Remembering Liz Christy On Earth Day

liz sunning in garden 1975 Liz Christy sunning in the garden.

Some forty years ago Liz Christy and her group of rebel gardeners, the Green Guerillas, set out to transform an abandoned lot into something resembling the Dutch bouwerij, the farmland that covered Manhattan in colonial times. In 1974, New York City’s first community garden opened at the corner of Bowery and Houston. Ms. Christy unpaved the way for dozens of similar gardens throughout the neighborhood before she died of lung cancer in 1985, at the age of 35.

In honor of Earth Day, Donald Loggins, a founder of the Liz Christy Community Garden, looks back on its history as it prepares for summer hours next month. Read more…

At Klutch NYC, Shop For Biker Gear Or Hit the Playstation

Manhattan-20130422-00708Ray LeMoine
Manhattan-20130422-00706-1Ray LeMoine

Though bicycles are about to grossly outnumber motorcycles in the East Village, a new shop is catering to bikers of the badass variety.

Last week, Klutch NYC, a motorcycle apparel store, opened in the former Tokyo Rebel space. Actually: “It’s not just a store,” said Rafael Rios, the 27-year-old owner. “We have a couch for riders who want to stop in, maybe jump on the Playstation or watch TV.”

In a narrow, exposed-brick space branded in a way that resembles SoHo skate shop Supreme, riders will find helmets, jackets, pants, gloves — just about anything they’d need. A former employee of Ducati in SoHo, Mr. Rios grew up in Long Island City, Queens, but is currently living in New Jersey while looking for an East Village apartment (attention, brokers!).

As for the store, he pays around $3,500 a month in rent and put about $50,000 into the space.

Klutch NYC, 170 Avenue B (between East 10th and 11th Streets); (212) 228-4332 

Bike-Share Stands Popping Up

bike racksJoanna Marshall

Though it won’t launch until sometime next month, the bike share program is finally kicking into high gear.

This morning, we noticed that racks had materialized on Mott Street, near Prince Street. And EV Grieve spotted some on Lafayette Street.

The Times reported last week that registration for the long-delayed program started Monday.

If you see any stations, give us a heads-up in the comments. Meanwhile, you can click on the map at right to see where in the East Village the rest of the racks will be located.

Underground Resurfaces to Celebrate ‘Other’ NY Herald Tribune

Scott Lynch David Peel performs, and other scenes from the party.

The invitation called on members of the New York underground press who were still alive or not in jail to “party like it’s 1969,” and that’s what they did on Saturday night at the Yippie Museum Cafe.

At a communal dinner table, about 16 people from the inner circle of the New York Herald Tribune reminisced about a heady time four decades ago when they were revolutionaries publishing articles about Woodstock, the Black Panthers, and the war in Vietnam.

To be clear, this wasn’t the New York Herald Tribune of Tom Wolfe fame — after that one folded in 1966, a group of Stuyvesant High School students appropriated the name and ran with it.

“We stole it,” admitted Toby Mamis, one of the editors who helped shape the paper in the late ’60s.

“I was a high school radical at Stuyvesant and I had a paper called The Flea and a paper at Washington Irving called the Weekly Reader,” Mr. Mamis explained. “We merged them into the Herald Tribune. It was published every month or two. It was about rock and roll, ending the war and ending sexism.” For a while, the publication operated out of a donated storefront at 110 St. Marks Place.
Read more…

Fire at Amor Bakery On Avenue B

photo 5-1Kelsey Kudak Firefighters gather outside 224 Avenue B
photo 5Kelsey Kudak

Firefighters were called to 224 Avenue B shortly before 10 a.m. today when a fire broke out in the basement of Amor Bakery.

Battalion Chief Mastandrea said the official cause of the fire was still under investigation, but it’s believed that it was started by an oven in the bakery’s basement kitchen and then spread to the walls of the building. It took firefighters approximately 30 minutes to contain the flames.

At this time, there are no known injuries.

The Day | ‘Most of the LPs Are Fine’ at Momo+Momo

Manhattan-20130421-00705Ray Lemoine

Good morning, East Village.

More on the fire at Momo+Momo: “Most of the LPs are fine, some of them were damaged by the water,” says manager Andy Song. “Luckily, nobody was hurt,” Song said. “We hope to be back up and running in a month.” [DNA Info]

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation complains that “as part of an ongoing renovation of the 85 year old tower, NYU is ripping out the modern casement windows and replacing them with the blank, single pane ones. The new windows look like they were made for a spacecraft, or at best, a suburban office park, rather than a pre-war Gothic tower.” [Off the Grid]

It’s official: Benjamin Shaoul has broken up with East Fourth Street. [Occupy East 4th Street]
Read more…

Early-Morning Fire at Mono + Mono

A two-alarm fire gutted Mono + Mono early this morning.

The blaze broke out at the restaurant at 116 East Fourth Street around 1:15 a.m. and became a two-alarm fire at 1:27 a.m., with firefighters working both East Third and East Fourth Streets, between First and Second Avenues; it was under control by 2:24 a.m., the fire department said. There were no injuries.

Connor Adams Sheets, a reporter for The International Business Times who lives nearby, tweeted about hearing “a bang” and said others in the neighborhood had heard the same, but the fire department couldn’t confirm reports of an explosion.

Mono+Mono, which opened in late 2010 in the old Jeollado space, is known for its Korean fried chicken, in-house piano, and extensive vinyl collection. Over 30,000 of owner M.J. Chung’s records lined the walls.

Video of the fire can be found here. Its cause is still under investigation.

Update | 12 p.m.: Mary Murphy, a resident of 57 First Avenue, said that in addition to the fire at Mono + Mono, she saw “pretty big flames” on top of a multi-story apartment building on East Third Street that backs the one-story Mono + Mono building on East Fourth. Firefighters were seen entering the Hells Angels clubhouse at 77 East Third Street.

Update | 2 p.m. Mono + Mono has posted a message on its Facebook page: “Our big thanks to @FDNY. The fire that broke out last night at @MonoMonoNYC was quickly put out and everyone is safe. There was some water damage, so we’ll be closed for a few days to make repairs. We’ll be back stronger than ever! Stay tuned.”

A Roots Music Label Planted in the East Village and San Francisco

joshrosenthalCourtesy Sound American Josh Rosenthal with his daughter.

When Record Store Day hits the neighborhood tomorrow, Tompkins Square Records will release a handful of gems: “Imaginational Anthem, Vol. 6” documents the origins of American Primitive guitar music; Charlie Poole and the Highlanders’ “The Complete Paramount and Brunswick Recordings, 1929” showcases a rural string band from the late 1920s; Joe Bussard’s “Guitar Rag/Screwdriver Slide” collects tunes played with a screwdriver; and “For the Faithful” is a compilation of some of the trailblazing label’s best and newest tracks.

The eclectic mix reflects the tastes of Josh Rosenthal, who started Tompkins Square Records while living in Alphabet City and kept the countercultural name even after he moved to San Francisco.

Mr. Rosenthal is in his mid-40s but — wry and fit, with a full head of hair — he could pass for someone in his early 30s. He doesn’t look at all like an overburdened record honcho, even though he continues to release a dizzying number of CDs and records that plumb a plethora of genres: folk, jazz, Appalachian, blues, and just about everything else. Among his fans are Nashville producer T. Bone Burnett and Hal Willner, a producer of tribute albums who was the music director of Saturday Night Life from 1980 to 1991.

“When I see a new record out and I see the Tompkins Square Records marker on it, I buy the record,” said Mr. Willner.
Read more…

Metal Maniacs Celebrate New Book at Idle Hands

Manhattan-20130418-00690Ray LemoineHowie Abrams and Tommy Carroll

Howie Abrams and Sasha Jenkins don’t rock the long hair or the sleeveless denim jackets, and their new book, “The Merciless Book of Metal Lists,” manages to embrace the spirt of heavy metal without taking it too seriously or making it cartoonish. Maybe that’s why a party for the book at Idle Hands last night drew such a diverse mix of closet and confessed metal heads, including rapper Mr. Kaves, SNL’s Vanessa Bayer, and Michael Malbon of Frank’s Chop Shop.

The Queens-born authors aren’t your typical metal heads or punk rockers: they’re the last of the analog set, absorbing every genre available to them. They were students of studying every available zine and record, and attending matinees at CBGB and lesser know venues like the Pyramid and the Gas Station.

Mr. Jenkins actually made his name in hip-hop, working as a founder of Ego Trip magazine and creating VH1’s “The (White) Rapper Show.” Meanwhile, Mr. Abrams was among the first in the music industry to understand the reach and power of hardcore and its appeal to metal fans. In founding hardcore label In-Effect Records in the 1980s and then bringing its sound to Roadrunner Records as head A and R, he saw the connection between the heaviness of metal/hardcore and the attitude of rap years before it was watered down and marketed as Nu-Metal.

The two met through Ego Trip and, after realizing they had many mutual friends and loves, went on to channel their many years of experience into a playful, poignant book on heavy metal. Read more…

21-Year-Old Charged With Possession Of Machine Guns, Drugs

IMG_9770Roni Jacobson 377 East 10th.

A resident of 377 East 10th Street has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon after police confiscated two machine guns at the former squat house earlier this month, court documents show. In addition to the felony counts, Manuel Salazar, 21, is charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell a controlled substance.

As The Local previously reported, police entered the apartment with a search warrant at 4:45 a.m on April 1. There, they found Mr. Salazar and an unnamed individual inside his bedroom, along with the two assault weapons, five rounds of ammunition, over five pounds of marijuana, two “large” bags of hallucinogenic mushrooms, 44 tablets of Xanax, a collapsable baton, and over $13,000 in cash, according to the criminal complaint.

The two guns, which a police source had said were Tec-9s, were actually one AP9 semi-automatic and one MP9 semi-automatic — each outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, according to the complaint.

Both of the guns were loaded, “with intent to use it unlawfully against another,” the complaint read; one of the guns was defaced to conceal its identity.

It’s still unclear how Mr. Salazar obtained the guns. He’ll appear in court on April 26.

Video: Fast-Food Freakout at Popeyes

You’ve heard of Whopper freakouts — but Popeyes paroxysms?

That’s exactly what police say happened on March 5 around 3:05 a.m., when a customer got into it with a server at the Popeyes Louisiana Chicken at 108 Delancey Street. When the man’s order didn’t go as planned, he went behind the counter and started hurling grub around, the police said. Then he stormed out, breaking the door with his foot and walking right through it, as shown in the above surveillance camera footage.

The man is said to be 5’8”, with long hair in a ponytail, and glasses. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a black jacket and a button-down shirt over a red T-shirt, with jeans and sneakers.

A Popeyes employee declined to say what exactly prompted the alleged tenders tantrum.

Cause Of Fatal Fire Determined

IMG_3505Roni Jacobson After the blaze

The fire department has determined that a carelessly discarded cigarette was the cause of a deadly blaze that erupted shortly before midnight Tuesday, the police said.

The fire originated on the fifth floor of 115 Fourth Avenue and was under control by 12:46 a.m., but not before it caused “extensive damage” to the fifth and sixth floors of the eight-story building, a fire department official said. Mary Bonnell, an 84-year-old sculptor, died before firefighters arrived, according to the police.

In total, 78 firefighters responded to the scene, and one sustained minor injuries.

Gentlemen, Start Your Turntables: It’s Record Store Day

UntitledDaniel Maurer

When Record Store Day first launched in 2008, just a few eager buyers lined up early outside Other Music and Kim’s Video. But tomorrow morning, you can expect the queues to be deep and packed.

Mike Davis, owner of Academy Records on East 12th Street, said he usually does about a week’s worth of business during the audiophile free-for-all. “The crowds are over the top, and there’s a lot of people I don’t see the rest of the year, which is good,” he told The Local. “To my surprise, they don’t just buy the sexy RSD stuff and bounce – many of them scour the bins and buy a lot of our other stuff.”

These days, RSD can be a frenzied scavenger hunt, with vinyl enthusiasts rushing from store to store looking for the exclusive releases, tipping each other off to secret stashes, and even swapping records onsite as they caravan around. It’s a reminder of just how exciting buying physical releases can be.
Read more…

The Day | East Village ‘Slow Zone’?

4:16:13sotMel Bailey

Good morning, East Village.

“Chad Marlow, the founder of the Tompkins Square Park & Playground Parents’ Association, wants to bring a “slow zone” to the East Village as part of the Department of Transportation’s Slow Zone program, which lowers the speed limit within designated zones from 30 to 20 miles per hour.” [DNA Info]

An East Village “boutique condo” is on the market for $1.125 million. [Curbed]

“For one night, punk rock fans and foodies will have a chance to relive the grungy past when Marky Ramone teams up with Daniel Boulud for an evening of music and feasting.” [Gothamist]
Read more…

How Much Of the Village Does Jared Kushner Own? See the Photo Map!

Click on the points to see individual buildings and click here to view a larger map.

IMG_9839Samantha Balaban 504-508 East 12th Street

How much of the Village now belongs to Jared Kushner? Patrick Crosetto, the Chief Operating Officer of Kushner Companies, answered that question — and not many others — during a brief appearance before Community Board 3’s Land Use committee last night.

Between the East and West Villages, the real estate baron and publisher of the New York Observer owns 36 buildings, including 40 storefronts, Mr. Crosetto revealed.

“We made a significant investment in the neighborhood,” said Johanna Greenbaum, the company’s Managing Director of Real Estate Development. “We want to introduce ourselves to the community.” Read more…

Body Found On East Sixth Street

photo-37Roni Jacobson

Police taped off a portion of East Sixth Street today after a dead body was discovered on the block between Avenues B and C.

A detective on the scene wouldn’t comment on how the body might’ve ended up slumped against the doorway of 631 East Sixth Street, covered in a white sheet. Around 4 p.m., the medical examiner lifted the sheet to reveal a man dressed in a grey shirt and jeans, with sallow skin and balding brown hair. He appeared to have bruises on his arms.

Neighbors had seen the man earlier in the day. A longtime East Villager who did not want to be identified said the man appeared to be “nodding out” around 10 a.m., and remained in the same position for a couple of hours. “I saw him earlier but I thought he was just another guy taking a nap on the steps,” he said.
Read more…

As Spring Blooms, Trees Take Root in City Sidewalks

photo-36Daniel Maurer

Last week a dump truck pulled up near the corner of Second Avenue and East Fourth Street and workers added a touch of the Southern bayou to the East Village by planting a bald cypresses sapling in the sidewalk (don’t get too excited: the lack of Spanish moss in New York will render it much less exotic-looking once it’s grown.)

It’s not the only tree that’s new to the nabe. Since 2007, MillionTreesNYC, an initiative aimed at — you guessed it –bringing one million trees to the city by 2017, has planted more than 814 of them in the Community Board 3 area, according to program manager Andrew Newman. In recent days, The Local spotted newly planted trees on East Sixth and Seventh Streets, also near Second Avenue.

The Parks Department plants hundreds of varieties of trees; in the East Village you’ll see oaks, cypress, ginkgoes, lindens and most recently Japanese scholar trees, which grow hanging bean pods that bloom into delicate white flowers. Each tree is labeled with a tag identifying the species, planter and caretaker. Read more…

Neighbor Wants Handsome Dick Manitoba to Turn Down the Tunes

Dick Manitoba and Zoe HansenShira Levine Dick Manitoba and Zoe Hansen

In yet another case of neighbor versus nightlife, a long-running dispute between an East Village bar owner and a tenant who lives in the apartment upstairs spilled over into the Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting Tuesday night. The bar in question is Manitoba’s, a punk-themed dive opened at 99 Avenue B in 1999 by Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba of the Dictators.

William Huffman, the tenant, is a private chef who lives directly above the bar. At the meeting, he said he has made countless noise complaints and calls to 311, 911, and the bar itself over the past five years. Mr. Manitoba corroborated the mere existence of the dispute, but the parties disagree wildly on its particulars.

For example, Mr. Manitoba claims that a few weeks ago, Mr. Huffman, in a fit of pique, came downstairs to the bar and “threw water on the patrons. I called 911. When [Mr. Huffman] came out of the building, he had a beer in his hand and the cops gave him a ticket for drinking on the street.”
Read more…

Again, Uproar Over NYCHA’s Plan to Lease Land to Developers

harris and committeeLila Selim Fred Harris addresses the room.

At a contentious meeting last night, tenants of the New York Public Housing Authority and their neighbors expressed their opposition to the agency’s plan to allow development on parking lots and playgrounds. Meanwhile the authority announced a delay in its search for potential developers.

David McWater, chair of Community Board 3’s Land Use committee, struggled to keep the meeting in check as Damaris Reyes, executive director of Good Old Lower East Side and a resident of Baruch Houses, voiced tenants’ concerns about loss of light and open space, as well as the structural safety of existing buildings and power and sewage systems.

The bigger fear Ms. Reyes articulated was that the infill plan was the first step toward the eventual privatization of New York City’s public institutions. “I refuse to believe that in a city like New York, with such brilliant minds, that we cannot come up with a plan that will generate revenue, that will enhance the lives of public housing residents, and prevents future speculation, because need I remind everyone that this is waterfront property,” she said, worrying that if given an inch, the housing authority would take a mile. “There is no agreement that says you will not sell off any more land,” she said. “There’s no agreement that says you will not demolish another playground.”
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The Day | Overhaul For Tompkins Square Park?

St. Mark's pastoralScott Lynch

Good morning, East Village.

The woman who died in an early-morning apartment fire has been identified as Mary Lincoln Bonnell, an 84-year-old artist known for her giant abstract bronze sculptures. [NY Post]

The East Village Parks Conservancy wants to give Tompkins a multi-million-dollar overhaul. “The Conservancy hopes not only to replace the park’s rundown and decrepit bits, but also to give it the ‘design integrity’ that it had before renovations in the 1990s ‘stripped the park of its elegant historic character.'” [NY Press]

It’s no wonder they call the Bowery “the city’s oldest streetscape”: “Despite a wave of gentrification — new restaurants, bars and hotels — vestiges of the block’s grimy, boozy past remain.” [NY Times]
Read more…