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Five Questions with Sarah Shanfield About the End of the World

IMG_3814Picture courtesy Sarah Shanfield.Sarah communes with the globe

While there are good reasons to be skeptical about the Mayan calendar prediction that the world will end today, The Local decided to ask journalist, savant, thought-leader, and Local contributor Sarah Shanfield for words of advice and comfort.


Sarah, the end of the world seems to be predicted with frightening regularity these days. How have you felt in the past when it turned out to be a false alarm?


No one was more upset at the failure of the rapture than me. I had not even started my taxes and was going to wait until the last fiery demon rode away in a chariot made of rabid wolves to see if I’d be alive enough to have to actually sit down and file them. Boy, was I wrong! I have learned not to put too much belief in these human predictions. Still, I won’t do any Christmas shopping until acid-filled pigs stop falling from the sky on Friday and then, only then, will I venture to the Union Square holiday market.


Coming from California as you do, we know you’re an earthquake expert. Do you expect the end of the world to involve earthquakes, as well as other disastrous phenomena, or not necessarily?


Humans – and living organisms in general – are very smart. We defy the laws of nature time and time again (like you said, I’m from California. Nature, gravity and logic are all defied by the faces of my mother’s friends). Especially after Sandy, I don’t question the power of a humankind to be able to survive whatever the earth or the forces that be will throw at him or her. Read more…

My Reading Was Usurped By Slurpees!

ScottFonzCourtesy Scott Kenemore What passes for fun in the Midwest.

We have 7-Eleven stores here in Chicago, thank you very much.

I was supposed to come to New York this month to give a reading from my new novel about a zombie attack on the Windy City. I bought myself a plane ticket (not that expensive on JetBlue, but still) and was all but eagerly clutching it in anticipation. (If you’re not from the Midwest, you might not have a sense of how excited I was: a reading in the East Village, in a cool bar, and as part of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series was something to look forward to.)

But then the venue — Bar on A — was closed, reportedly to make way for a new 7-Eleven. This development was was harder to swallow than a KZ3™ Battle Fuel Slurpee.

When you’re a writer living in Chicago, you think of New York City as “headquarters.” It’s where your agent and publisher are, where important stuff happens, and where you occasionally get to go for meetings or readings or whatever. It’s fun and cool and inspiring, and filled with interesting things. It’s awesome for writers in ways the metropolis of the Midwest is often not.

Being a writer in Chicago can feel like trying to meet women at a party thrown by a church. I am not the first person to have observed this. In “Chicago: City on the Make,” Nelson Algren bemoans “a city whose pleasures are so chaste” and laments the “hipless biddies entitling themselves ‘Friends of Literature’” who stand ever-ready to throw a stuffy daytime function where the punch is non-alcoholic and the conversation is polite.

Writers don’t want this.

Writers want to go to places like the East Village and womanize and get drunk and meet interesting, daring, wonderful, terrible people. Read more…

Tompkins Square Bagels Will ‘Pummel’ 7-Eleven, Says Owner

plywoodAnnie Fairman

Plywood went up today on the corner of East 11th Street and Avenue A, where on Monday a construction worker told The Local that the former home of Bar On A would become a 7-Eleven. The owner of Tompkins Square Bagels isn’t taking the development lying down: commenting on Monday’s post, Christopher Pugliese (never shy about the corporate convenience store) said his bagel shop would deliver “a full-service smack-down” to its new neighbor across the street.

Don’t worry about Tompkins Square Bagels. We are going to pummel 7 Eleven. This isn’t Long Island or a truck stop off I-95; microwaved eggs and push button cappuccino out of a fountain isn’t going to cut it here. We look forward handing Joe DePinto and crew a full service smack down the likes of which will they have never experienced and will relish the embarrassment the failure of their Avenue A store will bring to the entire 7 Eleven corporation. It’s on boys and I’m going to win.

Mr. Pugliese’s comment came in response to this one, from reader MarcellaD.   Read more…

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.”

Side-by-Side, East Village Chain Stores Would Span 16 City Blocks (Plus: Map)

textchains2Illustration: Lauren Carol Smith
chainsfinal CLICK TO ENLARGE

There’s been much ado about chain stores lately: last month, anarchists targeted a new 7-Eleven; earlier this week, Community Board 3 continued its discussion on retail diversity; and now a petition calls for a halt to the perceived chain invasion in the East Village. But just how many chains are in the neighborhood, anyway? The Local pounded the pavement to find out.

The petition claims that “zip code 10003, which we all know as the East Village, now has the most national retail stores of any zip code in NYC (except for one that has a huge shopping mall).” Not exactly true: a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future found 169 chain retailers in the zip code, actually the third-most in the city. Since the 10003 zip includes parts of the Flatiron District and Gramercy (and only part of the East Village), the question remains: how much of the East Village do chain stores own?

Here’s what we found: if one were to place every national chain store, bank, restaurant, and movie theater in the East Village side-by-side, they would span 16 city blocks, and that’s with stores on both sides of the street. Read more…

Anarchists to Meet at Sixth Street Community Center Again

openforumJared Malsin

Local anarchists are planning to hold an “Open Forum” at the Sixth Street Community Center Tuesday night, just days after alleged anarchist demonstrators broke a window at a 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place.

According to a flyer spotted by The Local on Avenue A last week, the New York Anarchist Forum is “a gathering where we meet other anarchists and discuss anarchist ideas, events projects and whatever else comes up.” Past notices for the forum indicate the meeting is a monthly event.

Police arrested three people after Saturday night’s violence, in which demonstrators also attempted to break windows at the Astor Place Starbucks using metal pipes. At least one of those arrests took place outside the Sixth Street Community Center, where an after party for the NYC Anarchist Book Fair was taking place. Two police officers suffered minor injuries while scuffling with protesters.

Yesterday, the owner of the 7-Eleven that’s due to open on St. Marks Place tomorrow jokingly offered Saturday’s vandals a “peace treaty Slurpee.”

7-Eleven Opens Wednesday, Owner Offers ‘Peace Treaty Slurpee’

IMG_3241Stephen Rex Brown Norman Jemal, the owner of the soon-to-open 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place, is ready to bury the hatchet with whoever smashed the window of his store.

The soda machine is already operating, the fridge is getting stocked with Gatorade, and the 14 coffee dispensers are in place. The new 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place is set to open on Wednesday with a new window pane on its storefront, following vandalism during Saturday night’s anarchist-fueled mayhem.

IMG_3243Stephen Rex Brown The cracked window.

“People have the right to express themselves, hopefully non-violently and without property damage,” said the owner of the convenience store, Norman Jemal. “Everyone has the right to their own opinion — though I’m not exactly sure what their opinion is.”

Mr. Jemal had heard rumors about the rowdy goings-on at Astor Place and off of Washington Square Park that likely led to his window getting cracked, but said he was unaware of the details. After hearing about the attack on Starbucks, he sought to distance himself from other corporate businesses. “This is not a standard powerhouse chain store. They’re all franchised to people like me,” he said, adding that the replacement window is “not cheap.” Read more…

Two Officers Injured During Anarchist Attack on Starbucks

starbucksDaniel Maurer The Starbucks at Astor Place, hours
before the attack.

Last night’s riotous atmosphere resulted in a sergeant and lieutenant suffering minor injuries while scuffling with anarchist protesters at the Astor Place Starbucks, the police said.

According to police, around 25 people tried smashing the windows of the cafe with eight-foot long steel pipes at around 8:45 p.m. after attending the Anarchist book fair earlier in the day. “Patrons fearing that they would be hit by flying glass hid under tables,” the police said in a statement. “Several” officers were assaulted with pipes and bottles, the police added.

Eric Marchese, a 24-year-old from Brentwood, N.Y., and Nicholas Thommen, a 30-year-old from Salem, Oregon were arrested at the scene. The former was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, the latter faces a variety of charges, including inciting to riot, criminal possession of a weapon and assault. Read more…

Police Close Down Tompkins After 7-Eleven Window Is Smashed [Updated]

The police closed down Tompkins Square Park tonight after a window of a 7-Eleven was smashed, seemingly by protesters.

Around 9:20 p.m., Tim Pool, a livecaster of Occupy Wall Street events, filmed police cars blocking off Tompkins Square Park. In the video embedded above, Mr. Pool reports hearing that, after the Anarchist Book Fair earlier today, a “black bloc” formed and “there was a lot of property destruction, a few windows broken. We heard a few people tried to smash some Starbucks windows and ‘some Mafioso-looking guys came out with big poles and started swinging them.’” Read more…

And Now, Watch a 7-Eleven Sign Go Up on St. Marks Place

As soon as The Local noticed yesterday that 7-Eleven decals had been affixed to the windows of the former Jas Mart, we dispatched news vans to the heart of St. Marks Place. They’ve been stationed there ever since, awaiting the new store’s moment of christening. Readers, that moment came mere minutes ago, and our cameras were rolling as workers hoisted the universal Slurpee sign in place.

Okay, so in all honesty, we just happened to see this on our lunch break, but don’t let that detract from the drama. A 7-Eleven rep previously told The Local that the store at 35 St. Marks Place, along with another one on 14th Street, would open by the end of July. Looks like it could be even sooner.

Update: A representative says the store should open by the end of this month.

Biscuit Blitz: How Does 7-Eleven’s $1 Biscuit Rank?

Kim Davis was good and thorough during his recent tour of East Village biscuit destinations, but something occurred to us: he overlooked 7-Eleven’s $1 biscuit! We asked our trusted chowhound to swallow his pride and give it a nibble. Here’s how it stacked up against the others.

IMG_4206Lauren Carol Smith

Ninety years ago, the New York columnist O.O. McIntyre was complaining that the Bowery wasn’t what it used to be. He detected “the faint rustle of silk.” What he couldn’t have anticipated was the faint rustle of hungry bargain-hunters unwrapping hot, steamy dollar biscuits, sold at the front counter of a spanking new 7-Eleven.

A review? Well, the biscuit tasted biscuity, thanks no doubt to the “natural butter flavor” listed along with dozens of other ingredients on the wrapper. It was more soggy than dry, its texture contrasting sharply with the springiness of the pale pork patty. “Spices,” the wrapper duly noted, and in fact I found pepper flakes in the sausage, responsible for the warm after-burn in the throat. Read more…

Ladies and Gentlemen, David Cross Has Left the East Village

ihopDaniel Maurer A 7-Eleven is said to be opening in
the former porn shop next to IHOP.

Back in November, Amber Tamblyn told The Local that she and her fiancée, comedian David Cross, planned to leave the East Village for Brooklyn. Last month, Mr. Cross, who had previously bemoaned the arrival of a Subway on Avenue B, complained to Gothamist about the neighborhood’s new 7-Eleven and IHOP (that was before news broke, today, of another 7-Eleven.) This week, The New Yorker tags along as he makes the big move to – wait for it – Dumbo.

In the Talk of the Town piece, which is available online to subscribers only, the comedian reiterates, “I’m really not one of those whiny, annoying people who complain about any change, but there’s a 7-Eleven and an IHOP in the East Village now. It could be a suburban mall. Also, I was a younger man when I came here, doing younger-man things.” He clarifies: “I’m trying to be classy about saying ‘I don’t go out and get laid anymore.’” Read more…

Mars Bar Out, 7-Eleven In

If you want a piece of Mars Bar, now’s the time to ask. As you can see in video shot this morning, the wall separating the old dive from its neighbor has come down, and construction workers are clearing away wooden beams.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, the 7-Eleven that had been slated to open on the Bowery last week was accepting deliveries this morning. A worker on the scene said it would finally open this Friday (an early Christmas gift to the East Village?). We’ve asked corporate headquarters for the official word.

Have your own photos of the Mars Bar’s demise? Add them to The Local’s Flickr pool.

The Day | Forward March on the Bowery

Scary Hair, East VillageSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

The Bowery’s new status as a historic district won’t stop progress: From an EV Grieve photo, it looks like the fridges have been installed at the forthcoming 7-Eleven. And per a Bowery Boogie shot, the neon signage has been switched on at Bowery Diner.

Elsewhere on the Bowery, Grub Street takes a look at the pies at soon-to-open Forcella. The specialty of the house: Pizza that is both fried and baked.

The Fine Fare on Fourth Street near Avenue C has agreed to fence off the recycling center that neighbors have complained about, but that isn’t good enough for one resident, who tells DNA Info that the fence is a potential eyesore. Read more…

The Day | More Details on Eighth Street Rape

The Bean on BroadwayScott Lynch

Good morning, East Village.

Some new details about the rape that occurred on East Eighth Street on Saturday morning: DNAinfo finds out that the victim didn’t know her alleged attacker, 51-year-old Neal Essex, and the Post discovers he was previously arrested for allegedly killing his mother in 1984.

Jeremiah’s Vanishing notices a “for sale” sign indicating that playwright, poet and performance artist Edgar Oliver no longer lives at the townhouse at 104 East 10th Street that inspired his one-man show, “East 10th Street: Self Portrait With Empty House.”

Off The Grid takes a look at the history of Third Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets. The block was once home to Sig Klein’s Fat Men’s Shop, which counted Babe Ruth as a customer, and is still home to New York Central Art Supply, which opened in 1905. Read more…

7-Eleven Coming to the Bowery

The eagle-eyed EV Grieve noticed construction plans for a 7-Eleven convenience store inside the window of 351 Bowery – another sign of the onetime hardscrabble strip’s increasingly “suburban feel.” Gothamist confirmed that the store is expected to open on October 5.