the story of last summer: First the hawks came to Tompkins Square Park and then came the rats. A media feeding frenzy ensued and before long, there was a movie trailer. The park department fought back with minty trash bags and high-tech compactors, and eventually started planting poison again. Earlier this year, parents declared victory over the playground infiltrators, but now a reader uses the Virtual Assignment Desk to tell us  – rats!  – they’re back.

Continuing story. Efforts to reduce the resident rat population haven’t helped. The local hawks grow fat on unpoisoned rats, but kids and caretakers in the Avenue A playground and the garden alongside the E.10th Street pool must share the playspace with fat and happy rats. Anyone can see that the baited boxes are too few to dent the population. Why can’t these rodents be gassed?

Have rats returned to the park, like at Rat Alley? Volunteer to be our rat-porter at the Open Assignments page (filter posts by “Pitch” to see the submission above). Add photos to our Flickr pool. E-mail us your most hair-raising video footage.

Low-Income Housing Association Plans Major Rent Hikes, La Sirena May Close

IMG_2995Stephen Rex Brown Dina Leor’s Mexican memorabilia store, La Sirena, may have to move due to a 30-percent rent increase.

A low-income housing association in the East Village is planning substantial rent hikes for its commercial tenants — a move that has already forced the Mexican trinket shop La Sirena to notify its customers that it will close.

Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association’s executive director Val Orselli explained that the rent increases will pay for $400,000-worth of renovations to some of its 25 buildings over the next couple of years. The Association’s tenants include familiar names like the 4th Street Food Co-op, East Village Music Store, Rivington Guitars, Bond Street Chocolate, and FAB Café. As many as 24 will face rent hikes once their leases expire.

“We tried as much as possible to use our reserve funds, instead of increasing the rents of the tenants through big increases that tenants cannot afford,” said Mr. Orselli. “So either the cost has to be borne by residential tenants, who are very low-income, or the commercial tenants.”

“We don’t have a choice,” he added.

The owner of La Sirena, Dina Leor, faces a rent increase of around 30 percent, according to Tower Brokerage president Bob Perl, who will be negotiating the new lease. “Their mission is to have affordable housing,” he said of the Association. “The board has decided to make good use of the retail values in the area.” Read more…

Wanna Cover It? ‘Proof’ and ‘An Ideal Husband’ at Connelly Theater


As previously mentioned, we’ve just launched a nifty new tool that allows you to suggest stories you’d like to see on The Local. Using our Virtual Assignment Desk, you can either offer to write or photograph stories yourself or we’ll post your ideas so that fellow readers can volunteer to cover them. Check out our Open Assignments page and you’ll see that Hilarywritesny recently offered to write a story about East Village nonprofits: “Who’s volunteering, which agencies need help, what they do and how to get involved.” And speaking of volunteers, here’s a reader-submitted story that needs one. Want to review one of these upcoming productions at the Connelly Theater?

I’d like to invite you to take a new look at some old favorites David Auburn’s Proof and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, produced by Sink or Swim Rep. Please note: It was originally announced that Proof would be directed by Jessi D. Hill, it is now being directed by Wendy Merritt.

In both Proof and An Ideal Husband, the characters are living a life of illusion and lies. What they hold as true has been carefully and willfully constructed. But it is a house of cards and when it invariably comes tumbling down, it can’t be rebuilt. Both Catherine in Proof and Gertrude in An Ideal Husband, are forced to look internally, and when they finally do, they realize that the way they view themselves and those around them must change or how can they move forward? Sink or Swim Rep has taken that journey—looked within and are embracing the result. Now it’s the audiences turn: having faced internal truth last season, are they ready to accept the change that comes with it? Read more…